May 13th, 2010


Galactic Suburbia Show Notes - Episode 6

Hey! We're 6 of one and half a dozen of the other!!! We made it to our 6th show. It's the longest so far, coming in at one hour and a half and my house was very grumpy at me last night for taking so long.

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So ... what did we talk about? Here are the notes:

Show Notes

China Mieville becomes first 3-time Arthur C Clarke winner
Hugo Voting pack now available for download by Aussiecon4 members
Matthew Cheney has an intriguing column, Patriarchy Studies up at Strange Horizons
Asimov's is (finally) accepting online submissions
Google to open an online bookstore by July
Diana Gabaldon attacks fanfiction [posts have been removed by the author but have been archived by others: eg]
Charlie Stross weighed in; Kate Nepveu blogged on the legalities of fanfic; Sarah Rees Brennan, novelist and former fanfic writer wrote a post; Nick Mamatas responded to George RR Martin's claims that Lovecraftian fanfic sent Lovecraft to an early grave; Catherynne Valente was sensible on the topic
New editor announced at Escape Pod - Mur Lafferty
Angry Robot has moved to Osprey Publishing
Storm in a teacup over Neil Gaiman's appearance fee
"Men Don't Read" by Jason Pinter, in the Huffington Post. And a Response in Salon
What SF should be in every fan's library SF Mind Meld - if we remove Ursula Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness as the outlier, none of the men here mention women in their lists

What have we been reading?
Alex: Sean Williams, Orphans of Earth and Heirs of Earth; Octavia Butler, Imago; Sean Williams, The Resurrected Man
Alisa: Borderline by Leanne Frahm
Listening to: Sofanauts, Memories of the FutureCast, The Outland Institute, Radio Free Burrito
Tansy: Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey, Soulless by Gail Carriger
Listening to: Shada (Big Finish)

Pet Subject: book reviews
Do we read them, and why?
Do we write them, and why?
What's the use for publishers?
What's the use for authors?
What's the use for readers?

Mary Beard on women writing reviews (there's not that many in prominent publications etc, also the fact that lots of UK and US broadsheets have stopped literary reviews completely)
An article that has outraged female book bloggers this week

This ties into last episode's comments about reader expectations; getting books to the right audience, or explaining why you might want to read a particular book.


What you don't see

Last night after recording Galactic Suburbia, I broke the toilet. The only remaining toilet at home - there are two. And the experience and how I felt about it ties into partly what we were talking about in counselling a week or more ago. I wanted to know if my OCD was related to the onset of my disease, as discussed here previously. It wasn't something she had considered but we talked it through.

Amusingly, she mentioned that what we hadn't done was cognitive therapy because it's not really something she does. I said to her that I wouldn't have come back originally if her solution had been for me to lick a toilet - that I'm just not going to do that and I also don't think that would work for me. She agreed that she thought that method was a bit simplistic. Personally, I have no idea why one action once would completely undo a very long period of complete obsession and repetitive ritualisation. For me, if my fear was leaving the house and someone made me do it once and nothing bad happened to me, that would in no way make me think, "Oh well then, my fears are completely unfounded." The issue for me is that my fears relate, I think, to an unbalanced risk assessment - that my fears are founded on reality and science but that I have overestimated the level of risk, or deemed that level of real risk to be personally unacceptable.

That's where I'm at with that, in any case. And people around me IRL agree that I am better than I was ... but for me it's an active everyday thought process of reassuring myself that particular risks are acceptable to take. And that it's ok to deem some things unacceptable - which is one of the issues with this whole illness, the level of "normal" behaviour to which I can allow myself to return to. For example, it's acceptable to expect handwashing after going to the toilet and before preparing a meal. Funnily though, well not, is that what when I talk to people, everyone has one *thing* that they do that's a little OCD and what I have done is to take the sum of all those things and made that my lifestyle. And that in having to decide what is "unhealthy behaviour" I have had to come to a point where I say, "it's ok to do x, y and z UNLESS those things adversely impact on my ability to actively enjoy my life" and that is where I have come to in drawing a line over which I walk into crazyland/mental unhealth. And enables me to be ok with troubleshooting future potential OCD triggers, and allow the troubleshooting to actually be healthy behaviour. Like if not washing dishes for three days is going to make me feel like those plates could never get clean, then I have to wash them now, to avoid the loop of panic/anxiety. (which, you know, would be healthy - to do your dishes straight away)

But coming back to "but where does all this come from?" and "will I be cured of this, ever?" I discovered that maybe it's always going to be an issue of balance for me and that maybe everyone is always in an act of balancing their own worries and anxieties. And that, you know, that's the best I can hope for. Which was a bit depressing, to be honest (and only *very* briefly had me contemplating licking a toilet.)

I wanted to explore the idea that this is some kind of response to the onset of my chronic illness. I guess if it was, that would be some kind of explanation for it all? I think, if my attitude and response to Crohn's was reasonably "healthy" - I did not consider it a handicap but rather looked for ways to get on with my life, and did so - then it's not fair to really go back and look for some kind of PTSD or whatever. But what we did discuss was the ways that Crohn's impacts on my life and how I have come to manage it. Essentially, I am aware of every single thing that I eat, every single time I open my mouth and put food or drink in it. I am constantly hyperaware of every potential way that food and drink can take me down be it by hives, pustules on my hands, skin rashes, acute stomach cramps, ongoing stomach aches, diarrhea, frequent and unpleasant trips to the bathroom, wind, indigestion, nausea and constipation. And that if I am not careful, any of these can be ongoing for months at a time. So what managing my disease has taught me in a very real, repeatable way is that what I eat and how I am in the world directly affects my physical health.

So that's the first thing that I have been mulling over.

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The best way to deal with such a plumbing problem is to let it rest and come back later. And yep this morning it all sorted itself out again. But lying in bed last night, I was worried I'd get an attack and ... well ... that just would have been beyond coping with.

But yeah, thinking about how this is related to the rest of the OCD stuff and figuring out how to find a balance. As usual.

I should add that when I got back from my parents', I discovered maelkann had spent the time researching bidets and selected one he thinks I should get, t some point, having heard the somewhat censored version of the problem I was having and observing my distress. It was really reassuring that his response was not one of being grossed out etc.