(“a well-beaten path does not always make the right road”, by Jenny Downing)
Liminality: A Magazine of Speculative Poetry
Edited by Shira Lipkin and Mattie Joiner
Editorial – Shira Lipkin & Mattie Joiner
“the mountain, in g major” – Margarita Tenser
“Skin” – Alice Fanchiang
“The Were” – Lyrik Courtney
“Leda Feels Empathy for Her Swan” – Alison Rumfitt
“Donkeyskin” – Alix Bosley
“Wanted:” – Daniel Tobin
“Waking” – Sara Cleto & Brittany Warman
“The Widow and the Wave” – M.J. Cunniff
“Behold and Beholden” – Neile Graham
“In Quietude” – Steve Rasnic Tem
“Thanatopoesis” – P. Edda
“Seer” – Lynette Mejía
“The Star-Drinkers” – Rohinton Daruwala
“Last Call at the Hypothetical Tavern” – Jennifer Crow
(“Sonata”, by Caitlyn Kurilich (now available as a print!))
Liminality: A Magazine of Speculative Poetry
Edited by Shira Lipkin and Mattie Joiner
“The Ritual” – Alex Harper
“An Angel Considers His Fallen Brother” – Lyrik Courtney
“Conditional Statements” – Margaret Wack
“Exvocation” – Elliott Freeman
“For Lonnie” – Holly Walrath
“The Pacific is Wine Pink” – Gillian Daniels
“The Wait” – Emma Crockford
“How I Lost the Sky” – Toby MacNutt
“To the Waters” – Megan Arkenberg
“Giant-Killer, 1915” – Ross Holmes
“Fusion Dream” – Laurinda Lind
“After the Forest Fire” – Evelyn Deshane
“Mother Tornado” – Melissa Frederick
Hi. We're the cool kids now. Yes, you can sit with us.
Liminality: A Magazine of Speculative Poetry
Editorial – Shira Lipkin
“Translations of a Runestone Found in Minnesota” – Amelia Gorman
“A priest, church windows, & divination” – Evelyn Deshane
“Saint of the Gracious Smile, your lips are cruel” – Kathrin Köhler
“Exposing Tricks” – Chloe N. Clark
“8 Ways Any Girl Can Become More Attractive, According to Science” – Margaret Wack
“Flesh” – Subashini Navanatram
“Jellyfish/Out of Water” – A.J. Odasso
“Wattle Skinned” – Hester J. Rook
“Yoga Chip” – Rohinton Daruwala
“WERE-” – Naru Dames Sundar
“Million-Year Elegies – Hallucigenia” – Ada Hoffmann
“Just So Story (The Four Faces of Luck)” – E.P. Beaumont
“Hexagram 64: Taste the Salt” – M.C. Childs
(What have I been up to? Elayna's home from her junior year, having made the Dean's List. I have a lot of medical appointments this month. Also a lot of shows. Working on the nonfiction project, hoping to get time to work on fiction. Still have the best husband and other partners evar. Nicky is doing super great - he's actually kept more sight in that eye than the vet thought he would.)
But in response to a Facebook post of mine going viral, one of my most unhinged and virulent stalkers from the Atlanta days has come out of the woodwork and is spewing her usual crap about me. And she's linking my legal name and Facebook ID to my LJ. So if people come looking, here it is.
I lived in Atlanta from 2001-2006. Around 2003, I was targeted by some deeply disturbed individuals. They harassed me online and in person. They doxxed me and Adam. Several of them sexually harassed me. One of them attempted to physically assault me.
They all lied about me.
Those who've been reading me long-term will remember. Those who are newer here, you may see some shit.
It's been over ten years. I'd hoped that it was over, that they were living their own lives, that maybe they'd gotten help or grown out of this.
Nope. At least one of them is definitely back and spewing the same lies with a new variation - now I'm allegedly trying to ride the coattails of the Stanford rape victim, which... yeah. Repulsive.
Let's unpack that further, actually: In order for that to be true, I would have to a) have *arranged to be raped* b) three years before a case that caught the public eye. This blames me for my rape.
I will not be bullied.
I will also not be baited. I will not engage with these creatures again. This is an advisory: that person is a stalker and a harasser. She and her buddies spent years torturing me. They don't get to do that anymore. And they should be ashamed.
(“Ivy and Door”, by Denis McLaughlin)
Liminality: A Magazine of Speculative Poetry
Editorial – Shira Lipkin and Mattie Joiner
“The Lies You Learned” – S. Qiouyi Lu
“Elegy for the Hulk” – Gabby Reed
“For ours is the glory” – Julia Kingston
“Ecdysis” – Margarita Tenser
“bedtime story, age 96” – Nolan Liebert
“Rat-Infested Ship Off the Coast of Britain” – Chloe N. Clark
“The Art of the Blood Sacrifice” – Margaret Wack
“Sketches” – Tiffany Grayson
“Faith” – Alex Harper
“(House)” – Aaron Boothby
“The Wheredrobe” – John W. Sexton
“inventory: the ghosts in the bedroom” – Joyce Chong
“Lepidopteramancer” – Joshua Gage
Oh, man, that's actually a super emotional one. Because when I was 21, I was 9 months pregnant, detoxing, running from Las Vegas, unbearably alone and afraid.
I'd tell little proto-Shira that, first of all, the kid is going to be fine; the kid is going to be pretty freaking great, actually, and she's going to be a good mom. I would tell her that yeah, a lot of scary stuff just happened, and that's not the last time scary and awful stuff will happen, but she's way stronger than she thinks already, and every year she'll get stronger, and she'll meet every challenge. I'd tell her that in a couple of months on this thing called the internet she's going to meet her best friend, the love of her life, and they'll eventually figure out they're in love and they'll be together forever.
I'll tell her to take all the leaps of faith. That, every time, she'll grow her wings on the way down. That everything is worth it. That she is worth it, and soon she'll be with people who know that, and she'll be among people who know that for the rest of her life.
I'll tell her that her 42nd birthday party will be her biggest ever. That she'll be surrounded by love and affection from wonderful people and spend the whole night laughing and being snuggled and being handed perfect gifts, and she'll look around the room at her partners and beloved friends and feel her heart skip beats in non-scary ways because this is so much love. This is so much love we get to live within. These are the people in our world. This is the life we have built. We are safe, we are loved, we are understood. We write, we edit, we work to change the world, we connect people, and we love so hard all the time.
And it's worth it. Everything before 21 and everything after. It's all worth it.
Saturday's party was epic. I saw Jeffrey yesterday and Matthew today, and we had Sioban, Emily, and Dani over for dinner last night as well as burlesque friend Lucky, who is crashing with us for the week, and Adam and I went to Alden & Harlow for dinner tonight. It's a good week. It's a good life.
And then newly-solo Max started caterwauling all night, every night, out of sheer loneliness. He needed a buddy. We weren't ready, but we saddled up and went out, on my birthday, to acquire a cat from the MSPCA.
His original name was Bunz. Yes. Ridiculous. We first called him Ampersand, then Sebastian, which went straight to Bash. And, later, Murder Cat. And Jerkface. Because omg was he a trick cat. Kitten-playful and sweet in the shelter, but, well, a Murder Cat at home.
He was 12 when we adopted him. Everyone was like "Are you sure?" Yes, we were; at the time, we were thinking of him as a companion for then-17-year-old Max, and this was before Max's kidney disease diagnosis, so we thought a few years together as buddies would be good. Average Maine Coon life expectancy is 12-15, and he was going to be an indoor cat; Siamese can live to 20. It was a good bet. But Max took ill that summer, and died right after Thanksgiving.
And Bash? Oh, Bash. Bash was a revenge shitter, a nervous traveller, a biter of hair and arms, trouble all the way down. Bash had a bump on his chin - $600 of tests later we found out it was acne. Bash got eye herpes. EYE HERPES. We shuttled him back and forth to the veterinary opthalmologist for months. We medicated him multiple times a day. He fuckin' hated that. We all have scars. He started shit with the other animals we eventually acquired. He swatted at Nicky and chased Whisper. He pissed on my bed. He ate every piece of plastic that entered the house. He was a giant furry asshole.
But he made this sweet "murr" sound whenever you touched him. And he had the world's floofiest belly and gigantic paws and that stunning ruff. And he would let me - for brief amounts of time - pick him up and snuggle him in my arms like a baby, tummy exposed. And he had a mighty purr, and loved it when we had company - he would walk right up to any guest and regally demand to be worshiped. Which the guest always did, because he was a beauty, and he *would* be sweet before he bit you. He's the first cat my toddler niece ever met, and she fell in love with him.
And she won't remember him.
Bash seemed fine last week. He acted totally normal when Sioban and Emily came over for dinner on Wednesday, I remember that. Emily took selfies with him. He demanded petting from Sioban.
During Arisia this weekend, Elayna noticed that he wasn't eating.
We made an appointment for Wednesday late afternoon, because it's the first time we could - we can't leave Nicky unattended in the cone (which comes off tomorrow), and Wednesday's the vet's only open-late day. We thought maybe arthritis had dimmed his appetite. Maybe cancer. Oh, Bash, getting expensive again.
He stayed under the dining room table all day yesterday. I kept checking on him. At 1:00, I saw he was having difficulty breathing; I texted Adam "Can you get home earlier today? I'm really worried about him." I hit send.
And Bash cried out, and I ran to him and scooped him up in that baby-snuggle position, and he left. Instantly.
We were bracing ourselves for Nicky, with that risky surgery. We've been joking that Bash is too mean to die. At the very least, we figured he'd put us through a protracted illness.
No one expected this. We're still in shock. The girl-cats knew; Nicky is just distressed because he can tell everyone else is.
Bash was an asshole cat. I used to look at him, shake my head, and say "I don't love you."
And then I would lean in and whisper "actually i do love you, don't tell anyone, it's a secret."
Nicky had a sudden total loss of vision. We took him to the doctor who sent us to the emergency vet, who said "yeah, he has a corneal ulcer, give him these antibiotics and follow up with the opthalmologist in three days."
The morning of his appointment, his tear production was *way* up, which I dutifully reported to the doctor. Who said "...yeah, those aren't tears." And handed me the magnifying glasses so I could see the hole in my dog's eye.
I very kindly did not pass the glasses to Adam.
So Nicky had surgery that very day, which was... the most stress I've suffered in a while. Sedating chihuahuas is risky. Sedating dogs with heart conditions is risky. Sedating my chihuahua-with-heart-disease meant a lot of tension in my house. (And some A+ boyfriending as my guys were there for me on Gchat and text; thanks, guys!)
He made it through. <3 In fact, the surgery was a big success. (It was a conjunctival pedicle graft, for those of you who know vet stuff.) The graft is integrating very well with his cornea; he started off on three oral medications (antibiotic twice a day, painkiller three times a day, NSAID once a day) and one eyedrop (three times a day), and now he's just on the eyedrops for three more days and the cone for one more week.
Me? I'm exhausted. Because he cannot be allowed to disturb that eye, he's needed an extra-big Cone of Shame, which he hates and regularly attempts to remove. He's been sleeping with me at night, because he can't be left unattended for even a minute; I am frequently awakened by him shoving the cone into my face. At least he's not panicking about it anymore. The first few days, I got maybe two hours of sleep per night. He's on an exercise restriction so severe that he hasn't been allowed to climb stairs or jump off the couch - which wasn't an issue the first few days, but now he absolutely feels 100% better and wants to jump around and play, so we are hypervigilant when he's on the couch! And I have had to learn to do everything with one hand, because I'm carrying him with the other. Because Adam and Aimee have day jobs and Elayna was visiting my parents. So yeah, pup care has been 90% me.
I'm really very tired.
This is why, when people ask me how I am, I say "My dog's eye exploded." People say "But other than that...?" and I say "There is no 'other than that'." This has been my entire 2016 so far. Everything else is good? All the humans in my world are excellent. My full manuscript is with an agent who I think would be a great fit, so cross your fingers that she agrees. Um. I might get to have a full night's sleep at Arisia, because Elayna's staying home with Nicky.
How are you?
(Monetary concerns: The surgery was $3,500. We applied for and got CareCredit, which is interest-free for six months, but then it shoots up to 27% interest. If you are so moved, my PayPal is firstname.lastname@example.org. I don't have the spoons to set up a fundraiser right now. Did I mention I have a four-day con starting tomorrow? I am very tired.)
7pm: How Lord of the Rings Stunted Fantasy's Growth
LotR's shadow looms huge over fantasy. From the moment it achieved its massive popularity, it's had a stranglehold on the genre. The diverse and weird pre-LotR fantasy landscape was obliterated in favor of decades of Tolkien clones, and we're only barely beginning to see the genre recover now. Why did something so stilted, mediocre, sexist, and racist capture the public's imagination in such a fevered and intense way? What would fantasy look like today in a world where LotR never happened?
Kate Nepveu (mod), Mark Oshiro, Shira Lipkin, Erik Amundsen
9:30pm: Reading/presenting at Ig Nobel event!
10:00am: Fantasy Reading
Come listen to our panelists read a selection from their original fantasy works.
Matthew Kressel, Shira Lipkin, Lauren M. Roy, Julia Rios
(Note: I'm not reading fantasy? But no one asked, and no, I don't know why this year there are only ~6 reading slots altogether and they're jamming four of us into each.)
1:00pm: Arisia Curmudgeon Panel 2: Curmudgeon Harder!
Last year, we told you why things that "everyone" loves, from Middle Earth to Star Wars, from Gaiman to Whedon, suck. But one panel wasn't enough time for all the loathing we feel. This year, expect more vitriol, snark, and actual media criticism at this wide-ranging panel.
Mark Oshiro, Pablo Miguel Alberto Vazquez, Shira Lipkin, Adam Lipkin
2:30pm: In Which the Author Has Run Out of F!?ks to Give
Often, over the course of a long series, it becomes clear that the author has run completely out of f!?ks and is spinning their wheels. You can almost see the departure of the last f!?k the author had to give. Let's discuss series that continue way past the exhaustion of inspiration.
Shira Lipkin, Meredith Schwartz, Victoria Janssen, Eric Zuckerman, Daniel Miller
8:30pm: The Future of Disability in Literature
ST:TNG was famously critiqued for having a bald captain. "Won't the cure for baldness be discovered by then?" Roddenberry replied, "By the 24th century, no one will care." Most SF novels, if they include disabled characters at all, focus on a cure narrative. For the most part, the disabled seem not to exist. Let's talk about SF with universal access, visible disabled characters, and societies that don't force a cure and choose instead to accommodate everyone, regardless of disability.
Tegan Mannino, Tanya Washburn, JoSelle Vanderhooft, Shira Lipkin
11:30am: Speculative Poetry is Awesome
Over the past decade, speculative poetry has increasingly turned toward the mythic, personal, and powerful in subject matter, with venues such as Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium, Stone Telling, and Liminality showcasing a new generation of poets who’ve redefined what this type of writing can do. Come discuss what's new and wonderful in the world of speculative poetry!
Julia Rios, Shira Lipkin, A.J. Odasso, MJ Cunniff, Gillian Daniels
Please do let me know if you want to make lunch/dinner plans!
Liminality: A Magazine of Speculative Poetry
Issue #6 - Winter 2015/2016
Editorial - Mattie Joiner and Shira Lipkin
“Dionysus of the Downtown” - Lev Mirov
“White: Outside of Color” - Nikk Wasserman
“How to be something not real” - Lore Graham
“Changeling Manifesto” - Kayla Bashe
“Angiogenesis” - Margarita Tenser
“My Own Lightning” - Mary Alexandra Agner
“swan” - Nolan Liebert
“What to Do With a Photosynthetic Lover” - Rohinton Daruwala
“Desert Mermaid” - Sandi Leibowitz
“Changeling” - Lynette Mejía
“The Selkie Before Summer” - Penny Stirling
“If You Find Me Out” - Toby MacNutt
(Cover art - “Not a Second Time”, by Jessica “Sieskja” Albert)
I have no time right now, so! Here's is your Jessica Jones linkdump. Note that most of these articles have spoilers. So go watch the show, then come back here.
As a public figure, I cultivate many different personas; like anyone who performs for the public to any degree, I face certain public expectations, as well as the natural desire to appeal to the people I write for, and with. My public personas aren’t fake, but they are facets of myself rather than the entirety of who I am at all times. They aren’t an unfiltered view of myself, the view that my personal friends see when they encounter me in private. They are components of a whole, parts of an identity, and I like it that way. I prefer to retain a private life and there are some things I don’t care to discuss in public.
The same is true of many other public figures — certainly of the people I talk to about the issue of private and public lives. We want to interact with people, we want to forge genuine connections with people, and we want to be active in our communities, but we also want to maintain distance. Otherwise, we become objects of public consumption, something that makes us deeply uncomfortable and that at times can be actively dangerous.
Yet, many of our fans seem to struggle with this. I hesitate to use the word ‘fan’ because it makes me feel weird, but people use it self-referentially, so I’m tentatively using it here. Despite the fact that what they see is only part of who we are, many exert a strong and troubling sense of ownership over us, and it’s especially disturbing in an era of collating data about every aspect of people’s lives. There is a sense of familiarity that can feel very offputting even as I encourage people to talk to me, to not be shy around me, because I genuinely like talking to people who enjoy my work or have interesting thoughts about it.
I see this as a passive observer sometimes when I see people with very high public profiles struggling to balance the desire and need to connect with their fans with their own personal desire to have private lives. The high-profile author who had to politely ask fans to stop ferreting out his old address and sending things to it because it was creeping out the people who bought his house from him. The author who was criticised for not providing details about a medical condition even as she was opening up about having health problems. The film star subjected to scrutiny for wanting to be left alone while doing ordinary public things like getting some food or going to, well, a movie. The person who wants to be able to ride the train without being photographed and mobbed.
I'm sharing this because it's part of why I haven't been blogging here as much.
To fully explain, let's go in the Wayback Machine and take a look at when and why I started a LiveJournal in the first place. It was early 2002, and I had just moved from Florida to Georgia, to be with my beloved yendi. And while everything with Adam was wonderful... Adam is an introvert, and he didn't really have a community that I could step into.
So I started my LJ, as is apparent from the first posts, to keep in touch with my Florida friends. Because I was disconnected and horribly lonely. And that's the place LJ filled in me - connection. First with existing friends, then with new people who found me because LJ was very small back then, and suddenly I had 500 "friends" and, well, I was a performing monkey there for a while. Because I was deeply lonely, and here I could get little snippets of connection, even if it didn't mean much.
There was that hideous mess of harassment in 2003-2004. There was me documenting my epilepsy diagnosis and the side effects of the almost-dozen meds they put me on. Those were the days of the several-times-daily posting - not so much out of loneliness anymore, but because the drugs fucked with my short-term memory, and I needed to keep a record.
And then I moved to Boston.
I haven't looked back to see if there's a marked decline in posts then, but it wouldn't surprise me. I didn't *stop* posting, obviously. I did daily good-morning posts til quite recently. But my LJ had shifted to conversations with friends I already had.
While remaining aware of hundreds of lurkers, watching. But trying not to think about them.
In the early days, yes, I really did put everything out there. It stung during last year's harassment incident that someone accused me of being disingenuous because I hadn't posted about something that happened, that someone told me that I expose my entire life and thus the lack of a post was proof that I had not been hurt by action X at time Y.
And... no, I don't. I never did expose my entire life. And for the last five years or so, I've been exposing very little.
Except when I was forced to, in 2013 and 2014.
And my refusal to dig up receipts and screencaps during the harassment in late 2014 mostly because I was in the middle of prep for the court case against my rapist and therefore had zero spoons, but it was partially the decision that no, I don't owe people this.
This is not me saying LJ is bad. This is me saying that viewing people on LJ as public figures of whom you find it natural to make these demands, to hurl abuse at when you don't get to see as deeply into their personal lives as you want - that's bad.
The people who need to read that sentence won't. I know.
But that's not why I'm not posting as much. I've said I'm busy, and that's true, though anyone who follows me on Tumblr knows I can take a few minutes to reblog a few things. :) But the real thing is: my life is full. I have a large community - so large that it's become a challenge! Since finishing my first novel, I know that hey, I can finish a novel, and now that I have writing time back I'm focused on that. I have dates, I have stuff I'm doing around the house, I have art stuff, I have shows and parties and museum adventures. I've spent the past couple of weeks wishing I had more time, and some time to rest.
Which doesn't lead to having much time to write long introspective posts on LJ. :) Plus, the emotional energy that went into that? I do hope y'all get to read the novel someday. Because I do it better there.
And I could be here daily telling you all the stuff I'm up to and finishing with a breezy "gotta run!", but...
The direction I've been going the past several years is the opposite of where I went when I first came to LJ. I have had the hell of fame. (That's part of what the book is about.) Whether you noticed it or not, I had been withdrawing for my own emotional well-being.
Until 2013, and being forced to reveal everything, everything, everything.
Look at that. Is it any surprise that I don't post much anymore? That I haven't done a big namecheck post about that last party, that I didn't tell you about that conversation Adam and I had?
For a while there, I had my right to privacy, my right to silence, my right to self-protection, repeatedly violated.
It used to be that me being quiet here was a sign of trouble. Now it's a sign that I'm listening to and taking care of myself.
You may or may not have noticed that the way I use LJ has changed. But I'm telling you, and I'm telling you why. I'm listening to myself, and what I need to do is have quiet spaces. What I need is to assert my right to a private life.
And if you think that's contrary to the person you've seen so far, you've been reading me wrong.
I'm still connected. I do read my friendspage, and I'm on Facebook and Tumblr, and I'm happy to interact there. And here, when I feel moved to post. But here is different now.
And now I gotta run - my boyfriend will be here soon, and after we spend the day together, I'm going to a Marian Call concert with Adam and Aimee. All good things.
I hope you're well. I may do an ask me/tell me anything post sometime soon. I'll see you then. :)
Originally posted by kythryne at ten years!
I wanted to write something eloquent and beautiful about art and faith and Wyrding Studios turning ten... but then I woke up last Friday with a respiratory infection that landed me in bed for a day and a half. I've been racing to catch up ever since, and there's a symmetry to that.
I don't actually know when I "officially" launched WS back in 2005. I know my last day at my old job was October 15th, and I know I planned to do a grand opening on November 1st, but I came down with the flu and ended up just unceremoniously putting a bunch of shinies on the website sometime in early November and I never looked back.
And for the past ten years, that's been my life. Unpredictable. Full of unplanned detours. Always running a little behind, always leaving something unfinished at the end of the day. never quite getting enough sleep.
But always, always, magic.
Writing something eloquent? It's not happening tonight, and I don't want to keep you waiting any longer. So instead, I'm just going to repeat something from last year's anniversary letter, because every word is still true.
This is my love letter to all of you. Some of you have been with me from the very start, some of you found me over the years, some of you have just stumbled across me today, or last week. You’ve shared your stories with me, trusted me with your secrets so that I could make them into art for you, sent me silly things in the mail, kept me company virtually when I’ve worked far too late into the night, bought my work, told your friends about it. You’ve helped keep a small business - and the woman behind it - going for nine ten years. A quarter of my life.
Thank you. I write something like this every year, and every year I don’t really have the words to say how much it means. This year, more than any other year before, I don’t have the words. Just… thank you. And there is gratitude, and hope. Because I’m pretty sure I’m learning to fly on my way down.
Thank you. It's been a wonderful ten years. Let's keep going.
Okay, that's enough schmoop. It's getting too dusty in here. Let's get on to the details and the deals!