mount_oregano: Let me see (Keep Calm)

During his childhood in Murcia, Spain, Sergio Llanes spent more time with his head in the clouds than in the real world, he says. Then a teacher recommended The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein, The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, and Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

“That was the beginning of my romance with reading, but soon I realized it wasn’t enough, and I began to write my own stories. I was thirteen years old.”

Eventually, with the support of his friends, wife, and editors, he published books that told the story of the world he’d imagined, an alternate history of sorts where an empire much like Rome has never fallen, but now it’s rotting from the inside. The Sforza dynasty, which has held the throne for millennia, is betrayed as greater powers vie for control, and the Emperor’s own Normidon Guard faces destruction.

I’ve translated the first book in the saga, The Twilight of the Normidons, a tale of action and adventure with interrelated characters from the breadth of the Empire and beyond. I’m honored and delighted to bring Sergio to English-language readers:

You’ve written a long saga full of intertwining stories. What specific tricks do you use to conceive and write something so complex?

Sergio Llanes: We might say I have a natural advantage. I spend most of my time in the world I’ve created for the saga of The Tears of Gea. From time to time my mind comes back to reality, although I really enjoy roaming through the lands of the Sforza and chatting with my characters even when I’m awake. (Smiles.) It’s easier to develop my novel’s plots knowing every corner of that world inside and out along with the four thousand years of history that precede the saga, and the mythologies of Auria and its neighboring realms.

Do you use a spreadsheet like J.K. Rowling, or an outline or notebook?

SLl: While its true I’ve made outlines and summaries about everything surrounding my world and the plots I develop in the saga, I almost never use them. These notes are the written reflection of everything in my mind.

Even more important both for writers and readers, how do you maintain the tension and excitement in a book so that it invites readers to keep turning pages?

SLl: The key is to know how to get inside the skins of the characters. It might seem crazy, but often I close my eyes and imagine the scene I’m going to narrate through the eyes of the protagonists. If I’m on board a ship in the middle of a storm, I feel the onslaught of the wind and the rain drumming on the deck, see the crew rushing from port to stern to secure the rigging, hear the voice of the captain shouting orders.…

If I’m in the middle of a battle, I imagine a soldier’s viewpoint when he dodges a cavalry charge or raises his shield to protect hismelf from a rain of arrows, or the sound of the dying cries of the victims of a raid..…

In a scene in a tavern in a port town, I can note the tang of homemade brew, the disagreeable odor of the tavern keeper’s sweat, or the lascivious glance from one of the barmaids as she leans over the bar provocatively, and the laughter and joking of the merchants at the next table.… Definitely, each and every detail within the scene from the perspective of the characters.

As to whether I’ve created one of those kinds of works that hooks the readers and keeps them reading, I have a very cinematographic vision of everything, which I bring to life in words, but I’m not the one to say if it works. It’s true, though, that the critiques have been really good, and my readers tell me it’s addictive reading. One of the things that’s thrilled me the most since I began writing have been the comments by parents thanking me because their children have finally become enthusiastic readers due to my books. In any case, I invite all enthusiastic readers to come inside the world of The Tears of Gea.

Finally, can you offer any advice to other authors?

SLl: The first piece of advice that I always give, besides writing, is reading a lot of other authors from a variety of genres. Reading opens up your mind and enriches you so much that it makes your own writing more agile and appealing.

The second piece of advice would be to use all the tools available to create the right atmosphere and become immersed in the scene: music, acting out the characters, choosing the right environment, etc.…

Third and most important is not to view writing as an obligation but as essential pleasure. Every facet of creativity loses its power when it becomes an imposition. This doesn’t mean that writers shouldn’t become accustomed to creativity as a daily habit, which I recommend, but that they shouldn’t feel upset if they hit a spell when things don’t go as well as they’d hoped. They should never stop believing in themselves. They should never stop dreaming.

— Sue Burke

Also posted at my professional website:

mount_oregano: Let me see (Let me see..)
As writers — and we’re all writers, whether by profession or necessity — we ought to know the rules of language, just as a football player ought to know the rules of the game. Knowing them gives us the power to use them in our favor.

For example, during a game this last season, Packer quarterback Aaron Rogers knew the rule about 12 men on the field, saw that the opponent was making a substitution, and hurried to snap the ball before the retreating player had left the field. The resulting penalty helped the Packers defeat the Lions and win the NFC North Division. Go Pack!

Yet not all writers study grammar and usage. Some just rely on knowing English as their native language. That means, however, that they learned English entirely by imitating other people: first their parents, then other people around them, and finally other writers — good writers, we hope.

You could learn to play football the same way. Yet pro players study the game in excruciating detail, including the rule book.

So here’s an excruciating grammar detail: the main differences in usage between “will” and “going to.”

Going to/gonna:

  • plans and intentions

  • predictions about the near future

  • events outside people’s control

  • commands


  • a future fact

  • conditional ideas and expressions

  • speculation

  • requests and offers

“We’ll all die!” might express a future fact — perhaps in answer to the question, “What happens to us in the Keynesian long run?” (Note: the link is to a J. Bradford DeLong article that probably tells you more than you wanted to know.)

“We’re all going to die!” might be a despairing commentary on events outside of the speaker’s control — perhaps uttered on the night of the Trump presidential victory. Perhaps by me.

This explanation only skims the fascinating details of the grammar and usage of expressions of the future in English. Here are links to a couple of lessons a bit more in depth:

The more you know, the better you can write. You can use, bend, and break the rules, but only if you know them cold.

— Sue Burke

mount_oregano: Let me see (Keep Calm)
For for grammatical reasons, English can usually say something with fewer words than Spanish. A text in English tends to shrink by about 20 to 25% compared to the Spanish original. But there are exceptions.

In the subways in London and some other English-speaking cities, to warn about a possible dangerous gap between the train and platform, loudspeakers blare this message at passengers:

“Mind the gap.”

However, in Madrid, Spain, they say:

"Atención: estación en curva. Al salir, tengan cuidado para no introducir el pie entre coche y andén."

("Caution: station on a curve. As you exit, be careful not to place your foot between the train and the platform.")

It’s a lot more than 25% longer. In fact, nothing would predict that this would be effectively the same message in that locality.

Localization involves adapting meaning to a regional culture, which may have its own way of doing things. Sometimes translation is more than just words. Be careful.

— Sue Burke

mount_oregano: Let me see (Let me see..)
We can hear a lot of more or less medieval stories these days (I’m looking at you, Game of Thrones) but here’s a real one. It comes from El Conde Lucanor, written in 1335 by don Juan Manuel, who was Prince of Villena and grandson of King Fernando III of Castile. It contains parables and tales to help the fictional Count Lucanor understand how to confront problems in his life.

This story, “What Happened Between a Deacon from Santiago and Don Yllan, the Grand Master of Toledo,” deals with people who ask for help and promise to reciprocate. I’ve translated it freely.

A deacon who lived in the city of Santiago de Compostela yearned to master the magical arts, so when he heard that don Yllan of Toledo knew more about them than any man alive, off he went. As soon as he arrived, he made his way to don Yllan’s house and found him reading.

Don Yllan promptly rose and welcomed him, so apparently pleased to see him that he didn’t even want to hear why he’d come until they’d eaten. In the meantime, he offered the deacon a fine room and everything he might need.

After dinner, they spoke privately, and the deacon explained what he sought, urging don Yllan to share his wisdom, promising to be an eager learner. The master magician answered that the deacon was a man of high estate who’d go far – and men who achieve their goals soon forget what other men have done for them. Once the deacon had learned what he wanted, would he keep his word and help don Yllan in return? The deacon promised he would, no matter what good fortune came to him.

With that, they began the lessons. As the afternoon wore on and night came, don Yllan told the deacon that what he wanted to learn could only be taught in a much more private place, which he was about to show him. He took him by the hand and led him to a chamber. Then don Yllan left to call a young serving woman and told her to prepare some partridges for supper – but not to begin roasting them until he gave the order.

He returned to the deacon, and they climbed down a stone staircase for so long that it seemed as if the River Tajo had to be passing over their heads. At the bottom of the staircase lay a hallway leading to a beautiful room with the books he’d need to study. They sat down and were deciding where to begin when two footmen came through the door with a letter for the deacon from his uncle, the archbishop, that said he was very ill and if his nephew wished to see him alive, he should come right away. The deacon thought hard, weighing his uncle’s illness and his unwillingness to cease studying when he’d just begun. Finally he decided not to quit so soon, wrote a reply, and sent it to the archbishop.

Three or four days later, footmen came with more letters for the deacon telling him that his uncle had passed on, and that the clergy in Santiago were selecting a new archbishop. By the mercy of God they might pick him, but he shouldn’t hurry back. It was better for his chances to be elsewhere during the vote.

After another seven or eight days, two well-dressed squires came, kissed his hand, and showed him letters saying he’d been elected archbishop. When don Yllan heard this, he told his student he should thank God for this good news – and since God had blessed him with so much, would he be so kind as to grant his son the now-empty post of deacon? The new archbishop instead wanted to give it to his brother, promising to repay don Yllan very well later, and asked him to come with him to Santiago and bring his son. Don Yllan agreed.

They were welcomed in Santiago and treated well, and after they’d been living there for a while, one day messengers from the Pope came to the archbishop telling him he’d been named bishop of Tolosa, and he could give the post in Santiago to whomever he wished. When don Yllan heard this, he reminded him bluntly of what he’d promised and asked him to give the post to his son. The archbishop wanted to give it to his paternal uncle. Don Yllan said he was being done a great wrong, but he’d consent with the understanding that it would be made up later on. The archbishop reassured him, asking him to come to Tolosa and bring his son.

The counts and all the other noblemen of Tolosa welcomed them. After they’d been living there for two years, messengers from the Pope came with letters saying the bishop had been made a cardinal, and he could give the bishopric of Tolosa to whomever he pleased. Don Yllan came to him and told him that he’d failed to keep his word so many times that he had no excuse anymore and had to give the post to his son. The cardinal instead wanted to give it to his maternal uncle, an elderly nobleman. But, he said, don Yllan should come with him to the Holy See, and now that he was a cardinal, he’d surely be able to find some way to make it up to him. Don Yllan complained a lot, but he agreed and went with him to Rome.

There, cardinals and everyone else at the Holy See welcomed them, and they lived in Rome for a long time. Every day, Don Yllan asked the cardinal to give his son a post, and he kept getting excuses.

When the Pope passed away, the cardinal from Santiago was elected to replace him. Then Don Yllan went to him to say he could no longer offer any excuse to fail to keep his promise. The new Pope told him not to be in such a hurry, that the time would come when he could do something proper for his son. Don Yllan began to complain, reminding him of all the promises he’d never fulfilled and how he’d worried from the beginning that he’d never keep his word. He should no longer keep him waiting. The Pope shouted back that if he asked for anything ever again he’d throw him in prison because he was a heretic and a wizard, and he should have known he’d never get anything more than what he’d had back in Toledo, where his only livelihood was by means of black magic.

When Don Yllan saw how little thanks he was going to get for what he’d done, he prepared to depart, and the Pope wouldn’t even give him food for the trip home. Then Don Yllan told him that if he wasn’t going to offer him a meal, he’d have to rely on the partridges he’d ordered to be roasted that night, and he called his wife and told her to begin preparing them.

At that, the Pope found himself in Toledo, still the deacon of Santiago, just as he’d been when he’d arrived. He felt too ashamed even to speak. Don Yllan told him to go with good fortune, and since he’d proven himself so thoroughly, it wouldn’t be right to offer him any of the partridges.

— Sue Burke

Also posted at my professional website,
mount_oregano: Let me see (euro)
I have an guest post today at the Intralingo blog on crowdfunding for literary translations, and its key points are good for any kind of crowfunding.

This is basically the talk I gave at the Guadalajara International Book Fair in November, translated into English. I hope it helps!

-- Sue Burke
mount_oregano: Let me see (Keep Calm)
The Chronicle, which is the magazine of the American Translator’s Association, has an interview of me as the 2016 winner of the Alicia Gordon Award for Word Artistry in Translation.

I talk about the fun of Baroque literature, and in closing I mention Robert Silverberg and his rules for effective writing.

— Sue Burke
mount_oregano: Let me see (Keep Calm)
It's not often I get to translate a medieval royal decree. It was for an auction company, Nate D. Sanders, so potential purchasers could know what they were getting. For $5,000, the decree could be yours.

-- Sue Burke
mount_oregano: Let me see (GreenAsAThumb)
A lot of what I published last year were works I translated from Spanish, and if you’re thinking about award nominations, I’d be just as proud to see my translations win an award as if they were my own works. So here are translations with my fingerprints on them:


Castles in Spain
An anthology of the stories by Spain’s top authors that changed the direction of its speculative fiction. I helped with the crowdfunding campaign, coordinated the translation team, and translated the steampunk novelette by Eduardo Vaquerizo, “Victim and Executioner.” Available at Sportula and Amazon .

The Twilight of the Normidons, by Sergio Llanes
A novel set in an alternate Europe. A Rome-like empire teeters after three thousand years of domination by the Sforza dynasty as rebellions threaten its borders and treason weakens it from within. Published by Dokusou Ediciones and available at Amazon.

“To Sleep, Perhaps to Dream” by Emilio Bueso
A short story. A woman on a long walk home at night in North Korea meets her late husband. Published in the special Eurocon edition of SupersSonic magazine, available for free download here.

Spanish Women of Wonder
An anthology of eleven stories (seven are my translations) written in Spanish by women. With a foreword by Ann VanderMeer. Originally titled Alucinadas. Available from Palabaristas Publishing.

I published a little of my own fiction as well:

“The Perfect Place for Ghosts”
A short story set in Madrid, Spain. The city is full of chimaeras, ghosts, specters, shades, spirits, and other apparitions (this is allegedly true), and a neophyte ghost-hunter takes on his first case after a skyscraper burns down spectacularly (this happened for real, the Windsor Tower*). Published in SuperSonic magazine issue 5.

“They Sing in the Subways”
Another short story set in Madrid. When the lights go out, the subway becomes menacing. Published in Madness and Riddance: Madrid Writer's Club Anthology.

— Sue Burke

*Here’s a spectacular video of the Windsor Tower fire, but don’t listen to the sensationalist narration, which is riddled with inaccuracies, and as always do not under any circumstances read the comments, which will make you despair for humanity.
mount_oregano: Let me see (Let me see..)
For 2016, my big goal was to move back to the United States. Mission accomplished. In fact, I seem to have arrived in America’s hour of greatest need.

Now it’s 2017.

If all goes well, in May I’ll finish the translation of Amadis of Gaul. Since 2009, I’ve been translating this medieval novel of chivalry a chapter at a time as a blog. I’ve learned a lot about the Middle Ages, translation, and ways to kill knights in combat. The novel comes in four books. I’ve self-published Book I, and when the blog is wrapped up, I’ll work on getting out II, III, and IV.

I also need to prepare for the launch of my own novel, Semiosis, by Tor in a year from now. Books don’t sell themselves, after all, so let me try to sell it to you now:

Plants can see. Plants can count. Plants can communicate with each other... here on Earth. Imagine if they could think – and imagine how they would react on a distant planet to a new human colony. The colonists have named their new planet Pax in keeping with their high ideals. They face danger not only from their environment but from their own human failings, and they find allies in other life forms that share their aspirations. But the ecology has missing pieces. Some animals and plants have been domesticated, and someone built a beautiful city. Who did it, and where are they now?

If you like Semiosis, you might like the sequel, when Earthlings come looking for the colony, unaware of the contempt that colonists have for Earthlings. I want to finish writing the sequel in 2017 – and to start the third book in the trilogy: Pax life forms come to Earth, and they’re smart and aggressive.

Besides that fun, I need to continue other writing projects, such as some short stories – and of course to keep translating.

In the meantime, I hope to sink deeper roots into my new home, Chicago.

— Sue Burke
mount_oregano: Let me see (Picasso)
Spain’s Fundación del Español Urgente, Fundéu, which deals with language issues and the media, today selected its word of the year for 2016: populismo, or “populism.”

It tries to pick words important to current events and that have linguistic interest.

“Clearly, in a year as political as this one, with globally important events like the Brexit, Donald Trump’s electoral win, and the various elections and referenda in the Americas and Spain, Fundéu’s word of the year would have to come from that realm,” says Javier Lascuráin, the foundation’s coordinator general.

The word also has linguistic interest because its meaning has changed. At one time its use was neutral, related to “popular” or “of the people,” especially in contrast with elites or with shifting power from elites to the common people. Lascuráin says the meaning in Spanish has been moving toward more negative connotations.

Now, he says, “it’s often applied to policies of all ideologies, but they have in common the appeal to citizens’ emotions and the offer of simple solutions to complex problems.”

Runner-up words of the year included abstenciocracia, “abstention from voting by the majority”; posverdad, “post-truth”; youtubero, “YouTuber”; ningufonear, “phubbing”; and vendehumos “someone who sells something they don’t have (sell smoke).”

Meanwhile, in English, Oxford Dictionaries went with post-truth. Cambridge Dictionary said paranoid sparked the most online searches. cited xenophobia. Merriam Webster said “surreal” was looked up often, especially after tragic or surprising events, although fascism also sparked a lot of lookups.

Here in Chicago, according to Merriam Webster, in addition to the words of national interest, people were looking up irregardless after it was used by commentators about the World Series between the Cubs and Cleveland Indians. We also frequently looked up mature, hypocrisy, ignore, arrogant, clubbable, establishment, definition, common sense, and legacy.

Perhaps Chicagoans were only checking the spelling.

— Sue Burke
mount_oregano: Let me see (I_heart_Spain)
You can download the special English-language Eurocon edition of SuperSonic magazine. Learn all about Spanish science fiction and fantasy and read work by top authors. For free!

SuperSonic EuroCon 2016
mount_oregano: Let me see (SpainAtNight)
If you liked the movie Arrival, here’s another story about talking to aliens, Monteverde: Memoirs of an Interstellar Linguist, by Lola Robles, a Spanish author, translated by Lawrence Schimel.

Lola writes outstanding, thoughtful works, and Lawrence is a talented and sensitive translator. Full disclosure: they're also friends.

The cover blurb:

“Terran scholar Rachel Monteverde journeys to Aanuk, a paradisiacal planet famous for both its beaches and the generosity of its nomadic inhabitants. The Aanukiens are not the only people on the planet, however: Rachel is eager to meet the Fihdia, a cave-dwelling people who share a congenital condition that makes them blind. Rachel's relentless determination to communicate with them despite the Aanukien's dismissal and the Fihdia's secretiveness will yield more than she ever hoped for.”

Get it from the publisher (it’s cheaper):

Get it at Amazon: for Kindle in paperback

— Sue Burke
mount_oregano: Let me see (Keep Calm)
What’s the word for “crib” in Spanish?

Here in Chicago, water cribs bring drinking water from Lake Michigan to the city. The first one was constructed almost 150 years ago two miles out in the lake, far from urban pollution, an engineering feat in its time.

But if you ask the average bilingual person about crib in Spanish without any context, they’d say “cuna.” I’d say “cuna.” It’s the most common meaning. But context is everything. Cuna doesn’t feel right in this instance. So let me check.

If I open up the Oxford Spanish Dictionary, an excellent bilingual source, and look up crib, I get cuna for “children’s bed”; or belén for “nativity scene”; or chuleta for “cheat sheet for an exam.” None of these seems right. I’ve never heard or read those words used to refer to an industrial-sized construction.

So let’s look at the meaning of crib in English in the American Heritage Dictionary. One of the meanings is “5. A framework to support or strengthen a mine or shaft.” If you think about it, a crib (for children) is a framework around a bed so babies don’t fall out. This might be the real term we want to translate: framework.

But if I look up framework in the Oxford Spanish Dictionary, I get “marco,” which is a frame around a picture, window or doorway, or a regulatory framework. Again, that doesn’t seem exactly right, although it’s closer....

Maybe I should call up Chicago Water Management to see if they have a Spanish-language term. This is a multi-lingual city, after all, and the utility would be the authoritative source. Or maybe I could contact a Spanish-language news outlet to see if they’ve already wrestled with the question.

This is why a translation can sometimes take a lot longer than you might expect. Words that look simple hide linguistic landmines. And sometimes accuracy reaches life-or-death urgency, such as the translation of a medical record for someone critically ill, or the instructions for operating a nuclear power plant. This is why translators specialize. They build up their vocabularies.

In any case, how does Chicago’s water taste? Fine. And unlike some locales, Chicago has a virtually never-ending supply coming in through those cribs.

UPDATED on December 8
This was cross-posted on Facebook, and my friends and friends of friends there offered excellent suggestions.

— Sue Burke

Also posted at my professional writing website:
mount_oregano: Let me see (Keep Calm)
If you happen to be in Guadalajara, Mexico, this weekend, I’ll be at the International Book Fair. Specifically, I’ll speak about crowdfunding for translators Sunday, November 27, from 16:40 to 17:10 in Salón E, Área Internacional, at the Guadalajara Expo. This is part of the annual St. Jerome International Translation and Interpretation Conference.

Here’s an executive summary of my presentation, if you can’t be there.

A successful fundraising campaign needs:
• an attractive project,
• the right platform (like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, etc.),
• a team with a variety of skills,
• a list of possible contributors, and
• a plan that gets underway six months before the project starts accepting contributions.

An international, bilingual or multilingual project needs all that along with some unique requirements. For example, banking rules differ from country to country, and not every platform operates in every country. Shipping costs for sending rewards or perks overseas can be expensive. Cultures vary country about donating money.

In any case, a crowdfunding campaign is a lot of effort, but it can be a way to bring literature to new readers in other languages when traditional publishing might not be possible.

— Sue Burke
mount_oregano: Let me see (Let me see..)
Like every writer I know, I’ve started too many stories that petered out and sit there on my hard drive tucked out of sight so they don’t depress me. These are mistakes – and I know why some of them happened. Here’s an analogy:

I’ve got a great starting idea for dinner today: I should use that lovely bag of baby spinach. But how? The possibilities leave me indecisive. I can’t start cooking until I have a goal in mind, a finished dish.

For that reason, menus list dishes rather than random, tasty ingredients. MasterChef uses the random ingredient challenge to torture its contestants because the odds are against them cooking up something delectable. It’s fun to watch them fail.

Yet writers commonly start stories “to see where they’ll go.” Stephen King champions this technique. I think his story “Obits,” nominated for the 2016 Hugo, shows how it can fail. In the story, a man discovers he has an extraordinary skill. And then ... he runs away and never does that thing again. The consequences of his skill, good or ill, are never explored. I suspect King didn’t know what to do with the idea. He didn’t win a Hugo this year.

By contrast, consider “Eutopia” by Poul Anderson in the 1967 Harlan Ellison anthology Dangerous Visions. In that story, a time traveler must flee for something horrible he did. We don't know what it was, but he seems like a good man. The very last word of the story tells you what happened (no spoilers), and its impact helped Dangerous Visions redefine science fiction. This was no accident. Anderson started the story knowing precisely how it would end – a great ending – and every word from the beginning pointed toward that end.

If I start a story or novel without knowing the ending, I might get blocked and, in panic, grab at the first ending that comes to mind, although it could be hackneyed or weak or miss the mark. Or I might not finish the story at all. If I start with a strong ending in mind, success is not guaranteed, but my odds are better.

I’ve learned that my ending idea need not be too specific: “He wins, although it means betraying some of his core values so he can uphold other values,” or “She kills her rival and takes over,” or “He lures the ghosts to a morgue and leaves them there, trapped.”

I still hope to achieve Anderson’s genius at endings – which means I have a goal (an ending) for the story of my writing career.

These days, if I’m working on a writing prompt, I try to write the ending of a story. I might draw on one of those half-baked ideas rattling around my brain, or I might come up with something new. I get a story I know how to finish. Much more needs to be done to flesh the idea out, of course, but the end is in sight.

Tonight, by the way, I’ll make a chicken-pasta-vegetable toss for dinner. The fresh baby spinach should be a delicious final touch. Bon appétit!

— Sue Burke

Also posted at my professional writing site:
mount_oregano: Let me see (Sue the Chicago T-rex)
I’ll be at Windycon 43 this weekend, November 11 to 13, in Lombard, Illinois. Here are the panels I’m on:

International SF&F - Friday 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. in room Lilac B
What are some of the current trends in SF outside of the English-speaking areas? Who are the exciting new authors in the rest of the world? And where do you look to find translations of their works?

Writing Unpleasant Characters - Friday 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. in room Lilac B
Even the worst villains need realistic motivation. How do you write a believable character that nobody likes?

Guard! Turn! Parry! Dodge! Spin! Thrust! - Saturday, 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. in Junior Ballroom A
What do you need to know if you want to write believable fight scenes?

Get Funded! - Saturday 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. in room Lilac D
Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and Patreon are just some of the ways to get funding for your creative project. Learn the pros and cons of crowdfunding.

— Sue Burke
mount_oregano: Let me see (Let me see..)

Call me nostalgic, but I like the drama of voting on voting day itself instead of voting early: hiking to the polling place, standing in line, greeting the polling place workers, and casting a ballot live and in person.

As Winston Churchill said: “At the bottom of all the tributes paid to democracy is the little man, walking into the little booth, with a little pencil, making a little cross on a little piece of paper – no amount of rhetoric or voluminous discussion can possibly diminish the overwhelming importance of that point.

Choosing the top of the ticket wasn’t hard. Some of the down-ballot choices were mystifying, especially the long list of judicial candidates. You can see the ballot for my neighborhood (and the vote totals after today) at the DNAinfo news website.

To be an informed voter, I studied every voting guide and endorsement list I could find or received in our mailbox: the Chicago Tribune (which endorsed Gary Johnson for president), Cook County Democratic Party (Clinton, no surprise), Independent Voters of Illinois, Human Rights Campaign, Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, Chicago NOW PAC, Asian American Bar Association, Black Women’s Lawyers Association, Chicago Council of Lawyers, Cook County Bar Association, Hispanic Lawyer’s Association, Illinois Bar Association, Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago, Puerto Rican Bar Association, Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, Committee to Elect Qualified Judges, and Chicago Votes Action Fund.

Everybody had an opinion and was eager to share it.

I compared the lists, did some additional research, and made a cheat-sheet to take into the ballot booth, an accepted practice in Illinois. I needed that. Seriously, there were more than 60 judicial positions on the ballot. What a litigious town!

My voting place is the Church of Atonement Episcopal, three blocks away. On the way I passed the address where Hillary Rodham Clinton spent the first three years of her life. Yes, she once lived only a block away from my house.

I expected a line. I’d returned some books at the Edgewater branch of the public library yesterday, which housed an early voting site, and the line started at the door, went up the steps, around the perimeter of the main room, down the hall, and finally into the room with the voting booths.

So I took my Kindle. Instead, the line was almost non-existent, and the election judges were cheerful and efficient. I got my four-foot-long, two-page paper ballot and a pen (not a pencil), and spent a while completing arrows next to candidates and referendum questions, then fed my ballot pages into the counting machine. They were number 388 and 389.

I got my “I VOTED! DID YOU?” bracelet, said thank you, peeked into the church sanctuary (nice stained glass) for a quick prayer for God’s mercy on our country, and left.

Then I bought some still-warm tortillas on the way home. Taco Tuesday, you know.

This evening, we’ll find out what happened. I recommend this guide to election night with a helpful non-partisan analysis, a map, and a chart.

No amount of rhetoric or voluminous discussion can possibly diminish the overwhelming importance of what all of us did today for democracy.

— Sue Burke
mount_oregano: Let me see (Picasso)
Arrate Hidalgo at Strange Horizons has a thoughtful review of two anthologies from Spain, Spanish Women of Wonder and Castles in Spain. She concludes:

"The question of whether a country’s SFF has reached a stage of maturity necessarily invokes the canon we’re measuring it up against. However, what transpires from these two anthologies is that they are the result of a conscious effort to reject comparison and to focus instead on what there is, distilling not only the quality but also the cultural relevance of Spanish SFF in an international context—registering, for instance, the interest of some of the most established authors among them (César Mallorquí, Rafael Marín, Eduardo Vaquerizo) in normalizing the use of autochthonous references. Or featuring, as does Spanish Women of Wonder, visions of contemporary sources of collective angst, including mass extinction by climate change and the erosion of our attention spans. Ultimately, these twenty-one short stories work very well together as a tip of the iceberg of Spanish speculative fiction, which incidentally appears to be a pretty sizeable one—and I for one sure hope it makes the splash it deserves."

Read the whole thing here:
mount_oregano: Let me see (Let me see..)
How long does a baseball game last?

Usually about three hours, but it can take under two hours or more than eight. Baseball uses no clock – unlike sports such as football or basketball. Why not?

Because baseball developed in the early 1800s when few people could afford a pocket watch. The rules had to be based on some other form of limits, so instead of minutes, umpires count strikes, outs, and innings.

It might take a long time to rack up three outs. Or it can be a fast three up, three down, and the pitcher walks off the mound to cheers.

In our daily lives, most of the time we live by the clock: time to go to work, time for dinner, time to get out of bed or to hit the snooze button and delay the inevitable a little while longer. But with baseball, there is no clock. Can you imagine when all of life was like that?

Go Cubs!

— Sue Burke

July 2017

234 5678
91011 12131415
161718 19202122


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Page generated Jul. 22nd, 2017 06:43 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags