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Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Tuesday September 23, 2003. I woke up feeling better than I have in a while. I decided it was time to work harder and smarter at one task, and resume another.

Theory: Every writer (professional, beginner, or anywhere in between) does too much of at least one thing.

I'd taken a bunch of stuff out of "The Caterpillar on the Leaf" -- background ideas, and some action which was actually another plot. I'd thought I had enough for another short story. So I put it in another file, currently titled "Some Their Gold, and Some Their Gear, and Some Their Maidenhead."

And then I took out of that file stuff which would make another story on its own. Basic premise: groups of humans adapting to a nonhuman culture. (Yes, I know it's been done. But not the way I have in mind.)

I've figured out what the end of "Caterpillar" is, which will make it simpler to direct the story toward that ending. (Philip K. Dick did the same thing in 1956, in _The World Jones Made_; but I'm not going to worry about that.)

I started working on chi kung again, for the first time in months. I got as far as the warm-up exercises for the beginning stance.

Brooklyn's largest Black neighborhood getting mostly-white gentrifiers:
IF YOU'RE THINKING OF LIVING IN BEDFORD-STUYVESANT
Brownstones by the Tree-Lined Block
http://nytimes.com/2003/09/21/realestate/21LIVI.html

Thanks to Sclerotic_rings http://www.livejournal.com/users/sclerotic_rings:
http://www.asianage.com/main.asp?layout=2&cat1=3&cat2=34&newsid=70332&RF=DefaultMain

‘Cat parasite can change human behaviour’
The figures emerge from studies into toxoplasma gondii, a parasite carried by almost all the UK’s feline population and maybe elsewhere in the world. They show that half of Britain’s human population carry the parasite in their brains, and that infected people may undergo slow but crucial changes in their behaviour.

More fun in California politics. From news.google.com:
Issa urges no vote on recall if McClintock and Schwarzenegger stay in race
San Jose Mercury News - 1 hour ago
Republican Darrell Issa, the Southern California congressman who largely financed the effort to put the recall of Gov. Gray Davis on the ballot, is urging people to vote against the recall if fellow Republicans Arnold Schwarzenegger ...
Top Recall Supporter Says Voters May Have to Keep Davis in Power FOX News
Heckled: Actor Tries to Court Environmentalists Amid Protest Common Dreams
Working for Change - KESQ - Washington Dispatch - Sacramento Bee - and 166 related

From a discussion on SFWA's workings at Forward Motion http:/fmwriters.com:

In the beginning, SFWA membership required a certain level of sales EVERY YEAR. And three cents a word was worth more in 1965 than five cents a word is now.

For whatever reason or reason, this requirement wasn't enforced. After a while, a majority of members would've lost their memberships if it had started being enforced. It was finally abolished.

So -- I don't think it can accurately be said that SFWA is restricting its membership to established professionals. Someone who has sold one novel, and will never sell anything again, will be a SFWA member for life.

And SFWA has expanded eligibility. It's made official the practice of accepting fantasy writers, for example. It's gone from defining "professional publication" as only including US publication to accepting any English-language short-story market publication.

There've been mutterings about starting an organization limited to _real_ professionals, and about starting one which would include people who can't yet meet SFWA's entrance requirement. Both might make sense, but neither would eliminate what I see as SFWA's most persistent problem.

Written sf and fantasy (and to some extent in other media) attract people who are good at scoring high on IQ tests, and not very good at dealing with people. This is the kind of person a SFWA officer is likely to be. This is the kind of people who'll be casting most of the votes in anything SFWA votes on. And it causes problems.

But why does SFWA operate so badly compared to many fan organizations? Compared to most fan-run local sf conventions?

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