Linkspam Friday: November 30

Does anyone remember that I do this? I can’t blame you if you don’t. It’s been a while.

After a flurry of posting fiction, I’ve been updating book pages. I’ve now got cover art up for The Sorcerous Compendium of Postmortem Query. (Self, use a less unwieldy title next time.) I’m currently trying to focus on finishing the third Mara and Esher story because I can’t post the second Crew chapter: there’s just too big a revelation for the events that happen in A Quest of Spheres and Phalanges for those two pieces to be read out of order. (Self, that title isn’t much less unwieldy and you damn well know it.) After that, I’d really like to finish Love in the House of the Ravens (so unwieldy) so I can put that and One Strange Man up: together with The Adventurer King, they form a kind of trilogy in Darius’s identifying as aromantic. I have to admit that between Darius, Mara, Kit, Amelia and a little bit of Tes, I’ll be glad to put to bed the “discovering the word” genre of aromantic writing.

It’s a shape of storytelling that needs to exist, given how much it normalises our experiences as aromantics. I’m just so used to now writing characters who are trans or autistic with little explanation on their gender or neurotype that I’m feeling the need for a similar approach with aro-spec characters, too. I like writing about aromantic characters mentoring new aromantics because I can show folks already at that point, but I’m starting to yearn for a story that mentions a protagonist’s aromanticism, has no reaction from anyone else beyond casual acceptance and then concerns itself with everything but aromanticism.

In unrelated news, Tumblr decided that “chronic pain” is a porn-related tag and now has given folks with chronic pain no way to search for each other or find related content. Disabled people like me are collateral damage in their rush to delete dangerous and illegal content that shouldn’t have been allowed to flourish in the first place. Tumblr, if there’s porn in the chronic pain tag, the problem is the porn bots who shouldn’t be putting it there, not a community of chronic pain patients trying to find support and connection.

I know that there’s never been a purge of anything that hasn’t caught up innocent (most often marginalised) people in its wake, but surely by 2018 there’s enough historical precedent to realise that a little care is needed before hitting the wipe button?

(And I hate, I hate that I have far too much of a following to be able to walk away from a platform that thinks it acceptable to silence me as a disabled person.)

Banner reading "K. A. Cook".

Post – Autistic Writers Versus Autism Books: In which I have a bit of a rant on how books by autistic authors are treated versus books with quirky characters and books about allistics suffering the torment of an autistic family member. By my standards, this one’s brief.

Post – Cover Design Isn’t the Last Thing I Do: In which I mention that, for a long time, I couldn’t stand to look at the cover for The King of Gears and Bone due to the difficulty of creating it. Now that I consider cover design at a second draft to be the optimum stage of the process, covers have become a good deal easier to manage.

Reblog – Why English Class Won’t Teach You Writing: Here I add to a far more succinct comment about the sheer absurdity in thinking that English classes, generally, are for teaching writing. This is speaking as someone who has studied English in high school, Literature as a major in my BA and a Professional Writing and Editing Diploma.

Header text: Aro Worlds: Connecting aro creatives and aro audiences. Header is in antique black type above an ornate divider.

Post – The Aromantic Community is Trans Supportive, Actually: A couple of aro community bloggers had been responding to various shapes of cissexism, exorsexism and transmisogyny, everything from outright trans exclusionary radfems to transmedicalists complaining that aro blogs aren’t welcoming. So I wrote a post on how hatred for trans people isn’t in the spirit of the aro-spec community.

Post – Self, Stop Using “Not a Minority” to Justify A Lack of Hatred: I’ve done this a couple of times now in various posts, and I don’t realise it until afterwards. No matter how big or small a minority group is inside another community, they don’t deserve to be targets of hatred. I’m hoping that writing it out this way will help me halt a harmful tendency in my activism.

Post – An Aro-Spec Community Flag Discussion Post: In which I stand on my soapbox about flag design. I’d recommend reading through the notes on this post, as a few folks have good things to say. This post started because I’ve seen a few flags, ostensibly representing me, made by someone not of the identity without feedback from people of the identity. It’s a trend I think in need of questioning.

Header text reads "Stim Toy Box" in white text on a colourful, stripedfractal background. Two small bear images stand on either side of the text, one holding a fish and wearing a fishing hat, the other holding a pot and wearing a spinner cap. The edges of the banner mimic torn paper.

Tutorial – Recycled Broken Squishy Plush: In which I cut up some broken commercial foam squishies to use them as stuffing for plush toys, resulting in a somewhat squishable plush. I used a Daiso duster for my toy, but you can de-stuff a normal plush toy or make a sock plush instead. Since squishies don’t last, I’m grateful to have a use for mine that doesn’t involve just throwing them out.

Review – Cinnamon Scroll Squishies, Bodero: Google only gives me Bodero locations in Victoria (Australia, if anyone’s missed this fact) so I don’t know if these are available anywhere else, but they’re $1! A fragrance-free jumbo-sized squishy for $1! If you need more squishy stuffing for the aforementioned squishy plushies, this is a fabulous (and affordable) way to go.

Review – Planet Putty, The Reject Shop: This is somewhere between a slime and a putty, but if I were to pick one or the other, the classification is slime. I know manufacturers don’t much care for the distinction, but it annoys me. It is, though, a very beautiful storebought slime.

Review – Mermaid Sequin Journal, K-Mart: This review is a few weeks old, now, but my local store still has these journals. If you can use perfect-bound notebooks, you’ll be able to use this, and I do think a hard surface like a book cover provides the optimum experience for stimming with mermaid sequins.

Review – Stacking Pencils and Crayons: I don’t mind stimming with them, but I prefer my stim stationery having actual utility as stationery, and these … don’t, really. I’ve no idea how one can write with that heart-shaped pencil for longer than five seconds.

Reblog – Mental Illness, Self-Blaming and Recovery: In which I add my (brief, for me) five cents on a good post about the ableism in certain positivity posts regards the overcoming or not being limited by mental illness.

Header image comprising layer of two pieces of clear tape stuck in a row. Grey pencil text reading "writing and fiction" has been drawn over the tape, with a rainbow underline in crayon beneath the text.

A Quest of Spheres and Phalanges: This is the story of the deal Esher makes with the Grey Mages. I admit that I enjoy writing Reggie (there’s more Reggie) and Esher’s priest-psychologist Moll, the latter stuck managing the aftermath of people not talking to each other. (Have you gotten the idea that these stories centre on the consequences of the damage wrought by a culture of silence?) This story gives us a better introduction to Faiza’s character, but it doesn’t have a happy-for-now ending. I think folks realise that I like my endings a little complicated and this is one ending in an ongoing storyline, but a story like Postmortem Query lets you breathe at the end of it. I need to figure out how to give the reader that hopeful, relieved breath.

(I have a long-lived, slightly-complicated-but-non-romantic-happily-ever-after in mind for Esher, but he’ll find that calling, along with a magical artefact, in the Gast.)

Love in the House of the Ravens: I said last time that this was a working title, but I can’t think of anything better, thematically, to call it. It’s all about love in a space that by necessity has re-examined love and human interaction both. So maybe I’ll rename the other story I want to write concerning the Ravens and leave this one as is–Darius talking about different types of love with two of the Ravens, Ila and Akash. I’m right at the point where Ila says the word “aromantic” and Darius gives Ila the what…? look while Akash breaks into laughter because Darius has just been that obliviously aro throughout. (It’s Am I Aro 101, but written more for aro readers’ amusement than for alloromantic education.) While this won’t end with Darius accepting his aromanticism, I think there’s enough lightness to finish on a conflicted note.

Inclination and Indiscrimination: This is an Eagle Court side-story, also set before Their Courts of Crows. On the one hand, we have Paide ein Iteme, openly pansexual prince, because everyone who went with him into rebellion knows and he now sees no point in hiding. (It’s also an unconscious middle finger at his dead father.) On the other hand, we have Thereva Asigne, openly a trans woman, trying to navigate a loophole in Arsh’s religious doctrine that doesn’t explicitly deny her womanhood as long as she doesn’t appear to be condoning or engaging in anything else too queer. (In other words, all shapes of ordinary human interaction.) Neither group of soldiers is enamoured of the other commander, and so begins a conversation neither Paide nor Thereva wishes to have…

This is the story that explains why Thereva defects to Ihrne, but it’s more about how being forced to live inside the narrow borders of acceptability offered us by the privileged can give us the illusion of safety, or something safer than we’d be otherwise, but it always comes at the cost of other marginalised people’s right to be ourselves. It’s a bit rough at the moment, but I think the message worthwhile.

(Next week is supposed to be Pan Pride Week/Day, so I may post this if I can get the ending polished enough to do so.)