Archives for October 2011

Tagged! Responding at Last

I’m sorry to say I’m just getting around to responding to Cari’s post in which she tagged me. Herewith are 10–nay, 12–random things about me.

Ten Random Things About Me

  1. I was born in Huntsville, Alabama, known as the “Rocket City.” Growing up, I heard rockets being tested nearly every day.
  2. I sang alto for years, until I took voice lessons. Now I’m a mezzosoprano.
  3. When I was 3 years old, I amazed my pediatrician by telling him about igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. My mom thought all kids did that.
  4. At about age 8, I cataloged any book around the house I could get my hands on, making check-out cards for them in little pockets in the back and labels on the spine. (Remember: olden days, before computerized libraries.) Yeah, becoming a catalog librarian was kinda inevitable.
  5. I was a charter member of the Star Trek club (“ASTRA”–Area Star Trek Readers Association) organized in my high school. Um, yeah, I had a command uniform with the little skirt, made for me by my grandmother from the official pattern. Dang difficult to make, too! And I wrote a script for a Star Trek movie, with me as the Vulcan captain. Not sure if we filmed any of it.
  6. I own two real swords (a hand-and-a-half longsword and a basket-hilt rapier) and one decorative one. I would own more if they weren’t so expensive. I adore medieval weaponry, and would have an archery range in my backyard if my husband and friends didn’t insist I’d put someone’s eye out.
  7. I got accepted into the creative writing class in high school with a truly awful murder mystery short story that hinged on verde being Spanish for green. I’m not sure I wrote much worthwhile in that class, except for a poem called Solitaire that my brother set to music and peformed on guitar.
  8. One of my all-time favorite TV shows is Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Look it up, it’s way awesome, and heavily influenced other horror TV, notably X-Files. Darren McGavin was more than just the (marvelous) dad in A Christmas Story.
  9. My favorite outdoor activity is visiting cemeteries, the older, the better.
  10. I’ve played the following pen-and-paper roleplaying games, roughly in order, during two periods of my life: 1977-1986: Dungeons & Dragons (1st edition & Advanced), Metamorphosis: Alpha, Gamma World, Traveller, Call of Cthulhu (still my favorite), Middle Earth Roleplaying Game (MERP), Rolemaster, Gangbusters, Empire of the Petal Throne, Pendragon; 2002-present: Dungeons & Dragons (3rd edition, 3.5, 4th edition), d20 Modern, Space:1889, GURPS, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mutants & Masterminds, Unknown Armies, Pendragon, d20 Call of Cthulhu, Conan the RPG, Pathfinder. I’m pretty sure I forgot some.
  11. I have a comics pull list at a comic book store in Cahaba Heights.
  12. My first computer was a Kaypro II. I paid about $1500 for it in 1984.

Well, I think my geek cred is pretty well established by that list. I did go a little over, but those last two seemed to round it out nicely.

Thanks for doing this, Cari!

What do you know about ignorance?

“Don’t know much about history.
“Don’t know much biology.
“Don’t know much about a science book.
“Don’t know much about the French I took.”

Okay, I get this litany of how ignorant the singer is contrasts with the fact that s/he “loves you,” and how reciprocation of such would engender a wonderful world. But singable though it is, the conceit behind it has always annoyed me. What we don’t know is perfectly acceptable as long as we have a warm, fuzzy emotion to go along with that lack of knowledge.

I’m not really sure where or when the inherent anti-intellectualism in our society originated (sure, I could google it, but if you know, post a comment). I nearly entitled this post, “Ignorance is piss.” Why is ignorance a positive trait?

In this age of instant access (which I alluded to in the previous sentence, in fact), ignorance is inexcusable. Writers in particular need to combat ignorance. It’s what we do, right? Create knowledge and/or information where none existed before? Knit up diverse strands of data into a coherent whole? (Hello? Is this thing on?)

(I feel quite curmudgeonly as I type this. I must’ve pushed one of my own buttons.) I’m frequently annoyed by writers who protest, “Oh, I just don’t know how to use Twitter.” Why not? Find out! I can think of at least three e-books off the top of my head that explain in detail what Twitter is and how an author can use it in marketing her books. Can’t afford the e-books? Ask! Independent author sites abound, with lots of free help available. Saying “I don’t know” without proceeding to remedy the situation is just plain lazy.

The world is such an amazing place, full of intriguing and insane and annoying and wretched and intense and blissful and spiritual and stupid people. To my mind, writers fight ignorance with every paragraph, every sentence, every word, filling in the vast emptiness of ignorance with glittering webs of information, with new discoveries, with new ways of looking at existence. The creative writer enlivens dry facts, giving birth to brand new life. One of my greatest joys in reading is not necessarily the words on the page or the pixels on the Kindle, but the ideas for my own writing that spin off in little creative whorls. Usually these ideas have nothing to do with the words on the page. Something just clicks. Because the writer took the time to write.

Writers, don’t be lazy. Before you type the words “I don’t know” on Facebook or complain to someone about your ignorance, stop. Remedy that lack, fill in that lacuna, google it, and instead, share the knowledge with the rest of us.

You’re lifting up the entire human race when you do.

Drop a comment below and let me know what you think of the subject.