Jay Lake, Remembered

Laura Lis Scott:

I never met Jay Lake. I stumbled across Green when it came out in trade paper in 2011, and loved it. Aside from reading the sequels and other books by Jay, I started following his blog.

It was at times heartbreaking to read about his travails with cancer. Yet he was also inspiring with his battling spirit (always with a degree of cheer, even when it must’ve been bravado). When he crowdfunded the sequencing of his genome and registered for NIH drug trials—the NIH loved that he had the sequencing done, what an opportunity!—he won even more of my admiration.

When we learned that the trial treatment did not work as hoped, my heart sank. Having watched my father die a couple of years ago—an experience that still haunts me—I felt all too keenly what would be next.

By all accounts, Jay was much loved by his many friends. I loved him virtually, through his blog, and through his dreams shared in his books.

49 is too young. Fuck cancer.

Originally posted on Whatever:

I can’t actually remember when it was that I first met Jay Lake, which is an unusual thing for me. I can often tell you the exact time and place I met most people I care about, from my oldest friend Kyle (on the bus on the first day of second grade) onward. I suspect my memory of meeting Jay is more diffuse because I first knew so many people who knew Jay, so that by the time we had our first meeting it felt, by commutative property, that I already knew him. I’m racking my brain here and coming up with nothing. From the point of view of my memory, Jay just was.

The picture above, taken at 2013’s Nebula Awards Weekend, was one of the last times I saw him in person. In case you’re not clear what’s going on here, he’s attempting to taste my…

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P is for Priorities

I haven’t been blogging the A to Z Challenge these past few days because they were blocking me from getting the necessary things done—namely writing my novel, editing Kate‘s novels, and preparing books for publishing (and other life obligations).

PI’ve been blogging for well over a decade, and love it. I’m not stopping blogging altogether. It’s just that, given the day job, trying to wedge in the A to Z Challenge as well was turning out to be a burden. I have to focus on priorities.

So no more A to Z, unless serendipitous Muse comes for a visit. Thank you, everyone who stopped by and commented. I hope to see you again.

F is for Fear

FI confess! I have many fears: fear of death; fear of illness; fear of embarrassing myself; fear of letting people down; fear of heights; fear of spiders; fear of being stupid; fear of intimacy; fear of ending up alone; fear of the dark; fear of food poisoning; fear of ridicule; fear of failing….

They’re all irrational, and many are contradictory. That’s the nature of fear. It fucks with you. It makes you hesitate. It makes you timid. It compels you to make conservative choices — not great for a creative artist. (Not great for an entrepreneur, either.)

Fear is everywhere. It poisons our souls. It paralyzes us. It brings out the worst in us.

Fear corrupts our culture.

Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
—Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays

Fear poisons our politics.

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified, terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.
—Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address

Fear is something we try to laugh off.

Coward, n. One who in a perilous emergency thinks with his legs.
—Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

Facing fear can be daunting in itself, but is there any other way?

A man that flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a short cut to meet it.
—J.R.R. Tolkien, The Children of Húrin

I may be afraid to face my fears, but I’m even more afraid to not face my fear. I’m afraid of a life governed and controlled — even destroyed — by fear. This fear trumps all others.

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.
—Theodore Roosevelt, Strenuous Life

So how do you defeat fear? Maybe it’s through counting your blessings? Or focusing on what’s real and what’s only imagined? Maybe it’s through a mantra or litany?

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
—Frank Herbert, Dune: The Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear

I do a little bit of all of that. Yet defeating fear is not an accomplishment. It’s a practice. I work to defeat my fears every day.

My fear of heights, though, I’ll leave be. I can live with one.

E is for Education

E“The problem with the School of Hard Knocks,” they say, “is that the final exam comes first, and then the lesson comes after.”

I am a student of this school. No, don’t ask for an ID card. No cards are necessary in this school. We enroll ourselves, and if we flunk, that’s on us.

How do you flunk? You fail to learn the lesson. What about the exam, you ask? That doesn’t matter. Almost everyone fails that at one point or another. It’s the lesson after that counts.

And there are no grades, except what you give yourself.