And being an “Audible Deal of the Day” means you get to spend very little to get the book — in this case something like $3. The deal as far as I know is limited to the US and maybe Canada, and it’s only for today. So if you want it at this price, you need to jump on it. It’s perfect for the folks who love audiobooks, or for the folks who have never tried audiobooks but would be willing to give them a chance at a low price point, or for the folks who simply want Wil Wheaton to read to them in those dulcet tones of his.
Here’s the link to the audiobook. Enjoy!
TODAY, FRIDAY, September 22, I will be at Vintage Pheonix Comic Books in Bloomington, Indiana, from 5-7pm! I will have books and probably character magnets and my nigh-charming self! If you’re lucky, maybe my wife will be in the corner wrangling my adorable children, who will hopefully not be eating books and magnets.
Next Saturday the 30th, I’ll be signing at the table for Laughing Ogre Comics at Cartoon Crossroads Columbus! You can find me there from 2:30 to 6pm.
Hours after this posts, we’ll be on the road again, this time towards Texas. Whoot!
To comment on the diary strip link here (YUP! It has its own web directory!)
(The Diary Strips will continue to post here on the Spacetrawler site, but will be removed from the Spacetrawler archive)
(And thanks to all those who sent me cards and emails. You're very kind. Love you all).
I had a good day with family and friends, but...
How did that happen?
Seems like only yesterday I was one of the Young Turks of Science Fiction.
What a long strange trip it's been...
And I still have a ways to go, I hope. Lots of stories still to tell.
(And yes, Mr. Prufrock, I still eat peaches).
Click here to go see the bonus panel!
I tried this on a seven year old and it didn't work. I think there might be a sweet spot, taking into account trustworthiness and writing ability. Alternatively, you could spend seven years being kind an honest to a nephew or niece, just so you can pull this off.
Hey geeks! We've sold 1/3 of all Seattle BAHFest tickets in just a few days. This one's definitely selling out, so buy soon if you want to lock in a spot!
We're also having a pre-show chat with me about Soonish. The tickets are just $1.
There’s no easy way to say this, so let’s do it like tearing off a band-aid.
My dad is dying.
And now, having written the simple truth of it down, some part of me feels the need to clarify what I mean. Over the last decade, I’ve become increasingly familiar with the different ways in which a person can be dying. The different velocities and meanderings in which dying can occur.
I started learning this ten years ago, when my mom was having trouble breathing. She couldn’t figure it out. The doctors couldn’t figure it out. Then she went in for some tests….
Then we got the news. It was cancer, and it was everywhere. There was really nothing to be done.
“Well,” my dad said dryly. “None of us are getting out of here alive.”
As I type this out, I realize his statement might seem callous or heartless. But it wasn’t any such thing in that moment. It was calming. It was funny and comforting and kind.
It remains one of the truest things I’ve ever known anyone to say.
None of us are getting out of here alive.
* * *
So. As I said. My dad is dying. But I still haven’t really been clear about what what means.
He’s not dying in the general way that we all are, slowly moving toward a time when we’ll no longer be alive. (See above anecdote.) Neither is he dying in the more specific way he has been for the last ten years, ever since he was diagnosed with Stage Four Lung cancer. He’s not even dying in more immediate, persistent way that he has been since January, when they discovered he has Leukemia, too.
He’s dying right now. He might have weeks, but probably not. He might have a week. But probably not.
* * *
Interesting story. Back in the early part of the year he was planning on getting more treatment for his lung cancer. But when they were getting ready, doing blood tests and scans, they discovered something wasn’t right. So more tests. More scans.
Finally he went in for another meeting with the oncologist. We’ve had many of these over the last decade. Many, many of these. We’ve had scans and meetings with oncologists. Biopsies and meetings with oncologists. Surgeries and meetings with oncologists.
For this one, I couldn’t be there in person, so my dad had me on speaker phone. It’s always better to have a second set of ears on these meetings. There’s a lot of information, and it’s easy to mishear something. We always try to have at least two or three people at a meeting, so that afterwords we can all compare notes and make sure we heard the same thing. It’s easy, sometimes, to listen with your heart instead of your head. To be too hopeful. It’s hard, sometimes, not to listen through a thick fog of dread.
So I’m listening through the speakerphone as the doctor explains. It’s Leukemia. Effectively you’ve won the suck lottery and you have double cancer now. And, unfortunately, they can’t treat his lung current lung cancer trouble with the Leukemia going on. And, unfortunately, it’s not a great kind of Leukemia, either. And, unfortunately, my dad is getting on in years. And, unfortunately, he’s had both his adrenal glands removed, too.
The upshot, the doctor explains, is that this really isn’t a great scene, you see. Regular cancer is bad. Double cancer, kinda double bad, plus some extra because of synergy.
Eventually the doctor runs out of steam, and I hear my dad make this little chuckling noise over the phone. And even though I’m not there, I can see him in my head, smiling a little bit and shaking his head.
And he says to the doctor, “Your job must be really hard.”
That’s the first thing he says, hearing the news. And here’s the thing, he meant it. He really meant it. That’s the sort of guy my dad is.
And you know what? He’s right. Those doctors. That’s a hard job. I would not have that job for all the money in the world.
* * *
As I write about his here, I realize my matter-of-fact tone might strike many of you as odd. What’s odd to me is that this has been such a big part of my life for so long, but most of you don’t know anything about it. If you read my blog or follow me in various places on social media, you know a *lot* about my life. You know about my relationship, my children, my mood disorder, my struggles with professionalism and writing, politics, religion, philosophy. I talk about pretty much everything pretty openly.
So why haven’t I talked about this before?
Well…. I have, here and there. I think I wrote a blog or two about this over the years. Though I can’t care enough to dig around for links at this point. Maybe Amanda will dig them up and tuck them in here later on.[FAQ: Why havne’t you been posting on your blog?] [The unhappy announcement]
And I’ve mentioned it occasionally in interviews, too. But honestly, I think most of the interviews where I do mention it, they just leave those parts out. It’s not what people want to focus on. It’s depressing.
But mostly, I don’t talk about it. And a big part of that is pure superstition. My mom went from diagnosis to death in five months. Every time we could have caught a lucky break, we caught a bad one instead. It was like falling down an endless flight of stairs. For years was cancer free. Then *just* before he was about to hit the big five-year milestone, the cancer showed up again.
This time it was in his adrenal gland. So. Back into the breach. Many meetings. Many oncologists. New diagnosis. They gave him 18 months again. If he was lucky. And they warned us that they probably wouldn’t be great months….
(This was five years ago, for those of you keeping score at home.)
But we rolled the dice and did surgery again. Though conventional logic says that’s the wrong way to handle it when cancer starts metastasizing. But again, we came up sixes…. And he went another two years before it showed up in his other adrenal, so we removed that one too…
He’s been bulletproof. A statistical anomaly. The treatments haven’t phased him. Not a lot of nausea. He lost his hair. But then it came back, on his arms it wasn’t white anymore, it was dark.
And through all of this, he kept landscaping and hosting guests and playing golf. He’s traveled the country, come to my booksignings, and, generally speaking, lived a much more active life than I ever have.
That’s why I don’t talk about him a lot. It’s pure superstition. I know it’s trans-rational, but part of me simply didn’t want to draw too much attention. You don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, and you don’t brag about good luck. I didn’t want to write a celebratory tweet, then have Death to suddenly look up from his newspaper and say something like, “Who’s that? Jim Rotfuse? Wait, RothFUSS? Oh shit, I forgot. I had an appointment with him, didn’t I?”
But now my dad is in Hospice. Those of you with experience in these matters know what this means. Those of you who don’t… well… it means that Death has put down his paper, stood up, and is glancing at his watch in a meaningful way…
* * *
I’ve been down here in Madison for more than a week now, taking care of him. Doing what I can to make him comfortable. This leads to interesting situations, as my dad is someone who takes care of other people, as a rule. He’s not used to being taken care of.
The other day, as I was putting on his socks for him, he said, “I don’t know how I can repay you for all of this.”
I laughed, and explained to him that I was pretty sure he put on my socks more than a few times over the years. I left it at that, but what I wanted to say was that I was the one who was paying him back, really. He’s put up with my bullshit for more than 40 years. I remember waking up in a hospital bed on more than one occasion to see him sitting there patiently keeping an eye on me, making sure I was okay…
I wish you guys had the chance to know him better.
* * *
Why am I writing this blog?
Well, partly because that’s what I do when something big happens in my life. That’s just how I interact with the world. I tell stories about what’s happening in my life.
I also feel like I owe some of you a bit of an explanation. My dad’s health issues have been occupying the lion’s share of my time and brainspace lately. I wasn’t able to do as much with the kickstarter in the final weeks as I hoped to. And I’ve missed some events recently (most notably at PAX West, where I showed up late and left early.) And I’m going to miss more in the future. (Most notably at Salt Lake City ComicCon happening this weekend.)
I’m sorry if you were hoping to catch me at those places. Please note that I can’t really say, “I wish I was there,” because that would be the same as saying, “I wish my dad was dead so I could go to a convention.”
How about this? “I wish the world were other than it is.” That seems to sum it up pretty well.
That said, we’re living in *this* world right now. And in this world, my dad needs me. So I’m staying here for the duration. I’m pretty sure my book tour will still happen in early October. But I can’t say with absolute certainty. After all, my dad has surprised us with his longevity before…
* * *
I don’t know if this blog will make much sense. It’s the furthest thing from cohesive, as I’ve been writing it in bits and pieces in hospitals an hotel rooms. And tonight has been a long, long night.
The only thing I know for sure is that it’s too long, and I feel like I haven’t really said all I wanted to say.
I’ll sign off for now though. Sorry for those of you I’m missing at SLCC.
Be good to each other,
P.S. I’m disabling comments here. I won’t have time to read or monitor them, and I didn’t write this looking for advice or sympathy. Just wanted to let y’all know what’s going on.
P.P.S. If you’re a friend or family member and you’re finding out about this now, on the blog. I’m sorry. But if you know me at all, you know I’m a shit correspondent under the best of circumstances. And these are far from ideal circumstances right now.
I was DMing for a strange group: Cleric, Barbarian, Ranger, Paladin, and Bard. This wasn’t the strange part. The Cleric refused to heal characters, the Barbarian was overly cautious, the Ranger was inattentive, the Paladin was enslaved to the Bard, and the Bard was trying to sabotage the cam…
Please don't quote Candy, I have no idea how many people die of TSS per year. I mean, *she* has no idea.
And here's a link to the Complete GWS Collection Kickstarter, which is HOLY-SHIT levels of funded!! Thanks to everyone who preordered already!! <3 <3 <3
Instafriends, those two. Here's the old strip!
HEY, I'm really sorry about the down time yesterday! It's been about two years since we've had a breakdown like this.
It's really uncanny timing, because I have some enormous news: FINALLY, The Complete Girls With Slingshots hardcover collection is available for preorder on Kickstarter!
The website is having some trouble adding images and I'm not even sure this update is gonna post, so I'll leave it at that for now. But I'll be sending out a more in-depth newsletter tomorrow, so keep your eyes peeled for that!
Wait, are you ON the newsletter list? The signup is literally right below this post! Just scroll down and add your name. :) I'm frugal with my mailers, so it won't be overwhelming, I promise.
And now, part 2 of my review of Write!, the text editor. In part 1, I talked about my initial impressions of its pricing and subscription model, its treatment of saving to a cloud vs. saving locally, and functionality I was able to learn about on the first couple of menus.
In this post, I’ll talk about the functionality on the Edit and Format menus, as well as the overall look of the thing and the experience of writing in it.
Yep, that sure is an Edit menu
I see pretty standard functionality available on the Edit menu: Undo, Redo, Cut, Copy, Copy As (with a few different options as to how you can copy into the window you’re working on), and Find.
(Additionally, since I’m looking at the Mac build, there are also the Start Dictation and Emoji & Symbols options that I see at the bottom of Edit menus on other programs on my Mac. But as those as not specific to this program, I won’t talk about them here.)
The Format menu
Show Context Menu
This brings up a bunch of things that I’d expect to find on toolbars in other programs, and is essentially a glorified toolbar here, even if it’s in multi-tabbed menu format.
I’d be a little annoyed by this, as having to go to the menu seems like a redundant way to get at this functionality, except that I also just discovered I can get to the same stuff by right-clicking anywhere within my edit window. In which case I kinda wonder why there’s a whole menu command to get to this, which, again, feels redundant. But I guess not so much if you’re not used to right-clicking to get to stuff.
Bold, Light, Italic, Underline, Strikethrough, Upper Case, Lower Case
All of these menu options do what I’d expect them to, though I’m a little surprised by “Light”, as this is an option I haven’t seen in word processors or text editors before. It basically appears to be functioning as an opposite of Bold. Except that if you want to un-bold text you can toggle it in every single program I’ve ever dealt with, so I’m not exactly sure why a separate format needed to be here. If I try to bold an entire phrase and then choose “Light” on a word within that phrase, it does the exact same thing as just de-bolding that word.
I do like being able to automatically upper-case or lower-case text, though.
I’m not entirely pleased with all these formatting options being their very own menu items, though, particularly given that they’re all duplicated on the aforementioned Context menu. So there’s another layer of redundancy here, all of which I think would have been entirely fine to eliminate completely with a simple toolbar.
On the other hand, if you have the formatting options on the menu, you can also show the keyboard shortcuts, which is useful, so there’s that. Things like command-B and command-I might be second nature to me (or any other writer who’s been working for a while on a Mac), but I’m not everybody, and it’s important for me to keep that in mind.
Though okay, I just figured out why this menu/context bar bugs me. I’d like to be able to have that context menu floating over on the side so I wouldn’t have to keep bringing it up and dismissing it if I want to reformat text. Or, I’d like these options on a toolbar. This editor is billing itself as a “distraction-free” text editor, but it’s distracting to me to have to keep bringing the context menu up and dismissing it again. I’d be bugged by this less if it were on a mobile device where screen real estate is more important, but I’m on my laptop screen and not lacking for visual space.
Headers and Paragraphs
This is another formatting option that is duplicated on the context menu, and basically covers a small assortment of styles you can apply to text: headings, code, quote, etc. Not too huge a style set, but on the other hand, this is calling itself a text editor, not a word processor. I wouldn’t expect a text editor to get nearly as complicated with its styles as an outright word processor would, so that’s fine.
Left, Right, Center, Justify, and Reset, some basic alignment options for whatever paragraph you’re currently in/selected, and it does appear to work on a paragraph basis. Which is about what I’d expect.
I am, however, a bit surprised that these options are not duplicated on the context menu. This is a bit of inconsistency of behavior, which I almost find a bit more irritating than the aforementioned redundancy.
Bullet, Numeric, and Alphabetic lists styles, including a “Switch” option that apparently just cycles through the three. Not something I feel I’d particularly need when using a text editor for writing.
But, if you’re using this thing as a client to write a post for Medium or some other blogging platform, basic lists could be useful. I use lists in my posts all the time.
Behaves mostly like I’d expect, highlighting a word if I’ve already selected it, or turning on highlighting for whatever I’m about to type next if something isn’t already selected.
However, highlighting apparently does not toggle like Bold or Italic. If I have a word highlighted, and then select the Highlight command off the menu again, or use the keyboard shortcut, it doesn’t remove that highlight.
If I want to remove the highlight, I actually have to go onto the context menu and get at the “Clear Formatting” command on the first tab, or the “Clear Highlight” command on the Highlight tab. Easy enough to find but slightly irritating that I had to go looking for it.
Okay, I get the intention here: add a hyperlink to text. However, I take issue with the implementation, on the following grounds:
One, “Edit Hyperlink” implies there’s already a hyperlink there to edit, which is not the case if what you want to do is actually add a new one.
Two, if you select some text and then select “Edit Hyperlink”, what actually happens is that the context menu pops up, and the “Hyperlink” command on it is replaced by a text box where you’re supposed to enter the hyperlink you want.
And I’m sorry, but the entire notion of splicing a text entry box into a context menu just makes me go NO. Even if it does appear to work and (presumably) saves the effort of coding a separate dialog box to keep track of that setting. I don’t care. It’s still annoying.
So if editing and formatting annoy me, is it at least nice to write in?
Here’s something good I can say about this program: with sidebars and things turned off, whittling it down to just the basic program window itself, I do actually like the aesthetic look of it. It’s clean. It’s simple. It certainly is nicer to look at than TextEdit.
I am not really a fan of its default sans serif font, and there appears to be no way to change it. Nowhere in the program do I see any sign of ability to change what fonts it uses.
But at least visually, that’s the only nitpick I’ve got with it.
Typing-wise, I’m finding it distracting that it doesn’t auto-indent paragraphs for me like Scrivener does. But I can’t hold that against it, because again, text editor, not word processor. TextEdit doesn’t auto-indent so I wouldn’t expect Write! to do so either.
And here’s a thing I do kind of like. Here’s a screenshot of what the window looks like to me:
That little gray square over on the right is a navigation bar, which you can use to get a thumbnail view of where you are in the document, and do a fast scroll up and down. I can confirm, now that I’ve typed enough into the test window to get enough text to scroll, that that does work. I also note that if you don’t happen to like that feature, you can turn it off. (More on this in the next post.)
And OH HEY SURPRISE: down in the left bottom corner, that “1 174” down there? Turns out that’s a word count feature that has no access on the menu whatsoever, so I stumbled across that entirely by accident. More on this in another post, too; I like some of what I see there, but some of it seems buggy as well. The lack of an obvious word count was one of the things I was going to say I didn’t like about the program, but since there is in fact word count functionality here, that’s a distinct advantage over, say, TextEdit.
For now, though, that’s enough for this post. More to come in part 3!
Mirrored from angelahighland.com.