Tag Archives: deep thoughts

Where do story ideas come from?

So very often right from your life. Case in point today something happened that I didn’t want to waste time with but couldn’t tear myself away from. I was supposed to be cleaning the house but all that got cleaned was the dishes, the window by the sink and the backdoor, i.e. all places that afforded me a good view.

It started with a picture I put up on FB of the abandoned house next door and this post I made at ten to four This abandoned house was nearly hidden from view until this summer. And it is my view from my kitchen and bedroom (so thanks). I hoped they’d knock it down. Well today someone is out there and I’m watching them as I wash dishes. I’m fairly sure they don’t know what they’re doing. A few weeks ago they made a half-assed attempt to remove the asbestos shingles (and then quit because most are still there). Now there’s one hillbilly in an excavator using the bucket to knock on the walls while perched on a hill. There’s literally no one else around. I’m not sure if he’s just trying to bust up the porch or bring it all down (He knocked out the bay window while I watched). So how long before he’s buried in old house and I’m calling 911? I closed the curtain and went into the back room.

The House 20190901_124106

And my friend MKF said ‘this is story fodder, you should be video taping it.’ I was too busy and it was too hot for that but since it happened I found myself unable to look away. What follows is a series of FB posts.

4:45 OMG now he has the excavator halfway IN the house while demolishing the bottom (with the second floor still intact) What could possibly go wrong? (no lie he was literally bashing around the bottom without bringing the top down first)

6:15 Well,the house just crashed into the middle of it. Don’t see the dude. Hmmm

6:30 Good news, he’s still alive and slamming the dying house. Just noticed he has NO safety gear on as he wrecks this asbestos ridden deathtrap, no respirator, no googles, not even a hard hat. Go redneck go.

7:00 Dies. Now he has the excavator bucket stuck in a tree near the house he didn’t remove first (seriously hysterical as he’s thrashing the bucket trying to get it out)

7:50 And as night falls, the house is 98% down and our intrepid hillbilly heads off into the sunset

8:40 I was WRONG! They didn’t ride off into the sun set. They were somewhere getting fuel to set the rubble ON FIRE. I couldn’t figure out who was knocking on my door at 830 pm but it was a neighbor My entire apartment feels like it’s ready to ignite on the side facing the blaze and I had to call the fire dept. Apparently we ALL did. OMG this place. (Oh by the way there really aren’t hydrants here)

9:30 So five fire trucks, two police cars and lots of other rednecks all showed up. The fire is still burning but it’s manageable now. Not sure if anyone went to jail. I doubt it. I’m pretty sure I still see him out there with his shovel (because yes that’s what he brought to help with the conflagration) but I’m betting someone got fined out the butt for this. Best part is, that’ll be burning outside my bedroom on a night that I NEED to get to bed early because I need to be up at the crack of dawn to get to a doctor’s appt before work.

I don’t feel like I can share my friends’ responses but trust me they were funny too. I am dying laughing at the stupid. Yes this needs to be in a story somewhere but no one will believe anyone is this dumb.

And that’s where ideas come from.

We Have Always Been There

Women are used to being erased. Our contributions are often over looked, purposefully so. How many times in history class did you hear the name Sybil Ludington? She only rode 40 miles and roused an army 400 strong (basically double Paul Revere) when she was sixteen. As a scientist educated in the 1980s-1990s, I saw only one woman scientist, Marie Curie, in the texts yet there were so many more. At least Rosalind Franklin is now in the books (but still almost no women show up in texts). Hedy Lamarr is only now getting recognition for her contributions to science being too female and too pretty to be taken seriously in her day.

Today I read this article from Tor by another woman peeved by an article in a major journal bemoaning a lack of women authors in SF and that maybe women would get better roles in SF movies/TV if women wrote it. I’d like to know if that author was just lazy and didn’t do the research (going off all the numb nuts on social media telling women to stop whining and write it if they want it) or did they simply ignore facts and erase women from the history of speculative fiction.

Because let’s be honest here: women have always been part of spec fic. You can argue they helped to create spec fic. Most people are aware of Mary Shelley of course and Frankenstein being such seminal SF (and horror) written in 1818 but printed several years later. However, there have been even earlier lady authors of SF such as Margaret Cavendish and Aphra Behn who wrote in the middle 1600s (I should see if I can get the blazing world by Cavendish, it would be interesting to see).

There was a “golden age” of women in spec fic in the 1960s but before that there were still women writing SF. In the earliest days there was Gertrude Barrows Bennett who is credited with creating Dark Fantasy in the nineteen-teens. Also in the teens and twenties were Miriam Allen DeFord & Clare Winger Harris. In the 30s- 50s, there was the great Andre Norton, along with Leigh Brackett and C.L. Moore. Granted they wrote under male or gender neutral names but they were there. Moore could have been a grand master if not for her illness.

Once we get to the 60s to today, I can’t even list all the women. Some of my favorites included Ursula LeGuin, Marion Zimmer Bradley and CJ Cherryh (okay those two I didn’t like so much as felt like I needed to like them because I was an SF geek), Barbara Hambly, Octavia Butler, Diana Wynne Jones, Tanith Lee, Madeleine L’Engle , Anne McCaffrey, Vonda McIntyre, Joan D Vinge, Chelsea Quinn Yarbo , Lois McMaster Bujold, Emma Bull, Carol Nelson Douglas, Sheri S Tepper, Laurell K Hamilton, and so many more. I can’t even begin to name all the authors I love today. Even in the publishing houses I’m with you can find dozens of female spec fic authors (including myself). Just this year I’ve been enjoying Cherie Priest, J.K. Rowling, Charlaine Harris, Robyn Bennis, Leanna Renee Hieber, Nnedi Okorafor and while I didn’t actually enjoy Darynda Jones as much but I read her this year and should include her.

In the last few years with the sad puppies and their women should get out of SF rhetoric, it feels more hostile to women now than it did thirty years ago. The solace is women are writing Spec Fic more than ever. It’s time to admit it. Women have always been writing spec fic and we will remain.