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For today’s bit of fun, here’s a Nature‘s Futures story by Marissa Lingen: So your grandmother is a starship now- a quick guide for the bewildered.

Your grandmother is becoming a starship! She has gone through many phases in her life already — infant, child, teenager, young adult, student, worker, in many cases spouse, parent, retiree. She has had hobbies like knitting, volleyball and carbon mitigation. She has travelled in planetary atmosphere whenever her circumstances allowed. Now she is uploading her consciousness into a starship! The circle of life is beautiful.

I am now going to imagine that my grandmother is a spaceship.

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Photo by Shyam on Unsplash

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On the off chance that you’re having doubts about how you stack up against others, in writing or elsewhere, here’s a thoughtful quote. Follow the link for his whole piece, which is part of a series of posts worth reading.

…I think it’s clear our pop culture and what passes for our media discourse have a dangerously romanticized view of creative work.

“Oh, what a talented person,” our stories go, “oh, how powerful their inspiration must have been!” Talent certainly exists and inspiration certainly exists, but I fear our popular view of creativity artificially centers both, eliding struggle, practice, failure, and the investment of time. Too often, we talk about something akin to magic, about early purity of vision, about the notion that we are chosen or anointed for certain tasks, and while I cannot speak to how the secret machinery of the cosmos operates, I can testify that most of my own moments of lovely inspiration have been purchased with long hours of study, planning, and practice.

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— Scott Lynch, The Post of Christmas Past
Photo by Marco Bianchetti on Unsplash

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If you can write beginnings and ends, you can make a nice living as a writer. If you write middles, you win Pulitzers and Nobel Prizes and stuff. But with beginnings and ends, you’re going to do okay.

— James Patterson

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Photo by Eilis Garvey on Unsplash

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On a typical day, I usually have X number of words in me. On days when I use those words for, say, an epic treatise to friends on the efficacy of my experimental new toothpaste, I turn to the words of others. Time to make a start on 2023’s to-be-read list.

“Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff.”

― Harvey Pekar

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Photo by Pickled Stardust on Unsplash

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Today, an old tool with a twist I find useful: the visual thesaurus. My Writers of the Future editor asked for some last updates, and I got stuck on one that should have been simple but was not. 

The problem was that beta readers didn’t quite understand the meaning of the phrase I used, and I had to replace it with a completely different word that still captured a complicated feeling. I don’t usually use a thesaurus, but sometimes needs must. My computer’s built-in options don’t handle phrases well, so online I went.

A quick search led me to stumble on one with a visual, as well as a list, interface. (Has this been around forever? Probably, but it was new to me. Perhaps to you too?) Here’s an example:

Care synonyms, care antonyms – FreeThesaurus.com

Each word’s multiple meanings are clustered with related words, antonyms and links. I can always read the options as a list, of course, but I found this presentation surprisingly helpful when it came to brainstorming options.

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Photo by Aedrian on Unsplash

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On the road again today. Strangely, I find I come up with some of my best ideas while distracted by traveling.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape?… If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”

― J.R.R. Tolkien

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Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash

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Last Thoughts

We’re enjoying the holiday but our time this week has included a funeral. It left me with a thin veneer of sadness, and what better time to shake that off than the last day of the year? And so, a haiku to siphon those thoughts away and make room for the new.


Your first accident

first break first loss first body

and if becomes when.

Now, on to better days.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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Programming note: We’re taking a bit of a break this week, so expect more quotes and pretty pictures.

Oh look, a quote! And a pretty picture!

“If this book has a lesson, it is that we are awfully lucky to be here-and by ‘we’ I mean every living thing. To attain any kind of life in this universe of ours appears to be quite an achievement. As humans we are doubly lucky, of course: We enjoy not only the privilege of existence but also the singular ability to appreciate it and even, in a multitude of ways, to make it better. It is a talent we have only barely begun to grasp.”

― Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything

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Photo by Paul Pastourmatzis on Unsplash

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So there I was, wading through old backups and oddly named files and all the other detritus that accumulates on the drives of most computers, when I stumbled across a story start. At some point in the hazy past, I was writing/still half-dreaming/avoiding other work when I came up with a snippet. (I do this a lot. Most of my story starters are corralled into a central file, but apparently this one escaped.)

Does the idea still speak to me? Maybe. Here is its beginning.

The room was twenty feet wide by fifty or so deep, and high enough to stash a semi trailer. The basement warehouse hid inside a larger complex designed to cloak all manner of shady dealings. The walls were concrete, bare in some spots and painted a dull grey in others. Dim afternoon light filtered in through a series of filthy windows set just below the ceiling. The west wall contained a pile of musty wooden crates stacked head high, and the door sported a series of aging and graffitied corporate memos. Whoever Toby was, I could call him for a good time. Dust bunnies occupied the corners. It was the dullest den of iniquity I’d seen yet.

Still, I wouldn’t have minded the decor so much if it weren’t on fire…

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Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

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