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06 January 2010 @ 06:05 pm
Thinking something out loud, here.

After yet another period of dithering for ages before being able to offer a simple "thank you" for people yet again being big-hearted, it occurred to me that there are certain things that leave me tongue-tied. And they're all ways of saying "I care".

And here's the thing. I know the politenesses; I know how to say "thank you" or "you're welcome" or "please" or "I'm sorry" or "Are you okay" or "I'm worried for you" or "I'm happy for you". In a couple different languages. What I don't know is how to get past the politenesses into "No I really mean it" territory. I dither, and I flail, and I do say something at least some of the time, but most likely awkwardly; and it triggers my impostor syndrome pretty badly.

Because none of these just mean "I care", they mean "I care, and hey, we're part of a shared culture with shared practices, and this is the one that tells you that I care just now". And when it comes to shared culture, I'm always faking. I'm never unaware of the other cultures I could be participating in with alternate word choices, and the slips that'll get me identified as alien. So even when I really mean what I'm saying, the fact that I'm faking the cultural part makes the whole ring false to my ears.

I don't know how to get past faking to being part of a culture. I'm too good at it -- mostly people don't notice that I'm faking. And I'm not good enough -- I'll slip up, rarely but inevitably, and people around me will laugh at the cute/silly/quaint thing I just said, or the obvious cultural reference I lack, or they will look at me funny because of the verb I use slightly differently from them. And I will do something to defuse the situation, and we'll go on, but I won't forget that I'm marked.

As a human being, I find it useful to see this clearly. Because it is all in my head. I can be other, and still accepted as a member of a culture or subculture. It's not actually a box that I need to stand in or out of, and I don't have to be identical to be allowed in. And plenty of people are uncomfortable or awkward at some subset of social interactions.

As a writer, though... I don't see this enough in liminal characters, and it's a major and subtle part of the between-identity. That unconscious insecurity, "they're going to figure me out," "I'm going to remind them I'm different", which is pretty self-perpetuating.

And it's absolutely something I should be tapping into for my own characters.
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
06 January 2010 @ 10:08 pm
Is Cave-smell, to the Goblin Queens' guest-edited issue of Mythic Delirium!

I am so very happy about this. It's a poem very close to my heart, and it pokes at the culture-balance problems I keep circling back to, and not in a way I could write today, with today's confusions. Insofar as I could write anything on any day other than the one it happens on. Cognition is magic.

This is also my verra first SF poem :)

So I'm at 6 rejections and 1 acceptance for the year so far. Now to manage that every week!
The year I finish 52 things, let along sell 52 things, the world might end.

...okay out of energy now. *flops off to be a wet rag again*
(Heal already, body, so you can finish the next story...)

Current Mood: cheerfulloopy