So tonight, at 10pm Eastern Standard and 7pm Pacific, I will be on a public Google Hangout Interview/Discussion with authors A.V. Flox (known to you LJers as besideserato), Jackie Summers, Mark Jeffrey, and Jason Goldman. We’ll be talking about writing process and other interesting things.

I’ve never used the G+ tech for this kind of thing before so I’m fascinated to see how it all turns out. So tune in to the New TV and see my office and my still-a-little-sick face on your glowybox!

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I used to get a lot of new music off of a Livejournal community called audiography. Every week they’d have a theme and people would post links to YouTube or other (mostly) free ways of hearing music that fit the theme. Sometimes the theme was a genre, sometimes a feeling, sometimes an image.

It was how I found the Decemberists, the Dresden Dolls, Sufjan Stevens, Rilo Kiley, Neko Case and a whole host of my other longtime favorites–and it’s mostly dead.

Audiography died off a long time ago, well before LJ traffic began to decline. The mods stopped posting themes and people stopped posting tracks. It had a resurgence in August and September last year–and immediately I discovered Florence + the Machine, Mumford and Sons, and First Aid Kit. (Ok, I am late on discovering those. But Audiography used to be my ticket to Knowing About Music Things! I am lost without them!)

I miss it. I listen to so much music–I need to have music on to write so my days are often filled with music from waking to sleeping. I like Pandora but I often miss what X song was called, and Spotify and Rdio can feel overwhelming. I’d try to revive Audiography myself except that I’m not a mod and can’t post themes.

But what I DO have is MAH OWN BLOG. So I am inaugurating Autoaudiography–my own one-blog version of the late great communal music pond.

I’ll post a theme every Monday, to loosely coincide with Twitter’s Music Monday hashtag. In the comments, post your favorite songs that fit the theme. Use (legit, legal, and free) links to Youtube videos (feel free to embed) or other sources for music that will not get me in trouble. Look through the comments for new music–I’ll repost my three favorites along with the new theme at the end of the week. Hopefully we can all find awesome new music, support musicians, and recapture some of that old awesomeness.

This week’s theme, thanks to the insomnia post that made me think about this and start listening to Florence again, is Night.

The title or artist can contain the word or related words, or the song can just make you think of nighttime, sleep, the moon, etc. Any connection to the theme is fine, it’s a loose sort of thing. Any genre is welcome, and, departing from Audiography rules, if you have songs of your own writing/singing/playing, by all means post them! Just keep it legal and non-piratical, please.

I’ll go first, on the off chance there’s someone else who hasn’t heard this song and seen this gorgeous video (which is kind of what I think that mask scene in Eyes Wide Shut might have been if that movie weren’t mainly about white people not feeling things) that has been my night-time companion the last few 3 ams:

So, what have you been listening to lately?

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Now that I’m on sleep meds, I have to confront this other problem with my soul. Even given the ability to regulate my sleep with no side effects, I’ll stay up until 4:30 in the morning voluntarily. Even fight sleep.

Why? I don’t know. These hours have been mine my whole life, mine and no one else’s, as I seem to solely date and marry people who can fall asleep instantly and stay asleep with no trouble, and also who need to be up early in the morning. So my whole being thinks they belong to me, they are precious hours when I am alone and myself.

And there comes a moment, every night I stay up, when I feel quickened and awake and real, I feel on the verge of some epiphany, some starry apotheosis that I can never quite realize. But if I could only stay up another hour, surely, then I would…I don’t know. Transform.

Usually this is when I start to listen to melancholy indie music and/or bombastic music that makes me want to seethe and leap high and become–but I grasp at nothing in the dark and come away with only wistfulness and a completely upended circadian rhythm. I don’t want to stay up late. (Well, I do, but I also want to get up early.)

But that feeling comes and I chase it and never catch it.

It’s 4:30. I have Shake It Out on repeat. Sitting in bed in the dark winter of the night. I wish someone were awake with me. But the epiphany–oh my god, it is Epiphany, isn’t it? Right now, tonight, since I haven’t gone to bed yet. How strange. The epiphany never comes, it just crackles along my skin and it’s probably stupid chemicals firing for no reason, but it never comes so what would I say to someone who could, like the fairy tale task, stay up all night with me?

The night is another country. Half of me lives there.

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Our friends atheorist, his sister Sarah, and their mother Julie came over to spend Christmas day with us this year–which was lovely, as I like having a full house of folks I can cook for and take care of. As her present to us, Julie taught everyone about Zentangle and led us through making one.

Zentangle is this thing where they break down certain repetitive drawing patterns and use it to create a meditative experience which is less about doing nothing than about clearing the mind through repetitive action. Wax on, wax off, so to speak. I found it fairly awesome, as it’s similar to how I (compulsively) doodle anyway, but gives a structure I hadn’t had before.

That sounds a little stilted. I’ve always wanted to be able to draw, and been super shitty at it. I doodle because I have the restless hands, but I can’t draw meaningfully at all. My college notebooks are full of swirls and no notes to speak of. ZT has done a pretty great job of breaking images down into something I can draw–though I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do anything non-abstract, I am still excited about this. I can do awesome art deco/medieval/eschery things!

So, unfortunately, the online Zentangle culture leaves something to be desired. The starter kit is kind of broken–they don’t include instructions even for all the patterns in their little legend, and some of the ones included don’t even have instructions online. It’s all very focused on selling the founders’ seminars, and getting “certified” as an instructor, and that just doesn’t appeal to me at all, as well as turning art into a kind of weird scrapbookers’ Amway thing. But the thing itself has such worth. So I’m ignoring the tupperware club aspect, mostly, except for finding patterns, of which there are hundreds, much like knitting. I do like a lot of the Zentangle inspired blogs, which takes the technique and goes further with it, outside the original bounds of the notion.

In fact, it reminds me a lot of knitting, with the slow growth of complex patterns built with straight lines. Also medieval marginalia, though I’ haven’t found any celtic knot patterns yet I’m sure they exist. And last night I finally realized what it reminds me most of: mehndi.

Which, it turns out, is done exactly the same way–small, repetitive patterns fitted within larger shapes. Some of the patterns are, in fact, identical to Zentangle patterns. (Also explains why I know people who can’t draw traditionally but do mehndi.) I’m surprised that I haven’t seen anyone comment on this–though they may have, I’m not super involved with the community as I’ve said. The similarity is extremely striking to me, though–if there are less flower and bird designs in Zentangle.

So I’m hoping, as a resolutiony type thing, to do one Zentangle a day as a meditation exercise, because my brain is so birdyjumpy it needs to work the hands more or less constantly. I’ve been adding some words to my pieces, free association and alliteration, because I love words and can’t help it. Maybe I’ll try to pick up some calligraphy–though I’m pretty proud of my handwriting.

I don’t feel like I want to post them–there’s so many Zentangle blogs and I just want to do it for myself, not get certified or join the community. But I feel really nice about drawing every day. I think it will be grounding. I spent hours last night copying patterns into a blank book (with mehndi on the cover, amusingly) so that I can keep track of my abilities (also, the kit comes with a d20 so you can randomize the process, which is geekier than I suspect they know) and the patterns I really like, which tend to be curvy and flowing rather than geometric.

I’d be interested to know if any of you guys have heard of this or taken it up!

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It’s that time again, when the holly comes down and the carols stop playing and the freezing ground crunches underfoot and the award eligibility lists start popping up online.

The Nebula and Hugo nomination periods are open–you can nominate for the Nebs (if you are a SFWA member) until February 15th, and for the Hugos until March 11th–however, if you have not yet bought your Worldcon membership, supporting or full, you only have til January 31 to do so and earn yourself some sweet nominating rights. These are the relevant dates!

So, it’s been a pretty crazy year for me, and marks the first one in which I have something eligible in every fiction category. Good grief. But if you can nominate, please do consider these things and the many other worthies that were published in 2011. Without further ado.

If the work is available online for free, I’ve linked to it. All others can be got through the usual channels.

Novel:

Deathless (First three chapters online at Tor.com, also available in the Nebula forums.)
The Folded World

Note: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is NOT eligible for the Nebula as it was published online in 2010, and fairly obviously not eligible for the Norton as it already won it. I’m reasonably sure it is not eligible for the Hugo for the same reason, but if someone knows otherwise, I’m happy to be corrected.

Novella:

Silently and Very Fast (Real SF, Ma! Or mostly real. Available in total on Clarkesworld for free along with audio, and I think there are a few hard copies left. Also available on the Nebula forums.)

Novelette:

White Lines on a Green Field (Coyote-trickster football story)
The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland–For a Little While (prequel to Fairyland)

Short Story:

The Bread We Eat in Dreams (Demonic Colonial Maine story from Apex)
A Voice Like a Hole (from Welcome to Bordertown, teen runaway mythpunk)
In the Future When All’s Well (from Teeth, nihilistic California girl teen vampire)
The Wolves of Brooklyn (Giant wolves devour Brooklyn)

Editor, Short Form:

I am eligible for my work with Apex in 2011, even though I am no longer the editor of the magazine. My time with Apex represents my only work as an editor to date, so I don’t expect to have a dog in this category again. Apex as a whole is also eligible for Best SemiPro Zine.

Best Fancast:

The SF Squeecast, in which I babble about all things awesome with Paul Cornell, Seanan McGuire, Elizabeth Bear, and Lynne Thomas.

I don’t think I’ve forgotten anything. So there it is, my 2011, for your consideration. If you have any questions I’m happy to answer them, and at the very least, you can read some cool things through this post.

A final note: you do not have to go to Worldcon to nominate and vote for the Hugos. You can buy a supporting membership for $50 and get that perk. I realize $50 is a lot to express an opinion, but every year we hear complaints about the ballot and every year I hope that my generation will vote a little more, because the Hugos are kind of a bellwether for the field, and I want new crackly risktaking goodness in there, too. Since I have no control over the price of the supporting membership all I can say is–give it a thought, if you have the scratch.

Thank you to everyone who bought a book or read a story by me this year. It’s been a doozy, and I wish I could hug each and every one of you.

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