a garden in riotous bloom
Beautiful. Damn hard. Increasingly useful.
other gardeners 
28 April 2017 15:53 - 2017 Edgar Awards Winners

Posted by admin

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin (Liveright) won the 2017 Edgar Award for Best Critical/ Biographical.

Several authors and works of genre interest were on the 2017 Edgar Awards shortlist, including Peter Ackroyd, Ally Condie, Stephen King, Justine Larbalestier, Joyce Carol Oates, and Bram Stoker, among others. Max Allan Collins was made Grand Master.

The Edgar Allan Poe Awards, “honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television,” were presented April 27, 2017 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York NY.

For more information, including the full list of nominees and winners, see the Edgar Awards website.

28 April 2017 15:05 - 2017 Dragon Awards Voting Open

Posted by LocusHQ

Voting for the 2017 Dragon Awards is now open. Votes can be cast online and are open to the public. Winners will be honored during the 2017 Dragon Con, happening September 1-4, 2017 in Atlanta GA. Voting closes July 24, 2017.

27 April 2017 23:01 - Cloak and Dagger

Posted by Fonder

The die is cast.

This comic brought to you courtesy of my amazing patrons. Special thanks to:
Karen Carpenter, Gary Cooper, Dan Cunningham, Colin Dellow, ‘Giz’, Reece Hall, Erica Holcombe, Yuliya Levina, Jonna Märijärvi, Coté Nicholas, ‘Scott’



People can find what’s healthiest for them a lot of different ways, and polyamory was one of those ways for me!

Want a signed (and kissed) copy of my new graphic novel before it’s available to the public? LOVE, RETOLD: a polyamorous love story <3 <3 <3https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/pre-release-signed-copies-of-love-retold-lgbt/x/9407486

27 April 2017 08:56 - Meditation on Motherhood

Posted by Lisa

 

My girl is adopted.  She is my biological niece, and my daughter. We are four and a half years into our relationship together. I  unexpectedly became her mother at the age of forty nine years old, (after twenty five years of being a professional infant toddler caregiver and educator), under the most unusual and trying of circumstances. We have had quite the journey together. Late last year, she was diagnosed as autistic. This is a short meditation on what becoming and being her mother has meant to me, what I have struggled with, and what I am learning from her. I am sharing it with hope that it might speak to and inspire you, no matter what your story or your circumstances.

I am my child’s mother. She chose me. I chose her. I am a good mother to and for my child. I am not a perfect person or a perfect mother, but I am the perfect mother to and for my child. I love my child. More importantly, I am committed to parenting her respectfully. I show up and do my best every day. I try to see her and understand her for who she is, apart from me. I try to honor her and her unique person-hood and journey and to give her what she needs to survive and thrive. I observe and listen to her closely, and let my intuition guide me to meet her true needs in the way that serves her best.

I  remain open. In meeting her needs, I also try to honor myself, to be real and authentic in relationship to her. I recognize that I have needs, limits, and boundaries, and it is OK and important to assert them. I can’t always meet all of her needs or demands in a perfect or total way, as she would wish, and sometimes, she may be upset with me for setting limits, and that is OK. I need only to acknowledge her feelings, and to continue to be open, to listen, to observe.

I continue to seek, to question, to do my best for her and for myself. I won’t quit. I won’t leave. I won’t give up on either of us. I won’t stop loving her, listening to her,  or trying to understand her. I will make mistakes. I will fall. I will fail. I will misunderstand. But I will learn from my mistakes. I will admit them. I will apologize. I will seek, ask for, and accept help for both of us, if need be. I will move on. And so will she.

 

I choose to believe that my love, my commitment, my trying is enough. Good enough. Enough to make a difference for her and for me. Enough to bond us together. Enough to nurture her and launch her into the world in a happy (enough), healthy (enough) way so that she can survive and thrive. Her journey, her experience of life, of people, will be different than mine, and that, I believe, is a good thing. Although she has experienced much struggle in her short life, I hope that our relationship will be a bedrock for her, even when I am no longer present on this earth. I hope she will learn and feel that although I am not perfect, although I often feel inadequate, broken, lost, and alone, although I often make mistakes, I show up for her. I seek to see her for who she is, to celebrate her unique strengths. I believe in her. I am there as a guide, and on her side, not hovering, but available. I am her greatest advocate and cheerleader. She is my greatest teacher. I aim to make better and different choices for both of us, than were made for me when I was growing up. I strive to understand myself and my past in order not to revisit upon her what was done to me.

Again, I am not perfect. I fall. I fail. I make mistakes. But always, I get up and try again. I lead with love. I lead with a desire to know, understand, and celebrate her for exactly who she is. I lead with an open heart and an open mind. I continue to learn and grow so that she can learn and grow. We are a work in progress, both of us, and our relationship. It is perfect as it is, even when it doesn’t look pretty from the outside, or the sailing isn’t smooth.

I love. I love. I love. I show up. I try. I try. I try. I trust. I let go. She lights the way for both of us. And that is enough. That is all. May she grow up to know this. May she feel it. May it be enough. It is enough. It is all.

On Children
Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

With love and thanks to the many therapists, teachers, friends, and families, too numerous to mention, who have prepared me, guided me, inspired me, and supported me in this journey, but most especially, to Magda Gerber, and Janet Lansbury.

Posted by Richa

Indian Spiced Smashed Potatoes with Mustard Ginger Tempering. Bonda like Samosa is a spiced potato snack. These smashed potatoes are topped with Bonda style tempering of ginger, chile, turmeric and mustard seeds. Vegan Gluten-free Recipe. 

Indian Spiced Smashed Potatoes with Mustard Ginger Tempering. Bonda like Samosa is a spiced potato snack. These smashed potatoes are topped with Bonda style tempering of ginger, chile, turmeric and mustard seeds. Love Indian Snacks Like Samosa or Bonda? Then you will love these. All the flavor, half the work! #Vegan #Glutenfree #veganricha #nutfree #soyfree #Recipe | VeganRicha.com

There are many many ways potatoes are used in Indian cuisine especially for snack options. Samosa is one of the popular snack. Bondas, Vada pav, Cutlets, patties, stuffed potato balls, mashed potato and chutney sandwiches, dabeli, masala pav, many chaat options and on and on. Most use long processes and often are deep fried. These Baked Smashed potatoes need just about 20 minutes active time and no frying! All the flavors, less work and a great looking dish!

Bonda (mashed potato fritters) are somewhat like samosas. They are bites of mashed potatoes that have been spiced with a tempering /tadka of mustard, ginger, turmeric & chile. The potatoes are rolled into bite size balls which are dipped in chickpea flour batter and fried (generally gluten-free if the restaurants use only chickpea flour). You can find a recipe for Baked Aloo bonda in my Indian Kitchen book

I use the Bonda tempering as a dressing on these smashed potatoes. Depending on the spices used, these would be Bonda Smashed potatoes or Samosa smashed potatoes or just Indian Smashed potatoes. Love potatoes? Love Samosas or other Indian spiced snacks? Then make these addictive Crispy Spiced Smashed Potatoes! Serve these with a dash of lemon juice or with Mint Chutney or Tamarind Chutney.  

Continue reading: Spiced Smashed Potatoes with Mustard Ginger Tempering

The post Spiced Smashed Potatoes with Mustard Ginger Tempering appeared first on Vegan Richa.

25 April 2017 22:16 - 2017 Spectrum Awards Winners

Posted by admin

The 2017 Spectrum Awards gold and silver medal winners were announced at the Spectrum 24 Awards Ceremony, April 22, 2017, at the Folly Theater in Kansas City MO.

Advertising

  • Gold Award: “Hunting”, Bayard Wu
  • Silver Award: “Daredevil”, Greg Ruth
  • “Hell”, Kellan Jett
  • “Carnival of Souls”, Edward Kinsella III
  • “Savages”, Bill Mayer

Book

  • Gold Award: “Lamia”, Brom
  • Silver Award: “Danneee”, Edward Kinsella III
  • “Red Tide”, Richard Anderson
  • “On the Wheel”, Tommy Arnold
  • “Tamiel”, Goni Montes

Comics

  • Gold Award: Chimera Brigade #5, Jeremy Wilson
  • Silver Award: Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash, Dave McKean
  • Guardians of the Galaxy #19 cover, Arthur Adams
  • Drifter #13, pages 8 and 9, Nic Klein
  • “Swallowed Whole”, David Palumbo

Concept Art

  • Gold Award: “Court of the Dead: Voxxingard”, Sean Murray
  • Silver Award: “Minion 5”, Iain McCaig
  • “Secret of Seda”, Te Hu
  • “Hill Giant Queen”, Tyler Jacobson
  • “Fortress Africa”, Ronan Le Fur

Dimensional

  • Gold Award: “Dress-Up Frog Legs”, Jesse Thompson
  • Silver Award: “Nephila”, Akihito
  • “Oglavaeil The Executioner”, Amilcar Fong
  • “Yevabog”, Virginie Ropars
  • “The Corruption of Father O’Malley”, Dug Stanat

Editorial

  • Gold Award: “Beyonce ‘Lemonade'”, Tim O’Brien
  • Silver Award: “Seven Salt Tears”, Galen Dara
  • “Broken Concentration”, Clint Cearley
  • “La Beaute Sans Vertu”, Tran Nguyen
  • “War Music”, Armando Veve

Institutional

  • Gold Award: “Ms. Hatter and a Smile”, Bill Carman
  • Silver Award: “William Finds Some Flowers and a Giant”, Ed Binkley
  • “Accursed Witch”, Wesley Burt
  • “Mojo Jojo Circa 1897”, Travis Louie
  • “Tie Fighter Down”, Stephan Martiniere

Unpublished

  • Gold Award: “The Death I Bring”, Karla Ortiz
  • Silver Award: “Orange Skies”, Jeffrey Alan Love
  • “Stealth”, J.A.W. Cooper
  • “375”, Diego Fernandez
  • “Lagoon”, Greg Ruth

Grand Master

  • Bill Sienkiewicz

For more information, including images of the art, see the Flesk and Spectrum Fantastic Art blog.

Posted by JenniferP

Hi Captain,

My husband, at the ripe age of 35, is losing his hair. He has had luxuriant long locks since he was a young teenager, long before I knew him. He fought multiple administrative battles with his conservative Catholic high school’s dress code in order to keep it. He considers it an inextricable part of the identity he constructed that turned him from a sad, isolated kid into an adult with a social community. In his own words, he can no longer picture himself without long hair. Nevertheless, it’s visibly thinning on top–and he knows it.

His anxiety over this is really ramping up: he bought a second mirror so he can examine the top/back of his head, he’s exploring combover-like hair arrangements to hide the thin area, and the angst performance over every stray hair in the shower drain trap is… heartbreaking. Also more than a little annoying.

I’m a fat woman, Captain. I have never in my life looked the way I wanted to, much less the way society told me I ought to. After thirty years, I’m largely over it in most circumstances… but when my husband starts up this new routine about his hair, part of me wants nothing more than to roll my eyes and notify the whaaaambulance. As a bonus, my husband is quite thin, and has done the dance of fat-shaming in the guise of “concern for your health” at me in the past, so that resentment lingers a bit. (Even though I did break him of that habit and it hasn’t come up in years, I can’t avoid the basic truth that he’s thin and I’m fat and I have feelings about that.)

I want to be supportive, but at the same time I dread the day he actually asks my opinion of the effectiveness of his combover techniques (spoilers: they are super not effective). Right now all my buried bitterness about my own body wells up in my throat when he gets started about how many hairs fell out during his latest post-shower brushing, so I just kind of shrug and nod sympathetically to avoid choking on it. Do you have any scripts for soothing sounds I can make in response to his escalating sads-spirals?

Signed,
Some of Us Have Never Been Beautiful, Howl

Dear Some Of Us:

When you’ve expressed uncomfortable feelings about your body in the past, is there any soothing thing a thin person could have said to you to make you feel better?

True story, a thin friend recently offered to sort through plus size dresses online to help me find something to wear to an event, and while she found the least hideous-shoulder-cutout-boob-sequined-couch-upholstery looking things that fell within my many parameters, the best part about it was afterward when she said:

“I gotta say.
Shopping for plus-sized lady stuff
The prints, Jen. The prints.
It was awful.”

I love her so much for it, because, while she’s always quick to say “You’re beautiful!” it was amazing to have her, for one brief second, know and affirm how much things can suck out there. #YOUSEEME #YOUREALLYSEEME #letmypeoplehavesleeves

Applying this to your husband’s hair loss, I think the best soothing noise you could make is some version of affirming his feelings of anxiety and loss. Nodding sympathetically works. “Aw man, that sucks!” works. If he asks for more of a response, try “Your hair is so pretty, I know it sucks to lose it so much earlier than you planned.” “No advice, just sympathy.” Resist the urge to flood him with supportive “Bald Is Beautiful”* memes and let him come to his own peace with it in his own time.

Edited to Add: I had this as a P.S. but I want to emphasize this: There is a reason that this is bringing up old feels about body image. You (understandably) had and have a lot of feelings about having a body that is seen as non-standard, not sexy, not lovable, not celebrated, and downright discriminated against by our culture. You’ve made an uneasy peace with those feelings and didn’t ask your husband to manage them for you. In fact, you had to do a lot of emotional labor to shut down his harmful attempts to manage them. But now, it feels like he is asking you to be the audience and cheerleader while he manages his feelings about getting older. You don’t have to manage his feelings about aging and baldness. Nodding sympathetically and saying, “Aw, that sucks” is enough “work” around this issue. Giving him a lot of space to work through it himself is actually a kind thing to do. If he’s looking for something else, he needs to come out and ask you or tell you what that is.[/Edit]

At some point, when he asks your opinion, or if his unhappiness escalates or shows no sign of stopping, here’s your script: “Husband, I can tell this is stressing you out a lot, and I hate seeing you so unhappy about it. I don’t know the first thing about styling men’s hair, and I think it’s time to call in a great barber or hair stylist who can help you work with it and make you feel maximally handsome.

Once you’ve invoked this stylist/barber, you can defer everything to them. “I look at you every day, I’m not a good judge. Let a professional at it!

He’s 100% gonna say; “But they’ll just cut it off or tell me to cut it off!” to which you can truthfully say “Maybe so, but they won’t actually cut it off unless that’s your decision, too. Why not work with someone who knows what they are doing?

To use the example from your letter, you are at peace with your body (mostly). But if you talked about being unhappy with it every day, it would be okay if someone close to you said “Hey, this is clearly making you unhappy, and I don’t feel right commenting on it, but I also want you to have every bit of support and help you deserve, so, who can we call?” Finding a fat-friendly doctor is much more of a crapshoot than finding a barber who can gently steer your husband into his post-ponytail life.

*About those “Bald Is Beautiful” images: One thing that got me to be more comfortable with my fat body was looking at beautiful images of fat people – from the Fatshionista LJ Community in Ye Olden Tymes to various fashion blogs. Our media culture is so saturated with fatphobia that this process was an important part of normalizing eye so I could see myself. If your husband were writing to me, I’d tell him to build a Jason Statham/Luke Cage Pinterest board post-haste. Since he isn’t the one writing, it would probably be overstepping if you did it for him. I’m putting this here in case it helps another baldy or future baldy. Retrain your eye!

 


Posted by Editor

News from SFWA:

After three years of service as Vice President, M.C.A. Hogarth has stepped down. Director at Large Erin Hartshorn has agreed to fill in as interim Vice President until a formal election in May of 2018.

SFWA President Cat Rambo says, “I’m sorry to see Maggie go; her efforts have been vital in moving SFWA along in recent years, and I will deeply miss her input on the weekly calls. One of my maxims will remain, ‘What would Maggie say?’”

Among the projects Ms. Hogarth worked on during the past three years are: the Partnerships Program, which builds relationship between SFWA and organizations like Amazon, Patreon, Kickstarter, and Audible; the SFWA Guidebook, a work-in-progress designed to acquaint members with the wealth of services SFWA offers; the Self-Publishing Committee; the SFWA Star Project Initiative; and SFWA Ed, an educational initiative which will eventually benefit writers both within and outside of SFWA. Her work will not be wasted, and we are appreciative of all the groundwork she has laid. The SFWA Board unanimously wishes Ms. Hogarth well in her future endeavors.

Ms. Hartshorn’s Director at Large position will be filled by an interim Director appointed by the President and approved by the board; an announcement will be forthcoming. Rambo adds, “It’s been heartening to find so many people willing to step up and run for SFWA office recently; I hope to see this trend continue in the next election cycle.”

Posted by Editor

The five Philip K. Dick Award judges for distinguished science fiction published in paperback original format in the United States in the 2017 award year are:

Robert Onopa
1040 Manuawili Loop
Kailua, HI 96734-4621

Deborah J. Ross
14775 Virginia Avenue
Boulder Creek CA 95006-9314

James Stoddard
67 S. Lakeshore Drive
Ransom Canyon, TX 79366-2406

Amy Thomson
1505 SW Alaska Street
Seattle, WA 98106-1510

Rick Wilber
801 Park Street North
St. Petersburg, FL 33710-4314

Publishers who issue eligible titles during the calendar year 2017 are encouraged to provide copies to each of the judges as the books are published during the year.  (All works of science fiction published originally in the United States as paperbacks during the year 2017 are eligible.) The nominees will be announced in January 2018.

The Philip K. Dick Award is presented annually with the support of the Philip K. Dick Trust for distinguished science fiction published in paperback original form in the United States.  The award is sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society and the award ceremony is sponsored by the Northwest Science Fiction Society.  The 2017 award for work published in 2016 was given to THE MERCY JOURNALS by Claudia Casper (Arsenal Pulp Press) with a special citation to UNPRONOUNCEABLE by Susan diRende (Aqueduct Press).  The 2018 awards will be announced on March 30, 2018 at Norwescon 41.

25 April 2017 15:55 - An Apology

Posted by fozmeadows

One of the perils of being an innately contrary, frequently combative person is that you sometimes find yourself backed into a corner entirely of your own making, attacking in defence for no better reason than that it doesn’t occur to you to do otherwise. My psyche is friable of late; that doesn’t excuse bad behaviour.

Yesterday evening, I put up a thread of tweets about my editorial experience with my forthcoming book, A Tyranny of Queens. My comments were made in response to a different thread about fellow genderqueer author JY Yang’s difficulties in having the singular they accepted in their work. The thread struck a powerful chord with me: I felt moved to reply, and did so, as I often do in such instances.

The issue itself is important; vitally so. But the approach I took in broaching it was not.

In writing the thread, I made an early factual error: the editor in question, Amanda Rutter, was my structural editor, not my CE. That distinction is an obvious and crucial one to other, more experienced writers and professionals, but I am still a journeyman in that respect; I apologise for the confusion. I also erred in assuming that, because I hadn’t named Amanda directly, I’d somehow left her out of it; that I was discussing her editing in, not exactly a vacuum, but a context where her identity was both ambiguous and beside the point. I thought – inasmuch as it occurred to me to think – that, even assuming someone did realise who I was talking about, it wouldn’t actually matter, because the actual issue was a wider one.

As a social media veteran, I should have known better. I should have thought better, and I’m very sorry that I didn’t.

In referencing Amanda as clearly as I did – in citing her comments without first giving her warning or recourse to response; in letting my personal upset colour my discussion of an issue that exists beyond me – I behaved both badly and unprofessionally. My sincere apologies to Amanda for doing this; she deserved better of me.

I would also like to apologise to my publisher, Angry Robot, and to all the amazing people there who’ve worked with me, especially Marc Gascoigne and Phil Jordan. A Tyranny of Queens is a book which I’m immensely proud to have written, and the final product would be nowhere near as strong without the feedback, help and encouragement I’ve received from the AR team. Though hindsight renders the conviction both naïve and ridiculous, I can say with utter sincerity that I never intended any criticism of Angry Robot, whom I’ve always felt honoured to work with, and I’m furious with myself for slighting them in any way. I’m deeply sorry for this.

I’m sorry for putting my agency, Red Sofa Literary, in a position where they had to deal with my unprofessionalism, and I’m sorry for letting my actions detract from a very serious and necessary conversation, one I should have had the sense to contribute to in a far more productive manner.

It has long been my position that deleting things you said on the internet as a belated form of takebacks is a bad idea. For one thing, screenshots and retweets exist: removing the originals doesn’t ever stop their circulation, but rather tends to increase it, as the act of retraction makes more people eager to see and preserve what was (intemperately or wrongly) said. For another, and with very few exceptions, it strikes me as a gross way of pretending that the conversation never actually took place, like a form of self-distancing. This is why I’m leaving the thread itself intact: other conversations more useful than the original have sprung up from it and within it, and in a forum like Twitter, deleting any retweeted content is rather akin to shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted. I said these things, and now I have apologised for them, and I hope that a more productive conversation will subsequently come from it.

I am sorry.


Posted by Marissa Lingen

Review copy provided by the author, who is a personal friend.

In the last decade or so I have met more people who are reluctant to begin a series that isn’t published in its entirety, with the objection that the author may drag it on forever or may die without finishing it. Marie Brennan’s Lady Trent series has, with its fifth volume, reached its conclusion, so if you’re one of those people, please know that there is not just a stopping point but an ending here.

The series has followed–with lavish illustrations–the career of a lady naturalist specializing in dragons in a world that is not ours but has some very clear analogs. Her own country is not-Victorian-England, and in this book she travels to not-Tibet, following the trail of very rare and unusual dragon specimens. What results calls on all the skills she has spent the previous four books acquiring–in her own science but also in linguistics, archaeology, diplomacy.

If historical approaches to science are your jam–and they are mine–you will want this series. If you like adventure fantasy, there are plenty of death-defying feats and hairs-breadth escapes too. And it’s all told in the chatty tone of an elderly lady looking back on a life well-lived. Recommended.

Please consider using our link to buy Within the Sanctuary of Wings from Amazon. (Or if you’re just starting, A Natural History of Dragons.)

Posted by LocusHQ

The Hugo Awards ballot entry for best fan artist was revised April 21, 2017 due to nominee Alex Garner being disqualified. He was replaced by Steve Stiles.

The revised Hugo Awards Ballot and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer are below, as announced by Worldcon 75, the 75th World Science Fiction Convention, to be held in Helsinki, Finland, August 9-13, 2017.

Best Novel (2,078 nominating ballots)

Best Novella (1,410) 

Best Novelette (1,097)

  • “The Art of Space Travel”, Nina Allan (Tor.com 7/27/16)
  • “Touring with the Alien”, Carolyn Ives Gilman (Clarkesworld 4/16)
  • Alien Stripper Boned from Behind by the T-Rex, Stix Hiscock (self-published)
  • “The Tomato Thief”, Ursula Vernon (Apex 1/5/16)
  • The Jewel and Her Lapidary, Fran Wilde (Tor.com Publishing)
  • “You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay”, Alyssa Wong (Uncanny 5-6/16)

Best Short Story (1,275)

  • “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies”, Brooke Bolander (Uncanny 11-12/16)
  • “Seasons of Glass and Iron”, Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood)
  • “The City Born Great”, N.K. Jemisin (Tor.com 9/28/16)
  • “That Game We Played During the War, Carrie Vaughn (Tor.com 3/16/16)
  • “A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers”, Alyssa Wong (Tor.com 3/2/16)
  • “An Unimaginable Light”, John C. Wright (God, Robot)

Best Related Work (1,122)

Best Graphic Story (842)

Best Dramatic Presentation — Long (1,733)

  • Arrival
  • Deadpool
  • Ghostbusters
  • Hidden Figures
  • Rogue One
  • Stranger Things, Season One

Best Dramatic Presentation — Short (1,159)

  • Black Mirror: “San Junipero”
  • Doctor Who: “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”
  • The Expanse: “Leviathan Wakes”
  • Game of Thrones: “Battle of the Bastards”
  • Game of Thrones: “The Door”
  • Splendor & Misery

Best Professional Editor Short Form (951)

  • John Joseph Adams
  • Neil Clarke
  • Ellen Datlow
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas
  • Sheila Williams

Best Professional Editor Long Form (752)

  • Vox Day
  • Sheila E. Gilbert
  • Liz Gorinsky
  • Devi Pillai
  • Miriam Weinberg
  • Navah Wolfe

 Best Professional Artist (817)

  • Galen Dara
  • Julie Dillon
  • Chris McGrath
  • Victo Ngai
  • John Picacio
  • Sana Takeda

Best Semiprozine (857)

  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies
  • Cirsova Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine
  • GigaNotoSaurus
  • Strange Horizons
  • Uncanny Magazine
  • The Book Smugglers

Best Fanzine (610)

  • Castalia House Blog
  • Journey Planet
  • Lady Business
  • nerds of a feather, flock together
  • Rocket Stack Rank
  • SF Bluestocking

Best Fancast (690)

  • The Coode Street Podcast
  • Ditch Diggers
  • Fangirl Happy Hour
  • Galactic Suburbia
  • The Rageaholic
  • Tea & Jeopardy

Best Fan Writer (802)

  • Mike Glyer
  • Jeffro Johnson
  • Natalie Luhrs
  • Foz Meadows
  • Abigail Nussbaum
  • Chuck Tingle 

Best Fan Artist (528)

  • Ninni Aalto
  • Alex Garner
  • Vesa Lehtimäki
  • Likhain (M. Sereno)
  • Spring Schoenhuth
  • Steve Stiles**
  • Mansik Yang

Best Series (1,393)

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer [Not a Hugo Award] (933)

  • Sarah Gailey
  • J. Mulrooney
  • *Malka Older
  • Ada Palmer
  • *Laurie Penny
  • *Kelly Robson

* Finalists in their 2nd year of eligibility.

** Added to ballot April 21, 2017.

Final voting for the Hugo Awards will close on July 15, 2017.

24 April 2017 19:49 - Garner Withdrawn from Hugos

Posted by LocusHQ

Alex Garner has been removed from the Best Fan Artist category for the 2017 Hugo Awards.

In a statement released April 21, 2017, Hugo Awards Administrator Nicholas Whyte said:

Alex Garner, who was announced as a finalist in the Best Fan Artist category for the 2017 Hugo Awards on 4 April, has notified the Hugo administrators that in fact the entirety of his published 2016 work was professional and not fan art.

With regret, we have no alternative but to disqualify him as a finalist for Best Fan Artist. We very much appreciate his candour in dealing with this awkward situation, and respect his integrity in bringing the matter to our attention.

His place on the ballot for Best Fan Artist will be taken by the next available candidate, Steve Stiles. Paper Hugo ballots will be reprinted and the online Hugo ballot (which will go live shortly) will be amended accordingly.

The revised final ballot for Best Fan Artist is therefore:

Ninni Aalto
Vesa Lehtimäki
Likhain (M. Sereno)
Spring Schoenhuth
Steve Stiles
Mansik Yang

24 April 2017 19:47 - 2017 Chesley Awards Nominees

Posted by LocusHQ

The 2017 Chesley Awards nominees have been announced:

Best Cover Illustration: Hardcover

Best Cover Illustration: Paperback or E-book

Best Cover Illustration: Magazine

Best Interior Illustration

  • Rovina Cai for “Tom, Thom,” K.M. Ferebee (Tor.com 2/16)
  • Kari Christensen for Court of the Dead: Chronicle of the Underworld, Tom Gilliland (Insight Comics)
  • Tran Nguyen for Kushiel’s Dart, Jacqueline Carey (Subterranean)
  • Greg Ruth for “Freedom is Space for the Spirit”, Glen Hirshberg (Tor.com 4/16)
  • Ivica Stevanovic for The Bestiary, Ann VanderMeer, ed. (Centipede)

Best Color Work: Unpublished

  • John Harris for “The Ark” (oil)
  • Vanessa Lemen for “Holding On and Letting Go” (oil on canvas)
  • Miranda Meeks for “December” (digital)
  • Shreya Shetty for “The Dragon Charmer” (digital)
  • Michael Whelan for “In a World of Her Own” (acrylic)

Best Monochrome Work: Unpublished

  • Marcela Bolivar for “White Crown” (Photoshop)
  • Jana Heidersdorf for “Darkness Acrylics” (pencil & digital)
  • Travis Lewis for “Soul Engine” (graphite)
  • Ruth Sanderson for “Luna” (scratchboard)
  • Allen Williams for “The Fall of Night” (pencil)

Best Three-Dimensional Art

  • Akihito Ikeda for “Nephila” (mixed media)
  • Thomas Kuebler for “Medusa” (mixed media)
  • Forest Rogers for “La Belle Crustace” (premier air-dry clay & washi paper)
  • Virginie Ropars for “The Evil Eye” (mixed media)
  • Lee Shamel for “The Scepter of the Crystal Flame” (mixed media)

Best Gaming-Related Illustration

  • Mauricio Calle for “Encounter at Stygeon Prime” (Fantasy Flight Games)
  • Cliff Childs for “Long-Finned Skywhale” (Wizards of the Coast)
  • Ryan Pancoast for “Inventor’s Apprentice” (Wizards of the Coast)
  • Matthew Stewart for “Mastertrinketeer” (Wizards of the Coast)
  • Ryan Yee for “Die Young” (Wizards of the Coast)

Best Product Illustration

  • Donato Giancola for Portal Promotional art for Illuxcon
  • Clark Huggins for Advertisement for RECKLESS DECK (ImagineFX 2/16)
  • John Picacio for “La Corona” (illustration from his Loteria series)
  • Cynthia Sheppard for Llewellyn’s 2017 Astrological Calendar (Llewellyn)
  • Greg Spalenka for banner art to promote Roxana Illuminated Perfume

Best Art Director

  • Neil Clarke
  • Irene Gallo
  • Sheila Gilbert & Betsy Wollheim
  • Lauren Panepinto
  • Cynthia Sheppard

Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award

  • Greg Manchess
  • Iain McCaig
  • Hayao Miyazaki
  • Wendy Pini
  • Drew Struzan
  • Berni Wrightson

The awards are given by the Association of Science Fiction & Fantasy Artists (ASFA). Winners will be announced at NorthAmeriCon 17, to be held July 6-9 2017 at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel and Casino in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

24 April 2017 19:44 - 2017 Hugo Awards Voting Open

Posted by LocusHQ

Voting for the 2017 Hugo Awards and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer is now open. Votes can be cast online or by paper ballot. The Hugo administrators “hope to have the Hugo Packet available by May.” Voting will close July 15, 2017 at 11:59 PM PDT.

Posted by LocusHQ

The five judges for next year’s Philip K. Dick Award have been announced. Works of science fiction published as paperback originals in the US during the year 2017 are eligible for the award.

  • Robert Onopa, 1040 Manuawili Loop, Kailua HI 96734-4621
  • Deborah J. Ross, 14775 Virginia Avenue, Boulder Creek CA 95006-9314
  • James Stoddard, 67 S. Lakeshore Drive, Ransom Canyon TX 79366-2406
  • Amy Thomson, 1505 SW Alaska Street, Seattle WA 98106-1510
  • Rick Wilber, 801 Park Street North, St. Petersburg FL 33710-4314

Publishers are encouraged to mail copies of eligible books to all judges. Nominees will be announced in January 2018.

Posted by Marissa Lingen

The politics of the last year have clarified a lot of things for a lot of people. For me, it’s the futility of the argument that comes of the form “you should care about this thing I don’t. I can see why it feels like a winner. It looks like a slam-dunk! By my values, this person or thing is bad for x reasons–and by your values, this person or thing is bad for y reasons–and therefore even though we do not agree, we should both oppose this person or thing! Yay! Logic prevails and everyone emerges better off!

Here’s where this goes wrong: 1) Making an argument that something you don’t care about should be important to someone else is hardly ever convincing. Quite often you don’t understand the nuances of what it is they care about fully since it’s not your thing. Even when you do, it’s hard to put your back into the argument since it’s not your thing. “But you said!” does not sound sharp and politically savvy, it sounds like you are 6 years old and trying to get another 10 minutes before bedtime. “But you said you believed in family values, you said!” Even if they did say. Being technically correct that they did say does not change the other person’s position.

2) Let’s say you win! “You’re right!” says the other person. “I will bump this thing you don’t value up my priority queue for decision-making in future!” Oh…good…now you’ve reinforced that people should not be allowed to flee abusive marriages, or that we should all spend a lot of time angry about what color the president’s suit is, or any of a number of other things that you don’t believe.

I’ve seen people do this across the political spectrum, and it basically never works. When people say “find common ground,” this is not actually what they mean. They mean the points where you can honestly mean it when you say, “I think we can agree that this is important. I think this deserves your attention.”

When I was taking my first high school debate class, my debate coach (who was otherwise great) got really excited about gotcha questions, “when did you stop beating your wife” questions. He acted like they would be a key skill. But gotcha questions in debates were pretty rare, and they were only as good as your opponent’s willingness to run with them, which was usually pretty minimal. In real life they’re even less useful, because literally nothing forces any human brain–including mine, including yours–to be internally consistent. I suspect that this is what we find so appealing about the stories where robots and computers can be done in with a logical paradox: it’s because we can’t. Finding a gotcha where your sibling, your next-door neighbor, your co-worker has said they believe in one thing politically and then are supporting someone who does another thing–or are even doing another thing themselves–does not force them to say, “You’re right, I will change my position on one of these two things.” Let’s find things we really do value in common–or find ways to maneuver around the people who don’t. Because “you ought to react this way” has never once gotten a person to react in the specified way.

Posted by Richa

Turmeric Carrot Muffins. These sunshine muffins have carrots, dry or fresh turmeric, fresh ginger and chia seeds. Coconut rounds up the flavor for a caramelized carrot ginger turmeric profile along with cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg. Add nuts to these Turmeric muffins. No added sugar or oil needed. Vegan Soyfree Nut-free Recipe. Gluten-free option. 

Turmeric Carrot Muffins. These sunshine muffins have carrots, dry or fresh turmeric, fresh ginger and chia seeds. Coconut rounds up the flavor for a caramelized carrot ginger turmeric profile. Add nuts or dried fruit of choice to these Turmeric muffins. No added sugar or oil needed. Vegan Soyfree Nut-free Recipe Gluten-free option| VeganRicha.com

These muffins are sunshine for the dreary mornings. Golden bites filled with chia, coconut, carrots and turmeric. The fresh sweet carrots when blended release their sweet juices and along with some maple syrup are enough sweetness for the muffin. Turmeric intensifies the color and adds its benefits in these easy muffins. Add cinnamon cashew frosting from my Carrot Cake Loaf to make decadent dessert or carrot cupcakes. 

These carrot muffins can be made with fresh turmeric root or powdered turmeric. Turmeric and fresh ginger root add a burst of flavor. Coconut rounds up the flavor for a caramelized carrot ginger turmeric profile. Add nuts or dried fruit of choice. You can bake it into a loaf or make these gluten-free. See notes on the Recipe below. 

Continue reading: Turmeric Carrot Muffins with Chia & Coconut

The post Turmeric Carrot Muffins with Chia & Coconut appeared first on Vegan Richa.



I’m often surprised by how many people feel the need to argue with me about whether or not bisexual, polyamorous, or nonbinary people ::really:: exist.  I exist whether or not you believe it.

Support Kimchi Cuddles by becoming a patron! Thank you SO MUCH for your support!! <3 https://www.patreon.com/kimchicuddles

21 April 2017 17:46 - Hanson Wins GUFF

Posted by admin

Donna Maree Hanson (Australia) has won the 2017 Get Up-and-over Fan Fund (GUFF). The 2017 fund will send Hanson to Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, Finland. Other candidates on the ballot were Sam Hawke, Belle McQuattie, and Alexandra Pierce.

GUFF is open to anyone who has been active in science fiction fandom before the start of the previous year. Candidates for a northbound trip must be residents of Australia or New Zealand. Anyone active in fandom before the start of the previous year may nominate and vote for a candidate.

For the results of the vote, see the Australian Fan Funds website.

21 April 2017 17:45 - 2017 Gemmell Awards Shortlist

Posted by admin

The 2017 David Gemmell Awards shortlists have been announced:

The Legend Award for Best Fantasy Novel

 

The Morningstar Award for Best Fantasy Newcomer

 

The Ravenheart Award for Best Fantasy Cover Art

  • Alessandro Baldaserroni for the cover of Black Rift by Josh Reynolds (Black Library)
  • Jason Chan for the cover of The Wheel of Osheim by Mark Lawrence (Harper Voyager)
  • Sam Green for the cover of The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson (Gollancz)
  • Kerby Rosannes for the cover of Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (Harper Voyager)
  • Paul Young for the cover of Wrath by John Gwynne (Tor)

Voting is open until midnight on June 2, 2017 (GMT). The winners will be honored at a ceremony July 15, 2017 at Edge-Lit 6 in Derby, UK. For more, see the official Gemmell Awards website.

21 April 2017 13:30 - Attention

Posted by Fonder

Humans can be so annoying.

This comic brought to you courtesy of my amazing patrons. Special thanks to:
Karen Carpenter, Gary Cooper, Dan Cunningham, Colin Dellow, ‘Giz’, Reece Hall, Erica Holcombe, Yuliya Levina, Jonna Märijärvi, Coté Nicholas, ‘Scott’

Posted by janet

What does it feel like when sleep is working in a family? This is a very satisfying time when babies, toddlers and parents are all getting restful, rejuvenating and dependable sleep, when both bedtime and nap are peaceful, relaxed, serene and certain. Although this may sound like a dream, sleep that truly works can become a part of any family’s daily and nightly reality.

Alex phoned me for a consultation about her nine-month-old baby Olivia. 

“I don’t know what happened. Things were going so well. I would nurse Olivia to sleep, and she slept for four and five hour stretches. Now she is up every hour or two. It feels like I have a newborn again.

Suddenly everything we were doing has stopped working. I nurse her to sleep, and as soon as I start to lower her into the crib, her eyes pop wide open, she bolts upright and screams. Once we finally get her back to sleep, it starts all over again. Nothing is working anymore. Help!”

This is a familiar sleep scenario that I hear in one form or another almost every week, although it’s not always about nursing.  Sometimes the linchpin of a baby’s sleep routine is rocking, sitting or lying down with her, walking, strolling, or patting. Whatever the mechanism, what used to work doesn’t anymore.

When I spoke with Alex, her voice became low and hushed. This part of the call always feels a bit confessional. “I know I’ve done it all wrong.” My response is: “No, you did it just right – but for longer than necessary.”

Simply put, Olivia was sleeping (and awakening) like a newborn because Olivia was being responded to like a newborn. Although Olivia didn’t need to be nursed to sleep anymore at this stage of her development, Alex never changed the routine, so it was all that Olivia knew. But with nine months of experience under her baby belt, Olivia is smart. She is ready to apply all she has learned about her parents and her world to learning how to sleep on her own with less of Alex’s help.

Infants are the best learners on the planet. 

In the beginning (birth – four months) feeding and sleep form a symbiotic relationship.  Falling blissfully to sleep during or after feeding happens naturally. The experience also serves as a critical element in establishing secure attachment, which occurs organically if interactions with the mother or caregiver are emotionally attuned and connected.

The quality of this connection can be realized whether we co-sleep or crib sleep, and the healthy bond is created whether we bottle feed or breast feed. It is the quality of the connection more than the quantity of connections that cements the bond. I want moms to relax with newborns because mom’s emotional state is a key factor in helping her infant to soothe and regulate.

No matter how a newborn is doing sleep, it changes, and more ability and comfort with “falling” is realized as development unfolds. Going from sleepy to asleep on their own doesn’t have to be realized in the first weeks of life.  If they fall asleep in our arms on occasion, it is no big deal. It is an incremental process that they learn on their own.

Infants learn exponentially, especially from repetition and routine.  Children build on what they have learned over time, and they apply their learning from one experience to the next.  Home is a familiar environment, so that makes for rapid learning.

For nine months Olivia has watched Alex come and go. She has learned that every time Alex leaves the room or the house, she always returns. Olivia started crawling at six months and now has her own experiential process of coming and going. Alex noticed right away that Olivia moved out and into the world with joy and curiosity. This is because Olivia has trust in her parents and her environment. Already pulling herself up to a standing position, Olivia has gained some experience with falling, and this will help her in falling to sleep because it means letting go, which takes trust and some experience to know that it’s safe and even pleasurable.

Olivia recognizes her house, her bedroom and her crib, and Olivia knows where sleep happens. She also knows she is safe and comfortable in her crib. In fact, a wonderful thing happens to Olivia many times a day in her bedroom. Over and over throughout the last nine months, she is reunited with her mother as Alex comes and attends to Olivia’s needs.

Most importantly, Olivia understands her emotional environment. She knows she is loved and cared for. With all her senses she knows how love looks, feels, smells, tastes and sounds. It is the same way she will learn language — through immersion. She is immersed in the language of love.

Because Olivia has an understanding of consistency and can safely let go,  she is now ready to learn a new consistent approach to sleep. After our consultation Alex feels prepared with the new action steps she will take to change sleep. Her relaxed confidence will be Olivia’s greatest support in learning new and improved sleeping skills.

On a follow-up a few weeks later, Alex said: “As you recommended, I endeared Olivia to a lovey. I chose a bunny with a cloth attached and told Olivia this story:

It was time for the bunny to fall asleep and sleep in her own nest all night long. If the bunny needed help, the mommy bunny would hop in, give her baby bunny a kiss and hop back to her own nest to sleep.

After Olivia’s nap, we did a dress rehearsal of the new bedtime ritual. I talked Olivia through the process and told her, “Tonight I will put you and the bunny in your crib to fall asleep and sleep all night long.”

I then showed her what coming and going looked like in this context, slowly coming and going from her room. “Then I am going to leave so that you can relax and sleep. I will come and go, and I’ll help you fall asleep on your own. Olivia sat in her crib wide eyed and watching.”

Alex came and went and offered Olivia the love, empathy and support she needed in learning a new skill. She replaced nursing with alternate soothing methods, which Olivia came to recognize and appreciate in the place of nursing. Alex used her voice, her touch, her warmth, her trust, her respect and emotional connection– all of which created their bond throughout the last eight months– to soothe and reassure Olivia that she could let go, fall asleep and return to sleep in the night when she woke.

And the mommy bunny and baby bunny slept in their nests happily ever after.

Eileen Henry is the author of a new book The Compassionate Sleep Solution: Calming The Cry. She is a RIE® Associate and and works with families all over the world as a Child Sleep Consultant, a specialty she pioneered. Her unique program not only transforms sleep but the entire parenting experience.  “My goal is to co-create the best emotional and physical environment for sleep success for your entire family.” 

(Photo by Masaru Suzuki on Flickr)

 

20 April 2017 20:11 - Ytterbium Wins Eastercon Bid

Posted by LocusHQ

Ytterbium won their bid to host the 2019 British National Science Fiction Convention (Eastercon), in voting held at Eastercon 2017, Innominate. The convention will be held over Easter weekend, April 19-22, 2019 at the Park Inn in Heathrow, UK.

Guests of honor will include “DC”, Frances Hardinge, Sydney Padua, and John Scalzi.

Adult weekend membership rate is currently £55.



When support doesn’t feel supportive.

Support Kimchi Cuddles by becoming a patron! Thank you SO MUCH for your support!! <3 https://www.patreon.com/kimchicuddles

20 April 2017 04:01 - Repairs

Posted by Robot Hugs

New comic!

Hey, I’m going to be taking a brief hiatus until after my surgery next week, but I’ll be thinking nice thoughts about all of you until then. I may post some stuff, but maybe not! The robot is a fickle egg.

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Posted by Richa

Turmeric Lassi – Golden Yogurt Drink. Lassi is a yogurt based drink served as a beverage in India. This version uses non dairy yogurt, turmeric, black pepper and ginger for a cooling Lassi. Vegan Gluten-free Recipe.

Turmeric Lassi - Golden Yogurt Drink. Lassi is a yogurt based drink served as a beverage in India. This version uses non dairy yogurt turmeric, black pepper and ginger for a cooling Lassi. #Vegan #Glutenfree #soyfree #veganricha #Recipe | VeganRicha.com

Lassi is a favorite drink in many Indian (north Indian) homes during the hot months. It is starting to get sunny and warm finally in the Pacific Northwest, and evening tea is getting replaced by various lassis. 

Lassi traditionally is made with fresh yogurt and chilled water. Yogurt, water, and sweetener are whisked with a Mathani (Indian whisk which works like an Immersion blender), until the mixture is very frothy. It is served in tall glasses with ice cubes. Flavors such as cardamom, saffron, chai masala, mint, ripe mango puree, rose water etc can be added. Probiotics, cooling and filling. 

For this Turmeric Lassi, I use a regular blender and plain non dairy yogurt(I like almond milk yogurt). The yogurt is blended with turmeric, black pepper, ginger and frozen almond milk cubes. The resulting lassi has a texture between a smooth yogurt lassi and crushed ice shake. Add whatever flavors you like or blend with just non dairy milk for variations. Make the golden Lassi!

Continue reading: Vegan Turmeric Lassi – Golden Yogurt Drink

The post Vegan Turmeric Lassi – Golden Yogurt Drink appeared first on Vegan Richa.

Posted by LocusHQ

The shortlists for the 2017 Best Translated Book Awards (BTBA) in fiction and poetry were announced April 18, 2017. The fiction category includes Wicked Weeds by Pedro Cabiya, translated by Jessica Powell (Mandel Vilar).

Founded in 2008 by Three Percent at the University of Rochester, the BTBA offers a $5,000 cash prize to each winning author and translator. Winners will be announced May 4, 2017 at The Folly gastropub in New York NY.

For a full list of fiction finalists, see the University of Rochester website.

19 April 2017 18:05 - Anathema Launch

Posted by LocusHQ

Anathema: Spec from the Margins, an online “tri-annual speculative fiction magazine of work by queer POC,” launched its first issue on April 4, 2017. Michael Matheson & Andrew Wilmot are co-editors-in-chief. Chinelo Onwualu is non-fiction editor.

The first issue features fiction by Stephanie Chan, Brent Lambert, S. Qiouyi Lu, Ayodele Olofintuade, and Tony Pi, as well as non-fiction by Alexis Teyie. Anathema currently pays C$50 for fiction and non-fiction.

For more information, see their website.

19 April 2017 18:05 - Waters Wins NAFF

Posted by LocusHQ

Fe Waters is the winner of the 2017 National Australian Fan Fund (NAFF) and will attend Continuum 13, the 56th Australian National Science Convention (NatCon), to be held at the Jasper Hotel in Melbourne, Australia, June 9-12, 2017.

The National Australian Fan Fund (NAFF) was created in 2001 to facilitate fans traveling across Australia to attend NatCon. NAFF covers the cost of airfare and accommodation, and NatCon donates a convention membership to the winner. Winners are expected to produce a report of their trip, engage in fundraising to support future NAFF races, and help administer the NAFF race for the following two years. Voting is open to all Australian fans.

For more information, see the NAFF website.

19 April 2017 17:21 - For your own safety and comfort

Posted by Marissa Lingen

I have a story out in Nature today, Running Safety Tips for Humans. Go, read, enjoy! And when you’re done with that, they’ve asked me to do a blog post on the story behind the story.

Posted by JenniferP

Hi, Cappy! I recently discovered your column and am so grateful for it. You’re amazing and helpful!

I really could use some situational advice, but it’s a long and complex story, sorry!

I’m a single parent of a 1st grader. Child support basically doesn’t happen.

3 years ago I was (thankfully) laid off from my research position. I’d worked hard after grad school to achieve success in an almost exclusively male-dominated and competitive field, but it was hard to raise my daughter working the crazy hours and with the amount of travel required for my job.

As a result I returned to school for graphic/web design; a field I thought would provide me with a more flexible schedule, increased job opportunities and potentially more money. I started a two year program at a technical school, with tuition and childcare 100% paid for by government benefits.

Enter “Donny”. Donny was a friend who was a neuroscientist at the University I’d attended and worked at. Despite having very different values, he had become a trusted friend. Romantic interest in Donny = 0. Divorced and childless, he is middle aged. He seemed kind and supportive when I really needed that. He was also the only positive male role model that my daughter had. He was not very involved in our lives at this point.

Donny started a tech company outside of his university position and became wealthy enough to retire from the University this year. He has a low emotional IQ, lots of anxiety and few friends. However, Donny loves my daughter and dotes on her. I don’t think he has ever said “no” to her. I’ve never had weird “vibes” about his relationship with my daughter. She was like the daughter he’d always wanted.

Back to me. Two years ago, after finishing year 1 of my program, Donny convinces me to drop out of school and work with him at his tech company instead. He says I am wasting my time at school and that he, the wealthy and successful entrepreneur, would teach me “real-world skills” and his special coding “secret techniques” from start to finish. He told me people would pay lots of money to learn his secret and that I was lucky he was willing to share this very profitable knowledge with me. He started paying me to do small projects, such as writing copy and some print work for his company. I was thrilled, thinking I was embarking on a new, lucrative and fulfilling career.

Fast forward to a year ago. Donny has stopped sending me any work but continues to pay me a barely livable wage each month to essentially do nothing. Projects are always just over the horizon but wind up “falling through” at the last minute or he doesn’t have the time to teach me anything because it’s a rush job, etc…. I make barely enough to cover my bills most months, but through decreased spending, I can still live check to check. I am ridiculously busy parenting (with no breaks), trying to stay organized, maintaining/improving my small house so my daughter has an un chaotic place to live, and being involved with my daughters activities while occasionally making stuff, but I have no social life (unfortunately that often goes along with single parenthood). I would like to make more money, but confess I am also enjoying the opportunity to be there for my daughter since I am her only family and her whole world. We are very close.

Donny continues to point out how rich he is, but keeps my pay at poverty level. He is also increasingly manipulative and controlling with his money, even believing he is entitled to having input in decisions I make about my and my daughters life, parenting, my house, friends, etc. He is by nature condescending and a master mansplainer. I ignore him and avoid confrontation because after 3 years of rarely seeing my daughter I still feel lucky to have this opportunity.

A month ago I ask Donny for more money for the first time because bills are mounting. I know I need to start a job search, but have been putting it off because —what the hell do I do now?

Donny tosses out a figure 33% higher than I’ve been getting monthly. He says he could even pay off my student loans “if he wanted to”. (They are not getting paid because I don’t make enough to pay them.) He tells me to send him the amount I owe and he will pay them off because he “doesn’t want the government to play any role in my life” which sounds generous, but is actually paranoid and a little conspiracy- theory ish. I send him the figure and he ignores me. All three times. I don’t rock the boat, but never even get a response. When that month’s check arrives its less than the amount he’d promised. I don’t say anything, feeling grateful to get anything at all, but irritated that he has changed the amount without mentioning it.

This months check was even less, back to the original too-low amount. I finally tell him (at 11:30 at night, probably sounding crabby) that it is hard for me to budget when I don’t know how much money I will be getting. At the first sign of what he perceives as questioning him or “conflict”, Donny flips out and says he could easily pay me more money but that he wants me to “work for it” by doing sales for him, which I’ve been clear from day 1 that I was 1) not good at and 2) not interested in doing or I would have pursued a sales career.

Then starts the classic rhetoric all single Moms hear: that I CHOSE to be a single parent and that I CHOSE to have a baby with that person, that my current situation is all my own doing. Followed by hinting that I am lazy and that I need to take “personal responsibility” for my predicament. He then drops a bomb by asking “how long am I going to do this?” I get mad and remind him that I was halfway through my degree which was PAID for and that I had wanted to finish, but that he was right, it was my fault that I had believed his promise to train me and give me work, which he not followed through on in 2 years. So now I have no money and no skills– nothing but some extra time to be a good parent to my daughter.

Then Donny says “I wanted you as a partner, but now Im not so sure,” which had failed to ever be mentioned to me. Apparently I had no say in that either. I got mad and told him not only do I not have time for any relationships, but that we have nothing in common, which we don’t- he voted for the One Who Is Not to be Named -not to mention a hearty “no thanks!” to all the boundary-crossing behaviors I put up with like never knocking but just walking into our house unannounced and at varying degrees of earliness to keep me guessing I guess. Locking the door makes him crabby. I have tolerated these behaviors because 25 years ago he emigrated from a culture where personal boundaries are not a priority, so I thought I was being understanding.

I have not heard from him in 6 days now when normally I get multiple texts per day. I assume he is pouting and will contact me with reasons why I am an ungrateful and overall crappy person. I actually feel enormous relief at not being scrutinized or controlled but am frightened for my financial situation.

What I want to know is: was it wrong of me to go along with this arrangement for so long? What if he contacts me and wants to continue this arrangement for more money? I intend to secure my own employment temping or something, but I am really regretful that I didn’t complete my education. Donny has been really generous, but at this point I feel so manipulated and disrespected that I don’t know if a can have any sort of friendship with him, whether he continues to pay me or not. He will see me as ungrateful and leaving because the money dried up.

I have been very appreciative and grateful and thank him constantly for his generosity, but it never seems to never be enough. He tells me I should just “be a good parent to my daughter,” which I am. I and my daughter make things for him and involve him with my daughters activities, but it’s still not enough. He is feeling under appreciated but doesn’t actually know what he wants. Donny has done a lot for us and I don’t think his behavior is conscious. I believe he is emotionally stunted for some reason. However, i cannot handle any more controlling and condescending bullshit. I am also aware that I am equally to blame for my situation. My motive was wanting to be able to be a good Mom for my daughter, no matter how short-lived. Finally, Donny was the only male figure in our lives my daughter could depend on, but I also don’t want to set a poor example by being manipulated and controlled by Donny.

Scripts for what to say to conflict- averse Donny if and when I hear from him would be greatly appreciated!

-Master Builder of Gilded Cages

she/her pronouns please, he/him for Donny

Dear Master Builder,

I apologize for the delayed response. I’ve been thinking about your story for a while. I’m not sure where you and Donny have left things in the last month or so – I’m hoping like hell that he is already out of your life – but in case he isn’t, here we are.

Before we talk about how much Donny sucks (he sucks), let’s talk about what a good employer would do:

  • He would pay you what you are worth to do the work that helped his business become successful.
  • As his business made more money (thanks in part to your work), he would increase your compensation.
  • He would pay you the agreed-upon amount without fail and without backtracking.
  • He would put agreements about compensation in writing.
  • He would be transparent about assigning work.
  • He would follow through on promises to train you and develop your skills.
  • He would not bring your personal life into any of these negotiations.
  • He would not expect 24-7 unannounced access to your home.
  • He wouldn’t treat you like he owns you.

Never mind being a good friend (he isn’t), or a good partner (NOPE), or a good male role model for your daughter (100 YEARS OF SOLITUDE AND NOPE), he’s not a good boss! Like, if this were JUST a job and not a campaign of financial abuse designed to annex you like a neighboring duchy, it would still be a toxic situation and you’d still need to quit it hard as soon as humanly possible.

Here is some other stuff I want to tell you:

Temping is a great idea – do it! It will put you in the way of permanent positions and also give you a chance to try out different working environments to find one that suits you.

Also, it’s okay to keep your head down, fake compliance, and collect your retainer paycheck from Donny for a little while if that’s what you need to do in the short term to keep a roof over your head while you gather your resources. You don’t have to tell him you are temping or looking for other work or give him any information about your plans that he might use to sabotage your efforts.

Donny will try to convince you that he took you into his company out of generosity and a desire to help you, and that you would not have a job if it weren’t for his amazing charity/fake training. I think he took you on because you are competent and valuable and he needed your work to build his company.

If you can, make a copy of everything you’ve ever created for Donny. That’s your portfolio. Back it up somewhere he doesn’t have access to (Google Drive, Dropbox). You may not ever show it to anybody (if there are confidentiality issues, for instance), but it will be good fodder for rebuilding your resume and documenting for yourself what you did.

Use privacy settings to lock your social media and other electronic communications away from where he can see them. Don’t “unfriend” until you’re free of his employ. Let him think things are normal so that he will be less likely to sabotage your efforts.

Speaking of locking things down, lock your doors. I don’t care what culture he comes from or how old he is, his comfort level with “just dropping by” does not automatically determine your boundaries.This is just more controlling scary bullshit.

Once you’ve locked things down, this is a very good time to reach out privately to every friend you have. Put the word out: You’re looking for a new job, you might need some help with childcare (or recommendations for low-cost summer camps?), you might need someone to help you rewrite your resume and provide moral support for your job search, you might want a friend who will come over and eat ice cream with you and your daughter or play in the park on a sunny day. Donny wants you to think that all of your resources and social connections are through him. They aren’t. Ask. You’ll pay it back (or forward) when you’re free.

It’s also a good time to reach out to every friendly and helpful person you’ve ever come across in any professional or educational context. People in your former field where you were successful might need a consultant or contractor. Your old advisor or program director and fellow students from school might be a Not-Donny professional reference for you.You might think that you’ve burned those bridges and that it’s too late (and Donny would try to tell you that it is), but I do not think it is too late. “I know we haven’t talked in a while, and I’m sorry we lost touch, but I am changing jobs and could really use your advice/help/a reference/some guidance.” I would not be angry at all if a former student asked me for this, even if they did leave the program, but I would be really sad if they felt like they couldn’t ask me because of shame.

Think of a short professionally positive version of the Donny story that you can tell to professional contacts and to acquaintances: “I left the program a few years ago to work for a friend’s startup, where I gained experience in x, y, and z professional areas. Now that the business is on solid footing, it’s time for me to find something [with more structure][where I can grow a, b, and c skills][where I can specialize more in (an area that interests me)][with more opportunity to work in creative teams vs. supporting a single CEO].” People leave school and change jobs all the time, you don’t have to bare your soul and your regrets to be one of those people.

You asked for scripts for Donny. The above generic/neutral/professional response can serve you there, as well. When it’s time for him to know that you’re severing the employment relationship for sure, try: “Thanks for all you’ve done, it’s time for me to seek new challenges, I trust that I can count on you to be a good reference, thanks!” (Note: DON’T use him as a reference, ever, but also don’t tell him that you won’t be. Let him think he has power until it’s 100% true that he doesn’t). Don’t tell him where you plan to go or what you plan to do. It’s okay to lie when an abusive person is pressuring you for information that isn’t their business. “I don’t know yet.” “I’ve applied at a few places, I’ll let you know when I know something.” “I’m confident I will find something I enjoy.” Keep everything about your discussions focused on professional topics. If he tries to throw more fake carrots of a big payday or paying your loans, ask him to put it in writing and to define it as compensation. “Wow, Donny, that’s very generous. Let’s add it to my employment agreement.”  If he gets personal, try “I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that.” If he gets weird about the locking doors thing, try: “I’m just not comfortable leaving my doors unlocked.” The “Because YOU keep dropping by unannounced” can be silent for now.

If you want to finish your graphic design program at some point, you will find a way. You’ll get a job at a university or at a company that offers tuition reimbursement. You’ll reapply to the program that funded you in the first place. You will find a way.

Finally, your daughter does not need Donny in her life – not as a “male role model”, not as anything. She’s little and she might not understand at first where “Uncle Donny” went once you cut ties, but I think it is a good idea to break off any and all contact between them as soon as you feel safe to do so.

You are brave and you are a great mom and you are gonna be free of this controlling dipshit very soon if you haven’t gotten there already. Please be good to yourself. You were the target of a very deliberate campaign of manipulation. That’s scary stuff and it will take some time to undo the financial and emotional damage.

P.S. I get a ton of spam along the lines of “Let me tell you the story about how I lost my man and how this spiritual healer gave me a spell to get my man back.” We don’t need those spells, Beloved. GIVE US THE ONES THAT MAKE THE MAN GO AWAY AND STAY THE FUCK AWAY.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


19 April 2017 15:31 - Books read, early April

Posted by Marissa Lingen

Mary Alexandra Agner, ed., A Bouts-Rimes for Hope. A bouts-rimes, I was reminded by this project, is when you give people the end rhymes for a sonnet and they have to fill in the sonnet. This one, a free project, was specifically aimed at post-election optimism. The poems came out extremely different despite their common rhyme scheme. An interesting thing to do.

Nadia Aguiar, The Lost Island of Tamarind. Near-shipwreck, hidden magical island, and other buttons that you might have had factory installed to push as well. This is a children’s book that doesn’t have astonishingly beautiful prose, but it does have a cranky adolescent protagonist trying very hard for her family. Entertaining, but I was not really very drawn in–there were some quite awkward points.

Danielle Mages Amato, The Hidden Memory of Objects. The speculative premise in this one starts subtly–I was not even sure it would be speculative rather than mimetic YA. It’s about a teenager who is grieving the loss of her beloved older brother, and all the emotional beats are there for relationships being central. However! The speculative premise is also very well thought-through–better, in fact, than in some projects where it is more front and center. This is a book I found through asking what had gotten released since the election and might be falling between the cracks, and I’m really glad I did.

Mishell Baker, Phantom Pains. A sequel to Borderline, and a worthy one, too; this is a novel not just about the interplay between Los Angeles and the world of Faery, not just about disability and accommodation, but about consequences.

Maurice Broaddus, The Voices of Martyrs. This short story collection is divided into past, present, and future tales, and I liked the third category best, but there were interesting pieces in all of them.

Ernest Callenbach, Ecotopia. What it says on the tin, written in the ’70s. There is a weird obsession with Dacron, and he pretty much comes right out and says that the denizens of Ecotopia are like hippies but less distasteful. There are lots of points of unintentional hilarity–the more so if you happen to be named Marissa. There’s a certain extent to which he has the ecological utopia being, “Nobody wears Dacron! and people recycle voluntarily!” and I’m like, honey, I have good news and bad news. I think this is most interesting to people who are particularly wanting to have breadth of field on either utopias or ecological speculative fiction; it is very, very dated for the casual reader.

Charles de Lint, Tapping the Dream Tree. Reread. This is a Newford collection. I really imprinted on an early Newford collection when I was a teenager, and for awhile I read everything de Lint wrote. This is not a terrible collection. It’s also not a collection that felt like it was doing anything in particular that he hadn’t done a dozen times with slightly different costuming. Don’t start here, and unless you’re a de Lint die-hard, I don’t see any good reason to continue to this point either.

Taiyo Fujii, Orbital Cloud. Discussed elsewhere.

Robert Graves, Poems 1968-1970. On the one hand, the things that he labels “songs” sing on the page a great deal more than 99% of poems I have read that are labeled songs/lyrics. So that part was a great success. On the other hand, he is weirdly obsessed with female virginity and other gender dynamic issues that do not hold up well. I picked up some Graves because A.S. Byatt contended that he was one of the great love poets, treating the beloved as an equal, and this is one of the times when you realize what low standards people of previous generations had to have for such things and feel very, very sad.

Paul Gruchow, The Necessity of Empty Places. Reading ’80s nature writing is not entirely dissimilar to reading ’80s speculative fiction. Some of the points of florid inspiration are completely disproven at this time, some of the worries are mitigated and others completely underestimated. And there are moments when race and gender pop up suddenly in order to be handled badly. On the other hand, there are some lovely and personal observations of the natural world. I’m glad this isn’t the first Gruchow I read, because I know he learns better, and I’ll keep reading for the gems.

Bernd Heinrich, Summer World: A Season of Bounty. Heinrich writes about the Maine woods and birds a lot. I like that sort of thing. I bet some of you like that sort of thing too.

Grady Hendrix, My Best Friend’s Exorcism. I am really not sure what I think about this book. It’s about a teen friendship, and there is a coda that makes it clear that it’s meant in some ways to be an ode to teen girl friendships. At the same time…the friendship turns really toxic, and everybody in the book has a horrible time, and once I was clear that it was actually going to be about teens in the ’80s who did drugs and one of them got demonically possessed, it felt kind of gross. The way that it was very vivid about the emotions and the experience was particularly unappealing knowing that that gets used as What Really Happened. Really well done, I’m just not sure I want what it’s doing.

Faith Erin Hicks, The Stone Heart. Discussed elsewhere.

Claire Humphrey, Spells of Blood and Kin. This is a great companion volume to Sarah Porter’s Vassa in the Night, which also came out last year. They’re dealing with the same chunks of Russian mythology in completely different ways, so they’re more enjoyable together rather than detracting from each other. This is an urban fantasy with egg magic. Egg. Magic. I know of one friend who definitely does not want that but other than my friend who is secretly the Nome King I totally recommend this book. (There are no Oz jokes in this book. I like it a lot otherwise though.)

Justina Ireland and Troy L. Wiggins, eds., Fiyah Issue 2. If anything, an even stronger issue than the first. I particularly liked Maurice Broaddus’s “Vade Retro Satana,” Christopher Caldwell’s “The Beekeeper’s Garden,” and Eden Royce’s “Graverobbing Negress Seeks Employment.” There was a lot of variety of voice and theme in this issue. Keep going, Fiyah.

Elaine Khosrova, Butter: A Rich History. Long-term, this may be the most expensive book I will ever read. I got it from the library and returned it on time…but it has motivated me to get The Great Butter at the store, and I will want to try The Really Good Butters after that, and yeah. Yeah, butter, there’s a lot to butter. The recipes in the back of this were pretty pointless, but butter technique, butter industrial detail, butter butter butter. I like microhistories, and also dairy. Major complaint: Khosrova only talked about the Iowa State Fair butter sculptures, which are done on wire forms come on people, not about our butter sculptures, which are done out of solid blocks of butter like Princess Kay intended. I’m just saying. There’s a reason they sing that their state fair is the best state fair in their state, and it’s because you cross the border and the people in Albert Lea will immediately tell you that there’s a better one just one state over. (I did not read anything about seed art this fortnight but trust me, you’ll hear it when I do.)

Yoon Ha Lee, Ninefox Gambit. This is not what people mostly mean by military SF at the moment, but it is entirely military and entirely SF. It’s just a little more off-kilter–Lee is doing the SF part, he is not doing Hornblower In Space Take 257. Major lesson learned by putting this book at the culmination of a lifetime of SF reading: not being a tactical genius is the road to a happy life in a science fictional universe, and maybe you should try not being a tactical genius just in case ours becomes a science fictional universe.

Henry Marsh, Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery. I wanted to punch Marsh at several spots in this book. On the other hand, I think it’s very well worth reading, not just for the tactile experiences of different kinds of brain surgery (although–!!!) but also for the way that he is very clear about his own mistakes. He not only knows that he has not lived up to the title, he is willing to let us know too. I think we need more of that.

Adrienne Rich, Fox: Poems 1998-2000. None of these jumped out as crucial to share, but I enjoyed the experience. I think I would have enjoyed these poems more in a Collected Works sort of volume. They felt like they were in conversation with things I wasn’t quite catching, and I could easily believe that a fairly large number of those things were Rich’s past poems. I’m glad my library buys poetry at all, but it has a habit of buying one slim collection from 2-3 years of a poet’s life and then saying, oh, we already have some of their stuff and stopping there. Ah well.

Sonia Shah, The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years. This is a good introduction to malaria (far more fun than, for example, contracting it). I didn’t really need another introductory-level book, but if you haven’t read about the effects of malaria on human cultures, this is a quite reasonable place to start.

Bill Streever, And Soon I Heard a Roaring Wind: A Natural History of Moving Air. This was a very weird book. It was far too short for what it claimed to do, and then it did even less of that than the space would have allowed, because a lot of it was “Streever and someone else sail around the Caribbean.” I might have read a memoir of sailing around the Caribbean in a small craft. I really was a lot more interested in the history of storms and meteorology here. This was basically half a history of meteorologists and half a travel memoir. So…I mean…fine, but ignore the title.

Christie Wilcox, Venomous: How Earth’s Deadliest Creatures Mastered Biochemistry. Kind of great about hemotoxins and neurotoxins and how they evolve and how they get used and what kinds of animals use them and why. Yay venoms. Fun and reasonably short. (Fun. Um. Okay, mileage varies, but if you can’t have fun with a book about venoms….)

Maryrose Wood, The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place. The titular characters were raised by wolves. This is a kids’ book that has some features that will be slightly more eye-rolling to adults–the way the Incorrigibles’ speech is affected by their wolf upbringing is a lot more aimed at kid sense of humor–but there’s other stuff too, the ongoing horse book series their governess is obsessed with. I liked this enough to get it for my goddaughter.

Posted by Marissa Lingen

I have a space salvage story, “Vulture’s Nest,” in the May/June 2017 issue of Analog. Go, read, enjoy!

Posted by JenniferP

hi captain,

i want to thank you so much for your website and lovely community and i hope this message finds you well. i’m having a hard time sorting through some relationship stuff and i’m hoping for some clarity.

i’m dating a very sweet and loving man who is still dealing every day with mental health issues due to early childhood trauma. these include ptsd, anxiety, depression (he is now in therapy for this) and nightmares. in his youth, he worked through his feelings of shame about what transpired in violent ways but that seems to be a thing of the past.

our courtship was fairly quick and we fell deeply in love, spending lots of our time together. in retrospect i should have been firmer about my need for a life and friendships outside of our relationship (especially at my age mid 20’s) but it all happened so fast. to be clear he does have friends/interests of his own but he is of the belief that our relationship is THE MOST important one in his life. he would be happy to rarely if ever spend time with anyone without/or other than me. in his words “i am the only thing that makes him happy” and “he welcomed dying before me but now wants to live as long as possible”. he constantly tells me i’m too good for him and is very insecure in our relationship. my friendships are deep and important to me and my feeling is that a romantic relationship should be something that adds to but is not the source of one’s happiness.

i was single for a long time before we met and had a very full life & was close with my family. they are thankfully still present but i spend much less time with them than i’d like because he doesn’t like last minute changes to our plans (even if those plans were netflix and pizza). i told him recently this needs to change and he agreed to work on it. because i’m the only thing that prevents him from having nightmares the idea of my being away causes him immense anxiety. sometimes i worry that he uses his trauma to manipulate me (his episodes early on often coincided with times i’d made plans with friends). we are also an interracial couple so that adds to a dynamic where anytime i express upset about his behavior or try to set a gentle boundary i am talked over, mansplained and/or the conversation is derailed due to the level of distress he’s displayed.

some of this is my fault as i’m not always good about expressing my feelings honestly and i want to hold space and be there for him. i tried to change parts of myself to make him more comfortable as he is an admittedly jealous person. i’m now doing my own work to come back to the vibrant, carefree woman i was when we met but it’s really difficult sometimes. i don’t know what to do or if the above is enough reason to leave or if i should keep showing up for myself, set clearer boundaries and love him through this.

any advice would be so appreciated,

sincerely,

trying not to be a pacifier

Dear Trying:

Thanks for the kind words!

I read your letter and I keep thinking of the person who “isn’t allowed” to be away from their job for a single day from a few months ago. They can’t even think about what they want to do next because they are always “on call.” In the short term, can you get yourself a week or even a long weekend or a few nights away from him, just to be with friends and family or hang out by yourself with your own thoughts, without being tethered to your phone to constantly soothe and “check in”?

Whatever good things this guy brings to your life (and I’m sure there must be good things here), when you’re with him:

  • You don’t see your friends and family as much as you’d like to.
  • You don’t feel like the vibrant, social person with many interests and connections that you were when you met him.
  • When you bring him your concerns, he talks over you and centers his needs above your own. Your requests for more space and autonomy are always canceled out by how much he has suffered or is suffering.
  • You feel manipulated and controlled by him.

Maybe someday this guy could be a great boyfriend, for you, or for someone. And that’s the temptation and the tragedy of the situation: You can see how very, very, very good it could be. You waited and looked for so long to find someone who would be right for you. You can have compassion for him and hold space for his feelings and believe in him and do what you can to try to get him there.

But, it’s a trap. He’s not doing the same for you. It’s good that he’s going to therapy, but he’s got to get to the realization that the things that he has suffered do not obligate you to abdicate your own needs, and then he’s got to act on that realization. He’s got to listen to you and not talk over you when you express those needs. He’s got to give you the space and breathing room that you need to live the life you want to live. He’s got to figure out how to self-soothe and get through a night without your company (the way he somehow managed to do for all the years before he met you) and without making any nightmares or anxious feelings your fault, or yours to fix somehow.

Because you need to see your friends and family and keep those relationships close and fulfilling.This is a reasonable thing to want and expect from your life.

You need social connections and relationships that are not about him. This is also a completely reasonable thing to want and expect.

You need to sometimes be able to change plans you have together. Totes reasonable!

You need to spend as many nights as you want to by yourself, without worrying about him or being a captive to his jealousy or anxieties. 100% reasonable.

You need your needs to be equal within your romantic relationship. More specifically, you need a partner who puts as much thought and emotional labor and effort into making sure you get what you need as you do into his needs. Completely reasonable.

You need a partner who doesn’t talk over you or mansplain your needs away when they are in conflict with his needs. Absolutely reasonable.

I don’t think you have that guy here, or that he’s going to become that guy for you anytime soon, and I’m so very sorry. He keeps making your reasonable needs into unreasonable things that he wants you to change about yourself to keep him happy. He puts a lot of friction up when you try to spend time away from him or talk to him about it. Even if that friction is borne out of genuine distress on his part, it’s not okay for him to put these constraints on your comings and goings and to make you do all the work of being his reason to live.

You could try some baby steps, like, planning more time with your friends and family, spending more nights separately, and shutting down the mansplaining as soon as it starts – “I’m sorry you are feeling upset, but I need this time with my friends/family/alone. I’m not doing this to hurt you, but it’s also not a negotiation, so, I’m going to hang up/leave now.” And then, importantly, physically remove yourself from the conversation to enforce the boundary, or, even better, tell him the information when you’re already separate from him, in a text: “Forgot to tell you yesterday, I can’t hang tonight – gonna go see a movie with my folks. I’ll call you tomorrow, love you!

Can you do that safely? Is your first instinct to say, “Oh wait, I can’t do that, he’ll just text me 100 times and I won’t be able to focus on anything.” Or, “Oh wait, I can’t do that, he’ll be so hurt/sad, I’ll have to cut the evening short and go take care of him.” Does the whole prospect of a night alone seem “not worth it” because his reaction will be too much to deal with it’s “easier” to just give in and do what he wants? Those “Oh, I can’t, it’s not worth the trouble” reactions in yourself are giant red flags to watch for, because it means he’s trained you to anticipate his displeasure and “correct” your behavior in advance to avoid outbursts.

If (when?) you do decide to leave him permanently, I think it is worth talking to a trained domestic violence counselor about a safety plan beforehand. You said he is sweet and kind and that is great, just, humor me here and talk to someone who will believe you immediately, who will hold the conversation in confidence, and who will help you figure out the safest and clearest way to break the news and take care of yourself.

I’m so sorry. I know you love him. I wish I had a better forecast for this being a relationship that would make you feel free, happy, trusted, and supported someday.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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