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September 2nd, 2005

In the wake of Katrina

We interrupt this regularly-scheduled blog to bring you this news bulletin:

I spent yesterday doing a rewrite on one non-fiction article, and then trying to start a story for the SPICY SLIPSTREAM anthology, but 4,000 words into the story I realized it really wasn't slipstream. Er, maybe it is. I don't know. I think I know what slipstream kinda sorta is, but this isn't quite it.

Or maybe I'm just terminally distracted right now by the devastation of Katrina, partly because the plight of docbrite has brought it home to a personal level for me. I've been a big fan of Poppy's work since her earliest short stories and Lost Souls, and my affection for her work runs all the way up through Prime, the most recent novel (and if you haven't read any of the Rickey and G-Man books, you're depriving yourself of wonderful lively, witty and generally delightful writing). Her blog is the only one I read daily that's not by someone I know; I love her food adventures (although I have no idea what she's talking about 50% of the time), and her occasional curmudgeonly rants tickle me. We seem to have a few things in common - we're both cat owners (although she has seven times as many as I do), we're both middle-aged and a little grumpy about it, and we both continue to live and work in the city in which we were born. That's ironic, of course - I'm sure we all fully expected Los Angeles to be wiped out before New Orleans.

But what I really respect about Poppy was the risk she took changing genre mid-career. It's something I've thought about in regards to my own work; I've considered making my first novel a big contemporary urban fantasy rather than horror, and my screenplays have run the gamut from children's fantasy to horror.

I can only barely imagine the horror of being forced from your home, leaving behind 27 beloved animal companions and everything you've worked for, not knowing whether you'll ever see any of it again. It's nearly a week later now, and Poppy (and all the other refugees like her) still doesn't know when she'll be able to go home...if there's still a home to go back to.

A lot of my friends, both Christian and pagan, are praying. I don't get it, frankly. Wouldn't you be praying to whatever deity/deities allowed this to happen in the first place? Why would that entity deserve your worship? He/she/it/they sure doesn't deserve mine.

There are better ways to help. Donate to the American Red Cross. Donate to Poppy's cats fund through Paypal (use funkyegret@yahoo.com ). And check out Michael Moore's letter to our hideously corrupt and imbecilic President at www.michaelmoore.com. No pointless prayer here, just many of the same hard questions I've been wondering about, phrased with Moore's trademark humor. My hat's off to anyone who can bring a smile to my face during this time.

Now, back to seeing if I can grasp this slippery slipstream.