Deep Dish Archive

Thanks to Christopher Pence, we now have the photos and video from the first two SLF Deep Dish readings archived online. Thanks again to SFWA for co-sponsoring this pilot Chicago SF/F reading series (they’re helping to pay for publicity and videography), and to Chicago Nerds Social Club for helping to spread the word!
 
And of course, thanks to our readers: Mary Robinette Kowal, Catherine SchaffStump, Chris Bauer, Richard Chwedyk, Meghan Khoury, Michael Moreci, Sue Burke, Angeli Primlani, Valya Dudycz Lupescu, Stephen Segal, and Dan Gonzalez!
 
I’m going to be setting up the next set of readers soon, for March 1st, so if you’re interested in reading with us then, or on June 7th, please drop me a line! Established and emerging writers are all welcome; we like to present a mix.
 

Habits

Have you made changes in the New Year that a) you like, b) seem to be sticking? Mine are mostly app-related. :-).
 
I am really liking:
– starting the day with Headspace for meditation (just 3 minutes at a time so far)
– using Habitica throughout the day to keep me focused on exercise, diet, and to-do list items (I’m now a level 5 warrior with a pet wolf!)
– ending the day with Yogaglo (doing the yoga with Kavi so far, though I’m hoping Kev and Anand will join us sometimes).
 
Also reading more. Lots more; trying to average a book every 2 days or so. It’s not the heyday of my childhood summers, when I would read 3-4 books a day, but I do have things to do other than lie in bed and read. Sadly!
 
The router being off on my main computer continues to be useful for that, and for getting other work done. Today I’m experimenting with leaving the secondary computer with net access — that may be too tempting, though; we’ll see. I suspect I’ll need to use Self Control to turn off the net at least sometimes on the secondary computer too.

Growing

I spent all day reading a book when I should have been working on a variety of things oh well. The book is _The Growing Season_ by Helen Sedgwick, in case you also want to ignore all your other responsibilities for a while.
 
Esp. relevant for anyone interested in pregnancy, motherhood, equal duties for parents, queer / trans parenting, biotech, beautiful prose, the rate of technological change.

Curried Seafood Stew

(30 minutes, serves 4)

Creamy, tangy, richly-spiced, with just a little heat; I was aiming for something my daughter would love.  Of course, feel free to amp up the chili powder or toss in some chopped Thai green chilies for a spicier version!  Use whatever seafood you have on hand — I pulled some frozen tilapia and shrimp out to toss into this.

1 onion, chopped
1/4 c. oil or ghee
1 T ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 t. mustard seed
1 t. cumin seed
1/2 t. fennel seed
1/2 t. methi seed
3 cloves
3 cardamom pods
1 stick cinnamon
1/2 t. chili powder
1/2 t. Sri Lankan curry powder
1 stalk curry leaves
2 pounds seafood, cleaned
1 can coconut milk
1 T lime juice
coriander for garnish

1. Saute onions in oil or ghee with ginger, garlic, spices, and curry leaves until onions are golden-translucent, about ten minutes.

2. Add seafood and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, stirring, then turn down heat to medium and cook another ten minutes or so, until seafood is cooked through.

 

3. Continue cooking until stew is desired thickness. Add lime juice and stir in, then cook a minute or two more. Serve hot with fresh rice and chopped coriander.

  

Whitefish Bagel

With the New Year, I’m trying to more consciously eat plenty of fish (and serve it to my kids).  I’ve been eating lox and bagels for years, but only recently have I discovered whitefish salad.  I think it was at my friends Ellen and Delia’s apartment in New York, where we had a weekend writing workshop and they laid out a beautiful bagel spread with lox and multiple fish spreads, along with everything else you might want.  SO GOOD.

Next up in the queue is figuring out how to make my own whitefish salad (please do feel free to point me to your favorite recipes!), but for right now, I’m very happy that my local Whole Foods carries ‘whitefish paté’ in their seafood case.  Toast a bagel, layer it up with lettuce, tomato, capers, red onion (not pictured, because I was out, but trust me, that makes it even better), and you have yourself a delicious breakfast.

(And for those counting calories, if you pile this all on a mini bagel, it’s still only about 200 calories, which is kind of amazing.  Have two!)

Sedgwick

The novel I’m currently reading is beautifully written, and should definitely be considered for the Tiptree next year, because the ideas are terrific. But it falls into that odd category of science fiction that is really literary fiction using SF as metaphor, I think.

The societal changes she envisions are mostly happening too fast to quite make sense; the book would be picked apart in any actual SF workshop for that. I think Ishiguro’s _Never Let Me Go_ and Atwood’s _The Handmaid’s Tale_ fall into the same category.

But with these books, you sort of don’t care that the science, even the social science, doesn’t really make sense. They’re not really trying to do realistic science; they’re exploring the consequences of an idea. And they’re written beautifully enough that I, for one, am wiling to forgive them some fudging with the science bits.

“In the summer, the miles of purple heather smell like honey and butterflies dip through the bushes. Now, though, the gorse is dominant. Its silver-green blades edging onto my path, sharp and unforgiving, held firm with inexplicable shapes of wood. I once burned it back, and the branches were fragile as hollow bone, shades of silver and white and such curves and angles to them – I felt I had destroyed something beautiful, and was seeing beauty in the scars. I haven’t burned it back since, though the wood shapes decorate my home. Their twists and turns make, one day, the shadow of a wolf, the next, a beckoning hand. Or a smile. I’ll show you when you arrive.”

– Helen Sedgwick, _The Growing Season_

Moar words

Finally got through revision notes, and actually wrote new scene in novel. I’m not sure it’s any good, but I’m trying to embrace the ‘just get some words down’ philosophy.  1260 new words, and hoping to write another scene or two later today. We’ll see.
 
“When Jitender told his father that he loved the washerwoman’s daughter, his father had asked him to sleep on it, think it over. Jit agreed, had spent the night awake, thinking it through as seriously as he could. His father came to the bedroom door the next morning and said, “So?” Jit replied, “I’m sorry; I still love her, Appa.” His father slammed and barred the door, swearing that Jit wouldn’t eat until he recanted. Three hungry days later, Rithika managed to get a ladder to his window, and they ran away forever.”

Autonomous

Finished reading _Autonomous_, which is sort of William Gibson-y cyberpunk crossed with many of the things I’ve been thinking about re: indenture and owning people and property rights and intellectual / physical labor.

When Annalee Newitz told me she was publishing a SF novel about indenture, I kind of freaked out a little that it was going to be too close to what I was doing, but it’s fine, it’s totally different, I could never write a novel like hers, but I’m very glad she did.

Reading First

Trying to reset my habitual schedule is tricky, but I think progressing. It helps that we’re still on break this week; makes it a lot easier to experiment with scheduling. I used to wake up and do internet first thing, but with the router off in the morning until 10, now I wake up and can’t — well, I can using cell service on my phone, but I try to leave it downstairs, so I’m not tempted to do that right away.
 
I’ve started waking up and just reading first thing, which is bloody brilliant, I have to say. Not only am I getting through a lot more books than I normally do these days, it’s just such a pleasant, peaceful way to start the day, AND it returns me to myself, AND it gives me ideas for when I’m ready to start writing.
 
Reading fiction for an hour, first thing. I’m going to have to get up a little earlier to do that next week, if I’m going to do it before the kids get up at 7, but I think it’ll be worth it. We’ll see. It feels oddly luxurious and indulgent, but I am reminding myself that this is also PART OF MY JOB.