sovay: (Claude Rains)
sovay ([personal profile] sovay) wrote2019-02-03 09:39 pm

Thoughts for pennies got me thinking more

I am having a little difficulty taking this cough seriously, not because it isn't wiping me out to the point where I feel like some noodles that accidentally attained sentience, but because there seems to be nothing to do about it but drink a prescription medication that feels metaphysically about a half-step from a bottle of laudanum and tastes like Manischewitz with a grudge. I slept another eleven hours last night and am trying not to feel weird about it. I am generally in a miserable state emotionally and attempting to distract myself from it, except that what I really want to be doing is writing and I don't know the last time you saw a novel written by a heap of spaghetti. My hair has been in the same braid since Friday.

I just discovered that Arisia has posted the video for 2019's "Dramatic Readings from the Ig Nobel Prizes," meaning that you and the rest of the planet can now watch me read selections from Paul G. Becher et al.'s "The scent of the fly" (Journal of Chemical Ecology, 2018) and Lindie H. Liang et al.'s "Righting a wrong: Retaliation on a voodoo doll symbolizing an abusive supervisor restores justice" (The Leadership Quarterly, 2018), plus selections from other equally impressive papers I did not read. I watched the whole event, because I wanted to know how it had come out; this was the third year in a row I'd been asked to participate in the readings and the organizers give every evidence of wanting me back next year, but I'd never actually seen any of the footage until now. It made me feel better.

I know I'm a good speaker. I don't know if I'm naturally good at it. This is not Tiny Wittgenstein speaking: like many people with variable wiring, I am acutely aware of how much of my skill set is learned rather than factory standard. It is difficult for me to get any accurate idea of my original capabilities because so much of my self-assessment over the years has been shaded by various issues of self-esteem and self-expectation, but I know that for decades I thought of my singing voice as an expressive and adaptable instrument and my speaking voice as utterly useless. I hated the sound of it. It felt stiff and shallow and unresonant and slow. And it's not. Whether I really was starting from zero or not, I worked on it; I worked on it the first time around and I worked on it after the braces. There are a lot of factors crushed up into this question, but I think it's less important these days whether my face or my voice ever feel like mine again than whether they do what I need them to, and if I am getting asked if I have ever considered a career in rap based on the speed with which I can spit out a scientific abstract, I think that answers objectively affirmative. I post pictures of myself for similar reasons.

I don't feel any better about not writing, of course, but I do feel better about decades of effort. And that's useful when all I can otherwise think about is not worth writing out.
yhlee: wax seal (Default)

[personal profile] yhlee 2019-02-04 03:47 am (UTC)(link)
I hope the cold goes away soon! *support support*
radiantfracture: (Default)

[personal profile] radiantfracture 2019-02-04 04:40 am (UTC)(link)
I am sorry you feel terrible. You are very funny about it.

I would read the spaghetti-authored novel if you were the pasta in question.

The one thing I liked about being sick was finally getting incredible amounts of sleep. Now that I'm well I have insomnia again.

like many people with variable wiring, I am acutely aware of how much of my skill set is learned rather than factory standard

Yeah that

(I feel like there's a better pasta joke to be made, but someone better will have to make it.)
gwynnega: (Leslie Howard mswyrr)

[personal profile] gwynnega 2019-02-04 05:00 am (UTC)(link)
I wish you didn't need the cough medicine, but "Manischewitz with a grudge" made me laugh out loud.
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)

[personal profile] alatefeline 2019-02-04 05:12 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you for siting this. From a completely different situation and place in my life than this piece of yours, still very encouraging to read about people recognizing their learned interpersonal skills. Thanks.
swan_tower: (Default)

[personal profile] swan_tower 2019-02-04 06:03 am (UTC)(link)
I have an incredibly difficult time listening to any recording of myself speaking -- I get so thrown by the gap between what I sound like in my head and what I apparently sound like to everyone else. But I'm really grateful to my college SF group for holding "Milk and Cookies" events where people read stories to each other; it gave me practice in public reading before I ever had to do it with my own work, which sanded some of the edges off the stress there. Unlike some authors, I actively like reading aloud, and thanks to some tips from Mary Robinette Kowal, I'm getting better at altering my voice -- not just the few pre-set styles I'd worked out at random, but being able to go "okay, if I change these variables I can make this character sound like that." But I don't like hearing what I sound like in reality.

Probably not coincidental: I also rarely like looking at pictures of myself. The gap between self-image and outside image is large.

Also, sympathies on the ongoing sickness. I haven't been laid out as flat as you have, but I've been sick off and on basically since November, and more or less without pause in January. It seems to be a truly abysmal season for that kind of thing.

Edited to clarify: When I say I don't like hearing recordings or looking at pictures of myself, I don't mean that in a self-esteem way, "I hate how I sound/how I look" or anything like that. It's a mismatch issue, me going "really???" because that isn't how I envision/en...sounden? en-aural? myself at all. (Though I do often dislike photos of myself if they aren't candid shots, because I have a tendency to freeze up when I know there's a camera pointed at me. I'm going to use my author photo until I'm sixty, because it's one of the few I genuinely like.)
Edited 2019-02-04 09:11 (UTC)
swan_tower: (Default)

[personal profile] swan_tower 2019-02-04 10:54 pm (UTC)(link)
I got used very early on to how I sounded as a singer, both because I heard recordings of myself

This really is key. I've known for ages that my voice as heard through my skull is not my voice as heard through air, but I haven't consistently made myself experience the latter. I know that doing so would help; knowing that doesn't make me want to do it. :-P

I think it was Dora Goss who pointed out that we're used to seeing ourselves in mirrors, and because our faces are not perfectly symmetrical, photographs are jarring: they look (and in fact are) backward from what we're accustomed to. Ergo, part of getting pictures of yourself that you can be happy with is acclimating yourself to knowing what you actually look like to other people, i.e. not your mirror image.

Working from a utilitarian point of view makes sense. I hope you also eventually feel comfortable in your own face and voice again, but in the meanwhile, being able to take pride in how they work for you is good.
choco_frosh: (Default)

[personal profile] choco_frosh 2019-02-04 02:03 pm (UTC)(link)
I slept another eleven hours last night and am trying not to feel weird about it.
Given that you are sick and spend most of the REST of your life sleep-deprived, I don't think that's weird; in fact, I think it's a good thing.

what I really want to be doing is writing and I don't know the last time you saw a novel written by a heap of spaghetti
True, but if you think about the great nineteenth-century novels, some of them were written by people who were chronically ill and/or high on ACTUAL laudanum, so I don't think you should let that stop you. If the result isn't good, you'll figure that out later. (That said, if what you're saying is that you'd like to write but are too tired, then you're allowed to take a break until you're less sick and exhausted!)
You could also write flash porn for [personal profile] sorcyress's annual collaborative.
drwex: (Python)

[personal profile] drwex 2019-02-04 03:40 pm (UTC)(link)
tastes like Manischewitz with a grudge

OMG I'm glad I wasn't drinking anything when I read that. May I use that quote and if so do you want some kind of credit beyond "an online friend of mine"?
dhampyresa: Sun from Sense8 (hugs)

[personal profile] dhampyresa 2019-02-04 11:29 pm (UTC)(link)
Hope you feel better soon! *hugs*