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    Xenology: Socrates Defeated

    Intellectual rock stacking

    The story goes, when the Delphic Oracle told Socrates he was the wisest man in Athens, his response was effectively, "There is no possibly way that is so." This was near to blasphemy, questioning the flattery of the gods' conduit, but he couldn't believe something so adulatory. He resolved to find men wiser to prove the gods wrong.

    Every man he came to (if he consulted women, he did not in the version I heard) mistook pretense for intelligence, ego for abilities, sycophancy for objectivity. Socrates knew how little he knew, how little could and would ever know. All these self-righteous, smug men, certain they were wiser, crumbled when confronted with their ignorance.

    Defeated, Socrates conceded to the edict of Apollo.

    Xenology: Stories about Sex I Didn't Have

    Yeah, this is the player.

    "You have good sex stories," Chris tells me, nestled into the pleather couch in Taste Budd's. I don't know why they would bother driving all this way - Chris lives in Beacon now, an hour away - to sit in this café. Sarah T says there is no better place between this town and mine, and I am unable to formulate a contradiction (there is one, Bank Square, in Beacon, but I admit that it is not as cozy).

    I cannot promise my proximity to the café is wholly outside its potential charms, though they come irrespective of my residency in this town, especially as I have declined to emerge from my lair several times they were within a half mile of me.

    "I don't have good sex stories," I correct. "I have good almost sex stories."

    Xenography: Publish or Perish

    The paths before me are intimidating.

    I have the full, 2.0 version of the fifth entry in my Night's Dream series finished. Once my beta readers give me their notes, it could be done in a month and ready to go to a publisher.

    The problem is, I cannot give it to my current publisher (whose name I will not use here, so don't be a snitch). I should not have given them my last book except I was more hopeful/desperate than reasonable. When they fired their editors as a cost-saving measure, months later deciding that maybe publisher should have editor, I should have read the typos on the wall. I've had one superb editor while with them, Patricia LaBarbera, who edited Danse Macabre and Artificial Gods. I would not publish a novel without it having been professionally edited and would be apprehensive to read a book that went directly from an author's Word file to print.

    Xenology: To Fully Charge

    Tiny, trapped, reflecting

    Sarah T. tells us that Chris is concerned we don't like him, or that, having found her in the glory of her outgoing gregariousness, we will shift our interest from him to her.

    I understand this sort of uncertainty. Daniel once assumed I did not specifically care about him because his ex and roommate Hannah was easier to get close to - a fact made retroactively funny given how tricky she found it to let people near her.

    I know what it is to fear friends will decide I am not worth the effort.

    Xenology: I Was Not a School Shooter

    Literally no one should find this kid threatening

    When Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot up Columbine, I was a senior at Beacon High School. At the time, I wore my hair long, was partial to heavy metal and alternative band t-shirts two sizes too generous, and wore an unfashionable green trench coat in weather where it ought to have been prohibitively hot.

    On April 21st, the first of my classmates asked if I were a member of the Trench Coat Mafia, if I were going to murder the school.

    Xenology: Leap from a Tall Building

    Pre-Crisis Thomm

    The trick is keeping your secret identity. If I let people know what I can do, the wrong person may find out and take those I love away from me. For their own safety, they can't ever know who I really am beneath the mask.

    I would not be the writer I am if I didn't force my anxiety onto things I can control. Instead of 3AM panic attacks about how I am wasting my life because of constant poor decisions that led to a lack of opportunities, I spin out the stories of brave women confronting fantastic conspiracies, estimating a million branching paths to find the one she survives. 3AM still comes. The anxiety proves too much or alights on thoughts on which I will obsess despite how I fight. In the daylight, I have a fighting chance of spotting a trigger so I am not taken by surprise. When I was young, a friend (anxious, neurotic, depressed) said I was a messiah. I could only retort a christening, that I must be a Solar Powered Messiah because, even now, I can't be too long in the dark without finding substance in shadows.

    Xenology: Support the Con You Want to See

    Our Booth
    Where I spend my weekend.

    The inherent asset and drawback of No Such Convention is that it is student run. This may mean that, one year, the right student has the right connections to net a guest who will draw crowds. The con has hosted relative luminaries such as cott McCloud, Sandeep Parikh, Jeph Jacques, and RK Milholland, the latter two who decided a few minutes into setting up their tables that this was not a real convention and they could ignore any suggestion that it should be treated as such.

    If you do not have these connections, you end up with Thomm Quackenbush as your headliner.

    Q's in a Pod: Illuminating the Night's Dream Series at No Such Convention 2018

    Download 1:04:56
    (55.2 Mb)

    A panel discussing the twisted historical foundations of my Night's Dream series, performed at Vassar College's No Such Convention 2018. Topics include: The Philip Experiment, The Visions at Fatima, how NASA was founded by an acolyte of Aliester Crowley, and the Hudson Valley UFO flap.

    Xenology: On the Anniversary of Your Death

    I miss you.

    So you've been dead for a year. I won't point out that you have made no apparent attempt to contact me from beyond the grave. I consider this a little rude on your part. Not as rude as taking heroin until your heart gave up, but rude.

    Xenology: Of Chocolate Marmosets

    He seems wise.

    I suggest the Trevor Zoo because they are having a free hot chocolate day. Even though it is likely from Swiss Miss packets, something I could buy for a matter of pennies if I did not have boxes of it in my home in preparation of sledding adventures, it is still a good excuse to spend with friends looking at caged animals. What is better than a sweet, hot beverage and marmosets?

    The zoo is run by the students of the adjoining Millbrook School, along with trained vets and zoologists. Amber visited them in her educational capacity months ago, coming close to cuddling a sick red panda, a feat on most people's buckle lists.

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