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24 April 2003 @ 09:18 am
batteries low  
Yesterday Neil Gershenfeld from MIT came to speak at our company. Before the talk started I said to my co-worker, "This is going to go right over my head." She said sternly: "Don't be silly! You don't even know what he's going to say!" About thirty seconds into his talk my brain tapped me on the shoulder, said, "Gonna take a snack break," and didn't bother to come back. NB was engaging and covered a lot of ground fast, snapping through complex, scary diagrams that he treated like slideshow wallpaper. Mostly he seemed to be talking about "personal fabrication," which--in the evolution of machine production--is rather like looking at the first crude prototype of a Star Trek food and clothing synthesizer, converting computer requests into the manufacture of items, which sounds pretty mundane until you learn that an MIT student has actually e-mailed a bicycle to his sister in Australia. Pretty wild.

So, I am tired. Like, chronically physically tired, among other things, and it's starting to drag at my concentration. There's an art-school truism that says "don't erase." Don't stop to erase bad and inaccurate lines in your drawing, just keep drawing, let your hand work, keep it moving. Flowing. Which is what I've been doing with the s/x stuff. The last few times though, I've been erasing and redoing too much, working the paper. It's starting to rip. Last night was especially bad, and I'm not entirely happy with what I wrote. It wasn't fun. Originally I was just playing around, getting my kicks and ya-yas out, but now the characters are taking their lives seriously, and I'm feeling itchy and duty-bound, like I have to write every day, and I'm worried that I'm going to step back at some point and realize that the picture is out of whack, like badly copied fan-art where the nose is askew and the eyes too far apart and it's all vaguely creepy.

A lot of people have friended me and I feel slightly anxious, like maybe people think I do this all the time, non-stop.

So I'm probably going to stop writing this for a bit. Stop thinking about it anyway, working myself up each day to the plan of writing. I might write more, but if it's going to happen, I want it to just happen. And maybe I'll write something else.

Okay, now I feel like Derek Zoolander making a moue of his lips and announcing his retirement in earnest, self-important tones--cheesyyyyyy. Can someone please step up to play Hansel so I can nap? Cool.

herself_nyc on April 24th, 2003 10:04 am (UTC)
The nose is in the right place.

But God knows you've earned a break. The last thing I'd want you to feel is obligated--the story is SUCH A GIFT. Each part was marvelous. Be proud. Don't be stressed.

I want to know how the guy emailed his sister a bicycle, but tell me later if you're tired now.

I like that "don't erase" thing. I haven't heard that specifically, although I've heard you should write a novel all the way through without going back over it at all and I find that advise just laughable. Easier I suppose with a drawing especially if you're making lots of drawings on cheap paper.
Anna S.eliade on April 24th, 2003 10:16 am (UTC)
I want to know how the guy emailed his sister a bicycle, but tell me later if you're tired now.

The bicyle thing was in a broadcast special called Personal Fab, with Alan Alda, and I am proud to say that I have managed just now to google a PBS page where you can actually view it online! Just visit here and click to play video, and select from the menu where it says "all-printed bicycle."

Also, here's a synopsis of the program.
sisabetsisabet on April 24th, 2003 10:05 am (UTC)
While I am not happy to hear about a slow-down on the S/X, I am kind of relieved. I have a lot of work that needs to be done and I have been somewhat obsessed with this and unable to concentrate on much of late (I mean really obsessed. I mean look out your window -::waves:: hi - that is me. Are you writing more?). I think I will go to bed tonight without refreshing my friends list 20 times and getting up to recheck when I can't sleep. This will be good. A positive change. Also - another positive note - you have successfully raised the bar, introduced slash to many a reader that otherwise would not "get" it, and inspired countless others to be more productive. Go you.
sparkledark: otpsparkledark on April 24th, 2003 10:09 am (UTC)
What she said. And, also, what Herself said. Hell yeah, you've earned a break. I've never seen someone produce so much high quality fiction in such a short period of time.
Hepcatnwhepcat on April 24th, 2003 10:28 am (UTC)
So understanding the writing exhaustion, which is where I seem to be heading. Take care of your wonderful brain in whatever way is necessary. (Though good lord, I hope you come back to this.) Thanks for such delicious work. As ol' Simon Cowell would say, you really raise the bar for everyone.
zortified on April 24th, 2003 10:32 am (UTC)
I hate to see you worn out. You need to visit a day spa. ;-)

gilascave for S/Xness.
my2cents4sure on April 24th, 2003 11:38 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for all the great Spander, Anna! I'm amazed (and happy) it's gone on as long as it has. Especially since I thought it was going to end, like, in Chapter 16. Anyway, I know we'll get other wonderful goodies from you down the road, when the mood strikes. Now, go play.

Oh, and when I have to sit there and listen to someone who is talking way over my head (as my current instructor sometimes does), I get irritated as crap. Not zoned out, just irritated. Because this little voice inside starts repeating "Well and isn't this a colossal waste of your time?" Sadly, I've been told I don't hide my impatience very well.
(Anonymous) on April 24th, 2003 01:49 pm (UTC)
Personal fabrication
Odd coincidence--I had just remarked in my blog that with the exception of ftl travel and the transporter, almost everything in the original Star Trek is already in use, along with some things that GR apparently never dreamed of. I would have said the synthesizer was one of the things we didn't have yet. Disturbing in a way--not that I'm any Luddite, obvously--but looking at Neil Gershenfeld's site is like having to redefine what it is to be human--blurring the distinctions between us and our machines.

northern: handsAJnorthernveil on April 24th, 2003 01:53 pm (UTC)
I friended you yesterday, and yes, it was in order to know immediately when a new part of the S/X was posted. I happen to know you're an amazing person, though. Not gonna bug you about writing. Take a break. You deserve it. :)
Agnesbientot on April 24th, 2003 08:42 pm (UTC)
A very good artist once told me, 'Everybody makes mistakes. The artist makes the mistakes look as if they were meant to be there.'

If you have made mistakes, they certainly look as if they were meant to be there.

I have every confidence that, as soon as you give yourself permission to take a break, you'll suddenly feel compelled to write like a goddess. Do what feels right. As I know you will!