Yesterday afternoon, I had to go to family birthday with coffee, tea and cake. These occasions are always stressful and tiring for me, because I am an introvert, so being with other people is tiring for me, even if I enjoy myself. And I didn’t really enjoy myself at this particular birthday tea party, because I don’t have a whole lot in common with most of the people there and hence not a whole lot to talk about. And as fate would have it, I ended up sitting next to someone I have nothing whatsoever in common with. I should have tried to get a seat next to the opera fan – at least I can talk opera.
I am actually very fond of the person whose birthday we were celebrating. And the venue was nice, there was plenty of cake on offer and no one called me a lazy slag (yes, I’ve had that happen to me at some other birthday. Nearly punched out the guy who said that, too) or started sprouting anti-immigrant rhetoric, which is a huge plus, since punching out the Nazi at the dinner table (not that I ever did that) always tends to upset people, while sprouting Nazi rhetoric doesn’t.
Still, the whole event was very much empty calories, tiring without giving any sort of useful input. Much like the two slices of cake I had to eat, which were plain empty calories without nourishment. You see, I have food allergy issues with a common cake and dessert ingredient. Not the sort of thing that commonly causes food allergies, so most people don’t understand that I can’t eat that – they just think I’m being picky and rude. Dry cakes and cookies are perfectly safe for me to eat, but unfortunately Germans don’t like dry cakes and cookies, so they are never served at these afternoon tea and coffee parties. Instead, they require stuff that is sticky or filled with cream or covered in glaze, all of which is not safe for me*. I can only enjoy cake I haven’t baked myself, if I can inspect it beforehand and preferably have an ingredient list**. However, at this place there was only a menu, I didn’t get to see the cake. So I ordered something that was billed as apple and almond cake, which should have been safe. Only that it wasn’t. So I had to eat that damned cake – and a huge slice of it, too – while doing my best not to eat the stuff that I knew would make me ill. So I basically stuffed myself with something I neither enjoyed nor wanted to eat, because it would have been rude to refuse and I couldn’t fake a stomach bug all the time (I sometimes do that to avoid eating cake that will make me sick). Just as I’m deadly tired for attending a party that I didn’t even enjoy.
So in addition to some venting, here are some links:
Over at Pegasus Pulp, I wrote a long post about the question of indie versus traditional publishing.
Lynn Viehl at Paperback Writer has a lovely post about roses, writing, unique voices and why technical perfection isn’t always good.
Locus has an interview with Kelley Armstrong. Considering that the SFF community usually prefers to pretend that urban fantasy doesn’t exist, this is a good thing.
The New York Times has an interesting article about corpus linguistics as applied to contemporary literature.
*My personal highlight was fighting over Leibniz butter cookies with a baby, because the Leibniz cookies were literally the only thing I could safely eat. Unfortunately, the baby immediately decided that every cookie I ate had to be particularly good, so she wanted to have it. I ended up sharing cookies with a ten-months-old.
**Waiters and bakery salespeople generally react strangely to ingredient queries, particularly if your problem isn’t with something widely known to cause allergies like peanuts.