Electric Grandmother

Maggie Croft's Personal Journal young spirit, wire-wrapped
spark electric grandmother
arc against the night

-- Lon Prater
Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Read/Post Comments (4)
Share on Facebook


Once upon a time, a seemingly long time ago, unless you're a geologist, in which case it was just one second ago, I used to be an anthropologist. What this means is that people paid me good money to sort through documents (like medical files)and talk to people, asking questions and taking notes of their answers. Then they'd pay me to write a narrative about what I experienced and what people said and then write some conclusions of what I thought, thinking it was useful somehow. (They also paid me to run numbers, you know, apply statistics to what I'd learned. Entertaining, that.)

Sometimes it was useful. Maybe just for one person, but that was enough.

I don't do that anymore. But it was a good life and I enjoyed it and I was pretty good at it -- I could get people to tell me things. I think it was because I actually listened to them.

This is the thing, though. You can take the anthropologist out of the field, but you may not be able to take the field out of the anthropologist.

I spend a lot of my life wondering "why" and "what for" and "how come" about a lot of people and what they do and what they believe.

* * *

When I was in grad school, I had a friend who was into his porn. He liked it, it made him happy, and there was much joy.

For a while he was dating a "good" Catholic girl. (Good, of course, being a relative term, if good people use others and try to steal boyfriends and lie... And yes, the Catholic part is important, somehow; she used to bring it up all the time. I had a class with her once, during the same time as the story I'm about to recount. At least once during every class period she mentioned she was a practicing Catholic. Many would assume I exaggerate this. I am not in the slightest.)

One day, the good Catholic girl, whom I'll call Gizelda, and the friend (we'll call him Jackaroo), and Rice and I were sitting around in Rice's and my living room. (J-Spot (18 at the time) may also have been there. I don't recall. If he was there, he will remember.) The subject of Jackaroo's porn came up, a subject that obviously made Gizelda uncomfortable. (Truly uncomfortable, not just "I'm a good Catholic girl and I should act like this when the topic comes up" uncomfortable.) So he started going on about his porn, obviously trying to egg Gizelda.

Now, Jackaroo's fascination with porn was a tad bit interesting to me, and I wanted to know more. Also, even though I wasn't fond of Gizelda, I wasnt' sure it was kosher that Jackaroo egg her like he was. At the same time, I wasn't that fond of Gizelda. And again, I had one of those inquiring minds that just wants to know. *

So I started asking questions. Question upon question upon question about Jackaroo's habits, why he liked what he liked, what did he like anyway? What happened physiologically? Psychologically? Emotionally? No holds barred. I'm a scientist, here, you can't embarrass me. **

Of course, Gizelda went to our next class and told everyone how Maggie got into "Anthrogirl mode" and got all over Jackaroo's porn. Gizelda wasn't an anthropologist. She didn't understand. The other anthropologists, the real ones (because an anthro major does not an anthropologist make) did.

* * *

I still like to know. I still have a mind with lots and lots of questions.

One thing that I've noticed that interests me is the different opinions and practices speculative fiction writers have concerning their craft. Today I'm going to focus on submission practices.

It's fascinating to me how some writers will work and work and work on a story, trying to craft the best story possible, the best story they've ever written while others will write a story, do some line edits and continutity edits, etc., and then ship the story off to a writers' group or to the publication of choice. Some writers will submit to most any publication, as long as the quality is decent. Some will only submit to the biggies, e.g. Asimov's or Realms of Fantasy. Others will decide on what publications to submit to based on prestige, i.e. "I'll ship to Asimov's because, well, duh, and also to LCWR because they're well respected and literary and stuff." Others will submit based on payment, i.e., "Well, Intergalactic Medicine Show pays six cents a word (bloody hell! I'm rich!), so we'll send them this. And this is perfect for LCRW, but they don't pay much at all... who will for this?" Some will only submit to print publications. Some prefer online ones. Some only send material to places who will accept e-subs.

Of course, everyone has their reasons and thoughts on this. Like so many things in writing, submissions is a very individual practice. The different opinions intrigue me. The rationale behind the opinions and behaviors fascinate me. Perhaps even more so that Jackaroo's porn :).


* And I have a bad habit of occasionally playing with people. For example, I have a pretty good BS radar. If I'm talking to someone and they lie to me (and I mean an out and out lie here, adding an inch or two to a fish doesn't worry me -- people tend to expand on the truth at times), I tend to pick it up, particularly if it has anything to do with me. And I hate it when people lie to me to specifically deceive me, because they think they can pull one over on me, etc. Sometimes I don't care, sometimes I do. Sometimes I'll call a person on it, but other times I'm bad. I go along with their story, and then I won't let it die. I'll keep bringing it up, asking about it. But sometimes I decide to believe them, at least for now. I may go to hell for this.

** It's hard to embarrass most anthropologists (though homosexuality certainly can be a hot button with some of them). We've discussed men painting their butts red and waving them around to make fun of the women's menstrual cycles. We've discussed doing this ourselves, jokingly, of course. We watch videos of penis fencing, for crying out loud. Not a lot out there to shock us after this, let me tell you.

Read/Post Comments (4)

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 JournalScape.com. All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.