Since people (like me) often forget all the places I've been archiving fiction, here is the current list of locations;
Doctor Who, Torchwood = All stories at A Teaspoon and an Open Mind under username Timekpr
All TV and Movie Fanfic (Criminal Minds, The Avengers) rated R or lower = FanFictionNet , also username Timekpr
All Moonlight Fics = Moonlight Fans Fiction Archive username Timekpr
Strictly Adult Erotica NWS, rated MA, AO, X = Literotica Adult Story and Picture Archive username Timekeeper
Before you friend me, realize that large numbers of my posts are NWS and not for friends under 18.
So, I'm mostly done with the reconstruction after my mastectomy. Went on Sunday to http://www.maximumtattoostudio.com/ to see the talented Katie and get my scar covered. Before and after pic below
Having made a conscious choice in the last year to walk away from a huge part of my life, the issue of friendship has been on my mind.
What is a friend?
What do I expect from a friend?
What do I owe my friends?
Given the joys of the past year, with a divorce, a move across the country, my parents both having life threatening health problems, and my troubles finding a job - I've wished for the support of a few good friends more often in the last 12 months than at any time in the past 12 years.
Funny how everything sorts itself out. When I had to spend almost 2 months back in Illinois (and I fly back on the 24th for a few more fun-filled weeks of taking care of Mom and Dad) I found out that of the many people I thought of as friends, exactly 2 were willing to make any kind of contact and only one could find the time to meet up with me. The one who made that extra bit of effort wasn't who I expected....it was one of the old storytelling team from Chi Requiem. Bonded in the trenches of adversity trumps every other kind of friendship, I guess.
Mostly a negative experience, with that one positive mark of finding out that an old gaming buddy deserved the friend title.
So I have been asking myself...am I expecting too much from my friends? Hey, there are two explanations for my disappointment, one being that they let me down, the other that I'm expecting too much.
What do I expect? Honesty, first and foremost. I'd rather hear, wow, wish I could meet up with you but the kids are sick, my job is hell, and I just don't have the time right now than hear nothing. Guess that means that even before honesty, I expect to hear something from my friends. The courtesy of a response is not just requested, but expected. I expect that when I ask a question they will answer...whether I like the answer or not is less important than knowing where they stand. I appreciate that they took a stand, made a statement, showed me that little bit extra about who they are.
I expect that my friends will provide a safe place for me to express myself. A place where I can be cranky, or sad, or joyful and that's ok. A place where my feelings are respected, even if not understood. A place where I don't have to watch my mouth, or my back - because these few rare people will laugh with me, hold me if I'm hurting, and forgive me if I say something rude or insensitive. It's great if they tell me I was being a bitch, so I know I crossed the line and should apologize for hurting them. Then it gets to be my turn to offer a hug and an apology and make my friend feel better.
What do I owe my friends? Honesty, with them and with myself. When they need me to have their back, no matter what shit I am facing I should put that aside for a while and help them out. Yeah my Dad has cancer, that doesn't mean I won't come help you move. Yeah, I'm lonely and could really use a friend to talk to, but I'd be glad to listen to what is on your mind. I may need a hug, but it would make me feel better too if I could give you one when you're having a shitty day.
I owe them some of my time - my budget isn't going to allow for going out and hitting the clubs, but I can spring for 2 coffees at Starbucks or a 6-pack on the couch. I can't go out to a first run movie but I can laugh at some stupid reality show on MTV or compare your boss to that evil black smoke guy on Lost. A steak dinner is out of the question but I'd rather eat 99 cent burritos at Taco Bell with good company than a 5 course meal alone. It may be difficult but I will find the time - I will work around their schedule. I get if you have to cancel on short notice, as long as you know that sometimes I may do the same.
No one should be my friend without being treated with respect. My friends should always feel that even if I disagree with them, I respect where they stand. I may try to convince them to change their mind, but if they don't I will still be proud to call them friends. When they do something that hurts me, I will let them know. And I still want to be their friend, as long as they care that they hurt me and would like to make it better. The reverse is true as well - I do hurt my friends sometimes but I feel bad about it and I will try to make them feel better. Forgiving someone who takes a hurtful action without meaning it to be hurtful is part of having respect for who they are.
Somewhere there is a line, though, a point at which you look at a friend and can no longer be certain that they are the kind of person you want in your life. When you start feeling like they are deliberately cruel. If you have to wonder where they stand because they won't tell you what is going on in their head. Once you notice a disconnect between their words and their actions. Perhaps you see that they no longer care about how their actions make you feel. Worse, that they no longer notice how you feel at all.
I'm certainly guilty of being a bad friend on occasion. There have been times in my life when I didn't have the energy to have anyone's back, so I wasn't there for someone who needed me. I work pretty hard at avoiding being cruel, so I don't think I can put that black mark on my soul. I've done things, or not done things, that I felt guilty about later. When I feel guilt over an action (or inaction) that's a pretty good sign that I did something wrong. I've always been just about immune to the "guilt trip" - nobody can make me feel guilty, so when I do feel guilt I know I screwed up. There is someone out there I owe an apology and I better start trying to make up for my own shortcomings in that relationship.
Had it happen to me last night. Lost my temper while a guest at a friend's house. Said friend was expecting that I might...I had warned her that I was not in the best frame of mind and was feeling hurt already. She encouraged me to stay anyway, and unfortunately I was unable to swallow the hurt when someone else scraped an already raw nerve. I caused a scene that included raised voices in her home. I left immediately thereafter, and before I even got home I called her (and her son) to apologize for my conduct in their home. I felt guilty before I even got completely out of the driveway. My bad = my apology. It sucks a little because as much as I would like to share the company of the one person in Las Vegas who wants me around, I won't go out there again unless I am confident that I can do so without disturbing the harmony of their home.
I shouldn't be feeling as much pain over the loss of old friends as I am currently. After all, they were lost long ago, I'm just taking inventory now so the loss is old, only my awareness of the loss is new. Some losses probably aren't a tragedy, as I have begun to see that some of them were never the kind of people I should have wanted in my life. I wish that changed how much it hurts to have judged them so poorly in the first place.
Warning: this post may have a marked bias against men, those frustrating creatures who are ruled by their Y chromosome rather than their intellect.
It is possible that the single most annoying thing about males is their tendency to want something only until they have it.
Ever seen a guy spend weeks to pick out the perfect big screen TV and then 3 days after its hanging on his wall he's looking at the Best Buy ad and bitching about how he could have had the one thats just slightly more uber?
Or how they can spend months saving up for a new video card for the computer that 35 minutes after it gets installed all they have to say is how this other, more expensive one would have been better.
I suppose it is a holdover from the hunter society we evolved in, a time when human survival depended on the hunters always looking forward to the next hunt and being unsatisfied with what they already had acquired.
Why in the world do men put all that effort in to obtain something that they won't put any effort into keeping? It's like buying a brand new sports car and then never changing the oil - anything you don't maintain breaks down.
Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs - I liked the first book in the series better, but this one is still very good. Not saying much about it as I know a few people on my friends list plan to read and I don't want to spoil the fun. A-
Green Mars and Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson - having read the first one, I picked up the rest of the trilogy cheap on eBay. I like my techie sci-fi just as much as the next geek, but I get a little tired of the endless descriptions of Martian terrain and geology. B-
The Money Lawyers by Joseph Goulden - Everything you never wanted to know about the kind of people who drive up consumer prices with crazy lawsuits and excessive judgments. Fascinating in a bug under a microscope sort of way...I wouldn't want to be one of these people, but I understand why they exist and hope I never have to hire one. B+
Going to be picking up a couple of things I've been waiting on, including the Evolution of God.
On a side note - I went with siliconspook this weekend out to the Summerlin branch of the library so he could pick up a book he needed. Depressing that the amazingly beautiful, well-stocked, modern library out there in the upper class neighborhood makes my tiny, dirty, crowded branch look like a goodwill used bookstore. Less people in that branch on a Saturday afternoon than my branch has lined up outside ten minutes before opening time on a weekday.
Low income areas need the big library, those people out in Summerlin can afford to buy books. Pisses me off.
Been working on all sorts of things - finding a job, completeing my divorce paperwork, applying for college, and reading lots of books.
The return pile for the library is pretty thick today..
Places To Be, People To Kill edited by Martin Greenberg - a fun collection of fantasy stories about assassins. The standout best was a Tanya Huff Vree and Bannon story about killers on vacation.B-
Reset by Kurt Anderson - Trite. Another "let's go back to a time of simpler values" essay about how we used to be content with less and that the real solution to the current economic crisis is to be happy with what we have and stop pining for what we've lost. C-
Lost Boy by Brent W. Jeffs - An insightful look inside the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). Written by a nephew of the imprisoned prophet of the sect, it does not paint a pretty picture of polygamy and the brainwashing of youth. B
Curiosities of Literature by John Sutherland - A great collection of random anecdotes and little-know facts about some of the greatest works of literature. Ever wanted to know what was the most popular book in America during the civil war? (Les Miserables by Victor Hugo) Or what writer was the first to embrace the technology of the word processor? (Arthur C. Clarke) How about the fastest novelist? Read the book and find out. A
Winds of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson - While most of the posthumously published work in the Dune universe was clearly concieved by Frank Herbert before his death, this one just felt and read wrong. Time to let Mr. Herbert's remaining notes molder quietly away to dust rather than keep churning out books that aren't nearly as well written as the original five novels. D+
Packing the Court by James MacGregor Burns - A fascinating history of the US Supreme Court as a political force. Rather dry and scholarly but I learned a great deal from it. The congressional hearings required to confirm a new justice make more sense once you see the historical record. For example, back in 1798 Justice James Wilson died in debtor's prison while still a Supreme Court Justice. B-
Sick by Jonathan Cohn - This book has gotten a lot of media attention, but its just a collection of "typical" case studies of lives devastated by the American Health Care system. Heavy on the emotional ploy, light on actual suggestions for improvement. The most interesting thing was a history of how our current insurance system developed....as a way to keep hospitals open by collecting a fee in advance for providing future care to certain groups. C+
Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning - book 4 of her Fever series, this was the best one yet. Ends on a cliffhanger I'll still be mad about next year when the final book is released. A+
Red Mars by Kin Stanley Robinson - A well known sci-fi classic, being offered free on the Kindle to attract new readers to his works. Solid science, intense political theory but a little hard to follow the characters and story. B+
Skin Deep by Mark Del Franco - a stand alone book set in the same world as his Connor Grey novels, this was surprisingly fun and fast paced, with characters I could bond with and a few sideways twists on DC politics. A-
Heading over to the library to pick up a few more holds - even though my local branch is poorly stocked and equipped I can't say anything too bad about the Las Vegas Library District. The online search is easy to use, requesting hold items takes just seconds, and I get most things pretty quickly.
The heat at night stirs some deep memory for me, some echo of nights when I was a child. I can't quite capture the images but I know that somewhere before I felt a deep peace walking into a night that was furnace hot and scented with desert sand.
Its quiet too - even the crickets make no sound scurrying across the patio. Florida darkness was always filled with sound, but even the insects here are respectfully silent.