January 5th, 2011

Living With Ghosts

Short story

My short story 'Saltus Lunae', which was previously published in the British SF Society magazine Matrix and which won the NewCon 3 short story competition in 2006, is now live in issue one of Wild Stacks here: http://www.wildstacks.co.uk/
It's one of my very rare forays into sf, although the inspiration for it was 7th century methods of deriving the date of Easter. I'm fond of it, as it was the story that kick-started me back into trying to sell Living With Ghosts and turned me back into a fiction writer.

Silly Rules

It's a new year. Happy New Year, people.
I don't do resolutions -- the marquis made me give them up a while back as I am too good at frighteningly punitive ones. But, having said that, and with his permission, I have made one for this year.
I'm giving up paying attention to silly rules acquired from other people.
What, you may ask? Let me explain.
I have a silly rule. It goes like this: 'If I ruled the world, nobody over the age of 10 would be allowed to appear in public wearing shorts (short pants, for the USians) unless they are exercising/playing sport/on the way to or from doing same.' I don't like shorts, I find them aesthetically ugly. I don't wear them. My characters don't wear them. In my world, nobody would wear them, except as outlined above.
I occasionally express this thought, and other people laugh at me or express disagreement. As far as I know, no-one has every felt that they should obey this rule just because I expressed it. (If there is anyone out there who avoids wearing shorts at me, however, then thank you! It's not necessary, but it is appreciated.) I don't expect other people to obey it, I have to say (even if I wish they would. But that's my problem).
Everyone has silly rules, things they don't like or wish others wouldn't do. Most people ignore these.
I don't. I am far too prone to taking stray remarks as absolutes that *must* be obeyed lest I cause terrible offence. Even if the person is not there and has probably forgotten what they said. And if I do find myself breaking one of these silly rules, I feel horribly guilty, I stop enjoying whatever it is, I feel I am a bad person.
This, frankly, is daft. I'm not talking rules around courtesy or consideration. I'm talking the 'Kari hates shorts' kind of rule. I waste time and energy fretting and feeling I should make amends even if the person in question is miles away and will never know that I read X type of book/dyed my hair X colour/wore X item.
So, as of this year, I'm resolved to stop doing this. Yes, desperance, this means I may occasionally wear blue in your presence. I know you hate blue. You know I like blue (and I know you don't mind if I wear it, because you're a grown up and you don't expect me to adopt your rules, and you think it's daft that I do). It means I will read certain subgenres without fretting (even if Y thinks it's a waste of time), enjoy cloudy weather, talk to friendly dogs, and generally let myself have my own reactions to minor things rather than feeling obliged to be a walk-on in my own head.
So there.
I also need to do some work around more serious rules, like the one that tells me that if someone else expresses a need, I must prioritise that over everything else in my life, even if to do so causes me direct damage. But that's a lot harder.... I'll keep you posted.
Meanwhile, anyone want to share their silly rules? I promise to flout them.