Inhuman Swill : Page 46
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.
            

Half the bars you see are polling places today.

Full entry

The choice

| No Comments
            

If you're an American voter and you're still undecided today, please read this New Yorker editorial and think hard about it before you go to the polls:

The Choice

And to those of you for whom opposing abortion is the most important issue in this campaign, please ask yourselves honestly why protecting a horde of merely potential human beings who are more likely than ever to be born into crushing poverty is more important to you than ensuring that there is a clean, prosperous, and stable world for them to live on.

If you don't like abortion, don't have one, but please, for the sake of us all, don't let that get in the way of dealing with the real problems we face here in the real world. Real, feeling people are suffering in real, horrendous ways now. You are part of the world economy, and you are without doubt feeling the pain yourself.

Full entry

Ghost of Bradley present

| No Comments
            

If you're looking for some alternative political listening for this long, long Election Day, check out this segment from the October 24 episode of WNYC's "On the Media," which handily debunks the myth of the Bradley effect:

Ghost of Bradley Present

Full entry

A wee tale for Halloween

| No Comments
            

My 1993 story "Colin and Ishmael in the Dark" is up now at PodCastle as the latest of their Halloween features. I was charmed by [info]mkhobson's introduction, and utterly delighted by the narration by MarBelle of the Directors Notes podcast.

Listen to the story, or download it to play at your convenience, here. I suggest listening with the lights off.

Happy Halloween!

Full entry

An atheist's communion

| No Comments
            

I just got home from early voting and dropping Laura off at her el station. We had touchscreen voting machines with paper ballot receipts that scrolled under glass. I have to say, it was a pretty slick and reassuring way to vote, though it lacked the visceral satisfaction of those New York machines where you set all the small levers and then ram one giant lever home to lock in your votes.

Still, the experience was not without its reward. I'm a sentimentalist, I know, but I felt a frisson of pride—dare I say rightness chills?—as I touched my stylus to the OBAMA/BIDEN box and took part in what I hope will be history. I told Laura this in the car afterward. "Interesting, I didn't feel anything," she said.

As with spiritual matters, we all have our own responses to the experience of participating in the civic dialogue of voting. But it's not the response or even the motive that matters, just the vote. Some might say our two votes don't mean anything because Illinois is all locked up for Obama anyway, but every brick has its place in holding the house together. Your vote is important, for whatever candidates, whether in Massachusetts, Utah, Indiana, or any other state. It's your affirmation that you're engaged with the future of the country, whatever you envision it to be.

I really only intended to say here that I had voted, and suddenly I feel like I'm giving a talk in church. I guess voting is one of the ways this atheist feels like part of something larger than himself.

Full entry

The re-up

| No Comments
            

Let Them Eat Chocolate!
I guess I've watched way too many episodes of The Wire lately, and read too much Richard Price. Now, every time I go to the kitchen to refill my coffee mug I think of it as the "re-up."

On an almost separate note, I'm delighted to report that besides my cubby at Writers WorkSpace, there are a couple of coffee shops right by our apartment that are laptop-friendly. It's less than a block to this one, where (taking a page from the [info]gregvaneekhout playbook) I spent a little time on Thursday afternoon:

This is why you live in a city, kids.

Full entry

Writing advice

| No Comments
            

Writing is thinking.

Writing is not a process simply of transcribing ideas that are already worked out in full. Writing is the process of working through those ideas.

It is not necessary, nor is it likely even desirable, to sit down and write only after your ideas are worked out, because the very act of writing is the most important part of the process of working them out in full.

Writing is thinking.

Full entry

Not fit to print

| No Comments
            

I've mentioned here before, I think, that I'm in the process of applying for a pardon from Canada for my mischief conviction of almost 22 years ago. Really, "in the process" is perhaps putting it too strongly. I'm hung up on one particular step in the process, which is heading down to my local police station to be fingerprinted. I keep finding excuses to put this off—or not even bothering to find excuses. Maybe this isn't surprising, given the way my back prickles—even today, when I haven't done anything—every time I'm out walking and a police car cruises slowly past me.

I have to get over, though, if there's any prayer of making it to Montreal next year for Worldcon.

Full entry

In London

| 1 Comment
            

Having a great time. Have seen [info]fjm and [info]secritcrush and [info]grahamsleight. Now at crypt of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. More later, and photos.

Full entry

Cigarette magic

| No Comments
            

There's a magic shop about a 15-minute walk from here. I had occasion to wander over there yesterday for the first time, and it was a marvel. Dark. Tiny. Crammed with masks, gags, novelties, books, and gadgets. There was barely room to walk up to the counter. The place smelled of dust and cigarette smoke. I haven't smelled those smells together in a shop for a long time.

My business there does not concern this vignette, but I was invited to approach the rear counter by a gruff but friendly voice. This belonged to an aging, rotund fellow with a terrific unplaceable accent. An equally rotund and aging woman was doing something behind a side counter.

"I'll be with you in just a moment," he said, peering through his glasses at some bagged booklets he was sorting through. "I have an eleven-year-old girl who called me who wants to learn cigarette magic. I'm seeing what I can find."

From behind me, the woman screeched, "What are you doing teaching an eleven-year-old girl cigarette magic?! You can't do that!"

Full entry

Featured Book

William Shunn

Archives