star wars update

Asylum: A found poem

Asylum

In a bare compound off a dirt road:
Bureaucrats
Borders
Migrants.

They want to escape:
Dust
Joblessness
Poverty
Persecution.

If the answer is yes,
They are spared the risky journey
Through the desert
And on the deadly boats.

“We’re here to stop people from dying,“
Said the deputy,
But few are actually approved.
The message:
“Stay home.
Do not risk a perilous journey
For a claim that would be denied.”

Humanitarian ideals
Striking out:
New methods,
Questionable results.
Something has shifted.

The bus stations are empty.
The police check identity documents.
A sign outside bears the flag
And warns passengers not to travel without papers.

“Those with legitimate claims have a chance.”
But it is very low.
“We can’t welcome everybody.”
It is a policy without heart.

The smugglers herd together:
Beat them,
Rape them,
Extort money.
Some are sold into slavery
Before being loaded onto rickety boats.

Officials look for cases
Whose persecution might qualify.
In a day of interviews
At the sweltering center
Candidates waited pensively
Looking resigned as they sat on benches.

A refugee
Showed scars on her body
And on her 2-year-old child.

A woman
Asked whether she ever phoned her family:
“I never tell them where I am”

A girl
Who spent time in a camp:
“If I return, they will put me underground.”

After nearly two hours a verdict finally came:
“You will have the right to enter legally,
You will be granted a residence permit,
You will be given accommodations
You will have the right to work.”

Barely.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Poem found in French Outpost in African Migrant Hub, Asylum for a Select Few, The New York Times, February 25, 2018

Mirrored from Janni Lee Simner / Desert Dispatches.

star wars update

Because found poetry is one way of interacting with the news

Malware

Hoping to thwart a sophisticated system
The F.B.I. made an urgent request:
Turn it off.
The malware is capable of
Blocking, collecting, disabling
A global network.
Hundreds are already under control.

To reboot
The Department received permission
To seize the domain,
Command the domain,
Steal sensitive information,
And carry out disruptive Justice.

Stolen circumstances,
Global reach—
The potential for thousands of victims worldwide.

Found poetry from “F.B.I.’s Urgent Request: Reboot Your Router to Stop Russia-Linked Malware,” The New York Times, May 27, 2018

Mirrored from Janni Lee Simner / Desert Dispatches.

star wars update

Doing What You Love: Practical inspiration for writers

doingwhatyoulovecover-medium Doing What You Love: Practical Strategies for Living a Creative Life is now out in paperback! This chapbook draws on my quarter-century of writing experience to share insights and inspiration previously only available by attending one of my talks or, more recently, downloading an ebook.

It makes a great gift for any writer in your life who could use a bit of a pep talk. (Including you!)

['Taking risks, rather than being an impractical and foolhardy act, might be  one of the most practical and business-savvy things we can do.']

Available wherever books are sold:
Amazon (bundle with the ebook for 99 cents more)
IndieBound
Barnes & Noble
Or visit your favorite local bookstore and ask them to order you a copy!

Mirrored from Janni Lee Simner / Desert Dispatches.

star wars update

TusCon Science Fiction Convention

And here’s my schedule for TusCon 44 this weekend.

Friday, November 10

7 pm: Meet the Guests
Ballroom

Saturday, November 11

9 am: Best SF/Fantasy for Preschoolers
Panel Room 2
with Janni Lee Simner, Larry Hammer, and Mira Domsky

4 pm: Autograph Session
Canyon Theater Foyer
with William Herr, Mary Fan, Eric Schumacher, Geoff Notkin, and Janni Lee Simner

Sunday, November 12

9 am: The Importance of Knowing What Your Story Is
Ballroom
with Kathryn Lance, Eric T Knight, Gloria McMillan, D.S. Harders, and Janni Lee Simner

2 pm: Finish it!!! How to Know When Your Work Is Done
Panel Room 1
with Linda Addison, Jim Doty, Janni Lee Simner, Catherine Wells, Jeffrey J. Mariotte, Marsheila Rockwell, and Paul E. Clinco

Mirrored from Janni Lee Simner / Desert Dispatches.

star wars update

Tucson Comicon

I’ll be a panelist at Tucson Comicon, down at the Tucson Convention Center, this weekend! Here’s my panel schedule:

Saturday, November 4, 10 a.m.
Science Fiction and the Nourishment of Hope
with Kathryn Lance (moderator), Ed Hoornaert, Janni Lee Simner, and Catherine Wells
Mohave/Maricopa Room

Sunday, November 5, 1 p.m.
Epic Sci-Fi and Fantasy Worlds
with Natalie Wright (moderator), KJ Kabza, Kathryn Lance, and Janni Lee Simner
Mohave/Maricopa Room

Sunday, November 5, 2:30 p.m.
The Basics of Storytelling
with KJ Kabza (moderator), Monica Friedman, Kathryn Lance, and Janni Lee Simner
Greenlee Room

I’ll also be (of course!) at TusCon 44 November 10-12. I’ll post my schedule there next week, or you can check it out here.

Mirrored from Janni Lee Simner / Desert Dispatches.

star wars update

Writing Survivors: A New Series

If you enjoyed the Writing for the Long Haul series, head over and check out Cynthia Leitich Smith’s new Survivors series, where well-established writers talk about career endurance as a writer for children and young adults.

When I started out, publishers seemed reluctant to take chances on new voices. And in the pre-Potter industry, there wasn’t the widespread idea that writing for young readers was a viable and attainable career path (or at least one with the potential to generate a livable income).

Consequently, fewer younger people were pursuing it.

As a GenXer, I also entered the field as a shockingly young writer by the standards of the day.

I knew only a couple of published authors (and only online) who were around my age. The overwhelming majority were at least fifteen years older.

Most were a full generation older.

Now, the pendulum has swung hard the other way.

Read more here.

Mirrored from Janni Lee Simner / Desert Dispatches.

road

Truth, Justice, and Oversharing

Are you planning to turn your television to a non-Inauguration station tomorrow to help lower the Inauguration’s ratings?

If so, you forgot to verify what you read before accepting it. Because unless you’re a member of a Nielsen family, what you watch likely won’t affect anyone but you.

This isn’t the only example I could use (it’s unlikely Paul Ryan has disconnected his phones, too, just for starters), and I’m not sharing it to shame those who happen not to know what a Nielsen family is. I’m sharing it because one of the big lessons of the past election season, it seems to me, was that no matter what our political leanings are, we have got got GOT to get back into the habit of questioning what we read, even if–especially if–it agrees with what we already suspect to be true.

We have to start asking, “Where did this information come from?” We have to start looking for known, reliable sources, and asking who THEIR sources are, and visiting reliable fact checking sites. We have to get back to reading and listening with a healthy dose of skepticism, to knowing when to look at something and say “REALLY? SERIOUSLY?” We need to re-learn the difference between fact and interpretation, between drawing our own conclusions and creating our own reality.

After tomorrow, telling what is and isn’t true will likely get a lot harder. If we believe–and share–blindly, we become part of the problem, helping to spread false information and so making it that much harder to find the facts in a sea of distorted truths and flat-out fictional inventions.

If we believe blindly, we deny ourselves the information we need to know where and how to act, and we become easy prey for any passing piece of propaganda that contains some kernel of what we believe or want to believe. We move from false outrage to false outrage, and along the way miss the real outrages that need our attention.

So turn your television to whatever station you want; it won’t really matter. In the years ahead, a lot of other things will.

Mirrored from Janni Lee Simner / Desert Dispatches.

saguaro

The day before

The day before the peaceful transfer of power to those who seem to care little for peace, I headed out to a city park and walked in the bracing chill of a soft gray morning. I looked up at the cloud-muted mountains. Watched a long-legged egret make its careful way around a pond.

I gathered in energy and strength and calm for the days ahead.

I recommitted to art and to action and to figuring out how the two fit together.

I won’t say everything’s going to be all right, but the mountains and the egret and the pond are still here. We are still here. We’ll do what we can, fight what we must, succeed and fail, fall down and get up again. That in itself is a victory.

We are here.

Mirrored from Janni Lee Simner / Desert Dispatches.