Publication Update!

As of today, I have a short story available in The Society of Misfit Stories Presents… February 2019 issue!

An image of the book cover for the Society of Misfit Stories' February 2019 issue.
This is the volume cover! These are all of us whose stories are in it! The cover art is by Denny Marshall, whose portfolio is here.

In “Ash Shades,” two women survive the destruction of their landing site by taking shelter in their ship. They emerge to find a local sentient species salvaging burned seeds and must navigate communication barriers to learn what happened to the rest of their crew.

It’s 7,400 words, just shy of a novelette, and the perfect length to enjoy on your shorter (passenger — please don’t read & drive) commute.

The February 2019 issue of Misfit Stories contains many other writers’ works, so you could have your commute and laundromat reading taken care of for at least the first decad of February. It’s $4.99 for a bunch of good stories, and at the link, you can pick your ebook retailer of choice.

Content warnings (highlight to see; I can’t speak for the other stories because I haven’t read them yet): Grief, death, fire, corpses, and first contact.

Conlangers, you may enjoy the linguist thrown out of her subdiscipline comfort zone.

Readers who grew up in polytheistic traditions, while the short story is not religious, it does center polytheist characters in scifi, which is still a representation issue. For everyone else, the final scene contains elements that are not consistent with traditional praxis in either’s religion. It’s a landing site disaster, so neither is prepared for proper protocol.

#Lexember: Kinship, Gender, Society

This is the final leg of #Lexember! If you’ve been following my account @eamarubhe, you may be interested in following me @kayeboesme, which is active more often. I think @eamarubhe may transform into an account related to the fiction monologue podcast I am hard at work on. My development of Eamaru is related to the podcast.

December 22.

Leam /lɛ͡ɒ̈m/, parent. Leamn /lɛ͡ɒ̈m.ˈn̩/, something related to parenting.

Leamnzi /lɛ͡ɒ̈m.ˈn̩.ˌzi/, birth parent.
Leamnef /lɛ͡ɒ̈m.ˈnɛf/, legal guardian.
Leama /lɛ͡ɒ̈m.ˈɑ/, lineage.
Leam jun /lɛ͡ɒ̈m ʒyn/, non-birth parent.

I’ve used the term birth parent here because the social gender system offers some ambiguity about the gender of the person who gives birth. There’s a temple-based renunciation of gender called zaḥeim, and these individuals will often start families during a hiatus from temple service. Eamau gender is based on a combination of biology and the social role of an individual (AKA the push and pull of who someone is and society at large). Birth parents are always kuaẖe, kuall, zaḥeim, jiut veyrin, or nijmi veyrin.

Kuaẖe somewhat corresponds to our idea of women, and it’s a gender that is typecast into roles related to family and household, neighborhood, and city affairs. Kuall is a gender that is expected to be more warlike, outgoing/roaming, and less inclined to family affairs. Jinri means something similar to trans women, often used as an adjective, as in kuaẖe jinrin or kuall jinrin.

Jiut somewhat corresponds to men. This gender is expected to do physical labor, fighting, and physically dangerous entertainment and jobs. The gender nijmi is less so. They often work in finance and business, and their socially accepted role is similar to kuall-me, but they’re seen as softer and less confrontational than kuall-me or jiut-me. Veyri means something similar to trans man, often seen as an adjective in jiut veyrin or nijmi veyrin.

December 23.

Birth parent relatives:
Iẖar /i.ˈħɑɾ/, cousin.
Mokta /mo.ˈktɑ/, older relative.
Leal /lɛ͡ɒ̈l/, grandparent.
Leala /lɛ͡ɒ̈.ˈlɑ/, great(+)grandparent.

Non-birth parent relatives:
Jellan /ʒə.ˈɬɑ/, cousin.
Ral /ðɑl/, older relative.
Leal jun /lɛ͡ɒ̈l ʒyn/, grandparent.
Leala jun /lɛ͡ɒ̈.ˈlɑ ʒyn/, great(+)grandparent.

Generics:
Ðalle /ðɒ̈.ˈɬɛ/, older sibling.
Fhat /ɸɑt̪/, younger sibling.
Bea /bɛ͡ɒ̈/, relative. Beaa /bɛ͡ɒ̈.ˈɑ/, older relatives. Beaasum /bɛ͡ɒ̈.ˈɑ.ˌsym/, ancestors. Eḥ beaasum sak /ɛʔ bɛ͡ɒ̈.ˈɑ.ˌsym sɑk/, an ancestor.

December 24.

Eliu /ə.ˈli͡y/, the part of a family that lives together.

Meaz /mɛ͡ɒ̈z/, familyMeazn /mɛ͡ɒ̈z.ˈn̩/, familial. Meaznzi /mɛ͡ɒ̈z.ˈn̩.ˌzi/, head of household. Meaza /mɛ͡ɒ̈.ˈzɑ/, powerful family. Meazaszi /mɛ͡ɒ̈.ˈzɑ.ˌzːi/ someone disowned.

Meazaszi eze ei ðeḥe zei!
/mɛ͡ɒ̈.ˈzɑ.ˌzːi ə.ˈzɛ ɛ͡i ðə.ˈʔɛ zɛ͡i/
Those two must be disowned!

In the above sentence, ðeḥe is a particle that indicates the imperative future tense. It’s difficult to translate this into English because our word must could also mean that some speaker is incredulously referring to people who have done something scandalous. That meaning is not present in the Eamaru.

December 25.

Sautor /sɒ̈͡y.ˈt̪oɾ/, to conquer.

Siub sauto ba riu ẖam set ðalleta-me viuno ba.
/si͡yb sɒ̈͡y.ˈt̪o bɑ ɾi͡y ħɑm sɛt̪ ðɒ̈.ˈɬɛ.ˌt̪ɒ̈ mɛ vi͡y.ˈno bɑ/
We conquered them and killed their sages.

Today’s #Lexember refers to the political strife in Eamau society that has led to the teas (slums) existing in the first place within conquered cities — typically in the buildings ravaged by war while the new city springs up in walled areas.

It’s also a coy memorial reference to the destruction of temples and outlawing of non-Christian religions in Late Antiquity, plus the murder of philosophers like Hypatia. So.

December 26.

Yat /jɑt̪/, school.

Yat no eal-me
/jɑt̪ no ɛ͡ɒ̈l mɛ/
Grammar school

Yat vusn
/jɑt̪ vys.ˈn̩/
University

Yat no ðalleta-me
/jɑt̪ no ðɒ̈.ˈɬɛ.ˌt̪ɒ̈ mɛ/
Philosophical school

Yat no ifhea lloktn
/jɑt̪ no i.ˈɸɛ͡ɒ̈ ɬokt.ˈn̩/
Religious officiant school

December 27.

Uzmait /yz.ˈmɒ̈͡it̪/, regulation. Uzmaitn /yz.ˈmɒ̈͡it̪.ˌn̩/, regulated.

The two examples below use negation words that are applied to nouns or used on their own, naið and alli. The word naið is used to indicate negative-sentiment negation, and I’ve translated it as lack of in the example below, but it could also mean noticed absence.

Alli is just no — it indicates that the noun it accompanies is not present. Alem naið and alem alli, the word mistake attached to the negation particle, mean without a problem and no mistake respectively.

Zaut-me viuno uzmait naið.
/zɒ̈͡yt̪ mɛ vi͡y.ˈno yz.ˈmɒ̈͡it̪ nɒ̈͡ið/
Lack of regulation kills people.

Zaut-me viuno uzmait alli.
/zɒ̈͡yt̪ mɛ vi͡y.ˈno yz.ˈmɒ̈͡it̪ ɒ̈.ˈɬi/
No regulation kills people.

December 28.

Jal /ʒɑl/, snowJaln /ʒɒ̈l.ˈn̩/, snowyLlet jaln /ɬɛt̪ ʒɒ̈l.ˈn̩/, snow-covered ground. Lit. pane/surface snowy.

Llet jaln mubo ive iuka no leamnzi.
/ɬɛt̪ ʒɒ̈l.ˈn̩ my.ˈbo i.ˈvɛ i͡y.ˈkɑ no lɛ͡ɒ̈m.ˈn̩.ˌzi/
My birth parent’s property is covered in snow.

I was looking for inspiration for a conlang word at my mom’s house. In Upstate NY, even when it isn’t snowy, there’s often a layer of snow on the ground even when sidewalks and roads are passable. Llet jaln is a way to say that in my conlang.

December 29.

Fhai /ɸɒ̈͡i/, candidate. Fhai al leam jun /ɸɒ̈͡i ɑl lɛ͡ɒ̈m ʒyn/, spousal candidate.

Fhai ful al ktaðu no illete.
/ɸɒ̈͡i fyl ɑl ktɒ̈.ˈðy no i.ˈɬə.ˌt̪ɛ/
Light fiction sold for travelers to entertain themselves.
Literally, this means candidates for the role of a book belonging to the roadside.

December 30.

Zealle /zɛ͡ɒ̈.ˈɬɛ/, law. Zeallen /zɛ͡ɒ̈.ˈɬɛ.ˌn̩/, legal. Zeallea /zɛ͡ɒ̈.ˈɬɛ.ˌɑ/, law, emphatic. Zealleas /zɛ͡ɒ̈.ˈɬɛ.ˌɑs/, laws someone doesn’t like. Zeallesum /zɛ͡ɒ̈.ˈɬɛ.ˌsym/, laws (pl.), referring to the sets of laws that are written down.

Fhai zeallen /ɸɒ̈͡i zɛ͡ɒ̈.ˈɬɛ.ˌn̩/, bill, law-in-progress.
Zeallesum teitn /zɛ͡ɒ̈.ˈɬɛ.ˌsym t̪ɛ͡it̪.ˈn̩/, food safety laws.

December 31.

For this day, I had to make a lot of words because I also did not have a word for joy. In the sentence below, utkenez is joy, composed of ut + kenez, novelty + contentment. I also wrote a temporal-only version of in, usak.

Vauð /vɒ̈͡yð/, yearVauðn /vɒ̈͡yð.ˈn̩/, annualVauða /vɒ̈͡yð.ˈɑ/, cycle, with implied circularity. 

Utkenez vauð kutn usak bhei ðeḥe siub!
/yt̪.ˈkɛ.ˌnəz vɒ̈͡yð kyt̪.ˈn̩ ys.ˈɑk βɛ͡i ðə.ˈʔɛ si͡yb/
Have joy in the new year!

Thank you all for following me however you did this Lexember! I wish you a bright and happy new year filled with schwas, glottal stops, and so much linguistic fun!

2018 in Review

It’s the end of Lexember, the constructed language month that is somewhat between NaNoWriMo and Inktober in its intensity level.

Autumn was busy for me. Academia is always more intense in the fall semester than in the spring — everything is so compressed between mid-August and late December. At work, I was running an event committee. I also wrote two academic articles, one of which has appeared in the publication already.

This autumn, I also took time off to go to my youngest sister’s wedding and visited my mom for a few days. I attended a library conference in Montréal and ate gluten-free croissants. It’s probably no wonder that I felt so tired.

Writing-wise, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished much this year. 2018 felt like several years experienced in layers all on top of each other. There have been so many discrete chunks and cycles of time within this year that it feels long and endless even after the fact.

Major things

I sold a sort story to Misfit Stories this summer, and it will be published in the February 2019 issue. I am very excited because I have not sold a short story before.

It’s not an overtly queer story, but it does have some #ownvoices elements in that the main character is from a similar religious background to me, raised in Western Neopaganism. It’s about two women who land on a new planet and have to figure out what happened to the rest of the landing crew.

I decided a few years ago that all of the main characters in my contemporary and near-future work would be from that background because I don’t see us accurately represented in stories.*

I also had a poem published in Illumen and another one published in Kaleidotrope.

Other things that happened

Thing One

I moved into a new apartment, and I have a better writing/reading area.

Thing Two

I wrote a novella about library science in a far-future setting. I guess if I wanted to get jargon-y about it, it’s a New Adult piece about a librarian apprentice adjusting to her first professional job while investigating an act of information vandalism that could harm the delicate postwar politics in her country.

It’s the least dour story I have ever written.

Thing Three

I wrote a lot of #OssiaPodcast and then took a pause from it because I realized that I needed to do a bit more worldbuilding for it to write an effective draft.

That’s one of the reasons Lexember is focusing on the language Eamaru. As many who know what I write may have heard, almost all of my stories are set in a timeline that spans 35,000 years on a set of planets even if the stories are otherwise very disconnected.

I have not world-built the Canyon regions of 20,000 years before the events of the podcast monologue of Epiphany, and I need to develop a bit more of the geopolitics and how the regime there collapsed beyond the fact that a supervolcanic eruption was the main environmental culprit. I also need to figure out which cultural elements survived into the present day and which will be unique to Eamau culture.

Thing Four

I’m plugging away at my epic that draws themes from the stories of Iphigenia in a far-future setting, and I’m near the end of a part of it that I know will have to be significantly overhauled (Book 5, which has a target of 120K for length; I’m currently a few K over) — but at least it’s good to have all of this down on paper.

I can’t create the story I want until I have a draft of all 1.3 million words or so, and I anticipate that only 20-30% of the words will be the same as the words in the final version. Also, the continuity edits will be a monster.

Word Count

I saved this for last because word count is not an accurate reflection of how much time and effort I spend writing. I can say that after I subscribed to RescueTime premium, it became much easier to pull out the amount of time I was spending on creative writing and librarian article work.

After my account integration, I spent 124 hours in Scrivener writing, 11 hours in Overleaf working on conlangs and worldbuilding, 12 hours in Microsoft Word proofreading/typesetting/&c, and about 2 hours of time in Typora and MWeb reviewing character notes and the like. Total = ~149 hours

Before my account integration, my informal tallies of “Design and Composition”-category time — which includes Scrivener, Word, and the like, only I can’t break out the stats — was somewhere in the ballpark of 205 hours.

The total, of course, is ~354 hours of creative time. This doesn’t include any of the time I spent reading through my writing offline or in my ereading app to proofread novellas or stories, and it also does not account for the fact that I do most early poetry drafts in longhand.

I wrote 321,000 words this year. This was divided among the various novella, short story, podcast, and novel projects I have.


* Tangent: I hate the new Sabrina, but I grew up Neopagan in the Midwest during the Satanic Panic, so the feelings I have about its centering of Christianity and the potential damage its portrayals can do to Wicca, Neopaganisms, and witchcraft are not trivial. I agree with many of the opinions expressed in this article — I am also very anxious about a new Satanic Panic, probably because of what happened to me during the first one when I was still a child. The writers in Sabrina even named their student reading club “WICCA,” which will eventually distort Google search results for anyone trying to look up non-fandom-related content online. My experiences as a religious minority in Missouri as a kid have contributed to so much of my adult outlook in good and bad ways. In a good way, they taught me to value religious freedom and pluralism and to stand up for my core values. In a bad way, growing up in a religious minority and worshipping many gods worsened the bullying I experienced as a kid, and I am not over what happened to me psychologically. I think that the best way to improve rep and shift the dial towards the positive is to deliberately focus on writing characters from a background similar — but not necessarily identical — to mine.

#Lexember in the fatiguing darkness of winter

This week, how dark it is outside really hit me. The library where I work is in a basement, and the window in the pit courtyard has been taken away due to a construction site. We won’t get it back until at least midsummer.

At this time of the year given that windowless existence, the only sun I see when I don’t have meetings in other buildings is after sunrise and before I enter the building — essentially, ~7 AM when the sun rises until my commute is over at ~9 AM. It’s black as pitch by the time I leave for home. Even with the window, December is always a struggle. (The light doesn’t really reach our offices, but it’s nice to just know there’s a window a few dozen meters away.) I become constantly fatigued and lose a grip on my circadian rhythm despite using bright-light circadian glasses while I’m getting ready in the morning. They help marginally, so I’m sure most of this is psychological.

Thankfully, our university closes almost completely between the 24th and 1st, so I can do a reset and get more sunlight. I have today (December 21) off, and I am posting my Lexember stuff now before going off to bake lussekatt and pray to Helios because the winter solstice is this evening. We have a severe weather alert for high winds, flooding, and a deluge of rain.

Many of the words this week were themed after my growing restlessness about the short days.

Day Fifteen.

Kel /kɛl/. Sort of.

Febn kel ei rim.
/fəb.ˈn̩ kɛl ɛ͡i ɾim/
I’m kinda tired.

Febn kel ei alif-mi rim.
/fəb.ˈn̩ kɛl ɛ͡i ɒ̈l.ˈif.ˌmi ɾim/
I’m kinda done.

Feb /fɘb/, fatigue. Febn /fəb.ˈn̩/, fatigued. Feba /fə.ˈbɑ/, drowsiness. Feban /fə.ˈbɑn/, sleepy, drowsy.

Day Sixteen.

Alem /ɒ̈.ˈlɛm/, mistake. Alemn /ɒ̈.ˈlɛm.ˌn̩/, adj form.

Alem ful maso neð rim.
/ɒ̈.ˈlɛm fyl mɒ̈.ˈso nɛð ɾim/
I don’t like mistakes.

Vus alemn bhei za.
/vys ɒ̈.ˈlɛm.ˌn̩ βɛ͡i zɑ/
Le doesn’t have ler priorities straight. Lit., Le has [nonphysical] a mistaken center.

Day Seventeen.

Iunaḥ /i͡yn.ˈɑʔ/, darkness. Iunaḥn /i͡yn.ˈɑʔ.ˌn̩/, dark

Iunaḥn ei teltu. 
/i͡yn.ˈɑʔ.ˌn̩ ɛ͡i t̪əl.ˈt̪y/
Winter is dark.

Day Eighteen.

Es /ɛs/, on account of, because of, with the cause of.

Febn iunaḥ no teltu es ei rim.
/fəb.ˈn̩ i͡yn.ˈɑʔ no t̪əl.ˈt̪y ɛs ɛ͡i ɾim/
I am tired on account of winter’s darkness.

Day Nineteen.

Un /yn/, weakUnzi /yn.ˈzi/, something/one who is weak. Unor /yn.ˈoɾ/, to weaken.

Un ei kta no teltu.
/yn ɛ͡i ktɑ no təl.ˈt̪y/ 
Winter light is weak.

Ben /bɘn/, strongBenzi /bən.ˈzi/, strong one/thing.Benor /bən.ˈoɾ/, to strengthen

Ben ei vus za no.
/bɘn ɛ͡i vys zɑ no/
Ler foundation is strong. Lit. Ler center is strong.

Reflexively, benor makes to improve:

Beno teilva.
/bə.ˈno t̪ɛ͡il.ˈvɑ/
You-singular are improving. Lit. You strengthen yourself.

Day Twenty.

Kabek kɒ̈.ˈbɛk/, regimen. Kabek teitn /kɒ̈.ˈbɛk t̪ɛ͡it̪.ˈn̩/, diet. Kabek no ifhea lloktn /kɒ̈.ˈbɛk no i.ˈɸɛ͡ɒ̈ ɬokt.ˈn̩/, the register of rites performed by a temple. Kabek rusoḥn /kɒ̈.ˈbɛk ɾy.ˈsoʔ.ˌn̩/, preventative health plan. Kabekn /kɒ̈.ˈbɛk.ˌn̩/, regimented, allotted.

Teit teas ov avuyo kabekn-mi kaubo eam.
/t̪ɛ͡it̪ t̪ɘ.ˈɒ̈s ov ɒ̈.ˈvy.ˌjo kɒ̈.ˈbɛk.ˌn̩ mi kɒ̈͡y.ˈbo ɛ͡ɒ̈m/
The state has allotted food to the poor.

Day Twenty-One.

Fhor /ɸoɾ/, to go. Fhor us-mito return (used w/refl. pron).

Fho us-mi kta iuka no ebhari ẖezn!
/ɸo ys mi ktɑ i͡y.ˈkɑ no ə.ˈβɑ.ɾi ħəz.ˈn̩/
The sunlight returns!

H̱eznbhe fhor ðaḥav dei.
/ħəz.ˈn̩.ˌβɛ ɸo ðɒ̈.ˈʔɑv dɛ͡i/
You-dual will likely go home.

‘Twas the Second Week of #Lexember

So, before I get started, let me just say that I joined Pillowfort as kayeboesme. It is an interesting place, like if LiveJournal and Reddit had a technology child, but very similar to any other social media site out there. I wrote a conlang post to test how IPA performed there.

A thought occurred to me: If I introduced my conlang on Pillowfort, how would I refer to Pillowfort? The word fort doesn’t translate well because forts are generally where soldiers who kill other people are kept. They’re not associated with childhood pillow houses in a living room. Someone would first have to explain what that was.

For the sake of argument, though, it would be translated literally as ẖeaza jut ful e /ħɛ͡ɒ̈.ˈzɑ ʒyt̪ fyl ɛ/, indoor place composed of pillows. Maybe it would eventually become ẖeajuta /ħɛ͡ɒ̈.ˈʒyt̪.ˌɑ/ from ẖeaz + jut + a.

/z/ and /ʒ/ would merge into /ʒ/. The -a is an intensifying particle added to nouns, which is how words like kta (light) become ktaa (knowledge). There’s an example below of how ktaa is pronounced.

Day Eight.

Tat /t̪ɑt̪/. Pipe.

Tat ẖezn /t̪ɑt̪ ħɛz.ˈn̩/, plumbing system, usually of a residential home. 

Tat ẖeazn /t̪ɑt̪ ħɛ͡ɒ̈z.ˈn̩/, plumbing, generic.

Tat ẖezn ktuto ba siub.
/t̪ɑt̪ ħɛz.ˈn̩ kty.ˈto bɑ si͡yb/
They broke the house’s plumbing.

I also did a lot of work on pronouns. I decided that there is a singular/dual/plural system with them. These are most of the pronouns; there are additional ones that are occasionally used because the pronoun system is semi-open.

Third person singular
S/O/IO: za /zɑ/
Refl: zaur /zɑ͡yɾ/
Emph. refl: zalva /zɒ̈l.ˈvɑ/

Third person dual
S/O/IO: zei /zɛ͡i/
Refl: zar /zɑɾ/
Emph. Refl: zeila /zɛ͡i.ˈlɑ/

Third person plural
S/O/IO: siub /si͡yb/
Refl: sar /sɑɾ/
Emph. Refl: sala /sɒ̈.ˈlɑ/

Day Nine.

Kte /ktɛ/, Warmth. Ktea /ktə.ˈɑ/, heat. Kten /ktɛn/, warm. Ktean /ktə.ˈɑn/, hot.

Teb /t̪ɛb/, Coolness. Teba /t̪ə.ˈbɑ/, cold. Tebn /t̪əb.ˈn̩/, cool. Teban /t̪ə.ˈbɑn/, cold.

/t̪ə.ˈbɑn t̪əl.t̪y ys ɛ͡i əβ.ˈɑɾ.ˌi ħɛz.ˈn̩/
Teban teltu us ei ebhari ẖezn.
The sun is cold in winter.

Day Ten.

Te /t̪ɛ/. Periphery. Ten /t̪ɛn/, peripheral. Idiomatically, indicates unimportance.

Te ei neð rum kteafh.
/t̪ɛ ɛ͡i nɛð ðym ktɛ͡ɒ̈ɸ/
Electricity is not unimportant.

Day Eleven.

Vuru /vy.ˈðy/. Eating utensil. Vuru ven /vy.ˈðy vɛn/, stick used for picking up food.

Vuru eḥ /vy.ˈðy ɛʔ/, spork, slang term, lit. one utensil. Spork is biuð /bi͡yð/.

Day Twelve.

Ktaru /ktɒ̈.ˈðy/. Window.

Ktaru lloktn /ktɒ̈.ˈðy ɬokt.ˈn̩/, a window that looks upon an inner temple’s icons where the public may pray.

Ktaru kten /ktɒ̈.ˈðy ktɛn/, transparent solar power windows.

Ktaðu /ktɒ̈.ˈðy/. Book. Ktaðu eneð /ktɒ̈.ˈðy ən.ˈɛð/, cookbook. Ktaðu lloktn /ktɒ̈.ˈðy ɬokt.ˈn̩/, sacred text.

Ifhea lloktn sak ei ktaðu eze.
i.ˈɸɛ͡ɒ̈ ɬokt.ˈn̩ sɑk ɛ͡i ktɒ̈.ˈðy ə.ˈzɛ
The books are located in the temple.

Incidentally, these words are not completely non-distinguishable. Plurals are formed with particles. Ktaru ful means the windowsKtaðu eze means the knowable quantity of books. (If you visited the temple, you could count them.) 

Eze is a human pluralizer, which books take for a variety of flowery cultural reasons. Vusn ei ktaðu me uses me, the generic human plural. It means, Books are important.

Animates receive other pluralizers. There are no cats on Ameisa, but for argument’s sake, let’s say someone brought cats there. Let’s say ket became the word for cat (pronounced /kæt/ in Standard American English/SAE) because /kɛt̪/ is close, and the vowel in SAE cat isn’t present in Eamaru. Bufhi sak ei ket bathe cats are in the apartment. Jut ful maso ket meða, cats like pillows.

Day Thirteen.

Tiuðor /t̪i͡y.ˈðoɾ/. To explain, to describe.

Tiuðor ktaa-mi /t̪i͡y.ˈðoɾ ktɒ̈.ˈɑ-ˌmi/, to instruct, to teach.

Rim ktaðu lloktn fa tiuðo ktaa-mi kau zei.
ɾim ktɒ̈.ˈðy ɬokt.ˈn̩ fɑ t̪i͡y.ˈðo ktɒ̈.ˈɑ-ˌmi kɒ̈͡y zɛ͡i
Those two have been teaching me from sacred texts.

Day Fourteen.

Bhekor /βə.ˈkoɾ/, to give an account [of], describe.

Uta bheko bavo dei.
/y.ˈt̪ɑ βə.ˈko bɒ̈.ˈvo dɛ͡i/
You two described the novel thing.

The above is non-reflexive. To make something about your (the subject’s) account-giving and not the topic about which you are giving an account, the reflexive pronoun is used. In this case, that is salathey themselves. It’s the version of the plural used for 3+ people.

Bheko ðaḥav sala.
/βə.ˈko ðɒ̈.ˈʔɑv sɒ̈.ˈlɑ/
I expect they’ll give an account.

As #Lexember Begins, #Eamarubhe

This is the language that I am building.

ɛ͡ɒ̈.ˈmɑ.ˌðy.βɛ
bh = β
r = /ɾ/ in all places but before /u/, /ɒ̈/, and /ɑ/, where it is /ð/

ɛ͡ɒ̈.m is a root for empire, and Eama, great empire, is a global power. ɛ͡ɒ̈.ˈmɑ.ðy (Eamaru) means esteemed imperial language, and ɛ͡ɒ̈.ˈmɑ.ˌðy.βɛ (Eamarubhe) is just a more pretentious way of saying the language of the Eama. This is a language spoken in the Canyon region of Ameisa 20,000 years or so before the beginning of Epiphany.

Here are my first seven days of work.

Day One. 

H̱ez. /ħɛz/. House, domicile, dwelling. H̱ezn. /ħɛz.ˈn̩/, housed, stable. H̱eznbhe. /ħɛz.ˈn̩.ˌβɛ/, one’s own house or the house relevant to the discussion.

Llokt. /ɬokt/. Deity. Lloktn./ɬokt.ˈn̩/, divine. H̱ez lloktn /ħɛz ɬokt.ˈn̩/, divine house, the part of a temple where the deities’ icons are housed that can be shut off from the outer part of the temple.

Day Two.

I͡y.ˈkɛ i.ˈɸɛ͡ɒ̈ ðy.ˈsoʔ.ˌn̩ sɑk fɛ͡ɒ̈.ˈko ðɒ̈.ˈʔɑv ɾim.
Iuke ifhea rusoḥn sak feako ðaḥav rim.
I will probably hear it in the lecture hall.

Llet. /ɬɛt̪/ Panel, pane, thin flat surface. Llet kteafhn /ɬɛt̪ ktɛ͡ɒ̈ɸ.ˈn̩/, solar panel.

Day Three.

Rum. /ðym/. Blanket. Rum ebhan /ðym ɘβ.ˈɑn/, heated blanket.

Ðum. /ðym/. Brick. Ðum e dium tisn /ðym ɛ di͡ym t̪is.ˈn̩/, a brick of dried [plant name]. H̱ez e ðum ful /ħɛz ɛ ðym fyl/, house of bricks.

Day Four.

kə.nɑb.ˈn̩.ˌzi y.ˈny lɛ͡i.ˈso kɒ̈͡y ɾim
Kenabnzi unu leiso kau rim.
I have been searching for a fugitive.

Kenabor. /kə.ˈnɑb.ˌoɾ/, to run very quickly. Kenabnzi /kə.nɑb.ˈn̩.ˌzi/, fugitive, someone in flight. Zaut kenabn /zɒ̈yt̪ kə.ˈnɑb.ˌn̩/, a person who runs athletically. H̱ez kenabn /ħɛz kə.ˈnɑb.ˌn̩/, indoor track. Tavak kenabn /t̪ɒ̈v.ˈɑk kə.ˈnɑb.ˌn̩/, outdoor track.

Day Five.

Teas sak ei neð teita teitn.
t̪ɘ.ˈɒ̈s sɑk ɛ͡i nɛð t̪ɛ͡it̪.ˈɑ t̪ɛ͡it̪.ˈn̩
Satiety is not found in the districts of the poor.

Teit /t̪ɛ͡it̪/,  Food, generic. Teitn /t̪ɛ͡it̪.ˈn̩/, adj, related to the kitchen and cookery. Llet teitn /ɬɛt̪ t̪ɛ͡it̪.ˈn̩/, any type of flat cookware or dinnerware. Kta teitn /ktɑ t̪ɛ͡it̪.ˈn̩/, grow light. Teit nun /t̪ɛ͡it̪ nyn/, a type of cuisine eaten by mourners and ascetics.

Day Six.

H̱ale. /ħɒ̈.ˈlɛ/ Household shrine. H̱alea /ħɒ̈.ˈlɛ.ˌɒ̈/, a temple that is on a family’s private property. H̱ale tavn /ħɒ̈.ˈlɛ t̪ɒ̈v.ˈn̩/, an outdoor shrine on a family’s property.

Day Seven.

Avuyor. /ɒ̈.ˈvy.ˌyoɾ/ If reflexive, to bring. If non-reflexive, to take [to others]. Teit meða avuyo bo zalva /t̪ɛ͡it̪ mə.ˈðɑ ɒ̈.ˈvy.ˌjo bo zɒ̈l.ˈvɑ/, le may be bringing food. Teit meða avuyo bo za /t̪ɛ͡it̪ mə.ˈðɑ ɒ̈.ˈvy.ˌjo bo zɑ/, le may be taking food.

Writing in Binary

A map of the Kalqaiki Islands that shows the extreme differences between high and low tides.

I’ve worked from maps for science fiction stories since I was in my mid- to late teens. According to writers on the Early Internet, a good map grounded a science fiction world in reliable possibilities.

There was a lot about geology I didn’t know, though, until I became a geology librarian and started going to geosciences colloquia and talks. As an English major, astro minor, who graduated about 10 years ago (technically, my job is to liaise to the astro, geo, and physics departments, and geo at the uni includes paleontology), the only geosciences class I had was planetary science. As an elective senior year, I took a course on natural disasters.

Planetary science had taught me the signs of water on Mars and the types of terrain common on planets. On Ameisa, for example, the region called the Canyons is actually chaos terrain, and it’s the oldest rock on the planet — the chaos terrain extends even beyond the shores of Narahja to the islands of Nasja, which are the peaks and plateaus of the terrain as it tapers off towards the other continents.

What I did not integrate into my maps at the time was an understanding of wet and dry zones in rotating planets — which I learned about in a geo colloquium about three years ago — but that ship has sailed on Ameisa, so to speak. One of the reasons global warming on Earth is causing changes in rain patterns is that the equator is wet, an area beyond the equator in both directions is dry, and then it becomes wet on towards the temperate zones and the poles. The equatorial wet zone and the dry bands that follow them in the northern and southern hemispheres grow wider as a planet warms, according to many scientists who study such things. There is very little desert on Ameisa, even in the zones that are typically dry. On the map below, Bisa, Marzū, and Qapwā are equatorial desert due to an ecological catastrophe.

The other thing I didn’t integrate was the impact of Ameisa being one part of a binary planet system, which would make it highly tectonically active due to tidal heating from Laseå. I just didn’t want to deal with earthquakes.

What I ended up doing on Ameisa was making broad areas of the landscape nigh uninhabitable due to earthquake zones and megatsunamis. The entire east coast of the Shēdak is uninhabitable — there’s a mountain range along the coast constantly pummeled by tsunamis — and most people in Qawākam live inland on its big island. I also looked at innovators and engineers on Earth who were designing tsunami-proof buildings for those societies that do live in tsunami zones.

The planet Ameisa, with some light annotations about political units (countries).
Ameisa. You can tell I set a lot of stories here by the degree to which I provide political/logistical annotations. I have other maps of Ameisa with more clutter on them.

Laseå, the other planet in the binary system.
Laseå. I don’t set very many stories here, and this is my only map of the world. (Except I have a Draft 1 of this one.)

Meditations on binary planet system dynamics led to Kalqaiki, now uninhabited for millennia. (Context: My Aeon Timeline goes on for ~35,000 years.) At one point in the distant past, a bunch of rich people found this island range and decided to turn it into a recreational/resort playground. It was Ameisa’s first spacefaring age, the wealthy were egregiously out of touch with the masses, and they left a lot of infrastructure on the island range to deal with the inconvenient earthquakes and tsunamis.

The people who lived on Kalqaiki for generations after the fall of that civilization were the descendants of the voluntary and indentured staff who set up their lives on these islands. Kalqaiki was also the only place on Ameisa with a plant that could be ground to make legit blue pigments. It grows in the intertidal marshes there, and for a long time, the plant was not grown anywhere else.

There is no word for blue in most of my conlangs; I almost always use the word opaque or some variant because blue eyes, the sky, and the sea are all illusions of color. For darker blues, much of the time I write the words purple or indigo, we’re actually talking about dark blue and navy — color words occupy a different semantic space in my work than they do in traditional English usage. Of course, purple and indigo just as often mean colors we assign to the semantic space of purple and indigo, too.

A map of the Kalqaiki Islands that shows the extreme differences between high and low tides.
Kalqaiki islands. The part still above water during high tide is the part that was once inhabited, now in ruins.

The map above is rough — a story doodle of the islands. Kalq- is a prefix that loosely translates to all in the conlang, which I added to the map after doing a bit of linguistic work on the three languages spoken on the islands. The conlang includes a phrasebook section with sentences like:

  • Ude nimdarmo ði xixto dið nuaxe. The earthquake forecast today is bad. Lit., Forecast with respect to earthquakes at today bad.
  • To amu zi, muðpaiðo sis etpu ðai? Is a tsunami coming? Lit., Yes or no, directionally here me-wards comes tsunami?
  • Emo nuaxe dið mebo? What is the strength of the earthquake?
  • Podel pilo tal nimnuaxe. The earthquake is a 9.4.

One of the things I have to account for in Laseå-Ameisa is the massive difference between high and low tide — the kilometers of saltwater marshes and their impact on trade routes, plus what features in the landscape make for a good harbor when the difference between high and low tide is so vast. On my major continent maps, cities are inland on the waterways; most rivers show tidal features for a ways inland.

All in all, I agree with the idea that maps are important — but I think that especially for settings that are not a direct Earth-Moon system clone —— such as binary planet systems, Trojan worlds, and the like —— it’s important to recognize the gaps in one’s knowledge and seek to get a good enough (not perfect) grasp of how things like basic geology impact the daily lives of people. One can go to talks, read some good books/audiobooks, or even look around on the arXiv at preprints on exoplanets to see how scientists think about these very different worlds. And then the maps, conlangs, and stories will just get even more fun.

Writing Updates

Before I get going: read my poem (and all of the other stories and poems) in the summer issue of Kaleidotrope.

On Tuesday night, I spent about 3.5 hours working in Scrivener and Aeon Timeline to verify dates for a story against a 35,000-year unity of time cycle, and I’m working in 3 different calendar systems — Objective Count, the Nåkeva Tveshi Calendar, and the Standard Count Tveshi calendar.

I knew I’d overextended myself when I reached 10:00 PM and thought to myself that I had burned the candle so long that there was hardly any wax left. It was the tail end of orientation season where I work, and the semester started on Wednesday. This weekend, I’m finishing up writing an academic article based on a conference lightning talk I presented this summer — due on the 7th.

On Tuesday, despite being fatigued, I pushed on until 10:37 PM simply because I was so deep in calendrical conversions that I didn’t want to spend time figuring out where I had left off. When I turned off my music, I felt fuzzy and hollow. Spent.

August and September are the most hectic periods in the calendar for most academic librarians, with additional rushes in October, December, whenever spring midterms happen (typically early March here), and late April/early May. Late August to early September — I declared in my bullet journal — is a month of organizing and completion for me. Rather than starting new projects, I’m using it to tidy up.

Being the type of person who commits to things and then finishes them means that I have to really watch not overextending myself early on, and Tuesday night is an example of a time when I was pushing myself a bit overmuch. I keep having to remind myself that I have all of September ahead of me to get things done. The first thing I did after considering what I need to do between now and December 31 to reach my goals was to make a document called Large Writing Projects and print it out so I’d know what’s on my plate and my estimated times to completion. It’s taped to the wall above my desk now.

I finished writing a shareable draft of A Matter of Oracles and sent it to a few close acquaintances and friends on my “hey will you read this?” list on Sunday night. Coincidentally, everyone I asked to read it works in libraries, and it’s about far-future library science. Then, I put a smiley face over its section on Large Writing Projects. After being on a panel at Conbust for several years about the depiction of libraries in speculative fiction, I decided that I really wanted to see what it would be like to write something (admittedly on the fantastical side of speculative fiction) that drew on my professional librarian background and created a realistic information environment. You can also see a bit of that in Epiphany, but not as directly; episodes/entries 18 and 38 have a lot of realism. There’s another episode in which a database Salus uses for work has an update that completely overhauls its interface, and that’s common, too.

Right now, I’m putting The Raised Seal in more explicit first person omniscient — updating it to be consistent with what I’ve decided to do in the rest of the epic has been smoldering in the back of my head. Tackling this will free up mental space for projects I want to focus on later in the calendar year, so it’s game on. I’ve just reached Chapter 15 out of 21, which plot-wise is where the shit hits the fan. Many of my longer works are like a Mono piece or one of Rachmaninov’s piano concertos in that they build slow-ish and then the climax happens and stays put.

Otherwise, I’m migrating some of my plain text worldbuilding, character, and story notes into Markdown (using MWeb) and LaTeX (specifically Overleaf). While I use Scrivener for single-story character sheets, locations, and the like, when I’m working on my epic, I need the same things over and over. My conlang documents are so nice and squeaky, and they’re a total breeze to consult when I’m in the middle of writing.

I’ve co-taught file management workshops and practice what I teach, so the worldbuilding notes are straightforwardly arranged — I can more clearly see where I can refine what I do to fit my workflow a bit better. It actually might not take as much time as I thought to fix all of this up.

I shared these stats on Twitter (from which I’m taking a hiatus; social media is very stressful, and I can feel my chest tightening and shoulders knotting whenever I log in), but this is what August looked like for me.

Screenshot of August creative writing time, totaling over 54 hours

One big change is that I discovered that RescueTime premium has a lot of features I want to use to track my time, so I started using it to look at the amount of time I was spending in Scrivener and other writing tools.

Screenshot of time spent in Scrivener, totaling over 47 hours, in August

I said this on Twitter, but I’ve seen people mention that it’s hard to feel productive when there isn’t a word count to measure — RescueTime helps me with that because I can see that despite not having written many new words this month, I’ve been doing a lot of revision. What is not included there is the time I spent reading/annotating some of my work using an app on my phone. That’s another few hours, which would bring the total to 58-60 hours for my creative work.

So those are a few quick updates. I’m doing a lot of stuff, #Lexember will be upon us before you know it, and there’s a thing I will talk about excitedly in a few months, but happy September, and may Demeter and Kore bring you the blessings of the harvest season. 😊

A Short Conlang Sketch: Gnaseklahi

I’m moving a few older posts from Tumblr to my main conlang blog. This is a sketch of a language used in The Seven Papers for naming/cultural purposes — done in under an hour, the document flexible and malleable as I worked my way through what I needed. Over the course of writing, I expanded it a bit; this is not an exact duplicate of what I posted on Tumblr.

This language was spoken in North Tvaji before the Sabaji invasion. I needed to use it in one of the stories because so much military conflict happens there, and at that specific point in The Seven Papers, it’s used by a lot of refugees.

I have characters named Tashung, Jumeidis, Ćana, Asğang, Tajei, and Sadva in that section whose native language is Gnaseklahi. As is typical, the -hi suffix is actually a Tveshi suffix that I’m applying to a non-Tveshi language; this is because the reference language for the work is Tveshi.

Gnaseklahi

Vowels

Plain vowels: i, ị, u, e, æ, a, å
Diphthongs: o, au, ei, ai, ia

Consonants

Voiced stops (S): b d g
Unvoiced stops (U): s t k
Affricates/fricatives/Generic Buzzy Category (F): v ts s dz z j sh ć hj h
Approximants (Y): l y ğ
Flaps/trills (T): r rr
Nasals (N): n gn m

Syllable Structure

FV(S)
NV
UV(F)
VF
VN
V
YV(N)
SYV(N)
UYV(N)

Word Order

OVS for normal sentences.

VSO for imperatives.

This language is agglutinative, like other Ịgzarhjenya languages. The living language most related to it is Khessi.

Vocabulary

Articles

Active nouns: æm/m’ sing; kæv/k’ pl.
Passive nouns: lị/l’ sing; vei/v’ pl.

Articles are contracted in front of starting vowels. M’asğị, the/a seed.

Words

Tash. nA. Beauty.

Tarrė. nP. Darkness, as in a lack of light.

Asğị. nA. Seed.

Tajei. advj. Loud-voiced.

Taj. nA. Oratory.

Sad. nP. Delight.

Ćanei. advj. Friendly.

Ćan. nA. Friend.

Ćau. nA. City.

Ćodei. nA. Country.

Kria. nA. Rock. Krias, in the company of the rock.

Gnasi. nP. Industriousness.

Menk. nA. Word.

Nautke. nA. Surrender.

Neke. nA. Color.

Ailer. nP. Dawn.

Jumei. advj. Used to describe things that uphold the world. An epithet of Saämatsra.

Jumeidis. name. One who is in the company of that which upholds.

Suffixes

When adding suffixes to words, if vowels touch (and are not an allowed diphthong), -m- or -l- is inserted in between. This depends on whether the root is classified as active (-m-) or passive (-l-). For words with no noun form, the mediator is -h-. Some suffixes have their own vowel separators, marked with parentheses.

Some vowels are dropped before forming suffixes. These vowels are e/ė and .

-ung. Possessing a quality. Transforms a noun into an adjective.

-ang. Being similar to.

-an. Within.

-ğan. City suffix. Gnasiğan, Kriasğan.

-ei. Common adjective/adverb suffix.

-s. Sociative case. In company of.

-(d)i. Suffix carrying the quality of -ness. Makes adjectives into nouns. Gnasi, industrious. Ćaneidi, friendliness. Kriameidi, rockiness.

-va. Indicates that there are many of the noun. This is how plurals are made with passive nouns.

-heyė. Denotes a noun’s centrality or importance. Ćau-heyė, City-central. This is the capital city.

-kæ. Indicates that there are many of a noun. This is how plurals are made with active nouns.

-ta. Politeness suffix for women. Tashung-ta.

-alar. Most high. Politeness suffix for women in positions of authority.

-itu. Politeness suffix for men. Ćana-itu.

-veğæ. Gender-neutral politeness suffix. Tajei-veğæ.

-a. Naming suffix applied to nouns. Gender-neutral.

-o. Naming suffix applied to nouns. Feminine.

-au. Naming suffix applied to nouns. Gender-neutral.

-otni. “At.” Both temporal and locative. Ailerotni. At dawn.

When a Librarian Writes Conlangs

I saw a question on Twitter that was posted on Metafilter about words for librarian in “geek languages,” which was retweeted with a #conlang hashtag. Right now, I’m not sure if the original poster intended this to be mentioned in the conlang communities. I mean, there are popular geek conlangs, and then there is the vast ecosystem of conlang work happening … but it’s my birthday, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Classical Atarahi

Earlier this year, I drafted a novella about a librarian on Atara, so it’s about library science in a far-future setting. Classical Atarahi is the international prestige language on Atara. I do have a rich vocabulary to describe librarians because I needed to develop some poetic-sounding metaphors for what librarians in that society do.

As a secondary concern, I want the novella to fight back against tropes and misunderstandings about librarianship in a broad sense. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me occasionally get angry about novelettes, novellas, and other stories that conflate libraries and archives or that place library science in a dusty realm of books. (And there is some great historical fiction about librarians, but that still leaves those of us in the profession after about 1970 out of pop culture’s conception of what a librarian is.) As an academic science librarian in 2018, the only time I routinely touch books is when I read them on my lunch break. A librarian working in 1918 couldn’t do my job without training and vice-versa just due to how much the professional skillset has shifted.

So what does this mean about far-future library science? Well.

The Classical Atarahi word for librarian is derived from the word for datum (the singular form of data). Atarahi societies have always had computing infrastructure. They have always had some level of AI processing. Librarians in Atarahi society work in tandem with AI routines, human archivists, and other information professionals to deliver information services. They are a public service for everyone, from firms and companies to private citizens and families, with a complex referral system.

Amil is the word for datum in Atarahi, pronounced /ˈä.mil/. The plural form is amilenta, /ˈä.mil.ən.ˌtɑ/. The formal word for librarian comes from the term amiyī hekwakabī, data-plunger. Library science on Atara is filled with metaphors about diving, plunging, and immersing, much like the surviving esoteric text from Greco-Roman Egypt called The Book of Thoth, which makes allusions to hunting and trapping for scribal work. The commonly-used Classical Atarahi word for librarian, amiyas, /ˈä.mi.ˌjɑs/, is the word amil put in the same adjective-as-noun form that is used for personal names.

Note that the vocabulary above doesn’t include archivists. Library-archive hybrid places typically use amiyas to describe their employees. Archivists are called something else.

Narahji

Classical Atarahi is not the only language for which I have developed this vocabulary. Narahji, an Ịgzarhjenya language, has separate language to describe its data flows (which includes both fiction and nonfiction scrolls/books, maps, poetry in various media, qualitative/quantitative data, et cetera) from its archival information. The terminology related to archives and archivists is related to the Narahji verb for to remember. The terminology related to librarians is related instead to words describing datastreams, information flows, and discovery systems.

Niphtora /ni.pʰtoʊ.ˈrɑ/ is library science. A librarian is a niphtorakri /ni.pʰtoʊ.ˈrɑ.kʼri/, and a library is kisaiga lịniphtora /kʼi.sa͡ɪ.ˈgɑ lɪ.ni.pʰtoʊ.ˈrɑ/, library building. The prefix lị- changes depending on whether kisaiga is a subject or direct/indirect object. In pre-conquest Narahja, while city libraries often contained archives, most archival content was found in specific archival institutions or museums. The exceptions were national libraries, which had strong archival collections.

Tveshi

Finally, the Tveshi language actually collapses librarians and archivists together into a single term. (I talked about this in #Lexember, too.) A library or archive is called an innodå /ĩð.ˈoʊ̯.dɔ/. A librarian or archivist is an innodåkouri /ĩð.oʊ̯.dɔ.ˈkʼou̯.ɾi/.

Unnodå /ũð.ˈoʊ̯.dɔ/ is the word for an archive if one wants to be specific, and it can be suffixed with -kouri to make it clear one is talking about an archival professional. Oinnodå /ɔĩ̯ð.ˈoʊ̯.dɔ/, library, can be suffixed in much the same way. The reason for this is that the national libraries in Tveshė are also the country’s archives, so while a library campus may (and often does) include multiple buildings, they all organizationally fall under the same bureaucratic structures.