STATUS: Tuesday, September 6th

The Daily Report

Tales of MU will probably resume on Friday, and then pick back up with its regular schedule. I can’t make promises; there is an ongoing external situation here that is going to take up an unpredictable amount of my time and energy. I would love to keep everyone posted but it’s really hard to gauge these things as they’re ongoing.

I have joined the site Curious Cat, a social sub-medium that I’ve seen a few people on Twitter using. It’s like a way of bringing a Tumblr-style “ask box” to Twitter, and I joined because (as I said at the time) I apparently don’t have enough regrets in my life? I don’t know. I actually joined it while waiting in the hospital looking for distraction, and I think that’s probably it’s main virtue. My profile there is up at

I’d like to keep it light. Please do not use it for work-related inquiries. You can ask about my works (i.e., story or character questions). But anything about work, please direct to my official contact email address of

If it gets weird, if it gets boundary-crossing, if it gets creepy, I might just shut it down.

Another thing I did while waiting to go to the hospital and then waiting there is write the horror story on Twitter that I referenced in my post earlier. I think this is something I’m going to do more of: write fiction directly on Twitter, for the Twitter market. I did actually start a writing account at one point when I realized how much Twitter’s format appeals to my writer-brain, but it didn’t go very far, I think because what I tried to do is use Twitter’s constraints to write a traditional novel. The Trump horror story is written within the constraints of Twitter, and it uses them. It’s closer to an oral storytelling tradition than a written one, which is not surprising since my general approach to Twitter is oratorical in style. I’m going to be experimenting more with that.

Financial Status

Well, I just launched a fundraiser for September with the specific goal of $1,000, and the more general goal of recouping some losses of the past couple months and repairing the lost padding. Hoping that takes off.

The State of the Me

Sleep schedule = way off. Nutritional and supplemental regimen = slightly off. The lingering remnants of my foot injuries (chafing and blisters) have been reasserting themselves since I’ve been putting shoes on and going out every day, something which has also been taking a fatigue toll given the lingering summer heat. I have been in a state of fog and befuddlement so far this morning.

Plans For Today

I’m going to be writing some of what I’m currently calling Hell To Pay: The Strange Facts of the Sad Case of Donald J. Trump, being the longer form version of my Twitter story. I don’t expect to finish that day, though I do expect to finish it soon. I am also planning on expanding another of my hospital-waiting-related Twitter threads into a longer form, an essay or prose poem of sorts called “We Made A Song Our King”.

Alexandra Erin’s Fall Fundraising Fextravaganza

The plain and simple facts:

  • WorldCon was more expensive than I had budgeted for or foreseen, by several hundred dollars when all is said and done. I crowdfunded the budget I did have because our household in general and myself in particular did not have anywhere near the “wiggle room” to add another, even bigger convention to our schedule, so this left me in the hole.
  • August was a light month for me, work-wise, because of complications relating to WorldCon, including aggravated fatigue and leg injuries that had me on my back after it. This cost me a couple of hundred dollars at least in direct income.
  • One of my older family members is currently in the hospital, which takes time and energy, again affecting my ability to do my immediate paying work. (Tales of MU in particular suffers when my daily routine is not routine, and that’s just over a third of my Patreon income when it’s going according to plan.)

Before all this, I did have some financial padding. My goal with this fundraiser is to recoup those losses and start rebuilding that padding. I’m setting the goal at $1,000, which represents the additional costs plus the lost income plus a little bit extra to jump start savings.

I am currently supporting Ligature Works directly out of my own pocket, and this is not a complaint, mind you, because it was the plan. But as an incentive, I will say that 10% of contributions I get (up to my goal) will go towards expanding our first issue’s table of contents. That’s an additional piece we will purchase for every $250. If we go over $1,000, I’ll put aside a similar amount of the excess for future issues.

As a further incentive: yesterday: the story I wrote on Twitter yesterday about Trump’s infernal dealings backfiring is something I’m currently expanding into a longer, more traditional prose story, probably something of about novelette length. My plan is to release this as an ebook. If I hit my goal inside of a week, I will make that ebook free on Amazon and as a multiformat, DRM-free bundle on my own website for a period of no less than 24 hours.

You can contribute using either PayPal (address alexandra at alexandraerin dot com if PayPal.Me is not available in your country/region) or Square Cash.

And while direct cup-rattling, drum-beating, and general PBS-ing like this is just part of the crowdfunded life, ultimately I would really like to move past the point where it’s necessary. That means I need new blood on Patreon. While I enjoy performing for the crowd, this month already I’ve started releasing more works exclusively on Patreon, and this trend will continue. You can make sure you don’t miss anything and help me secure my present and future circumstances by joining me there.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for your support.

EPIC POEM: Our World Is A Lifeboat

I started writing this after recently becoming entangled with the early access game Subnautica, a survival sandbox game where you play the lone survivor of a starship crash on what seems like a largely aquatic world (though most spaceships that crashed on earth would think the same thing, statistically).

The world in the game is conveniently earth-like enough that you can breathe its air and consume its food and water with reasonable filtration and processing, but early on in the game, before you gather enough resources to use magical technology to construct a habitat, your home is a tiny emergency escape pod bobbing in the shallows. It’s big enough for two people, but simultaneously claustrophobic and clangingly empty with just one.

This poem started with the idea of a scenario like Subnautica’s, but tweaked. What if the water was less shallow? What if the world outside was that much more dangerous, that much less compatible with terrestrial biology? What if the lifepod was not just your first home on the new world but the whole of your world? What if you weren’t alone?

That’s what I started with. Where it grew from there is complicated, and far deeper than I initially planned or intended. Essentially, it’s a creation myth shown from the other side.

The poem consists of fourteen named and numbered segments. The first one is like this:

I – Stranded


Our world is a lifeboat.


This was once metaphor

for all humanity,

back on ancient Earth,

back before the push,

back before the spread

of all humanity

to every corner of the cosmos,

to every habitable world

beneath every sky.


Our world is a lifeboat.


Outside is a world,

not habitable,

not safe, not ours.


So close, on the other side

of our pod’s glasteel ports,

so close and yet so far,

too close for comfort sometimes

when the tempest rages

and the hull shakes

and we toss and twist

upon the surface

of the sea.


The autoevac

did its job

as best it could

with the materials



No plotted worlds within range,

nor any habitable ones,

it put the survivors down

in a planet-sized puddle

we could almost survive.


The exosurveyors speak of

the Goldilocks zone;

just the right distance

from just the right star,

everything just right,

just like the old story

that only survived

because exosurveyors

still tell it to explain

about the zone.


The only tell half the story, though.


Sometimes, Goldilocks

shows up and the porridge

is thin and runny, or already gone.


Sometimes the bears are home when she gets there.


Sometimes there is no home.


The world outside is in the zone,

but it feeds us watery gruel indeed.


Warm but not the right warm.

Wet but not the right pH.

Life, but not the right life.

It can’t grow inside our bubble.

We can’t live in its world.

It can’t live in ours.

We cannot cultivate it.

It cannot sustain us.


The replicycle

does its job

as best it can

with the materials



It filters the water.

It filters the plants.

It filters the wriggling

fish-like organisms

that have never encountered

a single artificial object

in their brief lives

and have no reason to fear it.


The water tastes like ionized nothing.

The food tastes like stale nothing.

The nutritional supplements taste,

but like nothing good.


Our world is a lifeboat,

bobbing on the surface

of a world we can see

but not touch,

a world that

will never

be ours.

Again, the full poem contains thirteen more segments: Fruitless, Fruitful, Benediction, Malediction, Posterity, Titanomachy, Flowering, Awakening, Foreboding, Temptation, Apotheosis, Exegesis, and Coda.

At around 5,000 words depending on who is counting, it’s long for most short stories, though not unduly so for one of mine. I have posted the whole of it to Patreon, but as part of my new approach to Patreon, I am keeping the whole of it under patron-locked wraps for now.

You can read it immediately by pledging any amount. Because we’re trying to rebuild our financial cushion, I will also unlock it for everyone to read if I receive one hundred dollars in PayPal or Square Cash tips today.

STATUS: Thursday, September 1st

The Daily Report

Well, my end-of-month push for August yielded mixed results. I did start (and mostly finish, more on that a paragraph down) a new piece with which I’m very happy, and which I will finish today and post as a slightly belated short story for August. But a pair of (still ongoing) family health situations did impact things.

After I made the decision (mentioned earlier this week) to basically take a fail on August, I have decided that the centerpiece of my Patreon and my planned “year of awesome” really must stand: one short story a month for a year. I think that’s the central value I’m offering. This is why rather than just saying August was a miss and taking the thing I started writing earlier this week and using it to get a headstart on September, I’m going to finish it and post it.

Now, I’m calling it a short story, but I had to some soul-searching regarding categorization. What it is, in fact, is an epic science fiction poem. I’m calling it a short story because it is short story length (it’s going to wind up between 3,000 and 4,000 words, when I’ve shored up a few passages that need shoring up) and because it does, in fact, tell a story in a distinctly linear fashion. Poetry is the form, but it is a short story.

I had some moments of going back and forth with myself about whether or not this “counted”. It already felt a bit like I was just giving myself wiggle room when I made one of my monthly goals “a flash fiction or poem”, as if I’m treating those interchangeably when they’re different things. And they are, but so are two different pieces of fiction, or two different poems.

The poem is (currently) called “Our World Is A Lifeboat”. It’s a science fiction poem that, in practical terms, is about the survivors of a crashed space ship, at least in the way that Asimov wrote stories that were about robots.

Financial Status

Awkward. Much improved from before the summer, though tight because of WorldCon, because a “nominal fee” we had planned for wound up being a couple hundred more than we’d anticipated, and because my dismal performance in the August heat means Tales of MU made me very little money, which is fair, I’m not complaining. The whole point of the model I’m using for that is that people only pay to support it when it’s being update. But it’s a fact that my income at the start of this month looks a lot more like my income back in March or April than the rest of the summer, and that’s a problem.

I have been enjoying increasing celebrity and acclaim, but the real long and short of it all is that I need this to translate into Patreon growth, and that’s not happening. I keep churning along just below the $400 mark, which has been my goal pretty much since I started, and even that is just an initial goal. I need to be making more money.

It might be that I need to cut back on how much of my time, energy, and creative output is given away for free. As much as I hew to the model of the “the foundation of crowdfunding is the crowd”, I need a better way to get the crowd to bring the funds. Do I start my entertaining and/or insightful digressions off Twitter and put them directly on my Patreon page? Start locking down my short stories, posting only the beginnings?

I have to do something different. I need to figure out what it is. Heat or no heat, con or no con, I think I would have had an easier time sustaining my momentum through August if the numbers had been growing the way I had thought/expected/hoped they would.

The State of the Me

Doing pretty good? Late night hospital visits leading to late night dining out instead of cooking at home has played havoc with my eating and sleeping habits; my choices for drinks the past two nights have pretty much been something with caffeine at 10 or 11 at night, something with sugar, or ice water. I might have to get back in the habit of carrying flavor drops in my bag. For all that I’ve been overcaffeinated the past two nights, I have slept okay… not deeply, but deeply enough. Thank goodness for high tolerance.

Plans For Today

I’m going to be finishing up my epic poem and posting it in some form, but also doing a lot of stocktaking and figuring out where I go from here.