Writing, Books, Painting, Politics, Neuroplasticity
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“Memory Dog” in ebook format

I wrote “Memory Dog” in the lull after I turned in IN WAR TIMES and before I began writing THIS SHARED DREAM.  The time between novels is always a time of rest, combined with the opportunity to clean up my office, become “musical” in the sense that I am once again able to muse about many fictional subjects rather than concentrating on one huge project, paint all the pictures I promised Painting Woman I would paint (she and Writing Women are always at war) and read the new non-fiction that has piled up during the time that I can do nothing but work on the novel.

As an aside, I am serious about that.  While I’m working on a novel, I might as well eat paste from a tube and wear rags.  I care nothing for the world.  I live in my head, in the world of the novel, and my every effort and thought feed into it.  During the end stages, I seem to move into an oddly ecstatic mode where it seems that everything I see and here are magically meant to be part of the novel, as though the external world were full of the signs religious fanatics believe justify their being.  I am just that much of a fanatic, just a hair to this side of sanity.  I think.  This is why I an rather snarly during these times, and resent having to show up in the world at all.  I rather think that it is what humans are really meant to be, if it could be said that we are “meant” to be anything.  We can excel at concentrating on the long task, and it gives me, at least, much joy to do so.  And after that, unlike most psychotics, I return to normal mode, where a tree is a tree, a rock is a rock, and it is a lot of fun to cook.

But–back to short work.  After a novel, anything seems short.  I immediately devoured Kandel’s IN SEARCH OF MEMORY, and I had been reading a lot of nonfiction about why we are such a warlike species, such as De Waal’s GOOD NATURED, Wraghan and Peterson’s DEMONIC MALES, and many, many others.

They all seemed to melt and merge into “Memory Dog.”

I was a guest at the Science Fiction Research Association’s meeting in Kansas City in 2007.  It was held concurrently with the Campbell Conference (I won the Campbell Award the following year for IN WAR TIMES) and the Heinlein Centennial, so it was a big buzzing meeting.

Dr. Lisa Yaszek was giving a paper on Alan Turning, and suggested that if I had some fiction to read I might do so in a joint session.  So “Memory Dog” had its first outing there, pranced among some Campbell/Sturgeon readers, and two summers later placed second in the Sturgeon Awards.   In the meantime, of course, Sheila Williams had chosen it for ASIMOV’S, and used it as a lead story.  It was also dramatized by Starship Tony and you can hear a podcast:  http://www.starshipsofa.com/blog/2010/01/27/aural-delights-no-118-kathleen-ann-goonan/.  Here is a link to a summary of the story:  http://scientificallybookish.blogspot.com/2010/03/memory-dog.html .


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