November 20:  We sleep (and snore) and become vulnerable in our bedroom

That’s the Black Dog of Death coming to visit Yukon and Bumble, sleeping on the big bed, being kept awake by Bumble’s snoring.  

We sleep and recharge in the bedroom–it’s a long period of vulnerability, where our guard is down.  We are open for any attack, naked to any sudden thing that could change–and yet we have to be vulnerable somewhere.  We have to rest. We have to stop and get sleep.

I lock the door to my apartment, and I close the door to my room. I can’t have my room door open while I’m sleeping. I’m always afraid I will be able to feel the presence of someone standing in that door, looking at me.  Last night, when the heater came on in the apartment, it opened the door of the room (the latch doesn’t always catch) and I said, “No, no, no,” and got up and shut the door.

I used to be afraid of the dark when I was a kid. Many many nights I spent under the covers pressing down on them to stop any monster from getting in until, lacking oxygen, I gave up and pulled back the covers and, because of how cool and refreshing it felt coming out from under those airless covers, I fell asleep right away–allowing myself to be vulnerable.   

Some of us are more comfortable being vulnerable in less safe situations— camping (where we zip up the tent tight against bugs and bears….), or sleeping outside with no tent! (Are you THINKING??). Some people fall asleep in public places feeling safe because there are so many people they have a better chance of not being attacked.  Some people have to fall asleep outside or in public places because they have no home, no bed, no safety, and they are vulnerable every single time.

Some of us feel like we have a private place in our bedrooms, safe from the judgement of others, able to be vulnerable in a way we could never be with other people.  We can open up and be ourselves.  For many, it takes a LOT to invite someone into that vulnerability–a lot of strength and a lot of time–to know that we are safe with them. On the other hand, sometimes it takes only a second to realize when we are not safe with someone–revealing ourselves or revealing our vulnerable sides or even being physically safe with them.  

We are very blessed when we find someone who can handle our snoring worst, our naked, vulnerable self, our fears, insecurities, and our imperfections–and we are blessed with so much trust when someone invites us into that place where they are vulnerable too. A good relationship is constant vulnerability with constant safety.  I’ve heard it’s a sign of feeling safe when dogs and cats sleep in our presence… they feel safe with us.  When a person can voluntarily sleep in your presence, what an amazing trust they’ve given you, handing you their vulnerability and closing their eyes.     

November 17: We try out new versions of ourselves in the bedroom

New looks, new hair-cuts, new fashion, new experimenting with how we look—can happen in the bedroom. We may not all get our hair cut through a special house-call from Goody Goodknife who insists she can give Yukon the makeover he will Love, but we do try out new versions of ourselves, practicing, experimenting, before we go show them to the public.  It’s always good, too, to have a supportive partner who can make us feel like even the mistakes look great—and we can get through them.  

(Don’t worry. This isn’t his look for the rest of the series. Just a one time moment.)

November 16:  We talk about everything in the bed, until deep into the morning

The bed seems like a place of total honesty to me. You have the opportunity to see the other person up close, and because you are very close to their body and face, your voice may change its tone, its volume, and things become automatically more intimate, like telling a secret.  Words have weight here.  Do you talk about everything and anything in bed?  Do you feel more intimacy here?  Do you feel more honest here?  Does the bed feel like a place where you can be yourself in conversation? How does talking in bed change dynamics of a relationship for you, if you are in a relationship?

I took my inspiration for this painting from a drawing on a friend’s Facebook page* of a word cloud above two people’s heads as they met over lunch, and I remembered how much I liked a Thanksgiving cover of the New Yorker where all the words that everyone was saying at Thanksgiving dinner were written out above their heads.  I’d been admiring artist Dina Brodsky’s sketchbook techniques with ink washes.  So I took my first jump into acrylic inks and a new gouache set and this was scary and fun.  I like having words on the page… I have to go lighter with the wash. The words were in pencil and you couldn’t see them after the wash! So I had to redo in pen and then wash over them again.  I am satisfied with the outcome of even my mistakes.  This gouache felt like acrylic–and it just didn’t do what I thought it would do when I was thinking it was like watercolor.  When I switched my brain over to “acrylic” mode–it got easier.  Hope you enjoy!

* Delia Sherman

November 15:  We watch movies in the Bedroom

Do you watch movies in the bedroom too?  Or series TV?  Joey and I got hooked on Severance!  And then Resident Alien, then Andor, House of the Dragon, etc.  I wonder what you think they might be watching.  I love being cozy and watching stories with someone you love. I also love buying a pizza, having choc pudding ready, and watching a show on my own!  (I don’t eat pizza in the bed though… not a good place for pizza…. )


This part of “The Further (Queer) Adventures of Yukon Cornelius” is a small series with essays talking about “The Bedroom is our Living Room.” Yukon and Bumble had to swap the bedroom and living room because Bumble needed the extra room, but it got me to thinking about what kinds of “living” we do in our bedrooms. How can our bedrooms be our “living” rooms. What kinds of things besides the obvious do you do in your bedrooms?

How to Read and Understand Science Fiction: Jo Walton’s Essay on Tor

Below is an excerpt and a link for the wonderful essay by Jo Walton on “SF Reading Protocols” or just how to understand Science Fiction and Fantasy when you’re reading it.   Her argument is that readers of Science Fiction actually read differently than other readers, and books in this genre require a different reading skillset.  

Genres are usually defined by their tropes—mysteries have murders and clues, romances have two people finding each other, etc. Science fiction doesn’t work well when you define it like that, because it’s not about robots and rocketships. Samuel Delany suggested that rather than try to define science fiction it’s more interesting to describe it, and of describing it more interesting to draw a broad circle around what everyone agrees is SF than to quibble about the edge conditions. (Though arguing over the borders of science fiction and fantasy is a neverending and fun exercise.) He then went on to say that one of the ways of approaching SF is to look at the way people read it—that those of us who read it have built up a set of skills for reading SF which let us enjoy it, where people who don’t have this approach to reading are left confused.

… My ex-husband once lent a friend Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War. The friend couldn’t get past chapter 2, because there was a tachyon drive mentioned, and the friend couldn’t figure out how that would work. All he wanted to talk about was the physics of tachyon drives, whereas we all know that the important thing about a tachyon drive is that it lets you go faster than light, and the important thing about the one in The Forever War is that the characters get relativistically out of sync with what’s happening on Earth because of it. The physics don’t matter—there are books about people doing physics and inventing things, and some of them are SF (The Dispossessed…) but The Forever War is about going away to fight aliens and coming back to find that home is alien, and the tachyon drive is absolutely essential to the story but the way it works—forget it, that’s not important.

This tachyon drive guy, who has stuck in my mind for years and years, got hung up on that detail because he didn’t know how to take in what was and what wasn’t important. How do I know it wasn’t important? The way it was signalled in the story. How did I learn how to recognise that? By reading half a ton of SF. How did I read half a ton of SF before I knew how to do it? I was twelve years old and used to a lot of stuff going over my head, I picked it up as I went along. That’s how we all did it. Why couldn’t this guy do that? He could have, but it would have been work, not fun…

Read More Here