Why An Alphabet of Embers is Love
one red one
I cannot imagine that anyone who knows me has not already heard about An Alphabet of Embers, but in case you haven't, please read on (and then go contribute to the fundraiser!)  I'm particularly keen to see someone claim the "Fieldwork in Fire" reward: "The rewards of a DIALECT OF FIRE, only I will invite another linguist or two to engage in a dialogue with me, in response to your question. In addition to sociolinguistics, we are likely to be able to respond to questions about cognitive science, computational linguistics, and atypical language processing (other prompts considered)."

First posted by rose_lemberg at Why An Alphabet of Embers is Love

When I first envisioned the anthology, I knew that I wanted to do more than to create a book: I wanted other artists to create art that relates to the book. The whole process of fundraising for An Alphabet of Embers became just that, art enabling more art to be born.

The adventure began with a brilliant cover by the Hugo award-winning artist Galen Dara – this art is also being offered as postcards and posters to the Kickstarter backers!


And then I wrote the lyrics and commissioned a piece of music from one of my favorite creators, Emily Jiang; and as a stretch goal that has been reached, the Banjo Apocalypse Crinoline Troubadours will be writing lyrics and music as well!

BACT: C.S.E. Cooney, Amal El-Mohtar, and Caitlyn PaxsonEmily Jiang

And then I asked a bunch of poets to write science poetry about forgotten and overlooked figures of science and technology, for a bonus chapbook called Spelling the Hours! The book will include work by Sofia Samatar, Sonya Taaffe, Michele Bannister, Mari Ness, and many others! And it will be wonderful.

Spelling the Hours

Spelling the Hours

And then Bogi Takács started creating Ember Letters for backers, and we are almost to a full set – some of these will be offered, free of charge, to backers who pledged at the 25$ level and higher:

Pofembers-small-jpg Kofembers-small-jpgJofembers-small-png

And I have been drawing critter pictures for backers (more information and pictures in this entry!)

for Isanah

for Isanah

for Stuart

for Stuart

And then Kythryne Aisling of Wyrdling Studios created an exclusive series of Phoenix jewelry especially for the project. A piece will be included in the 200$ treasure boxes and two higher-tier rewards! In addition, Kythryne offers 5$ off a custom jewelry piece worth 50$ and higher, to every backer who pledged 25$ and more! (offer good for two years).

Phoenix pendant

But wait, there is more from Kythryne: she is also creating jewelry inspired by the Banjo Apocalypse Crinoline Troubadours’ “Ballads from a distant star,” a cycle of music that will include the song BACT are composing for us.

DSC_7774_400w DSC_7778_400w

But wait, that’s not all! Our 8k stretch goal includes a whole joke issue of Stone Telling, choke-ful of rhymed mermaids, illustrated by B&W photographs of Mippo the plush hippo! Shweta Narayan and I will be co-editing this marvel of marvels, should we reach 8k!

Mermippo wants YOU!

Mermippo wants YOU!

And ALSO, Saira Ali of Kitabiyat press will be creating broadsides of one story from An Alphabet of Embers, printed on a 19th century letterpress, and sent to all backers who pledged 45$ and higher, for no additional charge (but we need to hit 8k for that to happen).

Letterpress magic

Letterpress magic

To round out the sheer awesomeness that is An Alphabet of Embers, we will create an audiobook if we reach 9k :D :D :D

Is that all? No, that’s not all! For higher-level backers, I will be creating: custom poems, non-fiction essays about linguistics and folklore, and treasure boxes full of TREASURE. There are a few more poems, boxes, and essays left!

And of course, I am already reading submissions to create the very best anthology of marvelous, short, surrealist, magical, beautiful writing  - which, thanks to our backers, will also now be lavishly illustrated!!

An Alphabet of Embers is going to be a work of many people – writers, poets, artists, musicians, jewelry-makers, and even hard-working blue plush hippos, as well as your intrepid editor and Team Stone Bird. So thank you, all of you, for getting us this far; and we’ll get farther yet. So if you’re dithering, dither no more :D :D There are only 57 hours left to pledge!

Originally published at RoseLemberg.net. You can comment here or there.

A Bird is Not a Stone: Kickstarter for Contemporary Palestinian Poetry
one red one
This is completely awesome, and I want to see it succeed too!

Originally posted by tithenai at A Bird is Not a Stone: Kickstarter for Contemporary Palestinian Poetry
Yesterday, editors Sarah Irving and Henry Bell launched a Kickstarter to raise money in support of A Bird is Not a Stone: Palestinian Poetry in Translation. The collection -- to which I contributed a translation of Bisan Abu Khaled's work -- looks amazing, and includes poetry translated into English, Scots, Gaelic, and Shetlandic. It's also introduced by Scotland's Makar (Poet Laureate), Liz Lochhead.

You can read an interview with the editors about the project, or find out more about the book itself here. You can also pre-order it from Freight Books directly; all proceeds fund Palestinian-led creative projects in Palestine.

The book will be released this summer from Freight Books in Glasgow, and I'm really looking forward to it.

But the Kickstarter's stated purpose is different; it's not about making the book happen (it's all done!), but rather about helping it reach more people. From the Kickstarter page:

We want to make sure that this collection and the messages it carries - of cultural vitality, of life, of communication - find the widest possible audience. In order to do that, we are fundraising for two things. Firstly, to be able to share as many copies of the book as possible, principally with universities, libraries and other institutions in Palestine and in Palestinian refugee communities. And secondly, to enable Palestinian poets to come to Scotland (and, ok, maybe the rest of Britain) and Scottish poets to visit Palestine, to share their work with different audiences.

I really want to see this succeed.

(no subject)
Hello to all the lovely people who are showing up in the "My Guests" feature who I don't recognize! I assume you all met me at Arisia? You should know, the vast majority of things I post here are under lock. I'm relatively incautious about adding people to my flist -- my privacy concerns are, in order, not wanting my parents or their friends to find my writing, not wanting Beetlejuice (not his real name) and his ilk to learn my legal name, address, or employer, and not wanting colleagues to be able to read about my private life. If you can convince me you aren't in one of the above three groups I'll happily add to you my access list. Also, for a long while I was posting exclusively on DW. You can go dig in the archives at [personal profile] phi.

And my regular reminder to folks who know my legal name: please do not put my wallet name and my fandom name together anywhere Google indexes. It's something of an open secret among actual real-life friends of mine but that doesn't mean I want it known to strangers.

Another recipe post
one red one
Drove up to Concord yesterday for a lesson exchange with kythryne. I was having Very Bad Morning, so didn't make it up in time for the arts market, alas, but we did take Kyth's two year old blueberry picking before getting to work.

Write up of the dyeing lesson will wait until my yarn is dry and I have pictures (my car and living room both smell like wet sheep right now), but here are the recipes I taught her.

Aloo Amli

This is my go-to comfort food recipe. I don't actually know its proper name. "Aloo amli" just translates as "potatoes tamarind," its two primary ingredients.

You can purchase tamarind as a paste or sauce in most yuppy grocery stores, but it's considerably cheaper to buy a brick of the dried seed pods at an Indian grocery and reconstitute it yourself. Break the brick into chunks and submerge in a bowl of very hot water. Use just enough water to cover the tamarind, and let soak 20 minutes or so. Then, using your hands, grab pieces of pulp and squeeze them to extract the paste. Your goal here is to get the water and edible fruity bits of the tamarind, discarding the stringy bits, seeds, and shells. The paste should be very thick and very sour.

While the tamarind is soaking, wash and slice a bunch of potatoes into medium slices, about 1/4" thick. Deep fry the potatoes, and set aside. You don't need to fry them until they are all the way cooked -- just enough to crisp the outsides is sufficient.

Heat a teaspoon or so of oil over medium heat, and add a generous portion of mustard seeds (you can use the oil you fried the potatoes in, but let it cool a bit first, lest you burn the mustard). Brown or yellow mustard, doesn't matter, but I have a slight preference for brown. Fry the seeds for 30 seconds or so, then add the tamarind paste and fried potatoes. Simmer until the potatoes are cooked all the way through.

Lamb Biryani

I'm going to be lazy and just re-post a recipe I wrote out a couple years ago:

I don't use a recipe, although occasionally I will read a bunch of recipes at once to get inspiration for modifications to my basic biryani. The way my family taught me to make biryani you need three basic ingredients: rice, meat, and flavors.

Rice for my family is always basmati rice. Short grain rice is right out. In a proper biryani or pilau you want light fluffy rice with each grain separate from the next. It is impossible to get this effect with Uncle Ben's boil in bag, Japanese rice, arborio, Korean, or any of the other million varieties of rice you can find in the grocery store. If you can't find basmati, Thai jasmine rice will do in a pinch, but it is not as light and has a slightly different aroma. I have heard tell from middle eastern friends of mine that there are some Persian varieties of rice that are far superior to basmati but I have never been able to locate any to do a side by side comparison and I am also biased in favor of basmati since that is what I grew up eating on all special occasions.

I almost always use lamb for biryani because I love lamb, however, beef, chicken, fish, or goat would work just as well. You can also make a vegetarian biryani by making potatoes and vegetables instead of meat, but I don't actually know how to cook potatoes for biryani.

For the flavor base I always start out by frying a couple of onions sliced into very thin half moons. I heat fat (oil or butter, depending on your taste) until it is as hot as I can safely heat it, toss in the onions (stand back because they will splatter) and then turn the heat down to low or medium-low and let them cook slowly for about 20-30 minutes or so until they are nice and brown. Then I turn the heat up to medium or medium high and toss in any other aromatics I am using, often garlic and ginger, along with any whole spices I am using, usually cumin seed, and fry for about thirty seconds. Then I throw in all the powdered spices and fry them for another thirty seconds or so.

Next the meat goes in. Ideally the meat will have been marinating in yogurt and more spices overnight. I push all the onions and things to the side and let the meat get seared on all sides. If necessary I turn the heat up in order to brown the meat. Once it is brown all over I add enough water to cover the meat with an inch of water, turn the heat to low, and let it simmer. It needs to simmer long enough for the meat to be tender, at least ninety minutes for cheap cuts of lamb or beef. I check on it every so often to make sure the water hasn't all boiled off. Here you can add other ingredients like carrots, potatoes, whole cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, crushed cardamom pods, fruit.

While the meat cooks, I prepare and boil the rice. The rice needs to be rinsed quite a bit, even if you are buying all organic pesticide-free hydroponic local vegan free range rice because rice is starchy and there are always little bits of rice starch powder in any bag of rice. The starch ruins the texture of the cooked rice and makes it gummy. Wash it by pouring it in a big bowl, and covering it with an inch of cold water. Swish it gently and watch the water get cloudy, then pour off the cloudy water. Repeat until the water becomes dramatically less cloudy - at least three times - before putting the rice in the pot to boil with fresh cold water. I've never measured how much water I use -- it needs to be enough that the rice can't absorb all of it and start to steam cook. I let the rice boil until it is al dente -- about 5 minutes. Then I take the rice off the heat and drain it - gently gently gently - in a sieve.

Once the meat is done simmering, layer about half the rice in a casserole dish. Layer the meat on top of this, and then finish with a layer of rice. If you like you can divide the rice and meat into more than three layers, but once people start serving out of the bowl no one can tell how many layers there were anyway so I think it's not worth the effort. If you like you can add garnishes to the top. I like to sprinkle saffron water (water or milk in which a few thread of saffron have been crumbled and soaked for at least thirty minutes) on top. It's also common to use slivered almonds or pistachios, or edible gold or silver leaf, or sprinkles of dark red food coloring. Seal the casserole dish tightly either with a good tight lid or aluminum foil and toss in a 300F oven to finish cooking the rice in the steam from the curry gravy.

The version that Kyth and I made last night used (in order, from most to least prominent in flavor):

fresh ginger
red chili power
ground coriander seeds
ground cadamom
ground cinnamon
ground cloves
whole mustard seed
whole fenugreek

We cooked it with lamb and golden sultanas, and a mix of basmati and jasmine rice (because there wasn't quite enough basmati rice in the house to feed three adults).

Zucchini and Summer Squash Sabzi

It's a bit redundant to call this sabzi, since sabzi just means vegetables, but whatever. You can use the following basic outline for just about any vegetable that can be cut into cubes.

Cut the squash into cubes, or slices, or whatever, and sprinkle with several tablespoons of salt, preferably coarse ground such as Kosher salt, to draw out excess water. (Because watery summer squash is disgusting.)

While the squash is resting, slice and saute onions -- we used one and a half large yellow onions for four medium-ish pieces of squash. If you're using fresh spices (minced garlic and ginger, fresh green chilies, that sort of thing) add them when the onions are mostly done and fry them too, about two minutes will do. Once the onions are golden brown, rinse the excess salt off the squash and blotted the pieces dry. Turn the heat up to medium-high, add the spices, let them toast until aromatic, then toss in the squash. Cover and let simmer 5-10 minutes, then remove the lid, because even having pre-salted the squash, they will release a lot of water as they cook, and again, I was aiming for a dry curry. Simmer another 5-10 minutes, longer if you like your veg really really cooked.

I used very simple spices for this, largely to provide a counterpoint to the complex flavors of the biryani:

red chili powder
ground coriander
ground cumin

one red one
I had reasons for abandoning LJ, but I seem to care less about them now than I did five years ago, and I care more about the fact that some people have really high inertial barriers to reading DW. All that to say, I give up, and will be mirroring most of the content at [personal profile] phi here in the future [1]. I don't care enough to preemptively make sure friends groups are synchronized though. If you read in both places and see something here you can't see there or vice versa, let me know, and I'll fix it. Friend, defriend, whatever, I don't have time to angst over social networking ACLs.

[1] My original reasons for not mirroring content were 1) LJ staff accessed friends-locked revealing photos of a user and then mocked and harassed her for said photos 2) LJ was doing shady things with renaming links to generate revenue and 3) the great strikethrough of 2007. I'm not in the habit of posting revealing photos of myself, largely because of the usual body image issues that are part of all the baggage of western civilization ever, but if I do, they won't be mirrored here. The second concern is even less likely to be relevant to me. I have no idea if LJ ever learned their lesson or apologized for the great strikethrough, but given that AO3 is a thing now, I can't bring myself to care overly much.

(no subject)
one red one
Yo. So a bunch of people I met at Fogcon friended this journal. Hi. *waves*

Anyway, I have a Dreamwidth account - phi.dreamwidth.org - which I don't mirror to LJ for a bunch of reasons. I only use this account to lurk read and comment.

You are viewing sairaali