Freelance Editing Rates Raised

It’s July 1st, and as of today I’m upping my freelance editing rates.

The raising of the rates and the reasoning behind that was previously discussed in this post. But the following is a quick breakdown:

The change is an increase of $1/page across the board for editing, and an increase of $50 for the Critical Assessments for fiction. The current rates for fiction and non-fiction are now $3/page for Substantive/Developmental Editing & Line Editing, and $2/page for Proofreading. The fee for a standalone Critical Assessment is now $250. The rates for academic editing are not changing.

You can find the full breakdowns and additional information on the Rates page of the Editing section of the website.

Other than that, it’s business as usual around here. I’m in the middle of a couple of projects. But I’ve got slots open for more work. And I’m taking all the jobs I can to help offset the cost of the upcoming move. So now is a good time to get in touch with me about new projects.

Which you can do by using the Contact Form on the website, or by getting in touch with me directly at mathesonfreelancing@gmail.com. Either way :)

And now we begin the second half of 2015. Been an interesting year thus far on this end. Not entirely sure what to expect from the latter half of it. But one always hopes for good things. And I hope the same for all of you.

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Clarion West 2015 Write-a-thon

So I signed up for the Clarion West 2015 Write-a-thon. Because I’m not doing enough with my time already, right?

As an alumni, it seemed only fair that I do something with it.

Anyway, it’s a system whereby you set yourself some writing goals. Whatever you want really. You set up a page where people can come look at what you’re doing. And you offer that if they want to they can provide financial support that goes to Clarion West to help offset costs there. My profile on the Write-a-thon system can be found at the link above.

I’m going to spend the five weeks the Write-a-thon covers revising a novella of mine that’s been in the works for a while now. And write at least one new short story. The latter made easier because it coincides with the scheduling for doing that on my Patreon account.

I am multi-tasking like a motherfucker at this point.

Not least of all because I’m doing all this while in the midst of gearing up to move, the apartment hunting, and the freelancing. So, you know. Things around here are a little hectic right now.

Anyway, head on over to the Write-a-thon pages and have a look around. As of writing this, there’s just over 160 people doing their own Write-a-thons, including yours truly. An awful lot of different projects on the go. Some of which sound decidedly fascinating, and I’ve only looked at a handful thus far. Some neat stuff going on this year.

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Amendments to Con Appearances (or Not) for 2015

Have been looking at my finances given the moving and what’s already come up this year in terms of financial expenditures, expected and unexpected. And while I’d planned to attend World Fantasy, and hoped very much to be able to go to Readercon, I’m not going to be making it to either con this year.

I’ve already cancelled my World Fantasy membership, so someone on the waiting list will get the benefit of that. And I hadn’t actually registered for Readercon this year. So that’s done. Will miss seeing the many of you I would have gotten together with at both events, and the many of you I would finally have been able to meet in person. And it’s been ages since I’ve been down to New York state. But it looks like that’s for another time. Maybe one of these days I’ll be able to head down for one of the monthly KGB readings. Who knows.

And we shall see what next year’s con schedule brings. At this point the only convention I’m fairly certain I’ll be attending in 2016 is Ad Astra. Beyond that, we shall have to see.

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On The Impermanence of Things and Related Matters

What with the packing in advance of the moving, I’ve been spending a lot of time going through books, my mother’s and my own, and debating what to keep and what to sell. Books frame the whole of my life, in a way. In literal terms, certainly. I make my living as an editor, and through book reviews. And every once in a while I make some money from the writing as well. But books also frame the dimensions of my life in other ways.

My mother was a teacher, who taught at a number of institutions, up to and including for a long time at the University level. She worked in a number of different humanities fields (especially English and English Lit), also ESL, Women’s Studies, and a host of other subjects. And spent her own time as a student and a scholar, up through her PhD work, in and out of many of those fields. During that time, she amassed an inordinate number of books. Texts, novels, poetry collections, fiction anthologies and collections, political treatises, histories, catalogues, dictionaries, encyclopaedias, and all manner of things. She was a voracious reader and her memory capacity was frightening (this said as someone whose own memory is really rather excellent).

Her library was always open to me, all of it, as I wished, from the time I could pull the books from the shelves. And I learned to read, as well as my respect for language and learning, from her. It is a deep debt. It almost wipes out the impossible clashes that came later. Almost. But that long and tangled history is not what we are here to discuss. (Believe me, none of you want to go down that road with me.)

No, we are here to discuss what happens when someone passes away and they leave their past behind. And we shall use my own history as a case study to look at the larger argument herein.

My mother died nearing two years ago now. She was the child of Holocaust survivors. (Neither of whom died well in their turn when they did eventually pass – one reason I take exception to the term Holocaust “survivor.” Only ghosts walked away from that.) A state that leaves one with the understanding that objects are both impermanent and deeply important. Especially those objects tied to family. This train of thought becomes important because from time to time I see articles come and go online about generational relationships to things, and how Millennials, as opposed to Gen Xers, are ungrateful or do not understand the import of their antecedents’ things. And in Millennials’ perceived rejection of those things they devalue the work of a lifetime their antecedents’ spent accumulating them.

It’s a complicated argument, that one. And of course rooted in various generational differences in socio-economic terms, approaches to and understandings of work/life balance, and very different understandings of personal worth as internal vs. external functions. And though I dislike massive generalizations, the argument does seem to be that Gen Xers (and earlier, though at some point you hit a very different relationship to things again, directly related to how much you craft/make yourself, and why that smaller pool of thing means something entirely different because of and around that) are creating the narrative of their lives through object-based anchors. Things that tie them to a specific place or memory. Whereas Millennials (and I assume going forward, though I cannot yet say) seem to value more the memory of the experience than the token that recalls its occurrence.

Which is not to say that Millennials do not accrue things. Because of course we do. But there is a difference in the way it is done. And the motivations as well.

When my mother had passed away and I was sorting through all the things that she had left behind, I discovered that she had kept every toy I had ever owned that had not broken. (Seemingly) every piece of clothing I had ever worn that had not frayed beyond repair. (My mother was the daughter of a master tailor, and though neither she nor I had/have anything close to his level of skill, I am convinced, given what I found, that my mother had repaired things that should long ago have been thrown away.) She had kept documents and records of mine that I would long ago have tossed.

That is not the keeping of recollections. Nor the hoarding of precious memories. That is fear. Accumulation of things as counter to loss, real or imagined.

The keeping of things related to one’s own life one could argue differently for, perhaps. The keeping of preceding or following generations’ items and histories is more problematic.

You would also be right in assuming, from this discussion, that my mother had trouble letting go in the general way of things.

Indeed, during the later portions of her life, when my mother was falling apart in ways neither of us then understood, she would occasionally in the course of a conversation be ferociously enraged that when she was dead I would, she said, sell all her things. This being a terrifying idea to her. To which I assured her that I would not. Something I truly at the time believed.

As it turns out, I ended up giving away many of the things my mother accumulated during her lifetime. And the things she had kept from her parents as well. So many of the things she collected, or kept watch over for parents long passed, had value more in sentimental terms than otherwise. Which is fitting somehow. I do not like the idea of profiting from the dismantling of someone else’s life. Necessary though that action may be.

I am quite spartan by nature. Excepting where books are concerned. The latter partly because of my profession, and partly because of personal inclination. Imagine then what it is like living with the weight of someone else’s life forever settled on your shoulders.

I do not know how my mother did it. The carting of furniture from place to place, and home to home. And homes, in variable definitions, are on my mind as I seek a new apartment to which to move. The sense in which home is and is not rooted in place. But in state. In the way in which one chooses to invest space. Some people do it with objects. Some with meaning. And sometimes a room is just a room and home is people. To each their own, and I find none of these answers right nor wrong. Merely choices we all of us make in how we define the shape and pattern of our lives.

And this is, I think, part of what people miss when they discuss, or lament, that their children do not want their things. This life you have built and are willing to bestow on someone else that they may benefit from this groundwork you have built for them, why would they not want it? Except of course it is your life, not theirs, and they must build their own.

I left, I believe it is fair to estimate, easily half of what my mother had accumulated during her lifetime, hers and her parents, (and with her passing bequeathed to me) at my last apartment when I moved to my current one. This after giving away (or, yes, in a few cases selling), a great deal more before that point. And I have been slowly digging out from under ever since.

And here we come back to a discussion of books. Because while it is difficult enough to sort through other elements of someone else’s life — and how can one ever feel like anything other than a voyeur digging through papers, letters, and photos never meant for one’s eyes — the line is most difficult for me to navigate where books are concerned. I’d read most of the books in my mother’s library long ago. And so digging through these books once more, they were all known to me.

Divesting oneself of books one has known and read is, I think, rather like trying to eat a captive animal you have named. You now have a connection, however slight or otherwise perceived. You have an understanding of it shaped by your own perceptions and baggage.

There is both catharsis and a sense of loss in every book that is not mine that I set aside for sale or to give away. With each item I no longer carry with me I am lighter again. My shoulders hitch ever so slightly higher.

It is a lightening of the Tyranny of Things. A phrase I am sure I have discussed here before. There are many tyrannies we exercise on each other over the course of our lives. Tyrannies of illness. And of removal of consent. And of love. And of hate. And of expectation. And in denial of the worldview or memories of others. So many little (and often great) tyrannies. The act of slow and careful eroding of the lives of others, all.

Even in a thing so small as a book it can be so.

Because love so easily becomes obsession, and expectation so easily becomes disappointment. We none of us mean to exercise tyrannies, I think. But that does not lessen their impact, nor their presence.

For my part, I have found solace in preparing many things I will read again but do not wish to live with now for storage. It is an ongoing process. Sometimes all you can do is dig out from under.

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First Patreon Short Story Post is Live!

It’s true. The first short story post over at my Patreon account has gone live. I had planned to start things off with a piece from the publishable, but as yet unpublished side of the stockpile I’ve got set by while I get back to writing new work. But I’d quite entirely forgotten that many markets consider work posted to a Patreon account (locked or otherwise) as having seen its first publication. This being poor timing since the first piece I was going to put up is actually on submission right now. And so the first piece to go up is actually one of the B-sides.

Given that the stories going up are locked to patrons-only, there’s not much more I can really share around it without defeating the whole purpose of having patron-only posts, is there?

However, since one of the reasons I set up this Patreon, aside from the kick in the ass to get back to writing new short stories, was to see what that system’s like and play around in it, I will be talking about what I find works and doesn’t as I go along. For example, I posted the first story directly into the post I put live this afternoon. It’s either that or upload an attachment, and I’m undecided which I prefer at this point. So we’ll see how that goes. Might try doing an attachment next time. Might not. Depends on the feedback, really.

Anyway, the Patreon account seems to be starting well thus far. At least as far as I’m concerned. And we’ll see what’s what going forward.

Anyone interested in supporting the project, or just wandering over and seeing what that looks like, can find my Patreon account here :)

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Start a Revolution Crowdfunding Update (the June Edition)

No, but seriously, we just keep finding ourselves here, don’t we?

It’s June 14th, and the crowdfunding for Start a Revolution is supposed to launch tomorrow. And, friends, I don’t have it in me right now.

Between gearing up to move, the apartment hunting, the freelance work I’ve got on the go that’s keeping me afloat (and even with the several projects I’m doing I’m still scrounging for more), and everything else going on in the background, I’m not going to have time to run the crowdfunding. Not least of all because it sets in motion several months of production work that I just don’t have the wherewithal for.

So what happens now?

Well, as I’ve already told the contributors: though I’m still trying to find a way to do the book (there is technically a publisher potentially interested, and we’ll see how that goes) all of the writers involved in the project are free to sell their stories elsewhere while I see if I can make this book work. Frankly, I’d pull the book together as a reprint-only anthology if I had to, given that I still want to run all the stories I’ve collected for it. This noted so that if any editors reading this come across one of the stories listed in Start a Revolution‘s Table of Contents in their slush pile, that’s not a conflict of interest :)

I still hope to make this project work, however that need be. It just won’t be through a crowdfunding project right now. May still be one down the line. But we’ll have to see.

When there’s more news on this front, I’ll share it :)

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Patreon Short Stories Project is Now Live!

As mentioned in the last post, I have been putting a Patreon account together. That Patreon account is now live! If slightly bare bones.

Which means I finally have the (much needed) impetus of a monthly deadline for creating new short fiction. And … well, there’s more information on what exactly is going on with the Patreon at that link. But long story short, I’m going to be posting one piece of fiction a month, on the 15th of the month. That’ll be new work (the point of the exercise) once there is some, and a rotating schedule of publishable but not yet placed work and B-sides in the meantime.

Because I’m working on a monthly rotation for that Patreon account, whatever anyone can donate is fantastic. As is just spreading the word.

Producing one piece of content a month also means any Patrons get charged just once every month. And the amounts can be whatever you want to set them at per month. Can be as little as $1, $3, $5, or something larger if you’re feeling generous. Whatever works best for you.

Right now being a Patron means access to the work itself that I’m posting. Since the project is meant to be an impetus for me to write new fiction again, that’s where the focus is. If it’s feasible to offer some kind of additional rewards down the line, I will.

In the meantime, have a look at the Patreon page if you’re so inclined, and any help spreading the word is, as always, deeply appreciated :)

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