I wanted to be a Japanese history professor.

I spent 14 years from the start of my BA to my PhD graduation, pursuing a triad of degrees and associated training that was supposed to prepare me for that.

But then I learned about the academic job market, and grad school traumatized me badly, and so I couldn’t, in good conscience, go that way. The jobs weren’t there, and I was traumatized and exhausted and needed to recover. So it was just…over.

I feel like it wasn’t until I started getting somewhere in my current career– where I still get to teach others about Japanese history, but in a much more informal fashion and not for university credit– that I felt like I’d moved on.

I’m happier now, all things considered, but I won’t deny that I grieved for a long time.

And it’s okay to grieve things like this.

On Swords and Treasures and Due Diligence

(pictured for reference: the signature on the tang of a katana)

Once, an eon ago, I worked at the University of Pittsburgh East Asian Library’s Japan Information Service. I had to mind the desk and field calls and emails from the public about Japan and East Asia in general.

So one day, this older gentleman calls. He says that he wants a Japanese to English dictionary so he can translate the “pictograms” (kanji) he found on the tang of a sword.

“What sword is this, sir?” I ask him.

“So my mother in law was a Women’s Army Corps soldier on General MacArthur’s staff and brought a sword back from the Occupation of Japan. We stripped the handle and there are these pictograms.”

I, a grad student in Edo period history, and well acquainted with the stories of lost National Treasure swords from the Occupation, had to stifle a gasp.

I explained to him that if it was kanji, it was probably a maker’s or appraiser’s signature, and thus a proper noun, and that he couldn’t translate a proper noun any more than it would make sense for a Japanese person to translate his signature or mine. I explained my credentials, pleaded with him to send me a photo, knowing that you don’t strip a Japanese sword to the tang without knowing how to put it back together, and that it takes the proper tools to do so. I told him that there are many National Treasure status swords that vanished during the Occupation, and that we really ought to ascertain who made this blade, because it could be a credit to him and a boon to all humanity.

To translate the Japanese expression, I wanted to see that sword so badly that “it was like a hand came out of my throat.”

The man was not interested, and said goodbye.

I think about that sword sometimes, and my heart breaks.

“Confluence” is now available!

It’s wild to think that the trans lesbian cyberpunk stories I started telling myself in April are now a book that people can read! With illustrations, and a bibliography, and an art section!

On a friend’s Twitch stream, I was asked to sum it up in a sentence, and I said “middle aged trans lesbian cyborg couple fights for justice against megacorps and lives happily ever after.”

So, where can you find Confluence?

International paperback orders via here .

Ebooks from the Jevv Baebos here

(US-only) paperbacks direct from the publisher here

Paperbacks from B&N here

Thank you all so very much for your support of this series from this its outset! North Star Forever!

Social Media Realignment

With the implosion of the birdsite, I’m doing some social media realignment. So, here’s where you can find my most active presences:

Thank you for your understanding– let’s rise to the challenge and make the most of this moment!

So Now What?

So a rich manbaby took over Twitter, and is tearing it apart in realtime. Some of my most loyal followers, on that platform where I’d worked hard for years to build a following, are already gone. There’s nothing quite like Twitter out there.

So the obligatory question becomes…now what?

Honestly, I don’t know. I’m not leaving Twitter until they make me leave, and I am still not convinced that the guy isn’t going to try and sell off the company he himself admits he didn’t actually want to buy. Obviously, finding other platforms where people are going is a good idea, but that requires necessarily starting from scratch. This requires time and attention and in some cases money, all of which are in short supply for me, running a one-woman operation.

I am now on Cohost, at https://cohost.org/riversidewings , and you’re welcome to follow me there. It’s not the same as Twitter– it feels more like Tumblr and Livejournal were in their better days– but it’s a new platform being grown slowly and steadily, and I like that.

I’m on Mastodon, but in between instances at the moment, and Mastodon’s got a learning curve that means not everyone’s gonna be going there.

I’m on Patreon of course, at patreon.com/riversidewings, where I recently picked up again with #FridayNightHistory: https://www.patreon.com/posts/74051392

Beyond that, I’m in the same platforms I’ve always been on, trying to figure out how to pick up and keep going. But as I watch Twitter die, I can’t help but feel angry.

I was managing, and then the wealthiest man in the world decided to come in like a sledgehammer, rather than do anything constructive.

None of this had to happen.

And yet, here we are.

Anthrocon 2022: Namahage!

Coming at you in just about 2 weeks: my lecture on namahage at Anthrocon 2022! For more information including scheduling, follow the link: https://sched.co/11v0W

This lecture is made possible by readers like you! Work-in-progress posts for this lecture, podcast scripts, art posts and fiction, audio fiction and more, is all available at patreon.com/riversidewings

So, if you enjoy my work, come drop by Anthrocon, and consider supporting my work by signing up at Patreon! Your support and generosity makes all of this possible. Thank you for being the wind beneath my wings.

A Realignment of Sorts

Folks, hi– good to see you again. It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?

So in light of recent events on Twitter which I’m sure you’ve all heard of by now, I’ve been in the midst of something of a realignment. Not leaving any platforms, mind you, but simply realigning where I focus my energy in putting content up.

So I’m back to what will likely be regular content on here. Some of it will be integrated with Patreon, once I get the Patreon plug-in to play nice with my WordPress setup, but for now, expect more content in general, here. It’s a useful medium, and it doesn’t have a character limit like Twitter does, so I figure let me use it.

Plus, lots more images that won’t get cropped like Twitter does…

It also occurs to me that inasmuch as I have a Patreon, this blog is the nearest thing I have to an official website, so, I should be updating it, huh?

Thank you for your readership all these years. As ever, if you’d like to support my work, please consider subscribing at patreon.com/riversidewings or twitch.tv/riversidewings or picking up a copy of my book at bit.ly/greydawnebook.

Your support keeps the lights on and makes everything I do possible. Thank you for being the wind beneath my wings.

Friday Night History, Episodes 30-36

Folks! I have news! #FridayNightHistory now goes up exclusively on Patreon as public posts! You can catch the episodes since the last I posted here via the following links:

Episode 30: Stumbling Over History

Episode 31: “To Whom does the Stonewall Belong?

Episode 32: Emperor Tōbu, Part One

Episode 33: Emperor Tōbu, Part Two

Episode 34 (S2E1): The Cat Who Would Be God

Episode 35 (S2E2): Kashikobuchi

Episode 36 (S2E3): The Fox Iroha of Okarimiya

Sparrow-dancing ever onward.

Updates will continue here as the new episodes go up, but will link to the Patreon side. Other posts will continue here on WordPress, as this is my primary public-facing blog. Thank you so much for reading the series, and please consider becoming a patron, becoming a Twitch subscriber, or sending a one-time donation via bit.ly/2lQfdZ8.

Your support makes all of this possible. Thank you for being the wind beneath my wings.

An Appeal: Help Me Grow What I Do

Folks, this is a post to explain the new goal on the Patreon at http://patreon.com/riversidewings and to talk a bit about what you’re making possible and where I hope to take things.

Right now, we’re at $666, and it’s helping me devote more time to creating Friday Night History, my book projects, art, and more. I’ve been able to afford tools like new brushes, a podcasting microphone, and licenses for apps like ClipStudio Paint, where earlier, I’d have had to make do with bare minimum of tools to get by, and focus more on just surviving. You helped make Grey Dawn happen. You helped make Friday Night History go from a thread to a podcast. As I always say, you’re the wind beneath my wings.

I want to keep growing what I do– I want to devote more time to this work. This is my passion, but interacting with you all– here, on Twitter, on Discord, on Twitch, and elsewhere — is also a joy. The more of you sign up here, the closer I get to making this my full-time focus, and doing still more. This is not a hobby. This is how I make a significant portion of my livelihood.

There’s so much I want to do! I’d like to pay to enter my books and podcasts in more award competitions. I’d like to buy a PO Box so y’all can send me books and games to review. I’d like to be able to afford ads on social media. I’d like to travel, and to buy books and make photocopies that I count on for making this content. So truly, your support is bringing me closer to all of that.

With that in mind, an explanation of the next few goals and perks on Patreon.

At $750, I’ll begin a once-a-month cooking stream. The plan is to cook something historical, and to talk in realtime about it, probably on Twitch. Right now, we’re about $84 away from this.

At that point, I will also be able to start looking at buying some modest, initial adspace– all the better to bring new listeners and readers to the podcast and my books. I’ve already begun laying the groundwork for the support I’ll need at that point– the mods I’ve brought onboard over on Twitch and on Discord are part of that.

At $800/month I’ll be able to set up a PO Box, which will give you a place to direct your mail– books you’d like me to review, or video games or movies. Right now we’re about $134 away from this.

It will also make possible physical rewards. Pencil and ink sketches at first, once a month, but also stickers, and other merch.

When we hit $1000/month, this will be close to being my day job! and at that point, I will edit, record, and release pre-2021 #FridayNightHistory threads as podcasts– stuff like The Ninja that Met James Buchanan, or The Gang Goes to War Over a Tree. Right now we’re about $333 away from this.

Beyond that, this effectively becomes my day job, and we can talk further about goals when we get there.

But for now, this is what’s on deck.

So. If you like my work on #FridayNightHistory. If you read #GreyDawn. If you want to see #TheSparrowsDream and other history writing of mine make it to publication. If you want to get early glimpses of my second novel #HomewardStars as I write it: please spread the word.

patreon.com/riversidewings
twitch.tv/riversidewings
riversidewings.itch.io

Thank you to all who have supported me thus far and have continued to support me. The best is yet to come.

And you, friends, are the wind beneath my wings.