AI: For Mur, for you guys, and for me.

First, a heartfelt thank you for all your example and suggestion about how you just keep going from last week.  I’m in the midst of one of those months where it all seems to be a lot, and your input made me feel not so alone.

Another lifesaver in the water came from Mur Lafferty, writer of superheroine fiction that celebrates the extraordinary ordinary. She’s a personal hero of mine, and it seems like she’s been having a week or two herself.

Last week, when I was keeping my head down against the storm, and doing things ten minutes at a time, and asking you fine people for advice, I was also re-reading Playing for Keeps, which is a must-read-when-I-need-reinforcment-and-fun-too for me. It’s about Keepsie, a woman who lives in a town full of superheros and is super herself, but with what is something of a “ordinary” power. And the grace of finding that sometimes, the ordinary is extraordinary.

Mur’s tenacity, talent and fierceness is inspiring, and to see her say “to hell with this, I’m going for it” was the last bit of not-exactly-cheerleading I needed to kick my own butt into gear. I am in her debt, and in yours too, Skepchick readers.

This week I’m asking y’all to celebrate yourself.  I know we all have things we can work on, and opinions about what everyone else could work on, but I am not interested in those this week:

What’s your extraordinary? What is one of your favorite things about you?

Three things for this week’s question:

  1. Because you are here, I assume you have a beautiful mind. You can pick this favorite thing to share if you like, but you can also assume this is a baseline truth and gimme something else!
  2. I will be watching out you people and for myself. Any sass or snark I’m deleting with bias.  This is not the thread for that.
  3. That’s me in the featured image, dressed like a superhero, showing off one of my favorite things about me: I have a big mouth. :-)


The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3pm ET.


A B Kovacs is the Director of Døøm at Empty Set Entertainment, a publishing company she co-founded with critical thinker and fiction author Scott Sigler. She considers herself a “Creative Adjacent” — helping creative people be more productive and prolific by managing the logistics of Making for the masses. She's a science nerd, a rabid movie geek, and an unrepentantly voracious reader. She doesn't like chocolate all that much.

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  1. For me, I have always been able to draw and create things. I moved around a lot as a kid and was always the outsider. To hear kids come up behind me and say”wow!” was the one thing that unified helped me make friends. I grew up mostly in NJ and Stamford and I also felt most comfortable around books. I think I like this about me the most..creativity and endless seeker of knowledge.

  2. I have an amazing ability to curate extraordinary music. I have cultivated an educated ear through research and library work, and now can share all kinds of great music to a lot of people. I wish I were a DJ and I’m working on doing that. But right now one of my big talents is finding music.

    I can also write my own music, but since I haven’t done it in a long time, I don’t consider it a superpower.

  3. I have been sober for 10 months as of Friday, and acknowledging and doing something about my alcoholism has felt at times like I needed superhuman strength to do it.

    I’ve also gone back to school to finally get a psych degree (I dropped out of university about 15 years ago mid-degree, in part because of my drinking) and with my first course I’m rocking a 95% average, so I am feeling pretty awesome right now.

  4. I can, given enough time and motivation, produce beautiful ambigrams. I haven’t had time to of late but I should take that up again, in fact I may stop and get a quadrule pad on the way home since the stores are all having back to school sales any way.

  5. I’m a very good cook and that’s not a boast, it’s just something I really love and I put time, effort and research into the task and have for many years. On a side note I have an extremely sensitive smeller and taster. I don’t know if I’d qualify as a super taster/smeller but I can pick out specific tastes and smells when mixed with other things that can mask the particulars for most people. And when I walk into a store I can tell if there’s a piece of bad citrus fruit in the produce section from 100 feet away. This can be very irritating and distracting at times but on other occasions I know that certain restaurants will never get my business because I can smell the lack of cleanliness or old fryer oil coming from their kitchens (and wait staff) when most other people never notice.

  6. I pick up new abilities really, really quickly. I hadn’t touched a sewing machine until January of 2011, and now I’ve churned out a dress, a Victorian frock coat, a Tudor bodice, three weird floaty dance ponchos (you do weird things when you work in a college costume shop), an 18th-century waistcoat and robe a la Francaise (just the bodice), a 5-foot-long stocking cap and two pairs of pants (from scratch!) plus a few bustles altered from pre-existing skirts and the most enormous epaulets ever. In that order. Yeahh.

  7. Mine seems to have always been about figuring out how things work and how to make them. When I see something–an equation, something mechanical, anything artsy–it’s almost like I’m watching one of those wierd shows where the objects expands apart and I can see how it fits together or how it was made. The first time it happened to me I was watching the Muppet Show with my teddy bear, Ted (I’ve always been soooo original with names). I looked at Kermit, looked at my teddy bear… and knew what I had to do. The next day–after locating my mom’s scissors, needles, and thread–my best stuffed pal had a hole in his back, a sock sewn into the gaping hole, and a new folded piece of cardboard into his freshly resewn face. Needless to say my mother was not happy… she made me revert him back to non-puppet. Ted wasn’t too happy either; he hasn’t talked to me since. Talk about holding a grudge…

  8. I have the extraordinary/ ordinary ability to follow directions. I like to make things and I like to make things I never made before. So I read and I experiment. People are generally impressed by what I do, and profess how they could never do it. I think it is more that I am not afraid to fail, to rip out a seam or order a pizza if the recipe did not work.

  9. I’m great at problem-solving.

    I also have good social skills and I can make almost anyone feel at ease in a tense or awkward situation.

  10. I have become a very patient and forgiving person.

    Why it’s one of my favourite things about me? Is because it wasn’t always true. It’s something I had to work hard at, once upon a time. I especially had trouble dealing with anyone else being slower than me and holding me back or making me wait. I was a person with a lot of anger, who held everyone to impossibly high standards, and I spent a lot of my life being frustrated and upset about things.

    And then one day, I realized that it had become easy.

    It didn’t happen overnight. It was a slow process, learning to be patient and forgiving, to not freak out about little setbacks or to get angry with people when they made mistakes or caused delays. But when it finally came clear, it was wonderful.

    Now whenever anyone compliments me on how I’m such a patient, calm person, or thanks me for taking time to teach them something, it makes me smile right down to my core.

  11. I don’t have any superpowers, but my nephew has Super-vision.

    One time my niece (10) was throwing water balloons off their front balcony onto the very quiet street two stories below. Her little brother (8) asked his dad if he could throw water balloons too. My brother replied “Not without supervision.” My nephew thought for a bit and then asked “Would that make it easier to see the splashes?” (He’s kind of a wise guy.)

  12. I don’t get bored easily. I live by Eloise’s maxim, “Getting bored is not allowed!”. What this means is I try to pay attention to whatever my current environment is. If I am driving through the countryside I am looking at the landforms and the drainages, I’m paying attention to the plants growing by the roadside, I’m looking at the buildings I see and trying to figure out what it all means in terms of the development and history of the area and who is living/working/playing there and the economics. And under the umbrella of not getting bored, I’m asking questions about what I see and I’m not taking things for granted. When I was a wee tot, I exhausted my parents with constant questions. Ah, if only they’d had the intrawebs, eh?

    I guess I’m hypervigilant. Don’t know how much of that is bred in the bone, and how much is the result of some of the spectacular potholes I’ve hit in my life. But if you can’t fix it, feature it. I work to make sensitivity into a positive. This is me NOW. It has brought me a lot of joy. It has given me escape ladders, however rickety, out of some deep dark emotional pits. I feel passion. Passion for the light. Passion for the land and sea. Passion for diversity. Passion for human creativity.

    There are plenty of times when I’m stressed and dealing with, uh, stuff. But I am not bored.

  13. Meh, I feel like so many people are caught up in trying to pet their own egos and trying to feel appreciated validated that it hurts their quality of life.

    And I also feel kinda bad that I’m good at a decent amount of things because I came from a pretty well off family who gave me the keys to become good at those things and that a lot of people aren’t because they’ve never been given the chance.

    Therefore I’m going to say that I’m trying to kill my ego as much as I can and focus on just enjoying my life, chasing my dreams, and helping others less fortunate achieve their dreams.

  14. In trying to come up with an answer to this question I realized how hard it was for me to answer. My depression really has me beating myself up a lot. But this led me to think about how long I’ve been fighting depression and I realized something. I just don’t give up. I don’t stop fighting. I might feel beaten sometimes, but in the end I am still fighting.

    1. It’s a hard fight, but you can do it.

      Think of every other depressed person as trainers and sparring partners.

      We’ll help you get match-fit, sew rocks into your gloves, and cheer you on if you fall.

  15. I’m adaptable. I’ll openly admit that I despise change and new situations, but if it’s gotta happen, I’m right there in the thick of it getting things done.

    Also, I want to throw in more praise for Mur Lafferty. While I haven’t kept up with her work for a long while, I stumbled on her podcast close to it’s start. I had a few brief email exchanges with her, and found her to be an engaging and encouraging person. While my opinion matters little, I will say without reservation that Mur is awesome.

  16. I never get lost.

    I can get to, or give directions to, places I’ve only ever been to once.

    I see normal maps as 3D objects that I can manipulate, I can walk around them in my mind. My spatial orientation is great.

    The kicker is that now I’m visually impaired, I’m even better at it.

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