Goodbye, Hello

What is it they say about the best-laid plans?

In the past half year I’ve: applied to grad school and turned it down, moved halfway across the country sight-unseen with three-weeks notice, sold some stories and thrown away a mostly-completed novel. I left Ann Arbor, where I grew up, for DC, a place I saw once for five days in the eighth grade. I have worked in libraries or museums continuously since I was eleven years old, and I left it for corporate America doing nothing remotely related to books and culture.

These are not choices I expected to make at all. And yet, it all feels right. I already feel like I belong to this place, more than I have with anywhere else I’ve lived. (And it doesn’t hurt that all the museums are free!) What strange turns we take.

It’s been awhile since my last post, so here’s what’s been happening writing-wise:

  • The silliest thing I’ve ever written (which, as a dear friend of mine pointed out, is really not so silly) is now available over at Flash Fiction Online. “Canada Girl vs. The Thing Inside Pluto” is about a superhero fighting an alien intent on consuming the Earth. Well, sort of. This story came out of a random-title-generator writing prompt, and I’m very proud of the finished product.
  • The first story I ever sold, “Extinctions” (Shimmer March/April 2017) has been podcast by Podcastle with narration by Setsu Uzume!  Its always so interesting to hear something that I wrote be read aloud–it brings a whole different dimension to the story. And Setsu’s voice is perfect.
  • I’ll have two stories out later this month: “The Fall, The Water, The Weight,” in Augur and “A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Lighthouse of Quvenle the Seer” in Lightspeed. More on those when they appear, but I’m happy that they’re coming out close together as they are about many of the same things–grief and moving on, holding on to the slimmest hopes, secret-keeping.
  • Looking ahead, my story “Last Long Night” (Daily Science Fiction April 2017) will be reprinted in Flame Tree Press’s Lost Souls anthology, scheduled for September. My story is going to be on a REAL DEAD TREE! And possibly also in a Barnes and Noble, if we still have B&Ns in September. Needless to say, I’m super excited to have one of those shiny covers in my hot little hands.
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SPRING!

Here in the cold reaches of Michigan, we’ve had nothing but rain, sleet and unhappy-looking clouds so far this year. Last weekend the weather finally broke and so I spent Sunday ignoring all my various WIPs and tramping around town.

We’ve got a 19th century graveyard here (possibly earlier–the earliest grave I saw was from 1812) and I spent a long time there. Old gravestones have so much artistry to them, from the variety of scripts to the individuality of the sculpture. I especially loved the one for a professor that had a book for the base stone. And then there are the simple, haunting ones, like the one that reads just “Mary and Baby.” Or the one that’s a rough boulder with a surname carved into the base. No first name, no dates.

I know a little bit about cemetery symbolism and time periods from a material history class in college, but I’ve always wanted to learn more. I’ve got  a couple of books on the subject requested on interlibrary loan (Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography and Victorian Cemetery Art) and I’m going to take another field trip when they come in.

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The graveyard was an accident–I was actually trying to find my way to Nichols Arboretum and ended up there by mistake. Eventually I made my way around and hiked down to the river. Back when we had a weird blip of nice weather in February, I bought a hammock on impulse, and though I didn’t use it then (even with global warming breathing down our necks, spring in Michigan in February was probably a little unlikely) it was great now. A Cherry Coke, a book (Alex Wells’ Hunger Makes the Wolf) and a hammock by the riverbank makes for an excellent afternoon.

I even found a snake friend:

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Hello, 2017

Well, it’s 2017.

After the election I didn’t write much of anything until late December, and it’s only now, when this whole mess finally seems real and not like a terrible fever-dream that I’ve really gotten back in the saddle.

It’s also really weird to talk about how things are going well for you when the world at large is slowly burning down. In a few days, I’ll have my first published story come out, and several more over the next months. I finally have a full-time job with reasonable hours. I’ve moved to a town I love and I’ve got friends and a nice place.

And yet, there’s men in the White House who don’t want people like me to exist. Refugees are being sent back to countries where they will likely die and a Nazi-loving, maniacal racist is my country’s Chief Strategist. The fuck.

Today I also saw this tweet from Marissa Lingen and the thread that follows about talking art in frightening times:

So I’m starting this blog back up. I’m going to make a big effort to do at least one Dang Good Stories a month, because we need stories now, and I’m also going to talk about what I’m working on to remind myself it is worth something.

The good thing is I have been writing. I even bought myself a calendar and some motivation stickers.

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The orange/yellow stickers are for 250 words written, the pink stickers are for 3 pages edited, and the green stickers are for 20 minutes of reading. The blue stars are submissions, the gold are acceptances (none so far, sigh) and the red are for when I put “the end” on a first draft. Words are happening. Slowly, but they’re happening.

Onward we go.

 

Cobweb-Clearing

In the last month, I have:

  • Started a new job
  • Started another new job
  • Moved
  • Sold a story to Flash Fiction Online (yay!)
  • Had my computer break twice. Very expensively, I might add.
  • Finished three short stories

Which is to say life is going mostly well, but this blog has fallen by the wayside. I’m aiming to fix that this month. I’ve got two half-finished Dang Good Stories and a movie review to go up, so stay tuned.

What I Did This Week Instead of Writing

This week I took a vacation to the east coast (Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts mainly). Luckily–or unluckily–it was also the week when my increasingly-unreliable Macbook finally gave up the ghost. No writing got done, but I had a great time. Below are some of the stops I made along the way.

The Corning Museum of Glass has an exhibit going on right now featuring marine life done by the Blaschkas, a pair of German glass artists who produced replicas of biological specimens to fragile to be preserved in the mid-19th century. The specimens are utterly beautiful, and a little bit creepy in how accurate they are to the real thing.

(Images and more stops below the cut)

Continue reading “What I Did This Week Instead of Writing”