Dynamic

Sometimes I take minutes. My raw notes are inevitably a bit unpolished, but they’re pretty fast. And I clean them up before I send out the draft for people’s comments, because “a bit unpolished” includes my editorializing about some situations. (I write swears. Not that anyone else swears. Just sometimes things are stressful.)

In recent minutes, I referred to the current situation as “extremely dynamic” and that’s about the politest way I can put it.

I’m still submitting. I’m writing a little. I’m having real trouble revising my own stuff, though, so that’s going to be something I’m going to be trying to focus on next month. Aside from writing, I suspect I’m dealing about the same way many other people are, and a lot of them are being more eloquent about it, so moving on.

I am catching up on my reading, though.

 

Pause for reflection

Huh. I just noticed how close we were to the ides of March.

Like pretty much everyone, I suppose, the covid-19 news is a bit on my mind, and I’m trying to make sure I stay up-to-date on all the usual daily stuff despite distractions. It’s not so much that I’m missing out on things – the things that I’d want to go out to do are all getting cancelled – it’s that I find myself at slightly loose ends for what to do instead.

I did manage to get my Hugo nominations in before the deadline, though, and am looking forward to seeing the final ballot.

Related to that, the only work I published last year got a mention in Locus! Rich Horton said that it was his favourite story published in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet that year in his short-fiction-in-print review. I am really pleased by that.

29 days and not enough time

…well that was a month.

A couple of days ago, I think I figured out why I never see any of my own work as “dark”. To me, something is dark if it develops in a chilling and unexpected, or a disturbing and surprising, way.

My own work usually isn’t unexpected or surprising to me. Therefore, it doesn’t register as dark. The implied body horror, the deaths, the strange alterations of self, the loss – that’s not dark, that’s what’s expected. (Not that these things inherently make a work dark, but they can, and they’re examples of what I’ve seen people point to.)

And yes, I have the same issue with a lot of horror – there’s very little of it that I parse as “dark”, simply because it’s horror, and that’s what I came for. It can be gruesome, chilling, heartwrenching, startling, dour, or dire – but because I’m going in expecting and hoping for that, it isn’t usually unexpected or surprising.

Aside from that, there’s been a lot going on, but a lot of it’s also been fairly personal and is in progress, so I’m going to settle for saying that I think things are improving.

January, in a remarkable year

Sometimes I turn around and it’s odd to be in 2020.

When I was a kid, I had an RPG sourcebook with that year in the title: Cyberpunk 2020. I didn’t have anyone to play with, but that wasn’t a problem; I read RPGs for fun, weird combinations of guidebook and recipe source.

I went years without thinking about that book, but I tripped over the setting again last year–someone’s making a video game–and it’s odd to me how much I still remember of it and how much I still care. My reaction went from “yes, that game looks like it’ll be very glossy” to “that’s Johnny Silverhand? They’ve got Johnny Silverhand? I remember him.” and next thing you know I was snickering over the Holy Fathers of the Perpetual Railgun again.

It’s funny the stuff that sticks with you.

None of the impressions that stuck from the stories that talked about 2020 were anything like this. On a larger level–and there’s a lot going on, on the larger level–I’m going to settle for saying that while there are definitely dystopian elements, the fictional version of them seemed like they were a lot more manageable. On a smaller level… well, I’ve been dealing with vet bills and doing the laundry. I like both my jobs, and periodically get very angry at both my jobs, and these two things are not mutually exclusive. Life goes on, and it feels like a lot of it is a rather tired puttering.

Well. The month is nearly over, and some things are improving. I hope that part of current trends continues.

Counting ink, 2019

I had two acceptances this year; one for “The Smell of Antiseptic” in Pulp Literature, and one for “Mechanical Connection” in Cossmass Infinities, which should be coming out tomorrow. I also had my novelette “Ink, and Breath, and Spring” published in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, which is something of a dream market for me.

I submitted stories 44 times in 2019, and got 34 rejections (32 were from 2019 submissions, and 2 were from submissions made in 2018). I also withdrew one story.

As of the end of the year, I have nine stories out. Overall, I didn’t get quite as many story submissions done as I wanted, but I at least got more stories out there and I’m pretty pleased with that.

Alright. On to 2020.

Breaking time.

I mean, in that it’s time for a break. (The current schedule is a bit odd, as the standard work week is being broken up by statutory holidays, so it’s a lot of on-again off-again.)

I’m going to be doing some site updates over the next week. I don’t expect anything to change, but if you’re– hmh. Well, if you’re not reading this, I probably broke something? And if you’re reading this but it looks odd, my apologies, I’ll try to have it straightened out by 2020.

The weather isn’t looking like it’ll be too unpleasant at least, but I’ll probably spend a good chunk of the time off indoors, working on wrapping up reading and editing stories. It should be some nice downtime.

Eligibility in 2019

It felt a little early to be doing this, but looking at production schedules, I suppose it’s actually time. I had one thing published in 2019, and it’s actually a novelette.


“Ink, and Breath, and Spring”, available in issue 40 of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. November 2019. 7950 words. A tale of ashes and ink, and a dead body found on the grounds of a very strange library.

Dead leaves and rain

It’s really a pretty pleasant month, all things told. (I mean, most months are pleasant when you’re thinking about them while a cat is sitting on your lap and purring, but October generally suits me even without that.)

Work continues to go well. I’m working on the OcTBR Challenge and have finished ten books so far this month, which is honestly making me feel a little better about the ungoverned tsundoku pile I am dealing with.  I’m also culling books, which is giving me space to put a lot of them more neatly on shelves. Yesterday’s election could have gone much worse. All the pets are okay. I got a very small rosebush and have so far managed to keep the pets from eating it (although it’s early days yet).

I actually finished a new story this month, too, rather than just revising something. Of course, given how I usually work, this means it’s going on the pile of things to revise. I’m hoping it’ll go faster than previous ones, though.

In other news, I had a small road trip which included dinner 120 stories in the air at a revolving restaurant with a spectacular view, and seeing a lot of very old horror movie posters and props, including what everyone is very sure is the last surviving poster from the original run of Frankenstein at the ROM’s It’s Alive! exhibit. I also got to go by Wonder Pens, which is a really lovely fountain-pen-and-related shop, and think I am now sated for ink for a while.

Heading out to Surrey for SIWC soon, and hoping that will be as fun and informative as it was last year. I should go pack.

Failing, better.

So a thing that’s been on my mind a bit lately; I wrote a very small game, and it’s not very good.

I’m figuring out how to be okay with this. It’s not as hard as I expected it to be (the coming to terms, I mean, not the writing).

I don’t know how to fix it, exactly – I have fetched up hard against the taste gap, and knowing it’s not as good as I want doesn’t mean I can tell how to make it as good as I want. And I’m not sure I have the time to learn how to fix it. I mean, I could read up and study and analyze and fix it (or make a new one that was better), but I only have so much time to spend on making things , and ultimately, there are things I want to do more than I want to figure out how to make the game better.

(This feels like a very old-person post, in some ways. The finite amount of time.)

And it was a fun game to make, too. So I guess I’ll give it another pass to polish it, and call it good. It’s useful to know that I can still just do something to play around, and enjoy that.

Catching up, perpetually

I have recovered from April! Unfortunately, we’re over halfway through May, so.

The combination of “fiscal year end” and “end of term” was interesting. I really enjoyed the chance to teach, and from the (safely anonymized) student comments I didn’t do too badly?  I’d like to do it again (although as a part-time professor, I won’t get the chance until winter).

I’m currently looking for stories to recommend for a slightly updated version of the course. I’m largely trying to keep it to prose, and looking to the Hugos and Nebulas as a filter, but it’s still going to be a bit of work.

I went to TCAF this weekend past! It was honestly fantastic, and I had a great time. Came back with a few more books than I was expecting, but it was a great weekend, and the trip each way gave me a lot of time to read. I’m hoping to get some reviews up.

On a personal note, I just handed in my comments on the page proofs of a story that should be coming out later this year, and I’m generally feeling pleased with that.