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Beginning 2021

Kindly imagine me in a small bubble. To the right, there is a window out of which I can see trees. One floor down is a birdfeeder that the birds are persistantly ignoring (I don’t think I’ve seen anything in at least a month, although I’ve heard crows), but that the squirrels are excited about.

All the squirrels around here are black, statistically speaking (I think I see a grey or a red one maybe once or twice a year). It is something I am very used to, and I am always kind of delighted when visitors call them ninja squirrels or goth squirrels.

It’s kind of quiet in this bubble. And while I recognize that there is currently a lot going on and some of it I need to deal with and some of it I just need to keep up with, it is a good place to be able to stop and breathe for a moment.

Counting ink, 2020

I had two acceptances this year; one for  a reprint of “Ink, and Breath, and Spring” in PodCastle, and one for “The Draw of Empty Spaces” in Cossmass Infinities. I was also asked if I’d like to have “Ink, and Breath, and Spring” in the next The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, and I was really pleased with that.

I submitted stories 51 times in 2020, and got 43 rejections (35 were from 2020 submissions, and 8 were from submissions made in 2019). I also withdrew 4 stories (3 from markets I submitted to in 2020, and one I submitted to in 2019).

As of the end of the year, I have 11 stories out, which I am actually really pleased by, especially given The Year That Was.

Alright. On to 2021.

The last weekend of 2020

I mean, the last weekend is also sixteen days long due to personal circumstances, but the calendar is a powerful framing tool.

It’s been a very quiet Christmas. I sent a lot of winter holiday cards and got… I think slightly more than usual? I have the impression people are kind of going out of their way to reach out a little. I also spent nearly an hour on the phone with people Christmas morning, which was definitely longer than usual.

Beyond that, I put up a bird feeder (after dark the day before Christmas Eve), and nothing has visited it yet. Not even squirrels. I mostly picked it up because the birds had stopped going to the ground-level next-t0-the-fence birdfeeder in our back yard, and I was vaguely thinking that perhaps it had started to rust badly enough that the smell of metal was putting them off, or a cat had started using it as a hunting spot, or the suet in it was off. (It has been moderately badly damaged by chewing squirrels, but there doesn’t appear to actually be rust on it.)

Anyway. I have scattered birdseed around the new feeder on the advice of someone much more invested in bird feeding than I am, and I live in slightly anxious hope.

With the end in sight.

I can’t believe it’s nearly 2021.

The last week was a bit intense–some things came up at work, and also at home, and really, I am mostly glad they are doing being sorted out. Yesterday was a lot of unwinding and today was a lot of catch-up, and I’m hoping the week going forward will run a little more smoothly.

I improvised a recipe for dinner tonight (which I am actually ridiculously proud of, I dislike cooking as a rule and without instructions it tends to stress me out quite a lot), and am managing to clear some time to read again. All my holiday cards are out. I realized that the dog is waking me up not (just) because she needs to go out, but because she thinks it’s important for me to have a routine, and honestly, she is such a good dog. Taking care of her thumb-monkeys like she does.

Overall a nice weekend, although I do wish it had been a little longer.

Edging out of 2020

It doesn’t feel like I’m a quarter of the way through December of 2020. Honestly, it feels like…

Well. The light of my life reminded me today that “I can haz cheezburger?” is thirteen years old, and I said something very rude. I have niephlets younger than that meme. I feel old. I’m not allowed to feel old when I’m comparing relatives with whom I’ve had an actual conversation to memes.

So that’s what it feels like, mostly. A kind of hectic rush that leaves me wondering how on earth I didn’t get more done.

Still, there’s a small vacation coming up, and words are happening, and the cat spent this morning moving onto my slippers and purring smugly. Things aren’t so bad, I just need to clear time to appreciate them a little better.

In which both change and the lack thereof are unwanted

With regards to unwanted change: the kitchen sink broke, the dishwasher broke, someone is coming into the house to fix the former, and the default WordPress posting interface has changed. I have no idea exactly how much these things will cost (well, the WP change is free, but the others are guaranteed to not be so).

With regards to unwanted stasis: I’m going to be spending most of the next five months in the house, as it’s not as if I’m going to be visiting establishments (or people) any more than an absolute bare minimum, and the weather is going to make it a lot more difficult to convince myself to go out for walks to nowhere. I am gloomily worrying about cabin fever (which admittedly also involves mental notes to myself to rewatch The Shining and check out #Alive, so not all terrible).

Oh well. Five more weeks and the days start getting longer again, so there’s that. And I have a lot of podcasts and books to get through.

Eligibility in 2020

It’s summer weather again, but the calendar tells me we’re in November, so it’s time for this post again. This year, I published the following works for the first time, all short stories.


“The Smell of Antiseptic”, published in issue 25 of Pulp Literature. Winter 2020. 4185 words. A doctor who is dealing with ghosts, and animal experimentation, and not being able to run away from her own past. (An excerpt may be found online here.)

Reviewed in Amazing Stories’ CLUBHOUSE by R. Graeme Cameron.


Mechanical Connection”, published in issue 1 of Cossmass Infinities. January 2020. 4342 words. A superhero who is more comfortable with machines than with people, navigating friendship and family.

Reviewed in Strange Horizon’s quarterly Short Fiction Treasures by Maria Haskins, and also in Submit Your Stories Sunday by Jennifer Shelby.


The Draw of Empty Spaces”, published in issue 3 of Cossmass Infinities. September 2020. 5111 words. A story of emptiness, salvage, and scars, taking place in a strangely ruined city.

Into November

Today was dim and gray and blustery with ice specks, and I only made it outdoors half an hour before sundown. The sun was already out of sight.

I very much feel that I did not get a summer or a fall. I don’t think I particularly got a spring, either, but that was long enough ago that it’s gotten blurry. Mostly I’ve been thinking a lot about going out for a walk early in the lockdown when everything was still snowy; it feels like I’m coming back around to that without ever really getting out of it.

(I also didn’t sleep well, with the time change, so part of it is probably just the mood. I am coping through the time-tested method of topically applying a cat, it helps.)

Best of luck to everyone, I guess.

Quiet night

This is the first Hallowe’en in thirteen years I haven’t carved a jack o’lantern. (I realize that I could, but it seems a little pointless; while holiday decorations are fine for inside, I’ve always thought of jack o’lanterns as something you do to set outside so that people know they can come to your house to trick-or-treat. That was definitely not happening this year.)

It’s mostly a quiet poke-at-words-and-watch-TV sort of night, and it’s not bad. But I hope next year is a more traditional Hallowe’en.

Surrey, again

SiWC is being fantastic and fantastically dense as always. I am going to need a couple of days after it’s all over to digest, but at least I knew to arrange for them.

The online presentations are interesting. I get the sense that they’re going a little faster than usual – I can’t quite keep up with some of the presentations, and need to leave a little bit of space blank to fill in a word or two in my notes later. On the plus side, everything’s recorded and available that way for a month, so there’ll be time to do that. I’m on the fence about the chat – some people use it to comment on what’s going on, some people use it for tangents that I find really distracting – but really, it’s the kind of thing that doesn’t have an in-person equivalent so I suppose I can just set it aside.

Dan Wells did a presentation on psychological horror that is making me want to dig up my notes from Hallier Ephron’s 2018 presentation on things that are creepy. The first is “what if you can’t trust yourself” and the second is “when things might not be okay but you still have room to hope that they are”, and I feel like there’s something to dig into at the intersection. Something about when hope is lying to yourself.

A bit scattered because I’m still waking up; have more thoughts but am going to focus on getting ready to interact with people and learn things.