Thursday, March 20, 2003

More astoundingly, unreasonably good stuff -- or so it seems to me -- happened in my writing career since I last wrote, Gentle Reader.

I sent "Embracing-the-New" to Gardner Dozois for Asimov's and he told me to cut a scene that I didn't really like myself and had added, after the first draft, with great difficulty. Then he bought it. (The exercise of adding the scene was worthwhile, though, because about thirty of the five hundred words I'd added did make it into the final draft, and they were an important thirty words).

"The Orange" will rate an Honorable Mention in the forthcoming Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2002. "Droplet" was on the Locus Recommended Reading List and the short list that the Nebula Jury considered adding to the Nebula Preliminary Ballot. I would, of course, much rather have won the competition among the short-listed, but I am very excited that Tim Pratt, a wonderful human being and fellow Web Rat, got onto the ballot for "Little Gods", a lovely story. He's sharing the ballot with Charlie Finlay's fine "The Political Officer". Good luck, gentlemen!

The Book of Jashar is up at Strange Horizons. As is a conversation I had with the wonderful literary surrealist and fabulist Aimee Bender.

My story "The Death Trap of Dr. Nefario" is being held hostage, ahem, I mean offered as a reader incentive, at The Infinite Matrix. The Infinite Matrix is a wonderful online magazine, subtitled "a magazine for people who love science fiction as a literature of ideas", whose funding model fell apart when the Internet bubble burst. Eileen Gunn, its extremely dedicated volunteer editor (who pays some of the best rates in the business for short fiction), is trying to keep it going by holding a public-radio-telethon-style fundraiser. She's raised $2142, and when she's got $2500 she'll post "Dr. Nefario".

There is also some other cool potential stuff happening in the realm of chapbooks, funky little invitation anthologies, and a possible short film of "The Orange" -- the details of all of which will be forthcoming. James Patrick Kelly was nice enough to mention me in an Asimov's column on new writers, and Cory Doctorow named me as part of the writing movement or generation he's in in an interview with Charlie Stross on


Plus, conferences: I was honored to get an invitation from Charlie Finlay to the newly created novel-writing conference Blue Heaven, a peer workshop with many impressive up-and-coming novel writers. I went to Esther with a long face and said, "sigh, I don't think we can afford this," and she said, "Oh. You've got to go! We'll make it work." So I said yes and am very excited about going to workshop Crimp (or Lillim, as we're thinking of calling it at the moment). Excited and nervous -- because the book is in no shape yet to be workshopped. But, as I expected, having a deadline has energized my writing partner and me -- I think we'll have about half of it ready to be looked at.

And then I got invited to another writer's workshopping week, chock full of writers whose work I've adored for years (all of whom apparently also COOK really well)... and I had to turn that one down!

"Molly and the Red Hat" (the kid's story), "The White Swan"(the Barthelmesque short-short), and "The House Beyond Your Sky" (which is so far-future it makes "Droplet" look contemporary) are all sitting on my first-draft-done-to-revise pile ("Molly" has been seen at the OWW, and I just sent "House" to the CW2k1'ers) and there's a larger stack of unfinished snippets that might turn into something, but the novel is the main focus at the moment.

My plate of final-draft fiction looking for markets is almost empty -- everything either sold, or I don't like it that much anymore. The only other things I still really care about selling are the 10,000-word, moody and depressing sword & sorcery piece, "A Siege of Cranes", and the nonspeculative, peculiar Western "Breakfast in Montana".

Crap. We're at war.

Thoughts on writing and community.

I'm a science fiction and fantasy writer. I belong wholeheartedly and gleefully to that community. My fathers and mothers are Delany, Dick, Le Guin, Russ, Bester -- and Asimov and Heinlein and Niven and Brin. We may be geeks, but we hold the future, and as Le Guin said: we have the best dreams.

And I'm a literary writer. I belong to that community too. I belong to Pynchon, Borges, Calvino, Woolf, Joyce, Helprin, Irving, and Tyler. The belonging is more theoretical; there isn't the warm familial rejoicing of Clarions and cons. I don't know that many literary writers ( though I've enjoyed getting to know Aimee Bender, whose work I love, over the net). The belonging, as with the most important part of my belonging to SF/F, is through the books and stories. Through soaking up, breathing in, and writing for, around, because of, given, against what has come before. We literary writers may at times be boring, obscure, masturbatory in our obsession with style: but no one loves the word more. No one loves the text more, in and of itself, beyond any function it may have to entertain, inform, or provoke.

And, in a dabbling fashion, I am a lot of other kinds of writer as well; a poet, a religious writer, a children's writer; I've tried to write erotica and a Western, though I'm not sure the results really belong to those genres. I'd love to write a mystery.

The notion that communities are exclusive entities inevitably competing for scarce resources, that belonging to more than one implies divided loyalties and cause for suspicion, is false and toxic, and the source of much of the trouble in the world.

Aviva built a snow woman and a snow boy. Then it got warm so the snow woman had to go away to bring more snow people. "De schneefrau isch anderi lüt go hole!" (she says, which means, "the snow woman went to get more people!")

Pictures forthcoming. I'm still fiddling with the digital camera.