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Posts Tagged ‘work’

Hello, and a quick update to say that I’ve got a new story out in the new issue of Andromeda Spaceways Magazine. “The T-4200” is a science fiction adventure featuring a regular guy just trying to save his dimension-hopping tortoise (and oh yes, end a galactic war). As one does!

Given the dynamics of the marketplace, it tends to be much harder to place longer pieces. I’m very happy to have found a home for this novelette, which began life at over 12k and now runs just over 9,000 words.

While ASM is subscription-based (sorry, free fiction lovers!), this entertaining Australian speculative fiction magazine publishes everything from science fiction to fantasy, humor to horror. If you’re in the market for an excellent new source of fresh fiction, check them out, and enjoy!

ASM Issue #66 Cover Image

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Here’s hoping you have a good day, even if it is a Monday:)

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Happily, I’ve had two stories accepted this month. I’m particularly pleased on both fronts: one story is a bit peculiar, a flash of magical realism that may not fit into a convenient category, but (hopefully) captures the essence of an emotional experience. The second story is a rollicking sci-fi romp that’s one of my favorites, but its length (it started life at ~12,000 words) made it a hard sell. I’m delighted to have found homes for both stories!

I’ll post specifics when they are available, but celebrating is always fun. Yay!

Here’s hoping that you have things to celebrate this weekend too:)

 

 

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Writing is hard, almost all of the time. It’s been said before, but imagining a new world, reducing it to marks on a page, and sending it out to be reconstituted by another person is a lot like a magic spell. (Or mind control. Or sea monkeys, but hopefully more realistic;) It takes concentration, and focus, and clarity.

All of those things seem to be in somewhat short supply these days. There’s a lot going on in this world. And I fear that I have been neglecting you, fair readers.

So here’s what I’m planning to do: post more. No crazy promises I’m sure to break, like a post every 23 hours and 59 minutes, because let’s get real. I’m aiming for success, not self-recrimination:) And if a photo or quote is what I’ve got for the day, fine. With luck, it will cheer, inspire, amaze, or similarly affect you as it has me.

Because when it comes right down to it, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Here, have a picture of some sea monkeys:)

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It occurs to me that one of the things we really need now is storytelling. With a Republican-dominated government in the U.S., dissenters won’t have as many direct political options to make change via laws. That leaves hearts and minds.

And what’s best for changing hearts and minds? A compelling story.

As I see it, an important part of our job right now as writers isn’t to bombard with facts and figures (or not only, of course there’s a place for that). Fiction writers have a special place in society. We imagine other futures, other paths, other worlds. We bring those experiences, those feelings*, to readers.

Our challenge is to inspire, to engage, to help others envision a better world. With a nod to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, to make them long for a kinder, more hopeful, and more just sea.

 

 

– – – – –
* And as Ian Warren argues, at least part of what has happened with Brexit and the U.S. election seems to be that “what data and polling often misses, is how people think and feel” and that “the communication of effective emotional messages is currently beating data alone.”

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Every so often I am struck with the realization that I live in what is, to me, a foreign country. How cool is that?

There I was, about to start up the old treadmill desk and get to work when I looked out the window and had one of those moments. You may know the kind I mean (at least I hope you do), where suddenly everything you see shines with crystal clarity.

Oh, you may think, I hadn’t realized that the neighbor’s maple was quite so magnificent this Fall, and every leaf stands out. I think of it as seeing with a child’s eyes, before “this thing” and “that thing” become a group of “the usual things” that can be ignored without conscious attention.

Do we see each blade of grass when we walk past the lawn? I don’t. In fact, it would be an almost impossible way to live, I think, and I say that with the full knowledge that I am the sort of person who pays attention to the curbs when in Athens. (What? They’re made of marble. And oh yes, The Parthenon;)

I like the everyday, appreciate the curbs and libraries and sidewalk trees that we interact with on a daily basis. The common shapes our daily experience, even as it remains largely invisible. Even so…

I live in a foreign country! Part of my realization was the sudden understanding that I’ve accomplished one of the goals I set when I was a child.

I might have been twelve years old, the details are a bit fuzzy now. There was a group of friends in the room, all of us paging through an atlas (oversized, hardcover, with glossy paper). We argued over where to go, calculated the costs, plotted impossible strategies to get there.

Living in another country seemed the height of adventure. And now here I am.

Canada is lovely and wild, with an often thin edge of civilization anchoring this vast swath of often frigid territory. Approximately 75% of the population lives within 100 miles of the U.S. border, and the continent looks very different up here at night.

North America at night

That mostly dark bit mostly north of the U.S.? Yeah, not water. I’m waving!

Canadian history is much different than the version I grew up with. It captures an ongoing friction between very different cultures and the relatively peaceable integration of those worlds into a single entity. No flashy Revolution here. There are reasons for signs that list both French and English versions of the word “street.” There are reasons for the populations’ deep-seated love of Tim Horton’s coffee, and gravy-drenched poutine. This country has its own twists, its own heroes, its own storied and shadowed chapters.

It’s true that I can shop for groceries in my native language, read most of the signage and do not need a plane ticket to visit my parents, but I no longer live in the place I was born. It’s also true that even Canadians can be crotchety, the bread often has too much flour in it, and there really is only one road connecting the East and West halves of the country. (And they still won’t shut up about that time they burned down The White House…;) But for me, here and now, it’s all a bit magical.

Pay attention, I remind myself. You just might find that the world is a far more beautiful and astonishing place than you remember. You might also realize that in spite of the knowledge that there is always more to do, if you work hard* and you keep moving even when it feels as though you’re going in circles, dreams can come true.

How cool is that?

. . . . . . . . . . .

* Need some motivation? I recommend the PBS Great Performances documentary Hamilton’s America. Both Alexander Hamilton and Lin-Manuel Miranda are inspirational as heck. It’s available online for U.S. viewers. The rest of us may be lucky enough to catch it on our PBS stations. (See? Not the 51st state after all;)

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I’m working on a new project and looking forward to finishing it up and getting it out the door. It’s been a busy month so far, but there never seems to be quite enough time to get everything done. It’s still fun to try.
maya1

My mother had this wonderful Maya Angelou quote illuminated and framed. (And who is that amusing young girl in the photo?:) She knew a thing or two about adversity, and about persistence.

Hang on, I’ve got to go take care of a few more things. Something about life and lapels…

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Nights are cool, maple leaves are touched with red, and while a mosquito recently gifted me one massive and very distracting bite, the pesky little blighters are all but done for the year. It is 46F as I write this, and this year’s fall equinox will take place on September 22nd.

It’s time to come to terms with the fact that summer is on its way out.
/insert brief pause for distraught handwringing… or not

Actually, I think I’m ok with that. Why? Because fall is a terrific season. Because I love pie (mmm, pie:). Because if you were raised on fall as I was, its absence is missed. And because the nagging feeling at the back of my mind tells me that it’s time to get back to work.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t take the summer off. I’m still working, still writing, but I haven’t had much of a presence here. My schedule has been more erratic than usual, as fishing or family or other excursions called me away. And much of the writing I’ve done is tweaking, fixing, editing or otherwise sorting out existing material.

Fall is a great time to dig in and embark on new adventures. To make big plans. Use those extra hours of darkness to dream of the new, and on waking, make those dreams real.

I hope your summer was as fun as mine, and I hope that you, too, are ready for a change. It’s time to get to work.

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Gone Fishing

Oh hello there! It’s been a while since I’ve posted, as apparently I have gone fishing. Not literally, at least not yet, but in the sense that my mind has decided that it’s time for a summer vacation. I’m still working, both on writing and other things, but it seems I needed a little break and I’m taking it here.

Remember what summer meant when the last school bell rang and the doors opened on whole months of freedom and possibility? I’m feeling a little of that right now, and dang it, I’m going to enjoy it. I hope you are too!

 

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Ah, Wednesdays! That most glorious of days, when Monday’s want-to-do list meets Friday’s ruh-ro-must-do list in a big jumble of expectations, and it can all feel like a bit much. (Or is it just me?:)

Today I’m working on multiple fronts and happy to be making progress. That’s what I push for, most days, even when it’s not easy. On writing, I’m nibbling away at a novel, fixing up a couple of short stories to send out, and doing a workshop exercise. And oh yes, there’s the day job:)

When what I’m doing gets hard, it helps to remember that it’s not carrying a 50-pound boulder across the sea floor hard.

Color me impressed, and inspired.

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Photograph by @paulnicklen // @HaaKeaulana, daughter of Brian Keaulana and grand daughter of legendary Buffalo Keaulana carries a 50 pound boulder while running across the sea floor to train for surfing. Her father teaches surfers that they should train for a four wave hold down in case of a wipeout in big surf. At 13 second intervals between waves, that means about a minute of being held down. It is one thing to hold your breath in a swimming pool for a minute and it something completely different to swim down 30 feet, pick up a huge rock and then run as hard as you can for a minute. Thanks to her lineage, community and training, Ha’a is a true water woman from #Makaha. Hawaiians have saltwater running through their veins and epitomize what it means to be connected to the sea. Please #followme on @paulnicklen to see Ha’a towing three large guys while carrying the rock and running across the bottom. As I shot these moments, I was completely in awe and full of gratitude for being exposed to this beautiful part of the world and the people who live it everyday. How does the ocean inspire you? With @cristinamittermeier #natgeooceansday #worldoceansday #everydayisoceansday #gratitude #thejourney #ocean #sea #ohana #mahalo #beauty #naturelovers #nature #tbt

A post shared by National Geographic (@natgeo) on

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