20 June 2013 | Leave a Comment
My 2013 Clarion West Write-a-thon is about other writers.
I have been very fortunate to have massive support every year I’ve participated in the Write-a-thon. So many wonderful people have sponsored me throughout the years, and in so doing have also helped support an organization I love. I am enormously grateful to you all for that, and for giving me so much motivation and encouragement to stretch.
That’s what I kept thinking about as I pondered the Write-a-thon this year: how amazing it feels when someone clicks the “Donate” button on one’s Write-a-thon page and offers money in support of a writing goal. And how much difference it really makes. There is so much fabulous work in the world now that happened in part because a writer participated in the Write-a-thon with the support of family, friends, readers, and strangers.
Consider this: Julia Sidorova worked on her novel Age of Ice in the 2011 Write-a-thon. A Clarion West board member who was impressed with one of Julia’s stories sponsored her not because they were friends, but because “It was clear to me that Julia is a very talented writer.” Julia’s novel will be published next month.
Author E.C. Myers worked on his novel Fair Coin in a Write-a-thon. The book won the 2012 Andre Norton Award for YA Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Stephanie Burgis has worked on her Kat, Incorrigible series (three released so far) during the Write-a-thon over the years.
Cassie Alexander has worked on her Edie Spence novels during the Write-a-thon; again, three released so far.
These are just a handful of the bazillion examples of writers who put the pedal down during the Write-a-thon. I speak from firsthand experience: when you put money on the table in support of a writer’s goals, it makes a difference to the writer. And here’s another secret: there is no more powerful buzz than having a stranger do it. It holds the writer’s feet to the fire and encourages her to throw her heart into the sky in a way that feels a lot like magic.
I want as many writers as possible to know that magic. So this summer, although I will be doing my own writing — and am madly excited about it, oh my, so many things bubbling up! — I ask you this year to support me by picking another writer to support. Or two. Or as many as you like. It will be a gift to them, a gift to Clarion West, and a gift to me: a chance for me to spread some of the exhilaration and determination that you have all given me so many times.
There are, as of this post, nearly 250 writers signed up from all over the world. Check them out. Find a familiar name or a new one; an established writer or an emerging one. Give that person the gift of your support.
On my Write-a-thon page, you’ll find a dozen writers whose work I hope you’ll pay particular attention to. Tell them I sent you, and that you expect great things from them this summer:
They are all passionate and committed, and any of them will benefit from your support. And who knows what marvelous poems, stories, translations, novels, screenplays, or essays will result from their summer? Who knows what kind of magic might happen?
My deepest thanks to all of you who choose to support the Write-a-thon. And my very best to all the brave, fierce writers who participate!
17 June 2013 | Leave a Comment
Writers from all over the world are joining the Clarion West Write-a-thon. And if you’re a writer who wants to reach for a goal this summer with the support of an amazing community, I hope you’ll join too.
The Write-a-thon is a six-week writing commitment where you set the goals. What do you want to accomplish this summer? Writers use the Write-a-thon to make sure they sit down with their work every day; finish a story or novel; write an article or polish a thesis; outline a screenplay.
You sign up at the Clarion west website. Then you ask readers, friends and family to support you in reaching your goal by donating to Clarion West. It’s a win for everyone: you, the others in the Write-a-thon community, and all the writers who sometime in the future will attend the workshop.
I’ve done several Write-a-thons, and it’s an exhilarating experience. It holds your feet to the fire, and it blows your mind.
And we need you. We have more than 200 writers signed up, from (at last count) 14 countries. We’re reaching too: our goal is 300 participating writers. We’re accepting signups until June 22. And then the writing begins!
Won’t you join us? Whether you’re an emerging writer or an established professional, your participation matters to us. We want you to be part of our community, and write something wonderful, and help us ensure that the Clarion West workshop continues to provide one of the best workshop experiences in the world for writers like you.
Please help me spread the word. Tell all the writers you know: the Write-a-thon is coming!
24 April 2013 | 4 Comments
Nicola has won the Lambda Literary Foundation’s James Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize. Because she is awesome and unique and a brilliant writer; a speaker of truth who tells beautiful, hard, joyful stories. It makes me deliriously happy that she has received this recognition.
And it means that we will be at the awards ceremony! And there will be a PARTY! So come, come, and raise a glass with us, and watch Nicola shine.
Enjoy your day.
23 April 2013 | Comments Off
I’m thrilled that Nicola and I will be Writer Guests of Honor at Westercon 66 in Sacramento, CA from July 4 to 7. We will join Artist Guest of Honor Eric Shanower and Small Press Special Guest David Maxine, and Fan Guests of Honor Warren Frey, Steven Schapansky, and Chris Burgess (“The Three Who Rule“).
Westercon is the longest running general science fiction convention in the North American west. This means they know how to put on a convention. There will be fun! Programming of every variety. Nicola and I will talk, listen, discuss, meet folks, answer questions, park ourselves in the bar at various times, and generally hang out. There will be panels and interviews and presentations and readings, and a dance! (And I am happy to make a spectacle of myself on the dance floor because dignity is overrated. So really, it’s like extra value for your convention membership dollar.)
And perhaps we will persuade Nicola to bring her ukelele….
It’s our 25th anniversary of attending the Clarion Writers Workshop (and therefore, you know, falling in love etc.) and the 30th anniversary of the Clarion West Writers Workshop, of which I’m a board member. We’ll be celebrating these things and much more at the con. We hope to see old friends and make new ones. We love to meet people who love science fiction. And did I mention the fun? So please come to Sacramento and enjoy the weekend with us!
4 April 2013 | Comments Off
Roger Ebert taught me how to watch movies critically and love the hell out of them.
And he said this (from the Chicago Sun-Times obituary):
“‘Kindness’ covers all of my political beliefs,” he wrote, at the end of his memoirs. “No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”
Enjoy your day, no matter what. Be kind.
2 April 2013 | 4 Comments
Brené Brown is a researcher storyteller who — despite fighting mightily against it — found her way to the power of vulnerability. She began by researching shame, and ended with realizations about connection and worthiness and imperfection.
What [people who felt worthy of love and connection] had in common was a sense of courage. And I want to separate courage and bravery for you for a minute. Courage, the original definition of courage,when it first came into the English language — it’s from the Latin word cor, meaning heart — and the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. And so these folks had, very simply, the courage to be imperfect… they were willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were, which you absolutely have to do that for connection.
[Children are] hardwired for struggle when they get here… our job is not to say, “Look at her, she’s perfect. My job is just to keep her perfect — make sure she makes the tennis team by fifth grade and Yale by seventh grade.” Our job is to look and say, “You know what? You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” That’s our job. Show me a generation of kids raised like that, and we’ll end the problems I think that we see today.
So, maybe you’re not a kid reading this, or maybe you are still growing up (god knows I am), but never mind how old we are right now. One of these days we can talk about the difference between struggle and work, or the nuclear toxin of shame, or the Darwinian nature of childhood. But today let’s just be imperfect, and wired for struggle, and worthy of love and belonging. Today that is enough.
Enjoy your day.
6 March 2013 | 3 Comments
Because it’s fun and it’s good for you!
Why can’t I sleep? Because the writers won’t let you, dude. Bwahahahahahahaha!
Enjoy your day. I’ll just be over here rocking out to Black Sabbath…. (dum dum DUM dum dum, dumahdumahdumah DUM dum dum!)
13 January 2013 | 2 Comments
I’m always pleased when my friends do cool things, and so I am jazzed to report that the first two issues of Duffy Boudreau’s comic BlackAcre are now out from Image Comics.
I am enjoying BlackAcre a lot. It’s post-apolcalyptic speculative fiction that, true to the oldest traditions, asks What if questions and answers them through the choices of individual characters struggling in a world of brutal contrasts. It’s 2114, and the US is… pretty awful. The people in the walled city of BlackAcre live a secure — and highly controlled — life; outside the walls, it’s chaos, violence, and ruin, where small societies cling to (or slip over) the edge. The story thus far follows the characters of Hull (a BlackAcre soldier) and Lee (a girl surviving on the outside), and I can’t wait to see what threads Duffy spins and how he will weave them all together over the course of many issues. I particularly like that he’s doing a lot of efficient and interesting worldbuilding: this isn’t just about explosions (although there are!) and corporate conspiracy (although there is!) and quasi-religious social fanaticism (ditto). It’s not like a lot of comics I’ve read that skimp on backstory or character in order to get right to the fight scenes. BlackAcre has political points to make as well as a genre to explore.
It’s been fascinating to learn more from Duffy about the art and craft of creating comics. There are issues of structure: how should the panels flow in order to best pace the reading experience? How do you structure the sotry so that the reader is compelled to turn the page? There are writing constraints: you can only get so many words in one of those captions, you know? There are POV issues: what characters do we follow, and when are we “close in” to their experience versus seeing the action at the omniscient level? How do the writer and art team work together to develop the story within the each issue and build the overall arc of the longer story as well? Really interesting to me as a reader and as a writer to see how much all the individual choices matter — how much “story weight” each decision has to carry.
Next time you’re at the comic store, pick up an issue of BlackAcre. And connect with Duffy on Twitter @duffyboudreau.
Enjoy your day. Please, no apocalypse.
1 January 2013 | Comments Off
Happy 2013 to you all. May you have joy, love, happiness, and many chances to be your best bright burning selves.
21 December 2012 | 2 Comments
No, not me… well, maybe a little in crazy-busy terms. But today let’s give the Mad Hatter Prize to Wayne LaPierre of the NRA for his deeply disturbing solution to the horror at Newtown: put an armed guard in every school in America. Because that’s a reasonable solution to violence.
I was literally gasping for breath in the car listening to him on the radio. If you’ll pardon the irresistible phrase, I think the NRA just shot itself in the foot.