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.
1 December 2012 | Comments Off
The other day I wrote about controlling my environment through home repair.
Tonight the bottom fell out of a full case of bottled beer. Due to the implacable nature of gravity, the bottles all fell out too. Onto a hard floor. Big noise. Impressive spray. Glass break break break. Me mop mop mop. And oh my god the smell.
My illusion of control is literally shattered. Because the universe loves an apt metaphor. Fortunately, we had a couple of beers already stashed in the fridge. Because I love Plan B.
Enjoy your day. Go forth with gusto, and have a backup beer ready, because you never know.
29 November 2012 | 8 Comments
Last year I recounted my journey into the electric territory of HandyWorld, the magical land where MacGyverish folk fix their own stuff with apparent ease. Now I have returned from an expedition into the realm of plumbing.
Our kitchen faucet has been getting fussy for a while. This week, because I was stressed about other things, I decided that the best way to exert control over my universe was to begin taking apart the faucet to find the problem. This turned out to be a bad idea.
Nicola: What are you doing?
Me: I am fixing our fucking faucet.
Nicola: I thought you had a lot of things to get done today.
Me: Mmmmrrrph. Must fix faucet!
Nicola: Did you fix the faucet?
Me: You can still turn it on and off. With pliers.
Me: It’s okay. The handyguys are coming tomorrow to fix (insert list of projects here) so I will get them to fix it.
The next day…
Handyguy: Oh, sure, I can fix that. Gee, does this part go here? Huh. It doesn’t fit. LET ME JUST POUND IT WITH THIS HAMMER.
(insert sound of faucet innards cracking apart)
After they leave…
Nicola: Shall we get a plumber?
Me: Plumbers are expensive! I am going to replace the fucking faucet myself!
Nicola: …..I’m going into my office now.
She went into her office and closed the door. I went to Lowe’s and bought a faucet. I got out my flashlight and my toolbox and a bucket and a towel. I looked at the clock. I had two hours to replace the faucet before my schedule completely imploded (which, you know, would probably have meant the end of western civilization at least).
I crawled under the sink and went to work.
Me: Hmmm… (furrowed brow)
Me: Ah ha! (raised eyebrow of realization)
Me: Fuck! (wet face of the improper supply line connection)
Me: Mmmmrrrph! (after banging head for third time on same pipe)
And then I turned on the faucet and filled the kettle and made two lovely cups of tea.
Nicola: You are awesome!
And I am enjoying my illusion of control, until the next time the universe decides to stop up the toilet or turn out the lights (grin).
Enjoy your day. I wish you no leaks and good tea.