better lines this time

The second half of Uncanny’s Issue 20 is now available for free on the internet, and with it my story, Lines of Growth, Lines of Passage! Or if you’d prefer to get your fiction through another medium, it’s also on their podcast, along with an interview I did with editor Lynne Thomas. Marvel as we wrestle the technology! Gape in awe as I attempt to minimize my Minnesota accent for listener comprehension! etc.! Anyway just go enjoy the story, however you enjoy it. It’s got iron giants and cherry trees, and it came about because I was messing around on twitter with my hoodlum friends, what more could you want.

One more actually

That is, I have one more 2017 publication, according to the cover date on this magazine that just arrived. The Winter 2017 issue of On Spec is available for purchase, and in it is “A Lab of One’s Own,” a story I co-wrote with Alec Austin. This one was a long time coming and is related to an even older story of ours, “The Young Necromancer’s Guide to Re-Capitation,” so if you enjoyed that one, here you go!

my writing in 2017

One of the things that is sort of perpetually on my list and never makes the top of my list is having my website redone. It would be nice to have my bibliography searchable by various factors–genre, subgenre, story series, etc. At the moment, I put stories on it by when I sell them, I put the links in when they go live, et voila.

Not optimally convenient for anyone, including me. I know. And at some point I will Fix This, or more likely pay a professional to Have It Fixed. Today is not that day. So today I am sorting through, and I am reminded that some things take time to see the light of day, or some things get reprinted later. Which is cool.

So here’s the new fiction I had out in 2017:

“Drifting Like Leaves, Falling Like Acorns,” Analog, Jan/Feb 2017.
The Psittaculturist’s Lesson, Daily SF, January 2017.
Out of the Woods, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, February 2017.
The Hand of Loki, New Myths, March 2017.
Running Safety Tips for Humans, Nature, April 2017.
Vervain, Grasshopper, Sun, Daily SF, April 2017.
“Vulture’s Nest,” Analog, May/June 2017.
“An Unearned Death,” F&SF, July/August 2017.
Across Pack Ice, a Fire, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, August 2017.
Planet of the Five Rings, Nature, September 2017.
The Influence of the Iron Range, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, October 2017.
I Won at NaSuHeMo!, Daily SF, November 2017.
“The Shale Giants,” Reckoning 2, December 2017.

Blue Ribbon was reprinted in Lightspeed in September, which was great, because its previous publications were both print and therefore harder to get to. Yay reprint.

I also wrote an essay for the People With Disabilities Destroy SF project, Malfunctioning Space Stations. That’ll appear in the final version as well, but it was part of the Kickstarter.

My essay How Far Are We From Minneapolis? wasn’t reprinted per se, but the way Reckoning works, its initial printing is in ebook form at the end of one year, and the online form goes up in the next year. So you may not have had a chance to see it until this year; there it is.

I’m seeing ten short story sales for the year (although hey, if anyone wants to add to that…). Ten new stories written (again, that number may go up in the next week, although I am weak and exhausted in the aftermath of a cold, so I’m not pushing it hard) and a lot of revision and a large chunk of novel. I think one of the things that becomes clear the longer I go is that raw word count, sheer numbers, are not the best measure of what kind of year it’s been.

A few weeks ago I took inventory of what I had half-done, and I discovered that I had a huge pile of short stories mostly finished. Like, when I listed them longhand in beautiful ink, most of a page. That was satisfying in a sensory way, and it helped me get organized–I finished three in two weeks. But it also pointed out how choppy this year has been for me. How it has been structured to break up flow almost as well as if it had been designed that way. Which gives me some ideas about a way forward, because–I like those stories. I don’t want them to languish half-finished, three-quarters finished. I think it’s important to my process and to my anxious-trending brain not to get into a mode where I’m writing down a to-do list where I have to finish every last story I start the minute I start it, where every life event that might interrupt something requires an immediate return to exactly what I was doing before regardless of what has inspired me since. But it’s worth noticing, it’s worth trying to work around.

So…chaotic year. Rough seas this year. And yet quite a lot out of the turmoil. Quite a lot indeed, and more to come. There are a lot of cliches about creative energy coming from turmoil, but that takes a seriously non-trivial energy input. How much I’ve been able to do that this year has varied a lot. I keep fighting for it. I will keep fighting for it.

I’ll have more to say about other people’s fiction I’ve enjoyed in 2017 closer to the actual end of the year, because I spend the end of the year traveling and there’s a lot of reading I still want to get through. So stay tuned. But this is more or less the year I’ve had, and I’m good with it, under the various circumstances.

Another bit of progress to reckon with

This week’s writing-publishing news that has already gone on the more rapid social media is that I sold a story, “The Shale Giants,” to Reckoning for their second issue, which will be coming out soon in ebook form, then more slowly as linkable stories and in a print copy. I loved their first issue, and I’m really excited to be part of their second.

And around again

One of the things about writing is that the same pieces of wisdom keep being re-applicable–not even just to the writing itself but to how I handle it. How I handle it. Maybe you have the same thing, but if you do, I bet it’s not all the same pieces of wisdom. We keep trying to reach out with the things that work for us, hoping that we can save other people time and trouble and heartache–or sometimes hoping that we will look wise and strong–but there’s only some overlap. A lot of this, I keep finding out over and over again, is finding out which mistakes we each make, which ways we each go to extremes, and countering those. And so my own advice to myself is most useful when it’s clear that it’s not universal, when I know that it might apply to you, or it might not, or it might apply to you sometimes and not other times.

For all that people talk about Twitter being a trashfire, it has been a social outlet for me. I wasn’t around for the glory days of usenet. I hit the peak of livejournal, when writers were exchanging comment threads, 20, 30, 50 comments a post. And I see some dreamwidth posts like that nowadays, but…not many, not routinely, usually when someone is having a crisis. And that’s fine. For me, right now, the social internet is Slack and Twitter. It won’t be like that forever, I’m sure, because the internet is impermanent. It’s like that now.

But one of the things the brevity of Twitter means is that if I express having circled back to one of the same places, even with a new 280-character limit, I’m going to run into helpful n00bs who feel that they can give me good advice. I thought of that last night. I sold a story this week–Uncanny bought “Lines of Growth, Lines of Passage,” which is exciting and awesome, and I am very happy about it. But I have been focused on longer works this year, and some of those longer works have been recalcitrant, and so the number of short fiction works I have in submission has been creeping down as I sell things. I am adjusting to this new normal, to not having large numbers of works in submission at a given time as a security blanket. I have talked about this before.

This is not the sort of thing that works well on Twitter. Because the one-size-fits-all circle-around-to-it advice is “keep trying!” and “you can do it!” Well…yes. I can. That’s why I sold a story this week. The second level is well-meant chiding: you don’t have a problem, you’re selling things! Well…yes and no. When you have a coping mechanism and it slips out from under you, you may not have a crisis, but you do have a problem. It’s not the same problem. It is a problem. I’m not looking for a buzzword quick fix, I am looking to process an emotion about a thing I know how to fix. Or if not fix, at least what to do. What to do next.

There’s a lot that’s like this, unfortunately. Where you know what you need to do, and you just need to do it, and it’s bumpy along the way. And there is good stuff, stuff to celebrate, yay! Really genuinely good stuff. But also: oh look, it’s time for that emotion. And for that thing to process that emotion. Again. Well. Okay. It does get different with repetition. I do find my way to another place in some ways. And in other ways: fewer things in circulation, funny feeling, check. Okay.