2020 round-up post

I actually…did a lot this year. I really did. I didn’t do as much as I wanted to, but that’s a chorus I think you can all sing along with even if you know slightly different verses–and not just this year, every year. I don’t honestly put a lot of stock in the turning of the year, personally. I am more likely to make random day resolutions than New Year’s resolutions, and I did that this year, I did that a lot. I did “let’s try this” and “I want to be better about that.” Some of it even worked.

We pause to write a poem that might get posted here later if I get a chance. One of the things I’ve learned about myself and my writing process this year is that it’s not a good sign if there are several solid weeks when I’m not writing poems. That’s a marker of a bad time. I’ve had a few of those this year, as I know everyone else has too–but since I’m this new to writing poetry, it’s a little surprising to find it moving to that place in my writing practice. Huh. Well, okay. I have no idea whether it’ll still be like this after the pandemic, but that’s okay; I’ve cycled through enough variations in writing practice to know that it’s natural for things to vary, it’s natural for something to be crucial for a time and then completely unnecessary, or vice versa. We are not who we were, and that’s all right, that’s how life goes.

And speaking of things not as they were: I did a lot of revisions this year, and I avoided a lot of revisions by writing new things this year, so I expect I will do a lot of revisions next year. A lot. No, really, more than that. I like to have things at various stages of done so that I can work on something at any time, whether it’s research or planning/outlining or drafting or so many revisions.

I appeared on podcasts this year, and I participated in panels online, and I read two of my stories myself as podcasts, one of which will appear next year I guess. I’ve already got an author copy for something that will appear next year, and it’s not even the first something. I list twenty-two acceptances on my spreadsheet, which is pretty darn good actually. I’ll mark the reprints, poems, and essays below, otherwise it’s short stories all the way down. For now.

I’m really proud of the substance of these. I think it’s easy for this kind of year-end post to get caught up in quantity, but I am really proud of the things I managed to do and say with this work, and that’s the ballgame, that’s why I’m here. Thanks for still being here with me. I hope you enjoy this year’s work.

Every Tiny Tooth and Claw (Or: Letters from the First Month of the New Directorate),” Beneath Ceaseless Skies, January 2020.

Save Me a Seat on the Couch: Spoiler Culture, Inclusion, and Disability,” Uncanny, January 2020. (essay)

“Finding Their Footing (Chinese translation),” SF World, March 2020 (reprint)

Quality Control,” Toasted Cake, March 2020. (podcast reprint)

The Solace of Connection,” Reckoning Creativity and Coronavirus project, March 2020. (essay)

Loosestrife,” New Decameron Project, April 2020.

The Curse,” Daily Science Fiction, May 2020.

“Upside the Head,” Consolation Songs: Speculative Fiction for a Time of Coronavirus, edited by Iona Datt Sharma, June 2020. (reprint)

The Watercolors of Elfland,” New Decameron Project, June 2020.

Addison and Julia Tell the Truth to Pemmaquid Beach,” Daily Science Fiction, July 2020.

The Foolish Man Built His House Upon the Sand,” Nature Futures, July 2020.

This Will Not Happen To You (Spanish translation podcast),” Las Escritoras de Urras, July 2020. (reprint)

COVID Summer: After, Now,” Reckoning Creativity and Coronavirus project, July 2020. (poem)

COVID Summer: Against Dystopia,” Reckoning Creativity and Coronavirus project, July 2020. (poem)

Pre-Apocalyptic Meeting Minutes,” Mobius, Summer 2020. (poem)

“Fenrir and Sigyn, After Ragnarok,” Star*Line, Summer 2020. (poem)

After the Monster,” Daily Science Fiction, August 2020.

The Past, Like a River In Flood,” Beneath Ceaseless Skies, August 2020.

The Swarm of Giant Gnats I Sent After Kent, My Assistant Manager,” Translunar Travelers Lounge, August 2020.

Press Play,” Nature Futures, September 2020.

The Roots of Hope: Toward an Optimistic Near-Future SF in a Pandemic,” Uncanny, September 2020. (essay)

“The Thing, With Feathers,” The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror Vol. 1, October 2020. (reprint)

“We Care,” If There’s Anyone Left Vol. 1, November 2020.

“Peaceweaver,” Analog, Nov/Dec 2020.

“Grief, As Faithful As My Hound,” Asimov’s, Nov/Dec 2020. Podcast version read by me!

Old Age Wrestles Thor Again,” Daily SF, December 2020.

“My Favorite Sentience,” We, Robots, December 2020. (reprint)

Thor and more

New story this morning! Old Age Wrestles Thor Again on Daily SF. In the Prose Edda we see Thor wrestling an old woman called Elli who turns out to be Old Age personified, and…they can’t quite quit each other. Hope you enjoy!

And an old story this morning! My story “My Favorite Sentience” is among the stories reprinted in the anthology We, Robots, available in the UK and Canada.

A podcast for you

Each issue Asimov’s has someone record their story to spotlight in podcast form. When they asked me to do “Grief, As Faithful As My Hound” that way, I was simultaneously excited and terrified. Excited, because I believe in accessibility and was so glad that more readers would have a chance to experience this story. Terrified, because I was supposed to read this story, myself, without crying?

I did it mostly without crying. You may hear my voice catch in a few places. But I think that’s okay–that’s the nature of this story. Despite its difficult nature (the title is the content warning, basically), I hope you enjoy the audio version of Grief, As Faithful As My Hound.

We Care

I got my author copy of If There’s Anyone Left Vol 1 today: https://amazon.com/dp/B08NR9QYJK/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0…… Can’t wait to dive into the other stories! But let me say something about mine a minute.

There are a lot of stories about good people being ground down by heartless systems. And that’s a real thing that happens. But I feel like when that’s the only story we tell, it feels inevitable. We get nihilistic about it. “Good person destroyed by bad system, of course!” There’s also the template of good people being corrupted by the systems they’re in. That happens too.

But I wanted to tell a story that was the opposite. I don’t believe that evil is stronger than good. I believe our kindness can be effective.

This is one of those stories.

Anyway it’s pretty short, and I hope you like it. It’s called “We Care.” And I can’t wait to see what the other stories in this beautiful little volume have to say.

Writing About Love and Grief and Aliens

This week our furnace went out and we had to buy a new one. You can see this in the screenshot from the Zoom I had to record a podcast: I am wrapped in my giant red plaid shawl, the one my brother gave me last Christmas. Katie, my agentsib, is in Los Angeles in a sleeveless top with lacework. Welp.

Anyway, the literal house was the only thing chilly, the rest of the podcast was a very warm and friendly experience, and I hope you enjoy listening to it.

Zoom panel for your enjoyment

Last week I recorded a panel about optimistic science fiction, among other things, hosted by Dominic Loise and the Ray Bradbury Experience Museum. Other panelists included Alec Nevala-Lee, Jake Casella Brookins, and Keisha Howard–we covered quite a range of professional interests and experiences and had a very collegial time of it.

If you want to watch the panel, it’s available here. I will warn you that I have not watched and will not watch, because that involves listening to my own recorded voice, which is a thing I avoid, and also look at my own recorded face, which same. But if those are not things you avoid, go enjoy!

Go ahead and mess with Mr. In-Beween though

New essay out today! Uncanny has published The Roots of Hope: Toward an Optimistic Near-Future SF in a Pandemic.

I’m trying to practice what I preach in the above with the story I’m working on. I don’t think that optimistic near-future SF is the only thing that’s valuable right now, but I think it’s a thing that’s valuable right now, if you can manage it. So I’m trying to manage it. And the above essay is a practical look at how.