Friday, July 15, 2011

Stories, Poems, Reviews!

Another of my rare postings.

Hello! Summer is crawling coolly by us. A wet one and by many accounts that is a terrible thing but I don't mind a bit. As long as there is weather at all that's good enough for me.

Energy is still not fountaining up in me but what I have I use. I'm spending many hours with my local nephews and niece (Clelie Rich and I simultaneously came up with the word "niblings" to describe such folk), doing lots of meditation and a fair bit of yoga, and...


In the past two and a half months I have written 60 or 70 poems* -- unheard of -- none of the speculative genre. I'm still plunking away at the 25 related reviews I opened my gob about over a year ago. And with the encouragement of a colleague I've dusted off and revised three short stories and sent them out this week. I also wrote a new one, which has a few finishing touches to be put to it before launching at some unsuspecting publisher. (The stories are: "Invicta", "Eating Our Young", "This is for Mrs. Zaberewsky", and "In Days and Nights the World is Spent".)

(*These are not Polished Poems, but earnest first drafts. When I have come to the end of this spurt I'll go back with a straight edge and candle and see what I can do to bring them to maturity.)

I am extremely grateful to this colleague, one Ursula Pflug, who reviewed Finding Creatures & Other Stories for the Internet Review of Science Fiction a while back. I hadn't realized how much it would help to have someone show an interest in the stories that are lying dusty in the drawer, and nudge me to do something with them.

Thank you, thank you, Ursula!

I fell out of action with Dad's death, and the worry about how long the reviews are taking translates in my furry mind to "shouldn't take time for my stories while the reviews are still unfinished." This new situation is helping to remind me that in fact my stories are the juice that gives me the zip to do these other things.

The reviews are interesting to do though. They are all of books about Brigit, goddess or saint, and there is a huge variety of stuff about her now, where a few decades ago there was (count them) one book available about her. The reading is prompting me to write poems related to her, as well, so really it all works like one nice composting cycle. (I am writing them, interestingly, on paper. With a pen.)

In February Eileen Kernaghan and I chose the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place stories from among the tales chosen by another judge for the Red Tuque speculative fiction anthology, Canadian Tales of the Fantastic. It was an interesting process, working with another person to weigh the pros and cons of a given story, and Eileen is always a pleasure to work with. They've come up with a wonderful cover, which I am itching to post here but as I can't find it on the RTB site, I guess I'd better hold back. Check out Red Tuque Books in September for the release.

I've pulled back a lot from the internet, as foreshadowed in earlier postings, and this is part of the reason I am finding the space of mind to write again. The router is off till I actually need it on. The computer is safe territory (safe from endless distractions, that is -- since I don't play computer games) once again.

I'm looking forward to VCon at the end of September/beginning of October. (Both. They occur on the same weekend.) Hope to get up and do more improvfoolery and have fun with the masses. Greg Benford is GoH this year so I have reserved Timescape from the library and will dutifully do some background reading. He is both a scientist and a respected author so I'm thinking this Will Be Good.

I am also going to see a favourite author at a 5 day retreat in August. This thought simply makes me smile. Thich Nhat Hanh, author of Peace is Every Step (my all-time favourite book) and wonderful teacher, is coming to Vancouver. I've been volunteering for several months and will be stepping out of my own hermitage into a sangha of many hundred people for those few days. Lovely.

Anyway, just wanted to say hello from this quiet outpost of the hinternet. Or the outernet, perhaps.

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