Tag Archives: 2013

Farewell, 2013

It’s the time of year everyone writes up nifty little summaries of all the awesome stuff they’ve published and done and been over the past year. It’s the kind of post I’ve been considering not doing at all, at least not this year.

It’s not that 2013 has been crushingly bad. Plenty of good things have happened. They’re just not really the bloggable kinds of things, at least not on this blog, at least not by me. I’ve sold one story, published nothing, worked on writing mostly in a quiet and private way.

There are writers who write their entire lives in solitude. There are, I believe, stories of breathtaking beauty that make it onto the page and no further, relegated to notebooks in a closet somewhere. There are poems that force their way from head to hand and stop, a conversation ended as soon as it began. Even among writers who publish, there will always be stories that cut to close, that feel too true, that wander too far from what their writer believes of themself, eventually joining their brethren in the great unpublished story of the world.

I believe in those stories just as much as I believe in the ones that are sent forth over and over until they find a public home. I write them. Sometimes I change my mind and send them out. Sometimes it takes years to make that choice. The Lost was one of those stories. I have others as well. 2013 was a year for tending them. 2014 may be a year for sending some out.

This year has also been one of novels. Revisions, drafts, research…I’ve been working the long game. It takes a different mindset, a different set of writerly muscles for me, and I’ve needed to retrain myself. Time has been short, and I like to sprint through things, and it’s been frustrating to have to adhere to a schedule.

The one new thing about working on novels has been the addition of my agent to the mix. Alice has been wonderful to work with–she’s smart, understands what I’m trying to do, makes excellent suggestions, provides thoughtful support, and is both fun and genuinely nice. People choose agents for all sorts of reasons. I went with my gut and I’ve been so glad I did.

So, on the eve of 2014, I think I’m going to add a secret room here at Cosmic Driftwood, because who doesn’t love secret rooms? The rights on all my published stories have reverted to me. Some writers are very successful bundling previously published stories into collections and self-publishing them. I’m not one of those writers. Instead, I’m going to gather the stories all into the secret room and make them available to blog followers looking for entertainment on some snowy afternoon. My own little library, because in my world, a lending library of one’s own is supremely cool.

Most of these stories are already available for free online, complete with nice formatting and surrounded by lots of other great stories to read. (A complete list of my published work can be found here, for those of you who haven’t discovered the links at the top of the page.) A few of them aren’t–Abyss and Apex has a nominal fee for access to their archives, and The Sun still sells hard hard copies of the issue my story was in.

But for anyone who just wants to read the stories without pretty formatting, and without having to wander the online wilds, I will build you a library. I’ll post once it’s ready. If you’re a blog follower and you want access, just contact me. I’ll give you the password. Tea and cookies will be encouraged in my library, as will talking.

That’s all I have to say about 2013, I think. I hope the coming year is generous to you, filled with both the necessary and, occasionally, the frivolous.

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In which I do not manage to summarize 2012

I started writing up some great state of the year post yesterday. I stopped when an owl came to visit. In the last week, the snow has finally arrived. There are tracks running through the backyard–dog, fox, children–and the leaves we didn’t rake are now hidden away.

The skies have been gray as well, and against such a background–dull silver and the black of branches–a flying owl stands out clearly. She landed in one of the pines and stayed there for much of the afternoon. During the winter, when the nights are so silent, owl calls carry a long way. It’s how I’ve come to think of winter nights since moving here fifteen years ago, a time of moonlight on snow and great echoing voices.

The owl came to usher 2012 out. The sun is here to welcome in 2013.

I’m not sure what to say about 2012. If I take a simple arithmetic approach, it had many pluses. It was a year in which I had seven stories published, completely overshadowing 2011’s two. There was a brief giddy period in the spring in which I sold every story I had available to sell, and I suddenly felt like a WRITER.

What I discovered is that I am very much in my adolescence as a writer. I’m tripping over my own feet everywhere I go, and stressing over the unruly state of my hair in the morning. At some point I will grow out of it, know who I am and where I am going.

But…but there is power in adolescence too. There is freedom in not yet knowing it all, in testing and trying and rushing into places that maturity would dictate foolish.

There is fun.

The thing about writerhood is that there is no clear graduation date. I’ve passed most of my arbitrary markers at this point. I sold my first story. I made my first professional sale. I earned my SFWA membership. I received an invitation to submit. I made it on to paper and into the library. I have an agent.

I still don’t feel like I know what I’m doing.

Both my children are involved in wilderness skills classes. They have fire challenges regularly. Make a fire that …burns this long, this high, with these materials. Make your bow drill, find your tinder, work with wet logs.

The path to the fire varies. The fire itself still warms.

This is my 2013 goal. Keep learning. Find those challenges and test my skills. Learn to keep my feet under me, learn that unruly hair has its own beauty. Listen to the owls on winter nights, enjoy the sun on my face on a January day.

Happy New Year to you all!