Apr 4 2012

FOGcon Roundup

Took me a couple of days to recover from the wonderfulness that was Fogcon, one of those delightful events that left me exhausted and, honestly, a little drained.

It started out Saturday with my reading (well, technically it started Friday, but I didn’t feel like dealing with traffic). My reading went well, though there were only a handful of people or so in the room, so very small, but that’s fine. I read a bunch of my poems, and got a good response from those present. I also got to hear Alyc Helms read from her unpublished novel, The Adventures of Mr. Mystic and the Dragons of Heaven, which seems like it will be a rather fun urban fantasy/superhero novel when it’s published (she’s shopping it at the moment).

About midday I went to Nalo Hopkinson‘s presentation on everyday culture. So many people tell her they don’t have any culture, and she asserts that they certainly do. As a way of presenting that, she had the group play ring games, hand clapping games, and other yard school games, which filled the morning with rhyme, rhythm, and laughter. It was very joyful.

I also saw here do a reading of her new book, a YA novel called, The Chaos, which I had to immediately go our and buy. She signed it for me with a smile. I’m eagerly looking forward to reading it, as I recently read her book Brown Girl in the Ring (which was wonderful and I’ll review later).

The first panel I was on was called “You Are Not Your Rejection Slips,” in which a couple of editors and my fellow authors and I discussed how to handle rejection. It was a good panel, I think. It’s a hard subject for me to feel that any new insights to discover, because rejection is just so normal for a writer; there’s no getting around it. It’s hard for me to judge, because I was one of the speakers and I was rather nervous. At one point, I opened my mouth to speak and then froze up entirely, but I think I finished well.

That night, I attended a panel about Body Image and it was absolutely amazing. It didn’t deal so much with body weight, but rather delved into more difficult topics, such as how gender (male, female, transgender), race, disability, or many other factors in a person’s life can contribute to how people see themselves and how they are seen by other people.

One of the things discussed that sticks with me is the concept of “helpfullness,” and how it can actually be very injuring or harmful, especially if the help is unasked for. It can be things like telling someone a new diet for them to try out, telling a transgender man that if he cut his hair he would look more masculine, or telling someone with a health issue about this great new thing that might fix it. The problem with helpfulness like this is that it assumes that the person being addressed hasn’t had the presence of mind to think of this “great new idea” before. But even more so, the panel said, it stems from a place of discomfort and fear, because the underlining message is, “Who you are makes me uncomfortable, so here are some things you can do that will make you fit how I think you should be, so I can be more comfortable.”

Much, much more was covered and discussed. The entire discussion was very respectful of each opinion throughout, and the result was incredibly powerful.

That night, [info]mslorelei also gave a rather awesome (and x-rated) reading a story she wrote. The story is (I believe) a part of a new ebook of hers that just came out, which is very cool. I really liked how the story was about two people holding on to love, as well as being rather sexy. :)

On Sunday morning, bright and early, I was on a panel called “Loving Something Problematic,” which discussed how you balance loving a book, movie, game, etc., when that thing you love clearly has some elements that are troubling, such as racism, sexism, or other isms, sometimes subtle, sometimes overt.

Again, I was very nervous about being on this panel, especially as it was a more challenging subject. I kind of approached the discussion from the point of view that I was new (within the last couple of years) to the concept of white privilege and issues of racism, transmisogyny, ablism, and other new isms that I had been recently learning.

My fellow panelists, Nalo Hopkinson, M. Christian, and Carolyn Cooper, were great, and Liz Argall was fabulous as the moderator. I started to shrink into my shell at the beginning, and at a well timed point, Liz addressed a question directly at me. As soon as I started speaking, I started to relax into a little bit more and was able to better insert myself into the conversation.

I wish I could present you with some of the great things my fellow panelists said, but I was so busy trying not to dissolve under my nervousness and trying to be present enough to communicate that I don’t exactly remember the details all that well. I’m told the panel went well though, and before we knew it the time was up and we had to let another panel come in. Pretty much everyone there wished the discussion could have gone on longer, so that’s a really good sign.

So those were the main highlights of the con for me, though there was a ton more that went on and several times I wished I could time travel or duplicate myself so I could go to more than one panel at a time. I can’t wait for next year, and I’m eager to try out some larger cons.

For the future, I will definitely be getting a hotel room, rather than drive back and forth from the con. The late night and early morning drives was torture, and contributed to my state of absolute exhaustion. It was worth it, though. SO much fun. (^_^)

[Cross-posted to my livejournal.]

Apr 2 2010

4 Poetry Things

1. My poem “Gretel” has been published at ChiZine. I’m really honored to be included, since I’ve been reading this zine for a long time and have always loved the work that has appeared in there.

2. I’m heading up to San Francisco tonight to attend a book release party and poetry reading. My friend Marisa Crawford has published her first book of poetry, called The Haunted House. I’m so happy for her, and it looks like it’s going to be a fabulous collection, if the sample poems (which I can’t seem to find again) are any indication. There’s a great review from the San Francisco Examiner.

3. I just learned that in honor of National Poetry Month there’s a 30 poems in 30 days challenge being mentioned here and there around the net. I’m planning on participating and posting the poems here. I’m a day late, well, two, if I don’t get to it tonight, so I’ve already got some catching up to do.

4.


Mar 3 2010

Buh?

According to this, my poem “India” published in Bear Creek Haiku, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

I’m … stunned.

I can’t really verify whether or not it’s true. And it’s just a nomination. Still …

It’s coming at a time when I’m feeling down and out about my writing, especially as I’m distracted by the frustrations in my everyday, nonwriting life (in fact I’m so ambivalent about everything right now that I don’t even know how to feel about this news).

I’m going to try and take it as the good sign that it is and use it as inspiration to keep writing through it all. Just keep putting one word after another, as they say.

[X-posted to my livejournal.]

Feb 16 2010

New Online Zine

The premier issue of Cats with Thumbs is now available online as a downloadable pdf (there are a bunch of blank pages at the beginning, just scroll past them to get to the writing). It includes two of my poems, “Nature’s Mandala” and “All That is Left Behind.” This is really a great first issue, and I’ve been enjoying reading the work of the other writers within.

Under Poetry, I particularly enjoyed “Planet Pomegranate” by Angie Werren, “The Best Have No Time for It” by Therese L. Broderick, and “Selection” by Timothy Edge. (I haven’t had a chance to read through the Fiction yet, so can’t comment.)

* * * *

In terms of weekly writing progress, I’m still a bit behind. It doesn’t help that my computer has crapped out on my, trapping some of my writing within the confines of its plastic body, and relegating my to the traditional pen and pencil route.

Though if I’m going to be perfectly honest with myself, I cannot blame the computer but my own lack of motivation. I’m desperately trying not to fall back into an old pattern here. By which I mean, I find an anthology market that I would love to submit to, come up with a story that would work for that market, and then allow myself to work at such a slow pace that I miss the deadline.

I think this tendency comes from some sort of fear of failure, such as “if I don’t finish the story, then I don’t have to deal with the disappointment of its inevitable rejection,” which I know is completely ridiculous. One, because nothing is inevitable, and two, because I really do think the story could work and could have potential, if I just force myself to write the damned thing. It’s that whole failing before I even begin bull shit, which I’m tired of repeating.

So, that said, since the deadline is looming (only 13 days away), my main goal this week is to get the damn thing written and edited (computer or no computer), so that I can submit it next week.

[X-posted in part to my daily blog.]

Jan 6 2010

Unexpected Boon

Last night I randomly checked the email address that I haven’t checked in a couple of months. I haven’t been using it very much, because I use it as my professional email and I haven’t been submitting anything for publication in a while.

There, sitting in my inbox was a response to a submission I made well over a year ago. In fact, it was so long ago that I had long since assumed that I had been rejected and forgotten about it. But the editor wrote to let me know that she had finally caught up on her slush pile and that she would love to publish my poem in an upcoming issue! Yay! She also said that she hoped that I would submit more poetry in the future (she has a staff now to help her read the entries more quickly). So, double Yay!

I’m so happy and excited, because this is an online journal that I love and respect, so it is such an honor. I want to get confirmation as to which issue it will appear in before I say what the name of the publication is just yet, but I’m thrilled and joyous today. Furthermore, I’m feeling inspired to keep writing and submitting my work.

[X-posted to my livejournal.]