Welp, I’m off to FOGcon, a small-scale scif/fantasy convention, where I will listen to panels on all the geeky things I love and chatting with some of my writerly friends and other good things. It’ll be nice to escape reality for a while.
Anyway, I hope everyone has a lovely, lovely weekend!
Thing the First
Yesterday I received a rejection on the poetry collection I sent to Toad Lily Press.
My response: “Well, that’s disappointing. But thank god.”
To which my mom was quite astonished and I proceeded to enthusiastically explain to her about the importance of SASEs, how not putting one with your submission could very well mean having your submission thrown out without having it read, how I had spent the last several weeks flailing, because I was sure I had forgotten to include said SASE with my submission.
So, um, yeah, HUGE relief that I didn’t make the idiotic mistake of forgetting to include a SASE, so much so that it soothed the sting of the rejection quite a bit.
No, seriously, I can’t tell you how stoked I am that I included the SASE.
Thing the Second
Looking over my 2013 goals this week reminded me that I wanted to try to get to 12 spoke work/open mics/author readings this year, and thus far I hadn’t. In general, I just want to be engaged with live performances, from spoken word to stage plays to music, all of which inspires me in different ways.
So, I started looking around for what’s in the area and found that Poetic Justice Wednesdays was going on at the Fahrenheit Bar in San Jose. I dropped in (after convincing my sister she had no choice but to join me) and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I was impressed by the skill of the poets and musicians who presented, their lips tumbling truths into the microphone. It’s the kind of impressive performances that intimidate me a bit, because I don’t feel good enough to do the same. But I’ll get myself up there someday soon.
Cross-posted to my livejournal. You are welcome to comment either her or there.
Hi, guys! It’s been a few weeks, and even longer since I posted a “massive list of goals” update, so… here ya go.
Things I Have Done 1. Attended Writers with Drinks, which had readings by Sarah Kuhn (I must buy her book, One Con Glory), Malinda Lo, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Glen David Gold (whose memoirs are hilarious), and Amber Benson, all of whom were fantastic in varying ways. It was hosted by the wonderful Charlie Jane Anders (aka charliegrrrl), and her introductions, which are really long elaborate and fantastical stories, are definitely one of the highlights of going to the event.
2. Attended S.G. Browne’s signing and reading for his new book, Lucky Bastard, at the Booksmith. It was quite fun, and the book looks to be as funny as his other two books.
3. Also attended the Thursday night open mic at The Usuals, which both my friend Lorenz and I read at (and it went quite well, though I have a tendency to speak too close to the mic). It’s a new venue, built in the back of a clothing store, but it’s a great space, and I look forward to reading there again soon. I also encourage other poets or songsters to attend and participate.
4. I completed the first draft of the short story intended for an anthology, but blew the anthology deadline. So, it’s a halfway success, because at least I have a story that can be edited and submitted elsewhere.
5. I sent out two poetry/flash submissions, and received one rejection and one acceptance. The rejection was a rather positive one, and encouraged me to submit again, which I shall.
I also received an email from a publication, saying that they wanted to include a poem they published in an upcoming anthology they are producing. An acceptance without a submission is so amazingly awesomesauce :D.
6. I completed 30 new poems (well, 32, if you count the two I didn’t post) in 30 days for the Nation Poetry Month Challenge. Seven of those poems were completed in an hour just before bedtime on April 30th, so there is a varying degree of quality throughout the lot. If you’re interested, you can check out the poems here on my tumblr.
Things I Need to Do
1. COMPLETE MY TAXES (it’s ridiculous that I haven’t, cause they’re so easy)
2. Write the flash fiction story that’s bouncing in my head.
3. Focus on edits, including rewrites for White Noise and other stories in the draft queue.
4. Submit at least one story mentioned above.
5. Submit one poetry set, ideally the 15-25 poems for a chapbook market.
6. EXCERCISE: yoga, running, hiking, whatever. Just something. My body needs it.
_________ *It occurs to me that my definition of long needs reevaluation, as it’s only been a week or two, but it seems like forever.
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, 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. (^_^)
1. Today is Nation Autism Day, and I am wearing blue in recognition. (Hopefully you are, too?)
2. Once again it is National Poetry Month, the month in which I try to write a poem everyday for thirty days straight, a challenge I always manage to get halfway through and fail. As you may have noted, I’m already a day behind, so at some point today, I owe you two poems, which will posted to my Tumblr (cross-posted everyday for the whole month is just a pain in the ass).
Okay, three things: I also need to do a post later today on how FOGcon went… Short answer: FANTASTIC.