WFC 2011

The 2011 World Fantasy Convention was fantastic! It was also utterly exhausting.

I spent my time split between the convention and my Clarion West class reunion (on the beach!). I was constantly surrounded by some of the people I love most in the world, I got to meet longtime online friends and meet wonderful new people.

Though I had a wonderful time, I'm so glad to be home with my dog and teapot and bed and my portion of the Pacific.

This is important. This means I have made my home that I've desired for so long. I will perpetually be lining up ducks and making jellyfish swim because that's what people do, but it also means I can breathe for a little while and treasure the joy I've found.

Perhaps there will be a con/reunion recap. Perhaps not. But know the SFF community is the best in the world, and you are all my family.

write-a-thon, clarion west style

Still in the process of moving. I have moved to this beautiful, small coastal town in Northern California, but am still unpacking.

In the meantime, I'm planning on participating in Clarion West's yearly Write-a-Thon. We have a goal of 100 participants this year, and we're halfway there. I can't tell you how much fun the write-a-thon is, and how beneficial it is for my writing. I encourage other writers to sign up. If you have any questions, feel free to ping me.
Ed's Lab

i am told that one who loved you

My dad died today.

I'm thirty-five now. I had hoped he would be here longer, until I was older.

I need to go home to Heyburn, Idaho this week for the funeral, but in the meantime, I am in the best place I could be.

My dad was in the National Guard at Fort Ord, maybe an hour south from here during the 60s. He loved Ford Ord, he loved Monterey. And he loved John Steinbeck, and Ed Rickets. Both Steinbeck and Rickets lived in Monterey. These three men loved Monterey. And I do, too.

But to be close to Steinbeck, and Rickets, and my father, and to think of them I don't have to go even that far...

John Steinbeck wrote Of Mice and Men and Grapes of Wrath while living just west of Los Gatos and in the Santa Cruz Mountains, about five miles south of Los Gatos.

Of Mice and Men and Grapes of Wrath were two of my father's favorite books. And I live in the Santa Cruz Mountains, just south of Los Gatos.

I came to this place to heal. To remake a good life. And I carried my father with me, knowing that one of his favorite authors made his mark in these hills. Had created in these hills. Because of that my father and I were close, in spirit. This knowledge, in its funny, magical thinking kind of way, has given me strength and comfort for the past two years.

And now my father is gone. I will go home to Heyburn. But, strangely enough, if there was someplace for me to go, to find comfort, and to memorialize him, I would go to Monterey, Carmel, and to the Los Gatos side of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

My father hasn't really left me, I tell myself -- he's here, in these hills, in my heart, in my home.

But oh, I still miss him so.

by the tens

So there's been this meme going around recently, and it caused me to think and remember. I thought I'd do some remembering here.Collapse )

March 1971: My parents don't even know each other yet. Or maybe they just barely met, but they're certainly not dating.

card sharp

I love listening to Podcastle stories. (And Escape Pod and Pseudopod.)

This week's Podcastle story is by Rajan Khanna. Rajan is one of those writers to keep an eye on. Probably both eyes. He's a writer with some great credits under his belt, and he's got more to come. Check out his "Card Sharp" at Podcastle. It's fun and enjoyable. I listened to it while doing dishes. That was a great load of dishes.

that's the way it's been since protozoa first climbed onto the shores of california

I'm of the opinion that it's important to be able to write anywhere, at any time. Only being able to write in a certain place under particular circumstances is a setup for eventual disaster. There will be a point where you need to write elsewhere under unusual circumstances and then what are you going to do?

This being said, there are certain circumstances under which I prefer to write. I like to write somewhere with plenty of natural light. I like to write somewhere peaceful. I like to write somewhere where I feel I have space to spread out if necessary. And, depending on what I'm writing, Internet access is incredibly useful, both for research and access to music (i.e., Pandora).

There is a library in the North Bay where I love to write. The entire library feels like one wide open space. One side of the library is floor-to-ceiling windows, letting in incredible amounts of lovely natural light. The color scheme is pleasant and calming, with natural greens and earth tones. There are several sizable tables and comfortable chairs; several soft, comfortable club chairs and couches; there are ottomans and end tables; and there are an amazing number of outlets. And there's wireless Internet access.

But I'm also surrounded by books and other people reading or writing or working. The library is always full of people using the library, which makes me happy. I love to see people using the public library. And I love to be surrounded by books.

When I'm surrounded by the right circumstances, I find immersing myself in my work easy, whether I'm studying, writing non-fiction essays, reports, articles, or fiction.

Today I'm at this library, in a club chair with an end table where I've stuck a copy of Best of Contemporary Mexican Fiction. There's a window to my left, magazines to my right. I've had a good fiction writing day, and the empirical research report I'm writing is going well, too.

I can ask for little else.

she looks like the real thing

Because I don't have enough to learn in life, I'm currently pursuing a certification in programming C, to be followed with C++ and Java. The first day of class, my professor said we could expect to spend about eight hours a week outside of class studying.

This was a lie. (I kind of expected that, at least for me, it was when we were told the bit about eight hours of homework a week.)

I could have a part time job with the amount of time I spend working on my programming homework. This is okay. Learning new skills and enhancing current skills takes time. I know this. And I'm totally fine putting in the work. But this doesn't mean I don't feel completely lost and clueless much of the time.

I constantly feel lost. And clueless. And it's kind of scary. So I dig in my heels and poke and poke, and then I poke some more. And at some point, I figure things will really start to click. Right?


I feel I have to work really hard at this because this is not necessarily where my natural talents lie. On the other hand, I know that "talent," whatever that is, isn't everything. Everything I do well I had to work at, and I didn't start out being good at what I'm good at.

I didn't emerge from the womb walking and talking.

It's the same with any skill. You practice and practice and practice and keep hitting your head against the brick wall, and eventually something will give. (And hopefully not your skull.)

raven_radiation sent me a couple links to remind me of this:

Why I'm Proud to Have Been an Unoriginal, Talentless Hack and Do you Have Enough Talent to Become Great at It.

And so I'm reminded coding is a skill, a new skill, and it will take time to hit proficiency. And at the same time I'm reminded that I will progress as a writer. It's just, again, going to take time and practice.

And that's okay -- a lot of life is about learning to enjoy the ride.

raven_radiation also sent me another couple links I find inspiring:

Monstrous Discrepancies and Minus.