New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2015
I worked steadily this year, both in writing and at my day jobs, and it’s hard to romanticize either. I wish writing were more dramatic but editing Six is like building a brick wall–one I’m not sure how high or long to make.
The last sunset of 2015, as viewed now from the attic where I write
The book is actually in good shape. My writer’s group has given extremely helpful critiques and I hired a professional editor give me a high-altitude review of the whole thing. I’m fine-tuning it now and will send this draft to a couple more beta readers, then begin to shop it around in earnest.
I wish I could pat myself on the back for achieving a couple of milestones this year, but I can’t. I feel I haven’t gotten enough done. I think that is the real challenge–getting used to never being done. I’m working on Six, a couple short stories, and a side project in a totally different genre to clear my head. All this is how it should be and preferable to not having anything going but I need to focus on getting more of the pieces finished and out the door.
Enough of my whining. On to…
The Highlights of 2015!!
Shakespeare and Company, Paris.
In January, I almost attended a writer’s group at Shakespeare and Company in Paris. I showed up, as did half a dozen other people, and then a clerk came up to our attic room to tell us it was cancelled.
I was bummed, but I met a couple of interesting people. One women from South Africa had a book published years ago, and to some acclaim, though she now talked of it disparagingly. She was in her mid-30’s so the book must have come out when she was in her 20’s. I was dying to know her name and the name of the book, but I had to be “cool” because she was going out of her way not to mention either despite some pretty obvious hints from me. Another woman had come to Paris “to write.” She wanted to finish her wine-themed memoir. I didn’t say anything but I think going to Paris to write is a terrible idea! Go to Paris and have a good time and then go somewhere boring to write.
Anyway, I felt super writerly just being there. There are things that should be on my to do list that I can’t even imagine until after I’ve already done them, and this was one of them. Writer’s group at Shakespeare and Company. DONE!
She’s Geeky Conference, Sunnyvale California
A great un-conference for women in tech. I was intimidated when I went the first time but everyone assured me that they want to add the “A” to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I highly recommend this event.
South by Southwest, Austin, Texas
Film, Interactive, and Music. We did it all…and I didn’t get catch a cold. Though I did sprain my ankle pretty much as soon as we arrived I didn’t let that stop me. Saw and heard amazing talks (the future of human computer interaction, future crimes, surveillance’s threat to liberty, a look inside DARPA, book publishing and new media, what privacy means now, digital ethics, and of course Bruce Sterling’s famous closing remarks), saw amazing movies (including the world premiere of Ex Machina with a Q&A with the director and cast, and a screening of Mr. Robot, with Director and cast), went to a biohacking party, saw bands, drank too much. The usual! I meant to do a post on this but blogging often feels a lot like procrastinating.
The cast and writer of Mr. Robot. I was too shy to get a photo with Christian Slater.
Shoreline of Infinity comes out
My short story See You Later is published in a Scottish science fiction magazine – and I got paid for it!!
Bay Area Book Festival, Berkeley, California
This was the first year for this event and it was PACKED. I’d meant to attend many talks (all free) but most sessions were full. I did get to hear John Scalzi speak, and I introduced myself to Paolo Bacigalupi. I felt bad for him. I was super red and sweaty and looked the crazed fan part perfectly. Said hi to Ransom Stephens who I met a few years ago at the San Francisco Writer’s conference.
Paolo Bacigalupi signs books while his wife waits patiently
Neil Gaiman in conversation with Stuart Brand, San Francisco, California
I blogged about this.
Yes and Yes Yes, Palm Springs, California
My first time at this unconference in Palm Springs. They can explain it better than I:
“A gathering of…
- voracious consumers of and generators of ideas and information
- creatives that like to engage in conversation about their creative pursuits & the concepts behind them
- people comfortable with & excited about their own obsessive interest in their odd corner of the world”
Right up my alley. I had a really great time until it was time to fly home and the plane overheated on the runway and we were stuck in the closed-down airport for hours and hours.
I know this looks like voracious consumers of beer, not ideas, but we found we could do both
EFF anniversary party, San Francisco, California
Yikes…this was an intimidating crowd. Everyone was so smart. Lawyers who argued the such and such case, professors, authors. I met Cory Doctorow (again) and Will Wheaton (what a gracious guy) and gave them both SomaFM t-shirts. It’s tough for me to introduce myself to public figures. It feels really intrusive. OTOH, they are in public so random people like me coming up is an expected annoyance. I’d rather not do it, but it is important for me to close the gap between screen and real, and to gain more empathy for people that put themselves out there in the media. It is a tough job.
I really like Cory Doctorow’s jacket
DEF CON Hacker Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada
DEF CON was great. I finally felt comfortable and not like an impostor the way I did last year. I went to sessions. Parties. DJ’d. Drank. More on this in a future post.
Bedside table at a party at DEF CON
XOXO, Portland, Oregon
This was my first time at this “experimental festival celebrating independently-produced art and technology.” Very interesting sessions, interesting attendees, and crazy hot weather for Portland.
I met author/illustrator Jason Porath. He seems to be a friend of a friend and we ended up at the same table at a food truck court. His book, http://www.rejectedprincesses.com/ should be coming out soon.
I got my novella printed at Powell’s Books via an on demand printing machine. It was really cool to see it go from virtual to physical.
I met Carl Steadman and Joey Anuff of Suck. They were a big deal to my crowd back in the day. I talked to Joey Anuff at length about his stint at MTV as well as other things. He was a really nice.
Our writing group read at LitQuake’s LitCrawl
I wrote about this in another post.
Huh, I guess I did a lot this year in addition to working and writing. I didn’t realize until I put it all in one place. If it seems like I go to a lot of conferences, this is true. I spend 95% of my time in front of a computer screen either writing or doing design–and not interacting with people or getting a sense of “the next big thing,” which I’ve got to have a handle on if I’m writing near-future fiction. Going to these kinds of creative conferences allows me to get face to face with people and see what they are excited about.
Also, I need to visualize the next step in my writer career by interacting with successful, published authors and this is a challenge because they aren’t wandering around in the wild. If I wanted to become a programmer or a social media consultant or an architect or a teacher I could walk down to the coffee shop right now and grab one for a chat. It’s harder to find a science fiction writer! Thus, the necessary but awkward introductions at conferences and lectures. I don’t know if all writers would find this necessary but for me it is a great motivator.
My goal for 2016 is to do even more, be even more productive, and GET SIX PUBLISHED.
Happy New Year!!!