albionidaho: (Default)
I recently attended two fantastic cons: World Fantasy Convetion and BizarroCon.

I love going to a good con. They're a perfect chance to see dear friends, make new ones and explore industry contacts. They're perfect for having tons and fun and providing access to new books.

They're also a great chance to practice your social skills.

When I was at Clarion West, Cory Doctorow (my third week instructor) told the class it was important to be nice to people. Connie Willis (my fourth week instructor) put it another way -- don't be an asshole.

Read more... )

WFC

Nov. 5th, 2009 07:20 pm
albionidaho: (angeles)
Today is brought to you by the Santa Cruz Mountains rain and no tea, strangely enough. I may have to remedy that: I have caught a cold. (Lemon ginger sounds good.)

2009 has been remarkably healthy for me, much more healthy than I've been in years past. But I still have this cold -- I suspect I had it coming.

I attended World Fantasy Convention 2009 in nearby San Jose this weekend, my first big con. I paid for the con by writing articles about how to adjust watches.

I attended no panels, I attended only Terry Bisson's reading. Mostly I met people I've corresponded with online for years, or authors and editors I admire, some of them absolute favorites of mine. I spent time with Clarion West cohorts, old friends, new friends and Paul Park, my Clarion West Week 1 instructor, and Connie Willis, who taught Week 4. I learned about writing and being a writer in the current publishing climate. It's scary, but when I step back and think about it, it's thrilling, too.

And I caught a cold.

But that's okay; it was certainly worth it.

One of my favorite moments of the con was when Margo Lanagan won the World Fantasy Award for best novel. (Along with Jeffrey Ford, which just rocked -- I adore Jeff Ford.)

Margo Lanagan's win was a personal thing for me, proving how powerful boundary busting YA can be, and that that's okay, and can be accepted and appreciated when it's done well, when there's a point to the transgressions. This is something I've struggled with for years, that I'm finally getting over. I've consistently censored myself and my stories because of fear, fear of what people would think, react, say. How it would affect my fiction writing career. How it would affect my life in Idaho, and my family's life.

Partially this was because I had written stories in the past that bothered people, stories that people took personal offense to. I hadn't intended to hurt anyone when I wrote what I did; I thought I was writing a story I was interested in writing.

It's a process, but I'm learning not to be afraid.

I think I'm going to write Margo Lanagan a letter. Do you all remember that? When I used to write people letters? (I think I once wrote something to the effect of, "Harlan Ellison sues people; I write people letters.") I need to start writing letters again. I used to be a decent correspondent; now I'm awful.

The best part of the whole experience, however, was that I felt I was back with my tribe, something I have missed since coming home from Clarion West.

Tonight I am chilled, but it's only because I'm sick. The writing is flooding across my screen, I am surrounded by people I love, and there are a plethora of wonderful books to be read.

It's not all perfect -- I'm still trying to work on getting a big person job, for example -- but it's really, really good. It's wonderful. And if everything was perfect, what else would there be to work for?
albionidaho: (Default)
I get a lot of questions about rearing kids and writing as much as I do, and how I'm as productive as I am. It was also something that both Mary Rosenblum and Connie Willis discussed with me at Clarion West. I was the only young mother there (the mother of a six-year-old and a three-year-old), and they knew the societal, familial, and personal expectations for me were and are huge.

Mary and Connie talked about how having a supportive spouse is important, and not everyone has that. There are really no answers for how to deal with that -- every relationship is as complicated and as unique as the people that are in it. But it is something that every writer has to deal with (can and will and does the person I'm with understand why I spend all this time doing what I do?) can they deal with this?), and it's particularly an issue to deal with when one is a wife and mother. Despite the evolution of our culture and the role of women within it, there are a lot of attitudes and expectations that have not changed. Particularly in Idaho.

Read more... )

Finally, it's about choices.  There are a lot of things I don't spend my time on right now because if I'm to mother and write and do all these other things something will have to give.  This is part of the reason why I don't currently work on music much.  I have, in the past, played several instruments, my favorites being the piano and guitar, and I also sang, once upon a time.  I once was heavily involved with theater.  I used to be an artist, winning awards for my work.  I crochet, I knit.  I love to cook and garden and read.  I love movies.  I love hiking and exploring places I wouldn't take my children until they're older.  I love experiencing new things, pushing myself to the edge, feeling myself get carried away physically by whatever I'm challenging myself with.  I love to meet people, be with people.  I love to learn new things. I love to travel. I love to do research.  I have studied four languages, other than English.  But there isn't time to do all this now, so I make choices as to how to spend my time.  The piano and guitar will be there when the kids are older.  So will the yarn, and the theater, and the hiking trails and biking trails.  I do some of these things occasionally, but I don't pursue them as much as I'd like.  Mostly, I mother, I write, I read a bit (not as voraciously as I used to -- my permanent companions were books for so many years), and I love the people who are important to me.  And I blog.  Because blogging helps me process my life, and it's a record of who I am now.  And someday, someone will care.  I already have cared about who I was in the past, and my progeny may want to know who I was, as well.

I'm anthropologist.  We keep records.  Anthropologists are those who write things down at the end of the day.

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