The joke I’ve been making since I learned last week that Child of a Hidden Sea had made the 27th Lambda Literary Awards Finalist List, has been that my previous book, Blue Magic, is “way more gay.”
It’s easy to crack wise when these things happen, because it’s difficult to know what to say, beyond the obvious, about a nomination. The obvious being that I’m more than pleased… I’m thrilled, really, and also–hence the joke–surprised too. I am happy for my fellow Tor authors, Max Gladstone and Daryl Gregory, and for all the other nominees. I’m pleased to have personal connections to other people on the ballot, like Lloyd Meeker (we used to sing together in a choir called Out in Harmony) and one of my oldest friends in the world, the marvelous Keph Senett, who has a story in A Family by Any Other Name: Exploring Queer Relationships. These are the people in my neighborhood, the not-quite-imaginary place where queerness and feminism and activism and artistic expression all intersect to produce wonders.
It’s easier in person, of course. I got to brag up the nomination at the SpecFic Colloquium this past weekend, in between hearing Nnedi Okorafor, David Nickle, Simon McNeil, Alex Leitch and Derek Newman-Stile talking about everything from racism and ableism to gamergate and James Bond. I got to be all delighted and smug at my weekly writing date on Thursday, too.
The nomination injected a big dose of excitement into last week, in other words, and continues to offer up a warm glow of delight as the days pass.
I haven’t been blogging much lately. I got some birds up last week from my outing to Vanier Park, with Barb, but posts about writing and the state of my life have been in short supply. One reason is that I temporarily diverted my usual blogging time into revision on an upcoming novel. Another is that I am doing the Quantum Leap rewatches, and a Favorite Thing Ever each week, along with prepping lectures for my Novel III class and writing 8-10 critiques a week for the current Novel II class.
At the same time, some of the bits and pieces of my life have been shifting around a bit, and lots of them haven’t actually settled yet. One example: I’ve always been an early riser, but for the last month and a half I’ve been starting my work day at 6:00 a.m. Another: I’ve been deep in preparations for a choir concert (video footage, including me mangling the word ‘collectivist’ and Badger being lovely and articulate, can be found here). This was my last concert for awhile, as I’m taking a break from singing.
I never quite got a chance to tell you that my birthday trip went down the flush, and I haven’t figured out what the new birthday plan will be. And I took on a new mentoring gig, which–with help from several other little life shifts–discombobulated the stable little Wednesday morning breakfast ritual that has been a mainstay of my and Kelly‘s lives since we were twenty-five or so.
There’s been other stuff too, so much of it, some of it with the potential to either be quite big or evaporate in a pfiffle. And I’m like a lot of people, in that uncertainty will never be the topic of an Alyx favorite thing ever column. So there’s been lots of awareness of things unresolved, a resulting bit of tension, and radio silence.
A few things that definitely are going on:
–Kelly and I and Ana are going to the Vancouver Police Museum’s Forensics for Adults program tonight, to do a one-hour workshop on blood spatter. Come on, admit you’re jealous.
–When we first moved to BC and I got chances to experience the Seabus and B.C. Ferries, I started having fabulous seagoing adventure dreams. In these physically improbable scenarios, I often got to drive a ferry as though it was a speedboat, in really fast, really splashy chases. These dreams are so fun. Now that I have been on a cruise, I have cruise dreams too!
–After a couple years of random and unsuccessful attempts to find contact information for her, I have finally managed to reconnect with one of my Clarion instructors, someone I absolutely adore. This has been supernice.
—All my carrots are belong to virtual reality. It used to be that when I achieved some wee personal goal, I’d buy myself a $2-5 packet of sticky notes, or a bowl from someplace like YokoYaya. But now I buy iPod apps! Today I loaded up Vancouver 150, which is a “Hey, Vancouver’s turning 150 so here’s a news and history portal” type thingie. But it was free, and the universe owes me a treat, so if you know of great iTouch apps that are not games, I am always interested.
I saw a skunk on Wednesday on my way to the cafe. It was six in the morning, raining hard and very dark–so, no chance of a photo. That, combined with the fact that it was a skunk, meant I didn’t even try to give chase. I was nevertheless delighted to see him waddling down Woodland in high gear, wavering between the west side of the street–and the fenced-in safety of a Terasen work site that is popular with a lot of the urban wildlife–and the garbage dumps of Greyhound Cate’s alley on the east. I don’t see skunks that often, and it has been at least a year. I took it for a good sign.
Yes, out and about at six. My timetable has shifted slightly, and now every day starts with an early fiction-writing session at the cafe. It used to start at half-past eight on Monday to Friday, and then early on Saturday-Sunday. Now it’s all crack of dawn, all the time. As an Xtreme Morning Person, this suits me… but every change has effects, and some have been hard to quantify.
Still, there’s been some “Mmm, must eat this meal at this point in the day now,” and a bit of “Gotta figure out when I’m getting to the pet store,” and “Hey, the frozen food run is sooo much more convenient!” I didn’t count on having to slot in a replacement for the semi-conscious woolgathering I used to do at five in the morning, five days a week. ( I’m not waking up any earlier, in general; I’ve just shifted around the daily must-do list in a way that’s been mostly pleasing.)
A thousand tiny consequences, some to be sorted; some, savored. The weekends are glorious, because K and I are on exactly the same clock, and we’ve already spent a couple long, delicious days together, reading and hanging out. Saturday when we went to the opera, we had a leisurely two hour window to get there… for ten! There was also a fit of self-indulgence wherein we destroyed the living room’s fitness for visitors by arranging the couch and our armchairs back-to-back, to maximize TV viewing comfort on the former and fireside-reading in the latter.
We are still muddling through the process of figuring out when and how to hang out with people when one runs out of brain at seven and goes to bed at nine.
Early bedtime has also proved to be the final nail for choir rehearsals. After the January 22 concert, I am planning to become a non-singing volunteer: meaning I’ll finish out my term on the Board and continue to run the website, but for the first time since 2003 I won’t be rehearsing or performing.
Getting the new novel drafted and getting out for a walk every single day, whenever it’s somewhat nice out, have been my big priorities this month, with the effect here in the blog that there’ve been a lot of word count posts and “Weather fine, lots of spiders” entries. I have a few Journey interviews out, awaiting answers and of course I’ve had the Favorite Thing Ever and Quantum Leap stuff on the go, keeping me busy. It’s all very pleasant, and I’ve enjoyed sharing my Sunburst excitement with you all.
On which theme: Indigo Springs is the featured novel at Jim Hines’ site, as part of his First Novel Friday feature. It’s mirrored on LJ, here.
I have spent some of my remaining copious spare time trying to get the Out in Harmony facebook fan page to automatically load notes from the main choir website. It’s supposed to, and it says it is, but it always loads up everything and then stops. In the meantime, I’m manually cross-posting. (My own page loads notes from WordPress to Livejournal to Facebook quite happily, so there’s a little bucket brigade of data, and I played with getting the choir an LJ too, to see if it would help. But my site comes with more bells and whistles than the choir’s, and that includes the widget that kicks off the whole sequence.)
Choir itself has been a blast from the recent past. We are mostly relearning pieces I know for a twentieth anniversary / greatest hits concert, and this means singing a lot of my favorite songs.
Autumn has also brought myriad shifts on a number of fronts. Our digital TV provider upgraded our gadgetry Monday, which meant two days of disruption to both me and Kelly followed by an incremental (but worthwhile) improvement in service. I’m sifting through my eating practices in search of a similar tiny shift toward better nutrition. I’ve taken the arcade game off my iTouch in favor of spending my mental downtime listening to CBC Podcasts, watching TED Talks, and playing word games and Sudoku. Mental composting, I hope.
I’ve bought new shoes, a nice dress, and the best winter tights ever. I’ve had the fireplace tuned, I’ve made sure our travel and medical insurance is renewing, and I’ve thought about (but neglected, so far, to follow through on) taking the bedroom apart and hoovering out every last speck of dust. I’ve planted some fall bulbs, but haven’t yet put pansies atop them. Small, gratifying combing of the life-in-progress. I am glad to have had the energy–thank you, August vacation!–the focus and the help from K in achieving them.
And I’m not the only one savoring the excellence of fall on the coast:
One of my sisters is the sort of person who can go to Istanbul, head for the bar where she has arranged to meet some friends, and then get there only to discover they aren’t there because she forgot about the International Date Line (silly International Date Line!) and is 24 hours late. Sure, you’re thinking, anyone could do that! But this sib’s particular enviable superpower is to walk a block, look around the neighborhood, choose another bar, walk in and find the friends happily sitting there. No harm, no foul–in fact, much rejoicing.
I planned to find the Walk for Life through the same kind of jovial reckoning on Sunday. I set out in plenty of time, and was even on the train with a fellow choir buddy. But I had my mind on other things, and I lost sight of her. I ended up on the wrong side of the park, and by the time I got through to Badger to ask for directions and apologize, I was kilometers away. Like almost eight kilometers away, according to the GMaps pedometer.
So… no singing for me. It was a glorious walk. I saw oodles of purple sea stars, and an especially gorgeous heron. (I didn’t have my camera with me, but here’s his stunt-double.)
I guess you could say I managed the cheery laissez faire tardiness, but not so much the part where I stumble in, on time, for our next concert a day later. (I also bruised the tops of my toes because I was wearing singing shoes, not walking shoes, and I had doubled up my socks because I was afraid of being cold. How’s that for a neat trick?)