Category Archives: True Stories

Anecdotes from my past and present.

Planetalyx Personals

Posted on July 5, 2012 by

As I mentioned in this post, I’m trying to get back into the habit of telling you all a little something, now and then, about my actual life. Part of what makes this tricky, for me, is that this presupposes that there’s a nice clean boundary between my work and some ephemeral rest.

Frex: I’m buoyantly happy with the writing I’ve been doing lately. Happy! Personal thing. Joy of creation. Bubbling thoughts of protagonist angst. Intriguing plot challenges. Delighted . . . with the fiction writing. Which is kind of my main job. And yet it’s a job I perform in a lovely cafe environment, with twelve ounces of latte within easy reach, in the company of people who aren’t quite my friends though I’m awfully fond of many of them.

Or, hey: I want to go to Vancouver Aquarium with Barb sometime soon as a birthday outing. And OMG, they’re charging $27 to let you in the door now, plus I think they get rights to your genetic code. We’ve both agreed it’s worth it, especially as they have penguins, holy crap, peeeeenguins!! now. (If any of you has a 2 for 1 coupon you won’t be using this summer, let’s talk).

So, you know, outing with one’s mother, to a nice tourist attraction, to celebrate her getting older. Personal, definitely. Except you all know I’m going to do the same thing with the experience that I do with things like the California Academy of Sciences trip and the Burke Museum trip, which is to say Learn Science Fakts! Mutate the Life Forms! Write more stories like The Gales! and add funky Stormwrack details to the trilogy-in-progress and write the museum ticket off my taxes!

Plus, also, prettifying my blog with pictures from the exhibits. Is that work? Is that play? Who cares, because look! Fossil!

Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Seattle

I could go on. Perhaps I even should go on, because I’ve tried before, quite a few times, to blog about the blur between all the various allegedly separate areas of my life. All of those previous posts have ended up in the bin. Whereas this one seems to be going pretty well.

Want to help? Is there anything you all would actually like to know?

Getting personal

Posted on June 29, 2012 by

Since Blue Magic came out on April 11th, a lot of my blogging energy and other kinds of attention have been drawn to just that–writing about the book, guest blogging about the book, travelling around promoting the book. This has, in turn and inevitably, meant the amount of personal news–your basic chatty stuff about my life–hasn’t been getting the kind of play it usually does here at Planetalyx.

I do prefer for my site to have a mix of all these things: writing talk, stuff about TV and film, foodporn, random this and that, the billion photos and things about what’s going on with me.

And, now that I’m done touring, I’m hoping to get back to that more balanced mix. I have things to tell, oh yes, and pictures to go with them. Here’s one of me and my cousin Alicia in San Francisco, for example, chilling out and having fun. (Also, all the new clothes I plan to tell you about? Came from Desigual, the store named on the bag A’s holding.)

Me and Alicia

Despite the piles of busy and the myriad distractions, I have done a pretty decent job of keeping up with the lives of those friends of mine who are still blogging. I’m hoping to keep that up, and expand on it. To start and continue some hey, how the hell areya? conversations as summer progresses. Doesn’t that sound nice?

So hey–how the hell are you? What are you doing this summer? Anything in particular you want to talk about?

Chickitty chickadee crow crow

Posted on May 31, 2012 by

Kelly and I have installed a little plastic bird feeder to one of our fabulous new windows, and chickadees have been visiting. They’re still getting comfortable with our dinner table being nearby, but the desire for good sunflower seeds is winning them over.

I want to get a picture, but that would mean stopping everything, setting up the tripod and camping the front window… and I have heaps and gobs of things to do.

The feeder is held on by suction cups and is designed for small birds, but that hasn’t stopped the occasional crow from latching on with its talons, flapping wildly, and scooping as much seed as it can get. I’ll get a shot of that too, in time. It is a little startling to catch a glimpse of great black wings scooping air when you aren’t expecting it, but I’m fond of our local murder and all its members; if they can get the food out without knocking the whole affair over, I’m for ’em!

As for the pigeons… not so much. I’ve never really warmed up to pigeons, despite how gorgeous they are.

Coming back to the daily routine after two weeks on the road has been a bracing experience. The grand total on my six to-do lists on Monday was 72 items. A good dozen of those amounted to self-care and not all of them had to be done first thing, but still… daunting. Especially since this didn’t include the tasks back-logging in the Inbox. These first few backs have been chilly, rainy, and have felt quite long. I also caught a cold in Alberta–after Onoway, thankfully–and I’m not quite up to full strength yet.

I have two more travel-type gigs set for June and then I figure to be home continuously for three or so months. The first trip is an overnight to Victoria so I can participate in a short sail on a tall ship called the Pacific Grace, with an organization called S.A.L.T.S. This is research for my new trilogy, which will enable me to confidently talk about reefing sails and the like. The other, of course, is the reading in San Francisco on Pride Weekend.

I am looking forward to both trips, but I am also looking forward to just being home. Norwescon and Portland and Alberta plus two more jaunts, all since Easter, feels like a bit too much Disruption to Routine.

Speaking of routine, I’m seriously considering doing the Clarion West Write-A-Thon again this year. Who else is playing?

Back at work!

Posted on May 28, 2012 by

As you were probably all able to deduce from the photos, Kelly and I spent the past couple of weeks visiting family all over Alberta before swinging west through the Crowsnest Pass so we could explore Nelson. We wrapped up our time off by spending two glorious nights at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards and a few low-key days at home.


I’ve restricted my work activities over this stretch of time to teaching and answering a few of the most urgent e-mails, so the pile on my desk is rather mighty this morning. But I will start mowing through it today. If you have been waiting on me for anything, it should be headed your way quite soon.


Voicemail from the Parade of Death

Posted on May 10, 2012 by

An old friend of my family’s died the night before last. He and my mother were extremely close–she’s pretty shattered–and my father was rocked, I think, when I wrote him in China to tell him what had happened. Rick was in one of Bear’s earliest crop of drama students. My first memories of him are as a giant-sized guy who built sets in the theater where I spent a lot of my early childhood. He tolerated having a four-year-old underfoot pretty well; he came from a big family, with lots of sibs.

Because he and his partner were tight with Barb, I’ve seen a bit of him over the years since. I knew he’d had leukemia quite a few years ago, and got a bone marrow transplant that sent it into remission. Miraculous, that, but the cancer came back recently and he didn’t survive the second round of treatment.

So I’m a little sad, and a little thoughtful, and this is also why I haven’t managed to blog about the Powell’s reading or all the fabulous things I did in Portland with M.K. Hobson and Rebecca Stefoff and others. Where, I’ll have you know, I took 350 pictures. Let’s see if I can post one from my current location:

And there may be a little more radio silence. I have an enormous paperwork monster to slay this afternoon, and a bunch of little things to wrap up today and tomorrow. Once that’s done, K and I are off on a big sweep through Alberta to see our loved ones and collect even more pictures.