Pantheon Magazine picked up my story “Stars Reflected in Every Drop” for their Tethys-themed issue! This story is one of my favorites and I am absolutely thrilled it’s found a wonderful home at Pantheon.
From Pantheon Magazine’s call for submissions:
“Tethys is the Titan daughter of the sky and the earth, guardian of fresh water, mother of the river gods and sea nymphs.
Tell us stories about rivers and inland seas, about water caverns–and those who protect them. Tell us about what happens to those who trespass against Tethys. We want to read about the delicate creatures blooming in rain puddles and about the dark awareness at the bottom of cenotes.”
I’ll let you know when it’s up (the issue is scheduled to appear online this fall).
I’m participating in Clarion’s Write-a-Thon! These fun and productive six weeks run concurrent with Clarion’s writing workshop. While a new class of Clarion students writes, sweats, and critiques, so too shall those participating in the Write-a-Thon. Find out more here.
My goal is to draft 6 short stories and/or poems. You can check out my progress on my Writer’s Page.
Used a drawing from Andrew Lang’s “The Green Fairy Book” to create this poster. Much fun in the making. Will have much fun at the reading, too, with the inimitable Emily Cataneo, Julie C. Day, and Sarah Read!
Hope you can join us Saturday, May 27th, at 4pm (that’s Memorial Day weekend). Reading held at Michaelangelo’s Coffee Shop near the Concourse Hotel.
Another WisCon! This year I’m participating in two panels and a reading. The reading will be the first time a significant portion of my writing/critique group will be getting together IN PERSON! We’re very excited and thrilled that we’ll be together and sharing our work with you!
Here’s my schedule:
|Small Everyday Forms of Resistance in SF/F|
|All Our Favorite Nightmares, Obsessions, and Inhuman Familiars|
|Impeding or Empowering? Representations of Mental Disability|
Please stop by and say “hello” if you’re going to be at WisCon. Leave a comment if these topics interest you or are important to you in some way. I hope to be able to bring many voices to the discussions. Plus, the discussions need not only be at WisCon, right? I mean, that’s what blogs and other forums are for, after all 🙂
What’s intersectional feminist speculative fiction? It’s where the future starts.
“We do not encourage the formulaic use of popular genre (e.g., romance, science fiction, horror, thriller, etc.)” – from the Iowa State University MFA website. This summarizes the academic view of genre fiction. Formulaic. That some genres carry “more literary weight than others”. Need I state that SF/F/H is not one that carries this gravitas or merit. At least in this quote, ISU recognizes, or pretends to distinguish, that the use of “popular genre” as formulaic is what’s frowned upon; though, the implication is that genre is by its nature formulaic and therefore inferior (“We understand that there are subgenres within each of these classic genres, some of them carrying more literary weight than others” = there’s a hierarchy, and guess where “genre” fiction falls?).
Relying on stereotypes is inferior writing. It’s lazy. Not crafting sentences or scenes; not developing theme or subtext; ignoring character arc and inherent cohesion; yes, these things are a sign of inferior writing, inferior craft. But that’s not the genre, that’s the execution and the writing craft.
This is an interesting conversation to try to have–to understand that SF/F (a.k.a. genre or popular fiction–I’m dropping horror because that’s another conversation) is not inherently or by definition formulaic. What genre fiction is, is a use of speculative elements relating to scientifically or fantastically derived themes used to explore topics otherwise unseen, or unable-to-be-seen, the that which is hidden from or difficult for social and personal conversation and contemplation. Topics typically unable to be written about for whatever reason (usually involving (lack of) emotional and cultural distance) can be written about and explored in SF/F precisely because the approach is an unfamiliar one. It’s disarming. Hackles don’t immediately raise; assumptions aren’t immediately formulated. I think this fascinatingly relates to post-normal science–that you can not have an observer-free observation. How’s that for academic?! Yeah! If I had more time and energy I’d drop some links and mentions regarding utopian studies, post-colonial and feminist theory, the human need for concrete ideology–something to look toward, as opposed to things to avoid.
- The Closest Thing to Animals by Sofia Samatar |September 2015 Fireside Fiction | Illustration by Galen Dara
[Sofia’s “The Closest Thing to Animals” is a wonderful example of well-written, thoughtful, beautifully crafted science fiction, a.k.a. speculative fiction.]
But this doesn’t mean you can’t write genre fiction that’s formulaic. Because you can. You can write bad SF/F. Some authors really do just write formulaic fiction with the trappings of SF/F. That’s possible. But it isn’t inherent to the genre.
- Some SF stereotypes commonly found in formulaic fiction. May be found in non-formulaic fiction (though they’ll usually look a little different in that case)!
It’s like saying that metal or rap or country music sucks (to pick on sometimes popularly picked on red-headed step-children of the music industry). Bad metal or rap or country sucks. But good metal or rap or country music is good. There is nothing inherent in these types of music that automatically frames them from foundation to artistic-execution as inferior.
I know this is one reason people have started using the label “speculative fiction”–to distinguish well-written stories with “literary merit” from the formulaic fiction (other) people usually call SF/F. I do. But this can be problematic, putting the speculative fiction in its own genre, since it furthers the idea that SF/F is a genre of formulaic hackneyed writing.
What do you think?
Here’s the opening quote with a bit more context: “We understand that there are subgenres within each of these classic genres, some of them carrying more literary weight than others. While we do not encourage the formulaic use of popular genre (e.g.,romance,science fiction,horror, thriller, etc.), we do support writers who wish to create cross-over works that combine the energy of popular genre traditions with the greater ambition and more nuanced techniques of classic literary traditions.”
Walking through the neighborhood today I was delighted to see strong signs of Spring. There’s no turning back now: the flowers are going to bloom, leaves bud and unfurl. Before we know it, it’ll be all-get-out Spring!
I have no crocuses growing in my yard. Along with snowdrops, they are the first flowers to bloom in this area. I was thinking I’d like to plant some so I can have color and life early in the season. Looking in my backyard to see what’s happening back there I saw something better.
I’m growing dragons!
What’s showing in your yard or neighborhood?
(You know I’m going to have to write about this in a story now, right?
Yeah, you knew that.)
Happy New Year!
2017 has just begun and already I’ve seen a rejection (thank you Upper Rubber Boot “Women Up To No Good”) and a publication (thank you Kaleidotrope).
It gets better! Yes, it does. And this is the best part…I’m sharing this issue with two of my dear friends and writing family: Julie C. Day’s “One Thousand Paper Cranes” (Julie’s author website here), and Lisa Bergin’s “Scrapie’s Trap” (Lisa blogs with her writers’ group here). I’ve also had the honor of reading poetry with Gwynne Garfinkle before (Live & in person, at WisCon) and now I have the honor of our poetry appearing together–Gwynne’s “The Last Word” is in this same issue.
Life is good.
And with that, dear readers, I have some writing to do!
My poem, “From the Dictionary of Non-Existent Words, A Sampler”, is scheduled to appear in the Winter 2017 issue of Kaleidotrope!!! I will post the link when the poem and issue are live.
It has been a very difficult year. I probably don’t even need to write that, it seems to be true for far too many people, for the obvious societal and social reasons as well as personal ones. I might write a post about some of my own personal challenges later, but for now, let’s leave it at “a difficult year”. Therefore, this news from Fred Coppersmith at Kaleidotrope was a much needed positive, good-things-can-happen-too, don’t-give-up-! reminder for me to keep working, to not give up.
And there’s one other bit of good news that I can share in a couple days.
There is hope. What I work so hard for with my writing does not always get lost in oblivion, does not always fall short. And I will work to remember this, work to share it with you, and work to manifest it for the good of all. And if I forget, if anyone dear to you forgets, please remind them. Remind yourself. There is hope. We affect each other, in a thousand small but not insignificant ways. Let’s be there for each other.