activism and writing

February 3, 2017

I got really overwhelmed this past week, with book release stuff and also trying to keep up with the news. I’ll actually be really happy when this president takes his first vacation — maybe we’ll get an outrage break. Just a couple of days. Please.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed and despairing in this environment. As someone who’s never really done activism before, I’ve been trying to figure out: How do I manage? How do I keep on without feeling constantly overwhelmed and helpless?

I’ve decided:  It’s like writing a novel.

People tell me all the time:  I want to write a novel, I would love to write a novel, but I don’t know how, where do I even start?  A whole novel, it’s too big.  That’s a huge goal, overwhelming if you try to think of it all at once.  That’s why so many people never even start.  They see a big chunk of pages with tens of thousands of words and it’s too much.  When you’ve been writing emails and making phone calls and then one of your senators declares that he doesn’t have to listen to you because he thinks you’re a paid protestor — it’s easy to curl up in a corner and scream, right?

Here’s what I tell people about writing novels:  Don’t write a novel.  Write a page.  A single page.  Do that every day for a year.  That’s 365 pages — a novel. Write a scene.  Write a sentence.  Then another.  Nobody ever writes a novel — people write bits and pieces of a novel, over a long stretch of time.  Eventually, all that work becomes a novel. You have to put in the work, every day.

I’m trying to start looking at political activism the same way.  “Stop Trump” is too big.  Changing the political course that man is setting the country on?  Too much to fix all at once.  Can’t be done.

But I can march.  I can write letters. I can call.  I can vote.  (New action list item:  Get Cory Gardner out of office.  He’s up for re-election in 2020, and holy cow we can do this thing.)  Little things.  Baby steps.  Manageable steps.  I can do that.

Let’s see what happens in a year.



February 1, 2017

I had a really fun time in Santa Fe at the Jean Cocteau event. George and I were on stage arguing about which is better, New Mars or Old Mars. George is an ardent defender of Old Mars, the Mars we wrote about before we knew anything about what Mars is actually like.  I’m a big fan of New Mars, the only planet known to be entirely inhabited by robots.

Between the trip to NM and visiting my parents, who puppysat Lily for me, this turned into a long weekend of travel and socializing, and I’m exhausted.  I need to curl up on the sofa with the electric blanket and a hot toddy.  Fortunately, season 2 of The Expanse starts tonight, so I think I’ll get my chance to just…chill…out…

Let’s see if I can get some writing done before I go hibernate. New Novel is at 26,000 words.  Onward!


Hidden Figures

January 27, 2017

I finally finally got to see this one, and it’s earned all the buzz it’s gotten.  Absolutely everybody should see it. It’s just about perfect. Inspiring, but also enraging, and also about SPACE and it’s got plenty of spaceship stuff.

Everybody should see it.  I think it would make a really cool double feature with The Right Stuff.

And it’s a great demonstration of the concept of societal privilege.  In that privilege isn’t about getting extra stuff — it’s about all the crap you don’t have to do, all the hoops you don’t have to jump through because the playing field isn’t level.  It’s about not having to explain yourself every time you walk into a room.

This should win all the awards.  Well, this and Arrival should win all the awards.


working, working

January 25, 2017

Over the last two months I’ve written two short stories and 20k words of novel.  Seeing as how the six months before that was mostly post-production on Bannerless and Martians Abroad and a couple of side projects, that seems like a huge accomplishment.  Feels good to be writing new words again.

Reminder:  This Sunday 1 pm I’ll be at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe. It’s a ticketed event, check the website for more info.

I’ve got another piece up on, this one about Five Books That Make Living and Working in Space Seem Ordinary.  Definitely where I get some of my inspiration.

And just a week left in the first month of the year. It already seems like so much has happened.  Gotta keep going.  Onward and upward.



January 23, 2017

I marched on Saturday. I’m really glad I did. I confess, I’m still processing. It’s still all kind of a blur, so I don’t have any good stories to tell, at least not yet. But I wanted to stand up and be counted, and I accomplished that.

The sign I carried said this:  “Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.”



January 20, 2017

I’m planning on joining the Woman’s March on Denver tomorrow.  I will be thinking this:

new things!

January 18, 2017

I have a new book out!  But you probably knew that.  I’ve been trying to make an effort to talk up my stuff online a little more.  Is it working?

It’s a really busy week!  I don’t just have a new book out, I have a new short story on Nightmare Magazine!  “Redcap” is about how all those books about fairies talk about the murderous solitary Redcap who dips his hat in fresh blood, and then have pictures of a cute little gnome with a bright cherry-red hat.  A hat dipped in blood would not be bright cherry red.  It would be really gross.  Read it and find out how gross.

The first of a couple of blog posts I have coming up on is live:  I talk about Iain M. Banks’ Use of Weapons and sense of wonder.