stuff Laura’s read recently

I think this blog may end up being all about reading for a while?  I’m doing a lot of that recently.

I got my contributor’s copy of Translunar Travelers Lounge, and wow, gang.  This is a really strong batch of stories.  Like, I am chuffed to be included, here.  Every last one of them is solid, kinda weird, and very fun.  It was so great to read things that I knew weren’t going to make me sad–they might not all be larks, but they weren’t grimdark depressing.*

My particular favorites …

Dear Sir, by Kaolin Fire, which just made me laugh.  It’s too short to even give you a synopsis without spoiling it, so trust me.

Wings, by Vanessa Fogg.  This story is beautifully written.  The language is just gorgeous.  The idea is lovely.  The ending was inevitable, but I still didn’t call it.  If you like fairy tales, or love stories, read this one.

How To Break Causality and Write the Perfect Time Travel Story by Stewart C. Baker.  Okay, this one made me laugh, too (“Who’s ‘wasting time on oversaturated tropes’ now, Pam?!”–I have been in that critique group); I loved the ending.

Henrietta and the End of the Line, by Andi C. Buchanan.  I called this “charming and superbly weird” on Twitter.  Y’all, it’s a squid train story.  A STORY. ABOUT. A SQUID. THAT IS A TRAIN.  And Henrietta, whose mom drives the train, but come on.  SQUID TRAIN.  (I also finished this and had a moment where I thought, Corwyn would really like that story. So, you know, if you want to take a recommendation from a fictional character, there it is.)

First Dates, by Elizabeth Kestrel Rogers.  I really, really liked this concept.  It made me think of Octavia Butler’s work.  This story is so completely my type of thing.  Speed dating, but with, well, aliens.

To Build a Bridge Out of Song, by L Chan.  Is there more in this world?  Can I read more things set in this universe?  Because I would very much like to.

Copies Without Originals, by Morgan Swim is my absolute favorite from this issue.  It’s about a robot museum docent after the humans are extinct; it is delicate and hopeful, odd, and very sweet.

Now, let me say, again–all of the stories in this issue are really good.  If these don’t quite match your tastes, check out the entire issue because I’m sure there’s something there for you, as well.

***

It is now pouring down rain (I don’t think this is Dorian?  We’re not expected to get much of anything from this one), and my nice comfy office chair is calling me to come read some more stuff, so I shall away.  Next time I’ll talk novels, maybe?

 


*There’s nothing inherently wrong with grimdark or depressing; I like a good depressing/ambiguous/cry your eyes out ending as much as the next girl, on occasion.  But I also like hope.  And I really like funny.


Shameless Self-Promotion!

 “The Idaho Ghost Job” is up at Translunar Travelers Lounge.  (It came out yesterday, but this has been a craaazy week at work, so I am posting to the blog a day late.)

It’s a Teachout story–a fun one!  Low-angst!–that makes my husband laugh.

This one came about because I was listening to a podcast (I believe it was “Stuff You Missed in History Class,” but don’t quote me) that discussed Robert the doll  and I thought, Oh, you know, a haunted doll would be exactly the kind of thing the museum would want to display.  And really, who else would they send to get the thing but Corwyn and Gwen?  

I would also like to take a moment to thank my husband and son for acting some of this story out for me, so that I could see if what I had in mind was actually physically possible.

Continue reading “Shameless Self-Promotion!”

Stuff I Like About Hadestown, a list

  1. I got into Hadestown just in time for the OBC recording to start coming out, so I’m enjoying doing comparisons between the songs on the live recording and what’s being dropped.  So far I … um … kinda like the live version Hermes better? (Andre deShields is really good, though! Don’t @ me!) I really like the changes they made to “Way Down Hadestown.”
  2. The thing that drew me into this story is Hades and Persephone.  I’ve seen Persephone as the sad victim; I’ve seen Persephone as the rebellious daughter; I’ve seen the two of them portrayed as young lovers … I don’t think I’ve ever seen them as older, married, and losing each other.  It’s a good take, and an interesting one. And the idea of loving someone by giving them what you want to give them, and what you would want them to give you, but not paying attention to what they want or need is universal.  (It seems to me like Orpheus and Eurydice touch on that a bit, too, but I also haven’t heard the entire musical yet.) And they’re gods. They’re not human.  They’re fickle and strange; I love that I get that sense out of the music.
  3. Good lord in heaven, Patrick Page’s voice.
  4. A show that centers the idea that good tragedy makes you think, every time you watch it, that this time it might be different?  That’s my thing, y’all.
  5. “Wait for Me” is quite possibly the loveliest song I have heard in forever.

 

Hi there!

Well here we are again, and it’s been so long since I’ve posted that I feel overwhelmed at the very idea of blogging!  Yay!

So first, an update: we all survived sixth grade relatively intact, the kid had a 4.0 for the quarter, and now it’s all theatre camp and lounging for him until August.  We have some flowers to plant. We got a new car that has a back up camera, which oh my god is cool!  (I mostly like it for checking to make sure I’ve parked between the lines.)  It also has a bluetooth radio thingie that connects to my phone, which is super nice since my old car’s AUX jack was about dead.  I also got a new phone and haptic whateverthefuck is never not going to be weird.

And in writing news, I have a Teachout story, “The Idaho Ghost Job,” appearing in Translunar Travelers Lounge in the near-ish future (I think the first issue?  But I’m not sure? Dates when I get ‘em).

I’ve been on a reading binge, as well, so I’ll post about the books in other entries.

And that’s about it from me … how are you?  You look great. I like your hair. :)

So not a lot going on.

Which is amazing, frankly.

I was asked recently about going back to get my PhD, and I had this immediate reaction of NO WAY IN HELL that was even more visceral than my usual reaction to the idea of more grad school, so of course I started poking at why I reacted so much to it. And the answer is … I don’t even want to think about anything life-upending this year.

We have had a lot of upheaval in the past two years. Scott’s dad died, his mom moved in with us, my aunt and cousin moved back down, the kid started middle school, I had a health scare, we evacuated for a hurricane, I changed jobs, Scott has had job fluctuations galore, we sold our house and bought a new one, let’s not even discuss politics and climate change …

It’s been a lot, yo.

Recently I’ve been feeling super overwhelmed. Just a lot of … stuff. But slowly I’m getting a handle on it, I think? I also started reading the Bullet Journal book, which is making me think about my planner and how I need to adapt it, rethink how I’m using it, and get back into thinking about what I do every day. And also figuring out what parts of my routine I need to adjust or drop entirely.

I finished a story, started sending out novel submissions. I have a lot of ideas for my day job, and I’m excited about them. I’m getting a routine at home.

If 2019 is a year of settling (as in, things are settling, not I am settling for anything) … well, that would be awesome. And I would like to not do anything to disturb that, if at all possible.

(knocks wood)

Stuff Laura’s reading

I’m reading Dreyer’s English …

I’ve recently acquired a copy of Dreyer’s English, and I’m enjoying it quite a bit so far. Dreyer’s funny, well aware of the foibles of copyeditors and authors alike. His comment about writers’ pet sentence constructions was, like, a huge mental relief, because my until-recently-unconscious love of a particular sentence structure is the bane of my existence right now. It was nice to know I’m not the only writer in the world writing different sentences in the same exact way, over and over again.

Dreyer is not a proponent of two spaces after a period, and that … well. Sorry. I’m old, and I’ve been typing since I was eight, so thirty-odd years of habit are going nowhere.

But here’s a story: I got into a silly Facebook “fight” with someone over the two spaces after a period–one of those silly things that was all in good fun, no big deal.* Except at some point it stopped being fun, mostly because I realized I actually don’t care. Like, I do this out of habit. I was taught to as a kid, whatever. Some editors care, some don’t; the ones who do care are usually kind enough to say so in their guidelines, which means I do a find and replace. Because money will always trump any stylistic preference I have.

I do use the Oxford comma. I do not care. You can tell me I don’t need it. You can bring up AP style. I refuse to skip the comma before the ‘and.’ You and those strippers dressed like JFK and Stalin can go skipping the Oxford comma all you want, it’s cool. I’ll be over here with my babies, tucking them in at the ends of lists.

On the whole, I don’t want to be a dick about grammar. In high school, first quarter I would always get a B in English, and it was entirely due to how the curriculum front-loaded grammar every year. Drove my mother nuts. It wasn’t until I started teaching grammar that I started to really get it–one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it, I think–but I still don’t want to diagram a sentence.

And, you know, nobody has perfect grammar. Nobody catches every typo (I think it was Neil Gaiman who said the easiest way to find a typo in your published book is to open it. Because that will be the first thing you see). But, at least in the case of this book, it’s fun to read about people whose job it is to try.

(Oh, and one of my other favorite things so far in the book: “Sometimes sentences don’t need to be repunctuated; they need to be rewritten” (25). Ain’t that the truth.)


*For the record, the battle lines fell pretty much generationally. Gen X and above are pro-two spaces, the youth of today are all one-spacers. It was kind of hilarious.

Dreyer, Benjamin. Dreyer’s English. Random House, 2019.

Not missing!

Just buried under life.

So at the end of November we moved house–like, the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Then we had to unpack.  Then I had to pack my office up at work because they were re-carpeting over winter break.  Then Christmas.  Then more unpacking at home.  Then back to work, to also unpack.  Even yet still more unpacking at home.  Also painting.  Ordering furniture.  Decorating.  There is still stuff in the garage.  None of that stuff is a car.

But!  We’re moved.  The doggo has a yard.  Everyone has a bedroom.  I have an office.  The china cabinet that has always been too big for wherever we’ve been living now has a wall that makes it look normal-sized.

I’m writing away, finishing touches on the novel before I start sending it around, new short stories because I’ve really depleted my back catalog, figuring out a traveler’s notebook for writing and journaling.  2018 was not my best writing year, I gotta tell ya.  The end of 2018 was one of the worst writing periods of my life because nothing seemed to want to happen at all; it was like trying to mortar bricks with Jello.  Thankfully, I appear to finally have grown my brain back–or maybe I feel settled enough–so that words are happening again.

So, yes, I am around.  If you’re still reading this blog, thank you for your patience.  I make no promises about more regular updates, but you can find me on Twitter and Tumblr as Seldnei between posts.