Thursday, October 27, 2016

Infiltrating Yankeedom: The Great November Con-a-Thon

It's getting real, y'all. As I type this, I'm on a flight to Ohio, kicking off the first leg of this year's grand tour. Can we do three and a half weeks with nothing but a yellow backpack, a red hat, and a blue jean jacket? There's only one way to find out.

Not a celebrity author rock-star. Just a black-belt carry-on badass.

So here's what's on the itinerary - please let me know if I'm hitting close enough to your neck of the woods for a hang-out hoedown!

World Fantasy Con - Columbus, OH - Oct 27-30

Winter Wheat - Bowling Green, OH - Nov 3-5
presenting "The Seven Deadly First-Page Sins"

(I'll mosey up through Cleveland at this point. Have rental car, will carouse.)

Writer Unboxed Unconference - Salem, MA - Nov 7-11

WindyCon - Chicago, IL - Nov 11-13
writers workshop instructor; panelist

Wake Up and Write Writers Retreat Workshop - Haverford, PA - Nov. 14-19

After that, there'll be a couple more days of Phillyandering before I fly home on the 21st.

And seriously, y'all. Do hit me up if you want to do something. I like playing these away games, but they are notoriously short on familiar faces - and yours would be more than welcome.

Okay? Okay. And for those of you on the home-front: please be good to my dude and my cat while I'm gone. They take good care of each other, but there's more to life than shotgunning beer, kibble, and Cops.

Another night on the road - another sold-out show...

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Fighting the Fugue

Dear diary,

Yesterday was my last day to be 33. Today I am 34.

So far they don't look very different. Yesterday I moderated an author panel at the library, dashed off a critique, and started writing a presentation for next week. Today I’ll do my dialogue workshop, meet with an editing client, go over next weekend's event details with my colleague-buddy, and have lunch with my mom. Really looking forward to lunch with my mom.

That’s pretty much how it’s been for months now, and it’ll be the same for at least a couple months more. Events, email, travel, editing, teaching, email, conventions, housework, projects, even more email. I enjoy most of those things, most of the time (except for the email). But lately I can’t even tell whether I’m having fun or not. It all just “is”.

No pleasure, no rapture, no exquisite sin greater... than an empty inbox.

I thought of a metaphor for this, by the way. Carving out a creative career is like running a marathon with a bag over your head. You hear people cheering and hollering, and you know you must be going some kind of distance – but there is no dang telling whether you’re gaining ground on anyone, much less how far you still have to go. You just run your best, and try not to think too much about the rest.

The rest is creeping up on me, though. For one thing, I have been a less-than-fantastic wife and friend this year – missing messages and visits like I never did before. Everybody has been kind and understanding, but it’s not fair of me to keep flaking out. And for another thing, those thirty-odd pounds I managed to kick off last year have all come back. More pounds means more snoring. More snoring means more nights on the couch – not the end of the world, but it wears on you. I’m not too sure how to fix that. I do all right when I’m cooking for myself at home, but I’ve been out of town 82 days this year, with another 39 still to go. Hard to hold on to a healthy routine when you don’t have a routine.

Life in morse code: traveling-dots and appointment-dashes.
But I am going to try. I DO like doing these conventions and events, even with all the extra time and expense they incur. Being out in the world with people makes sense in a way that e-anything doesn’t, at least to me. And if I want to get to keep traveling and doing, I need to not turn into a couchbound pizza-yeti. (I am noticing this more as I do more events: we geek-people seem to have more health/lifestyle problems than the general population, and I do not like where the ghost of Christmas future is leading me.)

So that is the goal, at least for the remainder of 2016. Career-wise, there’s nothing I can do but to keep running the race. Writing-wise, I’ll showcase the upcoming book and start banging out the next one. But health-wise, and friend-wise, and partner-wise, this what I’m doing has to become sustainable. Crashing and burning is not an option when you’re sprinting full-tilt with a bag over your head.

Especially not when this dude is waiting for you back home.
So that’s what I’m going to work on: getting sustainable by the end of the year. But since it’s my birthday, I will also treat myself to just a little pride: 33 came and went, and I used up every bit of it.

Now get over here, 34 – you look positively delicious.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Dear Future-Self

Please tell me this turns out to be worth it.