What I Did in 2017

I didn’t really want to write this post. This is supposed to be the cumulative, “What I Did in 2017” post. You know, where we check in with that black-Sharpie list I made on New Year’s Day. But see—the thing is—

“Mother Among the Thorns,” Kay Nielsen (1924).

I feel like I didn’t do much.

But that’s putting it mildly. Coming off the insane ride that was 2016—the year everything seemed to go right—this year has left me feeling fairly ineffective. A failure.

However—

However, I do want to remain honest, always. And I think this year, while deeply unpleasant, was necessary.

So let’s get the main event over.

What I Did in 2017

“Her Hands Like Ice” came out in Bracken Magazine.

“Search History” sold to/came out in Daily Science Fiction.

Gave my “Fantasy Author’s Guide to Beer” talk at Boskone, the Nebulas, and Can-Con.

“La Corriveau” was shortlisted for the Sunburst Award.

“Six Stories, Told at Night” is currently a Parsec finalist (idk when the awards are being given—does anyone?)

Wrote and submitted a lot of stories. Some of them got very nice rejection letters.

Wrote a final draft of the Creepy Play, provisionally titled, A Canticle of Stars. It’s being produced in the spring.

“Six Stories, Told at Night—LIVE ON STAGE” got into the Toronto Fringe Festival. I probably will not add “LIVE ON STAGE” to the final title, but no promises.

Started writing the Beer Magic Novel. It’s currently about 25k. It needs a good solid whack with a stick before I can continue, but I’m having fun thus far.

Contracted with Choice of Games to write another interactive fiction game. It occurs to me that I never mentioned this publicly. But I’m totally doing that. It has dinosaurs in it.

Researched/began plotting a new play with Blythe.

Schemed quite heavily on other theatre things with Blythe. I can talk about them more in the New Year. The secret is slipping out, but I must be coy a while longer.

Took over as the Apex Magazine podcast producer. Which—whooo! I didn’t realize how much I missed podcasting until I was back in the saddle. This is the best arrangement, and I’ve loved working with the Apex team.

I also made a lot of new friends (waves at Twitter), wonderful thing happened to my friends, and I read a LOT of good things.

Which…okay. I look at all that, and I have to concede that perhaps I am not a total failure. I’m just not living up to my own expectation. It’s silly, and I know that writing doesn’t work this way, but I fell into the trap of assuming that last year’s streak would just…continue.

Except it doesn’t always.

Except that writing—like anything—happens in cycles.

Except that you have to keep going, even when it feels like you are the Absolute Worst.

“At Dawn,” by John Bauer (ca. 1913).

This year—yeah, this year, I failed. Not totally. But I did. And if one is going to survive writing, one has to learn how to survive that. 2017 shook me to the roots—and while I cracked a little, I’m still standing.

Terri Windling has interesting thoughts about this, actually. Quoting Jane Champagne, she says, “…sometimes the old artist has to die before the new artist is born. And the “death” part takes as long as it takes. It doesn’t care about schedules and deadlines.”

This is comforting, because it addresses another difficult aspect of this year:

It’s been hard to write. I feel clumsy. I feel inarticulate. I feel like I have laryngitis: the same frustration in expressing myself; notes once so easy, now out of reach.

After this long, I know: throwing myself into a long-term project always helps rekindle the fire, so I’m very glad for Beer Magic. Even if it needs a good whack. (It’s a weird one, my friends. Fun, but weird.)

“Village Tavern,” by John Lewis Krimmel (ca. 1814).

So the important thing for 2018 is to keep moving onwards. Write more, write better. And more importantly, write with more joy. I realize now that was often missing from my 2017 writing. That may have been part of the problem, actually.

Well. Hmm. That’s something to chew on. I’m glad we had this chat, friends.

Onwards!

KT

What I’m Listening to this Week

Aptly, a piece I literally just discovered, Daniel Schreiner’s “Fear Not.” There are some incredibly beautiful dissonances here—and those droning, held tenor/soprano notes give me goosebumps.

Posted on December 18, 2017, in Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I remember living in Spain for three months. After each month I had moments where I felt empowered, followed quickly by fatigue and frustration. I realized later that I had grown into a new level of communication and simultaneously craved communicating at an even higher level. Your 2017 year may be a transition into the next level of your writing. Rather than a death of your old self, perhaps a shedding of what you’ve outgrown to reveal to beauty you have to offer now. Sometimes shedding that skin takes longer than we’d like. I am excited to read what comes next.

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