Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Come on Over!

So, I'm taking the plunge and redirecting visitors to even though it's not quite ready yet. No new content will be posted here, so be sure to adjust your feed reader and/or subscription.

The content is the same, just working toward a better-looking site and more flexible platform.

See you there!

Friday, September 17, 2010

This Blog is Moving!

Just a heads-up; Is This Utopia? will magically transform this month into and migrate on over to a WordPress format, finally.

SO, adjust your sets, and let me know what you think. The site is already up, but it's a work in progress; new logo is being designed as we speak.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

On Roller Derby (more non-writing activities)

Too chicken to play all-female flat track roller derby myself, but it is awesome to be a spectator. I've recently been introduced to this team sport, and my current fav is the Switchblade Sisters, a team in the Tampa Bay Derby Darlins league.

The officials are almost as much fun to watch as the flat track action itself. I spent a fair amount of time at the last bout on September 4th trying to capture the antics of Stella Knockout (derby names are fun). She skidded on her knees on the edge of the track (a few feet from me) after every other play like she was sliding into home plate. Never quite got the shot I wanted, though. As seen here, she rocks the referee uniform.

I'm really not one for sports. I was forced to play team sports as an adolescent and hated it all. Now, I tend toward individual or partnered recreational activities, not competitive ones, and I don't watch sports on television. The entertaining aspect of roller derby (for me) has a great deal to do with empowering women, and the majority of spectators are women and girls. I plan say a bit more about this and the appealing third-wave punk aesthetic, too, when I'm not so sleepy; women-centered space can be creative and interesting to occupy. The number of supportive males in the sport, in terms of both audience and officials, is not too shabby from what I've seen in this league.

For a fun and informative look at roller derby, check out the excellent documentary Blood on the Flat Track: The Rise of the Rat City Roller Girls.

Monday, September 13, 2010

What Else?

My family and friends must be getting tired of hearing about my writing life because someone recently asked, "So, what else are you doing? What have you been up to?"

What I'm up to is bouldering and buildering, veganing and watching roller derby (but not all at the same time).

About bouldering:

I discovered this with the help of a friend and freaked over it, a little. Who knew climbing around on walls could be so awesome? And it builds muscle like crazy. The crummy thing is, the nearest gym is an hour away.

So, just for fun sometimes I gotta builder. In other words, climbing around in places I probably shouldn't like a monkey. Mind you, I'm a novice at both of these activities, but this one is particularly appealing to the juvenile delinquent (by which, of course, I mean "free spirit") that lives in the corner of my heart. A good friend is an influence in this regard.

So here I am climbing around on stuff behind the post office. Postal people might not appreciate this activity in the same way I do, so I'm buildering after hours. My son thought it was a hoot and joined right in. Is this a negative thing?

This silliness is abetted by the fact that I just acquired a pair of Vibram Sprints, five-fingered toe shoes that garner weird looks everywhere they go because, frankly, they are odd-looking. But they give you all kinds of grip, and they're comfy. I walked a couple of miles in them today, rode a bike and then set a bad example at the post office after dark. Good times.

Tomorrow: veganing and roller derby. Those need their own posts, methinks.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

An Acceptance!

I'm am thrilled and amazed to report that a submission of mine has been accepted for publication.

In a fun publication, too. Recently, excellent super-duo Ann and Jeff Vandermeer announced a call for micro-submissions to be included in their latest, The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiousities, which will feature such cool people as the marvelous and friendly-in-person Ted Chiang, China Mieville, Holly Black, Garth Nix and Minister Faust, to name a few.

You can read my submission on the blog comments here.

Congrats to all, and a big thank you to the Vandermeers for their consideration.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Single Best Thing

One of my Clarion West buds just sent me a critique of my latest effort at a short story. A really solid crit. And that may be the Single Best Thing to come out of the CW experience.

Not only do I have great friends who keep in touch and tweet pictures of their lunches to me, who chat with me about theology and life and finding fulfillment, but we are also lending generous hands to each other in our continuing work.

Even better, we'll get a chance to further that effort when we meet up again at events like World Fantasy Con.

Thanks, peeps! You made my day.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Life After

It's been a busy summer, and I've only covered a fraction of it here. As proof that there's more to life than Clarion West recovery, I actually set some goals.

One of the cooler gifts I was given at CW (among others too miraculous to quantify) was a autographed copy of Jeff Vandermeer's Booklife, which is an extraordinary survival guide that all serious aspiring writers should have. Thanks, Jeff! In the book, Vandermeer handily explicates the notion of goal-setting as it applies to the writing life, along with a wealth of other helpful suggestions.

I sat down and cranked out goals for the week, month, and coming year, including the number of submissions I think I should be rotating at any given time in marketland, and conventions for professional writers that may help further my career. I made plans to attend one, World Fantasy Con, and outlined plans for other events in the year to come.

The momentum is exciting, but I realized pretty quickly that my weekly goals are unrealistic; part of me crazily expected to keep up a CW pacing outside of the workshop bubble. When a child is tugging my sleeve, other family members need attention, and I find myself launched back into service of my faith community, the pace really slows.


I have recently submitted three works, two of them stories from the workshop, and I'm currently working on a promising new idea. I'm keeping in touch with CW colleagues, and I joined the Codex Writers' Group.

I guess this is a little pat on the back to reassure myself that the thrills and successes I experienced over the summer aren't going to fade away into the ether of memory as the present realities of my life assert themselves. I'm working toward my future, one goal at a time, and I know what I want. I just have to keep moving forward.