For the first time this summer, I am sitting down to post to this blog. Thing 2 is sprawled across the bed behind me, demanding attention as only a kid who has never been an only child can do. Lately, when bereft of companionship for more than two seconds, he has taken to making proclamations about fish in hopes of provoking a response.
This is what happens to the writer-mama in summer. Every year I am determined that things will be different. I’m out of school! No classes to teach! No lessons to prep! No projects to grade! This is amazing! I will write ALL THE THINGS!!!
Every year, I fail to factor in that most powerful force of nature, that great immutable law of the universe–A child in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by some exterior force. A child at rest is BORED OUT OF HIS MIND THERE IS NOTHING TO DO WHAT CAN I DO NO I DON’T LIKE THE FIVE THOUSAND ELEVENTY THINGS YOU JUST SUGGESTED I’M BORED.
So not much writing has happened.
Who am I kidding? No writing has happened. Unless you count grocery lists, to-do lists, signatures on checks, and the forty-seven slips of paper that now reside in The Bored Jar and must be withdrawn one at a time each time a person under the legal drinking age utters those words that strike terror into parental hearts as no four-letter word can do–“I’m bored.”
But today–today!–I am making time for writing. I have A List. It is ambitious yet doable. I can do this. The first item on today’s list is this long-neglected blog. So here we are.
I do have writing news, which is exciting! My short story “The Bonny Bones” appears in the debut issue of Exoplanet Magazine. Short stories have scared me for a while. I write novels. How can I say anything in less than 80,000 words?!? But I’ve been giving it a try, and am surprised to find that I’m enjoying it and feeling much less daunted now that I’ve dipped my toes in. This post by the utterly magical author Kelly Barnhill is the best, most important, most helpful thing I’ve ever read about short stories.
So, I have a short story out in the world! I am humbled that it is in the company of the wild imaginations barely contained in this first issue. Exoplanet‘s tagline is “Stories Outside the Normative Orbit,” which is just about the best tagline I have ever read. It is deeply evocative, and a little incantatory, and it makes me think. I think that for a long time I have been trying to fit myself into some kind of normative orbit.
[enter Thing 2, who is BORED, Y’ALL. There is nothing to do in this house full of other people and animals and toys and enough Legos to incapacitate an army of barefoot adults. NOTHING, I TELL YOU. (HUGE, MASSIVE SIGH).]
I am an exoplanet. I just never had a word for it before. This is one of the Great Magics of words–their power to help us learn who we are. This is the kind of story I aspire to write–the kind that sings to someone else on some far exoplanet in the distant reaches of space and says, you, here, you are not alone.