During breaks from writing (when real life intervenes), I spend a lot of time assessing my position. For example, why do I write? Is it worth it – the sacrifice of time and energy? Should I perhaps try a new direction? A different genre? Maybe I should quit, walk away, redefine myself. That kind of thing. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean I don’t love writing – the creative part of the process anyway – I just find myself increasingly disillusioned by the business side of it, and by the conduct of certain writers and editors on social media. But I’m going to stop there. This isn’t that kind of post.
Recently, after a three year hiatus in which I was the stay-at-home parent, I returned to the 9-to-5. I decided to take some time off from writing to adjust to the new routine. Simple as that. Again, time away from it usually makes me ask those questions above. Something always pulls me back, though. The itch returned about a week ago, on the back of a couple of new and promising story ideas. But I didn’t act on them other than to scribble some notes and put them aside for possible future use. Sometimes, and it seems more frequent in recent years, I need a sign. A little something to spark the fire underneath me again. I don’t know why, exactly, and I’m pretty sure you probably don’t want to read my theories. It’s just the way it is for me now. My ambition is still there, it’s never left – oh, it wanes at times, but it never dies: I’m just more of a realist these days, I suppose. Maybe something of a dumb old romantic, too. I want the words to do the talking for me not the number of posts I make on social media. Anyway, a couple of nice things happened to me this week, and that’s what I want to share with you here.
First, someone read one of my stories and posted their thoughts on Facebook. The story was “The Broken and the Unmade.” I won’t repeat here what they said, but it was complimentary. A couple of other people joined in with positive comments about me and another story of mine. Thank you, much appreciated.
Second, Ellen Datlow, the editor of Best Horror of the Year posted her longlist of Honorable Mentions for 2013. I was lucky enough to receive three. Cue the usual debate on Facebook (and elsewhere, I’m sure) about the validity of such things. After all, don’t they mean that you’re not good enough to get into the actual book? Well, yes and no and yes. These things are all subjective anyway, one person’s opinion on what works and what doesn’t, as is the Honorable Mentions shortlist and even the book’s contents itself. But I’ll tell you what it means to me:
Encouragement. No more, no less.
It’s akin to someone saying they enjoyed my work, and I’ll take that, I’ll take that every fucking time and say thank you for it.
So, if you want to peruse the entire HM longlist (posted in four parts) then follow this link to Ellen Datlow’s site. It’s a good place to start if you are looking to try out some new authors.
Here are my stories that each received an Honorable Mention:
- “Men Playing Ghosts, Playing God” – published in Black Static #35.
- “The Sound of Constant Thunder” – published in Black Static #37.
- “The Space That Runs Away With You” – published in Crimewave 12: Hurts.
Thank you, Ellen.
And thank you again to that Facebook user who said he enjoyed “The Broken and the Unmade.”
In other news…I have been asked by Interzone editor Andy Cox to interview his 2014 cover artist, Wayne Haag. It’s something I was more than happy to do since Wayne provided this beautiful artwork for one of my stories.
Once the interview is done and gone live, I’ll post a link here.
Have a great weekend, people.