Monday, July 31, 2017

And In Some Distant Future...


How do you like my headstone? That's it above.

Marianne and I went to West Laurel Hill Cemetery today and bought two plots in their "green" section. Not that we're planning on using them anytime soon. But making these arrangements is the sort of things adults do to save the next generation a lot of bother when our time comes.

The green section of the cemetery is a field of wildflowers, essentially. People are buried there in biodegradable coffins or just a linen shroud, either cremated or whole but unembalmed. Their names with dates of birth and death are carved into a low stone wall nearby. Several beehives are located nearby to pollinate the flowers and once a year some goats are brought in to crop the dead plants down to the ground. No headstones, no plastic flowers, or even jewelry allowed. Eventually, trees will grow up and there will be a small patch of woodland abutting the more conventional (and quite beautiful) cemetery grounds. And in some distant future, perhaps, a fox will dig its burrow among what once were my bones.

I like the quiet lack of fuss of that.

And on a sillier note...

Here are some shots that Marianne took of me dancing by my grave.

Above: The thing about the fox? I live in a Philadelphia neighborhood called Roxborough. It's named that because the first settlers came here in the seventeenth century, before the invention of the log cabin. So they dug caves into the banks of the Wissahickon Creek and put wooden facades over the front to house them until they could build real houses. A visitor wrote back to England that the people here built "burrows in the rocks like foxes." And the rocks-burrow name stuck.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Domani il Mondo Cambiera


Look what arrived in the mail today!  Mondadori has published a new paperback edition of Domani il Mondo Cambiera. Which, in the original English, is my novel Stations of the Tide. Translated by Marco Pinna. Cover art by Andrea Falsetti

And that's pretty much all I can say about it. Like most Americans I am, alas, monolingual. At least I have the decency to be ashamed of this fact.

And if you're going to be in Chengdu this November...

I'll be a guest at the Fourth China (Chengdu) International SF Conference on 10th through 12th of November in Chengdu, China. Science Fiction World has its offices in Chengdu and I am proud to say that they have published many of my stories over the years. So I am particularly delighted to be returning for a third time to the home of the famous thatched hut of the poet Du Fu.

If you're going to be at the convention, be sure to say hello.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday's Dream Diary

I'm off to Readercon in a few minutes -- perhaps I'll see you there? So today's blogpost will, alas, be perfunctory. But I've been so dilatory in recent weeks that I felt it would be wrong to just blow it off.

I have a dozen irons in the fire right now, at a modest estimate: I'm working on a new Darger & Surplus story, a new Mongolian Wizard story, two extremely interesting collaborations with other writers, a raft of other independent stories, a couple of essays, plus any number of hard-to-describe projects. You'll be hearing about them all over the coming year.

Right now, just to include something less (though not a great deal less) vague, here's my...

Dream Diary (July 14, 2017):

I dreamed I was working a crossword puzzle whose clues had no words but only brightly colored cartoons. I had no problem with "fruit" or "volcano" or "The Monkees." But the cartoon of a woman singing into a microphone stumped me. Christine Aguilera, perhaps? The older I get, the more unfair pop culture clues seem to me.

Above: Yes, it wasn't a very interesting dream. But the point of dream diaries is to keep track of everything and then, at some later point, put them all together and see what can be learned. This is how I discovered that, yes, people can dream in color and, no, it's not true that one never dreams tastes or scents.


Monday, July 3, 2017

Back to Short Fiction


The Iron Dragon's Mother is finished and off in the world. So, while I proceed to research the next book, I have time to work on short fiction. I have a few dozen stories I want to finish with six or seven right at the top of my list.

Pictured above are my notes for one of those stories.

Which I'll get to work on in two minutes.

And as promised...

I'll have my travel notes for Tampere written up soon. Really. This time I mean it.