The limits of genre

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Hi, everyone. I know it’s been a while since I blogged here. But I have been writing.

And editing. And then writing again. And, yes, in multiple genres. That’s my philosophy. That’s what you get if you read my writing.

I think I’ve probably written about this before, but I find myself increasingly disliking current writing styles. Short paragraphs. Bad grammar. No internal monologue. Things blowing up. Continue reading

Old-fashioned letters: Wow, what a fossil

stationerySince I don’t have access to a printer for a while (on a research stay in Montréal for a while), I decided to write a letter.

You know, on paper. With lines. That stuff made from trees that you can still find everywhere although nobody under the age of 25 ever uses it any more.

I hadn’t written an actual handwritten letter since probably before 1995. It felt…oddly satisfying.

Of course, I rambled on for 12 pages before I realized it. But imagine that; imagine no email, no tweets and posts and shares, and actually writing a letter that *only one other person will ever see.* (My mother in the hospital, in case you’re wondering.)

Can kids these days even conceive of such a thing, let alone actually write one?

Just think: You who are born into the digital age, you will never know the frustration of constantly confusing “stationary” with “stationery.”

‘Cause, what’s “stationery” again?

Oh, yeah. That stuff made from trees.

Old fossil. Jeez, get back to writing about SF already. (Getting there, getting there. Family comes first. Gimme a break.)

Brand me? Brand *this*

On a lark, I signed up for a “BrandYourself” account a few weeks ago.

I’d read about it via a Quartz link and was curious. I’ve been living outside the US Culture Bubble for about two decades now, so I’ve largely missed the “OMG my employer is checking my SNS posts” terror that (apparently) has been sweeping the nation.

My first BrandYourself warning: You have 738 Risk Factors!

OMG. What were they? Was I really putting myself at risk? Continue reading

The beating of my hideous heart!

So much for my New Year’s resolution of writing more regularly on my blog.

I can blame “writer’s block,” which is sometimes just a convenient excuse for general laziness and sometimes stems from a genuine fear of being entirely uncreative and uninnovative.

(My software program tells me that uninnovative is not a real word. Well, now it is. So there.) Continue reading

Marquez, the general, and his labyrinth

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When I first started writing the kernel of what ultimately became Adam’s Stepsons, the multiple/mixed genre story The General in His Labyrinth had just been published, by Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

I’d been searching for character names, desperate not to have them all sounding like the people I knew at the time (i.e., white guys in my rural hometown).

So “Marquez” sounded like a great name. I had a general in the story. General Marquez fit. Why not. Continue reading

On “En”

DSC00976I’ve been meaning to add a personal essay page to my web site for stories that didn’t seem to fit into any neat categories. The immediate impetus is an essay that was recently “rejected” by my former graduate program’s in-house literary journal…probably because it’s an essay and not a short story (I posted elsewhere an article about the quirkiness of the English-speaking world’s insistence on an artificial separation of “fiction” and “nonfiction”).

Rather than wait up to half a year to see whether I could get it published online in a magazine (most of which seem to only publish US-centric, “woe is me” or “OMG look at THIS” sensationalist drivel) I thought that at least I could share it here…

The essay is “En” (縁), a topic that Asians (particularly those in Confucian-influenced societies) know a lot about. I first encountered the concept as a teaching assistant in Gojo High School, Nara, about 15 years ago. Almost like a previous life. Maybe it was…

Check it out here.

Notes from the Nineties: The Four Teeth of the Apocrypha

This is the fourth preview of my upcoming collection of short stories and poems, Notes from the Nineties. In the first part, I explained the background behind the first story and poem pair, Cois Fharriage and Ag an gCrosaire. In the second part, I took a look at some of my experiences in Japan that informed Asian Dreams and Training the Mountain Warrior. In the third part, I delved into the “true story” of The Lost Bunny Shrine of Annandale.

teethToday marks the first day of spring, as well as the start of the Easter Week. And while it is the end of Spring Break for some schools in North America, it’s still spring break for others…and it was, in fact, around this time of year back in 1996 that the seeds of “The Four Teeth of the Apocrypha” were planted. Like teeth.

That remark alone should let you know that this is not a typical story (if the title hadn’t already tipped you off by now). Continue reading