Happy 2018, everybody!
I was thinking, as people often do, about what a new year means. Resolutions, goals, arbitrary distinctions and constructs we call time…these are all important and warrant introspection. What I came away with, though, was one phrase–new year, same me.
Not new me.
While it’s true that my sense of self adapts and changes as I journey through life, I am still me. I get hit with setbacks, I achieve goals, I fail and succeed and recalibrate when I do either since huge lessons exist in both of these states. I gain experience. The more I live, the more XP I gain. And through it all, I am always and forever me. I may respec or decide to follow a different skill tree (gaming metaphor mode intensifies) or even relearn my skills altogether (applies vanishing powder to unwanted glyphs) but I am constantly leveling up. And every time I advance, I’m still me–a stronger me, yes, but me all the same. With every DING! (insert glowy effects, triumphant music, ), I am Amanda but with more HP/MP and better, well, everything. At least in the places that matter to me–the mind, the soul, and understanding of my place in the world.
I hope 2018 sees you leveling up to be a more powerful, more awesome you than you’d ever dreamed. Happy New Year! <3
Salut, all! I hope you are thriving as well as you can these days. This week has been a sky-full-of-lights, all-hands-on-deck busy week for me, WHEW. /collapses
My new sci-fi novella Temporary Duty Assignment is finally out in the world, waiting to be read, to find a home on your shelf or nestled amongst the other lovely e-books on your reader of choice. I would be honored if you bought it…what greater compliment to a writer than purchasing her work? You can order it by clicking on the link above, or find other versions on The Book Smugglers site! <3
You can also read about what inspired me to write this novella and create this world over on The Book Smugglers site where my Inspirations and Influences essay awaits if you are curious and need perhaps that extra little nudge before buying the book. Check it out–you know you wanna! <3
It’s also my birthday today…I’m 42! You know, that amazing number? The one Douglas Adams wrote about? The answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything? I was too bombarded/blasted/tie-tie/zzzzzzzzz to have a party this week, birthday or book birthday, but I want to celebrate amidst some messed up, crazy, enormous things going on in my country and the world. I want to celebrate my hope that things can be better. I want to celebrate my fervent wish that maybe, at 42, I can finally start to chip away on that whole life/the universe/everything quandary and make some sense of it all. Wish me well, dear readers…I would like that so very much.
Thank you as ever for reading, for supporting my work and here is wishing you a safe, relaxing and kind weekend! <3
Howdy, all…I hope the week is treating you well so far!
Recently I was having a conversation with a friend about how much I adore people’s food pics on social media. I’ve seen rants from naysayers, people complaining about UGH ANOTHER PICTURE OF SOMEONE’S STUPID DINNER and it never fails to make me a sad kitty. I love food, you see. Not just some casual, ‘you’re kinda alright’ feel but a deep and abiding love. I love how food brings people together–so many holidays and life milestones, happy, mournful, or indifferent–involve celebrations revolving around food. Food brings us together. We all must consume organic matter to convert to the energy our bodies need to function…alas, we are not yet transcended beyond flesh.
Which brings me to the fact that in most of my longer fiction, I try to include at least one little hint about the kind of food my characters eat or have available to them. Engaging all of the senses of a reader, communicating the smell of sauteeing garlic and onions or the warmth of a cup of fragrant jasmine tea–these details shift the world into a recognizable and relatable focus (or so I hope), and make everything just a little more real. This is incredibly important in speculative fiction, where worlds can be alien and strange.
In Nice, my story in the newest Book Smugglers Quarterly Almanac, I introduce a place called Super Gyro. It’s an ad-hoc, hover-truck gyro joint that is so freaking good that even the transit cops in this cyberpunk metropolis love it enough that they’re willing to “forget” to enforce traffic laws whenever it shows up. Super Gyro connects Kitsune, the heroine of Nice, to Sam, the kitten-shirt wearing spec-ops soldier you’ll meet in my novella set in the same universe and coming from The Book Smugglers in August. I like to think that people from any walk of life can identify with the satisfaction of well-prepared, nourishing food…that enjoying the simple act of treating ourselves, if we’re so lucky to be able to do so, is something we can all agree upon.
Stop by if you are so inclined, to join Kitsune in her appreciation of good food before the whole world falls down around her. Happy Tasty Tuesday, and thank you as always for reading! You’re really the best for that, you know! <3
If you’ve read any good meals lately, by the way, I’d love to hear about it on Twitter or in the comments!
When I was a kid, I was a bit obsessed with streetlights. Not just because I was allowed to stay out till just past the time when they came on, but for other reasons…harder to explain reasons. Imagery from the Book of Revelations via terrifying sermons, post-apocalyptic scenes courtesy of 80’s sci-fi shows and movies, and sci-fi odds and ends from books and school all mingled in my mind to give me thinky-thoughts. I would look up at the streetlights with their buzzing, orange light and wonder–what would it take to turn off all the lights in the world? If that thing happened, would they all go out at once, a sudden there-then-not kind of thing? As I grew and my understanding of the world (power grids, physics, post-apocalyptic narratives stemming from post Cold War tensions and the 80’s Star Wars propaganda) matured, I started to see that these things that preoccupied me as a kid were still pretty scary. These things come out even now in my poetry and fiction. Streetlights, powerlines stretching for miles over grassy fields, windmills with their blinking red pilot lights, the kinds of strange machinery and structures I’d see at the edges of the military bases and the Port Authority where I grew up all blend together with my young mind’s questions, creating this personalized, complex iconography of tech. To this day, I write about when the streetlights go out. To this day, I still get chills thinking about it. I hope you are all having a good week so far, and thanks for reading!
And now, a new poem:
before/after the streetlights
Be in before the streetlights come on, mom calls out
and her voice slaps flat against the sides of houses
and the summerhot asphalt
and my scrambling footfalls echo back–
I run till the street ends in woods and it’s darker.
Before the streetlights, what was there?
Fireflies and distant blinking stars only go so far
in holding back the night–
Before the streetlights, one kind of darkness
and after? What happens when the white light
eats the sky, when the generators die–will the streetlights
and stoplights and house lights all go out at once?
Will I be able to see to run? Be in before the streetlights
come on, I tell my blue shadow and look up at the metal
and orange light and down at the crumbling street
and I hum and I try not to be afraid of the after—
I don’t need to wax poetic about the fact that life is busy, and continues to be happen-y or busy or full as long as it extends. I won’t even go on about the fact that it’s sometimes vexingly difficult to find time for creative endeavors…particularly when we’re often convinced that there are Much More Important Things To Be Doing. Life hits hard sometimes, and we can so often be left examining the cracks in the pavement, stubbornly planting our creative gardens in the tiniest spaces. And that’s okay…even from those ittybitty spaces, big things can grow. Creating space is about seizing any opportunity we can to express ourselves–to think, dream, paint, write, sing, dance, move…to exist in that place where we are the makers. In the Venn diagram of life, there are many odd and wonderful places where the colors of “daily routine” and “creativity” intersect. Where do you create the space for imaginings? Where do you make the time to create? I’d love to hear in the comments. Be well all, and happy creating! <3