Tag Archives: friends

Sirens Is Now My Home

If you’ve read most any other person’s experience attending Sirens, you’ve an inkling of what I’m going to say.

Yes, it is an amazing few days—surrounded by women and men (why, YES, men do attend Sirens, and enjoy it immensely) who celebrate who they are, and what and who they love. The conversations are far-ranging and tightly-focused, curious and passionate, overlapping and attentive. The interactions are both open and intimate. There is space and there is affection. Questions and affirmations. Challenges and comforts. Embracing old friends and picking up where we left off last year, and embracing new friends with the anticipation of connections yet to be formed.

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Three cool things in particular, but in no particular order:

First: Conversations about grief and grieving. Not many opportunities come about in daily life for those. People close to me are much more interested in making sure I’m “all right,” which to them means I’m not expressing loss and longing. That makes it easier for me to talk about grief with people I don’t see all the time; they tend to be more curious than concerned, and curiosity is what opens doors in search of answers. Those chats are emotional gold for me—the chance to share in the hope it’ll help someone else, yes, but also the opportunity to better understand myself and the process.

Second: The Sirens Fight Club. Hooking up with women who understand the subtle and overt challenges of choosing to train—to openly enjoy—combat arts is exhilarating. Truly, I wanted another entire weekend to spend with these women, and I knew so within the first few minutes of our meeting. We’re going to plot out a proposal or two for next year. Truly, between us, we could offer a multi-day workshop!

Hmm…

Third: Laurie Marks. I’ve said before I am grateful for, and humbled by, the female fantasy writers who “raised” me in this crazy world of storytelling. Laurie was the first published writer I’d ever met, the first to teach me about critique groups, the first to give me feedback on my very first attempted novel. I was nineteen and stupid and arrogant and ambitious, and when she told me I used too many gerunds, I had to go home and look up the word (in an actual printed dictionary, no less!) because I hadn’t a clue. We lost touch a few years later, and the more years that passed, the more awkward it felt to pop back into her life with a “Hey, remember me?”

Twenty-five years passed that way.

Nervousness remained as Sirens came closer, until I passed Laurie in the hall on the second day and re-introduced myself.

And was given a full smile and a tight hug and an invitation to lunch with her and Deb. Catching up was wonderful and too brief, but there isn’t a shred of awkwardness or nervousness on my part remaining. There will not be a horrible time-gap again!

All of that was Sirens for me.

The conference will be in Colorado again next year, but this time up in Vail at a marvelous luxury resort that—and this is the incredible part—will cost little more than the rooms down in Denver.

You want to do this, my darlings. You want to do this so, so badly.

You want to come to Vail in October, when it might be clear and merely crisp at sundown only to give way to snow-covered mountainsides by sunrise. When we will celebrate the women of fantasy who not only hold power in their own right, but wield it as well. Women of strength. Women of magic.

Women we all know.

Women like you.

#SFWApro

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Your Call Cannot Be Completed As Dialed…

Every now and then, I find I need to remind the folks I know and love that the operative word in the phrase, “working from home” just happens to be “working.”  And since the majority of folks I know and love have barely the slightest notion what process goes into writing fiction, I sometimes need to remind them that writing is indeed work.

This time, I wanted to take a lighter approach.  I offer my wording here in case it might help another writer find a constructive way to keep family and friends from killing their career with love, kindness, or carelessness:

Hey, my darlings, just a quick heads-up:
For most weeks, Monday through Friday, I will not be answering my phone, text messages, or email between 11am and 4pm.  These are my work hours.

A longer explanation:
Let’s say you work on the 35th floor of an office building, but the only way people can contact you is to call the phone that is on the ground floor.

Fortunately, it’s understood you can’t answer that phone in a timely manner from the 35th floor, so the building is equipped with an express elevator that whisks you from your office to the ground floor.  The phone rings and -whoosh!- you’re right by the phone!

Unfortunately, the elevator goes only one way: down.  To get back to your office, you must climb 35 flights of stairs.  It doesn’t matter if what called you to the ground floor needed one minute or thirty minutes.  You still have to climb the same number of stairs to get back to work.

My writing brain lives on the 35th floor.

Thank you for understanding. 🙂