What I See (13), by Karen Joy Fowler

Wed 30 Mar 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

What I See, part 13 by Karen Joy Fowler

The song in my head today is all about Japan. “Ue o muite, arukou, namida ga kobore naiyo-o-uni.” It’s the only Japanese I know.

This from my buddy, Tim Sandlin in an email:

I don’t know the proper response to all the end of the world stuff. Sometimes I’m petrified into emotional catatonia. I’ve always tried to picture what the average citizen felt in 1938 Germany, how they could have let what was happening happen? Now I sort of see it. You get up and have coffee and get dressed and try to figure out what else you can be doing, other than loving and protecting your family. Then it all gets out of hand.

Here’s what I’m doing while it all gets out of hand: walking the dog. We’ve had a whole week of heavy wind and rain here. Huge trees upended. Small birds flung against the windows. The waves have been enormous and the beaches, while not closed, have been posted with warnings to stay out of the water. The dog beach is covered in crashing, roiling foam. I don’t know if this could still be caused by the tsunami, or just the winter storms, or possibly the super moon that we never saw, stuffed as the whole city was into a sock of clouds.

Yesterday was flying nun weather and MJ and I fought for every step. There was a kayak competition at Steamer Lane and it was sadder than it was inspiring to see the kayaks working so hard against the wind and water for so little headway.

Today we started in the rain, but walked into clear weather and a blue sky above. Natural Bridges State Park was closed due to weather, but we ducked the gate and went in only to find the road blocked by trees the storm had felled. By the time we turned around, the gate had been seriously augmented with tape; getting out was much harder than getting in.

On the way back I could see the dark sky ahead and we hit the rain again. There was something magical about the act of walking out of one weather system and into another. Like I was slipping through a door into a different dimension. It reminded me of an afternoon when I was small girl in Indiana. I was playing with some kids across the street from my house, and we saw a rainstorm coming toward us down the Ballantine hill. I made for home and, like some superhero, outran the rain, which hit just as I ducked under the porch overhang. I don’t have a lot of superhero moments in my life so I tend to remember them.

MJ ate some grass that she immediately threw up. It’s a thing she does. But today was the day she, usually so reserved and diffident, decided to extend the paw of friendship. She bounded up to everyone we passed, demented strands of vomitous grass poking out from her mouth, streaks of green dribbled down her chin. She got a mixed response. I blame the moon.

Previous posts


Karen is also moderating the Tiptree Book Club .

Up. Down.

Wed 30 Mar 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

2 links from Locus. Amazing news and very very sad news.

Shaun Tan Wins Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

Tue 29 Mar 4:03 pm
Australian artist and writer Shaun Tan is the winner of the 2011 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, honoring children’s and young-adult literature….The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award will be presented to Tan at the Stockholm Concert Hall in Sweden on May 31, 2011.

Diana Wynne Jones (1934 – 2011)
Mon 28 Mar 9:30 am
Diana Wynne Jones, 76, died March 26, 2011 of cancer. Jones was a respected and prolific author of fantasy novels, many for children and young adul…

The Guardian‘s obit is well worth reading.

To read pile and oops

Mon 28 Mar 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Flurb has a new issue, guest edited by Eileen Gunn which features three authors who also have stories in Three Messages and a Warning: Contemporary Mexican Stories of the Fantastic: Bef, or, Bernardo Fernández, Pepe Rojo, and Alberto Chimal. And, the stories are available in English or Spanish: nice.

If you’re in the Easthampton area, the Garage Annex runs some lovely classes including this weekend letterpressing class with Art Larson that Kelly and I did a couple of years ago.

The Tiptree Award! You have, I hope, gone and read this post already but if not: go on! After being a juror a couple of years ago I know the work that goes in to making the honor list so that now, even more than before, I think the honor list is a real honor and makes for a great reading list.(And: Meeks is on the long list, so yay!)

In the Wiscon newsletter they noted that the James Tiptree, Jr. Award Motherboard “was selected as the recipient of the 2011 Clareson Award. . . . The award is presented at the annual SFRA conference, which will be held this year in Lublin, Poland. Founding members Karen Joy Fowler and Pat Murphy will travel to Poland in July 2011 to accept the award.” I’d never heard of this award but this is lovely new!

And: my laptop died. Oops. So if you try and contact Small Beer/Weightless and don’t hear back it’s because I am doing my damndest (sacrificing chocolate bars, weeping in my beer) to rescue the damned drive and/or get a new one. Yes, I do seem to have a mildly deleterious effect on technology, why do you ask?

Joan Aiken Nom de Plume Giveaway!

Mon 21 Mar 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | 60 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Joan Aiken giveawayWe just sent none other than a new collection by the late and much missed Joan Aiken to the printer. What a storyteller! It’s been pure pleasure working on The Monkey’s Wedding and Other Stories. It’s full of spooky, funny, heartbreaking, enchanting, clever, and sometimes wicked stories.  There are 19 stories in all, six of which have never been published(!), and two of which were first published in Argosy Magazine under the pseudonym Nicholas Dee.

Which is where the fun comes in. Tell us either

  1. your favorite pseudonym (and, if you want, why it’s your fave)
  2. your pseudonym (own up!)
  3. or a pseudonym you’d like to use (it can be serious or . . . not so serious!)

On publication day April 19, 2011 we’ll use random.org to pick two winners each of whom will receive not only a copy of The Monkey’s Wedding, but also an original copy of the issue of Argosy containing one of Joan’s pseudonymous stories—as well as any goodies we have lying around the office. And, three more readers (in the US & Canada only, sorry) will receive copies of the book!

Here are the Tables of Contents of Argosy with “Red-Hot Favorite” (this issue also has a story by Isak Dinesen) and “Girl in a Whirl” and above is a pic of the original magazines. (Which make for fascinating reading, btw: from the ads it looks like there were as many people willing to part new writers from their money then as there are now!

And of course you can make sure you get your copy (hardcover or ebook) of The Monkey’s Wedding by ordering it here.

That’s it! Enter as many times as you like. Can’t wait to find out who you all really are!

Teabreak reading

Mon 21 Mar 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Solitaire has been out a month or so (er, two!) and people, they like it. It’s a truism that a reprint is only a reprint for those who’ve read it, which was one of the reasons we wanted to bring this awesome book back in print. Nice to see the print book is getting out there (prrof? bloggity reviews: one, two, three, four!)—it’s not all ebooks all the time.

To celebrate the publication, there’s a lovely big interview with Kelley Eskridge at the Lambda Literary Review. Kelley, she is one smart cookie:

If we don’t see ourselves reflected in the stories around us… well, that’s just one more way of being made marginal, invisible. On a particular level, culture is story, and if we aren’t in the stories, then we sure as hell aren’t in the culture either.

That’s what it’s all about. And since you have the cup of tea already in hand, how about another interview, this time at the Daily Monocle:

Alright to start things off, how about a fun question? Can you describe yourself in three words or less?
Resistant to limitations.
And now I must take more words to explain, or risk being labeled snarky and uncooperative (which certainly describe me in moments, but not, I hope, in general). I have spent so much time trying to expand – in my life, in my work – that I find it hard to be reductive, even in jest. In my house, I am known as the Option Queen.

Wanted: College Building League

Thu 17 Mar 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

File under projects for other people to follow up on: here’s a pitch for a reality TV show I want to watch and a league I want to follow.

How about the top 100 colleges and universities in this country (and internationally, too, why not?), alongside the football, basketball, lacrosse, table tennis, etc., teams they already have, field design and building teams for an intercollegiate building league?

Teams would be made up of students from every part of the school—it’s the ultimate resume booster and the best way to get some work experience and do a little networking along the way.

In the first semester, students would identify and design a project that would benefit their local community. In the second, they’d build it.

Impossible? Weeeellll, no. The Rural Studio does it every year.

The good people from Habitat for Humanity, Rural Studio, and Architecture for Humanity could be involved as mentors and judges.

There are a few TV channels (calling HGTV . . . Bravo . . . ) where this would be a natural fit but I’d just as happily tune in to ABC/NBC/CBS/Fox to see it.

Ok, now please someone make it happen!

What I See (12), by Karen Joy Fowler

Wed 16 Mar 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

What I See, part 12 by Karen Joy Fowler

I’ve been reading about the staggering numbers of people missing in Minami Sanriku. Apparently the tsunami was channeled and focused by the walls of bay on which it sat. This helped me understand why, halfway across the world, Santa Cruz was also considered to be at risk.

I wasn’t here on the 12th. I was in Idaho at the Rocky Mountain Writers’ Festival and away from the news so I learned quite late about the Japanese earthquake. When I saw the magnitude listed on the television chyron, I thought it must have been a misprint. Today even that unbelievable number has been raised. But my husband says that locally it was a non-event. There were big waves, he says, but we’ve seen bigger. The beaches were closed, but surfers turned out in large numbers and people lined the cliffs with binoculars and cameras. A young man died in Crescent City trying to see the waves, but I’d have done the same thing if I’d been here. I would have wanted to see.

The media are breaking the news of nuclear meltdown in tiny increments—a slow drip of disaster. Like the aftermath of the gulf oil well, I suspect we will never completely comprehend the damage done here. It will be with us into another generation and beyond.

Meanwhile the waters in the bay here are calm. The mustard in the park has grown taller than my knees, which means Mojito can disappear into it. There is a crow building a nest in a leafless tree. Ponds have appeared where there were no ponds and many of the paths are muddy and impassible.

When we first moved here, the rock out past the lighthouse was covered in sea lions. Then they left it to the cormorants and pelicans, went to live noisily under the pier at the wharf. Last week I saw a single sea lion back on the rock, the first in nearly a year. I’m waiting to see if she’s a harbinger or an outlier. Sea lions are caniformia, or dog-shaped animals, but MJ admits to no fellow feeling.

Previous posts


Karen is also moderating the Tiptree Book Club discussion of Maureen F. McHugh’s story “Useless Things.”

On how to quiet a baby

Tue 15 Mar 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Mystery baby by Adam Tinworth“I will only mention that, after a good deal of experiment, I found one infallible method of stopping the baby’s howls. This was to put it in the pram and race it at top speed (I should say here that I had won the fifteen years and under three-quarter mile at the village sports) round and round the field. The baby liked this. Unfortunately Tweetie the dog didn’t care for it; he was nervous about my running, maybe he thought I was trying to kidnap the child, and insisted on racing beside me, taking a nip out of my calf every so often and barking in a high-pitched hysterical manner.”
—from “Harp Music” by Joan Aiken in The Monkey’s Wife and Other Stories

Photo by Adam Tinworth.

Sandstorm day and more

Wed 2 Mar 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Sandstorm: A Forgotten Realms Novel (Forgotten Realms) Cover

Just sneaking this in before the end of . . .

Sandstorm Day!

Woot! And I am not even a player of said game but I sure am going to read that book.

Also: Carrie Frye is the new editor of The Awl! (Ok, so this is last week’s news, but the internets, they don’t always work around here.) Magnificent!

Holy crap: we’ve had bagels for breakfast with an Oscar winner! Congratulations to Shaun Tan et al! ((Locus says: “The film can be viewed in its entirety at www.indiemoviesonline.com.”)

Go join Karen Joy Fowler and the Tiptree Bookclub talking about Maureen F. McHugh’s excellent story “Useless Things” from Eclipse 3 (edited by Jonathan Strahan).

A new book award voted on by indie booksellers: could be fun. Also: any suggestions for a name for the award are welcome. Could be more fun!

Two nontraditional places to find our books (and we have a cool announcement about that very thing coming here soon, too): a fundraiser and an awareness raiser!

Con or Bust is expanding and they are having a huge fundraiser. We’re offering Small Beer Sixpacks (if you go up to $200, they come with your own engraved, wooden sixpack holder!), LCRW subscriptions (—Avec chocolat? —Mais oui!) and advanced reading copies of some sekrit yet-to-be-published books! Bid here please!

The Ranting Dragon is running a huge giveaway to encourage/challenge more readers (especially younger readers) to vote in the Locus poll. Seemed like a good idea to us (and to many other publishers!) so there are tons of books being given away including all of our included titles—including 5 copies of LCRW 26. Freebies! Tons of them!

Redemption nominated for the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature

Wed 2 Mar 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

We are immensely honored to share the news that Karen Lord’s debut novel Redemption in Indigo has been longlisted for a major new award for books by Caribbean writers, the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.

The OCM Bocas Prize will be awarded for the first time in April 2011. The prize includes an award of US$10,000, sponsored by One Caribbean Media.

The Longlist:

Elegguas, by Kamau Brathwaite (Barbados) — Wesleyan
A Light Song of Light, by Kei Miller (Jamaica) — Carcanet
White Egrets, by Derek Walcott (St. Lucia) — Faber

The Loneliness of Angels, by Myriam Chancy (Haiti/USA) — Peepal Tree
Redemption in Indigo, by Karen Lord (Barbados) — Small Beer Press
The Amazing Absorbing Boy, by Rabindranath Maharaj (Trinidad and Tobago/Canada) — Knopf Canada
How to Escape a Leper Colony, by Tiphanie Yanique (US Virgin Islands) — Graywolf

Beauty and Sadness, by Andre Alexis (Trinidad and Tobago/Canada) — House of Anansi
Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work, by Edwidge Danticat (Haiti/USA) — Princeton
The Masque of Africa: Glimpses of African Belief, by V.S. Naipaul (Trinidad and Tobago/UK) — Picador

The winners in the three genre categories will be announced on 28 March, and the Prize will be presented on 30 April, during the first annual Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain. More information on the longlisted books is here.

What I Hear, by Karen Joy Fowler

Tue 1 Mar 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

What I Hear, by Karen Joy Fowler

I made a decision at the start of this blog to leave the iPod behind when I walked, but it doesn’t mean there’s no music. I spend most of my life with a song in my head. Not a song, really, so much as a bit of a song, a few lines that repeat. With great effort I can finish the song or substitute another in, but the original snatch returns as soon as the effort ceases. This is not usually unpleasant. It depends on the song. Sometimes I enjoy trying to track back how that particular song ended up in my head at that particular time. Sometimes I can’t. In any case, I’m used to it.

This morning’s was Acadian Driftwood.

Try’n’ to raise a family. End up the enemy
Over what went down on the Plains of Abraham

What did go down on the Plains of Abraham? You might be surprised to hear that Canadian history wasn’t covered much in school here. Read more