I’m home, I’m home, I’m home. This year, like a post-2015 MacBook keyboard, has no more travel in it. I’m home, and can turn my eyes and hands to the business of being home, settling into all the work there is to do here, but also sleeping, and I’m excited with all the parts of me that are too exhausted to really feel excitement but glow, nevertheless, at the prospect of rest.
Viable Paradise 2019
I arrived home Monday night, after spending a week and change teaching at Viable Paradise, a deeply beautiful writing workshop unlike anything I’ve taken part in.
It isn’t just the island setting, though I haven’t words for the pleasure of walking by the ocean every day in conversation with students, questions and answers weaving through coin-gold leaves and bittersweet vines — it’s the care and kindness of the staff, the evenings full of music, the delight of cooking a simple meal for 40 people and watching them enjoy it. And of course there was the occasional Time War missive taking place in plain sight on a dark pier —
I took my harp along, and I have a delightful nub of callus developing again on the ring finger of my left hand, always solemnly tasked with striking the thickest bass note of an open chord. Funny how much happiness I reckon in callus: when I’m playing regularly, my fingers roughen, and when I’m lifting regularly, there’s a line that rises on my palm like a mountain range, a shifting topography of strength.
My hands have been soft long enough. It’s November. More than past time to be the well-muscled harp-playing badass scholar author I want to see in the world.
News From the Time War
This Is How You Lose the Time War made it on to Locus Magazine’s hardcover bestsellers list in amazing company! I have no idea how these things are measured and reckoned but regardless Max and I are delighted and excited and grateful to everyone who bought copies. Speaking of which—
Further Double-Signed Copies of This Is How You Lose the Time War
On the way back from Martha’s Vineyard, Max and I visited Trident Booksellers and Cafe, an absolutely lovely indie staffed with brilliant humans who’ve been spectacularly kind about This Is How You Lose the Time War both on and offline. Sing, Muse, of their hospitality, harbouring two waterlogged authors on a soggy Sunday, warming them with hot drinks, bearing books to be signed by the armful while sharing beautiful stories of how far and wide they’d recommended them! The visit was one of the highlights of this trip, and I’m more joyfully indebted to booksellers’ enthusiasm than I can easily say. Fierce front-line Time Warriors! Thank you. This book’s in its third printing (in North American hardcover AND UK paperpack!) because of all of you.
If you’re in the US and would like to obtain a double-signed copy in anticipation of holiday gift-giving, they’re the ones to contact! Just specify in your order or phone call that you’d like a signed copy. At last check they had about 16 available, which is significantly fewer than we signed, so they appear to be going fast.
I had a column appear in the NYT while I was away! In it you’ll find reviews of His Hideous Heart, a gorgeous anthology of young adult retellings of Edgar Allan Poe stories alongside the originals, all curated by Dahlia Adler; Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, which I absolutely adored; Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger, which was equal parts delicious fun and moving interrogation of colonialism and complicity; and Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz, which made me cry a lot.
I also reviewed Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea for NPR Books, which I really enjoyed for all that it was a (literally) mixed bag narratively speaking. But if you’re looking to sink into a warm love letter to storytelling and atmospheric puzzle games of the 90s, I definitely recommend picking it up.
That’s it for now! Happy NaNoWriMo to those of you taking part — I hope November treats us all well. Please enjoy this tremendously self-indulgent sealfie with which I intend to hold on to the memory of the ocean as long as I can.