July 11-14 I will be in the Boston area attending Readercon! This is my first ever convention that I’ve been invited to attend as a guest, so I am doing tons of programming and I am so excited! Here is my schedule:
If you’re coming to World Fantasy next weekend, I hope you’ll drop by the reading that I’m doing with C.S.E. Cooney, Amal El-Mohtar, and Patty Templeton. I say “reading,” and there will be reading, but there will also be singing and harping and banjoing and cookies and dramatic interpreting. I think working as an artistic director has changed my brain, because I now see potential shows wherever I look, which is how this has become a thing with a set program and a poster! Behold, the poster, with portraits by Betsie Withey!
Looking back and seeing that my last three entries, spaced over the course of almost a year, are all about Goblin Fruit, you might get the impression that is has completely consumed my life. Well, slush does keep me busy, but not THAT busy – there’s just a lot on my plate this year, what with planning a storytelling festival, writing a novel, learning to play the banjo and everything else!
I’m very pleased with this issue of Goblin Fruit. With each issue, I feel like I’m more involved, and that the final product is something I really helped create. So please, go forth and consume!
Now that it’s September and the rain outside is making things feel properly fallish, I’m finally getting around to posting about our beautiful Summer Issue of Goblin Fruit! It’s so gorgeous I want to eat it. Please do have a look!
I’ve had a secret for a month now: at night, and sometimes on the weekends, I creep into the Goblin Fruit poem orchard and pick apples and oranges and pomegranates. In other words, I am now an assistant editor, who reads slush and does other sundry editorial tasks! It’s all terribly exciting!
Goblin Fruit was the first publication to buy a piece of writing from me, so it has a very special place in my heart – and I’m delighted that now I may get to help other writers have their first publications be with Goblin Fruit, too.
So without further ado, I’d like to present the Spring 2012 issue of Goblin Fruit!
I already liked Leah Bobet. She has blue streaks in her hair, writes about what she does with her farm share box, and she once showed me a yarn shop near Kensington Market where I found the most FABULOUS Noro wool/silk blend. Also, we both happen to be writing books set in Michigan at the moment, and she sometimes posts her word counts on her blog, which is an excellent motivation factor because I wouldn’t want her Michigan novel to grow up faster than mine. I want them to be friends, like we are.
And it’s because we’re friends that I hurried out and bought a copy of Above the week it was released. That’s what you do when you have writer friends with books being released. And if the book is good, that’s a bonus.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Above is good.
It isn’t just good because it’s the story of a boy who is the official storyteller for a band of misfits, beasts, and crazies living in secret passages under Toronto. It isn’t just good because it features a were-bee and a ghost-talker and isn’t afraid to feature characters from a diverse range of backgrounds, races, and cultures (I’m looking at YOU, urban fantasy shelf). It isn’t just good because the characters lose everything, get some of it back, and then aren’t sure they should have.
It’s good because of what it’s about under the surface. What the book is really about creeps up behind you wile you’re busy tearing through paragraphs about fighting shadow monsters in abandoned insane asylums and reads over your shoulder, and then, all of a sudden, it whispers in your ear. Then you close the book for a moment, because it was right there behind you the whole time.
I don’t usually like books because of the message they carry. I like them for their memorable characters and engaging stories. But this message stung me, like a bee-girl who won’t tolerate any more bullshit. It whispered to me, like a ghost-talker with a mission. It messaged me with a grace that is seldom seen amongst the ranks of teen fantasy adventure.
I think I’d better go work on my Michigan novel, if I want it to be cool enough for Leah’s Michigan novel to play with when they’re older.
I love hippos.
I am aware that in reality, they are dangerous and horrendously smelly. That doesn’t matter.
I think it has something to do with Moomins. If you don’t know what a Moomin is, stop reading this immediately and go and read this instead.
Hippos bear more than a passing resemblance to Moomins, so I like to imagine that hippos also share their enthusiasm for quiet adventure and zen philosophy.
Last year, two friends of mine got married. They were living in Mali, so for wedding favours, they commissioned the carver who lived across the street from them to carve 70 wooden animals for their guests. I’m not normally one to go crazy for wooden animal carvings, but these were truly beautiful and full of personality. Magill and I received a lion and a water buffalo.
I was immediately fond of my lion, and started planning which bookcase to put him on.
But then I looked across the table and saw a hippo.
He was adorable, with his absurdly large nose and stumpy little legs. Dear Reader, I coveted him.
Did I mention that the wedding had an open bar? Well, it did. I’m not normally much of a drinker, but you know what they say about Rome and Romans. I got extremely tipsy. And when I get tipsy, I turn into a bit of a kleptomaniac. I’ve never given into this temptation to steal that comes upon me. No, that’s a lie. That night at the wedding, I pinched two miniature jars of complimentary jam that were meant to be for breakfast the next morning. But I did not steal a hippo.
Some months later, I confessed about the jam and the hippo coveting to my friend the groom. He promised to bring me home a hippo the next time he came home from Mali.
Then, Dear Reader, I waited. Waiting for hippos is hard. I occasionally looked at my lion and wondered if I should have tried to trade him for a hippo. Being tipsy doesn’t do much for my negotiating skills, but maybe I could have found someone drunker than I was…
But you know what they say about good things and waiting.
This month my friends moved back to Canada, and they brought me a present.
He is enormous and perfect. He is also the same size, shape, color, and approximate weight as my cat Beans. Thus we have named him Beans 2. See?
I’m not sure what the moral of this story is, except that I have awesome friends. But I already knew that. Long live the Moominhippo!