“You gotta try to keep your head above the water / You gotta try to keep a step ahead of time…”

I’m in Cleveland in the house where I grew up, and I dug up that picture of my sixth birthday. It brings to mind a couple of things. First, my mother who we lost before the holidays, which necessitated traveling a week before I’d planned. Second, it’s a pretty funny reminder to myself that the struggle is real. That’s right, Don, raise that fist!

It was a collision of blessings and curses. Things gained, things lost, people lost, opportunities gained, lost, and re-gained. My writing life all but halted this year. It was only because of the connections I have with my friends and allies in the SF/F/H writing community (You all know who you are!) that kept me going.

The first part of 2018 will be finishing up all the old business (mine and my mother’s) from 2017. And then I’ll ease back into my backlog of short stories in preparation for rejoining proper society (read: the SF/F/H community) at Boskone in February. As for the rest of it…? Well, I’m usually further along at this point in formulating a loose idea of what my resolutions will be for the new year than I am right now. What can I tell you, it’s been a busy few weeks. And anyway, I’ve become less and less of a “Resolutions” person over time, and more of a “Here’s a GTD Projects List for the Year” guy.

2017 had its way with us. And if you’re like me and most people I know, we need some get back (metaphorically speaking) in 2018. How? Well, Mom might not have said these exact lyrics to me, but if I boil down everything she’s said to me over the years, it all comes down to the same good advice…

Thanks, Mom.

“It’s such a crude attitude / It’s back where it belongs”

For the first weekend in several weeks (at least since 4th Street Fantasy), I’ve had time to just sit and catch my breath. I got back to New York last Tuesday after 2 weeks+change in Cleveland, and after two days of utter exhaustion and incomplete recovery, I went back to work. No writing to speak of, but I think this is the one (and only!) time I can completely forgive myself. So, let’s catch up:

PROGENITRIX UPDATE. Mom started her rehab the other day. So far, so good except for a PEG tube glitch that necessitated another trip to the ER last night. She’s okay, though. I have to say though, this whole experience has driven home how privileged I am (in the social sense of the word) to have had a job in healthcare for so long. It’s given me a certain level of patience and peace of mind most people don’t have otherwise. Understandably, when it’s you or your loved one, you don’t want to hear all the reasons that doctors or nurses can’t return your phone calls, or why one or another near-miss happened. Your natural reaction is, “WTF, you jackholes!” I had it too, but I understood exactly how/why these sorts of things can happen, I could see the various providers and aides doing what they could, and I communicated that to them.

PASSING. In two different senses of the word, here are a couple of calls for submissions that I’m passing on. I might’ve technically fit in the past with what they’re looking for, but you might be a better fit now! They’re both for Belt Magazine, that’s published me before:

THE COLUMBUS ANTHOLOGY “…will attempt to capture what Columbus is becoming, and to define a distinct cultural presence for Columbus and its citizens. Through the voices of local artists, activists, writers, musicians, and other enthusiastic residents who want to contribute, “The Columbus Anthology” presents a collective wisdom through its collected work.”

BLUE CITY, RED STATE. “We’re collecting essays about living blue in a red state—whatever that means to you—by writers who live in or have ties to a Midwestern state.”

IT’S ABOUT TIME. ‘Nuff said

That’s about all I have energy for today. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have a scotch or three before I head out to get some things done… and then return home for two or three more.