Meanwhile, in Non-November News
- 959 words (if poetry, lines) long
While I've been nattering on about NaNoWriMo, I've failed to blog another development: Another short story of mine will soon see print.
This isn't a pro-sale, or in fact a sale at all. But I'm pleased with it. Anything that hauls a piece of fiction out of the rewrite queue and delivers it into the slush is a slice of the positive, in my opinion. And it was a happy thing to dive into this particular slush pile.
I graduated from the University of Washington back in... well. My final quarter was Fall 1996, but I officially took the walk in Spring 1997. I did my time in a somewhat unorthodox fashion, starting with an impressive handful of AP credits and attending classes straight through the summers. So I graduated "Class of I Haven't Got A Clue, Random Mid-90s, How's That?" with a BA in English, concentration in Creative Writing, with honors. This required that I present an Honors Thesis to my Advisor (the most awesome Shawn Wong, who had just published American Knees at the time). My Honors Thesis consisted of pretty much every piece of fiction or poetry I'd created during my time at the University of Washington, presented for critique, revised and rewritten and polished until sparkly.
As you might guess, it was full of weird stuff. "And on the Seventh Day," a story inspired by misreading "an angel waking up a man" as "an angel waking up as a man." "Out from Under," a bit of wanna-be magic realism inspired 90% by resentment at my ex-boyfriend and 10% by grudging acknowledgment that I wasn't exactly perfect myself. "The Goddess Factor," a bit of science fiction inspired by the then-new idea of DNA computing. And so forth. The whole compendium I called Songs About Fallen Angels.
I have been reliably informed, by a recent UW graduate whom I met at Sirens 2011, that I would never have been able to graduate on that today. The UW English Department, I'm told, will not even consider an application whose writing sample has a whiff of the spec-fic.
This floors me. In my time, I encountered absolutely no genre-unfriendliness, neither from classmates nor from teaching assistants nor from professors. The closest I experienced to genre-unfriendliness was a TA critiquing the narrative style of "The Children of Ghosts," which was admittedly written from fresh fannish squee for Meredith Ann Pierce's Darkangel trilogy. He didn't mind that I was using an anacronistic high fantasy style; he minded that I was doing it badly.
But today, I'm told, times have changed. The UW English Department no longer stands as an exception to the dearth of welcome SF/F/H finds in academia. And a recent handful of English graduates -- my Sirens informer included -- decided to do something about it. They started a new literary journal, one dedicated to speculative fiction in all its glory. It's called AU, and its next issue will include my Viable Paradise "Hats of War!" story, "The Worms Crawl In, The Worms Crawl Out."
Or so I'm told. In any case, I just emailed my revised draft to the editors this morning. Hopefully this new rewrite didn't change it from something they liked into something they liked less. We shall see.
In any case, I'm ecstatic to hear that something like AU exists, and I want it to go on existing for a long, long time. I submitted a story to it because 1) the theme was "Invasion," a perfect match for "Worms," and 2) because, hearing about AU at Sirens, I immediately wanted to support it, and submitting a story seemed a logical way to do that. I only wish something like AU had been around when I was still an undergrad.
Hooray for acedemic support for speculative fiction! More like that, please!