Winter is here. Lawrence’s trees are mostly bare. The only green left is the rusty green of the few evergreens, and a faint tint to the dead grass. We had snow last week, and highs haven’t really gotten much above freeezing for the last week. I am sitting in the Ad Astra offices, which are on the sixth floor of a dorm on a hill that was converted to offices long ago. From here, I look down toward the football stadium and beyond that downtown. And a couple miles to the north, I can see a section of I-70, the two-way scuttling of tiny bright cars and trucks. Every time I notice those little vehicles bypassing the town I live in, I pine to be there with them, going east, going west, going somewhere.
The loss: I can predict how some deaths will affect me. If/when my brother dies, my mother, my closest friends — I know these will leave echoing holes in my life. For other losses, most of my sorrow is for the people they have left behind, imagining (or trying not to imagine) the progression of days and years ahead of them. Other deaths surprise me with the intensity of my reaction. SF writer Greg Bear died yesterday, after an amazing career and life. He was so very nice to me every time I saw him, and I always felt deeply honored and excited when I was invited to the house he shared with Astrid. This didn’t happen often: I moved away from Seattle, and even when I lived there, I felt timid about trying to make a friendship with them — Get in line, Kij; you may be good company, but you’re not Greg-and-Astrid good — but I imagined what it might be like to know them better and longed for that. Even though we weren’t close friends, I wished we were — and Greg’s death is affecting me as though we had been. I have so much sympathy for his family and his actual friends, who know what is lost (instead of just wishing they knew). I hope time brings comfort.
The announcement: Gavin Grant and I have finally signed off on the paperwork for the new Small Beer Press collection! Planned publication date is in time for 2023 World Fantasy Convention in Kansas City. We don’t have a title yet, but we have the text, anyway. This will include the River Bank short story I wrote earlier this fall just for the collection.
The other announcement: We still have openings in the online Novel Architects master class this January. Here’s the skinny….
My nights and weekends, insofar as they are differentiated from my dayjob, have been taken over by helping write a grant for some of Ad Astra‘s programming. It’s a whole new world, this sort of grant-writing: like many creative writers, I write a fair number of fellowship applications, but those basically add up to, Here’s why I want to be there, here’s a project I think you’ll agree needs time. This is very, very driven by evaluation and assessment, which means things need to be somehow quantifiable. We have always asked for feedback, of course, but most of what we gathered was anecdotal: very useful, but not a formal assessment. So much to think about, so much work! On the other hand, writing a grant is a fascinating intellectual exercise.
Last night, I went to a Friendsgiving party with some of the Kansas City SF fans. We bonded over past Worldcons and cryptic crosswords, and talked officially about the upcoming ConQuest and World Fantasy Con. Also, turkey and gravy. It was fun, and I ask myself: why don’t I get over there more often? There’s no good answer to that, except precedent.