Even as I am writing this, the Grindavík eruption has started. Since the November eruption eased off, they had been working like crazy to build a retaining wall against lava, but the new fissure opened on both sides of it. Which means that Grindavík almost certainly cannot be saved. I feel so sorry for the people whose homes are there. Or in the crosshairs of any disaster: How can you prepare? How can you predict what will happen? How do you balance optimism and pessimism, hope and depair?
Eruptions willing, this ismy second-to-the-last day in Iceland, and the last full day here at Gullkistan. Tomorrow night we are in Keflavík; tomorrow I am probably in the United States, though due to odd travel arrangements I won’t be home-home until later in the week. And of course this was after a month in Scotland. I haven’t been home since 11/12, and friends have been cat- and house- and squirrel-sitting.
I got a fair amount done, even if it was spread across projects. I wrote about 15k on the crow space opera, thought it was derailed for a bit, first by doubts, then by having to relocate for a few days due to the heat going out at the residency, then by the bad news about American Tour. I talked to a lot of agents and others for advice about what to do next with AT, and I have the start of a strategy: nothing great, probably a very diminished future for my (current) favorite book, but at least it’s not dead. I also wrote a short story for Sunday Morning Transport, and a flash piece that hasn’t found a home yet. And I started a new longer short story, which I like a lot and will be working on for a while.
I made some decisions about how to spend my time moving forward. The point of getting out of KU was, well, to get out of KU…but also to write more. I’m not going to talk today about KU — I’m stuck there and this spring my 25% phased retirement looks a lot more like a drastically underpaid 60%. But I still have a substantial shortfall between what I am making and what I need to get by through the next two years. After applying for and looking into a bunch of low-residency MFA positions, it’s pretty clear that most of the programs are in some sort of trouble or other, and very few of them pay enough to make them worth the time. However, I took a freelance contract for an RPG edit, and I’m loving it. I always loved editing games, so I’ll look a little more into that. And of course my workshops, which I love!
A few bits and bobs:
Next month is a one-week intensive online masterclass for writers of SF/F/H novels. I’ll put that information in a separate post, but you can learn more here, as well.
In totally unrelated news, my mother, at the age of 89, just sold The Old Bookshop to a long-time employee, Dina Skogen. Mom ran it for more than thirty years, starting from a little romance paperback exchange and expanding to a Main Street site and a lot of online sales, and she was working seven-hour days four days a week right up til the turnover. I am so delighted for Mom and Dina both!