Wow, It’s Been a Spell, Hasn’t It?

Hey there, fellow creatives! Did you forget I have a blog? I might have.

Honestly, amid everything going on in Canada and the rest of the world, this blog definitely fell into the category of “non-essential.” Part of that was my own bandwidth, and the fact that the past seventeen months or whatever (has that joke gotten tired yet?) stretched even my ability to remain upbeat and positive sometimes.

Part of the problem is:  what in the hells do I talk about here? Especially on topics that others are speaking about much more eloquently (like COVID-19), or topics where my role is to listen and signal boost (like Black Lives Matter) or topics that I have very little stake in personally as it hurts people I know (like recent news around folks like Myke Cole). Also this blog was never meant to contribute  to the ongoing doom-scrolling and commenting on said doom-scrolling that I totally never fall into (or the collective burnout we’re experiencing, according to this Medium article my friend Tracy Townsend shared).

The other problem is that I’ve been very lucky compared to other folks. I’m safe and healthy, my loved ones are safe and healthy, and I’m fortunate to live somewhere that right now has few COVID-19 cases due to lockdowns and social distancing. (That doesn’t mean I like seeing busy patio bars downtown, mind you.) My only major source of stress has been teaching, in the sense that the necessary Learn from Home here in Ontario wasn’t nearly as fun or useful or productive as teaching in a classroom. Admittedly that’s because I’m an energy vampire who needs to feed off a live audience, and staring at a Google Meet of faceless avatars doesn’t allow me to take full advantage of my Encyclopedia Britannica/David Copperfield/Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson model of teaching. But now the school year is done and hopefully a) things will be safe enough to do at least a hybrid teaching model in September and b) everyone’s realized that promoting more mandatory online courses is a terrible idea, which isn’t surprising since it comes from a Ministry run by someone who understands fuck-all about education, and passed the buck on coming up with that September plan mentioned a few lines above.

Oops, I got political there for a second.

Courtesy of circumstantial luck, I’ve managed to be pretty productive creatively, which I’ve also hesitated to talk about because I know a lot of people aren’t amid amid lockdowns and social upheaval. But it’s the truth, mostly because losing myself in a project is one of my best coping strategies. I managed to finish the draft of a novel, which has been sent out somewhere Very Important (sorry for the vaguebooking), and yesterday I dove back into Different Novel Rewrite, with the hope of getting that done by end of summer. I’ve had some releases and public appearances, too; for anyone who’s curious, there’s some links below, which is as much self-promotion as I feel is appropriate today.

The thing I’m trying to maintain the most between creating and teaching is signal boosting other amazing creatives whose work people should check out. That’s most of what I do on Twitter, besides madcap arguments with my Can*Con teammates and geeking out over stuff, to try to put some more positivity into the hellscape. If you want to see more regular updates from me, please follow me there, but I’ll try to post occasionally here for those of you who follow this blog. In the meantime, hope you’re keeping safe and well, and that we’ll one day meet again in something akin to Spaceballs II: The Search for More Money.

Links to What I’ve Been Up To!

  • Season 2 of Broadcasts from the Wasteland, my podcast with Evan May, just concluded! We had a blast chatting with a bunch of guests, including a Batman Duel with Erin Rockfort.
  • Broadcasts was also nominated for an Aurora Award – and voting is open now! Full details here, and any support/signal boosting would be appreciated! Voting closes July 25th.
  • My short story “Rainclouds” was reprinted in A Dying Planet Short Stories (Flame Tree Press). You can learn more about the anthology here. Plus Flame Tree is spotlighting the contributors on social media.
  • A couple other appearances that you can go watch on YouTube: the first ever online version of Lee Harris’s Ready, Steady, Flash game, feat. myself, Tina Connolly, Paul Cornell and Sienna Tristen. Flash fiction written on the spot via audience suggestions! In addition, we’ve posted two interviews from the Before Times, where I chatted with Charlie Jane Anders and Kameron Hurley.
  • I had the pleasure of taking part in Pulp Literature’s Friday reading series a couple weeks ago, reading from my story “Clearing Out Nests,” about the ghoulish side of gentrification.
  • And last but certainly not least, Adam Shaftoe-Durrant and I put together the No One’s Alone Reading Series, an audio production to fill the void left by various literary events that have been cancelled due to COVID-19. You can listen to the full production here, which includes readings by folks like Marie Bilodeau, Kelly Robson, ZZ Claybourne and Dan Stout.


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