Excited to be Attending Worldcon, December 15-19

Discon III Banner Image

Wow, I can’t believe it’s so close to Worldcon already!

My husband, Mike, and I are headed to D.C. for Discon III this December. We’ll be there for the whole convention December 15-19, 2021.

It’s been a few years since we went to a Worldcon. The last one was in San Jose in 2018. Of course, last year we went hardly anywhere outside our bubble. It still feels trippy to be able to see close friends, let alone crowds at panels and dealer’s rooms. Exciting, though! I’ve got my booster shot and my comfortable mask all prepared. (It turns out that what I need to make a mask comfortable is a bit of room between my mouth and the mask so I’m not constantly breathing paper/cloth/whatever.)

After fifteen years in the biz (imagine me saying that in an exaggerated voice, dripping with ennui, perhaps as I hold a cigarette in a long holder from the 1920’s), I can get a bit laissez-faire about conventions. Since picking up a mentee a few years ago– the burgeoning P H Lee who’s published about twenty-five stories in the last two years! — I’ve had the excitement of seeing things through their eyes. I’ve been around the block at the Hugos, but Lee’s still got sparkle-eyed vigor. It makes everything that bit more fun.

I’m hoping to see lots of people I haven’t seen, and hopefully meet some new folks, too! I signed up pretty late, so I don’t think I’ll be on programming, but ping me if you’d like to get together.

Currently, I’m looking forward to going out for Uighur food with a couple of friends. I’m excited because I’ve never tried it before. Even though I may have trouble finding something that’s easy for me to eat–my spice tolerance is so low it’s abyssal–I’m excited anyway. I like trying new, delicious flavors even when I don’t have the tastebuds to appreciate them. Writing gives me a great excuse to try new things; I always have a reason to collect sensory experiences. 😀

Who else will be at Worldcon? What are you planning to do? Is this your first post-pandemic trip or are you old hat at jetting around these days? What are you looking forward to?

Issue 43 of Uncanny Magazine

Picture of rose in hand with text: White Rose, Red Rose "They say the dead see the world as a nightmare. Love and shock and pain are one merged, hungry thing." a short story by Rachel Swirsky, Uncanny Magazine

How cool is it to be back in Uncanny Magazine for the second time this year?

Earlier this year, they published my (very) short story, “Thirteen of the Secrets in My Purse.” (I’ve been thrilled to see that folks are enjoying it. I think it’s a good year to read something funny and a little exciting.)

My newest short story, “White Rose, Red Rose,” is a shivery–perhaps even uncanny?–fantasy about a seamstress in a war-torn city.

That morning, there was a white rose on my windowsill, and my heart cracked.

I took it inside. I knew well the only things that mattered were that it was a rose and it was white, but I examined it anyway. It had been in full flower recently, but was quickly withering. Several petals were gone; another came off in my hand. The petals wore traces of dirt that browned them, and I wondered if that had been purposeful. A missive of death: white for the bone, earth for the grave. I was probably thinking overmuch.

I plucked the petals into a bowl and washed them, then put them to boil to make a sweet tea. As far as we knew, the armsmen didn’t know our resistance codes, but I didn’t like to leave evidence.

How? I wondered, and chastised myself for wondering. There couldn’t be another message until tomorrow; our communication process came in slow trickles, frustrating but necessary, according to the resistance leaders. I wondered anyway. Throughout the day, as I patched uniforms for the occupying armsmen, and baked bread to bring my neighbor with the broken leg, and scrubbed every floorboard in the house, I wondered: how?

Quick? Painful? Bloody? Horrible? Unlucky? Slow?

How had my brother died?

Uncanny Magazine Issue 43 CoverThe full story will be freely available online on December seventh (I’ll post a link!), but Issue 43 is already available for purchase now.

The first part of the issue is already online. There are some great writers for you to peruse now:

That Story Isn’t the Story” by John Wiswell

For Want of Milk” by Grace P. Fong

The Stop After the Last Station” by A. T. Greenblatt

I hope you enjoy the issue, and I look forward to being able to share my story online, too!

More on MileHiCon: Speech and Panel Reflections

Last month, I posted a bit about my experience as a guest of honor at MileHiCon in Denver this year, including an excerpt from the “speech” I gave at the opening ceremonies and some thoughts about my panels.

On my Patreon this month, I’m sharing more of my MileHiCon materials, starting with the complete, unexcerpted text of my “speech.” Since the version I read at the convention was shortened, this is never-before-seen material for everyone except my husband (who served as my captive audience in our hotel room). 😉

I’ve also included my extensive panel notes with thoughts about things like third-sex roles in non-Western cultures and weird creatures from the Cambrian explosion with five eyes and vacuum mouths. (And this very creepy video about the hypothesis that vertebrate heads are on sideways! ) Plus, recommendations for awesome material like Beyond the Binary, an anthology about non-binary characters edited by Lee (then Brit) Mandelo, and Alien Sex, an anthology of short stories about alien… well, sex, edited by Ellen Datlow.

All of my Patreon content–including a substantial offering once a month of something like an original essay, poem or short story–is available to all my patrons, no matter how much or little they contribute. Every contribution is greatly appreciated and makes a big difference to supporting my writing career!

I hope everyone’s had a lovely November. For folks celebrating this weekend, have a great holiday! (And for those who aren’t, but get a few extra days off, have a great weekend!)

Cat Drawing! Pete is a Cupcake

cat in bowl

This is one of the images I used in Scragamuffin, the chapbook I released as October’s exclusive Patreon reward. I thought it might be fun to release the pictures with the photos that inspired them.

 

cat in bowlPete was a pretty large cat. This is a substantial-sized mixing bowl which explains how he got into it, but the way his fur spills over the edges makes it look like the bowl is much too small. I think he looks like a cupcake.

 

Drawing this image was interesting because the photograph is relatively low quality so I had to do some guessing. I also wasn’t sure whether the technique of using empty pencil lines to sketch in background elements would work when the bowl is such a pivotal part of the image, but I think the empty space works in contrast to the density of fur, and helps emphasize Pete’s expression.