Saturday, January 28, 2017

"Perhaps Not Happy New Year"

i. The Proper Adjective

perhaps not Happy New Year
try a Furious New Year on for size
try determined new year, try
incandescent glorious righteous, try
full of fight, try
striving for justice, try
screaming to the heavens new year

ii. On Chickens

Chickens are delicious.
Chickens are also delightful creatures.
Unfairly maligned as stupid,
chickens are darling sweethearts that will sit calm in your arms,
clucking soothingly.
Chickens let their chicks find refuge in tender, warm, feathery hugs.
Wouldn't you want that for your children, too?
Be a good chook mom to them
and other chicks, too.

iii. The Moon, The Moon

Lunar New Year springtime sprouts
blossoms burst green shoots yellow pollen
sun glares snow storms maybe gray skies
lunar cycles lunatic songs
counting days by crescents

bright moon dark moon flickering lamplights
2% chance of rapists in the dark
80% chance of hurt at home
100% chance of fuckery in the big house making laws
1000% fed up yesterday last year
1,000,000,000 full moons ago
if not more

if you are unsure, howl at the sky
and listen to the wind's answer

iv. Phoenix

I have a cousin who was born in the year of the Rooster. "Oh, so you're a chicken!" I teased her, because I was not yet enlightened on the chicken question at the time.

She turned to me slowly, her eyes big and serious and liquid dark, and said, very definitively:
"Phoenix."

I think of that moment often.

v. Fire Rooster

Perhaps that is what we need for this year: the Fire Rooster as
Furious Mother Phoenix Hen
re-blasting itself in its own nest in the company of
other Furious Mother Phoenix Hens who are keeping watch
because if we don't watch each other's backs then who will keep the poachers from trying to kill us when we are at our most vulnerable who will keep the rains off our delicate new feathers keeping us warm through the cold springtime night who will whisper us memories as we stumble on new talons and find our wings' ways and help us remember our own strength and our own songs

let springtime be loving and warm,
full of an incandescent compassion and determination to be kind.
If we can't have a happy new year,
let the fireworks speak for our souls.

it's not new year's without the smell of gunpowder.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

New review!

My first publication of 2017 is a review of Arrival, directed by Denis Villenevue, starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker! I had the opportunity to catch an early screening at UC San Diego, which also included a reception with the author of the original story that the screenplay is based on, Ted Chiang! 

I refrained from getting too personal in my review, but I watched it at a time when I was really depressed, about ready to quit my PhD, and just overwhelmed generally. It's uplifting not only for its optimistic ending when nations come together in a unified purpose, but also for its echoes from the novella, that there is a future to create, a chronology to act upon. It's cheering, even a little, to think that there is a future, and one doesn't know just yet what's at the end of it, what is the sum amount of happiness to be gained. And that even the upcoming unhappiness is maybe worth it.

I want my curiosity to find out how it all really shakes out to get the better of my depression.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Old Fiction: "The Changeling"

As I publish more, it's been fun to look back on my old fiction to see what I used to do that I don't anymore, what concerned me then and how that has changed. So I thought I'd post some old old and possibly terribly embarrassing fiction over time.

Today's story is "The Changeling," inspired by Asimovian robots and the question of humanity and sentience in artificial intelligence. Further ruminations on the story afterwards.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Publications of 2016

So I guess this is the time of year that we tally up what we have published over the year. And, despite how rotten the year has been going, I think this is my personal best in terms of what I managed to get published! Now if only that translated into academic publishing, too. 

Poetry:

"Sweetness and Light" was published in the inaugral issue of recompose magazine! It is a poem about a young woman who literally spews forth sweetness and light when she speaks, and her sense of degradation when other people feel entitled to her. It is 50 lines, so eligible for Best Long Poem Rhysling. 

Short fiction:

"Anak Sungai" was published in Truancy, a little story about a river meeting various forest animals as she goes out to sea. There is one animal she wants to find but he is a tricky one. 

"Crocodile Tears" was published in Lightspeed Magazine, a retelling of two Malaysian folktales: one of Si Tenggang, the faithless son, and the other tale explaining why a river is free of crocodiles. This was my second pro sale!

"Mana Langkah Pelangi Terakhir? (Where is the Rainbow's Last Step?)" was published in Interfictions, thanks to guest editors Sam J. Miller ande Carmen Machado. A journalist following a lede for the miraculous things that happen finds a long-lost local celebrity. This was my third pro sale and I am now SFWA-eligible as a result! 

"A Name to Ashes" is in the anthology Hidden Youth: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History. It draws on the coolie trade in Cuba for inspiration. It was possibly the hardest to research and write, emotionally. If you want to consider this for something, try to buy the anthology! But if you can't for whatever reason, email me and I'll get the story to you. 

Non-fiction:

I reviewed Everfair by Nisi Shawl for Strange Horizons! Most of my non-fiction energy has been going towards my academic writing, though.

I presented a paper on feminist utopias at the Inaugral Utopian and Science Fiction Studies Conference organized out of Beijing Normal University.

Editing:

The Sea Is Ours: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia is now available in Southeast Asia, courtesy of Gerakbudaya who bought the rights to publish and distribute it in the region! I'm very happy about this. 

Ongoing:

Writing-wise, in the first few months of the year, I re-wrote a dissertation chapter and a new chapter in a single quarter, and a third chapter in the spring quarter. I am now currently struggling to write the last chapter, so I can be on schedule to graduate in spring 2017. It is very hard, because it is a departure from the critique I've been making throughout the rest of the dissertation into something optimistic, and I've not really been in the mood for optimism. 

I also attended the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Workshop in summer this year, in which I produced six short story drafts. I've already sold one, and have another one I'm fairly happy with. Clarion gave me a chance to be in a writing-intensive space for several weeks, bouncing off ideas from incredible people. It was also my first opportunity in collaboration. 

I am editing the WisCon Chronicles Vol. 11. I might have bounced out of my skin when Timmi Duchamp asked me! I've themed it "Trials by Whiteness" and I'm hoping to get a range of pieces that'll provoke conversations about the different viewpoints in the community.