Just a reminder that I will be joining Jack O’ Connell at the KGB Fantastic Fiction reading tonight at the KGB Bar, 85 E. 4th Street, NYC. The readings start at 7:00 p.m., books will be for sale, and oh, did I mention that it’s my birthday? This is also likely to be my last (and thus, best!) reading for Fair Coin in NYC. It would be so wonderful to see you there. In fact, it’s my birthday wish.
Monthly Archive for June, 2012
I have been so behind on everything lately, I haven’t yet blogged about these other publications that feature me or my work:
I have a short essay in Hyphen – Asian America Unabridged Issue 25: Generation, which is not only their tenth anniversary issue, but features an interview with George Takei. I am in a magazine with Mr. Sulu. How incredibly awesome is that? I was invited to be featured along with ten “next-gen Asian American writers” in a feature called “The Descendants.” We all wrote about the authors who have influenced us, and I wrote a little piece on William Sleator. I was very flattered and honored to be included in this great list–even more so when I received the magazine and saw what a high quality publication it is. I’m still reading through it, but I love the range of articles and perspectives. I’m going to get a subscription, and if you’re Asian American or interested in Asian Americans (uh, you know what I mean) or just other cultures, I recommend you check it out.
In addition to writing fiction, I sometimes get to write film reviews and critical analyses. I am a contributor to the Directory of World Cinema: Japan 2, edited by John Berra. (It was published in February 2012, and thus kind of eclipsed by Fair Coin.) I wrote summaries and critiques of Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, Mushishi, Ponyo, Tekkonkinkreet, and Tokyo Zombie. I can recommend you see all of these films, except Mushishi; for that, I would just go to the anime or, better yet, the manga. Still, I enjoyed watching and writing about them since I am a big fan of anime, and these directories are terrific resources for those interested in film and finding out more about Japanese cinema. I’m looking forward to contributing to volume 3 next year.
I can’t claim any credit for this one, but I recently learned that my friend Dave Mack Tuckerized me in his novel Star Trek Vanguard: Storming Heaven. That’s right. I am Captain Eugene Myers of the U.S.S. Repulse. I haven’t read the book yet, but I trust that he hasn’t red shirted me. Even so, I’m psyched that I am now a part of Star Trek history, even if it isn’t considered canon.
Finally, have you seen this interview with me at HalfKorean.com?
In the summer of 2005, I joined a group of other writers of science fiction and fantasy in Seattle for a six-week boot camp for writers. One house. Six instructors. Eighteen students. Four bathrooms. It sounds like the setup for a reality show or a Chuck Palahniuk novel, but most people know it as the Clarion West Writers Workshop.
I’m not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that this experience changed my life. I went into it a promising but unpublished writer and came out of it a good, more publishable writer. I met a lot of amazing people, and I count many of my classmates among my closest friends. I learned discipline at Clarion West. I learned what makes a story good and how to tear a story apart and put it back together better, stronger, faster. I learned the value–nay, the necessity–of persistence and revision.
Almost immediately after leaving the workshop, I started selling my short stories. I joined a professional writing group, Altered Fluid, which I was graciously introduced to through my classmate Kris Dikeman. And I worked even harder at improving as a writer. A couple of years later, I wrote Fair Coin.
A significant portion of the first draft of my first novel was written during the Clarion West Write-a-thon, a challenge in which writers commit to a daily or weekly goal for the duration of the six week workshop in Seattle. Some people participate to show support for those poor souls, in solidarity for our shared experience. Some participate out of sheer envy. Many of us want to push ourselves to accomplish more than we typically think we can in our normal lives; six weeks of dedicated writing are sadly beyond the reach of most of us, which makes the workshop such a rare, exhilarating, transformative time. But it is also a way to give back to the workshop, by raising money to continue and expand this vital program so it can benefit more generations of writers to come. We’re investing in the future of our fiction.
Anyone can sign up to participate in the Write-a-thon, which takes place from June 17 through July 27, and I encourage you to do so. Help yourself and help CW! Anyone can also pledge a donation, in any amount, to sponsor one or more writers. Please do!
You can sponsor me for instance. I haven’t set any fundraising goals, but I would welcome your support, anything you can spare. I had to sit out last summer’s Write-a-thon, but I’m eager to return and use it to reinstate a semblance of a normal writing schedule. I also have to complete a manuscript revision by the end of July, so that works out nicely.
I’ve committed to working on that revision for two hours a day, every day, no matter what other things I have to work on. This wouldn’t have been hard for me before, but my work, job, life, and writing demands have changed significantly in the last couple of years, so I’m finding my way back to the discipline I need to move forward. I’ll be working on a contemporary young adult novel tentatively titled Understudy. You can see an excerpt on the site, but don’t judge it too harshly–I have to revise it, remember? You can help!
You can also sponsor a bunch of other talented writers. I won’t take it personally if you choose someone else, really. They’re all awesome, I like them. And all the money is going to the same place: A workshop that I believe in strongly, because I know that it works. Please consider making a donation or participating in the Write-a-thon and writing for six weeks along with brilliant writers from all over the world. (Bonus: If we reach 200 participants by June 16, the Write-a-thon gets $2000 from a generous donor.)
Like many, I was saddened to hear of Ray Bradbury’s death yesterday. Yes, he was 91 years old, which is a pretty decent run, and inasmuch as I don’t know anything about his personal life, he seemed to have led a full one. He certainly wrote a lot of great books that touched countless readers, influenced a lot of writers, and represented science fiction and fantasy at its very best–and will continue to do so for a long time to come, possibly for as long as print exists in some form and there are people to read it. That’s an incredible gift to leave us, and I’m forever grateful.
The URL of that NY Times article I linked above calls him a “popularizer of science fiction,” which at some point must have been changed to “master of science fiction” for the web metatext, because it doesn’t appear anywhere in the article; whether someone takes offense at this description or not, he did accomplish that. There weren’t many science fiction authors being taught in school when I was a kid, but Fahrenheit 451 was required reading in junior high school.
I never met Bradbury, so I don’t have a lot to add to the chorus of recollections of those who encountered him in person at one time or another. I wish I had, but I know I would have been awkward and starstruck. But I suspect we all still have very personal memories of his books and our relationship to them.
I vividly recall one day in middle school discovering a waterlogged book in the stairwell, resting on top of a warm radiator. I was late for class and in a hurry, but I stopped anyway, because it was a free book. It was a rainy day, so I imagined that it had been left outside and someone brought it in, and abandoned it there for some reason. I examined the drenched cover and discovered it was a science fiction book: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. Score. I didn’t know who it belonged to and I didn’t think any class at my Catholic school would be teaching it, so I claimed it. I wanted to flip through it right away, and tried to, but the pulpy pages were stuck together and I didn’t want to damage them so I had to wait impatiently while it dried on my radiator at home.
When it was finally dry, the pages were rough and warped and the mass market paperback was about twice as thick as before, but it was legible–and more than readable, because I breezed through it from worn cover to cover. I had never encountered anything like it, and honestly, probably didn’t understand or appreciate it half as much as it deserves. It was the first novel of linked stories I had read (without even knowing that’s what it was), and other than short stories and excerpts in English classes over the years, it was probably my first real exposure to science fiction short stories. It has been a long time since I last read it, but I still think about it surprisingly often–mostly disconnected images, which still somehow have a lot of feelings tangled up with them. I remember the book as an experience rather than for its specific stories, but I know I loved those too.
The other day, I was browsing the Harvard Book Store and I encountered Farewell Summer, the sequel to Dandelion Wine, which I somehow didn’t know had been published. I found it comforting though that he was still publishing books and stories and essays, which is why I was dismayed by his death. It isn’t that he didn’t lead a good, long, productive life, but that we can’t look forward to new work from him. There will never be another Ray Bradbury. But it also happens that I haven’t yet read every one of his novels or short stories. (I was actually more familiar with his work from The Ray Bradbury Theater, which I loved since I am such a Twilight Zone fan.) So I will keep on reading and rereading him for a good long time–starting with his recent essay in the New Yorker, which I still haven’t gotten to–and I’ll keep on writing, because damn, I have some catching up to do.