Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Week of SF

Now Playing: BATMAN BEGINS FILM SCORE by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard
Just Read: HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET by Jamie Ford--Loved it. It was cool meeting the author, refreshing to jump outside of F&SF for a bit, and rewarding to read. A great novel, and a deep well of ideas of how people interact. Well done.
Reading Now: THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE by Stephen King

For the first time in a while, "SF" for me doesn't refer to science fiction, but the wonderful city of San Francisco. Now that I'm close, I had the opportunity to spend some time there last week at the city's annual literary festival called Litquake. My friend Jared, also a writer, tipped me off to it, and I'm glad he did.

Wednesday night, I went to an event called "Northwest Novels" starring Jamie Ford, who has set his two books in Seattle. I bought the book I mentioned above, and he graciously signed it and chit-chatted with me and everyone for a bit. His wife, who's awesome, talked to me about my own writing, which was both flattering and inspiring. Also, she's a nurse! So I'm kind of like both of them put together: Writernurse!

Then Saturday, after sleeping three hours and hurrying faster than I have in my whole life, I caught a train up and sat in on two panels--one about short stories and the other about novels. Most of what I heard, I already knew, but it was helpful to have the truth grilled into me one more time--writing is hard work. One of the authors, who I thought was probably the coolest and most fun, I later discovered is well known in the F&SF world, having published many stories in the top magazines and "Year's Best" anthologies. Her name is Karen Joy Fowler, and I'm going to be reading more of her stories soon.

Afterward I went and had drinks and listened to stories at the "Litcrawl," a fun evening of bar hopping and fiction reading. I ended up at an awesome book store and cafe that sold all kinds of F&SF I've never heard of, and had shelves and shelves of discounted fiction. How can I pass that up, I ask you???? So I bought four books.

I have a book buying problem. It comes and goes.

I did the touristy stuff, too--Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, open-top bus tours, cruise around Alcatraz. San Fran is a pretty sweet city, with a rich history of literature, but like I mentioned earlier, the city's main lesson to me was that writing is hard, and the only way to do it is to show up and do it. New authors like myself can't hear that enough.