On banned words at the CDC.

I would like to offer an invitation and a challenge. I have a fairly broad level of scientific literacy, an MA in applied linguistics, and a PhD in creative writing. If the Trump administration thinks it can ban the CDC from using the words vulnerable, entitlement, diversity, transgender, fetus, evidence-based, and science-based, I will happily offer my assistance in revising scientific papers to the most accurate and preferably devastating effect possible. By forcing researchers to work around these words, the responsible government officials are requiring the affected scientists to unpack them. This will work out better for the researchers than for the administration, and I intend to help. Every word that the federal government has banned can be worked around....

More on the new stuff.

Earlier today, I finished a new short story I’d been working on for a couple of months, “The Trousers Had Opinions of Their Own.” This was one of those peculiar stories that came to me out of nowhere. Or not: if you’ve read my novel An Ideal for Living (it’s okay if you haven’t; neither have most other people), you’ll recognize some of the tropes. In any event, I’m very happy with it, at least in the sense that as a first draft, it isn’t terrible. Once I’ve polished it, I think it will be very good. Perhaps even one of my better ones. I plan to submit it to a certain publication before I leave for Australia next week (the deadline is 12/31/2017, and I will not be able to work on it while I am away), but...

Inhospitable

Huge news. I’ll get to the point. I’ve sold Inhospitable, the novel I wrote for my PhD. Camphor Press in Taipei will be releasing it sometime in mid-2018, probably May or thereabouts. I’m very pleased (honest) to have finally had the good sense (it eventually kicks in), to check for good regional publishers. Yes, I’ve made queries with agents and presses in the US and UK. There’s been a certain amount of “we like this but it’s not for us, best of luck, happy trails, go in peace,” the usual stuff those of us who enliven the margins grow weary of hearing. There’s a lot out there at the moment at how bound by stereotype publishers (and, I suppose, agents) in the West still are: the Asian characters (even if...

New stories, creativity, and a few words on author platform.

I’ve somehow managed to crank out a couple of new short stories in the last few weeks. This feels like an interesting development because of how it came about: I had slogged through almost 4000 words of another one and grown bored with it (which rarely happens), finally come to the obvious conclusion that it wasn’t working, and set it aside to incubate a bit longer. Another story I’d been mulling over for ages, “Darjeeling,” kind of came together all at once, so I started on that one. I had generally known it would be a story about a ghost that likes tea, but the details had yet to resolve themselves. Once I began thinking about the story in a more conscious, deliberate way, I figured out where it was going. As I was closing in on...

Update, plus a few random musings.

Here’s the latest. There’s a new publication impending, a scholarly article on the subject of writer’s block. “Articulate Walls: Writer’s Block and the Academic Creative” (I think that’s the correct subtitle… you know how those journal articles are) will be appearing in New Writing:┬áThe International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing in the not-too-distant future. This is based on research into the subject of writer’s block I did last year and earlier this year. It turns out that writer’s block is a far more complicated subject than many of us realized. To make things worse, there’s a problem within the discipline of creative writing (academics as well as creative...

Two recent academic conferences

In other news, I’ve just returned from a trip to Barcelona and London. In both cities, I presented papers at academic conferences. In Barcelona, I attended the conference III Congreso Internacional Visiones de lo Fantastico “Horror y sus Formas.” This was my first experience attending (and presenting at) an international conference in which most of the papers/presentations were in a language other than English. I actually do speak Spanish, but not very much and not very well. Certainly not at this level. The presentations were in a number of languages, so I attended most of the English ones and considered the experience a lesson learned. My own talk was based on my PhD research, looking at similarities and contrasts between classic...