shifting zones

Jet lag sucks. At least it wears off, eventually.

My trip to New York was great fun. The Fantastic Fiction reading at the poky KGB Bar was stuffed with sf enthusiasts. Both Paul Di Filippo and Ysabeau Wilce were strong and distinctive readers. I picked up a copy of Ysabeau’s novel, Flora Segunda, after hearing her read a couple of chapters. It’s a fresh, imaginative novel, and I look forward to finishing it in the coming weeks.

I met a number of people during the course of my visit who write, or edit, genre fiction. It was somewhat overwhelming at times. I find it hard to attend an event on my own where I know almost nobody. I go, despite my anxieties, but sometimes it’s a struggle. Therefore, I appreciate it a great deal when people go out of their way to be kind and hospitable. Many people were wonderful, such as Ellen Datlow, who introduced me around despite being busy.

The benefit of making an effort to attend such an event is talking to people who are passionate about genre fiction, and being in the company of those who love words. This kind of connection is marvellous. After a while you forget how much it means to be among people who “get” your interests. I’m very lucky to attend a fortnightly screenwriting/playwriting group here in the West of Ireland, but there’s little in the way of community for my genre prose writing. Thank goodness for virtual groups, or I’d be lost.

Last night, despite being completely out of synch with the local time zone, I went to my writers group. The one-act play I wrote before Christmas was read out. It’s a squirmy experience to hear your words spoken by other people. Yet it’s essential, especially for work that’s designed for theatre. I was surprised (pleasantly) at the power in the piece, and the feedback was positive and helpful. I wrote the play as a challenge, with little forethought and expectation, but somehow it developed into an evocative piece. I had the ” I wrote that?” experience, partway through the reading. It’s a sense of astonishment at one’s creation.

Of course the play requires work. No first draft is perfect. It has more potential than I realised, however.

For the first time my own work demands more of me than I expected to give. It’s a weird situation, but I’m not complaining.

I hope to make it proud.