Stephanie Burgis
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Thanksgiving, Kafka, and the Arctic
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Happy belated Thanksgiving to everybody! We had a lovely Thanksgiving, despite being quieter than usual. Every other year since moving to this neighborhood, we've hosted a big Thanksgiving dinner for all of our friends. This year, what with illness issues, that didn't happen, but Patrick and I still celebrated on our own with a big lovingly cooked meal (really yummy lasagne), wine and apple strudel. As we were waiting for the lasagne to finish in the oven, we sat on the couch sipping wine and talking about how lucky we really have been this past year.

There are an awful lot of things to be thankful for in our lives right now, and some of it--both of us having agents; Patrick being about to go half-time for 6 months to focus on writing; both of us having several short stories published this year--would have felt like a bizarrely unlikely (though wonderful) dream, only 12 months ago. We both tend to focus so much on the future--where we want to be, what we want to accomplish, what we haven't done yet--that we often don't remember to be thankful for how much good luck has come our way already.

And something else we talked about is just how wonderful it is to feel like part of a writing community, nowadays, which is something that has been hugely connected to journaling. Going to WisCon this year and getting to meet all these fantastic people I'd connected with here--Jenn, SarahP, Tim, Heather, Dave, Gwenda, Christopher, Greg--well, the list goes on and on, but the main thing is, it was wonderful. Writing can be a very lonely business, and until I went to Clarion, it felt like a strange one too, since I didn't know any other writers. Nowadays most of my friends are writers (and better yet, writers whose work I love), and that is an enormous gift of community.

And just to pass on more cool writing, I absolutely loved Jeffrey Ford's short story about Kafka, vampires and modern fantasy writing, Bright Morning (first published in his collection The Fantasy Writer's Assistant). If you like Kafka (or even have fond memories of the days when you used to like Kafka, as a black-turtleneck-clad undergrad), then you'll love this story. (But read it soon, because I'm not sure how long he's leaving it up on his journal!)Update: Eep! Looks like he took it down already. Oops. Well, if you find a copy of his collection, read the story! Really!

Although I don't usually (my bad) read the articles up at Strange Horizons, I thought this week's article, Artic Fabulous: Speculative Fiction and the Imaginary Arctic was just fascinating. Weird history, spooky penguins, H.P. Lovecraft, and official (16th-century) British government claims that King Arthur's knights had been the first explorers of the much cooler can you get?

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