Summer vacation.

I spent the past two weeks taking an honest-to-goodness vacation. When I was 11, we had a foreign exchange student from Germany live with us for a year. Well, she’s getting married this month, and although I couldn’t make the wedding, I was able to visit her so as to meet her husband-to-be and two adorable children. She’s living in Zürich now, so we spent our days by the lake or walking the town, and on the last day did a short hike in the mountains. Then I met up with my parents in Amsterdam, home of the house-hook:


When I was 16, we lived there, and I made friends with another student at the Dutch high school I attended. Judith was also getting married this month, and we arrived in Amsterdam just in time to attend her wedding. I visited the Stedelijk Museum and the Rijksmuseum, ate delicious Indonesian food, and spent time with great friends while failing to remember much Dutch beyond “alstublieft.” It’s been a very long time since I took an actual vacation, especially one where I wasn’t still working most days. Given the state of my wrists, though, it seemed like an opportune time to give myself a real break.

Wrists are feeling a bit better after many days away from the computer, and I’m happy to be back in Chicago where my dictation software lives. No travel plans from now until the MMLA conference in November, hooray! After months of much travel, I’m looking forward to the semester starting (I’m teaching a fiction class and a science-fiction themed composition class) so I can settle in to my usual routine.  James is thousands of words ahead of me.  Must catch up!

Two pieces of happy news: I had a panel picked up for this year’s AWP in Seattle, WA: “Give Me Your Vampires, Your Fae, Your Bulbous Alien Masses Yearning to Be Free: Teaching Genre in the Creative Writing Classroom.” It will feature Rachel Swirsky, Cat Rambo, Nick Mamatas, and Rahul Kanakia.  Our panel description:

“Realist and experimental fiction writers often express nervousness about allowing their undergraduates to submit fantasy and science fiction to workshop. Some go so far as to ban such work outright, a tactic that can defuse young writers’ enthusiasm. Join writers whose work has appeared in both literary and genre publications as they discuss how a successful undergraduate workshop can include teaching serious genre fiction.”

I owe an enormous thanks to Rahul, without whom the panel wouldn’t have happened. I’m very excited to discuss genre pedagogy with such a stellar group of writers, and the range of perspectives should make for a very interesting conversation.  If you are planning to attend AWP, I hope you’ll stop by!

The second piece of happy news: after Clarion, the first major goal for many (most?) alums is qualifying for SFWA.  A bunch of my classmates have already done this; I’d hoped to pull it off within a year of finishing Clarion. That didn’t happen, but I can’t whine too much, since apparently my reprint sale to Prime Books counts as a third qualifying sale (thanks to Alisa Alering for pointing this out). I finally emailed Kate Baker at SFWA to check on my eligibility, and lo, I was indeed eligible. Filled out the paperwork today and am now waiting to hear back. One more life goal I can cross off the list.

Both of these things have been added to my resume, just in time for job application season to begin. Couldn’t have come at a better time.