Big day, it is GINORMOUS.

Today was a big day. First off, I finished and submitted my first new story to Clarion. It is 1,600 words and I wrote it in under 24 hours, and it got very few first reads because I didn’t realize I’d be turning in until I had less than four hours to work if I wanted to make deadline. Signed up this morning for a 5pm turn-in, knowing I had a working draft. Workshop ended at 1. Inhaled food, buckled down ’til 4, called first readers in a panic (sorry, Dan P.! Thanks, Rhin!), then cleaned up typos, buffed, polished, and printed 18 copies. It was a whirlwind, and wow am I glad I have a week before I do that again. Next time will be smoother, with a bit more lead time. And then I went out and had a few beers with the other submitees, which was just lovely. These people who I can’t talk about? They are THE BEST. They know everything about everything: markets, structure, lyricism, noir…just super sweet all around. I feel a bit outclassed and outgunned, and it’s a great feeling.

But that wasn’t even the ginormous news. You guys, I sold my first story. To Daily SF. It’s an SF story, dubbed the sad robot story. And it is indeed the third story I’ve written around, about, or in context of Matt Wilson, to see publication this school year. That guy, he makes a damn good muse. He will lord it over me when I get back to Chicago, too, to be sure.

Added humor value: This was the story that got me a very sweet rejection from last year’s Clarion (the one with GRRM). Many thanks as well to Strange Horizons, who wrote extensive notes on their rejection of it–I took them all, and lo, Jed was totally right about everything, and it sold.

Anyway, I am on cloud 9, but also beyond the pale sleepy. I’m going to go read a few stories a kind Clarionaut let me borrow for the evening, and then to bed. Tomorrow: baby’s first critique. Here’s hoping it goes swimmingly!

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Shiny!

After three years of trying, I finally not only got a play staged, but actually won the whole shebang.  Best Northern AZ Playwriting Competition ev-har!  I didn’t have to stage manage (whcih turns me into an OCD basketcase), got doublecast (in my other favorite play besides mine…I got to play someone’s internal monologue.  SO fun), and I totally won.  This is the play that didn’t even make the grade last year.  I believed in the concept, but I also wrote the rough draft the night before deadline, and it showed.  Moral of the story: REVISE.  Don’t whine.  Just do it.

Am unbelievably happy, though.  Between NAPS and the Dinty Moore workshop, the summer has been surprisingly productive.  Now if I can just bust out another draft of novel…

In which I am surprised.

My UIC friends, specifically Ms. Sacha Fierce, threw me a surprise birthday party this evening.  It was so successful that I walked in, everyone said surprise, and I turned around to see whose birthday we were celebrating.  It took a solid ten seconds and Sacha pointing at me for me to clue in, “Oh hey!  Me?”

They hid it from me for two weeks.  And the day of, I changed plans not once, but three times, and somehow twelve people managed to wrangle me into the bar with the silly hats and the cupcakes only an hour ahead of schedule, and I WAS SO SURPRISED OMFGKITTENSWIN!!1!

It is all about the people.  I am speechless, wide-eyed and glowing.

Awesomesauce.

I have been meaning to post the utter happy for a week.  It’s spring break, though, so procrastination has ruled ’til now.

I won a thing!  A big department thing with money and stuffs!  But even better, way better, my brilliant colleagues (brilliant, I tell you) have given me collective warm fuzzies.  In what kind of program is the response to winning a thing not “I cut you,” but “hey, congrats!”?  I love these people more than conversation hearts, more than spring break, possibly more than alcohol.  I’ve won things before (haven’t we all or we wouldn’t be here?), but never when the field included a wall of geniuses.  My writing is unrecognizable from itself a year ago, and that is about the caliber of work I’m reading and criticizing–my colleagues’ work.  This is how a program is supposed to be, fear and loathing and a commitment to stop sucking and the joy of failure.  And then the rare success that is all the sweeter for everything that got cannibalized to get to three paragraphs that work.  Surrounded by devious minds, mine struggling to keep up…I couldn’t have conceived this life a year ago.

Girlwonders is a smiling girl.  Trying to pay close attention to what that feels like, for some future rainy Clarion day.