Beerily Why

I like to write beer reviews from time to time. I’m a craft beer fan and a writer, and I have a decent palate, so this seems like a good match up of all of those skills. What my reviews lack, however, is much of my personality. It just doesn’t shine through.

My plan for the spring/summer is to do something that I hope fixes that: I will be reviewing terrible beers. Beers that I know I will hate. Beers that are massively distributed. Beers that you’re supposed to drink really cold so you can’t taste them. Beers with weird, fake fruity flavors in them.

Why am I doing this to myself? Because I believe that my suffering will yield comedy gold. If I’m sufficiently disgusted with a beer, I’m hoping that my sense of humor will come through in a review because that humor is sorely lacking in most of the ones I’ve written thus far. How we suffer for our art.

I’ll be putting a few of those up here over the next few months, so keep an eye out for Project Disappointment.

Advertisements

Slush Pile Ahoy

I’m pleased to announce that I am now a slush reader for Clarkesworld Magazine! It’s a Hugo Award and World Fantasy Award winning publication of speculative fiction (and the sort of place that I someday dream of having a short story published). I’m on the staff page and everything. This is a wonderful addition to my already heinously overbooked life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

On a related note, I changed my hair and I have new headshots, too!

Rewrite Mountain

If writing is hard, rewrites are insurmountable mountains of words. Words that once seemed good and right and freeing, words that you sprinted to get on the page before they left your head, words that bled from your fingers… only now these words have betrayed you. They aren’t good enough. There are too many here and far too few over there. Dialogue that felt snappy and biting seems lackluster under a magnifying glass. Subplots that felt crucial before are now dragging their feet and slowing the entire piece down.

Can you tell that I’m deep in rewrite territory these days?

And I’m still not even doing the hardest rewrite that’s ahead of me.

mountain-climbing

Right now, I’m converting my manuscript from close third to first person and tidying some scenes up as I go, but I’m not digging too deep into the pacing issues that the project suffers from. Instead, that’s all going to happen after a developmental edit that is scheduled for the end of this summer. All I really need to do is deliver a manuscript with an updated POV to my editor and then sit on my hands for a while as she rips my pages a new one.

And I NEED THAT. I need it so badly. I’m saving up my pennies all spring and summer to pay for the privilege of being verbally thrashed for my own good. I need someone to really just eviscerate this whole project because if I don’t, it won’t be the best version of itself that it can be.

Writers are weird.

On Hobbies

It was only a year ago that I decided to get back into tabletop role playing games. I’d dabbled in college, played some Call of Cthulhu, quite a bit of Shadowrun. In the years in between, I’d played a few pickup games with friends and tried and failed to run a Dragon Age game before two of the members got into a massive fight and the group parted ways.

Raindbow Dice

Last April, I went on Meetup and joined a group about to start a Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition game. Foolishly, I decided that driving an hour each way to this game every Sunday would be no big deal (I was wrong, but it’s worth it). But I was so nervous. While I’d personally never been met with any problems tabletop gaming as a woman, a lot of that had been because I played with people who I already knew well. And I’d heard some horror stories about the sexism that women faced in what still often felt like a boys’ club of a hobby.

Here I was, about to join up with a group made up of five men and myself, and essentially play pretend with some strangers from the internet. Maybe not my smartest decision. Lucky for me, the group turned out to be overwhelmingly good (the one troublemaker ended up quitting) and we’ve even replaced him with another woman, so the table’s a little more balanced.

Since starting that Sunday afternoon campaign, I’ve run my own mini campaign in a homebrew game, I’m currently GMing a Blades in the Dark campaign that meets somewhat irregularly, I’m about to start another irregular D&D game with friends, and I also play in an online D&D game that meets every other Sunday night. Is that maybe a little too much gaming? Perhaps. But this hobby brings me so much joy that it’s hard to argue with that.

Dear reader, what hobby do you have or would you like to pursue. If you’re not giving it much of your time right now, what is standing in the way of doing that? And how can you make more time to chase after something that makes you happy?

Best Case Scenario

About a month and a half ago, I was told that after my gallbladder surgery, that I could return to a sedentary job in a week. I was elated by this news and took the first two days off of work completely and arranged to work from home until the seven day mark had been reached.

Come day seven after surgery, I was still in quite a bit of pain and was bone tired all of the time. I had trouble driving because you actually use your core a lot more to work the gas and brake than you might think. I was devastated and essentially trapped at home for the better part of two weeks, only able to drive across the street to get groceries, but then return home too tired to cook them.

When I saw my surgeon for a follow up two weeks after my surgery date, I relayed my concerns about how slow my recovery was going. He laughed and said that the one week thing was really the best case scenario and that most people take a bit longer to recover from abdominal surgery. When he’d first told me “one week,” he hadn’t explained that this was what would happen in a perfect world.

Well, we do not live in a perfect world and I am not (and never have been) a best case scenario. Nor have I done more than dabble in being a worst case scenario. Like most people, I reside in between these two polar opposites.

I am happy, but not too happy. I am healthy enough, but not very healthy. I have money, but I do not have enough to spend it frivolously. I am pretty, but not too pretty. I have a good relationship with my father, but it is not perfect. I have engaging hobbies, but I have too many, so they sometimes cause me stress.

Life so rarely exists in a state of best case or worst case scenario, and when it does, it is generally not for very long. So we must look to find joy and value not in the very best of things, but in the pragmatic, everyday good things that we experience. It is more than a little humbling to be good at many things, but never excellent at any of them – but that is the reality of life. Don’t be afraid of this middle ground, for it is a good place to put down roots and learn to thrive.

Paint and Pen

My first publication credit was the short story Bloom and Fade, printed in Trapped Tales (and later reprinted in Wizards in Space Literary Magazine vol. 1). I am, to this day, proud of that piece. It is about four years old at this point, so I can see its flaws with a sense of clarity that only comes with time and skills improved through years of practice. All the same, I think 2013/2014 Deidre took chances: moving it from third person past tense to first person present tense, and creating a strong character voice for the lead. It went through about four massive rewrites, which eliminated an entire central character and created a different scenario for Shayna to fight her way out of.

Perhaps the most exciting part about Bloom and Fade, though, is the art. The Trapped Tales book launch that was also a pop-up art show, with all of the pieces in the show having been inspired by stories from the anthology. I was lucky enough to have three artists create six pieces based on my story – and I’m luckier still that I own two of them.

IMG_0980

I have both of these pieces displayed in my home because they remind me what I’ve done and what I plan to do with my life going forward. They’re a pat on the back, an inspiration, a call to do better. They’re a promise to myself that I will not give up on my dreams. They’re a call to action.

IMG_0652