Writing, Valerie, Nashville, Time

A view of downtown Nashville from the observation park in Public Square. Note the pride flag and Batman, the building.

Hello, readers.

Here are the words from the subject with more details and in a different order.

1) Nashville

Nashville is different. The pride parade is sponsored by Nissan and Dollar General, among others, and populated, in part, by politico’s passing out stickers. I don’t know what the pride parade used to be like (as I didn’t take part in one until I had left Nashville for Seoul), but I imagine it wasn’t such a welcoming atmosphere a few years ago. Yesterday, though, the sky was blue, the streets full of rainbows and cheers.

Do we look good? Yes.
Do we look good? Yes.
Behold. Rocketwater!
Behold. Rocketwater!

Also. Nashville has a lot more coffee than before. There’s Dose out on the west-side, Barista to the east, 8th and Roast to the south, and Louisville to the north, and a growing plethora in between. I love to work in Roast because it’s small, quiet, and full of old light.


I love to talk and eat in Barista, because it’s big, bustling, and there are gluten-free biscuits. Roast took its tables from a bowling alley. Barista took its space from an old garage.

See. Garage. Also, it is a happy place.
See. Garage. Also, it is a happy place.


2) Time

I remember when Nashville was different, when it wasn’t the it town, when pride marches weren’t sponsored by Dollar General, which is to say that every time I come back to Nashville I realize that I’m old and I feel sadhappy at the chance to experience change.

This week, I visited my old home and saw this.

If you squint, you can see where the kitchen used to be. It probably helps if you have lived here before.
If you squint, you can see where the kitchen used to be. It probably helps if you have lived here before.

This was to be expected as new people are going to live in this house and not be related to me or my sister. I was sad when my Mom died. Looking at the house where she and I and her parents used to live, I don’t feel sad. A part of me feels excited at what change will bring to this place. Mom and sister wanted to see it changed. They dreamed about what it could be. Now someone will see that dream happen. And so can we.

My home is somewhere else now, and with someone else. That is how time works. Also airplanes. I’m not sure what I’m saying just yet. Maybe it will come to me.

Here’s something my Dad used to say: “I’ve had my adventures. Now it’s your turn.”

Thank you, Dad.

3) Valerie

Nashville has always been good at music. Earlier this week, we saw the Song Suffragettes at the Listening Room Cafe.


Courtney Cole
Courtney Cole
l/r: Courtney Cole, Kalie Shorr, Lena Stein, Daisy Mallory, Sarah Allison Turner
l/r: Courtney Cole, Kalie Shorr, Lena Stein, Daisy Mallory, Sarah Allison Turner


Tonight we’ll see Valerie June at 3rd and Lindsley as part of Lightning 100’s Sunday night series.

4) Writing

At Clarion, after being told by Walter Jon Williams to write a story about rodeo clowns, I wrote a story about rodeo clowns which was also a musical. Sort of. I’m rewriting it now after watching Singing in the Rain. It may end up with some other things assembled by the awkward robots.

Also, next month, on July 13th, you can buy an anthology from Little Bird Publishing what contains many wonderful dark YA fairy tales including one from me. I will remind you again later.


Happy June, readers. Happy time and things.



WisCon 1.0

Hello, readers.

When I was a younger boy, I watched coverage of the San Diego Comic-Con on TV*. It looked like heaven. It looked like a place that make-believe could make as much belief as it wanted. People dressed up as Ghostbusters! As Skeletor! As various shades of pink! It was cool. It was exciting. It was geeks being geeks. I never thought I would get there, though.

And then I went to Clarion and I got to go there and lose my ability to even.

World Fantasy, which I attended in 2012,  was lovely and amazing but not full of the same geek-fervor of SDCC. Most things aren’t.

A week or so ago, after a 24-hour-plus journey (including a linger in Chicago as Obama passed through), I arrived in Madison for my first WisCon. WisCon is not at all like SDCC except for that sometimes people are pink or blue or glittered**. Also, that they are geeks. Geeks for feminism, for discourse, for conscious consideration, for science, for robots, for korean dramas, and so forth, and so on. At the Con, I went to a few readings and a lot of brunches. I heard discussions of hidden narratives and monsters. Of the growing roles of women in Korean dramas, and the proliferation of time travel in the same. I saw a Dalek lingering in the hotel hallway’s linger lane.

There’s an energy to WisCon. It comes, in part, from how small it is. Just a thousand or so people who gather to ponder and celebrate a certain corner of the geekverse. In this it’s the inverse of Comic-Con, which is a gathering of an astronomical amount of people to celebrate all corners of the geekverse.

At WisCon, I discovered that the wonder of all wonderful conventions is meeting old and new people and old and new ideas that you get to discuss with those old new friends. Plotting novels and life goals in a hot tub is another good thing which is a plus for WisCon.

Below are pictures and more words.

Awesome awkward robot design by @egcosh

Madison, it turned out, is a fantabulous city what features lake-front cider, delicious gluten-free muffins, buckwheat crepes, and delicious coffee.

This is a picture of a lake-front Sam J. Miller (@sentencebender), who is, while not gluten-free, still fantabulous.

The panels and readings I attended were the following:

  • Three Awesome Women, in which did read three awesome women: Elise Matthesen, Delia Sherman, and Nene Ormes; as well as one awesome Wesley Chu.
  • Awkward Robots Read***, in which I, and many others of Clarion 2012, did read scary, funny, weird things. There was wine, cider, and beer, in the back.
  • Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, in which I for the first time ever attempted to live-tweet something as it happened live rather than wait until it was over and say things about what happened
  • Guest of Honor reading by N.K. Jemisin, in which mountains moved
  • Women in Sageuk/K-dramas, wherein Ha Ji Won was awesome and I learned what Sageuk meant and how popular time travel is of late in Korea****.
  • This Might Get Weird: Stories by Writers You Just Met Last Night, wherein Clarion alums, greatly from 2010, got weird and wonderful with their words.
  • Questionable Practices, wherein Karen Joy Fowler, Pat Murphy, Eileen Gunn, and Nisi Shawl rocked. Karen Joy Fowler stood on a chair, for example, so that all could see. Nisi sang a song. Which she does every reading, apparently, which is awesome.

I’m not sure why I bulleted these things, reader, but having done it I feel pretty good about it.

Here are more pictures.

This Might Get Weird (from l/r: Tom Underberg (@tomatlarge), Leah Thomas (@thomtinuviel), Jessica Hilt (@bzztbaa), Holly McDowell (@hollymcdowell), Dustin Monk (@dustinjmonk), Eden Robins (@edenrobins))




People gathered to hear what THE STATUE says about exquisitely sticky cinnamon.


Sageuk/K-drama panel in which something magical has just appeared off-screen right.
Sageuk/K-drama panel
Post-floomp dancing with @egcosh
Post-floomp dancing with @egcosh


Happy conversations and cinnamon, readers. Listen to THE STATUE.


*Specifically, Tech TV, ZDTV, and now, I suppose, G4, unless it has changed names again.

**The floomp dance is a thing wherein people at WisCon dress up in ridiculous handsomeness and dance. This being my first WisCon this was my first WisCon floomp. It was terrifically glittery and I wore a rainbow.

***Reading with Awkward Robots = gluten-free carrot cake with awesome sauce. You know. If you have to be gluten free and enjoy awesome sauces.

****In dramas. Not, so far as I know, in real life. Though possibly in a novel I’m writing.