2016: A Wood Monkey Seeks Fire

20162016 is, in Chinese zodiac terms, the Year of the Fire Monkey. At first this gave me pause. It doesn’t take a Chinese astrologer to know giving a Zippo or a pack of matches to a monkey will not end well. Even if it learns to use fire for peaceful purposes, say smoking, well, cigarettes aren’t any better for the monkey than they are for us.

But I was reassured after learning what the Chinese zodiac actually means by fire monkey. No, not torch-wielding monkey hordes. Fire is Continue reading 2016: A Wood Monkey Seeks Fire

Life and Times in 2015

2015 was an interesting year. Writing-wise, four of my stories found great homes. I’m proud as hell of each, for what they did for me and what they tried to accomplish.

Which is not to say it was an easy year. 2015 brought the full bone and marrow of real life. Loss, time crunches, and more loss. Amid that, some amazing highs.

Crucial to success in the writing life is, well, writing. Time in front of the computer or with pen and paper. Time to think. To plow ahead on the words. Time preserved at no small cost, no matter the myriad distractions. The thing is, in the end there’s no separating the writing life from real life. Stuff bleeds both ways. Which brings me to the big re-learning of 2015, the thing I re-learn every year: the most important decision we make as writers is one we make daily. Not to stop writing.

In 2015, that’s what I did. The results weren’t always pretty. The stories that made it out to the page, and those I hope are coming behind them, mean all the more for digging them out.

Here, in no particular order, are my favorite writing memories of 2015: Continue reading Life and Times in 2015

Behind “What Settles After the Stars”

IMG_0953One fated French night in 1700 or thereabouts, so the story goes, Dom Pierre Pérignon was stalking his Hautevillers cellar, turning his bottles, and the great monk decided then was as good a time as any to have a taste. And what he tasted went down crisp and bright and bubbly, the first modern champagne. and he cried out, his voice echoing through the chalk caverns, “Brothers, come quickly! I am drinking the stars!”

A great story, if total hokum. Yep, it never happened, but Continue reading Behind “What Settles After the Stars”