Monday, July 03, 2006

Catching Up Again ...

Let's see, what's happened over the past month? Mia is visiting her mom for the summer in Alabama, where she's having a great time. She turned six just a few days ago. Six! In a month she'll be starting first grade! I could handle kindergarten; it was the start of school, yeah, but kindergarten inspired pride, and lots of Oh my God isn't that cute moments. (Like the first time she put on her backpack and marched down the sidewalk, like she knew the score.) But first grade? That's hard core, man! She's not a baby anymore; she's an actual kid!

I sold a short story called "The Monsters of Heaven" to Ellen Datlow for her upcoming horror anthology, Inferno. Thrilled about that, obviously. If she has any sort of reading up in New York after its release, I'm going to try to get up there for it. It's been way too long since I've been to NYC.

I've fallen in literary love: I've just begun reading Maureen F. McHugh for the first time, and I am just awestruck by her stories. I'm reading her collection from Small Beer Press, called Mothers & Other Monsters. These are the kinds of stories I've always wanted to write. This is what I dream of being able to someday do. I haven't finished the collection yet, but so far my favorite stories are "Laika Comes Back Safe," the best werewolf story ever; and "Oversite," which is so delicate and warm and heartbreaking that after I finished reading it I closed the book and closed my eyes, just feeling the story flow through me, the way great music does. I'm going to go out tomorrow and buy more copies of the book to give as gifts, and then I'm going to pick up China Mountain Zhang. Sorry to sound so fanboyish, but I haven't been this excited by a writer in a long time. I can't believe it's taken me this long to discover her.

I would like to go on in more detail about why I love those stories, but my computer is reacting so slowly that it takes me about two minutes to finish each of these sentences, and I'm about to throw the whole thing through the window. Since I'd probably regret that tomorrow morning, I'm just going to stop typing for the night.