I’ve been a bit boggled by the response to the previous post. I hadn’t expected it. I’ve actually given this as a talk to various audiences. I’ve done it at an all-day event put on by SheSays (Google them, I’m too lazy for exposition), and for an even larger gathering for Ogilvy’s Storytelling Day (Gt, Itlfe) a few years ago, and at a science fiction convention in Norway last year.
When I do this as a talk, I play it for laughs. Believe me, I can make it funny; I’m a good speaker and a better performer. That sounds immodest. All the nuns who (brow)beat humility into me can probably sense a disturbance in the Force. (See? You really can overcome anything.) But I am a trained performer. I took ballet and later modern jazz lessons; I was a theatre major; I had voice lessons. I’ve faced many different kinds of audiences, some on short notice. After that much experience, I ought to be a good speaker and a better performer. But I digress.
Yes, I play this for laughs, and in fact, it’s only the first half of a whole piece. I’m not going to post the second half because it’s one of those things meant to be performed, not written down and read. No, I’m not even going to tell you about it. When I get another speaking engagement, I’ll let you know. I’m not being coy, honest.
Anyway, the story in the previous post stands on its own without the additional material and it made the point I wanted to make. If you liked it, I’m glad. Today’s another day––above ground––and my novel won’t write itself. This is a very long novel, the longest single thing I’ve ever written. It’s set in the same universe as my (ahem) Hugo-award-winning novelette, “The Girl-Thing Who Went Out For Sushi.”
In a hundred years, I never suspected that story would win a Hugo. I’d never won a Hugo before. I know a lot of people think I got one for something or other in the past but no, I haven’t. You can look it up (Gt,Itlfe). I’ve been nominated a few times for that, for the Nebula, and for the World Fantasy Award, but never won for fiction (A and I won the World Fantasy Award in 1980 for Achievement, Non-professional but I don’t call myself a World Fantasy Award winner because it wasn’t for my fiction).
But I’ve won the Locus Award three times, for “Angel” (best short story), Patterns (best collection), and “Girl-Thing” (best novelette), and the Arthur C. Clarke Award twice, for Synners and Fools. For about ten years, I was the only writer ever to win it more than once; Geoff Ryman has since won it a second time and China Mièville currently holds the record at three times.
Winning awards is wonderful. I wouldn’t mind doing it again but I’m not going to turn out bitter and twisted if I don’t. For one thing, I love writing and I was raised to dance like nobody’s watching.
And for another, cancer has a way of snapping everything into perspective.