My Favorite Year


Lucas O’Connell, Milo O’Connell, Mary Jane O’Connell, Jay O’Connell Letting it Be in 2013

2013 is the year when it changed for me as a writer. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. I joined three peer group workshops in 2012, B-spec, Griffins and Mechanics (led by Michael McComas who teaches SF at the CCAE), and poured myself in. My original 2012 goal, of collecting another 100 rejection slips before quitting again, was interrupted by a sale to Warren Lapine’s Fantastic Stories of the Imagination anthology. So my first story after the 20 year hiatus sold quickly to a great friend and supporter in an antho with lots of cool writers.

Good start. Keep going then. Then I sold my first five submissions to Sheila Williams at Asimovs. I’d gotten a few one-line typed notes from Gardner Dozois, after Clarion, but had slipped back to a generic reject, in the 90s. Was I better this time around? Perhaps so.

On a whim I completed a fragment started in the 90s, about my relationships with genre men who have problem with relationships. If you are a genre person, you know what I’m talking about. The end I found felt perfect, an undeserved blessing, as I’d had no idea it was coming. Google Glass / wearable computing makes another appearance; actually a better version of Glass; one that passes for normal eyewear.

This story sold to F&SF a few weeks back.

I’ve wanted to appear in these two magazines for twenty years. I gave up on a career as a novelist in large part because I didn’t get into them in the nineties. (Hint: do not give up on your career as a novelist because you are not published in three magazines. There are more professional quality stories than there are places to publish them. Yes, I was told this in the 90s, too. But you should listen to me, because I am now publicly kicking myself.) Now I’m in.

So. Happy? Yes. Terrified? Certainly; nowhere to run, nowhere two hide, time to put up or shut up. Sure, I could lay a few more cliches there, (fish, bait, shit, pot, etc.) but you get the point.

Time to write at longer lengths; time to finish novel drafts and shop for agents; time to look into teaching opportunities, because I love that, I love teaching, and it seems like maybe I do know a thing or two worth sharing.

Because I love writers and writing as much, no, more than I fear rejection. More than I fear being revealed as a fraud.

So; fearless into 2014 we go, all together now. Do your best. Let your best be good enough. As they say in Kindergarten, and so few of us ever get the hang of.


Posted in Self Indulgent Mémoire

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