As you read this, I am in the final, frantic stages of packing for my move to California.
All moves create change, and cross-country ones even more so. But this one is about more than a new location.
Last week, while waiting in the cellphone lot at the airport for my sweetheart to get his bags, it suddenly dawned on me that as soon as I picked him up, I wasn’t single any more.
Not that I’ve really been single since we started seeing each other a little over two years ago. But we have been maintaining separate households, despite all our travel back and forth.
He came to Texas to help me get organized and drive to California. We might not yet be moved in together, but we are already at the point where our lives are completely intertwined.
And the move and the deepening relationship aren’t the only changes in my life. I also sold a science fiction novel to Aqueduct Press. It will be coming out in 2015.
Both my personal life and my professional life are on the cusp of big changes.
I’ve been writing fiction seriously for 20 years, but my published work has all been on the shorter side, though “short” has ranged from flash fiction to novellas. That’s partly because when I started writing, the first critiques I got on my short stories all said “this sounds like a section of a novel,” which made me determined to figure out how to write a real short story.
I succeeded at that and then discovered that I really liked writing short stories. I like being able to keep the whole story in my head while I’m working on it. I like trying to refine the excess out of a story.
And while it wasn’t a practical decision for building a fiction writing career, it was a good one for someone writing around a day job and Aikido training and – later – care of an elderly parent.
Not that I didn’t work on novels during that time; the one I’ve sold to Aqueduct was originally written quite a few years back, though it’s had major revision since then, and I have others in various stages.
Now, though, I no longer have the day job or the family responsibilities, making me free to write at various lengths and to work at selling the novels. And I do have longer stories to tell.
The working title of the novel is Seven Cities of Gold, but that may not be the final title since my editor thinks I should change it. Since Timmi Duchamp is that rare combination of great writer and great editor, I tend to listen to her when she feels strongly about something.
Right now I’m waiting for line edits from her, knowing that I’ll be faced with a huge amount of work once they come in. Judging by my previous experience, most of her recommended changes will make the book better and none will challenge the core of the story I want to tell.
The other real joy in being published by Aqueduct is that I love the work of many of the other people they’ve published, folks like Gwyneth Jones, Andrea Hairston, and Nisi Shawl. I feel like I’m in exalted company.
As for the change in relationship status, I’d like to emphasize that I’ve never been one of those single people who constantly bemoaned my solitary life. (Unlike, say, the main character in the entertaining comic strip Connie to the Wonnie.) I liked being single.
But this relationship has opened up for me the possibilities and pleasures inherent in the shared life. I’m sure it’s going to be tricky in spots – when you’re single, you really don’t have to worry whether other people agree with your way of doing things – but it’s rewarding, too.
And while we’ve got to navigate the path toward shared life, neither of us want to limit the other’s independence. I think we’ve got a shot at having the best of both worlds.
New way of living. New way of being a writer. Lots of changes, mostly good ones. And on this day before Hallowe’en, not ones I find scary.
In fact, the only thing that is terrifying me at the moment is getting everything into boxes and out the door.