So how was 2000-2010 for me? (I know, the decade was 2001-2010, but the transition is more striking if I start a year earlier.) Well, you know, it’s kinda when my adult life began…
In 2000 I was 22 years old. I’d graduated college and subsequently attended Clarion the year before, and was full of the fire to be a writer, but I’d only sold three stories, to ‘zines and e-zines that paid maybe $20 a pop. I was still writing poetry very seriously — indeed, I was more successful as a poet. I’d published twice as many poems as stories, and it’s expected that poetry won’t pay much, so that was okay. I was working in the in-house advertising department of a big company, writing sales copy about objects. (By local standards it was a fantastic job — indeed, I’ve never had a day job that paid so well since, even living in vastly more expensive California — and if I’d kept on working there, I’d have a nice house in the mountains of North Carolina by now, probably.)
But I wasn’t happy, so in August 2000, I kissed my girlfriend Meg goodbye, loaded up my silver Nissan Sentra, and drove to Santa Cruz to crash with my friend Scott and figure out what to do with my life. Got a job at a disability advocacy company, hung out in coffee shops a lot, ate good Mexican food frequently, and had a nice if somewhat lonely life. So ended 2000…
In the decade since then I:
Wrote my first published novel, The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl; sold two story collections and a poetry collection; produced (by a conservative estimate) about 2 million words of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry; wrote 11 more novels; sold four books in an urban fantasy series, which was subsequently optioned for film and has been continually under option since then (I just had lunch with the producer on Tuesday); had that series dropped by my major publisher; despaired; self-published a sequel, which turned out pretty well; sold a bunch of work-for-hire and small press novels; sold my first anthology; spent nine years and counting working at Locus magazine, where I’m now a senior editor (I never thought I’d have the same day job that long); reviewed hundreds of porn movies and dozens of science fiction books (for, er, different venues); sold well over a hundred stories, many to pro markets I’d been reading since I was a kid, and about 40 poems; got reprinted in heaps of year’s best anthologies, including twice in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, which I’d always read religiously; worked as a poetry editor for two publications (Speculon and Star*Line); co-founded and co-edited and closed a ‘zine called Flytrap that ran for 10 excellent issues; attended my first science fiction convention and many more subsequently; got to attend professional invitation-only writing workshops; rode the coattails of the podcast revolution, with more than 30 stories and/or poems (original and reprints) adapted for audio, bringing me to a whole new audience; published many well-received chapbooks by myself and other, more awesome writers; won a Hugo Award, a Joshua Norton Award, a Rhysling Award, an Asimov’s Reader’s Poll, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award; was a finalist for a Nebula Award, World Fantasy Award, Sturgeon Award, Campbell Award for Best New Writer, a couple of Gaylactic Spectrum Awards, a Stoker Award, and a Seiun Award.
But more importantly than the writing and career stuff: Met my wife (through mutual acquaintances in science fiction), fell in love with her, moved in with her in Oakland, proposed to her, married her, honeymooned with her in Hawaii, had a child with her (and became a father! Whoa!); and had an ongoing awesome life with her, my favorite human, my very own Person of the Decade: Heather Shaw.
It makes me hopeful for the next ten years. It’s a long time. A lot can happen. And in 2020, I’ll only be 43. I have time.