Tim Pratt
SF and Fantasy Writer

Crawl Before You Can Walk

It is a cornerstone of my personality that I don’t like to go places or do things. (This is not entirely true; I like going to brunch, and Hawaii, and I enjoy doing readings occasionally, but mostly, I’m hermitlike by nature and action.) So this was a very eventful weekend for me. On Saturday I did a mini-panel discussion with recent Clarion West grad Mark Pantoja at CIIS in San Francisco, talking to a class of writers and artists about Kickstarter (the professor has been talking to the class about “autonomous practices” for artists lately; basically now to succeed outside the existing publishing infrastructure, engage with readers directly, etc.). It was a good class with smart questions, and we had an hour and a half, so it was even possible to move beyond the very broadest strokes and get into nuances a bit.

After the class I came back home to give my wife a little childcare break. (She heroically took the kid to a farm/pumpkin patch for many hours in the morning.) The boy and I spent most of our time exploring the back yard, playing “archaeology” (burying toy dinosaurs and digging them back up again), looking at spiders, and so on. Four years old is a great age. (Well, he’s actually still three, but only for three more weeks.)

In the evening I hopped on a train back to San Francisco to see a bit of LitCrawl. I hit Borderlands and saw Richard Kadrey, Thomas Roche, and Naamen Tilahun read (alas, Ray Garton was ill, and couldn’t make it). The store was packed and hot as a blast furnace, but the readings were good. Afterward I headed next door to the Borderlands Cafe, which I had never seen before (see above re: not going places or doing things) — what a fantastic space! It’s gorgeous. Specialty store + awesome cafe = Tim Pratt’s Ideal of Heaven.

Best of all, the spot where we read had open windows, through which a cool breeze blew. No monster-heat! My fellow readers were Steve Boyett, Seanan McGuire, and Kirsten Imani Kasai, who all did wonderful work. By the implacable rigors of alphabetical order, I read last, and rather than subject the audience to a fragment of my new novel, I read a bunch of short pieces — “Scientific Romance,” “Bacchanal,” “My Night with Aphrodite,” “Soul Searching,” “Ghost” — lots of fun, and the audience seemed to like it. I’d vaguely intended to go to the afterparty, but ended up hanging out at the cafe talking to my friends Chris and Maggie for an hour instead. It was immensely pleasant, and probably the right choice, as the alternative would have almost certainly led to me being hungover Sunday morning.

Of course, all that socialing meant falling behind on my writing for the weekend. I did manage to do what I think is the last revision pass on the Christmas Carol/Ghost Finder mash-up story co-written with Heather Shaw, and responded to editorial queries on my new story “Ill Met in Ulthar”, but I had to knuckle down and buckle down on Sunday to work on Grim Tides. My mad goal is to have a complete draft by Halloween, which means producing 30 to 40K words in the next two weeks. So, uh, that’s what I’ll be doing.

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