This morning, Jack Kotz…

This morning, Jack Kotz sent me the rough sketch for the second illustration in The Stars Change, "Thick as a Brick." I loved it. There's a human, there's a lizard-y alien (who sort of looks like one of the aliens in Lilo and Stitch), there's flying cars and an implied intimate moment between two males (I almost wrote two men, but of course, they're not both men, and how cool is that?) -- it's just so neat. I would show it to you, but I think Jack gets a little stressed when I talk about showing his unfinished work to the public; he's a perfectionist, which I can understand and sympathize with. I would hate for all the drafts of my stories to be out there -- some are a real mess! So even if I think that this sketch looks great, I appreciate the artist's conviction that it will soon look much better.

I can't draw, but one of my plans for this summer is to start trying, at least a little bit. I have a how-to book, a sketchpad, good pencils, and a few projects in mind. When I have time, I'd like to take classes. But if I can't draw yet myself, to illustrate these fantastic images in my mind, it's almost as fabulous to have Jack doing it for me. It satisfies the little girl who spend a truly ridiculous amount of time tracing Robotech people and their spaceships on thin paper; I wish I still had those images to show you. They may be buried in my parents' house somewhere. For a few months, I was obsessed with that world.

One of the elements that made me love speculative fiction so much as a little girl was the sense of wonder, the magic of these creatures that were sometimes a little inhuman -- and sometimes a lot. I've spent decades mostly writing mainstream lit., and I value that work, I do. But there's a sheer delight that's come with the return to genre fiction, after so many years away.

Yesterday, I finished what I hope are final revisions for my Wild Card story, "Ties That Bind," for the next volume Lowball (oh, and I think I forgot to mention that the latest volume, Fort Freak, which works as a stand-alone and contains my linked story, "Sanctuary," is now available in mass market paperback), and it was just fun, writing in this world of mutants and monsters. My protagonist's little daughter turns into a garuda, and he's worried that every time she shifts and shifts back, her nose is getting more beaky.

These stories are giving me the freedom to be silly, and my plan for today (after dropping off the kids and watering the new vegetable garden I put in yesterday, ow, my aching back), is to just sit in my living room, enjoying the open windows on what promises to be a beautiful day, and write the next story for The Stars Change. How lucky I am, that this is part of my job. Invent, invent, invent.

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