October 2019: Things are Getting Spoooooky

Okay, not really, but I felt the need to write that.

I’m still here, in my little hobbit-hole existence. Still type, type, typing away. Briefly, here are some life updates:

On the publication front

I’m continuing to produce, especially given my newfound and well-loved freedom. I am writing full-time at the moment, which means my income is about zero, but I’m very happy and able to submit fairly regularly. (Quick plug for my Patreon account.)

Another of my short stories entitled “On a Thursday” is hopefully soon to be published by The Fabulist: Words & Art. The same lovely people who published “On the Beginnings of a Universe.” I think it must be starting with a preposition that’s doing the trick.

Additionally, I heard from the fine folks at BlanketSea. They are nominating my short story “The Year of Internal Optimism” for a Best of the Net anthology. Who knows how that will shake out, but it is truly an honor just to be nominated. You can read the story here.

Finally, I got an update from Cogswell College, the people who somehow chose my short story “Accidents” for the 2019 Page to Screen Award. The story is now being turned into a video by the students, and I’ll be sure to share it as soon as it is completed. I’m very excited to see what they make of it!

Met Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket)

Through an email list I was subscribed to years ago, I found an event featuring Daniel Handler and Vanessa Hua talking about creating art in San Francisco. Being me, I immediately signed up.

I showed up, father in tow, about half an hour early in the Mechanic’s Institute, home to the oldest chess club in the United States. Upon entering we were told that the men’s bathroom was out of use and in order to access a functioning one, you must descend a few floors, knock on the library door, and convince the librarian to allow you use. It felt highly appropriate.

The talk was great. I felt I got a better sense of San Francisco and confirmed my conclusion that a strong and supportive writing community is critical. Afterwards, sweating profusely, brain completely blank of interesting thought I approached the two authors with my books.

Luckily, they were both very kind and supportive. Daniel Handler even condescended to sign my copy of “The Wide Window” which I told him in barely complete sentences I had chosen because I had a dream about it the night before. (This was true.)

After the signing and milling, a group of us invaded the bar next door in order to try the specialty cocktail honoring Handler’s new book “Bottle Grove”. DH himself attended and I was able to make a few jokes that weren’t half bad (they were all bad!). All in all it was a highly pleasant and not at all disappointing encounter.

Continued “retirement” 

I remain, as of this writing, gainfully unemployed. I am frequently torn between heart-pounding panic and utter contentment. This is perhaps not completely sustainable, but it is also exactly what I’ve been dreaming of the past twenty or so years. As of right now, I am writing fiction for a living.

One year since coming out (again) 

On Halloween of last year, I came out as genderqueer/ non-binary. To reiterate, this means I do not define myself either as male or female, but as a combination or compilation of the two. I use they/ them pronouns (see pronoun guide) and have started to go by “Laur” instead of “Laura”.

In addition, I prefer the terms “sibling” to “sister”, “child” to “daughter”, and “cat parent” to “cat mom”.

It has been… interesting. In so many ways, coming out has been liberating and exhilarating. So many parts of myself that previously made little sense or that were overlooked have become clear and radiant. I feel more comfortable in my body, in my clothing, in my outlook on life. I feel less lonely when people use my correct name and pronouns.

At the same time, it is exhausting. There are so few places where I fit in. This has always been the case, but it is thrown into sharper relief since I’ve put a name to it. Gendered bathrooms are a nightmare. Job interviews are uncertain and sometimes fraught. Each new encounter I have to determine how much of myself to reveal. Whether it is worth it to try and clarify my name and pronouns or if it is a lost cause. Overall the main response is confusion, which is far preferred to animosity or anger, but which still adds up over time.

I have been lucky enough to find friends who are either understanding or also non-binary and my family has been, as always, incredibly supportive.

Scout says he doesn’t really care what my gender is as long as I continue feeding him.

Conclusion

So that is who or how I am at the moment. I’ve been working on my new novel and editing and querying my short story collection.

It’s finally autumn and I’m bringing out the seasonal sweaters.

Thank you as always for reading and supporting. I wish you the best of Octobers!

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