Category: Uncategorized

Come See Me at Oasis in Orlando, June 1st

Oasis, a convention hosted by the Orlando Area Science Fiction Society, is putting on its 30th event and I couldn’t resist returning to the OTHER Florida convention I grew up attending.

I’ll be appearing on panels with some of science fiction and fantasy’s best: Adam-Troy Castro, Ben Bova, Jack McDevitt, Rick Wilber, Jose Iriarte, and my perennial partner Richard Lee Byers.

Here’s where you can find me, all on Saturday, June 1st:

  • Fantastic Florida: 10am
  • Exposition: 1pm
  • Short Fiction in 2019: 5pm

Oasis also has the honor of being the convention that my entire family attended to see me in 2002!

Andrew, cosplaying as one of the Midwich Cuckoos, here anxiously awaits room service.

Come See Me at ICFA!

This weekend (March 14 – 16), I’m pleased to be a guest at the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts in Orlando. This year’s theme is Politics and Conflict, and I’m told there will be a guillotine on site to practice what we preach.

I’ll be part of the panel “Tripping the Spec Fantastic: The Art and Craft of Speculative Fiction” at 8:30am on Saturday, so come for the writing advice and stay for the world revolution!

Raiders of the Lost Mother

This cat has seen some shit.

For one thing, he’s probably about seventy years old, and he has a tag that says he was made in the U.S. zone in Germany, which only existed from 1945 to 1955. He looks like he was made by the Steiff company, though he lacks the metal button in his ear or any hole from it, so he could also have been made by Hermann, who created similar animals.

More importantly, he was my mother’s friend as a girl, my sister’s when she was a girl, and mine when I was a boy. That’s three different childhoods. That cat remembers Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan, which is about the time he was put away in a box when my parents got divorced.

[This is the very last thing he remembers.]

When Karen brought him out to me yesterday, we had a lot to catch up on. I told him Donald Trump was president, and his eye shot out of his head.

We had a lot of adventures together, many of them involving hiding from my father under tables or in the woods. Stuffed animals and action figures were important to me as a kid, a posse of similarly powerless beings just trying to live more powerfully in my imagination.

One of the weirdest and most traumatic aspects of abuse is disbelief – not just from the world at large who can’t understand its specific impact, but also from yourself. I have deeper and more vivid memories about the past than anyone I know, but I also have a rich imagination, so I’m never sure how accurate those memories are. They’re consistent, at least, and I do more than most people to document them.

But as time goes on, some emotional circuit breaker flips in your mind so those things don’t seem as real, and you’re left wondering what really happened and, worse, how much of it was your fault.

One of the unexpected consequences of clearing out my mother’s house is this powerful sense of validation. She always loved archaeology, and I know now what Howard Carter felt when opening the tomb of Tutankhamen: “Oh, my God. This was real. It really happened.”

[Howard Carter re-enacting the scene a year after the actual discovery. ]

She kept my friend, the sitting cat. She kept calendars of what happened each day for twenty years. She kept one of the fake pirate coins my father would flip out into the surf to fool old men with metal detectors. She kept my sister’s application letter to college. She kept my brother’s drawings. She kept every magazine that every published a story of mine (in plastic bags).  

[Imagine this dustier and with way less gold to get a sense of my mother’s house.]

My mother loved Nefertiti, and now she IS Nefertiti: someone nearly mythical who left just enough evidence behind to remind the believers that they were right.

[This was on my mother’s calendar for June of 1981. So yeah, archaeology.]

What we’ve inherited from her – aside from lungs choked with black mold, dust, and nicotine because she pushed the ancient tomb metaphor a little far – is the proof that it all happened.

Photo by Einsamer Schütze CC

My cat comes from a long line, apparently.

2018 by the Numbers

I am, perhaps unfortunately, the kind of person who likes to take stock of just how much I did (or didn’t) accomplish at the end of each year.

(What can I say? I’ve been in the corporate world too long and there have to be measures! measures! measures!)

Here’s my 2018 numerically:

  • Wrote: almost exactly 30,000 words on two novel projects that are in shaky condition.
  • Ran: 818 miles in 246 runs including 17 organized races and a half-marathon.
  • Lost: 7.9 pounds.
  • Released: one short story collection, Acres of Perhaps.
  • Received: one starred review from Publishers Weekly and several other good notices.

That doesn’t tell the whole story, though. Here is my 2018 subjectively:

  • Discovered that my friend Norman Amemiya’s mysterious lack of contact was due to his death in 2014.
  • Lost my greyhound Zelda to an sudden unknown cause of death.
  • Got in a car wreck on I-4 that was fortunately without injuries but smashed up my vehicle.
  • Endured another horrifying year of looming stress and depression with Donald Trump as president.
  • Hosted the first successful Willcon (the formerly-yearly gathering for friends in my home) in years.
  • Met with a medium to contact my mother (and, accidentally, Norman).
  • Continued in an oddly duller world that no longer contains my mother since her death last year.

That’s, uh, what you might call a mixed bag. I wish I’d accomplished more, but then, it’s kind of a miracle I got as much done as I did. It’s hard to overstate the general pervasive feeling of slow dread shadowing me for most of the year, making almost every action feel like swimming in tar.

I did manage to escape into books, podcasts, films, and television. Some pleasant surprises this year included:

I spent a lot of the year (Too much? Who can say?) hiding from the world in books (including my own). I also had a lot of weird vivid dreams, so who knows what that was all about.

I’m glad you and I both survived 2018. Let us never speak of it again.

© 2019 Will Ludwigsen

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑