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8th March 2016

8:48am: FOGcon
I'm an Honored Guest at FOGcon this coming weekend in Walnut Creek California, and this is my schedule:

Saturday
3 - 4:15 pm "Jo Walton's (In)Famous Character Workshop" in Salon A/B
8 - 9:15 pm "Domestic Fantasy: Transforming the Domestic" in Salon C

Sunday
10:30 am - 11:45 am "Honored Guest Readings" in Santa Rosa (with the other HGs)
1:30 - 2:45 pm "The First Annual Meeting of the FOGcon Draconic Appreciation Society" in Sacramento Room

I'll also be around all weekend and hope to have a chance to hang out with some of you there!

3rd March 2016

9:10am: Among Others in Korean
Among Others is now available in Korean, and here is the cover, which I like a lot -- this is one of the most accurate depictions of Mori, as described in the book. Actually, though, any cover that does not elide the cane is a win for me. And looking at it more, the background represents the way the magic works, which is a first. I like this cover a lot. Here's a link to it on my "all foreign AO covers" page.

1st March 2016

5:12pm: On the impending death of Morris Keesan
Death comes so fast, but also slow. Constrained
To die quite soon, a tumour, but for now,
Alive to see his friends, his home, somehow
Enjoying what he can, although still pained.

He saw his Michael Whelan print and said:
"I got to own that lovely thing, that art,
It makes me happy, has done from the start
And could you let him know that, when I'm dead?"

The art, the music, anagrams, the friends,
The cons, the conversations, all the days
Of building joy for everyone, that ends.

But memories live on, and all the ways
He made life better last. There's no amends
When we go to the dark, but something stays.

29th February 2016

4:05pm: Much too silly to count. No, really, this is nothing but nonsense...
Unpolished Polish, tangier Tangiers...
Mere bagatelles, and likewise the dear deers,
When with one letter shifting lets you tease
The antipopes of the Antipodes.

27th February 2016

5:28pm: Antiquity
This is in a mode called “columns” which, as it was described to me on a panel in SFContario, is written so that the left and right columns make sense alone, and the poem read as a whole (left to right) makes a different kind of sense. The lines in the middle go in both separate columns. It wasn’t hard to write, but it was hard to format — thanks to Mack Muldofsky for special help with that! The first column is the ancient world, the second column is the Renaissance rediscovery of it, and the whole thing is a whole thing, hopefully.

Naturally, once I heard it described, I wanted to try it...

Mack managed to get it from my Protext screenshot to Wordpress, so it's at the URL below, but I'm never going to be able to put it on here, you'll have to click through.

http://www.jowaltonbooks.com/poetry/whimsy/2024-2/

Again, encouraged to post things that are slightly harder to post by the enthusiastic backers of my Patreon! This has been sitting in Protext for a while, as I couldn't figure out any way to format it properly.

25th February 2016

12:55pm: Train poem
The stubble of the wheatfield
And the vast November sky
The tracery of branches bare
And I, and I, and I.

Life is so short and filled with things
And sorrow mixed with joy
The splendid that enrapture
The petty that annoy.

The clouds are grey, the fields are brown,
The distant hills are black
But light within and light without
Brings all the colour back.

Petrarch had poor mute Homer
He held but could not read
This train propels me onward
And I have all I need.

November 12th 2015

I wrote this in my notebook, with a pen, on the way to Chicago and Ohio in November, and I've been meaning to get around to typing it in and posting it ever since. I'd just read Petrarch's letter about not being able to read Homer, and the Adirondack (train 69) was heading south towards Schenectady. Posted now thanks to the awesome supporters of my new Patreon!

24th February 2016

5:13pm: Patreon!
I now have a Patreon for poetry.

This is what I've said on it:

I write science fiction and fantasy novels, and also poetry. I've been posting poetry for free on my livejournal since 2002. I just checked to make sure that was right, and indeed, the sixth thing I ever posted to LJ was the poem "Next Talking Fish, Five Hundred Miles"

I believe that speculative poetry is having a Golden Age right now, with so many people producing such wonderful stuff and showing it to each other. Many of these speculative poets have Patreons, because there isn't a whole lot of money to be made out of poetry, and I've decided to join them.

I don't intend to do anything different, I'm just setting this up so people who enjoy my poetry can directly contribute and let me know. I'm just adding this as an extra place -- the poems will still be posted on LJ, on my website, and here as well, with an email going out to contributors to tell them when there's a new poem. I'm pretty sure there has never been a month without at least one poem, and sometimes I get on a tear, so you might want to do a monthly amount, or set a limit, in case I do something like the Godzilla Sonnets and just keep going.

What I'm intending to do with the money is use it to support the other artists I already support on Patreon, and if it comes to more than that, probably add more. I love Patreon, I love the democratization of patronage. It's such a nifty thing, supporting creation.

I also have a long term goal of producing a really solid "Collected Poems" volume.

My novels are published by Tor in the US and Corsair in the UK and other publishers in translation in seventeen (unless I've lost count) countries. I am very happy with this and have no desire to change it and go into business for myself. My non-fiction essays are published on Tor.com, and have been collected by Tor, and probably will be again. I like traditional publishing, it does a lot of things for me that I would be terrible at doing for myself.

But poetry isn't commercially possible in the same kind of way, and I have dealt with that mostly by just giving it away online. If you want to support me continuing to do that, I really appreciate it.

23rd February 2016

9:03pm: Thud: Lent
Words: 1778
Total words: 15489
Files: 3
Music: No music actually
Tea: Florentina, and then elderflower and lemon
Reason for stopping: new beginning done

Decided it wasn't going to work if it wasn't possible to explain the concept, and therefore needed to write a new beginning, to go before the old beginning.

I think this is the most horrible thing I have ever done to a character. Though maybe there are a few things that compare.

13th February 2016

3:46pm: Recommendation wanted: Letters
I've recently finished both the letters of the Younger Pliny and the letters of Rilke and Andreas-Salome, both of which I highly recommend, and I find myself with a void that needs to be filled.

Please recommend to me volumes of letters -- ideally both sides of a correspondence, as with Browning and Barrett Browning, or Rilke and Andreas-Salome, but I'll take one side if that's what's going.

Limitations -- in English, and in print as an e-book -- the whole purpose of this is to have it on my Kindle to read between other things. In between reading whole things, I cycle through short stories and poems and letters and bits of epics and collections of bits, and I want more letters to fit into this cycle, not a physical book that I'd read all at once.

12th February 2016

2:06pm: Crooked Timber seminar
There has been a Crooked Timber seminar on my Thessaly books. The main post, with links to all the essays everyone wrote on it (some of them brilliant), can be found here, and there's also a link to my response post, a dialogue in which Socrates and Apollo disagree about spoilers, while Maia and Crocus also make their opinions known.

There are no spoilers for Necessity, but there are spoilers for The Just City and The Philosopher Kings.

9th February 2016

7:31pm: My Boskone Schedule
Boskone is next weekend, 19-21st -- though it feels as if it ought to be this weekend, I'm ready for it already! Here's my schedule:

Writing The Great Escape
Friday 17:00 - 17:50, Harbor II (Westin)

How do you get characters out of tough situations without resorting to Felix's bag of tricks, or other cheats? There's an art to surprising the reader with smart or daring escapes while still playing fair — so the reader thinks both "Wow!" and "I should have thought of that!"

Jo Walton, Julie C. Day, Grady Hendrix, Ken Liu, Ada Palmer

Theories of Time Travel
Saturday 10:00 - 10:50, Marina 4 (Westin)

As improbable as it seems, is time travel possible? What scientific theories are out there that hint at what it might take to turn time travel into a reality? What practical issues need to be considered? What are some of the best time travel stories and how does their science hold up? Who's doing it right? And is time travel really just science fiction?

James Cambias (M), Heather Albano, John R. Douglas, Kenneth Schneyer, Jo Walton

Kaffeeklatsch 2: Jo Walton
Saturday 11:00 - 11:50, Harbor I-Kaffeeklatsch 2 (Westin)

Reading: Jo Walton
Saturday 14:30 - 14:55, Independence (Westin)

Will be reading from Necessity.

Autographing:
Saturday 17:00 - 17:50, Galleria-Autographing (Westin)

Poetry Within Fantasy & Science Fiction
Sunday 10:00 - 10:50, Harbor III (Westin)

Fantasy and science fiction literature often samples snatches of song or poetry within its pages. But where does one look for original poetry that’s wholly focused on dragons and aliens, magic and deep space? Which writers are also fine versifiers? What inspires them? How do they decide whether an idea is better delivered in prose or poetry?

Jo Walton, C.S.E. Cooney, Mary Crowell, Theodora Goss

Mythology Mixology
Sunday 14:00 - 14:50, Marina 2 (Westin)

Zeus and Huitzilopochtli; Reynard and Kitsune; kelpies and undines. Today's fantasy draws inspiration (and species) from many mythological sources. What happens when creatures from different cultural milieux occur in the same story? Why do writers mix their mythologies? Who has done it well?

Michael Swanwick, Ken Altabef, Ada Palmer, Lauren Schiller, Jo Walton

There's also a Sassafrass Trickster and King concert at noon on Saturday. You won't want to miss that. And in a piece of annoying scheduling. Ada's reading at the same time I am.

Hope to see some of you there.

5th February 2016

7:35pm: Thud: Lent
Words: 3820
Total words: 13512
Files: 4
Music: No music
Tea: Hua Lien, and then Elderflower and Lemon
Reason for stopping: end of chapter... but I stopped to make dinner, and then to eat dinner, and I'm not really stopping now so much as posting chapter done.

I don't think I've ever written anything before where I've been so reluctant to explain the concept, because I feel it would be more fun to read without knowing it. But... you have to explain the concept, or nobody would read it in the first place, right? Except you four loyal and faithful people who would read it whatever it is just because it has my name on the cover. I know who you are! And i appreciate you, but you're not enough by yourselves...

And I don't think most people are so excited by Savonarola that "it's a fantasy novel about Savonarola" would make them want it -- in fact most people hate Savonarola while not knowing much about him. Even if I said "Savonarola and the Holy Grail". Oh well. I'll think of something.

Onwards and upwards. More words.

21st January 2016

8:06pm: Saltwater Taffy
It's the name of a Welsh pirate from a comic children's book
With pyramids of oranges, a cannon and a hook,
A daffodil, a hammock, canary, stick of rock,
A Davy-lamp to light the seas, a peg-leg in a sock...

Saltwater Taffy's voice confides, tells tales in lilting tones
Of sunken ships and treasure, black skull flags with crossing bones,
Boasting of all the conquests made upon the Spanish Main
And a childhood spent in Tiger Bay (you can't go home again).

Ah, fortunes found and fortunes lost upon the rolling sea
The mermaids booming conch-shell songs to windward, and to lee
The drifting weed, the shifting reef, the blown-glass floats, the sky
The lure of far horizons and the secrets seagulls cry.

The blue that always beckons, the setting of the sails,
And the welcome in the hillsides ever waiting home in Wales.

sovay has a post about being called "Saltwater Taaffe" as a nickname, and as soon as I read it I had an immediate image of oranges piled up like cannon balls and had to write this.

20th January 2016

11:18am: David Hartwell, 1941-2016
Like nitrogen, supporting every breath
Always been there, it seems you always will
So vital, so involved, that is until
A moment brings inevitable death.

I know death finds us all, but you? But why?
You, in the midst of life, one moment there
Then dying flesh, and then an empty chair,
I can't believe it doesn't shake the sky.

Your life is over, not complete, feels wrong
To say "he was" and never "he will be"
When you were there like axioms so long.

What's left is all you did and made, and we
So shaken at the gap where you belong
Counting your loss against eternity.

14th January 2016

8:38am: Philosopher Kings in Britain, and party at Balticon
The Philosopher Kings is released today in the UK in trade paperback, so there it is.

Necessity is not yet scheduled for a UK release, but it will be out in North America at the end of June -- I'm having a release party for it at Balticon, though it won't actually be out for a few weeks after that. It's a joint party with Ada Palmer for Too Like the Lightning, and we're having cakes made with book covers which will be fun. If you're planning to come to Balticon, you should come, and maybe you should think about planning to come to Balticon, because it's going to be great -- it's the fiftieth anniversary, and they're getting as many past GoHs as they can, in addition to having grrm as this year's GoH.

30th December 2015

8:48am: Repudiation of slates in all their forms
Chaos Horizon suggested this morning that the Sad Puppies might endorse The Just City. Unlikely as I find this, I just want to say now and in public that I abhor the idea of such endorsement. I think slates are appalling and utterly against the spirit of the Hugos. If they did put anything of mine on their list I would insist they remove it as soon as possible.

Furthermore, I urge other writers, editors and fans to do this. Even if you're not as viscerally horrified at the whole idea as I am (I have never campaigned not even in the mild form of listing eligibility with a nudge and a wink, I see no point in an offering of love you have begged for) then even pragmatically it must be apparent that the events of last year demonstrated that being on a slate is the kiss of death.

18th December 2015

11:43am: Next Time I Fall in Love 2: For Laurie Penny
When I grow up I want to be brave
like you
so when I fall in love,
and feel that tingling unexpected joy
and can't help smiling when I see
my special person walk into a room
which had felt empty until then, without them,
when
they smile to see me too, their face lights up,
to see me, me! And it's incredible
that they could like me back,
since they're so wonderful and I
am always only me...
Yes, when that grace
descends,
I want to
be like your generation,
grown up, bold,
and shout out confidently,
ready and unafraid
to share it with the world
and Twitter,
taking that risk
to be exposed, wide open,
"also I fell in love
so that's a thing."

This is from a tweet of Laurie Penny's @PennyRed in which she said those last two lines. (I just realised I have no idea how to link directly to a tweet.)

14th December 2015

9:35am: Necessity: Cover
It matches the others -- what do you think?

The book itself got off to pnh on time and I never want to see it again look forward to it coming out in June, with this cover.

nec

11th December 2015

9:35am: Thud: Savonarola thing
Forgot to post last night, this is for yesterday

Words: 3711
Total words: 7016
Files: 4
Music: No music
Tea: Pu Erh, then white tea with apricot & elderflower
Reason for stopping: I stopped to go swimming, and then to eat, and then when the chapter was done

So that's two chapters.

One of the things I love about writing fantasy -- and about starting a new thing -- is establishing how time works and how magic works, and in this particular case, how prophecy works.

I might call it "Work of God"

9th December 2015

7:15pm: Thud: Savonarola thing
Words: 3220
Total words: 3220
Files: 3
Tea: Blue people
Music: No music

And that would be the first chapter of a new thing that doesn't have a proper title yet.

Don't know if it's going to work yet. It's about Savonarola. I don't know if anyone's going to like it, but I like it. We'll see how it goes.

And it's so exciting to be writing in third person after so very MUCH first, even if it is a very close third indeed.

First line is "Had the gates of Hell been opened?"

1st December 2015

3:12pm: 51 Today!
AM is here and I'm going out for breakfast and later today for dinner with Z as well, and the book is done, and I have such great family and friends, and being fifty-one is lovely so far.

I won't be doing my regular birthday list of what I published and the awards I won when I was fifty, because I think there's a slippery slope with that at one end and the Sad Puppies saying everyone campaigns at the other, and that makes it very important that everyone does not campaign, or do anything that remotely could be claimed to look like it, this year especially. It was a fun thing to do on my birthday, looking at achievements for the year, and I'm sorry to stop, but never mind. Here's the summary: Two novels out, another completed, a Tiptree award, a Locus award, the ALA stuff, and a bunch of nominations. Completely awesome actually.

Places I visited for the first time when I was fifty:

Salisbury, Wiltshire
Colorado Springs
Spokane, Washington
Lyon
Avignon
Nice
Canton, Ohio

30th November 2015

3:30pm: Necessity!
So, Necessity is done again, after spending months in that state where you've unpacked a suitcase and everything is all over the bed, and you know everything went into it once, but getting it all in again is challenging.

I do want some quick feedback, but the word here is quick. If you want to volunteer to read it, and you know you can read it and get back to me about it THIS WEEK, then please comment with your email address and how many of the earlier volumes you have read.

Word count just now is 101027, incidentally, which means I have written more than 10,000 words since last I thudded here -- and in fact I have written way more than that, but revision does not lend itself well to being measured by wordcount because words are also being deleted.

8th November 2015

8:32am: The Death of Petrarch
He fell asleep, reading in Cicero
And as he turned the page, in his last sleep
He found it didn't end, so he could keep
On reading the De Gloria, and know.

Forgetting meals, forgetting pain and age,
One book led to another, all made new,
Laid out before him, beautiful and true.
In such delight he'd greet each fresh-turned page.

And there lies Homer, that most glorious peak,
Politziano's Homer, and it said
This was a Florentine whio knew his Greek

The Pope was back in Rome, and he was dead,
The world renewed, and given tongue to speak.
Sing, Goddess, Petrarch's joy in what he read.

24th October 2015

10:25am: Like memories of anything else, really.
So sartorias has a post on BVC about buying and selling memories, and one of her examples is me writing a poem. This was my response.

You’d be surprised quite often how mundane,
the process is, and how it’s mostly craft
(as so much writing is) where every draft
comes closer to the willed. It’s mostly sane
It’s word and meaning juggling, it’s play,
a jigsaw game of sound and shape and word
and can I rhyme that there — no, that’s absurd,
it works, but it’s not what I want to say!
Often I don’t remember, ha, I sold
those ones already! You can have them free.
They’re not the things I’d treasure, growing old.
But some I would not part with, that would be
Vaucluse the other day, the green-and-gold
For sometimes, I admit, it’s ecstacy.

23rd October 2015

1:51am: Intergalactiques
The reason I'm in France is to be a guest at Intergalactiques, in Lyon, which starts today. I'm on a bunch of program and also signing and stuff. If you are in or near Lyon come and say hello!
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