On Reaching 30

I turned 30 today. This is a huge milestone for me.

For a long time I didn’t think I would live to be 30. It was the goal, the distant point I hoped to reach. If I made it that far I imagined I would have lived a good life.

After yet another concussion in April, which brought about the worst depressive period of my life, things took a turn for the worse. It got so bad I almost didn’t make it.

BUT now here I am, at that legendary signpost. 30. And you know what, I feel more alive than ever.

When I was younger I never imagined my health would improve. I was often angry, depressed about my condition, and I rarely told others how I felt. A common coping mechanism, but a dangerous one.

Over time I believed I was a burden to the people I loved. It was only in my head, but I felt guilty for wanting to do things I liked, for spending money on anything that made me happy. I felt I didn’t deserve it.

I wish I could tell my younger self, “You shouldn’t feel guilty for being the way you are, for being alive. You have every right to be here.” Even though others tell you that, it can be hard to believe.

Now, at 30, I can say I’m truly happy being who I am, what I am. I have the love and support of my family, my friends, my partner. I love what I do, and I feel fulfilled doing it.

I’m disabled, I still have a lot of health issues, and there are things I can’t do, but I made it to 30, and now I want to make it to 40, 50, 60, to whatever. In recognition of that, and as a celebration, at the end of the month I’m starting on the sleeve tattoo I’ve wanted for years. It will be made possible with the help of some of my friends and family, as my birthday gift.

The sleeve will consist of illustrations from Tainaron, by Leena Krohn, my very favourite book. The book’s exploration of metamorphosis, and of embracing the strange and the unusual, helped me to better understand who I am, and to love myself more.

I’ll keep you all posted on how the process goes.

But in the meantime, thank you all for helping me reach this point. And for any of you doubting your self -worth or worrying that you might not make it, just know that you matter, your voices matter, and you absolutely deserve to be here.

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Fan Expo

Fan Expo Canada starts tomorrow! The fine folks at the Toronto Steampunk Society were kind enough to invite me again this year and give me a table. I’ll be sharing the space with the awesome Rebecca Diem, same as last year. Kelsi Morris will also be there selling her Shirley Jackson Award-nominated anthology Those Who Make Us: Canadian Creature, Myth, and Monster Stories, in which I have a story, “Where Roots and Rivers Run as Veins.” We’ll also have a variety of books from Exile Editions on hand, including my Clockwork Canada: Steampunk Fiction, and I’ll have copies of The Starlit Wood. 

On Friday Rebecca and I will be on a panel about steampunk fiction in room 712. Feel free to join us!

We’ll all be posting throughout the con, so keep up on Twitter @domparisien, @KelsiGrammar and @kthnxbex.

Fan Expo 2017 v1

 

Hugo WIN for Amal El-Mohtar

Amal El-Mohtar has added yet ANOTHER recognition for her wonderful story “Seasons of Glass and Iron” from The Starlit Wood. Her story has now won the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the Locus Award, in addition to her other numerous nominations. Congratulations, Amal! We are so proud of you.

Amal wrote about her win here, including the beautiful welcome her family gave her on her return from Helsinki. She’s already been interviewed several times for the win, both in newspapers and on CBC. Check out the post for all the links.

The full list of winners is here. As several news sources have reported, women dominated the Hugos. It was a really good year for Science Fiction and Fantasy. Congratulations to all the winners!

Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction FUNDED

THAT’S RIGHT, DISABLED PEOPLE WILL DESTROY SCIENCE FICTION!

The Kickstarter for Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction / Uncanny Magazine Year 4 has finally come to an end. It was a long, gruelling campaign for everyone involved, but we made it! Double issue for Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction AND print copies! We’ll be joining the other wonderful Destroy projects on your bookshelves.

Also… DISABLED PEOPLE WILL DESTROY FANTASY! They’ll have more details on Fantasy later, but it looks like they’ll have that one as a special bonus issue in 2019 with a brand new editorial team. Destroy SF will be up in late 2018. We’ll have submission details available later, but we can say right away that submissions will open in January 2018.

A huge thanks to all those who contributed, and who helped spread the word. We’re all extremely passionate about this project, and clearly there are also a lot of people out there who want to see it and support it.

Interviews and Essays on Disabled People Destroy SF

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We’re halfway through the Kickstarter for Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction / Uncanny Magazine Year 4  and people are taking notice! We’re up to $33,000, which is fantastic, but we would love to reach $45,000 so we can do the print version.

I’ve written some stuff and done some interviews about the project, but before we get to my things, remember that Uncanny is running one personal essay for Disabled People Destroy SF a day as part of the Kickstarter! Today’s essay is a terrific one by the always insightful Rachel Swirsky, Unlocking the Garrett.

Now, my things. First, a podcast interview! The Skiffy & Fanty Show interviewed Elsa and me about the Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction project and the kickstarter as a whole. Beware, there are dinosaur growls at one point.

Next, I did an interview with Derek Newman-Stille over at Dis(abled) Embodiment. We of course discuss the Destroy project, but this one gets very personal and I go into my personal history with disability.

Finally, I wrote an essay for Black Gate about the strategy behind the Destroy project, focusing on HOW we proceed and why.

World Fantasy Nomination!

The whirlwind continues!

The Starlit Wood book is a finalist for the World Fantasy Award! 

That means the book has been nominated for the Locus Award, the British Fantasy Award, the World Fantasy Award, and it won the Shirley Jackson Award.

In addition, Amal El-Mohtar’s story “Seasons of Glass and Iron”, which has already been nominated for a ton of awards and won the Locus and Nebula Awards, is a finalist for Best Short Story! I’m glad to see she’s up against Brooke Bolander and Maria Dahvana Headley, both of which had great stories this year.

It’s quite a lovely list of nominees. I’m particularly pleased with the books in the anthology section: terrific anthologies by Mike Allen, Jack Dann, Ellen Datlow, and Karen Joy Fowler & John Joseph Adams. Starlit has some hefty competition.

I’m so happy to see Mishell Baker’s Borderline in the novel section. Michelle wrote a fantastic book, and I take no small pleasure in the fact that my co-editor Navah was Mishell’s editor on that book.

Tor.com dominated the Best Long Fiction category, which isn’t surprising. They’ve been publishing  some superb work, and I’m particularly pleased with the nominees here. I thought the stories by Victor Lavalle, Kij Johnson, Seanan McGuire, and Kai Ashante Wilson were very strong. (I haven’t read the Paul F. Olson yet.)

For Best Collection, I love that Ken Liu and Jeffrey Ford are nominated – those were some truly excellent collections. I haven’t read the L.S. Johnson book, but I’ve read a number of stories from her and she’s very talented.

The Special Award – Professional section is also looking good. Glad to see Joe Monti nominated again for his contributions to the genre, and he will have some stiff competition (Kelly Link!). It’s a great category. Same goes for the Non-Professional award. I’m particularly happy to see Uncanny Magazine and Fireside here along with the always excellent Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

Wonderful stuff!

Uncanny Magazine / Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction Kickstarter LIVE

Uncanny Magazine’s Year 4 / Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction went live on Monday and….. Year 4 is already funded. That’s right, in a matter of days funding for the Magazine’s next year is already secured. Does that mean our work is done? Hardly.

For one, the Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction double issue is the first stretch goal. We have yet to reach that goal! And then there are all manner of other excellent stretch goals, the most exciting of which (for me) is the final $45,000 goal where we would get physical copies of Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction. The previous Destroy series (Women, Queers, PoC) with Lightspeed all secured enough funding for physical copies, and I would love to do the same with this issue. Those were all fantastic projects, and personally I would be thrilled to have Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction next to them on my shelf.

So, if you haven’t already checked out the Kickstarter, please do! Every day Uncanny is releasing a new essay by a disabled artist, each one specifically for this project. We have a lot to offer with the double issue, and all the essays running throughout the Kickstarter, so check back often!

(Uncanny will also have another special issue in year 4 – a Shared-World Dinosaur Themed issue with some stellar writers. It’s going to be really cool.)

So, cause for celebration, but we also still have work to do!