Writing in 2009

I published one short story in 2009:

My story submission database isn’t really set up to answer the question of how many new stories I wrote this year, but I see three whose first submission to an editor was in 2009.  Hopefully some of those will appear in 2010.

Two articles of mine appeared as guest posts at personal financial blogs:

I wrote 71 posts for Wise Bread.  I’ve bolded a few where I thought I managed to say just what I was trying to say, and commend them to your attention:

One of my Wise Bread posts (Understand Capital Costs) was featured in in US Airways Magazine (October 2009, page 22).

Our Christmas Star

Our Christmas Star, originally uploaded by bradipo.

When I first moved out on my own I had only sparse Christmas decorations. Among the things that were lacking was a star for the top of the tree.

I didn’t feel it was so terrible—the tree was decorated, even if it didn’t have something on top. One Christmas, though, my brother and his wife came to visit at Christmas, and Alisa was appalled. Rather than tolerate such a defect, she cut a star out of shirt cardboard, covered it in aluminum foil, and put it on top of the tree.

I was delighted. I kept that star and used it on my trees for many years.

We went on using it for some time after I got married, until Jackie started doing needle-felting. Deciding that a Christmas star would be a perfect little project, she needle-felted this star, which has been our tree-topper ever since.

Creative Commons License
Our Christmas Star by Philip Brewer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Clarion journals findable again

Since the demise of Hilary Moon Murphy’s Clarion Ex Machina site, there hasn’t been a good collection of links to all the various Clarion journals.  Now Liz Argall has fixed that with her page of Clarion blogs, journals, articles and interviews.

There’s lots of good stuff there.  I don’t know of a better source of raw material for people who are interested in the Clarion experience.

Guest post at The Simple Dollar

A while back Trent Hamm at The Simple Dollar invited me to do a guest post and I finally came up with an idea that I liked:  Living off Capital.

People who come from wealthy families learn how to live off capital. The rules are taught along with all the other things they learn from their parents–how to dress, how to eat, how deal with bankers and trust officers. But even though most people don’t learn the rules, living off capital is just a skill, and it’s one that everybody should learn, because everybody lives off capital sometimes.

It talks about investing for income, reinvesting to preserve capital, diversifying, and keeping your expenses flexible.

Happy Esperanto Day!

Esperantists are celebrating today. It’s 150 years since the birth of L.L. Zamenhof, the creator of Esperanto. Celebrating along with them is Google, which is featuring the Esperanto flag in their logo.

Google logo featuring the Esperanto flag

Esperanto has been important to me for twenty years. I’ve traveled overseas with it. I’ve met bunches of cool people, read fascinating books and magazines, and listened to great music.  Most important, I’ve done it on equal terms with the writers, performers, guests, hosts, and other people that I’ve met.  Instead of one of us speaking our native language, we’re both speaking a second language–but one that’s easy to learn.  Easy enough to learn that you don’t need to have any special talent with languages to learn it.

Happy Esperanto Day!

Expecting the worst from my own government

The sf-writer universe today is full of links to the BoingBoing report on how Canadian sf writer Peter Watts was beaten by US border guards, arrested, his possessions impounded, and then dumped across the border in mid-December without even a coat.  You can read Watts’s own account on his blog.

Now, I don’t have any actual knowledge of what happened.  I hope there’ll turn out to be some impartial witnesses or some video of the occurrence. But in the absence of that, I find that I’m all too willing to assume that Watts’s account is true.  The fact is, I don’t really expect better from anonymous border guards. I ought to be able to expect better, but I don’t.

If you want to donate to support his (sure to be large) legal expenses, you can contribute via his paypal account at <donate@rifters.com>.

Gareth D Jones in Esperanto

Last August I got email from UK sf writer Gareth D Jones, who was looking for Esperanto magazines that might be interested in translating and publishing his work.

There have been Esperanto-language publications that focused on science fiction (in particular, the Sfero series published by Grupo Nifo), but none of those seem to be active at the moment. (This is not as sad as it might seem, though, because the Esperanto-language literary magazines are not averse to publishing science fiction or fantasy. In particular, a recent issue of Beletra Almanako focused on speculative fiction.)

I told Gareth what I knew about sf in Esperanto, but also reached out to the Esperanto community, asking if anyone knew translators or publishers who would be interested in doing something with Gareth’s work. Pretty promptly, I heard back from Brazilian publisher Luciana F Campos whose publishing house Lusíadas was interested in publishing Gareth’s work.

I’ve heard from Gareth that the publications are now out.  Esperanto translations of two of his stories can be found in I Antologio Luzidoj (link to pdf) as well as Portuguese translations in I Antologia Lusíadas (link to pdf).

Helping make another Esperanto connection in the world is really its own reward, but as a bonus I also got this cool link to Douglas Smith’s Foreign Market List, an annotated list of  publications that buy foreign-language reprint rights to English-language stories.


We were eating breakfast this morning when the smoke detector outside our apartment went off.  It was a less-obnoxious beeping than most smoke detectors, so it took a while to figure out what it was.  But, once we opened the door to check, we could smell the smoke.  That eliminated all doubt.

There wasn’t much smoke and no flames, so we decided to take the time to get dressed and bundled up against the weather, and then went outside.  A neighbor had already called the fire department, so we didn’t have to do anything except hang out and wait until they came.  Most of our neighbors waited in the doorway, rather than stand out in the cold and wind, but I figured I didn’t want to breath even that much smoke.

It was only about 15 minutes before they said we could go back in.  But that, together with a dentist appointment this morning, managed to put a big dent in the day.

The smoke alarm is still beeping every minute or so.  I called the apartment office which said that they had thought it had already been reset, but would check and make sure.  (Which I hope means that they’ll send someone over to take care of it, rather than just check and make sure someone said it had already been done.)

(By the way, my teeth are fine.)

Clarion open for applications

Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers WorkshopClarion, the science fiction and fantasy writers workshop, is open for applications for 2010! As usual, it looks like they’ve got a great line-up of instructors.

I attended Clarion in 2001 and found it a positive experience in every way–I had a great time, I improved my writing, and I got to know a bunch of cool people that I’m still in touch with.

I’ve written some about my Clarion experience: I kept a Clarion journal and I wrote a few short essays about what I learned and how I learned it.

If you’ve got any questions about what Clarion was like for me, I’d be glad to answer them in comments here or by email. (I’m also willing to take a stab at answering questions about other stuff, but things like how applications are processed vary from year to year, and I really only know about how they did things back in 2001.)