Sort of. Starting Monday, I'm teaching a writing workshop in Houston. (That would be WriteFest.) So, I'm only home for a couple of days and then I'm off again. All those years of dreaming I, too, could travel frequently and...now I can see how exhausting that can be. I'm not complaining--not even a little bit. Luxembourg was amazing. So was Belgium and France. The journey through the Ardenne and then Normandy with Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman was downright magical. I'm excited about teaching a group of students who are serious about writing and doing it for four days straight. (That's the longest anyone has yet paid me to ramble on about things I'm passionate about.) I'm lucky to have so many amazing friends. And even luckier to be recognized for doing what I love. I truly am.
But wow is my own bed super attractive right now.
It's always something. I'll definitely be posting on Monday. Friday is a maybe. It depends upon how exhausted I am after a week of teaching. Hang in there, dear reader. I'll get back on schedule soon. I promise.
Travel is an amazing privilege and an incredible learning opportunity. I feel blessed. That sounds sappy, but there's really no other word for it. This was the first time I'd ventured onto the European continent. It was also the first time I'd visited a foreign country on my own that I didn't speak the language. I highly recommend doing so if you're a genre writer. Nothing teaches you more about First Contact, being foreign, and exploration in general like wandering off on your own and not being able to ask for the simplest things. Having a smart phone made everything easier. (And I had a wonderful time imagining I was a member of the Federation with a com device connected to the starship--which, in a sense, I was.) I'll never be able to watch a film or tv show where people venture into space an not feel it in my gut. It's terrifying, exciting, and joyful all at once.
Not speaking the language, I felt extremely aware of people around me. I was paying more and more attention to their body language and tone of voice. It's amazing how much information can be conveyed in that alone. At one point, it began to feel a little like mind reading. No joke. Most of the time I knew I was guessing. However, there were moments when I could almost hear what they were saying or thinking in my mind in English--particularly if I focused and whatever it was they were talking about was a subject they felt strongly about. The smaller details of how humans communicate are absolutely fascinating. The nice thing is, for the first time in my life I think I could learn a second language and that second language is going to be French. I've learned that I really do have a good ear for not just good dialog, but language in general. That helps. Because a lot of my problem has been a lack of confidence.
Parisians are wonderful people. They're friendly and kind. All you have to do is make the attempt at small bits of French--'hello', 'please', and 'thank you' will get you far. Acknowledge sales staff when you walk into shops. Like any other set of human beings, politeness is appreciated. Be courteous. Be humble. Be observant. You'll be just fine. Most people want positive interactions.
Anyway, I'm going to post some pictures over the next few weeks. I took a lot of them because France is drop dead gorgeous. No. Really. But Luxembourg is pretty too. Don't feel bad, Luxembourg.
 I am, in fact, just that big of a dork.
 I also feel a great deal more empathy for those leaving their home country for foreign nations. I did before, but now it's more personal.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.