Tag Archives: climate change

Writing for Rain

A photo my friend's wife took of Lake Shasta, back in June.

A photo my friend’s wife took of Lake Shasta, back in June.

California’s in the middle of a drought. Did you know that? I knew it, in a weird, quasi-intellectual way, but I didn’t really connect with it until earlier today when I read an article about a family that literally cannot flush their toilet in the night without a bucket of water.

I was in NYC during Sandy and we had water through that entire miserable experience. (Not everybody did, but we – me and my roommate – did, so.) We could flush the toilet. It was far from pleasant, but I could heat water on my gas stove and play Little House on the Prairie or Downton Abbey or whatever, and wash my hair.

A few years ago, myself and some other writers contributed to a book called HOT MESS, and the only one of us to tackle the idea of water issues looked at it from a perspective of a drowning Venice – in other words, a place where too much water was the problem, rather than too little.

California is in the third year of a drought, folks. And I’m not talking LA or SF or any of the other major metropolitain centers, though they’ve certainly had their share of gross weather. I’m talking about families that can’t take a shit without filling their toilet with a bucket, first.

I grew up on the Great Lakes, so my water anxiety has always been about how the lakes might be exploited by people who had less access to water, and what that might mean for the Great Lakes region. I’d read about places like Las Vegas, or other Southwestern cities, and wonder why someone “out there” might think they had a right to go somewhere so inhospitable, create a city that needed more water than they had, and then turn around and deplete the resources of another part of the country just to sustain their unsustainable consumption.

Of course, now I realize this could be argued for almost any natural resource in almost any region on earth (Oil? Food? Lumber? Fish? Natural gas?) and more importantly, I realize it doesn’t really matter. I read this piece about water last week. Does it matter that the mother the article talks about asked her kids to take shorter showers? Does it matter that they didn’t?

Not really.

There’s nothing – I mean, NOTHING – that I know to suggest that might help the current situation in California. But my friend, who runs a farm, who’s had a couple bad years and whose situation could get a whole lot worse if the drought doesn’t break, asked that I pray, dance or write in hopes of getting them more water. I don’t pray, and my back situation is still too tenuous for me to be much of a dancer for social justice.

So I’ll write for water.

Between writing this blog and posting it, courts in Detroit ruled that residents there have no human right to free water. While I recognize that water access in cities must be paid for, willfully depriving human beings of a substance that is literally necessary to life seems to be a cruel solution that has no place in a country that professes to be concerned with human rights. Shutting off efficient delivery of water to individuals does not seem to me to be a reasonable reaction to individuals’ inability to pay for it.

HOT MESS: The Project That Keeps Giving

Cover design by Sarah Hartley

Cover design by Sarah Hartley

It’s always nice to know when your work is still making an impact, which is what happened the other night when I got a Google alert for Hot Mess: speculative fiction about climate change.

A Google alert, for those not in-the-know, lets you know whenever Google finds that someone has put a mention of a particular phrase online. If you’re a writer, it’s a good idea to not just have an alert set up for your name, but also to have one set up for the titles of each of your pieces of writing.

What was the mention? A biologist musing on dystopian fiction and its connection to environmental disasters. Out of the 650 books that came up when they searched for “climate change fiction” on Amazon, Hot Mess: speculative fiction about climate change was their favorite.

So they blogged about it. 🙂

Congratulations to the Hot Mess/Earth Day 2013 Giveaway Winner!

winner's announcement



Steve was the winner of the Hot Mess/Earth Day 2013 Giveaway, where my mailing list members were entered in a competition for an Earth Day prize pack. I’ll be making my way to the post office this week to get your winnings in the mail, Steve! To everyone else on the mailing list – I hope you enjoyed your sneak-preview reading, and want to thank you, so much, for letting me into your inbox. 🙂

If you haven’t subscribed yet, now is a great opportunity to do so.

Here’s looking forward to Earth Day 2014!

Hot Mess/Earth Day 2013 Giveaway – Join My Mailing List To Win!

In advance of Earth Day 2013, I’ve put together a prize package including a copy of the anthology I published last year, Hot Mess: speculative fiction about climate change. The book features work by me, RJ Astruc, Miranda Doerfler, Sare Liz Gordy and Eric Sipple.

In addition, the prize package will include two ADDITIONAL books about environmentalism, climate change and the planet: Global Warming Survival Handbook and Generation Green (images below) – and maybe some other goodies!

cover of global warming book LiveEarth generation-green











How do you enter? It’s easy: just subscribe to my mailing list by clicking here. (I will not share or sell your email address, and you can unsubscribe at  any time.)

If you’re already subscribed by the time this entry is posted, you’ll get *two* chances to win.

The winner will be drawn on Earth Day 2013 (April 22nd*), from among mailing list subscribers, and I’ll get in touch after that as far as sending your prize. 🙂

Don’t miss out – subscribe today!


*Date corrected.

Stormy Weather





Business more or less as usual after Hurricane Sandy. For more on my week in NYC, check out My Story of the Hurricane

Stuff That’s Worth Your Time

Invisible Nursing Woman
Shoshana Rachel (great middle name!) talks about breast-feeding, cleavage and invisible women over at GirlBodyPride.

I Review Tear The Curtain
Earlier this month, I had the chance to interview one of the creators of a supposedly-groundbreaking new Canadian theatre piece. Schedules allowed me to chat with co-creator Kevin Kerr, and this weekend just gone, I was able to see the production in one of its final performances. My review is available through The British Theatre Guide, where I’ve been a contributor since 2003ish.

A Fan Letter To Certain Conservative Politicians
From @scalzi on Twitter. A letter to anti-choice politicians from a satirical rapist. Triggering, yet scathing on the order of Jonathan Swift’s  A Modest Proposal. A skilled piece of writing, whether or not you agree with his political views.

Climate Change
I’ve been following the campaigns, and one thing I’ve noticed is that the major candidates have refrained from significant discussion on the topic of climate change. Earlier this year, I did a project called Hot Mess: speculative fiction about climate change and I’d like to take this opportunity to suggest that sometimes, fiction can be an effective way of starting conversations on a grassroots level. Short stories include work by Sare Liz Gordy, RJ Astruc, Miranda Doerfler and Eric Sipple.

Trailer – Celeste Bright
I’ve mentioned a web series project in previous posts, and have to thank @thepowerobject for pointing me to this trailer. Gorgeously shot, the editing and music take you along for the ride – I’m going to pop in the first episode and see what I think of the product. This is part of my research on form and webseries; while I’m still trying to make it through Aidan 5’s full season, learning the language of a quality webseries is coming to the front in my ever-revolving priorities binder.

Ack. I just said binder, didn’t I.

We’re about ten days away from Election Day and voters in key swing states are already heading to the polls. If you spend time on “Twittah“, you already know my views, so I won’t bore you. Politics are, however, relevant, because of my new writing project.


Back in June, I had the idea for a novella that would look at the mechanics of a modern-day election, in scifi-punk terms. Having read a lot of cyberpunk in my teens, and growing out from the ongoing progress of my AI Anthology, Electalytics was meant to give me a chance to express some anxieties about the current election cycle, as well as the framing of political action/content within what I felt (and still feel) to be outdated models – all within a technopunk framework.

Electalytics started off as a challenge – could I write 30K words in a month? By July, I was still shy 2.5K, but I had the solid basis of a piece – and since then, I’ve been editing and refining the story. It’s lost mass and gained focus, and I’m excited to be offering a free look at the first chapter to the first 50 people who sign up on my mailing list. We’re about halfway to our subscription goal, so sign up for the free promo.

Also, come November 6th? Vote.

Finishing Something

I’ve nearly made half a dozen blog entries in the last couple days. I want to post about Julian Assange, I want to post about Ecuador, I want to post about Pussy Riot, I want to post about climate change, I want to post about Playing it Cool, I want to post about theater (this, at least, is out of my hands till next weekend, when I have a show booked).

I want to organize the things in my living room, put the books with the books and sort through the clothes and sweep and swiffer and take out the recycling and clean up my emails and work on my novella and read my friend’s novella and brag about having just finished copy editing another friend’s novel.

I have a to-do list as long as my arm full of things I don’t feel passionately about starting, and every so often I think, “Breakfast would be nice.”

But mostly I want to lie in bed and think about the play I saw earlier this week: Coriolanus at Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, a New York City institution currently being nurtured by The Drilling Company, whose Mangella I very much enjoyed when I saw it last year.

Shakespeare in the Parking Lot takes place down on the Lower East Side, at what must be one of the last publicly-owned parking lots in the city. Plastic chairs were set up in traverse-style, and there was a huge swell of blanket-dwellers beyond that.

I’ve never seen Coriolanus before. The imagery/rhetoric of Occupy was used to draw distinctions between the commoners, their representatives, and Coriolanus himself – a soldier returning home triumphant after long wars, whose utter disdain for the lower class would make Ayn Rand (and probably a Romney or two) proud. I was never quite sympathetic to Coriolanus, except in brief scenes with his mother, but the actor played him very well (and my apologies for not grabbing a program and therefore being unable to call out his name).

So now I’ve spoken about the theater stuff I saw the other night, at least.

Maybe breakfast isn’t the worst idea I’ve had all morning.