June was a pretty good month. I had two new stories come out, and they both have been quite well-received.
On June 2, Motherboard/Terraform published my story “Spirit of Home.”
There is a scene in the story where the protagonist visits her father in a hospital. That scene is straight out of my real life, sixteen years ago, when I visited my father in the ICU right after his quadruple bypass. My father was always formidable, larger than life in personality and temperament. In the ICU, with tubes running into him, I could hardly recognize him. I thought I was going to lose him right there–he was fighting the treatment, and it did not look good.
Cuba looms hugely in my life. My first language was Spanish, I was raised within the Cuban expat culture, and I think of myself as Cuban. My heart hurts for the tragedies that have befallen my people over the last sixty or so years. I wish more than anything else that I could visit my father’s Cuba, but I know that this isn’t possible. If I visit Cuba, I will be a tourist, a stranger.
I think it can be hard for people who are not part of an immigrant experience to identify with those of us who are. (You’re in this country now! Speak English! Be American! OR You’re Cuban! Explain/justify everything Cubans do! Why don’t you dance better?) But spec-fic readers seem to have no trouble inhabiting other planets, the Serenity, Middle Earth. I myself have been to Mars numerous times, through the books of Kim Stanley Robinson, Ben Bova, Greg Bear, and others. I know the planet well. I thought if I set my story on Mars, it might be easier for people who were not born into diaspora to put themselves into it.
So basically, there’s a lot of me in this one.
Then, on the thirteenth, I made my second appearance in Strange Horizons—a market that’s just the pinnacle of what I love in short stories—with “Life in Stone, Glass, and Plastic.” I think this story is some of my very best work. It’s the first time folks have indicated that they found something I wrote to be surprising in the direction it took. It may not be as personal as “Spirit of Home,” but in a way that makes it a bigger accomplishment to me, to be able to generate any kind of power without plumbing my own experience.
And let me take a moment to gush about the artwork they commissioned. Isn’t this wonderful?
I’ve had art attached to my stories before, but this is the first time original non-composite (Is that a word? Do you get what I’m saying?) artwork has been commissioned for one of my stories, and it’s definitely a career bingo square checked off.
So there you go–June was a pretty awesome month for me! How was your month?