2011 in retrospect
(apologies. I’ll go into brief bragging mode right now–as this kind of post is wont to do. Feel free to skip and return when this blog returns to more standard content)
It was a momentous year in many respects. First off, because of the writing: I got nominated for both a Nebula and a Hugo, and picked up the British Science Fiction Award for Best Short Fiction, for “The Shipmaker”, a story very dear to my heart. I also saw “The Shipmaker” reprinted in a scad of anthologies including two Year’s Best (Dozois’, and an audio compilation). 2011 is also the year I completed Obsidian and Blood, through publication of Harbinger of the Storm in January, and Master of the House of Darts in November, and saw the first volume translated into French.
In RL, several things happen that I won’t go into, but the two things I can mention is that I changed jobs, and that the H and I moved back into Paris, after several months of intensive flat remodeling.
Those changes, though, translated in terms of fiction output: not going to go into them in detail, but this year was disastrous for me in terms of productivity. I did complete Master of the House of Darts, but then things ground to a halt, and I wrote very little short fiction for a good eight or nine months. Things started tentatively looking up again in September, after the move: I finished 3 pieces of flash fiction, and completed or extensively revised 4 short stories (“Breath of the Nine Dragons”, “The Bleeding Man”, “Starsong”, and “Scattered Across the River of Heaven”, that last being the best thing I’ve ever written, I think). Also finished a novella, On a Red Station, Drifting; and started work on assorted short stories. I was probably more productive in November/December than anywhere else in the year…
I continued with my Vietnamese lessons, with Mom instead of Grandma, and saw marked progress (both because Mom’s way of teaching jibes in more with me than Grandma’s, and because I also started to take it semi-hemi-seriously by compiling vocabulary lists and regularly listening to tapes). I can now reasonably ape pronunciation, but it remains hard for me to pronounce a word “cold” and have it come out OK (case in point, yesterday I attempted to say tháng giêng, aka January, to a friend of mine, and she went blank for a minute before context enabled her to catch up). On the plus side, I can now say “hello” and “thank you” to a variety of people and be understood (you think it’s simple–it’s not, because it requires knowing all the pronouns. You can’t just say “thank you” without explicitly addressing the person). I can also read a restaurant menu, and can order a bowl of phở, which is essential for surviving. I’ve also made huge progress with VNI, the input system for Vietnamese characters: I can’t type fast in Vietnamese, but I know all the numbers by heart. Hope the progress continues in 2012.
All in all, it’s been a great year, and I’m very thankful. Here’s to 2012–hope you all have a fabulous year!
What about you? What did you do in 2011? What are you most proud of?