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Tansy Rayner Roberts

The Shape of 2013 (how it was)

January 5th, 2014 at 8:49

I wasn’t going to do one of these this year. 2013 has been a bit of a crazy, scattered blur in many ways. But then I read my 2012 post and was so pleased I had noted things down for future reference. And then I remembered that I won a Hugo which is, you know, quite extraordinary and belies my general impression that I spent most of this year chasing a 4 year old and recording podcasts.

I did totally spend most of this year chasing a 4 year old and recording podcasts. It was a family and friends sort of year, occasionally punctuated by books, short stories and a whole lot of Doctor Who. There were hospitalisations and dramas, all of which are (KNOCK FREAKING WOOD) behind us now. ( I still don’t feel I’ve properly caught up after my pneumonia bout back in September! If I owe you an email, please remind me) It was a tough year in many ways, and a stupidly slack year in others.

Mostly, we came through it intact.

Here are some good things that happened to me:

verity-copy1. I joined an awesome all-female Doctor Who podcasting team, Verity! Managing to find time to record with various combinations of 1 Canadian, 1 Scotswoman and 3 Americans was super tricky at times, but so worth it. I’m really proud of what we’ve built, staggered with the listening numbers, and very much enjoy a chance to spout off about all the Doctor Whoness in my brain, even if the downside is having to come up with an opinion about each episode super fast. Looking forward to another year of this.

2. I made it to Melbourne twice to record live show podcast Splendid Chaps, which was not only very exciting and cool but gave me the opportunity to hang out with John Richards, Ben McKenzie and Petra Elliot (all awesome, inspiring creative people with so much energy I can’t believe it) and to catch up with some of my inner city Melbourne friends.

3. Galactic Suburbia was nominated for a Hugo for the second time this year! It’s so exciting to feel part of this tradition and the Hugo ceremony itself, even from so far away. My Hugo pin collection is growing…

4. Speaking of which, I won a Hugo for Best Fan Writer. It was… and still is, a bizarre and wondrous thing. It lives on my kitchen dresser. Paul Cornell read my name out on the UStream! The trophy was lost in the post for nearly a week! It is very shiny and I am ridiculously honoured to have it.

5. I was just thinking that I didn’t do nearly as much fan writing this year to justify said award retrospectively, and then I remembered that I wrote a 50 week blog series devoted to every year of Doctor Who.

TrifleDead-Cover6. BOOK OUT! A Trifle Dead, the end result of a very rocky road to publication (none of the rocky parts in any way being connected to my current wonderful publisher, Twelfth Planet Press) was released early in the year, under the new crime-writing byline Livia Day. I’m very pleased with the response to this book and looking forward to having more Livia titles out there in the world.

7. Backlisty goodness – thanks to the forceful pressure and guiding hand of Tehani from Fablecroft, I managed to get e-book versions of my first two novels, Splashdance Silver and Liquid Gold, out into the universe. Which leads to…

8. TRILOGY COMPLETED! Ink Black Magic, the third Mocklore Chronicle, has finally seen print fifteen years after the original Mocklore series was launched. Thanks again to Fablecroft, and to Tania Walker for the extraordinary piece of cover art that I love.

9. Short stories published in 2013:

“Cold White Daughter,” One Small Step (Fablecroft)
“The Raven and her Victory,” Where Thy Dark Eye Glances: Queering Edgar Allen Poe (Lethe Press)
“The Minotaur Girls,” Glitter and Mayhem (Apex Publications)

10. Short stories written in 2013:

“The Minotaur Girls”
“Letters to Cleopatra”
“Jam and Strychnine”
“Cookie Cutter Superhero”
“Flight of Angels”

11. I made two baby quilts with a couple more on the way, relearned to knit, and managed to fully access The Gingerbread Zone at Christmas time.

InkBlack_v3_titletop12. I earned some (SOME!) money from professional freelance non fiction writing, and a couple of public speaking events.

13. I became the overseas regional director of the SFWA.

14. Arsenal didn’t fall over and break in November and, more to the point, have been top of the table for MONTHS.

15. I acquired an old fashioned kitchen dresser this year, something I had only just started to crave once I realised I had the perfect space for it – one of my best friends lost her grandmother and despite there being a million relatives to help with the sad task of dividing her many worldly possessions, no one wanted to give a home to this particular elderly beast of a piece of furniture. So it is mine and I love it and sometimes I put things in it, and it has never yet failed to yield another bit of space. Possibly it is bigger on the inside. I choose to believe this.

16. My honey and I are at seventeen years and counting. We’ve had to be especially supportive of each other this year, and we both came through. I love that he’s getting back into fencing, which was a big part of his identity when we first met – and that he’s teaching Raeli, which she loves. For his birthday, I put up a family photo wall in the dining room and now we can’t imagine what on earth we thought we were doing with our blank walls before that. So much love.

17. Some Raeli things that I want to always remember: This is the year she was eight. She grew tall and strong, improved her swimming stroke, and embraced being a goalkeeper in her soccer team. On our family trip to Melbourne she wrote a diary and I often spot her scribbling secret things. We read Half Magic and Charmed Life together and are very close to the end of the Pinhoe Egg. The griffin Klartch is possibly her spirit animal. She learned to sew and knit a little. She fell in love with origami and Star Wars via the Origami Yoda series of novels, and leaves folded paper characters all over the house. She got a new bike and sometimes rides it. Her room was excruciatingly messy from Easter to just-before-Christmas, because once she had her new bike she didn’t feel the need to earn further pocket money. I bribed her with digital comics to get over her hump about reading actual prose novels and she took off beautifully. I am NOT doing this method in 2014… She wears long sleeved flannel pyjamas even if it’s a crazy hot evening and is always sad when I make her get dressed on the weekend. Her favourite Doctor was David Tennant until the Anniversary Special; now it is John Hurt. She is very good at Minecraft and has made a world full of creative and innovative buildings devoted to the Greek gods. She catches the bus home most days and is particularly proud of being able to walk home from the bus without me waiting out the front for her as she comes down the hill. I get so impatient with her at times about some of her fuss about the small things she remains afraid of, and yet… she is so much more brave than ever before. She got the whole family addicted to Horrible Histories, cheers whenever the Groovy Greeks come on, howls with delight at ‘Stupid Deaths’ and wails in despair every time an episode ends. She loved the third (prequel) Star Wars movie best, because of all the horrid things that happen in it. She is the best and most patient big sister in the world.

18. Some things about Jemima that I always want to remember: This is the year she turned four. She had a Tinker Bell and Peter Pan party purely as an excuse to wear her Tinker Bell dress and then on the morning decided she didn’t want to wear it after all. Her clothes preferences are 99% ‘pink’ and ‘girlie’ and she insists on being called ‘beautiful’ instead of ‘cute’ (the 1% non girlie fashion choices mostly applies to her pirate hat, though she wears it backwards because she feels the skull and crossbones is too boyish). This is quite difficult for everyone to remember because while she is of course beautiful, she is insanely cute. If she is ever challenged on any information she will explain that she knows this ‘because I am a clever clogs.’ She got this from Peppa Pig but it has now become part of our family glossary. She has a slightly obsessive relationship with the family iPad which we have been known to enable far too often. She started gymnastics this year and is excellent at following dance choreography. Since we got the DVD box set of Monkey! at Christmas, she has been doing martial arts kicks around the house almost constantly – when not water bending as she learned from Avatar. If she could paint every day, she would. Painting is her reason for living. This includes painting her belly button. She has planned out her future as an adult – she will be a cake artist who lives with her Glammer (grandmother). Her favourite Doctor is Patrick Troughton but she also has a soft spot for Peter Capaldi (she made up a song about him) and she still knows that Amy Pond is the best character in the show. We are never allowed to acknowledge her smallness, because she is a big girl. She has reclaimed the ‘J’ in her name, refusing to let us use the baby name of ‘Mima’ most of the time – part of this may be that she only recognises her name written down by the J at the front. This is a slight problem when she comes across other people’s names which also start with J and this has led to her opening mail and indeed presents that are not hers. Because all the J’s are hers. Don’t ever sit in her chair. Her favourite meal is ‘that one where we sit around on the floor and have mayonnaise and lemonade and paper’ because she can never remember just to say ‘fish and chips.’ A tutu is always appropriate day, night and indeed sleepwear.

I’ve probably forgotten some important details but this will do. I’m very grateful to my friends, family and community this year, for all their support and kindness. I won’t be writing one of my usual ‘looking forward to X year’ posts because I honestly don’t know what 2014 will bring except kindergarten and a few travel invitations that I don’t 100% believe in yet, and I hope something finished that is written by me. Watch this space.

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3 Responses to “The Shape of 2013 (how it was)”

  1. Rowena Cory Daniells Says:

    Lovely Tansy. Thank you for sharing. Sorry we didn’t manage a ROR in January. Was looking forward to seeing you and seeing how the girls have grown!

  2. Marina Says:

    And don’t forget you wrote over 50,000 words for Nanowrimo — a major achievement with two little people in the house!

  3. Sean the Bookonaut Says:

    Great post Tansy. I must say its been great listening and reading your work this past year. Best of luck for the new one.

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