Reaching ten issues is a huge milestone -- it takes a lot of persistence and effort to get this far, and we made it. We've had our share of rough patches, but to me, releasing this issue feels like the final step in our return. It says: we're back.
This is also my favorite issue yet. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be talking about the stories in this issue in a little more detail over at the Shimmer blog and share with people why I love these particular stories -- and I'd love to hear from readers in the comments. Everyone's going to have a different opinion about these stories, that's how fiction works -- I'm looking forward to discussing them with our readers.
We've made the electronic version free this time; download a copy today and see what we've been up to.
Finally, here's the trailer, courtesy of Mary Robinette Kowal:
Last week, Jason Sizemore kindly let me write guest post for Apex Online. I wrote about relaunching Shimmer, about some of the angst and despair that lead up to our hiatus and what it took to get things rolling again. The key lesson, I said, was to just shut the fuck up and do it. Set aside all the insecurities and limitations and fears and just do it. Please go read the post, if you haven't already.
The post was pretty well-received, and a number of other people posted links to it. One person said she was taping it up over her monitor. That's fantastic, right? And I'm really truly delighted if what I said helped anyone get through their own resistance to doing something awesome.
But a funny thing happened. All of a sudden, I felt this enormous pressure to live up to what I'd said. If I didn't STFU and Do It right now, the whole internet would think I was a great big hypocrite. Besides, I was right: action is the key to making things happen.
So what did I do this weekend to further Shimmer's comeback? Well, nothing. I deep-cleaned my kitchen for a few hours and then played a computer game about shooting bunnies for a few more hours, and went to bed. There might have been a drink or two involved, too.
(My favorite moment in Celebrity Apprentice:
Donald Trump, to Gene Simmons: You're the most contrary man I've ever met.
Gene Simmons: I disagree.)
So I guess what I'm saying is, if you can't STFU and act right now, I get it. You may be too contrary, or too stuck, or too whatever. I sure as hell am. Nevertheless, the simple, brutal truth is: if you want something, you have to act, and all the avoidance tactics in the world aren't going to get you there.
My real obstacle -- anyone's real obstacle, I'm convinced -- is my own limited thinking about what's possible. I need to let go of this constant conversation in my head about why some things are impossible; I need to STFU about that and get moving.
One example: in the early 90s I was in a pretty disastrous relationship, and so entangled in it that I couldn't even see other possiblities. I knew things weren't right, but I couldn't even imagine a different life. That came to a sudden and mildly violent end. I got off easy (as domestic violence goes, it was negligible; please redirect your sympathies to people who have it much worse than me), but it was enough to change everything. All of a sudden I desperately needed to leave -- and all of a sudden, I could see the thousands of other possiblities I'd always had but been blind to, and all of a sudden, I felt free to take advantage of them.
All that really changed was my sense of what was possible.
You'd think I would have learned that lesson then, but no. I keep getting entangled in my own limited view of what's possible, and I'm apparently only willing to expand my view when it simply becomes more painful to stay stuck than to change. The solutions are always so obvious (stuck on marketing? Recruit Josh Vogt to help out. Stuck on the web site? Have it redesigned, and then get James Eric Stone to help out.), but so impossible to see when you're stuck.
So, yeah. STFU and do it. Absolutely; I believe that 100%. You have to stop being stuck and act; there is no other way to make things happen.
First we went to Chattanooga for the lovely Mary Robinette Kowal's birthday/writing retreat, where we participated in Iron Chef and a steampunk photo shoot; then it was off to Radcon, in scenic Pasco, Washington. In the midst of all that, I also got Shimmer #10 off to the printers, made some progress on our site redesign, picked some new slush readers, and got a cold.
Today, in between naps, I've been working on getting my feet back on the ground. I'm looking forward to just hunkering down and getting stuff done now.
Shimmer will be relaunching soon (just a few weeks!) with a new site design, some new staff, and a fantastic new issue. We need two more staffers to help get things off the ground: a slush reader, and a web assistant.
The slush reader will read an average of 1-2 submissions per day, and either reject them, or forward them for further consideration. I'm looking for someone who can be fast, friendly, and whose approach to stories is somewhat similar to mine. Update: we have a ton of volunteers to sort through now. Thanks to everyone who expressed interest!
Web assistant: Our site is based on WordPress. Our redesign will be done shortly, and we'll need help moving our current content into the new layout, and maintaining it going forward. No programming or other heavy lifting required--just some skill with WordPress pages and posts. Update: Fast as the internet, we've found a web assistant. Thanks to everyone who expressed interest!
We're an all-volunteer staff, but fun to work with, and I'll buy drinks if we're ever at a con together. If you're interested (or want more information), e-mail beth AT shimmerzine DOT com.
For some reason, the plumber who charged us nearly $2000 to fix a problem we didn't have isn't returning our calls. Hmmm, wonder why.
So it seems the source of our problem was a significant leak in the sprinkler system, not in the main. But even with the sprinkler turned off at the main, there's a more modest leak somewhere... so either the plumber missed a second problem, or screwed something up with the main. We shall see.
Just to make the week even more perfect, the new kitten somehow managed to sprain her fool elbow, and needs to spend a week doped up and confined to let it heal.
There have been a handful of other things go sadly wrong this week, too. It's been pretty sucky. And I think it's time for a mojito.
Well, I'm headed out of here tomorrow on a trip for work (Tampa in July, YAY!), leaving poor Sean behind to deal with all this. Lucky boy!
When I get back, I'll be busy releasing the next issue of Shimmer. Stay tuned.
Yesterday, I started hearing the sound that first alerted us to our orignal plumbing sound. It's the sound of the water meter spinning and spinning as all our water gushes away in a ginormous subterranean leak. But I thought, no, it can't be, we just had the water main replaced, at great cost, and just spent the 4th of July weekend restoring the flower bed they dug up. And it was barely audible...
But today I could still hear it, so we checked. Yup. Water out of control again.
After a lot of grumpiness, and consulting with Sean's father, we were able to determine that the leak is in our sprinkler system somewhere. So at least we were able to turn that off, and keep the water going to the house.
Still very curious to see if this was the problem all along and last week's adventure was for nothing...