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bear by san

March 2017



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sf sapphire and steel winning

hey i've never seen the sun come up in the west


[GOTO: 10]

(Is this thing on?)

Hey guys. So, it has been.... well, a long time since my last significant blogging here. It's been an interesting autumn and winter on a lot of  fronts, and I've been getting my head sorted, and I haven't felt much like talking about most of it on the internets. Also, you know, I've been trying to do more stuff that is Not On The Internets.

But I'm feeling a little more like crawling out of my hole, so. THE STATE OF THE BEAR ADDRESS.

First item: Hey guess what, I have pneumonia! Or really bad bronchitis. I'm apparently right on the cusp between. Probably the same bug that's laid out half of science fiction. According to my wonderful nurse practitioner, there's a chest cold going around that produces really thick mucus and doesn't make you cough enough, and combined with dessication from dry winter air this means your lungs turn into Petrie dishes for any passing bacterium. Result: minor epidemic of pneumonia in fairly young, otherwise healthy people.

So if you find yourself with a chest cold that doesn't seem too bad, don't be me. Take an expectorant and use a humidifier.

This is especially frustrating because it's gorgeous out--we're so far having a lovely mild winter in Massachusetts--and I want to exercise, but I'm grounded. I haven't been able to run since last summer because of Achilles tendinitis (slowly getting better. slowly.) but I was making good progress again with rock climbing, weight lifting, and yoga. And now I'm going to have to deload again, dammit. 

Second item: Yes, my website is down. I am having ISP issues, and I need to figure out a new hosting solution and do a website redesign to support the current and forthcoming frontlist, which consists of Karen Memory, the Eternal Sky world, and the White Space world. I apologize.

It may be a little while before I figure out what my solution is, because I am also in the middle of moving house and planning a wedding. Ahem. It turns out these things are time consuming.

Third item: Yes, Scott and I are buying a house and doing some other legal paperwork. Here's to the end of five years of commuter relationship. Expect kitten pictures sooner or later.

Fourth item: The Giant Ridiculous Dog says hello. He's getting on in years, but still happy and healthy and enjoying his walks.

In other news, (way to bury the lede Bear) it may also be a little while before there is another novel-length Elizabeth Bear book.

I've been talking with my agent and editors, and I'm going to be on a bit of a novel sabbatical this year. Some of this is the moving and house-buying and wedding planning (good gravy, mortgages are a lot of work). Some of it is that I have been working nonstop and flat-out for fourteen years, and, well, I'm struggling to figure out what I want to say and how to say it and to find interesting human stories I haven't already told from several angles. 

The plots are not the issue, nor the worlds. The art of inventing new and interesting characters, however, has deserted me. And I have become like the centipede who has been asked how he runs: I'm in a state where I am extremely critical of and self-conscious about my own work, and it's making it really hard to produce anything on a reasonable schedule. Since I respond to deadline pressure with self-loathing and despair, the best solution I can come up with at this point is to back the pressure off a little and try to fix my brain and creativity, because pushing through is just making things worse and I don't want to actually break myself.

Also, the success of Karen and the Eternal Sky books has been awesome, and I'm thrilled that they are getting the love and attention that they are. But I am having a hard time learning to balance the additional demands on my time with the need to actually produce new work. Which is part of why I have been spending less time on the internets: I need to assess priorities and figure out what my workflow is going to be in the future.

Aaaaaand I'm also in treatment for some anxiety and the burnout issues, and that's taking up a lot of my creative focus. <<wry face>>

(It's embarrassing to talk about, but you know, nobody actually benefits when we don't talk about mental and emotional health issues, so here goes.)

I am working on a couple of shorter pieces, though--I'm hoping that if I take a little time for myself and give myself a little breathing room, I'll grown back a little bit. So I'm not making any public commitments about those.

But one might be a Karen story. Maybe. If you're good.



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It's brave to talk about these things - like you said, it's embarrassing), but I hope it gets easier to talk about as time passes.

Meanwhile I'll try add to the 'being good' pile for the maybe Karen story :)
Your life has been rather cyclonic lately (like a whirlwind, but much stronger). Wow. Even the good things are stressful and complicated sometimes.

I'm glad you are able to take some time to regroup.

I'm glad to see you here too, but that's a more selfish gladness.


Congrats on all the good stuff. Oh noes on all the not so good stuff.
<3 Congratulations on both house and upcoming wedding. Scott seems awesome and I'm so glad to see you guys happy. I'm sorry to hear about the bronchitis/pneumona ickiness and am sending loads of vibes for swift healing. *hugs*

Also all the fond well wishes and good vibes for your mental healing as well. I'm glad you're able to get treatment and that you are able to take a step back to give yourself some time to catch up. I hope all goes well and that time works and is what you need most. Burnout and anxiety are truly sucky and you are an incredible and awesome person. *more hugs* Much love to you from Kevin as well.
Hurrah for self-caring! (Boo for needing the self care, but hurrah for doing it.) And further hurrahs for successful books! And even more hurrahs for upcoming nuptials!

::waves hi to GRD::

Alas, it seems that my supply of CADIMOD [1] Potion [2] is empty; so I'll offer GoodThoughts (tm) and hugs instead.

[1] Cure All Disease, Including Mental Ones Dammit
[2] Not to be confused with calamine lotion, which is great for itchy trigger fingers but probably wouldn't do much for your current state either.

An update!

Good to hear from you, and congratulations on your forthcoming nuptials. We want pictures!

As for the writing, taking a break sounds like a good idea for you. Rest, relax, don't think about it, and hopefully the muse will revisit. In the meantime, we'll keep ourselves going by re-reading some of your excellent work :-)
I hope you get over that pneumonia/bronchitis soon and feel better. I've noticed a lot of online friends succumbing.

Congrats on the wedding and house move news! Also good to hear that the GRD is still doing well.

Re the writing, I loved Karen Memory and it deserves all the praise it's getting. I hope taking a bit of time out allows the creative well to refill and that you can find a way to write without all the pressure you've coped with for so long.

[ETA: I put this comment in the wrong place at first, so I deleted the misplaced one.]

Edited at 2016-01-26 02:53 pm (UTC)
Glad to see you back, even if it's brief. Most of the news is good (yay house! YAY WEDDING!)--and as for the writing anxiety, BOY, can I relate! Do what you need to do to take care of yourself. See you on the flip side.
Hey wow I have empathy.

I am here for you, you know if you want to vent about mortgages or depression/anxiety or wedding planning or characters or what have you. You just let me know.

Also hey look my livejournal works too.
Congrats on the good things, and hooray for self-care. It's so important.
I was just the other day thinking, "Hm, Bear hasn't posted in a while, I hope that all is well."

I am delighted to hear the happy things. And I applaud you for taking some downtime and for your willingness to talk about the mental and emotional health stuff. For reasons which don't bear exploration at this juncture (because I do not wish to hijack your journal to talk about ME ME ME), what you're saying here resonates with me and I am grateful to have read it.

Sending love.
Congratulations on the happy things! And good for you for taking a break when you need it. Your commitment to discussing your mental health issues in public is one of the many things I admire so strongly about you. I'll look forward to your next novel, whenever it crosses my path. :)

Taking care of you

Good to hear from you. Major life changes can create massive upheaval in many ways. I like short stories, too.
Need a hug? Here's a big one from me.
Sending you positive thoughts (and vibes?), too.
Giving yourself permission to set aside the things that have defined a great deal of who you are (or at least the face of who you are that you show to others) can be a *very* difficult thing indeed. For a month, for a year, for however long you need. But you have one of the strongest forces of will I have ever encountered and if you can decide that being kind to yourself is the most important thing for you to do right now I have no doubt you will succeed. You have a lot of people who love and support you (and the GRD and that boy you like) so I think you needn't worry we'll consider you a slacker (ha!). And for the ones who pout and want a new book, just remember the (slightly modified) immortal words of Neil Gaiman: "Elizabeth Bear is not your bitch".

And woo! Wedding! House! That's awesome.
You really have been non-stop for 14 years. I'm glad you get to rest, and I'm grateful you're being public about it--you've always been someone I look up to for a lot of reasons, and if you need to rest, maybe I don't need to feel so bad when I do, too?

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