Many Roles, Few Active Brain Cells


David here.  And let me start by saying that the title for today’s post came from our guest blogger, Edmund Schubert.  Ed is perfectly capable of introducing himself (as you’ll soon see) and so I won’t waste your time or mine by listing his credits here.  Suffice it to say that he is one of my very favorite people in this crazy business.  He’s smart as hell, funny as he is smart, and one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet (although I suspect he wishes I’d kept that last one to myself).  He is also a terrific editor; I know this because I’ve worked with him recently on a story of mine that he’ll be publishing in the next issue of Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show.  His post today is, I hope, the first of many he’ll be offering us from time to time.  So without further ado, ladies and entlemen, Billy Shears!  (Okay, that was for all the Beatles fans.)  Here’s Ed:

Hail and greetings and salutations and all those fancy words that mean hello. My name is Edmund Schubert, and despite the fact that I have now personally met David, Faith, Misty and Catie, they have invited me to come play in their sandbox anyway.

 I met Catie Murphy first, at World Fantasy in Austin, TX (Nov. 2006). If you ask her about that particular WFC, she’ll inevitably tell you about someone who threw himself through a hedge to get at her. That was me. I’d be embarrassed about it except there’s also a story going around about someone who grabbed Gordon Van Gelder in the men’s room at that same World Fantasy–and that was me, too. So really the whole hedge thing is hardly worth mentioning. (I’d tell you more but I’d probably be in violation of the restraining order Gordon took out. Buy me a couple of beers at a con (no, one beer is not enough) and I’m sure I can be convinced to tell the tale.)

 A few months later I met David at ChattaCon in Chattanooga, TN (Jan. 2007). I mainly went to ChattaCon that year because a good friend told me it was a con that was heavy on gaming, but for some reason they had dual writer guests of honor that year and the two GOHs were Kevin J. Anderson and Robert J. Sawyer. The first night at ChattaCon I ended up in a train car that had been converted into a diner, eating pizza with Kevin, Rob, their spouses, the aforementioned good friend, Alethea Kontis (Ingram book buyer who recently guest-blogged here), and some guy named David Coe. Mostly we just ate and listened to Rob and Kevin tell stories, but I knew right away that David was someone I wanted to get to know better—though I wasn’t sure why.

 I found out why a few months later at RavenCon in Richmond, VA (April 2007) when David and I met again. After proving to the con organizers what a really bad idea it was to put that much top-shelf booze in a room with the two of us and no chaperone, we quickly came to realize why we were drawn to each other: we were living uncannily mirror-imaged lives. We both had wives who were (or had been) scientists and who had real jobs so we could be ‘creative’; had two daughters of nearly identical ages and interests and birthdays and even names; were former New Yorkers who had escaped the Big Apple and now lived in the South; and were fervent Mets fans (which was much easier to say with a straight face before their horrid collapse at the end of last season). The list goes on and on, but I can see you’re getting bored, so I’ll leave it at that (for now). (Yes, I know, I have a penchant for parenthetical asides. But the more you point it out, the worse it gets, so pretend not to notice and maybe I’ll stop (or at least ease up (not likely, but worth trying)).


 I just met Faith Hunter and Misty Massie at ConCarolinas this year (Charlotte, NC, May 30 – June 1, 2008). I didn’t bother with niceties with either of them, I just let loose and acted like myself. Usually that’s a recipe for disaster, yet they kept coming back for more. I think this either says a lot about their character as fine, patient, tolerant human beings, or it calls into serious question their ability to judge a man’s basic nature. Personally, I’m hoping for the latter. It’s my only chance.

 So that’s how I know these good folks. As for me, I am a character actor (emphasis on the word ‘character’ (in case you hadn’t noticed by now) and I play a lot of roles. They are all roles I enjoy, and there are probably more of them than any sane man would undertake. I am (in no particular order):

 A) managing editor of a new women’s business magazine called Diversity Woman. Not terribly glamorous, but it pays the best of all of my various gigs and I enjoy the behind-the-scenes work of putting a magazine together. Also, being the father of two daughters, I have developed an interest in women’s issues that is not likely to go away any time soon.

B) fiction editor of Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show (and by default co-editor of the anthology by the same name due out this August from Tor). Science fiction and fantasy short stories are a lot more glamorous than managing Diversity Woman (I think so anyway; my parents seem a bit more impressed with the business magazine); plus, as an added benefit, it’s how I met Catie, David, Faith, and Misty (hmmm, maybe my parents were right after all…).

 C) a writer of things speculative and mysterious. I started out writing a novel, quickly realized I had no idea what I was doing (not that I’m saying that’s changed much) and began writing short stories as a way to learn the craft. Along the way I published half a dozen mystery shorts in minor magazines such as Futures Mystery Anthology and Hardboiled Mystery Magazine (one of which resulted in a preliminary nomination for an Edgar Award for Best Short Story in 2006), as well as approximately two dozen speculative short stories (mainly of the variety of what they are now calling ‘interstitial’ (though I personally hate the term), along with a bit of straight science fiction), also published in minor magazines and anthologies you’ve never heard of and winning a few minor awards you’ve also never heard of (I’m nothing if not self-effacing). Somewhere in there I managed to write a novel called Dreaming Creek that’s kind of like the TV show “Cold Case” with a Twilight-Zone twist.

 D) a dad, who sets aside roles A), B), and C) at three o’clock in the afternoon when the school bus pulls up to the curb. Then it’s several hours of snacks and homework and laundry and cooking dinner until the previously-mentioned supportive wife comes home. Then, depending on how much work is left, I might or might not go back to my office in the evening and attend to whatever part of A, B, or C most needs my attention.

 This month, however, it happens not to be A), B), OR C); it’s A), B), AND C). With a whopping dose of D) thrown in for good measure. You see, the next issue of Diversity Woman has to be to the printers by June 17th, the next issue of IGMS is scheduled for release on (or about) June 27th, and my publisher (a small press in Pennsylvania called LBF Books) is expecting final edits on my novel by June 30th. And did I mention the girls are out of school on June 11th?

 I know they say that busy people get things done, but come on…

 But here’s the thing that makes me chuckle. When David emailed me and invited me to write a guest piece for this blog, I instantly knew that of all the roles I play, ‘writer’ is the one closest to my heart. How did I know this? How, you ask? (don’t ask, don’t ask… too late, I told you not to make eye contact). How? Because of all of the things I could have and should have been doing, when this opportunity presented itself, it was all my mind would focus on, all my fingers would consider doing. Here was an opportunity to tell a story – my story – silly though it (and I) may be, and my fingers heard the siren-song of the keyboard. There was no turning back. I just like stories.

Time to go pound out some parenthesis, boys.



11 comments to Many Roles, Few Active Brain Cells

  • Ed said, “I think this either says a lot about their character as fine, patient, tolerant human beings…”

    Darling, I work ten months a year in a middle school. 😀

  • By the way, thought I’d add the URL for Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show.
    Check it out.

  • Misty, That automatically elevates to goddess status in my book. Grossly underpaid goddess, but still…

    David, Call me ‘nice’ again and I’ll kick your smiling face from here to the moon. I’m a bad man and don’t you forget it…

  • Dear Bad Man,
    (Tell me I can’t learn from other’s mistakes.)
    I have just one question — what the heck is interstitial?
    In medicine it’s the space and fluid between cells.

    I lied. Another question. Are you going to be at WorldCon? If so, I offer to be the chaperone in the liquor room. Especially if David’s wife mails down a case of beer. Two cases. Yeah. Two.

    Also, (I lie a lot) I wonder if the Div. Wom. Mag is looking for fictional pieces about the daily life of the working woman? Did I mention that I (and some female writer pals) also write articles for various women’s magazines? If not, consider it mentioned!

    Faith — who is on a 2 day vacation. Sitting in the RV outside a bookstore. Ready to do a signing. And hoping (right now) to drum up *more* work for herself…sigh… Someday I’ll take a real vacation.

  • Faith when I read interstitial I immediately thought he was going to talk about fluid build up in the limbs…
    I’m just interested in finding out how security didn’t take you out when you jumped through hedges at the convention..

  • Mental pic.
    Edmond in handcuffs. And not in a good way.

  • Maybe I spelled it wrong or used it wrong, but the understanding I have of ‘interstitial’ is that it’s being used in some circles as a way of describing ‘weird’ stories with contemporary settings. Fantasy, but not in the traditional sense, or in the urban sense. Some people call it the ‘new weird.’ Again, I can’t promise I’m using these terms correctly because I don’t care for these terms. I’m a throwback in many ways. I’d like to think that I’m writing stuff Rod Serling would have liked and leave it at that. Other people can figure out what to call it.

    And unfortunately, Diversity Woman does not publish fiction of any kind, so that’s a short conversation–as is the World Con conversation, which, much like World Fantasy, I’m going to be missing this year.

    And as for Catie and the hedge (that sounds like the title of a story: “Catie and The Hedge” — somebody go write that), she calls it a hedge, but really it was only a dense row of potted ficus trees separating one part of the hotel lobby (the bar) from another part. I don’t think they can arrest anyone for that.

    You may now resume your regularly scheduled picturing of Edmund in handcuffs–in the good way. 😉

  • If you ask her about that particular WFC, she’ll inevitably tell you about someone who threw himself through a hedge to get at her.

    It is true. I will inevitably tell that story, because it was SO AWESOME. I’d never had anyone throw himself through a hedge to reach me before. 🙂 And while it’s technically inaccurate and they were in fact actually small potted trees, “hedge” is, I think, sufficiently evocative. Also it brings a Monty-Pythonesque connotation to the whole event, and I feel that’s entirely appropriate. 🙂

    The great bit about the hedge-flinging was that it happened while I was trying to explain to a friend that I did not, in fact, know everybody in the world. This declaration was rather badly battered by the fact that as I insisted I didn’t know everybody, first someone I hadn’t seen in years bellowed my name from across the lobby, and then Ed threw himself through the hedge to get to me, both within a space of about forty seconds. Now nothing I ever say or do will convince my friend that I am not on at least cordial terms with more or less everybody on the planet. 🙂


  • Well that was my plan all along–to undermine your credibility with this person. Another evil plan comes to fruition!

  • Oh dear…
    I do remember that you won’t be at WorldCon. So sad. I was going carry around a camera and catch pics of you hiding in the foliage.

  • Beatriz

    Watching you, Faith, Misty and David bounce off of each other at ConCarolinas was stuff of legends (hey, I don’t get out very much).

    If you return next year and need a minion, I happen to know where one’s available. 🙂

    Faith– handcuffs? I owe you a beer, or chocolate or both for making me laugh so hard at that!!!!