As I embark on a new teaching assignment, I’m grateful for any reminders that I’m also still a writer. The pandemic has taken its toll on many areas of our lives, and I for one have barely written lately as my story well appears to be dry and my energy is drawn outwards into the creation of educational materials for both my day job as a university instructor and a side project intersecting tea, writing, and witchcraft. That is to say, I feel far removed currently from my own work as a fiction writer, so it was nice to see this shout out from Tor.com in their list of short fiction recommendations for December 2020, where I was surprised to see my story “Separation Theory” from the most recent issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet included.
Thanks to Tor and to all the spec-fic loving weirdos hanging out there/in there somewhere in the ethersphere~
My first short story published under my multiracial, gendered legal name (Kristin Yuan Roybal, as opposed to my ambiguous pen name Corin Reyburn), is out now in Issue 42 of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, the speculative fiction magazine carefully and lovingly crafted by Gavin Grant and Kelly Link. This story happens to be the opening piece of my MFA thesis, and is a short and strange tale about star-crossed love, particles, remembering and forgetting, and bittersweetness. It is available through Small Beer Press as a print zine or ebook, and features fellow writers Sarah Langan, Vandana Singh, Stewart Moore, Jack Larsen, Holly Day, and Nicole Kimberling.
I’ve come a long way. Thanks for being there with me.
My short story “Rabbit’s Foot” is out now in Mojo, a publication run by MFA graduate students at Wichita State University. This story got me into my own MFA program at OSU—a place where I’m learning, thriving, and working harder than I ever have. While MFAs aren’t for everyone—and I’m in the camp that doesn’t believe you necessarily need one to be a successful writer—it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life so far, largely due to the network of people I’m privileged to be working with, and the challenging but rapid growth opportunity of teaching college English right off the bat.
Interested in an MFA? My advice—research, research, research. I’d also advise against programs that aren’t fully funded. Many funded programs are notoriously difficult to get into, but depending on your economic situation (and if you’re a writer, odds are it is indeed a situation), you might not want to go thousands of dollars into debt when considering the potential financial payoff of the degree you’re seeking. For me, the payoff of the experience so far is largely untethered to my career and finances—I am rewarded in so many other ways.
A great resource for checking out what different programs have to offer is Poets and Writers MFA database. Be sure to research the faculty, too, they can make or break the experience for you.
Back to “Rabbit’s Foot.” This story is about a mixed-race stoner kid who befriends a man called Pigeon at the retirement home where he works. It deals with complicated morality, among other things, and is set in and around the San Francisco Bay Area, where I grew up.
“Pigeon hasn’t said a word to me in five days. But that’s not unusual.
By now I know the signs so he doesn’t have to bother with talking. A slap of his wide palm on the side of his chair means dim the lights. That clucking noise he makes in the back of his throat means close the window. A grunt means change my fucking man diaper…” [read more >>]
The latest episode of SubverCity Transmit, the podcasting brainchild of myself and co-conspirator Erin B. Lillis, features a short story of mine called Berlin Ben’s Big Night Out, previously published by The Subtopian. This episode is hopefully timely as we welcome individuals of all colors, genders, etc., to join us down in the SubverCity Station.
Whoever you are, whatever you are, and wherever you are in space-time, come on down and enjoy this tale of a gender-bending mad scientist getting his night in the moon. A one-off short story set in the cold, neon-lit world of Subterran.
Hello out there through vast lands and cities. Another story of mine, “A Piece of Polyglass Plastic Perfection”, is featured in Volume 2 of The Gateway Review: A Journal of Magical Realism. It’s always great to have something in print and I’m proud to be a part of this new publication. The issue is available for purchase here at lulu.com.
A flash fiction piece of mine, “Inventory of the World”, was published in this month’s issue of Jersey Devil Press, an all-poetry-and-flash issue that’s short and sweet. Have a gander at Issue 73 – Jersey Devil Press, and read about what happens when your job is to catalog everything from silk scarves to rocket launchers.