I Still Have That Dream

I Still Have That Dream

Been wondering why I’m in such a funk lately, then my calendar reminded me again this morning that today is my mother’s birthday. Her name is Marjorie Bradford and she died 13 years ago now, but the pain feels pretty fresh whenever I stop to think about her (which is often).

For many years after her death I tried to write a story that encapsulated how I felt about what happened and how much I loved her, but nothing ever came out quite right.

After she died, I had tons of dreams about her, but most of them had a common theme. In them, I was often aware that I only had a little bit of time to spend with her because I understood that she was sick and still dying. In some dreams she was very sick, in others almost completely healthy. A few times in my dreams I even asked her “How much time do we have?” and she’d say “Only a little while” or “A few days” or something.

It was as if, in my dreamscape, I was able to roll back the clock a little and revive her, but not completely and for good.

In mulling over why she almost always manifested in this way in my dreams led me to finally being able to write a story about her that did all of my memories and feelings and her impact on me justice. The story is “Elan Vital” and you can read or listen to it over at Escape Pod.

I’ve never read that story in public and probably never will because any attempt to do so will end up with me curling up in a ball sobbing. I don’t even read it to myself for that same reason.

However, when the story first appeared on the podcast I saw so many people praising the reading of it, I decided to listen to just a few minutes. I ended up listening to the whole thing. Mur Lafferty, as you may know, is an extremely talented reader. She did such justice to that story I can’t praise her enough.

Happy birthday, mom. I miss you and love you and I still have that dream.

People Saying Stuff About My Fiction

People Saying Stuff About My Fiction

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been made aware of several people saying things about my stories but haven’t had the time to mention it here due to some other stuff taking up my time. Heh. Anyway, here it all is in simple list form.

  • SFScope’s Mark L. Blackman attended the NYRSF Federations reading on July 7th and gave his impressions of the stories and the readers. I have to say, he picked what has to be the worst picture of me, ever! I look like I just discovered a bug in my copy of the antho. :)
    • After a break, next up was K. Tempest Bradford, whose breezily snarky offering, “Different Day”, was a reaction to the common premises that alien worlds have one culture/one global government and that, invariably, they “come to America first.” She cleverly posits rival alien tribes, just as mutually hostile as our contemporary nations, visiting and negotiating with other parts of the world (like Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama), though her present-day biases and digs limit the story’s shelf-life.
  • Tom Crosshill reviewed Sybil’s Garage No. 6.
    • “Elan Vital” by K. Tempest Bradford. A story of dealing with loss, of holding on, and of letting go. The execution is superb, even if the premise feels somewhat familiar (I won’t reveal it here, except to say that this story too is about the undead, although to call it a zombie story would hardly be accurate.) At its core is a parent-child relationship, which as you will see becomes a recurring theme in this issue.
  • Sam Tomaino at SFRevu made me go “squee!”
    • K. Tempest Bradford gives us what, I think, is the best story in the issue with “Elan Vital”. … This is one you won’t forget soon.

There’s more to that last review but it’s a bit spoilery. Obviously you should read the story right now so you can then read the whole review ;)

New Reviews of Sybil’s Garage 6

New Reviews of Sybil's Garage 6

Charles Tan has a short review of SG6 wherein he mentions my story as one of his favorites:

“Elan Vital” by K. Tempest Bradford manages to cram a lot in this relatively short piece. While the science fiction aspects and ramifications might appeal to genre readers, what drew me to this story is how Bradford attaches a human component to the narrative and everything else grows out of that. Her protagonist is not only sympathetic but her unique situation could only have been pulled off in the medium of prose. For example, if this were a comic or a TV episode, part of the tension would have been tipped off too early, and a pivotal scene would have lost much of its momentum. But as it is, the chronology is just right, and Bradford crafts a story with emotional resonance.

Fantasy Magazine also gave us an awesome review!

All My Mothers

Last year on Mother’s Day I posted about how all of my mothers are now gone. My own mother, Marjorie T. Bradford, passed away ten years ago (it doesn’t feel that long ago), my maternal grandmother, Anna Ree Tidmore, passed away just before my birthday last year, my fraternal grandmother, Genevieve Bell, passed away when I was a little kid, and my mother’s mother’s mother, Katie Bell Rembert, passed away when I was just 3.

Ever since my mother died I’ve done my best to ignore Mother’s Day for my own sanity.  I can’t completely, though, because there are many mothers in my life. Many of whom I love and admire a lot for how awesome they are as mothers and how awesome they are in general. I’m especially partial to my friends who have daughters, because it makes me think of me and my mom — she was my favorite person in the world even when I didn’t always show it. It makes me so happy to see that in a lot of the mother/daughter relationships my friends have. I see all their beautiful girls growing up into strong, intelligent, independent young ladies and I am so jealous of them.  I want to tell them to cling to their moms as tightly as possible for as long as they can, because there’s no guarantee they’ll be there forever.

This year I decided to not ignore Mother’s Day and instead offer up one last gift to my mom: my story, Élan Vital, from Sybil’s Garage #6 is now live on the Senses Five website as a special preview for the zine (out by WisCon!). Matt Kressel and I thought it would make a nice Mother’s Day promotion. Go read and then go hug your mom for me :)

Tidmore Family Portrait

Another Nice Review and Another Sale

Another Nice Review and Another Sale

First, the sale: some time ago Matt Kressel of Sybil’s Garage informed me that he would like to buy my story Elan Vital, which I affectionately refer to as my Dead Mother story.  I wrote the beginning of that story when I was last in England (in Penzance to be exact).  England and Penzance are apparently inspirational — part of the well that Black Feather came from originated in my first visit many years ago.  Perhaps I should look in to living there.

Anyway, Sybil’s Garage rocks and I’m all excited to have a story in it.

Next, the review: Mercurio Rivera is the designated Locus subscriber in our writing group (this is probably not his official function…) and he passed along Rich Horton’s review of Until Forgiveness Comes:

“K. Tempest Bradford’s ‘Until Forgiveness Comes’ was intriguing.  Most simplistically, it’s a 9/11-derived story — well enough done, about a yearly ceremony remembering a terrorist attack.  But as an SF reader I found myself far more intrigued by the tantalizing hints of a cool alternate world in the background — with, perhaps, Ancient Egyptian culture having survived in some form, leading to a radically altered Jesus-figure, and a much more different Western Europe.  The story is only two thousand words long, and that sketched background isn’t at all the point — but I confess it’s what gripped me.”

Thanks, Rich!