Dear City Council-
My name is Adam Rakunas, and I live in the Wilmont neighborhood. I ride all over the city with my daughter in our cargo bike, and I am excited about the possibilities that will come with the Michigan Avenue Greenway. Right now, the ride to Virginia Avenue Park is a little hairy; people use Michigan and Delaware as shortcuts to avoid Pico, which means watching out for speeding cars in a residential area. We also have to dodge cars when we’re heading anywhere east of the Civic Center, even though Olympic Drive should be a safe, easy way for us to connect to the bike lane on 11th Street. Right now, I wouldn’t think of having my daughter ride solo on any of these streets.
However, if the MANGo, with its diverters, raised crosswalks, and other traffic-slowing measures, is constructed, I think it will make an incredible and positive difference for my daughter and for every other kid in Santa Monica. By creating a safe cycling route to get to Edison Language Academy and SaMoHi, more parents will feel better letting their kids ride to school, thus putting fewer cars on the road, thus making it even safer. It’s a virtuous cycle, one that’s been repeated around the world as cities make the commitment to creating safer streets. And if the MANGo works, then that means other bikeways around the city will work, and that can only make for a safer, healthier city.
I realize it’s a bold and scary move to make a street that demands slower car traffic, and that there are editorialists and pockets of resistance who think that doing anything to impede auto circulation is a bad idea. We’ve had one hundred years of car culture, and it’s split the city in half, made the skies smoggy, and hurt and killed too many people. The MANGo is the first step toward changing the way we get around the city, and it’s going to set the tone for the next fifty years of how Santa Monica works. What kind of city do you want? One for cars, or one for people? I hope you will choose the latter and cement your legacy as the city council that said yes to the MANGo and everything that will follow.
(Note to everyone else: if you live in SM, please take a moment to email the city council and ask them to approve the MANGo. Feel free to cannibalize this email as you see fit. Thanks!)
When I was a kid, forty was the age that the adults joked about. Forty was when you began the long decline to death. Forty was black arm bands, “Over the Hill” banners, and jokes about mid-life crises.
As of now, I am forty. And I am going to make my forties be the most righteous decade yet.
All I would like for my birthday today is for you to make a difference, not just in your own life, but in someone else’s. If you ride a bike, I’d like you to join your local bicycle coalition. If you’ve been putting off writing an angry (yet polite and well-written) letter to your elected representatives, write it and send it today. It would make me ridiculously happy to know that you donated to a charity you like. And, if you don’t have one yet, here are some I really like:
I am forty. To hell with black arm bands, cheap gallows humor, and all of that crap. This is the decade to change the goddamn world.
So, I got a story published last year, and I quite like it. I hope you read it and liked it, too. I hope you read it and liked it so much that you’d consider nominating “Oh Give Me A Home” for a Hugo Award for Best Novelette. I hope that you’d also consider nominating me for the John W. Campbell award for Best New Writer, ’cause my little tale of family, farming, and miniaturized bison now makes me eligible for the glory that is the Campbell Diadem (with matching cheese board). (Note: I’ve submitted “Oh Give Me A Home” to the 2014 Campbellian Anthology, so check back here on January 15th for a link. EDIT: here it is!)
And now back to work.
This is an important day, and not just because of the ridiculous head wound I gave myself this morning.
Well, it’s about time I made my meager back catalog get to work, seeing how it’s done nothing since mid-2009. Yes, I’m chasing the Self-Publishing Dream and have put “The Right People” up on Amazon’s Kindle Store. You can buy it here for ninety-nine of your Yankee cents.
The process was a lot less painless than I thought it would be, though it now means my little story about the student body at Ronald Reagan High School has to fight its way through the brutal slush pile that is the Kindle Store, elbowing aside apocalyptic tales and vampire romances and all the other novellas about social networking, high school politics, and a closet full of Margaret Thatcher RealDolls. I have faith in Gene and G.R., though, and, hell, maybe this will get me to write the sequel, where the boys go to college. Hope you enjoy it.
Hello. My name is Adam Rakunas, and this is my website. You’re likely here because of my story, “Oh Give Me A Home,” just published in the July/August 2013 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. It was my first pro sale, and I was, how you say, stoked beyond belief. So stoked, in fact, that I overlooked one teeny-tiny bit in the last copy edits: the URL of my website.
Giro.com is the home of a company that makes fine bicycle and snow sport equipment, including a helmet that kept my friend Leo Dirac from fracturing his skull. If you’re in the market for gear to protect your head, I highly recommend them.
I don’t, however, have a blog there. I should have caught the error during editing. But now we’ve both had a little adventure, and maybe you’ve decided to get some new gloves or bike shoes as a result of your wandering. You can also read my first semi-pro sale “The Right People” over at Futurismic, a website that I hope will be up and running once its publisher finishes his graduate work; you can also buy “The Right People” for your Kindle (all proceeds go straight into my Universal Taco Fund, which I will use to buy all the tacos in the Universe).
What else do I have going on, writing-wise? Novels, man, novels. Short stories are tough for me, because, once I start writing, I usually have a hard time shutting up. I have two in the can, one of which I’m working on getting published the traditional way (and, yes, I know all about self-publishing, and, no, I’m not going down that route yet). Check this space for updates.
Right. Thank you for coming here. Feel free to poke around. I need to go get breakfast.
This will be brief because I’m pretty sure that you, the loyal members of my Korean fan club, won’t care. I just want to put it out there.
I just joined SFWA. I’m only an associate member, which means I get to read the forums but can’t vote for the Nebulas or for its officers (one day, baby, one day). I joined because I would like the organization that’s supposed to represent my interests as a writer (writing and getting paid for it, with a minimum of getting ripped off) not to be either a club for refugees from the Mad Men era of publishing or a platform for racist, sexist, homophobic dipshits. These are small things, I realize, but if I’m going to shell out some cash, I don’t think they’re unreasonable requests. Toward the former, I’m not sure what to contribute, but toward the latter, I’m following in Amal El-Mohtar’s footsteps and have just sent this email to Jim Fiscus, SFWA’s Western Representative, and the Board:
Dear Mr. Fiscus-
I am writing to you as my regional representative in SFWA, wishing to express my desire to see Theodore Beale (aka Vox Day) expelled from SFWA immediately under Article IV, Section 10 of the SFWA By-Laws.
I applaud the Board for quickly deleting the tweet relaying Mr. Beale’s attacks on N.K. Jemesin from the sfwaauthors Twitter feed and for removing his blog from the feed. However, as long as Mr. Beale remains a member, I believe he will continue to use SFWA as a platform for his racist, misogynist, and homophobic views, none of which have anything to do with the business of writing science fiction and fantasy. I urge you to please represent my views to the rest of the Board. Thank you.
I have no idea what will happen, but I hope the result means a SFWA that is professional, diverse, and welcoming. Like Star Trek, but without the bodysuits.