Liminal Spaces

Just finished reading Alexander McCall Smith’s The Man with the Silver Saab (borrowed with glee from my local library’s “Lucky Day” shelves). The head of the Department of Sensitive Crimes, Detective Ulf Varg, is meeting with the head of the police force, Lund, who references “liminal spaces,” that “space in-between.” While Lund describes it as a rite of passage, “a bit like being a teenager,” it could also apply to being newly retired.

Liminal spaces
Liminal spaces are those places that suggest transitions or the initial stage of a process or that occupy both sides of a threshold.

I’m in a liminal space. Out of a fairly well-paid career in writing non-fiction – magazine and website articles, whitepapers, blog content – and into a stream of days spent writing fiction. What I’m in now can’t be called a second career, since careers suggest payment, and I’m not paid.

The satisfactions are there, even if the borderlines separating endeavor from profession are not. In the two months since I committed to focusing on fiction, I’ve revised three manuscripts.

But sometimes I feel like one of those salvaged spaceships that populate episodes of The Expanse (thanks for the recommendation, Dave), ignored, depleted and floating in space like an asteroid that’s already been tapped out. My current crop of stories hovers out there, in my desk, on my hard drive, in the cloud, awaiting publication, which may never happen.

It comes down to this when you’re writing fiction: finding an agent who can represent and, one anticipates, sell your manuscripts to a book publisher. I’m 40 agent inquiries in and counting.

This liminal space continues for me. It could be twilight or it could be dawn. Only time will tell.

Why I Love the World Almanac and Book of Facts

The World Almanac and Book of Facts
This has become a go-to reference for stuff I used to have to hunt down online. Forget that!

There’s something about the World Almanac and Book of Facts that tells me it deserves the inch and a half of room it requires on my grab-it-quick bookcase. Let’s face it, the world wide web doesn’t know everything; Wikipedia’s explanations are frequently beyond my level of understanding; and sometimes the prospect of cranking up the Google search home page one more time in a day is enough to send me out my office door and off for a three-week walkabout.

If you haven’t checked it out lately, this 1,008-page volume provides a snapshot of the year that was and the decades and centuries that were, in consumable and well-written bites.

Wondering just when the War of Roses took place and why? It’s covered in a tiny capsule in the “Military Affairs, Timeline of Major Wars” section.

Trying to figure out what song placed Shania Twain on the map? There it is in “Noted Personalities, Country Music Artists”: “You’re Still the One.”

Need the latest on internet usage in the United States? The “Technology, Internet Use” section provides data on most-visited sites, most popular apps, fixed broadband internet connections by type, usage by race and ethnicity and plenty of other statistics.

Every year I try to make donations to the non-profit online sites I use most often; the $14.99 cover price the World Almanac costs is a bargain in comparison.