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Monthly Archives: May 2013

So that you can go on exhibit…

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande ...

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A little quote from Sondheim to round out the week.  From “Sunday in the Park with George,” and the next line is “So that your work can go on exhibition.”  Difference with or without distinction?

The first reading for A Star in the Face of the Sky is officially on the schedule, in New York City, at the end of October.  There’s a possibility that I’m already at least double-booked for that time period.  Could get ugly.

For the record, I’m not particularly fond of giving readings, and that has nothing to do with stage fright.  I did a consulting gig for a number of years where it was my job to stand in front of large roomfuls of skeptical and occasionally hostile educators and convince them that there were no tricks behind the board certification process.  I rather loved the combat aspects of that job, and I was damned good at it, too.

Fiction readings, alas, are significantly less testy.  The audience tends to prefer to sit passively and wait for you to entertain them with the charms of your narrative prose.  No pressure there. And no smug rejoinders or snappy comebacks allowed. Where’s the fun in that?

But it’s part of the cost of doing business, and I’ve been banking the frequent flyer miles for the good of the order.

So what do you say?  Want me to come and get into it with your friends and neighbors?  I’m a cheap and reliably hostile date.  You know where to find me.

The Speculative Fiction Worskhop #3: What They Taught Me

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  1. That loving, say, high fantasy doesn’t automatically shut down one’s critical faculties. My students were clear and precise about the pervasive problems with a lot of the books in their favorite genres: the flat characterization, implausible plotting, the overwriting. A bad book is a bad book, they repeatedly assured me, waving their hands at my shelves full of “literary” novels, daring me to defend one and all.

The Best Class Ever: Part One

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The picture speaks for itself.  Genuinely a peak career experience, working with these young people.

Front Row (L-R): Jaclyn Bouton, Ivonne Bali, Riane Alexander, Ashley Ridge, Crystal Chen

Back Row:  Albert Chen, Julia Worland, Nicholas Lentes-Gilson, Emily Le

Weepily, I told them on the last day of class, when this picture was taken, that when I was their age, back in the Mesozoic, this is what I had always imagined college would be like: lively vibrant conversations around the table with people who enjoy what they do and appreciate other’s company.

Tomorrow: What we did (other than be [giddy and loudly laughing] neighbors to 43 and Laura on Library day).

By All Evidence My Tickets Were Lost in the Mail

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In the film “Last Night” the character played by David Cronenburg (yep, that David Cronenburg) spends Earth’s final moments calling the customers of his utility company and thanking them for their patronage.  Steve Carrell in “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” dutifully reports to his job at an insurance company days before the apocalypse.  The narrator in Jim Shephard’s excellent short story “The Netherlands Lives With Water” monitors his equipment as the sea breaches the dikes and presses into the windows in front of his station.

Back, On Retreat

English: A black-tailed prairie dog at the Nat...

Keep the comma, lose the comma, move the comma: It works every way.

Swallowed by a tsunami of people and paper, sometime mid-March, something had to give, and that something, sadly, was this blog.  Sadly, I say, because I quite enjoy the daily discipline of writing, often enough the only attention my own process gets from one week to the next.  I retreated to my hole and dug in for the duration.

But I have emerged, dug myself out, and the good news: I’ve got a backlog of wonderful stories to tell.  Coming soon to a blog near you:

  • The Best Class Ever
  • How Not to Get Shot by the Secret Service
  • Kimbilio
  • Don’t Use the Pineapple Flavor Packet
  • The Quimper Peninsula Exposed

And Much, Much More

So, yes, I’m back, back on, and back on retreat.  Stay tuned.

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