MileHiCon 46

It’s that time of year again! MileHiCon 46 is just around the corner, taking place from October 24th through the 26th, 2014, at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center, 7800 E. Tufts Ave., Denver, CO  80237. Here’s my panel schedule:

Saturday, October 25, 2014, 4 pm
Poetry Fantastique — Mesa Verde A

I will be moderating the poetry panel this year, as David Lee Summers won’t be able to make it to the convention. I will do my best, and with a panel including Laura Deal, Gail Barton, and the energetic Dr. Rob S. Rice, it should be an easy job.

Sunday, October 26, 2014, 11:00 am
Dark Net/Net Neutrality — Wind River A

This is a tech panel about current Internet privacy trends moderated by Arlen Feldman, with panelists Margaret Alia Denny, Deena Larsen, Marc MacYoung, and yours truly.

Sunday, October 26, 2014, 4:00 pm
Privacy, Facebook, and Other Social Media — Wind River B

In a similar vein, this is another tech panel focusing on privacy rights in relation to Facebook and other social media platforms. Arlen Feldman is again the moderator (sorry, Arlen, you only get one link), with panelists John Barnes, Kronda Seibert, the mysterious T. Simpson, and myself.

I hope to see some of you there!

 

Publication Announcement

I arrived home from my first vacation in years Sunday to find a copy of Tales of the Talisman waiting in my mailbox. This is the issue that includes my steampunk sonnet, “The Kestrel”, which is a pastiche poem inspired by Gerard Manley Hopkins‘ “The Windhover“. (At least one other Colorado writer is represented in this issue: Ian Brazee-Cannon‘s story “A Night at the Club” also appears.)

Tales of the Talisman Volume IX, Issue 4

Tales of the Talisman Volume IX, Issue 4

Basically, I asked myself, “What if Gerard Manley Hopkins had been inspired more by technology than the priesthood?” I dug out my old Norton Anthology of English Literature and refreshed myself on Hopkins’ unique sprung rhythm so I could try to stay true to the meter of the original poem. Hopkins is my favorite poet, and in writing this pastiche, I meant no disrespect toward him or his work. I see it as more of a tribute to his writing, as well as an opportunity to work within a unique poetry framework, where the meter is dictated by the number of stresses in a line, rather than the number of syllables and feet.

Tales of the Talisman is a beautiful magazine, chock full of excellent writing. David Lee Summers did a great job putting this one together, and I’m honored to have my work represented.

 

MileHiCon 45

MileHiCon 45 is quickly approaching, and I have yet to publish my panel assignments, so here goes!

Friday, October 18, 2013

I’m not on any panels on Friday, but I will be stopping by in the evening to participate in the Friday edition of the Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament, which takes place in the Atrium at 9 PM.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Poetry Fantastique (1PM, Wind River B) – This year’s poetry panel should be excellent.  With the ever-cheerful David Lee Summers moderating and guests like Laura K. DealRobin M. Ambrozic, and Gail Barton, you can expect some excellent verse in general, but this year, it looks like Rhysling Award winner and multiple Pushcart Prize nominee Catherynne M. Valente will be joining us.  I’m honored to share a panel with all of these people.

I don’t have any other panels that day, but I’m looking forward to visiting other panels and participating in the Saturday edition of the Hold ‘Em Tournament.  (I took second place last year. :-))

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Patent-ly Ridiculous (1 PM, Wind River B) – Patent laws are in tremendous flux, with game changers like the international Trans-Pacific Partnership pending and 3D printing becoming more accessible to the average criminal person.  What does the future hold for intellectual property and copyright law?  I’ll be joining Arlen FeldmanVan Aaron HughesThea Hutcheson, and Rebecca Lickiss on this panel.

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow (4 PM, Mesa Verde A) – How do you know when a story/poem/song/novel/piece of artwork is ready to make its own way in the world? Should it even go out to the world? How true is the idea that a work of art is never truly finished, just abandoned? Join Ronnie SeagrenGary JonasCarrie VaughnRebecca LeeChaz Kemp, and me to wrap up the con.

As usual, MHC45 is being held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel – Tech Center, 7800 E. Tufts Ave., Denver CO.  See you there!

What Makes You Live

Update: Apex Book Company revised their website, and my winning poem is no longer posted there, so I’m including it below:

What Makes You Die

(for Pic)

Back in the day, death was binary
Alive or dead, on or off, one or zero
Now, there is no zero state
Hit by a car?
Pick a new body. We’ll restore “you” from backup
Brain cancer?
No worries! We’ll grow another one
It’s not about whether you live any more,
It’s about what you create while you live

Art is the new yardstick
Content is the new blood
The more you bleed, the less you die, so
Open a vein and try to keep up

Whatever you do, don’t keep it to yourself;
That is what makes you die.

— Stace Johnson


Original post below:

I got some great news today! Lesley Conner at Apex Publications notified me that I won a poetry contest that they sponsored as a way to promote Tom Piccirilli‘s upcoming book, What Makes You Die, due out on March 19th, 2013. The prize is an advance reader copy (ARC) of Pic’s book, which I will attempt to get signed the next time I’m in the same room with him. I’ve met Tom a couple of times before at readings here in Denver, and I can say from those brief encounters that he’s a good guy. I know he’s been inspirational to several of my writer friends, so I’m glad to be able to pay tribute to him in some small way by participating in the contest and dedicating the poem to him.

Tom has had a rough time of it recently, dealing with brain cancer, chemo, and surgery, and I’m astounded at how well he has been able to recover. He wrote about the experience in an essay called “Meeting the Black”, which you can purchase and download here. All of the proceeds from that modest purchase, as well as all of Pic’s titles at Crossroads Press, go to help offset his staggering medical bills. Go. Purchase and download it now. I’ll wait.

I have a few other poetry irons in the fire right now, and I hope to make some more announcements soon if all goes well. I’m thrilled to have some momentum behind my writing again, and I hope I can build on this opportunity. After all, I firmly believe that creativity is what makes you live.

Good Riddance, 2012

Every year is a mixture of good and bad, but I’ll be particularly glad to see 2012 pass into history.

The year wasn’t all bad; we did manage to move into a house that we love, even if the circumstances forcing the move were stressful.  I started working on material for a new band with my pal Hal, and I feel like I’m growing as a musician because of it.  Most importantly, Lannette’s ovarian cancer scare at the beginning of the year turned out to be just a scare, not the real thing.

However, the year has been overshadowed by the death of my mom in March.  When family members die, I tend to grieve very slowly and it usually doesn’t hit me hard until long after they have passed.  When my brother died on January 1, 1996, I didn’t really deal with it until well into 1997, when I was able to write this poem to say goodbye to him and deal with my own guilt about pulling the plug.

When my last grandparent died (I was 12), it wasn’t until months later that I was flooded with grief and loss while sitting on the couch, watching TV.  I just suddenly started crying, scaring my parents.

I have no idea when that cathartic moment will happen in regard to my mom’s death.  I certainly miss her, and I wish she wasn’t gone, but I haven’t broken down yet.  I wish it would happen, though, because waiting for the shoe to drop is stressful, and I suspect that my state of semi-grief has affected my relationships with family, friends, and coworkers over the last few months.  My anxiety has been elevated all year, and I’m convinced that’s partially due to not having dealt with her passing yet.

Here’s hoping 2013 is a happy year for everyone, myself included.