Attack of the Italics

I meant to write today, really I did. Then my wife and I went to see Unfaithful and Insomnia. (I’m glad for these short movie titles. They make up for all the long titles of late.) Both movies were good; Insomnia was better. When we came home, I did read some more of The Legend That Was Earth. I’m hoping to finish that this evening; my reading stack is getting full. After I finish that, I plan to read Sophie’s World, Word Work, Writers of the Future Vol. XVII, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, The Two Towers (again) and Zen Guitar. I may make Zen Guitar into a one-a-day ritual, or perhaps a practice session ritual before I play.

I also need to re-read “Half-Lives of Quiet Desperation” and the critiques of same so I can decide how to revise it. I want to have it revised by Father’s Day (June 16th.)

Geeking out

Flat Rabbit jam; John wasn’t able to show due to another commitment, but Brad and I went through all our material and played a bunch of other songs and song fragments. I also bought a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy Platinum setup for the computer. It has an SPDIF input and MIDI In and Out so I can interact with my Fender Cyber-Twin Amplifier easily. How does this relate to creativity? It’s a music tool. Perhaps I can make some digital recordings and post them to this site as MP3s. (Being a geek, it also makes me very happy to be able to connect my music, writing and computer hobbies all together. 😀 )

I also bought Morrowind, by Bethesda Softworks. This is the sequel to Daggerfall, and could prove to be a huge time sink if I’m not very careful. Perhaps I could use sessions of Morrowind as rewards for accomplishing small writing goals, as Bruce suggested in his workshop.

Bruce Holland Rogers (concl.)

Bruce Holland Rogers‘ “Writing Even Though You Have a Life” workshop is well worth the money. I also purchased a copy of his latest book, Word Work: Surviving and Thriving as a Writer (Invisible Cities Press, $16.95, ISBN: 1-931229-17-1.) Check your local book stores for copies; if they don’t have them, they can order them. If you must support the conglomerate, you can also order it from Amazon.

Okay, the commercial is over. What about the workshop? Our workshop group was small, so Bruce was able to let the workshop roll where it wished. We didn’t stick to a specific outline or syllabus, but he made sure to cover points on the outline in which people were particularly interested. I took more notes the first night, probably because there was more pure information disseminated than on the second night, which was more discussion-based.

We did have a small homework exercise, which I completed with limited success; limited because I don’t feel I got any new story ideas that I really wish to expand, but I did learn a new technique for generating ideas. The thing that impressed me most about the writing exercises, both in homework and in the workshop itself, is that Bruce participated in them. Rather than placing a separation between teacher and student, he jumped right in with us, acknowledging that he is still a student himself, despite the Nebulas, Stoker and Pushcart Prizes he’s won.

I left the workshop highly encouraged, with new enthusiasm for a couple of stories that are currently in creative limbo. Bruce inscribed my copy of Word Work with exactly the right words to inspire me, and I particularly look forward to reading the chapters in the book entitled “Writers Loving Nonwriters,” “Writing with Children in the House,” “Death and the Day Job,” and all of Part 4, “Dangerous Territory,” about rejection, workshops and reviews.

Thanks, Bruce.

(As for creative activity today, this update is about all I did. However, I did go to see Star Wars Episode II:  Attack of the Clones and enjoyed a Rockie Dog at Coors Field as I watched the Colorado Rockies whoop up on the San Diego Padres at Coors Field. The final score was 16-3.)

More Bruce

The workshop’s first night was quite good, and a bit risky for me. When I brought up Fear of Success (or Failure, or Rejection, or all of the above), Bruce walked me through a brief visualization exercise in which I imagined how it would feel to have my worst writing-related fears come true. Bruce claimed not to be very good at the process, but I felt comfortable enough to proceed with the exercise immediately, and that’s a testament to his interpersonal skills. I’ve done visualizations before, so it was not completely foreign, but it did make me feel as if the workshop suddenly jumped from being clinical to being personal, like the Omega and Delta Vector seminars I’ve attended in the past. That’s a good thing; I think people are able to share more that’s Real if they are being personal and a bit vulnerable. I know I work best that way. I’m excited to see how today’s workshop turns out; I think it’s safe to say that I got more than I bargained for on the first night.

At lunch, I completed my writing homework for the workshop. It was a timed exercise, both due to the timeframe in which I did it and the guidelines of the assignment. I’m not overly pleased with the results, but I did pick one of the sections and expand it a bit. It’s a strange little piece about dust motes traveling to Denver from the Far East and reuniting with lost family, including a long lost aunt, who has a few surprises up her sleeve. (Actually, I think that one line summary is more enticing than the actual 350 word piece!