Going Public

First, the big news. June 18th, Stories for All Seasons will be presenting Melanie Tem and her new novel, The Deceiver. In addition to reading, Melanie will introduce members of her writing group, who will answer questions and discuss the group dynamic in general. Some of the students will also read works inspired by assignments. I’m proud to announce that I will debut my short story, “Sphere of Falling.”

“Sphere” is the result of a class assignment to write something with a strong sense of place. As I thought about the topic, two different works came to mind: Spider Robinson’s Callahan Chronicles and the story “Shottle Bop” by Theodore Sturgeon. Though “Sphere” is only superficially like either of these works, if similar at all, I do feel that I owe Robinson and Sturgeon a note of thanks, along with Melanie, of course, for the inspiration. It’s a cute story, and could be the germ of a whole collection of stories, assuming I get my butt in gear and write them.

Of course, that’s always the trick, isn’t it?

Lately, I have felt much more like an editor than a writer, though. I participate in two writing groups actively, and I am on extended sabbatical from two other groups. In at least a couple of these groups, I have earned a reputation as a grammarian and editor. Deserved or not, people seem to think of me when it comes time to submit a story, and they often ask if they can run something by me before it hits the group. This reputation seems to extend beyond just writing groups, too. I’ve received editing requests from several people I know who aren’t in writing groups. I’m open to that; I’m happy to help people out, and it helps me improve my own writing.

However, I might be a little too open to it. In the last several months, I have found that I am proofreading manuscripts much more than reading for pleasure, and certainly more than writing my own material. One of my favorite annual short story anthologies has been collecting dust by my bedside for months. And one look at this website will tell you that I have done little to update it in the last half year.

I have started no new creative writing since October 2002, and the guilt is starting to wear me down. I think I’m going to have to finish my current queue of non-group manuscripts and then stop accepting outside manuscripts for critique. Unless I want to become a freelance editor, that is. I don’t think I want to do that, though. I have a hard enough time editing my own work; I think I would go insane if I only edited work by other people and didn’t start producing some of my own again.

In other news, Eight Inch Weeds, my band project, seems to have gone on indefinite hiatus. There are no hard feelings between any of us, but we are not currently a functioning unit. It is possible that I will get back together with a couple of the guys in another band, or perhaps a revamping of this band, but for now I am pursuing other musical projects. Currently, I am working with a couple of members of Dante on some acoustic trio material. Hopefully I will have some news to report in that department before too long.

Update (6/9/2004): I do have news to report about that project. I have been playing with Steel River Three for several months now, making the rounds of coffeehouse jams and playing occasional gigs. Check out the website to see where we are playing next!

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