On the Shoulders of Giants

I have many things to be thankful for this year. My life is going well in many regards, and this fall has been fantastic, mostly because of one big piece of news. On November 24th, the book containing my first fiction sale came out: Edward Bryant’s Sphere of Influence. This completes the hat trick of selling fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, so I can finally cross that item off my bucket list.

I could not have picked a better market for my first story sale. EBSoI is a tribute anthology to one of my mentors, Edward W. Bryant, Jr., whom I’ve mentioned on this site dozens of times. My story, “Chesterfield Gray” (which I’ve also mentioned on here numerous times), is in fine company, because stories by Connie Willis, Steve Rasnic Tem, Kevin J. Anderson, Mario Acevedo, Bruce Holland Rogers, and Ed Bryant himself appear in the volume, as well as work by more than a dozen other writers and friends. I’m honored to have my work share the same pages as these giants of the industry. Thank you to Chuck Anderson and Jim LeMay, Editors of the anthology, for inviting me to submit my work and ultimately including me.

But those aren’t the only giants upon whose shoulders my story stands. In addition to passing through two of Ed’s writing groups, “Chesterfield Gray” was also critiqued in Melanie Tem’s writing group and by my first mentor, Leonard “Red” Bird. It’s thrilling to me that all three of the people whom I have considered mentors weighed in on the story at one time or another, and that it was ultimately deemed of high enough quality to be included in the anthology.

So, Melanie, Red, and Ed: This one’s for all of you.

February Word Challenge, Day 14

(If you’re wondering what this is about, read this.)

My five random words for today’s exercise are kennel, denim, genius, creeper, pocket.

Chosen word for free association: creeper
unsavory dude, mechanic’s dolly

Exercise:
To Harold, “Creeper” was never an insult. It was just a nickname he got because he spent so much time under cars on his mechanic’s dolly. He even made a trucker hat that said “CREEPER” across the top. He never understood what all the chuckles were about; he just thought he made people happy whenever he came around.

When the authorities showed up at his garage to charge him with harassment, it was a complete surprise.

February Word Challenge, Day 10

There will be no February 10 entry for the February Word Challenge, because that’s the day Ed Bryant died.

There are no words.

February Word Challenge, Day 9

(If you’re wondering what this is about, read this.)

My five random words for today’s exercise are berry, mellon, whiteboard, oyster, spirit. (Interesting spelling of “mellon”; I’m sure it’s a mistake on the part of the programmer for the random word generator, rather than a reference to Andrew Mellon.)

Chosen word for free association: whiteboard
(Sorry, showing the free association would ruin the joke. 😉 )

Exercise:
Martin grew up in a typical Americana suburb, with one and a half siblings and most of a dog. His mother was a teacher, so when school was out, Martin would wait around in his mom’s classroom until she was done grading and preparing lessons for the next day, then ride home with her. She always had a sandwich waiting for him, usually bologna and mayo on crustless Rainbo bread. When he was done with his homework, he would often doodle on the dry erase boards that lined the classroom walls.

It was definitely a whiteboard and mayonnaise upbringing.

Resolute 2017

Resolute 2017
(for myself and the world in general)

Less anger
More agreement

Less bitching
More bonding

Less conflict
More cooperation

Less drinking
More dancing

Less excess
More economy

Less fighting
More fixing

Less griping
More giving

Less hate
More Haight

Less introversion
More inclusion

Less judging
More jokes

Less kicking
More kissing

Less loneliness
More love

Less madness
More music

Less negativity
More nature

Less oppression
More openness

Less politics
More poetry

Less quarrelling
More quality

Less racism
More respect

Less sexism
More sex

Less television
More time

Less ugliness
More understanding

Less violence
More victories

Less weed
More words

Less xenophobia
More xiexie

Less yammering
More yoga

Less zealousy
More zebras

— Stace Johnson, 2016