Isabelle and Steel River Three

I wrote yesterday about how my cat, Isabelle, needed a new home. One of the people from work took her home to introduce her to the family, and since she brought back an empty pet carrier, it was evidently a successful introduction. I hope that Isabelle brings joy and light to her new family, and that they give her the love and attention she deserves.

Since this is supposed to be a creativity journal, rather than a diary, I should talk a bit about what I’ve been doing that’s creative during the long dry spell in this journal.

Since I last made regular journal entries, I have continued to play music and attend writing groups, though not with as much vigor as I did before. I needed some space and brain cells to deal with Real Life Occurrences, and keeping an online creativity journal was neither a priority nor a need. I gave up the reins of the West Side Books website, as well, and scaled back my involvement in writing groups from three groups to only one.

The music I have been playing has been primarily acoustic, and I have been playing with a trio called Steel River Three for about the last year. We have had several gigs and were even taped for a local access cable television production. We have a copy of that performance, and currently give out free DVDs at our shows.

SR3 is a good group. I have played with the two other members for a while now, both assisting them with short notice gigs for their other project, the Dante band and performing with them at a benefit for the Summit Apartment fire victims in January of 2003. (My old band, Eight Inch Weeds, also played at that benefit.)

Last night, I practiced four songs that we are adding to the set list for an upcoming show. It’s nice to have a small list of gigs on the schedule; it feels like we’re accomplishing something.

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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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Back?

It’s been a long time. My last Creativity Journal entry was October 24, 2002. I have written little since then, but I have not been entirely devoid of creativity.

The band formerly known as Flat Rabbit has started getting serious; we added a couple of members, and our first gig is a benefit for the victims of the December 21st Summit Apartment fire in Thornton, Colorado. See the band’s website for further information.

I spent my lunch hour throwing that site together; I expect it to change much in the coming days and weeks.

One of my vices in the last three months has been a game called Motor City Online. It’s an online racing game, and I’ve become hopelessly addicted to it. Even this has not been uncreative, however. I have experimented with building my own skins for the game, and the results are below.

I chose to use my character’s ’65 Mustang for the experiment, since that is the vehicle referred to in Agamemnon’s Skinning Tutorial. Also, I knew I wanted to build a Denver Bronco themed car, and what better car to use than a pony car? The picture below is an in-game screen shot of my first attempt on the Mustang.

Not bad, but it has some problems. Most notably, the orange mane of the Bronco logo washes out next to the orange car. Bad design idea. Here’s attempt #2:

Much better. The blue really sets off the logos and is consistent with the Broncos theme. It was a lot of fun to build the skin, even though I’m the only one who can see it in the game. To everyone else online, this is simply a standard, red ’65 Mustang.

Technically, I did attempt another skin before these. It was a modification of an already modified ’73 Firebird skin, the closest thing to a second-generation Camaro that exists in the game. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work very well because the model that the skin wraps around is much more true to the body of the Firebird than the Camaro. I may post a shot of that car if I can get a good angle on it. Originally, it was an attempt to replicate my old 1970 Camaro Z/28, a car that I miss dearly and should have never sold. I may give it another try, now that I’ve learned a little about skinning.

Thanks to all of the people who sent me e-mail about the site recently. Two of the e-mails were guitar-related, one from a person wanting my final opinion of the Carvin Bolt kit (which gives me some incentive to finish documenting that project) and another from one of the primary guitar playing influences in the early days of my playing, Peter Neds. You can read why Peter is one of my favorite guitar players in “The Zone,” one of the first pieces I wrote for this site, five years ago.

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