Perspectives

(This poem was inspired by a post on Drew Myron’s website.)

Perspectives

I am from a southwest past
from mountains and trailer parks,
from cactus and chiles and columbines
from sagebrush and snow and shame and guilt

I am from a frightening present
from Trump and chaos
from Putin and Assad and Kim Jong Il
from walls and racism and leaks and fear

I am from a bygone future
from Bradbury and Heinlein
from BASIC and DOS and Lotus 1-2-3
from Kirk and Solo and Reynolds and Sheridan

I am from a simpler time
from Skinny Minnie and Lyledy Dyledy
from Judy and Bruce and Tuffweetie
from Ralph Edwards and Dick Van Dyke and NBC and CBS

— Stace Johnson, 2017

MileHiCon 47

Hmmm … it’s gotten to the point where the main thing I use my blog for is posting MileHiCon schedules. I need to change that. There are a lot of changes afoot, and my blog can be much better utilized than it is.

Anyway, MileHiCon is around the corner again, running October 23-25 at the Hyatt Regency DTC, as usual. Here’s my preliminary schedule:

Friday, October 23, 2015, 5:00 pm
Gained in Translation — Mesa Verde C

What genre novels originally written in other languages have seen success when translated into English? This seems like a fun and fascinating panel; I’m looking forward to it.

Saturday, October 24, 2015, 2:00 pm
MHC Poetry Reading — Mesa Verde A

David Lee Summers is back as moderator for this year’s poetry panel. I will read a few of my older SF poems and hopefully I will have something new to share, as well.

Sunday, October 25, 2015, 1:00 pm
Strange Stars: How SF&F Transformed Popular Music — Wind River A
This should be a fun panel. I’ve participated on panels like this before at MHC, and they were always a blast. There is a surprising amount of crossover influence between SF and music.

I will also be participating in the Texas Hold ‘Em tournament on Saturday night at 9pm, so if you’re a poker player, come join the game!

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!

 

Poetry, Batting Cages, and Moss

I read poetry tonight at Coffee on the Lowell. The event had a modest turnout, though from what I understand, it was better than the last meeting. I didn’t think it was too bad for only their third outing. I did find out, however, that I listed the cross streets incorrectly on the West Side Books website. Coffee on the Lowell is at the corner of 50th and Lowell (or Regis and Lowell, depending on how you look at it) but I had listed it as 58th and Lowell on the website. It’s fixed now.

Ira Slotkin hosted the open mic, and Seth from the Mercury Cafe Jam Before the Slam was there as well. Zach, a counterpart of Seth’s, accompanied many of the poems on keyboard. (Sorry I didn’t get all the names, guys. I’ll get them next time.) Ira read several of his Spam haiku, the humor highlight of the evening. One woman read for the first time — and read well — choosing Wordsworth as her initiation. Another woman, a friend, read a poem that she said “scared her.” I can see why, after hearing it. It was disturbingly effective, and I think it took guts for her to air it. I read a few of my own poems, and closed with Hopkins’ “(Carrion Comfort).”

Afterward, I was finally able to deliver a critique of a story for my friend, the “scared poem” woman. I’ve had the critique for months, and have been wanting to get it to her, but our schedules haven’t allowed it until tonight. She appreciated the critique, despite all the green pen marks on it.

As for my own writing, I jotted down few more paragraphs of “Chesterfield Gray” at lunch. I hope to finish the story’s first draft Sunday and revise it the same day. I noticed that the new Writers of the Future Vol. XVIII is out, and Kim bought it for me as another early birthday present. (Thanks, Babe.) I’m officially getting behind. I still haven’t read last year’s volume, and I still have to read the second Harry Potter book and re-read The Two Towers before those movies come out.

I want to rant a bit about a couple of news stories that came to my attention. The first is fairly minor; it has to do with the lawsuit settlement between John Cage’s estate and a British composer name Mike Batt. The upshot is that Batt included a piece called A One Minute Silence on a CD by his band, The Planets. Cage is famous for his avant-garde piece 4′ 33″, a four minute, thirty-three second piece of silence which Cage used to perform live by sitting and looking at his piano as the audience fidgeted. Cage’s estate sued Batt for plagiarism, which seems ludicrous until you learn that Batt credited the piece to “Batt/Cage” on the CD. Oops. I’m guessing that if he hadn’t credited Cage as a collaborator, he would not have been hit with a lawsuit. Then again, he knew the piece was inspired by Cage, and acknowledged that. For that, he has to pay a six-figure sum to the John Cage Trust? Isn’t this a bit out of hand?

Speaking of “out of hand,” let’s talk about Randy Moss and the NFL. Specifically, let’s talk about Randy Moss getting his wrist slapped. This is a man who, intentionally and methodically, pushed a traffic officer half a block with the nose of his Lexus. He was charged with two misdemeanors, for which he will only be fined a maximum of $2000 by law. He is not likely to spend any more jail time because of the nature of his occupation and because of his celebrity status. The NFL has not suspended Moss for his actions, though he will be up for evaluation after his arraignment on October 2nd.

Compare this to the NFL’s denial of Peyton Manning’s request to wear black hightop shoes in tribute to Johnny Unitas. Manning is quarterback of the same team that Unitas helmed (or at least the team with the same name) and most of the news that I’ve read states that people in general think this was a classy move by Manning. However, the NFL denied the request, saying that if Manning wore the hightops, he could face up to a $25,000 fine.

One man commits a near-felony (some say it should have been a full-blown felony) and will probably get away with a slap on the wrist. Another asks if he can break uniform dress code — not breaking any laws, mind you, just a dress code rule — to pay tribute to one of his heroes, and is told that he will get a large fine if he does so. He decides not to, in order to keep from creating a distraction for his team. This says volumes, not only about the NFL’s priorities, but about the differences between how Peyton Manning and Randy Moss look at their positions on their respective teams.

Busy Day

Brainstormed online with friends Mary and Michael about Michael’s story, worked more on the revision of “Saint and Cynic.” Did homework for tomorrow night’s Tem workshop, which resulted in a new poem called “The Words Not Spoken,” an experiment based mainly on Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” I borrowed the form from this poem, and the title was inspired by “The Road Not Taken” by the same poet. It was a fun experiment; I haven’t written a good poem for a while. (Some would say I’ve never written a good poem!) I also attended Stories for All Seasons. Busy day for creativity.