Podyssey

Jeanne Cavelos, a World Fantasy Award winning editor and writer, runs the Odyssey writing workshop in Manchester, New Hampshire. Odyssey is a six week intensive workshop with a 50% publishing rate for its graduates.

While I was unemployed in 2005, I briefly entertained notions of attending Odyssey; if I had still been jobless in June of the following year, and if I had been able to (somehow) get the money together for the tuition, I would have applied for the 2006 workshop. As it was, I landed a job with IBM, and my small flame of hope for attending the workshop flickered out. (Alas, paying the mortgage and eating is a higher priority than attending a writing workshop. Even this one.)

Jeanne, however, has done a brilliant thing; she is releasing podcasts of past lectures by visiting Odyssey instructors. The first three podcasts are lectures by Charles L. Grant, whom we lost last year (R.I.P., Charlie), Jeff VanderMeer, and Gardner Dozois. Future podcasts may include lectures by Steve and Melanie Tem and Bruce Holland Rogers, as well.

I’m psyched. I can’t wait to listen to these podcasts, especially since my chances of attending Odyssey are slim right now. Because of what Jeanne is doing, people who are unable to attend now have a chance to experience a small slice of the Odyssey experience and gain valuable information from successful instructors in the process.

Thanks, Jeanne!

I’ve been creative … really, I have!

It seems I’ve lost track of the purpose of my Creativity Journal recently. I’ve blogged about all kinds of things in recent posts, but not much about creativity.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been creative, though. My band, Steel River Three has continued to play occasionally, and we have two gigs coming up next week. I’ve written a new song (with the valuable feedback assistance of Lannette Robinson, John Jesitus, and the members of Melanie Tem’s writing group) called “New Guy Smell”, and we’re hoping to debut that at the next show. I’ve also been working on editing down raw video footage to produce a demo DVD of the band’s performance at Pink E’s in Westminster. (Video editing on a shoestring budget is much more difficult than I originally anticipated, and it takes forever.) When that project is done, I can extract the audio and create a live demo CD, as well, perhaps with a couple of studio tracks thrown in for good measure. All the big bands do that to get you to buy their live records, you know.

I’ve also done a lot of work for Melanie Tem and Steve Rasnic Tem, revising their existing website. The new site is not up yet, pending final approval from the Tems, but it should be available for public consumption soon. I’ve received verbal confirmation from the editor of ComputorEdge magazine that I will be assigned “a few” articles before the end of the year, and that’s great news.

My crowning creative achievement lately has been poetic, though. Early last month, I presented Lannette with a silver skeleton key, a silver-topped leather ring box from Scotland, and an engagement ring. I handed these to her as I read a proposal sonnet (which I had written, of course) at Lily Lake, near Estes Park, Colorado. We will be married on that spot on August 1, 2005, and have our reception at the Baldpate Inn right across the highway from the lake. (That link also has a couple of pictures of Lily Lake and the surrounding area.) The significance of the skeleton key is that Earl Derr Biggers‘ first novel was called Seven Keys to Baldpate, and the Baldpate Inn in Estes Park was officially endorsed by Biggers in the first half of the last century as being virtually identical to the fictional inn he had described in his 1913 novel. Lannette purchased a copy of that novel for me on eBay, and keys have been a theme of the relationship ever since.

Lannette has put up a wedding page at Geocities if you’re interested. It includes pictures of the site, the rings, and a copy of the sonnet.

So you see, I really have been creative and productive. I just haven’t been recording it. I have future plans for this site, though. Using some of the research I did while working on Melanie and Steve’s website, I plan to add some blog management features to this one, which will make it much easier for me to edit and/or delete these Creativity Journal entries. I will also put a “teaser” paragraph on the opening page of the site, so people can have a taste of what the latest journal entry is about.

When I get time, I will add the proposal sonnet to the Original Poetry page, as well as the lyrics (and maybe even an MP3) for “New Guy Smell.”

Broaband, Bryant, and Band

I’ve been waiting to hear the words for over three years, now. “Yes sir, broadband Internet is now available in your area. Would you like to place an order?”

I felt like Fred Sanford. “It’s the big one, Elizabeth! I’m comin’ to join you honey!”

I’ve been trying to get DSL or some kind of broadband service since I before I moved into this town home. Unfortunately, I’m too far away from the closest CO (22,000 + feet) to get anything but IDSL, and with the vaporization of the DSL providers, no one will bring IDSL to a residence without charging double what ISDN would cost for nearly the same bandwidth.

But AT&T Broadband has come to my rescue. The cable upgrade in my neighborhood is finally complete, and I will be getting my cable modem Tuesday. It’s not the best alternative; I would much rather have DSL with a static IP, but I’ll take what I can get. I hesitate to leave my excellent ISP, id Communications, but there’s no way they can get me broadband at this time. At least I will lose some spam when I change e-mail addresses, though.

Ed Bryant’s birthday celebration at Stories for All Seasons was wonderful. A spate of writers showed up, including Connie Willis, Steve and Melanie Tem, Wil McCarthy, Terry Wright and Gary Jonas, to name a few. Connie introduced Ed using a “retro Powerpoint demonstration” (Ed’s words) that consisted of hand decorated poster boards, held up to spoof the milestones in Ed’s career.

Ed’s gift to the guests consisted of a raffle. The winner was awarded the dubious honor of having a character named after him or her in a future story by Ed. No one responded to the first number drawn, but we’re not sure if that was an act of self-censorship, wisdom, or if the person had actually left. At any rate, the second number called was my son’s, and I don’t think there could have been a more enthusiastic winner. He respects and likes Ed very much, and is excited that he will be appearing in one of Ed’s stories. Here’s a picture of the odd couple.

Brad the Drummer is playing with Dante Spumante again Friday and Saturday. His regular band is off this weekend, so he can make a little extra scratch. We will probably go to see them play Friday.

I revamped this Creativity Journal, in case you haven’t noticed. I hope the new format will be less daunting and have more of a journal feel. E-mail me with comments if you wish; any feedback is welcome.