We’re an odd bunch. We sit in dark corners, keep erratic hours, talk to imaginary people, and have a Google search history that would land most folks on a government watch list at best, and at worst, in a sanitarium. We pour our hearts and brains onto the page so that hopefully, someone will READ what we’ve written and be entertained, informed, enlightened, disturbed, or some bizarre combination of all of the above.
The key word up there is “read.” We’re totally fine with people reading our stuff. That’s kind of the whole point of being a writer. And then someone says, “Hey! You should totally read your stuff! Out loud! To a room full of people!”
And we smile, scream, and run for the hills.
But a few of us come back, tap the mic, cringe a bit at how loud the speakers are, and actually read our shit out loud. It’s agonizing and intoxicating and terrifying and wonderful. We hate it. We love it. We regret it. We can’t wait to do it again.
If you have the chance to see a writer performing their own work, take a moment to appreciate how damn unsettling the experience probably is for that person. Tell someone who is afraid of heights to try the high-dive at the community pool. Tell a champion ping-pong player that they’re going to wrestle Hugo the Huge or Slammy von Turnbuckle. You’ll get the same reaction you’d usually get when asking a writer to read.
And when they’re good… When they have not only written something wonderful, but own that mic and give that story a damn good telling…
You’ve just witnessed someone going waaaaay out of their comfort zone to share something really special with you, and they pulled it off with flying colors. It’s magical. Just magical.
I had the opportunity to see a group of Minnesotan spec fiction writers perform yesterday. The MinnSpec Meetup Group hosted their annual Wordbrew, where folks mingle, drink, and then sit back and enjoy writers performing samples of their work. There wasn’t a single performance that I found wanting, and there were a couple that were pure gold. Seeing those writers give their stories their all, and feeling the crowd response was a fantastic experience.
So the next time you have a chance to see a writer perform their work, jump on it. Go. Open yourself up to the experience. That writer will be immensely grateful, and you’ll be better for the experience.
It’s scifi comedy.
Her name is Liza. She’s a courier, one of the best. But in her line of work, you’re only as good as your last delivery.
More to come…
It’s the perfect Saturday.
I’ve never been one to mind a rainy day. Given the choice between mid-50’s and overcast, and mid-90’s and sunny… I’ll take the cold and gray every time.
Here’s a perfect example. My wife and I were in Miami, FL a couple of years back. We eschewed the beach and found the darkest pub we could, one complete with dim lights and dark-stained wood and thick, rough tables, and proceeded to hide from the sun until nightfall.
Is it any wonder I wrote a book about a vampire?
Back to the present… It’s a cold and gray rainy Saturday. I’m in a local cafe, with one eye on my little laptop, and the other on the drippy, dreary day just past the window. I’m putzing with a few projects. Downloading a ton of photos from the cloud to work on a photo book, putting a few more words into a short story, flipping through FB posts, researching what conventions to table at in 2018, and yes, blogging in my usual, pointless way. I have nowhere to be. I have very little of importance to actually do, and I am in no hurry whatsoever to do those few things that probably should get done. The dark roast coffee is delicious. My hoodie is the perfect weight for the temperature. The barista is streaming a Beatles station.
Like I said, a perfect Saturday.
Another weekend, another con!
Tomorrow, I’ll be heading down to Albert Lea, MN for the first-ever Chapel Con. The organizers run a comic shop and tattoo parlor, and really wanted to give folks in southern MN and northern IA that couldn’t make it to the HUGE San Diego Comicon something to do.
We’ll see how it all comes together, but judging from the prep work they’ve done and the awesome celebs they’ve lined up… it’s gonna be a damn good con.
If you’re in the area, stop in and say hi! If you’re not in the area, hop over to my Facebook page for some pics and updates during the weekend.
I released Undead Cheesehead, the final(?) book in the Monsters in the Midwest series, back in March. Since then, I’ve been… Um. Working really hard. At, you know. Writing stuff.
OK. That isn’t totally true. It isn’t not true. It’s just not 100% accurate. If I’d simply said, “I’ve been writing stuff,” that would’ve been true. I’ve written my name on receipts at bars. I’ve written emails at my day job. I’ve written a bunch of tweets and comments on Facebook. But I don’t think that quite adds up to ‘working really hard’ at writing stuff.
So let’s tweak the above a bit and say I’ve been writing stuff, and working really hard at other stuff. Like what, you ask? Well…
Marketing. You may not know it, but getting people to know you have a book or three is exhaustingly tough. So I’ve been doing promos on Amazon and tabling at conventions. I’m a sponsor for a cool contest for indie authors called ShoreIndie (@ShoreIndie on Twitter). I run a series of events for Minnesotan authors called the Books and Beer Pop-up Bookstore and have been planning the next event. All of that ends up taking a lot of time.
Drinking beer. Yes, I have been working really hard at drinking beer. And as with most things, the hard work is definitely paying off. I’ve put back at least a pint of beer damn near every day. This is important, because science says it’s good for you.
Reading. My TBR list is longer than… something really long. Over the past few years, my reading time had dwindled to a couple hours a week. At that rate, I was barely getting through 2-3 substantial books a year. That’s no fun, so I’ve been carving out more time to read.
There’s been other stuff, too, and one of those ‘other stuff’ things has been writing. I’ve been chipping away at some short story ideas, getting some thought down for a new steampunk comedy series, poking around with a more serious sci-fi piece. But since we’re being honest, the writing has been pretty low on my list the past few months.
Don’t worry, though. While I’m not working really hard at the moment, I will be soon. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not the next day. But soon…
And when I am, I promise the next “Work In Progress” post will be much more satisfying 🙂
I totally meant to. Really, I did. I’ve had all sorts of interesting observations, thought up loads of funny anecdotes, gleaned numerous important lessons, and survived a multitude of unexpected experiences, and I absolutely, positively, without a doubt intended to blog the hell out of all of it.
But… I didn’t.
(No, wait. That’s too definitive. I need to keep you folks on the hook, keep you wondering, keep you taut with anticipation.)
But… I haven’t. Yet…
Well, I done and did it. I made an author website. Near as I can tell, authors with websites all blog about stuff. I’m all about peer pressure, so I’m going to blog too. About stuff.
Whew. I’m exhausted already. Who needs a beer?