Monday, July 12, 2010

Writing and the World at Large


A few months back, we were talking about time: where to find it, how to use it, where it goes.

Time is certainly one of the most precious commodities in a writer’s life, and apparently one of the scarcest.

I’ve recently returned from my summer residency at Seton Hill University, and, although it pulled me away from some writing projects, I must admit I had a terrific time.

One of the highlights of the residency was a reading forum organized by the students. The point of the event wasn’t so much to share work (since the graduate writing program offers plenty of formal activities for doing that), but rather to give students experience reading work aloud at public venues. To that end, each reader was given five minutes to read, with the timekeeper starting the clock after the work was introduced and calling time with stopwatch precision when the five-minutes were up. The time limits gave everyone a chance to read and still get to bed at a decent hour (classes resumed early the following morning).

One of the highpoints of the evening was a reading by WPF faculty member Scott A. Johnson, who read “The Night Before Christmas,” a flash pastiche from his Dreadtime Stories podcast series. It was a terrific performance from a seasoned writer who, not coincidentally, would be giving a three-hour module titled “Reading Your Own Work” later in the residency.

The students were also kind enough to give me a couple of reading slots. Like Scott, I read selections that fit easily into the five-minute time limit: “Step on a Crack” (Vision) and “Shooting Evil” (This Way to Egress). You can hear studio recordings of the stories by clicking on the titles.

If you’ve been following this blog, you already know my views on the art of live presentation, and I’m glad I got the chance to sit in on the student-sponsored reading . Yes, it took me away from some projects I was anxious about completing, but sometimes the best writing-related activities take place in the world at large with people you really enjoy being with.

Tomorrow I’d like to talk about the elephant in my room, the biggest thing going on in my life right now, and the main reason why I wasn’t sure I had time to take part in this summer’s SHU residency. The project is called Vipers. It’s a followup to my previous novel Veins, and I’ve just finished what I trust will be my final batch of edits and revisions. The book comes out September 7 from the good people at Fantasist Enterprises, who are planning a big preview at GenCon in Indianapolis in early August.

I’m really excited about this one, and I’d like to give you a little preview. So check back soon, big things are happening, and I want to make sure you hear about them first.

Until then, share the vision . . . and watch out for flying snakes!

No comments:

Post a Comment