If you’ve been following my blog, than you know it’s been a while since I last posted. I started out strong, five posts a week for six weeks in a row, but I’ll tell you something: a daily blog is a lot for the uninitiated to keep up. And I was working on a novel at the same time. Eventually, the two ends of the candle were bound to kiss in the middle and flare out spectacularly.
So I made a strategic decision to take some time off from the blog to reassess my goals and focus on the novel. Ultimately, it was the right choice: I finished the first draft on my deadline, a goal I’ve worked toward for a long time.
And now I’m back to work at blogging. Better? Maybe. More clear-headed? Possibly. In need of a strong slug of dark coffee? Absolutely.
But before I get a new season of content off the ground, I want to take a moment and do some shout-outs for some artists, bloggers, and gurus of various types, folks who have helped me to grow and learn as a person and a writer.
The Round Up
Reviewed by Mark Leonard: As some of you may know, Mark Leonard has been a good friend to me for a long time. He publishes movie reviews and essays that I think capture the essence of what matters in the consideration and critical review of cinema in the 21st century. His excitement for the alleged forthcoming “Twin Peaks” revival is unabashed, his love-affair with the work of David Ledger is unashamed, and his repeated endorsement of Nymphomaniac is under-appreciated.
In his own words:
I am a film and theatre enthusiast… Now—elaboration. I don’t watch football or baseball, and I’ve seen 3 concerts in the last dozen or so years. Besides working, being married and raising two wonderful boys—film and theatre is my life. When I was 12, I remember going to my town’s local movie house by myself to see, “The Turning Point”. “The Turning Point”!!! For those who don’t recall, that film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards (it won none), and was up against “Star Wars” for Best Picture—both eventually losing to “Annie Hall”. The 2 points: I am a geek and I’ve been doing this for a long time.
I hope to do an interview with Mark, over a few beers somewhere in New Jersey, and very, very soon, so keep a look out for that someday soon.
Randy Ellefson, Creating Fantasy Names for your Fiction Stories. Mr. Ellefson lays out some great guidelines about creating names for your fantasy characters (most of which I break too often myself #amrewriting). He also has a decade’s worth of practical advice on the craft of writing.
Debra L. Butterfield: What is Clean Writing? A recent course-mate of mine in Jeff Goin’s Intentional Blog course (see below). She’s an editor, an author, and a writing coach (not unlike myself), and has been a freelance writer for nearly ten years. She’s also a USMC vet and an all-around good person with great advice to share and a whole-hearted spirit.
Be Present | Be Love: Jill Sonsteby: Rebuilding Myself at 40. Another recent course-mate of mine in Jeff Goin’s Intentional Blog course, Jill’s voice and mission, to be present and caring in the world, strikes me as supremely authentic and insightful. Her writing reflects on the struggles we all have to live authentically in a world that seems ever more about sizzle rather than steak. Whether you’re a writer or a greeter at Wal-Mart (or both), she tackles the kinds of questions we’re all faced with at some time or another.
Writer to Watch: Chris Schlerf and the Word Mum: Working Under NDA from an Undisclosed Location. 😉 Ok, maybe not. About the undisclosed location, that is. We’ve all known the Senior Writer of Halo 4 has since moved on to Montreal to take another job as writer/producer of the Next Great Video Game. But what’s he working on? And how is it going? Only his mother knows for sure. And she tells me that he’s hard at work, preparing something big for the gaming community. I’ll be talking with him soon and will let you know how much he can confirm or deny. @ChrisSchlerf @Halo4 #butnowappearing #storydevelopment @Bioware
Featured: Jeff Goins: The Intentional Blog
I don’t often purchase courses, but I’ve been having a crisis of confidence over the wisdom of launching a creative writing platform lately. AKA: Don’t do it, kid. There’s no money in it.
Well, there’s no money in getting old either, and I keep on doing that, so what the hell, right? Insert nervous breakdown.
That’s where Goins, Writer comes in. I’ve been following Jeff Goins for years. He’s Seth Godin‘s Red-Headed Step-Child. If Danny Partridge from the Partridge Family ate New Hope Luke Skywalker, they’d become Jeff Goins. Jeff’s come a long way over the last few years, he means well for the world, and he’s good for workshops, speaking engagements, and garden parties. His book Art of Work is out now, his encouragement of novice bloggers/writers is unflagging, and his Intentional Blog course has been invaluable to getting myself up by my bootstraps as a blogger. If you’re considering taking up a calling, as a writer or in any other life-mission, he’s a good person to read.
Atom Cyrus Rush: Upcoming edition of poetry. Known as “The Mad and Mobile Poet,” Atom Rush has been bringing his Jazz-infused, Beat-inspired, and naturally Whitman-injected outlaw poetry to the world for more than twenty years. As a poet and spoken word outlaw-artist, with accompaniment or without, he’s a live experience to be savored, and a writer with a forthcoming collection of poetry for which to look out. In his own words: “I could comment on how radioactive I am.” Follow him on his blog Atoms Don’t Matter (atomsdontmatter.wordpress.com) and on GooglePlus. Pre-press interview with Atom Cyrus Rush:
New and Noteworthy
Catherine A.C., Reject Reality. Her poem, “Red” (5.28.2015) slithers up your leg with soulful echoes of William Carlos Williams and Langston Hughes, then sets itself on fire as if Jessica Rabbit ate Sylvia Plath. What’ve you got in your pocket? Catherine A.C. is an aspiring poet, social justice enthusiast, and full-time student. She welcomes all opinions and perspectives but is in no way obligated to agree with them. Her recent posts are found at Reject Reality (rejectreality101.com).
Upcoming Readings and Spoken Word News: New York, NY, it’s a toddling town, and baby, I’m back. So here’s a list of places where you might find me if you have the sudden urge to buy me a drink or three.
- Union Square Slam. I used to slam poetry “back in the day” (gods, but I’m getting old) at Bar 13, on 13th Street between Union Square and Washington Square Park in NYC. The tradition continues with the Union Square Slam. Every Monday night, the workshop starts at 6pm, the slam starts at 7pm. Come down, support the arts, improve your poetry, get drink specials, and belt out a few poems of your own. Founded and hosted by Kate Burrier. Follow the Union Square Slam @SquareSlam. @Bar13_NYC, 35 East 13th Street, NY, NY 10003. BTWN University Place and Broadway. Take the L, 6, 4, 5, N, R, Q Trains to Union Square.
- Billy Beans in Danbury, CT: Open Mikes every Tuesday night at 8pm in July. Hosted by Jonathan Chapman, this open mic series is open to performers of all types. So come down and be yourself and create whatever stage personality you want. “We’ll never judge you for being you and will always applaud your performance and participation.”
- The band Phoenix Tree: 10 years and counting as Danbury CT’s premier area jam band. Find their upcoming events here, including July 11 in Stamford at the Seaside Tavern.
- ABC No Rio. A collectively-run center for art and activism in the heart of the Lower East Side, NYC, and known internationally as a venue for oppositional culture. ABC No Rio was founded in 1980 by artists committed to political and social engagement and retains those values with a baseball bat. Check out their event calendar here.
- 92nd St Y. For those looking for a more uptown experience, the 92nd Street Y has been holding forth since time immemorial. They offer a strong calendar of cultural, community, and literary events throughout the year, including an upcoming reading of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, performed by Mary Badham, who played Scout in the classic movie, To Kill a Mockingbird. Check out the 92nd Street Y here.
DoubleplusFeatured: Tim Grahl: The Bestseller Book Launch
Tim Grahl speaks my language when it comes to writing and publishing. Where Jeff Goins can tell you how to become a blogger, Tim Grahl can tell you how to become a best-selling author. From his “Sell Your First 1000 Copies” to his recent offering of the “Launch a Bestseller” master class, Tim understands the structure and dynamics of platform-building, book launches, guerrilla mailing lists, and blog-o-centric audience-building strategies like few others. And he delivers his experience and wisdom with a grace, honesty, and truthfulness that is rare to find in marketers. If you’re an independent author looking to build a platform, you should learn from Tim Grahl.
Classes & Workshops
Editorial Freelancers Association: Classes and Workshops on Offer. It is tough making a living as a writer. As Virginia Woolf once said: “Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.” Sometimes, you have to do other people’s work for a living. Here’s where you go to learn to do it better.
LA Writers Lab: Alan Watt. Alan Watt’s manner is particularly suitable to the introspective, the memoir-inclined, and the self-porn-confessional-disguised-as-fiction, but the discipline of his method is rigorous. I can vouch for this: If you follow his 90-Day Novel program by the book, you will write a first draft in 90-Days. Make no mistake. It’s a first draft. It’ll suck. “The first draft of anything is shit,” said Ernest Hemingway. If Papa can say it, you can live with it too. But that’s OK. Coincidentally, Alan Watt also offers a 90-Day Rewrite for that. Because failure is no reason to quit. And job security is for sissies. He’s very LA, but his method is very effective.
Michael Dellert is an award-winning writer, editor, publishing consultant, and writing coach with a publishing career spanning 18 years. His poetry and short fiction have appeared in literary journals such as The Backporch Review, The Harbinger, Idiom, and Venture. His poetry has also appeared in the anthologies The Golden Treasury of Great Poems and Dance on the Horizon, and he is a two-time winner of the Golden Poet Award from World of Poetry Press. He is currently working independently as a freelance writer, editor, and publishing consultant. He splits his time between the Mid-Atlantic States and Los Angeles, CA.
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