Running It Down
Things have been active and changing on the writing front these past few months. Winter seems to give me more time to write, submit, edit and stare off into space waiting for the next line. That last part is where I probably spend 50% of my "productive time."
Sometimes it only becomes apparent how many plates I have spinning when I step back and take a look at all that I'm doing. I tend to add things one at a time and before long they add up. Here's a rundown of all things written.
- I was recently asked to be part of the Program Committee for the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books. This committee organizes one of the bigger book conferences in the state. It looks like I'll be part of the Authors in the Schools portion of the committee, but it is also nice to be behind the scenes and have input on how the conference is constructed.
- I was also asked to be the nonfiction judge for the Wisconsin Writers Association Jade Ring Contest. This will entail reading a number of manuscripts and picking a winner and some runner ups. It is something I've never done before, but I was honored to be asked. Things like these remind me that I have arrived, to a certain extent.
- The book about my high school experience continues to move forward. I've slowed on the new content and am focusing on a good edit. I am probably about 60,000 words deep into it. I want to get it ready for my return to an AllWriters workshop. I've taken a couple of sessions off and it has given me time to recharge and focus a little more intently on poetry.
- Along those lines, I am currently marketing my latest poetry collection to a number of publishers. This is a mix of nervous hopefulness. It is a full collection (about 45 poems) but I am also shopping a smaller version out as a chapbook. We shall see.
- In the past two weeks I've had 5 different acceptances of my poetry in 5 different journals and magazines. This is about as good as it gets.
- The Portland House got a great review from Mary Ann Grossmann in the Saint Paul Pioneer Press today. Check it out here.
- I also had a nonfiction piece accepted by Story News, which is very exciting. This is a pair of parallel stories about racism and hatred in America over the past 50 years.
- In March I will be part of a Middle School young writers symposium at Carroll University. My friend Bob Goswitz set it up and I'm fuzzy on details, but it sounds fun!
- In April I will be one of two featured poets in Portage Wisconsin as part of their Poetry In Portage series. Should be some decent exposure to a new region of the state.
- I'm still carrying out my duties as Poet Laureate for the Village of Wales, Wisconsin. As part of that, I organize the Poetry Nights at Mama D's Coffee in Wales. We were fortunate to land Wisconsin's newest Poet Laureate, Margaret Rozga as the featured poet this coming Wednesday, February 20th. It should be a packed house!
- Over the past few months I've read at a couple of Bards Against Hunger events. These feature poets who contributed to the Bards Against Hunger anthology and are designed to raise food and funds for local food shelters. I intend to set up one of these events for Mama D's in Wales for June or July of this year. They are a great cause. Poetry trying to change the world in a small way.
- I've had a couple of nice emails and reviews about The Portland House from people that used to live in the neighborhood. It is always good to hear feedback about my books and I can't emphasize enough how much an Amazon review helps an author.
- I was part of an interview for Brain Hackers last week. They talked to me about my writing process a bit. I'll post a link when it is live.
So, yeah, there's a lot going on at the moment. I love all of it and wouldn't trade it for anything. There are days I feel like I'm running blindfolded through a cornfield though.
But I will keep plugging.