Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Lotus Festival

The Lotus World Music Festival (http://www.lotusfest.org/festival.html) is, to my mind, one of the things that makes this town special. I love it!

I've been able to see so many amazing and interesting performers. Lila Downs. Hedningarna. Les Yeux Noirs. Tracey Grammer. The Wrigley Sisters. Kanenhi:io Singers. The Senegal American Project. Odette. Oh, the Italian bluegrass group - Red Wine or something like that. Oh, woe....There are so many truly great folks I'm forgetting!

I've learned how much I really, really like Nordic fusion and certain styles of drumming and gypsy klezmer music, and how much I don't particularly care for Italian trance music (or at least not the way it was performed by a certain group last year).

The magical thing about Lotus is that it often doesn't really matter who's performing or even how much you like or don't like the music. What you immediately notice about the artists is that each person just seems to radiate this kind of joy that spills over onto the crowd so that crazy things like a mosh pit to klezmer music happen.

The lineup for this year's festival looks fantastic! Eva Ayllon. DaDon. Frigg. Fruit. Sufi Music Tradition (with the Whirling Dervishes from Konya, Turkey). Vasen. Le Vent du Nord. Warsaw Village Band.

Whirling Dervishes, people! I mean, c'mon! How often do you see something like that in the Midwest? :-)

This is probably the closest that I'll ever come to getting preachy here: If you can't make it to Lotus this year, remember it for next year - it's always in September. If you simply can't find your way to Bloomington, then look for the performers listed on the LotusFest website coming to a venue somewhere near you because they're usually touring North America and Lotus is a stop along the way. If you can't catch 'em live, buy a CD. This is music that touches your soul, tapping into the collective unconscious so that the very spirit of it grabs you and it doesn't matter that you don't understand Polish or Luganda or know what sort of instrument a kalangou or nyckelharpa is.

Monday, August 30, 2004


Slipping into the future

Thanks to a little comment over on Jeff's site, I can't get this earworm out of my head this morning. So let's fly like an eagle to the sea....

I took the weekend off from writing to catch up on some reading and a little bit of housework. Time was slow-paced, the urgency to get things done minimal. It didn't feel right, not having the Eberron proposal to work on. I haven't figured out yet where to put the campaign manual and my notes. Shelving these materials is appropriate for right now - neither of my D&D games is using Eberron at the moment, although one of the DMs may start an Eberron campaign in the next several weeks - but, again, it doesn't feel right. Weird.

I also left something off the "to do" list I posted last week. Yeah, all these other projects are important, but I also need to write a speech/toast kind of thing for the wedding this coming weekend. So I'm being assailed by writer's block, which is ever so much worse than fear of public speaking.

Thursday, August 26, 2004


Sufferin' Succotash!

The War-Torn proposal is in the mail, due to arrive in WA by noon Friday.

A short story is in the mail to Alfred Hitchcock's.

Another short story is in the mail to Ellery Queen.

And, boy, am I looking forward to working on something that's not for the WotC open call.

What's in the works?

I'll be completing some other interesting projects, too, so life should be full a-plenty. And ain't that grand?

Monday, August 23, 2004


GenCon Report

Could there be a better way to spend an afternoon than entertaining and informative conversation with Richard Lee Byers or Elaine Cunningham? And Ed and I got to spend time with them both!

Richard could - and probably should, if it wouldn't be giving away too many of his secrets - hold a seminar on networking as a freelancer. WotC, his career, his books, and writing in general were subjects we had anticipated discussing, but the unexpected and invaluable lesson we learned from RLB pertained to writing as a business. He guided us through the vendors, and then we set out on our own. When we ran into each other later, we were able to let him know about some information we had learned that he hadn't yet uncovered. How's that for learning the lesson well, eh?

Elaine is stylish and gracious and lively, even when tired from the con hustle and bustle. I so appreciate that she is this fountain of creative ideas and projects. I think our conversation began with an explanation of a new project she's considering taking on, and then as we spoke longer, we learned about a handful of others she's either considering or in the middle of. I was reminded of Harley's boundless energy - and a little bit, too, of myself as an instructor for freshman composition. (Odd, no? But there's creativity in teaching, in the search to find interesting ways to deliver information to your students and to get them to participate in the learning process.) It was a great afternoon.

The seminar on freelancing for WotC was most informative. Let's see if I get the names right... Chris Perkins, Peter Archer, Kim Mohan, Matthew Sennett, James Jacobs, Erik Mona. The best advice: Freelance for Dungeon or Dragon. Chris Perkins freely admits to trawling among their freelancers for folks to add to the list of freelancers at WotC. Corollary to that piece of advice: Do excellent work for Dungeon or Dragon; be communicative, be professional, deliver your stuff by deadline. Interesting piece of news for fiction: The "open call" format will continue as it's been pretty successful so far. Corollary: Freelance for Dungeon or Dragon; use the open call as your backup plan. Kameron's name was mentioned a couple times when MoP came up. Gave me shivers, or perhaps that was the air conditioning.

The Eberron seminar was interesting, although what I really wanted to know was how many people in the room would be completing proposals for the open call. Precious little scoop on that. If you are already gaming in Eberron, then this was a really good place for you to be. Also, the new and improved slide show of art for Eberron (complete with soundtrack) contained some pieces that were new to me. Nice work. I got sidetracked, however, and despite good intentions forgot to mention to Perkins that WotC really ought to bring into the fold the guy on the 'boards who's got such awesome drawings of shifters and warforged - "DMAC" is what he goes by. Oh, and just in general, if you're a 2D or 3D artist with a good feel for fantasy characters and settings, then you might want to look into freelancing for WotC and/or Dungeon and Dragon. Really.

The vendors were an interesting mix. The WotC display was a little bit into the ostentatious, but there were scores of indies holding their own amidst all the glitz. That was impressive, and I have schemes - er, plans... umm, suggestions - for Grims based on what I observed.

Other, random impressions.... How the vaguely slutty nun managed to walk in 12" platforms with something like 18" heels is beyond me, but she was one of the most photographed costumed attendees, for sure. The dragon sculpture was great - even when bundled up in alumninum foil. The art exhibit featured some interesting artwork, but none of the dragons we came across were exactly right for catching Ed's attention and gaining his appreciation. (I'm still a little confused about what makes a good dragon in his eyes, but I did think perspective in the painting of the hunter tracking a wounded animal and looking up as the shadow of a large flying creature - dragon, perhaps? - fell on him was a different take on that kind of scene. Which is scarier, the dragon or the suggestion of the dragon? *hee*) Three dollars for a 20 oz. bottle of water is ridiculous. Scheduling a football game at the RCA Dome the same weekend as GenCon is also stupid. Oh, and if you run into The Genetic Mutation... well, it's probably too late to get your money back, but there are certainly better ways to spend your time.

While there are some things that I'd encourage GenCon to do differently (like, get a more user-friendly website), I was impressed at how everything ran pretty flawlessly. We left saying that we really needed two days, and thinking back on it now, I'm inclined to go with at least two and a half days, depending on when certain events are scheduled. There were some workshops held on Friday that my friend C got a lot out of, for instance. There were also some games that I could have been convinced to play if I'd had more time at the con - and maybe I've got time between now and next GenCon to get Ed hooked on a couple of them, too.

Friday, August 20, 2004


The Slow Wit of the Sleep-deprived

Let's see... What's been going on? Hm. Well, I didn't get the job that I interviewed for last week. The "good news" side of that less-than-good news is that I'm setting up a short meeting with one of the people on the search committee to get some feedback from her - not about that particular interview as much as about what I can specifically do to make myself a better candidate for this type of job. Since I'm making certain decisions about what I'm doing over the next couple of years based on the assumption that I'm going to be able to get this particular kind of job sooner or later, it would be most helpful to get some suggestions for how to be more competitive so that things come together sooner rather than later. I'm tired of being among the highly qualified applicants and of hearing that despite the excellent case I've made for my transferable skills someone else with actual experience. Take advantage of those transferable skills and hire me already!!!

Oh, I mentioned the possibility that Ed is a clairvoyant. Well, if the results of his prediction for Saturday, August 14th are any measure of that ability, he's most definitely not. Still, the results of his prediction for the week ending Saturday, August 21st are pending.

My older younger brother K (not to be confused with my baby brother C) has been working on his Eberron proposal over the last week and a half. We briefly compared notes last night, just to be sure that our sibling ESP hadn't kicked in so that we'd separately be sending in more or less the same proposals. (There's really something to this sibling ESP, or at least that's the joke in our family. More often than not, if K, for instance, calls C or Mom or Dad, then within minutes of the start of that phone conversation, I will call C, or C or I will call Mom or Dad. Often, by the end of the initial conversation, all of us will have checked in at some point, thanks to call waiting.) I'm happy to report that there's been no inadvertent idea leakage. In fact, K's work is such an interestingly different take on the war-torn atmosphere which permeates Khorvaire that I'm feeling self-conscious about that aspect of my own proposal. I don't know what else to say except that I'm adding my brother to the list of folks I'd be really pleased to see selected as the winner of this open call.

GenCon is the big event this weekend. Ed posted about that in his blog (see Your Mother's Love...), so there's not much I can add. I tend to be more of a nocturnal creature when I don't have to be at work at 8AM, so I'm not all that keen on being up and ready to travel by oh-dark-thirty Saturday morning, but what a small sacrifice for something that promises to be fun!

Friday, August 13, 2004


Word of the Day: Paraskevidekatriaphobia

I'm still waiting to hear about the job I interviewed for on Tuesday, and I'm growing less hopeful by the hour. I have a sneaking suspicion that the phrase "You made a great case for your transferable skills, but..." is lurking in my not-so-distant future. It's become quite the tired and worn phrase, I think. Sooner or later, the "great case" will be heard by a search committee who will actually decide to make use of those transferable skills by employing me.

I feel like the Eberron proposal is in a good place, especially for having "lost" a weekend from being on the road. Granted, it's not finished, as I'd prefer it to be, but I am confident that I can get things closer to finished over the weekend and still meet my volunteer commitments. This is good. :-)

As I've been putting more effort into this, it's come to my attention that I'm kind of attached to my characters and the ideas and story elements. "There can be only one" becomes a hard, hard truth to face.

Tomorrow is the last day for a prediction Ed made to come true. If it turns out he really does have precognitive powers, I'll let you know.


On a different note.... I got medical insurance again when I took the job here. Oh, what you can learn from an actual, honest-to-goodness physical. But that's beside the point. I can afford to go to the dermatologist again to seek treatment for psoriasis. The topical treatments are working to an extent, but my condition is definitely not in remission and the last week or so I've found myself wanting to just cry because my skin hurt so. This has me thinking more about other alternatives for treatment. My doctor has said that he will leave it up to me to decide, as far as what I can live with for both the condition and the treatment. However, the next more aggressive treatment, he said, is a drug you take orally that can stay in your body for two or more years, and it's something that they don't like to give young women: if you get pregnant, the drug in your system will harm the fetus - no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

I resent being asked by my property management company to renew the lease on my apartment six months before the lease ends. You can imagine how much more I resent a drug that demands that I know my plans for sex and reproduction for at least the next 3-4 years, allowing time for the meds to build up in my system, send the psoriasis into remission, and then work out of my system. No, having a child isn't even remotely in the offing right now, but in two or three years.... I don't know. I don't think anything in my life has prepared me to make a decision like this. The more I hurt, the less progress I see with the topicals, the more appealing this option sounds, and damn the consequences.

Monday, August 09, 2004



It's Monday, and I'm tired! This weekend I made another trip back to Virginia for events related to my cousin M's wedding, which will take place over Labor Day weekend, on September 4th. M asked me to be her maid of honor, so I've been doing a lot of traveling back and forth between Virginia, where the wedding will be and where most of the family is, and here this summer for wedding-related stuff. It's been interesting to watch this wedding evolve into the event of the year. This weekend was for a bridal shower and a gown fitting. And I just learned that I'll have to give a toast at the reception. Public speaking wasn't part of the deal!

I got to catch up briefly with my brother K in Louisville when I stopped for gas and a short break from driving last night. He's considering putting together a proposal for Eberron. I'll be interested to see what he comes up with. He's always been the more devious of the three of us (our younger brother C lives in Columbus), and the intrigue and adventure built into Eberron strikes me as just the kind of thing he's good at developing.

Aside from a crazy dream I had last night, the weekend wasn't good for Eberroning. I'll have to make up for that this week, especially since there's only one weekend between now and GenCon *and* I'm already slated to do some volunteer work that weekend. I've got some stuff on paper, and I've been working out details of the writing sample; I think it'll come together - at least when I'm not panicking about running out of time. Oh, the good stuff continues: I have a job interview in the morning.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


What I am is what I am

Have you noticed? Good stuff's been going on.

Some of it, like GT's publication, has created euphoria that I get to experience second-hand, just from knowing certain folks. Some of it, like freelance work, some excellent informational interviews helpful towards the (non-writing) career change I want to make, and encouraging (albeit minor) news on the health front, has resulted in a wave of my very own experience of euphoria, first-hand.

I don't want it to end.

I really like living on this edge, so close to achieving some goals that they've become something more than barely limned outlines.

I do so want to keep bingeing on this positive energy!

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