Monday, September 16, 2013

1012 Days of Portland, Oregon: Ring of Fire

Amazingly enough, our Portland existence was brief. Just under three years. At the time it was going on, though, the time seemed to stretch on all the way back to the recesses of the beginning and seemed like they were never going to end.

We left Goose Hollow. Thankfully. I just couldn't bare to climb that huge hill one more time. I could not bare the leaf blowers, the buses, the semis and the excavation trucks. Believe it or not, at the time we left Goose Hollow, I was sober—this means no hangovers, and I still felt like I would crack at any moment due to the noise.

Janice found us a nice apartment right downtown Portland. We were two blocks from the Portland State campus and about four blocks for her office at The Oregonian. In fact, we moved to SW 4th Ave. SW 4th is a big street cutting through downtown. A three lane wide one way street with parking on both sides. The freeway is just three blocks way and all the normal stuff associated with downtown areas are ever present: fire trucks, police sirens, nearby hospitals, train whistles and all the helicopters that land at the helipads just a few blocks away. Being a new building and constructed of concrete and triple pane windows, the place was quiet.

The place was quiet.

The place was quiet, Janice worked all day, and I worked at night. I finally got the time that I needed. I cleared my desk, I cleared my mind. I finished The Errors of Fabric, and this was a feat because it seemed like the never ending manuscript when we still lived in Goose Hollow. I also finished a group of short stories that I had been intending to finish for about a year.

I feel like I talk so much about getting things done and why I think it's important for writers to do just this. I feel like so many writers I've known over the years are inspired, filled with muse and good ideas and yet don't get much done, or get nothing done. I have never been, nor do I expect to ever be that sort of writer. I may not be much more than a two-bit hack, but that was all I ever set out to be. In fact, it was my sincere desire to have written ten novels before I looked for a publisher.

The Errors of Fabric was number ten.

One morning, early spring 2012, I got word from my good friend Gio. Gio, as many of you may know is the brains and the brawn behind Rocket House Studio in Denver. We'd spent a few months in 2009 with the construction of screenplays and stop-motion animated film. I'm always delighted with I tell people that I was homeless, jobless and writing for the cartoons. As many of you probably don't know, Gio and I go way back, back to our coffeehouse years in the early days of the first George W Bush administrations. So, when I got word from him, I thought of it as just what it was, a word from an old friend.

It seems Gio had just come off of The GI Joe Stop-motion Animation Film Festival, by which I mean he had just come off The GI Joe Stop-motion Animation Film Festival. I think that when you're the curator of such a successful film festival you become very popular. At one of the film festival functions, it seems, Gio met a filmmaker whose brother in Seattle had just started a publishing company. Of course, Gio mentioned my name. I think he did this partly because I am a writer, partly because he has always believed in me (something I'm forever grateful for) and partly because for many-many people Portland and Seattle are practically the same place. Gio sent me an email and a brief e-introduction. And this is how I met Ring ofFire Publishing.

Admittedly, I did not take the opportunity too seriously. In fact, I took them seriously, I just did not take myself seriously. This was the spring of 2012. I sent them Dysphoric Notions. I was elated, if not a little terrified when they accepted it.

Over the years I've discussed the pursuit of publication and what happens when something becomes published. There is no need to belabor it now. Suffice it to say, when the process began I was more eager to see the outcome than the process itself.

Once I got the acceptance letter from Ring of Fire, I did not do the right thing. The right thing to do would have been: ask questions about the process from step one through to the end. The right thing to do would have been: read, proof, copy edit, repeat, repeat, repeat. The right thing to do would have been: search out venues for readers of my book in hopes of reviews, criticism and promotion. The right thing to do would have been: learn how Amazon works, and keep up with it. But this is how life works, hopefully, do and experience and learn.

I have been treated very well by Ring of Fire. I would suspect that every one of their writers will say the same. I hope as you read this you'll be inclined to support me and buy my book, and I hope you'll be inclined to support my colleagues as well.

So much of my Portland experience is this one single event: the publication of my first novel.


The conclusion: The Lovecraft 

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