Saturday, April 18, 2020

Why I Have Written

It may have started in 1984, at the age of 11. It probably started a few years later, fall of 1986. I was 14. I had written a short story. I was growing up and I was more and more withdrawn everyday. It may have been during that Thanksgiving break when I met Freesia. We talked about all the fantastic things we were going to do with life. Being a writer was her goal, and perhaps to impress her or because I was still riding a high with the first and only story I had ever written, I too said I wanted to be a writer. As far as Freesia goes, we're still writing letters, like we've been doing since 1986. We're both still claiming to be writers, or proposing to be writers or perhaps we're throwing towels because we were writers.

It may have started at any point on my timeline from the onset of my war in the Middle East in 1990 or the time I later started college in 1993. It may have started in March of 1995, after the house fire left me homeless and Bleeding Sheep published my first short story “Fish of a Nazi Haven.” Then again, it may have started a year later when I decided to leave Botany behind me and become a writer. Yes, it was January 1996, ten years after I first made the statement that I wanted to be a writer, when I decided to go out and do it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Reflections on My Blog

I don't have anything more to say than I have said already. This post is the 519th post of this blog's existence. It has been a weekly, or nearly a weekly endeavor, since April of 2010. Even though I had started my blogger account the October before, I had nothing of value to write about until April 2010. This was well over a year after I had left grad school. It was six months after we formed Umbrella Factory Magazine, and it was a month after our first issue launched. It was also after two other events that I think really shaped who I was going to become for most of the decade.

The first was that I was chosen to sit on the jury at the Kristin Stillman trial. Not a day has gone by in the last decade when I have not thought about her. The second is that I went to the AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) convention.

At the convention I went to a session about how important it was for all writers to establish a personalized and professional presence. It was like this cross between the CV (a record of what you've done), what you're currently doing and what was to come. The discussion of a blog came up during this discussion. I sat in the back row and listened intently.

Why blog?

Honestly, who cares? I doubt this entry will have a bunch of comments following. It's questionable if anyone's really going to read it. So, why blog? Well, I was told that writing about writing is a good thing to do. And, I was told that a working writer should have a web presence. And, I was told that a working writer needs to build a platform. A platform is more than your CV, resume or current job title. A platform is everything you have done, are doing, and what you will do. And, I was told that a blog is a cheap, easy (two of every writer's favorite things) way to do all of the above. Well, I don't know about you, but I've now done this for ten years.

And ten years is a respectable amount of time to do anything.

Some Interesting Links:
My Photobook: Red Blue Grey
Interview: Meet the Filmmaker

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

My Online Publications

For the decade 2009-2019, I worked as editor of Umbrella Factory Magazine which was an online literary magazine. I was very active as a writer during this time as well. I chose to submit my work to online journals since that was the community in which I worked.

I had hoped that I would make a very tight knit community of writers and other editors at the onset of Umbrella Factory Magazine. And although I made a few connections, some very close, there was no real larger community for me. I had some very prolific years as a published writer, and that felt good. I also had some years that were filled with one rejection after another. Even the rejection is good when it came down to it because I was dishing up rejects left and right during my years as an editor.

Here is a list of many of my publications. As time goes on and these magazines and publishers go under, the link will break and any evidence of my existence with these magazines will be lost to the erasure of the ether.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The ILacqua Experiment

It should be no surprise that I would be involved with a project with a title like “The ILacqua Experiment.” It was something that my wife, Janice, wanted to do. It began on a chilly November day in 2015 in a cold coffeehouse in our town of Longmont, Colorado. Our young son was in his pre-school class and we had a little time to each other.

Over coffee, as I suspect so much of my life has been, we decided that we needed something to focus our energies on, a creative endeavor we could do together and independently. I suggested a blog.

Of course, as it was, I had only been away from The Sophia Ballou Project for about a year and I missed it terribly. So when I suggested a blog, I had in mind a place where the two of us could do what we wanted to do and get the feel good feedback from each other.

Initially, I did not have an idea about what I might like to write. So, as usual, I thought about something practical to write. What I came to was a memoir about my days working for the Boy Scouts of America. I felt like I had something to say about this time of my life. In late 2015, and to be written weekly in 2016, I would recall the years 1995 to 2000 as I worked from camp program director to a district executive. I felt like I would have an interesting perspective as I was not the typical Boy Scout.

It was also an opportunity for me to reconcile myself to that portion of my life. Until the time I begun to write this story, I harbored a great deal of guilt about who I was at that time, and how awful my actions were.

I completed my memoir on September 1, 2016. Although I feel like the memoir entitled A Scout is Brave was a success, I do not feel like the ILacqua Experiment was. I feel like as an experiment, it was a failure. Janice did not post very much. She wrote a few very lovely “mommy” posts. She attempted to revise her novel. But ultimately, the blog became almost solely my work. I wonder sometimes if I caused her lack of contribution because I was so prolific.

It did spur her to start her own blog, and that in itself was worth the price of admission.