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It Gives a Lovely Light

on Sun, 08/09/2015 - 10:15

Hello, my friends and foes. Wow, what a summer this has been. A series of semi-connected data points follow.

Caffeinated Press

The new office of Caffeinated Press feels like an office! I work the day job from there a couple of days a week, next to an open window serenaded by songbirds in Ken-O-Sha Park and traffic accidents at the intersection of Kalamazoo Ave and 32nd Street. The first issue of The 3288 Review is on track to hit the shelves by the end of the month. Half a dozen books creep ever-closer to production. We have several seminars on the calendar, centered on the getting published side of the writing process. Everyone is exhausted, but excited. Once we have a catalog we can register with the larger professional organizations and that will, we expect, open the flood-gates of submissions. I think I have read around 300,000 words of unpublished manuscripts and poetry over the past six months. 300,000 words in six months isn't really all that much, but for me usually those words have other peoples' eye-prints all over them. Thus I feel a certain responsibility to those words.

Martial Arts

Our annual Sifu Day celebration took place yesterday downtown. Loads and loads of food, an iron shirt demonstration, and half an hour of hamming it up with posed photos. We are blessed by the presence of some of Master Lee's students from Saigon - the same people who showed Rick and I the sights in Vietnam this past October. In a couple of days Rick and I will travel with the whole lot of them on an overnight trip to Niagara Falls.

I am embarrassingly far behind in posting photos of the previous year or so of class events. Once the Caffeinated Press workload dies down I will spend a long weekend getting caught up.

Work

As of today I am off of the crazy project which kept me burning the midnight oil for most of July. All of the extra time I hoped to have during the hiatus from the iron shirt class was co-opted by the day job. Thus the upcoming burning the midnight oil for CafPress. On the positive side, I learned a lot more about advanced Backbone/Marionette programming techniques. This can only help me going forward, if I ever work on another Backbone project.

Life

Still making plans for upgrades to my house, now that I have paid off the mortgage. The bank account is rebuilding more slowly than expected because of the amount of cash I invest in CafPress. Ah, the life of the startup entrepreneur. Practically, all that means is that the work which would have happened in the autumn will now happen in spring 2016, and spring 2016 work will now happen in autumn 2016. Big expensive projects over long time spans, and I want it all to happen NOW.

The Farmer's Market is at its peak. Almost everything in the world is in season right now. Two weeks ago I was in during the magic time when strawberries, blueberries and sweet cherries were all ripe. It's difficult to gain weight on a vegetarian diet, but during times like these it is possible, and also delicious.

Random Stuff

I haven't had a lot of time for entertainment and amusements this summer. Based on a conversation with Jack Ridl I picked up Mile Marker Zero, the story of The Scene in Key West just after Hemingway's time there. A week ago I watched Paris at Midnight, Woody Allen's beautiful exploration of wistfulness and acceptance and the literary scene in the Paris of the 1920s (which also involved Hemingway). There's a meditation to be written on the confluence of these two experiences.

And now off to work on the magazine. These pages won't write themselves.

Six Months Later

on Sun, 07/05/2015 - 10:37

Dawn came early this morning, as it always does at the beginning of July. And even moreso the day after Independence Day. I live in a mostly quiet neighborhood, aside from one house full of renters who refuse to acknowledge that they live in the middle of the city, and not out in the sticks. Therefore their private lives spill out into the public domain several times a week. I have the GRPD non-emergency number on speed dial. Three times in the past week I have started a conversation with "HiI I'd like to register a noise complaint, and it isn't about fireworks." It's fun to hear the officers on the other end of the phone mentally shift gears.

I've grown used to being sleep-deprived at this time of year. The long holiday weekend simply means I don't need to drag myself to work, but it also means neither does anyone else, so I get three days of regulated apocalypse instead of the usual two. Not that I have the moral high ground to complain too loudly about neighbors with bottle rockets, but even as a dumb kid I had the sense to not shoot them directly at other houses and cars. And the neighbors with the fireworks aren't dumb kids; they're just not very good at being neighbors.

Caffeinated Press

We have furniture! Thanks to some connections at PeopleDesign, and a Friday full of vigorous exercise, the Caffeinated Press offices (3167 Kalamazoo Ave SE, Suite 104) have tables, chairs and storage space. Perfect timing, too, for the upcoming slew of meetings, both internal and author-facing. Brewed Awakenings II is taking shape, as is the first issue of The 3288 Review. I am taking a crash course in InDesign, page layout and typography, assisted ably by some exceptionally talented people who make me feel old and slow. As things stand at the moment, it looks like we will publish six book and two issues of the journal before the end of 2015.

And that ain't bad at all.

Somedays

on Sun, 06/14/2015 - 09:23

Some days, to quote Emo Philips, it's simply not worth it to gnaw through the leather straps.

Sunday morning at the Lyon Street Cafe, just east of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. We are in a small break between waves of storms rolling through the region. The first hit around three o'clock this morning. I know this because I was awake at the time thanks to a barking (okay, more like "howling") dog just across the way. The air is warm and quite humid and smells of green things. The chestnut trees are covered with potent flowers and the bakery next door smells like heaven. 

At this moment, as the city wakes up, I could imagine myself in New Orleans.

Time is ticking down for several writing-related projects. The selection process for the contents of the next volume of Brewed Awakenings begins today. We have scores of stories to vet in an excitingly short amount of time. Next, we have roughly two weeks until the submission deadline for the inaugural issue of The 3288 Review. We have already had several excellent submissions, but we have room for many more.

I have never before been involved with a startup company. The work is plentiful and exhausting, and sometimes borders on overwhelming. At the same time, the energy, vision and optimism more than makes up for any feelings of overwork or intimidation at the size of what we are trying to accomplish. I love doing what I do.

Pensive Groundhog is Pensive

on Wed, 06/03/2015 - 10:28

Heritage Hill Groundhog

Though I am sure they have been around for a while, this is the first year I have seen groundhogs in my neighborhood. Add these to the raccoons, opossums, skunks, red squirrels, grey squirrels, ground squirrels and chipmunks. It's like living out in the country.

A Collection of Links Concerning Roger Zelazny

on Tue, 06/02/2015 - 12:58

This is a collection of links - articles, interviews, rememberances - of the late, great Roger Zelazny.

Zelazny reading at the 4th Street Fantasy Convention in 1986 (video)

NPR's "My Guilty Pleasure" review of the Chronicles of Amber, published January 2012

Roger Zelzny, Hero-Maker; essay by Mary A. Turzillo

Suspended in Literature: Patterns and Allusions in The Chronicles of Amber; essay by Christopher S. Kovacs

Audio books of the Chronicles of Amber, read by RZ, posted on YouTube
- Nine Princes in Amber
- The Guns of Avalon
- The Sign of the Unicorn
- The Hand of Oberon
- The Courts of Chaos

 

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