So, A Lot of Catching Up…

In no particular order:

unemployment loomed for the wife – there is a 6 month (and hopefully longer) reprieve,

“Coming Together: Arm in Arm in Arm” – with my story “The Stars in the Sea” – was released,

we went to FenCon where I attended all of one panel (spent most of the time visiting with friends) *,

a short story collaboration with the talented Becky Kyle never really got off the ground due to a number of reasons (all of them my fault) – hopefully she will forgive me, the story will still get written and we shall try selling it elsewhere,

another end of the month deadline is going to whiz on by and I shall wave at it as it does so,

the videogame “Borderlands 2” lives up to all its promise,

the computer game “Torchlight II” does so as well and in so doing proves to be a more enjoyable game than “Diablo III”,

an old friend – Mark Snyder – passes away and will be missed,

both my poems in the National Space Society of North Texas poetry contest won “Honorable Mention” and will be published in the collection of this year’s submissions,

Matt Borgard and I decide to try our hand at putting together a little anthology called “The Hero’s Lament”,

I enjoyed a glorious night out with the girls seeing “Water” at the Vortex theater here in town **,

the book release party for friend Barbara Wright draws closer and I even bought new clothes for the occasion,

my mother’s house sells – almost at the last minute – and against all odds and expectations we see a little money from it,

* the panel was “Beyond Words”, described in the program book thusly: “Finding a character’s voice is frequently tied to their unique word choices and phrasing. Picking the right things to say is a key to quickly communicating things about a character that would take pages of exposition. So, how do you figure how to use specific vocabulary, phrasing, and idiom to define your characters?”
remember that description – it’s the last you’ll hear of it.
panelists were C. Dean Anderson, Jane Fancher, Bev Hale, Jake Kerr, Nina Romberg, S.B. Taylor, Cathy Clamp, and Rosemary Clement-Moore as moderator.
Cathy Clamp, not listed in the program book as a panelist, turns out to be the only Serious Plotter on the panel. she is the Puppetmaster, characters and plot do as she wills.
this seemed very foreign to the other panelists, as well as myself. we’re all Character-Driven, to one degree or another – we may have an idea for the story, but it’s a collaboration between us and the characters. interestingly enough, Ms. Clamp found the Character-Driven method completely mystifying.
now, remembering the above description, the panel spent quite a bit of time defining voice, finally agreeing that there is Character Voice – how we differentiate one character from another – and Authorial Voice – the innate style of the writer himself, how we can tell my stories from Matt Borgard’s from Rachel Brune’s from whomever’s.
the whole character’s reality composes his voice.
avoid stereotypes and stereotypical behavior unless you’re doing something interesting with them.
make sure that you know your character well enough to see how his place of origin, politics, social milieu, and economic strata affect his language.
when looking at Joseph Campbell’s archetypes for characters, realize that no truly complex character is any one archetype solely. the best are always blends of two or more.
finally, we had a panel that amply illustrated the difference between “i’m here to talk about the subject” and “i’m here to promote my latest book”.

** wow, this show, “Water”, made me very sad that i didn’t catch the first two, “Fire” and “Air” – you can bet your ass i’ll catch “Earth”. once again, the stage design proved to be astounding. seeing what’s been done with their tiny performance space is always part of the joy of going to the Vortex, but for “Water”, new heights were reached. a waterfall – that ran through the entire performance, no intermission, thank god for the “hit the bathroom beforehand” warning – a small, higher pool (that unfortunately wasn’t really a part of the play/ritual – and then entire stage floor was a pool that looked to be between 6 and 8 inches in depth. a solid wall for the actors, as waves, to ‘crash’ against, three horn-like platforms stage left… amazing. and of course, the lighting was bubble lights and gels to give the space a watery feel. while the music at times, thanks to the Chad as composer (far too long a story to go into here), felt like “a lost Vangelis album from the ’80’s”, if you gave yourself to it, it carried the mood quite nicely. the singing was beautiful. of course, being the Vortex, there was female nudity, and in a rarity, brief male nudity as well. the theater’s artistic director recommended we look at the program book so as to be familiar with the concepts they were going to portray… we all ignored her, preferring to see what the ritual/play said to us, without any preconceptions. in the small bar/waiting room of the theater, a projector made use of a large blank wall to show scenes of water as well.
i have so missed nights at the theater with the girls, and even though i was Very Tired, it was a wonderful evening.
if you’re in the area, performances run through the 29th of this month, so get a move on!
we are planning to see “Elizabeth: Heart of a King”, running Jan. 11-26, 2013, “Earth”, running March 23- April 20, 2013, and Empress Deb is threatening to drag me to “Ethos’ CyberFest” (again with the Chad), running Sept. 21-28, 2013.

more later…

listening to: the fan in the living room running on ‘low’
mood: not too bad, considering…

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