Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rigor Amortis (putting the 'rot' in erotica)

I'm very pleased that my story "Take it Off" will appear in Absolute Xpress' upcoming zombie erotica anthology, Rigor Amortis. For some of you reading this blog (or watching my Twitter/Facebook streams), this is old news: but now I have a shiny new link to the official website! Click it, you know you want to!

I'm delighted to be included with so many talented (and twisted) authors. Many thanks and congrats are due to editors Jaym Gates and Erika Holt for all their hard work in bringing this anthology to, er, life.

You'll be able to get your copy starting October 1 on and

(The author assumes no responsibility if you experience sudden cravings for brainnnnnssssss upon reading...) 

Unintended Benefits of Clarion West: No. 37 in a Series*

*(actually the first in a series, but there will be more.)

I expected to go to Clarion West and whip my writing into shape. I also expected that my body would surely suffer from lack of sleep, the endless hours of slaving away at an overheating laptop, my body sustained by poor choices of sustenance such as Fritos, moon pies and ice cream.**

As it turns out, I lost about 8lbs at Clarion West, and it wasn't due to stress, either. I didn't have a car in Seattle, so most of the time I walked wherever it was I needed to go:  the coffee shops to write, to fantastic Korean hot-pot shops to slurp noodles, to the zoo (with a little help from the bus)...

I probably walked 2-3 miles a day and sometimes more. It made a big difference to my mood, my stamina, and general well-being. I've found that since I've gotten back to L.A. ("Nobody walks in L.A!") that I've been restless without those daily walks.  I'm going to the gym 3-4 times a week, but it just isn't quite the same.  Pushing for more active weekends helps.

My diet has changed a bit, too. I'm eating a lot less meat now--something I've been trying to do for awhile. Some of my fellow Clarionites were definitely an influence -- when you share meals you learn to enjoy what other folks love.

When I posted a couple of weeks ago that Clarion West changed my life, I wasn't just talking about the writing and the great new friends. This is the best I've felt in a long time, and I'm going to do everything I can to keep feeling this way.

**many gallons of ice cream were consumed at Clarion West. You have been warned, future workshop attendees.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How Stretchy is the Future?

The other day, I was listening to NPR's excellent Planet Money podcast--an episode on Prohibition and whether FDR drank moonshine before being elected president and getting the 18th Amendment repealed.

It's an amusing (and informative) show, but one of the things that struck me was the discussion on inelastic goods. These are things that people will buy no matter how high the cost rises. Some good examples are tobacco, coffee, and gasoline. Our insatiable demand for booze is one of the things that doomed Prohibition, in fact.

These are pretty classic examples, and have been more or less constant for the last century (if not much, much longer). Now I'm wondering about the next century...

What are the nearish future's inelastic goods & services? What will we be unable to live without?

I think bandwidth is a likely contender. Whatever the internet looks like in 100 years or so, we're going to want to get connected and stay connected. We seem to be on the road to augmented reality (virtual overlays on the real world through our glasses, iThingies, phones) and this information will only become more and more vital to our everyday living. See Jack Graham's excellent two-part post on for more on that.

But what else? It's easy to believe that medical insurance (in the U.S. at least) will continue to be in high demand, despite the costs. I can imagine some life extension therapies might be high demand and high price, but I don't see them as commonly available as something like alcohol, but you never know.

Education, perhaps?

I'm also thinking if some of the worst predictions about global warming and resource depletion come true, we'll be seeing some pretty high prices on staple food crops--maybe even on the processed junk. People gotta eat.

What about water? Especially in the southwest, where drought conditions are already prevalent, how much would you pay for a glass of water? Would you have a choice?

A lot of question marks in this article, but it has got me thinking. Feel free to comment, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Six Things I learned at Clarion West

Some of you may stumble upon my blog looking for tidbits about what to expect from the Clarion West experience. Maybe you're thinking about applying (you should) or maybe you've just learned you got in (yay!)--but either way, you're dying to know what happens on the inside.

Here, then, is a small peek into the mysterious inner workings of the workshop.

  1.  Apply steady pressure and it'll be okay.
  2.  The Zombie Apocalypse is survivable. 
  3.  Fear nothing, especially spiders. 
  4.  Always wear a life jacket. There be sirens on the reef. 
  5.  The only thing creepier than one doll's head is eighteen of them.
  6.  All things in moderation. Especially sleep. Especially during Week 6.

Your experience may vary, of course.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Clarion West: There and Back Again

I'm back.

Six Weeks. At least 21,000 words written, and close to half a million words read (~100 stories). Six great instructors, and seventeen other very talented writers. Plus two wonderful administrators, at least ten guest speakers, a great cook, numerous gracious volunteers and supporters.

Uncountable great conversations with like-minded souls, too many plates of delicious food eaten (ooo fried cheese curds). Vats of ice-cream consumed, at least a few beers and glasses of wine and whiskey.  Many miles walked around Seattle (and paddled upon Lake Union).

Many, many new friends and some I now think of as "family." 


Well, here's the thing. My first response is to try and boil down the Clarion West experience to all these quantifiable things so that I can more easily explain it to people. But the six weeks I spent in Seattle defy easy explanation.

I hope in the coming weeks and months on this blog to talk a little about what the workshop meant to me--but I'm honestly still too busy processing the experience right now to form a coherent summary of everything I learned during the most life-changing of all the summer vacations I've ever had. 

For now, all I can say is: If you're an aspiring writer who feels they are just on the verge of a professional career, but you feel like you need something to boost you to the next level--consider applying for one of the Clarion workshops.

It will change your life, too.