I’d like to say that the musical The Book of Mormon had something to do with the outcome of this year’s Quills Conference writing awards. The problem is, when I Spock out on the probability of that being true, the whole idea reeks of highly illogical. Still, the idea makes me happy.
I belong to a groovy group called the League of Utah writers. It’s a state wide organization that’s been around for over eighty years, and has chapters across the state. I’ve only been a part of it for the past four years, and had been a huge help to me as a writer. Fellow writers helping out each other to be better story tellers.
Every year they have a fall writing conference, Quills, and wrap up the two-day event with a dinner and awards ceremony. Every year I submit a few pieces and waited in anticipation in hopes of hearing my name called out loud in a group of my peers.
The first two years my name remained silent, but last year I got an honorable mention for a short story in the Speculative Fiction category. I handled it like a pro; my face turned bright pink as I shuffle to the front of the room, with my tribe of Monkeys cheering me on with each step I took.
Oh yeah, the chapter I belong to is called the Infinity Monkeys, we’re a speculative fiction chapter who has yet to wrote Hamlet, but damn if we don’t try every chance we get.
So this year, on day two of the conference I’m all poised to attend the awards banquet. I’m full of curious anticipation, not quite shivering, but work my way there. Would my name be called again? It’s a hope I shared with every writer at the conference.
At two hours to award time my pocket began to vibrate. Either there was a Pokémon close by or someone was texting me up. Turned out it was the later. A buddy of mine had a spare ticket to go see The Book of Mormon.
It was a tough call. On one hand, it was the end of the conference. The awards ceremony, a chance for my name to be called out. The chance to become an award winning writer should one of my pieces make it in the top three. On the other hand, it was the musical The Book of Mormon.
I minute later, my friend knew I’d be meeting him at the theater, and was in route to the parking lot.
Worth it. Soooo worth it.
I had no ass left by the end of the show do to my incessant giggling.
What I didn’t expect was the vomit of constant buzzing from phone when we left the theater.
Oh my god, is everyone okay? Who’s in the hospital? Did the house flood? Did someone die?
Turned out: Yes. No. No. And, no.
No messages from my immediate family, but a slew of texts from my Monkey family. Apparently my name had come up a few times that evening. Five times to be precise. I summed up the news in three simple words: “Holy fuck socks!”
Here’s how the evening turned out:
• Second Honorable mention in Fiction
• First Honorable mention in Creative Non-Fiction
• First Honorable mention in Poetry
• Third Place in Media Article
• First place in Poetry
I may have even made a little scratch from some of the awards. Not only had I become an award winning writer in the span of the last two hours, I had also become a paid creative writer. Even as I type that out, two months later, it still feels surreal.
I didn’t want to cliché the whole experience and spend half of my award money on a nice bottle of Scotch, but . . . okay yes, yes I did. I totally spent half my award money on a nice bottle of Scotch. And yes, it was absolutely worth it. The most satisfying campfire I’ve ever licked. Taliskar 10; delightful.
So yeah, logically going to see The Book of Mormon had nothing to do with the outcome of the award banquet. The reviewing, scoring, and award certificate were all done long before I got the call to go see the show. But it just feels more satisfying to believe that just maybe, skipping the awards ceremony to spend the evening in riotous laughter with some fabulous friends, maybe sort of had a little something to do with the outcome of that night. Fiction, yes. But in the end, it’s the story that makes me smile most. And for me, that’s kind of the whole point.
During 2017, I took a hiatus from my devotion to getting around to working on the novel, and took up short storyism.
The writing group I belong to, the Infinite Monkeys chapter of The League of Utah Writers, had a brilliant idea to write short stories for a year focusing on a different zodiac sign themes and by the end of a year maybe, just maybe, there would be enough stories to toss into an anthology. And if all went well with submissions, edits, and rewrites, we’d have book shaped stocking suffers with our name in it to give out to our family by next winter.
I wrote a lot of short stories that year. I also received a lot of feedback in the critique groups I attended. Kind, helpful feedback, like:
“You’re main character’s an asshole. If he was a real person I’d throat punch that bitch. Serious, give up on this story and try something else.”
“How come your characters swear so much. Profanity is for lazy writers. With all the words that a writer has at their disposal, why would you ever need to include swear words in your story?”
“Well, if you take into account that the goal of writing is to evoke a reaction from the reader, it definitely got a reaction out of me. So, there you go.”
There was more plenty more, and all in all, most of it was helpful. Apart from the anti-profanity chap . . . fuck that guy.
What the year of short stories gave me a year of starting and finishing stories. The on going exercise of edits and critiques and the realization that as much of a pain is the ass short stories were to write (I get long winded and trying to keep my stories to under 5000 words became the bane of every story I wrote that year), I became a better writer.
I did the work and it paid off. I ended up submitting the strongest of my stories, Tilting Scales, which was accepted with a couple of “Hell yeahs,” and one “That’s a solid story.” I also ended up with a few more stories that I love and am going to be submitting to other places to see what happens.
I’ve also taken up the novel again, which is good, but after a year of practicing and improving my writing chops, fuck me that thing needs a lot of work. Good thing I’m a better writer now and up to the task.
As for the anthology, it’s under the Books link at the top of the page, but you can also click here to go to a groovy little page that will let you select where you’d like to order it from . . . you know, if you’re of the disposition.
Today is more of a shameless self plug… at least I think it is. I’ll let you know once I get done writing it. Still, if it does turn out to be the case, at least it wasn’t a shameful plug… or a shaming plug… or a hair plug… or plugged toilet for that matter.
With the season of giving now coming to a close accompanied by the fact that my birthday was yesterday, and having been asked from a number of people, “Rich, what do you want for your birthday?” I though I might as well address that question in today’s post.
I have been smirking most of my life, yet I have only been Smirking (capital S there) a few months now. I suppose if I were to create a mission statement for what I hope to accomplish with my writing it would be, “Making the world a better place one smile at a time.” Granted, now having said that let’s just say I won’t be surprised to see it become a song in some upcoming direct to DVD Disney release. HAVE YOU NO SHAME! To which I think we all know the answer to that… no, they don’t.
Actually I take it back, that mission statement is a touch too fru-fru, although I’m not exactly what fru-fru means. No I think a better mission statement would be, “Making strangers laugh because I’m funny damn it.” Hmm, no that one isn’t working either. I could try, “Creating smiles about the everyday…” nope not feeling that one either. How about, “Smirk me? Smirk YOU!” … God I suck at this. Bugger it, let’s call this whole mission statement thing off.
So about this gift request thing, here is what I would truly like for my birthday… give me (my writing that is) to others. To those of you that are reading and enjoying my clever antidotes, satire, observations, babblings, and wit please send a link of my writing to 5 of your friends that you think would enjoy reading it and/or friends who, quite possibly, could use a smirk from time to time. Think about it, it’s like sharing the gift of laughter with those you love… eww, that did come off rather excessively Hallmarkian didn’t it? Sorry about that. The request still stands though, for those of you that are up for the task.
And to all of you that are reading my smirks, thank you. I do greatly appreciate the comments, messages and emails that you send in. It’s always encouraging to hear new and old friends alike are finding smiles and laughs from reading my work. A big hug to you all (yes, I am a hugger). Let’s all have ourselves a brilliant 2010!
Side note: Ok, so I think it was more of a thankful self plug with a hint of self pimpage and just a dash of happy birthday to me. Point being, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a shameless self plug. Whew, I’m glad we got that sorted out.
Image Source: Google Image, key words: happy new year and sharing.
Well, with the holidays mostly over, let me just start out by saying that I hope you all had a brilliant time off… if you had time off that is. I had a lovely time. I wore pajamas and slippers for three days straight… and I took two bubble baths, so yeah I was in full vacation mode most of the time.
I suppose I could have posted that I was going on holiday for the holiday, but I didn’t really get around to it. On a plus note, I did work on the novel a bit over the weekend and should have the rest of Chapter 8 posted some time this week.
I have updated the About the Author page to give you a bit more info about me… the author. Ok yes that is a bit redundant, but necessary I feel. Also, I’ve added a new page, which I like to call Rich Facts, random facts about me that you either wanted to know but were afraid to ask, or that you never thought to wonder about asking to know, or things you just don’t care about… but should (wink, wink). I’m sure you’ll find something in there that might equate to as entertaining. Although, I think this is going to have to be a work in progress.
I know the title can be a little confusing, I mean really who wants to become a fan especially after seeing all of the work Ironman had to go through just to get the hang wearing rocket jets shoes. I will say this though, after watching Ironman I’ll be Inspector Gadget felt completely lame, and deservedly so, except for his dog. Inspector G did have a pretty damn cool dog.
And obviously when I said fan I was not referring to a LASKO 678 Black FlexAir, Lasko 42″ Wind Curve Fresh Air Ionizer with Remote Control, or even the Hunter 90042 AirMax Rockefeller Art Deco Style High Performance Oscillating Fan, although that would be nice. No, I’m referring to the fan in the Trekkie sense of the word, or is it Trekkie in the fan sense of the word. Regardless, dress up if you want, or don’t, you’re all groovy to me either way.
So this weekend I created a fan page for Yours Truly, or is it Me Also… Kringelbert Fishtybuns perhaps? Slut Bunwalla! No, no wait that’s right just me. I think there were already fan sites for those other names, but not all of them writers. I’m not sure why a fan page, I guess I’m hoping that at some point it makes for an interesting conversation, or at the very least, the next time I get in an discussion turned insulting match with my therapist at least I’ll be able to tell him I have more fan on Facebook than he does. I agree that it sounds a bit juvenile, but my therapist chooses to call it progress… the little ass hat.
So here it is my invite to you to go to my fan page and become a fan, if you want to… no pressure, but I called your mom and told her about it, and she really thinks you should do it, oh and she told me to tell you to call once in a while. I mean, come on! It’s the holidays, call your mother!
In short, if you have been enjoying my writing please feel free to fan yourself… fanify yourself… Fan up? Fan-something… feel free to become a fan. I’d appreciate it.
Click here to become a fan. Or you can click on that little Facebook thingy below under the “Become a fan.” bit, and once you get to the fan page click on the Become a Fan button.