Thursday, December 30, 2010

Poetry and Song Writing Workshop for Young People
January 17 at Shamrock Music in Purcellville

The Young Voices Foundation will be presenting a poetry and song writing workshop for middle and high school students at Shamrock Music in Purcellville, Virginia. The workshop will run from 8:30 in the morning until 3:30 in the afternoon on January 17, Martin Luther King, Jr., Day.

Bobbi Carducci, co-founder of the Young Voices Foundation, says this is the third of five workshops the foundation has planned to coincide with school holidays this academic year. Bobbi and her husband Mike established the foundation to provide opportunities through which young people might find encouragement for written expression.

In addition to the workshop series the Young Voices Foundation sponsors writing contests for writers from elementary through high school. More information about the foundation can be found at their website:

Tuition for the Poetry and Song Writing workshop is $60. Interested parents should contact Bobbi at (540) 338-5064.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Facebook Blending with Blogs
An early experiment

I am trying to see if I can get a Facebook LikeIt gadget into this blog.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NaNoWriMo on the Mend
Division of Labor Rebalanced

My characters and I have gotten back on the same page. We have decided that they will still compose the novel, and that I will do the typing. As you can see from the numbers to the right this arrangement has been working out pretty well for the past several days.

We still have a lot of ground to make up, but we're running at a rate that will get us to the finish line (50,000 words) just on time.

Thanks to all of you for your good wishes and monetary help.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What a disaster!
I should have seen this coming.

How many times have you been talking with other writers and you've heard someone say about their short story or novel, "Oh, the characters just took over and wrote themselves." Must have been hundreds of times, right?

We should all be so lucky to have characters like that.

This is November, National Novel Writing Month, although not through some act of congress or anything like that. And I'm writing a novel. The working title has been "The Glitch." Anyway, things were going pretty well for a few days. It's a sort of Sci-Fi thing with nice characters, a few really cordial people.

So, a few days into this, maybe around the 5th or 7th of the month, one of them, Rod, says to me, "Hey, man, you are really on to something here. The story is slammin' and the guys, and Tabby, and I are having a really good time. It's like I've known these people for years."

Well, actually he has, because they have all been working in the same lab for a long time. Not the brother nor the guy who lives on the hill. Not Earl Weaver, either. But there are a bunch of lab rats who do get a lot of face time in the book. Rod is one of them.

"We've been talking," he said to me, "and we all sort of agree that we could actually write this thing ourselves."

What? This really happens where characters take over a story? I thought it was a metaphor or something, but it's real.

So I say, "This is so cool. I'm glad you're all getting along and I'd be glad to 'step back and let the story take on a life of its own' as writers like to say."

And that's what I did.

This weekend I started getting curious about where things were headed. My wife was sleeping and I had to find something to do, you know? I turn on the computer and take a look at the file.

Nothing had been written! I couldn't believe my eyes. These clowns, the characters who were going to write this on their own hadn't written a single word!

Now I'm way behind and have to work like a motherfucker to get up to 50,000 words by the end of the month.

If you ever in your life hear an author say that her characters wrote their own story, tell her and everyone else in the room that she's full of shit.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

NaNoWriMo Marches On
Productivity on pace for completion

Here I am at the end of NaNoWriMo Day Three with 5164 words in the bank.

My characters are having a good time chatting among themselves. They don't have any idea what kind of clothes to wear - other than motorcycle jackets and lab coats. Some lamb stew has been eaten. And without giving too much away I can say that two of them enjoy playing "Jutland."

A one dollar prize has been posted and will be snared by the most unlikely of winners.

Other than that, I'm keeping things to myself.

Monday, November 01, 2010

National Novel Writing Month Starts
Good Start

November is National Novel Writing Month, a month during which thousands of novelists across the nation will forsake bathing, returning calls, walking the dog and raking leaves, just so that they can string together 50,000 words they will call a novel.

That's a lot of word stringing in 30 days.

Sixteen hundred and seventy words each day will get that done.

Those of us taking the challenge look forward to entering December with a pile of characters, situations, and actions that might eventually turn into something that others will eventually read.

Day one comes to a close and I've got a three hundred word cushion.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Long Autumn Journey
Can a theatre critic read a play?

Today I picked up a copy of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey into Night" with the plan of actually reading it. The particular edition I found at the Blue Ridge Hospice thrift shop has a foreword by Harold Bloom.

Over the next several weeks I will be reading the play and commentary as an experiment in play reading - something I've rarely done in spite of having seen many plays. Through this blog I'll be keeping track of my progress and impressions as this new activity unfolds.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Driven in by The Heat

Seeking cool refuge in the Barnes & Noble reminds me of the summer of 1970. Many July and August days found me in the air-conditioned comfort of the Silver Spring library reading Hemingway and thinking about a woman in France.

Both she and autumn returned. Cooler.

I've recovered, mostly.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Whites Ferry On The Loose
Ferry Drifts on Potomac's Strong Current

On scene report from Whites Ferry, March 20, 2010.

On Saturday, March 20, at 4:09 pm the Gen. Jubal Early came loose from its cable and drifted downstream from the course between Virginia and Maryland at Whites Ferry.

Shortly after the boat left the Virginia side workers on board could be seen working to free the craft and its cable from a piece of floating debris that appeared to be a log. After coming to a complete standstill in the Potomac the ferry proceeded toward Maryland for a very short while before beginning to drift with the current, still stronger than usual.

Within a few minutes the boat had drifted several hundred meters downstream while continuing to make way to the Maryland shore. Workers on shore quickly launched a small blue tug boat that helped pull the ferry upstream to the ramp. Eventually the ferry's bow was secured.

The full load of cars on board could still not disembark because the boat remained out of alignment with the ramp. Workers on land used a tractor to pull the stern upstream, finally allowing the autos to drive off. The ferry was secured and emptied by 5:12 pm.

Ferry service had just restarted several hours earlier after a protracted outage due in part to debris on the river.

It was unknown when service would resume after this latest incident.