OCCASIONAL WRITING, WITH MUSIC

What an interesting couple of weeks it’s been, my friends. Lots of sound and movement, signifying…. well, signifying something, I suppose.

There’s been a lot of writing work happening, although, bizarrely, very little actual writing. I started by attending Toe In The Ocean writing festival in Warnbro on the 17th, where I delivered a 90 minute SF/F writing workshop to just over a dozen attendees, many of whom had never dipped their toes (see how I work that in? See, see?….) into the genre, so it was really energising to see them wrestling with conceits they had never before encountered: once you start getting into unicorn horn physics you really have everyone’s attention…. I also spent some time in the ever-lovely company of Tehani Wessely and managed to catch up with Heidi Kneale, whom I’ve not bumped into for far too long, so it was a damn good day all round.

And it seems to have rubbed off on some of the writers who attended, as well: this morning I received an email invite to join a new writer’s group that has sprung up in the wake of the festival: The Full Time/Part Time Writer’s Group, who will be meeting once a month, starting this weekend.

Anybody who’s in the Rockingham region might be interested in the following set of details:

The Full Time/ Part Time Writers Group

The problem: For those of us who work full time, it can be hard to find the time to write, let alone talk about it!

The solution: We’ve decided to form a writing group that meets the first Saturday in every month, in the Rockingham area.

The inaugural meeting will be held 10.00am, Saturday 7th August at the Dome on the Rockingham foreshore (15 Kent Street).

Anyone can join; you don’t have to be a full time worker, just willing to have a little fun.

To get to know each other, for the first week write 100 words about yourself from a different point of view and bring it to the meeting…

Join us on Facebook: Rockingham Full Time/ Part Time Writers Group:

If you have any questions, please contact group organiser Eryn Bicker

I’ve also been heavily immersed in the creation of an online SF course for a writing institution on the East Coast, which currently involves reading scads and scads of free online SF for use as reading materials (Awwwwww, shame 🙂 ) If you can, I thoroughly recommend heading over to Project Guttenberg, as I did, and settling in to read Mary Shelley’s almost-forgotten masterpiece The Last Man – an astonishing piece of work that deserves to be remembered far more than it is. Consider this my public service education announcement of the day 🙂

It’s interesting work, preparing an extended course in this manner—it’s designed to be 6 weeks in length, performed and assessed completely on-line, and powered by the Moodle engine, and as I’m determined to include reading material with each lesson it’s resulting in me having to complete a self-paced crash course in creating copyright contracts and lesson planning. Still, once it’s all finished and up on the site I think I’ll be as proud of it as anything I’ve achieved in writing so far. I enjoy teaching writing: it’s a buzz to watch concepts hit home in a student, and creating something that (hopefully) will run for multiple sessions over an extended period of time feels like I’m giving something significant back to the genre that spawned me. I think it’s time to get business cards drawn up that say “The James Gunn of Mandurah Science Fiction”……

I’ve also spent a fair amount of time swearing into a microphone whilst feebly attempting to record two stories for Coeur De Lion Publishing’s excellent podcast series ‘Terra Incognita’. Assuming the ever-brilliant Keith Stevenson can assemble something from the combination of mondegreens, mis-pronunciations and bad boy words I’ve sent him, somewhere in the future you should be able to hear Father Muerte & the Flesh and/or In From the Snow in my dulcet tones down your earphones. In the meantime, there are over 20 much more erudite and capable authors than myself in the TISF archives: go, listen, enjoy.

In between, there have been a couple of reprint sales: ASIM have picked up two pieces for their upcoming “Best of Vol.2” series— the story I co-authored with Nigel Read, Instinct, will be appearing in their “Horror” volume, whilst my poem Working for a Greener Narrative will appear in the “Fantasy” volume. I’m particularly chuffed about the latter—it’s the first time I’ve had a poem reprinted, much less chosen for a Best Of, so it’s a very pleasing achievement.

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