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It's hot up in here

Take Me Out to the Ballgame - Finally!

Tonight is the opener for the Charlotte Knights, the Chicago White Sox AAA team and my neighborhood baseball. Six blocks down the street I'll enter through the gate by the outfield. Hopefully, the regular off-duty cop will be there directing traffic at that Mint Street entrance. He's a nice guy. Hope he's been doing OK through the pandemic. It will still be light out, since sunset won't be until a bit after 8. The setting will make the skyline glow. There'll be no programs to fiddle with before the national anthem - they are a Covid safety causualty. Instead we'll be able to pull one up on our phones. I'm planning for the usual 3rd inning hot dogs and 7th inning ice cream. We'll see if there are other ballpark treats to celebrate with on this special night. The last Knights' game was August 2019. I've missed it so. Pictures to follow.

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We See You. We Hear You.

I am finding it almost impossible to write about the events of this week. Perhaps it's because it all feels so personal to me. I've worked on Capitol Hill, walked those halls... in the faces of the rioters, the cult members, and the President of the United States, I have seen none of the respect, reverance, honor, duty, or commitment I felt when I worked there. None. You are the very opposite of patriotic.

 

All I think I can say is this: If you believe in ridiculous conspiracy theories, that the election was stolen, or that Covid isn't a pandemic and killing thousands of Americans every day, I am truly sorry for you. You are a member of a death cult.

 

But my sorrow does not let you off the hook. I hold you accountable for the disgraceful violence at our Capitol, the death and injury that took place. You are responsible for the growing numbers of dead from a very real virus. If you are an elected official and you have cynically thrown in your lot with the rightwing disinformation machine in order to further your own ambitions, you are responsbile, directly, for what happened this week. And, if you do not do every possible thing in your power to stop this lying, reprehensible President from doing further damage to our country in the next 12 days, you should plan on finding new jobs. 

 

We the people are watching. We see you. We hear you. We are taking names.

 

 

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Talking Love and Craft with Brendan

What fun! Wednesday morning I had a great talk with The Creative Nonfiction Podcast guy, Brendan O'Meara. He puts together podcast conversations with writers about craft and their passions and their favorite books and just everything words.

Click on the link to the left of this column to hear the podcast that I'm on. All of my writer friends should definitely be subscribers!

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Talking with my man, DG Martin

Listen to my talk with DG Martin on his Chapel Hill radio station show!

http://chapelboro.com/wchl/weekend-shows/whos-talking/october-14-2017-6
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Lots Already Going On!

We've already got some great book signing and reading events set up for The Love of Baseball. Here they are so far:

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 -- the big local premiere! 5-7:00 p.m. at the Ashe County Arts Council. Reading, signing, wine and snacks -- don't miss it!

NEW! Saturday, September 16 - 6:30 p.m. EST -- I will be on KNBR in the Bay Area, the flagship station for the San Francisco Giants. (KNBR.com)

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 -- Pittsburgh Release Party. City Books, Northside, 908 Galveston, Pittsburgh, PA. Time is TBA. Join Editor Diana Nelson Jones and Pittsburgh area contributors.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 -- Olivet College, Homecoming Saturday, 12 noon - 2:00 p.m. Klock Commons. Editor Chris Arvidson will be there to sign and sell books.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7 -- Scuppernong Books and Cafe, Greensboro, NC. 3-5:00 p.m. It's a wonderful downtown bookshop. Join Editor Chris Arvidson and area contributors for a reading and signing.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21 -- Home of Carol Eickert & Michael Fraioli, Chevy Chase, MD. 2-5:00 p.m. RSVP to Chris Arvidson (chrisarvidson.com). Books, food and fun with area contributors. Read More 
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Done. For Now. Yay!

On Tuesday this week I turned in the baseball anthology that Diana Nelson Jones and I have been working on for the last year. (I should like it to be noted that it was delivered one day ahead of schedule.) And then I promptly went down with a heinous cold/flu crap and lay around in bed and on the couch for the next couple of days. But I'm back in the saddle again and looking forward to sharing news of the book with everyone as we work through the publishing process.

Once we have a title from the publisher (McFarland & Company), I'll set up a separate book website, but for now, I'll keep everyone posted here on my own blog page. And, to get you ready to be excited, here's just a small, tiny, smidgen, of what you'll be able to see in the coming 8-10 months or so. Hope it makes you want to get the book!

EXCERPT from the essay "Nothing Else Like It"

The regular season powered to a close and the Tigers continued their record-breaking ways. Things were also heating up at work -- big elections, late nights, crazy times. But the Tigers were never off my mind. In mid-September, with the pennant clinched, I was anticipating the World Series. I thought “Oh my god. It is really going to happen.”

And remember, in 1984, you couldn’t just flip a cable channel on or subscribe to MLB TV. You had to do this thing called reading the box scores in newspapers the next day. Maybe sometimes, if you got lucky and the wind and atmosphere were right, you could pick up a late night few minutes of Ernie Harwell on AM radio from WJR in Detroit. I was looking forward to seeing my Tigers on television for the World Series.

Then the unthinkable happened. A few days before the series was to begin my boss gave me some potentially thrilling news. Our chairman would, naturally, have access to World Series tickets. And while the California tickets would be quickly dispersed since that was his home state, there might, possibly, small chance, be a possibility that there wouldn’t be enough “important people” who wanted to go to Detroit, and if that might, possibly, small chance did in fact happen, I, Chris Arvidson, would get the tickets.

But I still had problems to fix -- I needed to see if I could get myself, last minute, to Detroit on my own. The game tickets were free, but not the plane, and I wouldn’t know if I had the tickets until the day before. Did I want to take dibs on this maybe, possibly, small chance deal? Oh hell yes.
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9th Annual On the Same Page is in the books

What a wonderful week. The Literary Festival here in West Jefferson was truly a blast. Attendance was fantastic. All of the authors were super non-divas and, I think, enjoyed themselves as much as the attendees.

I found it very inspirational. The workshops were especially good this year and I'm at work following up what I learned, relearned, thought about, and was inspired by from the week.

Darnell Arnoult has me on a poem a day, which is kind of a strange exercise for me... I've never much thought about being a poet, but it's really kind of working and it's inspiring the work on my novel. Jeremy had me writing two scenes...one of which is definitely going to find its way into the novel somewhere.

Then, to top it all off, the NEXT DAY after the Festival we headed off to Nashville for a recording session at Omni Studios. Henry's first single with Lamon Records is now "in the can" as they say and ready to be mixed. We expect it out within a month. How can that not be exciting? And it's wonderful to watch pros at their work in general. Great musicians, a fabulous studio, it's all kind of overwhelming but I'll try my best to get over it.

Not to get any dust on me, we start The Cotswold Way on Monday. Seven days of hiking 103 miles. Then in Bath we meet up with all our UK friends for five days of hilarity, confusion, talk, eating, etc. That is if I can get it together to get packed...  Read More 
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November means NANOWRIMO

November means it's NANOWRIMO - national novel writing month. I've participated in this event the last few years with varying amounts of success. I guess you could call 60,000+ words on a novel a pretty good average, although I haven't followed the precise prescription each time. The idea is that you write every day in November, vomit draft style, at the end of the month you then have a 50,000 word novel draft.

The book I started with NANO in 2013 is the one I've been working on since and I've made a good amount of progress, with the help of my writing group compadres Becky and Diana. Each of us are now in the process of beating our work into shape and plan to use the NANO month to drive us home to good final draft stages by year's end.

It's a heavy load, but we can do it! We'll play with the daily word count format to suit our needs -- some of us need to organize and position what we already have and fill in the "gaps" of our stories, so we will be working with our work, as it were, rather than sticking to a precise word county each day. We're also going to have some "write ins" together -- days we get together and write. We plan a grand sharing at the end of the month.

Wish us luck! And if you've a mind, check out the website and join in: nanowrimo.org Read More 
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November 1 is Here!

Well, here it is. November 1. Time to start, time to finish, time to organize, put together, figure it the f*** out already! It's putting up or shutting up time. NANOWRIMO is here, National Novel Writing Month. The idea is you write 50,000 words in the month of November, and you do that by writing 1666 words a day. That's not really that many. I got the lion's share of 50,000 done last year, not quite 100% successful, but I've been working with my writing group ever since on what I did get done. This year, I'm going to write those 1666 words every day, and I'm also going to be dusting off what I've already done and try to bring some organization to it all. My goal is to have a serious draft completed by the end of the month.

It was an inspiring morning to start this year's adventure. Overnight we had 4" of snow and I woke up early, around 6 a.m., it was still dark. What a wonderful sight out the back door when I flipped on the light. Snow. Real snow. Not just pretend snow or snow to tease me. It's continued throughout today, although it's petered out considerably.

And it looked great from my upstairs office window, too. Which was good. Because I got those first NANO words done. Here are just a few sentences:

“City kids. Young. Probably not even 21 yet. They’ll be OK, they’re young enough to adapt. You though, if you don’t mind my saying, appear to be more in my era. We don’t see too many folks our age making the crossing out here and on foot. You running away, or running to?” Read More 
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WORDKEEPERS - Saturday, August 17

Come on out for Wordkeepers on Saturday, August 17, here in beautiful downtown West Jefferson. Hear some always great original prose and poetry from local/regional writers. It's free. We have refreshments (including wine!) and feature original music at 3 and readings at 4:00. Email me to reserve your spot if you want to share a 5-minute bit of your own original writing.  Read More 
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