Feeling relevant


First, a dirty secret. I’m sitting here on my bed with the laptop and an MP3 player. I’m listening to Elvis sing “If You Love Me (Let Me Know)” and I’m still disappointed I couldn’t find an MP3 of the Olivia Newton-John version. There are certain songs that just remind me of being in grade school. It drives Kim and the kids nuts when I play this one or “The Most Beautiful Girl” or “Somebody Done Somebody Wrong,” but I like them. Ah, Elvis has left the MP3 player and Led Zeppelin is looking for their “Black Dog.”

So, I haven’t done any significant fiction writing in a long time. The last con was ever so long ago. FenCon in September, since I missed ConDFW last month. I haven’t had anything published since last summer and I have no idea when Scrybe Press might publish Seven Days in Benevolence. I finished my best novel over 30 months and two agents ago and still haven’t found a publisher for it. I wrote and revised Ulrik since then and it’s in limbo. Then there’s Little Graveyard on the Prairie, which is out and I was told not to expect any word until mid-2007. I was starting to kinda feel irrelevant and forgotten.

Then I got an e-mail from a lady eager to know when Ulrik would be released. And a couple of friends at The Other Dark Place mentioned waiting for Seven Days. That was nice.

Then Gregg Winkler ( 

) was kind enough to mention me to the director of Northeastern Oklahoma State’s Living Literature Center. I’ve been invited to present at their seminar next month as they study horror fiction. That’s going to be nice. They’re even going to pay me for it.

Yesterday was the first meeting of the Oklahoma Speculative Fiction Writers (our name for now, at least). Five folks showed up at the new downtown library in OKC and we chewed the fat for about two hours. (You can see group founder Adrian Simmons in the Internet phenomenon YouTube video by clicking here. Adrian isn’t the groom; he’s the guy with spiked hair.) Anyway, that was good and I left the meeting feeling inspired.

Finding a form letter rejection from Leisure Books for Bold Bounty didn’t even dampen that. Sorting a five-inch-tall stack of English papers didn’t, either. Reading, or re-reading, a stack of creative writing projects probably won’t kill it. It might even survive writing my (already late) publicity report for HWA. Then there’s the nine-week English test I need to write … followed by another week of teaching and testing. This should actually be an easy week — almost nothing but review leading up to the test days. Then I’ll give them a break. Yeah, as if there’s really a choice. Nobody’s going to want to do anything on the day or two between testing and the start of spring break. That includes me.

In some ways, this will actually be a sad week. Two of my three classes end this week. I suspect I’ll have a lot of my Science Fiction class in my Non-fiction class next block, just because of the way the Academy works. I feel like those kids have come to trust me. They’ve really opened up and will talk now. I bet they could tell you what makes a story science fiction now, too. I hope I have them again next block. I’ll probably lose most of my Creative Writing students, though. At least for a while. Two or three are seniors, so I won’t get to have them in class again. Three others are enrolled in Science Fiction next block, so I’ll get to see them again after the break.

One thing I know — I’ve probably learned as much this block as my students. It hasn’t always been easy, and at times it’s been really frustrating, but at the end of the day I don’t hate my job, or even dislike it. I like the kids, the other teachers and the administration, and I feel good about what I’m doing. It sure beats making hose couplers, dealing with corporate lawyers, writing the same press releases over and over or working 16-hour days for a newspaper that only appreciates a select few reporters.

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2 thoughts on “Feeling relevant

  1. Steve I’ll be emailing you in just a little while. Didn’t you use to work for ODOT? I have a student who needs some help. I just need to know who they should talk to. Help.

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