disappointed (though not surprised) by the outcome of the Scottish
Independence vote. I would've welcomed an independent Scotland and
would've looked forward to moving back there. (That, by the way, is not
an academic notion. My wife and kids are Scottish. We've lived in
Scotland before and will do so again. It's not a matter of if, but just
of when we make the move back.)
aside, though, I'm pleased by two seemingly contradictory things. One
is that the vote wasn't super close. It would've been hard to take if it
had been a really narrow victory or loss.
The second is that
I'm quite proud of Scotland. They just had a peaceful vote on their
future, on a big issue unlike any most of us face at the ballot box.
They turned out in massive numbers to have their say. And that 45% that
said yes is actually really impressive. That's a lot of yes in the face
of a lot of NO-inspired horror stories that were being rolled out on a
daily basis, and of course it's harder to make a huge change than it is
to stay the course.
All in all, it was an impressive showing, one that reminds me why Scotland is a country I love.
Labels: Family Stuff, Scotland
VCFA Novel Retreat
Hey. Here's a thing. I'm pleased to announce that next May I'll be one of the faculty members of the Novel Retreat hosted by the Vermont College of Fine Arts
Here's some of what they say about it:
"In keeping with its nationally recognized commitment to the literary arts, in May 2015, the College will host its second annual VCFA Novel Retreat. Readings, presentations, and faculty mentorships in which full-length manuscript critiques are available, are the centerpieces of this special week devoted solely to full immersion novel writing. It is specifically designed to provide participants with concentrated blocks of writing time in an environment that fosters and sustains emerging novelists."
It's a week-long event, with what looks like a terrific combination of writing and reading and short talks etc. But it's a retreat, so it's not all work! Sounds like great fun. The faculty looks terrific as well (by which I mean the other faculty - I'm just me): Connie May Fowler and Laurie Alberts and Clint McCown. I'm personally pleased to be hanging out with Clint again; we used to teach together at the Stonecoast MFA Program (where I still do teach, of course). Bios of everyone are here.
Registration starts in September and the retreat dates are: May 19 - 25, 2015.
Interested? How's the novel coming along? What shape will it be in by next spring? Need incentive to get to work? Here it is!
Also, do note that part of the inclusion of me as a faculty member is to mix in a writer familiar with genre writing. Something to consider...
Labels: Other Authors, Professor Dave, Writing Life
100 Best SF Movies
A little while back Time Out London
(a very cool mag that I remember from my first days in the UK way back when) asked me to contribute a top ten list of sci-fi movie favs. They collected a bunch from other authors and various peeps and came up with a list of The 100 Best Sci-Fi Movies
Take a look, and feel free to disagree...
I know this is random, but... Wow. This is too cool. A very unique way to travel from Edinburgh to the Isle of Skye. Some of this stuff... how is it possible?
Labels: Just Stuff, Scotland
Write Angles (Belated)
Offering another post written months ago but not published!
Here's a first. I was recently asked to be one of the keynote speakers at the upcoming Write Angles Conference.
What is Write Angles
? Here's what they say:
Now in its 29th year, WriteAngles is Western New England’s premier conference by writers, for writers. At this one-day gathering, you’ll mix with experienced writers and agents in panel discussions, hands-on workshops, face-to-face meetings, and in casual networking opportunities. The affordably priced conference fee includes a continental breakfast and a bountiful buffet lunch. The conference is held in Mount Holyoke College’s gracious Willits-Hallowell Center in South Hadley, Massachusetts.
Past Keynoters have included Valerie Martin, Richard Russo, Julia Glass, Dennis Lehane, Patricia Smith, Andre Dubus, and Ann Hood - just to name a few. Now me? Yikes.
I was actually a panelist at this a few years back. Fun event. But this is the first time anybody has called me a "keynote" anything. Apparently I'm up at the podium for 45 minutes. Good thing I have until October to come up with something to say!
Wait. October isn't that far away...
Labels: Appearances, Cons, Other Authors
From Russia with (Belated) Love
My first installment of a post that I wrote but never published. This refers, by the way, to the winter Stonecoast residency, not the summer one that just happened. So, that makes this about six months old...
Look what I just got my hands on for the first time, some seven years or so after publication...
Recognize the author? Neither do I. But... it's me! It's the Russian edition of Pride of Carthage
. The publisher never sent me an author copy (scoundrels!). Several kind people have tried to find it over the years, all to no avail. I'd resolved myself to never seeing the thing in person.
And then enter Amy Bai, a new student at the beloved Stonecoast MFA Program...
I had the pleasure of reading her application, and I got to correspond with her as I tried (gracefully, you know) to win her over to Stonecoast. In the course of our exchange I learned her husband, Art. (aka Artëm Evgenyevitch Bai), was Russian. I told her my story of woe. She was on it. Or, more exactly, her world traveling husband was on it. Did he find it in Russia? He tried, but no. But he did find it, apparently, at a used bookstore in Israel!
Amy delivered it to me on the first day of the residency. Awesome. I was totally surprised. Thank you Amy and Art. You can check out Amy's website HERE.
Now... I'm still missing that Romanian edition... Anybody?
Belated. Like, Really....
Oh my. It's been ages since I posted here. What's up with that? I dunno. Facebook steels some of my thunder, I guess. Anyway, I opened up the hold Blogger thinking I'd do a little post only to discover that when I'd left off blogging here I had several drafts of posts pretty much ready to go. They've languished!
Silly me. Let me make amends, though.
Before I post anything new, I'll post a few things old. Stay tuned...
Yesterday was my wife's birthday. There were a number of presents involved, but two of the nicest came from our kids. Maya produced the following original card:
Not to be outdone, Sage produced an original story. For your reading pleasure, the text:
Gudrun the Fair Isle Fairy
-a birthday story by Sage Anthony Durham
Gudrun raced through the woods, feet flying over the hard earth. Her bare soles crunched the leaves of fall beneath them, but she didn’t even hear them. All she could think about was getting to the otter. She didn’t know why but she knew she had to get to it. She had a bad feeling. And when she had bad feelings it meant something. Maybe the birth had gone wrong. The otter wasn’t due for another month, but…
Oh, she just ran. Good thing she had her trainers and spin gear on.
Suddenly she was slipping and sliding down the stones toward the beach. Sure enough the otter had given birth. The pups were sooo cute. Small and lovely, eyes closed and looking like the best things ever. But… something was definitely wrong. She could see it in the mother otter’s eyes and hear it in her breath and feel it in her heart beat.
And then she knew. The otter pups were too small. Of course! It was a really early birth so the pups wouldn’t have nearly enough fat to stay warm in the North Atlantic. But that wasn’t all. They were cool to the touch, not warm like new pups should be. They needed to be heated up and soon. The sun was sinking into the hills and in the east a raucous gathering of clouds promised a storm. There was going to be weather, no doubt.
Gudrun looked around. The landscape, bare and craggy and beautiful as it was, offered no help. Not a person to be seen. It was all on her.
She inhaled. All on her. Nobody watching. That was bad, but it also meant one good thing...
With no witnesses, Gudrun pulled her knitting needles from the quiver on her back. Quick as an Elfen archer, she began to work her magic. She reached up and snatched at the last golden rays of the setting sun. The staccato click of her needles snapped away on the wind, but she didn’t falter. She wove the sunlight into glimmering yarn.
And she knitted. Oh, she knitted. This was her magic, something only she could do.
She worked fast, as was her style. When she was done the pups were snuggled up in warm gold hats, cardigans, scarves and pants; all of them pulsing with sunlight.
Gudrun was content that the pups would live and grow up to be big and healthy, for they were covered in the magic of a Fair Isle fairy, a rare, secret breed, one of the last of the species.
That day, feeling young and fit and in control of herself and her skills and her meaning in the world, Gudrun set off to look for other animals in need. She helped forty animals that day and saved forty lives.
Next year, she’d aim to help forty-one.
Better with age, of course.
(Not bad, huh?)
Labels: Family Stuff, Maya Calypso Durham, Sage Anthony Durham
Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror
Pleased to point you toward a new craft/writing exercise book that's coming out later this month.
It's the latest edition of the Now Write!
series, focusing on SFF this time around. I'm one of the contributors. Only one, though, as there's a long list of distinguished folks involved. I'm just pleased to be one of them.
Check it out HERE
Labels: Other Authors, Professor Dave