September 9, 2022

Pulse Check: Summer of 2022

Summer of 2023 was really busy and inspiring. Here's a few things I've been up to:

On June 10th and 11th, I went to Cross Plains, Texas, for Howard Days, a literary festival and fan gathering for celebrating the life and work of Robert E. Howard. I organized the Glenn Lord Symposium, an academic panel (founded by Jeffrey Shanks) that is part of the event. You can watch it on YouTube here (special thanks to Texas Center for publishing it): The Glenn Lord Symposium. The three presentations that constituted this symposium were very thoughtful.

That same weekend of Howard Days, my independent press, Spiral Tower Press, published the fifth issue of Whetstone: Amateur Magazine of Sword and Sorcery. It's a free pdf and you can access it here: Whetstone (Issue 5). Incidentally, during Howard Days, Whetstone was awarded the "Costigan Award" for Literary Achievement.

I did some traveling and writing in July. A lot of July was spent preparing for the first SpiralCon, a quasi-academic convention I organized at Christopher Newport University, my workplace. During SpiralCon, the organizing committee I chaired inaugurated an achievement award sponsored by Spiral Tower Press, The Trigon Awards. You can learn more about the Trigon Awards here: RetroCultCast (Episode 5)

From August 4th to 7th, I attended the GenCon Writers Symposium and participated in a few panels about pulp fiction, sword and sorcery, and horror. Seth Lindberg, an organizer of the symposium, released audio recordings of a lot of those panels on YouTube. I've linked to one that was a lot of fun with Seth Lindberg, Howard Andrew Jones, and Matthew John about sword and sorcery pastiche. The conversation arrived at some interesting places (you can follow the thread to the other Writers Symposium panels through this link): SWORD & SORCERY PASTICHE Panel - GenCon 2022 Writer's Symposium.

A few weeks later, I attended the NecronomiCon (August 18th to 21st) in Providence, Rhode Island. I had some traveling issues (flights were cancelled and re-arranged), and so couldn't make a few of my panels. I really enjoyed one panel, "Pulp Fiction: What Have We Lost?" The panelists were Paul Di Filippo, Mike Hunchback, Darrell Schweitzer, and me. I learned a lot!

On same weekend of the NecronomiCon, after a lot of work, Spiral Tower Press published the second issue of Witch House: Amateur Magazine of Cosmic Horror. Like Whetstone, Witch House is a free pdf. You can access it here: Witch House (Issue 2). The introduction of Witch House (Issue 2) was graciously provided by the celebrated weird fiction and Lovecraft scholar, S.T. Joshi.

Since returning from the NecronomiCon my semester has started at CNU. I'm teaching a Literary Theory and History of Literary Criticism course as well as a few sophomore composition courses focused on Gothic horror. I've been testing out the practice of recording a few of my lectures for students who miss classes. If you're interested in literary theory and criticism, this might be interest: YouTube: Introduction to Literary Theory (Part 1)

I'm trying to maintain a creative writing habit but my word output has diminished. In August I was producing 690 words per day. Alas, I'm down to 0 words per day in September (distractions include course design, lecture preparation, reading for class, grading, and other service duties).

On a completely different note: I've been doing a few "Let's Plays" on YouTube in order to completely zone out from work. It's an interesting practice and it keeps my video game playing time down to about 30-60 minutes a day. 

I have several long-term academic and creative projects percolating in the background: an academic monograph on sword and sorcery, future issues of The Dark Man: Journal of Robert E. Howard and Pulp Studies, a few long book reviews and articles, and a few more things. Things are busy but they are good. 

I hope you're well!