Whew! This newsletter is late because it’s been a typical crazy-hectic launch of a semester, and then some extra fun tossed in. Last. Year. Of. Grad. School.
For the record, I am now teaching at two universities. This semester I have two sections of English composition at one college and one section of newswriting at the other, and wouldn’t you know, they are all on Tuesday/Thursday schedules. So my general mode on those days is one of running a marathon: Commute across the river, teach my class, hustle back across the river within an hour and pray for no breakdowns on the bridges, teach another class, teach a third class, and then attend a class as a student, all without breaks for about 10 hours straight, 13-14 hours if I have a night meeting.
People who work food service or retail are reading this and saying, “Yeah. And?” I see you, and I remember, and I salute you. I am not in the shape for this.
This semester’s student courses are a literature course on slipstream fiction, as I’m still trying to figure out what slipstream actually is; and a workshop/seminar on “Writer in the World,” which is a writing-related service project I will develop this semester and implement in the spring. It’s a required sequence for the MFA program, but since my MFA is shutting down, the class is very small: me and one other student, as we have battled through three years of MFA courses together and are now the sole survivors.
In other news, I’m now regularly writing for the St. Louis Labor Tribune, McClatchy and Feast Magazine, along with the assorted side freelancing work. I’m back at the Alestle as copy editor, occasional writer and baker of cookies. The Literary Underworld continues strong with two more conventions this fall. I’m president of Sigma Tau Delta and the St. Louis Society of Professional Journalists, I’m captain of a Relay for Life team and will be taking over the quarterly book sale for my church next year, and I think I forgot a job in there somewhere. And let’s not forget the book tour, the Patreon and the ongoing fiction writing!
In short, it’s a rollercoaster fall, and each year I swear I’m not going to do this to myself anymore, but then I do it anyway. Whee!
August was intentionally light for public appearances, as I expected it would be tied up with driving a stake through the heart of the Bloody Thesis.
As mentioned previously, that was done, I received notification that my degree was approved, and I am awaiting the diploma by mail. September includes the Edwardsville Book Festival, which is an all-day event in City Park and always a pile of fun. I’ll be speaking at (and running) the SPJ Student Journalist Boot Camp, which returns after its COVID hiatus with the help of a grant from the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.
And at the very end of the month, we have one of the highlights of the year: Archon! The Literary Underworld will be at our usual booth (seriously, we have staked our claim on that property, planted the flag and we shall call it This Land). We will also bring the Traveling Bar to our room in the Doubletree, so if you’re attending Archon, be sure to stop by and say hello!
And for you Patrons: Anyone who subscribes to my Patreon gets a discount at the Literary Underworld booth. Just give your name (or the name you used when you registered on Patreon) to the Minion working the booth.
• Edwardsville (Ill.) Book Festival, Sept. 17
• St. Louis SPJ Journalist Boot Camp, SIUE. Sept. 24
• Archon, Collinsville, Ill. Sept. 30-Oct. 2
• Leclaire Parkfest, Edwardsville, Ill. Oct. 16 (charity book sale)
• SPJ National Conference, Washington, D.C. Oct. 26-30
• ContraCon, Kansas City. Nov. 11-13
• Books-a-Million with Cuppa Words, Edwardsville, Ill. Nov. 19
• University to install machines in men’s rooms after anti-trans vandalism (The Alestle)
• Tyson Foods plan expansion to add hundreds of jobs to region (Labor Tribune)
• With shortages at issue, Highland bumps pay for substitute teachers (Highland News Leader)
• Teenager Aria Burnside is just beginning her dessert empire (Feast Magazine)
• Highland’s shift to Republic service ‘has not gone smoothly’ (Highland News-Leader)
• ‘Farmer Joe’ is on a mission to teach young people about food gardens (Feast Magazine)
• Controversial consolidation of 911 services launches in Highland (Highland News-Leader)
• $7.6 million in grants heading to metro-east (Labor Tribune)
• Six students among the recipients of the SOAR awards (Labor Tribune)
• IDOC backs down on prison layoffs after union pushes back (Labor Tribune)
• Highland adds ADA-friendly playground to park (Highland News-Leader)
• Rally spurs support for Workers Rights Amendment (Labor Tribune)
• Highland advances multi-million school construction project (Highland News-Leader)
• Chip Markel in ‘uphill battle’ to unseat Rep. Bost (Labor Tribune)
Note: Not all articles are available online, and some may be behind paywalls.
Most of my fiction efforts these days are focused on the upcoming thesis (again), which for an MFA consists of a collection of short stories illustrating our craft and range as well as how we have grown and developed our skills over the past three years. No pressure.
• Writer in the world (Patreon)
• Fiction: Springheel Jack (Patreon)
• Farewell, Sword of Damocles (Patreon)