Cue the pomp and circumstance, don the World’s Silliest Hat. I am graduated.
This, by the way, is why the newsletter is a week late. As you know, it was right up the wire catching up all my schoolin’ after my illness in order to graduate in time. When I got out of hospital, I had ten significant pieces of academic writing that needed to be completed in five weeks. I defended my thesis on Monday, turned in the final seminar paper on Wednesday, taught my last class on Thursday and graduated on Friday. On Saturday, there was barbecue and laughter and more than fifty friends and family gathered to celebrate with us.
In short (too late), it’s been a hell of a ride.
Below is the usual list of appearances and publications, but graduating was pretty much the highlight. Those of you who’ve been following me for a while know that’s it’s been five years, fourteen semesters, an M.S. in media studies, an M.F.A. in creative writing, a plethora of students, a myriad of classes, more than 130 books, a gazillion papers and an infinite number of Starbucks Tripleshots. It’s been quite the journey over the last five years, learning to be a teacher while re-learning to be a student again, and launching a full-time freelancing and creative writing business from my “side gig” all these years.
But the best thing I’ve learned on this ride is that we’re always students. Graduation is an accomplishment, to be sure, and hopefully a gateway to better things. But there are always new things to learn, new perspectives to consider, new books to fall into, new ideas to try on for size. We never graduate from that lifelong journey, and we are the better for it. I know that I am.
I canceled most of April’s appearances, but I did keep a couple of them! I spoke at the annual SIUE Mass Comm Week on April 20 for my usual ethics discussion, which this year featured A.I. and its implications for journalism. My thoughts on this subject continue to evolve, and I imagine I will be writing more about it in the months to come. Mass Comm Week also featured the First Amendment Free* Food Festival cosponsored by the St. Louis Society of Professional Journalists, as well as many other panels, roundtables and events.
I also took part in a group reading for this year’s edition of the River Bluff Review, which accepted two poems, a short story and a photo from me this year. It was a great reading and a lot of fun to hear the diverse voices in this year’s edition. The video is available on Patreon.
I was also honored to speak at the Second Life Fantasy Faire, a two-week event in metaverse that raised money for the American Cancer Society. I gave a short craft talk and read a short story, which was very generously received. I was asked if I would consider returning to do a writing workshop, and I informed them that VRaze The Bar will be scheduling me for an in-world workshop in the near future, rescheduled from the one that was canceled when I was in hospital. I’m really enjoying the events in Second Life and look forward to doing more in metaverse in the future.
No formal readings or appearances are planned for May – still trying to take it easy – but June will kick off with three weeks on the road, so that makes up for it! Stay tuned. In the meantime, if you wanted to see the graduation for some strange reason, the livestream was saved here.
In addition, the Banned Books Roundtable in the last week of March was uploaded to YouTube as well. If you can overlook my pneumonia voice, I thought it went off very well. It was also posted to Patreon.
• ConCarolinas, Charlotte, N.C. June 2-4 (guest author)
• TechWrite STL, St. Louis. July, TBA. (presenter)
• Imaginarium, Louisville, Ky. July 14-16 (guest author)
• Dragoncon, Atlanta, Ga. Aug. 31-Sept. 4 (guest author)
• SPJ Conference, Las Vegas. Sept. 28-Oct. 1 (presenter)
• Archon, Collinsville, Ill. Sept. 21-Oct. 1 (LitUnd only)
• ContraKC, Kansas City, Date TBA. (guest author)
• Documenting family’s immigration leads to discovery, award for author (Highland News-Leader)
• Historic hotel is ‘hopeless,’ will be torn down (Highland News-Leader and Yahoo!Sports for some reason)
• Paid leave is now the law in Illinois (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Repeated complaints lead to charges against Highland man (Highland News-Leader)
• Highland schools struggle with staffing problems (Highland News-Leader)
• Ten tips for attending AWP (Medium)
• Once more unto Second Life, dear friends (Elizabeth Donald)
• RBR reading (Elizabeth Donald) and SL reading (Elizabeth Donald and Patreon)
Note: Not all articles are available online, and some may be behind paywalls.
• The Good Samaritan (Patreon)
• Review: A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline (Patreon)
• MFA Reading List (Patreon)
• River Bluff Review reading video (Patreon)
Note: Recently I indexed all the entries I’ve posted on the Patreon going back to launch in 2018. I wanted new Patrons to be able to easily find the work that they’ve missed, and hopefully seeing how much work is on the Patreon might encourage some good folks to subscribe. (Hint, hint.) Seriously, subscriptions start at $1 a month, and I truly believe some of the best work I’ve ever done is on the Patreon. Check out the index here.
Nothing new in the art department, so you get silliness from the graduation!