What a weird month March was! I kicked off with my much-anticipated trip to Seattle for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs convention, which I wrote about in exhaustive detail for Patreon (see links below). I also posted a great deal on social media and photography is pending, so if you’re interested, you should subscribe to the Patreon and get access to all my previous posts! (See how I subtly worked that in?) I fell completely in love with Seattle and enjoyed the hell out of my time at AWP, returning fully reenergized to make all the words!
Unfortunately, three days after returning from Seattle, I started getting sick. I thought I’d caught the usual confluenza, but by the end of the week I was in hospital with pneumonia in both lungs. I had top-notch medical care, solid insurance coverage and my husband with me the entire time, so I count my blessings while acknowledging the privilege I have to be treated and recover without fear. I’ve been out of hospital a week at the time of this writing, and I’m not yet fully recovered – they say it may be a month or two before my lungs are back at their previous capacity, and I’m also looking at physical therapy for a while.
I want to thank all the people who sent their well-wishes to me in the hospital and after my release, who sent supportive messages to my husband as he fretted, and offered to help out as best they could with any of our needs. It makes an enormous difference in the isolation and claustrophobia of a hospital room to hear that people are thinking of you and praying for your recovery.
Of course, it had to hit six weeks before graduation, and now I am significantly behind in all the projects I am spinning as I prepare to finish grad school. That also means very little freelance work was done this month. I am canceling most public appearances and reducing much of my “extra” work in an effort to recover physically and catch up on my work. I know you will understand, and rest assured this summer you won’t be able to shut me up.
As mentioned above, my illness required canceling most appearances this month, including the Second Life writing workshop scheduled for April 1. I’m in communication with VRazetheBar to reschedule the workshop for a later date, after my voice and lungs return to full capacity. I’m looking forward to resuming events in metaverse and real life soon!
The event I couldn’t cancel was the Banned Books roundtable on March 28. As president of both the St. Louis Society of Professional Journalists and SIUE Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society, I was the moderator, and no one was more nervous than my poor understudy when I was in the hospital. Fortunately I got out in time to rest up for the roundtable, my voice held out and I didn’t have a horrible coughing fit in front of a live studio audience. The event was very productive, with a robust conversation ranging over a lot of topics relating to book banning and the current backlash on education. There was news coverage in advance of the event and of the event itself, which I really appreciated. I’m not sure everyone understands exactly how much worse this issue is compared to previous years, but as one of the panelists put it, this is one issue on which journalists cannot afford to stand by the sidelines. The First Amendment protects us all, and it needs us to defend it.
I’m also keeping my guest lecture on the practical application of journalism ethics for SIUE’s Mass Comm Week, which will also include the First Amendment Free* Food Festival co-sponsored by St. Louis SPJ and the SIUE Alestle every year. That’s when we offer students the opportunity to sign away their First Amendment rights for free pizza, and it always turns out to be a terrific object lesson in the importance of the First Amendment. Other than that, I’m trying to rest until ConCarolinas and Paris in June!
I’m also glad to announce that I was accepted at Dragoncon once again, and will be returning to the Labor Day marathon after a long absence.
• SIUE Mass Comm Week: Ethics, Edwardsville, Ill. April 18 (presenter)
• ConCarolinas, Charlotte, N.C. June 2-4 (guest author)
• TechWrite STL, St. Louis. Date TBA. (presenter)
• Imaginarium, Louisville, Ky. July 14-16 (guest author)
• Dragoncon, Atlanta, Ga. (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)
• Budzinski introduces LEAP Act to expand apprenticeship programs (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Highland’s budget for 2023-24 looks promising, city manager reports (Highland News-Leader and Yahoo Sports Canada)
• Post Commons becomes cornerstone coffee shop in Alton, Ill. (Feast Magazine)
• Budzinski signs on as co-sponsor to PRO Act (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Illinois contractor forced to pay back wages and fines under Prevailing Wage Act (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Highland man charged in death of 3-month-old infant son (Highland News-Leader)
• Job training, support for Illinois workforce top governor’s agenda (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
• Funding for annual Highland art festival in limbo as council weighs options (Highland News-Leader)
• Steelworkers union could block sale of Granite City Mill (St. Louis Labor Tribune and Illinois Business Journal)
• Hotel-restaurant complex coming to Highland (Highland News-Leader)
• Granite City hospital sale to California corporation is final (Belleville News-Democrat)
• What Illinois’ paid leave law means for union workers (St. Louis Labor Tribune)
Note: Not all articles are available online, and some may be behind paywalls.
Currently bustling away on a screenplay for my adaptation class, the MFA thesis and some badly overdue fiction work I owe to editors who are being astoundingly patient. Nothing to see here yet, move along…
• Ten tips for AWP (Patreon)
• AWP 2023: That’s a wrap (Patreon)
• AWP 2023: Attack of the inkstained wretches (Patreon)
• AWP 2023: Hey, there’s a convention here (Patreon)
• AWP 2023: Klondike Gold Rush (Patreon)
• AWP 2023: The Emerald City, Pt. 1 (Patreon)
• Quote unquote: Ray Bradbury (Patreon)
• AWP 2023: So many evergreens (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.