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Showing posts from July, 2013

Readers' Questions About Writers Guilds

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A recent column about writers guilds has prompted a rash of questions from readers — okay, not a rash of questions, since a rash is made up of a bunch of little dots, which implies that a bunch of readers were curious about this.

Let me try again.

A recent column about writers guilds has prompted a zit of questions from readers about how guilds work, how to join one, and even how to recognize the members.

Wanda A. from Quonochontaug, Rhode Island asks, "How hard is it to start a guild? Is there some sort of guildship granting authority, or a guild of guilds?"

Actually, Wanda, starting a guild is both easy and hard. Anyone can gather a group of people who work in one profession, dress them up in medieval-looking robes, and call themselves a guild.

On the other hand, you can sit in my garage all you want, but that doesn't make you a car. A guild is not like a professional association that throws big drunken conferences in Vegas each year. A guild works for the betterment o…

Indiana Fever Fall to New York Liberty, 72 – 77, In a Game of "If Onlies"

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With the Indiana Fever, we've gone from resigned disappointment to tentative excitement to actually being surprised by a loss all in a matter of eight games.

It's surprising what a difference a few weeks can make in terms of a team's fortunes and play-off hopes.

After the first eight games of the season, Indianapolis had resigned themselves with a champs-to-chumps storyline. After winning the next 6 of 8 games, Fever fans can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Okay, okay, one of those two losses happened last night to the New York Liberty — 72 – 77 — but it was an illustrative loss, and adds an "if only" factor to the team's narrative this year.

Take a look at these "if onlys" ("if onlies?" "if only's?" No, that last one is definitely wrong. You don't pluralize with an apostrophe).

"If onlies." It's "onlies."

Let's take a look at a few of the "if onlies" that kept the Fever from b…

Indiana Fever Beat Washington Mystics 77 – 70

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The Indiana Fever seems to be on the mend and on the rise again. The 5-8 Fever faced off against the 8-7 Washington Mystics with yet another glimmer of hope: Erin Phillips, who had been out for several weeks with an injury, was going to play tonight.

It has been an exciting ride for the Fever this year, after they had reached 1 – 7 at one point, before finally returning to their original form, and finally reaching 5 - 8.

A 77 – 70 victory over the Washington Mystics tonight brought them to 6 – 8, moving them into fourth place in the Eastern division.

Add to that the news that Tamika Catchings had been voted a starter in the WNBA All-Star game, which will be coached by Fever coach Lin Dunn, and you've got the makings of a fairy tale comeback story. All you need is Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, and a pissed-off Jobu doll, and we're looking at a decent shot at making the playoffs again. With 20 more games to play, that's a real possibility.

"The WNBA's not a marathon…

The Secret Lives of Writers

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It's a little-known fact that many writers are members of various guilds, leagues, and secret societies, organizations that have existed for many decades, if not centuries.

The groups aren't secret because they have tried to hide from the world's eyes all these years. Rather, it's because writers are so reclusive and lonely, they don't actually have anyone to tell.

Each writers guild is based on a different genre and literary style, and they can be found all over the world. The World Philosophers Guild was created by Rene Descartes in 1632, making it one of the oldest — and most boring — guilds of its kind.

There's the International Society of Novelists (ISN), the League of Poets, the Free Society of Dramatists and Playwrights, and of course, the Coterie of French Poets (based in Paris), which looks down their noses at the League of Poets for being too bourgeois.

The Science Fiction Writers Society was created in London by Jules Verne and H.G. Wells in 1891 whe…

The Spy Who Tweeted Me

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Last week, while alleged NSA leaker Edward Snowden reprised Tom Hanks' role from "The Terminal" in the Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow, he received a marriage proposal from Anna Chapman via Twitter.

Chapman is the redheaded Russian spy who was arrested in the U.S. in 2010 and sent back to Russia in a Cold War-style 10-spy swap ("we'll give you Chapman for Tim Tebow and two spies to be named later").

With a little investigating of my own, I've managed to dig up the entire Twitter conversation that followed.

RussianRedAC: @NSALeaker Snowden, will you marry me?!

NSALeaker: May be difficult. Stuck in Sheremetyevo airport until further notice.

RussianRedAC: I know. You're all over Russian news. I live just 5 miles from you.

NSALeaker: Just checked your Twitter page. I remember you. Watch your TV show here in SVO. Fmr employer kept tabs on you.

RussianRedAC: I know. That's how I got caught.

NSALeaker: No, I mean up until 2 months ago. Then I had to flee coun…

Karl the Curmudgeon Misses Typewriters

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"You know what I miss, Kid?" asked Karl. "Typewriters. I miss the way they sound. They way they thump and clack under my fingers. You don't get that with a computer."

What brought this on? I asked. You've been using computers for years. You wrote your last five books on a computer. You get a new computer every 18 months just because you want the latest and greatest.

"Look around you. What do you see?"

I see a bunch of 20-somethings tapping away at their laptops or staring at their iPads, I said. We were sitting in Just Brew It, the coffee shop and hangout for Indianapolis' literary set and the wannabes who hoped they could absorb some of the place's mojo.

"And what do you hear?"

It's pretty quiet, since no one is talking. I can hear the store stereo and the espresso machine. I can even hear the little taps on their keyboards.

"Exactly!" Karl half-shouted. "That's my point!"

I shushed him, worried he wo…