Good News (and Book Banning)

Blogging about writing during a pandemic has clearly become a back-burner project, but with this entry, perhaps the mindset of a New Year’s Resolution will set in. Besides, I have news to report.

Good news first: after languishing for nearly a decade since its New York debut, Bears is finally being published. As of 2/1/22, mere hours before Groundhog Day, Next Stage Press will release Growl Bear, Timmy Bear, and Susie Wild Bear back into the world. High time, too. In re-formatting the piece prior to its release, I was struck by how the play feels increasingly relevant. This is unfortunate, but understandable. The play opens with a lock-down, for crying out loud.

Here’s a LINK to Next Stage, so you can track down these beloved bears for yourself.

New short fiction is due (yet again, third time) from Wyldblood in the U.K. Meanwhile, the first of my Wyldblood stories has been released in their free and downloadable sampler, available HERE. Check it out! “The Paint-Over Artist” is a story born of graffiti and tagging, transposed to a backward land in a rapidly developing world. Bacteria play a starring role.

“Dara’s Tale,” which had been scheduled for a 2021 release via Tales from the Magician’s Skull, will at last appear sometime in the next couple of months. Apparently, a supply chain issue involve the Skull’s favored paper held up the 2021 production line. So it goes with publishing; paper matters. If you’d like to peek at the Skull’s nefarious web-lair, click HERE.

Meanwhile, a brand-new play, Something Less Direct, had won itself a February workshop production at a fine venue on the West Coast, but Omicron scrubbed that, as it has so much else, and the play’s fate is now once again in limbo. However, I’m encouraged that Something Less Direct found favor so quickly; I had only just begun to send it out.

Writing in the U.S. continues to be an act of unnoticed defiance, even more so now that the McGinn County school board in Tennessee has made Maus a best-seller. Ah, karma. The sting! So far as I know, none of my works have been banned. I regret this. Being banned strikes me as a strongest possible signal that one has arrived.

As Viet Thanh Nguyen put it in this past Sunday’s New York Times, “Once a society acquiesces to burning books, it tends to soon see the need to burn the people who love books.”

Not that the good folk of McGinn County have stooped, so far as I know, to actually burning copies of Maus, but the slope, as history will explain, is slippery.

The best books I’ve read lately include N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season and Richard Powers’s The Overstory. Does their astonishing quality mean that somebody, somewhere, has gone and banned them? Probably.

Lastly, if you’re looking for short fiction to read, click the link to my Downloads page, above, where you will find a selection of my previously published stories, two of which are offered for free and the rest for a minimal cost.

Several plays are also available on the same page, or at the New Play Exchange.

Time now for me to get back to penning my Wars of the Roses soccer novel. (Yes, I know: football.) My two main characters have gotten themselves chained up in a leaky dungeon, thanks to a debacle with a goat. Fifteenth century problems. I’d better engineer a rescue.

‘Til next time.


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