Writing and More Writing — pass the scotch

I have been effectively living out of a suitcase for three weeks: Two weeks in Ohio visiting family and friends and one at the Wild Acres Writers Conference up in the NC mountains. I’ve decided to jot down some things I learned (or re-learned) so far

– I don’t need to be on/check Facebook, Twitter, news feeds, on-line journals, etc. every 10 minutes

– scotch makes being off the internet much easier

– saltine crackers can be used as an ice breaker at a party

– be careful of people bearing cups of drinks with names they made up themselves

– Ibuprofen is man’s best friend

– snacks are called snacks for a reason and I can survive on 3 meals a day – who knew?

– I can wake up and get moving even when I’m tired, and most importantly not be “grumpy” to those around me

– there are so many talented, intelligent, extremely funny and dedicated people out there that I should grab hold of every opportunity to shut up, sit back, and listen (if my wife reads this, I’m in deep shit)

– Having to live out of a suitcase does completely and utterly suck, but it does make a man thrifty

– the mountains are freaking beautiful and remarkable places to be and when I die I want my ashes spread on one (but not in that cheesy, Chock-Full-O-Sentimental-Nuts way)

– If I have 5, 10, 20 minutes to “kill”, I don’t need to flip on the TV and “Veg”

– my family is unbearably awesome

– Stories.  From carved pictures on a cave wall, to campfire tales, stories are integral to our lives (this is true even though the campfire has been replaced by the blue glow of the television and the darkness of a movie theater).

– ex-preachers and preachers wives are really interesting

– Patton Oswald is brilliant – magic sky cake – amen

– coffee is not overrated

– the cleanup crew hates glitter

– I am truly lucky to be surrounded by all these talented and wonderful family, friends, and new friends

– Here some brilliant authors you should check out and read, preferably by purchasing their books

Nancy Bartholomew — a “make your stomach hurt” kind of funny writer who can channel character’s voices so well it borders on the creepy. Engaging, imagistic, crisp dialogue; her stories are not just highly entertaining, but worthy of study for the craft. Somewhat of a disclaimer, I am currently in her workshop, however this does not mean I am sucking up. She doesn’t even know I have a website that gets like 10 visitors a day. Yet. Last thing I’ll say about her is she’s great teacher and honest, even when she’s not. The type of person you set aside an hour to have coffee with and end up there 3 hours. This is the type of person you should want to read.

Ron Rash – heartfelt and beautiful language that contemplates our human condition in ways that I wish I could both in his poetry and novels. He captures moments and lays them out so well that you would think

Michael Parker an off-the-wall guy whose stories fly up in a grand, awe inspiring rocket then when they hit the apex in the sky and you’re just starting to think that might be it, you’re blinded by a magical fireworks display, a splendid and colorful insight into the human nature

Luke Whisnant – stories that are, as my eloquent roomie said, “genuine”; not over-the-top, happy ending, shoot ‘em up or beat you with a learning moment, but a complex look at our funny, sad, horrifying, absurd, beautiful lives – I wish I could do that

Phillip Gerrard and Janice Fuller (non-fiction and poetry respectively) are absolutely cruel. Both made me bite my cheeks so as to keep my eyes welling up with tears. How dare they do that at a public reading? Images that were tender and haunting, words that leave you appreciating life just a little bit more after hearing them

– And if you like dark, with a capital D, mixed in with a simple and effective sense of dry humor Abigail Dewitt‘s work did not disappoint. She was not at all a “dark” person, so when she read her material, it was a slight shock to the system; but when the sarcastic wit came out, I couldn’t help but fall in love.

And we haven’t even gotten to the “student’ readings yet.

Ok, I’m gonna do a little shameless plugging myself. Please check out my sc-fi noir stories and let me know what you think.

1. Paint Me A Victim, Make Me A Cause published in Big Pulp

2. Furious published in Dark Valentine

3. Power Surges published in Pulp Engine

4. Breaking Knute published in the July issue of Silver Blade

The first two lines of the 5th story in the 6 story series is: “Alana first met Swede when she saw his 6’4 frame heaving, his muscles bumping and jiving as he spewed rations and beer all over her front porch.

It seemed to her an awful lot of beer.”

If you like, keep an eye out for the story. If you don’t, what’s wrong with you?

If sci-fi isn’t your thing, I have noir and crime fiction stories in the links to the right. Being a writer, feedback is always welcome.

I have a story that I need a reader for sending out as my usual reader is off at Disneyland or some such shit. Seriously. (Love ya man). So if you have ten minutes and wouldn’t mind helping a brother out by reading a story so he could get it ready for submission that would be fantastic. send it to my email c dot rohrbacher at gmail.com

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By Chad Rohrbacher

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