Works In Progress

Happy site make over! It’s been on my post-graduation to-do list for a while now. I still feel like I’m in post-graduation (DePaul) mode really. I think I’m allowed to feel that way for at least one full school year after, right? When I still know folks in the program and I’m still feeling the momentum and the wind of my freshly minted degree still on my back (unless that’s really the Arctic wind this winter’s brought upon us.)

In addition to Mortified, I was a part of Defining Moments, Broken Road Theatre’s storytelling benefit for their first show. Thanks again, Dennis! While I did an encore of sorts of my Mortified piece, I am working on some new material to submit or have on hand for future invitations. I’ve also been trying to make it out to shows I haven’t been to. Finally made it to Story Sessions! And in the past few weeks, I’ve “officially” met folks around Live Lit Land I’ve only before known of either through seeing them at an event or around the Facebook groups. Always good to have some real connection. You probably know who you are. 🙂

A couple nonfiction things in the works hopefully soonishly coming to a show and/or publication near you:

Drama 101 – Morning radio improv game, high school, automotive knowledge or lack thereof…

Stolen – Of a childhood home break-in and other loss.

I have some nonfiction work from school that needs some love as well for publication and/or performance (some of it works better for performance than others.) I’ve thought about posting here the piece I wrote about the passing of my friend Cookie Crumbles, though with some editing it may work for live events. So we’ll see… There’s the story of my volunteer work at the Lakeview Pantry last year (The Pantry) There’s also my piece on going home to Detroit to learn more about Rouge River conversation efforts (On the Rouge), which in some ways is less about the river itself and more about Home and connection with my Dad. So hopefully I’ll have news on those stories in the near future…

I need to start entering more contests. There are some deadlines coming up this month. I gotta get on that for real…

I have some fiction work going on as well. This week (and this weekend…) I’ve gotten back into edits of my “Todd & Wendell” story, a story of a grandson and a grandfather I’ve been working on since the summer before school started. I workshopped it in my first writing class at DePaul, and worked on it some more in a literary editing class. And with some much appreciated feedback from my classmate Raul Palma, I’m going full-ish steam ahead on round, um, I really don’t know what round I’m on at this point. I also have The Red Car, an Indiana story, which I included as a work sample for my DePaul application. That draft is long buried, but it’s good to know it was still good enough at the time. There’s also my Triptosis, the story of a couple best friends as told through an unexpected point of view written for Rebecca Johns-Trissler’s Speculative Fiction class (a program highlight for me–take it!) Hopefully you’ll hear good news about these stories as well.

And of course there’s all those other drafts and half-started ideas and first sentences waiting for me to focus my “writerly A.D.D.” back onto them. We all have those!

I suppose this public declaration can act as a motivator. I better follow through for you!

I’ll keep you posted.

Cheers.

Photo: Charlotte Built my Hotrod, 2007.  A favorite from my South Bend, Indiana days. See it on Flickr.

Mortified in Photos

Thanks to everyone who came out to Mortified Chicago to “share the shame” with me as I presented a collection of high school poetry and song lyrics affectionately titled Angry Young Man. As I navigated through the music-inspired personas I put forth, I shared such titles as “Downhill,” “Get Off My Foot,” and “My Bleeding Soul.” I had a blast and can’t wait to to do it all over again.

Photos by my fabulous cast mate Jill Howe who shared with us her take on The Crucible by way of Alanis Morrisette.

UPDATE: Listen to the audio at Soundcloud.com!

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My inner Robert Smith and I.

Mortified 2

Giving the Censor Board a piece of my mind, yo.

My air guitar and I "sing" about a love that's gone "Downhill."

My air guitar and I “sing” about a love that’s gone “Downhill” from 8th grade.

Mom's "moody one."

Mom’s “moody one.”

Story Lab Chicago Launches & Other Updates!

Hello Friends! So, like Happy New Year!  Boy, is this site due for an update.  October seems so far away now.  And I’ve finally posted all my photos on Flickr of my amazing California trip. To follow up on the previous post, Story Club was an awesome time, if a little mellow due to the cold November rain that evening–which has beauty in itself of course.  Hoping to get back next month to maybe snag an open mic slot.  I have a Valentines Day themed piece that could be good….

In the mean time, I have a storytelling gig coming up on Wednesday January 19, 2011 at 7:30 pm at the Black Rock Pub on Damen and Addison in Chicago. Story Lab Chicago is a new venture by the fine folks at This Much Is True.  SLC features new and new-ish writers/storytellers.  Check us out!  And visit the web site and become a fan on the Facebook.  I’ll be debuting a new story, which is still coming together, but getting there. 🙂  If you see me in Caribou this week, you’ll know what I’m doing.

Other writerly goings on these days….

~ Coffee Boy, the movie, wrapped production at the end of August and was officially released on October 15, 2010.  World wide distribution and domination is pending film festival slots and other goings on.  In the meantime, check out the film’s page on direct0r-adapter-friend Erwan Ripoll’s site HERE.  Also with this project, I have my own IMDb page. I want to think that makes me cooler than before, but I guess not really. 🙂  Still, exciting.  There isn’t much on it, though I submitted the link to this site to be included.  So, visit it and up my “Star Meter”!  (Though I think I’d have to pay for that first….)

~ Battles With Boys took another step closer to reality thanks to a handful of friends and a class room at DePaul University where I was able to share an official first draft of the show as a full length entity comprising of various short pieces.  A discussion proceeded and there is much to think about.  The next step will hopefully reach a wider audience.  More to come….

~ Mining My Life: This past year has been in part focused on organizing all that I Have. Loose pages of high school and college poetry, 7th & 8th grade assignments, ETC, are all in one handy folder in order which works for the chaos of it all.  My 19 handwritten journals plus my private cyber journal are getting the personal indexing treatment (getting there….) so that I can quickly look up things instead of spending hours trying to find it.  My journals have been particularly helpful for my CNF work–and along the way I’ve gotten inspiration for my fiction as well.  Journal #1 will come in handy for an upcoming project landing this Spring (TBA…!)  This all helps my brain process the fact that I’ve reached the age where the past is just as overwhelming as the future.

~ NewTown Writers: Leg work to be done soonly on Solo Homo 9.  Stay tuned….

~ Open Books:  One of my goals for the end of 2010 and into the new year was to do a little volunteer work.  Thanks to the fine folks at Open Books (Chicago’s leading literacy non-profit), I’ve been able to work a couple sessions of the Adventures in Creative Writing Field trip program.  So far, I’ve worked with high school girls on prose, and 3rd graders on poetry.  The little ones were more into it.  I have a couple more sessions this month as well.  If you’re so inclined, you should check out all the volunteer section at the site.  Shown below is a cool photo someone snapped of me and my 3rd graders who make you fall in love with them, then they leave and break your heart just a little.

Well, that does it for now. If I’ve forgotten anything (it happens), I’ll shoot another post.  Cool things abound in 2011.  Can’t wait!  Cheers.

Smith Mag Love

Last week, I found out by flipping through my Facebook home page, that one of my Six Word Memoirs was chosen as the Memoir of the Day by the fine folks at Smith Mag.  So I thought I’d archive the love (screen shots from the Smith Mag site, which you should totally visit.  Click them to enlarge!). Funny thing is, I posted this almost two years ago!  So things WILL catch someone’s eye eventually.  Put the work out there and be patient. 🙂

As for the memoir itself, this has always been my inner response whenever I’d hear the now culturally entrenched “You’re a poet and didn’t know it!” phrase.  While my actual poetry writing days are behind me, I’d like to think I’ve carried on the poetic torch into my playwriting and prose.

THEN, I discovered this round-up page just the other day.  This is pretty awesome too.  I’ve won a handful of things in my life, but being named  “Most Poetically Meta” is one I’m particularly proud of.

So, Thank you, Smith Mag!

By the way, Next up for me: I’ll be a featured reader at next month’s Story Club on November 4.  ‘Twill be way cool!

NewTown Writers News

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Here is the Official press release (written by myself and sent out to the world, or at least the group’s mailing list and our Facebook group):

NewTown Writers announces the appointment of Michael Van Kerckhove as the new Artistic Director of the performance wing. Michael returns to Chicago after he and his partner, Ernie Nolan, spent three years working with Indiana University at South Bend. His affiliation with the group dates back to the inaugural edition of Working Stiffs in 2002.

Michael and long time member, Robert Klein Engler, have found a new home for their performance endeavors. After a number of years at the Bailiwick, stops at Live Bait and Chemically Imbalanced, the 2009 season will be presented in Strawdog Theatre Company’s Hugen Hall cabaret space located at 3829 North Broadway.

Plans are in the works for the 7th edition of Solo Homo in June and an evening of short plays in October. Stay tuned for details…

Pretty cool, huh?  In my reintegration into the city, dubbed “Operation Chicago Re-boot,” I became a board member of the group last fall and an “official” member of the performance wing.  Even though I’ve been involved with the group and have been published in both publication arms, I really do feel this sense of official-ness.  I haven’t been involved as much with the literary wing, though that could change now that I’m back, depending on Life and Everything Else.  Either way, the group has my support.

There was a noble effort to regroup and re-focus the theatre wing this past December.  The Holidays and New Year unraveled that a bit.  I was asked to step into the AD position and approved by the rest of the board.  Yay approval! 🙂  When recently asked my goals as AD, I basically replied “Focus and Process.”  Solo Homo will have some familiar faces, a few new ones, and will get back to its roots of writing & performance–that magical blend of the literary and theatre worlds I love so much.  How we get there should bring out the Best in all of us.  I like that.

Now, I just have to figure out what I’m going to do for my own piece in the show.  You know, the writing part.  I have a couple pieces I’d love to do, but they may be a little long.  So maybe this will be a good way to impose a deadline upon myself for new material.  The other pieces will definitely be incorporated into my full length solo show that maybe I’ve mentioned around here a few times.  It has a yet to be determined unleashing date, for sure.  But Battles With Boys will arrive….

NewTown Writers continues its bi-weekly workshops, and as in the past should have a table at the Printers Row Book Fair, also coming up in June.  Will definitely let you all know about that!

Happy Writing and Happy Spring.  It’s wonderful to be back! 🙂