Every fall I go to the Western Literature Association conference to hear people read their essays and creative work. It is a fun time to meet men and women of letters who focus on the American West like I do. For me, as an editor, it is a great chance to meet in person the writers who have been published in Southwestern American Literature and talk shop over a few beers and cocktails. It is also a great way to discover new talent!
The past few years I’ve given some critical and scholarly presentations, but this year I am going to read some of my own fiction. I’ve only read my work in front of an audience once so I’m a bit nervous. Yes, I have until October to get ready, but still. I’ll be reading a short story that hasn’t been published yet which makes it all the more nerve racking. The piece needs some revision and needs to be polished by August 15th to be submitted for the Frederick Manfred Award. I guess I better get to work.
Besides reading some of fiction, I’m excited to go this year because the WLA conference will be in Reno, Nevada. I haven’t been to Reno since 2008, and though I’m not a big gambler I think Reno is a great town. I’ll be staying at Harrah’s and plan on eating some juicy steaks and breathing in some crisp October air. I’m also happy to announce that one of my graduate students whom I encouraged to submit to the WLA also got in—so I must not be that lousy of a teacher after all, har har.
I’m afraid I also have some sad news. One of my other graduate students was in a really bad fire and is now fighting for his life. His name is Victor Holk and he just graduated from Texas State University with a MA in philosophy. Victor also just recently married. A few weeks ago there was some type of electrical fire at his house, and though Victor got his wife, his friend, and his pets out, he now has severe burns over most of his body. Please visit http://www.gofundme.com/x4tbb3w and make a donation. The Cheatham Street Warehouse recently put on a two night charity event which really brought a lot of people together in support of one amazing guy.
And some more sad news…
My father recently lost his friend Alex Datchuck. This is super recent so I’m not sure about the details, but it was apparently sudden and unexpected. The last time I saw Alex was about nine years ago. A bunch of us went fishing off Cape Cod and had a wonderful time. Later that evening, Alex cooked up the fish we caught and it was quite tasty. Alex was a good man and a beloved friend of my father’s. I’d like to send my condolences to the Alex’s family and friends.
Writer living in the hill country of Texas