Early-Mid March Update 2015

The first taste of Spring is in the air. The thermometer on my car read “42” briefly yesterday afternoon in the parking lot outside of Pho Soc Trang. Of course the huge bowl of pho contained within my corporeal self could have been throwing off the reading.

Caffeinated Press has hit the ground running! Our first event at the UICA attracted at least 30 people to listen to authors read excerpts and publishers discuss their craft. Our pool of editorial talent continues to grow, and the spring melt is causing our trickle of submissions to grow to a small stream. In addition to book-length manuscripts we are accepting short form submissions for both the Autumn 2015 edition of Brewed Awakenings and the inaugural edition of the 3288 Review literary journal.

Master Lee’s school is still going strong. We just elevated one of our senior students to instructor status. It was well deserved. Congratulations, Tracy! Now the real work begins.

One of our students from Back In The Day, Han Lin, is in town this weekend. His contribution to the class, both as a martial artist and as a translator for some of the finer points of Master Lee’s instructions, cannot be overstated.

Over the past year we have had a few students return to class after long absences. Hearing them talk about how the class has changed, and how it has stayed the same, reinforces just how long I have been a student. Hearing them ask about other people who have themselves been absent for long periods of time. Seeing how much they remember of old, old lessons. Realizing how much the style has evolved under Master Lee. Being immersed in the system, it is sometimes difficult to get a sense for how influential it is on our lives, and hearing it from people who have left and returned is a valuable lesson.

As for reading, most of mine has been short stories by members of the local writing group. I have managed to get about 75% of the way through The Three Body Problem, by Liu Cixin. I really like it so far! Engaging, interesting, complex story; and the translation by Ken Liu displays a masterful level of precision – as should be expected from a writer like Liu.

As for my own writing, it has slowed considerably as I devote more time to Caffeinated Press. I am concentrating more on revising than writing. Two of my short stories have been through first reads, and two more are still out in the wild. The reader notes have been both encouraging and eye-opening. This is the first time, I think, that more than one or two people have read anything I have written which I intend to publish. The work never ends, but every step is rewarding.

That’s it for the moment. Work will send me to Chicago during the week of St. Patrick’s Day. Maybe I’ll get to see the river dyed green.

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