Stilt-walking and literary ghosts


Comedians: Photo by DoubleM2

I’m getting ready for a two-week novel-writing intensive. I’m not going off to some camp where experts will help me hone my skills and give me the space and time to work intensively on a single project. My kids are doing that. They are going off to circus camp. They will be learning to stilt-walk, hang from the low-flying trapeze, climb aerial silks, and, a perennial favorite among nine-year old boys everywhere, mime being trapped in a box. I will be at home in solitude for the first time since early June, writing.

I haven’t made the progress I hoped for on my YA novel writing challenge. But I expected that might happen – when the kids are home for the summer, finding time to write is challenging. I’m excited to get this big chunk of time and determined not to whittle away at it with other projects, like laundry. I’d like to be halfway through the second draft by the end of the two weeks.

This first week will only be four days of writing. That’s because I’m going to Chicago on Friday to meet up with old friends and go to the 7th annual Printers’ Ball, an event put on by the Poetry Foundation along with a number of other literary and creative groups. The Printers’ Ball is a free event that celebrates literary culture with live performances and demonstrations, lots of free books, magazines and other printed stuff. There are going to be stamping workshops, letterpress demos, paper-making, live poetry and other readings.

I’m particularly stoked to see a reproduction of the infamous Whitechapel Club, the 19th century Chicago journalists’ hangout that was decorated with creepy murder artifacts and named after the London neighborhood made notorious by Jack the Ripper. In fact the theme of the Printers’ Ball this year (It’s Alive!), which celebrates literary ghosts and monsters, is right up my alley. If you’re in the Chicago area, you should stop by. There will be more free books and ‘zines than you can carry.

P.S. If you can figure out what else writing, miming, and Jack the Ripper have in common, leave it in the comments. I’ll bring back a prize for the most creative answer.

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5 Responses to Stilt-walking and literary ghosts
  1. SM Williams
    July 26, 2011 | 8:12 pm

    By the way, if no one in your house emulated Homer Simpson and suddenly stood up at the dinner table to shout “You people have stood in my way long enough! I’m going to clown college!” then I’m afraid an opportunity was lost.

    • Alex
      July 26, 2011 | 9:34 pm

      I often start conversations in the house with “You people”, but no one used that particular line. I’m disappointed, but there is still a week and half left!

  2. SM Williams
    July 24, 2011 | 4:25 pm

    Surely you know that before moving on to streetwalkers, Jack the Ripper killed mimes. Of course, none of them cried out or anything, and people tended to casually step over their corpses, thinking they were pretending to be smooshed under large weights, so their murders went unreported until one of them managed to write a hasty note (“Aaaaargh! I’ve been stabbed.”) that was found the next day. By then, of course, almost all of London’s famous mimes had either been killed or fled to Paris. Most of them didn’t speak French, but who could tell?

    Good to see you posting again – I haven’t been getting my fix of writerly blogs lately.

    • Alex
      July 24, 2011 | 6:33 pm

      Ooh, Bill is definitely in the lead with his take on mimes and Jack. Comical and creative!

      • SM Williams
        July 25, 2011 | 4:32 pm

        Hey, I’m just talking about simple historical facts here.

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