Inhuman Swill : Page 112
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.


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The building where I work is being sold and repurposed, and the businesses here have been steadily moving out for the past five or six months. We have new office space lined up nearby, and if it weren't for a big deadline coming up in the middle of June we would be there already.

Meantime, the building staff are less and less interested in maintaining things. The infrastructure is slowly going to hell. It takes days and days for, say, plumbing problems to be resolved. Overflowing sinks and toilets are commonplace. I fear before moving day we'll discover we're working in a J.G. Ballard novel, and office tribes will be warring with each other and eating the bodies of the fallen.

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More of that Blue talk

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Is it possible to be nostalgic for something that only happened a week ago? Laura and I were sitting out back in the dusk last night, me with a beer, she with a cigarette, the dog with a chew toy, and I was telling her about how if I felt this way after only a week at Blue Heaven, I must have been a complete mess at 17 coming home from six weeks at Clarion.

For a few days I've resisted sitting down to write up the social side of the workshop, figuring the ground has already been covered pretty thoroughly by others. But the idea wouldn't let me go, so here (rapidly and possibly incoherently) I go.

[info]paulmelko picked me up at Port Columbus on the afternoon of Friday, May 12th. Cathy "Chance" "Jaded Reader" "[info]secritcrush" Morrison, having arrived earlier that afternoon and checked into an airport hotel, was with him. I almost immediately supplied the first running gag (or "callback") of the week when Paul, pulling out into traffic, said, "So your plane was a little late."

"I thought we landed early," I said, looking from my watch to the dashboard clock. "Is that the right time? 4:20? I set my watch back an hour when I got on the plane."

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May's CD mix of the month

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My contribution to the May CD Mix of the Month Club was Finest Worksongs.

Includes uncredited sound clips from Glengarry Glen Ross, Friday, Office Space, EuroTrip, Joe vs. the Volcano, Robocop, The Italian Job (original version), 9 to 5, 24, Lost in Space (TV series), and Frankie Goes to Hollywood's Welcome to the Pleasuredome.

(The story so far.)

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Blue language

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Though I've been involved with local writers' group on and off in the time since, I hadn't attended a formal away-from-home writing workshop for nearly 21 years—well over half a lifetime, and all of my professional writing career. So it was with excitement and some trepidation early this year that I accepted Charles Coleman Finlay's invitation to attend Blue Heaven 2006 on Kelleys Island, off the Ohio shore of Lake Erie.

Excitement because this would be a peer workshop focusing on SF and fantasy novels, and I was having definite trouble transitioning from short fiction to longer work. And also because I'd be hanging out with some first-rate writers and rising stars.

Trepidation because, for all that I sometimes get worked up online and probably don't come across as bashful, I'm fairly reserved in person and don't usually say much in a new group until I'm comfortable, if then. And also because I'd be hanging out with some first-rate writers and rising stars.

The immediate benefit of Charlie's invitation was that it sparked me to write a hundred more pages on my novel Inclination in something under a month, which for me qualifies as a blistering white heat. The next benefit was the chance to read the first fifty pages of ten other nascent novel manuscripts that ranged from cool and fun to fucking awesome.

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Speaking of missionary memoirs, Christopher Bigelow has published a very fine personal essay over at Popcorn Popping. Despite my cheeky subject line, it's a revealing read and you should check it out.

Why do they call it Popcorn Popping? It comes from a favorite Mormon children's song, "Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree."
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ShunnCast #16

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Epidode #16 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which Bill learns that, even when hand-delivered, not every message comes with a happy ending, and the vigorous application of common dust is considered as a harbinger of fiery doom.

See also [info]shunncast.

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No heaven, just blue

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Bill on the rocks
Came home last night to a happy dog and an even happier wife. And I couldn't have been happier to see them.

But quite a comedown to return to work—and be plunged into a manufactured crisis—after a week-plus at the Blue Heaven workshop. No time to post about the week's experiences yet, except to say that it was an amazing week filled with great people, and that the help I received on my novel was and will be absolutely invaluable. You may or may not glean more tantalizing details from [info]ccfinlay, [info]secritcrush, [info]sallytuppence, Paul, Greg, Tim, Brenda, and Toby.

And you may or may not be tantalized by Secritcrush's Blue Heaven photo album!

Oh, and here and here, if you read down the yellow columns on the left, you can see what happens when writers with too much beer and wi-fi edit one another's Wikipedia entries.

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What do you think?

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Wing nuts

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It's WING NIGHT at the Village Pump, sort of a happy hour for chicken wings, 4 to 6. I could get used to this kind of living. Beer, wings, and internet.

Oh, yeah. And the critiquing of novels is very good, helpful, and educational.

But boy. Beer, wings, and internet. Yeah.

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Heaven is very blue

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I'm enjoying the week greatly here at Blue Heaven, on beautiful Kelleys Island off the Ohio shore of Lake Erie. It's raining like a mother, and will for the rest of the week, but I'm still having a wonderful time and learning a lot.

There are two places and two places only to get free wi-fi on the island: the public library, and a local bar called The Village Pump. Guess which one I'm sitting in right now with Paul Melko, Greg van Eekhout, and Tim Pratt?

Hint: we're drinking beer.
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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
that even a
could afford.

Order yours now!

William Shunn