Goth class

Even though he only lives a few miles from me, I had to go all the way to Austin to meet Danel Olson, at the World Horror Convention the year before last. We met by chance—he strolled by my table at the mass signing carrying a copy of Corpse Blossoms. I volunteered to sign it. He didn’t know I was in it. We started talking and found out we were from the same town. We’ve kept in touch since then, met socially once. Recently he invited me to talk to his Gothic Fiction class at Lone Star College. Sounded like fun.

The class was 80 minutes long. I wasn’t sure I would be able to talk for that long, so I brought along a short story to read in case of dead air. I also brought along a USB stick with a PowerPoint containing slides for a talk I’d given to a local writers’ guild a few years ago. As it turned out, I didn’t need the presentation, and I only had time to read the first few paragraphs of the short story. There were about 30 students present and they put up with my rambling for the whole time. Asked some good questions. Seemed to be entertained. At least none of them went to sleep or stared out the window. I signed a book, posed for some pictures. One student stayed after class and talked with Danel and me. After she left, we continued our conversation in his office over tea for the next two hours. A nice way to spend a Wednesday afternoon away from work.

I started a short story on Sunday morning. Wrote about 1600 words and then ran out of steam. Then I came up with a different approach to the story. Threw out everything I’d written and started fresh. I thought I had the whole story figured out, more or less. However, the deadline is close and this morning I got nothing done other than a rough edit of the 1200 or so new words. I had a rare headache, so I couldn’t concentrate. Maybe I’ll get something more done on it this evening. If not, tomorrow’s the last chance to make the deadline.

I liked the way they handled the new relationship on Castle. The morning after, interrupted. The usual sort of hide-in-the-closet games they like to play on TV shows, but then real life intervened. I was relieved to see that, despite all this, they resisted the temptation to have one or the other step away from the relationship. They seem determined to play this out—covertly, if that’s possible among a squad of detectives. And the recurring story line about Beckett’s mother has taken a step forward and can be set aside for a while.

It didn’t take them long to get the NCIS gang back together after last season’s explosive finale. I guess contract negotiations must have worked out.

I just read that the guy who played “Half sack” on Sons of Anarchy was killed in what appears to have been a drug-fueled attack on his 81-year-old landlady. An odd story, though one that sounds like life imitating art. Harold Perrineau is doing a great job playing the evil gangster Pope. This week’s episode was explosive, with Gemma’s wheeling-dealing over Tara and the kids, her reaction to Clay’s visit to Nero’s house of ill repute, and what went down in the prison. Nasty stuff. That prison guard should probably consider upping his life insurance.

Looks like the three-tribe configuration on Survivor is in jeopardy. I would have liked to have seen more of the discussions that led up to that vote. Did someone talk Russell out of breaking up the obvious couple? Or did he simply get outvoted by the therapist? Good on Penner for finding the idol, though surely someone will get curious about the missing handle on their rice container. And it looks like Calamity Jane is going to take a few more knocks next week. Was he bleeding from the eyes in that preview? Cookies do make everything better, though, don’t they?

A solid return for Criminal Minds with the addition of Jean Tripplehorn to the cast. It will be interesting to see how she is distinguished from Spencer. The idea of a guy driven to murder/silence people because his defective cochlear implant is driving him nuts was a good one. And it turns out that Paget Brewster (Prentiss) isn’t in Paris after all. She’s over on NBC playing a corrupt “integrity officer” on Law & Order: SVU. The two-hour season premiere of that show was surprisingly good, too. Lots of intrigue, light on the preachiness. I wonder what wag decided to run one of the AllState “mayhem” commercials during the episode in which Mayhem himself was a guest star.

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