Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hi Again

Over two weeks.  That's a new record.

Lots to recap.

Upstate NY.  Good time.  The groups were small, and that was cool because it gave me more freedom to play and improvise.  The format was new.  Randy and Dave wanted four-hour chunks.  It flowed well, except I sometimes caught myself referring to an earlier block of training that some of the people hadn't attended.  And I've been teaching this a lot, with what seems like few breaks... so I would occasionally want to gloss over things.  Constant reminder to all instructors: Just because you've said something a thousand times doesn't mean your students have heard it a thousand times.

Randy was a kick.  Genuine, warm, really clever and bitingly sarcastic. Perfect companion for people watching, especially when you feel a little mean about people.  He is also a delicate flower and I had to take his man card away when he asked for a decaf pumpkin spice coffee.

Dave is solid.  Former cop, gun guy, and a thinker.  We had a long drive to talk and listen.  Good man. The students at the Rochester event were a mix.  Some had got into firearms because of age and fragility.  That's a viable option.  And think it through, for those of you who teach the hands on stuff.  At what point is it no longer safe to even practice some of what we do?  The handgun is the big equalizer.  But it takes practice and a good teacher.  It's a tool, not an answer and it shouldn't be an amulet.

I also got to spend some time (not enough) with Scott C.  An old friend (old friend kicks in at about four years, right?) and one of the best men I know.  And like a lot of the best of the best, he can't see it in himself.

Finally met Tim B in person as well.  Another excessively self-effacing good guy.  Turns out we both like the blues...
Home is good.  I've been being a hermit to the best of my ability.  Petting dogs, fixing the goat fence and working on a second edition of "Violence: A Writer's Guide."  Should kick ass.

Scheduling for next year.  Which, BTW is now officially open.  If you didn't get the announcement e-mail and you wanted it, sorry.  If you're interested in hosting, e-mail is rory@easystreet.net.  january has stuff in Washington DC and Granada Hills CA already.  Return to the UK in February.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fiorella's Cafe

If I did poetry worth a damn, I would have written some today.
Two long days of training-- twelve and eight hours-- with a very good group of people.  Long talks each evening with Scott and Jason.  Helped break in Brandon's new indoor shooting range.  Not yet open, but the old St. Bernard's range.  It is going to be a fantastic facility, and Brandon has big plans and a boatload of credentials to make something special.

Then, today, on his way out of town Jason dropped me off in the French Quarter.  Showed me around enough that I could keep oriented and he hit the road back home, far away.  (Thanks, J.)  So, a day to walk and explore.  The River Walk.  French Quarter.  French Market.  Beignet's for breakfast.  Jazz in the streets.  And Fiorella's cafe.

Here's the beauty of being a writer:  I can walk in a strange city until I am tired, stop someplace and order food, coffee and a drink, get out my laptop and I'm working.

Today I did my working at Fiorella's Cafe. Kayla in service.  Nice.  Knew everybody.  Talked to people passing by in trucks.  Native but with almost no accent: "My mom was a school teacher and hated the New Orleans accent," she said.  The kind of waitress who is right there if you look up, but leaves you alone when you are writing.  Awesome.  And Yvonne running the bar.  Well done.  Best dirty martini I have had and I have her recipe for a burnt martini...and I don't even usually like martinis that much.  And the fried chicken.  And the red beans and rice. There are some things I love about the deep south.

So, New Orleans.  Nice people, great food.  Going out to listen to some of the music in a few minutes (Smoky Greenwell).  Stupid tourists (one, obviously drunk was doing tarzan yells and challenging women to strip from a balcony-- "He's not from around here," Kayla apologized.  "I can tell," I said.)

The seminar.  Small group of fantastic people.  We got dirty.  We covered a lot of material.  We broke some barriers.  Scott was a fantastic host. I got to see David again (Slovenia and now NO).  Exhausting.  Wonderful.  Amazing how often those two go together.  Lot's of experience in the group.  Lot's of Katrina stories and post-Katrina stories.  Gratifying, in a way, to see the reflexive preparations that people who have been through something like Katrina make.  And sad, because more people should be ready, should be thinking, "Just in case."

It's been over a week since writing on the blog.  A lot of it is because things have been going too well.  The handful of things that might have gone bad have been avoided or de-escalated.  I have little on that score to write about.  Teaching has been going well and I have to guard against complacency there.

Part is business and travel.  Most of October was spent either in frantic activity or exhaustion.  Writing time has been spent on other stuff.  Under K's publishing company, finally put out "Horrible Stories I Told my Children" under a pseudonym.  Didn't want to use my kid's real names.  You understand. Kami did the cover and the internal illustrations.
"Horrible Stories" on Kindle
"Horrible Stories" at SmashWords

Also working on a second edition of "Violence: A Writer's Guide."

And opened the 2013 calendar.  Contact me if you want to host a seminar.