Because of my success as a self publisher, writing groups and publishing groups sometimes asked me to speak at their events. For years I kept my musical life largely isolated from my writing life; most of my writer friends didn’t have any idea that I played guitar or wrote songs. A few years after I left Cottonwood, with no steady outlet for music, I started to combine the two interests. I gave maybe a dozen presentations that included not only droplets of wisdom about writing and selling books, but also a bit of music. Surprised the heck out of people who knew me only as a writer.
My son Scott filmed he following presentation in 2009 at the annual conference of the Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA) in Aurora, Colorado. It was the final presentation at the end of three days of serious conferring, before the big banquet, so the goal was to impart a bit of insight, yes, but also just let the participants relax a little. That one year, for some reason the conference didn’t record presentations. Scott recorded it from the audience.
I think the following video represents the first time I used the guitar in a talk about writing. The most interesting bit begins about 22 minutes in when I start to illustrate “reading like a writer” by showing the audience some little guitar tricks I’ll use in an instrumental version of Joshua Fit the Battle. The song itself begins 28:20 in. If you’re a guitarist, this version may be more interesting because you can see my hands.
I gave this talk at the Mile High Science Fiction convention in Denver, Colorado in a small room with a modest audience. My son Scott recorded it from the audience.
I gave a very similar talk at the annual Colorado Gold writers conference for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW), to the PEN Women group, and also to the Colorado Independent Publishers Association. According to my memories, these were always to packed rooms and enthusiastic responses. Luckily, there are no videos to contradict my memories. But RMFW recorded the audio of my presentation. This version will be more interesting to writers than musicians—the mic did not pick up the guitar very well, and it features more questions and conversation with the audience about writing.