Welcome to Cal's Cosmos

Allow me to roll out the red carpet and usher you into my world--the world of writing. I am a blessed man; a man blessed with the enjoyment of creating worlds on a lifeless sheet of paper or a blank computer screen.

You'll find many things at Cal's Cosmos: information about my long and passionate love affair with writing, my views on literature, my musical heritage and thoughts on current events.

Please, come back often to see what's happenin' on Cal's Cosmos.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Still waiting...

There are many personality traits a writer must have. Talent, yes. Persistence, for sure. An active imagination, a given. Thick skin, akin to an alligator's, most certainly. Huh? What does thick skin have to do with writing? Rejection, my friend. As a writer, you should expect to be rejected. In fact, you'll probably be rejected so many times that you'll need that alligator skin.

Take Stephen King (12 rejections), Margaret Mitchel (38), Ernest Hemingway (rejected by "The Saturday Evening Post") and Thomas Wolfe, for example. Great names all and yet all faced multiple rejections. Only a minute number of authors are snatched up the first time they submit. You're more likely to be struck twice by lightning while cashing your twenty-nine million dollar lottery winnings check. Catch my drift? Kurt Vonnegut, author of Slaughterhouse-Five, had a large box full of rejection letters. Thank God he never gave up. Rejection is part of a writer's life.

So is waiting. When a writer submits a query and sample of his or her writing to an agent, hoping for representation, that writer should expect to wait months for a response. Once you have an agent and your manuscript is finally being "shopped out," expect to wait some more. Editors at large publishing houses often take months. One had The Phantom Lady of Paris for ten months. Small publishers have a shorter turn-around. God bless them.

Once you've been offered a contract, expect to wait for the actual contract to arrive. The waiting continues through-out the process. Publishing dates get pushed back. The release date of November 9th as stated on my contract did not materialize. Things happened and, so, I am still waiting....

Saturday, November 13, 2010

There's something about a college campus...

We have several colleges here in the Lynchburg, Virginia, area. One is Randolph College. I'd read in our local paper about "No Shame" starting on Friday evenings at Randolph. The concept sounded intriguing: artists, free-spirits performing onstage for 5 minutes. The only stipulation was you must present your own work.

I chose a scene from The Phantom Lady of Paris, a scene in which Sorbonne students rioted under the inflaming words of "Francois the Incendiary."

After 40 years of teaching grammar and Shakespeare to students who could have cared less, I knew how to captivate and hold a crowd. If I were going to give a reading, I would use various voices, put feeling and actions into it--draw the listener in.

During the hour-long "No Shame," I was drawn in, as well. Drawn in by other performers running the gambit of poetry readings, to techno music, to puppets stripping clothes off each other, to a dramatic reading about vertigo. Creativity comes in infinite forms. Thank goodness for that!

I've always loved college campuses. The encouragement of free thinking that occurs in that insular environment. Minds are expanding. Personalities forming new aspects, stronger opinions and new ways of expression. There's something special about a college campus. For this reason I've visited many ... and discovered something special at each one.