Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Hi folks,
Just got in late last night from Phoenix and am decomposing from a wonderful trip! At the invitation of Dr. Martin (Marty! Etchart of Phoenix College for their annual writer's festival, Microburst, I gave a talk to the college's creative writing students and several teachers on Friday and then on Saturday gave a presentation on the film Thelma & Louise, illustrating writing techniques fiction writers can use from the movie.

I stayed with my long-time friend, Tom Rough and his lovely wife Lisa and their incredibly smart daughter Nicola, and they showed me an amazing time. I'm posting some of the photos of them and the film presentation. I forgot to bring my camera for the workshop.

This morning, I got a call from my friend here in town with whom I have a standing bet that I find an error in the local rag, the Ft. Wayne Journal-Gazette (which I refer to, fondly, as the Journal-Afterthought), and this time it took me less than a minute to find the first mistake. I'm beginning a new award, which I'll call the WHY NEWSPAPERS AREN'T DYING; THEY'RE DEAD, AND HERE'S WHY AWARD. I was a surprised as I'm sure you are that they've earned the first award.

Here's what I found in the sports section. I'll highlight the mistake.

From the Journal-Afterthought:

Would you like to serve as a student reporter for a TinCaps game?

Newspaper in Education and the Fort Wayne TinCaps are seeking student reporters for eight summer games. If you are you  interested in bringing your family to a game, interviewing a player, visiting the press box and then writing about the experience, please write a paragraph or more stating why you should be selected and send it to: (blah, blah, blah...)

What's really cool about this, is this is part of their project "Newspaper in Education" where they use the paper to help "educate" schoolkids.  I think they've really earned this award! What I'd suggest to the kids who want to win this student reporter gig is that they turn off their spellcheckers and learn to insert superfluous words in their  text. Heck, they'll probably want to hire the winner as an editor!

Anyway, here are some photos from my trip and Microburst.

Early arrivals at the Thelma & Louise presentation, grabbing some of the munchies Phoenix College provided.

Dr. Martin (Marty) Etchart, director of Microburst and moi, just before we went into a full house to give my presentation. Dr. Etchart has asked me (and I accepted) an invitation to teach creative online classes for Phoenix College and I met several of the students who will be in my classes. Great people!

Some of the early audience filing in. When we began, the auditorium was full and a truly great crowd who contributed greatly to our conversation. The building was a Jewish temple the college had purchased and it was perfect for showing a film.

Some of the participants during the breaks buying my books, Hooked and Finding Your Voice which the college provided. The bookstore folks who ran it were terrific salespeople and sold a ton of books and I had a ball signing copies.

...As you can see...
 The front of my buddy Tom Rough's house. I wanna move in! Tom's the co-owner of Taglio Salon, one of the top salons in the U.S. They employ 50 people, including stylists, colorists, and support personnel. Interesting thing--Tom doesn't talk about his clients very much--a professional thing, but the day I gave the workshop, a woman asked me something about Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, and that night I was talking to Tom and it turns out she's a client in their salon. I didn't even know she lived in Phoenix, but it turns out she's building a home near Tom and Lisa's place. He told me a funny story about something that had just happened in the salon with Ms. Meyer, which I can't repeat. Not that it's bad--it's not--it would just violate professional ethics to disclose something about a client to others.
Tom and me on his back patio enjoying a 1984 bottle of something really good (Tom used to own a wine store next to the salon and is a collector and he broke out the good stuff!) and his homemade mac and cheese, followed by incredible steaks. Lisa's taking the shot.

Lisa, Tom's wife and incredible hostess! And, the gorgeous mountain that's their backyard view. I wanna move there!

Lisa, Nicola and Tom at the parking lot of a national park they took me to which, unfortunately, with my Halfzeimer's, I've forgotten the name of. It had a gorgeous lake, surrounded by mountains and was breathtaking. (Not the parking lot--the stuff all around the parking lot...)

Like this...

One of Tom's neighbor's houses that I really liked. He lives in Carefree, AZ.
 A hawk perched on one of the cactus in Tom's back yard.

The boulders at the entrance to Tom and Lisa's gated community, named, aptly, "The Boulders." The views and vistas they see every day just blew me away!

The boulders from a different view. They're just awesome!

A javelina in Tom's back yard. I also saw a coyote sneaking past their yard and didn't get my camera in time to get a shot. Jackrabbits everywhere, roadrunners (beep! beep!), bobcats, mule deer, and all kinds of critters!

And the view from their living room out into their back yard. Thanks for everything, Tom, Lisa and Nicola! You guys rock!

I just had the most wonderful time I think I've ever had, thanks to the Roughs and Marty and all the folks at Phoenix College!


Kari Wolfe said...

Love the pictures, Les :) Arizona looks so pretty :) Colorado is pretty amazing too..

Les Edgerton said...

BTW, I intended the word "decomposing" rather than "decompressing" in this post. I'm back in Indiana and the term that fits is the one I used...

I'd love to visit Colorado, Kari!

Kari Wolfe said...

Come out and visit--we have a spare bedroom if you ever get a chance and make it this way :)

Les Edgerton said...

Thanks, Kari. I'd love to. Besides you, I have several other writer friends who live in Denver.