A Busy Summer for Me

I was asked to put together a list of the various theater and spoken-word things I have going on this summer. It’s a pretty busy schedule for me, and I am pretty pleased.

American Underground:
Saturday, May 28th – 6pm to 8pm
Clubhouse Jager, 923 Washington Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Visit the Facebook Event

I will be on stage for 15 minutes, telling either an excerpt from my upcoming MNFringe show, or possibly a condensed version of the show, or maybe something else entirely.

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Gadfly’s Final Frontier Festival: Heroes and Villains:
June 3rd through June 12th – Times and Dates Below
Phoenix Theater, 2605 Hennepin Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Visit the Facebook Event

This is the world premiere of my short play “At the Edge of Flight.” There are three performances as part of the festival. I plan to attend closing night, so June 11th at 7:00 pm. If you can’t go with me that night, please please go ahead and see the other performances. Go see the whole festival, in fact.

SET A:
At the Edge of Flight by Michael Merriam
Directed by: Cassandra Snow
The Further Adventures of… by Kathleen Warnock
Directed by: Meggie Grievell
Your Princess is in Another Lair by Eli Effinger-Weintraub
Directed by Denzel Belin

SET B:
Slut by Nicole Jost
Directed by: Shalee Coleman
The Amazing Cunt and Lil’ Bitch Take Minneapolis by Katy Koop
Directed by Megan Lembke

Performance Dates:
June 3rd, Set A, 7:30 P.M.
June 4th, Set B, 7:30 P.M.
June 5th, Set A, 3:00 P.M.
June 10th, Set B, 7:30 P.M.
June 11th, Set A, 7:30 P.M.
June 12th, Set B, 3:00 P.M.

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The Not-So Silent Planet:
Tuesday June 21st – 8pm to 10pm
Kieran’s Irish Pub
85 North 6th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Visit the Website

I will be the featured storyteller at this speculative fiction open mic event. I will be telling a new piece I am writing just for this show. Ghost Trains! Hover Buses! Colliding Timelines!

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Minnesota Fringe Festival:
Bryant-Lake Bowl
810 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408
Visit the Fringe Website

I will be giving five performances of my newest one-person show “Unsafe at Any Speed.” This show offers tales of my adventures on public transit and take a cold, hard look at my checkered past as a driver, all filtered through the lens of living with a disability that forces you to turn in the key while dealing with America’s Car Culture.

Performance Schedule
8/4/2016 7:00 PM
8/6/2016 10:00 PM
8/7/2016 5:30 PM
8/11/2016 7:00 PM
8/14/2016 7:00 PM

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Super Excited!

Director Cassandra Snow posted a photo from rehearsal of the show I wrote and she is directing. I am super excited!

To quote Cassandra: “Some lovely lady lovin between our protagonist Melissa Ballister (Valerie Borey) and Nurse Summers (Anna Lakin) in rehearsal for At The Edge of Flight.

Edited to Add: Cassandra tells me the photo and quote are credit Edie Rose, Gadfly’s Social Media Manager. Thank you, Cassandra and Edie!

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More information about the Final Frontier Festival: https://www.facebook.com/events/965263570223740/
More information about Be Our Hero – Eat Pizza!:
https://www.facebook.com/gadflytheatreproductions/
Buy your tickets and support local writers, artists + directors:
http://finalfrontierhandv.brownpapertickets.com/

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At The Edge Of Flight

I’ve been sitting on this news for awhile, but now it is official. My script “At the Edge of Flight” is being produced by Gadfly Theatre Productions as part of the Final Frontier Theatre Festival: Heroes and Villains.

I am super pleased.

From the Gadfly Website:
At the Edge of Flight
by Michael Merriam
Directed by: Cassandra Snow
Melissa Ballister used to be known as the superhero Ball Lightning until a tragic stroke takes away her power of flight. Now she spends her time in a government funded nursing home for retired superheroes while seeing her old team continue fighting crime without her. That is, until a new nurse arrives with an offer from a mysterious shadow organization…

Facebook Event

Gadfly Theatre

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Twenty-One

I am pleased to announce the podcast publication of my YA SF/Horror piece “Twenty-One” at Cast of Wonders podcast.

Pleased, I say!

Episode 204: Twenty-One by Michael Merriam

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Falling with Grace

Being a working artists is like this:
You’re standing there with one foot hanging out in the open air,
hovering over a dark, terrifying void below.
Your other foot is on a banana peel.
And that banana peel is on a high wire.
And that high wire is greased slick.
And there is a gale force wind blowing in your face.
And you don’t have a safety net, just that dark yawning void under your foot.
So your’re standing there with one foot in the void and the other on a greased high wire and banana peel, battered by hurricane force winds…
And then…and then you take a step forward.
Because you’re a working artists and that’s your job.

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Patreon Thoughts

So the subject of Patreon keeps coming up around me: various authors running Patreons to allow them to write a short story a month, or make videos of them reading, a poem a week; all kinds of creative ideas. Typically those who pledged money get to enjoy the art first before the author sends the work out into the world and to the general public.

I’ve been asked multiple times over the last couple of months if I am or possibly considering starting a Patreon of my own.

I have thought about it, but the answer is: No.

I like the idea behind Patreon, but it doesn’t seem like it would work for someone without a national platform to start with. I’ve seen lots of writers with that platform manage pledges equaling up to a $1000 a month in exchange for the writer writing one short story a month for the patrons, or putting out novel chapters. If you could get 1000 people to pledge $1 a month, it will work, sure and it would rock to be able to just write all day every day.

Except that I’m not at all sure I could get $100 pledged and then I would be doing the extra work of creating exclusive content for my patrons for that $100 a month. This isn’t actually worth me doing, because I wouldn’t have the extra free time $1000 a month buys, but I’d still be pledged to create extra content. I worry I’d be making a ton of more work for myself without getting enough financial gain.

Now, I could be reading this wrong, but even well-known national authors can barely get to the $1000 a month total pledges point, and I figure I’d need at least $750 to make it work.

It really does run on the 1000 True Fans model for writers.

I’m pretty sure I don’t have 20 True Fans.

So no.

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“Storytelling is how we deal with loss.”

Yeah, so Minnesota Fringe Festival Lottery. That’s a thing that happened. And my ping-pong ball was selected. I’m in the Fringe this year, and I got in the good way, with lots of time to prepare.

Yesterday I managed to carve out some writing time, so I was beginning the brainstorming process for my Fringe show, looking to maybe set a basic outline and start gathering material and thoughts. I turned on the Television for background noise, and there on TPT was Kevin Kling’s “Lost and Found.”

Now, the show I’m writing, tentatively tittle “Unsafe At Any Speed” is about going from able-bodied to disabled and going from being a driver to a rider of public transit in a country that has a deep seated car-culture and is at times openly hostile to public transit and it’s users.

So I’m working on this show, listening to another with one ear, and Kevin looks at me through the screen and says, “Storytelling is how we deal with loss.”

Thanks. Thanks for cutting to the heart of matter for me. and thanks for all the feels.

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Marscon Schedule

I swear that one of these days I will start using my poor neglected blog for something other than convention and publishing announcements.

But today is not that day.

I will be attending MarsCon on March 4th-6th. MarsCon is a fun mid-sized general SF convention held in Bloomington, MN. This convention draws the a good cross section of local SF/F/H writers, has strong music programming, a good literary track, and lots of expert costuming. I’m on three panels and will be reading from my works and selling/signing books. Please come up and say hello!

Fiction Reading: Michael Merriam
III Eagle’s Nest (Re(a)d Mars) — Saturday 10:00 am
With: Michael Merriam

Writing Under the Radar, or Advantages/Disadvantages of Small-Press Publication
Room 1117 (Krushenko’s) — Saturday 11:00 am
Panels about small press publications tend to embrace the gloomy side of the spectrum. This panel promises to mainly embrace the cheerful side, for there is much to be cheerful about. With: Ruth Berman, Eleanor Arnason, Michael Merriam, Kathryn Sullivan. Joan Marie Verba, Rob Callahan, John Baichtal

Mass Literary Signing II
Room 1117 (Krushenko’s) — Saturday 04:30 pm – 30 minutes
With: Patrick W. Marsh, Michael Merriam, G. David Nordley, Kathryn Sullivan

Not My Beautiful Minnesota
III Eagle’s Nest (Re(a)d Mars) — Saturday 06:00 pm
It has become fairly common for urban fantasy writers to place their stories in a modern world analogue. What purpose does this serve? What are the advantages? What are the disadvantages and how can you avoid them? Who does it well? With: S. N. Arly, mod.; Roy C. Booth, Patrick W. Marsh, Michael Merriam, Tyler Tork

Artistic Inspiration
III Eagle’s Nest (Re(a)d Mars) — Sunday 03:00 pm
Authors and artists discuss what inspires them to write or create. What sorts of things spontaneously inspire you? What things do you seek out when you need inspiration? What doesn’t work to jog or instigate inspiration? We’ve all heard of writers’ retreats; is it possible to force inspiration? What squelches your enthusiasm (big picture – general things not specific tiny events or things)? With: S. N. Arly, mod.; Patrick W. Marsh, Michael Merriam, Baron Dave Romm, Kathryn Sullivan, John Baichtal

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Two Novels, It Seems

Despite the single digit temps, I went out today and wrote, getting away from the house for a time. I didn’t pay much attention to how long “Ghosts Of The Place You Live” is becoming, just allowed myself to write whatever the story needs to be complete.

When I got home, though, I found the entire novel is 1000 pages and 168,000 words long. I should probably break the document down, since long MSWord documents tend to corrupt.

Anyway.

The plus is that I am nearly done with this draft of the never ending novel. Or novels. I am already thinking about how to structure the novels, interweaving the 2 major and 3 minor timelines of the novel. To tell you all the truth, I am ready to be done with this project, which I started over 2 years ago. I am ready to move on to something else.

Barn Door in sight. Giddy-up.

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Cults of Coffee and Apple

I needed to run errands today in the Miracle Mile area of St. Louis Park (UPS Store, Wells Fargo, Half-Priced Books, Trader Joe’s) so I wanted to stop somewhere in the area and write. The Caribou down there is a postage stamp that is always full. Dunn Bros and Village Coffee are both long closed. I tried McDonalds, but it was packed with screaming kids. So off to my least favorite coffee place, Starbucks.

As usual, it was crowded. As usual I was stuck with the uncomfortable bar stool seating to find a power outlet. I didn’t stay long. But I did make this observation: Everyone in the Starbucks was younger, prettier, and skinnier than me and they were all using Macbooks of some kind.

I felt like a walrus with my large aging disabled body and giant black bullet-stopping Thinkpad. I think in the future when I need to run errands in that area I will just skip trying to write that day.

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