Ghost Town Writer’s Retreat

Think I’m gonna have to make this an annual thing. Great time this long weekend, starting with me getting to my first panel late:

[ photo: Gwen Clayton ]
It was “Haunts & Nachos,” but really it was Travis Heerman and me just answering any and all horror questions we could for an hour, whilst it rained and stormed outside—this is Colorado in July/August; that’s the way all the days are, pretty much. But it cleared up enough for burgers and exploring Georgetown. Of which I have the usual zero pics—I’ve never once thought, “Man, I should take a picture of this”—but I can steal this video, from Jeffrey Reddick:

Right at the very end of that is the Heritage Center, where a lot of the programming happened:

[ photo: Bret Smith ]
Georgetown is a cool place. I’ve only ever seen it from 70, bound for Hollywoodland, but I should have been stopping by the whole time. I mean, it’s where Phantoms happened, yes?

And, the next day, it was another big Q&A, this one led by Billy J. Stratton, who did this book not that long ago (of which there were a few available at the con, I believe). Here’s the only pic I’ve seen of that interview, in my just-now scouring of the world—but there’s no Billy in it:

 

[ photo: John Palisano ]
Anyway, I think right after that Q&A I was probably supposed to be at the mass signing, but, being a brilliant dude, I of course neglected to bring any actual, you know, books for people to buy/sign. So I caught dinner at Lucha’s with Billy, where I had both the coolest and the weirdest wings I’ve ever had, I think.

Then, Saturday, I wondered over to meet this dude, whom I was informed was NOT to be on the menu that night:

[ photo: Stan Yan ]
And, yeah, ran into Stan, out making the world a better place through zombie caricatures (and also just by being in the world).

Ran into Jeffrey Reddick as well, whom I haven’t caught up with for years, and we dove into some slasher talk at Lucha’s, which is pretty much the place to be, though the other eating place, The Happy Cooker, has some of the better eggs benedict I’ve lucked onto, and a pretty killer turkey sandwich too.

Anyway, that night we all got to be there for the Colorado debut of Jeffrey’s excellent new Dead Awake:

Was very cool, and made me think twice about certain dark parts of my hotel room, long about one in the morning. And, though technical difficulties kept the adaptation of Jeremy Robert Johnson’s “When Susurrus Stirs” from playing after the movie, you can always just click here:

And, the next morning, I got to be on a very cool panel on witches, moderated by my ex-student Nick Kimbro, and anchored wonderfully by Hollie Snider, who knows a thing or two about witches and witching and witchery:

[ photo: Henry Snider ]
( So, so far I’ve worn a werewolf-playing-guitar shirt, a Michael Myers shirt, and a The Shining shirt )

And, man, other than that? It was a good time all around. Got to bring my wife for once, even, which was great. And next year I’ll try to remember to bring some books. I mean, I’m just over the mountain in Boulder. I’ve got no real excuse.

And, was great seeing everyone. Got to hang with the usual Colorado crowd, got to meet new-to-me people, and got to catch up with Don D’Auria over some fancy eating—Don’s the one who published The Gospel of Z, back when. Great guy, knows horror inside out, and everybody in it.

Oh, too: managed to write a chapter and a half of the right-now novel while there—I mean, it was a writing retreat—and at one of the cooler standing desks I’ve cobbled together in a hotel room:

[ okay, I DID think “Man, I should take a picture of this” . . . ]
Never mind that I went back and deleted that chapter and a half, and half a chapter before it as well. Some days, that’s writing: more backwards steps than forward ones. But it’s all figuring stuff out.

Anyway, any of y’all there at Ghost Town next year, you’ll likely be seeing me, I figure. Until then, I’ll be drinking iced tea and remembering those good eggs benedict:

and also wondering, “Wait, what’s my wife doing with her phone?”

( lot more snaps here, at the Facebook page )

 

 

Share
  • Stephen Graham Jones

    oh, forgot to say what I listened to on the way there and back. twas:
    Radiolab’s More Perfect episode “Adoptive Couple vs. Baby Girl” (such complicated feelings) & the “Witches” episode of Faculty of Horror (though I skipped the Antichrist stuff, as I’ve never seen that one, since I’m, you know, a wimp).

  • Will Clements

    “Never mind that I went back and deleted that chapter and a half, and half a chapter before it as well. Some days, that’s writing: more backwards steps than forward ones. But it’s all figuring stuff out.”

    Do you back up the stuff you delete first or is it a literal delete, gone from everything, forever? I sometimes am personally afraid to delete something so permanently but I wonder if it really matters in the long run, you know?

    • Stephen Graham Jones

      Usually it is a full delete, but this time the whole story was a swirl, I had no idea what was going to matter, and when, so, each time I decided to go a different direction, I’d duplicate the file ahead, start a new version. done with the novel now, but there’s seventeen in-process versions of it. as for what I deleted in Georgetown, though, no, not sure if I saved it or not. sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. either way, I’ve never once gone back to use it again, either in the ongoing thing or a new one. for my first novel, I deleted three or four 20K sections all in the same operation, I remember. full delete, no going back. wanted to push myself to do better.

      • Will Clements

        Good to know. Thank you! Seems like it’s for the best. So much what holds us back in writing most is fear, I think.