Friday, June 26, 2009

Pteranodon, Cover Letter, and Schadenfruede


So just like everyone else in the civilized world, I've been worried about my upcoming submission to the Pterosaur gallery at Art Evolved.



I've been doing some sketches. You don't want to see them -- they're horrible. I figured I was sunk, but then I remembered that there's a mounted Pteranodon longiceps within walking distance of my house. So I went out and took some reference photos.



Best of all, it's right over a Tyrannosaur mount. Who's a good girl? Now who's a good girl?

So here's the cover letter for my submission to Viable Paradise. Man, I hope I get in...

Dear Sir or Madam,

I’m writing to apply to the Viable Paradise writer’s workshop. My real writing experience began when I fell backwards into a job writing cartoons for the Internet, a lovely career ended by the dotcom crash. I worked for Mondo Media. I sold them an unproduced show and did a bunch of pick-up work but most of what I wrote was for Thugs On Film, which was picked up by the BBC and developed a cult following in Britain.

On the advice of my editor I joined a writer’s group when I began working on fiction, and have been engaging in weekly critique sessions ever since. For the last few years I’ve been working on a novel and publishing short fiction in the small press. I’ve collected some rejection slips from mainstream publications, and Dave Byron of New Voices In Fiction has requested and accepted two of my stories, one of which will be appearing in an upcoming anthology alongside Joe R. Lansdale. I’m also the assistant editor and art director for the small press magazine Swill.

I want to attend Viable Paradise for any number of reasons. Many of them are obvious – developing skills, making contacts, the adventure of it all – but I have a couple of more personal motivations.

The writers I work with aren’t as interested in genre as I am. This has shaped my fiction. I think the influence has been for the better, but I would love the chance to work with people who appreciate the kinds of stories that have been my main inspiration. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to refer to, say, Jack Vance and be understood – but I bet it would be a swell experience.

In addition, I’m currently going through a strange period in my life. I’m beginning to come into my own as an artist – I feel as if I’m on the verge of professionalism both in writing and the visual arts. Or, to be a little bit more honest, I’m feeling like less and less of a fraud. Not to go all therapy talk on you, but I think an experience like Viable Paradise could help me to redefine myself.

Man, I hope that doesn’t sound too dorky.

Yours,

Sean Craven

Just in case you'd forgotten that I'm a total bastard, I have to say that the last day or so has been quite bracing. My sympathies to the departed and their loved ones, but as a member of the public that's had their names, faces, and petty contretemps stuffed down my throat for what seems like my entire life, the deaths of Ed McMahon (Why do I even know who he is?), Farrah Fawcett (One of the least sexy sex-bombs ever, never showed any signs of being anything but livestock.), and Michael Jackson (Along with Madonna, he was the one who made me stop listening to the radio back in the eighties. Interesting that the word 'pedophilia' seems to have vanished now that he's croaked. Admittedly a tragic figure -- the poster child for celebrity-as-veal.) are, for me if not for them, a blessed release. May all celebrities go that way but pronto.

2 comments:

robp said...

The guy at the liquor store last night wanted to talk to me about Michael Jackson. Like I give a fuck. Pop singer I didn't particularly care for who was an absolute freak dies - well, you know, the insane aren't particularly known for taking good care of themselves.

I think the difference between Jackson and the other celebs you mention is that at least part of Jackson's career was considered by many to be artistically successful. Although his career ended as just someone who was famous for being famous, at least there was legitimacy to its beginning.

That letter to Viable Paradise: man, that is all you. I hope it's what they're looking for. It should be.

Good luck, and thanks for hating.

Sean Craven said...

Hey, I grant that Jackson had a certain amount of talent. I'll even admit that I've got a fondness for some of the old Jackson 5 stuff.

But right now I can still summon up many of his eighties songs from memory, hear them note for not -- Smooth Criminal, Billy Jean (the chair is not my son), I'm Bad...

Bad? Dude was fucking awful. And if any of the charges of childfucking have substance behind them, he's not someone who should be lauded.

(Of course, coming from a Lewis Carroll enthusiast that's a little hypocritical -- but Dodgson's work is worth a few ruined lives. Jackson's isn't.)