Thursday, February 21, 2019

LUW Spring Conference 2019 coming up

Let us consider the writer, an artist, a lone voice in the creative wilderness, dreaming and plotting, creating and expressing. Now imagine a collection of these, a room of creators, each driven to make and imagine, witness and weave. If energy and love were light, we'd be blinded to see it.

We writers are driven by unseen forces, muses, geniuses, the subconscious, working at first alone, listening to the aether for inspiration, testing the limits of our own skill to bridge the quiet moments when the angel is silent. Then perhaps to open our book and our heart to others.

Alone we make, but then, like a great migration, we collect together in miraculous conclaves. It is a wonder. We congregate to congratulate. We share. We understand each others perils, if not our genres. We sympathize with the journey, if not the outcomes. And we share our knowledge and talents to strengthen the community as whole.
It is the best in us.

This is the purpose of our conferences, to reach our dreams by helping others reach theirs. To go forward by helping others come along. 

Case in brilliant point: The League of Utah Writers Spring Conference which is happening this April. Here we summon our own and a few friends to present insights to us all. Small or big— a comma, or a magic system, dialog, setting, plot, all is discussed and examined to improve our craft. For those seeking, there is hard learned advice about marketing tips, netting agents, cornering publishers, blogs and book signings. At every level, with every facet there is something to learn, and something to share.

Spring Conference is a gem of an event. It’s priced to allow everyone to come. It encourages us all to be a part of the process. It is a chance to build up our skills, knowledge and resume. It’s a chance to be with each other, each of us artist and writer defying the blank page, turning expectations into realities, bucking the odds, enjoying the ride. Dreaming the dream and making it real in letters.

Living in Letters.,

Make sure you have April 27th blocked off on your calendar for a casual, exciting, and rejuvenating event. Sign up is now at the League of Utah Writers website.

Thursday, February 14, 2019


I’ve been visited by a true ruler of the planet. I’m not sure which variety, pedigree, house or cadre, but one of vessels of life itself has made residence in my sinuses and is ruling my body in aches and sneezes, oozes and limits. It is, however, a generous ruler, and gives freely its largess of copious snot.

Fortunately, I am a-self-employed writer, creating masterpieces out of trauma, big and little. Here’s one now. When I finally get the energy to write again, I’ll have a renewed understanding of sickness, infection and misery that I might have forgotten from the last hundred times I was here. Am I fortunate or what?

My doctor swears I’m not contagious, at least I think that’s what he said. It was hard to understand him through the blue biohazard suit.

I suffer, and like all great writers, and men in general I hear, I shall not bear my misery alone. I will tell the world! I will move them to sympathize, to feel the pressure and my dry nasal passages, the dizziness and dehydration. It burns, it smears the world. Pressures the senses, makes things oblong, stretched, and gooey. Here is proof that reality is only what we perceive, and is how we perceive it. The world is thick semi-clear yellowish resistance. This is true. This is here. The air is thick, pushes back against the slightest disturbance, a hand reaching for a tissue, a head raising to see the cat. The pillow is harder, the Kleenex turned to sand paper, the water to paste, the caffeine to nectar. Time is not frozen, but freezing. Glacial and quiet. Long moments of nothing, staring, empty, waiting, and sudden returns to now, which is later but still the same. Pills alarm, reminders to eat, stand, email, think.

It is a gift. That which does not kill me makes me stronger. I count my blessings that this bug is not anti-biotic resistance and that I have the time and means to mend and notice it. I bow down to the rulers of life, the teachers of death, the lenses of reality.

I got a bug.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Snowed In

I can’t remember the last time Salt Lake City shut down due a snowstorm. I remember some pretty hellish depths growing up. Remember driving to college dictating my will over a phone up on Wasatch, but today, the whole valley shut down. For a foot of snow.

I’m embarrassed. Come on, Utah. This is, well Utah. We have skiers on our license plates. Snow shouldn’t be a stranger.

But it’s wrecking havoc.

The first major storm of the season is always the worse because people forget how to drive in snow. Driving in snow is about stopping in snow. Sure you’ve got four wheel drive and can zip through a foot of snow like it’s fog, but I don’t care how big your Hummer is, you can’t stop any faster than anyone else and all that speed means that the freeway gets closed for a half a day. Congratulations.

I suppose there are snow plows out there pushing snow banks into recently cleared driveways, but they aren’t here yet. Are there as many as there used to be? I feel old remembering my childhood when a storm would hit and the roads would be cleared in an hour. What happened? Layoffs? Tax cuts? Run out of salt? Something’s different, I tell you.

Drivers are stupid and over-confident. Check.

Snow hasn’t really stopped. Check

But this is Utah. A mountain state. Home of the Winter Olympics.

I should be able to go get a burrito!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Wasatch Fellowship Conference

I’ll be the Wasatch Fellowship Conference this weekend. It runs Friday and Saturday up in Kaysville. If you’re looking for some writing inspiration and networking, this would be a good place to look 

Wasatch Writers
Fellowship Conference

Hopebox Theatre
1700 Frontage Rd.
Kaysville, UT 84037

Here’re my specific assignments

Friday, January 25, 2019
Panel 6:00-6:50 p.m. (Main Room)
Traditional Publishing

Saturday, January 26, 2019
Presentation 2:30-3:20 p.m. (Small Room)
A Study in Mystery

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Storm’s Coming

The wind woke me up early. I expected it. Not the wind, but to be woken up early and uneasy. It’s happening a lot. The weather is a physical manifestation of the nightmares that have been with me for a while now.

The wind shakes trees, moves in gusts and blusters. Threatening is a word. Leafless trees bend and sway. Some break. Those that break easy are long gone, victims of an earlier storm, lucky if they’d passed childhood in this reverting place.

It is a prelude to a bigger storm in a continuing crisis. Winter. Unsure of how to proceed the seasons of late have been uncertain and erratic. It is not a mix of hot and cold, good and bad, but all sinister, only a misplacement of danger, a blockage that collects and readies to cover everything in storm all at once and lingering to untimely change.

There was a time when such moments were beautiful to me, but some to the anticipatory thrill is lost in modern time. I see the only storm now, fearful and narrow. The posturing of clouds and rain— soon to be snow— is already taking a toll on nature, and life, and woken minds.

This storm will be big. It will alter things now and for long. Possibly permanently. It is coming. You can see it in the sky, hear it in the boughs, sense it in the air. Coming. Dread and wrath. This expectation is but a pause in the wrecking. Storms have never been so frightful before. The rules are changed, the game is fixed, the future is dark. 

It may only be two feet of snow, a few long hard painful moments forcing reassessment of insulation and economy, but I dread it. I remind myself that, eventually, it will retreat. Nothing is forever. Even if I will not see the conclusion, it will pass. Storms bring endings that must be endured so spring— hopeful, distant, undreamed of spring— may arrive and have something to do.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

My Spring Semester Classes

One of my greatest joys is teaching eager ambitious focused interested writers. Believe it or not, I have found a perfect breeding ground for such rare and wonderful beasts: The University of Utah Lifelong Learning Program where I coincidentally am an associate instructor. Imagine that!

Lifelong Learning is an adult continuing education program, so all classes are open enrollment. 

Here's a list of the classes I'll be teaching this semester with University of Utah Lifelong Learning center.

All classes will be held at:

Continuing Education Building
540 Arapeen Drive (Research Park)
Salt Lake City, Utah 84108

Space is limited so sign up soon.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

2018 Reading Report

I missed it.

I had a goal to read fifty books this year and I didn’t make it. I tried though, and I came pretty close. I’m counting forty eight books I read this year. Here’s my list.

  1. Sea Child, Carol Nicolas
  2. Speaking in Tungs, Karla Jay
  3. Dark Age America, John Michael Greer
  4. Lonely Street, Steve Brewer
  5. Coronam 2, of Civilized, Saved, and Savages, Johnny Worthen
  6. Dandelion Iron, Aaron Michael Ritchey
  7. The Invitation, Oriiah Mountain Dreamer
  8. The Occult Book, John Michael Greer
  9. Centennial, John Michener
  10. Golden Compass, Phillip Pullman
  11. The Long Descent, John Michael Greer
  12. Cruce Roosters, Brent Michael Kelley
  13. Book of Laughter and Forgetting, Milan Kundera
  14. The Half Has Never Been Told, Edward E. Baptist
  15. Tiger Shrimp Tango, Tim Dorsey
  16. A Year of the Monkeys, (various)
  17. Shark Skin Suite, Tim Dorsey
  18. Coconut Cowboy, Tim Dorsey
  19. Goldfinger, Ian Flemming
  20. Get Shorty, Elmore Leonard
  21. Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky
  22. Spillover, David Quammen
  23. Go Tell it On the Mountain, James Baldwin
  24. Monster in the Shadows, Paul Atreides
  25. Love on Location, September Roberts
  26. Pope of Palm Beach, Tim Dorsey
  27. Everyday Witchcraft, Deborah Blake
  28. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
  29. Are you there God, it’s me Margaret? Judy Blume
  30. Gold Coast, Elmore Leonard
  31. Coronam 3, of Heroes, Homes, and Honey, Johnny Worthen
  32. Red Rising, Pierce Brown
  33. Golden Son, Pierce Brown
  34. Fiction Can Be Murder, Becky Clark
  35. The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy
  36. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
  37. Johnny Get Your Gun, Dalton Trumbo 
  38. Million Dollar Productivity, Kevin, J. Anderson
  39. Morning Star, Pierce Brown
  40. Rubberneck, Victor O’Neil
  41. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
  42. Clownfish Blues, Tim Dorsey
  43. In the Wake of Captain Lord, Johnny Worthen
  44. The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
  45. Freak Kingdom, Timothy Denevi
  46. Factfulness, Hans Rosling
  47. Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari
  48. Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, ’72, Hunter S. Thompson

Total: 48

Some were audiobooks, others kindle, word documents and my favorite—supple bound paper, sensual and crisp.

My goal is to do better next year, but I'm pretty proud of this one.


Happy New Year!

Johnny :-)