Another Grant Faulkner interview! This one is more official than mine.

January 27, 2012

Following in my footsteps to tell the world more about their new leader, Lindsey Grant, program director for National Novel Writing Month, put up an interview on the Office of Letters and Light blog about the OLL new Executive Director, and Chris Baty’s heir in spirit, Grant Faulkner.

So check it out to learn more about Grant’s book-stacking habits, his beloved mannequin head, and the coolness of 100 word story! And if you haven’t yet, you can read my interview with Grant today too.

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Big OLL Interview with Director Grant Faulkner

January 9, 2012

Well, it’s taken a little longer than I hoped, but the time has finally come to share a very special interview. I hope you all enjoy the chance to get to know Grant Faulkner, the new Executive Director of the Office of Letters and Light. Grant is taking over for Chris Baty today, leading the organization that runs National Novel Writing Month and Script Frenzy, and I’d love to wish him a great first day!

What did you want to be when you grew up? Were you dreaming of becoming an accountant, a lawyer, a fireman?

Other than a brief dalliance with wanting to be Batman at the age of 3, I always wanted to be a writer. I think it’s somehow genetic. I remember staring at the pens and paper in my local bookstore with fetishistic delight as a boy and wanting to buy them all. I asked for a diary with a lock on it for Christmas when I was 5, and I’ve since purchased all sorts of different pens and journals and notepads.

My father is a lawyer in Oskaloosa, Iowa, where I grew up, and he always saved an office for me in case I decided to become a lawyer. I loved going to that office as a child and penning what I thought would be wildly successful novels. I was fortunate that my parents didn’t push any profession on me and have been wonderfully supportive of me as a writer despite the choice of such a precarious profession.

How did you end up on the Office of Letters and Light board? Were you asked by Chris Baty?

I’ve always looked for ways to marry my personal life as a writer to my professional life, which can be a challenging thing to do. I’ve been lucky because I’ve been able to work as a journalist, an editor, and a writing teacher, and then I landed at the National Writing Project, a non-profit dedicated to improving the teaching of writing in the nation’s schools.

Chris has always been so inspirational to me on so many levels, so I reached out to him to see if he could help me further my career and deepen my knowledge of nonprofit management by recommending nonprofit arts organizations who might consider me as a board member. He ended up asking me to consider the Office of Letters and Light, which was a dream organization for me on every level—wonderful programs and a fantastically intelligent and fun-loving board and staff. I simply can’t believe how lucky I am to work with such amazing people.

How many times have you participated in Nanowrimo or Script Frenzy? How well did you do?

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The next leader of the Office of Letters and Light!

November 21, 2011

Like many people who went to the Night of Writing Dangerously in San Francisco last night, I thought that the ‘big news’ was going to be the fact that this was Chris Baty’s last year as the Executive Director of the Office of Letters and Light, the non-profit that runs Nanowrimo, Script Frenzy, and the Young Writer’s Program.

I don’t know about anybody else there, but I was very excited about an announcement that Chris made in the middle of his moving thank-you speech – naming Grant Faulkner, board member of the Office of Letters and Light, as his successor, and thus our new Fearless Leader.

I don’t know much about Grant. I managed to get a moment to congratulate him at the dinner, and even got my picture taken with Grant and Chris Baty. But he seems cool, and like a reasonably good choice to follow in Chris’ footsteps, even if he also reminded me a little of Adam Baldwin, who wouldn’t really be the kind of guy I’d ask to lead me into 30 days of creative craziness.

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Best wishes for Chris Baty

July 28, 2011

I’ve always vaguely wondered what it was like to have truly exciting news that I couldn’t speak about because of a ‘gag order.’ Now I think I know, though it wasn’t really an earth-shattering experience.

As you might or might not know by now, Chris Baty, that crazy man who somehow turned National Novel Writing Month from a group of friends doing a dare into a worldwide force for creative derring-do, has announced that he is following in the footsteps of other departed Office of Letters and Light staff, and resigning his position in order to go down the path of writing full-time.

Here’s where the ‘gag order’ bit comes in. Chris B actually shared the news with all of the Nanowrimo and Script Frenzy local representatives two weeks ago, and asked us to keep it under wraps until he’d sent out the news to all participants, which happened last night.

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Nanowrimo day 24: Pie is squared.

November 25, 2010

Well, today I had my ‘pie time’ with Chris Baty and Lindsey Grant, and it was awesome. (One week to the day since I first got the coupon and started freaking out that they wouldn’t be able to fit me in, by the by.) Rode the BART up to Ashby station in south Berkeley, and all the while I kept thinking of one of those Simpsons episodes with Sideshow Bob – the one where they had a montage of all of his ‘Hello, Bart’ moments, and one of them was actually Bob on a subway platform as the train pulls into the station – and Bart Simpson nowhere in sight. 😀

So, I got there a few minutes early, actually took a picture of the Office and Letters and Light storefront, before going into the Sweet Adeline Bakeshop and finding a free table that looks like it could fit the three of us. As I was getting settled, in comes Chris Baty, tells me, “Hi Chris, I’ll be back in a few minutes,” and continues on to the washrooms in the back.

I get up to take a look at the treats that are available, along comes Lindsey, and she mentions that she’s not sure where Chris went. “He just left the office a minute or two ago.”

“He just came through, I think he’s using the facilities,” I mention, and she looks a bit relieved.

So – I had two little almond tea cakes that were delicious – reminding me of the almondette cookies that we used to get in plastic tray packages when I was young – and a bottle of organic apple cider. Chris Baty had a slice of the lemon tart pie, which he didn’t finish, and tea, green tea I think. Lindsey had some kind of weird cake with pudding in the center or something like that. We took everything back to the Office of Letters and Light building, with Lindsey promising to bring the plates back to the bakeshop later.

I was introduced to a few people in the tech department on the way through, then we arranged ourselves around the conference table and started to chat. It was a great talk, ranging from topics like the wild parrots of telegraph hill and the marriage that they ruined, to how to get more Nanowrimo participants to donate to the Office of Letters and Light, and discussing programs to encourage people to work towards getting their Nanowrimo novels published or their Frenzy scripts produced. Also the snowflake method.

After about an hour, Chris started to very nicely get me up and moving out, explaining that he had another commitment in fifteen minutes, and gave me the full tour of the premises, letting me take a few pictures, and handling a few more introductions. That was pretty much it.

I got to keep my pie coupon, with a scrawl on the back that it is ‘Redeemed’, the date, and Chris Baty’s signature.

Oh, and on my way back to the BART, I saw a sign for ‘The other hobbit’ fantasy and science fiction books, and couldn’t resist going in and looking around. Picked up a Buffy season 7 collection. Also, on my way back to the BART, I got somewhat lost and had to ask someone for the way to the station – only to realize I was maybe fifteen feet away from the edge of the station parking lot. D’oh!!

Nearly pointless Thanksgiving day update from Lindsey: “I think the “pie” I had was called buckle cake…it was very much like a flat round muffin. Yum yum :)”


Nanowrimo day 19: A fairly good day.

November 20, 2010

So – my first full day in San Francisco, this year.

Word count – up to 43504. Not really where I want to be, just two days before the Night of Writing Dangerously, but I lost a bit of writing time with packing and the flight, and I think that I’ll be able to get there.

Still stuck in a slightly inferior little ‘unrenovated’ room at the top of the Crescent Hotel – was supposed to get moved to a better room today, but it didn’t work out. We’ll try again tomorrow.

Got a Muni/Bart RFID card, loaded it with some money, and rode the MUNI over to a small writein approximately halfway across town this evening, and back. That was good.

And I went on a tour of the Winchester mystery house in San Jose, which was fun and full of good stuff that I might incorporate into a story at some point – either bit by bit, or with a big deliberate homage. It might actually fit into a Firefly fanfic idea that I’ve been blocked on for awhile – the Serenity Valley Mystery House or something like that.

And there was another girl on the tour who reminded me of Mary in my Nano story. Funny how that keeps happening.

Possibly best of all, I’ve established contact with Lindsey Grant via the Nanomail feature on the National Novel Writing Month site – actually, we talked about my ‘open letter’ – I gave her a heads-up, and she sent a nice reply back saying that the points were valid and that the script for the video had been rushed, which I understand. Anyway, she’s assured me that she and Chris Baty will be happy to find time to talk with me at the bakery right next to the Office of Letters and Light office, and that she’ll have to check with Chris about his schedule and get back to me on Monday.

On the bad side, traffic in and around San Fran is just terrible, sigh. And the weather hasn’t been so great either.


Nanowrimo day 17: Pie on my face.

November 17, 2010

More from National Novel Writing Month

Haven’t had time to blog much, been busy writing! Up to 39,563 – and I want to at least hit 40k before I finally go to bed tonight. Plot’s coming along pretty well too, and I’m having lots of fun, which is the most important thing. Well, fun and word counts might be tied for most important.

Had another busy weekend, including a great Midway party – dinner out at Kelsey’s Bar and Grill in Westdale. Went out to the Hamilton Writer’s meeting at Chester’s last night, instead of going to an unofficial Write-in at the Williams on the bayfront, and it was a very good choice – I read out the first scene of my Nano from the Dana alphasmart screen, got some positive feedback, and we had some interesting discussions between those who are trying their hands at Nano and those who have steered clear. Also got to critique a new chapter from Rob’s latest thriller, and an article on hearing loss.

In other news – I fly out to San Francisco tomorrow.

Because I knew that I’d be in the Bay area for a while, I actually coughed up a substantial donation to the Office of Letters and Light – the one that includes ‘certificate good for pie with Chris Baty and Lindsey Grant.’ Figured that it’d be a cool experience, and the money goes to a good cause, right.

I wasn’t sure what the protocol was for arranging the meeting, but since there weren’t any further instructions with the email receipt of my donation, I figured I’d need to check the certificate itself.

Waiting for my package of official donor goods has been an interesting and tense experience. Now, I actually coughed up the money on Halloween, and I wasn’t really expecting any miracles from the shipping.

Two package slips for pickup were in my mailbox on Friday evening, after I got back from the write-in at McMaster. I actually assumed that two packages would cover everything. When I went up to the drugstore over on Rosedale, Saturday, I got two of the rolled tubes that they send posters in, (and occasionally use to play make-believe robots ) and sometimes stuff other goodies in.

Toted the tubes back home, unpacked them. Two nifty posters, but that was all.

Monday afternoon, a small package that actually fit into my mailbox! Cool!! But again, when I unpacked it, there was some cool merchandise that I’d ordered – a pack of nifty laptop stickers, the official Nanowrimo notebook and pen… and a reciept that mentioned that the ‘Superhero donation thank-you gifts shipped seperately.’

Okay, this was getting tight, I realized. But there was still a chance to get the certificate before I flew out, and if not, I’d just send an email and explain the predicament, right?

When I went by my apartment yesterday between work and Chester’s in Gore Park, there was another package pick-up slip in the hallway outside my door. Actually considered going home from Chester’s via Rosedale before it closed, but the rain was miserable and I didn’t end up doing that. Took a detour on the way home tonight instead.

Finally! One certificate, along with many other interesting goodies. Looked for the instructions about what to do next. There it was, in small print…

“To schedule your pie time with Chris and Lindsey, please email _________@nanowrimo.org at least three weeks before your arrival. Coupon fully transferrable. Pie expires 12/1/2011. Thank you for supporting Nanowrimo!”

What the??

Three weeks before my arrival? Yeah, I can understand the preference for some warning, but I’d need to route my email server through the TARDIS to pull that off now. Of course, my ‘arrival,’ tomorrow, isn’t really the key. The important item is my departure from the Bay area, which is not quite two weeks away. And I have to say, I don’t expect to be visiting the San Francisco area again in the next year.

I immediately rushed over to the computer and typed out an email explaining my predicament and asking if anything could be done. Still waiting to hear back, so best wishes for a happy ending gratefully accepted!

PS: For the record, I don’t really like pie. Do you think that they’ll let me eat cake?


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