Graduation Day

I graduated the 2014 Artist Trust EDGE Professional Development Program for Literary Artists. It was a great experience that will forever enhance my writing career.

The twelve graduates gave a final presentation at Elliott Bay Bookstore. I read my short story SWIMMER’S EAR. About 50 people were in attendance.

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Taking the Plunge

My new friend and fellow writer, Rebecca Redshaw, does a weekly feature on her blog about a wide assortment of people. The series is called TAKING THE PLUNGE. This week …it’s my turn and I’m honored.

I took the opportunity to mention my first memoir SHORN: TOYS TO MEN and it’s 2011 stage adaptation THE CUT by Dustin Engstrom.

Rebecca talks about ONE GAY AMERICAN–she just finished reading the book.

Introducing Dennis Bensie – a writer you’ll want to know -

http://r2redshaw.blogspot.com

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Artist Trust EDGE Final Presentation

It’s getting close and I’m getting very excited.

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New Review on Amazon.com

SHORN: TOYS TO MEN got another 5 star review on Amazon.com today. They come so randomly, I am always surprised and delighted when I see them. I love to hear from readers:

“It was so good, and so very human. He really put himself out there in writing this and it was just, astounding. I haven’t ever read an autobiography I liked so much before. It is just such a good book. I loved it from the first to the last page, and yes it did make me cry at points. HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!’

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Swimmer’s Ear

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I am thrilled that my short story SWIMMER’S EAR was published by The Ink and Code this morning! The publication had an artist do an original piece of art inspired by the story to accompany it —which is so cool. The artist is Ryan Florez.

http://theinkandcode.com/swimmers-ear/

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Another Amazon.com Review

I religiously follow reviews and scores on amazon.com and Goodreads. A new (and lengthy) review of SHORN:TOYS TO MEN appeared on amazon yesterday:

“…Milam’s story reflects the cosmic pluralism of doubt and insecurity associated with learning to own one’s sexuality. Many would be able to relate to the gnawing sense of isolation that can come from a lack of a healthy outlet for sexual expression…”

I’ll accept that. Overall it was a great review.

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AWP Conference in Seattle!

Seattle is lucky enough to host the Association of Writers and Writing Program Conference this year. The three day conference will be help at the Washington State Convention Center.

It is too great a deal to miss and I have painstakingly gone through the list of events and made my decision as to what to attend.

Of the 100+ lectures and discussions, These are my picks:

Thursday, February 27
9-10:15am
Lives Not Our Own: The Ethics and Practice of Assuming the Voice of Others
Willow Room, Sheraton, 2nd Floor

10:30-11:45am
Courting the Peculiar: The Ever Changing Queerness of Creative Non-Fiction
Room 3B, Convention Center

12 noon-1:15pm
The Third I: The Writer as Mediator in Memoir and Personal Narrative
Room 202, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 2

1:30-2:45pm
Reading Virginia’s Mail: Letters and Journals as Creative Non-Fiction
Room 2D Convention Center

3-4:15pm
Ghost Lives: Writing and Teaching Memoir When the Subject is Missing
Redwood Room, Sheraton 2nd floor

4:30-5:45pm
Relationship Memoir: Living Through it.
Room 202, Western New England MFA Annex. Level 2

8:30-10pm
Keynote Address by Annie Proulx (author of The Shipping News, Brokeback Mountain)

Friday, February 28
9-10:15am
A New Non-Fiction
Room 611, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6

10:30-11:45am
Independent Bookselling: Opportunities For Authors
Room 304, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 3

12 noon-1:15pm
25 for 25: A Lambda Literary Foundation Celebration Reading
Room 615, 616, 617 Convention Center. Level 6

1:30-2:45pm
Organizing the Truth: The Non-Fiction Canon
Room 305, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 3

3-4:15pm
This Assignment is So Gay: Managing Your Queerness in Your Classroom
Aspen Room, Sheraton, 2nd Floor

4:30-5:45pm
Just the Facts: Effective Research Stategies in Creative Non-Fiction
Room 607, Convention Center, 6th Floor

Saturday, March 1
9-10:15am
What the Dog Said: Writing in Unusual Points of View
Room 611, Convention Center, Level 6

10:30-11:45am
Queer Translations
Room 612, Convention Center, Level 6

12 noon-1:15pm
Telling It All: Boundaries in Creative Non-Fiction
Room 613, 614 Convention Center, Level 6

1:30-2:45pm
Queer Double Agents: Writing and Publishing Between Communities
Room 613, 614 Convention Center, Level 6

3-4:15pm
Lightening Up The Dark: The Role of Humor in Memoir
Willow Room, Sheraton, 2nd Floor

4:30-5:45pm
Where Are They Now?: The State of GLBTQ Small Press Publishing
Willow Room, Sheraton, 2nd Floor

8:30-10pm
Sherman Alexie and Timothy Egan Reading
Ballroom ABC, Convention Center, Level 6

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Artist Trust of Washington

I have been accepted into the Artist Trust / EDGE Professional Development Program for Literary Artists. This is especially exciting for me because I have never had any type of writer classes or training. I am looking forward to digging in and absorbing as much as I can from this fantastic workshop.

The intensive 55 hour class program “…provides artists with a comprehensive survey of professional practices through a hands-on, interactive curriculum that includes instruction by professionals in the field, as well as specialized presentations, panel discussions and assignments. The EDGE Program focuses on supplying artists with the relevant and necessary entrepreneurial skills to achieve their personal career goals and with the opportunity to develop peer support and exchange.”

Faculty and guest speakers include: Karen Maeda Allman, Elizabeth Austen, Heidi Broadhead (Wave Poetry), Rachel Buker, Rebecca Hoogs, Jourdan Keith, Gary Luke (Sasquatch Books), Dan Mayer, Harold Taw and Elizabeth Wales (Wales Literary Agency).

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Cease Cows

Another of my short stories got published today. This is the seventh one to get accepted this year.

It is perhaps the craziest and twisted short story I have ever written. I wrote it backstage at the 5th Avenue Theater during SECONDHAND LIONS. I sent it out a bunch of places and it was accepted by a fabulous site called Cease, Cows in less than 24 hours.

http://ceasecows.com/2013/10/19/bffs-by-dennis-bensie/

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SIU-C LGBTQ History Month

If you had told me when I graduated Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1988 that I would be asked by the university LGBTQ center to do an event on campus as the author of One Gay American …I would have never believed it.

There wasn’t even an LGBTQ center on campus when I was a student there.

There was no “LBGTQ History Month” in America in 1988.

Me having the courage to have my name on a book called One GAY American and sharing my stories of growing up queer to a room full of people would have seemed preposterous.

But it happened in 2013.

I was so proud to see about fifty attentive people at my lecture on the evening of October 9. I was also pleased that the Student Center bookstore had many copies of Shorn: Toys to Men and One Gay American on hand for me to sign after the reading.

Of all the readings and events I have done, this one grabbed my heart.

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