mmerriam: (Default)

Originally published at Michael Merriam. Please leave any comments there.

Here is the video of my performance at the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers Word Brew event at Acadia Cafe on November 20th, 2016. Enjoy!

 

mmerriam: (Default)

Originally published at Michael Merriam. Please leave any comments there.

CaberABLE – I will be performing a 15 minute piece as part of an evening of wonderful cabaret. Saturday, November 5th, 2016 in the JSB TekBox at Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts. 528 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403.   Show starts at 7:30 pm. Event sponsored by Patrick’s Cabaret and VSA Minnesota.

Word Brew: The Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers Showcase: I will be part of this annual event showcasing Minnesota authors of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Sunday, November 20th at Acadia Cafe, 329 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55454. Show starts at 3:00 pm.

Not So Silent Planet Podcast. I be recording an episode with them in late November. Once the podcast is available to the public, I will provide a link.

mmerriam: (Type)
Here we are in February and this is my first post of the year on my poor neglected blog.

I opted to skip the annual year in review post. 2014 was mixed bag.

Here we are in February and this is my first post on my poor neglected blog of the year.

I opted to skip the annual year in review post. 2014 was mixed bag.

I had a reasonably okay year as a stage storyteller with good shows at Minnesota Fringe and as a quest of the Rockstar Storytellers.

As a fiction writer it was a tough year. There were disappointments and rough patches, enough that I realized I need to change the way I do certain things, which I am changing. The only reason I don’t count the year as a complete disaster is that I managed to finish the first draft of novel that challenged me as a writer.

I started dipping my toes into play and script writing, which has been an interesting experience and one I intended to pursue. My spares dialogue driven writing style lends itself to script writing quite well.

So yeah, kind of a downer post for kind of a downer year.

And yet, I move into 2015 enthusiastic and hopeful that I can turn that bad year around with effort and focus.

Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.
mmerriam: (Old Lynx)
This is everyone’s reminder that the Minnesota Fringe Festival production I am taking part in, "Invisible People," opens this Thursday, July 31st with 5 performances at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage -711 West Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55405. Tickets are $12 and you need a Fringe Festival button, available at the venue for $4

Showtimes are:
Thursday, 7/31 @ 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, 8/2 @ 10:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 8/6 @ 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, 8/9 @ 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, 8/10 @ 1:00 p.m.

Description:
Invisibility tops the superpower list . . . but what is lost when we’re not seen? From a writer fearing his own erasure to a young man attempting to hide his transgender self in a monastery, it’s two true stories by two Minnesota-based writers in one can’t-see show.

Their stories—which are quite different, on the surface—are intertwined in one unified performance.

Michael Merriam fears that his loss of sight will make him invisible to those around him. “It all started with the fliers,” he says, describing the people passing out fliers advertising shows, political candidates, or grass-roots causes that begin to scurry past him when they see his cane.

Christy Marie Kent tries to become invisible by entering a monastery, thinking that hiding from women will cure her from wanting to become a woman. When this fails, she gives in and transitions to womanhood. “My physical transformation begins with this, hormone pills created from the estrogen-rich urine of pregnant mares. On the bright side, the sweet candy coating almost disguises the taste of horse pee.”

Explore with them the depths of the human spirit. Discover the ability to make the best possible lives for themselves—for ourselves.

Isn’t this what we all want?

http://www.fringefestival.org/2014/show/?id=2786

But wait, there's more! I am also taking part in The Speculations Reading Series this Saturday, August 2nd at DramHaven Books, 2301 38th St E, Minneapolis. Each Speculations Reading runs from 6:30-7:45p.m., including a post-reading reception with free soda pop and cookies.

I will be reading from my newest novel Dark Waters, and probably something in support of my short store collection Whispers in Space. We will have books for sale, things to give away, and a drawing for a door prize!
mmerriam: (Blind)
This is everyone's reminder that the Minnesota Fringe Festival production I am taking part in opens this Thursday, July 31st with 5 performances at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage -711 West Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55405. Tickets are $12 and you need a Fringe Festival button, available at the venue for $4

Showtimes are:
Thursday, 7/31 @ 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, 8/2 @ 10:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 8/6 @ 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, 8/9 @ 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, 8/10 @ 1:00 p.m.

Invisibility tops the superpower list . . . but what is lost when we’re not seen? From a writer fearing his own erasure to a young man attempting to hide his transgender self in a monastery, it’s two true stories by two Minnesota-based writers in one can’t-see show.

Their stories—which are quite different, on the surface—are intertwined in one unified performance.

Michael Merriam fears that his loss of sight will make him invisible to those around him. “It all started with the fliers,” he says, describing the people passing out fliers advertising shows, political candidates, or grass-roots causes that begin to scurry past him when they see his cane.

Christy Marie Kent tries to become invisible by entering a monastery, thinking that hiding from women will cure her from wanting to become a woman. When this fails, she gives in and transitions to womanhood. “My physical transformation begins with this, hormone pills created from the estrogen-rich urine of pregnant mares. On the bright side, the sweet candy coating almost disguises the taste of horse pee.”

Explore with them the depths of the human spirit. Discover the ability to make the best possible lives for themselves—for ourselves.

Isn’t this what we all want?
http://www.fringefestival.org/2014/show/?id=2786
mmerriam: (Old Lynx)
I've been putting together my part of the "Invisible People" fringe show and thinking about my blindness and how it impacts my life.

Sometimes people will ask me if miss driving. My knee-jerk response is "Yes," but what I really miss is the independence, which is what they are really asking me about anyway. But the driving? Well…

It occurs to me that I could write a one-man storytelling show about Michael and his complicated and frankly unsafe relationship with cars as a younger man. Seriously.

Don't believe me? I'll post little quick snippets on Facebook and Twitter, just teasers, with the hashtag #carstories over the next couple of days.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.
mmerriam: (Quantum Cat)
Hi everyone.

I know it has been kind of quiet around her lately. In fact, I haven't posted since just after CoreCon. There has been a lot going on over the last month, and I promise to explain, at least in part, the long silence. That post will happen next week, right after 4th Street Fantasy Convention.

Which brings me to this post: I realized I'm going to be at a couple of convention over the next few weeks and have a few other bits of news to share. So here comes the sharing.

This weekend I will be at 4th Street Fantasy Convention. I will be moderating a panel Friday evening, Short Fiction, with a crowd of really talented authors. After that I will be part of the ongoing discussion that is 4th Street Fantasy Con. More info about programming here: http://www.4thstreetfantasy.com/2013/programming/

On the 2nd of July I will be competing in the second semi-final round of StorySlamMN. The storytelling starts at 8pm and is at Kieran's Irish Pub in downtown Minneapolis. Come down and hear me compete with some of the finest storytellers in the Midwest. http://slammn.org/storyslam

And of course, over the 4th of July weekend I will be at CONvergence. I'll post more about my schedule closer to the convention, but in truth, I've dialed it back this year, going down to a mere six programing items, as opposed to the eight to twelve I typically get involved in.

Finally, my new short fiction collection, Whispers in Space will be available in the next few weeks to sale, More information there as I have it.

And I promise, there will be a big update and post after the convention. Promise.

Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.
mmerriam: (Coffee)
On Thursday the 2nd of May, my short piece "The Sixth Son" will air sometime around 7:00am on The Morning Blend on KFAI FM 90.3 Minneapolis and 106.7 St. Paul. This little tale is a riff on and gentle poke at fantasy tropes.

I have two short stories—"Darkly Through the Light Waters" and "Rainfall"— appearing in a just released anthology, Magical Creatures from Celtic Mists, from Artema Press. You can check it out and buy a copy here.

Offered without comment, except to say that the writers organization I am help organize, MinnSpec, plans to sign up: Coffee and Books.

I listened to METAtropolis: Cascadia, and while I enjoyed every novella in the audio book, Jay Lake's The Bull Dancers and Ken Scholes's A Symmetry of Serpents and Doves stood out. Both of these stories really struck me as a reader and have stuck with me days later. I'll review the entire anthology later, but for now, I highly recommend you give it a listen.

Mr. Belyn remains Very Fuzzy Indeed, as befits a Maine Coon.

We now return to preparing for CoreCon.

Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.
mmerriam: (Old Lynx)
I wanted to remind everyone that I will be both telling a story (During the "90% Lies: Contemporary Fictional Storytelling" hour) and Hosting (During the "Dead Men Tell No Tales: Ghost Stories" hour)

There will be an amazing number of top-notch storytellers involved in this festival, so if you want to come out and see some of the most talented tellers in the Twin Cities today, do not miss this festival.

Seriously.

More information at the Story Arts of Minnesota website: http://storyartsmn.org/storyfest/

Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.

On The Air

Feb. 13th, 2013 06:30 pm
mmerriam: (Michael - Radio)
This is your head's up that, according to the producer of FreshWords, my short (as in 5 minutes) story slam piece "Where's George?" will air tomorrow on KFAI 90.3FM Minneapolis and 106.7FM St. Paul (or streaming at http://kfai.org/) "somewhere around 7:10am."

I hope you get a chance to listen and enjoy!
mmerriam: (Stories)
In my quest to broaden my artistic horizons, I've started a new—career is too strong a word—artistic pursuit: spoken-word performer.

Now, once upon a time, many many many years ago, I was an actor. I know this probably messes with your perception of quiet, introverted Michael, but there it is. But that was many many many years ago, so when I first started talking about the idea of maybe considering the possibility of taking up spoken-word performing and stage storytelling at some point in a nebulous future, it was kind of terrifying. The kind of terrifying that leaves you quivering behind the couch under a heavy quilt, hugging your confused cat and muttering fevered prayers. Or gibber unintelligibly. Whichever.

The year is 2008. Undaunted by the task of dragging me from behind the couch, and having way more belief in me than I have in myself, Beloved Spouse gave me the birthday gift of Nancy Donoval's Storytelling Workshop (because Beloved Spouse only buys the best. For my birthday the first year we were married she bought me tickets to go see storyteller and harpist Patrick Ball. I think this is where the seeds of pursuing spoken-word performing were planted). I had a great time at the workshop. Nancy is a fabulous teacher and I learned tons about story and story construction, things I took and used in my career as a writer of fictions. But I never tried to do anything with the skills I learned about performing on stage in front of a live audience. Terrified, I did put in for the MN Fringe Festival in 2010. I don't get in. I remember being kind of relieved.

Move forward to 2011. I finally suck it up and decide to just do it. Of course, I couldn't get into spoken-word performing the normal way. You know, do a bunch of workshops, take acting and vocal classes, and perform at open mics for months (or years) to fine-tune your material and delivery. No, I jumped in feet first and off the deep end. I put in for MN Fringe Festival again. The ping-pong ball gods dismissed me, but a show dropped out five days before the festival opened, and I took the slot.

Despite the fact that I was a nervous wreck and actually got a little ill the day before opening the show, it went pretty well. I'd done public readings of my fiction for a number of years, so I wasn't freaked out being in front of an audience. I knew there was no way I'd be off book in five days, so I didn't worry about it. I did a quasi-dramatic reading of three original fantasy stories to mostly positive reviews. We finished the run without any disasters and even made a little money.

Next, I lose my mind and audition for Tellebration! 2011, a major storytelling festival held that year at Open Book in downtown Minneapolis. I didn't really think I was going to get in, but I received an email letting me know I'd been picked for the personal stories track. I rewrote a script I had planned to use for a future MN Fringe Festival, cutting 20 minutes of material. The day before the festival I tell Beloved Spouse to please email them and let them now I can't do this. I plan to buy a bus ticket to Iowa, change my name, and take up raising llamas.

I did none of these things, instead fulfilling my contract with the festival. I got up on stage, I took a deep breath, and…

Yeah. It went well. Not perfect, but pretty good for an amateur, I thought. That night after the festival closed, the sponsoring organization, NorthStar Storytelling League, hosted a story slam. Well, in for a pound…The competition was terrifying. Some of the biggest names in local spoken-word performing and storytelling signed up to compete. I decided early that my best hope was to not embarrass myself while getting some much needed experience. I was one of the last performers of the night. I stepped up to microphone, took a deep breath and launched into the story.

For three and a half minutes, I was on fire. I don't know where I vanished to, but the guy up on stage using my body to tell a story about encountering a ghost on Hennepin Avenue was hitting on all cylinders and in complete command of his performance. I came in second place, to my delight and utter bewilderment. I won a bunch of free tickets to a series of storytelling events around the Twin Cities.

And then I stopped and went back to hiding behind the couch clutching my befuddled feline. Whatever confidence I had built up vanished. Beloved Spouse kept poking at me to go to the monthly story slam at Kieran's, but I kept making excuses. We did see a bunch of storytelling over the next nine months. Mostly the Rockstar Storytellers, but some other great shows a well, especially at MN Fringe Festival 2012. I would watch these fabulous storytellers and think, "Man, I wish I was half as good as they are."

Finally, the gift certificates I had won for my second place finish were about to expire. Deciding I really needed to see if I could do this or not, I wrote a piece about the life a dollar bill for the MN Story Slam in September, finishing it the afternoon before the slam. I got up on the stage, took a deep and nervous breath, and let the story go. And I came in second place.

I went back this month with a tale about how cats are plotting our demise as a species. I didn't place, but still gave a strong performance. And I found that I loved listening to all the competing storytellers, learning by paying attention to how they told their own tales and delivered them to the audience.

I realized I'd been doing that all along. I'd been watching storytellers I admire— performers like Nancy Donoval, Phillip Andrew Bennett Low, Rob Callahan, John Dingley, Amy Salloway, Katie Knutson, Katherine Glover, Rik Reppe, and others too numerous to mention—and I was studying their style, their deliveries, how they constructed a tale, how they managed the stage and the audience. I was taking a Master's Class in storytelling by the simple virtue of being open to what each performer—whether an established professional or a nervous newcomer like me—had to teach with each performance.

There's no real moral or point to this tale, I just wanted to share this cool new thing I'm doing that brings me joy (and yeah, I know there will also be anger and tears in the future. Anything you feel passionate about in life will bring you frustration at some point) and stretches me as a performer and writer.

Maybe that's what this blog post is about: remembering to stretch as an artist; to strive and grasp and grow and take chances; to try new and scary things; to be willing to fail, but maybe succeed. To crawl from behind the couch, blink up into the bright light of the table lamp, set the exasperated cat down, and be brave in the face of fear and doubt.

Or maybe it's about how to stop annoying your cat.

Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.
mmerriam: (Blind)
This is my runner-up performance at the 2011 Tellebration! Story Slam. The audio can be dicey at times because I moved around the stage quite a bit, which meant I moved away from the microphone. On stage that wasn't a problem, I know how to project my voice out to the audience. In a recording, it's a little more problematic.

Ghost on Hennepin

Also, true story.

Originally posted at michaelmerriam.net. You can comment here or there.

Oklahoma!

Jan. 11th, 2012 04:28 pm
mmerriam: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] careswen and I traveled back to Oklahoma over the Christmas holidays to visit with family and friends. This was the first time we had been back since 2009, and [livejournal.com profile] careswen had the lovely idea that I should do some public readings and storytelling events in our old home state. It was a great idea. None of our family or friends in Oklahoma had been to one of my readings, and I was incorporating my storytelling-as-performance into what I was doing.

Long Entry With Pictures )

Oklahoma!

Jan. 11th, 2012 04:28 pm
mmerriam: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] careswen and I traveled back to Oklahoma over the Christmas holidays to visit with family and friends. This was the first time we had been back since 2009, and [livejournal.com profile] careswen had the lovely idea that I should do some public readings and storytelling events in our old home state. It was a great idea. None of our family or friends in Oklahoma had been to one of my readings, and I was incorporating my storytelling-as-performance into what I was doing.

Long Entry With Pictures )
mmerriam: (Michael-Hat)
Now that Tellabration! 2011 is over, I plan to catch up on several things, including blogging. Preparing to be a daytime performer at Tellabration! took up a lot of my brain power, but I have to tell you, I had a great time. I went to the Friday evening concert and heard all the big-name storytellers perform and let me tell you, it was a pleasure. There wasn’t a bad storyteller in the group and I walked out both thrilled at what I heard and little daunted that I might not be up the level of storytelling skill that performs at this festival.

I was one of the last storytellers of the day on Saturday, and despite my worries and fears (at one point when I was rehearsing at home, I decided to call the festival and tell them I couldn’t do it. I also decided to buy a bus ticket and flee the state. I did neither) I put on a pretty good show -- good enough that a handful of local storytellers I admire came up and told me how much they had enjoyed my show. Turned out, once I got on the stage I was comfortable and just let the story flow, even ad-libbing a crucial change.

Saturday night, after the last daytime performances, there was the NorthStar Storytelling League Story Slam, where you have five minutes to tell a complete story before a panel of judges who then score you. Several of the local Big Name storytellers were signed up (this was a qualifying event for the Minnesota Story Slam Championship). I had decided the night before to sign up, because you can’t win if you don’t play, and I thought it would be a good experience. There was a wide range of competitors, from polished professionals with decades of storytelling experience to amateurs who had barely gotten their feet wet at open mic events and at least one person who I know for sure this was their first storytelling performance. There were some great stories and amazing performances over the next two and a half hours.

And I took 2nd place.

I am still a little boggled, but I knew my material and once I stepped up on the stage, for two and half minutes, I was on fire. It was a little like I wasn’t me anymore, like the ghost of a performer had entered my body and taken over. I got the single highest individual score from a judge (9.1) and was in the lead until nearly the end. Afterward I was asked to come to other local story slams, which I plan to do after the holidays.

I have to admit, I really enjoyed performing. I enjoyed getting up in front of a room and telling a tale.

Me, the dedicated introvert!

Who knew?
mmerriam: (Michael-Hat)
Now that Tellabration! 2011 is over, I plan to catch up on several things, including blogging. Preparing to be a daytime performer at Tellabration! took up a lot of my brain power, but I have to tell you, I had a great time. I went to the Friday evening concert and heard all the big-name storytellers perform and let me tell you, it was a pleasure. There wasn’t a bad storyteller in the group and I walked out both thrilled at what I heard and little daunted that I might not be up the level of storytelling skill that performs at this festival.

I was one of the last storytellers of the day on Saturday, and despite my worries and fears (at one point when I was rehearsing at home, I decided to call the festival and tell them I couldn’t do it. I also decided to buy a bus ticket and flee the state. I did neither) I put on a pretty good show -- good enough that a handful of local storytellers I admire came up and told me how much they had enjoyed my show. Turned out, once I got on the stage I was comfortable and just let the story flow, even ad-libbing a crucial change.

Saturday night, after the last daytime performances, there was the NorthStar Storytelling League Story Slam, where you have five minutes to tell a complete story before a panel of judges who then score you. Several of the local Big Name storytellers were signed up (this was a qualifying event for the Minnesota Story Slam Championship). I had decided the night before to sign up, because you can’t win if you don’t play, and I thought it would be a good experience. There was a wide range of competitors, from polished professionals with decades of storytelling experience to amateurs who had barely gotten their feet wet at open mic events and at least one person who I know for sure this was their first storytelling performance. There were some great stories and amazing performances over the next two and a half hours.

And I took 2nd place.

I am still a little boggled, but I knew my material and once I stepped up on the stage, for two and half minutes, I was on fire. It was a little like I wasn’t me anymore, like the ghost of a performer had entered my body and taken over. I got the single highest individual score from a judge (9.1) and was in the lead until nearly the end. Afterward I was asked to come to other local story slams, which I plan to do after the holidays.

I have to admit, I really enjoyed performing. I enjoyed getting up in front of a room and telling a tale.

Me, the dedicated introvert!

Who knew?
mmerriam: (Blind)
I will be a day performer at this years Tellabration! event. I will be part of the "Personal Stories" track and will be sharing the Saturday, November 26th 4pm - 5 pm slot with Lane McKiernan. I'll be doing a show called "No Gimps Allowed," about being disabled and becoming "invisible" in the able-bodied world.

http://northstarstorytelling.org/tellabration-2011/
mmerriam: (Blind)
I will be a day performer at this years Tellabration! event. I will be part of the "Personal Stories" track and will be sharing the Saturday, November 26th 4pm - 5 pm slot with Lane McKiernan. I'll be doing a show called "No Gimps Allowed," about being disabled and becoming "invisible" in the able-bodied world.

http://northstarstorytelling.org/tellabration-2011/
mmerriam: (Michael-Hat)
I have applied to audition for a daytime performance slot at this year's Tellebration event.

http://northstarstorytelling.org/tellabration-2011/
mmerriam: (Michael-Hat)
I have applied to audition for a daytime performance slot at this year's Tellebration event.

http://northstarstorytelling.org/tellabration-2011/

April 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
2345678
9101112131415
1617181920 2122
23242526272829
30      

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 26th, 2017 10:45 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios