Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I won!

I did it! 50,373 words in 30 days! I begun my novel November 1st and ended it November 30th! Feels good!


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Another Week

I guess I gotta post something, because it's Sunday, another week another blogpost, right?

I saw something strange today. I think, sometimes there are very surreal moments, just an odd thing you notice, a moment where you think huh, that is strange, I have never seen that before. Not things that change your life or anything that dramatic, just things that make you scratch your head a little. I saw something like that today.

I was on the green line subway train, heading for park street when I realized there was a man standing behind me, who was rather odd. Now, usually, this isn't that strange. I have taken the subway many times now, and you will usually find some unusual looking fellows, but this guy wasn't a bum or anything like that. He was wearing signs all over his body, signs that proclaimed Jesus as the savior, confess your sins or burn in hell, praise jesus or suffer eternal torment, messages like that, you know, you've probably seen a religious fanatic like that on television if not in real life. If he had been ranting and raving in the streets, then that would be pretty normal, and I wouldn't be talking about him on my blog at the moment. What he was doing, was quietly standing along with everyone else on the train. He flipped through a bunch of little jesus cards he had in his hands, fiddled with the clasps on a sign here, or a sign there. I couldn't help but wonder, was he going home? Would he walk into a house, pull off the signs as his wife asked him how his day of condemning heathens had gone? Was he homeless? Was he merely on his way to his next area of attempted conversion? I guess what was odd was he seemed like any other man going home after a day of work, only his work clothes consisted of religious messages and such rather than his business suit or workman's clothes. Perhaps this guy just liked to do some preaching on his days off, though if he was so gung ho about Jesus, shouldn't he be preaching in his own neighborhood, friends and neighbors rather than taking the green line elsewhere?

So yeah, I thought it was strange, odd and funny, one of those things that you kinda just shake your head at. A religious guy I would expect to be ranting and raving was quietly taking the train just like everybody else.

Nanowrimo is nearly over and my novel is not that close to completion. I am close to 50k though, so I am quite certain I will succeed. Afterwards...well, the novel needs alot of work, rewriting, editting, scenes added in, etc. I am now wondering whether I will let people read it before I do some work on it or not. Part of me wants to, to see what people think, but another part of me, a part that always holds me back from letting people read my writing. The fact is that it truly does need work. You can't write something 50 thousand words long and get everything right the first time. So that is the problem I'm considering right now. We will see. By next Sunday, November will be over. I plan on continuing to write every day, hopefully a thousand words a day if not more. I'm hoping of coming to a decent ending of the novel maybe a week or two in December. I do not know, we will see.

I just finished American Gods by Neil Gaiman. It is pretty good, bringing mythic Gods into Modern times and doing a good job of it. It is a little crazy and the amount of mythology within is rather astounding. The ending was also quite good, and it is definitely not a predictable book. I would recommend it.

That is all, a short post, no doubt. But there it is.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunny Day

It's Sunday and I don't feel like writing much of anything, so here's an excerpt from my novel that's coming along.


The sky screamed of steel and the air tasted of blood. In the valley of Aleutha, too pretty a name for the work being done there, rivers of the redness ran beneath men's feet as they shuffled, dancing, swinging, striking blows in the deadly dance of combat. Spears were thrust, swords slashing and axes hacking into flesh. Men yelled in the face of brutal chaos, hurling themselves at one another with deadly efficiency.
Jared Longheart roared, raining blows onto another man's helm. The other man, the enemy, folded to the ground and Jared reversed his grip, stabbing downwards. His eyes were fierce. Blood covered him from head to toe. He looked for another foe. It wasn't difficult to find, a pale-faced man with an axe who was charging straight for him. Jared turned, ducking under the axe, spinning around behind. His sword found the back of the man's neck and blood spurted out like a fountain. Jared wiped the redness from his eyes but took too long. A man's spear took him in the gut.
Bareath Damod's axe took twenty-seven lives before another man took off his head. Kent Brenner's steel sent ten men to the grave before an axe took his leg and then his heart. Gerend Tamalde, a vicious dwarf who would have stories told of him long after the battle was over, led a group of men deep into the enemy ranks, slaughtering left and right, until him and those with him were struck down by lightning from a raised hand. A kid barely the age of a man fell underneath a large corpse and drowned in bloody mud.

Bows twanged, crossbows thrummed, arrows sunk into flesh, and bolts punctured armor. Battle cries became cries of agony and pain and death. Men lived and died in mere moments.
Mott Thanson, a lowly boy until the War, was frightened out of his mind. But he fought, because to do anything else was to die, or worse, become one of the squealing and dying on the ground. So he ducked a spear thrust and returned with the sharp edge of his sword across the other man's neck. And he parried the next man's sword, turned it, kicked the man and brought his sword down. He killed, and he killed, and he killed again. He killed until his legs ached, his back burned, his arms were weary. His hands bled from calluses ripped open by the leather grip of the sword. And still, he stabbed one in the back, another in the chest, and ripped open another's belly, spewing steaming intestines onto the ground.
This was not the fight Mott had imagined in his mind. He'd seen himself and his comrades fighting cruel men, men in dark robes, snarling and hateful. Fighting evil and succeeding. Becoming a hero, beating the odds and saving the world. These men did not wear dark robes, in fact the two opposing sides looked more alike than different. It wasn't right. The other side, the mages and their allies, were evil, had caused destruction and chaos upon the world, and yet, they looked like normal men and worse, they died like any other man. Mott saw no evil in the enemies' eyes when he thrust his sword into them, they were the same as any other man, full of pity, sadness, anger and shock at the finality of their own end. This wasn't what he wanted.
But it didn't matter. He couldn't think about it. All he could do was act and react, an instinctual need to survive pushing him and pushing him. All he knew was that he did not want to die. Not here. Not now. Not like this. And so he fought and killed. And when the horns called out, when the two sides fell away from each other, chests heaving and breathing labored, Mott knew it wasn't over. He was going to have to kill and kill again until one side lost or gave up. It wasn't over. Who knew when it would be?
The two sides pulled back as the sun fell in the sky. It was the nature of large battles with many, many men. You push and push and surge forward, and eventually the surge subsides, lessens and finally the waves pull back. Both sides form a mutual unspoken peace, or perhaps a better word for it, agreement, a time of rest, to gather the dead and fallen of your own and then wait for the next surge.
And so the next part of big battles began, as terrible as the last, perhaps worse even. As the ache and weariness grows and grows throughout your body, you have to lift and carry your dead and dying. Pull them back, save those few you can, put those you can't out of their misery. You no longer have the distraction of fighting for your life, now you can't ignore the screams and shrieks of your own friends and comrades.
Mott's mind was blank as he went about his tasks, his body robotic, simply going through the motions. Most of the men's eyes were staring off into some other world, dazed, though the many veterans simply shrugged it off and yelled at the others to 'get a goddamn move on about it afore the enemy rides down upon all arr heads.'
There was another surge before night finally fell. Men roared, fought, killed, and died. A cooling rain fell as the sides once again pulled away from each other. Tents and sentries were set up, campfires lit despite the light drizzle, bland and boring food cooked and eaten. Mott did not think he would sleep, yet his mind remained an easy nothingness, and his exhaustion quickly took him away from consciousness. He did dream despite his weariness, nightmares filled with men being slaughtered and squealing like pigs, and always, Mott was the one who held the killing weapon.

During this night, other things were happening, and on the morrow, things would happen that would cause the boy Mott much worse nightmares than these which he had now.
In his own camp, there was a light coming from the High Lord's tent. It was a tent only slightly larger than any of his soldiers, room for only a small cot, table and a couple chairs. Right now a large map lay open on the ground, rocks on the corners and small markers set in certain places on the map. It was very well detailed, made by Elves in fact, and showed the region around the two armies nigh perfectly. The High Lord, called only 'Leaan' or 'Leader' by all, sat upon the ground, chin on a hand, pondering the map before him. A torch set in the ground provided the tent with flickering illumination. Another man, Leaan's Second stood behind Leaan, hands on his hip, scowl on his face.
"We should attack in the night. Tonight. You know it to be true," The Second said.
"Attacking at night is a scoundrel's tactic, and a foolish one," Leaan replied.
"And do they not use dishonorable tactics? Do you forget they use magic?" The last word was spit out as much as it was said. "The coward's weapon? Evil and dastardly and the cause of all our problems?" His voice grew louder with each word until he was nearly shouting.
"Calm yourself." Leaan's voice was steel. "I understand them better than you know.  Any commander worth his salt knows to keep his most hardened and alert men as night sentries, to guard and alert to any such attack. The men know to sleep with their armor and weapons close at hand. It is nigh impossible to move a large amount of men softly and quietly through the night. Sentries give the alarm, the defenders quickly rise up and become the attackers. And if we should send men in the night and kill their sentries without alarm, what of it? You said yourself they use magic, do you not think they will have wards up? Spells of warning should a foot make a step too close to the camp?"
The other man looked away, into a shadowy corner of the tent. He did not speak.
"A night attack is a fool's tactic, at least in the situation such as we are in. I would hope we would be attack this night, for we are more than ready, but I know Angun." Leaan sighed. "He is no fool."
"No," the other man said softly, "just a betrayer."
"Enough! I will not hear you speak ill of him. He simply made the wrong choice. He chose the wrong side. He does not understand. He could have slit my throat in my sleep, caused chaos and destruction in the ranks before he left but he did not." Leaan remembered that day. Angun had simply told him he could no longer fight for him and was leaving. He climbed upon his horse, a great white beast of a horse, and began trotting away. Leaan could've ordered him caught, killed or taken hostage, but he held his tongue. He had let Angun go. It was the honorable thing to do.
"You let them have one of our great commanders for nothing. That was ill-decided, Leaan."
"It was not for nothing, Calwer, it was for honor. Remember that." Leaan gave Calwer a stern look, then turned back to the map. Calwer was a great fighter, but all bluster and glory-seeking. He did not think things through, and was not a keen strategist. Leaan almost regretted promoting him to Angun's position, but there was naught else he could have done. Calwer was stalwart and loyal and had been with him nearly as long as Angun. Leaan rewarded loyalty, he had to. If you did not have loyalty, you had nothing. Leaan leaned closer to the map.
It showed a vast forest surrounding a large open valley, in which the various stone markers stood. The forest was Lelandrial, Leaan knew it meant Forest of The Lights, but most simply knew it as Forest of the Elves, or the Elven forest. Leaan's army had chased the mages through this forest and into this valley. The valley butted up against an enormous lake, the north of which was off the map but Leaan knew what was up there. Red stone markers stood on the valley near the lake, the enemy encampment. Blue markers curved around the red ones, showing Leaan's own army. There was nowhere for the enemy to retreat to. Perhaps they were building boats, ready to flee across the lake, but Leaan doubted it. The lake was a wild one, buffeted by heavy winds from the cold Northern mountains, with high waves, and where would they flee to? North of the lake were high rocky bluffs, even if they could find a landing for their army, there would be nowhere to go but up into the mountains, where orcs, goblins, and giants resided, not to mention the cold, and though Autumn was barely starting, a cold chill would be growing across the land, colder this far North. No, it would be a mistake to flee across the lake. Leaan felt, no, he knew Angun would make his final stand where he was, with his back against the lake, like a dog in a corner, and Leaan knew a dog backed into a corner was a very dangerous animal.
"Tomorrow we end it. We attack at dawn." It made sense, charging with the rising sun. "Go, Calwer, sleep. You will need it."
"Very well, Leader." Calwer patted his fist against his chest in one swift motion. "Ah-stahn." He left.
Ah-stahn, a saying that simply meant 'I stand'. "Ahl-stahn," Leaan said to himself. "We stand." He did not sleep that night.

Across the valley, as a pale sliver of a moon rose up in the sky and a cold wind blew through the cloth of tents making torches sputter and flicker, Angun Silverbeard stood in a large white tent with six other men, each dressed in colorful robes and Angun in simple leather and wool. He was arguing with fools and he knew it. At times, he regretted joining the mages, but he simply could not follow a leader who would kill a man simply because of how he was born. It wasn't right, but Leaan couldn't see it, wouldn't see it. And so he had left, thinking he would be taken hostage or killed before his horse let a hoof fall outside the camp, but Leaan had led him go. And now he was here, the commander of the army of the mages, and it was hard, but it was his duty.
"We will not attack at night and that is final!" Angun bellowed, his voice loud and powerful, silencing the robed men before him. Between the men stood a table, and upon the table a map, crudely drawn, of the surrounding regions. If the Elves had agreed to help them...but they had refused. The mages and their army had fled to the Elven forest expecting aid, indeed Elves were widely known as a deeply connected race, more connected to magic than humans and dwarves and yet they had refused. Leaan and his army of men frightened them and they had dared not risk his anger, much less open war. The dwarves had given Leaan warriors, crafters and builders, and the Elves had given them maps and knowledge of their surroundings. It seemed the mages were on their own with an army of supporters, and that was it. It would be a difficult battle to win.
"We should flee across the lake. Why do you not have men building boats?" One of the robed ones asked.
"Because it would take half a week, meanwhile we faced attack after attack after attack with men tired from building." He almost added 'you fool' but managed to hold his tongue. It would not help matters to piss off these sneering wizards, the so-called lords of the mages in this army. He shook his head. He did not like explaining himself to those who knew little of battle, did not like explaining himself to anyone at all for that matter, but he needed these men and their magic. "Now, tomorrow, will you wear simple leather and armor, as I have asked you?"
Five of them sniffed in annoyance. "Should we dress as simple soldiers?" One of them sneered, and a couple tittered.
"Yes, you should." The titters stopped, and the one who spoke sputtered in surprise. "Alcoth was wearing his signature green and red robes." The mages looked elsewhere, anywhere but Angun's eyes. They could not block out his stone cold voice though. "That did not stop a bolt from going through his throat. Each one of you that wears robes gives the enemies archers a target, a beacon on the battlefield that draws fire. It is your choice, however."
There was muttering but no one spoke up. Angun sighed. That was settled. Good. He pointed at the map. "We will not make boats and we will not flee. We will stand here and fight. Is that understood?" They nodded reluctantly. For all their stubborn arrogance, they knew he was the best commander they had.
"If we wish to win with the least amount of casualties, withdraw your restrictions, sir." This one was Lavathin, robed in blood red. "Give us freedom to do as we will and the battle will be over after the first foray."
"Nay," Angun replied, shaking his head. He did not raise his voice but it had a deadly softness. "I will not have masses of men butchered and burning in agony. You know what I allow."
"Parlor tricks and pathetically weak demonstrations of our power. We would have them running if only-"
"I said no. If you wish to keep me as your commander, you will do as I say." Angun doubted the enemy would run no matter what was thrown at them. They had The Leader, after all. He waved a hand dismissively. "Leave me. You will have battle plans for the morrow soon."
The six mages left the tent with heads held high. They were weavers of lightning, masters of fire, and lords of awesome destruction. They did not like being told what to do. Two robed men broke off from the rest, walking together.
One was Lavathin Teallin, a name that would soon be remembered for long time to come,  a tall severe man with dark eyes. "I will not wear leather like some lay man." His voice was smooth and slippery and filled with anger.
The other man, short and balding and wearing purple robes, spoke up with a high whiny voice. "But Lord Silverbeard makes a good point..."
"Silence. He is no lord, just a simple soldier who does not understand our power. Tomorrow, he will. They all will. I will send them running like dogs."
Angun stood over the map, looking at it, strategies forming in his mind. He thought of Leaan, and what he knew of the man, and just what Leaan might do. Angun closed his eyes. He knew what Leaan would do. He would attack at dawn, and Angun would meet him. They would push against eachother as ocean waves beat against the shore. It would be an honorable but bloody battle, and at the end, one side would rise victorious. Angun nodded. Very well. No tricks or sneaks. He had mages, true, but he had restricted them to healing, strengthening his troops, and spells of lightning. Lightning was clean and quick, at least. Just bloody brutal fighting. He stroked the silver beard that gave him his name. It was the only name he had. In the times of chaos, he had been lost and afraid, but Leaan had found him. Had raised him up and formed him into a man. And now, now he would face him on the battlefield. "So be it." Little did Angun know there would be no honor in tomorrow's battle, not after what Lavathin planned. Angun found no sleep in his cot that night.

The gray hour before dawn found Mott tightening his leather and pulling on his armor. His hands shook and memories of the nightmarish dreams of the night before echoed in his head despite his attempt to ignore them. Dawn was coming and it would soon be time to kill again. There was no time for extraneous thoughts or mulling over actions. He picked up his sword, and though it did not shine, it was clean. Not for long, though, not for long at all. Soon it would be red with blood or he would be dead.
The Leader rode amongst his encampment on a gray armored horse, his full plate on, dull and hard. He was not one for shine and polish, no amount of shine and polish would make the armor stop a blades edge any easier. The men saw him in his plain armor and helm hiding his face, and felt courage in their hearts. Here was a man like them, but better than them, strong and wise, who would lead them to victory just as he had saved them from their individual hells during the time of chaos. They would fight hard for him. They would fight to the last.
Breakfast had been cooked and eaten, armor was being strapped on, weapons wrapped around waists. Nobody rushed, but they all moved with swift surety. One day of battle was over and another was about to begin. The veterans accepted it stolidly, just another day, another battle, while fresh-blooded soldiers simply tried not to think about the day before or the one ahead.

Time passed without Mott realizing it, and suddenly the two sides were joined, crashing and clanging together. Swords flashing and axes swinging. Mott found himself facing a giant bear of a man wielding an axe. Mott ducked and dodged as best he could, unable to attack as he simply tried not to get split in half. The axe whistled by but the big man's foot came out of nowhere slamming Mott in the chest and laying him on his back. The breath was knocked out of him and his sword went flying out of his grasp. Gasping for breath, he struggled to move but the boot came down again, slamming him back down and holding him as the big man stood on him, axe raised. Mott did not think but he moved. He pulled a dagger from his waist and stabbed it into the man's ankle. There was screaming from the man and yelling from Mott as he stabbed again, this time higher up the leg. The man's foot let up but he sent his axe blade crashing down. Mott pushed the foot away and rolled, axe slamming the ground behind him. Mott pushed himself to his feet, looking for a weapon, anything other than a tiny dagger. He found a spear as the big man limped after him. He slammed the butt of the weapon into the man's hurt leg, felling him with a scream of agony and finished him with a spear thrust into the throat.

Lightning flashed, not in the sky, but on the ground, flashing into men and dropping them in a moment. Lavathin sneered at the pathetic attacks. This was not true magic, true power. True power should not be restricted or withheld, it should be used and shown. He grinned, surveying the battle from a hill far back from the front lines. Most of the mages stood back, sending brief flashes of lightning, healing the wounded who'd been pulled back, or using magic to bolster the soldiers' strength. These were what Angun allowed.
"It is past time this is over," he said, raising his hands.
"Wait, what are you going to do?" The purple robed man now wore leather and armor and looked quite awkward. His voice however, remained annoyingly high-pitched.
"What I should have done yesterday."
"But wait, they're pulling back..."
It was true, the two sides were pulling back for a moment of respite, but Lavathin didn't care for the idiotic unspoken rules of battle. There were no rules, only winners and losers. He could feel his Connection, strong, perhaps stronger than any other alive. He pulled from it, twisted it, used it to do his bidding. Bright flashes of light erupted from his hands.
And suddenly, as Leaan's men were retreating, pulling wounded off the frontlines, the enemy surged forward. It was not right, to attack when one was healing the wounded or taking care of the fallen, yet they came. Mott's eyes widened as the other men charged, bellowing with a strange sudden energy. Their eyes and movements were wild. They attacked with no thought to their own safety, simply throwing themselves upon the enemy.
Angus whirled on his horse amid his men. "What are you doing? Fall back, I said, fall back!" But his cries fell on deaf ears, as his men attacked like animals.
The sound of warhorns arose. Leaan bellowed. "They come! Fight! Fight I say!" He eyed Angun with anger, but realized the man, once his closest friend, had lost control of his men.
Mott parried and parried again, but the man in front of him would not relent. There was red in his eyes, a madness that spurred him on even after Mott had taken an arm and a leg. The man crawled, reaching and biting. Mott finished him and then another was upon him, knocking him to the ground.
"What have you done?" The bald man shrieked as Lavathin laughed.
"Turned the tides, my weak-willed friend, turned the tides to our favor."
The other man sputtered as he spoke. "But you've driven them insane!"
"Bloodlust, fool. If you have less men than the enemy, you must even the odds somehow." Lavathin felt the power within him bubbling and boiling up. "And now, it is time, to end this." He pulled on the power and unleashed hell.
Fire exploded across the front lines, burning friend and foe alike. Burning men alive, cooking them inside their armor, blistering skin and bone alike. Men became ash. In moments it was over, the fire was gone, leaving charred bodies, ashes, and men still alive screaming in the worst agony of their lives. Both sides seemed stunned by the destruction. Miles upon miles of smoking corpses. The smell of burnt flesh was overpowering, and smoke drifted over the battlefield. The shrieks were loud and unending and ashes were carried on the wind.
Men looked upon the vast death and destruction wrought and felt fear. Nobody could fight this, nobody could stand against something so overpowering as this. And still, the screams went on.
"And now, they run." Lavathin smiled.
The other man looked horrified. "What have you done?" He whispered. "What have you done?"
Lavathin sneered. "I have saved us, fool. We've won. Watch as they flee my power."
Mott, lying on the ground, heard an explosion of sound and felt heat searing his back, filling the air above him. As the heat dissipated, he pushed himself up, surveying a sea of cooked corpses and screaming burning men who had survived, though not for long. Mott did not see. He refused to see. He stumbled around in a daze.
"Ah-stahn!" The cry came, bellowing out from a loud voice, a strong voice. "Ah-stahn!" Men turned, uncertain, looking for the source.
It was Leaan, riding his horse, gesturing with sword in hand. "I stand!" He bellowed. "Who stands with me?"
The cry was thunderous. Men stood, they picked up their weapons and raised them high. "Al-stahn!" They cried out. "We stand! We stand!"
Leaan spurred his horse forward, pointing his sword at the enemy. He charged, and his men followed. They stepped over their still-smoldering comrades, they ignored the stench of crisped skin and the screams and followed their leader. Mott found himself following with the others, caught up in the excitement of the moment. He could taste ash in his mouth as his boots pounded through puddles of blood.
Lavathin snarled. "Very well. If they want more, then they will have it!" He lifted his arms wearily, ignoring how tired his previous Drawing had made him. "If they want to burn, then they will burn."
"No, Lavathin, it's you who will burn," a voice spoke from behind, and then the point of a sword ripped through Lavathin's stomach, point emerging in a burst of blood.
Lavathin and the bald mage beside him looked at it in sudden surprise.
"In hell," Angun said, withdrawing the sword. Lavathin collapsed and Angun turned his attention to the other mages. He butchered four before one managed to capture him in air and stab him with a dagger.
By then it was over. Leaan's forces broke the stunned enemy with ease and fell upon the mages with a reckless vengeful brutality. They were struck down as they fled.

        That was the battle of blood and ashes.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I know it's not Sunday, It's Monday

I know, I know, it's Monday, not Sunday, but I'm trying to write a novel in a month, so gimme a break.

Speaking of Nanowrimo, It's going well and I am finding it easier than previous years to stay on track. I think part of it is that I told alot more people that I am doing it so now I feel obligated to keep going. Some parts feel boring and badly written, plain and useless, bad descriptions of places and feelings. But some feels good, feels cool. Some descriptions feel scenic and perhaps even poetic. Sometimes, I feel I've written something cool and even if that is just one scene, one paragraph, one description or one sentence, even just one word placed perfectly, it feels really good. I guess that's why writing is really fun, because of those rare moments where you feel you have created something good, in some way, shape or form.

I've written 23k words so far and am just getting to the beginning of the real adventure in my fantasy story. Perhaps there's too much build-up but I feel that's okay. I'm still getting a feel for the characters (is it wrong that I'm liking the lesser main characters than the main characters so far? I guess so, considering I always liked Aragorn better than Frodo). So yeah, maybe 20k words is too much lead up but if a novel is a piece of clay, than the first draft is the rough shape and once the whole shape is complete, then you go back and cut away the sculpture into it's fine detailed form. Or not. I don't know much about sculpting, but the metaphor sounds okay in my head.

Life is interesting, crazy and unexpected. I am not anywhere I expected to be but it is fine, great even. I always felt my future was a vague, undefined and foggy mess filled with uncertainties and lack of knowing, knowing I wanted to do with myself or what I even could do in the future. Now that foggy mess is clearing, the shape defining itself as I slowly figure shit out. There is still some vagueness to it, I think I want to teach but I am not absolutely certain about it, but that's okay, there will always be fog, questions, and the unknown. It is the future, after all, it must hold some mystery or what's the point? But I know the basics of what I want. I want my girlfriend and I want to write, I want to get published in something somewhere eventually. I want to enjoy art, in books, movies, video games and life. I want to enjoy life and to realize when I am enjoying it. Not only to stop and smell the flowers, but to realize just how great life is, that I get to stop and smell those flowers just for the hell of it. Hell, I want to sniff those flowers so hard the petals get stuck in my nostrils. I think that's a metaphor.

I had some time today, as I subbed for a high school social studies teacher (it was rather an easy and uneventful day) that I had time to hand write on lined paper. It felt good, nostalgic even, as if putting a pen to paper and moving your hand and seeing words you created and drew is more personal than typing on a computer. I guess it makes sense. On a computer, each letter is typeset in the same font/size, perfect and robotic where as in handwriting, every person has a style and each letter is a unique drawing, especially in my handwriting, and those who've seen it know, it resembles that of a third grader's, or worse. Chicken-scratch some would say, but it's not chicken-scratch, it's human-scratch and feels creative, like I'm sketching a strange drawing as I'm writing. A piece of paper filled with handwriting is very unique and beautiful(or ugly, if it's my handwriting) in it's way, where as computer-typed paper looks the same as any other.

Sitting here in a quiet class as the kids read and take notes on a worksheet, I guess I will write about some stuff.

For books, I recently read Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King, which I have to say is an amazing read. It tells the story of 4 or 5 characters with intersecting lives in different time periods while using 3 or 4 different writing styles. It really is quite remarkable and I would highly recommend it. It has only a touch of supernatural, most of it is simply modern fiction an it's damn good. Some of King's best writing, in my opinion.

I would also recommend Salem's Lot, by King. It is basically a tale of Dracula coming to a small Maine town and it is very well done.

I also read Vonnegut's Man Without a Country, which is very short an to the point. It is depressing and negative and has alot of truth. It is also funny. I remember Slaughter-house Five was one of my favorite books in high school.

Speaking of books from high school, Lord of the Flies is one that comes up in Hearts of Atlantis, an I think I'm going to read it again. I remember it was a very good book and I enjoyed it, but I also think my high school self was pretty stupid and probably missed alot. I think it will be alot of fun going back and rereading it. Yup, that's me, the guy who rereads books from high school for fun. Just call me an old fuddy duddy.

Television is at it's best and worst. Reality Shows more fictional than fiction show human beings being stupid, overly-dramatic, and competitive. They show rich people being horrible so we who are not rich can feel good about ourselves. They show human beings being terrible people. The worst of the worst is Toddler's and Tiara's, a show about mothers torturing their daughters, ages anywhere from 1-4(I wish I was joking) by putting them through beauty pageants. Look! You can see stuck-up snobby materialistic bitches with self-worth problems being molded before your very eyes! Meanwhile the disgusting mothers attempt to live vicariously through their toddlers, dressing them up and parading them around like dolls, even having them wear bathing suits in front of an audience and judges. Why the hell do pageants exist at all anymore? And little girl pageants? Seriously? And now we're televising them? It is absolutely fucking stupid. And yes, that fucking deserves to be there.

There is some okay reality shows, about actual workers and history, shows where you might learn something or where the people are people and not the worst scum on the earth. I don't really watch these though, because when I watch tv, I want to experience a story more than I want to learn about a job or about history of certain objects. Speaking of stories on tv, some of the best tv ever made is being created right now. Stories with characters more real than a 'real housewife' or a 'bad girl', dealing with more realistic problems than 'omg my 3-yr-old lost in a pageant.'

Best show ever? That's tough, too tough. Deadwood is great, nay good sir or madam, it is fantastic. Take a lawless western town, add a ruthless determined boss-man, an angry sheriff, Wild Bill, Calamity Jane, with awesome acting and brutal violence and you have one hell of a show. Another great is The Wire, which tells a story of drug dealing and murder, with realistic characters on both sides of the Law. There are cops you hate and criminals you pity, even root for. The acting is great, politics and machinations so realistic it's almost painful, an the characters tragic. Once you watch this, you won't be able to watch CSI because you'll realize it's all tv bullshit. It has a large cast of characters, alot of slang dialogue, and doesn't hold our hand through the plot so it can be confusing to follow. It is very good, though. Oh and it features the awesomest most badass gay gangster you'll ever see.

The Walking Dead is good. It has zombies but it's really about what humans do in a crisis, how they react when society breaks down and what's the point of living. It's entertaining, sometimes silly, but I mean, it's the only show on tv with zombies and it is better than much of what's out there.

Another good one is Dexter, a show about a serial killer who kills serial killers. Really makes you question exactly what a hero is and should you root for a murderer. The main actor, Micheal C Hall is also amazing. Fringe is entertaining sci-fi. If you accept the science bullshit, it tells a cool story with entertaining twists and turns.

Lost is a show I could probably write a whole blogpost on. It had many cool mysteries, twists, and interesting characters. The first two seasons were great. It was very good at making the viewer go 'OH SHIT!'. It also had mysteries for no reason or that made no sense and were never explained and the writers definitely did not have everything planned from the beginning. I liked everything about the final season except for the last five minutes of the finale. I got alot of enjoyment out of that show so I can't really hate on it. It was a fun ride.

Another show I loved was Terriers, about two grizzled private detectives. The characters were funny and 3-dimensional, acting was good and plots were interesting yet believable. I really enjoyed this show. Unfortunately marketing was terrible, nobody knew what the show was about and it got canned after one season. It's a great season though and doesn't leave loose ends.

There are also some funny sitcoms out, that are more about character humor than simple punchline jokes. People are funny in real life and these shows get that. Modern Family, New Girl, and Raising Hope are all hilarious and make me laugh every time.

As for movies, I haven't watched much recently. Toy Story 3 was as fun for me last week as the first one was when I was little. I am excited for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, even though I find it silly American's can't watch a subtitled movie. Still, if a really good movie comes from it, then I guess it's okay by me.

In the dreaded and vilified video game world, I have been playing Skyrim, and let me tell you there's nothing like rampaging across a fantasy world as a viking with an axe slaying dragons in the countryside.

This is turning out to be my longest post yet, all because of a slow day at school. Oh substitution, what an interesting profession. I am getting alot of experience in classroom management but not in creating lesson plans which I'm afraid will be my downfall while trying to find full-time positions.

In the bouncing world, some guy tried to pick a fight with me Saturday night. It got my blood pumping and I was ready to drag him outside but we talked him down. It's a little crazy how testosterone driven our society is, how much emphasis we put on being tough. Is it any mystery why guys get in fights when they're drunk, considering being a man supposedly means being tough and how can you be tough if you haven't been in a fight? Silly and stupid, I know but I feel that desire to show off how tough I am as much as the next guy. Dumb.

And now I'm dumb, this post is too long and I need to get to work writing. Or perhaps killing some dragons. So long and see you next Sunday...Or Monday.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

It's Sunday and I Need to Write More...

Sunday again, so here's another blogpost. It'll likely be a short one though, as I'm falling behind in my novel so I need all the words I can get. 

Last night was the Kareoke Mustachio Bashio party and it was fun. Unfortunately, I drank too much. I was one of those too-drunk guys I shake my head at when I'm bouncing. Though I don't party very often anymore, when I do, I sometimes drink too much, and it's something I need to work on. I've said I will drink less but maybe I haven't taken it seriously enough. The truth is I would've had alot more fun if I had just had a couple drinks instead. Drinking to get drunk really isn't as fun as everyone seems to think it is. But ah well, it's a problem I need to face and work on. So there it is. 

In other news, nanowrimo is in full effect and up until this weekend I've been doing pretty well. I think I need to write a couple thousand words tonight to stay on track which I'm pretty sure I can do. It's alot of fun, crafting a story and putting out as many words as I can. So far I'm still in the prologue of my epic fantasy novel. It's coming along well and I'm mostly happy with it. Current wordcount: 7501

I've also heard one of my brothers has started writing a story, which I think is very cool. I enjoy hearing about other people writing and their ideas. Apparently he's come up with a cool sci-fi setting, so I look forward to reading it at some point. 

I guess I have more readers than I thought, so I've decided that perhaps I'll swear a little less, basically only when I feel it is appropriate to whatever I'm talking about. Someone told me to keep my reading audience in mind, which I think is good advice. 

I know I haven't been doing any 'Writing on Writing' exercises lately, but I have recently read two books on writing, one by Dean Koontz and one by Stephen King. Both were good, but in different ways. Koontz's wasn't really about being writing 'better', but specifically about how to write good marketable genre fiction. It's focus is on being marketable, writing for the market and basically making money. Some might say oh writing for money is lame or selling out or something, which is simply stupid. If you can make money by writing, then you can spend much more time performing that act that you love, writing. Koontz points out how to write in each genre, and talks about plots, settings, and characters, as well as the different things each genre needs to be that particular genre. I liked it, it was very informative. 

King's was very good as well, I actually liked it better. It was more about being a better writer but the way King goes about it is very interesting. He writes about how he became a writer, and gives some general advice about writing. I enjoyed it alot. Both books have very sound advice for writers.

Aghhhh, I need to get back to work on my novel. Need to jot some words down, so this is the end of the post. 

Time to write.