Sunday, December 23, 2012


I've put off writing a blogpost simply because I do not know how to write it. I don't know what to say about the tragic events that happened and yet I don't just want to go on as if nothing happened. Something happened. Something awful and terrible and horrible and bad. What else can you say?

I could say I'm sending all my prayers and condolences but honestly, whether I'm doing it or not, saying it on the internet seems more like something people do to make themselves feel better. I just don't see how a bunch of strangers on the internet saying things like that is going to make the victims feel any differently. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, either, to say that stuff, just that I personally don't see the point in it. Others feel differently and even if it is just something to make the one who says it feel better, what's wrong with that? What's wrong with someone feeling like they are helping in some small way even if they aren't? We all need to feel better. Frankly this is an event we won't forget for a long time to come.

I'm not sure if it's even hit me, really. Whenever I think about it, my mind kind of slides off, puts it deep down. I know it's an awful thing. I work with children every day and to imagine that kind of thing happening...It's unbelievable. Maybe that's why I can't wrap my head around it. It is simply illogical, impossible to me. The idea that someone could do something like that....

It doesn't matter about the guns. It really doesn't. In the big picture, people are still going to be able to own guns. So they might be a little harder to get. Who cares? The mindset of this country is such that no big gun reform is ever going to happen. I'm not saying it should. I know plenty of intelligent and careful people that own guns, that I trust to own guns. But then, there's a hell of a lot of strangers and stupid people in the USA that also likely own guns and that's the part that scares me. Who knows. What we really need is better mental health, not armed guards in our schools. Seriously NRA? Yeah, great way to scare and intimidate the children and faculty. And what about movie theaters? Armed guards there too? Everywhere there's a mass shooting? And how much would that cost, exactly? Arming guards and putting them in every school? How about the poorer schools, would they get less guards? Any way you look at it, it's a stupid fucking idea.

And arming the teachers isn't a good idea to me, either. That would fundamentally change the teacher-student relationship. Everything the teacher said would take on a new meaning with the students knowing they have access to a freaking gun. School would become an awful place with a dangerous atmosphere. It would feel less safe, not safer.

What we need to know is that the people who own guns are rational and responsible individuals. How do we do that? I don't know, anything that could be put in place would piss off the people with guns who would cry about the government getting into their business and shit like that. Hey, guess what, if you own something that can easily kill another human being, maybe the government should know about it? I don't know. Like I said, I feel conflicted. I know rational and responsible people who own guns but I also know there are alot of people out there who aren't rational or responsible.

I remember watching the news that day. The media scrambled to find out why and how this happened though I kept thinking, "Don't we already know?" We find out the guy was mentally ill. Of course he was fucking mentally ill, he shot up an elementary school. It wouldn't have mattered if there had been any sign of mental illness in the past, a person who commits that act is not acting rationally, logically, or in any sane manner of any kind. The guy was mentally ill and got ahold of weaponry and went to town, that's it. I knew that the second I heard about it. I don't know. Seems like the media was just pointing out the obvious because we need to dissect every little aspect, nitpick every little detail and understand....But we can't understand. The person was mentally ill. They were not acting sane and you can't understand why an insane person is acting insane.

But who am I? Nobody, really. Honestly, we should just be nicer to each other. Kumbaya and all that. I guess that's all I have to say.

Monday, December 3, 2012

I Won NanoWrimo

I did. I won. Through sheer stubborn madness, I wrote 1666 words a day and broke the 50k word plateau on November 30th, 2012. It actually felt...easy at times. Like it wasn't a big deal. Other days it felt like pulling teeth. Days where I just didn't want to freaking write, ya know? Those days from childhood where I felt like "No Mom, I don't want to do the dishes, I did the dishes yesterday and the day before that. I JUST DONT WANT TO DO THEM TODAY!!!" I didn't want to write more words. I didn't want to waste my time in a make-believe world and figure out how to write this scene, or this character, or fix this plot-hole, or decide where this character was going or why, or what would happen when they got to this place or...The list goes on. I created a world that lives in my mind and keeps growing with always more questions, one after the other, answers always leading to more questions. What happens now? What happens next? Why would they do this? Why wouldn't they? Why do they care? Why did this happen? How is this going to happen? They have no end and at times, I just didn't want to deal with them. I didn't want to think hard and come up with solutions to the various plot/character/story problems, even the basic problem of "what comes next?" I didn't want to do it. I wanted to veg out, watch tv or play video games, distract myself with 100 different things to do. But I had to. I had to write those words because I had a deadline. A somewhat meaningless deadline, but a deadline none the less. Motivation to keep going.

And I enjoyed it. I enjoy watching the scenes unfold, seeing my mind vomit new ideas that I'd never consider before, seeing my characters react to the situations I hurled them into. Even though I know I enjoy it, it is difficult to find the motivation to write. I find excuses and distractions everywhere and in everything. It's easy. It's why a huge amount of college students take Adderall these days despite very few of them actually needing it or having a prescription. The problem with that is you never learn to get rid of the distractions yourself, you never figure out how to really focus and just get shit done without the meds. Or at least, I imagine that's so. I'm kind of glad I never got into taking it because it sounds like an easy way to get used to it. I could have seen myself getting into it quite easily since I am one hell of a procrastinator. Ten-page paper? Wait till last night to do it, take some Adderall and finish it in one frenzied focused night, churning that shit out like a printing press. I'm getting off topic.

I participate in Nano because it forces me to write. I have to ignore the distractions and write or else I won't get those 1667 words down that day and that means I'll have twice as much to do the next day and on and on and very soon I'll get into a big hole and that 50k ending will forever be out of my reach. Sure it's basically meaningless. Winning does not provide anything beyond satisfaction. There is no prize money, there is no prize at all other than the writing itself. That writing provides the satisfaction. The ability to say "Here, I fucking wrote this, 50000 words of crap but I sat on my ass and I typed one word after another and I put in the time and effort to string together a plot of some sort filled with characters and a setting and all that shit that a novel needs. Look at it. LOOK AT IT!" It feels good.

See, I have many ideas. I have an overflowing well of ideas, bursting out of my subconscious into the fruitful fields of my conscious. The problem is my mind is a graveyard of ideas. It's a veritable prison of ideas. It strangles the very life from my ideas and leaves them dessicated pitiful wrecks, mere shades of their former creative glory. That might be putting it a bit dramatically, but its true. I come up with ideas that are great at first, imaginative, powerful, vivid, beautiful...and then my mind stalks up behind and stabs them in the back with a dagger, the dagger of reality. When I go to put my ideas into words, they crack and crumble, they become stale and boring and lifeless. They don't become what I envisioned and I falter, the once noble and proud idea becoming corrupt and frail, shattering apart into many pieces. So I keep my ideas inside my head. With walls of "That sounds stupid" or "How would I even do this?" or "I'm never going to be able to make this work". My mind-prison has guards of "Why even bother?" and "It will never be published" and the worst one, the evil slithering snake of an excuse, the warden of the mind-prison and all out torturer: "You've got the scene/idea in your head but you can't quite figure out how to write it down, why don't you take some more time to think about it first?" That is the worst one of all, the one that keeps me from writing the most. I trick myself into thinking, "hey, if I just take some more time, I will be able to write it super quick and flawlessly later." It's silly and stupid. False logic. The trickster at his worst. It's great as well, as long as I keep telling myself that, why, I never need write anything down at all, ever!

And that's why Nanowrimo is so great. It doesn't matter if you have the perfect way of writing that scene or idea down, you have to fucking start writing anyways because you've got to get those 1667 words down on freaking paper because the next days going require another 1667 more words, maybe a new idea and scene as well, so just get writing and who cares if it sounds awful? You can fix it later, get it down because pretty soon you'll be on the next scene and the next idea and the one after that and so on, until finally, after 30 frantic days and hours tapping keys with gnarled fingers you've got an entire story down, 50,000 words, read 'em and weep, baby, there they are. And you know the best part? Some of those scenes and ideas are incredible, are amazing, worked out perfectly just as you wrote them because hey you took the time and effort to write them down instead of leaving them sitting idle in your mind gathering dust and chained up in your mind-prison of doom.

It's what happens when I try to start a blog post. I get ideas for posts but they stay locked up, the keys swinging on the warden's belt telling me I should just wait, wait because the idea isn't perfect yet and you don't even know if it's worth a whole post so why not just keep it locked up in there for awhile?

Nanowrimo forces me to tear down the walls, kill the guards and warden and release the imprisoned ideas from their shackles, let them fly and write them down and who cares if they suck? It feels great.

Hopefully, the more I let my ideas escape, the easier it will be in the future. Hey, I broke the chains on this blogpost idea, didn't I?

(PS: If you think National Novel Writing Month is a cool and awesome thing (which it totally is!), and you have some disposable income, then go and donate whatever you can to keep them running it every year. They run entirely on donations and essentially motivate hundreds of thousands of people to express their creative side for a whole month.

And hey, don't just donate, join me next year. Anyone can do it and it's a hell of a good time.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Halloween Tale


They jogged down the street with their weapons held tight. He had a 9mm he'd taken from a twice-killed cop and she had a fire axe she'd grabbed from a fire station they'd broken into a few days ago. It was strange to think the world had ended only a week ago.

He glanced at her, with her brown hair cut short and her eyes alert but tired. They were both tired. They hadn't been able to stop running for awhile.

The sun dipped below the horizon. They'd need to find shelter and soon.

A nearby house stood with a slight lean, faded yellow paint and the windows broken out. He pointed. She nodded.

They scanned the area before darting across the street and up the porch steps. They put their shoulders to either side of the door and looked at each other. With a nod, he pulled open the door and stepped inside.

The first thing he noticed was the smell. Rotting flesh. He took a couple steps in, gun raised, checking rooms. She followed behind, making sure nothing could sneak up on them.

He cleared the kitchen and stepped around an island countertop. Something lifted its head from its kneeling position, looking up. A blond woman with stringy hair, sunken eyes and bloody mouth. Its eyes were red. It moaned. He put the gun to its forehead and pulled the trigger without thinking. The gun jerked. The head snapped back and the body fell.

"Hell?" She asked, moving into the kitchen. "What happened to not wasting ammo or making noise?"

He shook his head and shrugged. "Sorry. Just happened."

She sighed. "Let's clear this place and quick."

A moan came from upstairs along with heavy footsteps.

"Come on," she whispered, walking to the carpeted stairs.

He followed.

The stairs went up to a short landing, jack-nifed and then went up to the second floor. A heavy old guy with its eyes on the man and woman in the kitchen staggered down to the landing and hitting the wall.

"I got it," she said, taking a couple steps slowly and carefully, axe held with white knuckles.

Another moan came from upstairs and the railing creaked.

She looked up as a body dropped on top of her.

"Fuck!" The man yelled.

The body hit the stairs and slid down. The woman fell near the landing and didn't move.

The heavy creature standing on the stairs crouched and grabbed the woman's hair, pulling her head up to his mouth.

Without a thought the man raised and fired. The creature tipped, falling onto its back on the landing.

The man breathed a sigh of relief.

The body that fell grabbed his ankles and yanked.

He fell, banging the back of his head against the tiled kitchen floor and losing the gun.

The creature, a young man once perhaps, now a snarling beast, crawled on top of the man. He struggled, dazed, trying to keep the things mouth away from him until an axe split the things head in twain. It stopped moving and the man pushed it off him, gasping for breath.

The woman stood, bloody axe in her hands, eyes wide.

They looked at each other for a moment. There was no point in asking if either was alright. Of course they weren't.

"Me neither."

She gave him a hand up. "How many bullets you got left in that thing?"

He checked. "Three."

She nodded. "Let's finish it."

They cleared the rest of the house, glancing out windows and noticing movement outside. Their noise had drawn attention.

They moved quickly, searching the place for food and supplies. They found an old can of beans and a box of band aids, that was it. They slipped out the back while zombies broke down the front door.

The sun hung lower in the sky, a darkening purple leaching out across the blue sky.

They snuck from the house down the street a few blocks before sitting and taking a rest.

"We need shelter," he said.

"I saw something in the house. Picture of a school. I think its nearby."

"A school?"

"Might be a decent place. It was summer still is summer. Probably weren't many people in the school when the shit hit the fan. Could be safe."

He nodded. "Maybe food in the cafeteria too."

She nodded back.

"Good idea."

They headed through the town looking for the elementary school. They moved furtively, not down the street but through the backyards of houses, over fences and behind buildings, staying hidden as much as possible.

Meanwhile, he thought about her. He didn't know her name and she didn't know his. They hadn't known each other before the end of the world and they'd both decided it'd be better if they just didn't get attached in any particular way. They helped each other survive and that was that.

They'd been part of a larger group before, but that'd all gone to hell when a group of unliving had found them while they'd been sleeping. Whoever had been supposed to be watching had fallen asleep and the monsters had fallen upon the living like it a fresh meat buffet. In the chaos, he'd run into her and they'd escaped together.

They'd come to trust each other though. You couldn't survive together these days without saving each others' lives a few times. They depended on each other, they were comfortable, that was enough.

The school loomed up on a hill surrounded by sports fields and a short chain link fence. They spotted one lone body, wandering the field without purpose. They quietly went over the fence and up to it. She felled it in one clean blow.

Past the fields lay the back parking lot of the school, a few vehicles here and there, sitting abandoned, an ambulance, a town dump truck, 4-door sedans and a minivan here and there. Left to rust forever in the after-days of the apocalypse?

They spotted no movement and jogged to the back door as only the last dregs of sunlight remained. Darkness swiftly arrived, a pale half moon glowing above.

The back double door had a heavy chain wrapped around the handles but no lock. Must have been a rush job. It held the doors but all you had to do was loosen the chain and unwrap it, leaving the handles free.

They looked at each other, nodded. She would be first this time. They switched who went first every time, just to be fair.

He gripped a handle and pulled one door open. She watched, waiting. Nothing came. She entered.

He followed, wiping sweat from his brow.

The halls within were dark with shadows. Lockers lined the blue-and-white-tiled walls. They shut the doors behind them and the dark hall became impenetrable. A disgusting aroma filled his nostrils.

"Light?" He whispered.


They waited. Slowly, their eyes adjusted to the darkness to the extent they could see the vague shape of the hall. Nothing moved.

She moved forward, step by step, often stopping for minutes at a time, listening.

"Sign," she said.

He pulled a little penlight out and flicked the light on briefly, illuminating the sign. It had two arrows pointing opposite ways in a hall that crossed their own. Beside the two arrows were the words "Cafeteria" and "Gym." He turned the light off and they waited for their eyes to adjust again. They continued.

They came to the cafeteria without incident. The man could feel his pulse quickening. Nothing could be this easy. Nothing had been this easy. It made sense though, it was summer, the school could have been totally empty when the infection hit. It was possible. It could be untouched. But then, why was it locked? What was the smell?

They opened the door and peeked in. There were windows in the far wall but they appeared to have been covered up, moonlight only showing faintly around the edges. The large space within lay shrouded in shadow, impossible to discern anything.

They waited.

"Light," she whispered.

He pulled out a heavy Maglight which would illuminate the room much better than the penlight.

He turned it on. His eyes widened.

"Oh shit," she whispered.

Hundreds of stretchers stood in rows within. Dark smears covered the walls and floor. The stench seemed to spill out of the room, decomposing flesh mixed with human waste and blood, nearly overwhelming.

Bodies. Corpses covered the stretchers and the floor. All dead.

He vomited, causing the light to jerk up and down. He realized what must have happened. The school hadn't been deserted, it'd been turned into a temporary infirmary of sorts after the infection hit. He'd known hospitals had filled past capacity in many places and so other buildings had been used. They'd run into the worst possible place they could have.

They heard scuffling. He turned the light. One of the bodies was looking at them and crawling slowly across the floor. Other bodies were standing up, looking towards the door. A low moan could be heard from hundreds of voices. One scrambled quicker than the others, hurtling toward them on all fours.

He shot it in the face. It fell. The gunshot rang out around them.

"Gethefuckouttahere!" The woman yelled.

They both turned and ran. He kept the light in front of them, illuminating their path. He saw discarded medical trash littering the hall, blood smears on the floor, little things they couldn't have seen when the light was off.

They tried to get to the back door. The moaning behind them grew louder and they could hear bare feet slapping the cold tile of the floor.

They must have missed the turn. He saw a pair of blue double doors lying open and the gymnasium within. More stretchers, more bodies.

"Shitshitshitshitshitshitshit," he said. His heart thudded in his ears as the footsteps behind them grew louder and zombies began pouring out of the gym. "We're fucked." A corpse charged them and he dropped it with a bullet, his ears ringing.

"Here!" She shouted to his right.

He turned.

She was at a classroom door, fiddling with a stuck doorknob. She jerked it open and flung herself inside.

He followed as hands grasped at the pack on his back. He turned and put his hand against the door to shut it closed.

A creature pushed her head inside the room, her hair fallen out, her eyes bug wild and her teeth exposed.

He felt a pain in his arm and dropped the flashlight.

The woman was there, swinging the axe into the corpses' face. It fell back. He shut the door and locked it as fists banged against it.

The dropped flashlight illuminated the both of them, gasping for breath. They looked at each other. They both saw the blood drip. They both saw the bite at the same time.


She raised the axe.

The gun went off.

She fell back.

His body shook.

He put his back to the door and slid down to the floor. He could hear the dead outside. The door shook from their blows.

Her body lay just outside the pool of light. He saw blood seeping out in a dark pool beneath her.

He closed his eyes, took a deep breath. He checked the gun, knowing it was empty. It was. He looked at the bite, still bleeding, the skin red around it. He looked away.

Questions assaulted him. Was he feeling differently or was that his imagination, because of what he knew was coming? How long would it take? How would it feel?

He wished things had been differently. Why had he fired? He should have let her kill him. there was nothing.

He stood and went over to her body. He went through her pockets. He found a wallet in her back pocket. He brought it into the light.

Her name was Anne Mary-Smith, 32 years old, brown hair, brown hair, 5'9'', 140 lbs. His hand that held the license shook. Nerves or...something else? He put the license in his pocket.

He pulled his pack off his back. Inside was a shirt which he ripped and wrapped around the bite and tied tightly. It wouldn't matter but he couldn't think of anything else to do.

He picked up the flashlight and surveyed the room. A large classroom filled with desks, all stacked against the far wall. A blackboard took up most of a wall and a large wooden desk sat in front of it.

He went over and sat on the desk. He pulled out the license and looked at it. The picture looked very different from the woman he'd known, younger, happier, smiling about something. He wasn't sure he'd ever seen her smile.

He jerked, falling off the desk. His body shook uncontrollably.

He gasped for breath, coming back. He reached up to the top of the desk and pulled himself up. He took deep breaths.

He staggered over to the board. He felt...woozy. sick. He vomited on the floor. Bloody.

Thoughts came slowly, through a haze. Disconnected. He dropped the gun. Memories faded.

Was this it? One thought came through, clear. Was it over?

He put the license on the desk and grabbed a piece of chalk. He started writing on the board. He needed to leave something. Anything. Something to tell whoever came after that there were two people in this room who had fought and survived, who had a story. Who had lived. Who had killed each other...

Her....What was her name? He couldn't remember. Jenny...long blond hair, blue eyes, a sharp smile...

He smiled and then stopped, grasping his head. No, that was someone different, someone from before....before what? Saliva dripped from his mouth. So hungry. He needed something to eat. Anything.

He fell back against the desk and the chalk fell from his hand. He fought to clear his mind. At least he had written something, had left something for someone else to find...His mind cleared for a moment, looking upon the blackboard.

He'd written nothing. Gibberish in white chalk.

Why was he here? His stomach growled. He was starving.

A low moan escaped from his lips.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Spaghetti and Champagne

Just a little story I wrote for a fiction-writing exercise in one of my college courses. I forget what the prompt was, perhaps I had to use the two elements, spaghetti and champagne? I don't know, but here it is. 

Spaghetti and Champagne

            The water boiled, bubbles forming and exploding simultaneously in a chaotic cacophony of splashing. Dale dumped the spaghetti in, calming the chaos, and put the top back on the pot. In ten minutes or so, it'd be ready. Jen would be home by then. He started on the sauce, grabbing the jar of Prego on the counter, twisting off the cap and dumping it into a cast iron pan currently warming up on the stove next to the pot of spaghetti. He tasted the sauce, mushroom and basil on the label, and nodded his head. She'd be surprised, he'd sweep her off her feet. It'd be perfect.
            He went to the fridge and grabbed the bottle of Bollinger Ay champagne. He had no idea what the name meant, but it was expensive and that was good enough. He grabbed two flute glasses and brought the champagne to the small plastic kitchen table. It looked pretty enough with the flowery tablecloth he'd laid out. He thought it was her favorite, but wasn't sure. It would be enough though, that he'd simply thought to have it, or at least he hoped so.
            There were two places set and a tall candle in the middle. Their finest china, which had come from Jen's mother, and her grandmother before that. She would appreciate everything, all the effort he'd put in. It'd show her he truly cared about her, truly wanted to make the relationship work.
            He placed the glasses, popped the champagne, and poured, afterwards setting the champagne on the table. He took a moment, looking over the table set up. It was lovely. The dinner was only spaghetti, but he didn't really know how to make anything else, especially not chicken carbonara, the meal she'd ordered on their first date at that lovely Italian place. What was it called again? Oh well, it didn't matter. The simple fact that he'd done all this would be enough. It would be such a pleasant surprise. He grabbed a lighter and lit the candle. When she came home, he'd dim the lights. How romantic, a candlelit dinner. He couldn't wait.
            A hiss from the kitchen brought him out of his thoughts and he dashed to the stove, taking the top off and stirring the noodles. He tried one. Still a little hard, a minute or two more would be perfect.
            His cellphone buzzed in his pocket. It was Jen. His heart skipped a beat and he felt nervous, as if he was going on one of his first dates. He smiled and answered.
            “Hey honey,” he said, trying not to sound too excited, trying not to give anything away. “Did you just get out of work, are you on your way home?”
            “Hi Dale,” she said rather formally. She sounded tired. “I just got out of work.”
            “You sound tired, is everything alright?” He gulped. Was something wrong? It didn't matter, as soon as she got home and saw everything, it would be alright.
            “No, Dale, nothing's right. Nothing's working.”
            He hesitated, wiping his face with his free hand. “Well,” He said. “Well just come home and we'll figure it out. We'll work it out. Just come home and we'll talk.”
            “I'm not coming home, Dale.”
            “But-” He was walking around the kitchen now. “But you have to. Just come home, Jen. I'll...I'll make it alright. Just please come home.” He sounded desperate and he hated it. He wondered if he should just tell her, ruin the surprise. It wouldn't be a surprise anyways, if she never knew about it.
            “I'm sorry Dale, it's over.”
            “No wait!” He replied, smacking his hand on the kitchen counter, hard but not caring about the pain. “What about your stuff? Your mother's china? All your things? Just come home and get your things. We don't even have to talk if you don't want to-”
            “Throw my stuff away. I don't care about it anymore. I can't come home, Dale. I just can't. I'm-” She sighed. “I'm seeing someone else. I'm sorry. This is goodbye.” She didn't even give him a chance to respond, he just heard a click, her hanging up on him.
            He set his phone on the counter. The pot was hissing again, and the sauce was simmering, bubbles forming and popping at a slow rate. He turned off the heat to both, poured the pasta into the colander in the sink. He shook it a couple times. He brought the pasta over to the flowery clothed kitchen table with tongs, and set a mound of spaghetti on each plate. He set the colander on the table and went back for the sauce. He put an oven mitt on, grabbed the cast iron handle and brought the sauce over with a large spoon, spooning out a pool onto each pile of noodles. He set the pan onto the table.
            He took a seat, folding his white napkin onto his lap as was proper. He took his glass of champagne and clinked it against the other one. He took a sip.
            “It's good, isn't it? I wonder what Bollinger Ay means? Something in French probably.”
            She wouldn't have known either.
            He mixed the spaghetti and sauce around with his fork. He took a bite, slurping up the noodles that hung out of his mouth.
            Even though she wouldn't have said anything, he knew she would've been annoyed.
            “Sorry. I know you hate it when I do that.”
            He ate in silence for a few moments, sipping at the champagne.
            “I know it's no chicken carbonara.” He smiled. She would've smiled too. “What was that lovely Italian place called again?”
            She wouldn't have remembered either of course, but they would've had a good laugh remembering that first date. The recent past would've been forgotten. All would've been well.

Monday, October 15, 2012

I'm The Worst Blogger

Another week flies by and once again I'm a day late with my blog post. Does it matter if yesterday was my five year anniversary with my girlfriend? Or that I got demolished playing 80 minutes of rugby on Saturday? Nah, it doesn't matter. It's on me. Said I was going to post and I am. Just a day late. Again. Won't happen again. I mean a third time. I mean it's possible but...ah whatever. I'll get on with it.

I've been working more and more on the second half of the novel I started last Nanowrimo. It's becoming an altogether different beast, a creature with parts of its body hacked off and new limbs grafted on, an ugly thing, perhaps, but I think it's getting better and better. The story is growing, the cast is growing, it's becoming a deeper, fuller story. Each group with an agenda, each character with a motivation and I like it. Just need to keep on with it. Hopefully I finish it by November, if not, I'll probably start on the sequel anyways. Starting the sequel could give me some insight into the novel itself, so we'll see.

Working with children is a strange thing. I guess I could say working with people in general is a strange thing. It's not the same as working on an object or performing manual labor though let's be honest, in practically every job there is, you have to interact with people in one way or another. You have to gauge and guess their thoughts and feelings. I'm doing it constantly while I interact with my students. It's especially difficult because their feelings fluctuate constantly, super highs and super lows. I get frustrated because they get angry over what I see as little things but they can't see that. They can't see that mountains are molehills, all they see are mountains. It is important to note many adults have this problem as well. And it's not like I can just tell them something doesn't matter. I know it mattered to me back then and I remember it didn't matter what adults said, they didn't understand how I was feeling. It's true. There is this strange divide. I am one of those adults now. Through years of experience you realize the world is enormous, it's bigger than your petty problems, but right now their world is pretty small. It pretty much consists of their school and their friends and their family. I can see that.

I do my best but sometimes I just feel useless. There's just situations where I don't know what to do. How to stop a child from being mean. Sure I can make him stop for a moment or while I'm there but I know kids are cruel. They will be cruel. It will happen and not being able to stop every act of bullying or cruelty is frustrating, even though I know awareness and prevention of bullying has come a long ways, even from back when I was in elementary school. Kids have a very difficult time putting themselves in other people's shoes. Hell, adults have a difficult time doing that, which is something that kind of irritates me. It's tough, but that's the deal. It's impossible to totally know what someone else is thinking so every interaction is a gamble of sorts.

Despite all this ranting, I am enjoying the job. Interacting with kids is hilarious and crazy, and always interesting. Teaching a student a difficult idea can be incredibly infuriating but when you finally hit on the right thing to say and they finally get it, it's a really great feeling. Makes you feel good about what you're doing, despite the shit pay.

That's it for now, maybe I won't be a terrible blogger next time.


P.S. November is Coming

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Day Late and A Dollar Short...

Well, I promise a blogpost every Sunday and the first one flies by without a word! Whoops! The truth is I was barely home at all yesterday so I did not really have time to write one. Unfortunately, that's not a great excuse because I could just have written one earlier and then just published it yesterday...but oh well, we all make mistakes. We all miss deadlines, unfortunately. I'll try to make it up by writing one today.

It's Columbus Day, a celebration of the day Christopher Columbus discovered America...though he didn't really 'discover' it, there were plenty of people already here and doing just fine until he came along...But oh well, it's not a perfect holiday, or perhaps even one we should really celebrate considering it's basically a sham. I get the day off though, so that's all that matters.

For most of today, I'm trying to figure out what to do for my girlfriend on our 5th year anniversary. It's really difficult because I know for a fact she spent a large amount of money for us to take a trip to Provincetown for my birthday, so I really want to do something special. The problem is special = money and the fact is my rent just jumped up 300 dollars sooner than expected. That with school loans, health insurance, food and utilities is virtually killing my bank account. She's also buying all the new furniture for the apartment which I can't even help with because I can't afford to. It makes me feel worthless. I don't want her to pay for everything but I can barely pay rent on time. It's like what the fuck can I do? I'm already working two jobs. It drives me crazy. She does more for me than I do for her and I hate it. I feel like I should be the provider or at the very least, I should be able to provide half of our needs but I can't and it sucks. And I hate talking to her about it because I feel...weak...or just...incapable, like I said before, worthless. If I have to ask her if I can give her a check for rent a few days later when my paycheck comes, I fucking despise myself. It's the same feeling I get when I have to ask my parents for more money, despite how much they've already given. I feel like a disappointment.

But it is what it is, for now. Hopefully I can do more in the future while right now, I can just do as much as I can. I have a few ideas for the anniversary that, though it might not be as grand as a provincetown trip, I hope it makes her happy. Every few days or so, I get to thinking about it and get down on myself but eventually I get over it. That's kind of how I deal with shitty things. You do what you can and get over it. Feeling depressed about it isn't going to help things. I'm doing what I can and though it's not good enough, it is what it is. I'll just keep trying to make her happy. If she's happy, I'm happy.

This post took a strange turn, wasn't really what I expected when I started out writing. I guess I'll just say you can't always do everything you want for the ones you love, family, friends and all, but you just have to do what you can and hope they know you're trying.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Jumping Back In

I'm a terrible writer. Don't try to argue with me, I know it's true. No it's not because my actual writing is of terrible quality, though some of it likely is, no it's because a writer is some one who writes and I do that so very little of late. I don't write every day, I barely write once a week and it's not because I'm editing my novel or planning some new story out, I just am not participating in any kind of creative writing activity at all. I don't know why, I guess my enthusiasm flagged a little after writing a novel and then realized I had to actually work on it. I was past the fun part, the creation, now was the difficult work, re-creation, cutting things, realizing that my writing wasn't perfect or even very good, realizing that a first draft really is a first draft.

See, in school, you know how teachers always made you do a first draft, then a final draft, oftentimes with drafts in between? I wouldn't do that. My first draft would be my final draft and I always thought the whole draft-process was repetitive. I'm not trying to brag, I just didn't see the point in redoing something over and over. When time came for the first draft, I wrote it as I would a final draft, putting everything I needed into it. And, while not trying to brag, my writing was pretty good. The difference between my first and final were miniscule. Writing comes somewhat naturally to me, I guess.

And so when it came to time to read through my novel and see just how much work needed to be done, just how much of a rush job I did in writing it, it destroyed my motivation. Every bit I'd gained in writing weekly blogs and starting stories and writing a novel was brushed aside. Blogs were put off with excuses of 'not having a good idea of what to write that week'. As they came few and farther apart, it became easier to think of them as unimportant, unessential activities that I didn't need to bother doing. Editing became a task that I could ignore.

Now NanoWrimo looms once again. The event that really got me going before and I realize it's getting me going again. I know I want to finish editing the novel by November so I can begin the sequel for National Novel Writing Month.

So I need to get back into the swing of things and I'm thinking writing my blog will help. It forces me to write, to think and to put something out there.

So, once a week, every Sunday from hereafter to who knows when, I will write a blogpost. I can't say what they'll be about, probably whatever I happen to think about that day, but some thing will be posted! It might not be good or great or decent or even alright but it will be there.

Also, everyone should write a novel once in their life, so do NanoWrimo, it's a hell of a lot of hard work and fun.

...November is coming...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


nine eleven. Such a simple little phrase, seemingly innocent. Two numbers, meaningless when separate but when brought together immediately bring brutally violent memories. 9/11 is such a perfect symbol too. It shows the two towers underneath a divisor line, it's made up of the 911 emergency number. It also shows that there was a distinct change, 9 / 11. Before and after. 

Today I thought back to my own memory of 9/11. Everyone seems to say they remember when they first heard of it exactly, all the details perfect, what they were doing, what the exact words were, everything. I cannot. I used to be embarrased when I would hear others say they remember everything and I could not, like somehow I hadn't given it enough thought or it hadn't affected me as deeply as others simply because I didn't have a perfect memory of the moment I heard. 

I remember vague things. I was in 7th grade health class. The principal came on the loudspeaker and said something about it. Something about the world trade center collapsing. I think we were all stunned. We couldn't grasp the meaning, at least I couldn't. Hell I didn't even know what The World Trade Center was, exactly.  I do remember what came after. The pictures, the videos, the news, the media, the memorials, the empty air where the towers stood, the profound effect on the nation, the utter far-reaching effects on people everywhere. 

I watched a two hour docudrama on the history channel about 9/11. I realized I hadn't really watched anything about the event in a long long time and the those clips showing the planes hitting and then later the buildings collapsing are just almost too crazy to believe. The fact that it looks like something out of a movie and yet you know it's real and that people died, that those things actually happened is simply shocking. 

What's also shocking and also amazing is how many people risked their lives to help others, how many firefighters and police and emt's went into the shit without question to save people. It's amazing what can happen in a disaster, how people can just fucking do the right thing despite the world falling apart around them. 

Why does that happen in a crisis? Why do we save each other when in dire circumstances but when we see each other on the street on a normal day we honk our horns and yell out insults? Why can't we be awesome all the time?

I don't know. Been thinking alot of strange thoughts today. Was in a 6th grade class full of kids who weren't even alive for 9/11 and it feels strange. I have that event that I will always remember, that event that clearly defined Before and After for my life. They don't have that. 

In the curriculum, I guess 9/11 is taught in tenth grade nowadays though I think it should be introduced in some way before that. At least in some small way, a small explanation of the key facts, reasons, what happened and why we memorialize it every year. Kids are strange. They are and aren't innocent at the same time. They understand things without knowing them, they know things without understanding them. They are paradoxes. 

Why did I write this? I don't know. I felt like 9/11 shouldn't pass without a thought from me and I thought I might as well write something down on such an occasion. Take some time to remember what happened. What terrible people can do. What amazing heroes people can be. Just think about it, for a small amount of time. An event like 9/11 seems like something we should all think about, not all the time or even often, but every once in awhile. It was life-changing, world-changing. 

It is a crazy world we live in. I don't know how to end this or what line to end on or anything. So I guess that's it. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012


I've been busy this summer but that's no excuse for the pitiful lack of blog posts and writing in general on my part. I don't know, I lost the muse for awhile, I guess. Working 53 hours a week for the past six weeks has taken a toll on my imaginative musings. When I have free time, I feel less like writing and more like vegging out, watching tv or playing video games. 

But ah well, nothing to do but move on, correct? Recently I posted some pictures of a forest walk I took in Vermont in the spring, which was actually pretty great. The woods felt familiar, almost comforting. I remember running through those woods as a child, following paths and cutting across trails pretending that I was being chased by monsters or bad guys or other silly things. It wasn't all fun and games though, I remember stepping on a rusty nail in bare feet and bleeding everywhere. I remember tree forts built and now fallen apart, football games in the big grass field and of course, the stump pit. The stump pit is a pit full of stumps. So I took this walk relatively recently just for fun. It was a perfect day with the sun shining and a cool wind blowing. I passed the pond that we never swam in, I heard a woodpecker peckin' wood. I passed crumbled stone fences that hadn't changed since I'd first seen them as a child. I passed the spot where an old blue car had used to rest for awhile, my brother had gotten it stuck there while off-roading with it, his argument for that being that the car was dying anyways, why not have some fun with it? I remember seeing plants growing inside it and vines growing up the sides before my dad had finally removed it. I walked the four mile dirt bike trail my father had created and curated over the years. I walked through a desolate paintball field, filled with forgotten bunkers and failing scraps of once-great forts. I remember the intense game we played, two teams, running at each other, firing paint balls, formulating tactics and getting splattered with paint. The walk was pretty great. I'd suggest a good walk in the woods to anyone and everyone. Who knows what you'll find? Maybe nothing at all, and that's fine too. Check here for a few pictures: Walk In The Woods 

What else have I done? I wrote a short short story a week or two ago. Just some spur of the moment flash fiction. I had a picture of a big crane and discovered an experience, a story and wrote it down. It's right here:  The Crane 

Other then that? I'm working on writing an outline for my novel which I know, is usually what people do before they write the novel but I'm doing it after. It should help me figure out where to add the new scenes that I need, and help me rejigger all the crap in the second half that really needs some work. Rejigger is a fantastic word, by the way, I recommend everyone uses it more often. 

Alright, I'm off to foment some chaos. And yes, foment is a real word. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Crane

The metal monstrosity stood black against the black sky, silent and foreboding. I shivered, looking at it behind a fence that surrounded the construction. The wind blew warm, heat from the day still radiating from the pavement. I took a deep breath and glanced around. The street behind me was quiet and dark, not even lit by street lights. A siren sounded in the distance. I tightened the straps on my backpack, pulled on a thick pair of workman's gloves and climbed the fence. At the top, I pushed the barbed wire down with my hands and gave a little jump. 

I fell, sneakers landing, legs bending, hands hitting the ground, breath coming out of me in a gasp. I stood, feeling an ache in my knees, a good ache, one that comes from moving your body. I took off the gloves and stuffed in my bag and began making my way towards the crane. 

I maneuvered around the massive hole that was the foundation for the new building and quickly ducked behind a trailer as a car passed on the street. I breathed in and out slowly as my heart thudded in my chest. Calm down, I told myself, you're alright. 

I wasn't alright, though, not really. Someone whose alright doesn't break into a construction site, not without a good reason and my reason was flimsy at best. 

But that didn't matter anymore, I was in, I was going. I'd planned it for days, wondering why I was planning anything at all and now that I'd started, I couldn't stop. I'd crossed the threshold. Going back now, I'd always wonder, 'if I'd gone this far, why didn't I simply go through with it?'

My sneakers crunched gravel as I made my way to the bottom of the crane. I passed other machines, rusty dump trucks and towering excavators standing still as statues covering me in shadows as I went. I put my hand to one as I passed and shivered as it felt as warm as a living being. I could see it's dark windowed face as it slumbered waiting for an operator to bring it to life. 

I came to the bottom of the crane and looked up. I couldn't tell what was crane and what was sky. The night was a dark hole without stars and no moon that I could see. It would have been pitch black to someone who walked out his door into the darkness but I'd walked the whole way from my apartment here with little to no light, forcing my eyes to adjust. Though the top was lost in the darkness, I could make out the structure of metal in front of me on the ground well enough. I clambered over bars and walked over plywood, my shoes making hollow thumps, to the ladder. 

I took deep breaths until my heart slowed a little. I took off my bag and pulled out a black sweatshirt, slipping it on despite the warm night. I drank from a water bottle. Then I pulled the backpack back on. I tied my shoelaces as tight as they would go. I tightened the straps on my backpack and I climbed. 

I climbed, rung over rung, feeling good. I worked slow, methodical, careful, right hand up, left hand up, right foot up, left foot up. The hard metal felt good in my grip, feeling strong. I was soon sweating in my sweatshirt and wondering if I should take it off. 

It wasn't long before I was above the trees, black bushes beneath my feet. I took a moment to catch my breath and wipe my sweaty hands. I could see lights twinkling in the distance, the land stars of a bustling city. A red light in the sky blinked as a plane passed high overhead. I heard vehicles driving on the road, honks at an intersection. Buildings rose near me. I was not above them yet. I could see the the bridge and the river, reflecting the city's lights. I looked up and realized I had a long way to go. I shrugged. I didn't feel tired. In fact, I felt excited. I had no idea what I was doing or why but I felt elated. I wanted to get to the top. I needed to. 

I climbed again, faster, reaching, stretching, grasping rung after rung, lifting, pushing myself up at a good pace. I was really sweating now and regretting my decision about the sweatshirt. I stopped once again, gasping for breath and wiped my hands on my sleeves. I was above most of the buildings now, looking down at square rooftops and the cars looked smaller as they drove, headlights beaming across the ground. I shivered. 

I wrapped my arms around the ladder and tried to relax for a moment. It was then I realized the exact situation I was in. Metal bars surrounded me in a cage around the ladder. It was a long fall to the ground and I had only my own strength to hold on. A brisk wind blew fluttering the straps on my backpack. I shivered again, my sweat feeling cold against my skin. 

I hugged the ladder, trying to get my backpack off so I could grab the bottle of water. I slipped it out of one arm, then the other and then the strap slipped out of my hands. I made a grab for it, jerking my body but it was too late. I caught myself as the pack plummeted. It bounced as it fell from one side of the cage to the other, thumping, banging and finally hitting the ground with a soft thud. 

I gulped, seeing myself fall as the backpack had. No soft clean fall to the bottom here, no sir. Who knew how many bones you would break before the bottom finally ended your agony. Maybe it was time to head back down, grab whatever was left of my bag and get the hell out of there. 

"Fuck that," I whispered out loud. I was this far. I was getting to the goddamn top. I looked up and started climbing again. 

I don't know how long I climbed but I remember looking up again and again and feeling as if the top had not gotten any closer. My arms and legs ached as I pushed on. I felt myself getting more and more tired, my muscles protesting the repetitive movements. A foot slipped, a hand missed the rung. I gasped, I grabbed, I stepped, and I kept going. 

My neck hurt from looking up so I stopped. I looked only to the next rung, focusing on that alone and nothing else. I didn't hear the cars below anymore. I only heard my labored breathing and the enormous machine creaking around me in the cold wind that blew. 

I pulled my up my hood, shivering against the cold. The metal rungs were chilly on my palms. 

Oh god, I thought, is this really how I go? A fall from a crane? A messy jumble of body parts splattered against the ground below? I thought of the story, of what people would think. They wouldn't know what to make of it. 'Man falls from night climb of a construction crane, alcohol may be involved'. That's what everyone would assume, that I got drunk and thought 'hey, climbing that crane seems like a fucking cool thing to do!' I smirked at the thought. The truth was even more silly. I was completely sober. The question, that ultimate question of human existence would pester everyone. Why? Why did this happen? They would ask it over and over, why would someone do such a thing? What was the point? What was the ultimate truth here? The motive, the answer, the revelation? 

I thought of Forrest Gump right then, running. "I just felt like running," he'd said to that question. "Well," I said out loud to nobody, "I saw something fucking tall and felt like climbing it." 

I looked up and there it was, the top of the crane nearly in reach. I could see the metal assembly and the gigantic arm extending out into the blackness. I climbed up and collapsed onto a narrow metal landing, breathing in huge gulps of air. My muscles burned and I closed my eyes resting my head against cold steel. 

I opened my eyes and forced myself to stand. Beyond the bars and walls of metal lay an entire world stretched out before me. I laughed and shouted and hollered and screamed. I sat, still laughing. I didn't think about how I'd get down or what would happen if I was caught on the construction site or what sort of laws I'd likely broken. None of that mattered. I patted the crane with my hand, banging the hard metal. I'd conquered it. I didn't have a flag to plant but I had something else. I pulled a black sharpie out of my sweatshirt. 

"Jake was here"

Sunday, July 8, 2012

It's Been A Long Time

I have not been doing too well on updating this thing, have I? Haven't posted for months. For calling myself a writer, I haven't written much of anything at all for awhile. Guess I should do something about that, shouldn't I? Nothing to it but to get back on the horse, as they say.

I could use the excuse that I've been working alot lately but that's never really a good excuse. If I have time to play video games than I certainly have time to do a little writing. I haven't even looked at my novel in weeks. It's because there is a massive amount of editing I need to do or at least it seems a massive amount. The second half was rushed in a splurge of words and shows. The characters lack motivation, the enemies lack depth, the plot is contrived at points, etc. The list goes on. I need to add more scenes but it's not that simple as I need to specifically figure out where each and every scene goes, how it fits in and smooth it in there like it was always there in the first place. There's just this editing wall that I need to break through but it looks impossibly vast and strong, meanwhile behind me lie short story ideas and other interesting things to take up my time. 

I wrote a short story, maybe you heard. It's called The Long Nap and is about a hard-boiled child detective using his wits and determination to set right the wrongs in his school. Or something like that. I rather like it. The links up on the blog's homepage, just look for the title. 

Despite my lack of writing, more and more ideas still whirl around in my brain-area. They sit, simmering and bubbling away like a witches cauldron. 

I'm currently reading The Harry Dresden Files which are good books. I'm on my third so far after devouring the first two. I would be done with this one as well but I simply don't have the ability to read on my commute anymore so my reading time has taken a nosedive. They are essentially supernatural hard-boiled detective mysteries with a wizard as the detective. Trust me, it works, it works very well. Harry Dresden is awesome. 

I recently finished Breaking Bad season 4 and oh man is it emotionally exhausting in a good way. It wrings you out through and through. It terrorizes you, it tortures it's own characters over and over and you keep wanting more. The writing and acting is superb. I love it and can't wait for the new season to start. 

The Killing season 2 ended and I finally know who killed Rosie Larson. Some may not have cared, thinking it took too long and the plot is rather slow and boring. I don't know, I guess I just got very invested in the characters. Season 2 explores all of them and their (incredibly shitty) situations. I never thought it was slow because every moment I was watching a character I cared about (except Mitch, she sucks). I will admit I got lost in this season what with all the plotty-ness going on, maybe too many twists or simply too much happening to keep up with, but the reveal at the end was utterly fantastic and worth it. It was great television and though I wish there was going to be more, it doesn't look that way. At least it ended without any loose ends. 

That's all for now, just a short little thing to show you this place "ain't dead yet". Plan on a couple more blog posts very soon so check back when you can. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Can't We All Just Get Along?

There are times I get inspired to write a blog post but I put it off and put it off and keep putting it off. Why? Laziness? Procrastination? Probably. There's also this nagging worry in the back of my head when I have an idea. I worry I won't be able to put my thoughts down and have them sound the way they do in my head. In my head I can imagine writing perfectly but I know when I finally type it out, it won't sound as good. So I put it off and distract myself with a television show or a video game. 

Anyways, point is I was inspired recently to write a post and I've taken some time to actually write it down because of those reasons but here it is. 

I was walking home after work the other day, coming to a busy intersection off my street. A car had turned onto my street but couldn't keep going because the street is narrow and a car in the oncoming lane was too far in the middle of the road. He also couldn't move until the light turned green because there was a car in front and behind him. I saw everything and expected the usual, honking horns and swearing yells but none of this happened. The man in the way said "Sorry, there's nothing I can do," and the woman who couldn't go forward waved her hand and said "Don't worry about it, honey." The light turned green and both cars went on their way. 

I had expected anger and irritated exasperation but had found calm and polite conversation. It made me wonder why I had expected such a bad interaction in the first place. It's not because I think people in Massachusetts are particularly terrible or people in Boston. It's because I think people in general are terrible, at least in certain situations, one of which is especially driving. We honk and rage at the slow-movers, the ones who cut us off, those who make a stupid mistake and hold us up from our destination but really, we've all been there. Any one of us could accidentally turn and get caught in an embarrassing situation. Instead of assuming the driver who made the mistake is an asshole, why don't we assume they made a mistake and probably feel ashamed and embarrassed about it already? In the vast majority of the time, honking the horn is nothing more than a show of anger which literally accomplishes nothing. 

I think part of the anger comes because we usually can't see the other person in their vehicle. We are each in our own box going to our own destination and fuck everyone else. If you don't see the person, you don't think about them or that they might have made a mistake, you think they are slowing you down and what the fuck is their problem? Imagine if you were walking down the sidewalk behind a super slow person and there was no way to get around? Would you make a noise, huff and puff, swear and yell? No, that would be incredibly rude but once you're in a vehicle, attitudes change. These two drivers in the situation I described had their windows open and we're stuck next to each other so they could see each other. Perhaps that had something to do with their being nice. I could still have imagined the woman laying on the horn and shaking her head, muttering about 'this asshole in the center of the street' but she didn't. She was pleasant. 

There are assholes on the road but probably fewer than we think. We're all boxed up thinking about ourselves but all of us drivers are still people. We make mistakes. I just feel that people driving around are too angry. So someone cut you off, big deal, get over it. Is it worth it to express your rage through honking your horn like some child crying about life being unfair?

It's not even about driving. I just feel when some one inconviences us in any way, we immediately respond with a negative attitude, we assume the someone is an idiot or an asshole or worse. I get it all the time as a bouncer. If I don't let someone downstairs I am immediately branded a douchebag or an asshole. I just think we need to put ourselves in others shoes once in awhile. That bouncer that didn't let you downstairs? That's probably not because he's trying to be a dick or abuse his power, it's probably because he's trying to do his fucking job. That driver that cut you off? Maybe he just didn't see you because of a parked car. Instead of assuming the worst of people, let's assume the best. Seriously, what's the worst that can happen? I find I feel better if I give someone else the benefit of the doubt and in many situations, I will never find out if I'm wrong or not so why not? If I assume the worst, then I just feel anger towards another person that I will never see again. It's silly. 

So come on, let's all sing Kumbaya around a campfire....Just kidding. 

This isn't some hippy love each other bullshit, but can't we at least be pleasant to one another? Can't we be polite to strangers who we know absolutely nothing about? Instead of immediately judging them on one silly mistake? 

Can't we all just get along? (No we can't, but we could try to get along with some)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tales From The Twitter and Other Things

I need to get back into writing regularly so I've decided to do Camp Nanowrimo. It's basically National Novel Writing Month but less serious or official. They have two of them, in June and August. I may be crazy and attempt both of them, not sure as of yet. I think I'm going to start the sequel to my fantasy novel which feels really crazy to me as I only finished it a few months ago and haven't completely edited it yet but that's what nanowrimo does. It makes you write really freaking fast. So I need to Edit and Write and do other stuff. I need to Blog and Tweet and Tumble and who knows what else.

Some guy is shouting out on the street and it's highly irritating.

I have been doing some editing of my novel. It doesn't seem that difficult but it is boring. Actually for the most part I'm simply excising commas. I use commas so much it's ridiculous and I don't know why. It's a bad habit really. Commas break up a sentence and slow the reader down. Without them the prose feels faster. The reader doesn't have to pause every second and then go on. But I have an obsession with commas. In my first drafts I feel like they should be everywhere and constantly convince myself that they belong. Thankfully it seems when I edit I can overcome those feelings, say 'No fuck you commas' and get rid of them. Then when I read over the lines they sound better and I feel pleased with myself.

I recently read Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. It is thrilling and fantastic. With seemingly no effort he takes a modern day setting and blends it with high fantasy creating awesome mythologies and stories in a seemingly-mundane world. It's not something I've really seen before and the writing is superb. A very satisfying read. I'd recommend both of his that I've read, this one and American Gods. Great books.

I just finished The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway. Talk about a difference from Gaiman. No fantastical elements, just day-to-day life written in short punchy sentences. The writing is so simple that it's actually amazing. No excess detail or fluff, he just tells you what's happening. It's kind of crazy, really. Great read.

What else? Who knows? A girl at the bar where I bounce was dancing barefoot downstairs where glass is broken practically every hour. I told her she needed shoes and she pointed to her ridiculously high heels. I told her I didn't care, she needed shoes or she'd be thrown out. If you're going dancing for hours don't wear ridiculously uncomfortable shoes and especially don't walk fucking barefoot in a nasty downstairs night club. That's all I gotta say.

People. Sometimes I just can't stand people.

So I have a Twitter and occasionally I post teeny tiny twitter tales on it. You know how Flash Fiction is around 1000 words and Flash Flash Fiction is around a couple hundred? I guess this is Flash Flash Flash Fiction. I've thrown them up on Tumblr but I will also put them up here for those who don't have a tumblr. For those who do, here's mine.

Twitter Tales
Occasionally, I tweet tiny tales on my twitter. Thought I’d compile them and throw em up here.
The scavenger fled past the Fence. The hunter followed him Inside. Terrors roamed here, beyond reasoning. Here they would meet
“Don’t worry,” the time traveller said, “I’m here to fix things.” The old man sighed, “just like the last one.”
He jumped in. The body felt fat and slow, unwieldy. He felt the Owner in the back of the mind, suppressed. “Time to ride,” he said.
The day approached like a beast over the horizon, snarling and devouring the darkness with glorified pleasure.
The alarm clock rang. He smacked it off the nightstand. He saw his hands were slick with blood. “That’s not good,” he said. 
He looked around and saw a blond woman on a red-stained rug. She didn’t move or breath. “That’s really not good,” he said.
Reality struck him like a truck. “Oh god!” He cried out. ” What have I done?” An empty whiskey bottle stared at him.
She had no pulse. A knife lay underneath the bed. “No no no no!” his voice, the only sound. The previous night lay forgotten
“I’m a monster,” he said, baring fangs and tearing her throat out. Her last thoughts were ‘I thought he would sparkle…’
The arrow flew, damning all hope.The boy died ‘fore he struck the ground. “We are lost, the Chosen One’s been killed.”
The blade pierced his chest. He cried out in relief. “I die and may this time I stay dead.”
A tweeter tweeted terrible tweets tactically telling technical tall tales to test technological techniques totally terrorizing tenuous twitsTwitter

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Why We Should Root For The Bad Guys

I've been watching Breaking Bad, a television show about a chemistry teacher turned meth dealer. He is the protagonist, the (anti-)hero, the main character. The show is about him, you are meant to sympathize with him, to feel for him, to root for him, even as he kills people and deals drugs. Is this a good thing? He's a bad guy. You're rooting for him, what does that say about you?


My parents recently stopped watching Breaking Bad. The show is quite dark but they also don't like 'rooting for the bad guys'. They stopped watching The Sopranos for the same reason. You're not supposed to want the bad guys to win, the gangsters and the drug dealers. So why do we feel this way? Why do we watch these shows about the bad guys? I have a theory.

THEY AREN'T BAD GUYS! At least, that isn't all that they are. Television has become so good these days in creating three-dimensional characters, in making characters that feel real. These characters, the gangsters, the serial killer(dexter), the drug dealers....They seem like actual PEOPLE. That's why we root for them. Maybe they are criminals but they are also fathers and husbands and wives and lovers and friends. They are just like you and me and everyone else except that maybe they make poor choices. Walter White isn't a drug dealer. He is a husband, father, and supports his family. He just also happens to be a drug dealer, but that isn't 'who' he is. He's a person. That's just one aspect. That's why we can root for him, like we can root for anybody. People are people, with feelings, belief's and thoughts as all of us. Television shows where 'bad guys' are the main subjects show this very clearly. They make you sympathize with them which I think is a good thing. People don't want to sympathize with 'bad guys'. They would rather think of them as 'evil' so they don't have to feel bad when those 'bad guys' get punished. If we root for a drug dealer on tv, what about drug dealers in real life? If we root for criminals on television, what about criminals in real life?

I think it's a good thing to realize not all 'bad guys' are just 'bad guys'. They are real people like you and me. They've made bad decisions of course and should not be excused for what they've done, but they shouldn't be seen as less than 'people' either, without their own thoughts and feelings.

I think of Swearengen in Deadwood. He is obviously a 'bad guy'. He deals in everything and kills people numerous times. Yet you end up rooting for him because he's the guy who's going to fight for the good of the camp despite all his bad qualities. He's not a bad guy, just a guy who does some bad things.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

This Right Here Is A Blog Post

So I finally finished that elementary detective short story and it is up on my blog. It feels good to finish something and the apprehension at having people read it has faded slowly, replaced with relief. I did it. It is a completed piece of writing. That feels good.

I haven't gone back to my novel since February and the longer I take to look at it, the more I don't want to. The more afraid I become that it is a terrible boring and in all ways bad piece of writing. I'm not sure why those thoughts are always there, though I feel like they plague most writers or artists. Why should someone read my writing? What am I contributing to the world that was not there? What's the point? Etc. But you fight through and you write anyways.

I'm happy with the story. The funny thing is when I began, I had no idea it was going to turn out the way it did. The plot changed in ways I hadn't expected, characters did things unexpectedly and the way it all turned out neatly in the end was as much a surprise to me as it may have been to any of the readers. Writing a story almost feels like I'm discovering it within myself. That sounds cheesy, I'm sure, but it's ultimately true. When I write, I usually don't know what's going to happen to the characters in a few pages, I'm making it up as I go along. Somehow, my subconscious is a genius because it all works in the end. It's fun though, in a strange way I can't really describe.

I guess I enjoy experiencing stories. Good stories with believable characters, emotions and conflicts. I enjoy them in every form: film, literature, video games and even writing them myself.

The Long Nap was an idea I had four to five months ago and was finished about a week ago. It probably should not have taken that long but I was particularly lazy in regards to writing. It is also completely unedited so there are likely a fair few grammatical/spelling errors not to mention other problems, such as word choice. The hardest part about writing about children is making it believable. Kids can be smart but they can also be really dumb. You have to watch what words you use in dialogue and what references you make. A kids isn't going to make the same connections in his head as an adult would, wouldn't use the same metaphors or the same cultural references. I just used the word references three times in three sentences. That's bad writing right there.

I have been contemplating my sci-fi idea and it has begun to take shape. My basic take on it is this, what if the consciousness was discovered, as a force or simply a 'thing'. What I mean is, what if scientists discovered a way to detect it, measure it, take readings, etc. Instead of being this thing we simply don't know anything about, or simply assumed as byproduct of our brains, what if it became known as some invisible force or object or web of knowledge, information, feelings that resides within us? Religious zealots would jump on this claiming that science has finally found our 'spirit' while atheist scientists would simply proclaim that the consciousness is simply something that comes about when the subject's brain is large enough, it is simply a byproduct of higher intelligence. Regardless, the brain is simply what holds this invisible web of our minds within. Using this crazy science fiction, it could be possible to transfer consciousnesses from one being to another. Considering we only use a certain percentage of our brains, it would be possible for a brain to hold two consciousnesses within it, containing the memories, feelings, and thoughts of both. Stay with me here...or simply skip this paragraph, it may not be making much sense anyways. Regardless, with this basic framework, my main character would be a person who would jump to others' brains and control their body, suppressing their own consciousness while he 'rides' their body. Doing this would enable him to protect witnesses, infiltrate practically anywhere and well, pretty much anything. I was thinking of the plot as something like this: The scientists use certain electrical charges to transfer consciousnesses. There are a few 'agents' who are used to do this for certain missions. One agent gets killed while in another's body but manages to jump to another's body. This is not supposed to happen and could lead to catastrophe, so an agent is sent after the rogue agent, both able to hop bodies and crazy antics ensue. Sound insane? Yeah, I know. It needs alot of work, but that's why I have it stirring in my mind at the moment.

Anyways, I've also been writing some flash fiction which is fun. It's simply writing a story in very few words, less than 1000 usually and sometimes even in just a 100. It's interesting and makes you cut the story down to it's most basic form. I will likely be throwing these up on my blog in the near future to see what you think. It's nice in that I can use these ideas that are whirling around in my brain and put them down in a very short form, cutting them down to their most basic essentials. I also like to do that on twitter, writing stories in 180 characters is silly but fun.

I'm following a few indie authors on twitter. It's interesting. Seems like many authors write blog posts telling others how to write, or giving tips on how to write or getting published, etc etc. I find that silly. Though they probably have more followers than I do...Perhaps I should change my method....

Tips On How To Get Followers To Your Blog!
Number 1: Don't say Fuck on your blog.

Well, who cares. I don't want to tell anyone how to write anyways. There are enough writers in the world, probably too many. Some of them should go into painting or art history or something.

Tangents aside, I've been reading William Gibson's Neuromancer. It's quite good, a sci-fi world not unlike Blade Runner, filled with cyborg-ish body augmentations, crazy neural hacking and all that good stuff. I guess the author basically envisioned the internet before there was an internet, so that's pretty cool. I am very much enjoying it.

I've been watching a show called Awake. It's about a detective who, after an accident, lives in two worlds. In one, his wife survived. When he goes to sleep, he wakes up in the other world, where his son survived. He sees shrinks in both worlds and both tell him the other world is a dream. Very interesting, with cool cases and some intriguing crossovers between the worlds while he goes slightly crazy. There is also some behind-the-scenes conspiracy going on about the accident but nothing will get resolved because it's probably going to be cancelled like all good shows are.

I've also been watching the second season of The Killing which has really ramped things up since season one. It is fantastic. It is depressing. I would liken it to The Wire in terms of acting, plot, characters and setting. Only this is focused on less characters and one case. So far it's been amazing. Watch it.

What else? Fringe is great because it's really accepted it's zaniness and has really gone over the edge yet still managing to tell interesting stories with the characters.

I'm out like a bad light bulb. Haha terrible joke.

“Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts... A graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding...” 
― William GibsonNeuromancer