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. http://www.tumblr.com/blog/ingdowntherabbithole

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.