Sunday, November 30, 2008

Til the end of the road...

Today's assignment is a simple one. Go back and review your own writing. Have you developed a style? Choose 3 words that describe your writing style, providing at least one example from your posts for each word.

Nostalgic:

The mid 90's were when I hit my stride, picking up new music the way a two year old picks up a language.

So much of the music I've come to take for granted came out of that period. The minimalism of Phillip Glass, Steve Reich and John Adams (not the president). The impressionism of Ravel and Debussy. The modernism of Arvo Part and Henri Gorecki. The fantastic film scores of Nino Rota and my all time favorite composer Ennio Morricone. But most importantly, there was Jazz.
Duke Ellington And John Coltrane - Sentimental Mood

This was the point in my life when I had around two friends and didn't really do anything with them outside of school, so I spent a lot of quality me time. This would become something that I came to find desirous in my adult life, but it was also something that puzzled the shit out of my parents. Typical of the parents of bookish nerds, they really wanted a more outgoing, socially acclimated child, but that one really wasn't going to work out for them. I remember one birthday in particular (and it might very well and most likely could have been the one that followed this particular day) when, in lieu of presents,I was given by various relatives and family friends a princely sum of money to spend as I saw fit. It was about $120, which in the halcyon dawn of the Reagan administration was equal to about $300 in today's economy. My mom had only one directive as I took off the mall to spend my ill gotten booty. "Don't spend it on books!" Seriously? They had no clue how easy they had it. Less fortunate mothers would have directed their child to avoid spending money on Meth or hookers. I spent it on books anyway, and it was well spent, as I still own a few of the books I bought that day. Books about Ninjas! It was a good time to be a boy in 1982.
This Boy's Life



Sesquipedalian (unnecessarily wordy):

The Nurse comes at noon with her poisons. She has philtres and tonics and tablets of hallucination. She says she means to help me. She means to make me well. But I know she lies as well. They all lie. Her capsules weaken my body and force sleep upon me. When I have drifted into the arena of the unwell, she will prepare me for Jacob and the knives that await me. I lie still with more than mild dread. With ratched, clang, sturm und drang she lords upon her wards, with the confidence and authority of one who knows how it will end. There are no surprises for her. She holds all the cards. The Hermit, The Hierophant, and The Fool. The Emperor and The Tower. She wields the cards of Judgement and Death. The Hanged Man and the Wheel of Fortune. Even the Devil himself resides in her deck. Only the lone card of Justice remains omitted from her hand. The Nurse has no interest in such things. Only Alchemy and Castigation hold sway with her.
Une D├ęcharge

She imagined herself as Abraham on Moriah. She imagined herself as Isaac, walking alongside his father, carrying his wooden pallet up the very same hill. They were one and the same, in her, playing out the storied drama of sacrifice and supplication. The father, prepared to sacrifice the thing he valued above all else. The son, willingly acquiescing to his father's decision. All in the name of faith. Til the very last, she truly believed that if her actions were sincere, if her fealty was true and she went forward with his command, an angel would appear. The Angel of God would stay her hand at the very last moment and she would be rewarded for her actions. This was the thought that gave her strength as she took the pot of water from the stove and put the rim to her lips. The roiling water and thick steam was almost too much to bear. Her hands was firm and resolute as the voice whispered in her ear about holiness and purification. The voice told her it was time to drink. She opened her mouth and tilted back the pot. The Angel of God never arrived.
Touched By The Hand Of God


Referential:

At this point, I was still throwing pots in craft class, but one day I would be the Henry Moore of the flesh medium.
(British artist and sculptor)

I broke my forward stare long enough to check my reflection in the rear view mirror. If today was my day to become famous, I needed my hair to look good.
(Kit's last action before he confronts the police in the film Badlands)
Alice4

Surveying the architectural model in the executive conference room at the Nakatomi Tower, he says "...and Alexander wept he saw the breadth of his kingdom, for he knew there were no more worlds left to conquer." The benefits of a classical education.
(from the film Die Hard)
Where cheap plastic disposable crap still matters...


So I took advantage. I took advantage of their disadvantage.
(Reference to Humbert's letter to Quilty in Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov)

But, taste is subjective and by no means definitive. One man's Aria is another man's Metal Machine Music.
(Lou Reed album characterized by "instrumentals" composed of squealing and feedback. Largely regarded as nearly unlistenable.)

Until, as James Brown said, "I cain't do no more!". And when the day comes that I've done my last encore, Danny Ray has thrown the cape over my shoulders and like James, I'm quietly escorted off the stage of life, I only ask one thing.
(The end of every JB concert was marked by this ritual)
Duke Ellington And John Coltrane - Sentimental Mood


I was only along to observe, mindful that any drastic behavior or sudden movements could leave me mauled, eaten and partially digested like Timothy Treadwell.
(Animal advocate killed by a bear as featured in the film Grizzly Man)

And after the apocalypse, the roaches will gather beneath their sturdy roofs and raise a toast, glasses high, to the long gone daddy/man cub that was Homo Sapien.
(Dual reference to a Hank Williams song, and Mowgli from the Jungle Book)

We were in a random bar along with about ten other thick skinned jaded thrill seekers.
(reference to an A. Whitney Brown monologue on SNL from 1987.)

Alongside the wall between our table and the bar was a potted plant of some sort. A fake plastic rubber tree plant, perhaps.
(Lyric from Fake Plastic Trees by Radiohead)

He pulled her toward him and gave her what Kevin Costner described as a long, slow, deep, soft, wet kiss that lasts for three days.
(line from Bull Durham)

Pass judgement if you like, you won't be the first, but any Star Trek nerd worth his phaser knows that it's a violation of the Prime Directive to interfere in anyway that shapes or otherwise alters the course of a subjects life.
(Standard Star Trek reference)

I am Uatu. I am the watcher.
(Marvel Comics character. He is the personifiaction of the reading audience acting as witness, unable to affect outcome or change history.)
I am Uatu. I am "The Watcher"


He skulks in the corner like Horwendill’s ghost, appraising my every action and judging me with the eye of the unavenged. I wear the mark of Feng and Gerutha, of incest and murder, with neither Amleth, nor Hamnet to speak council for me with wild, raging fury.
(This one is pretty much all Hamlet. In the original Danish story, Horwendill is the dead king, Feng, his brother and Gerutha his wife. Amleth is the prince and Hamnet was the name of Shakespeare's son who died as a child)
(my most pretentious line to date, it was written before I had any idea where I was going with this.)

No Virgil, he will see me through the gate, without ceremony, my soul borne away to the place of its eternal display.
(In the Inferno, Virgil is Dante's escort through Hell)

But the everlasting, loving arms of God and Beatrice shall be eternally denied to me if the Jacob the Lurker has his way.
(Dante's escort through The Paradise)

When I have drifted into the arena of the unwell, she will prepare me for Jacob and the knives that await me. (Line from the film Withnail & I)(Allusion to a line from "Theme of the Traitor and the Hero" by Jorge Luis Borges)

With ratched, clang, sturm und drang she lords upon her wards.
(The most ham fisted sentence this month, this one I'm embarassed of. A simultaneous allusion to Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest and Ratchet and Clank, a PS2 game.)

The boy in the chair is my betrayer, my brother and my killer.
(Line from "Famous Blue Raincoat" by Leonard Cohen)

As for the man inside my mouth
(Title of a song by The Cure, also a reference the The Shining)

I have always been here before.
(Rocky Erickson song)

And until the last night comes I shall be here in the morning, noon and evening, each day collecting and gathering as a durden of living days, until the great Fangorn that is my life stands eternal and evermore.
(Forest in Lord Of The Rings)

I have always been the caretaker and sleep will not rob me of my duty.
(Another reference to The Shining)
Une D├ęcharge


Like the Maid Of Orleans, she would believe, for the remainder of her life, that she had been touched by the Divine hand. And like the French peasant girl, she was given purpose and meaning. She was given instructions. She was given orders. But, this was not the voice of Saint Michael inspiring a girl to reclaim a kingdom for Charles VII.
(Standard Joan Of Arc reference)

She imagined herself as Abraham on Moriah. She imagined herself as Isaac, walking alongside his father, carrying his wooden pallet up the very same hill. They were one and the same, in her, playing out the storied drama of sacrifice and supplication. The father, prepared to sacrifice the thing he valued above all else. The son, willingly acquiescing to his father's decision. All in the name of faith. Til the very last, she truly believed that if her actions were sincere, if her fealty was true and she went forward with his command, an angel would appear. The Angel of God would stay her hand at the very last moment and she would be rewarded for her actions.
(Genesis 22:1-19)
Touched By The Hand Of God
_______________________________________________

I suppose that answers the "How full of shit are you?" question you've been asking yourself.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I'm spent...

I was going to just do today's topic about personification, another form of figurative language, but as I read the definition of it, I thought it would be more fun to create a new type of writing style. Let's call it 'dynamism' for now. Let me know if you think of a better word. Anyway, for your assignment, combine the use of both personification (give human qualities to a nonhuman item) and objectification (present a human or animal as an object). See where that takes you...

The box sat open mawed like a great yawning beast. It's hum, once muffled had become a dreadful voice, and it sang threnody for a future memory. The box and all it held bound were unloosed and the irrevocable had come to pass. In slow exhalation, fine ochre mist seeped from the vessel and began to imbue the interior of the car with a mossy stench. With it's rictus of sadistic glee, the box, free of it's burden, became innocuous. It was a simple mahogany box once more.

The mist, now unrestrained, hovered along the floorboard and surveyed the thing behind the drivers seat. With cold appraisal, it judged. And when the thing turned down to face it, the mist moved before the thing had a chance to react. Slipping in through the mouth, the mist entered the lungs and took firm hold.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Punishment

Today is the third to last day. So, do i little puntificating and make us all laugh/moan/groan in whatever format you see fit. Puns are considered the lowest form of wit, which i think is awesome because I love them so much. I don't need fancy in my humor. Just fucking funny.

What's music does Ann Coulter like?

Country-Western, Contemporary Jazz and continuous Pop.



Mr. Massengil bids his wife goodnight,

"I do sure love you..."



The turd just floated there, without the energy to swim...he was pooped.


---------------------------------------

Thank you.
I'll be here all week.
Tip your waitresses

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Little Girl Blue

Thanksgiving seems like the perfect day to take on that all-mighty figurative language beast, the hyperbole. So, get to exaggerating. Write us a little something about this year's, or any other year's Thanksgiving celebration.

Belly was the worlds saddest kitten. When she was a month and a half old, her mother turned her out on the street. "You're too old to nurse, so either pull your own weight or get out," she said. Belly opted to leave. She wasn't really sure how she would make her way in the world, but it was better than living with an emotionally abusive mother that belittled her every achievement. Besides, now that the milk had dried up, she knew she would be in competition with four other kids for whatever resources they could find. It was five other kids, but Bosley hopped a bus and left. Well, it was actually the back of a truck, and he hadn't meant to leave, but he didn't jump off in time and the truck took off with him in back. They hadn't seen him since. And now, with Paul, Walla, Gert and Samantha all trying to compete for the same bits of scrap, it didn't take Belly long to make her decision.

"Smell you later, losers" she meowed as she walked away from her family for the last time. Her family pretty much ignored her since they were well and truly preoccupied with the dead grackle that Mother had brought for them. Gert did manage something that sounded like "hrmph habr hree shmo", but Belly knew an insult when she heard one, even if she couldn't understand it.

Her only regret was that she would miss Mr. Jump. Mr. Jump was an old stray Collie that occasionally came around for social visits. He was amiable enough to the rest of the family, but he really seemed to dote on Belly. He was the closest thing to a father that she had ever known. Sometimes he brought along a bit of a Hamburger that he had dug out of the trash and set it down for Belly when no one else was watching. If any of the other kids got wise to the extra grub, Mr. Jump would stand in front of her while she finished her share. Otherwise, she was likely to get shoved aside, especially by Walla. Walla was second smallest to Belly and she seemed to resent her all the more for it. Belly was the only one that she had any power over and so Walla always went out of her way to be particularly mean to her. Mr. Jump could see that, so instinctively looked out for her. But now, even Mr. Jump wouldn't be able to help her.

Belly stared at the open parking lot before her and was struck by a shot of apprehension. She started to order things around in her head. Little Pro and Con columns formed, enumerating the variables that would shape whatever life she could look forward to.

Firstly, there the was the matter of independence. Along with that, there was the increased mobility. She could do whatever she wanted and she could go anywhere she wanted. If she wanted to she could nest in one place for a while or she could just wander. Both options were tantalizing if only because the decision would be hers and hers alone. There was also the matter of people. Belly was genuinely curious about the big ones that she saw everywhere, but Mama T tried to instill her kids with a natural fear of the two legged walkers. She told them stories about how the big ones would snatch kittens in the night and take them away from their families. Mama T once told them about a friend of hers whose kids were stolen and tied up in a sack and thrown in a big water puddle. She said she could hear them crying for a little while and then she didn't hear anything again. Belly didn't think anyone would ever be that mean, but if someone could, she thought it was more likely to be her mom than any of the people.

But, as much as she tried to gird her confidence about her decision, there was still one nagging little problem that superseded every other consideration. She could barely hunt. She was still in the early stages of her training and it hadn't been going very well. As it was, she was a barely competent forager, but hunting was something that she still had a lot to learn about. Her natural feline grace had yet to develop and she still had a slight wobble in her walk. Her tiny paws sank like little lead weights whenever she walked. Even her head was still slightly over sized and it threw her balance off at the most inconvenient times. She was a very long way from the pounce and still even further from the kill. Foraging would have to do, but she had no confidence that it would be enough.

She took a few tentative steps into the parking lot and stopped. It still wasn't too late to turn around. It hadn't all been turmoil and tragedy. Her mother had been quite capable of great affection. Once, just after they had all been born, Mama T had stayed awake for almost three days cleaning her children and keeping them warm. A few days after that, a stray Tom had wandered near their nest and Mama T had lost part of the tip of her ear in the fight for territory. The Tom left in slightly worse shape, with a limp that would bother him for more than a month. Afterwards, she gathered her kids next to her and nursed them without complaint. Only later did Belly realize that her mother had a deep gash that cut across two of her nipples and was probably in some pain, but Mama T never let on.

In the end, it was simple stress that drove the wedge between them. Unbeknownst to Belly, she was a part of her mother's third litter. Mama T had spent the better part of two years nursing and raising children from three different fathers, each one full of the same promises and lies as the last. In time, each previous litter had grown up and left Mama T behind and she had taken the departure of each child badly. One by one, each child took a small fragment of their mother's affection, and now Mama T simply seemed to be running out. To minimize her emotional vulnerability, Mama T had become armored. The more her new children needed from her, the more distant and bitter she became to them. Knowing that they would just leave in time, she began to dole out affection based on codependency. Belly, being the most likely to show her independence, got the coldest shoulder.

Not that Belly was privy to any of this. She just knew that she was treated differently.

Belly began putting one paw in front of the other, heading out toward the rest of her life. Her face flushed with nervous excitement. Her heart beat faster in anticipation. Her breath quickened. With each step, she went further and further away from the known and one step closer to the Great Whatever. But the more she walked, the less steady her legs became. Her nervousness had begun to congeal into cold fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of starvation. Fear of injury. But above all, fear of isolation. As much as she felt pushed out at home, it was the only home she had. And very suddenly, she wanted nothing else in the world, but to be in the arms of the only mother she would ever had. Regret had proved stronger than longing. And so, very slowly, she turned back to face what she thought she had been ready to leave behind.

With tentative hesitation, she walked back to the end of the parking lot and took her place at the end of the line.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ass onance

If alliteration is the elephant in the room at the figurative language zoo, then assonance is the tiny mouse that frightens me and the elephant. Create a paragraph, poem, or piece of dialog, this time using assonance twice. Good luck.


The Fact of the matter is, that asshole Alan Appleton was asked to answers to the accusation that he manhandled Anna in a crass manner. He called it all a bunch of falderal and would not apologize for what he though was a blot upon his honor. Whether or not he ever intends to make amends to every other friend that ended up an enemy...well, he contends that he never owed them anything.

What a dick.

Alliterate that!

Ah, alliteration. It's the biggest elephant in the room at the figurative language zoo. It's hard to miss, and not so hard to write. Today, write a paragraph, poem, or piece of dialogue using alliteration at least three different times, with three different letters.

Particularly pesky, parasites pose a peculiar problem for pandas. Early evaluation evidences an evolving variation of very virulent and sometimes venomous strains of several species of Pseudophyllid cestodes (order pseudophyllidea), frequently referred to as the flatworm.

Word.

A long set up searching for a bad punchline...

Synecdoche. It's not just a new Charlie Kaufman movie. Or a hard to spell word.It is, in fact:a term denoting a part of something is used to refer to the whole thing, or a term denoting a thing (a "whole") is used to refer to part of it, or a term denoting a specific class of thing is used to refer to a larger, more general class, or a term denoting a general class of thing is used to refer to a smaller, more specific class, or a term denoting a material is used to refer to an object composed of that material.The use of synecdoche is a common way to emphasize an important aspect of a fictional character; for example, a character might be consistently described by a single body part, such as the eyes, which come to represent the character. This is often used when the main character does not know or care about the names of the characters that he/she is referring to. (for more info on the term and some examples, click here)Your turn. Write a short piece of fiction using synecdoche as a major component.



The Eye watched traffic pass as he stood on the curb waiting for The Car. Always late, The Car was never dependable enough to be counted on, but sometimes, rides were needed so he would have to do. Time passed and The Eye acknowledged him. Typical of Time, he was on the move and couldn't be stopped. It was no good calling him once he'd passed because nothing could turn him back. It's not like he stood still or waited for anyone. Once was Time was out, that was it. only The Mind knew how to occupy him long enough to get anything done. As for The Eye, he just took it all in as it happened around him.

The Car finally arrived, fifteen minutes late.
-No problem, he said. I'll get us there.

The Eye didn't believe it. Suddenly The Car tore off and bolted down the street. He was speeding to make up for being late, so it wasn't much of a problem, they'd never been to this place before and The Eye was having a hard time reading the signs. It was time for small talk.

-What'd you do today?
-Drove around...and you?
-Watched a movie.
-All day?
-No. Then we went to eat.
-We? Who'd you go with?
-The Mouth.
-Should've known.

And on it went. Sometimes The Eye couldn't see the point in all this. It seems trivial. But The Car, once he got going, he kept on and on. The Car could veer from one topic to another, turning on a dime. Road trips were the worst with him. He'd just run and run until he had to make a pit stop. Then, at the drop of a hat, he was off again. Tonight, The Eye tried to make a go of being engaging, but he was distracted and had trouble focusing.

It wasn't always like this. Before he came to depend on The Car so much, he and Legs, his roommate from Corpus, used to walk all over town. It was nicer then, 'cos Legs was much slower. The Eye could take everything in as they strolled through the city. He felt more in charge of his life because Legs invariably went wherever The Eye led. This pace suited The Eye just fine. And one thing they could both agree on was they hated trying to keep up with their other roommate, Hands. He was quicker than both of them when he wasn't busy being idle. He was so obnoxious that they thought about cutting him off, but that would have been as stupid as when they cut off The Nose, just to spite what's-his-face. What's-his-face didn't care since he spent more time in a mirror than showing up outside.

The were close now and The Eye suddenly realized he might run into someone he didn't want to see.
-Dick's not gonna be there is he?
-Probably not.
-I hope not. The last time we were there, it was a regular Dick-fest.
-It was his birthday. I wouldn't worry about it. He doesn't come too often. He and Hands usually stay home and play.
-Play?
-XBox.
-Oh.

The Car turned into the lot and drove around looking for a space. He was anxious to meet The Girl. The Eye wasn't looking forward to all the bright lights and the cigarette smoke, but he did like standing by the dance floor and passing judgement. But he wasn't off the hook.
-I told The Girl to bring a friend.

The Eye could suddenly see that this was a set up. Far from being irritated, he was open to the idea.
-Good. The last thing I wanted was for The Girl to take off with you and leave me stranded. She cute?
-Of course. She's in entertainment.
-What's she do?
-She works for a music video channel...She's a V.J.
-Nice.

Not a drop to drink

Oh my gosh, I totally suck. Write whatever you want today. I promise I will have my head in the game for the last week...

I have no water. Again. Everyday this week, at midday, the water has gone off as men in machines dig a hole in the parking lot of my apartment complex. Yesterday the power went out as well, so I guess I should count myself as lucky today. Today I just can't wash dishes. Or shower. Or boil noodles. Or clean produce. I'm hungry and I smell a little bit, so I'm cranky.

If this lasts more than another hour, I'll have to leave the airlock and venture outside. I've already left once today and I don't like to make a habit of it on the weekend. Especially since I have to leave later to take Mandy to the airport.

Cest La Vie

Labi Siffre - I Got The...

Touched By The Hand Of God

So, last night, 3 members of this group went to a little bar that used to be known as the Crazy Lady. Needless to say, there were plenty of crazy ladies in the room, most of whom were at our table.

Write a short bio about a crazy lady you know.


She walked around in bare feet. All year long, regardless of the weather. Palms up. Head tilted slightly upward. Eyes closed except when she needed them to navigate her way. She went around in constant communication with her Lord above. She murmured in earnest communion with an unseen presence that comforted her and charmed her and beguiled her. But mostly, it made her do things.

I was told she had been beautiful once. That must have been long before even my parents' day. No one could confuse her for beautiful anymore. Her hair was a tangle of knots. There were traces of burn scars on her lower face. She cared little for her actual appearance and often took to walking around town in a house dress, even in the rain. I can remember on several occasions, driving past as the cops had pulled up and were trying desperately to convince her to put on the coat they had brought for her. She just stood there with her serene smile in mute incomprehension. Mostly, it always ended with someone being called to claim responsibility for her.

The voice came to her when she was younger. I don't know when, but onset for this type of thing occurs in early adulthood. She was probably in her early twenties and the latest. Like the Maid Of Orleans, she would believe, for the remainder of her life, that she had been touched by the Divine hand. And like the French peasant girl, she was given purpose and meaning. She was given instructions. She was given orders. But, this was not the voice of Saint Michael inspiring a girl to reclaim a kingdom for Charles VII. This disembodiment had much more modest objectives.

She resisted at first. Anyone would have, even someone in such a compromised mental state. The voice was calm and reasoning. He explained his motives. He was sincere. At first, her sense of self preservation was too strong. But he was persistent and persuasive. She became more resolute. He became louder. In the end, she gave in.

She imagined herself as Abraham on Moriah. She imagined herself as Isaac, walking alongside his father, carrying his wooden pallet up the very same hill. They were one and the same, in her, playing out the storied drama of sacrifice and supplication. The father, prepared to sacrifice the thing he valued above all else. The son, willingly acquiescing to his father's decision. All in the name of faith. Til the very last, she truly believed that if her actions were sincere, if her fealty was true and she went forward with his command, an angel would appear. The Angel of God would stay her hand at the very last moment and she would be rewarded for her actions. This was the thought that gave her strength as she took the pot of water from the stove and put the rim to her lips. The roiling water and thick steam was almost too much to bear. Her hands was firm and resolute as the voice whispered in her ear about holiness and purification. The voice told her it was time to drink. She opened her mouth and tilted back the pot. The Angel of God never arrived.

When the end came, the real end, she had made the transformation from tragic figure to Bruja Morena. She was our Lechusa. Our Baba Yaga. She was La Llorona. She was the thing that children dreaded in the night as they lay in the comfort and safety of their beds. The figure that would drive them screaming back to their homes. With false courage they would mock her as they rode by in the security of a passing car, only to regret it should they ever encounter her walking down the street alone. She was the personification of our nightmares. She was a sadly ill woman. To my knowledge, she never harmed anyone other than herself.

Conjecture can only fill in so much blank space so her ultimate motives will forever be in question. Perhaps she grew tired of the voice. Or perhaps the voice simply had one last request for one more show of faith. Maybe she was simply called home.

On a Friday in mid Autumn, she left the house where she lived with an extended family member and went for her walk. The air was still cool and humid from a rainstorm in the early morning and the day was quite pleasant. She made her way through town, taking her usual route past the County Courthouse and the Library and walked up the overpass located near the center of town. This was the path she walked everyday, but this time she stopped at the top. Passing traffic ignored her. Witnesses say she took her shoes off and laid them on the ground where she stood. She extended her arms, skyward, and stood up along the railing. By now, traffic had come to a stop and people left their cars to try to stop her. A few left their cars for a better look. Before anyone could pull her back, she simply let herself fall forward and dropped to the railroad tracks below. She landed on her head and died on impact.

I don't use her real name because this is a true story.

George Harrison - Beware Of Darkness

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Between the devil...

Sorry guys, but this is what happens when a drunken party girl tries to run a writer's workshop. Ah, beans. Such lovely legumes. The more you eat, the more you make fumes.In the tradition of raunchy child rhymes and fairy tales about giants, write a piece (poem, song, story, whatever) with the bean as your central focus.

Maggie Bean Weasley tore through town in a candy apple red Mustang. And a devil would follow. And by Mustang, I mean Mustang. A real one. '69. Not one of those steroid excuse for a cars that pass for Detroit engineering nowadays. This one had torque, it drank lots of gasoline and it went real fast. Not fast enough to outrun Penn, aka the Devil, but any distance she could put between him and her soul was at least a good head start. And she was gonna need at least that to get some thinking time in. By the time he started after her, she'd have at least four hours on him. That gave her about ten hours total before he found her again.

As she kept her foot on the pedal and one eye on the road, she kept stealing quick glances at the box on the passenger seat. Beautiful dark Mahogany with an ornate carving on the face. A Berbalang. A type of Filipino vampire. The relief on the face showed a Berbalang feasting on the entrails of a dead child. The detail on the box was fine enough that you could make out the ghoul's cat eyes and bird wings. You could also make out the smile on it's face. As Maggie Bean contemplated the box, she could feel the warm pulse and hear the quiet hum that came from inside it. She could also make out the fetid smell that it emitted. The devil on her shoulder tried it's best to convince her to open it, but she was too aware of the other devil, the one she left behind, to give in.

Not "The" Devil. "A" Devil. There were more than one. Oh, there was the big one. The Morning Star. The one who led in the war against creation. This wasn't him. This one was one of the others. That didn't make him any less...devilish. He called himself Penn. Maggie Bean knew that much. By now, she also knew that he wasn't a writer. Or rather, he didn't write for Scenic Review. He lied about that. He lied about having a son. He lied about working the program and having one dry year under his belt. God knows where he got the chip, but Maggie Bean suspected he probably stole that along with everything else from some bastard. Probably the one that rightfully owned the name Penn as well. She tried not to think about him, but kept remembering his smell. A faint trace of mothball and body odor. His sausage fingers always yellow from eating Cheetos and mustard. A perpetual stain on his shirt or trousers. He had the leer of an alligator floating in brackish water, contemplating an antelope. He'd just as soon eat you as let you pass if the mood suited him.

As Maggie Bean drove on, she was quite unaware of her speed. She knew she was hauling ass, but she just hadn't noticed how many horses she was using to haul the ass in question. Not that that would have slowed her down. It's always best to err on the side of caution when trying to outrun and 6000 year old Nabassu demon. The important thing was to keep moving. When this started, it had been about the box. As far as Maggie Bean was concerned, it was still about the box. That was what started this and if she was lucky, that would end it. But she also knew that Penn felt otherwise. She had pissed him off. For Penn, it was now about her. He could not keep going with his plan without the box, but he could always find the box later. He'd already waited 300 years, so patience was an attribute that had honed to a needle point. The box could wait. She would be the first item on his list. And when he found her, he would put his needle point patience to work and take his time with her.

She had almost made to the end of town and was coming up on the last light before the highway opened up again. She had managed to snake her way through most of lights without running a red, but her luck was about to run out. Up ahead, waiting on a light change, there were two cars, each taking up one of the two West bound lanes. She contemplated running the light by swerving into the turn lane when she noticed that the car in the outside lane was a powder blue Crown Victoria, the tell tale sign of an unmarked police car. The light turned green, but it was too late. Maggie Bean tried to reduce speed, but she was going far too fast. As the two cars ahead started to move forward, Maggie Bean's brakes locked and her car started to pivot left. The fact that the Crown Victoria and the Bonneville had started to move forward probably saved more than one life. If either car had been at a full stop when she hit, the impact alone would have killed her. She would have killed the cop as well. The driver of the Bonneville would have been fine. Instead, they had already started to move forward.

There was an instantly familiar high pitched squeal as the Mustang fishtailed and slammed into the back of both cars on it's passenger side. The sound of the crash was tremendous and brief. The force of impact was dissipated between the two forward moving cars, but it was an impact nonetheless. Maggie Bean was driven to her right, toward a wall of steel and a mangle of broken glass, but her seat belt mostly kept her in place. She stopped her trajectory with a snap and briefly had time to wonder if Penn would still follow her if she were dead.

The cop in the Crown Victoria was either unconscious or still stunned from the collision because he was not moving. The driver of the Bonneville staggered out of the car and fell to his hands and knees in the middle of the road. He coughed a few times and looked like he was trying to catch his breath. With slight difficulty, he straightened up and got on one knee. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. Slowly, he placed his hands on his raised knee and pushed himself up on two unsteady legs. He opened his eyes and had started to shuffle toward Maggie Bean's car when he noticed that his trunk had been jarred open in the crash. He suddenly lunged forward, throwing all of his weight on the trunk and slammed it shut. He looked over at the still unmoving policeman, and then turned toward the Mustang. As he came around to the driver side door, Maggie noticed that he was quite handsome. Disarmingly so. As leaned in through the window, he smiled and Maggie Bean suddenly felt comforted in spite of the taste of blood in her mouth and the rancid smell in the air.

"You're going to be okay, Alice..." he said.

Maggie was about to correct him, to tell him that her name wasn't Alice, when she noticed something on the floorboard of the passenger side.

The Mahogany Box had broken open.

U.N.K.L.E. - Rabbit In Your Headlights

Friday, November 21, 2008

The bubblies, yo! The bubblies!

Words can be just as powerful at evoking strong physical reactions as images or smells. Use your words to truly gross out a reader. You can write about an experience from your past or just create something. It just needs to be really, really disgusting.

1.
His soft piglet flesh smelled like softness and flowers. Just like babies are supposed to. That part never changed. The taste, however, was different every time. It always depended on the age. A newborn was always the most tender and was also the sweetest. Like honey glazed ham. With every month that passed though, the meat got less and less tender. By the time they were toddlers, it almost wasn't worth the time it took to snatch them. But if they were fresh, like this one, well...his stomach was rumbling just thinking about the first bite.

2.
The open sore on Colin's heel was giving off a strange odor. Maybe wearing his shoes without socks was a bad idea. At first he thought someone had left a jar of pickled eggs out, but the there was an added spice of bologna to the smell that made him investigate. As it was, he didn't really think to check himself until he realized the cat had been following him and nipping at his ankle, trying to lick at his foot.

3.
I knew this one was gonna be an epic shit. I'd been fighting a case of the bubblies all day and I'd come close to unloading in my pants twice already. As it was, I'd accidentally sharted on the way in to the toilet and had to peel the drawers out of my ass crack. All was going well, until I reached up to scratch my nose and noticed the brown stain on my fingertip...


yeah, that's all I got right now.

Cypress Hill - When The Shit Goes Down

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Evolution Revolution

Ever been to a burlesque show? A little strip tease, a little dancing, a little entertainment…Actually, burlesque shows are classically more about comedy and parody than they are about the jiggling, but who’s counting?Burlesque literature, however, contains no boobs. From answers.com: Burlesque: A literary or dramatic work that ridicules a subject either by presenting a solemn subject in an undignified style or an inconsequential subject in a dignified style.Typically written in poem form, burlesque is a classic literary tradition often used in Spain and Italy, with Cervantes one of the most prolific writers in this style.

Yeah, I gotta say this one kicked my ass more than the 1000 word challenge. I couldn't write a true burlesque in the confines of a sonnet, as hard as I tried. This was the best I could do in the 24 hours i gave myself to write this...

While walking home along the Quai d'orsay
Recalling days at school. I reminisced
Of evolutionary naturalist,
One Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet

Contemporary of Lavoisier
He criticised his view on chemistry
Disdainful to a tolerable degree
Of theories set forth by Georges Cuvier

Was also known as Jean-Baptiste Lamarck
His theory was the topic of his day
Much like Charles Darwin and Pangenesis

He said paternal aspects were the spark
That carried over through our DNA
Lamarckism’s not easily dismissed

Folk Implosion - Natural One

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

You're the best! Nothing's ever gonna keep you down!

It's National _____ Day! Yay! These days, there's a National Day for most things, but surely there are a few, lonely spots on the calendar that need filling. Create your own National Day (make sure it doesn't already exist, first). Be sure to pick a date for it, and give it a happy name. Let the world know about your day by writing a short press release with all of the vital information.

American Society for the Supreme Appreciation of Ralph Macchio

Contact: Mel Melman
Tel: 555/432-1111
Cell: 555/678-9999
Email: melman@assarm.com

A.S.S.A.R.M. Announces the official adoption of Macchio Day

Tomorrow, the favorite son of Huntington, Long Island finally gets his due when President George W. Bush formally signs a bill declaring the first Monday in November a national holiday honoring the work of American icon, Ralph Macchio.

Born November 4, 1961, Macchio first came to prominence in the early 1980’s as a feature player on the television series Eight Is Enough. His breakthrough role came as the troubled youth Johnny Cade in the film adaptation of S.E. Hinton’s classic novel, The Outsiders in 1983.

The following year, Macchio appeared in the title role of a little movie called the Karate Fucking Kid. He was off the hook. He was so off the hook that he made the movie again two more times. Proof of his talent came when they tried to make the movie a fourth time, only this time with some horse-faced girl. They did not think anyone would notice, but the movie tanked. Seriously.

In signing the bill, President Bush praised Macchio’s performance as a model of perseverance. He said, "Daniel San is an inspiration to all Americans. When Johnny swept his leg on the orders of evil Chuck Norris, Daniel San could have stayed down. He could have listened to the crowd and obeyed the timetables and left the field. But that would have meant leaving as a loser. Just showing up and making it through the first fight should have made him the winner. His mission was accomplished. But instead, he had to stay and fight for longer than he expected. That’s cool. He stayed and fought as long as he had to and he beat the terrorists…9/11!"

Observation will begin in 2009.

Helen Love - Beat Him Up

Take that, Hummel!

Ah, Craigslist. You can do just about anything there, from selling a couch to picking up a date, to buying sold out concert tickets, to finding a job. Pick a category on Craigslist where you might not normally find yourself. Create an ad that really stands out to a potential customer/date/job prospect. Remember, pictures always help get your ad looked at more often.

I am selling 2 brand new Nightshade brand collectible figurines, "MUFFET" and "BUTTERCUP". They are brand new and still in the box. Nightshade brand hand-carved sculptures by Hervil LeBarron whisper to the soul in unsettling ways, disturbing, discomforting, and inspiring dread. They identify emotions and fears so private that we only speak of them in the daylight and then render them in simple gestures of pure evil. They are 9" tall. Priced at $15.....call 555/432-1111


(Actual sculptures by
http://www.sharyboyle.com/)

Spoon - Figures Of Art



(ps: to download songs, highlight and click divshare logo on the player bar, then follow the links)

Accidents Happen

Time, so often, is not actually on our side. Pick a day from your past week, and recreate the day as it went along, in a time-stamp format (see below). Make your day as interesting as possible to a reader.

My day is boring. Even my work day goes something like
2:30 Run Paperbacks
4:00 Work on Sports section
5:00 Lunch
6:00 Buy counter
8:00 Register
etc.

not glamorous. So instead, I'll give you a taste of the level of ridiculousness involved in the damned video game I'm currently involved in.

Day in the life of Bubs the Assassin. (For some reason, anytime I have the option to name a character, he's always named Bubs.)

8:00 Awake from deep slumber and uneasy dreams with a fierce hunger and a throbbing headache.

8:05 Step outside of my cabin and immediately take damage from the sunlight outside. (This is the part where I explain that my character has been turned into a Vampire and until he finds a cure, he's moderately vulnerable to sunlight. Feeding off another character temporarily alleviates this problem, allowing him to walk in the daylight, but sleeping starts the cycle over again. It's a pain in the ass.)

8:06 Haul ass across town to the alley where Fralav the Faker sleeps. If I move fast enough, I can catch this homeless beggar still sleeping on his bedroll. As I run, I start to smoke and lose life points because of the sun damage.

8:10 Arrive in the alley and feed off a still sleeping Fralav. The smoking stops and I cast a healing spell to repair the damage I've taken. I'm spotted by a city guard who thinks I'm trying to rob the sleeping beggar. I haul ass again.

8:15 Exit the Imperial City gates and travel by horse to the nearby city of Cheydinhal to meet with my superior at the Assassins guild.

10:15 Receive assignment to kill a man named Baenlin from the nearby town of Bruma in a very specific manner. Since it has to look like an accident, I'm given a detailed set of instructions to follow.

10:20 Leave for Bruma

12:30 Arrive at the Bruma city gates and proceed to Baenlin's house.

12:35 Pick the lock on the basement entrance and enter the house. Once inside, sneak through the basement and up to the main house. Carefully avoiding detection by Baenlin's manservant Gromm, make my way to the second floor. This is especially important since killing anyone aside from the intended victim will void the bonus that I earn for a clean kill.

12:38 Once on the second floor, move to the master bedroom and find the hidden passage behind the bed. Once inside, move to far end of the wall and find the bolts on the wall. The bolts hold up a stuffed Minotaur head that's mounted on the wall above Baenlin's chair in the living room. The idea is to wait for Baenlin to sit down for his evening reading session and then loosen the bolt, bringing the Minotaur head crashing down on him. He sits down to read every evening between 8 and 11.

1:00 Wait

2:00 Wait

3:00 Wait

4:00 Wait

5:00 Wait
(it should be noted that though the game clock does move at an accelerated pace, this mission still required some realtime waiting until the dude got home. I left the game running with my character crouching in a dark closet, while I walked away and did dishes and made a burger.)

6:00 Wait

7:00 Wait

8:03 Hearing voices on the other side of the wall, I listen until I'm sure Baenlin is sitting down where he should be. I loosen the bolt and the stuffed head falls off the wall, instantly killing the mark. In the ensuing chaos, I easily sneak through the house, back through the basement and out into the night.

10:20 Arrive back in Cheydinhal and report to my guild superior.

10:25 Receive payment for the kill and a bonus for following the assignment to the letter.

10:30 Find random sleeping beggar named Luckless Lucina in an alley and feed just for shits and giggles. This isn't necessary, but hey I'm a Vampire.

10:35 Being away from home, I find a bed at the Newlands Lodge.

10:36 Sleep and start this dirty business all over again tomorrow.

This is my life...

Gnarls Barkley - Would Be Killer

Sunday, November 16, 2008

This Boy's Life

Today is America Recycles Day. Think of something in your past: an item, a person, an event, a feeling, that you wish you could recycle and write about it.

This one provides a bit of a conundrum. It comes down to the interpretation of recycle. Do again, or do over. Not sure. Definitely not a do-over, I don't think. Do-overs are for the regretful and there's no regrets for those who are happy with who they are. This has nothing to do with being happy where you are. For that, you need lots and lots of money...

But, a do-again...That, I can get behind.

But what day? I could get maudlin and say I want to relive something standard like the day I got married or the day my child was born, but since I'm neither married, nor a parent, that would just be silly. I could relive the day I was born, but that would just be creepy. But, somewhere in between those two days, there is one in particular that I seem to remember being the finest, purest most enjoyable I've ever had, and oddly enough, it just occurred to me as I say here bullshitting about what to write.

June 12, 1982:

If this were a movie, "Come On Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners would be playing over the credit sequence. (BTW, am I the only one who watches movies set in the 80's and thinks shit like, "no way that song would be playing. it wasn't released until the Christmas of that year and that scene is so obviously taking place in June!" Am I the only one?)

This was the point in my life when I had around two friends and didn't really do anything with them outside of school, so I spent a lot of quality me time. This would become something that I came to find desirous in my adult life, but it was also something that puzzled the shit out of my parents. Typical of the parents of bookish nerds, they really wanted a more outgoing, socially acclimated child, but that one really wasn't going to work out for them. I remember one birthday in particular (and it might very well and most likely could have been the one that followed this particular day) when, in lieu of presents,I was given by various relatives and family friends a princely sum of money to spend as I saw fit. It was about $120, which in the halcyon dawn of the Reagan administration was equal to about $300 in today's economy. My mom had only one directive as I took off the mall to spend my ill gotten booty. "Don't spend it on books!" Seriously? They had no clue how easy they had it. Less fortunate mothers would have directed their child to avoid spending money on Meth or hookers. I spent it on books anyway, and it was well spent, as I still own a few of the books I bought that day. Books about Ninjas! It was a good time to be a boy in 1982.

It it was a good day to be alive on June 12. Having few (no) friends and needing, apparently, to spend time outside of the house, I would often convince my mom to let me spend a Saturday at the mall. Sure, lots of kids did this, but not many actually had to tell their parents that they were actually meeting other people there, so they wouldn't be alone all day. Spending the day alone was as bad as spending the day in my room as far as my parents were concerned. So, I would tell them that I was meeting Mark or Bobby at the mall later, so they just had to drop me off out front and wait for my call five or six hours later, letting them know that I was ready to be picked up. They usually gave me about ten bucks to spend, and I was off.

Sitting here recalling the details of that time, I'm at an utter loss at trying to figure out just what the hell I managed to do for more than three hours let alone five or six. I was still at that age where a trip to the toy store wasn't totally out of the question, but I was venturing towards other new areas of the store and starting to avoid the more traditional aisles I used to haunt. Star Wars action figures no longer held sway with me and the following year, when Return of The Jedi was released, would mark the first time I made no effort to acquire the new Star Wars merchandise. I was starting to spend more time spying at the mysterious books and boxes of D&D related materials that they kept behind the glass case, but I think the side of the game recommended it for ages 12 and up, and guidelines like that held a powerful grip on my mother. It would be another year before that particular obsession was unloosed up the world.

There was also the bookstore of course. I could burn more than an hour in there. Again, it was a very transitional time in my life and my tastes were slowly taking shape. I had fairly typical interests for a kid my age and my purchases had reflected that. I was really into books about monster movies for a time. Anything that had any information about monster movies, especially Universal Studios classic line up (Dracula/Frankenstein/Wolfman) was right up my alley. It was also the tail end of the Silver Age for "Famous Monsters of Filmland" magazine and I snatched those up at the bookstore whenever I could. There were also a few video game guides that I had picked up along the way to help me beat Pacman, but those were mostly wasted, since I got really tired of that game long before it reached pop culture overload. By the time Buckner and Garcia released the song "Pacman Fever", I had moved on to "Frogger". I had yet to get into Fantasy fiction, but I did still have Ninjas going for me, so that was cool.

With the toy store done, and the bookstore browsed, that left the movie theater. That's why I wonder what the hell I did with myself for all that time. Circus World, B. Dalton's and The Cinema 3. That was it. That's like three hours max. Maybe, if I was hungry, I could kill another half hour at Giovanni's Pizza where you could get a slice and a Coke for $1.50. I had not yet become the stylish fashion plate that I would be, so Chess King was not on my agenda. Thriller was still five months away so pop music was not on my radar at all. There was no reason to go to Music Express. That left the pet store and K-Mart. Who knows what I did with myself.

But I have digressed. Cue Music.



June 12 1982:
Standard weekend operating procedure. My mom dropped me off at the back entrance of Plaza Del Sol Mall with ten bucks in my hand and an entire afternoon to blow. It was just past noon and I had one thing in mind. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan had opened last week and this was my first chance to see it. In the decades that followed, anthropologists would come to refer to 1982 as the greatest year ever for Sci-Fi cinema. (A few even say that it was the greatest year ever for cinema in general) Tron, The Thing, The Dark Crystal, Conan The Barbarian, Blade Runner and Poltergeist were only six of the all time classics that would open that year. Wrath of Khan was another. I'd never been a fan of the original show (still not) and I only had a vague recollection of the first film, but for some reason, I was super stoked to see the sequel. Maybe it was the presence of sex god Ricardo Montalban. He was Mr. Roark after all. Or maybe the power of the Shatner really does conquer all. That white hot quasar of manliness can quite convincing, or at least he used to be until he got all homophobic AND bitchy (figure that one out).

It was sublime. Any Trekker in the know will tell you that Wrath Of Khan is without qualification, the greatest movie in the series, by leaps and bounds. This was as good as it was gonna get. Earwigs, Evil Chekhov, hot Kirstie Alley (?!?!?), dead Spock. And the greatest dying villain soliloquy since Richard III.


(at about the 5:00 mark)
"For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee!"
-Khan Noonien Singh

Before I knew anything could be the shit, THIS WAS THE SHIT! I remember watching the closing credits all the way through, just trying to soak in as much of the movie that I could. I was the last one left in the theatre when the lights came up and the kid with the broom came in. I was a little wobble legged and night blind (not much has changed) and I started to stagger out of the room.

The Cinema3 in the mall had three screens. (I know this sounds paltry, but until it opened Del Rio had an old style movie palace, a discount run theatre and a drive in. The Cinema3 doubled the number of movies that could play in town, at least for a few years. Eventually, lack of business killed the other three, and Del Rio was back to square one. ) Wrath of Khan wasn't the most recent movie, but it was the more profitable so it was playing on the biggest screen at the furthest end of the place. When I walked out, I was dazzled by the light and noise and was not in my right mind. I was sure I wasn't ready to go home, but I didn't know what to do next. I passed the middle screen door and was more than halfway to the exit when I suddenly decided that I wasn't done yet. Sensing a rare moment of unobserved privacy, I hung a quick right and walked into the smallest screen, which ironically was screening the most recent release:

GREASE 2!

Yeah, I know. But buzz off! I was 11. And Michelle Pfeiffer was hot. Because of the end time of the last movie, I came in about 20 minutes late. Having missed some very important expository information, I was so confused that it took me almost 2 minutes to figure out what the hell was going on. Who's the new kid? What's with Zmed's hair? Isn't that the same villain from the first movie? What the fuck is Frenchy doing here? Is this for real? I'm so confused!!!

I was spent. And hungry. When Grease 2 was over, I went to the pizza joint and got a slice and a Coke and I was pondering my options. I could probably go home now and consider this a day well spent, but that would run counter to the instincts of any adolescent boy. Why be happy when you can be overloaded. Is there time for more, then have too much. I checked my watch and walked back toward the theatre. I checked the marquee and confirmed that I still had time to get into the next showing of the only movie I hadn't seen yet. I had to walk all the way back to the center of the mall to use the payphone. There was one in the cinema, but I couldn't get in without buying a ticket and I wanted to be sure that my parents were cool with what I wanted to do. If they said no, I'd have had to leave and would have wasted the ticket. Back then, the $2.50 matinee admission was a lot of money to me. The parents were cool with it and I raced back to the movies to get there on time. I gave the girl my money for the second time that day and ran through the doors for screen 2 just as the lights were going down. I found a free seat during the previews and waited for the movie to start.

Cue music again:



Risin' up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance, now I'm back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive



Arguably the second best film in the Rocky franchise (this is an accurate statement since most people tend to forget that not only did the first film win an Oscar for best picture, it really was a fantastic film), Rocky III took what brains I had left that weren't scrambled from Star Trek, and put them in the blender, pureed them and served them back to my in a tall iced glass with a pineapple umbrella garnish. Stallone was in genuine (non-grotesque) fighting shape and Mr.T was batshit scary. It may seem ridiculous today, but contrary to his post A Team media friendly persona, Mr T was once a bad mother fucker. I actually remember seeing him win the title of "World's Toughest Bouncer" in 1980 during a televised competition, and as Eddie Murphy so eloquently put it, "he don't look like he can't fight." Between fighting Mr T, and Hulk Hogan playing an over the top wrestler named "Thunder Lips", Stallone took a hell of an ass whuppin in the movie. And I was in heaven. Another unexpected death during the movie brought the day full circle back to the surprise death in Star Trek. The day was complete.

Now, I want to go on record and say that by this point in the day, I was not thinking too clearly and can't be held responsible for my actions. In the cold harsh light of today, I realize that mistakes were made, but there can be no going back. But I did what I did and I can't change that. Furthermore, I'm not sorry.

Remember when I said that for an adolescent boy enough isn't enough if too much is an option? Here's too much.

Walking out of the theatre, I glanced back at the marquee, checked my watch and then checked my pocket. I had five minutes and $2.50 to spare. Just enough time and money to catch one more. And which one did I choose? The one whose opening I'd missed. Yes my friends, i turned around, got back in line and payed my cash money to watch Grease f'ing 2 one more time, all because didn't see the beginning the first time. LOSER!

By the time I got out, it was dark and I was hungry again. I finally called home and asked them to pick me up. As I sat outside on the benches, I was tingling with the kind of giddy nervous energy that comes from lack of sleep. That third wind that hits you at about 8 the following morning when you're trying to decide whether it's worth trying to catch some sleep or whether you should say "fuck it" and stay up through work later that afternoon since any sleep you do get will only make you feel worse. It may seem totally "Stand By Me" to say it, but I think that even then I was aware that I would never have a day quite like that again. First there was the logistical matter of bringing three movie of such magnificent quality together again. It was the Great Conjunction, a once in a century occurrence that you never recognize until you see it in the rear view mirror of your past. Secondly, I knew that in spite of my too much is never enough attitude, I knew that if I did this all the time, it would cease to become that cool thing I did and become that thing I do all the time. You know, like masturbation.

My mom pulled up and I got in the car. She asked me if I had fun with my friends. I said yes. As we drove home, I still couldn't stop thinking about Wrath Of Khan. It was one of the best movies I'd ever seen, and I didn't think that I would see another movie that good all year. A week later, E.T. would open its local run. I had the whole world ahead of me and it was a good time to be a dork.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

write!

In Lectures on Literature (1980), Vladimir Nabokov writes that "the good reader is one who has imagination, memory, a dictionary, and some artistic sense - which sense I propose to develop in myself and in others whenever I have the chance." Of those listed, which do you think is most important to being a good reader? How does that translate to writing? Is a good reader the same as being a good writer?

"Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s."
-Stephen King "On Writing"

Reading and writing come down to the same thing, imagination. Without that, you can go no further. Or rather, you could, but what would be the point. From a reading perspective, imagination is the key to the door. From a writing perspective, imagination is the door.

Who hasn't, as a child, sat with eyes closed trying to "see" action as it is described in a story. From the earliest age, its imagination that makes the journey worth taking. Retention, vocabulary and aesthetic, those things come later. They serve to decorate they scene and enhance the experience, but without the primary component of imagination, there seems to be little point.

That the same goes for writing would seem to be self evident, but it bear noting that it is possible to be a writer, and a successful one at that, with a very limited imagination. A good writer diversifies. A great writer utilizes an additional, or even all four of Nabokov's tools and does so in a skillful manner. Whether it's Neil Gaiman's aesthetic, Stephen King's epic recollection of his own work and or Cormac McCarthy's shame inducing vocabulary, these qualities are used in conjunction with boundless imagination. And it's usually these qualities that the readers of these particular authors share with them. Though not necessary, enjoyment of Stephen King's Dark Tower series is enhanced if you've read and recall details from the almost 40 years his fiction that get referenced throughout. And try reading ANY Cormac McCarthy novel without a vocabulary, or at the very least a comprehensive dictionary.

Does being a good reader translate to being a good writer? No more than being a baseball fan makes you a good player. But above all, being a good writer means being a good reader. Without a love and appreciation of the medium, well, what's the point? Again, King provides the definitive opinion on the subject.

"If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that."
-Stephen King

Morrissey - Reader Meet Author

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Old Kid On The Block

11/13: From cooking breakfast to creating a blog, most of the things we do in our day-to-day lives involve a process. In a process analysis essay, you write to explain how to do something or how something works. Pick anything that you do in your daily life and write an interesting process analysis of it.

Good Process Analysis:
• Either helps readers perform the steps themselves or helps them understand how something works
• Presents the essential steps in a process
• Explains steps in detail
• Presents steps in logical order (usually time order - chronological)


Life, like anything else, is a process. All things can be reduced to a series of actions that lead to equal and complimentary opposing reactions. Like The Fixx sang, "One thing leads to another". This is especially true in the matter of love and most true in matters of seduction. Dale Carnegie, author of the best selling advice tome "How To Win Friends and Influence People" has much to say relating to matters of the life. Many are equally applicable to matters of the bedroom. They say that fortune favors the bold and chance favors the prepared. But Love, or at the very least Lust...Lust requires a list. A list that lays out your every move, step by step.

Step 1:
Have lots of fun.
Enjoy yourself. Never forget that you and your partner are there for the primary purpose of pleasure. Mutual and personal. Otherwise there is no point whatsoever. This is the key to success in everything. Remember the words of Dale Carnegie who said "People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they're doing".

Step 2:
There's so much we can do.
Part of having fun is actually doing something stimulating. Fun rarely happens when you're home doing nothing. Be active. This doesn't necessarily mean that you must leave the house, but those activities are addressed in a later step. For now, concentrate on spending time in active pursuit with the partner of your choice in a public forum. Dinner, movies and dancing are all valid options, but more opened minded people may consider art openings and poetry readings. Just do something. Again, Carnegie delivers the authoritative opinion on the matter. He says, "Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy."

Step 3:
It's just you and me.
Now comes the time for privacy as a couple. Though either of the above steps can and initially should be performed in a social environment, the time will inevitably come when separation must occur. This may be the most important step of all. Without privacy, there is little chance of things progressing any further. Remember, public displays of affection are for perverts and deviants. God fearing people keep their business to themselves. And if you partner isn't willing? Carnegie reminds us that "there is only one way...to get anybody to do anything. And that is by making the other person want to do it." Be firm, but not forceful. Insist.

Step 4:
I can give you more.
This is the time for true seduction. Once you and your partner are alone together, the sales pitch begins. Emphasize you strong points. Hide your weaknesses. Pretend to be something you are not, if only for one night. Carnegie says "there are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, ans how we say it" Consider these points at shape yourself appropriately for the matter at hand. Be bright. Be funny. Be Smart. Be caring. Be attentive. Even if you're not.

Step 5:
Don't you know that the time has arrived.
Time for doing it. If you've followed steps 1 through 4, this last step should take care of itself. Even then, there are several Carnegie aphorisms that are quite applicable to the situation. This process as a whole can be accurately summed up when Carnegie says "Don't be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. every time you conquer one, it makes you that much stronger. You do the little jobs well, the big ones will tend to take care of themselves." Though most people would interpret that statement as a reference to foreplay, it can be applied to the to the list of seduction in general. Performance anxiety is assuaged with Carnegie's reminder that "fear doesn't exist anywhere except the mind," and that "most of us have more courage than we ever dreamed possible." If in the midst of the action, you feel your faculties begin to fail, he admonishes that "our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment." Relax. You'll do just fine.

All quotes from Dale Carnegie.
All steps by Maurice Starr.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Do what, now?

Think back to a word or phrase that you may have misheard as a child. Either write a story (memoir-style) about your misuse of the word OR write a story using the word in the context in which you originally understood it.

Out in the streets
The dogs are on the run
The cats are all in heat
Out in the streets
Snakes are all around you
Dirty rats are on their way
They control you and they'll make you pay

(written by Rudolf Schenker, Klaus Meine & Herman Rarebell AKA The SCORPIONS)

Anyone familiar with 80's power metal, knows the Scorpions, or The Mother F'ing Scorps in metal talk. Along with AC/DC, these guys are one of the most stereotypically metal bands in all of creation. They are the bands that Spinal Tap aspires to be. Just look at the lyrics. You get dogs. You get cats. No surprises there. They kinda go hand in hand in the animal world. Then come the snakes. Snakes are pretty metal, what with Satan disguising himself as one in the Garden. And Rats. Well, there was a HairMetal (a completely different sub section of the tree) band called Ratt that would one day tour with the Scorpions, or at least they should have if they didn't actually. All in all, this opening line from the song "Bad Boys Running Wild" (as bad boys are wont to do) is pretty balls heavy. It's no "knocking you out with those American thighs", but it'll do in a pinch.

And then we get to the last line. The last word really. And it all comes down, as it usually does, to pronunciation. You see lead singer Klaus Meine, German Gelfling Metal God that he is, cannot for the life of him manage to lose his German accent when he sings. It's one of the reasons he's so Metal. A song like "Still Loving You" comes out as "Steel Lahffing Yuuuu" with Umlauts over the u's. Hot, right? Anyway.

So back to those Bad Boys with their dogs and cats and snakes and rats. There they are, on the run, in heat, on the street, all around you, on their way, controlling you. And then they make you...

PEE!

That's what I heard and that's what I thought. Those Goddam Bad Boys with their wild running were planning on making me urinate in my pants. I'm mean, I suppose that's possible. What would YOU do if you were walking down the street and saw a crazed vicious menagerie storming toward you. Oh, maybe the dogs and cats are okay, but any gang that accepts both snakes and rats is a gang you don't want to fuck with. You might do your best to just avoid them altogether. In fact, the Scorpions themselves suggest as much later on in the song.

Bad boys running wild
If you don't play along with their games
Bad boys running wild
And you better get out of their way

Fucking Bad Boys. They would be a continued bane to my existence, what with staying out of their way, and then being asked a few years later what I was gonna do when they came for me (this, being the result of another misunderstanding. I didn't realize that the latter song in question was addressed to the Bad Boys themselves, rather than being a warning to ME). Incidentally, the true iconic representation of Bad Boys, has nothing to do with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Everyone knows that the real Bad Boys in question, and that's who the Scorpions sing about, are Sean Penn and Esai Morales.
Now I gotta go urinate in my pants.
Later

The Scorpions - Bad Boys Running Wild