Five Things I am Into Right Now, February 2017

Snoopy Attempting The DreamEver since the election in November writing feels… trite.

It feels silly and, dare I say, hollow to worry about my next book or blog or even think about fiction. I can’t even name the last piece of fiction I read (maybe Neil Gaiman back in October?).

“Look at what is happening to reality!?!” A part of my mind keeps screaming.

Writing fiction is like being Nero with the fiddle while Rome (the real world) burns. And when you consider climate change, “burn” is not a bad word to use in that context.

But now it has been some time since the inauguration (even though it feels like freaking years), and if I don’t do something I will go stir crazy. I need to figure out my next step with my latest novel (Agent? Publisher? Furnace?), what I am going to create next, and, more vital, finding what feels important.

That’s the trick right there- “important.”

Of course, the irony of this is as I look over my latest five things I see a few time fillers there. I guess I would argue that for the last few months I just wanted to turn my brain off. Now I am ready to turn it back on and see what it can do. Today we need all of us to be active. We can’t simply wait for the next election.

No more fiddles. Continue reading

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3 Thoughts in November

Thought 1: In Paris

Eiffel TowerI was in Paris for only two days. This was at the end of my six-week European adventure, the stereotypical college graduate trying to discover himself and the world.

My trip had begun in London and I spent a majority of my time in England, but my flight to return to the states was from Paris. So (possibly because of bad planning) I ended up in the City of Love exhausted and broke.

I didn’t drink little coffees by the apartment of Hemingway, I didn’t travel the same paths of Fitzgerald. I may have visited the Notre Dame and the Louvre, but today I can’t be certain. For my memories might be nothing more than a picture I saw in a magazine or something from a show or movie. Yes, I might have stolen my memory of the city. I can say with certainty I didn’t go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I walked past it, took a picture, and felt that was enough. It was like a box was checked in my head.

Honestly, I should have cared more. There is a lot of family lore connecting me to France. I can’t verify any of this but as the story goes through my family, on my mother’s side, I have French nobility in my blood. We were the ones that were smart enough to figure out that it wasn’t worth it to stick around during the French Revolution, scampering away to Ireland. Those very streets might have been walked by my ancestors! Of course, if they were nobility they were probably driven around in carriages and didn’t peer out of the windows at the riff-raff (which is exactly what I was as I stumbled around those streets poor and alone).

Instead, I spent most of my time sleeping on the bumpy bed (the bumps I remember) of the cheap hotel I had a room in. When I got up, after sleeping for 12 hours, I was starving. I was so financially spent by this point in my trip I was almost dreading my return to the States. My parents might be waiting for me at the airport, but I imagined also the credit card companies there as well with something the opposite of a hug. So when I wandered to the little restaurant under the hotel my choices were very limited.

Of course, everything on the menu was in French. And since France was not the big focus of my trip (England! Shakespeare! Authors! Venice!) I didn’t bring a French dictionary with me. I was, sadly, the typical dumb American tourist. I admit it. I ended up pointing at the one thing on the menu that had a word in it that I could translate: Ham. Continue reading

The Happy Bliss of Dentistry

The Happy ToothI have always had a thing about dentists.

It’s not a fear, more like a slight terror fueled by judgment and pain.  Let me break that down a little more.

Cavities hurt and I dislike pain so I naturally associate the pain with the person who works in the mouth. I know it is like blaming the mechanic for my car breaking down, but I do it.

The judgment? Well, sometimes I feel like dentists harshly evaluate me and how I am overseeing the management of my own mouth. Has anyone else noticed this? When they are telling you what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong, doesn’t a part of you feel like you are being lectured? Now, I can’t point to a specific moment when a finger was wagged in my direction or eyes were rolled, but I sense it. I know it is there. The hidden eye roll is always there.

Because of all of this, I had been very relaxed on my visits over much of my adult life. And sadly, over the last five years this has come back to bite me in the ass… or mouth… or something. I’m just trying to say I hate my teeth right now and there is biting and occasional pain involved with it.  The biting, I mean. Argh! Continue reading

Thank you, Arrested Development, Thank You…

Arrested DevelopmentDear Arrested Development,

I don’t usually write letters to TV shows. It is not in my nature to fawn over things (especially TV shows). I mean, come on!, do you see the stuff on TV these days???

It is a part-time job to find something that isn’t mind-numbing painful. It could almost be said in today’s culture- you go to school to be educated, you go to TV to lose it.

Okay, a lot of people who have blogs or write on entertainment like to focus on the negative. It’s not surprising really, it is easier to write negative than positive. I mean, how many different ways can you say good? Seriously, I’m sure if you were to weigh the word options between good and bad, good would be this little pile and bad would be this giant memorial to insults.

Where was I?

Okay, I am rambling. I am nervous. I’m like a teenager on a first date trying to make the person in the passenger seat of the car laugh. But the fact is, honestly, I am fawning, because the fourth season of your show is a piece of genius. Continue reading

The Road More Traveled: Sacrifice and Luck, the Two Paths to Writing Success

The older I become the more I’ve come to believe that there are really only two paths to success with writing. One is a thorny path that is something akin to what Frodo experienced on his way to Mount Doom (and you’ll be lucky if you only lose part of a finger); and the other has rainbows, freshly mowed grass, beautiful pools with jumping fish, and I’m pretty sure I saw a unicorn once. They are simply the roads of sacrifice and luck.

Many writers I know view the path of luck as almost an urban myth. That can’t be! they claim, everyone has to work to land their careers!  No, it does exist, my friend, yes, it does. If you don’t believe me, ask the daughter of Mary Higgins Clark, the son of Stephen King or Anne Rice’s son. You can find all three of them on amazon.com with shiny book deals for their first works. Continue reading

10 Works I Wish I Had Written

Sometimes I feel like December and January are the times all entertainment Web sites and writers set aside for creating lists.  We drown in them; from movies, to books, to important people, etc.  Lists after lists after lists.

Don’t worry, this is not one of those lists.  This is something a little more personal.

I’ve been, since starting this blog, trying to rethink my writing and my goals, and one thing I am trying to latch on to is what stimulates me, what means something to me.  What do I want to accomplish in my own writing?

This list is of ten creations that, at one time or another, touched me as a storyteller.  There is no particular order, no best to worst.

Are these choices the best in their mediums? No, not all of them. Are these things that I could have written? A few, I think with the initial spark I could have devised in a way. Are these works that inspire me? Most definitely. Continue reading