Monthly Archives: September 2012

Don’t Go Away Mad, Just Go Away

Old broken TV

Old broken TV (Photo credit: schmilblick)

Have you ever been frustrated at a mechanical device?  I don’t mean a little miffed; I am talking about the kind of frustration that would cause hardware to fly into walls and through windows.

The mad dog rage that starts wars and causes preachers to cuss and other such unthinkable nasties.

Well allow me to share one such story.  A tale of such woe oozing with the vile stench of death, dismemberment, and downright bad behavior.  I had been working on a device to alleviate discomfort in my legs as I slept.  Now you see, the completion of this device was not my responsibility alone. It also involved the work of other skilled craftsmen.

After months of designing the ingenious apparatus (the likes of which have never been seen by the eyes of man), construction was ready to commence. I enlisted a judicious technician to begin the delicate task of assembling this gift to humanity, under my strict supervision, of course.

Next, the precise task of assembling the motivation for this work of art was placed in the hands of an artisan without equal. Once this was completed, the sections in all their glory were returned to me for final assembly. Cautiously, I began the tedious process of removing insulation from soon to be current-laden wires.

With much fuss and ado this process was finished. The last task to complete this magnificent creation was at hand. I energized the moving parts of this grandiose mechanism. A deafening quiet overtook the room. No one dared move as they awaited the equivalent of the breath of life to surge through this masterful experiment. The instrument of liberation hummed, sputtered, and then quickly died, reminiscent of one who lets an inflated balloon go and watches as it fizzles to the ground.

And then, as if this weren’t enough to drive a sane man to the brink of unthinkable atrocities, the controller on my newly-updated media machine failed to operate, causing a unconscionable dilemma that would have made a lesser man cross the line into the dark side of all known and unknown sides that happen to be dark.

Now, here is where my genius gallantly shines. If you become frustrated as you write, take time to remove yourself from your current project. You will find that a fresh set of eyes on a once aggravating manuscript will do wonders. Do as I say and not as I do and in this way you will incur less repair costs on walls and windows.

Just remember as you read my posts, that if I could buy myself for what I’m worth and sell myself for what I think I’m worth, I could eliminate the national debt.

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If You’re Old, Say You’re Old; If You’re Ugly, Well…That’s Up to You

English: Galapagos Tortoise Geochelone nigra m...

Galapagos Tortoise  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this post, I would like to discuss diversity. “Whoa,” you say, “another controversial subject.” “Nay,” I reply to you. Yes, just the word diversity can conjure feelings of endearment or engender violent confrontation. It is for this reason that we will leave this particular type of diversity to those who specialize in political correctness.

Instead, we will investigate a much kinder type of diversity. Case in point, the Galapagos tortoise: A giant in its species, lumbering about, living a hundred years or more and not too easy on the eyes. In the same vein, snapping turtles can also live past the century mark, and pardon me for saying it (especially if you’re a turtle) they’re even uglier than the Galapagos tortoise.

Interestingly enough, civil war mini-balls have been found embedded in still-living snapping turtles (although I wonder if the turtle sided with the Union or the Confederacy).

On the other side of the coin, the May Fly takes wing, flies around in time to meet a May Fly of the opposite sex, consummates the meeting, and within 24 hours is busy taking a dirt nap. Doesn’t seem fair, does it?

Consider the shrew, whose metabolic rate is so fast that it must eat every three hours or perish. The same can be said of the hummingbird, who must go into a state of hibernation in order to make it through the night without feeding.

So you see, diversity is what you make it. And when it comes to your writing, you want to make it a good thing. Have you ever heard a band and once they have a popular song, the next five or six songs have the same flavor as their hit?

Stay away from copying successes you may have once had. Instead, encourage yourself to produce fresh material in order to attain the same success.

Please pardon me while I pop this pesky bullet out of my thigh. I’ve got a date tonight and I just got my wings.

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Say Cheese

The Mona Lisa.

The Mona Lisa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whether spurred by ego or posterity, man’s obsessive need to record his image has been around since he has been around. From early cave paintings we see images of hunting, building, human sacrifices, and pretty much all the things that make cave painting fun.

These primitive drawings evolved into beautiful works of art, such as Egyptian hieroglyphics and Greek sculpture.

As man’s desire to preserve his likeness increased, the great artists of the age (Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, to name just a few) began to create their masterpieces. As brushstrokes pass through the ages, I would be remiss if I did not mention works of art that somehow have made the list of all-time greats.

Paintings of fat ladies with one leg, three boobs, and an arm growing out of each ear…oh, and I must not forget the works of art consisting of random paint splatters across a canvas that sell for millions. I would certainly love to have one hanging on my wall in the basement shower behind the curtain…but I digress.

The painting of portraits overlapped into the world of photography. The first photograph was produced in 1827. The camera had an eight hour exposure time and the picture itself was dark and lacked clarity.

The photographic process was made public in 1839. I have in my possession several old tin-type photographs of my family members. What I can’t understand, and not just in my pictures, is why people of that time look so mad. Maybe the smile hadn’t been invented way back when.

We’ve come a long way since then. From the old brownies to the Polaroid land camera, forging ahead through the 35 mm, disposables, and now we’re in the digital age, where photos of stellar-quality can be had instantly.

Much like writing, you should picture yourself within your story. If you’re truly there, you will notice not just the big picture, but the subtle nuances of each character, even down to the smells and sounds of your surroundings.

Now would one of you please come here and help me get this Mastodon back into his pose?

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Wait for the Beep


Telecommunication-Antenna__36092 (Photo credit: Public Domain Photos)

Consider the microwave. Consider the cell phone and the pager. While you’re at it, consider anything in your life that goes beep, buzz, blurp, zing, or plays a catchy little tune that you yourself have programmed it to play.

Do you panic when you discover that you’ve left your cell phone at home? “How will I make it through the day without my electronic communications device?” you say.

Do you find yourself wanting to put your fist through the door of your microwave after seventeen courses of beeps, reminding you that your coffee is getting cold?

Years before the electronic boom, cars, motorcycles, jackhammers, and the like were considered noise pollution. Now, everyone has a different sound exuding from their person at one time or the other. This not being bad enough, the problem is exacerbated by the multiple conversations heard anytime and anywhere.

Can you imagine if the signal from every radio, television, cell phone, pager, or transmitter were visible? What would it look like? Would we be able to see anything else, including each other? Would it be a solid hue or more like black and white ant-races on a broken TV?

And what really boggles the mind…. How do all these millions of signals, being sent simultaneously, get to their intended destination? On one hand, the technological age we have entered is amazing; on the other, annoying at best, disruptive at worst.

As far as attempting to draw a grand analogy between technology and writing, give your fingers a rest, stop texting, and call me.

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Have it Your Way

Traditional entrecôte (rib-eye steak)

Traditional entrecôte (rib-eye steak) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are you the kind of guy that loves to dig into a 2-inch thick medium-rare rib eye? Or would you prefer a bowl of noodles, tofu, mixed vegetables and a delectable broth? A double-thick pork chop, cooked to perfection with a slight blush interior, or an heirloom tomato salad with a side of quinoa? A thick slab of succulent barbecued ribs, or a squash casserole with a side of sautéed kale?

By now, you’ve figured out that I’m asking whether you’re a carnivore or a herbivore. Actually, that’s not quite accurate. The real question is: are you a vegetarian or an omnivore? I myself would be the ultimate omnivore. I can honestly say that of all the meats I have sampled (and I’ve eaten some exotic meats) there aren’t any that I didn’t like.

As far as fish and seafood, I’ve found nothing that I haven’t also enjoyed. When it comes to vegetables, I’m in hog heaven (forgive my play on words) because I love them.

I’m a live-and-let-live kind of guy. I believe you should be able to eat whatever you wish and remain (as long as you’re not into cannibalism) verbally unmolested.

There is one thing that I can wrap my head around but cannot completely understand. Now I say this bearing no animosity or contempt for those who participate, but if you don’t eat meat, why would you want to make something that tastes like meat and is made from anything but meat?*

Just as food is necessary to our very survival, reading is essential as it applies to your writing life. Be versatile.  Don’t be afraid to delve into something different as you choose your authors just as you should when you choose your food.  Now, slap another slab o’ meat on the grill beside those leaves of romaine; I’m expecting company.

*This is a rhetorical question.


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