Once upon a time, in the exotic land of Nashville-- you could be from Belize or New York-- there lived a ninety-seven headed turtle.
Each head said, "I have a good idea." Sometimes this turned out to be true and sometimes it didn't, but most of the time it was hard to tell. So, all the heads took turns letting each other lead.
Mostly, the turtle just wanted ice cream from Baskin Robins. All turtles love ice-cream but turtles with ninety-seven heads are especially fond of it. True fact.
And so the turtle made a little progress towards Baskins, when one of the heads said, "I have a great idea! Lets got to Taco Bell."
"I want to go fishing," another said. (Which makes much more sense than tacos as far as turtles are concerned.)
And so the turtle went a little this way and a little that way, often heading in the vicinity of its goal but never quite getting there. At last the turtle stumbled upon a truly good idea and then another, but it was already tired from being pulled in so many different directions.
It felt overwhelmed but it refused to give up on any of the directions it wanted to go and thus it spent a lifetime in Nowhere, always just outside of Somewhere.
I know exactly how this applies to me. How does this apply to you?
I've written at least once how everything is everything. I was reminded of this again tonight as I finished out a productive day with a spider solitaire.
Four suits spider solitary is tough to beat, but the deck was in my favor. I turned over all the cards on the first deal and as the computer dealt each subsequent hand, the cards kept falling in my favor. And I thought to myself, be careful how you play your hand. Even when all the cards are in your favor, you can still lose. Then I thought about how things really are going good with with the writing.
Just last week I went to an in person critique group with a fresh off the press story, expecting... I don't know, but certainly not what I got. There were about ten writers at the meeting and the only element they critiqued was the title. It was a pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming moment. Either that or it was one hell of a hallucination.
But everything is everything and so a before-bed game of solitaire reminded me of a thing an aspiring writer should never forgot: don't count the game one until your last cared is played. In other words, keep your triumphs in perspective and push yourself to always do better.
The elephant gag is my favorite. Okay, the elephant and the door gag are tied for favorite. What's yours?
A bell curve is a statistical form of measurement. Take anything, eye color, ability to play baseball, how many people eat cheese on Tuesday and you can make a bell curve.
Take any group of number of people and the majority of those people will be "same as others" regardless of what you're comparing. This is how statisticians measure normal.
When I first learned about the bell curve I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how to make a bell, not a bell. Unless your sample of people is two or less, it's pretty impossible. So today I took a statistical measure of one person. The result looks like this:
My point is, when you stop comparing yourself to other people you come up normal
100% of the time. How this might benefit us moving up in life is clear. But sometimes life moves us down and remembering that we are normal
is useful there, too.
Training an intern for GGP. It didn't actually look like this, but man life would be so much better if it did.
Hint: my work does not involve levitation. It does involve staring at a computer screen and typing, but that seemed rather redundant since that's what you are doing right now.
An friends came from out of town so I did weird stuff with them including kissing an Elvis statue.
I ate 7 lunches
I didn't eat 7 breakfasts.
I did eat 10 dinners. (On the days you skip breakfast you can have a second dinner. It's a rule.)
This is what happened to the intern who didn't do any of the work we agreed upon. (And wasted my time getting trained.) I could have used those three hours to watch reruns of Mash or Gilligan's Island!
* No interns were harmed in the making of this post. That happened after.
I read a lot and wrote a lot and did tons of stuff on the computer. (No. It was not porn. Get your mind out of the gutter. I reserve that for Sunday mornings. Sheesh.)
* Portions of this blog post are entirely untrue.
** Portions of this blog post are entirely true.
Why do you like this video? Would you buy a Dove product?
The Dove real beauty campaign is more than a marketing ploy. It's inspiration. Also Dove products are great. I think this ad is important to writers, especially those who are thinking of going the independent route. Am I saying, copy this idea? No. Everyone must make their own way.Dove has married business and social awareness with a line of great products.
When a writer starts selling work, they must find a way to marry their muse with business. But as this video proves, these two things are not oil and water.
I haven't done a reality TV post in a while, but I've got a very complex thing I want to say which involves Project runway. Lets see if I can get my wires untangled well enough to say what I mean.
Michelle Lesniak Franklin won project runway. I just watched the final episode so I found this out today. IMichelle was not my pick. I really respected Waterlilly (Patricia). She endured Nina's loathing of her ascetic (not to mention the made for TV acerbic comments) week after week.( Neither Waterlilly nor the audience knew if she had finally gotten the axe. Heidi's vote pulls a lot of weight, but it's not a guarantee.) She never once complained, though on more than one occasion she wept after the runway. I was swept away by her creativity and I saw in her work, a muse for future designers.
Marching to the beat of ones own drum is not easy and, if you're any good, it creates the kind of debate we saw on Project Runway this season. I really respected Waterlilly by the end of the show. She really went through a lot and including What's His Name's attempt to sabotage Waterilly by making nothing. (Since it was teams, the judges could and did kick designers off for the work f other designers.) Tim Gun pointed out this tactic so he wasn't able to throw blame at Waterlilly (though the judges still gave her plenty that week in deliberations.) Perhaps my favorite part of the show were his "Oh, shit, what am I going to make in the allotted time left" eyes.
Then there was Michelle, who is very talented, but whom I found out of touch with reality. Early in the show (like the second or third episode) Michelle started telling the cameras "I've been through so much," even stated a couple of times that she deserved to win because she had been through so much as compared to the other designers. Meanwhile, she had like two weeks where the judges had anything negative to say and even then it was, we'll it's not as good as it could be.
So, I cringed at Michelle's lone wolf story and that bleeding heart T-shirt. To be clear, the clothes (besides that ugly t-shirt) were cool. It's just the emotional story behind it, no matter how much she believed it to be true, was not.
But Michelle's aesthetic and emotional world is speaking to a very modern adult. The kind that go to therapy and feel suicidal even though they are not damaged. There was a contestant on the Glee project who got a lot of flack for not being damaged enough. These thoughts inspired a character sketch:
Kate wore black quilted jeans reminiscent of motocross pants. She bought them in the mall for two-hundred dollars. She had never been and would never go to a motocross event. With the pants she had purchased a yellow sweater with a bleeding heart on the front and sleeves that looked like they had been dipped in blood. The shirt had cost three hundred and fifty which Kim didn't mind paying because she felt it represented all the pain in her life. What this pain was she couldn't quite place. She felt as though she had been through a lot and yet, as she told her counselor, "My parents love me, I have great friends, my family makes sure all my needs are met and then some. I don't have single childhood trauma and when I graduate college I've already got a job offer waiting for me."
The real problem was connecting with people. The world is a fucked-up place, but Kim didn't have enough emotional scars. So she set out to get damaged.
College campuses have been met with the kind of character above and in some areas psychologists are scrambling to understand what happens when the needs of children are over met. This is not the same as spoiling. Spoiled children are shallow. Even though I think Michelle's perspective of what she's been through is askew, she is not shallow.
At any rate, I suppose there isn't a specific point to this topic. I found the dynamics of the show this season very interesting. I wanted to Patricia to win, but writing a character like Michell would be something I've never done.
I'd like to introduce you to Joseph Grant. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee. For those non-writer readers, this is something of a big deal.
You can connect with Joseph on Facebook
Q: What's your favorite writing quote? A: "If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.” Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell To Arms.
Q: Who is your favorite author? A: Ernest Hemingway, Egdar Allen Poe, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Q: What's your favorite book that has been turned in to a movie? A:
Not the most favorite but one of my top 5 which I thought was well made: "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow". Bio:
As a Pushcart Prize nominee, my short stories have been published in 239 literary reviews such as Byline, New Authors Journal, Underground Voices
, Midwest Literary Magazine
, Inwood Indiana Literary Review, Hack Writers, Six Sentences
, Literary Mary, NexGenPulp, Is This Reality Zine , Darkest Before Dawn, strangeroad.com, FarAway Journal, Full of Crow, Heroin Love Songs, Bewildering Stories, Writing Raw, Unheard Magazine, Absent Willow Literary Review.
I'm listening to ANRlive on live365.com. They're playing in Sail by AWOL NATION. This has nothing to do with my topic. I just happen to love this song. The story behind it also inspires me. Whenever I think I ought to get with the program and do X, I remember that sometimes fooling around with Y isn't bad. Moving on.
I sucked down six Wal-mart deli counter chicken wings and six of their potato wedges. The food Wal-mart sells at the deli-counter has but one flavor (never mind what the label says) and that's extra, extra salty. Which is saying a lot of you've ever had KFC chicken.
Of course, before I left these grand United States I didn't realize how salty our food is, especially for someone who loves TV dinners, soggy hamburgers, cold fries and anything fried... yum! Foodie, I am not. However, even I usually don't have the constitution for Wally World deli food. Today was an exception because some @#%^!A!!!!!! stole my GPS. Last night I had a lot of groceries and, arms loaded, I didn't lock my doors. Since, the remaining items included water and Coke Zero (10 times awesomer than diet Coke, just so we're clear) I didn't go back outside until I realized I'd forgotten to bring in the milk.
Anyway, this little theft threw my entire day out of whack, so much so that I needed serious comfort food-- food so salty that it'll burn sores in the roof of my mouth. The fact that was fried... even better!
Later, after I'd scarfed down this junk, I realized I was having a serious over reaction to the GPS. I'd gotten it on sole over Christmas for $69.00. While this is certainly not a small amount of money, in the greater scheme of things, it's not that big of a deal. Imagine if I'd left my laptop in my car for those two hours? My life is on this computer.
Well, the truth is I didn't care that much for my GPS. It didn't even have traffic alerts! (I'm being facetious here, in case that's not clear.) No, I was upset about the assault to my sense of "safe" about the neighborhood. This security was hard won. Korea is perhaps the safest country in the world. Don't get me wrong, theft happens, but its not common.
To explain clearly what I mean, I think we need a scenario:
Your are in New York. You are so inspired by the city so you settle at a coffee shop and set to writing the best story ever. You get into your grove. A few hours pass. You want another coffee. Also you have to pee. You're alone but you're not worried. It's New York after all. Who would take your laptop?
I can't count how many times I left my laptop and bag to go get a cup of coffee or use the toilet. I don't remember when I started doing this. I'm fairly certain I never left anything unattended when I first arrived. But then everybody left their stuff. And then I started doing it, at first with the expectation that eventually I'd come back and my stuff would be gone, a little voice in my head telling me I would only have myself to blame. I was asking for my stuff to get stolen.
But it NEVER happened. Not once in five years. There are a lot of social reasons for this, but also it seems that everybody had great technology. If everybody has the same pair of shoes, nobody wants to take your shoes. To some extent laptops, iPads and the similar are invisible there.
Anyway, I had to re-adapt to the United States and that meant relaxing. However, this incident reminded me that I'm not in Korea anymore. And despite my initial upset, I am grateful for the reminder to to confuse relax with outright lax. That means my computer stays with me, not in the car because, while the technology is replaceable, the content--my stories which are so full of my hopes and dreams--is not
My darling friend Mariel suggested we write a guest blog for each other. She provided me with a topic: cheese. How random is that? Cheese? I tried to think about cheese and how it relates to my writing because my blog is generally about my writing career (or lack thereof).
When I was a kid, the only kind of cheese I wanted was Kraft Singles. The yellow squares of deliciousness were what I thought of as the perfect food. They were neatly wrapped, edible on their own, and marvelous in a grilled cheese sandwich. Why oh why couldn’t I just have Kraft Singles? You see, the only kind of cheese that existed at our house was what my mom and stepdad called ‘real’ cheese. It was horrible. It came in a block that they had sliced at the deli and inevitably the slices were uneven. You had to peel them off one another. They didn’t look like Kraft Singles, nor did they taste like them. It was just another hardship my sister, brother and I had to endure.
Our parents were ‘hippies’. They were also ‘foodies’, a term we didn’t use back then. We didn’t have soda in our house (water or milk only), we never had white bread, and we certainly weren’t allowed any sugared cereals. And, horror upon horrors, we had to eat natural peanut butter. This was beyond imagination. What could be worse than natural peanut butter when there was Skippy? I don’t think my mom ever bought Twinkies, Ding Dongs, or anything of that nature. Needless to say, there was never anyone who wanted to trade lunches with me. I felt extremely unlucky.
At the time, we thought we had it rough. My stepdad would cook elaborate meals, but all I wanted was Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. I used to spit my food into my napkin and flush it down the toilet.
Well, guess what? Now I have a daughter of my own. She eats wheat bread, real cheese, natural peanut butter, and no sugared cereals. I grew up to be a food scientist and now know how to decipher a food label. I have a greater appreciation for the values my parents instilled in me, particularly in regards to eating ‘real’ food, and respecting the world around me.
How does this relate to The Energy Crusades
? Well, the Crusaders in my book must understand the nutritional value of food. They eat based on what their body needs for optimal performance. I wish I was as good about doing the same.