Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tag 'em and Bag 'em

OK, I got this meme from some bunny loving prick and I feel like taking a break, so here goes. The following are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you. See the link above.
2. Post the rules on your blog. (Ta-dah!)
3.Write six random things about yourself in a blog post.

i. I once shot myself between the eyes with a BB gun. (Think about it. Not easy to do. And no, I didn't aim the gun at my forehead.)

ii. I get calls at work from people who literally want to give me blood samples - the most recent was an hour ago - and I don't work in a lab.

iii. My first car was a red 1980 Ford Fiesta that needed sheet metal riveted to the floor boards, (fake) sheep skin covers over the seats to hide the hole, had no defrost or heat (I live in Maine) and had a shit load of hay stuck to the floor in the back that I could never ever get out. The whole thing cost me about $150 and lasted about six month before it caught on fire while I was driving it.

iv. I can't drink vodka and haven't done so in about 16 years. Long story short, lots of vomit and embarrassment; but it's mainly because of the vomiting.

v. My great-great-great, etc. grandfather was cousins with John Allan (his name was also John), the man who raised Edgar Allan Poe. So, my family put the Allan in the Edgar Allan Poe.

vi. I just spent twenty minutes thinking of interesting things about me and still had to cop out on the last one.

4. Tag six people in your post. (I'll spare the few people I know. But if you see this and want to join in, feel free.)

5&6 Let each person know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog. Let the taggee know your entry is up. Doing so by e-mail.

Monday, April 21, 2008

You Make Me Feel So Jung

I got this story second hand. At a recent event, a well-known author recalled an anecdote involving his mentor. This teacher was discussing planning and outlining a story before writing. When the, then, undergrad said that he believed stories emerge organically while one was writing, rather than mapping it out, the mentor said, "oh, you must be a Jungian."

The more I think about that observation, the more I believe that, to some extent, I am a Jungian, too. Writing is like an excavation to discover these archetypes buried deep within us that the conscious mind tends to ignore. Every story begins with a spark, whether it is a photograph or piece of music, but it is the process of picking at it constantly that leads to a cohesive piece of work. I find it incredibly interesting when a story I'm writing goes in a direction I wasn't expecting - I mean, how in the hell do you explain that? There is a collective unconsciouness, or objective psyche, at work within the artist (if I may be so bold as to call myself an artist) - almost to the point of possessing the writer. I've gotten lost in a manuscript where it seems that I'm more of a medium than the originator of the message - and it's wonderful.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I'm Determined to Fight this Affliction

I don't feel the sickness yet, but it's in the post. That's for sure. I'm in the junkie limbo at the moment. Too ill to sleep. Too tired to stay awake, but the sickness is on its way. Sweat, chills, nausea. Pain and craving. A need like nothing else I've ever known will soon take hold of me. It's on its way. (Mark Renton - Trainspotting)

No, I don't have a junk habit; but I do have a re-write problem. As much as I hate doing multiple drafts, I have this incredible urge to stop what I'm writing - with which I'm not done yet - and go back to the beginning. Live in the past rather than push forward. I know there are mistakes in characterization. I know that certain plot points don't make sense in relation to what I've written since. Locations and actions have become redundant and illogical. Developments of plot and character are weak. Jesus, I just want to go to page one and start fixing things. Oh, the pacing is not where it should be. The overall mood isn't right. Someone stop me from reading what I started less than a month ago. I can't allow myself to stop my momentum just so I can remain stuck in the mud of the first two-thirds of the manuscript. Oh, how much longer until this shitty draft is finished?

Must...remain...on...task...everything is blurry...water! oh god, water...red pen...my kingdom for a red pen...no!...must...resist...red pen...red is the mark of the devil...the measure of success is victory and success...Bush administration rationalition making sense...losing it...mind slipping away...where am I?...where...is...the...end?...help...help...help...help...help...

Sunday, April 13, 2008


OK, after whining about not wanting to write after hitting a major plot point in my current manuscript, I ended up writing close to 4,000 words. Something clicked. But after I finished for the day, I realized that I was exhausted, but not the type of exhausted where I needed to catch my breath (I wasn't typing that fast), but my imagination needed some rest. I had every intention of writing yesterday, but I didn't open the document even once. I thought about it, trying to figure a few things out, but I knew that whatever I typed out wouldn't be any good. I may even extend my break into today.

Friday, April 11, 2008


I killed someone yesterday. It didn't come suddenly, I had planned it for awhile now. I knew how they would die - or rather where the body would be found (to tell you the truth I'm waffling a bit on the cause of death, not that I want to revisit it any time soon). But the whole ordeal is making it difficult to handle. It's pathetic in a way that I'm so mopey over a fictional character, but I know I'm not the only author who has experienced the same. Christ, right now I'm listening to sad music - REM: Everyone Hurts, Portishead: Roads, Pink Floyd: Comfortably Numb.

I know the next step. I have to face the denial, the anger, the ensuing violence (which should really help, to tell you the truth). I just don't want to do it, even though I have a million thoughts running through my thick skull. I'm so desperate not to continue that I'm actually doing research.

I guess I'll have to deal with it soon, especially if I'm going to meet my quota. It just seems like the blank screen is blanker than normal, the sisyphusian effort to push the giant boulder of writer's block up that hill is sisyphusier (wow, that was strained). Everything looks much more inticing than writing - I'm even willing to watch back-to-back marathons The Wiggles and The Doodlebops.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Parenting 101

So, a friend of mine sent me one of those group fwd messages we all get from friends and family about parenting. It was a tongue in cheek list of how to prepare for children ("carry a wet bag around the living room for four hours straight while listening to nothing but static on the stereo at high volume", etc.) Anyway, being my smart ass self, I thought I'd reply with my own parenting tips:
This was the reason I built a chicken coop in the
backyard. You can feed them through the wire mesh
(Blue Seal Feeds has a sale on right now), hook up a
hamster water bottle on the side. Who needs diapers
when they can go wherever they please on the grass?
Winter isn't a problem because I set up a space heater
in there - just have to check to make sure they
haven't passed out from CO2 poisoning. When DHS shows
up, I just tell them it's a "club house" that the kids

And you really don't have to name them. My kids will
come running when I call them "Urgh" and "Oog". And
get yourself some Beggin' Stripes - they don't know
it's not bacon - god, they love that stuff.

Of course, you may need to get a fence. After a day of
digging holes, they might try to run to the neighbor's
house or the police station. I set up one of those
invisible fences where you put the shock collar on
them. Jesus, I just sit on the back porch and watch
them try to leave the yard. ZAP!! It's the funniest
thing you could ever see. Good times. Kids are
definitely worth it.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

This is For My Motherfuckin' Homies on Tatooine

Lyrics (In case you wanted to sing along):

This is Admiral Biatch to base camp,
it seems the stormtroopers have gone on strike
and I have no experience with this type of shit.
Who should I call for help?

It’s the V to the A to the D-E-R (Vader!)
Reconstructin’ the Death Star!
With my slick suede suit that’s black like tar,
Fucking you up no matter who you are!

Tell them motherfuckers ’bout this here Dark Side!
Pull up on your planet, Death Star drive-by!
And we’ll beat the Rebels ’cause their skills ain’t shit!

And in my TIE Fighter, Zig-zags stay lit!

Oh, shit! Yoda on the scene,
900 year fiend smoking Dagobah green!
Bitches on my tip, like Lando on liquor.

Ah, you’re just jealous ’cause my black dick’s thicker.

*Wookie yell*

Yo! Tell ‘em Chewie, last night
I had Leia all drunk wanting to do me.

Shut the fuck up man! Leia’s my sister!
The only thing you’re getting is a beat-off blister.

Ben Kenobi:
Luke! Use the force before
intercourse, but Luke!
Don’t forget! Bitches ain’t nothing but hos and tricks!


Obi-Wan, I’m the top gun! (top gun)
The chosen one, hotter than both suns!
Vader ain’t shit, his head’s cut up and split!
He’s slower than the first Pentium chip!

(Dark Side!)
The one who brings remorse to this fucking universe.

You know we’ll fucking win, ’cause we’ll fight to the end!

(Dark Side!)
I can feel the anger dwelling within you!

You also feel Vader’s dick in you. BIATCH!

*Incoherent Huttese Jabba rap*

Han Solo:
Jabba, you ain’t nothing but a fat-ass slug!
Fake gold chains? You sorry-ass thug!
Sittin’ in your palace with your blue-headed whore,
trap door to the Rancor. *sound of someone falling*

Oh, my, goodness gracious me!
I’m a gay man’s golden fantasy!
Programmed for homo-ecstasy,
ten million forms of gay positioning.
For my golden shower, you must pay a fee,
but R2-D2 gives it up for free. *R2-d2 squeaks*
R2-D2, watch your language!
Always having sex with robotic strangers!

Jar Jar Binks:
Meesa like to drink and smoke all night!
Meesa like to fight and fucka yo wife.
Meesa no care ’cause meesa so dumb.
Meesa will fuck you with me tongue.
Yousa wants a meesa cause meesa wants some.
Yousa wants a meesa cause meesa wants some.
Yousa wants a meesa cause meesa wants some.
Meesa wants some cause meesa wanna cum!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Noircon and the Constant Wallflower

So, I'm back from Noircon. It was full of interesting panels and great people. If you want better coverage of the event, go here or here or here, especially here or listen to this. As for my own impression, well, it's not as much a recap as an impression of myself.

I'll always be shy. That's the biggest lesson I learn from any type of conference or workshop I attend. Me, the constant wallflower. It doesn't matter that I've published stories, or earned an MFA with a thesis on anti-heroes in noir fiction, I still felt like I knew nothing; that I had nothing to share to the conversation. Sitting at a computer, I'm fine with dishing out my opinions of the genre, I'm free to write noir fiction according to my own definition of it; but face to face? No, as confident as I am by myself, in person I'm about as firm as Jell-O.

There's something about walking into a room with people you admire that erases everything that defines you. I am a blank slate, that's what I thought every morning. I am a blank slate. But everyone else in that room sure as shit was messy with knowledge - the chalk dust just hung in the air. They belonged, while I felt like a fake. A fanboy at best, a poser at worst. I was sure that at any minute someone would refer to this blog and laugh. What is this guy thinking, calling himself NOIRWRITER? What a joke. (And to tell you the truth, I'm surprise no one has called me on it.)

I was afraid that anything that came out of my mouth would just embarrass whomever heard it. Stay in the shadows, stay out of sight and no one will notice - until you break a chair, fall onto your back and end up with both legs straight up in the air while Scott Phillips talks about Georges Simenon. Wallflower, indeed.

Of course, one of the reasons why I wasn't as concentrated was the fact that my daughter was in the middle of a four-day blood sugar test while I was away from home. My mind was on her more than anything that was happening in Philadelphia. Who knows, perhaps if it weren't for my worrying, I would have been a bit more outgoing.

But I'm glad I went. I met a lot of people I've wanted to meet. Made some good connections. Got lost on the streets of Philly and missed a couple of panels in the process of finding my way back. Had some drinks with a friend from grad school. Had breakfast with some other friends and their daughter. But I'm also glad to be home.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Day Off

I took Monday off from writing. After hitting an astronomical word count in less than two weeks, I needed to back away for a little bit. And I'm glad I did. I think what I've written so far on my lunch break is pretty good - not incredible, final draft good; but good just the same. I don't think I would have written as well if I was just pushing on because of where in the story I am. This is an emotional place, which is no place for an exhausted writer.

I have three more days before my first two weeks are up and I've already surpassed my goal. Friday starts a new two-week cycle, but I'll be in Philly over the weekend so I don't know how much I'll write. Man, I can't wait to find out where this manuscript will take me.