Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Writer's Block

I got it today. Again.

I'm usually afflicted with this "thing" when I doubt myself. That's always it. I'll either see a piece of brilliant writing and then ask the detrimental question: "Can I write like that?" The answer is a resounding "No!" and so begins this, like, cloud that engulfs my mind, preventing me from writing.

Only recently I realized other people experienced this. I had always assumed I was the only nincompoop in existence to be derailed by his insecurities. I used to relax for a few days and not write so the cloud of doubt could subside, but now I take a proactive approach to the matter. Instead of doing nothing and wasting time, I do a little soul searching to remind myself that I'm not terrible.

Here are ten tips I use to fight the block:

1. Implement a Writing Schedule.
Carve out a time to write and then ignore the writer's block. Show up to write, even if nothing comes right away. When your body shows up to the page at the same time and place every day, eventually your mind — and your muse — will do the same. Graham Greene famously wrote 500 words, and only 500 words, every morning. Five hundred words is only about a page, but with those mere 500 words per day, Greene wrote and published over 30 books.

2. Don't Be Too Hard on Yourself.
In fact, don’t be hard on yourself at all while writing. Anna Quindlin wrote, “People have writer’s block not because they can’t write, but because they despair of writing eloquently.” Turn the critical brain off. There is a time and place for criticism: it’s called editing.

3. Think of Writing as a Regular Job, and Less as an Art.
Stephen King, a famously prolific author, uses the metaphor of a toolbox to talk about writing in On Writing, intentionally linking it to physical work. If we think of ourselves as laborers, as craftsmen, it’s easier to sit down and write. We’re just putting words on the page, after all, one beside another, as a bricklayer puts down bricks. At the end of the day, we’re just creating things — stories, poems, or plays — only we use vocabulary and grammar instead of bricks and mortar.

4. Take Time Off If You've Just Finished a Project.
Writer's block could be a sign that your ideas need time to gestate. Idleness can be a key part of the creative process. Give yourself time to gather new experiences and new ideas, from life, reading, or other forms of art, before you start again.

5. Set Deadlines and Keep Them.
Many writers, understandably, have trouble doing this on their own. You might find a writing partner and agree to hold each other to deadlines in an encouraging, uncritical way. Knowing that someone else is expecting results helps many writers produce material. Writing groups or classes are another good way to jump-start a writing routine.

6. Examine Deep-Seated Issues Behind Your Writer's Block.
Write about your anxieties regarding writing or creativity. Talk to a friend, preferably one who writes. A number of books, such as The Artist’s Way, are designed to help creative people explore the root causes of their blocks. (Studying the lives of other writers can also provide insight into why you're blocked.) If your writer's block continues, you might seek counseling. Many therapists specialize in helping artists and writers reconnect with their creativity.

7. Work on More Than One Project at a Time.
Some writers find it helpful to switch back and forth from one project to another. Whether this minimizes fear or boredom, or both, it seems to prevent writer's block for many people.

8. Try Writing Exercises.
As much as it may remind you of your high school writing class, writing exercises can loosen up the mind and get you to write things you would never write otherwise. If nothing else, they get words on the page, and if you do enough of that, some of it is bound to be good.

9. Re-Consider Your Writing Space.
Are your desk and chair comfortable? Is your space well-lit? Would it help to try writing in a coffee shop for a change? Without being too precious about it — or turning it into another form of procrastination — think about how you can create or find a space you'll look forward to being in.

10. Remember Why You Started to Write in the First Place.
Look at what you’re writing and why. Are you writing what you love, or what you think you should be writing? The writing that feels most like play will end up delighting you the most, and this is the writing your readers will instinctively connect with. At the end of the day, writing is too hard to do it for anything other than love. If you continue to touch base with the joy you first felt in writing, it will sustain you, not only through your current block, but through whatever the future holds.

I'm afraid of writing well and not writing well--a double whammy of sorts. If I do write well I'm scared I won't be able to do it again, and if I don't...well, you get the idea. Sometimes failing is the only way to get better, and to do that you have to try.

Thanks for letting me share.

Have a great day! ^_^

Monday, 27 February 2012

And The Oscar Goes To...

Octavia Spencer!

Let me tell you, as a fan of her work it's about bloody time! I remember the first movie I saw her in was A Time to Kill and then in the X Files. She brought life and depth to her roles that was so...real. I know that's cliche but I watch so many actors on screen and I just don't believe them. She, however, captivates me.

I wish you nothing but success and good fortune Octavia. Now it's time to sit back and enjoy the ride.

You've made it. ^_^

Another well deserved win: Jean Dujardin. Love that name!

I must admit, I saw the Artist over the weekend and LOVED it! His performance was riveting to watch. It's also a huge plus that he beat George Clooney! Ha! Take that George.

Other Oscar Winners included:

Meryl Streep, Best Lead Actress, The Iron Lady. 

This meant Viola Davis had to lose, but Meryl did an amazing job as Britain's first female Prime Minister. I was in awe the entire movie. Just wow...

Christopher Plummer, Best Supporting Actor, The Beginners.

He's 82 years old. He played a father of kids who came out of the closet late in life. Nothing more can be said. Absolutely brilliant!

Michel Hazanavicius, Best Director, The Artist.

Never heard of him until now. But job well done!

The Artist, Best Picture. 

If you saw the Artist, you know that this victory is a trite and resounding: DUH!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Fourth Platform-Building Campaign: The First Challenge

I won't dilly-daddle. This entry is called Fade and it's dark. I made the key words, "Shadows crept across the walls," present tense to add immediacy. I hope that's okay.


Shadows creep across the walls and everything fades.

This is my first and last daydream; my first ever nightmare; my last solemn hello...

Today is my birthday. June 6th 1666, that's when I was born. And I guess that's when it all ended. 

But no one cares. No one bothers when or how. All they care about is why. 


I don't know.   

I can't tell you how or when--when or how. 

I just don't know...

But I see them. I see them all the time: angelic faces...pearly smiles...tiny fingers in a matchbox...five toes in a clock...

Tick tock on the dock, her head I wrapped in muck.

Three, two, one...two kidneys now none. 

"Wake up Mr. Jackal. Wake up!"

I open my eyes. He is the ugliest man I've ever seen: big nose, black googly eyes, no neck...

"Do you have anything to say Mr. Jackal?"

Say? What more can I say...I've done enough...

"Mr. Jackal?"

"What you ugly man!"

"I asked you a question."

"No. I have nothing to say."

"Then it's time."

Yes, I know. I won't fight it. I won't fuss. I won't kill...

It's time.

"How do you feel after all you've done?" I hear someone say.

I look across at the many anxious faces behind the glass. I peer down at my orange jumpsuit--at my feet and hands shackled in chains. 

How do I feel?


The ugly man places a black cloth over my head and all at once a cold steel squeezes my forehead.

Shadows creep across the walls of my soul and everything fades.

This is my first and last daydream...

My first ever nightmare...

My last solemn hello.

This is poetry you have to read aloud in order to understand the rhythm. If you read it in your mind it will seem rushed.

But I hope you liked it. It was a very dreary piece to write at five in the morning.

I can't wait to see what you guys came up with!

Cheers! ^_^

Monday, 20 February 2012

Inspiration And Dance

The first challenge for the Platform Building Campaign has been issued. Each participant is encouraged to write a 200 word flash fiction piece that starts with the words, "Shadows crept across the wall." The deadline for submissions is this coming Friday, so, thankfully, I have plenty of time to outline and write a good entry.

Last month Ellen Degeneres sent a call for folks to film themselves dancing behind random people at various locales and post it on Youtube. Since then, hundreds of videos have popped up online with the header, Ellen's Dance Dare; all vying for the opportunity to be featured in a video montage on her show, with her favorite dancer receiving the ultimate prize of all: the chance to perform live!

I've seen a lot of good videos but Yousef of fouseyTube is by far the funniest. I give him props, it takes guts to do what he did, especially to the black dude who looked like he was about to beat his ass.

My vote is for Yousef. He is such a nice and humble guy. And he's so hilarious!

There are a lot of authors whose careers I look up to, like V.S. Naipaul, Earnest Hemingway and Angelina Jolie. They're all magnificent in their own special way but the writer who's career I would love to have is, you guessed it,  J.K. Rowling's. I know she's the most obvious choice of any novelist in our century but I want her career because of one factor: the undying love. I don't care about the money and I definitely could care less about the fame--I'm very shy believe it or not. I want people to connect with my work on a deep level; I want to have conversations with them about the characters, world and writing; I want to be able to write something and know that people are waiting with bated breath for its completion. I want that! I really do.

I've often told my friends and family that I wouldn't mind writing for one person, as long as they loved my stuff. Of course, they always laugh and call me silly but, hey, that's me.

So, which authors' career would you love to have and why?

Have a great day!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Rolling In The Deep

Rolling in the Deep is more than a Billboard Top single, Grammy Song of the Year and Adele's number one hit. It is an Old English term used to reference an event that is terribly "un-romantic."

So what exactly does it mean?

Adele made the phrase famous with her 2011 Grammy winning album, 21. Due to it's popularity, many people have asked and wondered what the hell is this strange term? Well, Adele tried to shed light on its origin in an interview with Rolling Stone, saying: "It is an adaptation of a kind of slang, slur phrase in the UK called 'roll deep,' which means to have someone, always have someone that has your back, and you're never on your own, if you're ever in trouble you've always got someone who's going to come and help you fight it or whatever like that. And that's how I felt in the relationship that the record's about, especially 'Rolling in the Deep.' That's how I felt, you know, I thought that's what I was always going to have, and um, it ended up not being the case."

I disagree.

If you listen carefully to the lyrics, she says things like: "Go ahead and sell me out and I'll lay your ship bare." and "Think of me in the depths of your despair." or "Make a home down there, as mine sure won't be shared."

Sounds like she's alluding to something oceanic, right? And indeed she is. You see, Rolling in the Deep is used to delicately state the death of sea-faring folk who have gone overboard or were dragged down with their ship. In the context of the song, it denotes the heartbreaker wallowing (Rolling) in sorrow and regret (the Deep).

It's interesting because this rather obscure term is fast becoming an urban slang. Why, just yesterday I broke up with my girlfriend and she had the gall to tell me, "Roll in the Deep you fucking loser!"

Thank you Adele. Now girls can dump me with a fancy metaphor.  --_--

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

11 Questions From Kathleen Doyle

It's not very often I have to answer 11 questions about various things (unless I get pulled over by the cops for driving nude--no I'm kidding. Maybe.) but today I'm about to do just that.  Kathleen Doyle over at Writing, Reading, and Life (a fantastacally awesome blog btw) tagged me in a meme. For this challenge I have to do the aformentioned thing (while fully clothed) and then tag 11 other bloggers to answer 11 questions of mine. Sounds awesome, right? You bet it is, so let the fun begin.

1. On average, how often do you look in a mirror (practicing faces for your writing does count!)

A lot of girls think I ogle myself in the mirror all the time and that's just not true. I do so when I wake up to wash my face, when I flex to remind myself it's not my fault I get dumped (often) and on the rare occasion I feel a pimple and simply must rush to check it out.

2. What is your weirdest/strangest/most interesting habit? Be honest!

I masturbate twenty times a day. NO! I'm kidding! Come on, I can make those jokes.

But on a serious note, this question is asked in an interview all the time, and the bullshit answer would be I'm obsessive compulsive. However, the honest answer would be this: I poop after every meal. I believe a healthy colon is key to good health, so I get all those toxins out as soon as possible. Many people let that waste sit for whatever reason and that hurts your internal system. This is one of the reasons doctors recommend eight glasses of water a day, but, let's face it, no one does that. Instead, I eat bananas at least twice a week. Potassium aids in digestion and it also stimulates norepinephrine, hence making you a bit happier and energized. So ya, poop often people!    

3. If you could go anywhere in the UNIVERSE, where would it be and why? (Fictional places are totally part of the universe.)

Aw man, it would definitely be the world I created called Synthanee. This universe has all the fantastic scenery (floating mountains, upside down rivers and flying houses) you can imagine. There are holidays where you can get anything you want for a day--save for world domination--, festivals where you can swap lives, gadgets that enable you to create personal copies of anything, paper that records your thoughts and islands where all male or female tribes fulfill your sexual fantasies.

This is where I am most of the time. :D
4. What fictional character do you hate with a passion?

There are a lot, but it would have to be Father Maximilian from my WIP, Portrayer. He wants to kill everyone that doesn't accept his religion and the manner he wishes to accomplish this is by destroying the world with fire, as opposed to water used by God. For me, people should have the right to choose their beliefs. I'm a Christian and it irks me when I see other Christians damn anyone who isn't. That is neither responsible, kind or understanding; in fact, it defies the very thing god wants us to be. I also have no fucking clue why they're so obsessed with homosexuality. They love just like any other person, the only difference is that they love each other. I'm sorry but god is a loving god, and he doesn't condemn love--unless it's a Nephilim mating with humans. I know there's some awful things in the bible regarding homosexuality, but the the way I see it is this:  The bible was revised many times. The majority of the proverbs are god's word and some are the biased opinions of man.

I digressed because Maximilian destroys anything and anyone he believes is not "right". I can't wait for the Portrayer, Sarah, to whup his ass.

5. Upon landing on a deserted tropical island, you realize you have only one thing to help you survive! What is it?

My family. I can't live without the ones I love. I would die of a broken heart, and that is no joke.

6. What do you hoard collect?

I used to collect Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic the Gathering Cards, but now I collect rejection letters. I respect each and every person I query, so their snail mail rejections are like my own little souvenir--kinda like an autograph. The fancier the letter, the happier I am. Weird, huh?

7. You’ve just landed on a brand new, never before discovered planet. What do you name it?


8. Fill in the blank: I am proud of myself for _______________.

Not conforming to popular culture, radicalism and warped religious views.

9. You have half an hour to cook a meal for your family/friends/people. What do you make?

Lasagna. I know it takes a long time, but it's the only dish I know how to make.

10. You’ve just been asked to give an impromptu speech on any subject. What do you talk about?

This is hard. Fantasy, maybe? I'm not an expert but I can teach people a thing or two.

11. Is there life beyond our planet?

I think so. Wouldn't it be cool to be friends with someone who can take you on a ride through the universe? 

Now it's your turn! 

This is what I want to know about you guys:

1) Which power would you prefer: control over time or the ability to reformat matter?

2) If you could put a note in a bottle, send it to sea and receive it out of the blue twenty years later what would it say?

3) What would you fix about yourself? Why?

4) If you were president of all seven continents (including Antarctica) what would be the first thing on your agenda?

5) Name one book you dislike. Why?

6) If you were a food, which would it be?

7) In memory of the incomparable Whitney Houston, name your favorite song and explain why. 

8) If you could eliminate one thing from this world what would it be? (And you can't say the Kardashians.)

9) Fill in the blank: I love to singa about the moona and the juna and the springa, I love to singa, about______  

10) Which do you love the most: TV or the Internet? Why?

11) If you could carry one thing into the afterlife, what would it be?

I can't wait to see what you guys come up with.

Have a great day!

Monday, 13 February 2012

The Origin Of My Story

My story started at the tender age of five.

I used to draw angels on the house walls. I was fascinated by them -- I still am. My dream was to be an angel just like St. Michael; I wanted to be a warrior and fight Satan and his demons. I never feared death, it was the key to attaining my "dream job". I did some crazy things during that period: I once ran onto a highway to stop the cars from running over a stray dog; I jumped into a raging river to retrieve my cat and got swept one hundred miles from home; I even jumped from my rooftop in the futile hope of flying and broke my arm.

My parents were concerned, as you can imagine. They took me to our pastor and asked for his help. I'll never forget what he told me: "Tyson, you know me, right? You know that I love you like my own children? And as one of your many fathers, it hurts me to see the roulette you play with your life. Now a roulette is a game of chance, you place a ball on a colored wheel with numbers and you have to hope it lands on the right number and color. If you guess right, you win, but if you guess lose everything. I don't want you to lose everything. I am so proud you want to be a warrior for god--and you are, you truly are--but you will get that chance when the time comes, for your life. There are a great many ways to express your many talents, instead of drawing on the walls, you could draw in a book--you could write stories and draw pictures for them, how does that sound?"

That sounded great.

It was the first time I had ever thought of writing my own stories. At the time, I had believed story books were written by great people, like those on TV and on the radio. Needless to say, I gave it a try and I fell in love. The words, the artwork, the characters, the all came so easily to me. I remember running to my mother and shouting: "I wanna be a "Draw-writer!"

"A who?"

"A Draw-writer!"

"You mean an author?"

"Ya, that."

I wrote about fifty novels by the age of ten. All were unique but each and every one of them had something in common: Alterheroes. But more on that later.

It wasn't until High School that I truly began thinking of becoming a screenwriter. Of course, I had no idea how to do this. At the time, my family didn't have internet access so the wealth of information afforded to me now was extinct. The only other source I had was television and it was here I got the most amazing idea ever! I watched Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh all the time, so I figured why not write for them? And that's exactly what I did. I borrowed books about television, screenwriting and Hollywood addresses from the Library and got to work. I self taught myself how to write screenplays and designed a slew of new Pokemon, regions and characters.

I created a huge dragon type Pokemon that had a power generator on its tail; dark, scaly skin; two metal-like wings; and an elongated membrane on his head that ended with a blue wispy light. I described him as a sort of robotic-looking dragon that controlled electricity. I named him Zakrem, the Yin of a duo.

The other was white and bird-like with wings on its arm, a heat power generator as its tail and the face of a dog. He was furry and controlled fire. His name was Reshiroo, the Yang of the pair. I sold them as the creators of a region called Enova. Zakrem and Reshiroo were once one dragon but they fell for the ideals of two great men and split to help each man attain his desires.

I was super excited about this idea, because I thought this was a shoe-in for the series. I researched Warner Brother Studios, and their many departments, and discovered that Pokemon Johto, which aired on Kids WB, was produced by 4KIDS Entertainment. I got their address, packaged my idea and sent it to Alfred R. Khan, the C.E.O. Six Months later I got a letter from the man himself! He told me the idea was very interesting but that he cannot accept ideas that are based on someone else's property. He encouraged me to submit other work that was mine and thanked me for thinking of 4KIDS.

I was heart broken but not discouraged.

I took his advice and worked on a new project based on some of my old ideas. I called it Fictional Alter Heroes and the Portrayers of Anemos. This time, I did the thing properly and requested Submission Agreement Forms from Cartoon Network and Warner Brothers. Surprisingly, they sent them to my home address AND my school. I have no idea how the heck they knew which school I attended, but when the Principal announced to the whole school that I got a package from Warner Brothers, everyone came up to me and said: "Warner Brothers sent you stuff? WOW, you're gonna be famous!"

The high of that incident lasted for three months, until I heard back from the Development Coordinator, Todd Casey, at Cartoon Network. He praised the idea but thought the story was too "epic" for their network and that they produced small ideas with small cast of characters that appealed to children.  He thought the idea was best suited for a video game and told me to turn it into a book. That struck me like a slab of ham because it felt so right. A book? Why didn't I think of that?

And here I am now, ten years later.

A lot of things have changed since then, but I wouldn't be writing today (at least not with the same drive) if it weren't for those experiences.

On a side note: Pokemon's fifth generation was revealed last year and two Pokemon stuck out immediately. Now, I'm not jumping to conclusions but the legendary Pokemon Zekrom and Reshiram look TERRIBLY FAMILIAR to the sketches I sent 4KIDS ten years ago. I don't know if its a coincidence Zekrom controls electricity, like Zakrem; or that Reshiram controls fire, like Reshiroo; or that the story behind Unova sounds eerily similar to the story of Enova, but when I first saw this I was shocked, excited, flattered and disappointed.

This is my story. I hope you liked it, despite being a tad prolix.

Have a great day!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Dad Shoots Laptop

As unconventional as it might sound, Tommy Jordan did what he thought was appropriate. So many people let their kids get away with all kinds of stuff but he took the initiative to assert his right as a parent. If you read his fifteen-year-old daughter's rant on Facebook, you'll see the reflection of many kids in our society today -- downright brats who feel entitled and don't give a crap about their parents or authority. In her rant, she bemoans doing simple chores like unloading the dishwasher, cleaning her room and pouring coffee for her parents -- and demand she be paid for her work.

When I was her age I had to do chores around the house; my mom made me feed the chickens, clean the barn, tote water to the house, sweep the living room, polish the silver, take out the garbage and clip my dad's toenails. (Ew!) I had to do all of this and not once did I ever complain; I understood I was a child and that my parents worked hard to provide for me, so I wanted to help -- I knew I had to! --; I never demanded I be paid -- never questioned if I was a slave -- never felt pressured to pitch in -- or feel the need to be insolent and embarrass my parents online!

Kids do chores, that's the way it's always been. It's not a demand, it's a lesson: our parents are teaching us responsibility and solid work ethics.

Here is a worthy analogy I found online, from a guy named David Harris.

Tommy Jordan is like any other hard working American out there. He works hard to provide for his family. Yet, like many other teens (including most of us at that age), his daughter Hannah doesn't appreciate (or understand), the lesson he is trying to teach his daughter. Her main focus of her rant on her FaceBook page was about doing "chores".

We start teaching children about the "Real" world when they are young. We teach them to obey police officers, to follow the walk/don't walk signs, to respect others, and to try to mold them into productive members of civilized society.

However, in today's society, the lessons of our grandparents and great grandparents are no longer taught. We don't teach our children to say yes sir, no sir, yes ma'am, no ma'am, please, thank you, you're welcome and excuse me.

Tommy Jordan, gave his daughter everything she wanted, a laptop, a cell phone, an IPad, and other luxuries that some of us would like to be able to afford to give our children.

At the same time, his daughter Hannah is of the mind (like many of us were at that age) that everything should be given to me, because you are my parents, and you should pay me to do the chores around the house.

When we give our children chores, we are instilling in them the idea of work ethic. Chores are not punishment. They are a learning tool designed to teach us from an early age, that if you want things, you have to work for them.

Now, Hannah didn't want to work for the things her father had already given her. She wanted to be paid for the chores. She failed to realize she was already paid for the chores. Her payment was the love her mother and father gave her in buying her these luxury items.

At the end of the video, when Tommy Jordan put those nine 45 caliber slugs into the laptop, I'm going to be honest, I cheered. Because the father was showing his daughter that what she has been given is not a right. It is a privilege to have these items and if you don't use them wisely you can lose them.

Food for thought

David Harris

A lot of people are criticizing Mr. Jordan's  parenting, some have even called him a lunatic. What do you think?

Friday, 10 February 2012

I'm Hearing Voices: The Final Test

This has been the most fun blogfest I have been apart of and I want to thank Cassie and Angela for dreaming up such an amazing event. Alas, with all great things there must be an end, because even time doesn't last forever.

For our final "Hoorah" we have to make you truly feel the power of raw emotion in a Flash Fiction Piece.

February 10th - Friday
 - Emotion Flash Fiction: Emotion is the engine of a story. Pick an emotion and in a flash fiction piece of 250 words MAKE us feel it! We want to connect with your character. This will be a challenge in 250 words.

The emotion I want to illustrate is Purpose. I know a lot of people will write about love or hate -- greed and jealousy -- but I wanted to try something different, plus I have a very special character I want to introduce to you all. I'm not going to give backstory, instead, I'll let this special someone tell the tale.

The Last Story

Black cola bottles told no lies but they had many stories. One such storyteller sat in a box with its brothers and sisters, carried in the hands of a factory worker -- who threw it to another and paused as he looked at the packed compartment of the truck.

So on the dashboard our storyteller rode, absorbing the scene through a slit in the box. The view beyond the windshield was bright and sunny. Square, metal trees, both big and small, cluttered every inch of space. Mounted on these were signs of all shapes, sizes and colors -- flashing, almost inviting weary eyes to gawk at their splendor.

Quite astonishing, to say the least, but some of the metal trees didn't have signs. Oh no! In fact, a few of them looked as though they were sliced in two. Layer upon layer of shelves stood beside the torn half, while tiny men in yellow hats tocked away.

As if heaven sent, a torn newspaper clipping slapped itself on the winshield.
"United States Government to spend five billion renovating buildings damaged by tornadoes twelve years ago."

Black Cola Bottle tried to read more, but it heard the driver flip a switch and watched as two sticks wiped the paper off. The nerve of him! If it had lips it would complain, sadly the driver had beaten it to the punch: mumbling about the traffic of San Francisco and reaching the airport on time.

And so it was, many hours later, Black Cola Bottle woke up from its nap and saw it was being toted yet again. Humongous red or black boxes were everywhere -- carried around on the backs of trucks, or hoisted up by silver vines. Toots like trumpets, loud bellowing hollers and cranking iron offered little peace, but it didn't take long for our storyteller to understand why. High up on an arched sign were bright blue words: Staten Island Welcomes You To The Port of Richmond.

No wonder it was so noisy.

Now, fast forward two...twelve...ninety days later and Black Cola Bottle longed for any kind of noise. Sitting on a dusty shelf, waiting for some special person to drink it, was the worst experience there was. It had seen so many things -- hold ups, make outs, stakeouts and breakouts -- but its expiration was near an end. Until one day, a little boy and his mother bought it and took it away. As the child drank from its loins, Black Cola Bottle marveled at the island for the first time. It, too, had many steel trees, but unlike the other place only one or two were under repair. Before it had the pleasure of intaking another sight, the little boy stopped drinking and stood quite still.

"Mommy, what's that girl doing?"

Black Cola Bottle wondered the same: why was that scrawny girl drinking water from the drain?

"She's thirsty, dear," the mom said, "why not give her the rest of your drink?"

And so, the little boy skipped to the girl and held out Black Cola Bottle. Her tired eyes looked up from the drain, green water dripping from her lips, and took the drink.

"Thanks," she said.

"Come on sweetie, let's go." And they left without looking back.

Black Cola Bottle became aware it had found that special someone, and now it was time...
It told no lies and held many stories -- saw many things. And as the dirty girl drank the final drop from its body and threw it into the garbage, Black Cola Bottle lay there with a peace it willingly accepted: the last place...the last person...the last story it ever saw.    

I hope you liked it. The story swooped into my head this morning and I immediately fell in love with this little bottle.

Thank you to all those who stopped by to comment and say hi. I made a lot of friends and, for that, I am truly grateful.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

I'm Hearing Voices And Dialogue

It's day two of the "I'm Hearing Voices Blogfest" and this time we have to introduce two characters using nothing but dialogue.

February 8th - Wednesday - Dialogue Introduction: Have two characters introduce each other using only dialogue—no backstory, no internalization, just dialogue between the two. Max 250 words.
This is a perfect exercise to flex our "Show Don't Tell" muscles and I have a lot to show off. (Winky Face ;)

Again, I'm opting to use characters from my WIP, Portrayer, because they're a tad more interesting than those in my MG. I was torn between which characters to choose, but I think I selected the right pair. Either way, I hope you enjoy this exchange.



Aqua Fierce

"Girl, I'm 'bout to tear this place up--these heifers better know I don't play those games!"

"Aqua, cool it, let me handle this. It's my face not yours."

"A'ight, Sarah, but if I see that hoe step outta line I'ma get ta slicin'!"

"Thanks, just don't do anything crazy, okay?"

"Fine, but I'll say this though: you have a lot of patience. If I'd gotten slapped in the face like you did--OH.MY.GOD--I woulda make it rain up in here!"

"Put that away! Are you insane? If a teacher catches us we'll get expelled!"

"Chillax, girl, it's a toy gun--see." 

"I don't get you sometimes, you live in the suburbs and your father's a diplomat."


"So--why do you act like this?"

"Act? This ain't no act, sweetie, this is all fierceness right here."

"But you're half Asian."

"And you're half hatin', let's leave it at that."

"All right, no need to get--"

"Well, well, well if it isn't Whoreetta and Skankator."

"Keep her out of this, Amanda, this is between you and me!"

"Haven't you had enough punishment for one day, or should I introduce your left cheek to my hand, too?"

"First of all, you jumped me when I was parting a fight, and, secondly, it was you and your cheertrolls versus me."

"Cry more, loser!"

"How 'bout I make you cry, Amanda!"

"Um, excuse me, 'dawg', speak when you're spoken too, okay? Thanks."

"Oh. No. You. Dinant!"

"Oh yes I did!"

"Lemme tell you somethn' you little--don't touch my nail--don't you dare touch--!"



I hope this was as much fun for you to read as it was for me to write. Aren't showdowns between the good girl and the bad girl fun to watch?

I can't wait to see what you guys came up with. I'm so excited I'm practically itching! Oh wait, that's ants. 0_0   

Monday, 6 February 2012

I'm Seriously Hearing Voices

Today is a special day ladies, gentlemen, superheroes and spoons, because on this most ostentatious occasion I can finally express my insanity in its truest form. Yes, I am what medical doctors, psychics and fortunetellers call, "a crazy writer person who talks with make-believe characters". No, I am not ashamed of it. Yes, I will continue to chat with these people. And of course you can't call the po-po! Unless you want the po-po to think you're crazy for wasting their time, and that, my mo-mos, is a no-no. ^_^

Livetowrite's character blogfest begins at this very instant and in case you're too lazy to visit the site and read about it there, here's a quick summary of today's criteria:

February 6th - MondayCharacters on the couch: Have one of your characters answer the following questions (to make this work to your benefit, choose a character who is the hardest for you to write :) Max 250 words (Not including the questions—only the answers). 
  1. What is your biggest vulnerability? Do others know this or is it a secret?
  2. What do people believe about you that is false?
  3. What would your best friend say is your fatal flaw? Why?
  4. What would the same friend say is your one redeeming quality? Why?
  5. What do you want most? What will you do to get it? 

I have a slew of great characters to choose from, but I'd like to introduce you to a secondary villain from my WIP, Portrayer: Say hello to Magician's Xykerious (zy-kee-ree-us); a small, very sickly looking man that wears black, ruby encrusted armor; carries a zombie child on his back; has no eyes or nose; and wields two fiery broadswords. What sort of personality does a person this ghastly possess?

1) Xykerious, what is your biggest vulnerability? Do others know this or is it a secret? 

 Not a single iota of my being is vulnerable. I can do anything--kill anyone--and ravage mountains without so much as a scrape. I am insulted you would pose such a despicable question to one as great as I. How about I slice off your head and see how vulnerable you are, eh?

2) Um *gulps* no thank you, I like my head where it is. So, ur, wh-what do people believe about you that is false? 

I don't keep them alive long enough to ask.

3) Okay then, moving swiftly onward: What would your best friend say is your fatal flaw? Why? 

The word "friend" eludes me. I am an assassin of the great Magician Maximillion, born from the depths of hell and fueled by his undying hate; I have no emotion, no remorse--however, my lord has noted I have a certain fondness for marshmallows. I am ashamed to say I fancy them greatly. Tell anyone of this *pulls out his fiery sword and points it* and I will slice open your chest, rip out your heart and devour it while you watch every blood curdling second.

4) 0_0 Marshmallows? You don't say? Um, and what would this "lord" say is your one redeeming quality? Why? 

*Points sword closer to my chest* Change the subject!

5) Okay, okay! Last question. What do you want most? What will you do to get it? 

I want this world to accept the new religion of the great Maximillion. All believers will be saved and all naysayers will be destroyed by The Great Fire. I will eradicate anything and anyone who oppose him, especially the Alterheroes that protect this world, and even the all mighty Portrayer.

And there you have it. This is just one of the many sordid people that exist in my head, and, trust me, he is not the last. The blogfest continues on February 8th, and this time we have to introduce two characters in dialogue. I can't wait to share a few more of them and if you thought Xykerious was, ur, colorful, then wait 'til you meet the rest.


Thursday, 2 February 2012

Dance Moms!

Love it or hate it, Dance Moms is Lifetime's number one reality drama. Set in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania at the Abby Lee Dance Company, it follows a group of girls in their early dance careers and their mothers who support them.

At first glance that summary is not at all appealing, but this is a show--like the ad proclaims--you have to see to believe. I had no idea what Dance Moms was until I overheard some senior ladies at work chatting about it one afternoon at the lunch table. They were cackling and talking down to one another as if it were a GOP presidential debate. I mean, they were really going at it and you could hear them two floors down. So, nosy little me went went over there and asked: "What's up?"

"This is not an interest of yours Tyson," one of them said.

"Well tell me about it and I'll see if you're right."

So they did, and I wasn't intrigued or turned off at that instant; in fact, I was simply nonchalant about the whole thing. As luck would have it, it was a Tuesday and, if you know me, I usually have NOTHING to do on Tuesdays besides eat, watch TV, prank call the neighbors and sleep. Yeah, my life is absolutely riveting! Anyway, I switched the channel to Lifetime and hunkered down with my Milky Way (I love these bars of heaven) to see what the fuss was about. Well, by the end of the show I was awash with emotion, namely confusion: "Why is Abby so mean to those girls?! And Why do those moms put up with her crap!? And why is Maddie always treated better than everyone else?! And why is there a pyramid to belittle their self esteem!? And why is she teaching dance if she's so big!? And why is--?" You get the idea.

It was the most interesting, wrong, inspiring, high school-like thing I had ever seen. Sorry I can't sum it up with an adjective but this show is really, really fascinating. Am I a perv for saying that?      

Abby Lee Miller is a heavy-set dance teacher in her forties with no children and no husband. She is the owner of  the Abby Lee Dance company which comprises over sixty young and talented dancers; yet from that crop only about six of those are in an elite group strictly for competitions, and it is this very group the show follows. Abby isn't physically able to teach the girls the various routines so she has a young alumni do it for her. Instead, she often sits in a chair and barks orders at the girls, much to the disdain of their mothers who watch their daughters from a skybox. The moms will see their daughters being humiliated and complain about the treatment among themselves. Sometimes they'll accost Abby for her actions and receive a sound vocal whupping from the dance teacher, often to the tune of: "This is my studio and if you don't like it you can go somewhere else!"

"Well she's screwing me, I can feel it!"

This occurs every hair-pulling episode and not once has the mothers so much as withheld their daughters from practice for at least a day. No! They return episode after episode to subject their girls to the same treatment. Surprisingly enough, Maddie, the star of the dance studio, who won every competition in season one, is never yelled at--at least on camera. Her rival, Chloe, and her mom often receive Abby's wrath; and let's not forget Kelly, the mother of Paige and Book, who disses and cusses Abby almost routinely.

Despite all this, Abby and her girls win nearly everything, losing once or twice all season. Most people scorn Abby for her chastisement of the young ladies and then there are those who understand her biting ambition. I'm with the latter. She is a woman who, like she often reminds us, has nothing in this world but her reputation and her name--no little ones at home, no husband to cuddle with at night. In reality, I feel sorry for Abby. She isn't a bad woman at heart, you can see it--simply a bit too... fervent.

If anything, the show is a minute look at the world of child entertainment, which includes pageants, tv and movie auditions, singing competitions and the like. What goes on there--rivalries, bickering, favoritism and mean girl antics--are all the norm in an industry where you can be in today and out tomorrow (very much like the writing industry IMHO). Now I know there is a show that depict far younger girls engaged in pageantry (don't know the name) and one instance where the mom dressed the child up as a hooker from Pretty Woman. Those shows don't and will never appeal to me, but Dance Moms is different because (get ready for this) it's what would happen in a geriatric High School. The only difference is there are no boys to swoon over and instead of competing to see who is hotter/better, it's their offspring that are put to the test. It's quite something, I'll tell ya that.

I find this sort of thing entertaining because who doesn't like High School drama? Surely it's the fifty two million who made this show a hit, and the countless more that tune in to the new season. Oh, and the dancing is good too. I almost forgot it's about dancing. I'll admit, Maddie is an amazing dancer and I don't think it's 'cause she gets special treatment--she understands the music and what a performer is. If you look at her speak about dance you'll see it in her eyes--this kid is a natural, and Abby knows it. Chloe is good too, but she doubts herself too much, and I have a feeling it's 'cause of the way Abby treats her. Brooke needs to do something else for a bit, her heart isn't there at the moment. As for her sister, Paige, I don't know much about her, so I'll leave it at that. I think Mackenzie is going to be a champion just like her sister Maddie, and Nia is so talented; I'm impressed by her acrobatic ability, but she doesn't understand dance and performance as yet, however, when she does--good lord!--people better watch out!

From left: Maddie and her mom Melissa; Nia and her mom  Holly;  Maddie's sister Mackenzie; Brooke and Paige and their mom Kristy; Abby Lee Miller; Chloe and her mom Christi.

If you haven't watched Dance Moms, check it out--it's a riot--; and if you have, then tell me what ya think. Let's do like those ladies at my work and prattle like a bunch of prissy birds in a nest of thorns, leaves and prissy things. I actually have no idea what that means. : /

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Aunt Barbara Sells Tupperware

Hi everyone! Sorry for the week's hiatus, I'm trying to finish the company's newsletter and assist in planning an NGO meeting so my boss has me working double shifts--finally got a breather. Well, no, but I took one anyway. ^_^

This month there are a lot of things coming up in the blogosphere,  here's a list of those I'll be apart of:

I'm Hearing Voices Blogfest  

This is a Character Blogfest hosted by the gals at livetowrite. It's a three day fiesta where we exhibit the very best and worst of our characters.

Here's how it works:

February 6th - MondayCharacters on the couch: Have one of your characters answer the following questions (to make this work to your benefit, choose a character who is the hardest for you to write :) Max 250 words (Not including the questions—only the answers). 
  1. What is your biggest vulnerability? Do others know this or is it a secret?
  2. What do people believe about you that is false?
  3. What would your best friend say is your fatal flaw? Why?
  4. What would the same friend say is your one redeeming quality? Why?
  5. What do you want most? What will you do to get it? 
February 8th - Wednesday - Dialogue Introduction: Have two characters introduce each other using only dialogue—no backstory, no internalization, just dialogue between the two. Max 250 words.

February 10th - Friday - Emotion Flash Fiction: Emotion is the engine of a story. Pick an emotion and in a flash fiction piece of 250 words MAKE us feel it! We want to connect with your character. This will be a challenge in 250 words.

Origins Blogfest

As the name so eloquently describes, we will all be writing about how we began our journey as an author. It could be anything from how we started making up stories as a child, or writing for the school newspaper, or even what prompted us to start a blog. This amazing event starts on February 13th and is hosted by Cruising Altitude 2.0.

Platform Building Blogspectacular

I don't know about you but this is the one I've been waiting for since last year! It is hosted by the amazing Rachael Harrie over at RachWrites and signup starts on February 6th, so, yeah, get ready for it! If I it wasn't said before let me say it now: THIS ONE WILL BE HUGE!

And now onto Aunt Barbara:

When I first heard of this story I was at work and one of my coworkers was bemusing the lengths this person went through to be successful. "People have no dignity these days," she said, "they'll do anything to make cash, even tuck in their dick and dress up as a woman." Yeah, she's homophobic,--and racist--but I was so tired of arguing with her on these issues I just ignored her, as usual, and asked another of my cohorts the reason for her statement: "A drag queen is the number one Tupperware seller in America! It's freaking awesome! He makes about one hundred Gs selling plastic."

One hundred thousand dollars selling Tupperware? Sign me up!

I think this is such a great story of our times: man needs extra cash, man decides to sell Tupperware part time, man realizes selling Tupperware to women is difficult as said man, man decides to create a relatable character based on the women in his life, man does well, man smashes all records!

I like when he said: "You have to entertain people in everything you do, whether you sell bowls, make dishes, sing, dance--whathaveyou!"  So true, my friend. So very, very true.

And get ready for tomorrow, 'cause I'm gonna gossip give my honest opinion on the one and only hit Lifetime Reality Drama:

Oh this is gonna be juicy!
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