Saturday, July 25, 2015

{ 36 } On Always Telling the Truth

It's kind of sad when I can honestly say that the best thing I've written this month is an email to my brother. Did you read it? No?

Oh, that's because I left it up here for all of about two hours.

It wasn't scandalous or scathing. It was a humorous juxtapose of the different reactions I have to different situations, based on the silly pseudo-personalities my brother and I long ago decided live in my brain. But shortly after I put it up, I realized that without the brother/sister frame of reference, it really wouldn't have made any sense to the rest of you.

Since Day One of this blog, I have attempted to make every post about something having to do with writing. I have tried to keep all posts at least semi-relevant to either current things I am working on or my writing process. This is not a "lifestyle" blog. This is not my diary.

Obviously there's a "real life" tag over there on the right, but that's reserved for actual stories (and once a letter to my late uncle) based on real life, as well as things like this post, where I feel the need to tell you about something that affects my writing because it's based in real life.

Yes, yes: every once in awhile there will be a line or two that makes it in that seems a little TMI, but for the most part I try and keep it 99 so as to be interesting to random strangers and not bore or horrify them with my actual real life. That's also how you end up with posts like the last one.

And don't worry, I do have outlets for "those kinds of posts" with "those kinds of topics." They started a million years ago anonymously on MySpace (or was that two million years ago?) then finally graduated to uber-private and super-unlisted sites elsewhere.

In this day and age, it's too easy to find things based on real name alone. Once you know that, you can pretty much figure out what internet handle they use ("Sweet Charity," anyone?) and then crack into their soul.

But I figure, if there is some private aspect of my personal life I'm just dying to tell you about, I'll either tell you about it directly or spin it in to one of the amalgamations I discussed in the last post.

Above and beyond all else, though, I try and keep this blog fun to read while still maintaining the privacy and anonymity of my friends, family, and relationship partners. I mean, honestly: could you imagine if I poured my life out in every blog only to have some girl in your future read it and think, "Huh. I guess he is an asshole." That would just be mean.

In conclusion, my character Errol is still sitting in that damn sheriff's office in Lubbock and I feel really, really bad about that. However, that other character? The one that doesn't have a name yet but had that jerk for a boss?  She's been on some crazy adventures! Too bad I haven't written them in sequential order. There will be a new "Short/Long/Otherwise" soon. Promise.

Now stop slacking on your end and leave me a comment!

Monday, May 25, 2015

{ 35 } Art Imitating Life or You're So Vain

First, the writing is coming along. Not as fast or as furious as I wanted it to, but that's they way these things go. Plus, it doesn't help when there are two very different story with two very different sets of characters trying to fight their way out of you.


As I'm writing, my thoughts will often turn to you, my dear reader. Not the anonymous ones, but the people that I know personally and have read my stuff in the past and will, hopefully, read my stuff in the future.

If you were to ask me where my ideas come from, there's only one obvious answer: nowhere. Really. As I stated in Post { 31 } I Suck at Life, it's all about the Magical Sentence popping in to my head to get the process started. Then things fall in to place.

However, even though I might suck at life, I don't live in a vacuum (HA!), so often friends and acquaintances make their way in to my writing. It's the curse of knowing a writer.

When you read things, you might think to yourself, "Holy crap! That's me! She wrote me in to a story!" Then you'll be either happy or furious, depending on the character and how you think I interpreted you.

Well, hate to break it to you, but you're only half right.

To date, the only things I have written that were actually about someone in particular are the two obvious examples: "Billy" and "Sam." I don't think it gets much more obvious than that.

But the rest of the time, characters and conversations and situations are an amalgamation of all sorts of different crap, some of it real, some of it not. That's why you might think, "Huh. She wrote about my love of vintage Converse High Tops and the time I burned off my eyebrows lighting a cigarette on the stove, so I know it's me, but why did she say I'm a pig farmer in Vermont? Everyone knows I'm a federal judge!"

Because it's not you, silly. I obviously borrowed what I needed and dropped the rest. When I'm ready to write your biography, I'll let you know. (FYI: I don't know anyone that fits any of that description. I wish I did.)

Having said that, my writings aren't autobiographical either. I do have a habit of writing females whose names begin with "B," but that's about it. Yes, somethings are real (I actually did work for a perpetually hungover manager that would send me texts meant for his girlfriend and get mad at me for no reason), but again, the biggest relation I have to my characters is that they came out of my brain.

I suppose I really don't need to explain all of this to you, with you being the smart people I know you are. But my brain gets all stupid and panicky about this sort of thing. I guess that's the curse of being a writer that knows people.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

{ 34 } The Words! They are a Killin' Me!

I just realize a swear a lot in my writing...

Sorry if you got offended at the words in my last post. I forget that not everyone lives in my brain. No matter: words are words, right?

Sticks and stones
May break my bones,
But words can never hurt me.

Sheesh: if people are breaking your bones, via sticks, stones, or whatever, you have much bigger problems than my swearing!


In the last post, I gave you an excerpt from one of two things I'm working on. Well, today I have for you a synopsis of Thing Number Two!

Imagine it as the back-flap of the paperback, inner-flap if you're old school hardbound.

It's so pulpy! Read it out loud in your best movie-over voice. There's more to read post-flap, so continue on.



 He had nothing to lose...
Until he lost the child he didn't know.

Errol Bixby is on a mission to find his daughter and stop the violent career criminal that has married Bixby's ex-wife.

Following a dark path of lust, deceit, murder, and coverup, Bixby's journey will take him from Texas, to Colorado, to the very heart of America.

On a nonstop quest to find out what happened to his own daughter, and the daughters of many others, Bixby will stop at nothing to uncover the truth.

Even if he dies trying.


So, for my feedback:
~ Can you image this story?
~ Where do you think this story is going? Where do you think it has been?
~ Can you imagine the story and rewrite the flap?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

{ 33 } Undertaking

So, for those of you unawares, I took two weeks off from my job to write. What am I writing, you ask?

Whatever falls out of my fingers.

I've got two major works in the process. Here is an unedited excerpt from one of them. I can almost promise it will take a different form on the printed page, but here it is for now. Enjoy.


I once was a cook at a breakfast place where I had been the only female in the kitchen. Ever. The manager would constantly get drunk and confuse me with his on-again, off-again girlfriend.

YOU NEVER LOVED ME!” he'd shout from his text.

Um, yeah. But I filled all the sauce bottles.”

SAUCE! You FUCKED Pete for fucks!”

You realize you're not texting Abby right now, right?”

You CUNTS are all the same!”

When I'd ask him about it the next morning, he'd deny, deny, deny. And then meticulously scrutinize the things he thought I had left undone.

You didn't cut onions.”

I left a note saying we were out of onions.”

Well, you didn't fill the salt shakers.”

The shakers were in the dish...”

The note you left was long and stupid! Why the fuck did I ever hire a girl to work here!” And off he would stomp, content in his hungover brain that me, the dedicated employee, and Abby, the girl that done him wrong, were one and the same. Fucking cunts.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

{ 32 } The Truth Is Never Pretty

Hey there, Super Fans!

I've got a new find for you. I guess it's really not a "find" since I never lost it, but I have had it tucked away for a decade. It's another one of my "This Happened to Me" pieces, like "Billy."

A few distinct key differences: where "Billy" was raw and real and my soul laid bare, this piece is slightly more... embellished. For example, the main "me" character is way more shallow than I have ever been.

Next, "Billy" has an ending, a very concrete ending. This story ends with an adverb: "then." Why, you ask? Not entirely sure. Maybe it was due to laziness, maybe that I was all I had to say, or maybe because it's a story that doesn't end. Maybe it's still being written.

Also, in "Billy," the antagonist is dead and had been for awhile when I wrote it. In this piece, the antagonist is very much still alive. And that's why I waited to publish this piece. I wanted him to read it before I let all of you, because it's not exactly flattering. So, it only took a decade (original creation date is September 2005!), but he finally read it and I got the green light.

A quick bit of backstory: when I wrote this piece, I was surfacing back from one of the biggest meltdowns of my life. If you've ever seen me meltdown, you know that's saying a lot. There was so much hurt and anger and sadness and confusion going on, none of which was made better by the free-flowing alcohol and severe lack of responsibility. It took years and years for some of the hurt to heal. But it finally did, like it always does. I'm just glad (most) of us lived through it.

Enough of that. On with the show.



Enter, page one, our first character: Sam Dumpy Mousekiwitz. From henceforth he shall be referred to as “Sam,” “Dumpy,” “Dumpy Mousekiwitz,” or “Mr. Mousekiwitz,” but never again as the name in full. Here is the last time you will see it in print in its entirety, so take in its full magnitude and remember it well: Sam Dumpy Mousekiwitz.

Of course, this was not the same Sam I had fallen in love with a year before. No, that was Sam the REAL ROCK STAR, self proclaimed. Never mind the fact that he could barely play guitar and sung no better than a sty full of sow. He did, however, possess that certain je ne sas quoi that only rock stars have, including the abilities to do copious amounts of drugs, drink like a fish, and throw temper-tantrums at the mere thought of not getting what they want.

I had initially fallen in love with him, as stated a year before, as a way to give in to my rebellious urges. Sam was the king of Robert Smith hair, a self-perpetuating alcoholic, and hotter than the ever-blazing fires of Hell. I wanted him bad, but alas, I was spoken for and he was only nineteen.
Regardless, he eventually aged and I eventually singled and, after a painful lust year, I finally acquired my prize.

In the beginning it seemed ideal: me, a punk rock princes with my gorgeous trophy rock star on my arm; him, a slobbering drunken mess with a fabulous older woman there to clean up after him. It was a match made in Hell and I relished every hardcore minute of it.

We spent the vast majority of our time together drunk and on his couch, surrounded by a never ending parade of other drunks. Sam still wasn't old enough to patronize the local bars, but I was more than happy to float through the days on our blurry oasis. The closeness of our persons and the constant state of intoxication, however, were beginning to cloud my judgment and make me overlook certain unavoidable, damaging traits that Sam was beginning to acquire.

For example, the sexy army pants he most commonly wore had been replaced by a heinous pair of orange (orange!) slacks from J. Crew (J. Crew!). What was happening?

Sam also had a black leather punk jacket, meticulously adorned with pins, paint, and patches. The delicious leather jacket was one of the things that helped define Sam as a rock star. Every shiny bit of metal that graced its surface was actually a medal, a badge proving he was worthy of stomping around town, throwing up on sidewalks, and screaming his particular brand of “music” into microphones. The jacket may have been a typical and traditional uniform, but it was also one of the very reasons I had initially been attracted to him, as ridiculous and petty as it may seem in hindsight. What can I say: I like shiny things.

However, more and more recently, the jacket was shoved to the back of the closet in favor of a disgusting red and black striped knit sweater, frayed at all edges from the constant picking, twisting, and tearing that Sam's busy hands would subject it to. It was hideous.

The change in clothing was nothing compared to the physical changes Sam was going through. His passion for drugs had waned and every night without an illicit substance coursing through his body became another inch around his waist. I didn't know it at the time, even though it is abundantly clear now, that this sickening, fat, terribly dressed thing I was dating was no longer Sam, but Dumpy Mousekiwitz.

Dumpy was Sam's alter ego. Or perhaps Dumpy was the dominate one. No matter: I did not like what I was seeing, and it was completely unacceptable for a woman of superior quality, me, to be dating this repulsive creature.

I had learned early on that the best way to improve my own social status was to date the best of the best: the ceaselessly attractive, the hardest partier, the most well-known. I am a social creature and defined by the societies I am surrounded by. It was a dog-eat-dog world and if I couldn't be the top of the food chain then I had no business eating. This was why Dumpy was so damaging to my reputation. I simply could not be seen with a sloppily dressed blob masquerading as a human.

Let's zoom back to page one for a moment, when you, the reader, first met Dumpy Mousekiwitz. Let me set up the scenario for you: I was sitting on the trashy couch in the trashy house Dumpy called home. The room was always in a perpetual state of disarray because of the copious amount of liquored-up children that were always crammed in between the walls. This is not a complaint, because I was a constant fixture in the room also. This was the place to come to see people and to be seen.

When Dumpy entered the room, everyone gave him an affectionate smile. I say affectionate, but I really knew they were more pity smiles. The others saw that the change had happened, too.

I hadn't seen Dumpy for a quarter of an hour or so. I figured he had probably been off telling the latest round of revolving-door roommates how happy he was to have them living on his couch. He stood in front of me and declared that we needed to take a shower because he was “all dried out”.
Dried out? He looked like he was retaining enough water to put out a forest fire, if squeezed the proper way. Plus, the very last thing I wanted to do was leave the party to, of all thing, take a shower.



Thursday, February 19, 2015

{ 31 } I Suck at Life

Two posts? In the same month? How is this even a thing?

Well, I'll tell you: I had way, WAY too much fun last night hanging out with people I've known forever, people I've met once, and people I've never met before. I mean, Wednesdays are usually fun in general, but every once in awhile, a Wednesday comes along that is super fun. Last night was one of those Wednesdays.

But I'm here to tell you about how awesome I am at having fun. No, I'm here to tell you how much I suck at life.

Since last night was so much fun (did I mention that?), I am a complete pile of uselessness today. I decided to at least pretend to be productive by doing something that requires very little movement. Hence, a new blog post. Aren't you lucky?

I actually went back and re-read every post on here, something I don't usually do. It depresses me how little progress I've made on my writing since I started this blog almost 7 years ago. Sheesh.

I promised to win 2009, have something published before 2010, and at least finish one damn writing project I started. None of those things happened. That makes me sad.

Let me tell you about my writing process. This is how the vast majority of my projects get started. I'll be driving down the road or trying to fall asleep or doing some other mindless task when, all of a sudden, BOOM! I'll get an amazing sentence in my head. I'll stop what I'm doing, jot down the sentence, and go back to my original activity (yes, it does get a little scary in the car). Then when I have real, actual time, I'll spin that one little sentence in to 10,000 or more words. This is how SSIBWO got started. This is how my YA book got started. It's not how HOS got started; that began with an image in my head, but same concept.

Do you how frustrating it is to have to wait for your brain to go all lolly-gaga before you can write? Not to mention if I don't have any paper. That actually happened the other night. I got the sentence, came up with character names and subplots, somehow managed to write the whole book in my head, even decided who was going to play whom in the movie adaptation, and I neglected to write anything down because I'm an idiot. Within the span of 30 minutes, I couldn't even remember the main character's name. Good work.

But here's the thing: if I could just remember that one damn sentence, I'm sure I would get the whole thing back. But I can't remember it. I know it was a semi-common phrase that would make my main character sound like a hippie if you added the word "man" to the end. Not helpful.

I do, however, have a plan.

As I have mentioned, I've been reading books like a crazy person, two to three at a time. I'm weird, I know. Anyway, most of the books have been amazing, but one I read was meh. It had an okay plot, but it lacked any distinct style or voice. I could have been written by a robot. For all I know, it was. No, I will not tell you who actually wrote it, because I don't feel that she's a bad writer, just an uninspired one. As we all know, there's only one writer I dislike enough to talk shit about (hint: she's the only one that has her own tag on the right).

Anyway, I decided to do what any writer would do when faced with the same situation: rewrite the book. Hack move? You betcha! Do I care? No. No I do not.

I'm not going to promise you I'll finish it, because we all know how shitty I am at keeping writing promises. But just know it's a thing I'm doing. I might not ever mention it again or I might actually complete it. That would be weird.

Until next time!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

{ 30 } Updating Stuff

Not very exciting, I know.

Other than changing the background, the only other real change is the "tag cloud." See it over there on the right? Now you can view all post on a topic.

The one I think you'll like the most is "SHORT/LONG/OTHERWISE": clicking that will show you all the posts in which I've actually written something, rather than just blabbing away about whatever is going on in my tortured artist's soul.

Coming soon, I plan to add the full text of the article I wrote awhile back for Rooster magazine. I just have to find the damn thing. This is a constant problem for me.

As of late, I've been reading way too much. Like, uncomfortable levels of reading. Like, reading so much, it's a good thing I don't have friends because they might feel I've chosen books over them. And I'm not talking audio books either; since the beginning of the year, I've read six full books and I'm in the middle of two more. That's more than most people read in a year. And I've done it in under six weeks, on top of working full time, and, you know, living. Sheesh.

Also, as I pondered doing awhile back, I'm going to make audio recordings of all the stories and whatnot that are here. It's going to be a process, but it might be fun to read aloud the stuff I've written. Or maybe it will be just another laborious task that I start, which I hadn't, and never finish. Time will tell.

Finally, as I teased over on my Geeks Who Drink blog (the one I'm contractually obligated to write every week, recapping my misadventures in quizzing over at the Trail Head Tavern), I'm starting a new project. Another one. 'Cause, you know, I don't have enough partially finished projects to work on. So, keep an eye out for that.

I'm going to try and stop being so creatively lazy. No promises.