Google+ Followers

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

More Weirdness, and Strange Thoughts

So it has been a few days, and I wonder if there's been any progress. I rather doubt it, but for my own peace of mind I have to put some new things out there.


Part of my decision making process has been to consider just what needs to change.  When you recover from illness of any kind, doctors generally say that the repair of the body is the first thing that needs to be done.  The mind can wait, because it will follow after that.


I remember that very much being the case when I was in my car wreck in '94.  I had a long physical recovery, which did not get any assist from the other illness that followed it.  Mentally, I was not myself for probably two years.  I was there, but not always there.


That was then.  Physically, not much has to change right now.  So I can safely go to the mind, and figure out what needs to be done.


I knew that certain associations had to be cut.  One of the most difficult is my coven; as I have formally informed my leader, I believe it is okay to say so now:  I am leaving my coven, once we can prepare for the parting, and the other matters I must take care of in order to make a right exit.


Protocols are different in any group, but you don't just say, "That's it, I quit!" on something like this.  Certain others have done that, and it's bad form, along with whatever karmic madness that is likely to follow you.


That is a difficult decision, but it's one that I put off for two years.  Most of you are aware of the "relationship" that existed between the leader and myself.  We both thought that was in the past, but apparently it was not.  There to me is still an invisible link, if you will.


Also, that part of my life, while good, educational and inspiring, has come to an end.  I can give no more, and it can give me no more.  I have learned all that's learnable there.


I have to take in hand my own plans for my development and resumption of growth.  What I am does not change, only it will go forward.  I have to look into some other areas, too.


A lot of things are going to change; as I've warned, if people don't see me it's not because I'm avoiding them.  It's not because I no longer like them, or anything silly like that.  I just have to go this way, or else I'll go mad.  Or perhaps, madder than I naturally am.


Alice gave me some ideas...she lent me a pair of interesting books...it's funny how I used to read voraciously, then I stopped.  My attempts to read books that I thought were useful to me, I could not.  They would morph as I read into these repetitive, twisted plays on words that stopped making sense about halfway through.  What good is that?


When I began to write the Sweet Dreams Series in 2007, I didn't read much at all.  I was too busy creating my own universe to worry; but it is true, you really do need to read other writers' work, because you can learn a great deal.


Still, haven't read much, but now and again I would find things that did interest me, from either the storyline or the standpoint that I could understand that person's writing style.


Among them is Larry McMurtry, who of course wrote "Lonesome Dove" and "The Last Picture Show."  His style is very different, very short sentences, paragraphs, etc.  It's his unique way.  "Picture Show" was the book that pretty much made his career, and his recent "Rhino Ranch" ended the four-book series of that subject.  Great stuff.


It was no surprise that I'd become a fan of his son, James before all this.  James is a brilliant musician and songwriter, with some incredibly gritty, humorous and well-written songs.  I would recommend his "Live in Europe" recording which recently came out, or "Just Us Kids."  If you can find his 1990 recording, "Too Long in the Wasteland," that's also great.


So anyway...a lot of my spiritual readings tend to disappear into that aforementioned whatever...I just lose the plot.  Were they writing to fill up the book or what?


Alice did lend me a book by Osho, about relationships, which helped her back when she needed it.  I have a deck of cards by this man, which always make you think and refocus a little.  You're supposed to use one card a week, read it, think about it.


His opinions on religion will shock and anger a lot of people, but the idea is to get beyond the things that keep us unhappy, in place, and fucked up.  It's a slow, thoughtful read.


Easier was a short book of meditations by Tony DeMello...these are things I kind of know about, but a refocus comes through them.


I found one of my own...Jidda Krishnamurti wrote one called "Where Can Peace Be Found?"  This one is quite good.  I would recommend this to anyone; peace has to start with us, and we cannot rely on a church or a gov't to do this.  We can't even rely on our friends or family...it starts with us.


I think all of this is telling me, that I do again have to take a stronger hand than I have before in finding my own form of peace.  There are, as I've said times when I have it, and times when I don't.




Then there's this...I have never fully understood them, but Krishna Das brought these prayers and chants to the world.  One of these formed the basis of an Ahltyrra song, "All One."


The one you hear is becoming part of a new song.  I found myself chanting this one while driving the other day, and the calming atmosphere that arrives is a needed thing.


So there's more Buddhist stuff to be found here...a lot of the mindfulness, the grounding and centering required in Paganism, and these other things.  Basically, quieting myself before I can go anywhere else.


###


That said, I did another edit of SDS-2, aka "Call it Love."  Needed it; I'm starting to find my writing style in another direction, and I think the first two books of the series are finally on the track required.  All good.


Other than that, need to get my head together further...not always easy, and I have a feeling I'm going to be in the wilderness for a bit.  Whatever; needs to be done.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Bloodletting

I'll bet that got your attention, didn't it?  ;-)


Well, I am not sure how much of this I should even blog about, but we are all rather public individuals now, aren't we?  I also write this to let my friends know everything's cool, and not to worry about me.


Alice let me go yesterday...you can say dropped me, dumped me, broke up with me, whatever.  That's not really the case.  She has let me go because she has seen enough of me to know that I am not the right person in her life at this time, for that.


Not so much anything I've done, for we are good friends, and that does not change.  But she is the first person to either have the insight (or the balls) to say what needed to be said to me.


No one, save one unnamed person a long fucking time ago has ever really told me what I needed to know.  It is not that I'm a bad, terrible, awful person, no.  I just have "things" that need to be dealt with.


I have been well aware for nearly two years that things in my life have to change, but I have not approached them very well, not because of fear, but because I didn't even know how to begin.


Some of these are personal matters, and even I am not going to put them out here, though I may explain them later.


The feeling I have had for nearly two years is that I have become fed up with a lot of circumstances, and I am the one that must change them.  I'm not getting anywhere.  My growth has stopped.


This is not good; I know for example that the mindfulness that I have tried to live my life by is like a camera shutter:  it clicks on and off.  I don't even know it's happening.


Alice has seen between the clicks.  She also has been where I am now; she knows she can't stop what's happening to me, I have to.  


So anyway...we had this very long talk yesterday, and I know how much it hurt Alice to do it, but she had to, for her own sake. She did give me some of the tools to at least figure out where I'm going.


I'm sure...right now, someone reading this is thinking, "OMG, who is this woman that's fucking with his head?"  


That is not happening.  I'm making the decisions.  There is no guarantee that Alice and I will ever be anything more than friends, and I'm not eyeing any prize, either.  I'm eyeing what I have to do.


So yeah...on my way home, having zero sleep because I was at work at 3 am before all this...what do I do?  When you go through these things, you have all kinds of interesting and strange shit running through your brain.  All the fun emotions:  anger, depression, sadness, fear, relief even.


Well, I have strange ways of dealing with things, and I suppose I allowed my brain to take a break from it by just, as Alice said, "being good to myself" a little.


I went shopping.  Haha!  Funny, isn't it?  Actually, I did need to get some new clothes for work anyway, so that served a purpose.  I'm not a terribly frivolous person (though anyone who has seen my CD and guitar collections would say otherwise).  There was other errands to run, so I detached my brain a little from the furor to get shit done.


I also cleaned...cleaning is a good way to burn a lot of excess energy, and I needed to do it (again, if you've been to my house, you'd say that too).


The Dresden Dolls "Yes, Virginia" CD is quite a lovely soundtrack, at 11.  Go listen on Youtube if you don't know them. You will either be amused or deeply offended.


Also dug out a ton of shit in my house that needed to go...always good to clean things out.  


So that being said, there are a lot of other things I need to do.  It doesn't mean stop anything I enjoy doing or any of that...I just need to get my head together, and get rid of some things.


So yes...stuff needs to change, and it's me, mostly.  None of this is the end of my life, but I also need to move forward.  Not my writing, not my music, not anything outside of me.  It's just me.


If you don't see me or hear from me, it's not that I'm being anti-social or telling you all off, hardly that.  Just doing what I have to.


This is not your classic, "OMG, she left me and I feel like shit and I'm going to kill the bitch and I'm going to drink myself into oblivion and I'm gonna die..............whaaaaaaaa..."


FUCK NO.


I hate that shit.  That's in the movies.


Stop living like your life is one, for fuck's sake.  


Anyway...time to move on...thanks for reading, hahaha...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Saturday, Saturday, SaSaSaSa Saturday...

Yes, time for an Elton John crackback...I am in the most unusual position on a weekend.  I actually have the day off.  


The coven was supposed to perform a public ritual today, but due to scheduling, we can't.  And I work Sunday, so what choice have I but to opt out?  Too bad, because we've not done anything like this in years.


The last few days have been pretty hard.  Work was the easy part, two Senators games; I've spent the better part of the past three days whipping SDS-1 into shape again.


My writing style has changed a lot since I started this series nearly four years ago.  Since the Sweet Dreams Series was created, I've written a great deal more, and as I say, my style has evolved.


The book needed help again; I had to make a lot of changes, and take under scrutiny the advice of many to make this thing a whole lot better.  And it is better.


So that madness is done...while thinking of it, I have to have another bash at the series, because I know there is a lot missing, and a lot more needs to be done there.


First...I probably should finish the edit of "Silk Road Days."  Some have asked what that is...well, it's gonna sound almost stereotypical, but it's set in Japan (yes, I know), and takes place largely at an exclusive private high school, Silk Road Academy.


My thoughts immediately went to the "Ouran High School Host Club," which I've seen bits of, and my anime dork ~URRR!~ enthusiast friend Lex likes.  But there's no crossdressing in my book.


Not yet, anyway.


The plot revolves around a young woman who is an alumnus, and returns from university to take a teaching job.  It becomes clear that Keiko Miyazaki has some kinks about her, and we learn why she is as she is.


As Keiko reintegrates to the school, she views the differences, as the curmudgeonly old Founder has passed on, and his son has taken over.  Things are a little bit different now, thanks to him, and we soon find that some of the teachers are nearly as crazy as the students!


When you put a ton of smart kids in a boarding school, they're still gonna be kids.  Keiko also is a Floor Leader (at St. Joe's they were called Residence Advisors, or RA's)...so she also has to keep an eye on 13 twisted girls!


These include the foreign musician, the Goth, the loud girl, the extremely quiet girl, the book-smart, blorange-haired space cadet and the mysterious one who lives right across the hall from Keiko.  Then there's the charismatic boy, his jock roommate, and the deranged faculty to contend with, including a hook-wearing Frenchman, a persnickety old German lady and Zen Masterish professor who just lets everything roll by like it didn't happen.


We also learn another reason Keiko has returned, and we wonder just what is going on...


...anyway, that's it so far.  Just having fun with it.


Now...does that interest you...too much like the other stuff?  Working on it, believe me.


###


Last night, Dan made it over, but we spent nearly an hour trapped in a parking lot!


Someone at the West Manchester Township Highway Department I'm sure has gotten more than an earful about that horrible job of traffic management on Carlisle Road yesterday!


Dan live in the city, and we took Carlisle out toward 30, which is a straight shot to my house.  We did not know what they were up to...


First:  they depress Carlisle in our direction to one lane.  Okay...we saw a long line of traffic.  Dan suggests we try to do an end-run through the Lowe's parking lot...well, us and about 200 other vehicles had the same idea.


Would have worked, but for the closure of EVERY exit in the parking lot!  But for the one by the traffic lights!


Gridlock in a parking lot!  We proceeded to not move for a long time...pretty bad...bad job, townies!


So:  we did finally go back the way we came and got to the house.  The patience paid off, for we had a good work out on some new stuff.


We did some old stuff to warm up, then tackled a new song I've written, "Denied."  Folk-type of thing, and the music came fast.  Really good; has something special to it.


Now, I'm mentioning "SRD" again, because of a song I wrote for the story.  Dan liked that one, too, and Katie needs to sing it.  Actually, it needs piano and a female voice, because that's what that character does.  I'm sure she can handle it well.


So, I'm back at the Office and wondering whatever to do with myself.  Well, I have work to do, and I also have to consider errands, bleah.


What else, no idea...very strange to not have a plan today.  We'll see what happens...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Da Bruins, Radio Coverage, Writing and Stuff

Well, congrats to the Boston Bruins are in order...they pulled out Game 7 in fine fashion last night, beating Vancouver on their home ice, 4-0.


As a native New Englander, I well remember the last time the Bruins won the cup, in 1972.  I was only about six years old at the time, and being the dumb kid I was, I wanted the Rangers to win.  No idea why.


I was producing the Senators' win over the Thunder on the Ticket last night, but I made it to my car by early in the third period.  It was already a done deal; the Canucks just could not get back into the game.


I tuned to Home Ice, the hockey channel on Sirius/XM.  Now in playoff sports, S/XM takes the home radio feed, so I got to hear the Vancouver broadcast team handling the call.  To my surprise they were playing it straight.  No real homerism, they called the game right, fairly and professionally.  Something that is lost on NESN and quite a few American commentators.


The only crack came after the empty-net goal...the color guy said, "That sucks."  And I'm sure it did.  The guys appealed for calm, as they were watching a CTV raw feed from the city...does Vancouver have professional rioters living there?  It's clear to me those people were out to start trouble, and were not real hockey fans.


Either way, I'm glad the Bruins won it, a long time coming, and happy for Tim Thomas, the University of Vermont product...yay, Catamounts!


I went to UVM for about two months one summer, that's my only connection.


That said...another day of editing SDS-1...it's getting much better.  My friend Riz and I had a brief talk about the recent feelings thrown down by a publisher...they have good points, but the readability is still there.  Riz of course would tell me if it wasn't...she pulls no punches.


Another game tonight at the Ticket, and I hope I can keep up a good level of concentration on the edit.  This needs to be finished and soon.


"Five Fifty-One," track from Bruce Cockburn's new CD on my Walkman...nice...trying to keep it together here...much to do.


So yeah...B's fans rejoice, Canucks fans clean up their city and I have to get on with life.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Yes, I Have Been Here Before...

Well, fellow writers and others who are still trying to make your way, trying to find a job, etc., I think you will get where I am coming from.

When I started searching for an agent and/or a publisher in early 2009 (actually sent out my first query on Xmas, 2008), I was prepared for the R word...REJECTION.

I've had plenty of it...a long time back, I realized that finding one of these was like finding work.  There's legwork, searching, emailing, crafting the killer query letter, then doing it again and again ad nauseum...there are a lot of people all too ready to say no, but often it is done with good reason.

I have probably some 250 rejection letters, notes, emails, etc., and I expect I will have more.  The most recent came yesterday; a certain publisher my agent was working with came back with a shoot-down, but I must thank them for taking the time to consider what I've been working on and to offer constructive criticism.

I did not get the Simon Cowell response, thankfully.  No, I got some things I already knew about, and a bit more.

Armed with it, I am going back to work on Sweet Dreams:  Searching for Roy Buchanan.  Rewrite time, yet again!

After a few months of not even looking at the manuscript, I now realize there's, as my friend Alice says, "fresh eyes" for it.  

So far, much of what I've done is tighten things up, wordwise, and other related stuff.  I have more to do to push the story along...it meanders at times, not good.

I worked through seven chapters last night, and was up til 2 am.  Thankfully, I don't work today...well, not work that makes me money (yet).

Part of you feels a bit down when this happens, but let me give you a bit of advice:  as someone who has spent years dealing with rejection from everyone and everything in life (we all have, you know), you need to keep moving forward.

I again am facing this sucker head on, and I am going to make this series better.  To borrow an old friend and colleague's phrase, "that's it, that's all."

I refuse to be defeated.

I have not come all this way in four years, to write all that I have to have someone tell me it isn't good enough.  If not yet, it will be.

That being said...I'm also trying to finish the first edit of "Silk Road Days."  That one needs work, I know...but right now I have to get back to the first one, the one that started this wild ride of mine.

Remember it's okay to listen to critics, you just have to know who is telling you the truth and who is giving you shit.  You can tell.

That said, I'm off to Chapter 8 and beyond...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Racing Rain House Show in Towson (and possibly other things)...

Okay, I've crawled from the wreckage once again, and it's not even noon...fairly good progress I'd say. 

Dan and I were in Towson last night for the Racing Rain CD release party/house show.  I'll attempt to put on my concert critic's hat once again, and give you insight on all this.

Now as I've said here in the past, Carmen Yates is an old friend of mine since 1996, when he was in the Wicomicos.  After years of working behind the board, producing music for TV shows, commercials, etc., he returned to music with a four-piece lineup.  Sorry to say I didn't really get to talk to the other guys, but I will explain where my impressions come from.

So anyway, Dan and I roll up to the place in Towson, which is a pretty neat college town; always liked it there.  We are eventually led to a lovely home (no idea who owns it, sorry), and we fell in with about 40 or 50 folks of some means...I felt very out of place (and I am that way around people I have never met before) but everybody was really nice.

Got to meet Carmen's lovely sister, nice lady, and Dan worked the room.  He's quite good at that.  I leave him to it.

The setup was in the living room (so reminding me of the Ahltyrra house show in Beth & Chip's basement, but this was a much nicer room, haha!)...so eventually away they went.

Thor is the name of Carmen's studio partner...he played bass primarily and keyboards for a couple of songs, as well as added affects.  Drummer was quite proficient, and the guitarist had some serious licks and pulled some interest effects out of his axe.  He also sat down--glad to know there's one other guitarist who sits down, besides me.  We're gettin' old, y'know...

Carmen is back to his old self...he becomes a very different person onstage...he moves about a lot, and is able to let himself go without losing where he is.  His voice, damn, it has not changed...

Songs...nearly all were from the new album, and they got very good reactions.  New dimensions from Carmen's songwriting...the lyrics always have been thoughtful, and as I said to Dan later, there's definite songcraft going on.  That's not a bad thing.

I was happy to hear two old Wicomicos' tunes, "Stunned" and "By and By."  Glad some of those songs made the cut.

Carmen was quite happy to see me, and he looked well, back to himself, and for that I'm thankful.  We both came away pretty damned impressed.

There will be some shows in the future, and I aim to get more people out to them.  This is how things are supposed to work...and it does work well.

So quite a good night of music...I think we go to other people's shows to be entertained, but also re-inspired.  My hope is that is happening for me once again.

###

My songwriting has not been much of late, but that's normal.  Add to it when you consider I have been working myself into a state of madness on "Silk Road Days."

The edit continues there, and I'm not sure when that's going to be done.  Rewrites are needed, and of course, I'm being patient about every other thing that goes along with this.

Sunday...urg.  Must get back to work this afternoon at WITF, for the KYW thing.  And whatever else...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Busy Week, and Racing Rain Tonight...

This is going to kind of be a composite blog of numerous odd things, so you will have to navigate through a lot of strange stuff.  At least strange if you don't know me that well...heh.

The big news from Japan this week has been the scandal unfolding from an attack and subsequent hospitalization of wrestler Nobukazu Hirai, aka Super Hate in All Japan Pro Wrestling.

This link has a fair amount of information, and discussion between the two principals involved in bringing this story out:

http://www.puroresuspirit.com/2011/06/03/nobukazu-hirai-hospitalized-and-following-information/

The basic points are, Hirai was hospitalized before he was attacked by fellow Voodoo Murders member Taru...he took a shot to the head, was hospitalized, then continued to wrestle on that tour.

The good news is that Hirai is being moved out of ICU, but there is no idea what his prognosis is going to be. 

http://www.cagesideseats.com/2011/6/5/2208226/nobukazu-hirais-brain-bleeding-another-lesson-in-the-dangers-of-head

This article shows the underside of the business...if you thought WWE was bad, this shows how things in Japan are done at times.  The whole thing is a scandal that will damage All Japan, an organization that has existed since 1972 and is one of the big three of puro organizations.

Almost two years to the day of the in-ring death of Mitsuharu Misawa, and we have this. 

You wonder probably why I'm blogging about this...my interest in Japan goes into a number of areas, and my interest in pro wrestling as a kid seems to go hand in hand.

I think American pro wrestling, apart from Ring of Honor, is garbage.  It's not wrestling, it's a show for primarily roided-up creatures, most of whom have little wrestling background or ability. 

In Japan there are varying amounts of entertainment, yes.  New Japan Pro Wrestling, formed the same year as All Japan is more about the in-ring competition, but there is the entertainment factor, too.  I appreciate the athletic and technical aspects more than anything, and the fact these guys (and women in the Joshi promotions) put their fucking bodies on the line more than anyone else.

Watch any New Japan or NOAH stuff on Youtube, and you'll see what I mean.  What happened to Hirai is not surprising, but the fact he was permitted to keep on wrestling when he was already injured is suspicious.  This is irregardless of what Taru did to him, but that in itself leads me to think criminal charges should be coming down on the guy.  Whatever his reasons or motives (and he may have had legit reason to be angry with Hirai), you don't do that.

Again, it goes to my interest in Japan...I had stopped watching and reading about pro wrestling years ago.  I just got sick of it; the pretense was gone, and it was just stupid.

I had never seen much from Japan, but I knew it was a different mindset.  You can be the most hated wrestler in America, but if you go to Japan and show you can wrestle and give a good match, they'll love you.

From documentary vids, I began to notice the nuances of Japanese society.  I saw how people interacted with one another, how they spoke, approached one another and showed respect for one another.  Very interesting to me, and I was fascinated by that.  It helped form my storylines for the Sweet Dreams Series, and other writings.

###

Now about that:  I'm into the first edit of Part 2 of "Silk Road Days."  It's going smoothly, but it is almost too smooth.  I tend to think my mind wandered somewhere, and I'll have to keep editing until I hit on the areas that need to be fully examined.

###

A short day at work.  Tonight, Dan and I head to Towson to see my old friend Carmen Yates and his new band, Racing Rain perform a house show.  The new CD dropped yesterday:


That is tonight!

Carmen is a former member of the Wicomicos, a group that my ex Kaitryth and I became big fans and friends of.  Haven't seen Carmen in over a decade, and I am thrilled he is out from behind the board and making music again. 

I'll have a full report later...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"Sometimes the B'ar Eats You..."

I realize the "Big Lebowski" cracks are going to come for a while now.  

I have managed to awaken myself, and the non-alcohol-induced hangover is lifting.  My favored power shake (see the link), and lots of caffeine are working...

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150155359130787&set=a.21245495786.30322.552340786&type=1&theater

...more problems with the Nexgen system at the Ticket, but other than that disastrous start, the two games went okay, and the Senators won them both.  Goodness, but AA ball is pretty bad, pitching wise.  I've played Little League games where the hurlers had more control!


One dude for the Binghamton Mets literally threw his first pitch 40 FEET away from the plate and nearly hit the guy in the on-deck circle...guess that's a ball.


I remember my first year playing ball, and came to bat against a kid with zero control.  His first pitch sailed on him, and went a good 15 feet over my head.  That was a bit different.  I thought he was trying out his knuckleball.


I was able to finally start the editing of "Silk Road Days."  I do believe this 600 pages of whatever will need to be broken up into three parts.  The first one is fairly easy, I just have to figure out where to make the break.


These can't really be separate books, because all three parts are connected reasonably well.  So much more to deal with there...


Also dropped $200 on my car yesterday, but it was either that or blow a key component of the vehicle.  Well worth it, because at 216,000+ miles, the Silver Saturn is still rocking along damned well.  I do however have to go to the dealership to get the transmission seals fixed.  Joy.


You know, on the running gun battle that's been happening between my friend Riz and her old high school friend Michael...ei yi yi...I think everyone involved in that debate on Facebook, re:  the Wall St. Journal and the YA whining...you know, we just blew so much energy warring.


I fell into it, because I do feel without trying to sound terribly defensive, that I must stand up for the artist in me, and in others.  As I said, the first duty is to the artist, again semi-quoting Zappa.  What do the readers, the market and the others bear beyond the reading and buying, I don't know.


You know, I think we all agree that parents (of which I am not one) have a hard time finding stuff for their kids to read, but kids do have a say in what is and is not.  What is popular is one thing, what is good is in the mind of the reader.  One person's trash is another person's great work.


I think Bret Easton Ellis for example is a sick, pretentious fuck, but so many people think "American Psycho" is one of the greatest books ever written.  Matter of opinion.


For those who have read early drafts of my first book in the Sweet Dreams Series, they range from brilliant to, "I tried to read the first 15 pages, and I just didn't get it."


My friend Ron was quite serious, but he was trying to nice.  That's cool; I appreciate the feedback, good, bad or whatever.


Alice had an interesting thought on the opening scene:  "It reads like an Associated Press report."


Uh-oh.


My journalism training and experience...this is not good.


Add to it, my old and dear friend Sara once said the same thing about an old story I'd written.  More of a reporter's view.


Hmmm...need to get back into the shoes of the person more...


It is interesting, isn't it?  Some people can write terrible prose, and yet it is called the most amazing stuff on Earth.  James Joyce is patently unreadable to me; I tried in high school to read one of his books, I don't even remember what one...the one with Stephen Daedalus in it...it was horrid, and I did not read it.


"Johnny Got His Gun..." I can't remember who wrote it.  Read that in high school, too...horrid prose, no punctuation; but I got the stream of consciousness in the character, so it was kind of, "Okay, I get this."  Depressing story; makes you think about things you don't want to.  Hitler would've ordered that book burned in the 30's, as he did the book by Remarque, "All Quiet on the Western Front."  To me, one of the greatest novels on war and its futility that there will ever be.


Now...a bit more contemporary.  Larry McMurtry's books, and his "He said, She said," style.  Stark, one-line stuff...but it fucking works.


"The Last Picture Show" and "Rhino Ranch" are 45 years apart in release, but they bookend the Duane Moore series.  Both are brilliant, funny, and terribly sad at times.


"Picture Show" in my opinion, should be read by every high school English and Literature class.  If I taught, you would read it, and I would expect some very intelligent and well-thought out reports and discussion, kiddos!


Banana Yoshimoto's "Kitchen" is a book I recently read.  In its simplicity, there is without doubt a beautiful and thought-provoking story.


Now, that all said:  considering that I an writing a series that targets the YA market, you might wonder, "Don't you read any of that?"


First of all:  my agency sees the YA market as the primary target audience, I do not.  These books work for people of all ages.  I don't mind focusing on the YA, but I want people to know it does not matter your age. You will get something I hope from these stories, and my others.


Second:  have I read Harry Potter, or Twilight.


NO.  FUCK NO.


Why?


First of all, I shy away from whatever is popular or trendy; I do not like trends.  Not being a poseur here, I just don't care for what's hot.


I know, Rowling's books are said to be wonderful, and the movies look fantastic, what I have seen of them.  All well and good.


Stephanie Meyer...don't get me started.  Ask Riz, she'll tell you.


I don't hate on Ms. Meyer the way Riz does, but I don't care for poorly-written, sparkly vampire stories.  I care even less for what came after, all the knockoffs, with every publisher signing their version of Meyer's writings.


I don't mean to be arrogant, but you know, every time I was past the Teen section at the Office, and see all the knockoffs, I just say, "I WRITE BETTER THAN THAT SHIT!!!"


And I do.


Not being an asshole, but I know what I put into my stories.  I put a lot of real, and not always entertaining, funny, sun-shiny cracksmoking shit that people expect to have written for them.


This ain't the Hardy Boys, or Nancy Drew, peabrains!  By the way, Joe and Frank were both pansies, y'know...why do you think they never knocked the bottoms of out of Callie and Iola?


Because the girls were lesbians, that's why...;-)


Yeah, I read all the Hardy Boys stuff as a kid, but now I realize how bad formulaic writing can be.  Very dangerous; your creative skills and your soul can be lost.


Journalism does the same thing.  I know what I lost during the years I worked as a reporter and a News Director.  It kills.


Anyway...I don't mean to be pretenious wanker here; I just hope you get what I mean when I tell you that writing may not look like a hard job, but it is mentally, and it can be physically, because the drain you put on yourself can leave you feeling like you just did a workout that would put an MMA fighter's to shame.


I also love what I do.  I love to write, and I love to create a universe that I would like to see, but know that it is not practical.  So I make it as real as I can, with doses of what I feel, I see, I experience and hope to share.


This is what I do.  Get used to it.  And as the Stranger warned, don't let the b'ar eat you...







Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Over, Under, Sideways, Down...When Will it End?

Oh, it's on now!


The re-recorded Yardbirds tune came onto my Walkman just a few minutes ago.  I do feel like I've been taken over, under, sideways and down the past 12 hours.


I had a talk with Alice that lasted about six hours yesterday, then we had a phone convo that lasted more than an hour.  Relationships!  Well, I'm glad we did have it; I am NOT sharing the lurid details, because they ain't nobody's business but our own.  Suffice to say, things needed to be talked about, and it's all good.


Now...my attempts to edit "Silk Road Days" got about two pages, as I was diverted by other things.  Always something.


OK...I have been castigated as a hypocrite!  Can you believe that shit?  Apparently, my good friend Riz, she of the "Letters from the Disgruntled Fringe" blog has caused the hairs inside the butt of a "Christian" to stand up on end, and oh boy is he up in arms!


He's not too happy with me, either.  Yes, I must be a Visigoth in his Catholic eyes; Riz and I, among others are those who have ground the fine principles of fairness, morality and probity under our Pagan Wheels!


Well, ain't that a muthafuckin' bitch?


This all comes from Riz and her posting on Facebook about that Wall Street Journal writer, bitching about YA novels and what pervs us writers are in general.  I wrote about this in yesterday's blog, "The First Duty."


The Catholic fellow was mostly going on Riz, and I will say he might have a couple of pretty good points.  He did however go off on a rant, more than once about Riz's points of view, and on my blog.  


He was right, it did go off into a rant, but that is how I write on the fly.  Add to it, I was focusing on a specific part of society, which really is out of touch with the world about them.


This guy is a little out of it, too, in my own opinion.  This goes back to another of my recent writings about Child Worship and Child Obsession.  He I fear is far too overprotective of his children; far be it from me to say he is a bad parent, because I honestly do not think he is.  He is doing the best he can, with the tools at hand and what he feels is right.  I can't say ill of that.


I just think he's a bit too obsessed with molding his kids in his own image, and not letting them be children, and also not letting them be the human beings they will be.


We try too damned hard to turn our children into images of ourselves; some parents, and I see a lot of 'em here where I live, who have become so obsessed and paranoid that they become a detriment to their own kids' development.


It's not their fault, again with what tools one has to work with.  You have to realize though...people are gonna leave the nest and be what they'll be.  Is it not better to allow your child to open his/her mind and let them think for themselves?


I don't think a lot of parents do that.  They are so obsessed with controlling every aspect of their kids' lives, then they wonder why the kid flunked out of college, or if they did graduate, why they're back home living in the room they grew up in, unable to find a job beyond the third shift at Wal-Mart, or with thousands of dollars in credit card debt (all of these are actual individuals that I know personally)...and the folks wonder why.


Look in the mirror.  You're all trying, yes, but too hard.


Too often I see parents totally living out their dreams through their kids.  They make their kids what they wish they could have been...they make them play sports, make them go to dance classes, shove them into theatre, slam them into youth ministry and church activities.


Because THE PARENTS were failures at one or all of these, and they fantasize that the kid is THEM.  


Hey, if a kid expresses interest and an aptitude for these things, then wonderful.  If you as a parent can help them along and facilitate this, more power to you!  Just remember:  you cannot be Stage Mommy or Daddy...DON'T use your kids, let them be kids.


This all gets back to the fact that a lot of parents are so megalomaniacal that they monitor every second of their children's lives because they fear there's a pervert around every corner that will warp their fragile little eggshell minds.


As I said to that individual, and this is based on my own interactions with my folks:  the sooner you learn that life is hard, not fair, the better a person you will be.


As a kid, it was hard to get it at first, but I did soon after.  No harm, no foul, no one hurt.


We are also constantly trying to find the BAD in everything!  Everything we don't understand...where's the bad, the evil, the negative, the wrong?  Can't see it, it MUST BE THERE SOMEWHERE, WE HAVE TO FIND IT!!!


I suppose we all are too quick to judge, and rip on each other.  Sometimes, I feel I cannot do but hit back, because I have been called so many things when it comes to what I hold dear.  


"I defend your right to (believe in God), but please know that you're wrong!" -- Jim Jeffries


One opinion...me, it makes me laugh.


I don't agree with Jim on that, but my beliefs are not so simple...but, I know Riz's debate partner would probably say I'm wrong, or worse.


We worry too much, folks...waaaaaayyyyy too much.  We worry about everything we see in the media, we attack what we don't like, and in extreme cases, we try to destroy.


We obsess too much about things that don't matter in the grand scheme of things.  We fear the gov't is out to get us; Christians live in fear that non-Christians and Atheists are out to get them; too many people are busy attacking left and right.


We need to get off our high horses, and start thinking a little bit.  I know, that's hard, and rational, logical thinking is difficult for 99% of our nation, but well...


As human beings, we need to GROW UP.


We need to start seeing each other as human beings.  Now, this is gonna blow your brains, but think about it:


1.  CLOTHES DO NOT MAKE THE PERSON.  I don't give a fuck what you wear or don't wear.  I don't fucking care if you wear a suit or blue jeans; I don't care if your kid wears a school uniform or cutoffs and a t-shirt; and I really don't care what anyone wears.


I make jokes about stuff like that all the time...I certainly am not a fashion plate, nor do I care to be.  You must NEVER judge a person by clothes, hair, skin color, tattoos, whatever.


People for years...my family, one of my old bosses, and others have said my image lends people to feel numerous emotions about me:  fear is one of them.  "You scare people," my old friend Bob once said.  Maybe I do, but if you're gonna judge me on my looks, then I'm sorry...I really don't want anything to do with you, if we have never met.


2.  YOUR RELIGION IS YOUR OWN DAMN BUSINESS, AND SHOULD STAY THAT WAY.


I don't have a problem with people having faith.  It's when you misuse it that I get offended.


I am a Buddhist and a Wiccan...the parallels are very much the same, they really are.  But I'm sure some of you will see me as some chanting hippie or a Satanist.  Your loss.


I DO NOT see all Christians for example, as hateful, obsessive individuals who attack others publicly.  I know many Christians who walk the walk and talk the talk as well.  They go by the belief that Jesus walked about in this world in a quiet manner, and did not attack and assault others.  His anger in terms of tossing the moneychangers out of the temple is one thing...an expression of anger, as Thich Nhat Hanh might say, is using it when it is required.


Taking care of Anger...it is an emotion that is a part of us...you must take care of it as you would yourself.  It doesn't mean you can't feel anger, or express it.  Just do not let it explode.


I have to be fair...my car has a Born Again Pagan sticker on it.  Some people ask me what it actually means, and I'm glad to tell them.  So to be fair, I don't care if people have Jesus or other religious stickers on their car.  Your business.


It's when people leave notes on your car about how "wrong" you are, or veiled threats about repenting, that's where I get ripshit.  Also, I despite people who justify hate and worse at people because they are not "just like them."


3.  SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT HOW EVERYONE IS OUT TO GET YOU, PERSONALLY.


25 years ago, I believed things like that.  As you get older, you do indeed mature, and I've seen the world in a different light.  I am stunned to see so many people, normally who would be among the nicest, most interesting and intelligent people I know, suddenly go off the deep end.


The Rapture...Obama is a Muslim...Black Helicopters...WE'RE BEING WATCHED BY THE GOVERNMENT...the Pagans sacrifice children and animals (yep, I've heard that one)...THEY'RE OUT TO GET ME.........


GROW THE FUCK UP!


The government has more important things to do than worry about some damned unemployed sap who's glued to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh 24/7, the soccer mom who's obsessing over their three kids and their theatre/soccer/MMA practice (joking a little), and the religious wingnut who's stocking an underground bunker with three years' supply of canned goods and bottled water (I know one of those, too, yes I do...we were on jury duty together!).


4...(um, where were we?)


Oh yeah...I'm having to laugh right now.  This has been fun to write, because it helps clear my head, and I surely hope you might be able to do that yourself.  


Breathe, peeps...not every YA novel is going to corrupt your kid's mind...DIDN'T YOU WANT THEM TO READ INSTEAD OF PLAYING VIDEO GAMES, DAMMIT?!?


Not everything Lady Gaga says or does will kill you or your children.  Glenn Beck is not going to preside over the end of the world, unless you choose to follow him.  Obama is not sending the Men in Black to your house tonight (unless of course, you publicly threaten him).


Let's stop worrying so much over every little thing.  Let's open our eyes and see the world for what it is...and let's stop fighting over which God is better than the other...Steve Earle wrote, "God is God,"  and really it's all the same.


All things are the same, just as they were in the past, just in different forms.  Stop being so tight-assed and so paranoid.  We're not all gonna die, not yet; none of this is the end of the world.