Archive | June, 2018

It’s All About Perspective

26 Jun

One of the chickens is cackling up a storm right now. They do that after they lay an egg, announce to the world that a new egg has entered the scene, rejoice and be happy!

It’s kind of cute, but at the same time it can be annoying as hell.  This one chicken has been cackling, non-stop, like a record stuck in one groove, for over ten minutes, and she just left “cute” behind and is now in danger of me throwing a rock at her to shut her up.  LOL  They always seem to gain great pleasure from doing their cackling right outside my door when I’m trying to write, and that tests my patience on some days . . . like today!

Some writers are like that.  Hell, a lot of people are like that, cackling about their latest accomplishment.  It’s cute at first but after awhile it is just plain annoying. Especially on social media . . . my good Lord, Facebook is overrun at times with people who fluff up their plumage like peacocks, strutting around showing off their latest colors, crowing about their latest accomplishments, and generally being a nuisance.

My dad used to say that if you have to brag about your accomplishments you really aren’t very confident in who you are.

Of course that opens up a whole new discussion: what is bragging and what is just casual conversation? It’s natural to want to share with friends what you have done.  It’s natural to be proud of writing a new book.  So when do we leave “natural” in the rearview mirror and say hello to annoying boasting?

I know a guy who is clinically-depressed. For him, getting out of bed in the morning is a huge accomplishment, and yet he doesn’t cackle when he does it.

Random musings!

Anyway, the chicken is done cackling now, so all is well in the backyard for the time being.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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Pig Manure by the Square Yard

19 Jun

It’s time for me to mention one of my all-time pet peeves . . .

Since childhood I have heard people say “you can be anything you set your mind on . . . you just have to work hard and be determined.”

What a load of pig manure that is!

It simply is not true!

Give me a couple hours and I can give you literally hundreds of examples which point out the fallacy in that statement, and I really think it is unfair to feed that garbage to people.

I can teach a person how to write the English language.  I can teach them how to write a short story. I can teach them how to write a novel.  But there are some people who will never, and I repeat never, be able to write a best-selling or critically-acclaimed novel.  They just don’t have what it takes, period, end of story!

And that’s all right!  For the love of God, it is all right.  Accepting our limitations is all part of the human experience.  We cannot all be great at all things, and that’s just the real of it. I will never be a great salesman.  My heart just isn’t in it; my introverted personality prevents me time and time again, and I’m fine with that.  Hell, folks, I will never be a great writer, and I’m fine with that.

I mention that because someone recently asked me the best way to get her articles purchased by a magazine.  Now I don’t know much about this lady; her writing is all right, as good as some, not as good as others; she writes food articles, so the field she is trying to break into is a tough and crowded field. I told her to find a unique approach to the food articles, something never done before . . . whether she does it, or can do it, is a question which will be answered, one way or another, in the coming weeks.

But if she fails in reaching her goal, it by no means indicates that she is a failure.  Very few writers actually get published in magazines.  Not all writers “make it,” and to me that is perfectly okay.  Writing should be an endeavor of the heart, first and foremost.  The passion has to be within the writer, and the primary impetus for writing, and the primary goal of writing, should be the actual process of pen meeting paper and creating something.

Anything over and above that is pure gravy!

The path to heaven is littered with some very good writers who were never published.  That’s just the real of it.  That’s why I set as a goal, somewhat facetiously, somewhat seriously, to become the “Greatest Unknown Author.”  It is enough for me, today, to be the best writer I can possibly be.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Where Have You Gone, My Bonnie Blue?

12 Jun

Where have you gone, my Bonnie Blue?

I just finished a short story.  I’ll publish it Thursday.  First one in quite some time, and it felt good.

Of course it’s dark but hey, that’s who I am much of the time when in creative mode, a seer of the dark side.

I’m actually not a dark person.  I enjoy life.  I’m not depressing to be around; some would say I’m actually enjoyable to talk to; but man alive, I can go dark when writing.

I think the things I write about are important.  I write about the shadow people, the underbelly of society, the homeless, the stained, the addicts and the drunks.  Put any label on them you want, but they are still human beings, and I guess I don’t want them forgotten.  So I pay tribute to them in my stories, in some small way telling them that someone has noticed their existence . . . someone cares that they are breathing . . . someone gives a damn for a few minutes.

And really, just between you and me, that’s all any of us really want . . . recognition and acceptance . . . and if we are really lucky, we win the jackpot, and we find love.

DETOUR

I was reading an article from a medical magazine the other day, and in it they explained that there really is such a thing as instant attraction to another person; there is some scientific explanation for it, some hormone or scent or primal whatever which is imprinted on us, and when we meet a person with a similar imprint, we are instantly attracted to that person.  I’m not sure I completely understood the scientific explanation, but I do find it reasonable and certainly interesting.  It actually explains a great deal about times in the past when I’ve been attracted to someone instantly, like I wasn’t even in control of my own mind or heart or body.

Instant attraction

What’s that got to do with creative writing?

Really?  I sure hope you didn’t ask that question.

I guarantee that information will be in a short story or novel in the not-too-distant future.

I’m not sure what you expected to gain from following this blog. I’m not sure what I expected to provide, but what you get is honesty and a sort of scatter-gun approach to teaching about the art of writing.  And hopefully you will pick up a tidbit or two which is actually valuable to you.

I feel the angst . . . I see the pain . . . I smell the fear . . . I hear the hopelessness . . . I taste the conflict . . . creative writing should be visceral.  If done correctly, your readers will break out in sweat, break out in song, check dark corners for the unspeakable, and remember, with a smile, long-forgotten feelings of the warm and fuzzy.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

No Plan, No Clue, No Worries

5 Jun

I rarely have a plan in life.

I’m being dead serious.

I have friends who have planned a great percentage of their lives. They knew in college what they wanted to do. They planned on two children.  They planned on retiring early and even planned on the amount of savings they would have when they retired.

Me?  No clue!  No plan at all.  I’m like the steel ball in a pinball machine, just rolling around waiting to be hit by the next flipper.  And the funny thing is, it works for me. I’m six months shy of seventy and I have no complaints at all about how it all worked out.

Now part of that equation is trusting in my abilities.  I know I will be fine no matter what comes round the bend, and I have to credit my parents for giving me that confidence.  A part of it is borderline fatalistic.  I know that shit happens when you least expect it.  All the planning in the world won’t stop a tornado from leveling your home, or a heart attack from stealing away a loved one.  What’s the old joke?  Do you want to make God laugh?  Tell Him your plans!  That’s pretty much my outlook on life.  I handle today, today.  I’ll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.  It works for me and that’s all that matters.

Now I mention all that because my writing technique mirrors my outlook on life.  I don’t plan stories. I don’t plan novels.  Most of my work, and there has been quite a bit of it, starts with a writing exercise . . . I was walking down a city street late at night . . . what did I see . . . and the story takes shape as I continue with that prompt. I do not outline. I rarely, if ever, know how a novel will end when I begin it.

I trust in my abilities and I trust in my muse.

Would my technique work for others?  Maybe, maybe not, but it works for me, and that’s all that’s important for this writer.

I will leave you with that thought. There is no “one size fits all” approach to life, or writing. In the final analysis, you have to do what feels right for you. I have known great writers who break grammar rules on a regular basis. I have known people who follow the beat of a drum most of us will never hear.  It works for them, an d that’s all that matters.

Have a brilliantly original day!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”