Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Look into My World

I don't think the way I write is particularly novel, but I don't hear about many authors that do it the way that I do. So below is a quick rumination on how I begin short stories and chapters. It pretty much explains why most of my stuff has this one great part, filigreed with flimsy shit. I'd be interested to see if anyone else writes like this. It's the only way that I can start a new project, as outlines and other tools of the well-established and well-intentioned author can do to their heart's content.

  1. Open a Microsoft Word blank document. It is absolutely imparative that the blank document should read "Document1 - Microsoft Word" in the top left hand corner. If it's any other number, you MUST close down the entire program, and restart so that it is 'Document 1.' This is because I am insane and therefore, by extension, so are you.
  2. Make sure that the document is in Print Layout view, all margins are 1", left-justified, and change the font to 'Times,' not Times New Roman. Why? Because fuck Times New Roman, that's why. I'm bucking the establishment, people. Follow or get out of the way.
  3. Now take a break. You've just tamed a digital beast. I recommend flipping through your "favorite words book" that currently resides on the corner of your desk next to six dirty coffee mugs that you keep there because you are a "nester." Flip through the book and laugh at particularly disgusting words. Great. Now we have some material.
  4. Return to your 'Document1,' and write the first sentence that comes to mind. It can, quite honestly, be anything. (I did one yesterday where my first sentence was "Molten lead looks as though it should be squeezed from a frosting bag in the cavernous kitchen tucked cozily away in the lower levels of the Fortress of Solitude." I have no idea what that means.) If done correctly, you have tapped some unthought thought. It should sound awkward because you haven't been thinking about the unthought until now.
  5. Now, expand that into 2 paragraphs. Read it. It should be thoroughly ridiculous.
  6. Can you see anything in it? In the same way that people used to predict the future through mediums like tea leaves, I have found that some of my best work comes originally from an amalgamation of unthoughts that slowly solidify into something readable. However, sometimes it's just an absolute catastrophe. At that point, the best trick is to close Microsoft Word, reopen, and look! An untarnished Document1! (And you don't just backspace because the words were already there, of course. Duh. [Remember: insane.])
  7. Now that you have the makings of a new short story, I recommend that you delete 'Document1'. Chances are you won't have any need for that particular one ever again.

And that is all there is to it. For me, it's a great mental excersize. I always feel like I'm finding something out about myself by doing it this way. It's always interesting to see what your mind will come up with when given free reign to do whatever it wants to. I hope that you'll try it out and let me know how it goes.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Banning books is about as cool as rape.

There are certain times of the year when we get to let down our guard and really live in that indignance that we feel all throughout the year. We are, after all, a group of people who wish that everyone can live by their own ethical and moral code as long as it does not attack anyone else or impede on their rights to live a life of their choosing. Obviously this puts me at ends with religion in all of its manifestations. I'm not one to claim that religion is technically a bad thing. I believe that there are many very righteous and good-hearted people in all religions, but there are also just total dickholes. Like this guy in Missouri. What a gigantic dickhole.

Perhaps I shouldn't even take this debate here. Maybe it would be much better to simply point out (as The Rejectionist does here) that this supposed man of higher learning and educational leader can barely string together a coherent thought. Perhaps it would be of greater coincidence and candor to point out the fact that he sees rape as pornographic (as Laurie Halse Anderson does here). Maybe I should just simply say "what a fucking lunatic. Sit down, you're embarassing the rest of Christianity with your inane mawing at book you probably beat off to on more than one occasion," and that's not really that bad of an idea. Because you know he probably did. That's kind of a thing for these gourmand religiofascists... what really makes them sick, really turns them on. I will not say it directly, but I know there are an awful lot of Republican senators getting caught with their junk sticking through glory holes.


Monday, September 20, 2010

The Reasons Are There, Don't Say I Didn't Warn You...

20 Reasons to Not Date a Writer...

I think that my ex would find most of these to be especially conclusive. We don't make good dates, people. We just don't make good company as we probably will not find you nearly as interesting as what our characters are going through at the time. If you don't buy that, then what's more interesting (two examples so as not to be labeled 'sexist,' always a lovely adjective that I find 'feminists' like to affix upon me with a fanfare usually left for parades and New Year's Eve galas):
  1. Girlfriend is talking about her day in which her and her bestfriend got in a fight lasting approx. 23 minutes in which only two words were actually spoken and the whole thing ended when that especially hot guy from Twilight showed up on VH1. You are erstwhile thinking about a ridiculously harrowing scene from your sure-fire breakthrough novel in which two friends must fight to the death whilst the third friend is hung upside down and slowly lowered closer and closer to a Vlad The Impaler-esque spike.
  2. Boyfriend is letting you know of the most recent heart-rending defeat of his local college and/or professional sports team, and can you believe that call? Bullshit! Meanwhile, in your mind, you are busy fine-tuning the technical aspects of armies about to run down into a trench to start an epic battle you labeled in the first chapter as "The Battle of Red Trench" where the ground must literally flow with blood. Who cares about football?

And there. I mean, what are we really talking about here? Obviously that writers are inherently vain and self-serving. Possibly assholes that find themselves much more interesting than they find you. This says one of two things (and note that the second solution is quite possibly just because, me being a writer, I see myself as just incredibly fascinating):

  1. Unlike other people who kind of figure out what their "self" is by the time they turn, you know, 12, writers are the metaphysical equivalent to that kid in first grade who still has "accidents" and whose undergarments crunches while s/he walks.
  2. We really ARE just that much more fascinating. We don't have a lot of friends because we are wayyy too busy trying to nail down why we are different from you, and how come a 30 minute discussion on the principles of 'friendship' don't make other people giddy in contemplative exaltation.

That is two lists in roughly a paragraph. Obviously I have no idea what I'm trying to say here or I would actually work these into a real paragraph. (Although I read somewhere that making lists is better in blogs, or some such nonsense? I don't think I will ever have a very good blog following.)

But maybe I'm being a little too hard here. I really do find my girlfriends interesting, I'm usually just off on my own planet, doing my own things. This draws a thoroughly depressing problem that writers are usually inept at human contact, and yet we yearn for human contact through our literature. Does that not strike you as inherently sad, and perhaps a little destructive? We want that human contact only after it becomes somewhat base, where you want to talk to us because you like what we wrote, and not because I am, let's say, me. I want your adoration and praise, but that's much easier for me to take than being really really good friends, or significant other with you. In short: it's much easier to have fans than friends, because I don't have to really export much of myself into our relationship. Instead, you see what you want to see through my writing, and then you draw a (perhaps unrealistic or false) view of the writer. Now I am whoever you want me to be, and that won't change because I probably won't hang out with you, because I am probably busy, y'know, writing. And even if we did, I probably would decline, because then you'd see me for what I really am, which is an incredibly shy, yet superficial person who would rather have you as a fan than a friend. And no, you can't have a friend who is also a fan. Friends tell you when you suck, fans just smile.

So, am I lonely? Yes. Very. Would I change it if I could? Probably. But I can't. My demeanor is inherently secluded and standoffish. I want to communicate with you through my literature, and then I want you to really like it and then come to believe that you therefore inherently like me, even though we have never met. I have my friends that exist in my novels. The characters are my friends, and they are diverse and all hilarious and fun. I hang out with them daily, and really, that takes up an awful lot of time and energy. So much so that by the time I'm done, sleep comes quickly.

I just realized that this has become a rant about why I am lonely as opposed to a nice link to a nice list on someone else's website. Funny. But not really.

More on this in a later post, I think. There's more here.