Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Trouble With Cake

In a conversation with a friend, I discovered a great way to explain and/or infuriate different religions. Please note: I do not post this here with the intention of infuriating anyone. I simply want to convey my understanding of these religions as I see them. Some of you will recognize certain aspects of these. Others will be completely lost. Ask me questions. :-)

So let's play with some words:

In a completely random naming, let us say we have two main groups. On the one side are 'Cristies' and on the other are 'Musies'. Completely made up names here. Now, let's have them chat a bit.

Cristies: "Our cake is delicious and based on Love, but you can only have some if you close your eyes and strain really hard to taste it. Taste it yet?"

Musies: "Oh yeah? Well, our cake has all natural ingredients, is based on love AND can only be eaten by a certain pre-determined group. Others can eat it too, but they will never be fully part of that main group."

Cristies: "I think your cake is fake. I've never seen it and, having never seen or heard of it, I think it smells funny. Also, our cake is made in Jerusalem, so you better not be there when we get there."

Musies: "I'm IN Jerusalem and I don't see your cake anywhere. MY cake smells wonderful and fills a person without harming their health. I think your cake doesn't exist."

Cristies: "You are lucky our cake is based on love, otherwise we'd have to wipe you from the face of the planet. As it stands now, we plan to kill a great many of you until you accept our cake as the only one. By the way, our cake is real. We said so."

Musies: "I don't think so. None of our friends has even heard of your cake. You want to send an army? Go ahead. Our cake is based on love, but we will effing kill you and anybody that looks like you."

Cristies: "You've never heard of our cake and its PR guy Joe? You know of none of the 12 Bakeries of Deliciousness? Have YOU ever seen your cake?"

Musies: "Of course we... errr, we believe in our cake. Ours has its own PR guy Moe. We have 12 Bakeries of Divine Taste. Have you ever seen YOUR cake?"

Cristies: "Umm, are you sure you aren't trying to steal our cake?"

Musies: "I hate you."

Cristies: "I hate you more"


Aggies: "I don't think we will ever be able to prove the existence of either of your cakes."

Christies: "Who the eff are you?"

Rushdies: "Our friend wrote a book about your cake, but he made it funny."

Musies: "There is NO CAKE BUT OUR CAKE, and its PR guy Moe! Joe is just some guy who likes cake."

Cristies: "There is something seriously wrong with you guys."

Atheis: "I don't even believe you have cake. Prove it to me."

Scienties: "Your cake never happened. Please buy these devices to make yourself look better to aliens."

Bhuddies: "Love all cake. Give cake to those you don't even know."

Hindies: "Siva's cake is best. Please stop eating cows."

Zenies: "We are all cake. Meditate upon this."

Westboories: "If you are gay, our cake is not for you."

Zoroastries: "No one even knows about our cake."

GLaDOS: "I have some cake, but you are going to have to work for it."

Pieies: "Eff cake, eat pie."

Full Disclosure: I am ambivalent about religion as a whole. Were I to pick one that most closely resembles my feelings it would be a mix of several. I tend to have more Pie-ous feelings than most others. :-)


P.S. Please let me know if any of this offends. I am curious as to what in it is found offensive.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Crossroads

Two weeks ago I attended an event that not only found me at a crossroads in my life, it was also named Crossroads.  There were no answers to the questions I was asking myself at the time, and my reasons for going had nothing to do with decisions I faced. My reasoning was far more tacky. It was close, and I am poor.

I always wanted to attend any number of writing events from Writer's Digest West/East to just about any York writing group. It just so happened that I saw an ad for Crossroads Macon in my e-mail one day, and it met all of my restrictions; Cheap, close, and it gave me the added benefit of a weekend away to focus solely on all this writing stuff that has so pervaded my life.

To say I had low expectations would be accurate, but harsh. I had no frame of reference. I was coming into this conference with no idea of the experiences it would provide, nor of the people I would meet and talk smack with/to later. Let me frame all of the foregoing with the sentiment I heard repeatedly on Sunday after the main event, "The bar has been set very high for any other conference."

As I sit here in my favorite office space (The Public Library)contemplating Crossroads, I find it has done so much more for me, as a person who writes, than I ever expected. There are so many bright moments in my memory: The Orange Liquid from Hell, Awkward Man Hugs(#HugGate), Famous bearded personages, Literary temptresses, The milking of the creamer(no link for it. It shall remain infamous in perpetuity).

I don't tell you of all of these inside memories to make you jealous... well, maybe a little, but what I want you to take from this is a driving desire not to miss next year. Forge some friendships with others. Drink questionable drinks with writers. Share hashtags on twitter. Whatever you desire can be achieved if you only attend.

Lastly, I promise you, Chris will hug you if you are there.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The First Rule of Write Club...

... is that you MUST talk about Write Club. The second rule of Write Club is Rinse, Repeat. Wait. What? No, it is the same as the first. Everyone knows that. The problems begin at Rule 3: When entering Edit Club, you must focus only on your opponent.

While you are still technically in Write Club, you have entered the arena and must now fight. Fighters don't talk, they fight. While fighting they don't do blog posts, tweets or LOL around on Facebook. They focus on the work ahead and they fight as if their lives depended on it. The mechanics of an actual fight are much the same as in editing(Unless you are street fighting AND THIS ISN'T ABOUT THAT!). In Edit Club there can be any number of rounds. The biggest difference here is in way the time frame is handled, and the fact that rounds, in this conversation, is not referring to drinks. Sad, I know.

The break between Edit Club rounds can take as long as needed for you to recover from each gruelling battle(and some will be gruelling). You will be victorious only if you allow yourself that time to recover. You can even fight completely different battles with new opponents before finishing that first fight. Edit Club won't judge you as long as you continue fighting.

My next opponents
Before you ask, Yes, those are my glasses. I look really great in them, OK? Those are also 2 first drafts I have been avoiding for months because I knew I needed to tear them limb from limb. I was trying to be the bigger person, but they've been talking trash. What was I saying? Oh, right, I think of these battles the same way Basic Training was described by my Drill Sergeants, "They MUST be broken before they can be made stronger". And I will break them. I must, I have a deadline for it. Hang on, they're going to get stronger, AND I have to fight them again?! *Sigh* Well, I guess it's what I signed on for.

So, if you don't see me online, and if you don't get a response to your e-mail/tweet/Facebook post in what you consider a timely fashion, just cheer for me in my fight. Fear not. I shall overcome. I will not be defeated. The only defeat is to give up this life, and we know that ain't happenin', baby.

CHUCK WENDIG!!!! Wow, I just had a Rocky moment.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Lines, Deadlines and Self-loathing

I know I need to set date/time group restrictions to complete my backlog of work. I just don't want to!

 *temper tantrum* Deep breath *

I understood this before I even began writing for pleasure. That was a long time ago. I was eleven. I am thirty-five now. I must have held on to some hope that it would be forgotten or fall out of style. Well, it didn't.

I have always known that this is a self-help issue, but I still resisted with all of my might, much like a horse might while being dragged from a burning barn. Well, no more, I must do this FOR GREAT JUSTICE! If I don't, I won't get anything done.

I have much to do

Those are the books I have in various states of planning. There are twenty items in there One of those is the place where I put completed first drafts. Now I just need to make myself do that first major edit. I've given myself until the end of October to do a major revision of one of the four drafts in that directory. Te act of editing is going to be a massive learning experience for me since it represents the first time I've had to edit something this size after writing it. It will also represent my first time doing this level of work toward selling anything. Yes, I said it, I will be looking for an agent. My goal is to have a manuscript together by the end of the year that I am willing to let professionals see. Please note, I didn't refer to it as finished or completed. One of the things reinforced for me over the weekend was the fact that nothing is ever really complete. We must take the leap and let our pet projects and beloved stories go. The hope is that they will get the help they need to be truly great. It is this last point that allows me to consider dressing something up for those willing to help further improve my work. I have a deadline to be actively seeking representation by the end of the year. That is not to say I will locate one in that time, but I think that type of deadline will work for now.

The more strident restrictions come from those editing and writing deadlines I mentioned previously.  There are many bad habits to break. I hope these self-imposed restrictions prove to be a good start.

I have to go now. I hear my new deadlines calling me.


P.S. Read This. http://www.stevenpressfield.com/2012/10/no-more-mister-nice-guy/ READ IT!! It is by the author of The Legend of Bagger Vance

Monday, October 8, 2012

HugGate, I was THERE!

I am the great and huggyful Oz...
What a great weekend! I met a plethora of excellent people who were being excellent and many an aspiring, inspiring or aspirating author who spoke at length in sessions, meals or drink events about everything from rusty automotive issues to the nipples on a steampunk vampire. Dispersed through the event were random chats with students, story ideas with event planners, drinks with screenwriters and drunken storytelling with movie producers.

Before you ask, no, I was not in Hollywood. This was Macon Georgia, and I will take it over Hollywood any day of the week after an event like this. I don't mean 'taken' in any Liam Neeson movie sense, more like taken as in 'I do'. You have stolen my heart Crossroads Writer's Conference. The fact that you replaced it with a steam-powered, sparkly vampire duck spouting "500 ways to solve for X in writing" makes it all the more life-changing.

                                 I was serious when I said I loved you.
Don't fear the mutual appreciation

I learned things about me that others knew who had never met me. I got insight into the lives of published authors that I had heard before but didn't believe. I ate a chocolate cake filled with chunks that was shaped and sized like a muffin. I drank and joked and dared some of the most well known people in writing on this side of the US and they laughed at themselves as well as others along with me.
Steamduck learns to fly
I watched as a steam powered duck learned to fly. You can find out what I already know on Wednesday, but you should know, I was riveted.

 I took terrible photos and told even worse jokes and they returned the compliment with photos and jokes of their own.

the doing of the art on the art

what was done to the art by the artist

I saw an artist conduct some art on art editing and was guilty of conspiring with another to further edit the aforementioned art. (say that five times fast... SAY IT!)

I was flattered to be told that I was 'really charming' by a lovely author before she left. Did I mention that I was flattered? :-) This event was the cherry on top of a giant cake of a year. The rest of the year has some very large patent-leather boots of a period nature to fill.

Crossroads Writer's Conference, I love you like a fat kid loves cake. Which works out well, since I am the fat kid in question. Now I have to get back to my diet of loneliness and deadlines, but more on that in the next post. :-)

Fat Kid out!


P.S. I sent this out without review or edit. Consider it my last act of defiance before I enter the Writer's Reform School. ;-)

le sigh

Blogger apparently hates me, since it just obliterated an awesome blog post. Second try coming soon.