Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Few Faces Of Me

After much time, I think I've regained the voice that's been missing from my fiction, and it was probably what has kept my work from being enjoyable to me since my last self-satisfying piece, "The Exchange (June 2006)." Correction--The Narrator of "Devouring Memphis (June 2007)" the one from both the final form (that needs a bunch of revision) and the original drafting (had a problem with a way-too-long-of-a-setup-plot) was a pretty good guy to me. I liked him. I still do. Anyway...

The spark came from a totally unexpected climax to the untitled piece I've been working on for months now. I just finished the first draft this morning, and it feels great to have figured out the disease that was digging my fiction's grave.

It's all about character.

Usually, I'm a plotting sort. It starts with an idea of place, theme, and structure. Then, I build my characters from there. Nothing has really been different over the past two years, that wasn't there the previous three . Plot-wise, I thought I was rolling.

The problem became character and, more specifically, the infusion of myself into them.

I think it began in March of 2007. I started what I thought would be a pretty cool trilogy about a man trying to find his place in the world. Being pretty much a douche, the character should have been okay, seeing how he talked to dead people, he lived with the apparition of his mother, his best friend in life was a dead guy, a ladies' man, trying to get him to get his shit together, and he collected reward money for the unsolved cases, missing persons and murder victims. "Pushing Daisies" and "Medium" and the disease have pretty much closed it off from reaching fruition, so I don't mind spoiling anything. It's dead. Dead. Dead. Dead.

Anyway, the plot was simple, involving mind control, telepathy, fathers & sons, and a little ghost-girl's brutal case--which would set up the climax where the guy's dead friend would sacrifice himself and the little girl would take over for the other two parts.

But the problem came from the fact that the dead people were more interesting, more fun, more enjoyable than the main character. He just kind of sucked.

From then, a few stories since, few and far between, have been okay to me, but the characters just weren't around long enough (a couple flash/dialogue things) or were too talky and spouting exposition. Though, in the one case, I'd argue it was pretty much needed (a story about haggling over football tickets and a monkey's-paw-like deal.) And if they weren't sucking, they were just actors in some action.

The character of Lee Hardin, for example, an heir to the Southern Command during a sort-of Civil War II, was cool for a second, but the plots, done and planned, were so brutal that he wasn't enjoyable at all. Though, I do like the first story (for the most part)--enough to type it up shortly--and bits of the second (an action sequence which may come back to haunt itself into something bigger). But the landscape was too ugly to find something likable about the character, especially his little brother who goes ape shit after the big reveal in the finished story.

The script (unfinished, undone) was good character-wise (and it might actually pop back up--I don't know), but it just hit a road block of my patience and a strained sense of believability.

Which brings me to this just-completed piece. I'm sitting there for what--two-three months--scratching at a similar theme to the dead trilogy. Guy's sorta Milquetoast, has done something he thinks will ruin his family (mom and dad family) and decides to do what he has to do in order to lessen the mistake. Outside his house, he gets jacked, and this sets off a constant struggle toward an end that I thought I knew was coming.

Except, it didn't. The end I expected was going to be sort of like an "of all the shitty luck" kind of ending, but then the guy I thought would be a real asshole came pouring out like a father-figure, laying it down like the Duke would--well, with a tongue that'd blush Mama right off the earth. He forced me to like him. He forced my Milquetoast protagonist to change his outlook. Forced him to see that, yeah, life isn't beautiful all the time, but it sure as hell ain't worth spit being a sad-sacked, worry-warted, dick-faced dildo about every little thing, now is it.

He seems rough, but he's also got it figured out. He's also, sort of affable, in a rugged father kind of way. You want to roll your eyes at the lessons he's dealing and punch him for being a bit rude and honest with his tongue, but, in the end, he's someone you'd like to have a beer with, or go fishing with. He's a character with a voice.

Where was this voice?

Where was my voice?

God only knows, but I hope it's back.

Which has me set up for my next story, about a father-and-son relationship that gets strained by both a conflict and a paranormal experience.

Here's to hope my voice is back permanently.
Though, some editors and others may disagree--hahahaha!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"One-Year Anniversary"

"One-Year Anniversary," a poem, appears in the current print issue (#3) of 34thParallel Magazine. It is edited by Trace Sheridan and Martin Chipperfield. You can purchase issues here and/or as always: check them out!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Monday, May 5, 2008

Thursday, May 1, 2008

30::30: It Is Complete PT. II

My second 30::30 is complete since starting this exercise in bl-- (what, exactly) bleghing(?).


+ Good To Go By June, methinks.
* Good W/ 2 or 3 Revisions, methinks.
x Not A Chance (Too Personal, Shitty, or X, just x), meknows.

Titles, Descriptors:

x- 1. Amber's Lament Before The Whore
--A Tale Of Jealousy

x- 2. Fucked Off (for Dad)
--For Dad

*- 3. Henry Stutters To Find An Entrance
--A Tale Of A Man Tired Of His Wife And Daughter Not Getting Along

*- 4. Baseball and the Nightclub on the Sunrise Strip
--Probably a cliche about sports and companionship

+- 5. Hand in Hand With Whispers Just Below
--A man with a similar condition as mine (Imagine That!) wonders what correcting the problem (and their final sips of what keeps their marriage afloat) will mean to his wife.

*- 6. I, Brandished
--Short poem that comes from work-- about a man who smiles while everyone around him would like to slug him for being able to do just that. Or Something.

+- 7. The Short Crawl to Hell
--Inspired by some documentary I caught on PBS. They were talking about doctors prescribing fucked-up pills to babies for mood swings and shit, and being good old PBS, they shied away from putting any blame squarely where the actual problem was. Or maybe the intent was to completely ignore the gorilla and go for the banana and leave Margaret and Matt at home shouting at the TV: What about these stupid morons taking their toddler to a fucking quack because she *GASP!* is acting too much like a fucking toddler. Some parents needed to've been Bob Barker-ed long before they unleashed this future horde of grade-school junkies upon the world. Seriously, these kids were taking handfuls, daily handfuls, of shit. We're doomed.

*- 8. Parents Exterminated--Babies, Infants Surely Saved; or,
It Must've Been Something She Took; or,
Hush Little Baby, Don't You Cry; Daddy's Gonna Prescribe an Alibi
--Same topic, but in a cinquain run.

x-9. A Young Woman Without Child Tries To Show Her Boyfriend She's Ready To Be A Good Mother
--Same topic, but too graphic, I think, even for me. It's about a girl who has sedated the shit out of her cat because it doesn't do exactly what she thinks it should. It continues on to planned procedures (only if she could) of dissecting it, but keeping it alive to show her hubby to be that she's so caring. Yeah. Probably gonna stay an x, too.

+- 10. Barry Meets A Betamax Starlet To His Wife's Midnight Mud-mask Surprise
--A man meets an aged porn-star/stripper and feels sorry for her. He brings her home and the first thing she does is pass out in the kitchen. We open here, and to explain what exactly was going through his mind--he kinda nonchalantly alludes to the fact that she'll be dead soon enough. From there, it's a quick pinky-swear.

*- 11. Like Beings Know The Lack Of Love
--Coast 2 Coast AM has been nothing but eco-this and ufo-that this month (areas that hardly inspire me), but I did find a little paranormal juice for this. Concerns a a woman with ESP, who picks out her lover on the basis of a twist. Probably done to death, but maybe the language will seem new. Or Something.

Probably-x- 12. Idle Hands Full Of Fucked-Up Glaciers
--I don't know. I just think the sun is up there thinking he's being passed over for a lot of credit concerning the end of the world/doomie/gloomie/buy GE/wackiness. It's humorous to me, but I really don't want a headache of having squeezed a toe, or a nose, or a teet. --then again ;~)

+- 13. Up Thinking About Cheryl Again
--Title will probably change, 'cause I don't like it, and it means nothing to me or the poem (really). I just tacked it on at the end of writing it. It's about a man suffering insomnia, watching his cat sleep across the room with a paw under the radiator. Like him, she's always chased the gold (goal) into the dark corners.

+- 14. With Eyes Closed, We Wait The End Of The Game
--Screwy Cinquain concerning a kiss at a ball game. With a slight twist. It may mean they'll never see their children again.

x- 15. A More Perfect Union
--Proper cinquain about personal feelings.

*- 16. Idols Of Men In Time
--A baseball pantoum about divisions of men and the spirit of the game.

x- 17. TINMTBMFGG (for you)
--No Description. Crap.

+- 18. In The Tiny Garden, The Marshall Always Gets His Man
--The best, I think, (at least top three) out of this bunch. It's about a young boy and his daddy playing a western game out in their tiny garden with a twist.

x- 19. For Nikki: After April 16th
--VT Massacre.

*- 20. You Are A Constellation (A Love Poem In One Part)
--A love poem that starts out very harsh/funny (like the anger stage of grief) but ends with some love.

*- 21. Ready For The Mansions Bright
--Suicide and its aftermath.

+- 22. In A Moment, Nothing.
--A color exercise from The Practice of Poetry. The color is a very vibrant gray.

+- 23. In Some Love, We Wait
--A man finds himself too much in love to stop his wife from going batshit crazy--which may mean their son's life.

+- 24. The Thing That Should Not Be
--Children get meaner as they go along.

+- 25. One Last Poem Before The Doctor Comes To Grieve
--This title sucks, but I like the idea of it.

*- 26. Bruised and Swollen After Another Fight, Lilah Slips Out To The Porch In Her Blood-stained Nightgown To Watch The Swift Storm Clouds Follow The Winding River Off To Sea
--I don't experiment much, but this poem is based on two things. 1.) A Descriptive Fucking Title. 2.) Repeating two tiny phrases.

x- 27. Hillbilly Christ
--No description.

+- 28. Fatman O'Toole And The City Of Doom
--Fat men can be superheroes too. Really. No, no, really.

+- 29. Hush, Sugar, Sweet, Mama's Right Here
--Fucked up poem that starts so sweet and ends with murder.

*- 30. A Slick Heart In Overdrive
A Cinquain sequence about an abduction in a park.

+- 31. Jim's Balls Drop For Once In The Long, Long Marriage
--A man explains a finer lesson to life; his wife goes batshit.

+- 32. Quiet, Now, This Will Make You All Better
--Another favorite. (I tend to like writing father/son stuff. Even weird father/son stuff.) This cinquain run concerns the flip of caregiver/recipient in life.

x- 33. Matthew 10:22
--No Description.

*- 34. Lesson Of The Clock
--Title and some lines will shy away from their stench, but I like the middle parts of it.

*- 35. She Sold Me On His Abuse, And I Sold Our Temptations Out
--This is an adultery piece.

Anyway, the 30::30 is complete. I'm already part of the way into getting them typed up. The speech recognition business is actually very frustrating, but also seems to be making the process swifter (somehow). Plus, I like teaching it dirty words like: pills, purr, fool, tongue, among others.

Seriously, I know I mumble a bit, but this thing treats me like I'm in need of a speech therapist or some shit. Of course, she'd probably put me on a half-dozen pills to fool my tongue into a proper purr.

It's late.

Soon, it will be early.

Seriously, it will.

Look outside your window.

Support A Starving Asshole