Monday, April 16, 2012

Finish It, Before It Spreads

It's a weird feeling for me, finishing something I've been working on a while. I have no discipline in any aspect of my life (especially when CHOCOLATE is involved, am I right?? We have fun.) and writing is no different. I can't seem to function without juggling a few projects at one time, which slows down that beautiful event of actually. finishing. something.

So, a few months ago I randomly got an idea for a very strange horror story, one that seemed firmly half and halfsies in both gore and psychological territory. I enjoy both, a LOT, so that was exciting for me. I have a big problem with being too chatty and living inside a characters head without doing much in the way of action- I know, you wish I had a huge backlist you could just run out and buy right now, right? That said, I felt like this one had enough yucky plot stuff to justify (m)any inner monologues I might have snuck in there.

So... what to do with it? I've gotten conflicting opinions re: sitting on it for a collection or sending it out like it was a hot Saturday night. I mean, I guess it's good? I've read way worse, you know. No, really. It may have been on a bathroom wall but dammit, the plot thread was frayed. Short stories are kinda hard to deal with if you're not an Amy Hempel or a Clive Barker (hey, he's due for another collection if you ask me...) or a Gaiman. The most recent guy that I think blew mine and many others socks off starting with short stories was Joe Hill, and that's encouraging. It's a cool form, it's just not really stylish anymore. By "anymore" I mean since the 1980's, but whatever. It's what my brain wants to do right now. That and a screenplay, which is FANTASTIC for scattered brains like mine.

So like everything I'll just keep it, tenderly editing it here and there and then stare at it with increasing hostility and paranoia. I hope it somehow feeds on that.

So what do you do once you finally finish raising your word baby? Do you have an agent that just tells you the perfect thing, you fancy bastard? Are you laughing at my lack of direction right now because you have all the answers? Let me know in the comments, I love you guys!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Let's Raid the Pantry

"Why do you only have rice in your pantry?"

"I dunno, haven't gone shopping lately. Sorry."

"Fair enough, BUT I have never in my life seen you cook rice. Yeah. Look! The bag isn't even open."

"Alright, then open the bag and steam it or stir fry it or something if you're so hungry you're gonna be a judgmental prick."

"I bet you don't even have a pot. Or a pan?"

"Maybe I don't. Maybe I've only lived here a year and nobody likes you and now I know why."

"Fine. I got a coupon, I'll order a pizza. I was just saying..."

"You know what, get Chinese instead. For some reason I'm in the mood for rice."

"Ha haaaa! Actually, ok, I am too."

Friday, March 23, 2012

Gentlemen Prefer Long

I was complaining to one of my writing pals ever about this blog, and why I'm so awful at it. He suggested this topic, so I thank him and please send your blames to him.

All my life I've writte
n. Like most kids, I'd grab some paper from school and a nice pencil (mechanical- still my favorite writing utensil) and just write whatever sugar-powered thoughts flooded out of my unusually large head. The thing is... that hasn't much changed. I was born in 1983, putting me smack in the "Computers For Everyone!" boon. I started taking typing classes in the second grade, and I love the bright green blinking "turtle" and the weird Texas Instrument computers. I really did dig computers- especially the one with the Home Alone game on it- but my heart seemed to remain on page.


I would do school reports o
n the computer, but my dumb little stories remained written out in long hand. I still press too hard when I write, and usually end up with a cramp in my thumb muscle. That cramp is tied to writing to me on a molecular level, and I almost feel like I'm just playing at writing when I get up from a keyboard and my fingers don't feel like they've been through low-grade torture.

So today, as an old lady, my process seems a bit archaic. First, I get an idea. Then I grab any random scrap of paper I can find, and write it down immediately. They usually look something like this:

Fat Fi
ngers Crawford and the final exit.

I retur
n to the page later, and do my very best to decipher it- with varying degree of success.

If I thi
nk the idea is doable, I continue scribbling. If I had a beginning, I, er... begin there. Random scenes? Alright, I'll furiously transcribe those. The whole point is just to get everything down as fast as humanly possible. I think very quickly, which is paired with a memory that should be paired with someone who drinks far more than I ever can.

An actual story I'm currently writing. Oh, like your handwriting is so great?


This
never works for me on the robot box, as it seems like one more separation between myself and my ideas (Am I aware this makes no sense? Absolutely!) and the internet just sucks me in with flashing lights and tends to eat my attempt at original thought. I also seem to have my "voice" come through a bit easier when I start out on paper. That is very, very important to me.

Eve
ntually I do have to transfer my crazy longhand papers to the computer. While this adds a bit more work, I ADORE it. It adds another step of self-editing for me, and I catch so much. I also feed off having everything I wrote but ALSO having it look brand new on the screen- the combo of content and "new shit" excitement keeps me typing out more and more paragraphs.

It's also easy to get chai
ned to your computer and feel more stressed about writing than passionate. With just you, a pen and some paper you can pretty much sit anywhere and it feels "real." Sometimes I'll find a random vacant parking lot, listen to some music and just write out whatever comes to me until it's time to watch the sunset.

My only real recommendation is find out what you prefer to write with and on right away- nothing will piss you off quicker than a crap pen. Gel pens are usually solid gold with me. Happy writing!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"We Got a 2-Year Cowboy Degree" Off-Beat Documentaries To Love


O
ne of my top favorite films of all-time is the documentary HOOP DREAMS, which for four years follows the high school basketball careers and turbulent home lives of two young basketball whiz kids from Chicago. (Heh, I said whiz kids.) Anyway. It is brilliant on every conceivable level, and even if you're not a sports guy (I sure ain't) you will get sucked in. It also inspired one of the greatest Mr. Show sketches of all time.

Still, Hoop Dreams is easy to relate to. Some docume
ntaries... you gotta work for a bit. Maybe they'll twist you up some more. Whatever, I am so addicted to sociocultural-theme documentaries it's a bit sick. Here's some of my faves!



This o
ne breaks my cold, brittle heart. We have a man with Asperger's (Jeff), who has a long history of stalking 80's pop singer Tiffany. Then we have Kelly, an intersex woman whose life (at the time of filming) seems to revolve completely around her love of Tiffany. I mean, we get scenes of an apartment filled solely with printed out photos of Tiffany, some kind of bike helmet retro-fitted to read Tiffany's mind, and... well that should really be enough of an intro for you.

What gets me is the desperatio
n and full belief of these two people: Tiffany was meant to be with them, and if it weren't for things like husbands and restraining orders she'd run off with her One True Love immediately. When I try to put myself in that emotional view it's so fucking lonely I immediately need to watch some Futurama. The human heart and mind are complex things and I hate calling people "crazy"- I just hope everyone finds their own happy way in life. Fun Fact: Tiffany and I totally share a birthday!!!!!!

Buy the DVD (Co
ntaining commentary with both Jeff and Kelly, which I am dying to hear.)



Cat Dancers

What happens when you mix sex and tigers? Not sex WITH tigers, as that would be a swift and gory tail indeed. (Did you get my spelling there? Oh, so much clever.) Ron and Joy Holiday were a successful and flamboyant (seriously, if Liberace ever played with dolls these guys would be the stars of his dollhouse) trainers of large cats and had a successful show. They eventually took a young hunk named Chuck Lizza under their wing. He lived with them, trained with them and they had a sexually open relationship between the three of them. That alone is fascinating enough, but it ends it deaths that are both so expected yet shattering you forget the laughter you had at the glitter costumes and you just feel all soggy inside from the crying your heart is doing.

Watch the trailer


Strictly Background

I love behi
nd the scenes stuff about Hollywood, because nothing about that business makes any sense at all. This is a super delightful look at extras- professional ones. Tricks to getting more than just your arm on camera and upstaging the fancy schmancy actors... it's all here. I seriously love these people, and it's a great companion to Ricky Gervais's EXTRAS. Seriously, you guys are already stars to me, but I hope you all get your own regional CSI shows.

Watch da trailer
Confessions of a Superhero
Morgan Spurlock did not make this movie, but you'll still have to see his dumb, smug ass dressed as a superhero at the opening, anyway. Moving on, this follows a small group of Costumed Performers that hang out on the streets of Hollywood, taking pictures for change with tourists. As it always goes, Superman and Batman get the main focus; one of my favorite scenes is when we follow "Superman" to a convention and see how fully seriously he takes his role. (Spoiler: It's very.) We see the highs (The Jimmy Kimmel show!) and the lows (passing out in a Hulk costume in extreme heat), and the whole time I'm just impessedterrified by how much seem people want to be actors.

The weird thing is, all these guys ended up here in Vegas on Fremont Street- including the Batman with the bad temper. Boy do we bitch about them.

Oh, and the Wonder Woman lady in this? I saw her as an extra in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and I actually jumped up in excitement, so, yeah. I get invested.

Watch the trailer


Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea

I will watch a
nd read anything John Waters had a hand in, so him narrating this is what initially got me to pick this up at the library. I'm so glad I did, because I learned all about a weird little part of US history I knew almost nothing about. "Where utopia and the apocalypse meet to dance a dirty tango", the sexy voice of Waters clues us is.

What began as an accidental man-made body of water created a tony resort town in the 50's and 60's. Sadly, nature eventually bit back and turned the famed vacation spot into a near ghost town. We're talking dead fish, unbearably salty and smelly water, bird disease and natural disasters of every water-related strip.

So, who's left? It's a pretty clea
n split between the very impoverished (last time I checked the highest priced houses being sold were around 6k) and the delightfully eccentric. There are a few level-headed people running cafes that kind of shrug at the whole place, but it's mostly elderly nudist arty types. AWESOME. I'd love to have a weird vacation there and if you read this you are agreeing to join me.

Watch the trailer


I can name SO much more, so let me know when you catch all of these. Happy viewing!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

In Short: I'm Bad At Emailing

For all the talk I give to being a writer, I am an utter failure at correspondence. As a child I was all hopped up on having pen pals (through snail mail, for you jail bait types), but after exchanging some beaded jewelry and excited missives on Tiny Toon stationary, I'd leave that little girl hanging.

In my high school fre
nch class (Fun Trivia: It was Kevin Spacey's classroom in "Pay It Forward", oh the Keyser Soze jokes we enjoyed...) we each had a pen pal in France, the idea was we'd write to them in French and them to us in English. A lovely young man sent me great letters... for him, he got the initial, verb conjugating abusing letter I was graded on and that was it. I wanted to correspond with him, and I felt bad that I didn't... but my laziness apparently held a much more compelling sway on me.

This leads up to being awful, AWFUL at emailing. I write back in my head, but there seems to be interference (read: so, so fucking lazy) when it comes to actually sending those words. As terrible a habit as this is nowadays, I'm lucky I wasn't born back in the days where we only had romantic letters delivered on romantic horseback, because I really like modern plumbing. But also because I'd probably be a spinster and starve into madness or whatever happened to ladies back then whe
n they didn't have a penis-having-guy around...


April 26, 1898
Dearest Stephanie,
It has been quite a few fortnights since I last have heard from you, and while I am well aware of the tenuous nature of our delivery... I can't help but worry. Still, I hold your photograph and two previous letters close to my heart in this hellish foxhole, it truly helps the hardtack go down easier.

I have more to say, but I'm keeping it to myself to tempt you into writing more.

Yours,
Sir Henryrington the Fifteenth, First Cub Scout of the Second Infantry of Cornwall, aka "Pookie Bear"



January 2, 1899
Dear, dear Pookie Bear,
I ca
nnot fully apologize enough for my lack of correspondence, but my stars in heaven have things been simply wild here! My horse, Santiago (etching enclosed, isn't he a dear?) has taken to racing. I have painted racing stripes on him and I will swear that it truly does make him faster.


Are you still alive? If so, I will wait for a
nd love you forever.


Stay cool (or warm, should I say! Oh, modern humour.)

Yours,
Pookie Bear



February 26, 1899
Stepha
nie,
Pookie Bear is your term of endearment for ME, you cow. Does your father still hold us to the betrothal? I met this dashing lady at camp and... well it's not important. What is is that you write back IMMEDIATELY upon receiving this letter. If there is a brai
n in your head or a soul in your heart, you will do me this favor. An entire war ended faster than you could send me a letter, for the record.


Truly tired,
Sir Henryrington the Fifteenth, First Cub Scout of the Second Infantry of Cornwall, retired "Pookie Bear"


July 6, 1899
Henry,
Did I give you my pocket watch? I can't find it anywhere. Sorry I misplaced your last letter quite soon after receipt, but from memory I can assure you you are indeed invited to my family's Summer Quail Fest '99.

Yours,
Stephanie


Tragically, Sir Henryington was found dead, he had taken his own life by falling onto his sword which had also impaled the scant letters of Lady Stephanie.
Also, consumption.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Howdy Ya'll (Last time I'll ever use "ya'll", promise)

My first blog post! I've actually typed that sentence many, many times if I'm going to be honest (and what the hell, this time I will be.) I've littered the internet with abandoned blogs, and before that I littered it with webpages I started churning out at the age of about 13.

With that said, I've never actually had a *personal* blog. In the past all my personal entries would go up on the afterthough journal feature of whatever social media site was going on, then try my hand at weird shit like netflix reviews of doom (totally dead now, thanks to netflix dropping the friends feature and crippling the review search.)

So, I'll basically be talking writing here. Reading. Eh, honestly my head has always been kind of a mess so it's hard to say what exactly will end up on this blog. But if you decide to follow it at all... thanks.