Thursday, November 25, 2010

News and Notes

The news of my marriage was the source of interesting conversations, many of which were repetitive, but none were as interesting as when I told my nieces who are 8, 5 and 3. Caitlyn, the five-year-old, grinned at me and tilted her head to the side as if I was joking. Such is the price of not being socially active in the dating scene, at least in the eyes of little girls. Then came the question and statement period.

Caitlyn announced that she was happy to get another uncle. I informed her that in fact, I was marrying a woman and so she would be getting an aunt. After consideration, Caitlyn was okay with an aunt. Then baby talk. Literal talk of babies, an odd discourse when it involves a three and five year old. No I told Delaney, the three-year-old, there is no baby. Tomorrow? No. Are you getting married tonight? No. Then you’re going to get babies? Not soon. Christmas is tonight! No, it’s next month, sweetie. I’m not going to marry you. You have to marry a big person, like you. Yes, I know that Delaney. Did you know her? Yes, Caitlyn, I knew Shayna before I asked her to marry me.

Mikayla, the oldest, just smiled at her sisters and was happy to hear she was getting another aunt.
Delaney became concerned later, considering the situation and trying to decide whether marriage was a good idea after all. There was a question of whether I would be taken from the family with impending marriage. I assured her that instead of losing me, she would be adding to the family; there would be more family for her to love. The scowl and grumpy grunt that expressed doubt clearer than the actual word told me that adjustment was needed.

The nicest response was Caitlyn, who drew a picture of Shayna and I. She smiled when she handed the picture over, still thinking that I was pulling a fast one. But if there was the possibility of babies and/ or an uncle/ aunt, then she was willing to play along.

And with such events, a writer makes.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

No Quest at the Moment

My mind is filled with other thoughts beyond a blog. This is one of those days where everything is trivial because I am so happy. Who can worry, when a beautiful woman says yes?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Links by Linc the Sink

Barbara Bush says to Sarah Palin, stay in Alaska. Mama Grizzly? Grandma Grizzly says no, no, no.

Prison Break season 1 was a great show. What happened?

I need to find a place to sell writing online; not for $0.01 word, though. I had thought to work on a site like Textbroker, but even being new to freelancing, I have to agree with other freelancers who say giving away writing is bad for everyone. The money is an issue, but more than money is the attitude of the clients. They want top-notch writing for pennies without knowledge of what is top-notch writing. Uneducated and unskilled and willing to take advantage people who just want experience and who think pennies are all that are available.

The catalyst for my new attitude on freelance writing is an article that I found on Yahoo that gives occupations for those who don't like to work with people. It says writers can make over fifty large. I could deal with a salary upgrade

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Excerpt: Night Guardian

"I love you."

"You admire me, I think. That’s not love. I feel the contempt you have for me. That little piece of you that doesn’t like me at all."

"Contempt is strong."

"Yes, maybe it is. You’re disappointed, then. Disappointed that I’m not a better person, that I’m spoiled, that I was born ‘favored’ as you put it. I’m spoiled and you can’t love me because of it."

"Liz, you know I don’t blame your father’s money on you. It isn’t an issue."

"There it is, Silas. My father’s money. As if it’s somehow a living thing. The bastard you want to ignore, something I should be ashamed of. I understand your anger. Because of the way you grew up; it shaped who you are, and still, I love you. Because of who you are. Because I don’t care about the stuff that you had no control of when you born."

"I more than admire you, Liz, you know that."

"Yes, I think so. Part of you does, at least. But it’s still less than love isn’t it, Silas? Goodbye."

Changes

I have added four gadgets after much trouble finding anything in a very spotty and irksome gadget interface. I had hoped to include some cool quotations at the top of the blog, but as quirky as I might want to be, Mr. T quotes are just stupid and quotes by Socrates, too stuffy.

So instead of quotes, I placed a free e-book gadget on the right sidebar and three new gadgets at the bottom of the page. They are: A NY Times news gadget, a style gadget (we all need a little help) and a music gadget from Amazon.

Though I shouldn't send people away from my blog, those who do wish to vacate to some other part of the interweb, now have a few more mindless options. Enjoy.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Matters of the Heart

I believe my girlfriend thought I was being foolish purposely in my visual description of the history of the heart shape, which is fair of her, because in truth I was being foolish. But... (pun intended, indeed), I was not wrong in saying that many believe that the shape of the heart derived from the shape of a woman's buttocks. My girlfriend did not approve of my pretend squeezing motions as we watched Grey's Anatomy.

Here though, is my vindication. Sort of. The heart symbol in all its glory.

No pictures, unfortunately. This happens to be a near family friendly blog.

Book I

I have decided on a working title for the first book and have sketched out a rough structure for chapters. Preliminary research has erected new obstacles consisting of 'Things I Did Not Consider Because I Am Novice Know-Nothing Who Perhaps Should Have Done Preliminary Research Earlier'.

Firstly, the title: Yes, Dear: DIY Guidance for Husbands,Wives and Lovers.

Secondly, the obstacles in the form of questions:

What is my target word count for a DIY book? The interweb causes me some intestinal distress concerning this question. Too many 'experts' like the advice that word count should amount to 'as many words as it takes'. This is silly advice from folks too lazy to do any preliminary research of their own (so the rest of us can sleep in and benefit from their industrious, nose-to-the-grindstone dedication ). Ultimately, I found a site that inspired confidence that they knew their business. And as I was ready to check on my fantasy football team I was rather open to anything.

The answer was what I suspected: 70 to 80,000 words. However, the dear folks at freelance writing gigs provided me with helpful tips that went beyond word count. Pictures matter and factor into word count. My book will feature pictures, so, less actual words; (I hope to have cute animals, maybe installing outlets or designing walkways).

Another question that arose was, 'should I consider a proposal before writing the book?' This question speaks to my publishing aspirations, of which, honestly, I have thought very little about. The advice, sound advice too, suggests that unless an author is self-publishing, writing before hand could lead to rejections or massive re-writes. Both of which means more work. That would alter my projections for completion. I would like a rough draft by the first of the new year.

I am optimistic today. I think my book quest is well on the way to getting situated in the direction of the right way with just a few strategic detours, sleepless nights, accusations, psychotic breaks and wistful dreams of being a ballerina. Very optimistic.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

So soy...e (for the poor title)

Soy nuggets are not chicken nuggets. They taste quite nice,only I find them bit off due to packaging, which touts them as Chik 'n Nuggets. They are soy and should be proud. There is nothing wrong with being what you are. There is something annoying about declaring in poorly spelled words that what you ultimately are, is fake. I am a wannabe screams Chik 'n Nuggets. I am not quite chicken and too ashamed to admit to be soy.

And such is the world in which we live; poorly wrapped in a fake package, too worried to be real.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Passion of the chemise

I had planned to write about passion and how it is possible, commonplace really, to do something well without passion. I was going to be clever, or as close as I am capable, and outline various ways individuals excel without passion and then conclude that passionless endeavors are unsustainable.
Then I stared at the mound of laundry and ended up spending the next hour folding. That drove all passion from my mind. Really, does anyone even like folding laundry?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pot Shots

It is the time of year here in Maine when gunshots are more normal than usual. Eating an afternoon salad on the front steps surrounded by forest, there go the rapid pops of hunters shooting to shoot. No deer, just frustration, boredom, pure stupidity in terms of safety. No good hunter badges this day.

Despite the ridiculous frequency of the shots, I felt no concern (except of course the concern I had in munching on salad on a perfectly fine day designed for late season barbecues). With yahoos helping out the economy by giving Mother Nature the business, I was perhaps in danger of catching an errant bullet and still no concern.

I imagine there are other places in the world where gunfire is equally as common, where people go about their business with as little concern as I felt sitting on my front steps. For those people, the reason for gunfire isn’t seasonal sport hunters, but soldiers and their lack of concern comes from a completely different place.

How connected we all are, and really, how far apart.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

In the valley of the shadow of death...


Finished day 10 of the first two weeks of the South Beach Diet. Six and a half pounds lost, but it is what I have gained that is most important. An inner truth has surfaced in my privation; I was addicted to Ramen. I admit the problem now in hopes that I have conquered this shameful weakness. There are four days left before I know for certain. Will I go back? Will I fall back into the old, unhealthy habits? Will Ramen become my dirty (but oh so temptingly delicious) 19 penny mistress? A cheap thrill of sodium packed mischief.

I need a group. I learned just this morning that corduroy lovers have a group and their membership numbers 3,500+. Surely a recovering Ramen addict can find comforting souls of like minds to lean on. Surely I am not alone.

My writing suffers the longer the evil pull of Ramen holds prominence in my mind. Perhaps Ramen is a dark angel thrown from heaven by the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Perhaps the evil thrall has captured me for good. Perhaps I am already lost. Who can resist discount Ramen except for the hardiest of souls? Ah, a terrible world we live in.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Male aggression

I have several interests. One interest is being manly and finding outlets to display that manliness, for I am convinced women find such behavior irresistible. My girlfriend, being a woman, does not know the truth of the male brain, all the subtleties, the underlying forces that surreptitiously draw her to me. She may openly scoff, but my manly ways have her enthralled.

Though she denies the appeal, my latest foray into manly endeavors is truly epic: I will participate in an MMA style fight with my long-time friend from grade school. On video. The fight will be fun, manly, a test of fortitude and testosterone-fueled chest thumping. The great challenge is illustrated as follows in an email exchange with my girlfriend:


will this turn into a fight club scenario?no. both billy and i are too lazy for that amount of organizationhow beat up will you get?i will do the beating. so not veryWhy do you want to do this?as a way to discover the limits of my own human spirit and to improve upon my moral characterwhat is the extent of your practical knowledge of mma?practical knowledge is practically nothing. i do possess intangibles.where will this extravaganza occur?undecidedwhy do you want to do this again?maybe because i'm a guy (and i am super manly)will you come out of it with all your teeth?teeth are overrated. i'm part british


So there. It is settled. The fight is on and my manliness with rule the day. Unless my girlfriend tells me otherwise.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Cool"

Who knew shopping for a recliner would be one of those moments that emotionally scar you for life. I had no idea such would be my fate. Innocence lost.

Imagine.

The three salesmen in an empty furniture store spot my brother and myself, near non-verbal introverts. I lead bravely as point man, the lamb of innocent dreams, the potential sacrifice. I see the recliners, all in double rows, my target, but then blam! A Sales Pitch Bomb shrieks toward me. I duck, nod, smile lamely, mumble about “checking the chairs out”, add “just looking” and utter “cool” for the first of what will be roughly 400 times while in the store.

Somehow the wounds are not mortal; my limbs are intact, my wallet still firmly pressed to my right buttock.

The chair testing begins. Both of us, especially my brother, keep one eye on the price tags and the other on the sneaky sales personnel. We even look up occasionally. A tough economy leads to all sorts of desperate acts.

And then the Nuclear Pitch. Nothing to be done. We saw it coming. Nods, smiles, ducking, no eye contact, nothing worked. Even saying, “cool” like I had discovered stuttering and really enjoyed the effect didn’t save us. “Come check out this chair, around the corner.” And so we followed, devastated by the blast. We were dust to be blown in the direction the wind blew.

“Sit down in that chair.” So I did before quickly realizing that I was dealing with something more than a mere salesman. Here before me was CREEPY SALESWEIRDO. He pressed a button on the side of the chair while standing in front of me and up my feet went in uncomfortable (whisper quiet) slowness as the sales pitch continued. All I could hope looking at the bespectacled, balding blond man was that he did not have a speculum in his back pocket. He had that sort of look in his eyes, like he would try anything as I was at his mercy, feet pointed up in his direction, my red face a helpless beacon ignored by my grinning brother who was thus far unscathed. Then the CREEPY SALESWEIRDO demonstrated how nice the footrest was by putting his hand between my knees.

I scrambled to find the chair’s operation buttons. The Salesman frowned, perhaps because I was resisting, or perhaps because I was scratching the upholstery. He aided my release by again making the uncomfortably close lean over to operate the controls. All while giving The Pitch. I was reduced to whimpering, “cool” as I zoomed to any area where my boundaries might have been lost. Maybe my boundaries fell under a seat cushion along with my seventeen cents. I didn’t care.

“Let’s just buy a chair.” I pleaded with Mr. Grinny who was formerly my brother. We tested a few more, walked around, kept moving to through off pursuit and to confuse our scent.

We bought a chair. It was the only way to save face and the only safe retreat option. We were outnumbered and I at least was clearly routed.

My dreams were not gentle dreams.

Monday, November 8, 2010

New Project

Twenty-five feet away, through my office window, is an ugly double wide trailer painted the color of "what the eff were they thinking" gray, the rain continues, my new diet is efficiently minimizing my gravitational impact and yet I feel inspired. There is inspiration aplenty. I am brimming. I have sloughed away the distraction, cleared the mind, found enlightenment.

This new state of being, can it be the result of copious quantities of celery sticks?

A question for theologians. Philosophers. Smarter folks than myself or just those more dedicated to truth, or those who thirst for knowledge. Not lazy bloggers who might be hallucinating while sitting at their desk at work when they should be productive doing work-stuff and while staring at a wall that no insult would do justice to describe how terrible it is and how depressing a sight especially in Maine where almost everywhere there are quaint villagers and lobster boats outside windows for people to smile at and be inspired by and take pictures of and there aren't even any random moose to ooh and aah over.

And the first book of my Fifty Book Quest will be in the House & Home category. I will call it "Something Clever Which Will Gain Adoring Fans and Make Me a Millionaire." Or maybe something shorter.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

All tuckered out and no one to sacrifice

First of all: I am not a witch, either.

I am just like you.

Only better because, you know, I’m not a weird senate hopeful non-witch. But I suppose neither are you, since I am just like you and, so… yeah that’s cool. Sometimes politics just rattles my brain too much.

Let’s all take a deep breath and maybe we can compromise and decide to have a moratorium on human sacrifices, at least until 2012. Then it’s game on! Watch out and keep those altars fresh and clean.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Maine Writer

Is it possible to be a global citizen while living exclusively local?

I struggle with this question, especially as I attempt to seek outlets for my own writing; in this blog; the freelance writing career I have decided to pursue; the books of fiction and non-fiction this blog is designed to chronicle. I find myself, a person I thought connected to the global community, confronted by the fact that the choices I make on writing, center almost entirely on topics of Maine. I am a Maine writer.

Write what you know. I understand the premise, agree with it, and generally accept that good writing springs from awareness born of experience. However, my interests are not limited by locality, and yet primary, firsthand experience, trumps global interests.

Being a Maine writer isn’t shameful. It does seem limiting, mostly now in a world of social media and a global society that has supposedly shrunk human boundaries. And having a local mindset is limiting for freelance writing. Is a Maine writer a viable, reasonable, or even desirable commodity?

Or perhaps the real question I have is, “Can a local mindset be transformed into a global mindset without benefit of physically moving beyond the local into the global community?”