Scared of Clowns?

How about now???

Z9N0IA8l

Oh, Pennywise, you never fail to show up at the most inopportune times….

Daily Musing – What to Write About When You’re Not Writing (III)

Horror-on-the-Orient-ExpressI’ll try to tag to the previous WtWAWYNW entries  for consistency and easier reference.  My “Whatawowinew”.  Or however you want to pronounce that weird acronym. So I put it on my other blog but I want to mentioned it here too – I’ve been looking over the 7th edition Call of Cthulhu rules and I’m really liking them.  Now gaming can be escapism or a creative outlet or a waste of time or a fun social gathering, sometimes all at once.  It really depends on how much time you invest in it.  And what it ultimately means to your emotional well being.  That said, the nature of Call of Cthulhu is by default one of ghastly horror, grisly doom, and confronting indescribable entities from other dimensions that want to feast on your soul.  So fun stuff. Regardless, it is an immensely cool world to play in, one that I have delved into many times over the years, swam around in its yuckiness and eventually climbed back out and showered (metaphorically). The new 7th edition of the game promises more of the same, and it looks really fun to play, and now in full horrific color to boot.

There’s a new adventure out for it as well, Horror on the Orient Express, no less than a 9 lb. boxed set that could club someone to death it’s so heavy.  If I WERE to run Cthulhu again, this is the adventure I would pick up.  It looks to be chock full of handouts, clues, a timeline, and more convoluted red herrings than you could possibly imagine.  And red herrings in Call of Cthulhu are fun. Instead of THIS thing driving your character insane, it might THIS completely unrelated thing instead. Which brings me back to the point I brought up earlier – what does gaming mean to me?  Is it pure escapism, a way to waste time instead of doing something more productive, or is it a built-in creative outlet or is it a dedicated social mechanism for getting together with friends?   I guess for me it’s all of the above.   It’s definitely a form of storytelling, cooperate storytelling, but from experience, it can ultimately be a waste of time pumping that much creative juice into a project that only about 5 other people on the world will care about.

That kind of creative devotion can write entire novels and crap like that, which ya know, can be a career and make you money, both of which are really neato things. So ultimately, like anything else, moderation is the key.  Finding a balance between how much time you invest in a hobby like this is important.  Too little and the game suffers from lack of preparation; too much and you’re investing all your time into something that not many people will care about;  just right is just right, the Sweet Spot.  That horrible, horrible, terrifying and madness-inducing sweet spot of Sanity-draining terror that the game is famous for. I love it.

Daily Musing – What To Write About When You’re Not Writing (II)

Quotation-Samuel-Taylor-Coleridge-style-language-poetry-expression-order-best-Meetville-Quotes-203709This could become a series of blog posts.  This topic. What to write about when you’re not writing, just so I can BE writing and have something to write about.  Self fulfilling prophecy or something like that.  Anyway, I’m still poking along with a number of different stories and projects.  Poking is an apt word because it denotes “slowness” and “lack of forward progression.”  I wish my word choice there included “light speed” or “raging”  or “spectacularly” but I’m going to stick with poking for right now.  Next week maybe I’ll have another update and I can insert a more interesting word.

I’m always curious about where writing inspiration comes from.  You see many successful authors churn out ludicrous amounts of material every year, year after year after year.  Don’t they ever get writer’s block for months at time like all of us others?   Maybe not.

I’m reminded of an article called “BLOCKED” from The New Yorker that I read one time about the famous poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge when he was going through a period of horrible writer’s block:

Yesterday was my Birth Day,” Coleridge wrote in his notebook in 1804, when he was thirty-two. “So completely has a whole year passed, with scarcely the fruits of a month.—O Sorrow and Shame. . . . I have done nothing!” It was true. Most of the poems for which he is remembered were written when he was in his mid-twenties. After that, any ambitious writing project inspired in him what he called “an indefinite indescribable Terror,” and he wasted much of the rest of his life on opium addiction. How could he have done this? Why didn’t he pull himself together? A friend asked him the same question. “You bid me rouse myself,” he replied. “Go, bid a man paralytic in both arms rub them briskly together, and that will cure him. Alas! (he would reply) that I cannot move my arms is my complaint.”

Now, that’s some depressing crap right there.

In fact, the first time I read that article I think I was about the exact same age as Coleridge – 32.   Anyway, the whole Article, “Blocked”, is an excellent essay on the phenomenon of writer’s block.  But my point here is not necessarily “block” as “writer’s slump” where you have to push through invisible walls that slow or impede your output rather than being solid, impenetrable obstacles.  Would Coleridge have fared better if he had internet access and a blog? I don’t know.  Maybe.

And seriously, I’ve wondered at times if I’m a reincarnation of Coleridge, if one believes in such things.  Obviously I do, but I’m not trying to convince or change anyone’s mind about anything. Choose to believe whatever you want, but to quote a super wise man, the Buddah:

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

But a quick internet search turns this up as well (click on the picture):

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YEAH, on second thought, Samuel Taylor Coleridge would have had a f****** blast with the Internet.

Humor – With Kids vs. Without Kids

I’m currently in the No-kids camp, but this was shared with me by people in the Kid-camp. Click on the image to expand to full size.

“Without Kids – 8:30am: An angel comes down and gently kisses your forehead.  Sleep well, sweet prince.” 

nokids

Humor – Crappy Children’s Artwork

Crappy Children's ArtworkThis is a website we found a long, long time ago that has given us many hours of enduring chuckles.  I’ll let you pick which ones resonate most for you.  It’s a site for grownups, or at the very least PG-13.  The author has no qualms about using harsh language to insult the artistic skills of children, but therein lies the humor- it’s so unfairly biased that it’s just ridiculous.

CRAPPY CHILDREN’S ARTWORK

Daily Musing – Sharkzilla Again

I’m trying to get some work done on Sharkzilla 3 this morning.  It’s tricky.  Writing a storypoem is something — I’m not sure how to explain this well  — it’s either happening or it’s not.  I think there’s a part of my brain that has to “get into the groove” in conceptual ways I don’t understand in order to churn out a story that rhymes and makes sense.  And to do it WELL and not seem forced. Which is sort of how I feel now, like I’m forcing the rhymes and meter instead of letting it happen naturally. And when it happens naturally it just flows.  It will still need tons and tons of edits, but less of them, and I’ll have more of a workable first draft to fiddle with.

zillalogo3 copyWell, at least I do have a draft, and lots of embedded artwork, so that’s good.  I think it’s a solid story, and ideally in a perfect world I’d like to release all three of these in one year: Me & Sharkzilla 1, 2 and 3 several months apart.  Because it is really one long story and it would make more sense to keep it somewhat fresh in people’s minds.  Or kids minds, I mean, it’s just an illustrated children’s book, it’s not a mega-novel or anything or the next Harry Potter. But it’s fun and weird and I like to think that some of the rhymes are clever and fun to read.  But what do I know, I’m the author, I like to think everything I make is gold.

For a fairly young kid I’ve seen a lot of strange things,
Oh, heck – you already know what this speech brings!

I’ve seen weird stuff from the merry to the morose,
from neat-o and freak-o to grimy and gross.

And the latter was where we now found ourselves,
me and Sharkzilla stuck in an ocean of swells,

waves smashing an island as a huge storm rumbled
over terrain where I’d been so tragically tumbled

after defeating Octopox, the Baron of the Deep,
who turned out to be tentacled, despicable creep.

Daily Musing – SHARKZILLA

So over the summer of 2014 I wrote a couple of stories about a kid named Brody Quint who lives at the beach in Anywhere, USA, but mostly likely the East Coast because that’s where I live.  Anyway, it was the sort of short storypoem I enjoy writing, and fans of Steven Spielberg’s JAWS will recognize that the name Brody Quint is an amalagram of the two main characters from the film, the stalwart Chief of Police in Amity and the salty old sharkhunter, Quint.   I don’t expect children to have any CLUE as to thatquintbrody, but I think it would be fun to know that one day they’ll grow a little older and see JAWS and make the connection to this little book they read as kids.  I like dropping little easter eggs like that into stories actually, I think it makes them more fun for adults to read and comprehend with a wink and a nod.

But Sharkzilla turned into a STRANGE story.  Not so much the first entry, but it became a 3-parter, and now it’s a 10,000 word storypoem, the longest and most involved I’ve ever written.  Part 2 probably has around eight or nine characters, and it’s hard trying to give people (or things) personalities and a voice and a story arc in that short amount of space while still trying to make the whole thing rhyme and stay in some resemblance of a meter.

Challenging, but rewarding, if I can pull it off.  But like I was saying, Me & Sharkzilla transformed from a whimsical romp with a boy and his sharkman friend to a D&D/Cthulhu-esque romp through dangerous waters filled with combat and monsters and zombie trees.  I can’t help it, it’s just the direction the story wanted to take, and it was something I’d always wanted to run in D&D, an underwater scenario.  So instead of D&D, I end up writing a weird little poem about it.

And I have no idea how it will turn out.  The third and final part is in the editing phase still, and it’s going slow. In fact, Part 2 needs tons more editing, and from experience, editing these storypoems can be a very, very long process.  Sometimes it flows easier than others, and sometimes I can peck at the same sentences for months and months and not really get anywhere.
What does this mean for Me & Sharkzilla?  I think it means that somewhere down the line the public will get a look at my fully illustrated trilogy, enjoy it for all of its weirdness, and never have a clue as to how tricky it was to write.

And that’s good enough for me.

seamus and friends copy2

Daily Musing – What to Write About When You’re Not Writing

writersblockI hate writing slumps.  I absolutely 100% hate them.  I don’t understand them for one thing, and I can’t see them coming until they’re already here, and I can’t see them going until they’re already gone. Does that make sense? Maybe not, it’s still early in the morning and this is stream of consciousness typing away with a caffeine buzz.  Anyway, I’ve not been writing much recently in my preferred manner of “stories or novels” although I have plenty to do.  Lots of stories, and maybe that’s part of the problem, the enormity of a project freezes me to inactivity rather than invigorating me to action.  And maybe it has to do with my frame of mind and attitude and emotional well-being. Sometimes negative thoughts like to torture me on a regular basis.

So that has left me with the enormous problem of how to fill my time with creative outlets so I don’t go kinda batty. Roleplaying games and creating stories and rules for those are one outlet, but I’ve spent so many years doing that, and while I know from experience that it is a massive time filler, and fun, ultimately very few people actually care.  I feel like my time and energy would be better suited to entertaining thousands or millions of people instead of just five or ten.

But back to my original premise – What To Write About When You’re Not Writing?  Well, there’s blogging like this, which is a borderline form of journaling + venting + bitching.  I guess if I actually had a fan base interested in this page it would be fun to read their feedback and answer comments, hell, I could make a career of doing just that and love it.  I could try and peck away at a story, but I know it just wouldn’t go anywhere.  My brain is filled with something like dirty cotton candy and the creative ideas just don’t flow.  I mean that special kind of FLOW, you writers out there know the Flow, when you’re so in the zone and time falls away and you’re working on something massively difficult but FUN and you know you’re doing it well.  Very little in the world is more satisfying than that except for great sex.  Or great drugs.  I guess the endorphin rush is the end result and what people crave, but there’s healthy vs. unhealthy ways of achieving it.

So What To Write About When You’re Not Writing?   That sounds like the title of a Self Help book,I have to admit.  Maybe I’ll write it one day!  You, know, instead of just blogging about writing it.

write

Image from Harold and the Hufferbluss Ruckus

This was a fun little one that I photoshopped for the 4th story of the Harold novel.

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