“You need to sign my garden hose,” my friend Carl said. I looked up, feeling confusion bloom across my face. “Um, what?” This is it, isn’t it? This is the … Continue reading Garden Hoses and Memories
Some of the strangest sequences of things which has happened since I published Far from Ordinary back in November is the amount of editing work that people have asked me to do since.
For a bit of context, I was a solid C+ / B – student in school. Most of my teachers probably gave me the “doesn’t apply himself” tag at one point or another.
That’s fair. I didn’t. I was a fairly intelligent kid, but school didn’t really appeal to me. Especially not in French.
So fast forward fifteen years or so, and all of a sudden people say I’m qualified to edit their shit.
Word to the wise: I’m not. Ask me about the rules of grammar or the best placement of a semi-colon. I dunno. That’s not what I’m good at.
If you give me a sentence with a mistake, well, I know that it doesn’t look right, but I couldn’t for the life of me tell you why it’s not right. This I blame on the 12+ years of French immersion which I went to.
Hell, dude, I just write. I don’t have any interest in editing. Of course, in my experience, most writers don’t like that part. It’s just a necessary evil.
Besides, sometimes editing other people’s stuff only reminds me of how bastardized the King’s English has become. It’s all “LOL” this, “On Fleek” that. And that’s mui depresso.
But, even though I complain about it I guess I’m better than most. What surprised me, in getting to know different writer communities on Social was that there are a TON of writers who aren’t very good at English.
Oh, enough to get by for sure, but those things that are so intrinsic to me – when to use your/you’re/yore for instance – don’t come so easily to everyone.
Maybe those people just need a French education.
I’ve started training for a half marathon. It’ll be my 6th, so I’m not exactly a stranger to them. But this will be the first one I’m doing after thirty. My knees are going to kill me. But in the spirit of transparency, I’m doing it for fitness. I’m down about 8 pounds and counting.
My secret? Metamucil and no fast food. I’m a genius. Oh, and I’m on a diet. Why am I on a diet? Because my sister is on a diet. So I get shamed every time I eat a cheeseburger.
It’s working wonders.
Imagine how much I’d lose if I gave up drinking wine for a couple of months.
What did we learn this week?
- Don’t marinate shit in olive oil, then cook it over an open flame. I’m happy I still have eyebrows. I blame Lisa.
- If you have to get the cat high to have her scratch a post, maybe she doesn’t like the post
- If you’re Irish, the sun is your enemy and should be avoided at all times. You’re pale for a reason
- Apparently I dress up so little that, when I do, people assume I have an interview
- Cardio is always better when you drag along people to keep you company.
Until next week,
Truthfully I’ve been having some issues writing this blog post. There have been three different versions of it so far. I started writing about being sick (enthralling literature, I know) before I decided to write about books instead.
That had a bit more promise, my bookcase IS pretty awesome, after all, and most everybody has a favorite book. But I couldn’t write that either, because the words weren’t flowing, and when the words don’t flow writing is the most frustrating thing ever.
I feel like that should be a post in itself, but to set it up a bit:
What is it about your favorite book that you love the most? How did you find it?
Maybe that will be the next one. Let me know in the comments if that’s something you’re interested in reading about. In the meantime…
You see, the problem is that I don’t just want to write about just anything in these posts. You deserve better than that. The problem is that most great works of art have a theme that ties them together.
This one doesn’t.
But I think that’s the thing that gets me the most. This is a blog about my author’s journey, and that means it’s important that I give you guys the best. Truthfully I always look back on my past posts and think “I could have done that better” or “I should have talked about this.”
But it’s also a blog about my life. And when I’ve got an atrocious man-cold, I’m not doing much, so I don’t have much to write about. Imagine THAT blog
8:02 am: Went back to bed after ingesting the maximum dosage of cold/flu medicine
8:03 am: Did I take the blue pill or the orange pill? Isn’t this how the Matrix started? “Take the orange pill, Neo, and the journey continues. Take the blue pill, and wake up four hours later in a pool of your own drool.”
There are only so many jokes about the man-cold that I can make before I start to feel a little dead inside.
But both the times I tried to write, I couldn’t. The blank page is not my friend. I’m talking about that moment when a perfect, blank page is in front of you. A writer can do one of two things with that.
The first? Fill it with amazing and magical things. Really make the words come alive until the reader feels like they’re right there with the main character, wherever they are. If the writer does it right then time stops. You forget about the problems of your day and small things like eating or drinking. There’s nothing but you and the next page.
The second? Nothing happens. For me, I can feel the magic in my fingertips, or I’ve got the ideas in my brain but there’s a disconnect somewhere. I try to force it but it doesn’t work that way. The few prosaic sentences that I string together mock me on the page until I delete them.
And then the laptop goes into sleep mode because I haven’t written a word in five minutes, and I’m left staring at my sad expression in the reflection of the screen.
Some days, the words don’t come. Those are the hardest days. When you sit in front of a blank screen for hours on end just hoping for that one little spark that will get you going. You don’t know what’s causing it – the day before it all went great. But now you’ve just got a Blank Page in front of you, and an overwhelming desire to clean.
Because the reason why you can’t write is that your mantlepiece is dirty, right? That’s GOT to be it.
Maybe the reason is that the glass of wine beside you is empty, and that dry-red is the only thing keeping the words flowing.
Maybe the cold medicine is starting to wear off.
What I want to write is magic. That’s the plan I have for this blog. That’s why it’s got to be as close to perfect as I can make it.
SO. What did we learn this week?
- Yeah, I’m a big baby when I’m sick.
- Being sick was way more fun when I was a kid. I swear I only pretended to be sick back then once or twice, mom
- See? I’m getting writer’s block even right now
- Something something magic fingers something something buy my book
Grabbing the cough medicine now.
M James Murray
What scares you the most?
What gives you sweaty palms, a dry feeling in your mouth and anxiety in your stomach? Maybe its spiders, or public speaking, or werewolves or quicksand (which is admittedly a smaller problem than I was led to believe as a child)
Maybe it’s love.
That’s one of the things that I explore in my upcoming book. What happens when it all goes south? What do you do when the one who loves you doesn’t anymore. How does that feel?
What kind of emotion does that invoke in a person?
How does the same story sound so different depending on the side that’s telling it?
Every story is about a girl if you dig deep enough.
My next book is seven years in the making. Seven years! A lot can happen in seven years. I read somewhere that the body replaces itself every seven years. So, quite literally, you’re not the same person you were back then.
Hair, skin, muscles. Even the brain. Do you know what that means? Your memories are just that – memories. Every time you remember something the electronic synapses trace an almost familiar pathway. That path changes after years as the brain subtly molds the memory.
Which is why it’s not uncommon for two people to remember an event years ago two radically different ways.
It’s a little different every time.
So why that? Why bother writing a story about love. It’s been done literally millions of times before. But, just like memories, every time it’s different.
I tell ya – love and mathematics are the two universal languages.
So Here’s the Thing
It’s not just a love story. Fade to Black is about a disillusioned, heartbroken guy who just happens to be psychic.
Now, I get it. There’s probably a group of people that are going to hear that and think “Nope, that’s not for me.” And that’s fair – that’s your choice. But hear me out.
I think that when love ends the thing you want the most is to know the mind of the other person. Was it as real for them as it was for you? Did they care as deeply about you as you did about them?
As clear cut as it probably is for those on the outside looking in, it’s pretty rare for the same to be said when you’re in the middle of it.
So our anti-hero (he’s a bit of an asshole) who can read minds all of a sudden has his life flipped end over end. And he has no idea that it’s coming.
Fast forward five years and we have the start of my second novel.
Fade to Black.
Although, come to think of it, maybe it should be seven.
That Damned Khajit
There was a fire alarm at my apartment the other day. Actually, there were four of them. There wasn’t a fire, just a tripped sensor.
They happened in the middle of the night because of course they did. The first one was at 1:30 AM. The 2nd was just after I fell back asleep. The third one told me I was in a sleepless hell.
The fourth one was forty-five minutes before my alarm because of course it was.
In a building the size of my apartment complex, a fire truck needs to be called every time the alarm goes off. It’s mostly precautionary, and really it’s probably a good thing because, you know, safety.
Oh, and the siren keeps going until they show up.
It’s funny that the reaction nowadays to an alarm is one of vague disinterest and annoyance. Besides a few keeners who care for their lives more than the amount of sleep they got everyone was inside.
I was inside.
The sister-roommate was out for the night. So there I was, 1:30 in the AM, wondering if my building was on fire when a thought crossed my mind.
My sister’s cat, Ollie. If we had to evacuate, I’d have to either take the damned cat with me or I’d have to burn.
There were no other options. If the cat didn’t make it, I’m sure that I wouldn’t be far behind.
Lisa would see to that.
So the alarm is blaring and the cat is nowhere to be found. Usually she’s right on the couch in the middle of the night, the perfect place to scare the crap out of me. Not today, of course.
So I’m frantically searching everywhere for her. In the pantry, in the linen closet. I’m beginning to think that cats are ethereal creatures which can disappear on a whim. And then it occurs to me:
What the hell am I going to do if I catch her?
There was a ninety percent chance of me getting eviscerated, my somewhat average face ruined. RUINED I SAY!
And what the hell was I supposed to do with her once I caught her, too? At that moment I pictured myself standing outside in -30 degree weather with a squirming cat and a scratched up face.
And my white Snow Lion sorels, of course. Got to save the important things.
“Hey, sis. Good news, I saved the cat. Bad news, it’s now loose in the neighborhood and I think I need to go to the ER”
So what did we learn this week?
- Dating sites literally put faith in your inability to find a partner. “Go ahead, take the 6-month subscription. It’s cheaper – we KNOW you’ll still be here”
- Don’t judge a book by its cover. I.e. give my little psychic story a chance.
- Cats continue to be assholes
- Fire alarms only malfunction when the weather outside is inclement
- Or when you’ve got to get up at the crack of dawn