First love


In the heart and the mind of a writer there is a first love ,that is that book or writer that made you love writing. It could be someone extremely famous like Stephen King , Jane Austen, probably for most of us writers, it’s someone that we read when we  were younger than the Jane Austens attract like Beverly Cleary, or RL Stine.

But somewhere  in our hearts or in our minds that  first love  holds a place that no one else will ever hold. I’d like to celebrate today first love. I’d like to think about I ever read voraciously and without any facade. I remember reading books like are you there god it’s me Margaret, or freckle juice and enjoying those books. Feeling like I was a part of something other. .I was a smart girl. I was a reader. Then I read a book called then again, maybe I won’t by Judy Blume. That made me want to be a writer, but it was the book that made me feel like my kind of writing was acceptable. Because and then again, maybe I won’t from the perspective of a 10 or 11 year old me anyway was very personal. The main character was a young boy whose father suddenly found himself wealthy and so the boy suddenly finds himself wealthy. At the same time he also finds himself going through what everybody goes through when they are on the cusp of not necessarily adulthood but the next transition between childhood and not childhood. I remember reading this book at every possible moment of the day. I remember not going outside and I grew up in the air when we went outside. I remember friends and phone calls and everything else in this book. It was definitely a first love kind of thing because all these years later I am first of all still looking fondly upon this book and almost afraid to think about the book itself too closely. I don’t want to ruin what we have together with other words. So sweetly think of that boy, his issues with his parents and his masturbatory dream and even now. Having read this book in well over 20 years I still think it’s a story, never mind the writing and I don’t remember the writing well enough to even begin to critique it, but the story at the very least which still resonate with a lot of people. So I wanted to thank Judy Blume, and all the people write the books that make a person realize the creativity is not only ok but it is something to be proud.For that I am ever grateful.

Goin’ Places


Where do you write?

I have that question in mind because lately I have not been able to write in my home at all . I feel like there is always someone lurking around the corner waiting for me to begin writing so that they can say something , do something or just interrupt me for no reason with a dancing cat video , a problem that has nothing to do with me or something else that is #trending. I , in short , live with the goddamn human equivalent to Facebook just waiting for me to attempt to be productive.

productivity-without-the-internet  So I have been finding it much easier and more work inducing to head to the local coffee house ( I am full of shit here, I wish I could tell you I was heading to a  little hipster spot in the city called “The Beans Talk” or ” Veni-Vidi-Venti” but I am talking about Starbucks . There. I am soulless. ) and there I can usually find the strength and motivation to write something . But at the end of the day I feel like this negates part of the point of being a freelance writer. I a supposed to be one of those people that get to live in pajamas and never have to shower if I don’t want to because I am one of the luck people that work from home. This is not so when you can not , if fact , work FROM home.

How do you combat this? How do I ?

I am trying some tips that I located online .

  1.  Distinguish between your work-space and domestic space.
  2. working time is for work tasks, not chores or entertainment
  3.  You still need “office hours”
  4. track my time to see how much am I really spending on working, and how many breaks am I taking.
  5.  You also still need an “office space”.
  6. Keep your work zone clean and clutter free.

There is a difference between working from home and being at home. Now … If I can get the rest of the internet to leave me alone.

How Do E-Books Change the Reading Experience? – NYTimes.com


The advantages of e-books are clear. E-books are immediate. Sitting at home in Pakistan, I can read an intriguing review of a book, one not yet in stores here, and with the click of a button be reading that book in an instant. E-books are also incorporeal. While traveling, which I do frequently, I can bring along several volumes, weightless and indeed without volume, thereby enabling me to pack only a carry-on bag.

And yet the experience of reading e-books is not always satisfactory. Yes, it is possible to vary the size of the font, newly important to me at age 42, as I begin to perceive my eye muscles weakening. Yes, e-books can be read in the dark, self-illuminated, a reassuring feature when my wife is asleep and I am too lazy to leave our bed, or when electricity outages in Lahore have persisted for so long that our backup batteries are depleted. And yes, they offer more frequent indicators of progress, their click-forwards arriving at a rapidity that far exceeds that of paper-flipping, because pixelated screens tend to hold less data than printed pages and furthermore advance singly, not in two-sided pairs.

Nonetheless, often I prefer reading to e-reading. Or rather, given that the dominance of paper can no longer be assumed, p-reading to e-.

I think my reasons are related to the fact that I have disabled the browser on my mobile phone. I haven’t deleted it. Instead, I’ve used the restrictions feature in my phone’s operating system to hide the browser, requiring me to enter a code to expose and enable it. I can use the browser when I find it necessary to browse. But, for the most part, this setting serves as a reminder to question manufactured desires, to resist unless I have good cause.

Similarly, I have switched my email account from the attention- and battery-consuming “push” setting to the less frenzied manual one. Emails are fetched when I want them to be, which is not all that often. And the browser on my slender fruit-knife of a laptop now contains a readout that reminds (or is it warns?) me how much time I have spent online.

Time is our most precious currency. So it’s significant that we are being encouraged, wherever possible, to think of our attention not as expenditure but as consumption. This blurring of labor and entertainment forms the basis, for example, of the financial alchemy that conjures deca-billion-dollar valuations for social-networking companies.

I crave technology, connectivity. But I crave solitude too. As we enter the cyborg era, as we begin the physical shift to human-machine hybrid, there will be those who embrace this epochal change, happily swapping cranial space for built-in processors. There will be others who reject the new ways entirely, perhaps even waging holy war against them, with little chance — in the face of drones that operate autonomously while unconcerned shareholding populations post selfies and status updates — of success. And there will be people like me, with our powered exoskeletons left often in the closet, able to leap over buildings when the mood strikes us, but also prone to wandering naked and feeling the sand of a beach between our puny toes.

via How Do E-Books Change the Reading Experience? – NYTimes.com.

The Joy of Writing – Mary S. Sentoza


Writing

Writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

When I was young, I always enjoyed writing, and in some ways I believed it was the one thing I was good at. I would let my mind drift away and experience happiness while I was seeing my thoughts expressed in written form on the page before me. I was often praised for the quality of my stories, but sometimes my parents would worry because I stayed in my bedroom and wouldn’t go anywhere until I finished what I was writing. I was always very focused and didn’t want to stop until I was done. At the time, they didn’t realize writing was my source of joy. Even though I am older now, writing continues to give me pure joy.

 

via The Joy of Writing – Mary S. Sentoza.

 

 

 

Flash


My week is going to be dedicated to the flash fiction genre. I have been having some issues lately with my ability to write fiction. My story well is a bit rusty. I can write, I have words but the pump is not very well primed. I find the idea of stoking my fire with a fresh 300- 1000 word story exciting and unbelievably scary. The subject matter will be varied.

This is my attempt to gear my mind up for the task that of getting down the business of writing as a business.  I have not been doing much writing in the fiction realm for the last year or two, I have been more into wring prose and nonfiction, a lot of things like my writing here, observational semi-humor. I want to give rise and texture to the characters that are in my head. I have a few reasons for wanting to do them now. Not the least is my own age, as I get older everything seems to be slipping away. The other thing is that there are some people in this world that I want to read my work. People that I want to see it, to critique it, and hopefully love it.

I am also open to Suggestions, requests and ideas.

 

Flash – Queen (Official Music Video) – YouTube

How


I am stubborn to the point of self-destruction at times. I am admitting that right out. I have tried very hard not to read a single book about writing because I do not (did not) want any part of my writing to be someone else’s words or thoughts. I think that a lot of writers may do this but this is ridiculous when you think about it. I think that if your doctor said to you, “I never cracked a book, I just kept cutting people until I figured out how to stop killing them” you would flee, possibly screaming, into the street and never look back.

I know that writing and medicine are not the same animal, but the same can be said of politics. Tina Fey, who I love like good food, said that politics and prostitution are the only professions where people try to convince you of how inexperienced they are as a virtue. I think that writers can sometimes be said to feel the same. I want, basically, to be talented and not taught. The problem is that the idea is idiotic, not to put too fine a point on it. I am not saying that you can’t be good if you never get instruction but the honest to god truth is that you can’t write unless you are taught something. How to read at the very least.

I love Stephen King. I want to admit that out right, as well. I think that he is one of the great writers and never-mind the bullshit that people say about anyone and anything that is popular. I think that the man is amazing, not because his writing is amazing but because it is not. Not always anyway. There are exceptions in his writing, Under the Dome is one. Misery is another and I think that the story “The Boogeyman” is almost perfect as a short (very short) horror story. I have it on audiobook and the combination of the writing and the reading by John Glover make it something I listen to like music, and like music I can recite it by heart.  I love the characters decent into madness as he tried to explain the truth that is impossible to accept and that you as a reader have to wonder if he is just a as the character himself states “ another goofy”. Perhaps, you wonder, he is a murderer and can’t admit it , like ( spoiler alert) another character in Strawberry Spring or if he is just trying to make sense of what makes no sense; all three of his children dying before they are three. I love this story and think that it is wonderful.

So you would think that knowing that one of my favorite writers was writing a book about writing (oh my god this sentence is going to sound crazy) about writing called “On Writing” would have sent me into mad gales of happiness. I would have been standing on the corner at 8:59 am waiting for the Barnes and Nobel to open and allow me to plunk my money down to find out how he does it.  You would, as I am sure you have gleaned already, have been very wrong. I saw that book as something terrible almost, like a magician telling his secrets and not just his but everyone’s. I did not crack that book, not once and I was high-minded about it. As you know when you have decided that you are doing something because it is the “right and proper thing” you are always right, right? Yes, and that is how people become terrorists. They decide that they are perfectly legitimate in their thoughts and words to the contrary are just jealousy, lunacy or some other y.

When I knew that the creepy and amazing Chloe Grace Moretz was set to play Carrie White  and the sequel to “ The Shining”  was coming out ( all near Halloween , also) I decided to read or reread some of my favorite King novels and among the books that I found was  On Writing at my local half off book store. I bought it because it was practically free. I am a sucker for a deal. Then I laid it aside and read my other books again. It wasn’t until I was reading someone else’s book, one about goal setting, and it was mentioned that I decided that it was time to at least try the e book.

I have to say that, while I am not done with this book, almost but not quite, I could kick myself for waiting as long as I did to read it. It is not the best book on writing, I can see that, but it is genuine and genuinely written. I think the things that make this book an actual good novel as well as a decent instructional manual is that it doesn’t think that it really is either animal. It is a memoir, it says that on the cover, and it is that. It is also a bit of a novel , telling a story inside it that is one that I had personally seen without having heard it outright until now; that there is a very damaged man that wrote many of my favorite books. One that has Daddy issues, was a drunk and a drug addict, has been broke and broken several times in life and that has never gotten completely over the abandonment of his father or the death of his mother entirely.

I say that not to tax Mr. King with anything just to say that most of that is true for most people and the idea that we have to be perfect to be great is not only foolish but dangerous. I myself have been fond of saying about my sexual self that I know where all my desires come from and I have decided that I don’t care and just enjoy the orgasms. If we are waiting for perfection to do our great work we will be waiting a very long time.  I know of a woman doctor who had her children while in medical school, on purpose, and when asked why she would do such a thing when she knew how hard it would be see said simply “when would it have not been hard? When I was an intern? A new doctor? I knew I wanted kids and that I wanted to be a doctor, and that if I waited for the perfect time to do either I would do neither”. That sums it up for me.

So I am reading On Writing and while I am not gaining any burning insights so to speak I am being reminded of those things that I needed to be reminded of, and well. That writing is for writing. Not for money or fame. You write because it is what you are meant to do. That you will not always write the best but you can try to write something that you would want to read. Have a goal in mind. Even if the goal is modest, having it will help you to accomplish. I myself have allowed Steve’s own to suggestion to be mine for the start. 1000 words a day. Which is satisfied today with what you are reading. Not long and not perfect but I hope honest and entertaining.

Somebody’s watching me


We live in an overly cataloged and documented world. We are doing it to ourselves, of course, but it is true. I am attached via name and face to no less than two dozen sites, I have Facebook , LinkedIn , foursquare, twitter and Google+ to name a few. I do reviews and comments enough to earn a “top contributor” on the internet. I am online. I am locatable. I don’t mind that because my world and my goals in this world are a want for recognition. I am trying to build a brand for both my writing, my day job and myself.

Still and all that means that my image is attached to many things. As, probably, is yours.  That brings me to today’s topic. I recently upgraded to Microsoft Office 2013 and one of the fantastic little updates is that you can sign into sites right through to your outlook. I did because I love stupid little things like that, they know this, and the people that made that feature are tech geeks.

The thing about that is, I can see the Facebook attached to my candidate’s emails, when they come into my inbox. Which for the most part is fine, but that begs the question, “if your employer or potential employer saw your Facebook profile, would that cost you anything?” I hope that the answer is no. However, for some of you …

We have all seen the chick whose Facebook photo is her breasts or her behind. Unless you are in the sex industry that is not the image that you need to portray.  The person whose profile picture is his weed stash or some other unflattering image.  Do yourself a favor and take that down, right now! First, I do not care who you are, you are better than that, trust me. Second, if your name is something rude, crude or sexually explicit, take that down too. Same thing for your email address, while I have you here, if you are “sexytramp69@yahoo.com “for the love of GOD get a new email address. Potential employers will not be impressed at how “real” you keep it. Just think of this; if you are standing in a room full of family members, and you have to give your email address, your YouTube name or your Facebook handle, would you be embarrassed? If yes, change it. Does your employer need to know that you are “Dabaddezbitch”, “DatNiggaDarrall”, or even “Jackdaniels4lyfe”?

 

The bottom-line is this , treat your name and image like it is your product , because now a days it is just that.

Successful


 

I am a Creative with deep roots. Its not what people see that counts, its whats buried deep that counts.If you are particularly sensitive, you may want to get an “updated” copy of Napoleon Hill’s masterwork “Think and Grow Rich” , but if not it is available in PDF or E-reader for for free download all over the internet. I say that “if you are particularly sensitive” part because I began reading the original for the first time yesterday and I realize that over the years, some of the language has been cleaned up and some stories have been edited for content. I am not particularly sensitive but I did take slight umbrage with the use of “Deaf and Dumb” in reference to Helen Keller, Calling a black child “ignorant, illiterate” in a story .words that did not really add to the story in my opinion. The almost constant use of the word “Normal” in relation to Blair Hill, the author’s son, that was born with no ears but who was forced to learn how to hear because of the overwhelming need for him to be “normal” by his father. I find that story both amazing and horrible.

Nevertheless, the other parts of the book are filled with merit. The book has been revamped and this is my third or fourth time reading it, although my first with the original text, and I think that it is something that everyone should read, at least once. Like the bible. Moreover, like the bible, you will get out of it what you get out of it. I can see it going forward in some people’s lives as simply new age ( the book is rounding on 100 years I think but still people will call it that) bull. Which for them, it will be. Some people will, as I did, read it and not really understand it. It rings a faint bell but I do not know that I really know the tune kind of thing. You have to keep reading it as your paradigm changes to get the true scope of the thing.

Then some of you, the Chloë Grace Moretz, the Bill Gates, the Zuckerbergs, among you will read it and have a kind of ping and duh moment at the same time. I think that the “secret” that lives in the pages of the book is something that comes natural to some people in this world. They wake up every day with the knowledge that they are going to make it. I am both awed by and terrified of these people. Not those as they are now but I suspect that Hitler was one of these people just turned inside out. When I meet them, always a part of me hopes they are one the side of good. Because I do not think that, I would be great in the apocalypse, except the Zombie Apocalypse because I have plans together.

I am reading this book again, and what I am getting out of it this time is, I can do it. In actuality, I am getting a full picture of my successes and failures of the past year. I tend to lose faith when I am close to the end because I believe that I fear (or have feared, as I am conquering that now) the near win-miss. The honest to god truth is that, without failure you cannot win; or should I say constructive failure. You cannot win the grand prize, if you do not lose the second prize. So many times in my life, I have been unwittingly leaving the game because I lost at second when the first prize had yet to be awarded. Real life example of that is when I won my 60-Inch TV, I had wanted to win the TV, which was the last prize. In the process, I gloomily sulked over not winning the laptop, the vacation package, the PS3 (they had just come out) and I was literally putting my coat on when I won the TV. The thing that I had actually stated that I wanted! My single raffle ticket, if it had won something else, could not bring me the TV that I wanted but I was ready to give up when I had not won everything. Something that would have been impossible anyway!

Therefore, again in my reaffirming the goal mindset, I state that while I am blessed and lucky to have been given my fantastic brain, I am also at odds with said brain. Sometimes I have to shut it off and let my heart take the wheel. I know what I want. I am learning how to get it and nothing will stand in my way. Not even me

If I had a Hammer…


If you asked a person that never saw a hammer, what a hammer could do, what do you think that they would say? A hammer in the hands of a child, or an animal like a monkey or raccoon is nothing but an object to destroy. A bludgeon, a blunt object or a weapon. A hammer is useless to those with no knowledge of them. Does that mean that a hammer has no value in society? The hammer is stupid, in other words?

If you answered yes, I need you to stop reading, right now. I am serious, not another sentence. I don’t want or need the thoughts of a person that says that getting into my head via my writing, which I sometimes feel is a conduit. If, on the other hand, you read the question and wondered in utter puzzlement, where I was going with all the hammer talk, please read on.

I have read that LinkedIn is an utter waste of time. I have read that about Facebook marketing, Twitter accounts, YouTube … I have read through several sources that all these things, all the social media ( side bar, when did that become something I say every day? Social media? I don’t know) sites are just filler and fluff and that people that use them are time wasters. I think that 800 years ago, or whenever Hammers were invented, they would have said the same thing about them. I will use my rocks and boards thank you, they would snark at the hammer users, and you can play with your stupid little toy. They are the people that damned sewing machines, TV, computers and cell phones. They are the people that will always be and always be proven wrong. We used to call them nay Sayers.

The fact is that calling a tool stupid is, well, stupid. It shows that you have no idea how to use said tool and instead of wanting to be taught you would rather damn the product. Can LinkedIn be a waste of time, oh hell yes. It can be something you play on for a few hours, following Richard Branson and Conan O’Brian’s words around and end the day with nothing accomplished. You can spend a whole day connecting with people for no reason, until enough of them complain and you are put into LinkedIn jail and have to have email addresses to connect with anyone. You can endlessly see who looked at your page and wonder how they found you. You can even develop a crush on someone and go peeping at their page every few hours to see if they changed anything. I actually have one of those. He is always there, checking me out.

On the other hand you can do amazing Boolean searches and find people that fit your needs perfectly. I needed a CPA, with a Master’s degree and 8 years of experience in oil and gas … boom, found!  From Texas, educated at Oxford. DONE, says LinkedIn, what else you want? I found my amazing first placement there on LinkedIn. She was just there for the cherry picking, and I didn’t even know all the uses at that point (gotta love beginners luck) and I found a woman so perfect for the role that even I was impressed with myself. On LinkedIn, I found her, placed her and got paid. From the waste of time site. Yeah.

I think what I am trying to say is , if you are waiting for the hammer to explain to you how to use it, it will sit, stupidly , waiting for you to pick it up and whack you thumb with it. If, on the other hand, you take the time to learn how to use the hammer, how its weight affects things, what way to hold it, and put that to use you can build a home. You can build a boat to sail the world. You can build a business making furniture, or racecars … ok not race cars but you understand where I’m going with this. You cannot damn the hammer, for your lack of knowing.

Running for my life


I need a writing partner , someone that will keep me on my track. Someone I can keep on track too because I really do work better when it’s not just about me .  I need someone that is , like myself, has the desire and the talent but something in the way of execution just isn’t happening. I want this soon because I am writing, I am WRITING a lot just not my novel.  or not as much as I would like to on my novel.

 

Art

Art (Photo credit: A.Currell)

 

 

 

Everyday I’m hustling…


Flickr friends

Flickr friends (Photo credit: Meer)

 

I’m carving a very strange little life for myself. I am living extremely nomadic. I have no roots at the moment and the lack there of is getting to me. I have more Friends then I have had in two decades but have less care in my life then in those two decades. I guess the thing that upsets me is that I am used to being slightly princess… Cared for… I don’t feel cared for.

 

Send in the Clowns


This song means a lot to me as I grow up and grow older . So many things  in my life , not just men but jobs, friends, thoughts, actions  , feel like they fall in this category . This why didn’t I realize at the time what I had .  Only to realize that the recapture of that thing , place , person or action is outside of your ability. You can not get the one that got away.

There are a lot of these for me , some because I truly didn’t see the merit on them and for those I can only sigh and move on but the ones that hurt are the ones that I missed out on because I was too  chickenshit it make a move . I am never proud of myself when I  miss out on something because  I decided to be a chickenshit . I would rather fail miserably  in trying than be in fear. I would like to try and fail beautifully.

In the spirit of that I have decided to sing today. You are free to listen or not to listen ( like you didn’t know that , right?) but understand that I am singing accapella and I did not do another take . I am a little pitchy at times I think but I am also woman enough today to sing one of my favorite songs to you and free of change .

http://youtu.be/TU8d7SBwswI

This year has not been easy and it is only May , but then again this year has not been easy and it is already May . I am not going to wallow in the many yesterdays, the could have beens , the should have beens. I am going to sing. and I am going to dance . I am going to move forward and laugh . Topple , roll , squeak my red nose and freak some people out . In short I am going to embrace the fact that I may be a clown. But after I go forward I will never let fear make me a clown again .

Free Fallin’


There are people in this world that have jumped from an airplane only to find mid-fall that the parachute didn’t open. While generally this spells death  for the person plummeting to the earth there are , on occasions, a person that lands and is found broken, bruised and badly shaken but nonetheless alive .

That person while recovering from the usually significant injuries has to , despite everything , feel like the luckiest son of a bitch in the world. You go into a free-fall , a jump from much higher than people die from and you live . You didn’t walk away . How could you? But the survival… the survival is all you could hope for and more.

Coming to Houston was me in free fall. I had little choice about what else I could do but I was definitely moving fast towards the ground and simply now , still in mid fall I have realized that I  can’t do anything to change the end of this fall.  now I am not saying that I am a victim of my fate I am saying that the choices that i made before now have shaped the movement  I am in  now . I jumped and while I couldn’t have predicted the lack of a parachute I had the choice to never jump.

I wonder if the people who are falling feel like I do now. In those moments , the beauty and splendor the earth all around them while they scream , prey or wet  themselves , do they also feel like this might be what I had to have happen. Would they choose to be at  home in whatever life made them feel like this was a good idea? I doubt that. I doubt that they would prefer to have never had the jump to avoid the fall.  I know that I would not .