1. It’s fun.
2. Look what it’s done for President Pumpkinhead.
3. Sometimes I prefer the raw unfiltered truth.
4. My dad was never able to break me of calling my brothers “stupid idiots” when I was kid, and he was a much better man than I will ever be.
5. Name calling is a hallowed tradition for those of us with limited intellectual capacity, like me and President Pumpkinhead.
6. Like the perfect paint color, sometimes the perfect name just “pops.”
7. I’m terrible at remembering people’s real names.
8. It’s the perfect naturopathic hypotensive.
9. It’s arguably better than punching someone in the throat.
And, last but not least:
10. Practice makes perfect, and I’m a perfectionist.
10 Methods I’ve Used To Resist the Urge To Write About Politics and Current Events, Not All Of Them Being Successful
Yes, even I sometimes have the urge to do things I suspect will be counterproductive. Not like that time I wanted to take extra hay to the zebras. I was blissfully clueless that time. But more like that time I wondered if I could use rocket fuel to toast bagels. Thank goodness the grocery store was out of gluten-free bagels at 2 am that morning.
Anyway, in that spirit, there are actual “hacks” (see there! I almost literally want to throw up when other people use that word for anything other than referring to computer hacking, yet here I am) I’ve used to distract myself from getting into trouble on this subject. As you might guess, some are more effective than others. Here are my top ten.
1. Chew my fingernails until they bleed, then reminisce about Frodo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings movies.
2. Search my apartment for bedbugs, ready to pick them up with inverted duct tape.
3. Plan a new “101 Uses for Duct Tape” book.
4. Watch the news until I become an incoherent lump. Follow up with reruns of Gilligan’s Island to regain sanity.
5. Watch animal videos. Compare and contrast with politicians. (Oops, this one slipped by me.)
6. Eat mass quantities of Conversation Hearts and weep softly.
7. Go walking at the mall wearing a birthday party hat and dragging an empty dog leash.
8. Check out breaking news on Facebook.
9. Visit styling salons to check out the latest men’s hair care products and ask questions.
10. Walk through the corridors of my apartment building yelling, “Read my lips!”
Yes, Chapter 2 of my fantasy novel in progress, The Two Staves, is here. You may also find it under the Fiction tab above or browse the links on the right.
To clarify, once my rewrite and update of this old story is complete, I am expecting to publish the novel in a more typical (if not traditional) fashion, whether just in self-published ebook form or in print or print-on-demand as well if I’m really lucky. Probably the biggest reason for me posting it here as I progress is to give me an extra push toward completion. It’s harder to ignore it when it’s not hidden away in a private file somewhere. Removal of deniability.
ONE: bcause ALL they media are BIASSED !!
2. they ONLYT ell the sotries the WINGNUT bosses & they should all b LOCKED UP!!!
3: they are all FAKE new and u should get news from as many sources! !!
43. NO 1 cares what THEY THINK PERIOD!!!!
5 . So many peopl,.e KNOWS the Truth and the people can tell the LIES!!!
6 Like and Share! so as many ppl get this!!!!!
As I’ve noted a couple of times around these parts, I’m rewriting an old fantasy novel of mine. When I can overcome inertia, depression, and self-doubt, I actually enjoy the work of recreating this story that’s had residence in my head for so long. It can be the kiss of death for a writer to spend ages working on one story, yet here I am. Brave or stupid, or maybe both.
Publishing has changed a great deal since I first wrote the book and tried to sell it, and so have I. I’m over the worry and pressure of trying to get anything traditionally published in the old-fashioned way — what used to be the only way. I’m not going to hurt my chances of anything by posting part, or all, of the novel here.
So, for the interested or curious, you can check out Chapter 1 here or hover on the Fiction tab above and then on Work in Progress, or browse the links on the right. My intent is to continue putting up new chapters as I get them into satisfactory (for me, at least) form. And see how far I get.
I will note that I am always delighted to receive comments or critiques on my fiction, good, bad, or indifferent. I’m an old hand at being a beginning writer and I don’t get offended at honest feedback even if it tears the work apart. I know how to take it in stride and I’ve heard it all before from the best. I’m all for anything that helps me become a better writer. On the other hand, I don’t need or expect anything from posting it here, either. It’s an ongoing experiment.
Since, by my calculations, the world has a 90% chance of ending sometime during the next four years (actually 91.7%, but I rounded down in an abundance of optimism), I decided to jot down some ideas of how I might occupy my remaining time before my species goes extinct. Well, as you might imagine, my brainstorming session got a little out of hand, but here are some of the highlights:
– Do a Kickstarter to fund the printing of 62 million ’70s-style fuzzy velvet black-light posters of Donald Trump with the Caption, “Thank You, President Pumpkinhead.”
– Invent a fitness tracker that doubles as a Geiger counter.
– Publish my memoirs titled, “There’s Uncle Joe, He’s-ahh, Not Moving.”
– Experiment with “vaping.”
– Roll through a Stop sign.
– Get a bumper sticker printed that says, “We Loved a Lifetime’s Worth — Sarah Conner”
– Play drums for The Lovin Spoonful.
– Be a backup singer for Cher.
– Throw shade at my celiac disease by eating gluten in the form of a dozen Krispy Kreme glazed donuts — in one sitting.
– Study the teleportation properties of glitter under a microscope.
– Take a selfie while walking into a lamp post.
– Reread Revelations in the Bible and create a checklist.
– Speed-write a new stream-of-consciousness fantasy novel in which the main character hallucinates about visiting an alternate reality where the only controversy surrounding a President Trump involves the Commander-in-Chief spending most of his time playing with Tonka trucks on the Oval Office floor, with spittle-laden sound effects.
– Purchase a one acre lot in Antarctica and wait there for the ice to melt.
– Travel the world giving away free “The Joke’s On U.S.” tee shirts.
– Invent a new lie-detector test that measures results on the Trump scale.
– Invent a bluetooth headset with built-in gas mask.
– Start an online business selling “Putin Scootin’ Anal Gland Care For Dogs” medicated doggie diapers through Amazon.
– Develop an augmented reality program that displays puppies constantly playing around your feet. And cat people: you can get kittens.
I guess I could do some kind of wrap-up of 2016 as the year is quickly coming to a close. (And not quickly enough for many of us). I’ve heard this past year being described in some colorful terms. A few I would not repeat here in polite company, and a few I could never out-do in pointedness and humor.
There have been some significant losses this past year: In lives — of actors, artists, and others well known (and so, so many unknown), in (already abysmally low) expectations of decency in our country’s political campaigns and those who seek office, and in the humanity of our species in times of war and strife.
And not least, in our ability as a species to look back at history and learn its lessons.
At times I will tell myself half-jokingly that the world is coming to an end, and at other times I will tell myself that it is no joke. I struggle to keep myself from writing about some of the most appalling outrages I see or read about in the news. That’s not to say I won’t do so in the future; it’s just that right now I think I’m in a state where doing so will not help me or anyone else. I’ll likely have plenty more jabs at Trump, for example, but for now it feels like picking at scabs to lament the man and the path our country is on.
For me personally, 2016 has had ups and downs. I enjoyed a road trip across several states with two of my sisters to attend a nephew’s wedding this past spring and do a little sightseeing on the way back. But when it came to a niece’s wedding this fall only a couple of hours away, depression and anxiety kept me at home. I got to spend part of the summer visiting my 10 year old daughter in beautiful Oregon, but my truck broke down and spent a week in the shop while I was there. Over the year I worked on and submitted a few inventions to a reputable organization I use who work with inventors to license products for the marketplace, but ultimately all my ideas failed at various stages of the process.
I live in a low-rise apartment building (not the whole building, just one small apartment). It’s government subsidized low-income housing, but it’s not really as glamorous as it may sound. Early this year, they had some pest problems, and my apartment was not immune. Cockroaches and bedbugs, anyone? Now I keep glue traps across my threshold and all my clothes and linens in pest-resistant sealed plastic containers and giant Hefty bags. It’s the good life. (But don’t get me wrong — sarcasm and jokes aside, I know how truly fortunate I am in many things, not least of which is an otherwise decent place to live and call home. Just look at some recent video of Aleppo or a refugee camp if you’re not feeling humble.)
By the way, did you know bedbugs can live up to a year without feeding? Just hiding out and waiting. Let’s just say my sleep patterns were a little off for a while.
Maybe I can send off 2016 on a bit of a high note, though, now that I think about it. Writing fantasy fiction has been a passion and a solace at various times during my adulthood, and much as I would have liked to do it for a living, I’ve never been able to do it in a steady enough fashion. And especially with my depression in recent years (and most especially this year for some reason), I’ve barely been able to write a sentence, creatively speaking. But in the last week or two, I have been able to pull out the old novel in its various stages of rewrite and actually start working on it again. I know how foolish it can be for a writer to keep working on a single story over vast periods of time, but this is a story I’d really like to feel that I’ve finally made whole and done my best with. It’s close to my heart, and other stories I may do in the future depend on this one. Maybe I’ll post a bit of it here, a chapter at a time, as I feel they’re somewhat complete.
Who knows how long this little creative burst will last, but for now it’s one thing I’ll be happy to celebrate on New Year’s eve.