Category Archives: cartoons

You Have To Write It

 

WITCHESNo, sorry. It doesn’t work that way. You have to sit and write it and there’s no magic in the world that’s going to change that.

As much as we love to write, you have to admit that there are times when you wish you could just snap your finger and there it is. Life keeps happening no matter what and sometimes as much as you want to sit and bleed that ink there just seems to be no time. And maybe…just maybe…you have time and are simply making excuses. Either way, it isn’t going to get done unless you park your butt in that chair and start banging away at those keys.

I’m writing this to myself, by the way. If you feel that it pertains to you, too, then by all mean continue to read. I realize that this is a universal problem. Okay, maybe not the whole universe, but certainly here on this planet wherever there happens to be a writer.

I sit down and look at the book I’m working on. It says at the bottom of the screen that there are about 9800 words to it, so far. How can that be, I ask myself. I’ve been working on it for months. It should be done by now! Why isn’t it done?

Because you haven’t been working on it, I answer.

Ah, well yes. That makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is why I find it so hard, sometimes, to sit and do something that I actually like to do.

Maybe, because it’s work. When I was flying I never hesitated to head out to the airfield and jump into my little airplane. But that was pure exhilaration. Nothing but enjoyment. Writing is different. I enjoy it, but yet it’s not always enjoyable. I suppose only another writer could understand that. It makes you work. At least it does if you are doing something worthwhile that you really care about. And that’s the thing. It’s hardest if you really care about it. And I’ve cared about all that stuff I’ve written. Wouldn’t be bothering if I didn’t. And because I care, I want to get those words out so perfectly that it hurts.

So there’s that anticipation of pain. That might be why we find it so hard to plop ourselves into that seat and start. We know the pain is coming at some point. That’s why you sometimes take a deep breath before you begin and say, “Okay, here goes.” It’s like waiting for that needle at the doctor’s office.

And yet it’s so rewarding once you’re rolling and move on passed the pain. But to begin rolling you have to sit down and start. No excuses. Just start. Again, this is to me but its fine if you are listening.

So forget magic. And praying won’t work either. You can pray, before you go to bed, that when you wake up there will be a 100,000 word manuscript in your laptop all ready to go. But when you get up in the morning to check, the same 5,000 words that were there yesterday will still be there.

Because like it or not. You have to sit and write it.

Writer’s Angst

 

BECOME A WRITERWhen I read about the tormented lives of some of the world’s great writers, I can’t help thinking that I may be too normal to make it as an author. Oh sure, I have my strange little quirks. Just ask my wife. Okay…no, on second thought don’t do that.

But Hemingway, Poe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Orwell…oh hell, I could go on and on. Hemingway, as you know, was an alcoholic and probably a manic depressive. He wound up blowing his head off with both barrels of a shotgun. Orwell was a genius, of course. Just read ‘1984’ if you don’t believe me. But he’s another depressed author whose writing is filled with sadness and misery.

Tennessee Williams was a brilliant playwright but there again, torment and angst. A lot of it having to do with repressed homosexuality. He finally had a complete mental breakdown and died a few years later.

This would be too long a post if I was going to name them all. Suffice it say that the lives of the great writers was very often filled with depression, alcoholism, drug addiction, violence and suicide. And sometimes total and complete insanity.

And yet here I sit in my, not yet completed, writing room. I’m not an alcoholic, although I did have a beer with my dinner. Mmmm…Fat Tire. But no, one beer doesn’t do it. And I’m not depressed. I was a little unhappy yesterday because I broke the windshield on my car. Yeah, like a dumbass I was loading some wood into the SUV and…oops! That doesn’t count, though, does it? I don’t take drugs. Hell, I don’t even smoke legal cigarettes. And I have  absolutely no intention of committing suicide. Should I even be bothering to write? I mean, can I turn out meaningful pros when I live such a dull and uninteresting life? Angst, I need angst!

But then again, J.K. Rawlings doesn’t seem crazy. And she’s certainly successful. I just read that her net worth is one billion dollars. Yes, you read that correctly. She’s not a starving artist and doesn’t seem to be filled with angst. Just money. Lots of money.

Of course, some would argue that she’s not a genius in comparison with let’s say, Jack Kerouac. He’s another tormented soul who finally died due to excessive drinking. And some internal bleeding due to a bar fight he’d been in a few days before didn’t help.

But maybe there is some internal strife going on that causes my need to write. Maybe I am tormented and I don’t want to admit it. You know, that’s probably it. It would explain a lot. Like I told you, my wife certainly thinks I’m crazy. So do my kids. And I’ll bet a lot of other people I know think so too. It’s just that, unlike my wife and kids they’re too nice to tell me.

I’m going to get back to my writing, now. I may have a shot at fame, yet!

Writing And The End Of The World

 

end of the world

Well, I’m sitting here wondering whether or not I should complete the novel I’m working on. Not because it isn’t good. I’m very happy with it, so far. It’s just that…well, the world is supposed to end on Sunday evening. Or Monday morning, depending on where you live. So, you can see that there isn’t much point. I mean, not unless I can finish it and get it published within the next couple of days. The way I write, though, that isn’t going to happen.

It has something to do with the blood moon that will occur that night. Or that morning. This is supposed to be the one, everybody. I had just stopped worrying about the asteroid that was supposed to hit and destroy most of North America on the 28th of this month. NASA decided that wasn’t going to happen. Whew! What a relief. Now I read about this moon thing. For Pete’s sake!

Seems that I’ve heard this before, though. Remember Y2K? People were stocking up on water and buying guns so they’d be ready for the collapse of human civilization. What happened there? And I was sweating out that Mayan calendar issue, let me tell ya’! The Mayans were pretty smart. If they tell you that time is going to end on a certain day you know they are going to be right. Well, okay, they were wrong.

And there have been plenty of other predictions of our demise by various people and groups. Nostradamus has been a favorite amongst the doomsday types. He has predicted our end several times according to those who study his “quatrains.” There’s something about this kind of thing that people just love. I think it’s the same reason that they get on a roller coaster even though it frightens them to death. They enjoy being scared. It makes life a bit more exciting, I guess.

So I don’t know. Considering the accuracy of all of the past predictions maybe I should just keep writing. At least it will take my mind off of the end of the world. And besides, I read another article right after reading the ‘Blood Moon’ story. It seems that a monkey named Naruto, way over on a wildlife reserve in Indonesia, managed to take a selfie of himself with someone’s camera. The picture of Naruto wearing a big grin went viral. Now PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) wants to sue the wildlife photographer who released the photo to the public. Naruto, they say, is the sole owner of the picture and releasing the photo was a copyright infringement. Yes, they are actually saying that, “Naruto has the right to own and benefit from the copyright to the same extent as any other author.” They are taking this to court.

So I’m not worried anymore. I think that maybe the world should end.

Aside

The Cliché

cliche man

My family and I sat down and watched a movie last night. ‘San Andreas.’ It starred Dwayne Johnson who some of you may know as “The Rock.” Glad I didn’t pay to see it in a theater. Not that I would have. This type of thing is best held off ‘til it’s released on DVD.

One recurring thought kept going through my mind as I watched this film. Clichés. Good Lord. They threw ‘em at you one after the other. Almost literally, really, because the film was also released in 3D.

But, don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t expecting a great film. First of all, it’s a disaster movie. Secondly, it has The Rock. Now, I actually like the guy. Back when I used to watch the WWF (World Wrestling Federation), he and Steve Austin used to be my favorite wrestlers. But no one is ever going to accuse him of being a great actor. He knows that, though, so he knows what kind of movie scripts to pick. He’ll never do a remake of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire.’ Boy, just think of it. The Rock as Stanley Kowalski. “Stellaaaaaaaaaaa….”

He wasn’t the problem with this flick, though. It was the writers. I kept wondering, as someone who now writes, how they can look at themselves in the mirror after penning this stuff. Okay, I know. It’s those huge Hollywood paychecks. But, still…geez!

First of all, we have the hero pilot. That would be The Rock. We are witnesses to his awesomeness early on in the plot (I use this word very loosely). We soon learn that he and his wife are getting a divorce. All of the clichés you know of are used, here. The ex-wife and her boyfriend are getting married. The Rock puts on a hurt face. “I’m sorry, I meant to tell you,” she says. The boyfriend seems like a great guy, but we later find out he’s a complete creep and coward. You didn’t see that coming, did ya? He gets killed, of course. Another shocker.

One by one the clichés fall all around you like the debris dropping from the wrecked buildings in the movie. Think The Rock and the ex will get back together before the movie ends? Need you ask? Will they find their missing daughter amongst all of the millions of people in San Francisco? Will she be alive inside all of that wreckage? Stay tuned!

The writers made no attempt to surprise the audience. You’ve seen it all before. Every word has been spoken, every scene already done. And how many times can you pull that tired old trick where the car falls off of the cliff just as someone gets out, the building collapses just as our heroes escape it, the bridge goes down just as they cross it. I mean, after a while…c’mon!

When I write I try hard not to do something everybody else has done. I don’t want my characters to be all that predictable. I don’t want the reader to say, “Oh, I know what’s going to happen, now.” I want to hear that they said, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming.”

I couldn’t write the kind of character that The Rock played in the film, either. He was almost super-human: never messed up, did everything right. The perfect hero. Unrealistic and two dimensional. My heroes will always be flawed individuals. They make mistakes. Sometimes, big ones that get people killed. They are unsure of themselves. And they often find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

No, I thought, as I viewed this with my wife and kids. I couldn’t write this stuff. Not with a clear conscience. It was painful to watch. It did have one good thing going for it, however. The special effects were nicely done.

P.S.

Be here next week for Captain Cliché’s first adventure!

The Color Purple. Or Red Or Blue Or…

MAN CAVE

I’m building a man cave. A writing cave, really. But I’m a man, so it qualifies as a man cave, too. It’s a third garage in our new home, right now, but we only have two cars so now it’s mine to do with as I wish. I’m looking forward to finishing it ‘cause right now I’m on the couch balancing my laptop on my knees and I’m not getting much done. I know a good writer should be able to write anywhere. Well, I must not be a good writer.

I tried working at the kitchen table but that was no good either. The atmosphere just wasn’t right, and those kitchen chairs were killing my back after sitting there for too long. And I find that if I sit on the couch and get too comfortable I start dozing off. This one’s too hard and this one’s too soft. I feel like Goldilocks. So, I’m going to set myself up with something just right.

Besides a good seat for my cave, what I also need to pick is a good color. Color has a definite psychological impact and triggers certain responses in us. So, for my writing cave I need a good writing color. A hue that gets the imagination going and keeps your mind sharp.

We used some red in our dining room. Looks good. It’s the color of passion and very stimulating. That’s why, of course, it’s been the traditional color of bordellos. But no, I can’t see myself sitting and writing in a red room. Unless I start writing erotic novels. They do sell well, though. Hmmm…I remember that I was thinking of using the pen name of Hugh B. Hornee and trying it.

Oh, forget it, never mind that!

Anyway, my daughter loves purple. Leonardo Da Vinci said that purple increases the mind’s meditative abilities. It supposedly also has mystical powers and even generates healing. I’m sorry, though, sweetheart (and Leo), I need to write and not meditate. And nothing hurts at the moment, I’m happy to say.

Forget green. The original owners of this house had painted much of the interior of the place a dark version of that particular color. At night I could almost hear the sounds of jungle animals and the distant thumping of native drums. Green was out of the question.

There’s yellow. I actually started painting the room yellow. A pale yellow. It’s supposed to be a high energy color and stimulates the mental process. But I stopped. I didn’t feel my energy process being stimulated. All I felt was that the room was looking ugly as hell!

So, blue. I’m going with blue. A very nice and relaxing blue. A calming blue. The color of lakes and the color of the sky. I feel like writing just thinking about it.

So, hopefully, I’ll soon be sitting in a perfectly comfortable chair (but not so comfortable that it makes me fall asleep) surrounded by calming blue walls and typing away at my next epic. I anticipate getting a lot of writing done in my blue man cave. I’d better, or my wife is going to want to know why we wasted so much money on that damn room!