“Burn Your Shoes!” They Said . . .

Wow, it’s September already. I love fall. It’s my favorite season. Sorry I haven’t posted much in a while. I’ve been doing other things – writing and sending my novella out to prospective agents.

But, lately, what’s making the news? Shoes. People are burning their shoes that they paid good money for. I understand the burning is to protest the NFL’s protest or some such. Isn’t this all some pompous schoolyard preening and bullying? Men sticking out their chests at other men because they don’t like what those men are doing?

Today is September 11th. For those who don’t know, back in 2001 there was an horrific terrorist attack with hijacked domestic commercial aircraft. Two jet liners took down the world trade center buildings, one destroyed part of the Pentagon, and one, had the terrorists not been thwarted by balls-y passengers, would have ended up in the US capitol.

Shortly thereafter our country went to war.

Now, whether you believe the conspiracy theories that this was perpetrated by our own government (I do not), or whether this was a total terrorist plot – does this matter now? Not really. The damage is done. America will never feel safe and secure again, as we did before the attacks. Personally, the US government can barely coordinate road paving and construction. So, a coordinated inside job by the CIA with G.W. Bush at the helm? I’m not seeing it.

What gets me is the fact that people died in war and that attack. They died to express and preserve freedom. And yet here are some NFL guys expressing the exact same ideas and people are protesting the protestors! Is this what my beloved country of free and brave has come to? Expressing an opinion is one of the main principles our country is founded on. Is racism so ingrained in our culture that when someone stands up and says, “this is racism and this is wrong!” that opposing people will burn their friggin’ shoes over it?! (Elle Oh Elle!) I laugh because:

  • Nike already has your money
  • Sales because of this attention are UP 31%
  • You ain’t got no shoes to wear to your KKK rallies now

I don’t know if it’s necessarily the fact that our president is a bigot or not, but I suspect this has a lot to do with the given situation. Sadly, the same bigot followers of Trump are probably going to riot when he’s impeached.

All I can say, don’t riot on my block.

This is the part where I’d post also some heartfelt song of country genre for . . . well, the country. But sorry, no Lee Greenwood today. Oh, what the heck!

Thus ends today’s rant. Until next time . . .

 

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Self-Publish Update

Well, I decided before anyone bought my two books I had up on Amazon and Kindle that I’d go a different route all together. I’m diligently going to send out my book to agents and become traditionally published.

Three reasons:
1) I want the book to be seen, read, and enjoyed.

2) It, on the other end of the spectrum, wasn’t being seen. By anyone.

3) I know this can happen. I know if I’m diligent then, God willing, I will be published.

So, that’s it. That’s my main reasons and master plan. Work hard at getting a publishing agent and then publish. Probably not a fool proof method but better than my other plan, I think.

At any rate, we’ll see what happens. Until next post, take care.

#coolprompts – Zoso and Three More

I do like a good challenge. Once again, Ray hit one out of the park. I liked this challenge. It was interesting and made me flex my creative muscle somewhat.

Rules: 
Use the words ‘finite-infinite’ or sentence ‘Some think that the grains of sand cannot be counted’ in your text.

To participate: post a story, poem or flash on your blog, tag the post – #coolprompts, pingback to Ray’s post (or any last post on RayNotBradbury’s Blog), if you want me to come over, read and comment. Any genre/style is welcome! No boundaries at all! It’s OKAY to bend the rules. Have fun!

So, without further dialogue, ado, or anything else, here’s my two cents titled Zoso and Three More:

Some think that the grains of sand cannot be counted. I say to those people they haven’t been on the beach under the influence of mescaline. I’d like to think it was my conversation with God. So much went through my mind that the infinite turned finite. It was like wisdom itself struck the top of my noggin. And, I tell you, if lightning had shot out of my eyeballs, that fact wouldn’t have surprised me.

I’d been in a bad car wreck the month previously. So, a vacation was in order. Well, when I hit the beach in the Bahamas and a tour guide, of all people, offered to get me drugs, I figured what the hell! You only live once and this roller coaster ain’t off the tracks yet, despite the previous car crash.

It was like my conversation with God I was having included the algorithmic information to determining just how many grains of sand were on this beach. Unfortunately, someone began playing a favorite Led Zeppelin song in the distance and my concentration went to shit and Kashmir. That tune is the bomb, and more so under the effects of mescaline. I couldn’t have calculated for crap when Page’s thunderous guitar and Plant’s vocal range began to ring out.

I looked to the sky and saw four dramatic symbols in the clouds. They mimicked the four symbols off the untitled Led Zeppelin album – three interlocking rings, the ring with a feather inside, the word Zoso in a funky-shaped script, and the single circle with a triquetra over it. I was so flabbergasted. I came to the conclusion, which no one has yet to disprove, that my theory of the music at the center of the universe is in fact every song that Led Zeppelin ever recorded.

I don’t know still how many grains of sand are on that beach. When I came down from my mescaline high, and subsequently bailed myself out of jail for streaking on the same beach which I don’t recall having done, I realized maybe infinite ideas are that for a reason. Some mysteries are mysteries innately, and debunking or solving said mystery would no longer make them mystical. The solving would take away the very thing that grabs us about that mystery. Maybe one day I’ll know this algorithmic function that went into solving the riddle of “how many grains of sand”, but something tells me I might be dead when that comes about.

So, that’s the tale – a drug-riddled romp on the beach. Until next time . . .

#coolprompts – The Gift

I do love a good literary challenge. And of course, my good buddy Ray doesn’t ever disappoint.

Rules:
Post photo-association with words ‘the unexpected gift’. It can be absolutely anything…on the road, at home, on the trip.
If you are going to write the text, use the words in your story.

To participate: tag your post – #coolprompts, or pingback to Ray’s post (or any last post on RayNotBradbury’s Blog), if you want me to come over, read and comment. Any genre/style is welcome! No boundaries at all! It’s OKAY to bend the rules. Have fun!

I used a painting I did a long time ago, around 2003 I think, as the gift. It’s of a cafe a friend used to own in real life. For about five months, she gave owning a cafe a go. I’d like to say the cafe made it, but . . . It’s just one of those things, I suppose.

Coffeehouse
“Coffeehouse” by Robert Gregory

The story follows titled Coffeehouse Gift:

“Let it rain,” Nick said.

The rain drenched the beach and people left from the sand. Nick brought in the unexpected gift for his hostess.

“I picked this up town while I was at a gift shop,” Nick said.

“Let’s see,” Erica said. She unwrapped the gift and opened the box. The painting stirred a feeling of oddity in Erica. Its bright colors. Its subject matter. The painting made her feel claustrophobic. The work held a stifling effect about it.

“I like it, but I can’t breathe looking at this. It’s a nice work but something about it is odd,” Erica admitted.

The canvas lit up illuminated by bright orange, lustrous peach, and brilliant blue and green. The coffeehouse in the painting burst vibrant colors but boasted a harmony that left one wondering if the painter had painted the work on one leg.

The work was unique. But Nick found himself leaning while looking. He watched the man drink coffee at the bar. He stood before the bartender and looked at her asking the man a question. The two in the back ground relaxed with their beverages. But still something was amiss.

Nick said, “Maybe the artist was doing a rain dance while he painted.”

That’s the very short, somewhat event-less story. Hope you enjoyed it. Until next time . . .

 

Challenge – The Kitty Kind!

I do love a good challenge. And my buddy Ray, even when on vacation, never disappoints.

The idea is to take the photo and describe how the cat sees the world. So, challenge accepted.

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My story titled The Psychotic Bipolar Cat.

Oh, it’s all so lonely. No one could possibly understand me or what I go through in a day. I mean, I’m orange for God’s sake! I’m the red-headed step child of the cat world. I can only bring home so many birds before the human gets mad. She just doesn’t understand my sense of humor.

Oh, what’s a cat to do? What? I’ll tell you. Eat and nap. Those are my options. They’re not even good options.

Ah, WWMD! What Would Morris Do? I’ll tell you. He would eat and nap. That would be his options. But I feel he might actually enjoy it. Maybe that bird I talked to before I killed it was right. Maybe I am manic-depressive. I mean, I get all amped up about bird feathers then slovenly depressed when I’ve done the deed of death to the poor thing. I can’t win. I do like the song Manic Depression by Jimi Hendrix. Is that a sign?

No, cat. That’s not a sign. Now, when you grab an Uzi and mow down a McDonald’s, well, then we need to talk. At any rate, that’s the cat tale, so to speak. Hope you enjoyed it. Look for my next post possibly soon and possibly on the subject of Sunday Photo Fiction. Until next time . . .

Putin and America

Hello, everyone. I haven’t talked politics in a long while and I’m not sure why I’m posting about politics now, but, I just wonder . . . does Donald Trump call Vladimir Putin “Vladdy Daddy” when they’re in bed together or has their relationship reached the terms-of-endearment stage yet?

Socialism isn’t the enemy of democracy. Scandalous, lying-ass presidents who are in bed with Putin are! Trump intends to fleece our economy into his bank account under any means necessary and leave our country even more broken than it was before he took office. Anyone who can’t see this is as blind as Trump loves them to be.

The End.

World Map Challenge – A Jamaican Daydream

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Now, I do love a good literary challenge. And this one was unique. The World Map Challenge suggests that I write a story based on a literary hero or author and a place I would like to eventually visit. My place is Negril, Jamaica, and my author is James Thurber. Although, I probably won’t attempt what my protagonist James Thurber attempted.

If you’d like to participate:

Rules:

  1. Choose your dream spot destination (never been before!).
  2. Explain shortly – why would you like to visit the place? (you can add the photo)
  3. Pick any literary hero or author and create a story, flash or poem about visiting that dream-destination.
  4. The style and the genre of the writing – any. Link to the blog that nominated you. Bend the rules if you have to…
  5. Spread the challenge: nominate 3-5 blogs.

The rules say “Bend the rules . . .” so I’m bending them into a non-nomination type challenge. I won’t be nominating other blogs. Without further ado, here’s my tale titled Negril and Its Secrets.

Negril – Jamaican resort town on the western side of the island – saw Mr. Thurber as the mild-mannered no one that he felt himself to be. James had written several pieces that had been published but he still saw himself in his mind’s eye as a non-effectual person. He may write a hundred stories in his lifetime of Walter Mittys being heroes of action, but he’d still inevitably feel like a hero of the mundane. He nursed his drink at the bar while people chatted and socialized around him.

A man beside him chatted up a woman that he knew the man had just met. The man said he’d tackled a bear at one point of his life when he was on vacation in the Appalachian Mountains. Oh, well, it was a bear cub, and its mother wasn’t around. So, he bopped it in the nose as he wrestled with the clawed beast. The bear hightailed away from his campsite once it had gotten a whiff of the man’s prowess. James wondered how much of the man’s story was a Walter daydream. People have often a different recollection of past events after the fact. The past is often built on ego and luck and not much else.

Time to check out some other place had arrived, James felt. Some place where people were more real and less cartoonish. He’d seen Bugs Bunny and some of Bug’s prowess. The camping man and Bugs sounded a lot alike. He’d hate to think a camping man could pick up a gullible, drunk woman in a Negril bar on the premise of a cartoon. More lucky stars had fallen for less, James supposed.

“You finished, Mr. Thurber?” asked the bartender.

“Yes. Um, I was going to go to Mama Hertha’s Tea Room. Can you tell me where that is?” Thurber asked.

“Ah, Mama Hertha’s. The taxi driver will know. Just be careful. It’s an open-air bar type restaurant establishment. Some seedy people have been known to shake things up there.”

“Will do. Thank you, sir.”

James left the bar expecting Mama Hertha’s Tea Room to be close by. The taxi driver began driving off the beach side into the “backwoods” as they say. Off the main drag and into rural Negril. Mama Hertha’s was apparently nothing more than a shanty off the roadside. They had a special going on. The special on their special tea. James decided to give their special tea a good go. Why not?

No one told Mr. Thurber about the special taste of the tea. It tasted how a cow patty smells. Two drinks and he thought better of the idea. But, unknown to him, two drinks were all it would take. The effects didn’t immediately start. The process took about thirty minutes. Before James knew, the tea had begun to tickle his brain into hallucinations. He could’ve sworn he just saw a bear in the weeds. Was it dancing? There were no bears in Jamaica, he thought. He supposed he was wrong possibly. The bear danced to the rhythm of the song someone had put on the jukebox. Jerry Lee Lewis’s Great Balls of Fire had never sounded so good. What’s more, Mr. Thurber had never seen a bear dance to the song. Holy . . . ! What kind of tea was that?! James thought it best he left the restaurant. He had the restaurant call him a cab. The cab pulled up and James got in.

“To the Ferry Inn,” James said.

“Got ya, mon,” the cab driver said. “Hey, need the ganja, mon?”

“No. I definitely need no ganja,” James said to the driver’s reefer reference.

The moon was so bright over the ocean when the driver stopped at James’s hotel. People moved about on the beach even after dark. There was a gorgeous woman walking on the beach. James recognized her as the gullible, drunk woman the camping guy tried to pick up. She was alone. The guy had obviously either not succeeded or gotten done with her already. He felt a pang of hurt for the woman. He approached her as he tried to maintain his physical balance as well as his mental acuity.

“Hey there,” he spoke.

“Hi. I hope you aren’t trying to pick me up like that other guy was. I saw you beside us at the bar. Oh my lord, that guy was so full of crap. He wrestled a bear, for god’s sake,” she said. Apparently, she wasn’t as gullible as he thought at first.

James said, “Yes. I think I saw the same thing happen in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.” They both laughed. James suddenly felt his spirits pick up. She had a beautiful laugh. They talked until she decided to let James see the inside of her hotel room.

The next morning when he woke, she slept soundly beside him. But this could not be the same woman he’d met last night. Whoever this woman was, she’d grown hairs out of moles on her head and, at the same time, grown a new head. James stuttered to his feet and sneaked out of the room like a ninja who’d just assassinated a dancing bear.

James Thurber flew back home reading about the place he’d just left. Mama Hertha’s Tea Room, he read, was famous for its special tea – tea made from psychedelic mushrooms.

So, that’s the tale. Hope you liked it and feel free to leave a comment! Until next time . . .

 

#coolprompts – Dirty Limericks

I do love a good challenge. Click the previous link for rules and the initial post from my buddy Ray. Although, I bent the rules on this one a bit. I was supposed to use two lines from the sonnet prompt from Shakespeare. I, however, did not use the two lines. But my sonnet still has value, I believe. It is, at the very least, funny. And, the poem has a modern twist from current events.

Check out the creativity and don’t be afraid to leave a comment. Check out the sonnet titled Dirty Limericks.

There once was a man from Nantucket,

Is often how those limericks begin,

His name was Gerard van Puckett,

He really belonged in a pin,

He didn’t ask if he could do it,

When he walked up and grabbed her breast,

She wouldn’t mind, he just knew it,

Though, the act was at no one’s behest,

She yelled for police, security, and the cops,

And when his court case comes about,

When they call him to the stand and the laughing stops,

“How dumb can you be?” the judge will shout.

Just know when you begin to physically assault,

The act of idiocy will always be your fault.

So, there it is in all its creative beauty. Nothing like a bit of poetry to start a week! Take care, all, and have a great, bright week.

Novel Writing – Thrills, Chills, and Spills

So, I had begun my second novel. I’ve written one novella to completion but haven’t published it yet. The novella is detective story (original genre, I know!) about Abner Thorpe. The story completely takes place in Knoxville, Tennessee. The book’s actually a detective story with elements of romance, humor, and sci-fi to it, as if that doesn’t cover enough bases. Thrilling! And the novella left me in chills the way it ends because I felt for the characters. They left definite impressions on my psyche as real people.

At any rate, I started the second novel based on the plot of (get this!) a guy, Varek Downy, goes to a party. At the party, an ultra-secret raffle happens. The prize to the raffle – a special piece of pizza. The piece of pizza has mushrooms on it – the magic kind! Varek falls into a dream and meets who he thinks is God. He’s asked to perform a task for God and the story goes from there.

Well, what started so elegantly and mysteriously has turned into . . . um, I’m not sure. At 22,000 words, there’s very little character development and the story is little more than a lot of action. People are going to places and doing things but I don’t feel for them. I don’t care about the characters. This is becoming, unfortunately, a Spill. (Ultra-sad face!)

I’ve decided not to scrap the story. Maybe I can come back soon and make magic happen to the bland characters. So far, though, they are a no-go.

mistake-876597_1920

The first novella started from a narrative humor poem. I took that poem and kept adding and developing and the first novella came about. I didn’t have an outline at all. The plot just happened and I kept writing. I still had no plan for the story – no outline at all. The story evolved and came to a conclusion. This, mind you, took me eighteen years to complete. I’d start writing on this story, when it really became more than just a short story, then I’d set it down. For like months! I once took a six year break from writing the story at all. Anyway, as long as this story took to develop and complete, the characters are real. They feel real.

So, now, having started a second Abner Thorpe novel(la) a while back, I’m picking back up on that tale and the characters I love so much. Abner, his secretary Agnes, his protege and sidekick Kate, and his cop buddy Ira. A tale is formulating and I hope beyond hope that this story doesn’t become a Spill. We’ll see! I’m once again flying by pants-seat with no written plan – no outline at all.

What about you? Have your stories lost their “shine”? Have your tales become stale like a three-day-old biscuit sitting uncovered on the stove? Have you re-read your current story? Is it lacking a certain aspect you can’t quite put your finger on? If so, I suggest a break. Put down the pen and back away slowly. Just my two cents!

Take care, everyone, and stay out of the shadows.

#Famous Couples Challenge

I do love a good challenge. To start the week off on a good note, I’ll throw out this little ditty – Bonnie and Clyde Run Amuck.

330px-Bonnieclyde_f

The rules are simple. There are no rules. Wait, that’s not right. The rules are as follows:

  • Pick any famous couple from the past (By past I mean: any couple from 1880 – to 1980).
  • Explain shortly your choice (you can add photo if you like).
  • Add the quote from the ‘famous couple’.
  • The style and the genre of the writing – any.
  • Nominate up to 3-5 blogs. Link to the page that nominated you. Have fun!

I however will be nominating no blogs.  Just writing. Here goes the tale of Bonnie and Clyde Run Amuck.

“This here’s Miss Bonnie Parker. I’m Clyde Barrow. We rob banks.” Clyde said this as Bonnie brought out cases to fill with cash.

“I might make a criminal out of you, yet, Clyde Barrow,” said Bonnie.

“Doll, you already have. Now, while we rob this bank, here, see, Bonnie’s gonna read to ya,” Clyde said. “Bonnie, read ‘em the poem you wrote.”

“While I stash your cash from the bank vault,

just know when I say it’s not my fault.

You see, the cops apprehend every Tom, Dick, and Red,

our only fighting stance is to leave you dead.

When detectives come, and, oh, they will,

you won’t know it, you’ll be shot dead still.”

“Smashing, Bonnie,” and with that, Clyde opened his Gatling gun and took the white from every eye he saw. Bodies were strung about the bank, one on top of the other. They stacked all the bank notes in their bags and walked out the door.

“You know what kind of car this is, Clyde?” Bonnie pointed at a stationary Ford.

“It’s a 4-cylinder Ford Coupe, doll,” Clyde said confidently.

“Nope,” Bonnie shot back, “it’s a stolen 4-cylinder Ford Coupe.” And on that note, they drove away in a stolen Ford.