You never know what you might see when you look out life's window. It could be breathtaking beauty, or a plain, drab landscape, or unspeakable horror. If you want to do more than just exist, take a deep breath, lift your chin up, and open your eyes WIDE!
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
“Please hold while I connect you with
click then a booming male voice on the line.
Father Time. How may I help you?”
“Uhhh . . .
,” I hesitate, feeling my resolve running into my shoes.
young man! I don’t have all day.” He chuckles at his own joke.
thing is, I’d like to request, if it’s not too much trouble. Four extra hours
in the day tomorrow!” There. I said it.
Tate, sir. We’ve spoken before.”
paper. “Yes. I see here where you called just two days ago. And now you are
asking for another EOD?”
“A four hour
Extend of Day, that’s correct. Just four hours.” I cross my fingers.
“You know we
have a strict policy about how many EOD’s you can have in a year.” More paper shuffling.
“Says here this is the fourth time this month. Not sure I can give you another.
You can get addicted to these, you know?”
you don’t understand. It’s not for me.”
it for, Mr. Tate?”
I take a
deep breath and just say it. “It’s for my wife, sir. She’s been very busy. I
know she could use it and our anniversary is coming up and I just thought . . .
You know that is against policy. You are not authorized on your wife’s account.
I don’t think I can help you without her consent.”
Time. Just this once?”
But there’s nothing I can do. What if I gave EOD’s to just anyone who called up?
It wouldn’t be long until I wouldn’t have a job. She’ll have to call in
My wife and
I just came in from an evening at the movies. I talked her into seeing OBLIVIAN
with Tom Cruise. I don’t want to go into a lot of detail here, but if you like
SCI-FI, or seeing Mr. Cruise shirtless—a lot—spend the money and see it at the
really want to do is give a big shout-out to my favorite author; Mr. King.
Saturday my sister and her husband were in town for a family event, so we spent
our morning at a flea market. The ladies wanted to go see arts and crafts, but
the brother-in-law and I wanted to go hunt bargains, in other words, sift
through junk looking for a misplaced jewel.
through a shelf lined with misc. books, I came across a copy of The Stand. I’ve
read most of Stephen King’s books but wasn’t sure if I had read this one.
Besides, I collect his hardbacks. I’ve got quite a collection going, including
a first-edition of The Shining. So I spent three dollars and bought the book. I’m
glad I did.
There is an
interesting introduction in the front of the book from the author. He states
that the original book published in 1978 had to be cut by some 500 pages to
keep the price of the book down. In the copy I purchased—labeled “For the first
time complete and uncut”—the last page carries the hefty number 1153.
I know what
you’re thinking. That’s a lot of reading for one story. And here lies one of
the reasons some say they don’t read Stephen King: His books are too long.
take on the matter. Take it or leave it. I have yet to read one word written by
Mr. King that came across as fluff, or filler. What I see is depth of color,
setting, and character. I’ve read many of his stories and have been left
wondering what happens next for the hero (if he lived). It’s like a trance. He
pulls you in so quickly, you don’t know what hit you. Can his stories be told
with fewer pages? Absolutely. But that’s not to say they should be. I love the
winding road he takes me on. I can’t get enough of a writer who puts me smack
dab in the middle of a different world every time I read one of his books, and
has me believing every word of it. I am immersed in the workings of a master
story teller. Besides, what’s the hurry? You can get back to the other garbage
on your Kindle soon enough.
bloggers, I’m willing to admit I acted a little irrational the other day. It is
NOT my blog keeping me from getting my writing accomplished. Seems like I made
a vow not to make excuses. Didn’t work out so good. But back on the horse I go.
manuscript I’m working on deals a lot with the transition from life to death,
and the spirit world beyond. The working title is THE DITCHMASTER.
Like a lot
of people, I can’t say for sure exactly what happens the moment you pass on.
There are those that were pronounced dead but were brought back, and returned
to recount stories of bright lights and even touching the hand of God. Do I
believe this? Well, I can’t NOT believe it if I haven’t experienced it myself.
No one can prove it DIDN’T happen.
Do we pass
through the tunnel of light? Or is it just the left over static in our brain
So what are
your thoughts on the subject? I’ve been doing some research and have come across
a few interesting stories. Do you have anything you could share-either direct
or indirect knowledge?
have two short stories ready to submit and finally finished my BLURB for the
Ditchmaster. Hope to have it plotted within the week and back to work on it!
To this day,
at 48 years-129 days-and 42 seconds old, wait. . . 43 . . .44 . . .Oh! Never
mind. My point is, to this day, one of my greatest accomplishments has been to
finish my first novel. I even went so far as to spend a few years rolling it
through edits, THEN even published it. Wohoooo! It was a great feeling. But
that feeling has faded to black. I’m working on a new book now, and am failing
miserably in getting to the finish line. As a matter of fact, I can’t even see
the finish line.
class, the lesson is about finishing.
me: I WILL FINISH ____________
You fill in
the blank with whatever project has you stuck.
the internet has taken us to an international scale, I’ve compiled a list of languages
translating the above sentence. See if yours is in the list.
French—je vais finir
German—i wird beendet
Swedish—vag kommar att avsluta
Spanish—voy a terminar
Danish—jeg vil slutte
Redneck—git er done
If I didn’t
include yours, it’s because I’m not intelligent enough to make my computer translate
the different letter characters yet. Maybe next time.
are working on, repeat the above phrase as often as necessary to do the job.
Push forward. Use whatever motivation needed; rewards can’t hurt.
provided by Howtosayin.com
last one which was provided by Larry the Cable Guy*
the cigarette lighter to life and held it under the spoon. The drug soon began
to boil, beginning its new life as an escape pod from reality. He felt his
heart racing, begging for the fix, wanting more than anything to feel the drug
course through his veins, wanting more than anything to disappear. Sometimes,
in the moment right before he jabbed the needle into his arm, he thought about
death; maybe a self-imposed sentence of destruction by lethal dose, maybe just
drive off a cliff. Something told him he was headed down the right path. He
the belt around his arm, pulling at the loose end with his teeth. The leather
reminded him of the belt his father used, the one for removing the demons from
his body, the ones still chasing him. It tasted like something old, like his
mother’s bible cover, the one indented with an impression of his forehead. No
matter how many times she hit him, God’s words stayed in the book. Tony found
himself wishing they had found a home in his head, maybe in his heart. He
thought a lot about the words written in red. What did they mean?
His heart felt
empty. Drugs filter the blood, leaching out anything that is good, leaving only
a dirty, rotting stench of rage, disgust, and self-loathing. Nothing could wash
it away. He knew nothing could cleanse his soul. It was too late for that.
Wasn’t it? The drug bubbling in his trembling fingers held the only truth he
knew, the power to go somewhere else, to escape from here.
The drug had
him now, the belt loose and forgotten, reality nothing but a hazy fog in the
back of his brain. He saw his father working at the mill, his mother preparing
a dinner of fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits. He could smell them in the
oven even with his eyes closed, the fresh butter sitting on the table, tea
brewing on the stove. The drug allowed him to forget about the stench of his
own urine pooling in his lap, of the decay of dirty dishes in the sink. He
ignored the snores of last night’s whore lying in the bed. Her name was Destiny.
Destiny covered half the bed, face decorated like that of a circus clown. He
doesn’t remember her, or last night, or last week.
Have you ever had something happen to you, heard a
particular phrase, or had a scene in your life play out in a way that makes you
stop and think, “There’s something familiar about this”? The popular term is
Deja-vu, French for ‘already seen’.
Are we predestined to follow a certain path in life? If
you’re a spiritual person, it is said that God knows all of what we will do,
yet we have free will. What if the path is already laid out for us? Is it
possible we are just doing exactly what we are supposed to do? I think there
was a movie a few years back on the subject, with Matt Damon as the star. If
someone knows of it, please post. If I remember the premise correctly, he goes
against the path of his life, maybe falling in love with someone he wasn’t
supposed to? We’re not talking about ‘The Matrix’, where life is an illusion.
What we’re talking about is destiny; our path is already laid out. We just live
to fulfill it.
I have to be honest. I’ve had many instances of Deja’ Vu.
Maybe it’s just my super-intelligent mind, (Yeah, right!) or my overactive
imagination. (could be) Whatever it is, it makes me wonder.
Are we pre-destined for God’s plan as a whole, but can fill
in the gaps with our free will? In other words, the beginning and the end are
the same—no matter what—but the middle can be manipulated?
For many years, I have refuted the concept of time travel.
My philosophy was that the past is like a never ending fuse on a stick of
dynamite; when the seconds tick off they burn up, gone forever. We cannot go
back. And the past is like the fuse yet to be burned. Which, if you follow my
logic here, is pre-destined—yet just hasn’t happened yet. Think of a straight
line. Point A and point B. That is our life. Is point B pre-determined, or can
we put an S-curve in it with one decision? What about a winding road with a
series of decisions—good or bad? That’s where the Deja-vu comes in. Maybe our
subconscious knows where we’re going. Do we really have any control over what
happens in our lives? We think we are making decisions, or choices, but ‘WHAT
IF’ those choices are our destiny?
Why are some people destined to be janitors, or public
servants, or athletes making mega-bucks? What would the world be like if we all
had the same intelligence, the same driving force to succeed, the same DESTINY?
Who would clean the windows?
For a few years now, I have felt the constant pull of a
powerful force. My heart is telling me I want to be a writer. I’ve looked into
writing articles, or magazine pieces, or any number of non-fiction
markets—anything to get published, but my HEART keeps pulling me back to
novels. Maybe I’m destined to tell a story I’m not aware of yet. My brain says
I have to keep paying the bills, contributing to the future my wife and I have
worked blood, sweat, and tears for. Lately, it seems as though every decision I
make fights against my destiny. I’m making decisions with my mind, not my
heart. I think the heart is linked to our TRUE destiny. People always say, “Go
with your heart.” I’m here to tell you, the brain LIES! Go with what’s in your
heart. I’ve been put here to write a story. And someday soon, I will know that
Find a way to fulfill your destiny on your own terms.
love you anymore, Paul. Can’t you just accept that?” My wife of fifteen years
threw a handful of clothes into the open suitcase on the bed. I couldn’t
imagine her not folding them into neat little stacks, each shirt or pair of
jeans categorically paired with its match. She tossed in a cluster of
undergarments; all the really sexy stuff, I noticed. Where had she been hiding that?
Jane.” I reached for her hand but she pulled away. “Can’t we talk about this?”
packing just long enough to glare at me. “What about last week? I wanted to
talk then, but you just couldn’t get away from the office.”
“I was here
all day Sunday. Why didn’t we talk then?” I said, feeling control slipping
her eyes. “Your body might have been here but your mind darn sure wasn’t. Who
was she? The girl on your laptop?” Her nose crinkled up in that way I always
found so cute.
just. . . “ I felt my face burning.
You’re blushing. How does it feel to be caught in your little lie? I certainly hope she’s worth it.”
She sat on the corner of the bed, a lacy bra dangling from her slender fingers,
the C-cups pointing up at me. A single tear rolled down her cheek.
With my finger, I touched her cheek and wiped at the tear. She closed her eyes and pressed against
my palm. I felt her shaking.
what you think,” I said. “Tina, the lady on my laptop, is with the adoption
agency. I wanted to surprise you. They found us a baby. A little baby . . .”
knocked me over when she jumped into my arms, pulling me so tight I thought I might
strangle, kissing every square inch of my face, yelling over and over, “I love
you! I love you! I love you, Paul!”
theme for this year’s challenge is about fulfilling your dream (mine is to
become a full time writer) the word ‘BOLD’ is very fitting.
not in the way you’re thinking.
or painters, or musicians, or whatever—we have to be bold. But is there such a
thing as being toobold? Can we push
One of my
current hobbies is checking out free or at least inexpensive e-books I see
posted on twitter, facebook, Amazon, or anywhere else where these little “gems”
might show up. It doesn’t matter what genre. I’m very curious to know what
other newbees are putting out there. So far, it’s been a lesson in futility.
Look at the following example:
reading the first ten pages of a fantasy novel with a good premise and
attractive cover, here is my evaluation.
Repetition—The author repeated a LOT of things in the first few pages.
For one, he makes it a point to mention that one character is chilled as she
walks down the street. Two pages later,
He points out that “late fall cold had begun to set in”, and then explains how
his character is trying to keep out the chill again. ALL IN THE SAME SCENE
The bad guys in the book are larger than humans. The author uses every
word imaginable—several times—to describe this size difference. Mention it once
or twice and let it GO, or use your action to convey the point. Speaking of
action, several characters “Stopped dead in their tracks” in the first ten
pages. And one guy whined several times. I don’t know about you, but my brain
latches on to these things. Then I’m backtracking to confirm I just saw the
same phrase a page or two back.
Tag lines—Oh my! Here is a list of tag lines on ONE page: heinformed,
she repeated, he whined, he sputtered, he demanded, he warned. ON ONE
PAGE! Not once does the author say; he said. Lesson—Lose the tag lines or keep
Dialogue MUST fit the character speaking. In one scene, the author is
describing a confrontation between the good guy and the bad guy. This bad guy
(huge in size compared to the good guy, as we’ve already been told over and
over) is supposed to be one mean dude. Here is a line in the book. “Stop!” he bellowed
at Kale. “Or I’ll skewer your sister. I’m not kidding.”
REALLY? Skewer? Why not gut or amputate something? But he’s not KIDDING!
What? Is he twelve?
My point is this: sometimes the time to be bold is not when we’ve
completed our first manuscript and had our reading group critique it. Someone
should have pointed these flaws out to the author. Now he/she has a book
published that a knowledgeable reader will give up on after just a few pages.
Be BOLD in learning the craft and be willing to accept critique from
those who know what they’re talking about. Put your absolute best out there.
If anyone would like a seasoned reader to read and review their book,
I’m all ears.
To kick of
the 2113 A-Z Blog challenge, I’m going to start from the beginning—or I should
say, beginning for me. For some of you, this point of revelation may already
Okay, let me
clarify. I’m speaking of a moment of clarity in my pursuit of being happy with
who I am. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m married to a wonderful woman (fifteen
years come May), I have three great children, and have had a respectable career
in the woodworking business. What I haven’t achieved is my life’s passion. Can
such a thing ever be achieved? I pray that it can. For the sake of my sanity.
For the past
ten years I have dreamed of being a writer. Little did I know, when I took that
evening class in creative writing ten years ago, that my fun hobby would turn
into an obsession. And that my obsession would lead to so much frustration.
excuses can be made not to fulfill a dream? Working a ‘real’ job?—that’s
the worst. Not enough time?—just say no to Facebook and computer games. I
have too many obligations?—funny how we make time for other things we
want. Am I good enough?—this one is the true killer; self-doubt—lack
of confidence—an unwillingness to have faith in what I can achieve.
So today, my
writing brethren, I proclaim that I am ALL IN. From this day forward, I will
not back down, will not give self-doubt a perch upon my shoulder, will not make
one more excuse for why not!
write, and write some more, and write even more. And then I will submit to the
keepers of the gate, but will NOT be held captive by those with the key.
I AM a
writer and I will make my own key if I have to!