As NaNoWriMo Approaches, A Decision…

Around this time, many of you, myself included, would begin gearing themselves up for the exhilarating marathon known as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Thirty days, 50,000 words. I myself have participated in it three times, having successfully completed it in 2012. It’s a blast, let me tell you. There’s no greater rush than that final week, the words simply flying out from you, and you’re not editing yourself as you’re going along. Just let it come out of you, and the rest will follow. It’s an incredible high, and, believe me, I know highs.

Right before the November 1st kickoff, we NaNers (the term I use for NaNoWriMo participants; the proper term is “NaNoWriMos”) will prepare ourselves, if we are the preparing type. We have a precise idea of what our new work is going to be about. We’ve begun outlining the story, fleshed out characters, consulted our trusted books on the writing craft. We’ll even put together our NaNoWriMo Survival Kit – lots of caffeine and snacks will be involved.

So how am I preparing for NaNoWriMo 2014?

I’m not.

I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year.

Nope. Not happening.

While I do have some life events that will likely prevent me from dedicating as much time as I’d need to give NaNoWriMo the attention it deserves (I start a new full-time job in two weeks, and my wife may be having surgery in mid-November), the honest truth is that I simply don’t feel like taking part this year. I’m in a self-diagnosed writing funk lately, and NaNoWriMo isn’t going to spur me out of it, either. I haven’t written much of anything lately, and what I’ve written doesn’t interest me. I’ve taken a short break from writing just to recharge and rethink some strategies. Taking part in NaNoWriMo isn’t a strategy that I want to be a part of right now, since my head and my heart just aren’t in it.

I will, however, cheer my fellow NaNoWriMo survivors on. If you’re embarking on this annual marathon, know that I’m thinking of you, and I know you’ve got what it takes to reach the finish line. But remember, ultimately it’s about the challenge, not the finished product. If you can’t finish, don’t beat yourself up over it.

If you’re thinking about doing this, for the first time, NaNoWriMo is a great exercise in the art of sticking to a deadline. While 30 days and 50,000 words won’t produce genius, it will produce that ass-in-seat mentality you need to be an effective writer…says the writer who’s taking a sabbatical from writing.

Ignore me.

Anyway…more from me later, from the writing front, soon.

(Reblog) Should I Get an MFA? 27 Writers on Whether or Not to Get Your MFA

The age-old question that’s asked every year: should a writer get an MFA, or should they not get an MFA?

27 Writers on Whether or Not to Get Your MFA

Lots of food for thought from many writers who give their perspectives from both sides.

For those of you who’ve either gotten your MFAs, or are in the process of completing your MFA degrees, what’s your take? Worth the time and investment? Inquiring minds want to know.

Happy Belated Second Anniversary to This Blog!

For my 205th blog, I’d like to mark a special occasion. I meant to note this a week or so ago, but life’s gotten in the way again, but Out Where the Buses Don’t Run just turned two years old. Happy Anniversary to this blog!

Out Where the Buses Don’t Run went live on WordPress August 29, 2012. When I started this blog, my goals were modest: blog for the sake of blogging, just for the therapeutic value. But I found a community of like-minded bloggers who encouraged me to pursue this blog further than I could have imagined. Without this encouragement, so much could not have happened:

I would not have been Freshly Pressed twice

I would not have been followed by 2,057 readers. Nor would this blog have been viewed 20,115 times, and 2.813 comments have been posted.

It goes without saying, but a thousand thank yous to everyone who’s read this blog, from the day it came online two years ago, to today. Thank you for reading my blog posts. Thank you for commenting. Thank you for sharing my blog posts. Thank you for inviting me to post on your blog sites. Thank you for giving me the freedom and the encouragement to keep this grand experiment going, even when there have been times when I’ve been absent for extended periods. It’s your encouragement that gives me the fuel and the ambition to try new things and stretch my writing muscles on this blog.

You’ve seen glimpses into my works in progress. You’ve taken part in several robust bitch sessions. You’ve read me rant furiously about injustices everyone, or about the shitty sandwich I just ate. Most importantly, you indulged me, and that’s important to me.

Here’s to another year of blogging!

Thanks again, everyone. I really mean it!

What “Sharknado” Teaches Us About Perseverance and the Power of Positive Thinking (Sort Of)

Last week, like many of you, I tuned in to watch Sharknado 2: The Second Coming.

 

 

Remember the names Anthony C. Ferrante and Thunder Levin. I’ll get to them in a bit…

Thanks to the magic of Twitter, the original Sharknado (in which a freak hurricane attacks Los Angeles, causing man-eating sharks to be scooped up into the storm by water spouts, thereby creating a “sharknado.”) because a huge cult phenomenon. Naturally, a sequel was immediately commissioned. I watched Sharknado. I laughed hysterically at how idiotic it all was. I watched Sharknado 2. I laughted even harder this time around.

But let’s be real here: Sharknado is beyond fucking stupid. It has plot holes the size of New York City manholes. The acting is deliberately awful. The special effects seem like they were designed on an iPad. And let’s not get into how beyond implausible the whole Sharknado thing is.

Implausible. Sure. But we love implausible. Consider the top grossing film at the box office this past weekend: an adaptation of an obscure comic book series about a misfit group of heroes, one of whom is a humanoid tree, the other a wise-cracking, gun-totting, genetically-modified raccoon. You read right. So lest anyone think we’re all about cinema verite, then Rocket Raccoon and his Guardian of the Galaxy mates proves we love premises that are bat-shit crazy (provided they keep us entertained AND don’t insult us), then surely the wink-wink insanity and sheer stupidity of the Sharknado films isn’t all that hard to swallow now, is it?

The point to Sharknado and its sequel isn’t art for the sake of art. It’s a glorious attempt at redefining what “bad” means, and by “bad,” I mean, “it’s so bad, it’s actually good!” Sharknado makes no bones about how stupid and brainless it is, and when Ian Ziering rips a shark apart with a six-foot chainsaw, you’re howling with glee. Why? Because there’s nothing cynical about the purpose behind Sharknado. Shit, why not be as insane as you can be, right? Why not be over-the-top, and do it with tongue firmly in cheek? See, the difference between this steaming pile of shit-sized fun and a $200 million dollar home movie like the Transformers films, directed by a 10-year-old for other like-minded and drooling 10-year-olds, is that Sharknado never takes itself so damned serious in the way Michael Bay wants to make the Citizen Kane of rock’em, sock’em robot films. That fucking idiot.

So what do the names Anthony C. Ferrante and Thunder Levin have to do with all this? Well, respectively, they’re the director and the screenwriter of the Sharknado films. They’re the creative (and that’s putting it mildly) geniuses behind these cult classics. They had an idea: a hurricane that somehow smashes into LA (IMPLAUSIBLE IDEA #1), which then sucks up all these man-eating sharks (IMPLAUSIBLE IDEA #2), the mashup which then creates a “sharknad0” (IMPLAUSIBLE IDEA #3). And not only did they see this idea through, some producer, probably a coked-up fellow just coming down a weekend binge with a few high-priced hookers, heard this idea and shook his fists at the heavens and shouted, AS GOD AS MY WITNESS, ‘SHARKNADO WILL FUCKING HAPPEN, BITCHES!

And then Ferrante and Levin got the green-light to see their creation come to life.

And then Ferrante and Levin got the green-light to see their creation come to life in a sequel! This time, where New York City gets bitch-slapped by the Mother of All Sharknadoes!

The cynics will scoff and declare that Sharknado proves anything gets made these days, and they’re right. For you, the writer, the artist, the creative, it proves that if something like Sharknado, with its emphasis on insane set pieces bordering on the shamelessly stupid and with tongue once again firmly in cheek, can see the light of day, then your work, the one you keep telling yourself is just too weird, too offbeat, and that no one wants to read, well, then think again.

Because if a screenplay involving man-eating sharks falling from the sky can get made, and spawn a sequel, then my novel, in which a suicidal woman embarks on a road trip with the protagonist from her favorite novels so she can convince the author to kill the protagonist, will not only be finished, but it will be published, and it will be read.

Scratch that. AS GOD AS MY WITNESS, MY NOVEL WILL NOT ONLY BE FINISHED, BUT IT WILL BE PUBLISHED, AND IT WILL BE READ, BITCHES!

Word.

And yes, there will be a Sharknado 3. Please please please let it happen in Miami. I’d pay money to see a Sharknado chomp on some over-tanned Euro-douches. Or Kim Kardashian.

At the Bottom of the Cereal Box

I can’t explain this.

I’ve been having some really bizarre dreams lately. Vivid, day-glo, orange Technicolour dreams. The kind of dreams that are so real they drain you, and you just don’t feel like getting out of bed lately. Normally, my dreams are pretty vibrant. I chalk that up to an overactive imagination. Maybe that’s why I never liked dropping acid. Sure, that pink elephant with the bloody fangs and bat wings singing “C’mon, Get Happy!” in my bad trips is totally fake, but go explain that to my imagination. Someone’s gotta stop that fucking crazy pink elephant before he eats me!

But I digress.

There’s got to be some chemical change in me that’s causing these dreams to be even crazier than normal. The last time I had dreams this wacky, I was all doped up on Wellbutrin. Wellbutrin’s notorious for giving you nightmares. Except these aren’t nightmares. Hang on…I’m still on Wellbutrin. And on large doses of Zonisamide.Maybe the Zonisamide’s been boosting my imagination.

Or maybe it’s the Vitamin D I’ve been gobbling up lately. Or the Omega 3. I dunno.

The imagination in my dreams reminds me of scrapping the bottom of a cereal box, looking for those last tasty kernels of strawberry, and finding some that still taste good. My imagination’s looking for something…I know this makes no sense to you. Hell, my dreams don’t make much sense to me either.

So, come with me and we’ll search the bottom of the cereal box, and find something tasty. And while you’re at it, tell me what the flying hell my dreams are all about.

Fever-Withered Dream #482

I have a certain skill: the ability to blend in and gain people’s confidence. Not to rip them off, mind you, but just blend in and get people to trust in me. This skill has been recognized by some government agents, who want to use my skills. The Feds want me to infiltrate some fringe groups they deem to be a threat to the American way. At first, I decline. No way. I’m not a government stooge.

The Feds’ offer is enticing, though. No money, but I get to infiltrate and spy in on a group I have no love for.

The Klan? Nope.

Al-Qaeda? Not even close.

Scientology? Bingo!

I’ve been tasked to immerse myself into Scientology. If possible, get chummy with the #2 guy (Mr. You-Know-Who) and get as much info as possible. Surprisingly, this proves to be an easy task. I met Tom Crui…er, Mr. You-Know-Who at a college basketball game. He likes me so much that he invites me to shoot a movie with him. The “movie” turns out to be a Scientology propaganda video. Every Scientologist in Hollywood and the entertainment industry is in on this film. And they’re all talking freely about how they’re going to bring down society for not believing in Scientology.

The Feds move in, and Scientology’s dreams of enslaving non-believers goes down in flames. My spymasters are so impressed that they then dispatch me to China, just before the Beijing Olympics are getting ready to start. I have a bad feeling about this assignment. I try to beg out of it, but they insist.

My fears were justified. Just as I was getting ready to check into my room at a swanky hotel in Beijing, the Chinese authorities raid my room. I manage to escape and meet up with…my dad? He’s a spy, too? No way! We’re taken to a safe house, which turns out to be a newsstand owned by a friend of his.

One thing about my dad: he knows everybody. I know we’re going to be safe.

Good thing I didn’t find out if this was true or not. The sounds of the TV woke me from my dream.

But not before…

Fever-Withered Dream #794

Of all people, I share a cubicle with Tina Fey. I mean, it would be awesome to share a cube with Tina . We’d never get any work done, that’s for sure. Yeah, this is a pretty strange dream so far. dwelling in a cube? Yeah, only if she could serve drinks!

We both work for a colossal fucktard. The kind of fucktard that would have been a power-hungry cop that loves to exert his “authoritah” on skater boys and old ladies. He jumps our shit for having too much fun. Fuck him. Time to cut him down to size. He’s a midget anyway. Not that I don’t dig on midgets; he’s not really a midget, not like that dude from “Game of Thrones.” Although kind of like an asshole like him. What’s my point?

Just to piss him off, Tina and I hijack his weekly staff meeting. When Mr. Fucktard asks us for a status on what we’re working on, we launch into a something similar to the Aristocrats joke. You know that joke, the joke’s so good that the rest of the attendees at this meeting join in on the joke.

But Mr. Fucktard doesn’t think it’s funny. In fact, he fires every one of us on the spot.

Like we fucking care. We both drop our microphones like they’re hot, and walk out of that conference rooms, chests puffed out, strutting out of there like we’re two of the baddest muthas ever.

Dream over.

 

(This blog was brought to you by the Daily Post’s Writing 101, Day One Challenge.)

 

How I Learned to Stop Procrastinating and Fall in Love With My Work-in-Progress Again

Yesterday, I rediscovered what it was like to get lost inside a work-in-progress again, and feel excited by the prospect of it all.

All the interruptions in life meant several things that were near and dear to me were sacrificed. One of those being my work-in-progress. The truth is I could have made the time, but the more distance I gave the WIP, the easier it became to ignore it, and that’s simply a cardinal sin a writer shouldn’t commit. Whatever excuses I made – and there were plenty, and all we’re legit reasons – there was likely nothing that would have prevented me from taking even fifteen minutes to jot down some notes or flesh out a character or sketch a scene.

Regardless…

For some reason, I have no idea why, I was thinking about baseball, and I had remembered this one elderly man who worked the security desk at the building I worked in when I was a Pfizer employee from ’94 to ’00. In addition to working the security desk, he had a unique second job: he worked for the New York Yankees, as the greeter at George Steinbrenner’s private suite at Yankee Stadium. Pete was his name, and he was constantly yapping about his beloved Yankees (a source of annoyance for this long-time Mets fan: OH SHUT UP), and sometimes he was WAY OFF about his opinions. For example, right before the ’96 season got started:

“Not sure what Mr. Steinbrenner’s soon’ hirin’ Joe Torre. He couldn’t win anywhere. He might be fired by the All-Star break!”

Torre won nearly 1500 games and 4 World Series.

Also, same conversation:

“This new shortstop’s not all that good, Jeter. He’ll end up in the minors not too long.”

OOPS. When Derek Jeter retires at the end of the 2014 season, he’ll be the Yankees’ all-time leader in hits, runs scored, and games played, and perhaps the most beloved Yankee since Mickey Mantle.

Just goes to show we can’t always be right.

When I thought about Pete, I thought about some of the blowhards, both men and women, that I’d worked with. There was some background I felt that was essential that was missing so far from my WIP, namely my protagonist’s professional life. What she did for a living was as important as who she works with. I thought these past experiences of mine would make for good details to plug in, and see where the story leads me. I was eager to do some plugging and revisit my WIP.

But being that yesterday was Memorial Day, with swimming pools and gas grills galore, my day was going to get monopolized by all things Memorial Day. My daughter was itching up get to the pool. I was itching to get some writing.

Compromise: I took my daughter to the pool, and while she splish-splashed with her friends, I wrote 5 pages longhand in my notebook, lounging on a deck chair. 907 words in two hours’ time, just letting the words flow while the sun was beating down on me. I didn’t stop to edit, I didn’t make notes about what I wanted to write. I just wrote. What took place kinda reminded me of this picture I once saw of Hunter S. Thompson, before he became the legendary gonzo journalist:

(I swear, I was doing the same exact thing: notepad, beer, shorts, bare feet. Maybe there is something to writing in the sunshine, huh?)

I’m setting some time aside tonight – after this blog gets posted – to capitalize on the momentum I’ve suddenly picked up, now that I’ve rekindled my love affair with my work-in-progress. More importantly, it’s essential to me that regardless of the amount of time I set aside each day, whether it’s fifteen minutes or a few hours, those are the moments I should most take advantage of. There’s a work-in-progress that’s been neglected for too long, and it’s time I give it the full attention it truly deserves.

This should be fun.

The Best-Laid Plans (Often Fall By the Shitter)

Several months ago, in the spirit of the New Year, I decided to set some personal goals for myself for this year. I wrote a lengthy blog post about setting realistic goals and finding ways to make myself more accountable for the things I want for myself.

I set for myself the following primary goals:

  • Continue with my diet and exercise regimen
  • Spend every available moment with Jaime and Sophia and make that time count.
  • Meet with my therapist once a week
  • Read one book per week
  • Write 8-10 hours/1,000-2,000 words per week
  • Post 3 blogs per week.

These primary goals have since gone by the wayside, ever since life got in the fucking way.

With May coming to a close, I thought I’d publicly humiliate myself take a look at the goals I’d set for myself and see how far I’ve gotten in achieving these goals. Drumroll, please.

  • Diet and Exercise: I was the Paleo diet kick, eat the way our cavemen forefathers eat. Lots of protein, zero processed foods. It was a bit of a bitch at first, as the sugar withdrawals were unbearable, but I grew to really enjoy Paleo-centric eating. I was also running again, and because Paleo was helping me feel lighter, I was able to run longer distances and not feel as worn out. But since my job’s become something of a 60-hour-a-week job, and with all the stress about possible relocations and a new home purchase and the uneasy feeling that we may be able to afford the new home after all, the diet and exercise has given way to apathy and emotional eating. I know I shouldn’t beat myself up about this, but I really feel like a shit. Oddly enough, I haven’t put on weight. Go. Fucking. Figure.
  • Time with my wife and daughter: No problems there. If anything, living in an apartment over the past eight months has meant we’re spending every available moment together, whether we like it or not. All kidding aside, I can’t complain. I want to spend more time with Jaime, and more time with Sophia. This is a complete win for me.
  • Meet with my therapist once a week: AND THANK THE GODS FOR THIS, BECAUSE IF I DIDN’T HAVE SOMEONE FOR WHOM MEDICAL INSURANCE DIDN’T PAY FOR ME TO BITCH TO ONCE A WEEK, I MIGHT JUST DO SOMETHING REALLY FUCKING STUPID. LIKE WRITE AN ENTIRE BLOG POST IN ALLCAPS.
  • Read one book per week: I’ve read fourteen books so far. For some of you voracious readers who read a book a day, you’re probably reading this and thinking to yourselves, “Geez, what a slacker.” Whatever. You have time. I clearly don’t. But I’m making more time for reading. I just started reading The Goldfinch. It’s over 800 pages. Light summer reading to enjoy while lounging by the pool, right? At any rate, one book per week roughly averages to about 50 books per year. I may need to read some James Patterson novels to help me pick up the slack, but then I would feel like a whore while knowing subjecting myself to the literary equivalent of a drunken bachelor party.
  • Write 8-10 hours/1,000-2,000 words per week: Ugh. My writing schedule’s been so ridiculously inconsistent, writing only in fits and uninspired spurts. I did manage to crank out seven short stories over the past few months, but my WIP is simply sitting there, waiting patiently for me to pick it up again. I’m almost afraid to , as if I don’t know how to even write it, or even a sentence, anymore. Think I’m joking? I just bought this course as a refresher. Hey, I’m not ashamed to admit I might need to re-learn how to write a sentence.
  • Blog 3x per week: See above. For a while, this blog was pretty dormant, but I’ve fired it up again, and as many of you may have noticed, it’s gotten a makeover. I realized what better tool for me to bounce off my frustrations than my blog? Why just limit my blogging to musing about the writing process, now that my writing has slowed to a crawl, and whatever I have to declare about writing is just bullshit, anyway?

I did promise that I would not beat myself up for not reaching these goals…OWWW!

I won’t beat myself up.

I won’t beat myself up.

I won’t beat myself up.

On the personal front, I want three things to happen:

  • I need to hit the pavement, and start running again. Even if it’s just fifteen minutes of me sucking wind. I need to shake off the cobwebs and send a shockwave through my system and jumpstart my drives again.
  • Give my WIP the attention she deserves. She shouldn’t be treated like a neglected housewife. This means I need to have at least a draft done by the fall, and revisions by Christmas.
  • Keep blogging 3x per week. Even if it’s just me babbling excitedly about the new Led Zeppelin reissues. In vinyl, no less. Hmm…maybe now I’ll finally buy me that turntable I’ve been dreaming of…

I won’t beat myself up.

Why Befriending Writers Should Bring Out the Competitor in You (Insecure Writer’s Support Group)

Author’s Note: Another first Wednesday of the month, another post for The Insecure
Writer’s Support Group
. Be sure to check out the many other writers participating in this blog hop. Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for leading the IWSG.

This Blogging Things Works Wonders! (Insecure Writer's Support Group)

 

Like me, many of you are no doubt friends with authors. Some of those friendships are mere acquaintances, perhaps, others closer than that. It seems obvious, of course, to be a writer and have friends that are also writers. I mean, why not surround yourself with those who understand why it is you delve deep into your prose, obsessing over the rhythms and cadence of every sentence?

I am inspired by my writer friends. They too have embraced the self-publishing wave, opting to become their own imprint. From their footsteps, I was inspired to take my own leap into the self-publishing world. Many of my writer friends helped me along the way, and continue to do so.

But I confess to being envious. Envious of the plaudits they’ve received, and the attention they’ve garnered elsewhere. However, I am not a man who wallows in jealousy. It’s a stupid, pointless emotion that gets you nowhere. If I’m envious, it only fuels my competitive streak. So when a friend gets a great review on Goodreads, I am excited for them, but there’s a part of me that says, “C’mon, Gus, you can do better!”

That I can do better doesn’t mean I want to one-up my writer friends in the my-book-got-better-reviews-than-yours, or, “Hey, look, my short story got picked up by Glimmer Train, and yours didn’t, NYEAH NYEAH NYEAH NYEAH!!!” It means I have to work harder, and write better. That competitive streak has fueled me to crank out more than 10 short stories in the past couple of months, as well as plug forward with my work-in-progress.

My point is we should draw inspiration from our fellow writers, because we share the same trials and tribulations, as well as the triumphs. And it doesn’t hurt being competitive with one another, as long as that competitive nature fuels your creativity, not your jealousy.

Call For Submissions – Uno Kudo, Vol. 4

 

Many of you are likely aware that I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with the art & literary collective known as Uno Kudo. My short stories “That New Car Smell” and “Room 505” have appeared in both Uno Kudo, Vol. 1 and Uno Kudo Vol. 2, respectively

Here I am holding my copy of Uno Kudo, Vol. 1. It's a beauty.

Here I am holding my copy of Uno Kudo, Vol. 1. It’s a beauty.

The good people at Uno Kudo are pleased to announce they’re currently accepting submissions for Vol. 4. But don’t just take my word; here’s Bud Smith, one of the editors, with all the details about how to submit, and what you should submit, for Uno Kudo Vol. 4.:

——————————————————————————————-

Hello writers and artists!

Submissions are OPEN for Uno Kudo volume 4!

send your work, now: Feb. 7th-May1st 2014.

SUBMIT: unokudo@gmail.com

Writers: Uno Kudo is looking for your most vivid work: short stories, poems, creative non-fiction, to be matched up side by side with artwork that will knock your socks off.

Artists: Please send art as a 300 dpi Jpeg 12″ high. Also send links to your websites. In this edition we will be using more stand alone art but we will still be matching up art to some of the stories and poems so it would be really awesome to see the expanse of your work.

Please send writing as a .doc file. No word limit. No theme. No holds barred.
In the subject line, please write either:

ATTN: Fiction/Title and author
Or
ATTN: poetry/Title and author

That’s a big help for the editors/readers who will select your work.

Poetry: send up to six poems (separate Word docs are fine).
short stories: send one, no word limit. No holds barred.
flash fiction: max 500 words each, send up to three (separate Word docs are fine).

Submissions are now open for our yearly print anthology that combines art and writing in wild ways. All profits from the sales of Uno Kudo 4 will again be donated to PEN International, a charity that fights for the rights of oppressed artists worldwide. Uno Kudo will be published in book form, available through Amazon, and available as a digital download.

We’d like to see something that has not been published elsewhere. We’d like to see something that is not sim. sub. We’d like to buy you a beer. All those things.

Thank you!

——————————————————————————————-

So what are you waiting for? Get your pens, your paintbrushes, your cameras ready! Uno Kudo needs your art and your words!

“This Shit Writes Itself!”

Some news regarding my writing progress, both good and bad. It’s actually all good, but what’s news without a little drama, no?

The bad news lately is that my current WIP has stalled. Not for a lack of trying. It’s just stalled. It’s still fresh on my mind, but there’s been little movement. And I’m not freaking out about this one tiny bit.

The good news is that I have been sticking to one of my goals for 2014: write 8-10 hours per week/1000-2000 words per week. By doing so, I’ve managed to either complete or begin drafting four short stories over the past week, all of which will be submitted to print and online journals. A brief description of what I’ve worked on:

  • Beloved Son” – a woman’s idyllic life glosses over the horrific pain and guilt she harbors over something she wishes never happened.
  • Bipolar is the New Diabetes” – this one speaks for itself; it’s an experimental piece of fiction, a humorous look at mental illness told in an open letter format. And, seriously, if you can’t laugh at your screwy mental makeup, then you might as well get fitted for a straight-jacket and some Benzadrine.
  • Shake, Shoot, and Squeeze” – a college-aged drinker competes in a “tequila triathalon,” with disastrous results.
  • Storefront Church” – a man is forced to confront the terrible life choices he’s made in the unlikeliest of places.

What I’m loving so much lately is how organic everything seems to be taking place. Rather than me finding the words, the words are simply finding me. I know, it sounds trite, but it’s true. I honestly didn’t really put a lot of thought into the tone or topic into these pieces I wrote; I simply had some ideas come to mind, a few scribbles here and there, then flesh them out further, and, voila, a short story.

It’s all keeping my mind sharp, and my writing fresh.

I believe it was William Shakespeare who coined these immortal words, words that I use to take comfort in and inspiration by:

Word, Bill…word.