Archive for the writing Category

The Scylla’s Blanket

Posted in adventure, books, fantasy, fiction, life, love, passage, poetry, relationships, story, travel, writing with tags , , , , , , on March 1, 2012 by tymora42

What a delightful day for a picnic!
The waves of Charbydis lapped against the beach
Helios had not yet set upon the Cliffside
And the song of Sirens played softly over the dune
Scylla laid in wait upon her blanket in the sand
for sailors, the most scrumptious of company,
To pass by her snare
She will reel them in like a fisherman
Entice them into her cavern with her sway
Posing all twelve of her long tall legs for the show and
Nibbling on appetizers of caviar and starfish

Fleets edge up to Beauty’s blanket
But only six men will be served
They would be wined and dined upon
A pound of meat; A bottle of red
“Oh, yes, dears, there is plenty enough to go around
Would you like some more?
You sure are a group of big strong lads.”
The conversation goes on like this
With the choral serenade still lingering in the distance
The calming waves churning along the shore
And Helios preparing for bed
Scylla smiles with all of her teeth
Then she cries
She wines like a babe about ceaseless desire
Here, they cry for her
She brings them close to her lips
They enter her and are consumed by her ways

The feast is done
The lambs were harvested on a bed of kelp
The ox were well seasoned with salt and brine
Beef and poultry and pig and man
All were taken down her gullet
With nary a crumb left for the ants
The men lay strewn about the den
From the ravenous ferocity of their hunger
In spent puddles along her floor
A little of them here
A little there
“Seconds?”
Gracious Host has the nerve to ask
“Dessert?”

“No, thank thee, m’lady.
But we must be on our way.”

Houston VIP Poetry Slam – First in the Season

Posted in bar, houston, poetry, review, southmorehouse, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2012 by tymora42

It was good to see some of the old guard keeping watch over the up and coming Houston Poetry Slam talent. This was their first slam of the season to prepare for sending a team off to North Carolina. It was a great show, but that is hardly what I want to talk about. I might be a little rusty on appreciating the quality of the poetry involved, yet my good natured heckling skills were alive and well toned. You have to keep yourself in shape.

The venue was a low key coffee house on the east end called Secret Word Cafe. The same place Marcel Murphy, Houston Slam Team alumni, runs a writing workshop every Saturdays at 11am. The barrista / owner (i don’t even want to try and spell her name without seeing it) made a special tea for me and named it after the African name Jelani Williams gave me before he died off continent retracing his roots for the umpteenth time. Can it really be retracing if you have already done it, embraced it and started to live it?

The event was live and I am looking forward to future showcases – every Friday at Secret Word. They have a lot to work on before the Nationals in August. Some great poets spat in our face about greater issues than teen angst, politics, sexuality, color and growing up. The winner, DEEP, hit us with a first person piece about a mother sticking her babies in a dryer or an oven or a microwave. i was never sure which and it could have very well been all three. They were nearly going to forego the encore. i could not let that happen.

Marcel performed a sacrificial piece. It was not his best. It was not his worst either though. My only disappointment (aside from not seeing some of the old school greats: Karega, Rassul, Murph, Marie Brown, Craig Lindsey, Cedric “Brother Ced,” Alex Wukman, Doug Shields…. this list could go on for a while) is that Kyle Blue never stepped out onto the matt. His girl did. She rocked a piece about an aspberger kid wanting to be treated like an adult. My favorite was Peter “the Rock.” Although he did not win that night, I am positive he will be a member of the Houston Slam Team.

Come out and support them. Secret Word Cafe every Friday. Doors open at 8pm.

Who said “The Definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”?

Posted in books, essay, television, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2011 by tymora42

Last night over dinner my father tells me, “Einstein said – The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” I thought about this for a second and considered the fact that Einstein was a scientist. By profession scientists tend to do the same thing over and over and tend to get different results. Granted the variables change through the course of the process, however, each experiment must be performed repetitiously as close to the same way as possible to account for the various results and determine what variable must be changed to achieve a different and sometimes desired result. In my mind there was no way Einstein or any scientist worth their salt could ever manifest a quote such as this.

So, I told him this. He says he heard it on the news. It was Einstein. Then he dared me to “Look it up.” I do not know what news broadcast spouted this obvious misinformation. Knowing my father’s politics and the reference he was making toward the Obama entitlement spending force I can only assume it was probably FOX.

Einstein also proclaimed that “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” I do not see FOX repeating this quote anytime in the near future.

Anyway, I took his challenge and decided to look it up. This is what I have found:

The quote, through great debate, has been attributed to Ben Franklin, Mark Twain, Albert Einstein and Rita Mae Brown. It has been repeated through variation by coaches, athletes, overweight women, neurotic psych patients, housewives and, most recently, conservative political commentators.

I decided to look for primary sources with years and dates attributed to the article. There is no citation of Franklin or Twain actually writing this piece of wisdom or being recorded saying it in an interview. Franklin is cited in Wikiquotes without documentation and with serious debate about redacting it. In that same discussion one user claims to have found an article in an issue of the 1925 New Yorker verifying that it was, actually, an Einstein quote. I followed her link to Google Books to find not enough information to satisfy myself. The picture near the article did not look like it was from 1925, nor did the citation reveal any dates printed on the page. The image was too small to be zoomed into a legibly readable size and there were no links for further perusal. Finally, it seems through context to have been written by a fiction author offhandedly claiming that someone else, Einstein for instance, said it. Thankfully the comment and source was redacted as being unreliable.

Did this leave Rita Mae Brown’s novel, Sudden Death, as the only originator? No. Narcotics Anonymous also used the quote “Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results” in their Basic Text (otherwise known as the Red Book yet filed under the title Narcotics Anonymous: Approved Literature) published about the same time. I went to the Library of Congress to determine the actual date of publication for these texts. Brown’s Sudden Death was published by Bantam in 1983. It appears on pg 68. Narcotics Anonymous has a publication date stating 1982, however, a source profiling rare books states that the actual publication was March of 1983. To further shroud the origination in mystery there are claims (without documentation that I could find) that Brown used it in a 1981 interview before her book was published and that the quote was included in the original preview edition of the NA handbook in the same year and that it dates as far back as 1979 when NA began researching and putting together the manuscript.

Who knows? It could very well be just an ancient Chinese proverb. I would sincerely love any information you come across regarding this. After all, the great Einstein once said, “Knowledge is power and knowing is half the battle.”

Past, Present, and Speculation of the Future of Writing Technologies

Posted in blog, books, essay, technology, work, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2011 by tymora42

Writers Block by miss pupik

Standing outside for a breath before testing a writing program I am not familiar with recalls those writers who have come before with their limited technologies. I take a moment to daydream on the process of constructing novels, plays, screenplays, and even short stories in the time previous to the word processor. How easy it is for us in this new century? How easy will it become? It is no wonder why the once elite market has exploded in a variety of those dedicating their life to the craft of being a writer.

My first retrospective goes to the typewriter, the tapping out of solid words onto the page. The immediate editing process of Microsoft Word, simply hitting the delete key over the highlighted section and reconstructing the previous thought to closer perfection as the writer intends it, could not even be considered to such technology. Even when the liquid papering function was installed in the machine, it could only perform menially, a letter at a time, a punctuation mark, at most a whole word at a time, never a full sentence. Only years before this they would have to spool up the page, apply the whitener, and let it dry before they could continue the thought. Before this they would have to key the whole page over and over. Once the first draft of those thoughts were finally smashed onto paper, the real editing began. Sentences and sometimes whole paragraphs, cut and pasted into different locations of the document, are circled and arrowed with pen knowing that the entire piece must be retyped again and again until it is correct. Obsessive Compulsive editors like myself would never have made it without superior discipline. This is where the admiration of greats like Thomas Pynchon, where every word and placement has significance, must be recognized. And those like Stephen King creating volumes of work with such immensity. It is no wonder he hates the abridgment of them when every revision of a thousand page volume needs retyping after each editing. I can see the dry portion of those novels being the result of the editor self proclaiming pages as worthy for the sole reason of decreasing the workload. Did Steinbeck own a typewriter in the early years? Could he afford new ribbons and paper? This must be why Of Mice and Men is so short. What of Mellville? Jane Austen? Did they pen their works initially before consigning them to typed manuscripts? Were the walls of their rooms covered in index cards with brief character biographies, plot devices, scenery descriptions pinned into the drywall with threads of yarn connecting them to black and white photographs and illustrations like a detective movie?

Shakespeare did not have a typewriter. He jumps further backward in time to the days of quills on parchment. Notes of scratches and older versions of Midsummer Night Dream have yet to be recovered by English archaeologists. Like the zen quote about the river, one can never see the same play twice. It is constantly being rewritten as it is being performed. Lines drop. Actors ad lib. Blocking and scenery is constantly in flux to the whim of the players on stage. Surely their was a stable copy at the start and a final after the run. And I have to picture them learning their lines. Did Willie stand before them in the empty Globe Theatre running through his mix and garble of word from memory expecting them to regurgitate it after a single once over? I would like to have seen his one man show describing the first act with all of the characters and blocking and details of the scenery and pit it against the closing night for consistency. No, to construct a single line with a quill would take considerable thought before the ink every touched the surface. Taking in the scenario of a poet lingering over the page for hours on end before scribbling out a word or two gives credence to the thought that writers were lazy.

Before Email by vas0707

Now, the future is here and their will be more future tomorrow. We print one copy and xerox the rest of our novels in multiples for out writing groups to peruse. We edit. We print more. Ink is cheap and paper grows on trees. We post them on Trigger Street and The Red Room and Smashwords for user to (hopefully) read and comment. We post blogs. We podcast. We delete whole sentences at a time. We reorder paragraphs. The tacks have been removed from the walls of our study. The index cards are filed away in drawers where we can wonder what they were ever used for in the first place. Final Draft and Scrivener and Celtx organize the bodies onto virtual corkboards and sticky notes. Characters have tabs for their biographies with images and research encompassed in quick click of a button reference. We hardly even have to type anymore if we do not want. We can tell the story into a microphone and DragonNaturallySpeaking (dragonspeak) will convert the dialogue into text. Windows Journal and similar programs type out scanned handwritten documents for you.

The next great leap in writer evolution that will flood the market over the walls of the dam will be the invention of thought to text. From there it will be a short stroll into the conversion of dreams into movies. Pioneers will consume hallucinogenic drugs to record their experiences. A new Hunter Thompson will arise. Loving or being hated by a writer, if we can still call them writers, will have further consequences than they already have when they are hooked up to these experiential machines transcribing their emotions into novels.

Whole stories will be constructed in the blink of an eye, as fast as one can think them up. Is this what they thought about the video camera? We have come so far from the day when the Guttenberg Press made the scribe monk obsolete. From the days when the ancients chiseled letters into stones. Imagine the editing process of that form. We stepped over the home typesetting invention of the QWERTY keyboard, designed to be less functional than the Dvorak because the speedy keys kept sticking, to the digital manifestation of the word processor. We are now in the age of the work specific visual writing program. As much as the imaginative can prophesize, only the future can tell where we will go next. Who knows? Maybe there will be someone in the distance looking back at you for your contribution to the world and he will say, “And they had to actually write it all by hand.”

Going Dark – Good Times

Posted in adventure, blog, family, kauai, work, writing with tags , , , , , , on July 14, 2010 by tymora42

I have just recently returned from a proverbial internet communication “radio silence” due to nondisclosure acts of the highest media security that I am not at liberty to discuss any further than a notification that they were in place. People who are dear to me and new friends met along the way had their jobs on the line by a hundred key strokes of my hand. I even had a post ready to go that verbal cease and desist orders asked me nicely not to publish. Eventually, they will be, but not until the green light flashes from these sources. Even then they will be safely coded, misrepresented, and possibly guarded further by impersonating a fictitious story on my other site, Stories of the flEA.

My apologies go out to all of those neglected during this vacation, those emails to people who are letting me use their photography and artwork in my next story, which should have been published before leaving. Unfortunately, some of the permissions were not solidified before I got on the plane to Kauai as I hoped they would have been. It should be up in no less than a week since the majority of the work has already been done. Keep a lookout for it. It is about a guy who turns into a fish. There are some fascinating images involved that will be presented similarly to the MOAB: filled with genital humor article. That worked out well. I will continue to keep it going in further stories if I can and if they call for it.

My thanks go out to those who helped make my stay off-continent a wonderful one. As much as I wish I could they will henceforth remain nameless until I name them.

The Problem with a Daily Blog

Posted in blog, Uncategorized, writing with tags , , , , , on May 25, 2010 by tymora42

The problem with keeping a daily blog, even if it is a somewhat one, is that it takes away time for real writing work with trivial BS. It seems like I am wasting more time telling you about things that you do not really care about rather than working on a real story, or novel, or something of substance. This is all filler. Beth Hayden says it is necessary. I am no Piers Anthony or Stephen King. I cannot crap out a novel in a couple months. It takes time. I have to have a real job to make ends meet and then go to work on these things of possibly promisary pleasure. There is little time for a glorified online diary. It is why I never dealt so much with them in the past. I use my energy shitting out these words, thoughts, feelings, life, experience for the sake of consistency. I could be writing about mermaids right now. Instead I am here talking about myself. So what? Thankfully, I have a few finished pieces and some more on the editing board to keep this season running smoother than the lasts. Thankfully, these blog pieces require no refinement. Unfortunately, the longer works will suffer. So you know what is coming up: a kafka style metamorphosis of a man into a fish, the origins of the flea in podcast form, a zombie novel series, live recordings from southmorehouse art community in Houston, a passionate piece about the difficulties of becoming friends with the opposite sex, more Daudi as soon as I can find the faeries again, and whatever else comes in the meantime. Stay tuned.