Thursday, May 28, 2015

That Damned Laughing Chipmunk

I've always loved Jim Belushi.  Most of the characters he's played reminded me of myself.

Only he always said the great lines I wish I had said.  More often than not, they were said to really hot women, who eventually found his charms sexy.

But there was one move I really loved him in--K-9.

There was a recurring gag they used in that movie where he had this small handheld video game.  One of those toys you could get at Radio Shack back in the 80's.  Belushi's character kept loosing badly and every time, this chipmunk would laugh at him.  It was the most obnoxious laugh.  The game would beep like some kind of timer and then there would be the laugh.  And Belushi always lost so you heard that damned chipmunk laugh a dozen times in the movie.

I feel like Belushi today.  Ain't nothing gone right.

But I'm not going to whine, piss, and moan.  Nope.  I'm working on stuff.  Big stuff.  Stuff so big that it impresses even me.  Stuff so awesome that I can't wait to brag to my mom about it.

I'm working on a deadline to submit a novella and it's killing me.  I love deadlines but I'm terrible when I have to deal with one.  I'm lazy right up until the final countdown and then I'm a flurry of work.  When I submit is always missing something, too.  It's never quality work or the best I could do--just the best I could throw together in a short period of time.

I'm not a hack but I certainly act like one.  And I'm hearing that timer.  It's just a matter of time before I hear that damned chipmunk laugh.  But my goal is to get this novella submitted before that happens.
So that's what I'm doing tonight.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

An Open Letter To You, Dear Reader

Dear Reader,

Many of you I have met.  Many of you I know online only and haven't met yet.  And there are a few of you lurking I know nothing about.  Whatever our relationship is, I'm glad you are here, and I wanted to pose a challenge to you.

It's simple, really.

I want you to think of your life as a mythological story.  Your life is an epic journey.  Your life has all the great components of mythology.  You live, you move forward, you love, you lose those close to you, to brush with Death, you recover with lessons learned.

Your life has meaning.  Your life is important.

Your life, Dear Reader, has lessons for others to learn.

I've been thinking of this all day.  Last night I watched the documentary Mythic Journeys and it got my brain boiling with all kinds of wonderful thoughts.  I see more potential now and I feel much less cynical.

If I were to describe my life as a mythological story, it would be a journey.  Much less cliche than the usual sort we are used to in our cinema.  It is missing pieces and there are plenty of monsters, demons, charlatans, thieves and trolls.  Rites of Passage were missed, lessons were skipped, battles were lost.  And I'm not Percival--I'm no fool.  I didn't always follow the righteous path and sometimes I went to the left-handed paths.

This is not your history.  I'm not asking for your autobiography.  History is just journalism and we know how inaccurate that can be.

No.  Imagine your mythology, your life, would be taught to children sitting in a circle around a storyteller.  You are the hero and they are hearing your story because there is a lesson to be learned here.  The storyteller has chosen your story because there is a lesson to be taught to these children so they may develop into better people.

Your story, originally found written on a scroll, tucked in a clay jar in the back of some cave, will be re-told over and over again.  The central themes are that important.

You are needed.  Your story is needed.

Dear Reader, you are more than an earning unit for the Plutocracy.  You were not put on this planet to earn a little bit of money to buy crap you don't really need to impress people you don't really like.  You are not measured by your car, your clothes, your house or your job.  You are not a cog in the wheel.

You, Dear Reader, are a hero.  You may not have slayed or even seen a dragon, but you've dealt with your share of pitfalls and ugly situations.  And if you're young, as many of my readers are, then you need to do this more than anybody because you will suddenly be shown just how many paths are before you and how many options you have.

Exciting, isn't it?  You now have more places to go, more people to meet, and more chances to really fuck up and get yourself into all kinds of trouble.  Imagine the heartbreak just waiting for you!

I'm sorting this out for myself.  This is something I'm doing, too, for the exact same reasons I mentioned above.  And for the first time in a very long time, I'm not bored or cynical.  I don't feel the need to destroy anything or anybody.  I'm not angry.  I'm filled with a curiosity.

And right now, Dear Reader, that's good enough for me.  I have no idea how this story is going to end and frankly, I'm beginning to get curious, which makes me want to turn the pages even faster.  

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Monster Called Cancer

Cancer is a monster.

It creeps up on good people and destroys lives.  It seeks out those who are healthy and takes everything it can away from them.

Sure, cancer is a disease, but in a way it's also a form of living creature.

My mom had cancer last year.  She had a painful surgery to remove it and so far she is cancer-free.

So far.

I was incredibly upset as this all took place.  There was nothing I could do but be a sort of cheerleader while she went through all of that nastiness.  Feeling helpless sucks.

William Meikle has put together an anthology about this monster.  All profits go to The Beatson Cancer Research Institute.

On his website, William Meikle says,

My Dad has cancer. More than one kind in fact. He's fighting hard, but cancer is a devious bugger. It hides, it lurks, and it pounces when you think it's down and defeated.

Cancer is a monster.

It has been a presence in my life for as long as I can remember. I first came across it in the late Sixties. My Gran's brother came back to town to die with his family. I was fascinated by this man, so thin as to be almost skeletal, wound in clothes that were many sizes too large for his frame, his skin so thin that I could see his blood moving... not pumping, for it had long since stopped moving enough to keep him alive long. He rarely spoke, just sat by the fire as if trying to soak up heat, his eyes frequently wet from tears, not of sadness, but of pain. He lasted for months in that condition until it finally took him and I knew then that cancer was a monster.

This anthology has a great list of names and has been in the making for years.  I'm really excited to see it has been fully realized.

Now we need folks to buy it and read.

Everybody knows somebody who has cancer.  And sadly too many of us have to watch family members fight this monster.  It's an ugly thing to watch.

Please check this out and have a read.  Not only are the writers top-notch, the cause is way too close for many of us, and we cannot sit idly by while those we care about suffer.