Thursday, December 30, 2010
Oh, look. I have a power-point presentation and am looking down as if reading from prepared comments.
Hmm. Not looking quite as relaxed as before...
UH-oh, he's leaning on the podium, desperately seeking to establish eye-contact in order to compensate for a total lack of preparation!
Me: That's about all I came prepared to say today so bear with me.
Of course, I was told it sounded like a prepared speech. A good time was had by all~
Monday, November 29, 2010
Before Munson could respond with further hostilities, the motorcycle rider pulled around them, moving into the opposite lane and was nearly struck head-on by a truck driver who laid on his horn and narrowly avoided hitting him. Seemingly unperturbed by his near death experience, the biker gunned his engine and passed Munson and Darcy as if they’d com to a full stop.
“I always heard the drivers in Detroit were nuts,” Munson said.
“We’re far from Detroit, Munson.” She stared through the windshield and frowned. She’d experienced a brief moment of déjà vu when the biker passed them but had no idea what could have caused it. It wasn’t important. She just had to make sure she avoided any uncomfortable situations while she was here.
They reached Detroit a few hours later, still much too early to go snooping around public offices. Munson wisely decided they needed to get some rest and followed his GPS to a three-star hotel in the town of Hazel Park, a blue collar town known for its women still sporting Eighties hairstyles and pick-up trucks adorned with rebel flags. However, this time of night it was a rather quiet place, deceptively peaceful, in fact, The only other traffic they saw consisted of two guys with long hair rockin’ out to hopelessly outdated hair band metal in a slow-moving Seventies-era Buick Skylark and the cop who decided to harass them.
Munson raised an index finger and thumb as he passed them and let out a loud, “Whooooooo!” Darcy laughed and playfully hit him in the shoulder.
Munson smiled. “I can feel my IQ points dropping into NASCAR fan levels.”
“I wouldn’t expect a man who believed in all of humanity’s right to know the truth to be such an elitist.”
“Who’s an elitist? I’m just rockin’ on with my bad self.”
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
People were such assholes these days, even worse than just a few years ago. Like Franny Franklin wrote on her website, “The tools of Satan are getting angrier and angrier and they don’t even know why! I know why! Because we’re going to kick their demonic butts back to the depths of the Earth!”
That was all fine and dandy but when actually faced with a gray-faced apparition seemingly hell-bent on communicating with you, all those bad ass words faded into a sea of easily forgotten hyperbole. Gabe’s ghost was following him and appearing at the most bizarre times and there was nothing he could do but pretend he wasn’t freaked out when other people were around. Sadly, those “other people” included his mother, who wouldn’t understand. If anything, she’d probably think he was on “the drugs” and take him back to Doctor Fenway.
He didn’t need a goddam shrink, he needed answers. Something was happening and, whether it sounded egotistical or not, it seemed to be centered around him.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
The only reason she hadn’t fought him on this was because he’d been smart enough to show her the article.
“Oh, my God,” she’d said in a hushed whisper. “Those people…My God.”
She was reading about the hotel fire in Michigan that had claimed an undetermined number of lives. The thing about the Internet that still amazed Munson was its immediacy. The fire had just occurred a few hours ago and the bloggers and website journalists were already discussing it as if it was last week’s tragedy. Munson told her to pay special attention to the second to last paragraph.
He watched her read it, waiting patiently for her knee-jerk scientific explanation. Imagine his surprise when she didn’t offer one.
“Spontaenous generation?” she said. “That many people at once? Bullshit.”
“How can you say that? Look how many witnesses there were!”
“Yes, Munson, I know. I’m not disputing the burning people but the writer’s ridiculous theory.”
Munson, who had gotten himself all tense and ready for a shouting match, visibly deflated like a flesh-covered balloon at that. “Well, what’s your theory?”
“I don’t have one yet.” She pushed herself away from the motel room desk and got to her feet. “That’s why I’m not an Internet writer.”
Sunday, November 7, 2010
It was accepted.
The editor wrote, "It gripped me from the beginning."
What a nice way to ring in Daylight Savings Time~
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
You can view the entire film here and while you're at it, might as well go ahead and read my interview with the owner/operator of Celestial Elf right'cheer! There will be a test and harsh consequences if you're not ready for it.
Enjoy! Leave comments.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Here's the letter with the magazine's name excluded:
Let's ignore the fact that the editor of a fiction magazine used the phrase "for to put" as if they're coming from Louisiana with a banjo on their knee. Am I the only one that noticed the contradictory phrasing of "review by our editorial staff" and "too depressing for me?" To paraphrase that great sage Bud Bundy, am I the only one that noticed the emperor has holes in his underwear?
Oh, but the best part is the request at the end to do their marketing and research work for them. I'm all for that writing community crap but it ends at the fingertips of the person who accepts or rejects my work and decides if I get paid for it.
A friend recommended I frame this one. I think I might. All part of the experience~
Monday, October 4, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
Sunday, October 10th
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Benefit for Beyond Basics
Sponsored by ICU Eyewear and Leon & Lulu
Celebrate reading and writing, get new glasses and help promote literacy all at the same time!
Leon & Lulu will celebrate reading and writing with
its second annual Books & Authors event.
We love to read and we just adore writers so we are giving nearly 40 Michigan authors space to sell and sign their books, meet their fans and help promote literacy in Michigan. Shoppers will enjoy refreshments, live entertainment and support Beyond Basics, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation offering reading, writing and expanding horizons enrichment programs to students attending public schools in Metro Detroit.
The Books & Authors event is co-sponsored by ICU Eyewear, purveyor of fun and fancy reading glasses. ICU has donated a limited quantity of fashionable and funky reading glasses, which will be sold the weekend of the event for $17 (regular retail $22).
All proceeds from the sale of the reading glasses, tips and raffle money
will also benefit Beyond Basics.
Entertainment will be provided by Trio Fiori
(Jeffrey Beyer, flute; Theresa Stacy, violin; Sharon Sweet, piano)
For more information, check out leonandlulu.com/books.
Leon & Lulu is located at 96 West 14 Mile Road in Clawson, Michigan.
Located in a former roller rink turned gifts, accessories, and home furnishing store, Leon & Lulu supports the community through in store non-profit events. In 2009, the store held 61 events, with 51 benefiting non-profits.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
"The concept is actually pretty good but there's too much telling and not enough showing. There's a lot in here you're trying to convey in 2,000 words, and so you're having to just recap for the reader instead of showing actual emotionally involving scenes that let the reader reach his own conclusion. You're losing your readers at the beginning. It's no criticism of your writing style and skill - I don't think even the best of the best SF writers could cover as much of a story you're trying to tell in so few words. There's a bit of unsolicited advice, but I think unsolicited advice is better than a form "no".
All writers have occasionally been guilty of too much telling in their work. It's always good to get a personal rejection and the encouragement to send more is heartening as well. But am I wrong in feeling that the main issue was that the story was too ambitious?
Saturday, September 4, 2010
There has been improvement in Chris' work and behavior. We still have some unfinished work at times, but the quality of his class assignments is much better.
Chris is still bringing toys to school. If we have trouble with the toys, I keep them until time to go home.
Thank you for your help from home. I know Chris has the ability to do above average work and I am pleased with the improvement so far.
I ran across that letter while going through an old family photo album. It's funny how we can place our later years in context with a document. I know some historians whose training involved examining actual documents as opposed to simply text books and it definitely makes a difference. For instance, I can discern from this letter that my tendency to not finish tasks I either find unimportant or ridiculous is a genuine personality trait as opposed to a learned behavior. I can also tell that my imagination was more important to me than dull, meticulous school work, as evidenced by the "trouble with toys" the teachers mentions.
Oddly enough, I don't remember a Mrs. Eastman. Her name rings no bells and I can't even place the issues we were having in any type of context. I guess that shows how much impact teachers had on my life, which is to say they barely registered at all.
When I read this letter, I feel nothing. No sense of deja vu, no nostalgia, no yearning for the way things were. I just see the functional letter of a sub-par functionary in a machine whose purpose is to enforce social restrictions, more concerned with the smooth running of her classroom than anything else. That must be why I never had much love for teachers and it also explains my issues with authority figures in general until recently.
Ah, letters home to our parents. Just another way to remind ourselves how we became what we are...
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Check out my first article with them.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
However, I still felt the need to expand my palate a bit. Fictional writing is my first, best love but since I’ve taken on non-fiction writing, I’ve found that many of the things that fascinate me enough to fictionalize them are just as interested when being discussed factually. So, I decided to apply as a freelancer for suite101.com. It seemed ideal. Unlike the Examiner, writers are encouraged to write on whatever topic they choose, so none of that repetitive posting stuff.
I submitted two writing samples, both Examiner articles of which I was particularly proud, and received an email one day later welcoming be aboard. I even saw a message that said “submitted material rocks.”
Now, you might be thinking this was a boost to my ego but you’d be wrong. “Rocks” is not the type of terminology one expects from someone who is evaluating your writing. Had I recorded an alternative rock album I might hope for such a response. I know there’s a massive breakdown between propriety and pop culture these days but still...”Rocks?” Doesn’t seem very dignified to me.
Still, I’d been accepted and I needed to write my first article. I decided to cannibalize leftover material from previous interviews conducted with oral storytellers I’d written about on the Examiner. The article was okay, nothing special, just enough to get my name on the site so I could come up with better stuff. Unfortunately, the editor in question kept bouncing it back to me with “suggested changes.”
Anyone who has written professionally or even just submitted work knows that “suggested changes” are supposed to be just that. In Hollywood, where legions of hacks are brought in to massacre a writer’s original vision, the phrase takes on a much more ominous meaning, namely, "We’re changing it whether you like it or not.” Suite101 seemed to espouse the latter sentiment, refusing to post it until I changed it the way they wanted it, according to their “house rules.” They seemed more interested in formatting than content.
Nothing wrong with that in and of itself. The Examiner also provided feedback on my first article. The difference was the editor there not only allowed it to post but they also made the formatting changes and advised me to do them in the future. By contrast, Suite101’s editorial staff is almost impossible to locate and virtually non-responsive when they are found.
From the beginning, I felt a condescending breeze in the air. Most of the reasons for the article’s return were format issues. I emailed the editor asking for help because their format was a bit different from what I was used to and received a message that said I had "apparently" not gone through the tutorial. I advised her that I had and wasn’t able to find the information and she eventually sent a direct link.
But I didn’t care. I could write on any topic I chose, so long as it was factual.
To make a long story slightly less painful, I wrote a total of five articles during my month at Suite101. They posted with no problem but at some point one editor decided to flag three of them and “suggest” changes. That was fine, although I would argue that the articles should have to go through an editor first if they’re going to wait until they post, allow people to comment on them, allow people to link them all over the Internet, and then make them disappear. It’s unprofessional and insensitive.
What finally brought me to the brink of rage was when I noticed one of the articles that was flagged for changes was later permanently deleted before I even had a chance to respond. So now I wasn’t even able to rewrite the damn thing. I fired off the following letter to the editor after spending nearly an hour trying to find a way to contact her:
I found your comments regarding my articles condescending and inaccurate. Not only were most of the suggestions ridiculous but there was also an accusation of an opinion. None of those articles contained opinions and any speculation was supported by evidence. Also, the assertion that I didn't provide dissenting viewpoints is absurd when considering the fact that the third article presented nothing but. The truly baffling part is when you first submitted "suggested changes" to an article and then permanently deleted it before I had a chance to respond.
Suite101 has been a horribly negative experience for me, from the editorial staff in particular. I have been a professional and published writer long enough to feel confident I don't need micro-managing from faceless online editors whose credentials I don't even know, although I'm not exactly filled with awe in light of my experience thus far. I have removed my profile pic and information and am in the process of deleting all articles. Consider me no longer a suite101 contributor.
So, that's the story. Suite101 seems like a great opportunity and perhaps it is for some, especially those getting in on the ground floor. But I have put too much time in to be patronized by who is, for all I know, some twenty year old kid who took a few night courses in journalism. I'm better than that.