Saturday, December 29, 2007
CURRENTLY ON MY IPOD: Banana Pancakes: Jack Johnson
Alrighty, just a few days away from the new year and the new blog etc. But...before I commence with all this fresh new-car smell newness of the blog, I wanted to ask you all a question.
What is it that you like about my blog? Is there something you find unique or different about my blog that keeps you coming back? Is there something you feel is lacking from my blog and would like to see or is there something that I do that you would like to make sure I continue doing?
Please email me or drop a comment for me, I want to make sure that when I reformat and start fresh that all the good is still in there and the bad, is well, gone.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and that you will have a very safe New Year's Eve and day. As for me, I will be here, writing my little tushy off.
So, let's talk. Get your coffee or tea out and let's sit down and talk. I want to hear from you.
Yours in talking, trends and taking the public opinion seriously,
Currently reading :
Strange Skies: A Novel (P.S.)
By Matt Marinovich
Release date: 21 August, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
CURRENTLY ON MY IPOD: Better Together BY: JACK JOHNSON
Good Evening My Friends, Family and Everyone In Between:
This evening I was possessed. Something utterly inexorable and unexplainable came over me. So what did this unseen force cause me to do, you might ask? It took me out of the warmth of the indoors, placed me in my car and took me to the grocery store. What the hell was I thinking. Good thing I had my good friend and editor,Ian Wood on the phone to see me through some of the madness. Yes, I was one of those people wandering around aimlessly through the store not really understanding what I was doing there, having to dodge overly processed crap and cheap last minute toys that will end up under the bed anyway displays.. where was I? After an hour or so I ambled up to the front of the store. The checkout aisles were over 10 people deep and I wondered out loud to Ian if I would actually make it through the experience alive. And if I didn't, well, the MS would have to go unfinished.
So here I am standing around with a cart containing more than I had planned on buying as it always does and thinking that I had probably forgotten at least one item, and I had...it was the cranberries, and I couldn't help but notice the woman in front of me. She was well dressed, all decked out in red, probably having come from Church somewhere or the other, with a little white pea-coat on and cute little scarf, properly draped around her neck. And her perfume, well, it was fitting. Very floral. The kind of perfume sitting behind the Macy's cosmetics counter that if you let me smell it I could tell you exactly what kind of woman would be wearing it. She has two carts in front of her, filled to the brim with everything you might possibly need in a nuclear explosion or in case relatives are about to consume the soon-to-be black hole pit known as your house during the holidays and she is staring at her list. And...bitching at her husband about something inaudible to the leaning ear. Her husband, whose name was probably Paul, Steve or Jeffrey, is equally as dressed up, although he looked a lot more uncomfortable than she did in such finery at the local overly heated grocery store, was ignoring her. Obviously ignoring her. I believe he was also staring at an Archie comic Book, which made the situation all the more real.
And then I begin to pay attention to the finer details of what is going on between them. In her tightly clenched, pink chapped hands was not only a list, it was a personal history written down in one word. It contained the story of their entire holiday "merriment" and it gave me the distinct pleasure as a writer to learn even more about what true characterization is. Which is something I keep my eye out for, and as Ian would say, "this makes for very good fiction."
There was probably a good page and a half of very neatly written, in proper cursive and black ink, groceries and assorted last minute items. My eyes wandered a little further down the page and that is when I saw it. In very BOLD writing, with an almost child-like psycho-ish font in bright red, could have been crayon or magic marker, was the word: ADVIL.
Need I say more. I started laughing. Hard. And then re-checked my outward display of frivolity at the expense of what seemed to be a very real holiday family crisis on display or need I say...list and calmed down. I felt sorry, but then again, this is the first year we have decided not to go anywhere, to do anything, other than be with eachother. No traveling. No visitors with the exception of a friend whose husband is deployed and her infant daughter...No crazy airport pick ups. No anything other than us. Do I feel remotely guilty or wishing that there were others here? Maybe a little. But not enough to want to go through what this woman was going through.
Despite the headache of having family and friends around (and remember the blessed quote the wise and all-knowing Ben Franklin gave us..."Fish and relatives smell in three days.) I do miss them and hope they all have a grand time without us. As a matter of fact, this season has been one of sadness for many in our family, as it is the 5 year reunion of my mother-in-law's death, a good family friend of ours passed a week ago and just yesterday, a great aunt passed away. This, of course, makes it all the more important to realize that time is just a passing emptiness unless you use it to your advantage, every second, every minute, every hour, every day. Do not wait for it to happen to you, make it happen because of you. I am not going to rehash out what has happened to me or you or anyone else this year in this blog because it need not be said. Just know that you are powerless without your voice, your will, or the people in your life who help you along in the long and often treacherous journey to finding yourself. Make this year the year that it happens for you. This past year has certainly been the year for me.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Kwanzaa and whatnot and just know that I love you all.
Yours in Lists, Listening to Your Heart and Looking for the Right Moments to Say What You Need to Say...Including the Words...I Love You,
PS: This is my 200th blog and I am thankful for all of my readers. Always.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
I totally forgot to mention this a few weeks ago. I was featured as a reader on the podcast at (THE LINK IS NOT WORKING SO CUT AND PASTE THIS PLEASE) http://tothnews.libsyn.com
Paul Toth is a novelist living in Sanibel Island Florida. His books, Fizz and Fishnet are very surreal, fantastic reads. They are published through Bleak House Books. Paul is also the music editor for .
Check it out!
Will be back for good in a few weeks. Thanks for your patience!
Yours in Podcasts, Purposefully Disappearing and Planning Out My Life,
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Life sometimes takes you by the throat and squeezes just enough to diminish your ability to think straight, right? Due to health issues, novel issues, Christmas issues, NY issues, insert whatever issue you think I have here, I will not be blogging until after the 20th of December.
And no, it's not you, it's me.
Here are a few sites dealing with things literary (some more than others)that you can check out while I am away, pillaging words and taking hostages from my character selection...
Web Del Sol
Mad Hatter Review
Bust Down the Doors and Eat All the Chickens
Design Your Writing Life
Enjoy the ride through the holiday season and I will be back up before you know it.
Yours in Getting Serious, Going to NY and Giving to Others and Myself,
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Category: Writing and Poetry
CURRENTLY ON MY IPOD: Carol Novak's Poetry CD (Wanna read my review of it? Here's the link: http://www.eclectica.org/v11n4/janus.html
Dear Friends and Stalkers,
I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date. No time to say hello-goodbye! I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!
I have appt's again with the blood suckers. No clear etiology as to what is going on. But, I do think that maybe my gastroenterologist wants to have a love affair with me. Or maybe he just loves me for my colon. The small bowel, the large bowel. Or maybe it's just the way I use my semi-colon that turns him on. He called me yesterday after receiving lab work and asked to see me. Uh...Sure. Maybe I should make him rice krispi treats that look like semi-colon's. Do you think he'll get the joke?
I must get work done this morning on the book. A deadline is fast approaching and I feel slightly inept at my abilities to pull the ending off. So instead of an original witty blog you get a cut and paste of something from my poetry file.
Enjoy and subscribe if you like it.
By: Cicily Janus
Shadows of night
Into sweet bullion
Your chest falling
Into a natural
Showed no mercy
I longed for
The second hand
To stop time
Marked as a woman
I sought after
To break apart
Between the covers
Into the yawns
I can't remember life
Before your name
Before the shards
Of you sleeping
In the shadow of me
Yours in Shadows, Silence and Surrendering Yourself,
| Currently reading : |
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: A Pop-up Adaptation
By Lewis Carroll
Release date: 01 October, 2003
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Good Morning Kids,
I heard an interesting statistic the other day. Wanna hear it? Alright. Did you know that 20% of all time spent on the internet, across the world, is spent on myspace and blogger. This just proves that I am not the only one with an addiction. Like I have said before, I can stop. Really I can. Put the phone down. I will not hurt you or anyone else.
Yesterday was a little bit on the mellow side for me. Not much to report other than you can tell by the time that this blog was posted, that I haven't had much sleep.
Okay, enough of the melodramatic rambling about nothing.
I wanted to take this opportunity to offer some advice. I know, the best advice is that which is solicited and taken with a grain of wheat germ. But after all I have been through in the previous year or more or maybe through my whole life and as a closet nurse, I have something to say.
They can be very very nice people. As a matter of fact, most of the doctors I have worked with are very nice and helpful people. But there are a few that need to be reckoned with.
As human beings it is certain that we will fail at some point or another. We will stand back up after that failure, dust our britches off and then go about trying the same stupid human trick again until we get it right. But when you are messing with human lives you better be damn well sure about not only yourself, but the life you are tooling around with.
But, there comes a time also when us humans must admit to a certain lack of knowledge and ask others for help. I have to admit that my medical history seemingly becomes more complex with each passing breath, but this does not mean that I am impossible. It just means that I am quite unique.
I am going to share a story with you now and I think, hope...that each one of you will learn from my infallible bad karma. Last summer (2006) I needed a surgery to repair my stomach as it had herniated up through my diaphragm. I was opened up from sternum bone to pelvic area. They were able to repair me in about three hours. Afterwards, I was admitted to the hospital for about 12 days.
I was discharged in stable condition. I had a touch of the hospital acquired colitis, but that was it. Within two weeks I began to have severe back pain and stomach pain. I admit that I wasn't drinking as much as I should have been, but I was exhausted. I went to the surgeon's office and explained the pain etc. He told me that since I didn't have a raging fever and redness around the incision area that I was not infected. Basically he said to walk it out.
The week after this visit the pain was so intense, kind of a searing heat of a pain through my abdomen and back, I went back to the doc. He was very rough with me and told me once again that there was nothing wrong. He insisted that I was depressed and proceeded to prescribe me an anti-depressant. I refused to take it, as he was a surgeon not a psych. Plus there was absolutely nothing going on in my life at that moment to make me depressed. Well, other than a pain in my ass with the initials of MD and the pain in my belly.
Within a week the incision area came open. Only in a small area, but open nonetheless. I went into the ER at the hospital where the surgery was performed and they said that there was nothing wrong. I went back to see him the days following the ER visit and he said that it was just a simple problem. Deal with it.
A week later I had a fever of over 102. I went to the other hospital in town and they performed a CT scan of the abdomen. Sure enough there was a pretty large abcess. They discharged me and told me to see the surgeon the next day. I went back to him like the fool I am and he admitted me. When up on the surgical floor of the hospital he refused any meds, and since I was crying like a baby, curled up in the fetal position, he "allowed" me to have a tylenol. He repeated the CT scan and well, I'll be damned. There was that abcess again. By that night I was in surgery again, on a morphine drip and had a big gaping hole in my abdomen.
This surgery caused more infection and problems with healing. The results: 5 surgeries over a 4 month period of time. One blood clot. 6 episodes of anti-biotic induced colitis and a partridge in a pear tree.
Yep, depression is a bitch. Especially when it causes peritonitis and other infections.
So listen up kids. Just because they have more degrees than you and I could ever imagine getting or spending our money on, doesn't mean that they necessarily know what they are doing.
Unfortunately I have a similar scenario going on at the moment with my present health issues. No, they are not surgical in nature. Thank God. But, the docs are screwing around with the what-if's and not really doing a whole lot by way of figuring out what the problem is. But, hopefully the specialist will start to figure things out. I just hope it is in time. Last time I almost didn't make it due to the infections.
Yes I am young. Yes I am too young to have all of this shit going on. But in reality it is the only body I have and if I am not going to advocate for my health than who will?
Please, please, please...do not take everything your physician says as the absolute truth. If I would have listened to the quack surgeon and taken the anti-depressants instead of persisting about my treatments I would be dead.
Listen to your bodies. I know that this sounds cliche' but it is the most certain truth you have. You know your body better than anyone else.
I hope you all have learned something.
Yours in Bodies, Banter and Becoming Who I Have Always Wanted to Be,
Monday, October 22, 2007
How are you all? I couldn't stay away too long.
Who cares, as long as someone at some point walks away with something from this blog that is all I really care about. That is all we should care about as writers, right? When writing a piece, you shouldn't really care about the numbers or what people think, for you should be doing it for you. Writing the words down that plague your mind with immediacy. Well, as much as possible in the moment.
I have endured much through the past two weeks. There is the lesson that nothing in life is ever assured. There is the lesson that everything can change with just a little pain on an unsuspecting day in your life.
The journey is far from over for me. Tomorrow brings on more and more testing. I do not know how much those blood sucking arseholes from the hospital can take out of me, but I know that they will certainly push their limits and in the end, mine. But there are a lot more people out there that are going through much worse than me. There are people out there with more problems than I will ever know. For that, I am sorry for them, but grateful for me.
Today brought a whole new meaning to the words, getting to the heart of the matter. The heart, the one in the center of my chest, is ticking still, but is weak. I am hoping to have an answer soon. Very soon. Tomorrow the docs test other areas of my body for after effects and affects of this problem, which currently has no name.
But, I did get to walk away with a DVD of my experience today. Not many people can say that in their video collection they have a performance of their internal organs. Anytime you all stop by for tea and crumpets, I will be more than happy to show it off to you.
Maybe I should caption it: This is your heart on drugs. (the legal kind of course) and then show the after one as This is your heart after writing a novel...
Stress anyone? I try not to and my dear friend, therapist ( I like to say that she is one), coach and mentor is telling me to love my body. To treat it like I love it more than anything else. This is something I am trying to learn to do. And maybe with some time I will give in to it. There are people in this world who hate their bodies because of their outer appearance. But for me, I hate it because of my circulatory system, my cardiac and pulmonary systems and above all, because I am angrier than hell that it seems to be failing me more than I want to admit to.
So enough. My anger is stated. I will continue to breath the best I can to make it from this day to the next. For that is all anyone can do to move on.
I appreciate the outpouring of friendship, love and well wishes. Even from people I don't know, from the people I would love to meet but have the feeling that I will never get to.
But that is okay too, because I know you are all a keystroke away.
Have a wonderful weekend and I will be on and off as my testing schedule allows and my health allows. Keep writing and I will too.
Yours in Hearts, Hating Your Body and Handing Control Over to Someone Else,
| Currently reading : |
21st Century Complete Medical Guide to Pulmonary Hypertension, Authoritative Government Documents, Clinical References, and Practical Information for Patients and Physicians (CD-ROM)
By PM Medical Health News
Release date: June, 2004
Monday, October 8, 2007
Currently on my IPOD: Man of Constant Sorrow: Soggy Bottom Boys
I guess I should post a blog tonight. You know, I think I have bi-polar. As of my last post I was floating the proverbial acceptance into a literary journal cloud 9. Tonight I am in the friggin dumps. No, it is not due to writing. Today was actually an extremely productive day in my writing life. I topped my word count off with another 4000 words in the novel and then I wrote the first 1000 or so words in the next novel. I know. I haven't finished this one yet so why am I writing the beginning to the next you might ask, well, I heard the voice of the main character clear as day and had to write down what she said. Yes, the two novels are related. I was racking my brain in order to try to figure out how to make this a series of sorts, and until this week I had no idea how I was going to pull it off. But, now it is clear and my path is straight. That might change with the blowing of the breeze outside, but I am okay with that.
Maybe it is the ADHD child that still resides in my head that can not focus on only one thing that is driving me to distraction with the second book. Who knows, who the hell cares.
Back to the topic at hand. Tonight ruined my week. I was fine. Really I was. It was just a little annoying leg pain. I am not going to repeat the medical history of my past year or two, so if you really want to know all of the gory details and the why behind the hypochondriac I am today, then read the blogs from the year past.
My right leg, after a surgery last year, formed a blood clot in one of the superficial veins along the bifarcating point of the vascular structure, around the posterior side of the knee. No big deal. A small blood clot, but one that had to be treated. The docs said that it was probably due to being in the hospital for the surgeries etc...They placed me on Coumadin and Lovenox and sent me home on bed rest for a week or so. Then I had to follow up weekly with the coumadin clinic to have my levels monitored. I was out of work anyway, so this was more of a nuisance than anything else.
Tonight I called my doc regarding the pain in the right leg. I figured that this was just due to me sleeping wrong or just feeling crappy in general with the cold I had, I don't know, all reason has long left the vessel of my body so I am not sure why I had put off calling the doctor in the first place. I asked him if I could wait to see him in the morning and he said absolutely not. Go into the ER and get it checked out, especially since I have a history of these things.
I went to the ER knowing that I didn't feel right. The ultrasound tech started to scan the leg and then did what is called a doppler study. The doppler measures the flow of blood and even does it in color, which is pretty darn cool in my book. Anyway, the doppler, the last time I had this problem showed blood flow, except right at the clot. This time it showed a small amount of blood flow and that blood flow was extremely sluggish. she then directed the study to the popliteal artery. Yep..there it was. This artery is right behind the knee cap and is quite large.
The clot is very large and I am now on bed rest. I always complain that I don't have enough time to write. Well, I just bought myself a whole heck of a lot of time to write. I am back on all the blood thinners and scared. This clot seemingly has come from no where and the docs are considering placing a type of filter in me in order to prevent more from forming. This is surgery and I can say with confidence that I do not want another surgery. The bad thing about clots is that if this clot travels, then it will most likely kill me. Seriously. I am scared, but then again I have been through this before and am somewhat prepared. But I will be better off if I can get yu or
But for now, I am in bed with computer at hand and glasses of water at my side. And hopefully, your good thoughts coming my way.
I am dog tired and think I will consider sleep as an option.
Yours in Blood Clots, Blink of an Eye and Biting the Bullet,
Friday, October 5, 2007
Category: Writing and Poetry
Currently on my IPOD: Seasons of Love: Rent Soundtrack
HEY YOU GUYS!!!!
Miss Cicily just got word of acceptance into: UNDERGROUND VOICES I will be in their January 2008 Issue!!!!!!! I am totally geeked! I about peed myself when I got the email today. I was having a total shit day and then I got home, opened up the email and had the UV editor title in my face. I thought...okay, I emailed my piece to them on the 29th of Sept. It takes approx. 12 to 98 days for either rejection or acceptance according to Duotrope's Digest and it had only been six..I assumed it was a rejection and almost deleted the email. Just wasn't in the mood. So, I guess this is another lesson in rejection. Never assume anything.
Oh, and for those of you who don't use Duotrope..you should. If you submit to anywhere, you should use them as a tracking service. And if you DO use them, please give them a donation so those wonderful people can keep this service going. They alert you if you submitted to a place that doesn't take simultaneous subs, they alert you to new markets and to ones that have closed to subs and ones that have shut down, etc..But most of all, they are a who's who list of everything Literary and include categories like inde. novel pub markets, non-fiction, flash fiction, short story, prose, poetry. And you can even search the markets which have themes for their issues, and if you wrote a piece on cowboys and carebears, you can do a reverse search for zines that are taking all things related to Cowboys and Carebears.
And just so you know:
I am also in Eclectica Magazine this month with my review of Carol Novak's CD: Inventions I: Fictions, Fusions and Poems. Check it out! If you like what I write there please e-mail them and tell them or shout it out on my blog,post a bulletin with the links to the review etc...Or if you have a CD, Book, Taiwanese Manual on how to operate a small piece of heavy machinery in your own backyard, then I am happy to consider it for review. Just know that it might take a while, as I have two reviews on the back burner already. Just email me through myspace.
One is for Mark Chapman's: The Mars Imperative. Unfortunately this has received a discouraging review and from a very reputable magazine, but I happen to disagree. Mark has a vivid sense of urgency and imagination throughout this book, with a style that engages the reader, makes sense of the science behind the book and it is obvious that his attention to detail only serves to enhance the story, not detract from it. I am not a huge Sci-fi fan, normally, but this book was very enjoyable and kept me turning back the corners for page after page. His next book, The Tesserene Imperative comes out soon!! He has lots of potential and I can't wait to read more. I will post a more thorough review soon on Amazon.
Next to follow is for a chap book of ZCB..also known as Zac Bush. We Swallowed Spiders in Our Sleep. He is listed on my top friends..Go to his profile, meet the man and order his book ASAP.. One of the best collections of poetry I have ever sunk my literary haunches into. I am very excited to "know" Zac and to review his book, who knows where he will be in ten years! My guess is at the very top of his field. Also, subscribe to his blog...the works he regularly posts on there is definitely satiating in the most prose-like sense of the word. I have yet to be disappointed in him or his words.
After that..there is one other one for The Guild of Outsider Writers. I am excited to finish this review, as it has been a while since I have posted anything for this site. And the chap book is outrageously superb.
Check them all out and support the literary little people. Also, thank you for reading me day after day. This week alone, I have had over 1000 readers. You guys totally rock. Oh..and if you want to hear my voice, check out my profile page. This new thing called, Snapvine, is freakishly fantastic. I hope you all will call the number on my voice box and leave me a message. I am dying to hear what you all sound like. Please call me! Pretty please with sugar on top and a cherry too?...Okay, enough.
Have a wonderful evening.
Yours on Cloud 9, Climbing the Literary Ladder and Counting on Your Readers,
| Currently reading : |
Underground Voices: Print Edition Vol 1 2006
By C. Powell
Release date: By 01 November, 2006
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Category: Writing and Poetry
Good Morning to my Friends, Family and Family of Friends,
I am going to link you kids to some of my favorite blogs and then we are going to have a lecture on critiquing. So go run out get a Venti White Chocolate Rasberry Skim Latte with 3 extra shots of espresso and whip. Xtra Whip. Then sit down and take some notes.
Top Five Blogs (at least in my book):
1)One Word, One Rung, One Day
2)Reid All About It
4)Misti: My candy lovin freakishly wonderful poet friend
5)Random Acts of Writing
Now don't get your panties in a bunch if you aren't on here. If you are to the right of this blog as one of my subscrips, then I love you.
Everyone got their notebooks out? Isn't that a phrase of the past..How's this. Everyone got their laptops out?
Writing is difficult enough. Pouring your soul out onto blank screens, pages, little paper napkins at coffee houses each and every day of your life for no one to read. But wait...it hits you. Maybe I should have my mom and my best friend, Rover read this. After all she loves everything I do. Right? So you go home, email your mother and Rover (who happens to be a writer too) the masterpiece you just wrote.
Here are the two replies you get:
I loved your poem about me and that Christmas we spent in Jersey back in 77. I am so glad you still have your Erector set and you still play with it every night before going to bed. I am so proud of you. You are definitely going to be famous. My son..famous!
I love you,
And then there's the critic:
Hey Dude! Good to hear from you. What the hell was this piece about? I don't think you should write about your first sexual experience and call it a poem. This sucked. I've been writing for ten years and never have I read a work more terrible than this. Go rewrite it and this time read some erotic poetry before you even attempt to do something like this again.
Lesson 1: If you want an honest opinion, never ask your mother. Never, Ever. She will love you no matter what the hell you put down on paper.
2: Critiquing can ruin friendships, lovers and everything in between.
But. If you are open to honest remarks and hope to learn from them, then no sweat, right? Wrong. Crits that are particularly harsh or are out to be a*holes in the name of literature can be damaging. I have been on the receiving end of many critiques that have pushed me down into my self doubting pit of hell.
3. You have to grow thick skin. This is similar to the rejection rules. But a good critique will have these elements.
A) Honest feedback: You are only hurting the other writer if you praise his works and fail to provide something for that writer to go on when they go to do the rewrites etc.. As I said before, if I wanted a pat on the back, I would send the pieces I write, well, most of them, to my mom. (there are just some things that come out of my head that my mother should never, ever read) Writing is an isolated career and having strangers spend their time telling you that your writing is nice, pretty, etc..just because you are nice and pretty will get you absolutely no where. But a writer who tells you that your protagonist is weak and the plot is worse, then you have struck the proverbial pot o gold in literary friends.
B) Reasons. You can tell someone a thousand times that the writing "just isn't doing it for you". But, if you follow this up with a top ten list of the reasons why you are truly helping the other writer. It does you no good to tell someone that the protagonist is a pansy who should be riding the short bus if you can't tell them why. Maybe the protagonist is a pansy who rides the short bus, maybe that was the point, but if the other writer isn't getting the point across and it is lost on you, then you need to tell him.
Do not be afraid to say these things. Now, this doesn't mean that you have to be a complete and utter a*hole about it, but being constructive with your criticism is most usually accepted at any time.
I have been banned from one critique group. Why? I was honest. The other women, yes this was all women, were writing about their best friends, their dogs, their perfectly perfect happy home lives and I showed up with the beginning of my novel about Judas Iscariot.
I just wanted honest feedback. I assumed (and when you assume you make an ass between u and me) that they were there for the same. First story, some kind of crap about a pony or barbie doll or whatever. I sat there, thinking that this was possibly a huge joke. It sounded like something I would have written as such and then posted as a blog to see what people would say. Unfortunately this was not only not a joke, but the woman took her poetry very very seriously. At least she said she did. The women turned to me and asked me, the new girl, what I thought.
Uh...I thought that it sucked. Well, I said this in a little more eloquent way, but if you summed up the transcription of my ramblings, that is what you would find. But I was nice. Very nice. I encouraged her to go out and get a few copies of poetry books. And then she told me that this had been accepted as a finalist for a contest at Poetry.com. AHA! We shall touch on internet writing scams some other time. Remind me, I might forget.
Anywho, then the other three women went on and on about her writing. Saying how wonderfully expressive it was, how true to her feelings and more bull. I thought I was going to puke. Then I brought up my piece and read the first page. I was told that it was blasphemous. HA! Finally a real reaction.
My point is this. When you are going to critique another persons work, and not just compliment them or tell them that they are wonderfully expressive just to hear the sound of your own voice, then keep in mind that this person, no matter what stage of their career they are in, needs to learn. I am by no means an expert or critical extraordinary super literary hero, but I know when I hear good writing. And of course, you have to understand too that what you write may or may not be in the style of the crits favorite works or it may just be that your writing has no style at all, something that is difficult to grasp or elaborate upon.
Honesty is best and providing the reasons why you did or did not like the work is key to giving effective critiques. Allow yourself to be submerged in the work and then back off once you send it off to be read. What is that Buddhist principle? Pretend everyone on this earth was put here to teach you a lesson. Grow a spine, stand up on your own two feet and listen to what others have to say. Although your writing may be very personal, the crit. should be a tool to learn and not ammo. to use against others when they tell you what you don't want to hear and you decide to go on a literary killing spree.
If you have to, give your critique a numeric rating system. Something my friend, Mike Neff taught me. Give the writer something concrete to go on. If they get a rating of 1 then there were too many problems to fix. You give them a 5 then they are better than Russo, Oats or Shakespeare combined. No gray areas, no mis-understanding of words etc...Make up your own if you have to. As a writer, I think that there is nothing worse then a crit. that says I am wonderful, perfect and can do no wrong. I would much rather have them tell me that I need to improve and why.
I hope this helps.
I must get ready to go to work. Enjoy your day and any and all crits of the blog welcome, always welcome.
Yours in Critiquing, Circular Breathing and Crying Over Nothing,
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Category: Writing and Poetry
Currently on my IPOD: Phillip Glass: The Hours
Here's a little prose before bedtime...I would wrap you all in a blanket if I could. This may or may not make sense. But who the hell cares, right?
By: Cicily Janus
A daily trip among the living, spoiled. The beauty of death surrounds me. I was truly hoping I could see the world through the two eyes upon my face, but the face was painted with the colors of blindness and despair. For my shades of grey were grayer than the colors allowed through the Crayola accepted norms of societal reflection.
You should have been there. Seeing it with the hollow pits shading the cleft around your nose, the one that sparkled at one time or another, in blue, green, hazel and black. Weren't these gifts handed to you by a Buddha, a God, a being other than the one inside of you for only through others may you truly be born of someone other than yourself. This is not the person you know. This is the self that refuses to gloat, the self that wants to rejoice at the pain of others, yet in the same breath, you reach over, take the mask and place it on yourself before allowing them the pleasure and room, most of all in this claustrophobic prose, to breathe.
I met a man, or was it a woman, child or default of my misfired thoughts and synapses, who overcame this burden, the world inside the picture frame of his consciousness and he was not the better for it. He had become the it we fear, and was worse off than the rest. Rising above the noise and confusion of planetary discourse, he could see. He could open his eyes and see that the wrapping around my face was fresh and for a moment he thought silently and then stopped to ask if I wanted it removed. He asked if I could stand on my own two feet in order to be able to visualize the tragedy that had become of my soul.
Masquerading my fractured emotions, I could only speak with silence upon my lips and the welcomed loss of sight among my once predictable self as the sweetness of bitters fell upon the buds of taste upon my tongue. My weary thinking cap fell off the coarse hairs upon my head and I slept with my thoughts looking for another place, another time. A different day in which I could explore the false judgments of the grim beings inhabiting my space.
Yours in Jagged Edges, Jaded Writings and Just Getting It All Out,
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Category: Writing and Poetry
CURRENTLY ON MY IPOD: Makes Me Wonder: Maroon 5
I have the weekend off...Thank God! I needed it more than anything in the world. Well, I need a book contract more than anything in the world, but a weekend off is also nice.
For once, I am going to share some thoughts on writing. I highly encourage any and all of you to comment on this. Topic of the day...are you ready? Do you have your 2 pencils sharpened and ready? REJECTION.
Inevitably, rejection is a part of every writers life. Rejections on a small level, on a large level and on an insurmountable level of pain are just going to happen. Get over it.
But there is a difference between rejections meant as "stop writing...leave the world alone, we are sending little blue men to take away your laptop" rejections and the rejections that are impersonal, or are meant to ask you for more.
As the submissions editor for Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens, I can tell you that there are several types of rejection I send out. And I can also say that this is a very difficult job, most of the time.
Here are some of my grounds for rejection, and after speaking with other sub-editors I know that they go by this as well.
If you want to be rejected please follow these rules:
1) Don't read the magazine you are submitting your works to. This is a sure fire way to get rejected. I can not tell you how many submissions I receive that are not nearly on topic of what we accept. Our name says it: A LITERARY JOURNAL OF THE ABSURD AND SURREAL. If I get one more story about ponies, carebears or love I am going to puke.
Well, unless the carebears are revolting against a mutant force that calls itself My little pony and then the ponies get slaughtered by He-man..I might actually read that one all the way until the end. And then reject it. If you submit to a magazine geared for children, it better not talk about heinous sexual acts etc.... Just go to the archives of any e-zine or email the print ones to see if you can get an issue at a discount. What's your hurry anyway? Its not like literary mags are going away and this is just a phase. So chill out, research your market and then take two steps back and then re-edit and then send.
2) Ignore the damn guidelines. Please...pretty please with sugar on top. I was once rejected by a wodnerful mag called, Sybil's Garage. The rejection letter said...We liked your work, your story was intriguing..BUT YOU SHOULD HAVE READ THE GUIDELINES...STANDARD MS FORMAT ONLY....I admit that I was young, green and wet behind the ears. I submitted everything else to their liking, I just left out that little incidental thing called standard MS format. Oh for shit's sake. I about cried. But then the story was accepted elsewhere.
If we say we don't want stories based around D&D and zombies..don't send it to us. Don't think you will be cute and see if you can get away with it. You are not cute. You are probably pale and sickly like me from lack of sunshine...and too much computer time.
If we tell you to attach your sub. in word or RTF, then do it. Don't cut and paste into the body of your email. IF we tell you to send it in pink hieroglyphics then do that too. It doesn't matter. When you are asking to be published in a certain magazine then you better know good and well what they want in order to have their editor even read the first few words. INCLUDING WORD COUNT. We will let a few past the count slide, anyone will, but when we ask for subs of under 1000 words and get one that is 5000 it is an automatic rejection. Trust me on this one. We have that little word count button on our computers too.
3)Writing, terrible, awful, no-good writing. Yes, I actually reject the writing because of the writing. I recently read a piece in my submissions box that was composed entirely of very very very flat dialogue. Now take this down kids..."And then Fred said, I don't like you. And then Molly said to Fred, But I love you. And then Fred said, I am going to take a knife and cut the editor's brains out, as this writing is killing her.." Got it? If you aren't sure if your writing is up to snuff, then have someone take a look at it. Read it out loud, read other writers works of whom you wish to emulate. I love the short stories of R. Dahl and R. Carver. So, I read them when I can and try to soak in their style as much as I can.
And if I hear one more person say that they don't like to read because they feel as though they will be wrongly influenced by the works or that they will start to become "unoriginal" I am going to throw myself off of a bridge. Come on people! WTF? Do you think musicians don't listen to music in fear of playing like the greats? Do you think that artists blind themselves when they go everywhere in fear of being tainted by Picasso, Matisse? Am I right? Read, read, read and then when you are done reading, go read a little.
It will dramatically improve your writing.
4) Surprise endings. No, not the good kind of surprise ending. The one that makes you go, WTF? I can be reading a story, thinking..wow..I actually like this one.. I think I might forward this on for consideration and whammo! Stupid and terrible ending. Almost as if the writer said..Oh shit..My word count is out of hand. Must end now..must end story now!!!!...And then the two people lived happily ever after and they never heard from the giant killer squirrel again.
In some occasions, if the story is absolutely over the top and stellar, we will ask the person for a rewrite of the ending. But this is totally up to them. If you are passionate about the ending you wrote, then keep it and tell us to sod off, just know at this point it is a rejection. And also, if you are asked to do a rewrite and we offer suggestions, you don't have to necessarily take our suggestions to the letter, but just write something better than what you gave us the first time. Anything better and we will give it a heavier consideration.
Alrighty now...got all that?
Here are the types of rejections I send out. And ones that I have received..(thank you Steve Finbow..from Thieves Jargon for my weekly rejection this morning) I will place these in example, for I learn better from example than I do preaching.
1) The good:
Dear Mr. Pen,
Thank you for submitting your work titled, Mr. Pen Does a Happy Dance. Your writing is very good but unfortunately this will not be right for our publication. However, we would like for you to submit more of your works as you see fit. Thank you again for your submission.
A. Hole Editor
Thank you for your submission. Although this particular story is not quite right for what we are looking for, we think your style is very much in tune with our publication. Please feel free to submit again anytime.
Sincerely....A. Hole Editor
I have been asked to submit again on many occasions and often after a few more submissions to the editors who requested more, I get an acceptance. With the exception of Steve from TJ. I have sent him four or more pieces after he has asked for them and rejected them all. Oh well, tenacity wins, right? If I submit approx. thirty or more times a week I am bound to be accepted somewhere, some time, some how...Someone has to love me, right? WRONG! Do not take any of this personal. What is that line from the Godfather? "Its not personal, its business.." I just pick up my little laptop and keep going.
2) The bad:
Dear Mrs. Pen,
Thank you for submitting your work, Mr. Pen Does a Happy Dance While Churning His Butter. Unfortunately this work will not be right for our publication. The story was not sufficiently written in our style and the ending was slightly jarring for the reader. I especially was thrown off with the addition of the killer squirrels. I suggest you read one of our journals in order to get a better idea of what is expected from our contributors.
Major A. Hole Editor
(NOW I HAVE TO NOTE THIS: If an editor gives you specific feedback, be thankful. At least you will have an idea of what was going through their head when they rejected you and at least you know they read your story.)
3) The ugly:
Dear Mrs. Ink,
Thank you for your submission. We hated it. Please do not write anything again..As a matter of fact, we sent a virus with this email in order to prevent you from ever writing again. Your computer will self destruct within a matter of minutes.
But this is the worst, at least in my opinion.
Dear Mr. or Mrs. Idiot,
Thank you for your submission. Unfortunately we are going to pass on it at this time.
No-Name A. Hole, Editor
With this, you have no feedback, no inclination as to whether or not they even read the story etc...I once got a rejection letter from a literary magazine that stated the wrong title in the rejection. I emailed them back to see if they had even read my story and never got a reply. Jerks...
I usually give personal feedback with the rejections unless I have nothing good to say. Then I know when to keep my mouth shut. LOL... I would want someone else to do the same for me.
Regardless, the rejections we get should not make us cry. They are just a fact of life. How's that for cliche'. Remember this: often times after you have followed the guidelines, read a few dozen issues of that magazine and written the "perfect" piece for submission, and you still get rejected, it is still a matter of personal taste. Bradley and I don't always agree on what goes in and what doesn't. But that is okay. We talk it out. If I really really really like a piece and he says..no. I throw a mild temper tantrum and then ask him why, or at least rest on it for a day and then go back to read it again the next day to see if his opinion is valid. And often times it is.
I hope this helps somewhat. Also, schmoozing the editors from mags and requesting them as friends etc.. is not something that is going to help or hurt. It just takes up time. Your writing will be what will sell you to the mag. And that is it. At least for most of the mags I know. I am becoming quite friendly with another editor of a well known EZine and I sent her a story for the publication. She rejected it, told me why etc.. Fine..Our friendship is not tainted because of it. I don't care. It just wasn't up to her tastes.
And if you want a reply to send out to the people who reject you then here you go.
Would love to know your rejection stories etc... The good, the bad, the ugly. And if you have received a rejection from me.. let me know what you think of that too.
Going to submit to a few places now..
Enjoy your Saturday.
Yours in Rejection from Red-Headed Editors, Right Ways and Reasons Why,
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Category: Writing and Poetry
Currently on my IPOD: Gravity: John Mayer
I have the death virus right now. My head hurts, glands are swollen, throat is scritch,scratch,scaley....After this I think I am going to do shots of NyQuil and then head off to bed.
Anyway, you guys have got to chill out. Holy hits on my blog batman! After the post regarding the stupidity in the country, I had, literally, over several thousand hits. And then the emails started to come in. We want to see part of the book. We want to read some writing....My pub history is limited online because most of the zines I am in are print. So I have decided to post a little tid bit on here. No..It's not from the book. Thats under wraps.
Almost one year ago, I attended the Algonkian Writers Workshop in Colrain Mass. with Mike Neff and a large assortment of wonderful writers...I learned so much at this conference, it was unprecedented inspiration. As a matter of fact, if I had not attended this conference I don't think I would be writing the book I am writing now.
But, one of the writing exercises was to write a piece (short, middle of a story type) that was completely moved along by dialog. This is an exercise...and only an exercise...Don't read this expecting to find the holy grail of Pulitzer prize winners in the making... The work is below. I had them laughing out loud when I read it. You may not find it nearly as funny, but I always hated sororities...So here goes nothing.
Gamma Pi Lunches at the Happy Machismo
(c) Cicily Janus Oct2006
"Great to see you! Alice, you're looking great, have I told you that lately?" Diane lied.
"It's been a while since us Georgetown Gamma Pi girls could grab a bite between headaches and assignments, huh?" Winking at Alice, Diane sat down at the table.
"I tell you what, the source of my headaches has been Bob, he can really push himself and his assignments on you." The work over the last three months had been more than she had bargained for. Alice needed to blow the steam off of her chest. She looked around at the wait staff and tried to relax.
Handsome young Mexican boys wearing tight white shirts and dark blue jeans, painted on their butts, the scenery at this place definitely has more going for it than the food. Burnt refried beans and sour tequila slipped a noose around her senses and suddenly her appetite waned. As usual, Diane looked better than Alice, especially since the miscarriage two months ago.
"So, Diane, what's new in your life? Did you and Gary ever go on that trip he promised you?" Alice forced a Wal-Mart smile as she gawked at the unbelievably yellow plastic sombreros upon the heads of the bartending staff.
"Not yet." She sighed and glanced at a happy couple sitting at the bar, playing footsy for all of the world, or at least all the people in "The Happy Machismo" to see. "You know how men are, promises, promises. He knows that I've been under stress, but it's always the same crap from my dear old Gary, 'Come on honey, you know sex lowers stress levels, come on wadda ya say?' " Diane stood up and made the motion like she was going to unbutton her pants, zipper first, just like a man. Alice and Diane both dated Gary at one point or the other in college, but in the end, Diane won him over.
"Diane, seriously! Don't embarrass me here." She said this with a smile on her face. "This is supposed to be a 'business' lunch." Under the table cloth Alice unbuttoned her pants knowing that her capacity for guacamole with hot corn chips has yet to co-inside with her pant size and her blouse was already clinging for life to her bosom.
"Business? Alice, this is lunch, let's just talk girlie shit."
Approaching the table, a buff, golden boy placed two water glasses in front of them and proceeded to interrupt their seemingly friendly banter.
"Could I get you ladies…."
"You can get the hell out of here until we're ready to order." Alice said. Diane has not had a glimpse of this side of her since the big sorority brawl back in 89'.
"Where the hell did that come from? The stick up your ass? Alice, give him a break, he's all of what? 18 years old? You know, ever since you took this job, three months ago, you have been on the edge. Is it me? Is it the fact that we are working for the same group of assholes in PR? Bob can be a jerk, but he really knows his stuff, you should listen to him once in a while, you might learn something."
"You know how I value my job. It's not that I don't want to work Bob's Georgetown PR Palace, it really is great. But.." She hesitated. "It's just that the Phillip Morris, 'Killer-at-large' account is really going to bust me up and send me back to prostitution if I don't do what needs to be done for this account." Her voice escalated as rapidly as her blood pressure and she suddenly wished that she had not said that. Diane has been at the company for over a year and in addition to being a loud mouth, she is Alice's only competition for the new supervisor position that Bob is going to create for the marketing department.
The young Mexican boy appeared out of no-where and asked Alice to keep it down. Alice lowered her voice and pulled her chair closer to Diane.
"They are the ones responsible for killing my mother, my father, my baby sister and the wiener dog from second hand smoke. They all smoked. Maybe I will talk to Bob about moving over to the Righteous Animals of Uganda account, I think I have a lot to offer for that company. Does Bob ever let you switch accounts?" Alice whispered as if this was a big secret she was telling. Diane knew she had her where she wanted her, talking about the past, ruminating about what could have been and what could be, Alice was such a schmuck for this stuff. With a look of false sympathy in her eyes the moment for takeover was about to present itself, and Diane knew it.
"Alice, don't worry about it. Bob has always helped me out when I needed it, especially with special projects like this one. But if he won't, well, you are the type who could get a job anywhere you wanted to. Having that special talent to pull off any kind of bull shit, and with tenacity is a winning combination you know. Relax, let's just eat our food." The Guacamole had arrived and Diane smiled at the coolness with which she delivered that speech. For a fleeting moment, Alice had the look of a kicked puppy on her face. Diane had undermined her with men, friends and drinks throughout her life, this was not going to happen again.
"Listen. Alice, if you want, I can hook you up with Dave, you know that guy I dated for a while last summer. He calls me every once in a while for a non-committal act of sex and I have, well, let's just say, leverage to get you into his company. Wadda ya say, He would probably pay you better and the hours, as long as you don't get involved with him, are reasonable." Diane elbowed Alice a little too hard in the ribs. Chummy was a pet peeve for Alice.
"Speaking of Bull shit, why don't you cut it out of your life and talk to me about the real issues at hand." Alice, one. Diane, zero.
"Bull shit? Bull SHIT? You are the one who attempted to steal Gary out of my hands after I had my miscarriage, I saw the two of you in the hospital waiting room as they were wheeling me into surgery, now that's bull shit! It's time for pay back. I was so damned nice to you and got you into this company. With my bosses! And here you are, thinking that you can just waltz right in, a mere three months into the position and steal the promotion that I have been working for!" Stares from all corners of the room bore holes into the backs of their chairs. People quickly pulled cash out of their pockets and headed for the door in an effort to avoid the inevitable.
"Now, that is some bull shit right there. Working? HA! I hardly call what you and Bob do in his Beemer in the parking garage after work, working. Should I call Gary right now and let him know about your latest 'work project'? "
"How the fuck did you know about that?" A lady at the corner booth gasped and dragged three preschoolers out of the restaurant by their hands, attempting to cover their ears. The boys with the guacamole and corn chips ran over to the table in a vein effort to calm the women down.
"Senorita's please, The Machismo is a place of love and fine food, don't…"
"Shut the hell up!"
At least they agreed on that.
"Alice, you can take your job and your fat ass and wash it down the tubes if you want, but at least I am the one who will win this time! At least I still have my looks, the girls at Gamma Pi laughed at the size of your thighs at our reunion last month, and guess what, I laughed with them!" Diane scooted her seat away from the table, this was about to get ugly.
"Diane, you take your guacamole and your job and stuff it down Bobs pants, I QUIT!" She picked up the bowl of guacamole and threw it onto her ten dollar Anne Taylor meets Good will rip off blouse. Her face grew pale and the obedient Mexican boys came to scrub her boobs of the chartreuse/guacamole shit that she had made of her life on this afternoon over lunch.
Alice quickly made her way out of the restaurant to avoid a fist fight and walked next door to the office to tell Bob what she really thought of him. And for just a brief moment, she wished that she had ordered some guacamole to go.
Yours in Sororities, Single Writing Exercises, and Soul Sisters,
Monday, September 24, 2007
Currently on my IPOD: Wake Up Call: Maroon 5
Today was another crack-pot day in my life. So, I thought I would share something with you.
I wrote this after a few glasses of wine and I happened to get a rise out of a friend, whose opinion I highly value...And then had to write her saying it was all tongue-in-cheek fun. Isn't most of my writing that way?
Please don't take me seriously. Ever. Except with the novel writing.
Anywho, here is my diddy, and like always, let me know what you think.
The Bother of the Uncultured
I am absolutely failing at my life. I have been trying to save the world, but it is no longer worth the bother. The wounded and insane have nothing on me. After all, I can't even get my cats to take their Prozac. Who the hell do you think you are? I, the crazy lady down the street, have no purpose, no stated life, and no exercise in futility to keep my mind contained within the streets of the living, right? Wrong. I have plenty to think about. Television proves it.
Every day I see them. They walk up and down the aisles of our local discount mart, they take orders through the processed food-o-rama drive throughs, they live their lives just to have the beer with no label greet their digestive systems with pure, simulated nutrition bombing on a Friday evening. Theirs is the whole subculture of uncultured beings. I am plagued by their stupidity, by their inane ability to ignore everything that is given to them through sight, taste, smell and touch. Their sight should be taken away for they do not even understand even the most basic instruction on how to use it.
Art is wasted on them, instead, hanging from their walls are velvet prints of dead-obese swinging hip singing Elvis. Looming in their pantries are processed Velveeta with Cocoa Puffs and overly salted generic potato chips whose flavor has been so far removed that the sadness of the chips is apparent through the crumbles they leave behind in the grease pit at the bottom of the bag. An intellectual conversation is something of foreign ground lending itself to the ho-hums of boredom and insanity that will inevitably follow the intelligence out of the room merely leading to a certain death after it jumps off of the roof. And to taste something savory, oh lets call it a taco cheesy melt with extra seasoning, meaning of course, MSG, from exquisite dining experience of a place also known in some social circles as Taco Hell.
Education is for the rich, the snobs, the ones who keep their teeth in tact and their waist line in check, right? Of course. If you lived among this extremist culture of non-culture, you would start to think this too. Literature is something the doctor gives you when he has to teach you about Gallbladder stones and Bladder infections. A factory of mass producing harlequin writers might as well be the Pulitzer winners. As a matter of fact, the fate of the world lies in the hands of Sammy. If she finally gets back with Lucas and Billy and Bo find out, then the whole three-some they had the night before the last episode will be null and selling their Days-of-Our-Lives souls will be a sell out to the devil. Stay tuned and see what happens next.
But what happens next is not pretty, intellectual or surprising. For we all know what the end of the story is. They live and they die, producing mass numbers of off-spring in their place at the ripe age of fourteen and find out that government help isn't so bad after all and the cheese is just as good as any other cheese you buy with money, only this is the free stuff. The food stamp righteous, the free hand out while you have two good legs and fifteen children by the age of 22, isn't that bad of a life. God-forbid, that this sub-species continue to thrive among the progression the rest of the world is making. The progression the rest of us are striving to continue, the advancement of intelligence and the retraction of stupidity.
Yet, I just sit on my porch, shot gun in hand, watching the fat girl across the street talk with a drawl thicker than Jimmy Carter's and a third tire form around her waste as she eats her chips and "ready made" dip in the jar as fast as she can, talking on her cell phone completely ignoring my pleas for the world to suddenly be right. Maybe it is the village idiot from Texas on the phone, speaking of his war in Iraq and how he promises to get her man back home alive. Never mind the fact that he may have post-traumatic stress disorder, or missing a limb or part of his face, for we are fighting for their freedom, right? We are fighting for the same things they are fighting for…Control over the world. Who's the biggest terrorist now? Terrorizing the minds of others while telling them that it is the truth and the only way out of their life? Terrorism is not selective about who it takes under its wings.
My requests go unanswered and I expect nothing less, nothing more. What else would I have to do if it weren't for the mind-boggling lack of IQ among my neighbors? What would you do? We would sit around and talk about the books, the arts, the music being made by and between the silences during conversations with friends. We could smell the roses and understand why they give their scent. We could live out our lives with the most stimulating thoughts and fine chocolates offered.
But, it takes a village; a village idiot and a plan to make the world cease its progress towards the betterment of man kind. Only this time, I am not going to be the one who bothers with the thought of this uncultured idiocy which lies in abundance all around me. Instead, I will be the freak, the eccentric, the unaccepted social butterfly who sits in her cocoon spinning wings of which I can fly away from this place to a more accepting culture.
Yours in Bothersome Pieces of Fiction, Burdening your Friends with Terrible Writing and Blowing Smoke Out My A*s,
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Category: Writing and Poetry
Currently on my IPOD: Ordinary World: Duran Duran
Both E-zines are micro fiction features. My piece on Tuesday Shorts is less than 100 words and the one on Dogzplot is less than 500. A challenge to write, but fun nonetheless.
I am off to work for the day, but will return with stories that will astound you, stories that will amaze your friends, stories that are nothing but pure bull-sh*t.
Go call your mom and say hello. She misses you.
Have a wonderful day.
Yours in Fiction, Fighting off Bed-Head and Features,
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Category: Parties and Nightlife
Currently on my IPOD: My Love is Your Love: Whitney "coked out and crazy" Houston
I am, at the moment, eating a bowl of Fruit Loops, so you will have to excuse any typos as I am typing one handed, eating with the other and dripping milk down my chin. If you guys saw me now you would wonder when the short bus was going to arrive to pick me up for school.
Yesterday, I was on my way home from work and listening to the radio. NPR was having one of those weekly test drills where they blare a god-awful noise through your speakers as if to alert you to an Alien attack or something equally as devastating, like say, Paris Hilton's next arrest. So I decided to flip through to the local music stations. My piece of shit car doesn't have a CD player, so this was my only choice.
I tuned into 99.9, a station with all of "today's greatest hits and yesterday's favorites!" Yeah..whatever. Fergie was whining about how Big Girls Don't Cry..and then this advertisement from their morning "crew" came on...
LADIES: Get your groove on early on Friday Morning as we host our annual MILE OF MEN! Downtown, men will be lined up for one mile for you to peruse and choose! Choose your man that morning and party with him by that night. Don't miss out, this was a huge success last year, and we'd hate to see all those hot guys go home lonely.
What did they say? Thinking that I had just had a seizure instead of hearing those words I stayed tune. Sure enough, five minutes later, they ran the exact same advert.
Let me ask you this. Is it really that hard for a man (I have to take a bet that the target demographic for this add is young men and women between the ages of 18-25) to find a woman? OR is it really that hard for a woman to find a man in this day and age?
With all of the "internet" dating agencies like E-Harmony and Chemistry and then the clubs, schooling, etc.. really now, someone shouldn't have to go to a MILE OF MEN in order to find a date. What else do we need as a society to find a mate? Maybe we could have old fashioned courting ceremonies as the next big gimmick.
I think I should go on Friday just to take pictures of this travesty of societal norm. My guess is that it is going to be a bunch of girls dressed up like, as my grandmama would say, street walkers, at eight in the morning, pointing, laughing and waving their "junk" in guys faces. Who wouldn't like this? Maybe I should call in sick and stay for the duration to see who the losers are and then post them on my page to try to pick up literary chics....
If I were a guy, I would feel like the fat kid in gym, waiting to get picked for a Dodgeball team.
Stay tuned, I will try my best to come up with some pics of this Mile of desperate lonely, looking for a one night stand, men.
Have a great day and if you are lonely and want to participate in this search on the streets of Colorado Springs, I will be more than happy to pick you up at the airport.
Yours in Desperation, Dodgeball and Drowning in Fruit Loop Milk,
Monday, September 17, 2007
Currently on my IPOD: Overjoyed: Stevie Wonder
I hope that all of you had a wonderful weekend. This weekend marked my twin girls fifth birthday. They received their first bikes, scooters, hand-held gaming devices (Leap frog ones, educational..If I was going to buy a PSP or something like it, I would get one for myself), books etc.. And to boot, my folks made an impromptu trip from Atlanta out here for the celebration.
We had a nice time, and by the end of the day, they were cranky, dragging from their sugar highs and ready to explode. Understandably so.
If I had had chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, Sugary thick icing princess birthday cake for lunch accompanied by a side dish of cherry vanilla ice cream and assorted other candies, and then a mexican carb loaded dinner, I would be crashing and burning too.
Birthdays are some of the best times of the year for any age. Right? Although, I recall being quite solemn and mellow on my own date this year as I turned 30. But, there is no time like a birthday date to rehash those feelings of the years past, loves past, relationships past, just everything in general tends to come to a head around this house when that special time of year rolls around.
And since we are about to approach the holiday season, (goodness, I saw Christmas inflatable trees in Wally World the other day when I was picking up some milk) I think we should all reproach our creepy crawly feelings, the ones we should all try to express, the ones that give us a pause and cathartic relief when finished.
AS I have written on a number of occasions, my friends are my biggest asset. Not only do they keep me going when I feel as though my sanity has left the building and my number is up, but friends are the one thing that I can never get enough of. Yes, it is hectic sometimes to remember birthdays, anniversaries, dates and I apologize deeply for not sending cards or tokens of my love, but they are continuously in my thoughts and musings. Most of them end up as characters too, as theirs are the voices I hear most regularly when I write.
Too many people now tend to mistake their lives as dull, unlivable lives with voids playing upon their souls. I say, surround yourself with a group of people, hell, even if you don't know them, love them, give them the attention and appreciation you would give your best friend and pretty soon, I guarantee they will fast become someone you would hang out with regularly. I know way too many people who get up, go to work, eat their brown sack lunch, go home, sit down, watch TV and fall asleep only to repeat this same pattern the next day. WHY?
Like i said, let out those feelings of mediocrity in your life, and always, always, always, strive to be better than yourself each and every day. You might be surprised at where it takes you.
This fall has marked my second anniversary as a writer. Two years ago I picked up a keyboard and started to write. When I did so, I had no idea that two years later I would have multiple pubs under my name, several staff positions with zines as book reviewer, and an assistant editor position. Nor, did I think I would be working on my second book.
Life has a funny way of becoming everything you always wanted when you work hard enough, yet not hard enough to not stop and enjoy those around you. I have learned so much from friends, family and other writers that I insist on surrounding myself with them on a daily basis. It is amazing. Sure, there are times as a writer in which I want to completely isolate myself in order to write what I need to be writing, but those times are fewer and far between than others. For if you isolate yourself, how are you supposed to learn the natural ebb and wane of dialogue, the scenes in which make up a life, the organic way in which we all relate to each other?
Live your life now. Cliche', I know. Let those around you know how you feel about them, and it doesn't have to be a hallmark moment, it can be in the passing moments when you buy a buddy a beer after a long day, or when you send a simple email saying, I'm thinking of you. My friend, Sharon, whom I met last year in a life-altering conference for writers, is fabulous at this. Every other day or so I get a simple three line email or just a "thinking of you" thought flashing across the pixels and I always smile, because I know she is thinking of me and I think of her. Even though it has been forever since we have seen each other, it doesn't matter. The thought is enough.
I am going to close with that and just say that you all mean the world to me, even if I have never met you, or will never meet you, it doesn't matter at all.
Oh, and my offer is still up, I am going to be in NY in Dec...Would love to meet any and all people listed as friends on here for dinner one night. I think I would practically pee on myself to see you all. And if I ever win the literary lottery and make gazillions of dollars on my book...LOL..I will fly you all out for a vacation with me. Yes, all of you. But for now, just know that you are in my thoughts and on a vacation everyday in my unruly mind..
Yours in Sugar High's, Sweetness and Surrendering Your Feelings for Your Friends,
Currently on my IPOD: Rockstar by: Nickelback
The fish poop that came out of my breasts (See my previous blog: Have the Fortune Cookies Lost Their Minds? for reference to the fish poop) is a condition called:
This is a benign condition. OTHERWISE KNOWN AS NO SHITTY-ASS, SCARY GREEN MONSTER LIKE CANCER LINGERING AROUND IN MY BOOBIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I feel as though I have a new lease on life. Thank you to all who supported me and sent me well wishes, prayers and good thoughts. I am eternally in debt to you.
So on with my life, right? Now I really have to finish the book.....Cancer would have been a great excuse for procrastination, but now there is no excuse. Well, other than the undiagnosed mental illness I suffer with, but that is something I don't like talking about. Or should I say the voices don't want me to talk about it. If it weren't for my mind, I think I would be sane.
I am going to be in NY in December for six days. If this is at all possible, although I am not sure it is at all, but I would love to arrange a dinner date with all of my friends on here who live in the Big Apple. To meet you guys in person would be fabulous.
Hopefully my luck will continue to be on the upswing as opposed to the down and I wish that for the rest of you too!
I am going to go get my hair done this afternoon with my fall highlights and texture.
Looking forward to the break and pampering.
I promise to blog later this week with something non-medical related, maybe even something funny or at the very least, amusing.
Enjoy your afternoon. And I love each and everyone of you.
Yours in Yippy, Yeah and You Guys Rock,
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Currently on my IPOD: New World Symphony: Dvorák
I figured I would title the blog No News Yet in case any of you were wondering if I had heard back from the docs. Nope. Fat Chance. I see the surgeon again on Thursday and really feel good about it. I have decided that I can't possibly have cancer. Having cancer could mean days and days upon weeks and weeks of not feeling good just from the side effects of the medication and surgical recovery. I just don't have time for this in my life so there is no way in hell that I could possibly have it. Right? Let's hope I am right. Not that the people who do have cancer have time for it, but I really don't have time for it. Seriously. I can barely get my errands done on most days much less deal with doctors on a daily basis.
I am sad today as most American's are. I lost a friend in 911. He was a firefighter and I am sure that he went into the burning blaze with determination and a little bit of fear, but today he is remembered as a fallen hero. To Doug..I still think about you.
Yes, we need to remember those who lost their lives in that tragic scene in NY six years ago. Time flies doesn't it. But it is nice to know that most Americans are moving towards full emotional recovery from that day as I see that there are way more blogs on myspace that dwell with Brittney Spears' performance on the VMA awards and Tommy Lee and Kid Rock then there are 911 Blogs. You want a good laugh and a short read, check out my friend's blog: Reid All About It
Reid always has something funny to say. I suggest that after you subscribe to my blog, you go over to his and do the same. You won't be sorry.
Anyway, I have to say good for you America. Grieve for a moment and then laugh at the stupidity of the uber-rich stars.
Right now, I am sitting in my room, listening to Dvorak and typing away, smelling the crisp air outside combined with a little aftertaste of someone's chimney smoke next door. It is about 45 degrees and fall has officially arrived. I love it. It is my favorite time of year! It is about this time, that I miss living in the mid-west. Apple picking, hay rides, etc....but as soon as the snow hits I am once again glad to be in Colorado. I give it another month and I will be posting pics of the snow here.
And to those who are genuinely interested, there are things that are going well in my life...for example, my book, The Burden of Betrayal, is going very well. I am at the 40K word count and I feel as though it has reached the Scene 12 of the story. (Thanks Mike, for planting that term in my head) You know, the scene in which the main character must make the decision to do something about the story otherwise the story will die. The crux of the story, but not yet the climax..
I also have three books I am reviewing at the moment for various sites and another women's sex and health article in the works as well. Not to mention the short story I started yesterday about a boy who loved sushi so much he ate his goldfish, titled: Fish Poop. Kinda inspired by the biopsy experience...read my blog from last week to understand this.
As a matter of fact, I should run now so I can continue my literary life for the night before my body decides to sleep. I hope each and everyone of you sleep well tonight in your warm, mostly safe homes, with the computer at rest and your stories drifting through your heads...
Yours in Compelling Stories, Complications of Life and Compassion for Those Who Lost Their Lives,
Friday, September 7, 2007
Currently on my IPOD: Your Love: Casting Crowns
Yesterday afternoon, for lunch, a girlfriend and I ordered Chinese Food from a great little place down the street. I needed to have something in my stomach before going through with the biopsy. (More about that in a sec)
We got done with a satisfying meal and it was time to open the fortune cookies. I just can't possibly eat Chinese Food without a cookie at the end. Could you? Probably not, even if you don't want to admit to it.
I opened up a cookie and it said, Your day is about to get a lot worse.
WTF? Is there some disgruntled writer who hates his life because instead of writing that romantic woman's novel about a woman and her dream of becoming the bearded lady in a circus, is stuck writing fortunes in a sweat shop in east LA?
I went upstairs and showered and tried to talk myself into not believing in the power of suggestion. Despite the fortune cookie, by the time I had gotten out of the shower, I had convinced myself that the biopsy was going to be not so bad.
Well, as the cookie version of the Dali-Llama from hell said, my day was about to get a lot worse. First off, the radiologist had probably the worst comb over hair I had ever seen. My goodness, it was actually something that if I was a man, I would have nightmares about. But the only thing that matters is the fact that he should know what he was doing during the biopsy, right?
And this is where my day got a whole lot worse.
I asked him about being able to get the microcalcifications out with this type of biopsy. He said, "What microcalcifications?"
I said, what do you mean what about the microcalcs?
He said, he was only told to biopsy the mass. And he had read the ultrasound reports. I asked him if he had read the mammogram reports. He said no.
Uh..Isn't that your job? shouldn't you have looked at the whole picture before diving into one of my tits with a needle the size of a small child?
He said according to the ultrasound he was convinced that this isn't cancer, but something else, something that he didn't really know how to describe and wouldn't be able to until the pathology reports came back. He then went to look at the mammogram and he said, oh...that's a whole different picture.
No shit, sherlock.
That's what I wanted to say.
The biopsy was a little less than comfortable. And what he did say, is despite the pliable nature of breasts, the tissue inside is actually quite tough. He made a small 2cm incision into the 7o'clock position of the breast and inserted the needle. THANK GOD I WAS NUMB. The needle was enormous and you could watch it go into the breast on the screen above me. Pretty cool.
He had a rough time getting the needle into the breast mass but once he did he hit this button that made a very loud "click" and you could see the needle shoot through the mass as if it was a harpoon. He repeated this about five times. The tissue samples that I saw afterwards looked like fish poop.
Yep, you guys think that breasts are so enticing and sexy..nope, on the inside they look like fish poop.
He said that he hoped that this was fat necrosis and would possibly have an answer for me today. He said he would call me on my cell phone. But if it didn't come back today then I would have to wait until next week when I follow up with the surgeon. Which will be on Thursday. I hope to hell he has an answer for me today. I am already sore and sick about yesterday, why not give me a call today and either put this issue in its place or start me on the treatments I need sooner rather than later.
And then he made my day even more worse than it already was. He said that the bad news was that the tissue samples all sunk to the bottom of the solution. Everyone knows that fat floats. If it was all fat, such as the fat necrosis, which is my other possible diagnosis for this mass, it would have floated along the top of the solution. But all five samples sunk to the bottom. He said that this means that there is some other tissue with the samples which is good and he thinks that they got a good sampling of the mass. But, he was kind of hoping that it would be floating.
I will update you all as I know something. I think if he calls me and tell me that I have cancer I am going to tell him to see a stylist about that comb over. Bitter? Me?
Oh well, all I have to show for what I went through yesterday is a band-aid and a bruise.
Yours in Boobies, Bruises and Bone-Head Fortune Cookie Writers,