Monthly Archives: May 2017

But we’re not those kinds of people are we?

Finished those two short story revisions and started submitting them today. The YA market is a bit edgy and controversial so I’m hoping the story will fit well there.

Of course the mystery crime markets are so fucking slim for the second story. I just subbed it to Hitchcock. Acceptance there is as slim as the pickings but I’ll give it 4 months and then sub someplace else.

That sci-fi/ya story I was on the fence about last week I started on Saturday. Doing 2 finished pages a day with screaming kids and wife around (he he), I managed to get over 2k words (11 pages) as of this morning. Looks good. Any doubts of repeating myself are not there. Stupid me, right? I’m liking it. Feels different from anything I did before. Think I’ll be done with it by the end of the week, hoping.

Son had his dental operation on Friday. The brave little booger had three teeth pulled, not two. The third was just a loose baby tooth that was hanging out and the dentist said, “What the fuck. We might as well take this one too.”

The insurance worked out. We only had to pay for the anesthesia. Considering the whole bill would have been almost 2k I’m not complaining. Plus, how can you let a child be awake for a thing like that. I had one tooth pulled and those needles were a nightmare.

Son had no pain when he came home and all through the weekend. With any luck he’ll have no more broken fillings with cracked teeth. But we’re not those kinds of people are we?

Anyway, I forgot Stainboy last time. Here is epi five:

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a not so distant future where one struggles for gasoline

Finished Kharma Part 12 revisions.

Working on two short story revisions this week (MiLK and White Elephant in the Blue Room). Both are just about 5k words so that’s different lately.

Tried to find some markets to submit to and failed. Nothing in my pay rate.

As planned for June, I want to get in another short, flash or longer, before starting Kharma part 13 but I’m not sure what to write. Horror isn’t my thing, so that’s out. I could do a sci-fi/YA but it has theme setting I already used in other stories but a different plot. I don’t want to repeat myself.

Maybe something will pop into my head that will make it different enough for me to jump into it. For now I can just open my tiny notebook on Monday and pick anyone of the ideas and use one of those. Spontaneously write without a net. Maybe a crime story or a contemporary YA story will have to do.

Over the weekend I compromised my ego. The local vintage theatre was screening the greatest sequel of all time, The Road Warrior. Words can’t describe how important a film this is to me and my childhood. It’s a work of art. And a chance to see it on a 50 ft screen? When will I get another.

But for my wife’s birthday/mother’s day present I had given her tickets to see Kings of Leon that night at the PNC. I had bought the tickets back in February and the movie wasn’t announced until a few weeks ago. How was I to know the conflict. Of course I had to take my wife to the concert. You know how much these tickets cost me? Right side orchestra, row O?

Plus the context. My wife, a big fan of the group, won tickets to see them at the PNC 5 or 6 years ago. The week of the show they canceled and refunded due to health reasons. A band like this only does big venues, festivals. I’ve been stalking their homepage trying to find out when they would come back to Jersey. And they finally did.

My wife had a good time. She danced all night. I snapped some good pictures for her. She’s still shaking from the experience.

But still, I imagine myself in that seat in the theatre, looking up at that huge screen, in a not so distant future where one struggles for gasoline.

Oh, the car crashes.

Sorry.  No talking bugs or anuses.

Just about done with 3rd part of Kharma part 12 revisions. Nothing much to say. I must sound like a broken record. Writing about writing is not very exciting. Not like the movie Naked Lunch. Sorry.  No talking bugs or anuses. No spies. No Interpol. No drug taking. My life is boring. The words in the story are exciting. To me anyway. Maybe to you. I’ll have to wait and see.

Been stalling on my Italian lessons over at Duolingo. I think it’s from all the revisions I’ve been doing lately. They wear me out and take so long and then I have other stuff and I just can’t force myself to do it. I think when I get back into witing 4 pages a day of a draft I’ll get back into the Italian lessons again. It was a good system. What I learned is still in my head…sort of. It pops up in my writing. I’ve meshed it in with names and such.

If all goes at planned I can start a new short in June, one that’s been burning in my head the last few weeks, and then a new Kharma, also burning, soon after that.

Been reading this collection of Tim Burton essays about his films. Some deep analytical stuff. Before this I’ve only read his own POV of his work. Interesting to get a subjective stance other than my own.

What I love about Burton’s work, what I connect with, is his exploration of duality. I’ve talked about this in previous posts. What we show people and what we hide. The perfect example of this is in Batman Returns, the uses of masks and what we hide; real freaks verses created freaks. So many people need to wear a mask to be who they are. While people like me (and you) act the way we do naturally without the mask and suffer for it, ending up dead and carried out by emperor penguins. :-p

What I’m taking from this collection (I’m only halfway through it) is how his films are broken down into 2 plot styles:

  1. Hero story. The hero who never changes ventures into a foreign world and changes others.
  2. The artists/storyteller, how they find the means to create and execute their voice.

There may be more one or two more. I can’t fit all his films into these two structures.

The essayists also bring up society, family, sexism, capitalism, and colonialism. Funny to recall all the people in my life who have put down Tim Burton’s films and yet these people have given them such critical thought.

But let’s break that criticism with more Stain Boy, episode 4

Even years from now they may mesh

More work on third chunk of Kharma part 12.

Ideas/threads to carry over into future stories pop up in my head as I edit along. I write them down in my little book for later. Bits for the next story or even the third or tenth story down.

Can’t stress enough to a new writers how important it is to carry a tiny note/sketch book. Things pop into you head at any time. For me it’s when my brain relaxes or is distracted, in meditative states. Listening to music, watching movies, reading, showering, or by water. Like David Lynch says, You gotta grab them. Write them down even if they’re not perfect. You never know what they can be later. Even years from now they may mesh with something else that could pop up later. 1+1=3

Went over final proof before publication on short story for Unwinnable Magazine. Yes, that was the short that I did many revisions on. “You Are Disturbing The Peaceful Mood I Am In” should be out in their May issue soon.

Oddly the editor wants me to send him an invoice for payment so he can remember to pay me. Which is fine and honest of him. Sometimes these editors forget to pay. Sometimes they never pay. So I will do that.

I discovered that Thomas the Tank Engine will release a new character with autism this summer which is cool. Then I thought, shit. Not for the character. For the fact that the vaccine people out there will put it down like they put down Sesame Street and their autistic character. How it’s bad to normalize, create acceptance and enlightment for autism, how parents shouldn’t be okay with their children being defective, and okay with doctors and the pharmaceutical companies making them that way.

Grrrr, poxy fuckers.

No. I’m not going to get into it.

Thomas is good. Thomas is good for autistic kids too with those big expressive faces. My son loved watching Thomas. God, the little bastard ran tracks through out the apartment and sped ten trains at a time. I had no place to walk with out tripping and stepping on them. We had all the DVDs and I had to watch that Alec Baldwin movie. I did like watching the episodes with George Carlin in them, though.

Still have the tracks and trains in storage. I should bring them out for my daughter to play with. She’s gonna be 4 this summer, she’s just about right for them.

Anyway, here is episode 3 of Stain Boy:

people have more business than they need than to be annoyed by a bunch of weirdos

Started the 3rd block of Kharma part 12, pages 80 – 120 today. Should be done with it on Friday. Don’t plan on doing any writing on Thurs. Have to see my son get an award at school and then take my wife to work.

Finished the second draft of the short story over the week end. Waiting to hear back from editor.

Next part of the day we took our son to this pediatric dentist to look at his bad tooth. When we got there the two nurses, who soon became witches, told us that our insurance wont cover the visit. But we got them, ABA Pediatrics, from our insurance company. Yes, but your son is 10. We only work on kids 5 and under.

What the fuck?

Mind you my wife called them and verified all this. So we spent the next hour in the dentist office with the insurance company trying to get around it, to get an exception, to get the dentist their money, and almost did. The insurance company faxed over some papers to ABA Pediatrics and the witch wouldn’t touch it. The blond chick who’s accent I couldn’t place stood five feet away from it like it was the plague and said she will not fill it out. They made good witches. Had clipped, irritated voices when talking to us. Even had a kid screaming for thirty minutes in the back like he was having all his teeth pulled out.

In the end we left with nothing but the fax. I went back to the general practitioner dentist to have them fill it out so we can take it to another pediatric dentist.

Just so frustrating dealing with insurance companies and receptionist/nurses, having people act like they hate you doesn’t make it much easier. Funny, in this case the insurance people were the nice ones. I don’t know. I guess some people have more business than they need than to be annoyed by a bunch of weirdos.

My son’s not in pain, so that’s good. If he is we could just take him to the ER in Newark and get it done today but it is my wife’s birthday is today. I don’t think that would have been a fun time for her. Instead I took her to South House on Newark Ave and filled her with chili and wine.

Saw that actor Powers Booth and author William Hjortsberg died in the last 48 hours. Just crazy. Two more factors of my youth.

To cheer you up, I leave you episode 2 of Stain Boy:

I only need to be burned once to learn a lesson

Started working on pages 40-80 of Kharma part 12 (for sake of not calling it ‘a short story that turned into novel’). Still going well. Decided to hold off on other short story revisions until next week so I can catch up on do other things. Friday I have a lot of family related stuff to do.

Uploaded a few books to Bundle Rabbit. I hear these bundle sites are good for exposure and a few bucks. Mights as well give it a try. It’s free. Can’t argue with free. So many expensive scams out there that make promises to bring in readers, exposure. I just don’t have the money and I only need to be burned once to learn a lesson.

Now I find readers spending almost no cash. I thank you for finding me. I assume you found me by accidently reading my work for free and somehow connecting with it. We all win, right?

Heard back from one of the short story rewrites. The market request one more revision with a tight deadline. Said I could swing it. So that will put other projects on hold for a day or two.

And I received a nice rejection from another market. It was a flash fiction market that liked my story but felt it would work better as a short story. Maybe if they printed short stories too they would have requested a rewrite. Ohs wells.

My son received some good news in the mail today. Earlier in the year he applied for the Advancement Enrichment Program for two of the middle schools next year. He had to write an essay why he would be a benefit from/for the program and take a test. Only 400 out of 700 kids are accepted. He was one of them.

Of course I’m proud of him but I did prepare for the negative. I know my son is smart. Acceptance is not based on grades or intelligence. So I wasn’t sure what to expect. He could still go to regular public school and then test for the smart high school later. But now he can fast track into that smart high school and whip through the levels.

I never pushed him to do this. I explained how it works and sort of talked him out of it but I think that’s what he likes about it. He wants to do it. I don’t want my kids to do things they don’t want to do in life. I hope he does well. Lately he’s been bored in school. He could use the challenge.

Tonight I leave you with a little something from one of my favorite directors, Tim Burton.

to live and experience this fascist time

Finished 2nd short story revision and send it out to market. Hope it satisfies. If not that’s okay. Although I’m not in love with my short stories I think I did a good job and maybe someone else will buy it.

Also submitted to a second market today. It’s low pay plus copy but it’s in a slum genre I love so it gives me some street cred.

Completed 40 revised pages of Kharma novel revisions out of 151 pages. Will start the next 40 pages tomorrow. How this works for all novels is this:

After the first draft is complete I take a chunk like 40 pages a week and break it in half. I do 20 pages Monday and 20 Tues. Then on Wed I go back to the first 20 pages again Wed and again second 20 pages Thurs.

See. I just did two revisions in a week. And then I keep going with the next chunk. If I don’t get the novel right and readable after that then I might as well throw it out.

The son has teeth pain. Two culprits. After x-rays today found out that the top on we can do nothing about. The adult tooth is pushing the baby tooth out, which has a filling. He’ll have the bear it.

The bottom tooth has a broken filling and is also being pushed out by an adult tooth. He has too options. 1) Get a crown, which he had done before years ago and it broke off soon after. 2) Have the tooth pulled so the new tooth can grow out. This kid has gone through a lot in his teen years with his teeth but not much in the last few years. He’s a toughie.

Found this neat site today First 100 Day of Fascist Germany. The main page states:

During the highly contentious political climate in this country, the terms “fascism” and “Nazi Germany” have been tossed around quite freely by both sides of the political spectrum. As a response to this and in an effort to provide some clarity of what fascism in Nazi Germany actually looked like, we at the Emory University German Department initiated a research project that aims to document the first 100 days of National Socialism- from the day that Adolf Hitler was named Reichskanzler on January 30, 1933 until May 9, 1933.

Fascism has fascinated me since I was a child. I’ve been a punk all my life. I’ve fought against and questioned authority in all its forms. In a strange way I feel privileged to be alive in this Trump era, to live and experience this fascist time. Yes, it is horrible but I am proud to see so many people in the world rise against this administration, the politicians and the citizens. Wow, the citizens.

So yeah, I’ve been checking out the days and there are many similarities between Hitler’s crew and Trump’s crew. No surprises but still interesting in a historical context.

On an even sadder note, I saw that brilliant character actor Michael Parks died today. Don’t know what he died from. My guess is cancer. It has been eating all the brilliant ones. Of course Michael Parks sticks out from his work in Twin Peaks but also his recurring character Earl McGraw in Quentin Tarentino and Robert Rodriguez’s film’s From Dusk Til Dawn, Kill Bill, Planet Terror, and Death Proof; Kevin Smith’s frightening and bizarre films Red State and Tusk, and a slew of movies starting from 1965. The man was a true chameleon and at times I would see him on the screen and say to myself, “That guy looks so familiar,” and later learn that it was him. Rest in peace, brother.