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.

They have people to answer to and I don’t

Another draft on that requested rewrite. Feels pretty good. Think just one more go through for typos and I should have it ready for resubmission and I can focus on something else.

Have two other stories, longer ones I want to polish up. Two culturally challenging ones: police shooting and child pornography/how mothers train pre-adolescent daughters to be whores. I had trouble finishing them a while back but then I was reading that book by Anne Serling and became inspired by Rod Serling’s words and I just had to finish them, you know. The man challenged the world with his writing. Not sure I could do the same with my own. I doubt I could sell them through major markets. I’ll try. I’ll hope for the best but will assume they will just be collected and I’ll sell them to the readers myself.

No stories to submit today. Have many out I still haven’t heard back on. Need some rejections or acceptances first. And no new paying markets about. But there’s a noir market opening tomorrow that I want to submit to; I have a story on the side for that.

Continued to work on the new Kharma story revisions. Nothing to complain about there. Maybe slight doubt. Sometimes I wonder if I’m understating. Do I need to spoon feed. Has the world dumbed down the reader so much that they might not catch what I’m feeding them? We live in such a saturated world, still. Books 80,000 words or more. Scary monster books that make kids not want to read in school. Hell, they even scare most of the adults. They hold your hand and brain and when something small and delicate comes along and tries to be subtle with subtext with breezy action…

No. readers are smart. The real ones. The die hards. And the ones that want to invest. Don’t me stupid.

One of the best things about the internet/digital revolution is the minimal aspect. Writers can now make a living writing smaller works. Short novels, novellas, long-short stories, or short stories; sell them individually if you want. Selling series still do well. At least for me. No one buys my other works. It’s all Miki Miki Miki. The Kharma series is still early. Maybe I can get you folks into her later too.

But yeah, the series for books can be short, even 10k words. People are so into long form storytelling. Maybe they love the compactness . They love to binge and then stop and then binge again. The soap opera. I dig a good trilogy or series.

Repairman Jack/Adversary Cycle

Sailor and Lula

Barrytown Trilogy

Timmy Valentine Trilogy

Matthew Corbett Series

Book of the Art

Abarat

You get the picture.

 

Too Much Information. Not Politically Correct. Whatever.

Started revising this Kharma short story that turned into a novel. Going well. I wrote a solid draft so I don’t see it giving me much trouble.

Revising second short that was requested for revision. Think I should have it done in two more days and then out. Was originally 1k and now it has the meat the editor requested: 1,700.


 

Neuro Typical people are weird. There are a lot of them in the world. They are a strange bunch. They like to talk about the strangest things. All my life I had to sit across from them and pretend to have conversations about the weather, traffic, food, clothes, popular television shows, other people not in the room, bosses, music, etc.

During said conversations I would always offer something about myself, my interests, my life, my flavor of talking in hopes they would offer something about themselves.

Bad move.

Strange looks, comments, body language from the other person and never personal sharing.

I’ve been told I have no filter. TMI, Too Much Information. Not Politically Correct. Whatever. I’ve been made to feel that there’s something wrong with me before I reached double digits. I’m weird.

And like most organisms I learned to adapt. I did two things. I learned to speak the Neuro Typical Language. I fucking suck at it. I do a lot of tongue biting and angry grunting and nodding. Then just fall back into my usual way of being.

Or I kept my mouth shut. I avoid people, parties. I smile and wave. I’m soon perceived as weird. I developed social anxiety disorder and depression and now pop no frills Lexapro.

The irony: Be myself, I’m seen as weird. Avoid them, I’m seen as weird.

But I’m not weird.

I’m Neuro Exception.

Biologically my brain does not have time with such frivolous shit such as the weather, traffic, and the people you want to talk about behind their back.

And I’m smart enough to pick up the secret. All this frivolous, meaningless talk is just a ruse to deflect me from seeing that You don’t want to talk about your Neuro Typical self for some reason while I have no problem talking about myself.

What do you have to hide?

What are you scared of?

Maybe you are just as weird as me?

Or just boring?

 

Since vaccines veganism, homosexuality, liberalism, and civil disobedience has increased

Ran into this article from NPR today about autism and vaccines:

Unfounded Autism Fears Are Fueling Minnesota’s Measles Outbreak

For the record my position on autism and vaccines:

I have found no reason to believe that vaccines causes autism based on all the studies done in the past and the ones that are still being done today.

But children are being loaded with so many vaccines!

Yes, they are. And I think they should be spaced out. I feel bad that my kids had to go through so many shots and they ran the risk getting sick due to said shots. But they didn’t.

You daughter has ASD. She got autism through vaccines.

No. I don’t believe that. Through DNA testing we have found abnormalities (lack of a better word) in my daughter leading us to believe that her autism is hereditary. My daughter received her autism from me (another blog post) or my wife most likely. And even if she didn’t. My son received almost the same amount of shots (7 year difference in age) and he doesn’t have autism.

Right now, there is no universal agreement on the cause of autism. But there is an universal agreement on what DOESN’T cause it. Studies funded mostly through government are still going on to find the answer. Me? I think it’s genetic/hereditery.

Since vaccines, autism has increased in the population.

Since vaccines you could say that veganism, homosexuality, liberalism, and civil disobedience has increased. Seriously it’s the law of averages. The population increases and so does it’s factors. More people are born and more people with autism are going to be born.

What about Dr. Andrew Wakefield and what he found in his study? He has Dr. in front of his name.

Seriously? Did you read the link? Why are people still bringing up this guy?

Many celebrities stand by the statement that vaccines cause autism. Jenny McCarthy! Even our current President. Um, Trump. Jenny McCarthy has been in Playboy, had her own sit-com that had been called by critics the funniest show since Lucy, and she has large breasts; large breast equal large brain. And President Chump, er, Trump knows a lot about autism. He can imitate stims! He is the sort of richest man in the world, he knows a lot about marriage, knows ratings, and how to get away with raping 13 year old girl with friends.

That is all true and makes for a strong case for their authority on autism. But one should not fall for the sales man of a cause. One should focus on the medical findings and listen to what their practitioners have to say about the issues. You wouldn’t go to those same people if you had cancer would you?

The government has created autism and slipped it into the vaccines to dumb down American citizens and…

Okay. The only one that is dumbing down anyone is themselves at this point. Go do your research. Read articles, pick up a book, volunteer your time, or make an autistic friend. Pretend it’s 1962 and you can’t catch skin darkening disease from a black man because he drank from the white water fountain.

I believe autism has been around a long, long time. Most likely many of the most brilliant minds in history had autism in one form (autism, ASD, Asperger’s) or another but human education/science just wasn’t there yet to categorize/recognize it. We humans can be slow on the ball.

Of course when I read these article what twists my nuts is how these individuals on the far right, and I know it’s the far right, pushes how humans with autism are nor NORMAL. My gut reaction is:

FUCK YOU!

Then my 2nd reaction is:

Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?

These people, the vaccine people, don’t want government to control what goes into children just like they don’t want the government to take their guns away. They don’t want to be control by their government. I get it. Neither do I. But they seem to take it to the level of fiction, a level of insanity to the point where the government is in control. I should know. I write fiction.

Why they need autism to scare the parents, I have no idea. It’s not a scary thing to have. Sure, each spot on the spectrum is hard on the parents and the person inside the body, but there is nothing EVIL or DAMNING about it. Nothing that we should risk our children’s life to measles or some other long dead disease from the middle ages.

The only vaccine for autism should be for the negative aspects of it not to eradicate it. Many wonderful things come from autism. I often have the silly thought that maybe it’s the next step in mental evolution if we can just get the crappy parts out of the way.

They scariest, the worst thing about autism, is facing the uneducated person in the world. The prejudice, the ignorance, the intolerance, the laughter, the mocking, the superiority, and the tisk tisk tisk, isn’t that a shame.

If they can find a vaccine for those people that would be swell.

Little accomplishments help break the long depression

That horrible man we shall call a dentist stuck his needles in my gums and tongue to numb me before he pulled out my tooth. Would you believe he used a Q-tip with some minty stuff to pre-numb me in order for me not to feel the needles? Good gravy. I don’t remember those needles feeling like electric shock in my mouth. Five or more different spots! I handled it well. Called him a son of a bitch and rinsed out my mouth.

The tooth yanking was cake. I think the kid who assisted and held Mr. Thirsty was just out of Mr. Dentist School. 1, 2, 3. All done. I felt no pain but was annoyed of how he stretched out my mouth like I was in some absurd porn trying to fit five cocks inside, you know.

From sitting down to pulling out it took 20 minutes.

The next four hours at home were rough. I’m biting on gauze to stop the bleeding. Side of the face so numb I could bite my tongue off and not even know it. I got my daughter with me who I just picked up off the bus. My father-in-law and son are with me and so are ABA therapist and my daughter’s case specialist. All these people around and I’m in the next room suddenly with the chills, hungry (I hadn’t eaten in 6 hours), and mad drooling with bloody soaked that threatens to choke me if I fall asleep. I’m feeling useless.

My son, who knew this morning about the dentist, interacts with me now having no idea what’s wrong.

Here’s the catch. I’m the guy who takes care of everyone. My wife will have to take charge when she gets home from work. (don’t ask about my father-in-law) By now I should be picking up my wife, making sure my son does his home work, and then making dinner. Earlier I cheated with my daughter’s snack and gave her cereal instead of cutting her up fruit.

Don’t get my wife wrong. She wants and did take care of me and the kids when she came home. But it was hard for her. I had to talk her through it. We’re two different people from two different lives. Tomorrow will be back to normal.

But before that I finished revising and sent out that story to that mag and also sent out two other stories. So that’s 3 markets out. And I received 1 rejection today.

Submitting to magazines got me thinking about what I wrote about yesterday about groups and how I never stick with just one. In my career I’ve been accepted by various kinds of markets.

Strikingly different.

And strikingly scarce.

I lot of what I write doesn’t fit in with a market, with the market’s group. And that’s fine. I don’t want to speak to people who don’t want to listen to me.

But to the ones that do buy what I write, the feeling is awesome.

So the point I’m tying to make?

Don’t worry about rejection.

And write short stories. Even if you are writing a novel. Novels take time but short stories don’t. While you’re doing your big project you can do many short stories and, considering your goals, you can make some scratch or find exposure.

Plus, you can piss off your friends in your writer’s group who are still spending years working their novels going nowhere. Little accomplishments help break the long depression. Also, what you learn from writing the short stories will go into the craft of writing your novel. You can’t lose.