Wax on Wax off – the Lo-Lo down

wax

My very first concert was the New Kids on the Block. I was totally into them. I had the shirts, cups, the dolls, and pretty much everything else.

I remember I went away for a week with friends and my grandparents were in Vegas. When they came back they said, “While we were in Vegas we got the NKB’s to sign an autograph for you!”

Now. We all know they simply went to a store and picked up an autographed cup. But as a kid I totally bought it. My grandmother lied, to my face, down to the clothes they were wearing. I then ran to school and told everyone, ignoring those with obvious knowledge of my “story”. They were just haters!

It was one of the most exciting things of that year. I remember being the coolest kid ever for a total of one day when the sorry kids that believed me began asking me questions about it, I’d roll my eyes and shrug like it was my secret to keep and the NKB’s might be at my party next week too but you know…they could get busy cause they’re famous.

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You might think how awful it was for my grandparents to lie to me, but I totally think it rocks.

It’s the spice of life, kids. It’s Santa on a Mid-May Wednesday.

People make up stuff or color it in all the time. Sometimes stretching the truth is fun.

Don’t think so?

Well then stop watching TV, or reading books. What many entertainers do is take a real happenstance and stretch it. Yup. Go read some blogs, “Well that scene actually happened to me…only, it wasn’t with flying elephants.”

I recently got blogged into “Why I write” by the wonderful and talented Christina Rozelle

It’s been explained pretty accurately by others already. I’m a thinker, a ponderer, always have been.

But since most every “why I write” reason has been covered, instead, I thought I’d make mine about “Why I continue to write”.

This is important for me because I’ve given up a few times. Yup. Or had GIGANTIC gaps in between.

If you think I haven’t gotten nasty rejection letters, or reviews of my work, and then packed in my quill and said what’s done-is-done about a million times, then, put on a strait-jacket, my friend, because it’s getting a little loony in here.

Some things I’ve posted about writing:

“A writer has to mitigate the doubt dumped daily on their heads.”

“Of course failure is an option…I’m a writer!”

And

Writing is a vanity that can only be afforded by being damned good.”

More times than not I’m not: “damned good”, even perhaps, I have been: “peculiarly bad”. There are only a few beats on that path to writerdom that make me smile and say, “Ah, yes. Now this part I liked.”

I have to keep a barf bag handy for occasions where I read my old works. “What was I thinking!” bursts from my lips like I have self-review turrets.

I’m my worst critic.

What bothers me is the highs and lows, and how I sometimes let my writing achievements or lack-there-of affect my everyday life. I want to slap myself when it happens because it’s completely useless to stress about things that are out of my control.

Like when Elsa had those magical ice-shooting powers. (I have a toddler) The more they tried to “control” it, the more she exploded with icicles from her fingies.

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The “accolade” aspect is unhelpful to us, because the art is supposed to be where I’m at already and not the other way around. It shouldn’t be a destination, but part of my journey that I scribble down along the way. Like some road poet noting characters only because they were people he wanted to remember rather than, oh this is gonna be the best seller of the century!

*uses ice magic against said thoughts*

You may not feel like writing is anything more than craft, but I aim to set a mood with my words, and this causes a lot of problems for the “craft” part. When I see wood and a hammer in my head, my word-mood turns carpenter, which might make things a bit…wooden. (sorry bad joke)

I want my prose to drop the reader from their perch straight into the storm that is my brain cells. I want them to try to beat me up after reading, or shake my hand, or pat my back whilst beating me up, or something along those lines because great art does that to me.

I usually throw a book with a great ending across the room.

Or I write a ravenous review of how I loved it but but but but, please fix me and write another!

As far as my own work, I don’t want them to say, “Nice structure.”

Pfft. Structure…? STRUCTURE! BAH! “Mittens are nice!” (Friends reference there for those of you…never mind)

I don’t want to set art up on the podium for a gold medal and then try to achieve that.

I’m not the only one who follows this logic either. Even going for gold can be a bit deceptive.

Recently, I watched gold medalist Gabriel Douglas’ documentary/reenactment of her life on Netflix. If you get the chance, see it.

Gymnastics is the epitome of discipline. There’s no one sport that forces body parts so intricately and demandingly. Your core has to be solid. You have to be able to run and lift. You yoga to remain elastic, but also stay hard as a rock. Then you have to be mentally stable, ready to compete in that moment at your peak—no full hour long game of chance or team sports going on here.

AND you also have to do all of this by the Olympic clock. You outgrow it after that clock stops ticking. Tick tock tick tock, little gymnasts all over the country are watching the calender years in advance. In some countries there are toddlers being primed. (weird countries but…)

Are you starting to feel like writing is easy compared? Good. You should.

In the documentary her coach said something epic about one of her skills. It was on the bars where she was having trouble and he said, “You are not releasing the bar and grabbing another. You are the bar. You are the skill.”

And that is so true.

I know this is a Miyagi moment, wax on-wax off. But in sports, psychology is HUGELY important.
And guess what? Writing is the same, yo.

miyagi2

When I competed as an equestrian, and I plan on it again, I always knew that I brought everything from my life to that point with me into the ring. In that ride, that certain movement represented my state of mind, my training, my past, and dictated my future.

The test movement was me. It was not some outside thing because I’d done it enough times correctly to know I had it in here. (taps chest) Finding it was the secret.

The test asked me questions. That was its job. Was I calm? Was I fierce? Was I nervous? Was I second guessing? Was I ready?

I was.
It was.
We were.

Art is exactly like this. Your art is you. It is not simply a distant thing floating on a tether,

YOU ALREADY HAVE IT INSIDE.

Wait.

That’s kind of important.

Say it with me.

MY ART IS ALREADY INSIDE OF ME.

Down side time.

When I shred the dialogue, and when I have a para missing in rhythm, the story, characterization, descriptive….. It’s painful. Because it’s me. Because it’s my past in there, my today on those certain days. And, it dictates my future. Not specifically, no, but it’s definitely a part of the fabric of my forward momentum in life.

Big stuff.

Scary stuff.

So why continue to write?

Because there’s good news too!

Gabby’s coach also said “Gymnastics is music”.

I wrote this almost exactly into my entire novel Gods of Anthem. The idea that life is an orchestra. You will see it spread out through an entire story, but it’s there, hidden, and the idea is a good one, I think.

Gymnastics is rhythm and flow with a final crescendo.

This is what art is to me, and why I continue to do it. Because the melody is here inside of me, and, though I make mistakes, it keeps flowing and wanting to be given shape.

My words, the novel, it has rhythm, not always accurate, but I see it there, each one I do gets better, flows more, peaks in the right spots.

But I’ve still got so many more songs to give. So much more chemistry to create.

So much more art to find.

I’m just writing until I reach the crescendo, friends.

L

Unfortunately we have to decline your story “Dark and Dreary”… !!!!!My release is out!!!!!

One of my first in depth declinations, I was told that my story was depressing and why would I think they’d want to publish that type of thing in their magazine?

This press is known for dark stories, but I suppose I had gone beyond dark and horror into the realm of sad.

But sad stories need love too!

The truth was I’d received about 20 rejections for “Vile” and a few others after my very first submission “Ever-after” was accepted right away…

Thinking it was all easy street after, euphoric, I told my family and friends, since this was the first piece outside of a competition to be published but then only later to be really REALLY unable to land much of anything else for a long-long while.

Sniff sniff.

Then came “Snowed”, my first story in _UNHINGED_ . I wrote it and posted it in a small hothouse where we all reviewed eachother’s work and submitted. A writer on there, who I respected but who also hadn’t much to say about my stories, read this one and commented along the lines of “I couldn’t stop reading. I had to know what happened!”

Being my first short story over 5000 words and hearing that someone “couldn’t stop reading” I suddenly knew what was more important than denials and lectures about depression, this exactly: People have to not want to stop reading.

SOOOOoooo you are thinking.. I submitted it and got right in?

And you would be right! Jussstt kidding.

I tried thriller since it’s a mix of horror/thriller and they decided thriller didn’t quite fit their magazine but the guy said to me “Hey btw, we all read it here and were on the edge of our seats.”

Again. That’s important. And even then I knew it. I knew that stringing a reader along would be far more important than publications even if I felt like my skin was pealing back a bit at the rawness of it all.

Though it still stung, I packed my baby away and have been editing the story off and on for about five years…until this debut that is ;)D

Readers.

Readers are most important.

AND SO (drum roll please)

..with the release of my very first self-publication (a very special shout out to the people that helped below) (raises-glass) here is to the readers!

May we put them on the edge of their seats forever!

GET IT HERE FOR FREE >>>> UNHINGED NEW RELEASE

A very special thanks to a few people who helped make this possible!

Mike Coombes for helping me get started on my shorts and believing in me back in our hothouse days where I wrote most of these!

Alianne Donnelly for the cover and moral support of yet another side project!

Kimberly Grenfell for some super ninja edits!

J Matthew McKern for ARC and my first five stars!

And Jim Adams for a review I will NEVER forget that kicked me off with inspiration and a goal to make the next one even better!

Blank Document Braveheart > Pen to page. Think of the children.

braveheart-3

“It is our wits that make us men.” Braveheart

I was supposed to get on here and rant about characterizations, or even tell one of my stories since I have a good one.. but.

I’m in one of those moods again.

When I started this whole gig I didn’t call myself a writer. Even after being published the few times, I only dabbled. The label “Author” brings to mind the likes of Stephen King and not yours truly so I stuck with mumbling, “I write sometimes, yeah, sorta, no big deal.” And I still do.

Often times, I look in the mirror and ask myself questions. What? I get the best advice from that chatterbox on the other side. She is smarmy but talks long enough that eventually she says something of value.

My question: Why do I do this?

If I am a barely there writerish person who is not serious about it all then why put the pen to pad?

My mirror gal sat up a little straighter, dipped her quill a few times and said, Why not?

Now don’t get all soft on me. I’m not one of those people who gets all emotional about my writing (sniff). But if I were… Here is what I would say.

(Blurry story time with music)

The younger Logan walks into a bar. She spots a muscular mail man across the room.. Wait, nope, that’s the other blog. (backspace backspace backspace) Ok this Logan, the younger version who’s penned a few stories. She doesn’t think much of them, but her drunken Aunt raves about her talent and offers to pose for her cover.

Let’s look at the list so far: One slasher story, one guy murdering prostitutes after having them pretend to be his dead wife, and oh yes, the druggies who abducted a little girl, and the druggies who are stuck in a cabin, a few other stories that are even weirder, more druggies. (titters and shoves old pages beneath her keyboard)

She’d posted one of these onto an old site Logan prowled in her early writing debut. Checked back every once in a while for reviews… or that is to say every three seconds until comments popped up.

DING! She got one on the hook! Hurrah and the comments go:
“Hey there, Logan. Loved this, so interesting blah blah blah”

Her reply: “Thanks! Hermperderb I’m so flattered, omgerd.”

And then he said this: “Its three am here in Bagdad…”

___

And then, right then, it dawned on me—not at all. I answered back some kind of “ok thanks” and moved on never knowing how that one review planted a little seed in my barely writerish mind.

Over the years I’ve spoken about this art to people from all over the world, even having to use a translator a few times. And it all didn’t hit me until recently.

When I put a story onto the page, and it goes from here (taps my head) and through my hands onto the keyboard, it fills up the empty space on that little blinky white page, and it floats away from me into the universe.

It looks so ordinary. I look so ordinary. Just me and my fingers tapping away like a fat little pigeon (Mama from the train reference there).

And it’s alive.

“Every man dies, not every man truly lives.” Braveheart

It stretches its little legs and runs. Sometimes a little closer to home than I’d like but no matter the story makes its own way in the world.

So this dude overseas, tired, hungry, maybe even in a bad mood and for one moment, just one single teeny bit of time, maybe just maybe, I could give him an escape. My story lit his place on the other side of the planet. Glowing like a beacon, Read me!

What if I could make him smile or cheer on my hero? What if I could make him intrigued so that his stress and cares melted.. even for a while, away.

What about a gal fresh off a divorce, funeral, tax appointment right around my block? What if one of my jokes made her giggle at my silly character or shake her head ruefully at their argument? What about the guy who had stroke or put his dog to sleep? What if he clicked on my story next and thought my character had such an uplifting outlook, a fighting spirit, that against all odds he or she could really put it to this thing called life and so, so could he.

I found out my words were like a handshake. They stretched like a long arm across the continent, the seas, and firmly pressed into the palms of a perfect stranger.

They said “How you doin?” Ok for real though some of our stories are more like twerking in their kitchen, but either way it’s you. YOU! Not here. THERE! And them. For a while. That reader is all yours.

If you reach them in the sick ward, in the throes of anxiety, depression, joy, exhaustion, hyper, young, old, white, black, green, and pink.

You. Are. Part. of their world. For a short time…

AND…

That’s not just writing folks.

That’s freaking Braveheart.

L

If you want to have “the time of your life” watch Dirty Dancing… Also avoid becoming a writer

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Suuuuuuuure, B

Writing is fun! For like FIVE minutes. But after some time on a novel, like real time and not a monthish period of excited word vomit where you splurge your every thought into 200 pages like you have the flu – you suddenly see the sinister black lining.

Sometimes it makes you so high you can write a million pages and then jog five miles in glee singing “Weeeee are the champions my freee – eeends!”. While other lower moments you wanna take that same five mile jog off a quarter mile cliff.

You are told to write with your heart and so you do. Like an idiot. THEN someone comes along and says you need surgery cause your heart is really really lame, boring, it sucks, what a floppy heart. (Will somebody PLEASE get me a thesaurus)

So we come to lesson number one of my made up lessons that I made up and are also mine: People are full of crap.

Yup.

Especially writers.

Pure unadulterated crap. Cuuuurrraaaaap.

Your friends and their attempts to cheer you? Crap. Your family and their flip little comments “Gee hun, that’s nice.” having no clue how much time you spent on an idea they just brushed off to tell you about this one time at band camp when they thought about writing… Like I said… Crap. Bookfacers? Crap. That guy at the store who you accidentally told you were an author to who spent five minutes of your life explaining his book and how he is going to write it “someday”. TOTAL CRAP!

Don’t get me started on editors who make you suddenly act like the staff holding Gandolf “You shall not pass!”. They give you “rules” about how to start a book, cut it back, add to it, and is this a “dream sequence”???? So last year! You can’t use prose like that! You need to stop trying to be so colorful. Stop being so blunt, blah blah blah, are you listening to me, Logan? Why do you have that look on your face? Is that— Is THAT A GUN!

And what is WITH this “muse thing”? You see everyone running around showing “muse” pictures. Little sexy muse guys and gals all dolled up, some with little quotes, “Hey there sexy girl. Write me a story and I’ll strip.” Or maybe that was just Sidda?
Anyway, CRAP!

Giving ideas to “jog” the muse as if he/she were Best in Show (Ha! John I stole that from ya.) When in reality YOUR situation is a bit closer to the Predator and YOUR muse slathers mud across their body Schwarzenegger style to stay away from you… With that same lovely stilted dialogue.

“But Logan, life is like a box of chocolates!”

No it ain’t you made up voice from one of my made up fans. It’s a box of dynamite. Add in some bits of cyanide for a slow death… but the poison tastes like chocolate. (nods)

Look. You wanna talk Tom Hanks? Fine.

Think less about Forest Gump and his magic shooo-oooeees and think more about Cast Away.

Yeah, uh huh. YOU are on an Island. No matter HOW much help you think you are getting YOU have to write, fix, make, create, be sick, feel good, cry, bleed, through this BY YOURself.

You WILL think you are losing your mind in the first few months. You WILL actually lose it by a year. And you will not even know you have lost a thing by three.
You WILL befriend inanimate objects like Tom. Talk to yourself, use prose in and out of dialogue, and become “Wordy” (thanks Sunniva;))

You WILL lose faith in your “friend” and throw Wilson into the ocean.

“Willllllllllllsooooooooooon! Willllllllllllsoooooooooooon!” I still tear up every time.

Then you will get him back and say you are sorry and never ever piss him off again. Ever. (Looks lovingly at her own beach ball. What? They were out of soccer stuff, it’s seasonal…)

Look. (Where is Alianne at? I mean I’ve used “look” like twice in a paragraph!) Look<<< (three!).

This marriage between you and your story is less Romeo and Juliet… Wait… No… It is EXACTLY that. Everyone dies at the end…

For you young ones needing a contemporary setting: Sexy young couple goes out, she shaves her legs, he gives her the good covered parking spots. Voila: Love.

Marriage ensues. But when the honeymoon is over, she is hairy with a dirty car, and he is paunchy because he parks in the closest spot he can find, “Shut up, Marge! It will fit!”. They argue over fish stick dinners and watch Jeopardy, “Hank! How do you ALWAYS guess these? I mean, really? Bengal Tigers with only the S on there? Come on!”

For all of the pamphlets on faceplanet that say “Writing is work” you’ll find exactly as many that say “Writing should be easy”. (Crap!)

Art is easy? Yeah, mmmm hmmm, and I’m a natural blond.
Get off your rocker writerdome. It’s a tough racket and you better stiff that lip and nose that grindstone or whatever other euphemisms I can mess up because this ain’t your grandmother’s book club!

And what IS the first rule of book club?
I can’t hear you!
What is the first rule of book club!!!!!!

We don’t talk about book club unless it is to say that we are foofy artists who don’t really do any work (wink wink).

The writer of today looks a lot less like the olden times, quill in hand and ruffled sleeves coming out of a felt jacket. He/she better be a Rambo freaking Picasso, wearing Shakespeare’s hat and quoting Stephen King characters like a bad case of terrets, and if you don’t write your heart out to the point that your family calls the priest for an exorcism (the old one not these lame copies) you ain’t got what it takes!

If you think it’s all bunnies and Zen bubbles… Hit the road jack… with one headlight.

L

Sum of me pals

http://john-l-monk.com/

http://aliannedonnelly.com/blog/

http://www.sunnivadee.com/

http://siddaleerain.com/

Why no abs, Logan?

kurt

Dear B,

It has come to my attention that my non-ab sharing, liking, and profile pic might need some splainin’. Nothing to be found on my pages that could be labeled as “chiseled”, not even a decent flashing of man boobs. I assure you it is nothing so specific as aversion.

I’ve decided to address this lack of dress that has littered our fair facebook, as well as other organized spamming erm, communal sites of the various kinds.

Rather than take it head on, (or is it stomach?) and give specific reasons, or personal feelings behind the “Why” in a list especially because most of us emotionally impaired people don’t really do that anyway, I will instead try and avoid any pejorative connotations or slip ups that might accidentally connect to a specific genre and offend delicate sense and sensibilities (gasp).

“So, a story then?” you ask. Well, why stray from my usual way of solving my inner-feeling riddles?

I may never be famous, my dearest B, but think of all of the money I save in Therapy!

Firstly, before I begin:

‘Logan, is there anything wrong with abs?’ Absolutely not!
‘Logan, do you have trouble with your own sexuality?’ Please.
‘Logan ___’

No more questions, boys and girls. Come, let us travel back in time, to the year, well let’s skip the exact date shall we? No, no, put away your calculator. Ahem. I will wait.

Once upon a time…

A young Logan sits lonely on a mid-summer’s day, still donned with her original and more easily miss-said and misspelled moniker using a magnifying glass to burn what little there is of a Ken dolls bump for privates.

“Original name!” someone calls, and she looks up to see the other cheerleaders skipping by.

Was it time already? Yes, yes it was!

Gathering up her book bag, she sighs, kicks Ken into the gutter where that scum weasel belongs, tightens her pony tail at the root, and dusts off her cheer skirt, shirt wrinkled and un-tucked, to gallop along after the rest of the girls. All of them, of course, still neat and clean. No icky plastic pieces of Ken’s genitalia stuck under their shoes, no, sir.

Much time passed or at least when you are young it feels that way, and Original Name sat patiently during every football game, watching, waiting for the time when she too would be twitterpated by the boys in pads and helmets. When that didn’t happen she cheered loudly during half time, all the while scanning the crowd hopeful that someone would catch her eye, but, alas, still nothing. Every other girl was interested in boys by this age, and even some of them already proficient at flirting what with years of fake boyfriend girlfriend drama under their belt. Was something wrong with her? Well, she was a teenager… What do you think?

(everyone say awwww)

She had just given up when all of a sudden! Onto the screen slides this man-boy crooning sounds of total rebellion.

Here is Original Name, standing in the gym, with the tv blaring music videos a la MTV, and there in the tiny pre-hd screen are cheerleaders just like her, but they are jumping around differently than she does, with abandon you might even say. Pon her soul! They look wild, happy, free, and at the group’s middle— a band.

The lead singer looks up challengingly into the camera and sings.

Load up on guns —- and briiiing your friends
It’s fuuun to lose —– and tooooo pretend
She’s overboard —- and seeeeeelf- assured
Oh no, I know a diiiiirty worddddddddd
Hellooooo, hellooooo, hellooooo, heeeeeellllooooooo

Could this man-boy be singing to her?

And the rest is history.

You might have guessed it by now. That’s right, Nirvana. Kurt Cobain came onto the scene swiping my brain right out of my head and replacing it with a moody, thunderstruck wanna be rebel. He came in with his poetic lyrics and a zesty hate for life; suddenly it all made sense! A girl like me might have found her kindred fatalistic point of view, albeit with far too much optimism to follow him down the path of actual self-infliction, but totally of a mind to hear it on loop with a blossoming love of the wounded soul.

I never went fan girl, it was much deeper than that… Shut up! It was! (sulky teen face)

No matter how much money he made, he still had greasy hair and a sweater on, but as long as he wrote me songs about fish with feet, I was smitten.

Sorry…

That’s how I roll.

And B, I know what you are thinking. No this is not to say one or the other is mutually exclusive, but the ab blast 500 for me is an afterthought indeed.

So no beefcake for this little zombie, she is quite sufficient to moan, “Brainnnssssszzzzzz” into the night.

“All Apologies”

L

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