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The Art of the Start

NaNo Playlist Thing

^Behold the playlist.

I started! I started! I started writing The S.A.P.I.E.N. Complex! Eh, it’s a working title…maybe. Could go by another title, but it would be somewhat of a spoiler, and you know how I hate spoilers. ANYWAY…

Sometimes, you’ve just gotta be happy about the small things. Hey, I can’t finish the novel if I don’t start it. And it is a rough start. But it is also a rough draft. And, as Hemingway said, “The first draft of anything is…the s-word” …only, Hemingway didn’t have kids reading his blog. Hemingway didn’t have a blog, even, but I digress.

I am 3,000+ words into NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, for those who don’t know.) I am so hoping I don’t have to brush up my Russian accent!

I tra’el the weerld an’za se’wen seas….

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Parody Hour

You walk into a bar. But it’s not any old bar. It’s a karaoke bar. But it’s not any old karaoke bar. It’s a Par-a-do-ke Bar! What will you sing? Here is an option (can you guess the original?):

Sweet dreams are made of tea
Oolong, instant, Dar-Jee-Ling
Sencha, Grey (Earl), and the Ceylon tea
Everybody’s looking for Assam.

Karaoke not your sing (get it? Sing for SCENE? AHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHA!) Roll up to the bar and get a drink. Only they don’t have any. Instead, they serve desserts. But not any old desserts. GEEKY desserts. (Points you if you can guess the references.)

  • Beam Me Up, Butterscotchy! (ice cream)
  • Wrath of Pecan (ice cream)
  • Red Wedding Velvet Cake
  • Weeping Angel Food Cake
  • Black Widow Raspberry (pie)
  • I Love you/I Dough(nut)
  • Pudding

But you’re watching your weight, so you skip the desserts, and ask where the bathroom is. You see this and leave: CLICK BAIT

__

This random Monday post was brought to you by late Sunday night desperation. Thank you.

Keep your pen on the page,
Beth

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Freebie Friday: The Moon Was Full and Pink

The moon was full and pink

She’d had too much to drink

They say the moon ’tis made of cheese

Listen close: it’s made of these:

Promises you’ll never keep

Scars that run too long, too deep

The witch’s laugh, her sprightly cackle

A roving spade, a wormy apple

The rotting stench of rancid pears

Think I’m done? I’m almost there!

The moon is round, the moon is full

Think too hard, you’re back in school

The moon was full, the moon was red

The stars above? Long since…dead

I wish I might, I wish I may

Always have the final say

But pinkish moons that’re full are silly

Don’t believe me? Ask my cousin Billy

And now you may have come to think:

‘Twas Beth alone who had the drink.

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The Day I Bought Steampunky Gloves

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So, I found an excuse to own pleather gloves that stink like the real thing. Why? Because I had this wonderful idea of being a writer.

Let me back up: I had the wonderful idea of what defined a real writer. Maybe. Read on.

Jo March from Little Women had a hat she wore when she was writing. Depending on what angle it was at, her family would know what type of writerly mood she was in (my word, no hers, obvs) and how well (or poorly) the writing was going. Said I to myself, “Now, that would maybe motivate me, get me in the right, serious frame of mind to be a real writer.”

If you don’t know me from Bob, you might not know how devastatingly insecure I can be. My reasoning was that if I dressed a certain way, maybe the words would come quicker…and better. But props are props. It’s all in the mind. The psyche. The attitude and approach I take with my work.

Cheap tricks can become not-so-cheap. First it’s gloves (which I can’t type in to save Dickens, I’m sorry.) Next it’s a tricorn hat that looks ridiculous atop my messy ‘do. What after that? Hmm? A trench coat for mysteries? A bouquet of realer-than-real-life (faux) blood-red roses? Did you know that on Valentine’s Day, some poor suckers pay an excess of $50 for half a doz of these (well, real) pollen-infested plants that are just going to die after turning their vase water a sickly (and stinky) green? But I digress.

The point is…it’s good to have your head in the game. But some things become crutches or excuses not to write. “Oh, the gloves don’t allow me to make actual physical contact with the keyboard. Oh well. Guess I’ll go watch Elementary.” Or “The hat didn’t inspire me. I’m stuck and out ten bucks. And now I’m frustrated (and poor), so I guess I’ll go watch Elementary.”

Writers write. We flounder. We flourish. We have seasons. But we always jump back into the game, gloves or no.

Just some random rambling thoughts for you.

Keep your pen on the page,
Beth

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Friday Freebie: Coffee Date

A belated gift to your for National Coffee Day (this past Tuesday.) Behold: The Coffee Date…

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            When he told her he loved her, she asked him why. They’d been sitting at the same sticky counter of the same dingy café for an hour, tops, and the words had been somewhat of a shock to her system.

She studied him when he didn’t answer.

The man’s hair was black, slick. He smelled of Old Spice aftershave and some off-brand deodorant. His tie dangled around his neck, and his collar was unbuttoned.

Maggie had stopped sipping her latte for this slovenly man; she needed an answer. Time, after all, wasn’t free—and neither was this decaf, non-fat vanilla grande with extra foam. “Why do you love me?” she repeated.

He gave her a look that said, “You’re kidding me, right?” But his tone was civil when he replied. “Work with me here. We come to this joint every day, yes?”

“Yes,” Maggie agreed. What was he getting at? “We do come here every day, goodness knows why.” She gave a meaningful look around the café, her nosed turned up.

He smiled and nodded his agreement of her assessment. “And we both order the same decaf, non-fat vanilla grande latte with the extra foam on top, right?”

“Right.”

He chuckled, a deep, rich sound that made her hopes sore up to dangerous heights. “So when I said ‘I love you,’ did you really think I was talking to you?”

Reality snatched at Anticipation’s tail, holding it earthbound. Blinking hard, Maggie flipped over her copper hair, forming a veil between them. She did not want him to see her expression. On the outside she was angry. On the inside, though, she was raging. Darn tears spoil everything.

He leaned over and whispered through the confessional screen of hair, his breath reeking of coffee and vanilla. “I said I love the food. It’s to die for, isn’t it?”

Maggie scoffed. What had she expected? A proposal? Marriage? A Family? Ridiculous! Finally, after all these weeks, she worked up her nerve and asked him the question that had been burning on her lips: “Who are you? We’ve never met, right?”

A pause. He laughed, one loud blast of sound: “Ha!”

The curtain of hair between them parted. “What?”

“Nothing. It’s just…when you said that, you reminded me of someone.”

Maggie’s eyebrows shot up into her bangs. “Who?”

“That’s the thing,” the man said with a frown. “I don’t remember.”

Paging Dr. Foor. Dr. Foor to radiology.” It was a cold, feminine voice blasting out through speakers somewhere in the room.

The two looked at each other. They looked around for the speakers, but couldn’t find them.

“Well, this was fun,” said Maggie, rubbing her forehead. “Tell me you don’t love me again some time.”

“It was a pleasure for me, too, miss.”

Dr. Foor from radiology shook his head. He’d been standing there, observing the odd exchange, pity welling in his eyes. “They must’ve really loved each other, once upon a time.” He turned to his patients. “Come on, Mr. and Mrs. Miller; time for your CAT Scan.”

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From the Weekend

This past weekend was full of trying to keep up with writing assignments for a free online class (there is no grading/credits on this one.) In the (approximate) words of my Critique Circle friend Sassy: if this welcome week is supposed to be fun and relaxed, I’ll be dead by the end of the actual course.

The creative writing course runs for eight weeks, so it’ll run into NaNoWriMo. Uh-oh. We’ll see if I can pull this thing off.

But back to the weekend.

I have another writing project stewing in my brain. Because ninety-three weren’t enough. It’s dystopian. Yes, I know that fad’s on the way out. But I don’t write to the fads 🙂 All’s well.

Did I mention that THIAG has been subbed? No? Well, now you’ve been informed. That makes 11+ pieces out in the publishing world, waiting for answers.

That’s all-ish. Have a great week. I’ll maybe see you Friday (my eyes are EVERYWHERE), but until then…

Keep your pen on the page,
Beth

P.S.

For your viewing pleasure:

A little old man singing about whipping mayonnaise. <–That’s a clicky, just fyi. Seriously, who doesn’t love to watch a 98-year-old gentleman get the words wrong to a pop song?

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A Freebie Friday = Random Writing

Unedited/uncensored writing taken from writing group over a week ago. Rough. Very rough. You have been warned.

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He couldn’t decided between the white and the black.

One shirt screamed “Hipster! Goth! Beatnik!”

While the other, also a button-up, said “Formal! Respectable! Promotion!”

Henri wished the clothes on the rack would stop talking to him. It was making it hard to think.

He finally decided to buy them both. He took them home, showered, and started to get into his white shirt.

“Sweat stains!” said the black shirt. “You will sweat right through that, and Angelique will be disgusted.”

Angelique was his date that night. The black shirt had a point, so he started to put it on.

“Hot! Too hot! Black absorbs heat, white reflects it. Pick me!”

The shirt also made a valid point.

“You guys,” said Henri. “My date is in twenty minutes. You gotta be quiet and let me think.”

* * *

Angelique walked into the restaurant ten minutes late. She spied Henri across the room. He was being handcuffed. And he was naked.

“What the heck?” she asked. “Why are you naked?”

“Well,” Henri replied, “I couldn’t decided on the black or the white. And then my pants went at it. I figured nude was the best, fairest option.”

Angelique left. Her boyfriend was insane.

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Free Friday Read (Because I Felt Like It)

(This was written in last week’s writing group. We were all given the same opening line and were told to write the rest of the story until time was up. The following came from goodness knows where.)

Lace ties unraveled from her hair.

Rapunzel had been living a lie. Sure, she was stuck in that tall tower with the witch as her warden, and there really was a real prince who visited her every weekday when the witch was out. The lie? The lie was…complicated.

Her hair, her glorious golden locks, were full of lice.

Her Prince Charming, who climbed the long tresses hadn’t noticed…yet. Perhaps he figured that his raging case of itchy scalp was the fault of his faithful companion, a man named Philoneus, who was cursed to walk on all fours for the rest of his days, unless he found someone to love him just as he was–but that’s a different story for a different day.

Rapunzel had tried everything to get rid of the lice: shampoos, tea tree oil, hexes. But the lice were still driving her bonkers.

It came down to this: would she do what needed to be done to save her sanity and end the wretched itching? Or would she keep her true love?

“Sanity before hu-MAN-ity.” She lifted her straight razor and went to work on her hair. “Goodbye, Prince Charming, never to climb my locks again. Farewell.” The blade snicked across her scalp, golden waves tumbling.

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Say Something Funny, Beth

O_O

^ How I felt inside every time a certain relative asked me to “Say something funny, Beth.” Apparently, as a child, I was a comedian. NOT. Did you know that it’s hard to be funny, I mean LAUGH OUT LOUD funny under pressure when you’re ten and only know booger and knock-knock jokes? And puns. Oh, the puns! But that was the request. At night. When I was trying to sleep. Oy vey.

And now as I sit typing this post with no general direction in mind, I wander off the path of humor and look at the flip side of the coin: …silliness. You thought I was going to say something dark and gloomy, didn’t you? I almost did. I deleted it. It’s easy to be silly. ANYONE can be silly. It takes talent, finesse, perhaps even pain to make someone humorous. It has been said that most comedians suffer a great deal in some form or other (okay, there’s the darkness.) It also said that comedies are harder to pull off than dramas, but I digress.

I guess I’m just writing this to say that kindness is so important. “Be kinder than is even necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” Funny people may be funny to alleviate the suffering in others, because they’ve been there and don’t want others to have to experience it. Thank them. Be kind and generous to them. Be kind and generous to everyone, but the next time someone cracks a joke at their own expense, look deeper.

I liked the quote from the new live action Cinderella movie: “Have courage and be kind.” I can think of nothing better to end this random, wandering post with.

Keep your pen on the page,
Beth

P.S. Happy Labor Day! I hope you’re enjoying a long weekend. If you’re working, thank you 🙂

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The First Hour of My Wednesday (9/2/15)

(Written in writing group today. The prompt was to write, in detail, about the first hour of your day. I had maybe eight minutes to write the following by hand.)

8:00 AM – Eyes open. “Ugh. I am not doing this. Can I sleep longer? Hey, I only got four hours. I think I can sleep in.” Beth gets up, sets alarm for 8:30. She enters a state of semi-drowsiness. The alarm goes off. “Ugh. Fifteen more minutes? Yeah, fifteen more minutes.” She gets up and sets the alarm for 8:45.

At 8:40 she is still lying in bed, anticipating the hellish beeping sound (“Who makes alarm clocks so annoying? Couldn’t I be coaxed to wakefulness instead of being jolted by BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! It’s no wonder I keep breaking alarms.”) She gets up, makes her sluggish way to the water closet, greeting her tabby on the way. He looks nonchalant. He looks like he slept well. He must have. He slept part of the night on Beth’s pillow. Sleeping shouldn’t feel like yoga, but some of the positions the cat forces Beth to sleep in…

Groggy and zombie-ish, Beth takes care of certain–ahem–business. Goes back to her room–again, sluggishly–puts on clothes, body spray, etc. Sits at her computer–the chair is in shreds. Thanks, Cat.–and finds an email from Ruthie in her inbox. She smiles sleepily, answers the missive, and wishes oh so much that she were back in bed.