Here’s another song from my album

Yeah, yeah, I’m recycling some of the images from last time. My same excuse: no budget, time, or  equipment for a proper video.

The song, however, is short, fun, bouncy, and energetic. We almost didn’t record it because we thought it a bit silly, but it ended up being one of my favorites. Tony and I share songwriting credits on every tune, but I must give proper (and by that I mean informal, somehow) credit. Tony wrote the words and the music. I contributed to the overall arrangement and came up with my own guitar parts, but otherwise it’s Tony’s song.

Once again:

Tony Parisi on bass guitar and lead and backing vocals

Me on drums and guitars

Clicking that album cover icon to the right will take you to iTunes, and you can also access the iTunes and Amazon links under my Music tab up top.

May the seed of your loin be fruitful in the belly of your wildebeest.


Short-story writers… I need your advice

confused orangutan

Translation: Why do the research myself when I have you?

As I continue to plow through the third draft of my novel (still no bleeping title!), I’m also poking around the short stories on my hard drive to look for anything salvageable.

I have to do something to fill time once spent eating oreos and pop tarts. Severe calorie rationing forces us into tough decisions!

So anyway, I fished out a story I penned a few years ago called Gardening, which I briefly considered serializing here, but then I thought, “I haven’t experienced good old-fashioned rejection in a while and probably need to re-thicken my skin for when I start shopping my novel next year.” What makes Gardening marginally more publishable than my other shorts is its 4000-word length (versus the 10k-15K dead zone I usually write in).

Here’s where I need your help: I have no idea where to send it, because, as usual, it’s outside a definable genre. I’ll give you the elements. It’s an off-beat, bittersweet love story; it’s literary; and it’s Twilight Zone. Not one of those Twilight Zones with Martian invaders or monsters on airplane wings. One of those quiet, thought-provoking ones that would never get made today.

It is absolutely not paranormal romance. I’m not criticizing the genre at all, merely saying that this story will not appeal to that audience.

I believe it requires either a print or online fiction destination that considers off-beat, slightly supernatural women’s literary fiction.

Here’s a log line I made up for it about 11 seconds ago:

How much would you sacrifice for a chance to find your soulmate? Lonely divorcee Matt Marshall is about to walk through the doorway of a kitschy seaside tavern, unaware that very choice awaits him on the other side.

That’s the best I can do on short notice. Any ideas where I might submit?


I Wish I’d Written That #1

Jacques-Louis David "Patroclus"

“Patroclus” (1780) by Neoclassicism’s most revered painter, Jacques-Louis David

I scarcely need to ask: Have you ever come across a sentence or phrase so exquisitely capturing an idea or feeling that you were compelled to shout, “Why didn’t I write that!”

Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde might be popping into your head about now.

It happens to me all the time, but I then I forget because I’m a flake. Well, guess what. I’m going to keep track now.

Today’s entry belongs to art historian Hugh Honour and appears in his book Neo-Classicism, which was published in 1968 but not discovered and bought by me until two weeks ago at the Princeton Public Library’s used book section for $1.

Honour was talking about conventions so familiar to writers and artists that we master their use but no longer think about what they mean on a cultural or philosophical level.

He called such conventions “Furniture of the Mind.”

You have achieved total victory, Hugh Honour.*

*unless someone else thought of it first and I’m too much of a Philistine to realize that Honour was simply borrowing it.

Please share a thought or phrase below that made you go, “Why didn’t I think of that?”


Fat shaming

No, I said "fat" shaming, not "hat" sha... never mind.

No, I said “fat” shaming, not “hat” sha… never mind.

Don’t worry. I’m not getting on my soapbox twice in one night.

Of course, no one is entitled to fat-shame others, and I doubt it produces the allegedly desired effect of  weight loss in the recipient of the shaming.

Unless that recipient is me! That’s right. I’m fat shaming myself. I’m allowed to.

For the past several years my Sketchers have been holding up 200 pounds, or 91 kilograms, of dude. Though I am only of average height, I carry my weight well because I am solidly built. That said, 200 pounds is not great for my health. I didn’t get this way eating carrots.

I decided it was time to lose weight (for real this time). Unfortunately, my willpower is far from amazing, which is why I often diet down to about 195 pounds and then put it right back on.

Two weeks ago, when I started dieting again, I said, “I’m going to do a post about my weight loss goal. Fear of public embarrassment helped me hit the first and second draft deadlines for my novel, so maybe it will work for my diet.”

My Significant Other said, “Yeah. I wouldn’t do that if I were you. You’re far more disciplined as a writer than as an eater.”

The actual comment was probably closer to, “Don’t embarrass yourself, Chubsy Ubsy,” but I’m trying to make her look more supportive than she really is.

Anyway, the scale read 195 pounds this morning. My goal is 175.

I’m not setting a deadline because I have no idea how long it will take, and because I don’t need one. I will either continue to lose weight, or I will cave in to the lure of junk food well before I get anywhere close to 175 pounds.

Wish me luck!

If you’re curious, my diet method is the only one that ever works without the assistance of a surgeon: Burning more calories than I take in.


Catcalling

australopithecus

The Daily Show’s Jessica Williams did a field report on catcalling this week, which you can watch in the two clips below (I don’t know why the segment is broken into two clips, but it’s shorter than six minutes total).

Predictably, the “real men” of the internet who watched the video think all the “sluts” out there should learn how to take a compliment. A few samples from comments thread attached to the Yahoo.com article about the aforementioned Daily Show segment:

catcalling

catcalling2

catcalling3

catcalling5

catcalling6

catcalling7

catcalling8

Dear Catcallers,

You may consider “Hello,” and “Can I have your number?” to be compliments when directed at a woman passing you on the street. At worst, they are innocuous comments, right?

The thing is, it doesn’t matter if you think it’s harmless. What matters is that women DON’T LIKE IT. Why can’t you get that simple concept into your tiny australopithecine brains? They do not want to be catcalled. They don’t think it’s a compliment. It doesn’t make them feel special. It makes them uncomfortable. Ergo, don’t do it.

It’s all about context. Say “Hello” when you are invited to a party and meet a woman there who was also invited. If she is receptive to your conversation, keep talking. If not, leave her alone. The part about “Can I have your number” should come much later in the conversation. If you’re not a jackass and treat her with respect, she might even ask for your number one of these times!

No one is denying attraction between the sexes or insisting that you can’t look at someone you find attractive. But leering at her and feeling a sense of power because you are making her uncomfortable has nothing to do with attraction. It has to do with you getting a rush at someone else’s expense, which is what catcalling and related behavior really is. If you’re upset at being criticized for that, tough.


A little sliver of writing motivation, just for you

Cue the music.

Any writer with hopes of publication experiences moments of doubt, sometimes wondering if the game is rigged. That is, unless you are in the Super Secret Club and know the special handshake, you won’t ever be accepted. You don’t even know where the clubhouse is for cryin’ out loud.

If you’re feeling like that these days, here’s a little shot of motivation: This week, four people I know… four real, not-in-a-super-secret-club writers I know had stories accepted or published. I don’t mean random bloggers I tracked down with publication-related tags so I could manufacture a post. I mean writers who regularly interact with me here or on Twitter.

Those writers are JH Mae, Barbara Myers, Jodi Milner, and Philip Wesley (whose announcement came on Twitter, hence no link).

See? Real humans do land stories. Come to think of it, I’m not sure Philip is entirely human, but he is a reasonable facsimile. His cat can’t tell the difference as far as we know.


Stuffs other creative people are doing…

I can’t take the pressure anymore. The blogging.  The overdue changing of my guitar strings. The other whatchamacallit… my novel. I’m collapsing under the weight of it all!

Or, you know, I’m lazy.

So I’m going to let other people be my content today. First up is a photo of the brandy-new novel Occasional Soulmates by real live author Kevin Brennan. This is my copy, so you’ll have to buy your own on Amazon.com. I had Godzilla and Ghidrah stand next to it for scale. Kevin did not tell us the book was 950 feet tall with a 7000-point font. That stinkin’ rat.

Occasional Soulmates and Godzilla

 

Next is a new video by my buddy Chase Bell, from his almost-as-new record I Know U U Know Me. This tune is all kinds of folky and acoustic, which some of you kids will probably like:

 

Finally, video blogger and writer Franchesca Ramsey explains why racist comedy, especially “blackface,” is hurtful. This woman is subjected such a barrage of daily insults from racist and misogynist trolls on Twitter and YouTube that I marvel how she can stay so positive:

 

Well that was easy. Thanks, Kevin, Chase, and Franchesca for generating all that content so I can be a lazy bum and slap it up here as if.

Comments and discussions about hot sauce may be submitted below for instant devouring by the aliens of Planet X.


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