Writing & Writers

Undead Revisions

Love is lame, so let me brain

Friday, I started working on revision for ZITO – for those who don’t know the acronym, it stands for Zombies in the Outfield. The origin of the story came from my work last year at the stadium. I’d spend long hours after the stadium to get all the clothes washed and ready for the next day. Because I had to go back and forth from clubhouses, I got to see the stadium in the dark. The creepy setting started working on my overactive imagination and blamo! After several versions of the beginning, I started writing a version of ZITO I liked earlier this year. I released it into the world via Tumblr – the story has since been taken down – and asked for criticism and suggestions. Perhaps only one or two people actually gave me something I could work with. The following are the changes I’ve made:

  • Henry is no longer slow-minded, making him a more believable leader.
  • Venus is no longer infatuated with Big Ted
  • Big Ted and Tony are no longer soldiers, but former baseball players – made things less complicated and allowed me to create a back story for Big Ted’s contempt for Henry.
  • Henry now leaves the stadium with the search party.
  • Introduce another character, stemming from a previous zombie story I was drafting – but never finished due to so many complications that I confused myself and cried in a corner.
  • Removed the Green Zone dream, only hinting it with the new character.
  • I introduce the fence kink – as well as other kinks – at the beginning rather than something I just threw in out of nowhere.
  • Tony is dead before the story opens and is only mentioned once.
  • I introduced the concept of zombies into the story, though they creatures are called ghouls throughout it. Only once does a character refer them to zombies, due to his philosophy background.
  • I spent too much time reading and watching all things zombie.
Still working on the kinks of the story, but it will keep a similar ending. Less background/history is given – there’s no me going out in tangents about some character that’s already dead. Once the draft is gussied up, I’ll place it back on Tumblr and release it back into the world.
Doldrums · Writing & Writers

Sans Forgiveness

Some people just want to watch the world burn

A creative writing professor once told a class, “You got to learn the rules before you can break them.” It’s true. How can you rebel against something you have no knowledge of? These days, kids just pretend to rebel. They hunger for revolution, praise anarchy. They have no knowledge of what either of these things mean.

Noche Bohemia

We’re having a reading tonight. I’m in attendance again. I haven’t written anything worth sharing since 2007. I read from the same desktop-printed chapbook I complied for a creative writing class I took in college. I pulled its name from the book of Psalms, chapter 137 verse 9. It’s called Little Ones Against the Stones. In addition to one of my lyrical essays, I also plan on readingSick City” by Charles Manson.

I  intended Little Ones Against the Stones as something much bigger than the final product. It was a project called “My Life as Jesus Christ,” in reference to the Jesus complex I held during childhood. The project was never completely, obviously. My internal ink ran dry.

I became complacent. I close my door on a world that closed its door on me a long time ago. Those are the thoughts you have, anyway. When you just don’t fit in the world, you blame it first before you blame yourself. You never tell yourself that you’re delusional. The world doesn’t care if you’re different from the others. The world loves her children one and the same. But it’s easier to blame your failures on the world, on a society that demonize the unique. I learned that a long time ago. I still haven’t put it into practice.

You say you want a revolution, I say you’re full of shit

Troy Davis was put to death, despite the evidence. Had Troy Davis been white or rich or a former mayor’s son, maybe things might have played differently. Despite our naiveté of our brave new world or acceptance, we know that racism played a grand part in yesterday’s legal murder. The right-wing lynch mob saw justice served for a fallen police officer. Where’s the justice in death for death? Especially when that justified death was of an innocent man?

A woman kills her child and gets off. She gets a book deal. She’s turned into a media darling. I’m so disgusted with the world, I don’t know where to being to list my complaints.

People on the streets don paper masks, holding signs that read “I am Troy Davis,” as if this some Spartacus revival band. Revolutions are rarely won with words these days. Actions aren’t enough. To bring down a government, we must stand up against it. When it pushes, we need to push back. One cannot sow chaos and hope to reap anarchy. Don’t be foolish to think no government is a good government, or that it would ever exist – or doesn’t.

Christian zealots tut-tut and such ridiculousness. Their savior was a sword, sent here to divide not unite. Christ knew the power he wielded. Knew the consequences of his actions. Knew others would distort his teachings and beliefs.

Poetry as a ballot

There might have been a time when I believed in the power of words. Maybe I’m just jaded about it. Maybe writing needs a revolution. Nothing’s happening anymore. Nothing new is presented. Nothing worthwhile that’ll reshape the way we see writing again.

Films no longer move me. The old ones that carried a stronger message, the old science fiction films that once carried social criticism are gone. And zombie movies are just movies about the dead running after big-breasted beauties. What happened to us as a culture? Fuck society. Society has never progressed. But as a culture, what happened? Where we draw the line that said music, film and writing no longer had to be anymore than what it was? Because it’s unnerving.

Future generations

For future generations, I hope that they do not christen just anyone as their messiah. I hope they look back in disgust with our way of murdering legally as we look back at slavery. I hope that their writing is more than just beautiful. That it lasts a lifetime and then some. I hope they realize the importance of books and education. That science and reason should overpower religious belief. And hope they know they can hold onto both. I hope they do not allow their leaders the power of murder.

Breaking the fucking rules

A flower growing from the pavement.

Doldrums

Deposit Information Here

Army of Love

This morning, my phone was bombarded with e-mails. None of which, by the way, had anything to do with the plethora of jobs I applied to recently. Housed in one of the e-mails was a message from WordPress, telling me I’ve been “pinged” by one of my followers. Dreading what reference lay in wait, I opened my WordPress app – which is handy only for comments, not for actual posts – to see what her post read. Apparently, I was “tagged” in a post that insists that I tell my readers (all 11 of you!) a bit about myself – ten things, actually. Because I’m not one to disappoint gypsies – haven’t you ever seen a horror movie before? – I feel obliged to follow through. However, I will not tag any one after this because I wouldn’t know who to start with.

10 Things About Ennui Prayer You Probably Didn’t Want to Know but Are Going to Know, Unless You Close the Tab

Because I loathe countdowns, I’m going to do this starting with #1. I know, I know. Boo! You’re not fun.

  1. I’m a bibliophile on the verge of becoming a book hoarder. In the house alone – the last time I counted anyway – I had close to 500 books. Some of these are duplicates of books I already own, such as Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and The Dhammapada. I have several shelves in my room crammed with books of fiction, philosophy, religion, writing, memoirs, erotica, history and popular culture. I long for library book sales and love thrift shops. I normally buy books to feel better – after every fight, depression spell, etc. I go out and buy books to make myself feel at ease. Addition? Yup, you can call it that.
  2. I’m also an audiophile. My computer is jam-packed with music. Most of it is serious business music, but there are a few albums/songs that are just for fun. I prefer records over CDs, but let’s face it, MP3 is where it’s at these days – portable wise.
  3. Oh, did I mention cinephile? Film criticism and theory piqued my interest in college. I’m so glad there was a course made available before graduation called Literature in Film. Old time movies are the best. I’m a fan of old Romero-esque zombie movies – zombies that run just piss me off. Sure, I love films that are funny. I’m not that much of a prude, but a movie by the Wayans brothers will probably never come across my path. Ever.
  4. I’m a minister for the Universal Life Church, meaning that I can legally wed people.
  5. I don’t subscribe to sexuality. That is not to say I’m asexual. I’m a sexual being, I just don’t think we can throw labels on it or should limit our chances at happiness.
  6. I started watching teen dramas from other countries – Skins, Slide, etc. – because a part of me wants to write young adult fiction. And because their storylines are more compelling than what’s on TV in the States.
  7. While I’m disgusted by the world, sometimes I think it’s better for it to burn than for us to fix ourselves. Mostly because we’re creatures of habit and we’ll never better ourselves, really. Maybe it’s time for the human race to just vanish.
  8. My first job was a door-to-door salesman. I was horrible at it. I only lasted a day. I don’t really consider it my first job, but I think it makes sense.
  9. In high school, I used to sell pornography to my friends. And by pornography, I mean, pages ripped from porn mags. It was safer than selling drugs because the punishments were laxer.
  10. While I’m completely nervous and fearful that I’ll be a horrible role model for a child, I do look forward to becoming a father.
Bonus Material
Videos like this make me anticipate parenthood.
Okay, I Lied. Again.
Because I don’t think I follow four people who I consider “friends” online – mostly because our interactions is minimal, not that I think you all suck, or anything – I’ll tag a couple of people. Especially since I think it’ll help you write about yourselves.
Doldrums

Another Word for Unemployed

GPOY

I’m fighting the urge to just lie down down and die. Fighting the urge because I have to, not because I want to. Though, in some small aspects, I want a job. But the need is so much stronger. I need a job. I need a job with benefits. I need a job with some security. I need a job.

Don’t Worry, This Won’t be a Political Post

I worked odd, short jobs. From a door-to-door salesman to the clubhouse manager for a local baseball team. Hell, I even wrote porn at one time. And all those jobs were swell. They gave me money I could use when I wanted to spend something. On occasion, I still write posts for Blogvertise – not here, of course, but on Tumblr and the book blog.

But the hand I was dealt this year changes all that. There’s a certain amount of responsibility bestowed on me and I’ve got to get cracking. So I did what any prospecting job hunter would do. I churned out applications, uploaded resumes and hunted for good references.

A week later, I’ve got nothing to show for it. And it depresses me.

Only I Lied

And what makes me nervous about my lack of finding a job – one that uses skills I learned in either school or manual labor work – is that we’re drawing near the election year. And while I know Obama has made some progress – not enough to actually mean anything to the GOP – I fear that messiah – formerly known as Rick “the dick” Perry – might win, which means that the job market will crash, burn and the economy will cease to exist. I mean, just look at all he’s accomplished with Texas after George W. Bush stepped down.

And while Mitt Romney seems like the best candidate – is the best candidate, I should say – everyone in the Republican and Tea Parties are looking at Rick Perry as if he’s some Second Coming – which he is, just not the kind they’re hoping for.

So What’s a Former Freelance Writer/Contractor/Work-for-Hire/English Major to do?

Not give up, obviously. Like my mother said, I’m a survivor. No matter the obstacle thrown at me, I manage to come out of it unscathed. I figure things out; I adapt. The only problem is, that doesn’t seem to go anywhere on the application or resume. Adaptation isn’t a skill that doesn’t raise a couple of eyebrows. Neither is writing, apparently. At least, not in the Valley, outside a rather corrupt newspaper.

Still, I tumble on. Trying and defying those who get in my way. Wish me luck.

Doldrums

So Where Were You When the Towers Fell?

28 Ghosts IV

Like most things I cannot explain, I turn to the realm of fiction. However, rather than just leaving your with the last post, I’ll give you a sliver of reality – which, I did at the end.

On 11 September 2001, I awoke to a world-wide change. Someone hit reboot on the system and the universe we once knew was no longer. I’d just hung up the phone with my at-the-time-girlfriend, Jessica – who lived in Brownsville then. She was getting ready to go to school and I was getting ready to go back to bed. See, insomnia hit me hard that year. I was a high school graduate with no ambition of going to college. My senior year nearly left me off in the deep end. Stress and emotions I couldn’t handle were getting the better of me. Soon, sleep became a luxury I was jealous others could afford.

After we said our I-love-yous, I wrapped myself back in the covers and attempted to sleep. But this nagging feeling was tugging at my strings, urging me to give it up and turn on the TV. Normally, I’m a man of empirical evidence, not hunches. It was seven or so in the morning and there couldn’t possibly be anything I was missing out on. Either way, the restlessness overwhelmed me and I turned the TV on to see the first tower. The smoke billowed. It was on the Today Show. Matt Lauer was going on, but nothing was registering.

The World Trade Center had been attacked before and would – I assumed – be attacked again. This was no biggie. I just mutter, “Must really suck to work there.”

When footage of the second plane slamming into the other tower appeared on the air, my heart stopped. This was no accident. This was human nature at its best.

Most people’s instincts told them to pray that the people were all right. My lack of a spiritual form, however, knew that nothing could undo or save those people who were caught above the hit zone. Realization must’ve set in for those people, as well. Soon after, people were leaping from a burning grave into the concrete below. They were taking their own destiny/fate by the throat and saying, “Only by my hand.” Those deaths became so ingrained in our popular culture, whether we choose to accept it or not. Falling man, especially.

My friend, Monica T., jumbled to call me. Jessica called me from school. Their voices were panicked, anger spilling in. Meanwhile, I was lost in another world. A world torn apart from this one. One where nothing like this happened because human nature had to be good. How naive to believe that anything nature throws at us will still beautiful forever.

When the towers fell, reporters were comparing it to the onslaught brought on by the alien space crafts from the movie Independence Day. What a juxtaposition, I thought. I watched, as I assumed the world watched, as they came crumbling down. People covered in the soot of hatred. Some were lost in the clouds, buried forever in the earth of the ignorant. If I could, I’d probably had been crying for their deaths. I wanted so badly to cry for them, to feel some ounce of human connection, emotion. To show my anger toward the assholes who brought this upon innocent people.

The day slipped into night and slipped into morning. The footage was shown around the clock. Musicians took it upon themselves to write ballads. Actors spoke on TV. Politicians put aside ideology. It was as if the ugly has wrought something good. A sense of unity. A unity, I knew, that couldn’t exist, wouldn’t sustain on all our hate.

The world is an ugly place, Mr. Frodo. But there is good. And that good might be something worth saving. But how could I possibly believe that then? How could I believe it now? Has personal current events outshine the world’s?

We haven’t learned anything from 9/11. That sense of patriotic unity washed away when personal agendas and unfounded Weapons of Mass Destruction filled out TV screens. If the goal on September 11 was to tear down our moral fiber, our freedoms and our ethics, then the terrorists won. Because war doesn’t breed peace. It breeds hate. It breeds more terrorism. It breeds stupidity, murderers and xenophobia. It breeds ignorance.

So where were you when the towers fell, you ask. I was at home. Watching TV. Waiting for the world to resume as it always had. As it always will.

life in reverse:

Writing & Writers

The Day The Whole World Went Away

...in his voice I heard decay

I had that dream again.

The crescendo heard a world away – Mackie awoke to the sound. Sweat – cold? – slicked his body. Beside him, Angel – who slept soundly even during the loudest storms – traversed parallel dimensions. Cobey should’ve called by now.

Autumn was in the distance, Mackie saw looking out the painted window. A shit job. Make a note never to allow anyone other than myself to create an artificial night.

“Come back to bed,” the voice said. “There’s nothing to see here.”

“It’s like I relive it every day,” Mackie said. “And I cannot erase it from my memory.”

“Come back to bed,” the voice repeated. “It’ll be okay when you wake up.”

Shot glass by the typewriter spilled over. A few empty bottles of pills – dietary? sleep aids? over the counter medications used as narcotic substitutes? the fuzz was cracking down on things like that. you couldn’t buy anything without showing an ID and the pharmacist writing down your information down in a little book.

Freedom with a price, isn’t that what they said? After the horrible sounds. Were we ever free in this world, or was that all imaginary?

“So where were you?” The question asked around the world. Followed by, “What were doing?”

“I’d just awaken,” he’d say. “It was hard for me to sleep, even in those days. I closed my eyes and just tried to drift off, but something kept calling me to turn on the TV.”

“And?”

“And I saw the footage on a continuous loop.”

“What did you think?”

“Must really suck to work there.”