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My first song. A duet. To be played as seriously as possible. Acoustic guitar.

BOY
How do you dooo? I like you.
I think you’re swellll. I like you.
Where are you frommm? I like you.
What is your nameee? I like you.

GIRL
My name is Janeee. I’m sorry.
I have no loveee for hippies.
Though you seem niceee, I think that
You are just wayyy too saucy.

BOY
Saucy is gooood, you know it!
You pegged me riiight, you got me.
I play guitarrr, it’s sexy.
Listen to G(ee) in major.
It’s quite intennnse. You love it.
Don’t fight the sonnng I’m singing.
It’s all for youuu, my Janey.
You have nice eyyyes, I tell you.
What shade of greeeen? Please tell me?
They look chartreuuuse. I heart them.
No don’t blink liiife away now.
You could be innn my arms now.
Wait. <click>
Wait. <boss>
Wait. <yeah>
Wait. <Don’t wait now.>
Strikemychordnowlikesuperfly! Bowwwwwwww…

1, 2, 3, 4

GIRL
I’m catching onnn to your vibe.
Don’t lose the temmmpo baby.
I’ll be your girlll foreva
If you will dooo me one thing.

BOY
Yes I will dooo it for you
Name it, it’s yourrrs, my lovely.
What can I dooo to make you
Fall for meee? (me me me me me me)

GIRL
Don’t leave me nowww or ever.
Promise your hearrrt forever.
Don’t be a diccck, or hurt me.
Hold me in G(ee), my darling.

BOY
I’ve got you nowww, my Janey.
We are as onnne, my Janey.
Let’s run awayyy insanely.
Now now now now.

BOY AND GIRL
Happily everrr after
We are monahhtonous and
We are in lovvve and you can’t
Touch us with annnything now
We’re gettin marrrried and we’re
Sexin it uppp and awesome
Spendin all timeee together
We are for usss forever
Soon we’ll be preggggers and we’ll
Think up some nameees for baby
Something in Minorrr, oh yeah
Probably E. E. E. E. e. e. e. e. …….. e.

BRILLIANT!

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It’s raining a little today. Do you know how I know? Because I have eyes in my skull that see. I look out the window and my eyes tell me, “Ah yes, rain.”

Lately, I have been somewhat addicted to the Weather Channel. Sometimes, when I’m writing, I have it on in the background and I look up from time to time and the holes in my head process maps and weather patterns. I like to watch the green splotches move across my state and I say to myself, “Ooh, looks like rain.” It’s hypnotic. During the “Locals on the 8’s” they usually play mellow rock in the background. Anything from Jack Johnson to early U2. Have I still not found what I’m looking for? Perhaps.

This morning, the rain is moving patiently through my area to Eric Clapton’s love ballad, “You look wonderful tonight.” Yes, my darlin’. Honestly, the Locals segment lasts just about 90 seconds but with this song playing, I got lost in my thoughts for what can only be described as 1,000 lifetimes. When it finally ended, I snapped out of it and started writing this post. I thought it would be more poetic or instructional than it is. And I forget what my point was. I think it had something to do with losing yourself in the moment. Yes. That’s what writing is. Losing yourself in thought provoking moments. Take time for yourself every once in awhile. Make sure you are alone. If you stare off into space at a dinner party, people might think you are having a stroke. These moments are for you and you alone to create. You don’t need the Weather Channel or Clapton’s soulful guitar, and most of the times, you can’t predict these moments. They tend to catch you by surprise. So planning them can be difficult. The best time to do it is just as you are sitting down to your computer to write. Me? I’m about to do some writing for work so I’m hoping this moment of mine carries through and helps me locate my muse. Wish me luck. I wish the best for you and your words. Wherever they may derive from.

Sidenote: Al Roker is the anti-christ. That is the only downfall of the Weather Channel. That he’s on it. I wrote a story about him once. Maybe I’ll post it here someday. It is not complimentary.

Today’s Writing Assignment: Look and feel and be and write wonderfully.

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I just got a call from a writer friend of mine. He says he was writing all day today. I don’t know whether or not I believe him. Besides, the day isn’t even over yet, Captain Obvious. But also, he’s just not the type. In fact, he’s much like me. Most of his creative process involves sitting around, not writing, and cursing muses (apologies, Maya). But he says he did it today. He got past a really difficult passage in his autobiography. And then he posted a very small bit of it on his blog. So rather than divulge his secrets to the world, I’ll let his own words tell his story.

Click here, but I assure you, it isn’t pretty.

Good for you, Marcus. It takes guts for telling it like it was. I hope you share more in the future. And send some of your inspiration my way! Well, not your exact inspiration. Jesus, I mean, who are you, anyway? Please keep your personal demon-inspirations for yourself. I’m speaking of your fire. Yes, send me your fire. I want to write.

Does listening to writers tell their writing stories inspire you? Push past the jealousy part. I’m talking to myself now. Tear that sucker block wide. I know, it’s not easy. It feels like you’re trying to separate yourself from a big ball of liquid nitrogen-laced taffy and bad similes. But once you chew yourself free, you can lick your chops clean. Tastes like steak, rare now. Or much rarer oysters. Have a pearl.

You can get going on your own dream now.

Today’s Writing Assignment: Release yourself from your taffy.

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I have numerous car problems. My rear windshield rattles, I have a pebble ding in my front one, and I need an oil change. Three separate auto issues that don’t really amount to much besides a pain in the ass. I have just come from the dealership where I drove around with a mechanic riding in the backseat. He was listening closely for the noise, feeling for air, being a mechanic. I felt like a crazy person bouncing through back roads, seeking out bumps and potholes, swerving to hit them, just to prove my point.

No, I swear, this is happening. Listen, do you hear it?

Noooo.

Yeah maybe that wasn’t it. Wait. Was that something?

I don’t think so. Where did you say you heard it again?

I don’t know. Maybe in the middle? Maybe more on the right? I’m not crazy. I know it.

No, you’re not. We have people that come in all the time that think they are hearing things in their cars. Sometimes it’s nothing but we usually find it if it is something.

Wait. That was it. Did you hear it?

No.

We drove around for miles. I was more concerned with proving my sanity than avoiding oncoming traffic. No, I didn’t crash. Never came close. Probably. But it was just fascinating to me—how quickly I was forgetting the problem at hand and how willing I was to replace it with thoughts of being cuckoo. At last, the mechanic heard it. I hit a big ass pothole and there it was, the unmistakable rickety wrinkling of misplaced glass in rubber.

Oh yeah. There it is.

I wanted to hug or high five him. But, being the responsible driver that I am, I kept my eyes faced front and resisted the urge to abandon the wheel for an awkward (and most likely crash-inducing) moment with the mechanic in the back. Woo hoo, though. Not crazy. For now. Yayyy everything.

Yes, the character of the mechanic is an oily one. But this guy went out of his way to place makeshift, plastic floor mats gingerly before plopping his mucked up boots on my interior. That is pleasant. Refreshing even. And then he at least attempted to help me back from Crazy Town by really hearing what I had to say and really listening to my problems. Ladies, come on, who doesn’t love that? You want this guy’s number? I didn’t see a ring.

From one pleasant, unlikely experience to the next I went. I was headed to Valvoline. The fine gentlemen there have my oil change down pat! And, they greet me with “sir.” And today, offered me a brownie. Are people getting friendlier? Is this post turning into multiple advertisments? If so, SCREW UHAUL! Good. I feel balanced.

Tomorrow, I will be visited by the magic Safelite Auto Glass van people. I’m sure you’ve seen their commercials? I’m mostly terrified for the sun to come up on this visit. I figure that if the mechanic in my backseat earlier today acted as my therapist and the Valvoline guy was a super polite baker, then the odds are stacked against me that tomorrow I’ll get some punk kid trying to make his way up in the fine, upstanding Latin Kings organization. He’ll roll up in his super friendly Safelite Auto Glass van, bring out that glass-glue suction cup gun (what is that??), shove it in my eardrum and fill my brain with slow, torturous death. And all in the name of Shorty. But I’m not pessimistic.

Beep beep
Beep beep
Yah!

Today’s Writing Assignment: Look at someone differently.

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New low or new high? Tough call. I’m sitting in a bar in a booth facing out. I look like the dummy writer in the booth with the laptop because that’s who I am. I’m being careful which way I tilt my head. I’m being careful not to tilt my head at all. Because people look at people in public places who are working on laptops. They think, “What is that pompous fool doing? Can’t he do that in private?” Or maybe that’s just what I think they are thinking. I know I have such thoughts from time to time when I see someone pounding away at the keyboard in a Starbucks. Although my thoughts in such cases go deeper. I think, “Why can’t that be me? Why can’t I be comfortable enough to sit in a public place and be creative? It might actually do my writing good to do so.” But the audacity that wafts from a writer in a Starbucks is tame compared to what I am most likely emitting in this pleasant watering hole. Ohp, I just tilted my head, and someone saw. Damnit. I’m really not writing anything important, construction worker! And no, I’m not creating a character. He’s standing in front of me. Greybeard and all, wearing a dark blue sweatshirt and comfortable jeans. The logo on his back reads: Little Blue Construction. He’s a common man. As am I—the idiot boy writer who sips his beer slowly.

Ahh.

I wish I were writing something of value. Would that make me feel less out of place here? If I fell into “the zone” and wrote some crazy good story, or chapter, maybe I could put these other barflies out of my mind. I’d be swept away be the creative process and nothing else would matter. Yeah, and if a frog had wings, he wouldn’t bump his ass when he hopped, Tia. Bah. Whatever. You all can deal with me. And you know what the real truth is? Are you listening? OK, I’m going to whisper it to you. Here it is…. nobody cares.

Once you get that simple fact in your head, it can get smoother. Not only will you write like the wind in public, but you will ride that writing right INTO the wind! It’s like your own personal Luck Dragon in your neverending story. Plus, you have a pint of goodness! And the week was hard. And you deserve it. You deserve good beer and good friends and good words. You don’t have to be shy about your writing. If you are out in a public place, having a coffee or a beer or even just a relaxing sit in a sunny park, you’re not flaunting yourself. You’re just doing what you do. You’re being you. Look at that guy over there. He’s trying to get a game of ultimate frisbee started. (Yes, we’ve moved from the pub to the park now.) That guy is just doing what he does. And that family over there. They’re just doing what they do. And that squirrel. Well dude, that squirrel is fucking nuts. Slow down, squirrely!

But really. You’re in a bar. You should have another drink and try write a play about two mismatched roommates called Mr. Hops and Chancellor Barley. Who knows what hijinks will ensue? Anything can happen here.

Cheers.

Today’s writing assignment: Go somewhere public and write something. If anyone messes with you, destroy them. Then get back to writing.

Click here to celebrate St. Patty’s again!

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I’m hiking into the sky on Sunday. To the top of the porch? To the top of the wall? No. But I am going to dash away to the tippy top of New York state. Mt. Marcy is the highest peak way up there in Lake Placid and I’m gonna be standing on it. That’s something. It was something when we climbed it 10 years ago. And it’s still something now.

“Something.” What does that mean? Oh, I don’t know. It’s like… nature. All around you. On you and in you. Boundaries, Nature! Boundaries! Most of the ecstasy that comes with the deep, satisfying breath on mountain tops originates and builds in the long walk to the top. It’s a journey, it’s a mission, it’s a conquest. It’s also poetry. So why is it so difficult to write poetically about it? “Something.” Yeah, it’s something all right. It’s so much something that it cannot be described in any sort of meaningful way.

I’ve written nature’s praises many times. It’s hard to do so without sounding hackneyed. For example:

Oh glory of glories, you sunset of mine
Your flames extinguish so neat
Seeing you there, tucking yourself into the horizon
Reminds me, I should go to sleep now, too.

Hahaha. That’s pretty extreme. I hope my nature stuff doesn’t sound that bad. I do remember that one of the first pieces I ever wrote and was really proud of was in High School. It was an experiment in narrative poetry and Tchaikovsky. I went out to the field behind my house and pushed play on my Sony Walkman. (Yes, this goes back some. In fact, there’s a house back there now. Such is time.) I sat down in the middle of the field, opened my spiral notebook, and starting writing free verse to Capriccio Italien. I remember this vividly. I was taken over. In retrospect, that may have been the moment my muse, Maya, first introduced herself to me. I was spellbound. Of course now I am afraid to go looking for the actual piece. I’m not even sure I have it still. If I did re-read it now, I would probably cringe, throw in the towel, and revert to an infancy where my poor soul would never recover from its beaten and petrified coil. That’s not good.

Writing about nature is hard, yo! That’s all I’m trying to say here. I might try to write some poetry during Sunday’s long journey to the top of Mt. Marcy. I will definitely pack a small notepad and pen. Cast aside the fact that this old fashioned writing style is something I’m really not familiar with. I know that people still do “put pen to paper.” But I’m all about my laptop. However, in situations such as this, the friendly comfort of my glowing friend is not a viable option. How do you write with a pen? More importantly, how do you write something profound when you are ensconced in unbeatable, natural, God-given profundity? Or rather, God’s Mom-given profundity. Yeah yeah yeah.

Man this post is blathersome.

Well, listen to Capriccio Italien. It’s pretty. And if you are anywhere in New York on Sunday afternoon, put an ear to the wind. You just might hear me shouting, “GOD’S MOM WROTE THE UNIVERSE” from way up above, in the sky.

Today’s writing assignment: Press play, close your eyes, write. Ok, you can open your eyes to write.

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Ever writer needs goals. Duh. This is not big news. Don’t worry, I won’t charge you for this one. But as I have said before, you need to set realistic goals for yourself. I want to sell as many books as Dan Brown is neither a realistic goal or a moral one. Yes, contrary to popular belief, one billion ants can be wrong. At any rate, why don’t you come down to earth just a little and try finishing your book first. When can you do that? Realistically, I mean. First off, take into account your progress. Do you have an idea? Do you have a protagonist? If you’ve got both, you’re further ahead than you think. You’d be surprised at how far those two seemingly simple pieces can get you. All you have to do is sit your protagonist down in your idea and say, “All right. Go to town.” They usually do. Maybe not at first. At first you may want to throw him/her off a bridge and have his corpse mutilated by wolves and/or Vicki Lawrence. Awww. Leave Mama out of it. She loves her family! Yeah well I don’t know where she came from. And you’ll never know where your new scenes and scenarios come from either! And then maybe you’ll get stuck and you’ll forget your point and you’ll realize you’re rambling and you might have to start over. And then you’ll start over. Or at least let a paragraph break save you.

I started out talking about goals, didn’t I? Well, I’ve been thinking about this one goal for at least an hour now so I figure that’s enough to implement it in writing. Here goes:

On or before April 7, 2007, I will have finished this novel of mine.

Yay! Oh that feels good. But wait. I feel like I should clarify. For starters, I think I’m just about halfway done with the rough draft already. So, with that said, I’m not talking about completeing my rough draft in a year and a day. I’m talking about actually finishing a polished-enough version of it to start sending it out. One year and one day. Yeah. I can do that. It’s still 2006, right? No? Damnit. Now I have to change my prophetic vision even more.

On or before one year and one day from whatever today’s true date is, I will have finished this novel of mine to the point where I feel comfortable enough to start sending it out.

Ya’ll can hold me to that if you like. I feel pretty good about it. Internal deadlines TK (Sidenote: TK means “to come” in publishing. I still don’t know why. I think it’s Greek or something.) … but I’m thinking, just off the top of my head, that it would be a real spiffy birthday present to myself if I could finish my rough draft by then. Ahem. I’m a libra and I like red wine. So probably a rough draft of the complete novel by mid-October.  I’m not married to that idea just yet. I’ll update on my progress over the next few months and see how that is looking.

But wait… there’s more! I’m not JUST going to do that. I would also like to write many more short stories and poems and maybe even some nonfiction along the way. Oh, and of course I want to keep blogging and maybe even complete another rough draft of a project that I am working on with a writer friend of mine. Yah! One year. One day. We’ll be done with that then, too. Probably way before that actually. You know why? Because Writing is not the crazy bitch goddess I’ve always made it out to be. No! Writing is actually this kickass baby calf, playing in the mud with an over-aggressive puppy. They are best friends. They are having the time of their lives. They are wrestling. They are splashing. And sometimes they bite each other on the ear.

Ow! Fucker!

(I’m the puppy.)

I just checked my calendar. This year we are currently in is 2010. Wow. No idea how that happened. So the goal is to finish a respectable novel by April 7, 2011. But I hope to finish it sooner. What’s your goal?

Dear Maya,
Please help me to achieve my goals and don’t allow me to waiver. Reassure me that when my words are at their worst, they are still words, and they can get better. Give me the courage to remember this. And, whenever you have the time, feel free to step in and take over.

Yours, in writing,
shakabry

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