Wednesday, February 25, 2009

writing tip from an amateur writer to himself


Don't follow rules on purpose.

Read as much literature as you can on how to write well. Read RAMAP (realistically as much as possible). But never make a conscious decision to follow a rule. Let what you read get inside you and influence you subtly.

Ex: There's a good rule out there about showing instead of telling. You can find it if you Google it, I'm sure. "Show me the character is angry, don't tell me she is." You get the idea.

Thing is, as soon as you delete a good line or interrupt the flow of your story because you've told instead of shown, or used a semicolon, or used the passive voice, that is where that rule has failed you as a writer.

Just write.


"ulysses" is not "the odyssey"

Went to three used bookstores. You know, to support independence. When I asked for "Ulysses", two out of the three stores took me to "The Odyssey" by Homer. The second store I went to actually offered me the comic-version for kids. The third store just didn't bother to help me.

This is sad. I mean, "Ulysses" is not an underground book. It was voted number one by the Modern Library in the top 100 English-language novels of the 20th century. It should have been known of by all these people.

Also, the older gentleman who ran the second store corrected my pronunciation of "Kafka." Cause I say it with a flat A. I'm thinking, sir, do you want to sell books?

Monday, February 23, 2009

angry last minute kirkland's lady

Have a bad feeling about work tonight. Like I might get the dreaded "customer complaint."

Old lady came in five minutes before close. Fat, scowling, bad news. This annoyed me. But you can't say, "Hey, we're closing." That'd be rude, right? Right. So anyway. I didn't say anything. I resolved that this woman would be there until 15 after, and I just had to deal with it.

She went up to the counter and set a candle down. Hallelujah! She's done! And it was only 9:02. I said, "Will that be all for you today?"

"No," she said, "that is NOT all for me today."


She gave me this impression that she knew damn well the mall was closing, and that she was aggravated about it, because the mall should stay open, I mean, she's buying a CANDLE, for God's sake. This is America and her business shouldn't be denied. This was leading her to insinuate things about me (i.e. that I wanted her the fuck out of there, which was true, but she couldn't know that, since I was playing it cool) that existed entirely in her head.

I stood at the register. She wandered a bit more. She said, "Is it time to close?" And you just would've had to have heard it. The tone said, "I wish I could murder you with a hammer."

At this point a mixture of rage and awkwardness was boiling in my brain. The rage is due to several factors, some of which don't seem to bother other people at all (those people have saintly patience and are much more cut out for retail work than me). My irritation at late-runners can be summed up as a matter of opportunity costs (this is for you, Chermaine):

LeBron James didn't go to college. Why is this? Because Nike offered him $100 million to not go to college. Though college wouldn't have costed him anything, the opportunity cost of not taking the Nike deal would've suddenly made the price of going to college about $100 million.

I can't tell you how much I make per hour. That'd get me in trouble. But let's say I make X amount of dollars an hour. My hours are 4-9:30, with 9 being the close time and the :30 (usually it's more like :20) is to close down the registers. Now, every day I work, every hour, there is an opportunity cost, Y. It's not always monetary. For example, when I'm at work tomorrow, I could be at home, vacuuming, or walking my wild pooch. But, I continue to go to work, because I need X more than I need Y. X > Y.

For me, once it's time to go, X < Y. At that point I feel like it's costing me more than it's worth to stay. Because you, the customer, must shop, now my dog gets a five minute shorter walk. Or my dishes go undone. Or my blog or novel goes unwritten. But you see what I'm saying. The opportunity cost begins to outweight the monetary X.

Also, the store is always empty the last twenty minutes. Come twenty minutes before we close. You'll have plenty of time to shop. It's maddening to me that the store is empty...empty...and then three people pop in at five-till. Jesus, folks.

Like I said, there was (well-contained/hidden) rage and awkwardness there. But the awkwardness was much more potent, you could feel it hanging in the air between us. I kind of stuttered, "Well, it's nine, but it's okay."

I rang her up. She picked up her candle and walked out. On her way out, she said, "I wish I had more time to shop," and then left. The whole vibe was really bad. But the funniest thing is that in this case I really didn't do anything. I kept my voice friendly, and smiled a lot. But still, I feel like the lady will call and complain. Because stores close. Which is totally uncool. Everything should be like Wal-Mart. Which is probably where her fat redneck trailer trash ass is used to shopping. I don't feel like that insult had enough bite. She was ugly and a poopy-pants. OOOOO. If she had the internet and could read she'd be totally pissed right now.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

a little DFW for your mind

Here are a handful of quotes from David Foster Wallace, followed by a fantastic article:

"Fiction writing's lonely in a way most people misunderstand. It's yourself you have to be estranged from, really, to work."

"You'll worry less about what people think about you when you realize how seldom they do."5

"And I'm not saying that television is vulgar and dumb because the people who compose the Audience are vulgar and dumb. Television is the way it is simply because people tend to be extremely similar in their vulgar and prurient and dumb interests and wildly different in their refined and aesthetic and noble interests."7

The Fight: Considering David Foster Wallace Considering You

red tent/new tattoo idea

Rios had her red tent project tonight. I asked her how it went, and she said it was an overwhelming success. I'm very happy for her. She made the house look fantastic, she'll probably post pictures of it. My mother came to visit before I had to go work, bought me new work clothes. She is the best. Overall a good day. I am full of Italian food and I'm producing a good number of novel words.

Hope you are well.

Also: I've decided on my next tattoo. It will be a word tattoo that will say "Fail Better." It's from a Samuel Beckett quote:

"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

What font should I use?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

kenny glenn the cat abuser is from lawton

So Lawton's in the international news. Saw reports from Russian and Swiss and Brit channels. Why, do you ask? Well, Lawton is the home of a world-reviled cat abuser. Kenny Glenn put a video up on Youtube in which he beats the shit out of his pet cat Dusty. In the comments Kenny further fucks himself by dropping the N-bomb, which I can tell you, is typical of people in Lawton. Whether they're using it ironically or not, white people say "nigger" or its variations there (actually I've noticed it all over Oklahoma) all the time. Most people, however, don't abuse animals. The video got a shit-ton of views.

Watched the video, thinking how bad could it be? Not that animal abuse is ever palatable, but still...

The most disturbing thing about this is towards the end. Kenny, ski-masked up, is beating Dusty the cat in the shower, intermittently screaming and laughing. The cat is howling. So he picks it up by the neck and gets right in its face and he shrieks, "DO YOU HATE ME, DUSTY? DO YOU HATE ME?"

Something about that gave me chills like crazy.

I heard that his parents are rich and his punishment is going to be losing his dirtbike.

There are several sites already calling for the death of this kid. I'm not one to say what should be done, but I'd put money on this kid offing himself or otherwise biting it before sixteen. There's gotta be a death pool, somewhere.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

like god meets blowjobs

I hate the blurbs on books that say, "This book is like X meets Y." ex.: "This is like Charles Dickens meets Takashi Miike!" These quotes, if either of the variables are books that I enjoy, will never fail to hook me, I'm a sucker for "if you liked..." Amazon-style advertisements. The problem is that, when I begin to read, as soon as I get to a passage I feel is done poorly, I think, "Well, X wouldn't have done that, at all." And put the book down. It's awful.

I should stay away from blurbs. And book covers.

I picked up some Ken Bruen from the library on a whim. I like it! Takes a while to get into, the ultra-spareness of it, but it works, it's amazing how the mind fills in the blanks...


Last night I did two things. One, I went onto Myspace and deleted 400 people. The other is, I listened to metal music. Turns out I just don't like it anymore.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

the last book you read before you die

In season 2 of "Lost" we're introduced to a character named Desmond Hume who lives in a bunker under the island. Not to get too complicated or spoilery (seriously, you should be caught up by now), but Desmond had been living in the bunker for three years, injecting himself with some kind of vaccine and inputting a code into a 70s-era computer every 108 minutes, (the code itself adding up to 108, being the numbers printed on The Swan bunker itself: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42, being the Valenzetti equation, being a sequence of numbers designed to predict the end of the world, being the subject of a book who's author died in the crash of Oceanic Flight 815, said book being bought up by one Alvar Hanso, shadowy Dharma Iniative spokesman, the DI being the strange organization that populated the island in the 70s with the goal of harnessing the islands intense electromagnetic/time traveling's a dense show). In one of the episodes, I forget which, Desmond refers to "Our Mutual Friend", Charles Dickens' last book, which he intends to make the last book he'll ever read. I want to do the same thing! But I don't know which book it should be.

My candidates so far:

2666 by Roberto Bolano

The Bible by God

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Ulysses by James Joyce

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (appropriate, right?)

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

I don't know. Give me some more ideas. What would yours be?


I feel the sudden need to vent.

I've read every damn article I've been given for my History of Women in the American West class. Every. Single. Article. Yesterday was the first time I fell a little behind. It was also the first day the professor said, "I told you to come to class prepared, so let's answer these questions about the article. Turn in your answers in 15 minutes for a grade."

I have a Calc. test today. My printer ran out of ink a few days ago. I bought the new cartridge and put it in and went online to print off some practice questions, and of course the entire site is down. I'll still pass the test, but you know.

When shit like this happens, I'm fucking convinced someone is out to get me. I mean, the HWAW class incident makes me want to rip someone's head off.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Got drunk at a bowling alley today. Bottle of Bud Light = 3.50 vs. pitcher = 7.00. I got the pitcher. And drank it. Did a little bowling. I'm a horrible bowler! Someone should teach me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Some bad weather today. Tornadoes in Edmond, Yukon, Mustang, and south OKC. Almost nobody in the store. The few people that did come in, I couldn't help but wonder if they weren't a little crazy.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Dinner tonight: Chunky Clam Chowder, beer.

I highly, highly recommend Chunky soups. Fills you up right.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

global warming

I used to subscribe to a blog called Wizbang. My thought process tends to lean far left, so I figure I should read something to balance it out. They took a breather from their constant Obama nit-picking (read the blog, you wouldn't believe some of the things these guys gripe about) to write a blog about global warming. The guy who wrote it was actually from Oklahoma City. Now, a couple weeks ago, we got some bad weather. Freezing rain, ice, the whole nine yards. So the guy's post was basically "LOL so much for global warming, huh?" Never mind that a few days before the freezing rain it was in the 70s. In January.

But that's all beside the point. Global warming is a bit more complex then, IT'S COLD OUTSIDE LOL or even the opposite. Since I'm feeling petty, though, I feel like I have to post this.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I've decided to forgo shaving until I'm done with a novel. I will grow a beard until I have something completed. Already it is scraggly. Bugging me. I don't know how other people's facial hair grows, but mine is very similar to pubic hair. Curly and bunchy. I use a lime green comb to tame it.

I read very slowly, in fact I gave up reading this year, in the interest of using that time to write more. But, for some strange reason, I've nearly finished two books in two days. Here they are:

Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate by Brad Warner. I actually got excited, in Macroeconomics today, when I remembered that this had come out a few days ago. Knocked out over half of it after dinner.

Jake's Wake by John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow. Crazy televangelist comes back from the dead and starts crucifying and punching holes through people. I tear through shit like this quick, even if I don't like it. This one I do like, a lot. Never read any John Skipp (which seems like a wrong that should be made right), but I think I might be in love with Cody Goodfellow. His Radiant Dawn and Ravenous Dusk novels were amazing, and now this. He's also got a series of blog posts about writing over here: that I like better than Brian Keene's World Domination 101 posts from a while back, which you should know were also really, really good.


Democrat does something that Republican disagrees with. Republican whines. Democrat says, "Hey, it was never a problem when Bush was in office, why is it a problem now?" Republican says, "When Bush was in office, you guys could never shut up about it, so why is it NOT a problem now?"

And the snake eats its tail.

smart choices

Successfully acquired FOTC tickets. Close to the stage. Rios is happy. Currently I am eating chips. Cheddar. There is a green "SMART CHOICES" circle on them, in which there is a white check mark with a dot near its vertex, which I believe is conveying that happy white people enjoy this snack.