Thursday, October 28, 2010

Writer's Litmus Test

This is one of the most “amazing” things, to me, and I have never seen it. Well, I see this picture just as you do and it is still amazing, but to see it “live” could only be a guess at its magnificence. I wonder sometimes that what we think we see is not what we are looking at.

Nope, this is not a travel post. It is a writing post. OK, I will try to unravel my direction here. I was sitting in Barnes and Noble (one of my favorite places) and while I was sitting in one of the three available reading chairs, thumbing through a “writing” book. I looked up and thought: “Look at all these books”. What must have been going through the minds of all these people? Somebody had to write each and every one of those books. I wonder how many authors had “hands on” experience with each topic written about in thousands, perhaps millions, of words on all the pages in that building.

One of my worries about writing is having the correct information and background. That you have to be an expert about everything you write. That it is the truth. Maybe not completely but at least be authentic and true to the history of the article. I don’t think I am alone in this thought or there wouldn’t be so many “how to“ reference books on the market. My true nature, I think, is to not just make shit up but sometimes I get enjoyment out of doing just that. I am a great fan of the old TV series Twilight Zone so I know how important it is that a person be careful to keep the distinction between fact and fantasy clear in their mind.

But would anyone want to hear all that? I don’t know. I do. Maybe. There are a lot of other rules. Another post yesterday alluded to maybe rules are just guidelines anyway. I like that and maybe fact from fiction is just a guideline too. I suppose the reader will eventually let you know, I guess everyday is a survey for response within its self. Everyone has their own aspirations whether it is writing or reading or ‘rithmetic and how they apply to society and an audience is varied as there are number of personalities.

I bought that book. During one of the segments, the author was listing a few guidelines or hints that would indicate the readers’ interest or aptitude for being a writer. One of the things he mentioned that a writer, as a youngster, as having the characteristics of a storyteller. I am not sure I am a storyteller so I changed the interpretation of what he was saying to someone, as a youngster, enjoyed to “play-like”. Did you ever use the phrase; I am going to “play-like” I am a pirate, or let’s play school and I will be the teacher. Some of you may have read a past post of mine, Oh Me,,No Wii , where Davy Crockett and I were great partners in adventure. Suddenly I remembered, I had been to the Grand Canyon, but it was in Nacogdoches county, close to a small community called Traywick. Which incidentally, is where Hank and Billy Ray (Pork Chops and Collard Greens) used to play ( refered to as Satersville ) when they were little boys at the pulp wood yard. Back to the Grand Canyon story. This was the REAL Grand Canyon. It had to be. It was a deep gully and had a small stream running down the middle of it, and I had a miner’s pan, which was actually the top of an old fashion coffee can, and I sifted through tons of ore panning out the golden nuggets that were going to make me rich and I would buy a horse, no,, a whole western town, and I would trade it all for a new Roy Rogers guitar with an authentic rope strap and real plastic guitar pick with a picture of Roy and Dale on it.

While at the bookstore, I looked and looked for a book on “Writer’s Litmus Test”. I didn’t find one so I made up one of my own. I took it twice to see what it would tell me. I passed so from that I decided: I am gonna be a writer…

Not really just “play-like”.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Newspapers,,Times are a'changin'

Newspapers convey to us words from around the blind corner: from places we can’t see or hear. News. I suppose that is where they got their name.

The evening newspaper. The end of an uneventful day. Time to read about events and people he didn’t experience while going about his daily activities. He didn’t see me seeing him as he sat down on the park bench. A folded newspaper clutched under his left arm. His right steadied a walking cane propped against the armrest of the bench.

Inside the folds of the cheap print paper tales of intrigue and current events waited patiently to spring forth and enlightened the gentleman. The evening sun added golden highlights to the silver mane that had been neatly combed even though time could be nearing for a barber’s tool. A brightly colored automobile stopped for the red light, one of those new “hybrids” he had heard and read about. Pedestrians waiting for the “walk” light to indicate “go” for the foot traffic. A countdown clock,,4,3,2,1, and tiny LED lights formed an outline of a walking man gave the signal to “walk”.

“My goodness, times have changed”, his words heard only by one of Shorty’s descendents. Shorty had been the park mascot, a small fox squirrel that had been adopted by the park visitors a few years earlier. A squirrel can be easily bought with a steady supply of peanuts.

“I wonder what the stock market did today”? The bank across the street once had a “ticker tape” billboard on the front fa├žade, but now long gone. He rarely let a day go by that he had not charted the up and down graphs in his mind as he spoke to his broker by phone that actually had a coiled wire hooking the receiver to the body of the telephone. “Oh well, things worked out OK”. The stock market had been a minor hobby of his. The sales and marketing opportunities had allowed for his family to be sheltered in a modest home and all his sons and daughter had gone to and graduated from college. He made a mental note to check and see how they were getting along. Getting them through college was his major goal and worry as they grew to adulthood. He often worried that their opportunity would not be as fertile as when he got out of college.

“Shorty Junior, do you have lots of ‘hickornuts’ stashed away for the winter?, might be a long hard one.” Shorty junior didn’t to seem to care much as he reached and took the peanut from the silver haired gentleman. A sudden click and buzzing sound of a starting street lamp sent Shorty Junior scurrying into the hedge bushes. The wind stirred with a dry chillness as the smiling gentle spoke to no one . “Guess it is too late to read about the weather”. Remembering the newspaper under his arm brought another chuckle without an audience.

“Yep, times are a’changing, but I hope they don’t stop printing newspapers. I sure hope it don’t rain”. The unfolding rustle of the newspaper as he spread it to cover himself from the night dew, echoed against the bank’s brick wall.

Post "POST",, After the first two comments, I see that I have missed the mark on this one.  I suppose this might need further explaination.  lol.. There was a local news story about the downtown area making a fuss about the homeless in the park.  This was meant to be a different view in the fact that we never know what the history of these visitors is.  The "man" is ok with his situation because he has done what he had set out to do before this period in time.  I supposed I interjected my worry of getting my girls out of college into the story and it landed soundly out of place.  Both he and I are "fine" with the children situation. lol. You folks sure are great.. lol

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

When Ya Get Old..

When you get old your Saturday's are "different".  You have read the story about "The Boss" and me going to Greenville and then on to Denton where we lived when we first got "hitched".  Spur of the moment.  Well, we do movies that way too.  We have breakfast around lunch time, (This week it was at the EGG and I,,maybe I will get a complimentary ticket for that plug) and then we could think of no place to run off to so we decided on a movie.  Saturday tickets are at a discount.  Six dollars each.  That makes twelve dollars for entry fee, but I always outsmart "The Boss".  I drop her off at the ticket booth and go park the van.  See, that way she is tricked into buying the tickets.  I park and we enter the gate and she runs off to the "powder room" while I get refreshments.  They are a bargain at our movie house.  Two Icee's, a box of Milk Duds and a sack of popcorn only came to twenty two dollars and sixy three cents.  Good thing they were out of bottled water, it is only 5.25, but it is a pretty good sized bottle. I wonder who out-smatz who on this deal. reckon?

Anyhow, by not doing a lot of researech on the movie hunt, the movie we choose may not always be as entertaining as we had hoped.  This week we ventured into see RED.
"Retired and Extremely Dangerous".  I have posted a link so I won't go into all the characters that are involved, I will keep this short.

This was fun.  Pure and simple.  Not a whole lot of "cussing" and no neckedness, just fun.  The best I would describe it if I was down at the feed store would be that it is a cross between "Die Hard" ( It does have Bruce Willis in it ) and the "Pink Panther".  Neither of these movies were a big draw to me but the combination made me laugh a little.

If you don't like going to the movies, I doubt it will be too long before this thing is available on Netflix or DVD.  I am not much of a movie critic, but I am hard to please with plot and acting.  It doesn't much matter here, because the fun was laced through out, in my Old Codger opinion.

      click to view trailer

Friday, October 22, 2010

Could this be portrait of an "Old Codger"

Have you ever been walking or perhaps driving, and think, "What was that"?
Doing a "double" take (look) ? Watching a movie? Or, perhaps even reading a passage in a book and you have to go back a page and re-read.

Sometimes, things just ain't what they seem..reckon? :)

Photo borrowed from above blogsite. Check it out.  Fun visit

What do you see, or see at first glance?  Then What did you see? Hummm...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I knowww It is a day Early,,,,,,

No story today. To borrow a phrase from SGT. Joe Friday, “just the facts Ma’um, just the facts”.

Exactly three month ago today, yep count ‘em, on July 21, 2010 an event fell toward my favor. I was a “non-Winner” in a contest. Usually when I have been a non-Winner, I have not fared quite so fortunate. Unless you fell off the turnip truck last night, you have moseyed on over a time or two to “Middle Passages”. I don’t know how I first stumbled into such luck, but if you haven’t visited this site, you need to.

Don’t just go on my word, Go ahead Click on link and see for yourself.

I have two items to touch on, today. One is the prize that I won, “The Faith of a Writer”, by Joyce Carol Oates. You think you might have thought you have read all you need to know about writing, but this is information to supplement what genius you already have. (That was meant to be HaHa funnie). Page sixty three, second paragraph, first sentence is my favorite line.

The most important things I want to cover is my apology to Ms. Liza in that I haven’t thanked her publicly for this prize. My Daddy always said that “Egg on your face” ( for waiting so long to say “thank you” ) has no expiration date so Ms. Liza I thank you for bestowing this winning on me. The real prize is your daily posting.

Back to the book. To me, this was more of an inspirational book than textbook so I did not take “how to” notes for future reference. The book is in good condition, no major coffee stains and no pages missing.

Item number two: With Ms. Liza’s permission, I would like to offer this book to anyone who would like to read it. Just send me your address in comment, ( I will not publish, and I WILL delete for security reasons), and I will mail the book to you.

Thirdly, ( I know I only said I had two things to note ), but “ Thank You” to all you who drop by, even if you don’t say hello. The visits make for a more fun time.

you can still comment your "Where To" thoughts on previous post. publish comments sometime tomorrow..thanks

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Where To?

Does anyone notice their own stride? Suddenly the feel of the sidewalk moving as steps became familiar to the thought process of walking. Same route, same surroundings, only different. Unseasonably cool and damp, not aligned to correspond with the calendar page. Not uncomfortable, but yet still a distance to the destination. Familiar but actually unnoticed on a normal routine, the sound of brakes interrupted the steady gait. Bus Stop. The once bright reflective lettering was now weather beaten by the tick tock of time and elements.

The swoosh of the opening doors allowed warm dry air to spill forward in a beckoning invitation. Aching knees stepped forward with little effort. The fluorescent glare enhanced the uplifting atmosphere as passengers danced in their intertwined conversations. The welcome sight of an empty seat ..

so what do you think is next?  You are invited to "comment" what happens next,,reckon?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Could It Have Been Me?

I like visiting places that I have never been before. This was right in line with an exercise from a new book that I picked up on “writing”. The point of the exercise was to go to a place, building, house, park, or anywhere that you had never been – someplace out of the ordinary for yourself, but not putting yourself in any real danger. Spend at least thirty minutes in this strange environment and make note either mentally or on a note pad. Use judgment in not drawing unwanted attention to yourself. This new knowledge would be new fodder for a future story.

Passing by on numerous occasions, I had never paid any great attention to the outer facade. Entering the main door, I was greeted by a uniformed gentleman.

“How are you today?”

Friendly enough it seemed. “I am doing ok, and you? My name is (you know what it is)

“Hello, they call me Webster.”

“I am doing a writing exercise for a class and part of the experiment calls for me to observe a place or situation that was new to me”. (Ok, “a class” can be just one person, can’t it?) “I should be finished within thirty minutes”.

“That’s fine. I will leave you at it then”.

I took a seat in one of the several nondescript vinyl upholstered stools. The room was brightly lit and with no windows. There could hardly be any differentiation between day and night. Eggshell colored walls enclosed the room towering upward three times the height of normal. The number of people was sparse. No conversation indicated that anyone was familiar with the other. A monotonous stare affixed to each as if they were unaware of the person in close proximity. Do they know or feel as if they are being held prisoner. Do they even have the will power to live and thrive outside these walls, or has the routine welded itself into their being so that what was once an individual is following the same motions as the gang. Minutes, for me, seemed like hours. How did they feel about time? A large clock fastened high on the south wall might as well not been there. No one seemed to check for the time of day. My upbeat mood was shot for the day. I didn’t like this place. How had I missed all this? Could I have just as easily been part of this bunch? Each one is a decent human being and I in no way draw a conclusion as to what is right or wrong. What would I do?

My sentence ended after what seemed much longer than thirty minutes. I had the option and ability to get up and walk out. I did.

“Thanks you Mister Webster. Time for me to be getting on down the road. I appreciate your hospitality.” He opened the door ahead of me and I couldn’t pass through quick enough.

“Come back anytime”. Mr. Webster’s grin had no indication of true intent.

“Sure thing”. I touched the visor of my cap.

The roar of my truck’s diesel engine eased a soothing effect over my fading anxiety. I was leaving. I wondered when their stay would be ending. The power steering belt gave a whining screech as I turned to leave the parking area and I glanced up at the stark sign marking the location. Casino