• Who We Are

  • Schedule

    Mondays ~
    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
    Wednesdays ~ Dreamer
    Thursdays ~ Naughty
    Fridays ~ Dreary
    Saturdays ~
    Sundays ~

    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

  • Snarky’s Tweets

  • Kinetic’s Tweets

  • Dreamer’s Tweets

  • Wicked’s Tweets

  • Eerie’s Tweets

  • Mighty’s Tweets

Acuity Mark

MLP:FIM (If you don’t know what it is, Google it) posed an interesting trope concerning destiny. When someone came of age, they grew a ‘mark’ that served as a metaphorical representation of their personality and/or special talents. Simple examples include apples for an apple farmer to a clef for someone attuned to music, while a more cryptic example is blooming flowers for a kindergarten teacher who excels at brining about the best in her young students.

Now imagine if we had that, and all the blessings/horrors that would spawn from its existence. Imagine…

…if we all knew what activities our brains and bodies were born to be best at

…if we all knew what we would be happiest doing

…if we were forced, merely for the sake of efficiency, to do what we were created to do

…if we ended up hating what we were destined to be

You really have to pity the poor soul who ends up hating what they should love most. Or worry about society looking down on you for not being ‘the best you can be’ just because you like gardening over piano. Or marvel at the massive burden lifted from young people’s shoulders as they worry day and night what they should be when they grow up or which degree to pursue. Think of the money businesses would save training people, when that specific activity comes naturally to the employee.

And think of those lost and left behind because there wasn’t any money in what they were ‘destined’ to do, and they’re down to scrubbing toilets for the rest of their days. Because hey, someone’s got to clean the can. And I doubt anyone was born to be the best at doing that.

Just something to think about.

ADD

I had a lot of problems with people growing up. I think in part it was all the outburst talking, or my inability to keep my pencil still in my hands, or how I always seemed to have just one more question for my teacher. I had ADD pretty bad for most of my childhood I think, so much so that I made about just as many enemies as I lost friends (which didn’t leave me a lot to work with sadly).

Now that I’m older and wiser, I find myself calmer, cooler, and very much more collected. Call it maturity. Call it a God-send (I do!). But recently a friend of mine put it into perspective. He said to me, “Kyle, you’re a smart guy, and you’ve probably been a smart guy ever since you learned to count to two. But by God, after twenty-five years you finally learned when to shut your mouth and when to open it. Now shut up and let me buy you a drink.”

He did. And it tasted damn good.

Tops and Bottoms

Someday I’m going to write a story with this as a central theme, but for now, I’ll settle with a simple post.

Humans are like animals… which is what everyone and your priest wants to tell you. What is really true is that humans are animals, and we’re all guilty of trying to think otherwise. Putting ourselves on the level of mere dogs is insulting. Just look at them. Rolling around in the mud, tongues lolling about, their blatant disregard for cleanliness. But when you scold them, and if they respect you, they all do the same thing. They lower their eyes.

What does a child do when his mother catches him with his hand in the cookie jar? Lower his eyes. What does a man do when the woman he loves catches him doing something she told him not to? Drop that gaze to the floor.

“Sorry sweetie, I didn’t mean it…”

Likely story.

But look at the similarities. Look how instinctive it is to show submission to another. As animals, we know when to act humbly and when to act strong. When that bad guy in a ski-mask comes snatching your special lady’s purse and you chase him down, that’s just you being dominant. And that’s great, especially if you were the same guy who just apologized to his wife for taking a huge scoop out of her freshly-made blueberry pie when she explicitly told you not to.

Humans can be both.

It’s just more interesting when you figure out which one you are more inclined toward.

And that my friends, is a whole other post.

Hellos and Goodbyes…

It’s been awhile since we’ve visited the Swamp and her inhabitants. Today I thought you might like to take a peek into our little farewell get together for Mighty, who shall remain with us via the technology gods until her return, and meet our newest member…

Wicked: *shoving Might’s duffle on to the back of the lopsided jackass*  Why the hell are you going to the Windy City? Between the Werewolf Monks and Eerie’s Free Range Zombies, I would’ve thought we had enough drama for you.

Mighty:*stashing her Staff of Bull Shark Repellent*  You know how it is, money’s a little tight and those Bull Sharks aren’t going to leave the lake any time soon. I’m just going to make sure they don’t pass beyond where they’re allowed.

Snarky: *lazily curling and uncurling her whip*  I can whip them into shape.

Mighty: *look of indulgent disdain*  Your whip is not going to reach.

*Overhead Mischievous calls out*:  Hey Mighty, you ready to lose a few fingers and toes?  The temps over there will keep you in deep freeze.  *He cackles at his lame attempt at humor*

Mighty: *rolling her eyes across the road. Picks them up and puts them back in*:  That bird would be great fried.

Wicked: *grinning in agreement, even as the Prankster Duo comment on Mighty’s gory trick*  Yeah, but I think Eerie might take exception to our meal plans.

Eerie: *taking his Free Range Zombies for a walk with chains and a pointy stick*  What meal plans? The Werewolf Monks have been promising me a new vintage, I could pester them for it.

*A cloud of smoke drifts over* Smokey: “Just took down a mastodon over by Swamp Thing’s place. It’s been smoking nicely for the last few days. I’ll have my Spicy Bit bring it over. We don’t want you heading off without a full belly, Mighty.

Quirky: *practicing knots with some newly purchased ropes*  The Muses headed out a few hours ago, so we could probably hang over at Filet Your Own Deli without worrying about another knock down drag out argument over the use of details or lack thereof.

Dreamer *arms full of colorful blooms and Angel Boy fluttering around her ankles*  What about your cabin, Mighty? Do you need someone to pop in and keep an eye on things for you?

Mighty: *the smirk we all know and love but have learned to be wary of appears* Nah, I forgot to mention I found someone to cabin sit while I’m gone.  That way it’ll still be standing, Zombie Free, when I get back.

Dreamer *beatific smile appears* It’s so nice to have new blood in the community.  So much to play with…*a small blush*  I mean, perhaps they’ll have new playmates for Angel Boy.  *Turns to Wicked and Snarky*  No offense girls, but I believe your progeny may be perhaps a bit too adventurous for mine right now.

Wicked & Snarky exchange high fives.  

Wicked: None taken…

Snarky:  So this new peep.  What’s the deal? Who are they? Where are they from? Most importantly, can they pass the Swamp Entry Exam?

*A loud pop and a blue telephone booth appears and settles in the road. Red Dwarf steps out

Red: Good eve, all, I thought I’d pop in before tea to bid Mighty adieu.  

*A small blond races from behind Red and joins forces with the Prankster Duo, where upon a discussion of how Yoda took down Darth in this year’s Star Wars March Madness*

Red: Did I hear something about an entrance exam? I thought we’d straightened that out months ago.  Besides, I don’t see any dead bodies lying around. Everyone’s here–Snarky, Wicked, Smokey, Quirky, Eerie, Dreamer, Mighty, myself…doesn’t that put us one over?

Eerie *capturing a wondering single hand and wrestling it back in line*  Even though you’re over the Pond and Mighty will soon be in the Land of Winds and You-betchas, we’ve decided to allow one more individual into the group.

Quirky:  We did? When?

Wicked: It was during the brawl over at the Kilted Ferret pub when we had to hold off that damn Molly and her two henchboys from Eerie’s Three Misfiteers.  

Quirky: *flying fingers and rope pause before continuing their dizzy dance*  Oh yeah.  So, who is the new person?

Mighty: *tossing another package on top of the lopsided jackass* I’d introduce you all, but she’s been here the whole time, so I ‘ll let her do the honors.

*All seven dwarves start checking out their surroundings*

Eerie: Short? Tall? Gnome? Troll? What exactly are we looking for here? And a name would be good.

*Mighty smiles and continues to finish her packing*

*From behind him a shadow separates and forms into a petite, lithe form*  Names are not to be given lightly, small man.

Eerie: *huffs up to his full three foot one inch height* Who you calling small?

Wicked: *arms folded so knives are in easy reach* Nice move there, I need to introduce you to Raine.

Snarky: *lets her whip snap, crackle and pop*  And you would be…

*Shadow girl drops a very elegant bow* I am called Ninja Dwarf.

Quirky: *looking intrigues*  Wow! Totally cool, we get our very own ninja!

1st and 3rd person

Totally unrelated to this post, I’m going to throw a shout out to my friends who are cool accepting me for who I am.

No that’s not me coming out of the closet. There is no closet. Do not assume.

But really, I let on about one of my stranger quirks and they were ok with that, which is cool. It’s what you expect, but not always get, from the people close to you.

Ok so onto this post!

I’ve been debating the pros and cons about writing in first person and 3rd person. I bet there’s a billion discussions about them and which is better and yada yada. All I’ve got to say is that it’s a lot more fun to write in first. You get all those sappy and fun and intense ideas and thoughts and personal motivations right from the source. It’s like candy for our tastes today; high octane, in-your-face action and gushing emotions. I also find it easier to write in, which, as a writer, is a huge plus.

Yeah first person is fun, and yeah people like fun so they read fun, but 3rd person is a lot more, I don’t know, worldly? Pragmatic? You get a lot of different thoughts and ideas from a lot of different places. I like comparing it to a big spider web. Over here you get character A’s thoughts on world peace while character B’s got some emotional stigma against the thought. While a war is happening on one side of the world, peace can exist within a small community. Sure you probably stick to tracking two character’s movements, but two is better than one, especially when one, IE first person, can be biased, misinformed, or a downright liar.

So yeah writing in first is easier, but that doesn’t always make it better.

Bad Habits

Bad habits die hard, they say. ‘They’ also say it takes a thousand times to make a habit and a million to break it (or something like that).

Maybe that explains why when my sock and underwear drawer changed, I always had to stop myself, turn, and put the socks in the other drawer. Why don’t I just switch drawers? It’s a matter of pride, believe it or not.

But this writing blog isn’t going to be filled with underwear and socks. Rather, the concept of a bad habit and breaking one has always interested me. We’ll use my father as my first example. My father is a smoker. He’s said he’ll quit this bad habit for the past ten years, and constantly mumbles: “Damn, next year, next year I’ll be done with this disgusting bad habit.” But has he quit smoking? No. And he probably never will. Yet somehow he kicked his drinking habit, and he did that right quick. Then again, when you’re faced with the abrupt, dire consequences of one bad habit, it tends to shock you out of it, rather than taking a million or so times.

So my father quit drinking because bad shit went down, yet he smokes because, hey, it’s not killing me now.

Get the picture I’m painting here?

Let’s use another example:

Woman (fiction character actually, read her from a book) takes drugs to dull her pain. Not emotional. In the book she got shot and beat up so often I wondered how she still had all her fingers and toes. But she took the drug because it made her stronger and better able to protect the ones she loved.

But drugs exact their price, and like my father, she was fine now, and, consciously taking this addictive substance, she dealt with the now really well. But when it came high time to pony up to the drug’s nasty effects, well… she had a choice. Protect the ones you love with drug-induced strength, or lose them forever because that drug makes you a mean son of a wench?

Deep shit, I know. Perfect story material. You’re welcome.

The Gun Show

I value all experiences, both big and small. Not only can I use them for cannon fodder in my writing, experiences shape who and what we are as a human being.

Since this is a writing blog, we’re going to stick with the cannon fodder here (incoming pun intended).

I went to the gun show at the Mesa Convention Center last weekend with my parents, more out of curiosity because for most of my life, I’ve avoided guns like a man avoids the common cold (not the plague, that’s the important image here). It’s not that I don’t like deadly firearms, rather I rarely get to practice with them to fully transform whatever nonsense fear I have into proper respect. I went to the gun show to not fire a weapon (I’ll be taking safety classes for that) and not even to buy a weapon, but see the people who use them.

There’s a big controversy over guns going on in our country right now, and I’m sensing some real hostility over ‘violent gun owners with their ways.’

What I saw at that convention wasn’t what I hear or see in the news. I saw everyday people, people you pass by every day on the street, all shivering in the cold of the morning, form a line that started at the door and trailed a whole block down the street. The Mesa Convention Center is a dinky little place, and yet thousands upon thousands of people stood by one another, laughing, talking, buying and selling. All of them were sane, and I got the sense that all of them were well versed in every aspect of the term ‘safe.’

It’s such a strange feeling to hear one thing that the news says and see with my own eyes something completely different.

If that’s not story material, then I don’t know what is.

The book that isn’t a book

My little brother is creative. He’s also a button-pushing, loud whistling, obnoxious little shit whom I often dream of breaking his nose. Annoying brotherly love aside, he gave me the most and creative present this year: a book safe.

Now I know it sounds strange, ‘who would keep their books in a safe?’ But that’s the thing, I’m not keeping my books in a safe, the book itself is a safe. Printed on the front is an author in big white letters, and everything above and below is what you’d see on any bookshelf. The spine is the same way along with the back. When put into a bookshelf, it’s completely camouflaged among the thickets of my other books. But when you open the front cover, bam, there’s a safe with a keyhole and everything.

Ingenious, thoughtful, and creative.

He’s still a little devil though.

Experiences with a terrible book

I rarely read bad books, mostly because whatever book I set my sights on next goes through a grueling process of first expert opinion from friendly avid readers, then second through careful research. If the book passes both, it goes on my list of books to read next.

You know how life gets sometimes though, small things like updating said list gets pushed to the side, and I’m left with no more books piled on my dresser to read. That’s usually when, desperate for really anything to read, I pick up a terrible book.

Now, I’ve got some high standards and my interests are as niche as they come, so please don’t get offended when I say I picked up the famous John Grisham and can’t read more than ten pages without getting completely and utterly bored. The Firm seemed like a good read. It was thick, had a nice cover that reminded me it was now a hit series on NBC, and was a genre I kept reminding myself I needed to read more often; mystery. But damn I say, it really is 100% through and through boring. Maybe because there’s no aliens or magic, or both. Again, I’m very niche. But from my reading/writing experience, I’m certain every character in the story isn’t supposed to sound like the same person, even the women. I’m sure the dialogue shouldn’t sound like monologue, and I’m sure the author shouldn’t remind me ever twenty pages or so of a man’s sexual affinity for voyeurism. I get it. He likes to beat off to the sounds of another’s love-making. Don’t remind me eight times in the first two hundred pages.

But this post isn’t to gripe about my recent read (even though it kinda is), it’s to remind you, dear reader, to pick your books with care and love. Your reading time is precious time, and it’s true that if the book doesn’t capture you in the first few pages and then the next few chapters, don’t read it. I picked up The Firm without even peeling the cover.

Observation on the value of short stories

I picked up “The Best of Fantasy, 2004” at Bookmans a few weeks ago and before every short story there’s a mini-bio stating the works these authors have previously published or are attempting to publish soon. I noticed that about 95% of these authors all started with publishing short stories in various sci-fi or fantasy magazines. They didn’t start with huge, epic novels. They began small. I think a lot of writers (including me) forget that its a whole lot easier to practice your craft on a smaller scale than a larger one.

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