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How to Think Like a Writer

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First ask yourself these two questions: Do you really want to? and Can you keep up?

These questions are pertinent since if you are capable of writing and want to do it then there’s two things you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life: thinking and writing. If you’re not writing then you’ll be thinking about writing, and if you’re not thinking about writing or writing then you’ll be thinking. Now if you’re thinking about thinking you might just be bored and need to unplug for a little while, if you can. Writing is habitual in some cases and can leave you wanting more since it can be like a drug in many ways.

Don’t believe me?

Writing can be habit-forming.

You might not think it’s true or even possible to just want to sit and write for hours on end, but even authors such as myself have done it and never once balked at it. Some days I’ve gone for hours at a time before my body decided to remind me that I needed to take care of certain functions or risk making a huge mess or collapsing in my chair from starvation or dehydration or some other natural process I was forgetting.

As an addiction though writing is perhaps one of the most benign habits you could ever develop. But it will stick with you, it will remind you that every day there will be a compulsion to write, a burning desire that you can’t fully erase and something in you that just needs to be released if you’re going to feel like your normal self, if there is such a thing any longer.

The need to write is quite strong once it’s developed and in truth it’s something that can easily take up a lot of a person’s time if they don’t learn how to manage it.

One of the greatest parts about writing is that when it comes to thinking how to get the job done there’s no right way.

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There’s your way, and so long as it works then you’ve found the right method by which to get the job done and keep your thought processes on track. One thing you’ll always want to learn however when trying to become a writer is that, depending on what you write, your thought processes will never be the same between one job and the next. There will be subtle to grandiose changes between one writing and another. Whatever is within the writer’s scope will become a part of their writing in some way, be it subject matter, tone, or even the attitude with which you write. The best writers will find a way to project their environment and their reaction to it into their work without ever letting on that they’ve done so.

So, are you really ready to think like a writer?

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I Know You’re There

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I know you’re there, I can feel the look

You’re hiding somewhere I can’t see.

In a corner, a closet, a shadowed nook.

Or somewhere that something shouldn’t possibly be.

You’ve been there longer than you should have been you know.

Your time already came

Why didn’t you heed the summons to go?

When fate came and called your name?

I feel you back there, watching me so quietly, always far behind.

I can’t help wondering if you’re someone’s burden,

And why you seem to be mine.

Did someone hurt you and make you stay?

Or were you left behind?

Do you want to frighten and scare me away?

Or are you scared but kind?

I’d ask if you want something or need assistance

But you’d probably refuse and give me a scare.

I guess we’ll both just continue this dance

Since I will always know you’re there.

-Sometimes whimsy strikes and you’ve got to go with it.

What’s the Best Exercise?

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To be quite honest there’s no one exercise that’s better than the next. It’s all a matter of what you want to do. Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to gain muscle? Do you want to build up your endurance? There are exercises that can help you with any goal you have in mind when it comes to fitness, but you’re the one that has to decide what it is that you’re trying to accomplish.

Exercise IS for everyone, but not EVERY exercise is for everyone.

Get that? You can train like an Olympian or professional athlete if you want, or try, but unless your body needs to work a peak performance all the time then not every exercise is going to be something you need or should even really attempt. Those that make a living through sports of any kind will usually have a fitness regimen that, during the slow season, will still make the average person’s workout routine look like a warm-up.

Exercise is supposed to be somewhat comfortable for each person and not take you past the safe limits that your body can withstand. Now keep in mind I didn’t say “stay within the limits” I said “past the SAFE limits”. You’re not going to show up at the gym and start benching 400 lbs. like a professional weightlifter, and you’re definitely not going to be running like a marathon runner if you can only make a few miles on the treadmill before collapsing. It’s not a matter of discouraging your workout, it’s more along the lines of telling people how to gauge their fitness level and figuring out what will work for them.

Exercise isn’t about competition after all, at least not when you get to the gym. It’s about making the attempt to keep yourself healthy and to lead a more fulfilling lifestyle.

Exercise doesn’t mean much if you can’t control your eating habits.

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The real EXERCISE you might want involves controlling your eating habits. It’s okay, everyone knows that fast food is easy, simple, and sometimes cheaper than cooking a meal at home. But the price you pay for a poor diet comes when you have to workout even harder and for much longer to lose the calories gained by a single cheeseburger or slice of pizza than you would if you were eating something healthy and far more energizing than a grease-bomb from the local drive-thru.

If you can’t balance your diet then exercise is only going to bring about a small amount of relief since putting that junk into your body will provide a short energy boost but won’t help you in the long run. To really get the benefit out of any exercise you need to eat foods that will build you up, not clog you up and drag you down.

The best exercise involves the willpower to start eating and living in a healthier manner.

Writing is Kind of Like Boxing

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It’s an odd thought, but it makes a lot of sense if you take the time to really think about it. Writing is like boxing in that requires a lot of time, a lot of practice, and a lot of training in order get good enough to step in the ring with the real contenders and prove that you can bang. Writing is a rough life to take on since it’s not guaranteed money, fame, fortune, or anything other than the long hours you’ll spend trying to be the best you can and having to stay at the top of your game in order to still be considered the best there is.

How you enter a story is important, as it sets the tone and lets the reader know: you paid to play and now you’re in my world. You’d better be ready.

It’s not a perfect life though, far from it.

Anyone out there thinking that is the road to riches needs to think twice and either get out of the game before you get disappointed or buckle up and get ready for the long haul. This job will beat you to the ground if you let it and daylight will become a thing of the past if you invest yourself in the madness that is writing without ever learning what it’s like to struggle and make your way to the top.

You know who has it easy when it comes to writing? The people that enter the game with a bank roll and a team of specialists whose only job is to make sure that the writer makes it, that’s who. If you come to this game fully-loaded and ready to rock you might have a chance. But those folks are usually the ones that are doing it for publicity, for the starshine that they’ve already achieved and don’t want to lose. In other words, it’s a gimmick.

Those of us that start from the bottom and scratch and claw our way up are great in number and do whatever it takes to prove what we’ve got. We take our lumps, we accept the hits, and we don’t tend to give up so easily since we want it that bad. If you’re not ready to step in this ring and realize just how hard it’s going to be then get out now and find another profession. Otherwise knuckle up and keep moving forward.

You’re going to take your lumps, so get used to it.

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Whatever carefully-laid plans you had for your writing career are best left at the door when you start up, because if you don’t alter them, toss them, or realize what’s going to happen then life, editors, critics, and if you’re lucky, fans, will do that for you. Writing isn’t always the perfect job, it’s not always a fun job. If you want success you’ll take on jobs that you don’t want because they pay. You’ll write about things you don’t give a damn about because the bills have to be paid, and you’ll be grateful because it’s one more step on the road of experience that you’ll need later in life.

Don’t expect anyone to be nice to you but be glad if someone is. Don’t expect them to help you along the way, but don’t refuse that help if it’s given. You want someone to pay attention to you? Write something worth reading.

But don’t expect anyone to notice, don’t expect that anyone is going to take time out of their busy schedule to help you, and certainly don’t expect that you’re going to be the next big overnight hit.

The only hits that are guaranteed to come will happen when you try to step into the literary ring, and you’d best be able to take them, or you’ll find yourself wondering why you ever bothered.

This isn’t a kind business and it’s not meant to be. If you can write then do it. But be ready to take the hits.

Hear Me Roar (part II)

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(continued)

Yuma, Arizona

November 3rd, 2020

Her family was already gone. They’d packed up what they needed and headed back east nearly three days ago, which might put them in Georgia if they’d been driving all the way through and her parents had taken shifts driving. Their RV was big enough and comfy enough to sleep all three of them without a hitch. It had even been enough to fit her if she’d wanted to go, but she had seen the look in their eyes, and despite the calm assurances of her parents that they still loved her and would do anything for her, there was no doubt that Alexis had become more of a liability than even her parents could afford.

They’d left her with the understanding that they would find family in Georgia, relatives they hadn’t seen in years, and come back for her when things had settled down. She believed them, just as she believed they needed time to accept what she was, what she’d done, and what she was capable of. But she didn’t believe that their feelings remained unchanged. Her brother was perhaps the only one at the moment who had not seen her as different yet, and he had the benefit of youth on his side, the naivete of children that allowed them to accept so much of the unknown that adults simply couldn’t seem to handle.

She was a legal adult at least, and did not have to be accompanied anywhere by a parent. Her own parents had left her cash, a car, and enough to get by on until she made the decision to come and join them or, as they’d seen in her eyes, she decided to find a way to end what had been set in motion for good, if she could.

There was no telling just how many intermediaries she would have to go through in order to finally reach the end of the road she was currently on, or if she would still be standing by the time that moment came. Right now all that mattered was following up on the only lead she’d been given in the fatal moment when her family had seen her for what she truly was.

“Miss, you’ll have to come with me.”

The voice was unknown to her, as was the hand that dropped suddenly on her shoulder, the owner trying to spin her around as she stood absolutely still. The only thing that happened was that the shirt she was wearing moved with his grasp, and then tore along a seam as he tried to grab her. What came next was exactly why her parents now looked at her so differently.

(to be continued)

The Painted Actress (part II)

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(continued)

Garibaldi, OR

October 23rd, 2019

There was a bite to the air as she stood to her feet, rolling her shoulders and doing her best to ignore it for the moment. She’d forgotten to put the heater on the night before and was no doubt feeling the cool chill of a coastal morning. Jaymie had known for some time that the weather on the coast could lean from chilly to cool even in the summer months, but inside where there was no sunlight, especially early in the morning like now, it was still cold as balls, as some people might say. It was an odd saying but she kind of liked it.

A knock came at her door in that next instant as she was opening her eyes wide, trying to wake up a bit more. Shambling towards the bathroom area, which was quite simple, nothing like a Hilton or Marriott suite, to fetch one of her few robes that she’d brought.

“Hold on,” she called, her voice cracking slightly as she reached the hangers that were kept just outside the bathroom. Pulling down a soft, comfy pink robe she put it on and was belting it around her waste as the door opened. She almost worried at that moment that she’d forgotten to lock the door, but as she saw the lean form of her agent and friend Nico making his way into the room, eyes shielded by sunglasses and the cup of blessed, sweet-smelling coffee he held in one hand she couldn’t help but smile.

“You’re decent I hope,” he said, his gravelly voice sounding like music to her ears just as the coffee smelled like heaven to her nostrils.

“You’d love it if I wasn’t,” she quipped, “Just trying to sneak a peek aren’t we?”

“Oh please,” Nico said with a laugh as he stood just inside the doorway, pushing it closed with his back as he held out the steaming paper cup, a venti no less, for her to grab. Jaymie took it with a grateful ‘thank you’ and sipped at the rim, he never used the lids bless him, as the hot but very sweet concoction reached her lips. Inhaling softly she let the hot, sugary fluid warm her all the way down as Nico went and took a seat at the round table that many hotels seemed to think was such a great thing to place right between a window and a bed.

“Am I needed on set yet?” Jaymie asked, raking her left hand through her hair as she held onto her coffee with her other.

“Not yet,” Nico said, “They’ll buzz me when it’s time. Besides, they’ll be shooting closer to Rockaway today so you’ve got enough time to just sit and rest. Rough night?”

She smiled, “Nope, just dreams is all.”

“Aw, you shouldn’t dream of me too hard, my missus will get jealous.”

Jaymie snorted, almost spraying coffee over him as Nico raised his hands in defense, chuckling as she wiped at her lips.

“That was so not nice,” she said, admonishing him with a grin, “Besides, your wife likes to share from what I hear.”

“She’s been telling you stories again I see,” Nico said with a laugh, “But you should know that Ramone and Big Red aren’t actual people.”

Jaymie rolled her eyes at his leering smile. She loved her friend to death but sometimes he could be just a bit corny.

(to be continued)

Don’t Strip a Human Being to their Core

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What does this mean? For the purposes of this post it means that stripping people of their dignity, their purpose, and everything that makes them who they are is not a wise move. At our core, whether people truly want to believe it or not, we are very simple beings that rely on basic emotions and cues that help us to navigate the world around us. We treat one another based upon how we would like to be treated and how we are actually treated. In other words society and civilization is possible because human beings learned how to treat one another with a modicum of respect and dignity that managed to help us raise ourselves from the savagery we came from.

Tearing people down is much easier than building them up.

Call it a quirk or a fault in the human spirit but the act of building someone up takes time, effort, and in some cases a great deal of trust that must be earned. That represents a long, hard road that not everyone can tread so easily and yet it comes with great rewards eventually as people learn how to behave and how to rely on one another. Tearing people down however is quite easy, as it doesn’t require morals, it doesn’t require manners, and it allows people to bring out the darker side of their nature which seems to be poised and ready to spring with many people.

Despite being a bad decision however it is also a bad habit that many people happily engage in as they attempt to ridicule and demean those that are different, those that have different ideals, and those that cannot reach a compromise when it comes to the differences between us. Tearing others down is a thing of ease when one seeks to use their differences as a weapon rather than a unifying ideal.

The danger in tearing people down however is that eventually you strip away the decency that makes them who they are.

The kindest, most gentle person in the world will harbor at least a shred of that shared instinct that keeps people going each and every day. This instinct is neither positive or negative in theory, as it exists to keep us alive, to keep us moving, and to insure that we don’t simply give in and give up when things get too difficult. That instinct however is easily swayed when an overwhelming emotion is allowed to influence it, and when such emotions are negative it tends to bring out the worst in some people.

In some folks it will do nothing, it will make them work harder to achieve their goals or perhaps just give up entirely. But others will take a different tact and that includes becoming confrontational, combative, and even vindictive towards those that tear them down in such a manner. Thankfully it takes a good long time to break a human being down to raw instinct and reaction, but when it’s been done, there’s no reversing the effect until the person in question decides to see reason and forego the immediate reaction that such instinct tends to demand.

Is this becoming clear now?

Our world has thrived on building people up in theory and making society greater, but it has continually done so at the expense of others and the continued harassment and degradation of those people that should have by all rights been a part of the building of this world all along. The measure of equality that has been denied to many people throughout history goes a long way towards explaining the bitterness and resentment that is still felt to this day, and the warring instincts of those that seek to fight rather than unite in a world where unification is the only means by which we’ll continue to thrive as a species.

Humanity has been stripping each other down to the core, basic instincts for far too long, and it’s getting to the point where those instincts are going to end up harming us more than the actions it took to get to them.

To those that actively tear people down, think twice about your words and your actions, or those you break down could very well come back to haunt you in more ways than one.

Which Way Will You Vote?

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No, this won’t be a lengthy post of “vote this way if you want the country to change” or “vote that way if you think things are going good the way they are and need to stay the course” kind of article. It will be more along the lines “damn I’m tired, aren’t you America?”

We need the elections, we need the process, and we need people that are serving our best interests in charge of the country. So why is it that we don’t seem to get them that often? How in the world does our country run with people in office that seem to be more concerned with their own well-being than the country’s? It’s one thing to take care of yourself if you don’t have a job that requires you to serve others on a continual basis, but the people in DC are there for the purpose of serving the country, not their own personal interests.

The purpose of politicians is, contrary to popular belief, to serve the will of the people.

It might not seem that way considering that many among them tend to vote and to act in a manner that suggest that their interests are continually put before those of the nation. There are those among them that do sacrifice and are able to look upon their fellow human beings with something akin to respect and dignity, but they are kind of rare these days. A lot of politicians, too many in fact, seem to see their positions as having been earned all this time when in truth they’ve been living in one compromise after another, making themselves wealthy throughout the long tenure as they watch the country go deeper into debt and do little to nothing about it.

Oh they do something alright I suppose, they watch their bank accounts get bigger and contemplate a nice retirement pension when they finally decide to retire.

Which way are you going to turn?

It’s a rhetorical question really since between Republicans and Democrats it seems as though one side or the other will do little to nothing in the way of creating true resolutions to the many problems plaguing America. Does that offend some of you? Good, perhaps it will open your eyes, but maybe it won’t. But it will certainly put you on the defensive and will sharpen your focus when it comes to understanding what the country needs to recover.

Which way are you going to go?

Hear Me Roar (part I)

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Yuma, Arizona

November 3rd, 2020

She wasn’t an imposing figure. She wasn’t tall, she wasn’t bulky, and she certainly wasn’t intimidating in the least. But she was fierce, and that was what too many people had never seemed to realize. She was the beast within the skin of a lamb, the one that could turn ferocious when it was needed and seem meek whenever she desired. This was the mask she wore most days, the one that people enjoyed, the one that some seemed to think was the only way that the world saw her.

Those days had ended though.

When her little brother had become the target of those that should have left the issue between her and themselves they had elevated matters in a very dangerous and profound way. They had helped to unleash something in her that was nothing less than a catastrophe waiting to happen, a metaphorical bomb waiting to explode the moment her trigger was reached. They hadn’t been ready, and they’d paid the price. Unfortunately, she had a price yet to pay as well.

Kneeling upon the rough mixture of sand and dirt overlooking the small duck pond that sat just a short ways from her home, Alexis pondered the very nature of the demons that dwelt within her otherwise pure soul, wondering just how she might reconcile with her brother, and her parents, after what they had seen her do.

The night around her was cool as a gentle wind blew across the pond, disturbing the water just a bit as ripples could be seen across the mirror-like surface. The ducks that frequented this place had either gone elsewhere or bedded down in the foliage that surrounded the far sides of the pond, nestled in safe and sound. She envied them in that moment for their assumed safety. much as others might have envied her until this night.

She had to leave, but she had nowhere to go. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. She had nowhere she wanted to go.

(to be continued)

The Painted Actress (part I)

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Garibaldi, OR

October 23rd, 2019

Here there were nightmares.  Stress, tension, even eating the wrong foods could sometimes bring out such nocturnal demons, insuring that not a wink of sleep could be had by those who were so afflicted.  Tossing and turning within the sheets of her rollaway bed Jaymie hovered somewhere between slumber and wakefulness.  At this moment the part of her that was mostly awake was grateful that she didn’t see fit to entertain any male ‘guests’, since like her they would get very little sleep.

It had been some time since she’d even had eyes for a man, much longer since she’d decided to go farther than a few dates and a solid friendship.  It seemed that too many young men and even the older men were more interested in trying the ride before they found out what she was really like.  In such cases Jaymie had found that it was quite easy to let them go from her life without a fuss.  She had plenty of people around her for company, though perhaps a quarter of them were those she truly trusted.

Among that number were a few gay men that she had learned to trust implicitly.  The rest, save for one, were women who had proven that they cared more about her than they were paid to. The one that stood out from the rest was a man only two years older than her named Anthony Pervin, a local man who’d caught her eye within the first week of shooting.  There were many friendly towns up and down the Pacific Coast, though unlike the rest of the cast and crew Jaymie had decided to stay here instead of Tillamook or Rockaway Beach, each town laying just down the road from the small community.  Thus far she hadn’t been unduly bothered by the small town’s inhabitants.  This was comforting and quite normal.

There were folk who lived upon the coast that claimed that those within the city had become far too jaded against what was deemed an ordinary life and sought distraction from such in each and every aspect they could.  For coastal locals life was a bit simpler and far less stressful when it came to such matters.  Too often there were such concerns, mainly the weather, that demanded the majority of their attention.  Living next to one of the largest bodies of water in the world tended to cue one into problems that mainlanders often didn’t have to worry about.

Having spent much of her life around and on the Pacific coast Jaymie had learned much of what those who saw this as their year round home went through.  The climate was the same year round, though by the weather patterns that often emerged one could scarcely tell.  One moment it might be sunny and pleasant, while the next it would downpour, creating a stunning reversal upon the unwary.  She loved it still, finding that the storms that swept along the coast at times were far more relaxing than a day spent in rush hour traffic back home.

Anthony had treated her much like a local in the short time she’d known him.  This was undoubtedly one of the qualities that had drawn her to him in the first place.  He didn’t see her as a spoiled, pampered snot as some critics seemed to think she was, but rather as the tender soul she truly was.  She’d fully enjoyed the small amounts of time she’d been able to spend with him, and she particularly liked the fact that he was so unflaggingly patient with her schedule.  In her mind Anthony was the epitome of a costal gentleman, laid back yet polite when it came to dealing with women.

Jaymie came awake with a start as she placed one hand quickly on the edge of her motel bed, halting her forward momentum just in time to avoid a bruising fall to the carpet.  The fall would have hurt even worse thanks to the fact that her legs were tangled in the blank white sheets that seemed to be a common staple of all hotels.  Rolling back towards the middle of the bed Jaymie carefully unwound her legs from the sheets, blowing out a sigh of frustration as it took her several moments to accomplish this.

(to be continued)