Month: January 2017

My Oh, What the Hell Moment

We all have these moments–these decisions we make that, at the time, made complete sense…or we thought we were going bat shit and sought a psychiatrist, dressing up in Batman costumes, marrying that person–ahem, apologies for the bluntness.

I like to call them The Oh, What the Hell moments.

The only reason I bring this up, truly, is because I like to take trips down Memory Lane, remember all the good times and the bad times–a Dickens in my own standing–and laugh at my stupidity or cleverness.

One time: I was six and living in Montana; liked to play with my friends, especially while bouncing on the sweet trampoline across the street–the kid who owned it ended up breaking his leg jumping.

This day, this specific day, we were bouncing and having fun…and then the new kid appeared: he lived in front of the Trampoline House, none of us had introduced ourselves yet. He showed up, all eager to make friends and impress us–admittedly, much of this is hard to recall–and called to us from his fence, some kid crap..who knows.

I think I waved, then continued bouncing as my friends, and my sister, circulated around the interesting neighbor. I was content with the trampoline…the others? they jumped in glee when neighbor kid invited us to his house to see his toys.

Southpaw say what?

What’s even more outlandish was their reaction…a resounding o-kay; and before I knew it all of them were walking through the fence and talking and laughing and surrendering themselves to freaky neighbor kid. Me? I was still bouncing…until I saw my sister leaving; then I decided oh, what the hell and followed.

Freaky neighbor kid took us to his basement–a single room with a lone bulb; there were model airplanes swinging from the ceiling and toys littered the concrete floor…it looked like the childhood play place of Norman Bates. We took our choice of toy and sat and played for, maybe, thirty minutes–then, oh, then, we heard his mother call us upstairs.

We found nothing less than a mob of pissed off parents, one of the moms had her hair still in rollers and was wearing a bathrobe; their arms were crossed and everything–if they had been angrier storm clouds were liable to shoot out of their asses.

Everyone was scolded by their parents…except me and my sister.

My parents hadn’t shown up at the door.

Put yourself in our shoes, running back to the house, praying so fervently that our grounding would be merciful– please be merciful–and then finding they had had no idea of the incident in the first place.

I asked: “Are you going to ground us?”

My father, watching the television, “What for?”

“Uh…nothing. What’s for dinner?”

And we never ever ever spoke to freaky neighbor kid again.

So, you see, Oh, What the Hell moments aren’t all bad; in fact they can make excellent stories.

But seriously, watch out for those new kids…they’re weird, man.

Think daily,

A Southpaw


Brain Vomit: Pantsers and Seaters

All you writers out there; yes, I am even talking to you, Man Who Uses A Fountain Pen On All Of His Manuscripts, I have a revelation–writing is a flooding of the mind, the gates open and the brain is drowned in tidal waves of words.

That sounds badass when I put it that way, not to toot my own horn–

Any who…

All of us have varied methods of writing, some like to write a certain number of hours or minutes–two hours is a good amount for me–and others prefer a trusty word count limit between 1000 and 2000 words…some go to 6000, those are the outliers…don’t tell them I said that.

Whatever methods we use work for us; well, they have to–what the hell is the point of organizing all this writing shit if it turns out to be Dumpster material in the end?

Of course, organization can take its own forms. Most like to call them Seaters or Pantsers–I am wondering who came up with those because the latter seems like it was meant to sound immature…I identity with the Pantsers, just unbuckle that belt–but I am kidding…in reality a Pantser could not give two coal heaps about a written plan and decide to, like the Hippies of old, go with the flow, dude–cause, why not?

In a world of Seaters I have been criticized as a Pantser–not many like to take a leap of faith and rely on the good ole’ Muse to supply with them a Pass Go and Collect $200 dollars card. Those who do know how relaxing, and, unavoidably, how stressful, it can be. For Chrissakes, you’re writing in your underwear, how can it not be more stressful?

But I am not here to convert writers to the dark Pantser side of the Force.

Sometimes, and this has happened frequently to me while writing novels, I curse my Pantser beliefs and decide to migrate to the realm of the Seaters; but each time I get freaked because I’m worried the story is going to suffer from my change of perspective.

It is difficult to plan out a novel, let alone a short story, and I commend the writers who take the extra time to do so. Being a Seater means sketching out the characters and the setting and the conflict all before actually writing the first draft–I wonder they don’t get bored from figuring out how the story ends and who the characters are inside and out so early.

See, for every fifteen Seaters, there are thirty Pantsers.

The writing world has to have both perspectives to ensure different types of literature; one can never be the same as the next, as they say.

Because repetitiveness is just plain dull.

Writers reading this, tell me one thing–when you are Pantsing, that sounds bad, or Seating, your stories, when does it get to the point where you ask yourself, “What the hell am I doing?” and change faiths on a dime? Or does it ever get there?

Now, if you’ll excuse me–I have to get back to Pantsing.

Think daily,

A Southpaw


What Is Life Without Friends?

I value many things–home, food, a family, my many, many pets, and perhaps, most of all, my friends. Dictionary definition: these are the people in whom you can confide; they listen and…sometimes…they offer advice: of which it is your choice to follow or disregard.  They have no Insert Cash Here buttons to make a little compensation off your worries–no; in fact, wealth is the farthest thought from their mind.

For true friends it is.

You know how there can be artificial friends? I like to think of them as one dimensional blankets: you seek their comfort and cherish it…until you stab at them once, mistakenly; and their front is compromised. They bolt. In tatters. In scraps. In the mind they never want to speak to numero uno you again.

Luckily I have not frequented many thin blankets in my time; however, all of us, at least once, have met people, people we call our friends, who, when the shit hits the fan–literally…although that’s gross–those somewhat thicker blankets smile and run and bury their heads in the sand.

Nothing wrong with it. Not at all. I just happen to appreciate genuineness. Sound like a snobby art critic, “Yes…this work was..ah, it was a fake…look at the way the watercolors smear and the brush–oh, the humanity!”

When you get the real friends–well, you just know. I like to call it a connection, see, because as humans we connect, or disconnect, with thousands, millions, of people everyday of our lives. With real friends that connection surges all the time. It is as if the two of you are fused together on a circuit box the electrician forgot to disassemble; and each volt shooting through those wires is felt simultaneously.

Woah. And a bunch of other crazy existential shit…

I hope–I honestly hope I am not speaking to a brick wall. I’ve done that…it gets boring.

Most everyone has a friend, most everyone values their friend.

I am not trying to say–actually, I am saying not all of us value our friends. We need to–it’s an epidemic, larger than the Black Plague or…or the H1N1 virus–stupid swine–and those of us who have taken the cure: pat yourself on the back; you have earned your friends.


Think of a life without friends.

What life is that?

Think daily,

A Southpaw


Life. It’s A Toughie.

Full disclosure here:

I am not a hater of this whirlwind called life…however…I do become irritated with it.

Life. It makes you want to take a deep breath, and, at the same time, stick a plate of razor blades down your throat. Too dark? Let me power up a lightbulb.

I can cope with life–everyone reading this should, by now, understand I have a pretty positive viewpoint on most things: wrestling puppies, chocolate, flowers–and hell yeah to the hippies! Whooh! Adrenaline! Life is a rocking and rolling thing; so, what up, home-slice?

There are unfortunately some grievances to rainbows; you see, sometimes, the world does not make a lot of sense. I look at the platypus and think, what the hell? I go to places only powered by solar panels and think…anyway, that joke got stale. Racking up the dry humor points tonight!

What is ludicrous to me is not to others–this I must remember.

Problem is…I am one jealous crackpot. And I know I am not alone…at least I think so.

You all understand where I’m coming from–hopefully. It’s one of those conundrums in life that don’t make no sense; but, as a loyal friend who cares deeply about what happens to his other friend and whether or not she is going to be A-okay and that she is going to make her own choice, well…I can only be a watchful guardian.

Sounds like some Batman crap there.

I trust this girl because she is stronger than I can be.

What’s that? Do I see tears springing to your eyes? I brought tissues–take one, or, sure, sixteen…I’ll give you all a second to collect yourselves and talk out your deepest struggles. Maybe a traumatic experience on the jungle gym…a swirly in a urinal…yuck.

Well, boy, I got that off my chest. Feeling better, lighter…a marshmallow.

I leave you with advice–none of you have to follow it; it is not written in stone or Sharpie, so plug your ears with Kleenex or turn your hearing aids up to maximum volume: Never assume a friend cannot find their way by themselves. Many are much stronger than you think; and when you step aside and let them choose what, for them, is that which makes them happy, then…you have been all you can be.

Inspirational? Or mediocre?

Hell, I’m just trying to be a good friend.

Think daily,

A Southpaw




Brain Vomit: The Fragility Taboo

Hemingway once said, “You should never talk about writing.” I am, of course, paraphrasing–Hemingway said something alike to that; but I was not fortunate enough to be alive in the twentieth century. Had I been…well, let’s not consider the outcome, shall we?

I believe his words…on some level, some level deep beneath all these cobwebs and dust piles in my brain–can we get a janitor out here? I paid the damn fee, man; you think someone would tidy up.

On another level; however, methinks Hemingway was reserved–wait, that’s a lie; he wrote about anything he did, from fishing to drinking. He chose to refrain from conversations about writing because, for him, it was taboo, not the all-the-rules-of-those-teeny-tiny-writing-groups taboo…the oh-shit-my-work-is-going-to-be-ruined-if-I-spill-the-smallest-word taboo.

That taboo. The one I used to suffer from.

When you’re sitting in a room alone, with but a laptop or a word processor or–if you’re going Stone Age–a typewriter it is too easy to start questioning all of it: the word count, the story, the characters, the size of the documents, page count, the writing itself! You go deranged–quit the writing and establish a smoothie stand in the middle of the Ozarks. Maybe a tad extreme…

Questioning. You question it. The writing. The writing questions you–crap, I screwed it up.

Get this: it is not like talking sports results. I cannot go into a bar–for one reason I am seventeen–and engage the bartender in lively conversation, like, say, “I loved how the game went last night. It was so wickedly cool when So-and-so knocked the thing into that bigger thing.” Put a spin of writing on it: “Loved how the words came rolling out of my head last night…you know, I was doubting myself…but now I see…”

All is well and good if you have a person to whom you can confess your writing aspirations and failures–they must be great listeners; but the reason most writers are not too keen on  sharing their favorite activity of the day is because of fear: they are frightened that any spoken word will shatter their fragile story and its routine.

The Fragility Taboo.

Just so you know, I am totally copyrighting that. You heard it here first, from me…here…in a blog…Yeah. Let’s move on to other things, shall we?

You cannot completely cure a writer of the Fragility Taboo. It’s like drinking–take away a pint for a week, in this case let the writer voice his doubts and concerns, and they will be slobbering after a cup and an area of silence. And do not try to cure them…they won’t appreciate it.

All a bystander can do is watch them think: day in and day out thought probing within themselves. If, at any point, they feel up to speaking, listen, and listen well, because they trust you enough to talk about that which makes them exceedingly nervous.

But what am I–a doctor or a writer?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Artists Get A Lot Of Crap

Artists get a lot of crap…they also have to deal with all that crap–there’s shovelfuls of the stuff. They get up in the morning and brew their coffee–or heat their milk–like the rest of us; however, they get into that mindset: the I-am-going-to-produce-the-next-Mona-Lisa mindset. Guess what: some of them do produce the next Mona Lisa; they don’t even have to put a mustache on it to make it great…no…they make it Ultimate Mona Lisa: a badass rendition of the famous DaVinci work–it is so badass I can’t think of a description for it.

Know what else?

They do it everyday.

Try that one on for size, Critic Who Never Finished His Finger Painting In Kindergarten. Too stupendous for you? Too bad. Maybe you should have paid more attention to Salvador Dali and his creepily cool mustache–pictures of him are really weird, by the way; find a book about him and stare at one for thirty minutes. You’ll either have gone insane…or, like a sane person would do, have quit the effort and gone to seek a glass of water.

The artist–excuse me, the modern artist is a creature of life: they are within the boundaries of nature and war and cities and countrysides and even that small gas station off the interstate that smells so much like chloroform it’s more than a little creepy. They love what they do…I think–well, I know a few and they seem to enjoy it…possibly…

Note this, all you non-artists, artists themselves are hard to understand sometimes. Why? They’re on a level above us: this grandiose universe filled with canvasses and a super buff Vincent Van Gogh who carries a paintbrush like an assault rifle. When the battle comes…he is ready with a water cup.

Sound a little frightening? Good. Maybe you’ll change your mind next time you think an art piece is odd. It is odd…that is the way they wanted it to be. And their interpretation is good as gold.

Be nice to artists. They can paint you any way they choose.

Think daily,

A Southpaw



Brain Vomit: How To Write

I am a writer. Shocking news…I know; please, don’t all of you have a heart attack at once–I cannot stand writing induced heart attacks. Look at all those other writers who caused heart attacks: Stephen King; Guy De Maupassant; Bram Stoker…Dr. Seuss. It goes on for a while…

I am a writer and I like writing.

Enough said.

Time for the “Think daily”–what’s that? I didn’t talk about writing? Of course I did–I mentioned how writing is an escape route; and, in a story, it is not you who controls the characters but the characters who control you. Dun Dun Duunnnn! Excellent B-horror movie material for all you fledgling movie directors…enjoy, be merry; but remember I accept checks of up to 200 dollars. Toasters just ain’t that cheap any more, folks.

Not as if I wrote a list or anything: I may have some pointers; but, listen, I’m a seventeen year old–what the hell do I know about writing? You put a pen on a paper and let your brain vomit. I really can’t say more. Okay…maybe you scrape off the vomit–the little carrot giblets– and spread some tofu on that sucker, adding a bit of tasteful flavor to your literary work. I forgot–then you turn on a box fan to the highest setting and spray paint your artist studio in tofu vomit…it’ll be hard to tell the difference…Whatever picture shows up, be it a portrait of Jesus Christ or the McDonalds arches; that is the personality of your story.

Then…if you feel up to it…you take a fork from your silverware drawer, a nice thick fork; and walking up to that beauteous Michelangelo-died-of-shock wall stab those prongs into the glob and pile it into…a manilla folder–for storage.

What, did you think I was gonna say your mouth?

Get your head out of the gutter.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Love Is A Funny Thing

I say this from my soul, the bottom of my heart, truthfully and without prejudice–love is a funny thing. It’s not hilarious like a knee slapper, or chest bursting like an excellently written comedy skit..but it is funny, all the same.

I don’t laugh about it. Most of the time; however, I think I should chuckle…a little. So many people are hellbent on finding that spark, that one connection where you can snap fingers in Moscow and your soulmate can snap in the suburbs of Los Angeles. Hard pressed are most of them to uncover their searched for buried treasure: some never find a doubloon of it. Some do. And they are still, believe this, hellbent on the hunt; for them it never ceased.

I sit and I wonder and I wonder. What does it all come to? A heart shaped balloon fit to explode…a conscience the size of a grapefruit, a dry grapefruit, mind you…and a resilience that not a thrown dime can chip. Gleeful thoughts. Sad thoughts. Mood swings. A feeling of confidence–then doubt…The washing machine for the human soul, having a compartment for that too largely swelled heart.

Imagine a drawing, a drawing depicting such a description; and then, then, think of the artist commissioned to sketch it…vividly. No artist should come to mind. None of the human race can truly–though they try–express a feeling, all that are said to be real are imitations. See, just as an artist cannot paint that watercolor of heartbreak, nor can the musician compose the secretive, the personal, melody attuned to the blush inducing state of mind: a crush.

It is almost laughable, I say; and I do so because we spend our lives searching for the unknowable, those crown jewels everyone tells us to forget and leave where we found them. I laugh in delight, not mockery–if so I should be mocking myself; me, one of them fallen prey to this…but words hardly can express…it takes a greater writer to crack the block of ice. It is humanity I laugh at so proudly…that even when we fall off our tricycles we climb back on and spin the wheels again and again and again and again…until the rubber runs flat.

That is all that keeps us.

But, it is best to remember, much like a heart, a flat tire can be pumped.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Slacking In The New Year

I am not too fond of resolutions; no, that has nothing to do with some horrible incident that happened to me as a child. I didn’t become a serial killer because I failed to keep up with my resolution–it is quite the opposite, actually…I became a serial killer for an entirely separate reason.

Kidding. I am kidding. Take a joke.

Resolutions are the poor man’s laundry list, the tasks by which he must improve his life and shove the old life, like a Christmas bag of steaming hot coal, into the dumpster and forget about it…forget about it…forget about it!

I don’t do resolutions well. I don’t say them aloud to myself, nor to any members of my family or friends; and, as a matter of fact, that is the number one reason all of the world fails at committing to their resolutions. It’s like a relationship: if you keep it locked away from the public eye–not saying that’s a bad thing–because you’re not serious about it…well, you can go ahead and return the engagement ring and/or the wilted flowers.

When I attended Taekwondo, a Korean martial art, every Christmas our class broke boards–these are thick boards, too; at least two inches in depth–and on the front each member had to write a New Year’s resolution. Some were challenging; and as I sit there watching people read aloud I am thinking to myself, “Boy…I am so glad I did not have to write  a resolution.

Did I mention only the members who were testing for stripes wrote resolutions?

Yours truly was not the best tester. It’s not as if I didn’t practice–I did what I could with two hours after school and before dinner time; slapped myself in the back with nunchucks; hit my nose so bad I thought I broke it with this tall metal staff. I still have it. It’s badass–super badass.

Yes, I sat and watched and talked to my friends; but never did I consider writing a resolution. I was twelve. I thought they were boring! Seat yourself at a table and pencil out a method of self improvement–yawn, give me a TV remote and a disc of The Greatest Hits of Spongebob, love that little square. I sat and screwed around with my brown belt…real mature stuff coming from a kid whose mother was performing a badass double nunchuck routine, making spinning helicopters and crap…

You expect me to have changed; but, sorry to disappoint, I am the same immature twelve year old who disregards resolutions and would rather stare at the sun instead of writing anything close to that on a piece of paper.

Wait, I lied. I’m seventeen now.

Think daily, 

A Southpaw

Note: Thanks for noticing last week’s post about bullying. I had no idea putting myself out there so blatantly could be received so well. I hope you all had a Happy New Year and watched the ball drop…or drank a lot and passed out at midnight. Either way…