Month: February 2017

Brain Vomit: Creating and Editing Stories

There comes to me to be two great parts of writing. The Creating and the Editing.

Creating is fun because–well, why is it fun? Is it that we’re bringing to life these splendid, and sometimes not so splendid, characters who, in a way, are foggy representations of ourselves and those around us? Is it that we can meet people without even leaving our office? They are real, really! Or is it that we have a drive–an insatiable hunger–to produce   stories to change the world and spread global peace and cure the hunger epidemic and hand out Nobel Prizes like Hershey chocolate bars?

I think that applies to all but the latter.

I can create for who knows how long. One novel took me nearly six months to complete–and that was the first draft, currently it is in its second draft. My other novel took me four months; and, truth be told, it was harder to write. So, it depends. A single short story may take you a month. A single novel may take you five years, make it six if you want to beat Tolstoy and Hugo.

Then–[lightning sounds and a hissing cat]

IT IS TIME FOR…

EDITING!

Yes, scream, scream and bang your heads against the wall! The dreaded editing monster has returned to wreak havoc on your precious little writing brains and hands–and, worst of all, your time!

But I don’t have an hour and a half to spare! 

Wipe up those tears, crybaby, and make it ten minutes a day! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

Side note: I was having fun just inserting those laughs, had to force myself to stop.

Editing was a hated task of mine…when I was fourteen. I’d finish a story, usually between fifteen or twenty pages; read it to my family, who sometimes fell asleep during those times; and stuff it inside a binder or send it off to a publishing company.

Random House, here I come! What? A piece of shit? Excuse me? 

Now, quite obviously, I have seen the error of my ways and am editing constantly. Seriously, dude, it’s an eight hour grind, totally not tubular or radical at all. I finish a short story and start the editing process the night after. For me, the whole set of writing and editing one of those takes near to nine days; some of you may be different, and that is A-okay.

What works for you, works for you.

Yeah. I can feel the inspiration surging through us. Go Writers. Blow the trumpets.

You can be a Creator or an Editor, or you can be both. But those guys are nerds, am I right? Eh? Anyone want to laugh? Who honestly edits and creates? It’s too much of a chore. Everybody knows the surefire way to becoming an excellent writer is by watching crap loads of television, pouring grape juice on your manuscripts, and shouting at your computer because it won’t invent the story of the century at your command.

Sure, I know that club. It’s called Dead End.

Think daily, 

A Southpaw

Note: We made it to eighty posts! Let them eat cake! Thank you for staying with me so long!

And I don’t really have cake. That was a joke. Sorry.

That Traveling Life

At the moment, I am not stationed in Southpaw Industries; as a matter of fact, this post is being written from the dark sitting room of a Holiday Inn in the Panhandle. It’s a bit creepy–I appear to be the only one down here and keep imagining a clown will come bursting through the Exit door on my right.

But enough of my irrational fears. We’re here to talk about stuff.

I have been traveling, cramped and grumpy and extremely constipated, in a small Volkswagen all across this great state of Oklahoma–any of you reading from Oklahoma, gimme a big high-five, ’cause I was born there.

Off the radar and out of wireless connection is where I have spent these last three days, my  only eating choices being fried meat…or fried vegetables. BLECCHHH! Excuse me, have to wipe some puke off the keyboard. Does anyone else think this is starting to sound like the beginning to a really effective horror movie? No? Just me?

Oklahoma is actually a great place. There’s tons of bathrooms: you step behind a tree and…you know; and if you’re ever searching for well-done chicken fried anythings, the millions of Cracker Barrels will fix you up like that.

I could do without the crappy gas station restrooms, specifically the toilet seat off which someone forgot to wipe their piss, making it look like a sparkling yellow platter of snow. That, and the constant spitting of tobacco everywhere–I feel like I have to imitate Michael Jackson to avoid those white stains.

Whoo, boy, I tell ya.

A side note: this is the second hotel in three nights. Lord help me if I have to sleep on another spring trapped mattress, that, when I wake up in the morning, leaves these swirling spring marks on my chest. I’m not an X-Man, and I have no desire to be.

Thankfully, this’ll be it for the week, then it’s back to Southpaw Industries, where I will sit and eat Twinkies and Ding-Dongs–and do none of that because, in actuality, I am quite healthy and am obsessive compulsive when it comes to running. Go figure.

I better get out of this sitting room before someone suspects I’m a creep who looks at his laptop in dark rooms.

Oh, wait.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Note: Apologies for the lateness, but I was attending a funeral the past few days and had little time to sit down and plug out one of these posts. Hope you all are doing well.

 

 

AAAHH! I’m Almost A High School Graduate!

I have a calendar in my bedroom. It’s this giant–well, not giant–calendar, I suppose, that  has all my favorite little due dates and events written all across the days; and they are numbered.

I was looking at this calendar yesterday, flipping forward through time to the month of May and thinking about what I wanted for my birthday when, out of nowhere, it hit me: I am going to graduate high school a week after my birthday, on May 27th!

“Oh, Mamma mia,” I said–then I passed out on the floor.

Correction: I did not pass out. Rather, I screamed in my brain–or my brain screamed in me?–and went to finish that darn math homework that I had been putting off for three days. So, yes, I did freak out. Everyone freaks out. But that’s okay. It’s only high school, after all.

Only high school?

I have to find a college!

I have to buy a house! Or an extremely cheap apartment with a dirtbag for a landlord!

I have to cook! And not Hot Pockets or Pop-Tarts!

I have to be a man!

How does that work, by the way? Do I grow a rug on my chest the night after graduation and find myself speaking like Christopher Reeves in Superman? Is my dad gonna leave a pair of boots outside my door with a note reading, “Son, it is time for these boots to be filled?”

High school is slowly slipping away…I think I might cry, tear up a little. I’m being taken willingly away from this minefield of social cliques where, if you have a wayward opinion, you’ll get the shit kicked out of you and be forced to eat it on a silver platter; where the food is–okay, the food is all right. Oh, sob, sob, tear; waterfalls from my eyeballs. Tell my principal to save a spot for me in the lunchroom for when I–oh, wait, I won’t be coming back.

At least in college, or, hopefully in college, there will be freedom and excellent food and magnificent teachers and Shetland ponies…and four quartz diamonds and…a pool shaped like a brain and filled with money?

Sorry, I was reading from the wrong script.

Someone traded me for Impossible Fantasies For When You’re Totally Broke.

Yay, college?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

 

Valentine’s AFTERMATH

There is only one thing worse than the day before Valentine’s, and that is–

DUN-DUN-DUN!

The Aftermath of Valentine’s Day, otherwise known as the day people leave their chocolates out too long on the kitchen counter, the day someone forgot to water their flowers, the day we decided we don’t give a shit about St. Valentine, only those who stole our hearts. Ah, how sweet–you want some syrup with that? Maybe some cinnamon?

I love watching couples in my high school on the day of affection as compared to the following one. In the morning, as I was walking in from the parking lot, there must have been–gee–twenty or so guys, some of them dressed up pretty snazzily, carrying gifts bags and Russel Stover chocolate hearts; of course, they went up to their girls and shocked them. I am sure they were hoping for kisses, but, as the world is strange, only received the typical “Oh, you are so sweet!” and a partially affectionate hug.

In that situation, I would have said, “Yeah, you want some syrup with that, baby?”

Only jokes on my part; however, because, you see, I have yet to kiss a girl myself. Oh, boo hoo, boo hoo–let’s get back to the post, shall we?

On Valentine’s Aftermath, same place, same me walking in from the parking lot, I see the same couples chatting happily away and practically groping themselves in the corner where they think teachers will not see, and the mood is mellow, to say the least. Gone is the romantic, pubescent tension that makes the rest of us, including me, puke a little in my mouth–did I eat carrots today?–and eradicated is the duty of the man to gift to his woman a lifetime, maybe more of an eight-hour school day, supply of delicious chocolates and roses that have a peculiar smell.

Where did you pick these up, honey? They smell funny.

Ah, you know, I went to Wal-Mart, grabbed a batch from this old guy outside the store. Great deal. 

One thing I wish that changed from Valentine’s Day is the amount of smooching and I-must-kiss-your-neck-like-a-dog. Some were grabbing each other’s asses–what, is there a Staples button from the early 2000’s implanted in her butt cheeks? You like hearing “That was easy” so much you hired a plastic surgeon to mold its shape and a computer geek to install wires?

Farting must be hell, seriously; it’s like Yoda squeezed his way in there and said “well, shit, this ain’t Dagobah, but it’s my home now. Ooh, Staples button!”

Do I wish for too much? Is my Fairy Godmother hitting the trail because I’m pressing her budget? Sorry, Oprah Winfrey; I guess you don’t make all my wishes come true. Time to call back Betty White.

Even though the Aftermath has its perks, I still love the classic: the hugging and the kissing and the I-love-you’s and the I-hate-you’s–

Whoa, where’d we go there?

I think some of my nightmares leaked into my dreams.

Or is the other way around?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Four Ways to Rap Effectively

I have recently come across the cultural world of rap, the hangout of all the great artists like Tupac and Eminem and–I don’t know any others yet. I’m new at this, cut me a break!

There is something to be said about how fast their mouths move, especially in Rap God. I swear, Eminem has to have some kinda cloning device for duplicates to have his mouth move so fast and so fluently. It’s like they’re the brainchildren of auctioneers and debaters. How the hell do they do it?

I asked myself this, while working through Lose Yourself about seven times in a row. Of course, being dumb like I am, I rapped while suffering from a sore throat–ahem, in other words, I win dumbass of the year award. And so I thought. And I thought. And I eventually came up with a list of how, maybe not the methods of those famous rappers, to rap effectively.

There are four sure-fire methods:

  1. Holding your breath underwater
    • Go to your bathtub, fill ‘er up, and stuff your head in there! Not only will this teach how to hold air in your lungs for prolonged periods of time, but it will also help you survive Swirlies, if they should arise.
  2. Wear a lot of heavy bling-bling
    • For some reason all these rappers wear giant chain necklaces and rings and belly piercings and nose piercings and eyeball piercings and–anyhow, proven in a study by myself, a reliable source, the rappers with the more jewelry tend to rap faster. Dunno why. Maybe it helps keep them grounded. Gravity and all that.
  3. Learn how to twirl your tongue
    • No joke, I’m reasonably sure the one reason Eminem is able to pull off Rap God is by flicking his tongue around like a Cirque Du Soleil act. It’s not too hard. Until your tongue stops listening to you and moves wherever it wants.
  4. Rap about what matters
    • To you, especially; if that means your raps center around how many ways to fry a chicken or flying a plane upside down, then go for it, you ambitious young sprout! Get out there and show those other rappers what you can offer with your next single, Frying A Flipping Bird in Kentucky. 

Follow my list and you are guaranteed to be on your way to stardom in the rapping community. Be the next Eminem. Be the next Tupac. Be…well, be who you’re gonna be.

I’m not here to give out nicknames.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Brain Vomit: My First Story

I’m gonna tell you a little story.

Hear that, folks? Get your cookies and milk ready–snuggle up under a comforter.

This is a story about me. I know…what an arrogant asshole.

You all, if you are writers–but, hey, all of us here are, right?–remember the first story you ever wrote. It was exciting and bold and, maybe, just a little bit, stinking bad. You probably have it stowed somewhere in your room or a cabinet and look over it from time to time.

Mine is a single page. Scribbled writing–only I can really read it. And an original title.

Jim and the Haunted House.

At eight, you see, I was competing against those pulp fiction writers…it was challenging.

I wrote Jim and the Haunted House in my third grade classroom–must have had some time on my hands and decided to use it in an excellent way, wish I could give my younger self a high-five. I thought it was sliced bread. This was Dickens’ David Copperfield; King’s The Shining; Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. In the coming years writers would battle against me on the New York Times Bestseller List. I was gonna be–famous! a writing rockstar! a–

A kid in third grade who wrote his first short story.

I let people read it; they told me they liked it–thought it was scary. So I wrote another one.

Jim and Area 51. 

Okay, the title could have been improved; but, come on, I was eight–I was just figuring out that boogers weren’t food. The story; however, was…mediocre, same as the last one. The same people read it, said the same things–and so–

Yes, I wrote another one. And another one. And another one.

I was crazy endurance writer, penning a short three page story every week–or day, in some cases–and I was eating up the compliments… and all of you are seeing me as a pompous little git with a hairstyle like Richie Rich, aren’t you? That’s fine. I loved the feelings I had.

And all those days spent scribbling in a four subject spiral notebook, adding to be continued after the end, it never went through my mind that I could make something of it–that I could be good at it. Back then I wrote fan fiction. Now?

I think that is why we always remember our first story. It is an artifact of our selves–those struggling and eager selves, who, at one time or another, thought, hey, this is what I want to do. And we keep at it, the fervent humans that we are; we push the boundaries of our skills and become excellent.

That is why we write, really, to improve–to make one better effort at the game we have been playing since the moment we decided to start. And I say, game on.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Welcome To Super Bowl 2078!

I don’t generally think of myself as a football kind of guy. Sure, I used to watch my fair share of the Redskins and Oklahoma Sooners–go OU!–but to sit down in a chair and watch a game that lasts between three and four hours is a trial, I gotta tell ya; and I thought Interstellar was a long time to stay seated and let my ass go numb.

The Super Bowl I can stand; in fact, there is a sort of tradition in my family to join up at my grandparent’s house and chow down on Totino’s pizza rolls and pigs-in-a-blanket and wings and all the other snacks you are counting off in your head right now because you have the exact same kind of Super Bowl party. So we don’t get points for originality–at least the grease tastes good when it’s sliding slimily down your throat…am I right?

It all started back in 2009–when the Greenbay Packers won the Bowl…

Doodalado-doodalado-doodalado–

Flashback time….a big ass glimmering cloud just popped into existence above my head.

Actually, forget the flashback–I can hardly remember that far back.

Instead…we can discuss the games in the early 1980s –boy, those were the ones to see. Everyone was still recovering from the disco era, you see, and so everyone had an afro–it didn’t matter if you were black or white, it still made you the coolest cat on the infield. In between the plays you could hear George Michael playing over the speakers: pretty soon the players would start singing along to Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go; they all had Wham shirts under their jerseys. And–

Excuse me–just got a call from the Past. They said they’ll shut down Thoughts of A Southpaw if I keep blabbing stuff about the 1980s; apparently exposure to this kind of truth can cause severe nausea and nosebleeds and paranoia and schizophrenia and the feeling that your brain is going to implode if you continue reading all these nonsense side effects to a nonsense disease from a nonsense thing called the Past.

Doodalado-doodalado-doodalado–

Future time…the glimmering cloud turned bionic and it sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Everyone thinking of the Super Bowl in 2078? I am. That is going to be a fun one. It’s going to be the Raiders against the Giants–calling it now–and they’re all gonna be wearing jetpacks and shooting laser guns and throwing metal footballs; the NFL theme song is going to be a dubstep remix of the Star Wars opening credits theme. The Heisman Trophy will be constructed of mayonnaise and tomato slices…in the future they have serious budget cuts–

Excuse me once again–just got a call from the Future. They’re pissed.

Doodalado-doodalado-doodalado–

2017? You serious? Nothing happened at that game.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Under Construction

A Southpaw here,

Recently in my postings I have come across an uncomfortable feeling, that of staleness and a little bit of boredom–a thing which should not be happening if I am to continue this blog.

I still love posting things. I still love writing on my schedule.

The thing is–something needs to change.

I don’t like becoming bored with this blog; hell, it was started because I thought it was fun. And I want to keep that enjoyment; and if it means switching things around on the ol’ Southpaw Industries, then I will gladly do so.

They won’t be major changes; no, not at all–what they will be is needed. I will probably make it more appealing–the front page has become a little bit of an eyesore, to me, and the posts will be varied…more so than they are now.

It’ll be fun!

I am sorry if these changes make any of you reconsider following me–they won’t be too big anyway–but, I see this as a way of improving content and shifting to a higher grade of whatever-the-hell-I’m-trying-to-pull-off-by-writing-these-things.

I would love to hear opinions, though; if you feel you up to it, speak your mind.

And keep chugging on that Thought Train.

Think daily,

A Southpaw