Friday, October 14, 2011

The Closer You Is, The Further I See

No one really solid idea to write about today, just a bunch of knick-knack-polly-whack-give-a-dog-a-bone-this-B-F-G*-came-waddling-home micro-managing-guv'mental-style-not-my-job-man postal-increase snippets to offer up to my ye olde denizens of this mountainous weblog.

1} I went tripping down memory lane last Friday when I needed to get a few things for my bi-weekly visit to the facility I do payroll for. Usually I get the items that I need, which is a half tank of gas for the car and lunch, near where I live. However, this time around, I was seriously short on funds, which meant that wherever I was going to fill out my tank, I also needed to buy lunch as well.

So I decide to go to a particular gas station (Valero) in a section of town that I haven't visited in a while. Now believe it or not, even though I live in a smallish size town (population 30K+) there are still some parts that I haven't visited in quite some time. "Quite some time" is something in the range of 2 to 15 years. In this particular case, we're talking about 4 years in between visits.

Anyways, I bought my gas and went inside not only to pick up a few things for lunch the next day, but to pick up a dozen eggs for home (sadly there were no eggs to be had). While the clerk was ringing up my purchase, I enlightened the clerk with my memories on what this particular location and area used to be like when I worked there some 20 odd years ago (mid-80's). Kind of blew him away in the process. So I grabbed my stuff and headed for the first available c-store on my way home.

Now this particular store (called "Your Store"), while it was one that I remember from my days while working at that particular gas station, was one that I've never set in. Kind of strange to travel by something first on a daily basis, then on a monthly/yearly basis and never set foot in it. Anyways, I bought my eggs and got into my car. Just when I was about to pull out of the driveway, I got another memory about the package store that is adjacent to the c-store. Back in the day when I was grunt worker, we had someone who stopped in and from time to time would ask the various employees to commit, shall we say, misappropriation of funds from his employer. As an added incentive to ease our conscience, he would take us to this package store and buy us whatever kind of booze that we wanted. I only did this once, and I walked out of the store with a couple of gallon jugs of wine for my parents.

Thus with my errands completed, I returned back to whence I came and vowed that next time I would shorten the time gap for my next visit.

2} I had a conversation a few weeks ago with a writer friend of mine about a particular book review. I had basically e-mailed him to give him a heads up about the book review and I also wanted to compliment him on his story that appeared in it. Anyways, he happened to mention that he was able to take that type of genre in question in small doses, since that type of genre (crime fiction) can lend itself to leaving a sour taste in the readers mouth (I'm not quite sure what the exact reason was that he stated, so this is just a basic summation of his point). At the time, I didn't feel the same way, but now, after thinking about the type of e-zines that I've been reading for the past several months, I would have to agree with that sentiment.

A few of the e-zines that I've been reading, The Flash Fiction Offensive and Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers, have been so downright dank and depressing, that I can see why some people would only be able to take that type of writing in seriously small doses. Granted, there are some good writers out there who churn out some pretty decent stuff, but after spending most of 2011 reading them, it seems to me that the same half dozen themes are being slowly pounded into oblivion. And because of that pounding, it seems like everyone is now trying up the ante by making their stories more disturbing than whatever their fellow writer can come up with.

What's this mean to me? Well first off, this probably means that I won't actively go exploring any full length novels in this particular genre, since I've come to the realization that I can only deal with this stuff in small doses as well. Secondly, because I can only deal with this stuff in small doses, it means that I need an antidote to counter the dank darkness and the occasional sour taste that I get afterwards. I did find that antidote, which is another e-zine (The Cynic Magazine) that is somewhat lighter and thus acts as a great counter balance to those other e-zines.

3} It's been three weeks since I deactivated myself from Facebook, and the lack thereof has been a lot less painful than I thought it would be. One of the unintended consequences of not being on Facebook is that I've been able to jump start my writing again. I've belatedly realized that Facebook was becoming a major detriment to my writing, in that I was spending way more time on it than I should've been. So no Facebook means that I'm able to budget my down time more efficiently, which in this case means I can squeeze a little normal writing (as opposed to blog writing, which so long as I have access to a pen and paper, I can do anywhere) in between things like family and job hunting.

4} No four to speak of, but I do need to explain the asterisk. B-F-G stands for Bald Fat Guy.


  1. That's good that getting rid of facebook frees up time for you. I have facebook, but don't spend much time on it for some reason. Everyone was so upset about the new format, but I kind of like it. A guy I went to high school with posts music videos all evening and so I marked his posts as something like "only when he posts something important." Lately I've been playing Words with Friends through facebook and enjoying the heck out of that. :)

  2. I deactivated facebook yesterday and I think, I am good w/o it...
    Cheers, you have a great weekend George....

  3. Funny post!

    What are the themes on Thrillers, Killers, Chillers? I am one of those writers that like the occasional story in that vein, but not too much, or it does get depressing.

    Not on Facebook! Good for you. One fewer social media sites is a good thing :-)

  4. Lynn: It was the new format that really drove me away. Just like when I choose a particular blog to read because I find the blogger interesting, so went my FB wall. I liked picking and choosing what to have displayed on my wall. I do not like someone else doing it for me. Smacks of Big Brother and network televsion.

    B.B.: I thought very long and hard over this because I was on FB for about 2 1/2 years and it became the only places where I could keep in touch all of my friends at the same time. I still have a twinge of regret in doing it, but the negatives of FB currently outweigh the positives.

    Jewel: Crime and the dark side of human nature in all of gruesome glory. It's something that can be handled in very small doses, especially if you're not a writer in that genre nor a regular reader.

    One fewer? Try none. I don't MySpace (does anyone?) nor do I Twitter. Blogging is the only social media that I now actively participate in, and even that shouldn't really be called "social media".

  5. I think that you make a really interesting point about writers upping the ante on the disturbing element. Do you think that is true of all genres to some extent (going for more shock, outrage, etc.)?

  6. The only previous BFG I knew was the Roald Dahl novel ;)

    I have a volunteer at work who says she is canceling her FB account because it is addictive and preventing her from getting other things done. What she has to do, being retired, I have no idea!

  7. Mama Z: I don't think so. I've dabbled in reading other types of fiction (westerns, romance, historical, humor) and have not seen the type of one upmanship that is displayed in the crime fiction genre.

    I've seen maybe one or two of the themes presented in crime in other types of fiction, but none of them were done in such a smash mouth as they're done in that genre.

    R: I agree it can be addictive. Even though I didn't play any of the games on there, the last time I'd checked, I had about 70 games blocked from my feed.

    FB is the ultimate time waster, whether you're retired or not. It's great if all that you do is maintain a business page (like you do) but it can suck you in so bad that you can easily lose all track of time.

    Sort of like chat rooms.

  8. I am always inordinately attracted to rather grim literary fiction and memoirs, and then I always end up sorry that I don't have anything more uplifting and cheerful to read. Sadly there are very few intelligent, humorous writers. You tend to get to choose between smart and depressing vs. light and foolish. I wish there were a happy medium.

  9. S.R.: I'm not sure if there is simply those two choices to have when it comes to reading material, although I will admit that my dark and depressing reading material is strictly contained to true crime non-fiction and the e-zine crime fiction genre.

    I will admit though that there are times where I wish that this particular e-zines didn't push the envelope so much.

  10. G, this has recently been brought to my attention. Reading an e-zine is like having a TV. You have an on and off button. If you don't like what's on, switch it off.

    David - Editor of The Flash Fiction Offensive.

  11. David: This is very true. And that is exactly what I do from time to time. I switch off and read something lighter.

    However, I do hope that you swing by later today, because I continue this with this same tangent about crime fiction with a rare Sunday post.

    That one might raise your hackles a little bit as well as make you think.

  12. In the past, I've had stuff published on T,K&C and TFFO but have to say that in recent months I've noticed an increase of the more 'near the knuckle' stuff emerging.

    I do read other submissions there - I leave comments for the ones I enjoy or admire the skill of the storyteller.

    However, there are quite a number that do not appeal; some I often don't read all the way through because I'm not 'grabbed' by the storyline, or else I find the offensive language/material just not a 'pleasure' to read.

    I think there are a number of writers who think a bad story can become good with the use of unnecessary crudity and bad language but basically I just stop reading.

    There's not much point in leaving disgruntled replies because they often can't take criticism and tend to be so full of themselves that they use them as ammunition back at you.

    I hope you find places to read well-written and clever fiction - please spread the word when you do!

    SueH at I Refuse To Go Quietly!

  13. Sue: Thanks for stopping by to comment.

    I actually have no problem with well written and clever fiction, no matter what the genre.

    I just find it hard sometimes to read about certain topics that some people like to write about, which is saying something, because it takes a lot to offend me.

    I think I'm fortunate in some aspects when it comes to reading "bad" or "good" stories simply because I'm willing to go that extra mile in judging someone's hard work.


Go on, give me your best shot. I can take it. If I couldn't, I wouldn't have created this wonderful little blog that you decided to grace with your presence today.

About that comment moderation thingy: While yes, it does say up above I can take it, I only use it to prevent the occasional miscreant from leaving thoughtless and/or clueless comments.

So remember, all of your comments are greatly appreciated and all answers will be given that personal touch that you come to expect and enjoy.

G. B. Miller

The Legal Disclaimer

All the content that you see here, except for the posting of links that refer to other off-blog stories, is (c) 2008-17 by G.B. Miller. Nothing in whole or in part may be used without the express written permission of myself. If you wish to use any part of what you see here, please contact me at