To all my readers and followers, please keep in mind that I have now moved over to my new blog, Father Nature's Corner, so Cedar's Mountain is now on a semi-permanent hiatus.

If you're looking for the wit and wisdom that Cedar's Mountain is known for, please click on the link up above or to the right, and I promise you that you won't be disappointed.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Cliches, Or, Why Has Originality Done Made That Left Turn And Left My Crying In My Tequila?

On Monday (2/21), I had alluded to the fact that the opening sentence of that post, "where you couldn't think of anything to write about", was a blog cliche. Now I bet you're asking the screen, "G, why would you say such a thing.

Go ahead, ask.

"G, why would you say such a thing?"

Glad you asked.

Ya see--hey, wait a minute, what do you think you're doing?? Put down that chainsaw!! Stop!! Wait!! HE--

We interrupt that preceding paragraph with a special news---AAARRRRRGGHHHH!!!

Cliches.

When a writer uses them in a story, unless he or she is very good at what they're doing, chances are that the writer comes off like a lazy slob who thinks that "I are ready."*** is a proper sentence.

When a blogger uses them, unless he or she is very good at what they're doing, chances are that the blogger comes off like a lazy slob who thinks that the opening 87 words of this post is incredibly funny.

At one time or another, I've had a tendency to be overly reliant on what I like to call "blog cliches". "Blog cliches" are used whenever the blogger is trying to be funny/cute/intelligent but can't quite come up with anything original to use.

Want proof? Just look at the first 87 words of this post for proof. For those of you who have been reading this blog for as little as this year (two months), you've probably picked up on the fact that I recycle an incredible amount of phrases.

Think I'm kidding? In addition to having the following phrases pop up yet again in a blog post: a variation of me telling you to ask a particular question; which was followed by "go ahead and ask"; which was followed by a variation of the particular question; which was followed by "glad you asked"; which was followed by me attacking myself in print and which was finally followed by me with a variation of "we interrupt our programing with a special late breaking news bulletin", I've also used quite extensively the following other phrases:

"Yowza".
"Yapple dapple."
"Hola."
"Howdy do."
"Indeedie doodie."
"Anywho."

Yah, I is just hot bed of originality, in that I can't seem to go more than one sentence without using a personal blog cliche. See, I just did it again with the preceding sentence.

Damn.

Look, there is only one way to cure this debilitating disease and that is to write something completely original without using a cliche. Problem is, life in general and our day-to-day activities specifically often can amount to one big fat cliche whether we like it or not, or realize it or not.

Think I'm kidding?

Okay, how many out there have to do some kind of writing on a daily or weekly basis? Well, did you know that without realizing it, your writing can often become one big fat cliche? Have to write some business correspondence? Use a template or pre-formatted form letter? Have to create a weekly/bi-weekly/monthly report? Guess what, you're hip deep in cliches.

The same point that everyone who fancies themselves to be a talking head, legitimate or otherwise, drums into the cerebellum of every wannabe and couldabe and newbie and established writer which is that you don't use cliches in your stories, you shouldn't really use in your blogging.

I realize that it's wickedly tough to be original without using cliches as a crutch for your blogging, and I know that I've failed miserably at it (well, maybe I'm still sitting in Peppermint Patty land), but there is hope just the same.

What hope?

Damned if I know, because I've fallen yet again into another one of my personal cliches: the cliche of meandering off down the solid-brown-brick-which-costs-5K-per road trying to find a proper ending to this post.

Of course, I could close out this post with one of my all time fave personal cliches: the query at the end of the post asking my readers if they experienced anything similar to what I'm going through/explaining/bloviating/pontificating with this post.

Well?

Did ya?

Like experience, blah-blah-blah-blah-nudge-nudge-wink-wink-yadda-yadda-yadda-foaming-at-the-mouth-until-I-fall-over?*

Cliches. Because they do barf me out and gag me with a spoon. Like totally.**

*Jack Palance in his version of "A Christmas Carol"; Eric Idle & Terry Jones; Seinfeld; Graham Chapman. **Moon Zappa. ***Arnold Roth (cartoonist in the 70's mostly with S.I. and Playboy)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pictures!

Over at Shooting Suburbia today, we have the final part of "Newington's Annual Waterfall Festival" which is not only the official end of the summer in Newington, but the official end of the summer season on the blog itself. Next week will showcase that well known fifth season affectionately called Indian Summer, which should carry us into early April, which by then we will be hip dip in Autumn on the blog and Spring in the real world. Go figure, eh?

Over here, we have a tantalizingly teasing reminder that Spring is allegedly 21 days away:

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Power Of Pooh And Ducky

Ducky.

The duck made a semi-successful return over the weekend.

Last Saturday (2/19), even though the temps barely kissed my age (45), I was determined to not wear my Pooh jacket and only go outdoors wearing my Patriots fleece hoody. I was also determined to have Ducky make his triumphant return from the Bahamas (aka my cube) and grace the town of Newington with his sparkling presence.

So after I got myself properly dressed, I stuck Ducky on my shoulders, strapped him in and started off on my morning walk.

When I got to the center, I readjusted his position and stuck him on my head, so that he could better observe his surroundings. After strapping him in, I stopped at D.D. for my morning coffee and the post office for my banking. Suffice to say, no really said anything about Ducky.

However, the Duck had a really great time and is looking forward to his next trip. And before you ask how I know he enjoyed his trip, I know because......he told me.

So nyah!

Pooh.

Pooh bear worked his magical charm this past Monday (2/21). Because it was a semi-pointless state and federal holiday, I decided to take a short walk to the center to get my morning coffee. Unlike Saturday when the temps were warm enough to wear my fleece hoody, Monday's temps were in the 20's, which were perfectly conducive to the three+ inches of snow that fell that morning.

After bundling myself up from the cold, I started off on my walk, and about a half hour later I hit the center of town. After hitting the bank for money to buy Jenelle her b'day present and CVS for her present (a gift card to Gamestop), I stopped once again at D.D. for my coffee and toasted croissant. While I was putting my order in, the manager came up and gave Pooh bear a couple of rubs for good luck. And while I was waiting for my croissant, a little girl noticed my Pooh bear and smiled.

Thus the power of Pooh did its job for the morning.

But wait, there's more!

The afternoon came and I found myself at the dreaded Chuck Your...I mean, Chuck E. Cheese for my daughter's b'day party (note: the more kids you have, the more expensive it can get). I managed to hook up with a close friend who I haven't seen in a couple of years (but maintained contact thru e-mails and Facebook), simply because we invited her lovely daughter to my daughter's b-day party.

We spent the bulk of the party catching up with each other (as good friends often do) and as the party started to wind down, I manged to bring a smile to her face and a chuckle to her spirit. How?

I put on my Pooh jacket.

The sight of Pooh bear sticking out of the jacket pocket with one paw waving and a foot sticking out from the bottom was simply too much for her. She laughed her head off for a minute or so, then took out her cell phone to take a picture of it and send it to a couple of mutual friends.

So thus, not only did Pooh bear bring joy and laughter to a friend who was needing it that day, but quite possible brought a smile and a chuckle to a few other people as well.

Never underestimate the power of Pooh, for Pooh is always in our hearts and in our soul. He just needs a little help every now and then to work his magic.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Stubborn Side Of Writing (2)

Before we kick into the entree portion of this post, let me give you a little appetizer on the other two projects that are taking up my non-blogging time.

1} Dandelion Tears: Just finished up part 5 and decided to put it away for awhile until I can get my act together for my main headache. I have no worries about this book turning into a trunk novel as I still got a basic idea on what I want to do with this thing.

2} Line 21: As we speak, I'm still psyching myself up to write the query letter. I'll probably do it much like I did the synopsis, in which I basically spent three weeks driving myself to the brink of insanity before saying, "F it." and sitting down in front of my computer and hammering out the first draft in three days and the second draft in one hour. Not sure why that kind of process works for me, but it does.

And now, the entree.

In part 1, I had laid out the background as to why I decided to take a second stab at self-pubbing and what story I ultimately decided to publish. In today's post, we talk a little bit about the background of the story I chose to turn into a reasonably fragrant piece of structured chaos for public consumption.

After deciding to take the original version of Betrayed!, which was called "A Betrayal of Vows", and self pub it, I was faced the unenviable task of turning that original 43 page story into a coherent piece of fiction. The original story really was a mess, in that I wrote it without really having a clue on how to properly write it. The sentence structures were wrong, too many words, incorrect punctuation, bad plotting, you name it, the story probably had it.

I did have a couple of things going for me this time around that would make turning this story into a coherent piece of fiction a bit easier to do: One, I had picked up quite a few tips on how to write (courtesy of the blog world); two, I was blogging, which allowed me to practice what I learned in a safe and completely vulnerable environment; and most importantly was number three, I had the original story to use as an outline for the new and improved story.

Being that I love a challenge, no matter what I'm doing, I decided early on while writing this story to make another attempt at writing two distinct plot lines that would eventually come together at the end. I first tried this normal approach that others do with my first self-pubbed book, but it came off clunky and amateurish. The second time around I made a concentrated effort to have that second plot line seamlessly transition into the main plot*.

*note: over the years my ability to write multiple coherent plot lines from beginning to end in one story has improved to the point where it has become my preferred writing style of choice.

What helped facilitate that seamless transition was the topic of choice that the story was about: infidelity.

Infidelity has always been a tried and true plot device for a countless amount of stories, with usually the man cheating on the woman or the woman cheating on the man (in straight fiction that is). But this time around I thought I would add a different twist to the story, in that one of the characters cheated on their spouse with another member of the same sex (yes, I know that is probably commonplace in gay fiction, but maybe it's less so in straight fiction, and I'm sure that someone will correct me on that point), which in this case it was the wife doing the cheating.

Unlike the recently completed Line 21, in which I was able to successfully keep track, write and intergrate three distinct plot lines, Betrayed! was my first real attempt at writing a multiple plot line that not only made sense but also met at the end (my first self-pubbed book doesn't count as both plots never really met at the end). And since I still hadn't a clue on how to properly write a multiple plot line within a story that met in the end, I did the next best thing.

I broke it out and had both plot lines play out in their own seperate chapters until I got to the last chapter, in which they then did meet, merge, and finish. Plot number one was the disintergration of Cheyenne and Ray's marriage, while plot number two was Cheyenne making out/fucking her girlfriend Bobbi. And just to make things interesting for myself and confusing for anyone trying to read it, the make out/fuck session was actually taking place during the final chapter of the book, while the rest of the book covered about a nine month time frame.

Up next: why I chose the various components that went into the creation of this story.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Didja Ever Have One Of Those Days...

...where you couldn't think of anything to write about?

Yeah, this is one of those days.

Normally I would already a week's worth of posts already written and cued up. But as you can see from reading the opening sentence (which by the way, is I what I consider to be a "blog cliche", and yes, I will elaborate on that for Friday's post because for the time being I don't feel like changing directions right now), I have nothing cued up.

I should clarify, I have nothing cued up for the rest of the week, because after a blinding case of the obvious hit me with the force of a 550 lb anvil, I realized that this post is the only thing that is cued up for the week.

This is not going according to plan, is it?

Take Two:

Hi boys and girls!

It's Flashback Monday!

I'll see you right after this wickedly short video clip of one of my favorite t.v. shows when I was a youngster.

Okay, so much for Flashback Monday. I was having a moment watching YouTube while composing this.

So.

Hmmm....hmmm....hmmmm.....hmmmmm....

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh HAH!

Today, ten years ago, the baby wot you see resting in my arms (yes that is me, wearing a Loony Tunes tie, which I still have, and yes, I still look like that some ten years later, except with a little more salt in the mustache) was born.

Happy Birthday Jenelle!

Yeah, today it's her birthday and we 'uns is gonna pig out at Chuck E. Cheese this afternoon. Did I mention that today is a holiday and I'm off from work and school is out this week? Did I mention that I'll be in a building with screaming kids?

I.

Am.

Doomed.

David, this is what you got to look forward to in about five or six years. Once again, congrabulations!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Yay.

Over at Shooting Suburbia we have part 4 of Newington's Annual Waterfall Festival. Over here, we have a post of consisting of random nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives and every other single part of speech that you can think of that often makes it to a blog post but never to a properly written story.

Please fasten your safety belts.

A little explanation is order as to why I gave such a truncated title to this post.

Quite often I go about my day-to-day activities in a relative state of abnormalcy. I try to roll with whatever happens to be thrown my way and for the most part I wind up acting like my usual abnormal self. However, there are times where the events of the week, be it at home or at work or a combination of the two, finally catches up with me.

When it does, I usually pause in whatever I'm doing, let rip a ginormously aggravated sigh, and utter with absolutely no inflection whatsoever, the word, "yay".

Now, I first picked up on the word "yay" back when I used to have a social life (in other words, single) when an ex-friend of mine would describe an empty net goal in hockey as a "yayer". He explained to me that a "yayer" was simply a goal that added insult to injury to the losing team (I think, gotta remember that I'm going back to the early 80's, which is when I was single).

Fast forward a couple of decades and I started using a shortened version of the word to describe the inanities of a particular moment of time when all the shit that was associated with said inanities being dumped on me finally became too much to deal with.

Thus, the word "yay" can aptly describe how my week went. How was my week? There were only two hightlights to my week and neither of them directly involved me.

Highlight number one was this post.

Highlight number two was the announcement by a good friend of this fantastic event.

The rest of the week was essentially one very long, very big and very juicy "yay". From dealing with stupid co-workers (not my immediate co-workers, of which I would run through a brick wall for) to dealing with a cantankerous car that I must eventually invest about $700 worth of emissions work so that I can have a permanent two year registration instead of the two month extension I'm currently saddled with (in Connecticut, in order to have your car properly registered, it must pass emissions) to dealing with submoronic numbnuts that I come across in the real world that make me want to sucker punch them into oblivion.

Ya know, it ain't easy staying on an even keel throughout the week. Sometimes, you just need to run around the yard flailing your arms and go off on a trip to everywhere in your tiny little mind. Have you been to everywhere in your mind? Come join me on my trip, 'cause ya know, I've been everywhere man.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Bathed In The Sweetness That Is Indian Summer

Last month ago, I posted a rather incomplete piece of prose, which was basically done to show everyone what happens when you become sidetracked by the ultimate minutia that is called "work". Today's post will be another example of becoming sidetracked by another type of minutia called "why am I writing this blog post using my Dragon Software?"

Back in mid-October of 2010, I decided to make another attempt at writing a piece of something using my Dragon Software. For those of you may not remember this litttle tidbit about me, I seemed to be deathly afraid of writing with my voice. Brain to hands, not a problem (well, physical yes, mental, piece o' cake). Brain to mouth, unless I'm telling a funny story or having a chit chat with a friend, major malfuction.

Anyways, I opened up a Word document and started up my voice app. While I was waiting for it to open, I tried to find a naturally comfortable position order to "write" my post. I should tell you that the previous times were spent with the hands placed on the keyboard like I was going to type, then I started speaking (and doing the ocassional typing).

I finally found a comfortable position to sit in and began to write. It really was a struggle trying to write while speaking because I kept wanting to type everything out. Eventually, I was able to write about a page's worth of text before the well dried up (thus the abrupt ending). However, I did discover that there may be hope for me yet. I think that the only way that I can make this work out to my satisfaction is if I start treating writing by voice like I was having a conversation with a friend/co-worker or just extending one of my hourly five minute tangents that I do at work.

In any event, here is the post in question. The topic of choice was one of my bi-weekly/monthly drives to the Hemlock Hills campground up in Litchfield CT. Not sure on where I wanted to go with this, but perhaps this could give you a little peek into what my frame of mind was in around the early fall of 2010. I originally had no title for this post, so the title of today's post should suffice.

Enjoy.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As I previously stated in my post of October 10th, I went out for a drive. Well, not really a drive, but more like a long road trip, at least for me anyways. As most of you know, I don't do long road trips anymore, simply because my decaying body can't handle being cooped up in a car for anything longer than twenty minutes at a clip. But, in this case, it was a necessary evil, because I had to pick up my wife and daughter at the campsite and bring them back home so that the daughter could go to a birthday party later in the afternoon.

So I got my tired ass out the door and on the road by nine thirty, and after stopping at the gas station to take care of some personal business, I was truly on my way at nine forty-four. Now normally on drives like this, I usually have the radio blasting, but since my radio was broken I had nothing to keep myself entertained beyond the thoughts that were rambling around in my head.

At the start of my drive about the only thing I really thought about as I was making my way through the suburban jungle and out into the country, was my short story Dandelion Tears, which I had started working on again this weekend. I was trying to figure out how best to advance a particular scene without throwing in a moment of gratuitous sex, but not having much luck.

I eventually stopped at McDonald's for a pit stop and coffee. Once I did and got those particular items done I was back on the road again, this time traveling through the suburban countryside (or rather, what passed for countryside in the Farmington Valley) towards Litchfield.

Once I got setting into a comfortable driving position, which for me was one hand on the steering wheel and the other hand holding the cup of coffee, I allowed my mind to start wandering again. However, unlike the first part of the trip where I was thinking about my story, this time I was letting my mind be influenced by the mountains and the rural countryside.

About fifteen minutes or so in to the second part of my trip, I had a peculiar feeling come over me. Driving through state routes 4 and 118, and observing the scenery passing me by, I suddenly felt like I was traveling back in time, or rather through a hybrid mix of two distinctly different views of America: Disney's version of America and Norman Rockwell's version of America.

It really is kind of hard to explain what I was going through during that one hour drive, beyond the fact that for the first time in a very long while, I felt completely calm and relaxed. I didn't feel like I was simply getting in touch with my spiritual side...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Groveling Bootlicker Of A Letter

The other day, I went through a few old dusty computer files, mostly for shits and giggles. No, not really for shits and giggles, because whenever I go through my old computer files, it's never for shits and giggles, it's always done with a purpose and a destination in mind.

This time the destination in mind was to see what I had (if any) in the files that passed for a query letter. Why was I searching for a query letter? Well, to be honest with you, I did such a fantastically shitty job of querying Shades of Love in 2007-08 that when the dust finally settled, I thought it would in my best interests for my peace of mind to purge everything related to those two years of doing everything that I could possibly do wrong with my first novel.

So you can imagine my surprise when I found sitting in an old folder called "Agents" was a neatly typed, properly formatted and (very much to my shock) properly written query letter. Now what I mean by properly written was that it contained all the elements that all the talking heads/pundits in every writer's guide under the sun, either in print or the cyber world, have pounded into the collective conscience of every single writer since day one.

After reading this thing, the one thing that stood out to me was that for the first and (probably) only time during those early years, I actually took someone's advice (a person who I now hate with a passion that's even stronger than my hatred of this organization) in order to properly write this thing.

Now I'm sure you want to ask the computer screen, "G, why are you writing about an old query letter?"

Go on, ask away.

"G, why are you writing about an old query letter?"

Glad you asked, because you'll never know unless you ask. I'm writing about an old query letter because I'm finally getting around to laying the groundwork so that I can start submitting my novel Line 21 for publication. And since I'm such of a big fan of using outlines/templates for every single item of correspondence that I write in the business world, I might as well start applying the same ideas to the writing world.

Hence, the post about the query letter.

And as you know, since I love it when my friends/readers critique my writings, be it the short stories on the now closed Flashing Georgie's Shorts or the synopsis that I posted about a week ago, I thought I would do the same with my old query letter.

So if you follow me over to Partially Yours, I would like to present to you my old query letter from 2008. And if you could be so kind, please tell me if it meets the basic requirements of what a good query letter should contain, because I plan on using this letter as the basis for a template when I start querying my novel in earnest.

Don't hold back, because I really need to know what can be added and what can be dropped from the final product.

Monday, February 14, 2011

60% Of A Key

A spring day with the orange yellow sun shining brightly in the luscious deep blue sky and gently raining down the golden electric rays on a solitary flower, with its dark green stem, its purple edged blue petals and orange red center stretching mightily to catch those nourishing rays.

In another corner of the valley, a dark hazel green stemmed flower is stretching its dark electric pink petals to receive the orange striped sun's rays in all of its nourishing glory.

A dark brown hair girl wearing a dark ocean blue dress and a warm engaging smile skips happily through the valley until she comes across a field of blue and orange and red and purple wildflowers.

Letting loose with a scream, she runs madly into the field for a few seconds before she takes flight and executes a perfect belly flop.

As she covers herself in a wonderfully scented bouquet of wildflowers, a small electric yellow duck glides in and belly flops onto the little girl.

Startled, the little girl sits up and turns this way and that trying to find out what landed on her. As she's looking that way and this, the duck gives a loud quack! to get her attention.

Startled yet again, the little girl looks down to see the electric yellow little duck holding a tiny little daffodil.

The little girl takes the daffodil and watches the duck take flight until he disappears from view.

Sighing happily, the little girl falls back into her pile of wildflowers and dreams about laughing ducks, pretty flowers and spring.

(c) 2011 by GBMjr. All rights reserved.

This short piece of prose was inspired by four pictures that adorn my cubicle at work, drawn by my almost ten year old daughter and the little duck that is really on vacation in the Bahamas.

And in case you couldn't quite figure out the hidden meaning of today's strangely titled post, this is Cedar's Mountain's 600th blog post.

Happy Valentine's Day.

May your Monday be filled with nothing but luscious and sensuous thoughts about loving the one you're with.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Newington's Waterfall Festival

Yowza.

Gots things to do today (wife's birthday, she be 49) so no time for a super wordy post. Please take a stroll over to Shooting Suburbia for part 3 of Newington's Waterfall Festival. Chances are, that post will contain about quadrupled squared the amount of words as this post.

If you're still looking for that Sunday dose of G-ness, please check out a brief rant post over at Partially Yours.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The 6 Affairs

The 1st Affair

A married man was having an affair with his secretary. One day, their passions overcame them and they took off for her house, where they made passionate love all afternoon. Exhausted from the wild sex, they fell asleep, awakening around 8p. As the man threw on his clothes, he told the woman to take his shoes outside and rub them through the grass and dirt. Mystified, she nonetheless complied. He slipped into his shoes and drove home.

"Where have you been?" demanded his wife when he entered the house.
"Darling, I can't lie to you. I've been having an affair with my secretary and we've been having sex all afternoon. I fell asleep and didn't wake up until eight o'clock."
The wife glanced down at his shoes and said, "You lying bastard! You've been playing golf!"

The 2nd Affair

There was a middle-aged couple that had two stunningly beautiful teenage daughters. The couple decided to try one last time for the son they always wanted. After months of trying, the wife finally got pregnant and sure enough, delivered a healthy baby boy nine months later. The joyful father rushed into the nursery to see his new son. He took one look and was horrified to see the ugliest child he had ever seen. He went to his wife and told her there was no way he could be the father of that child.

"Look at the two beautiful daughters I fathered!"
Then he gave her a stern look and asked, "Have you been fooling around on me?"
The wife just smiled sweetly and said, "Not this time!"

The 3rd Affair

A mortician was working late one night. It was his job to examine the dead bodies before they were sent off to be buried or cremated. As he examined the body of Mr. Schwartz, who was about to be cremated, he made an amazing discovery. Schwartz had the longest private part he had ever seen.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Schwartz," said the mortician, "but I can't send you off to be cremated with a tremendously huge private part like this. It has to be saved for posterity."

With that, the coroner used his tools to remove the dead man's scaling. He stuffed his prize into a briefcase and took it home. The first person he showed it to was his wife.

"I have something to show you that you won't believe," he said, and opened up his briefcase.
"Oh my God!" the wife screamed, "Schwartz is dead!"

The 4th Affair

A woman was in bed with her lover when she heard her husband opening the front door.
"Hurry," she said, "stand in the corner."
Then she quickly rubbed baby oil all over him and then dusted him with talcum powder.
"Don't move until I tell you to," she whispered. "Just pretend that you're a statue."

"What's this, honey?" the husband asked as he entered the room.
"Oh it's a statue," she replied nonchalantly. "The Smith's bought one for their bedroom. I liked it so much, I got one for us too."

No more was said about the statue, not even later when they went to sleep.

Around two in the morning, the husband got out of bed, went to the kitchen and returned a while later with a sandwich and a glass of milk.
"Here," he said to the statue, "eat something. I stood like an idiot at the Smith's for three days and nobody offered me as much as a glass of water."

The 5th Affair

A man walks into a nightclub one night. He goes up to the bar and asks for a beer.
"Certainly, Sir, that'll be 1 cent."
"One cent?" exclaimed the man. So the man glances over at the menu and asks, "Could I have a nice juicy T-bone steak, with chips, peas and a fried egg?"
"Certainly Sir," replies the barman, "but that comes to real money."
"How much money?" inquires the man.
"4 cents," the bartender replies.
"Where's the guy who owns this place?"
The bartender replied, "Upstairs, with my wife."
The man says, "What's he doing upstairs with your wife?"
The bartender replied, "The same thing as I'm doing to his business."

The 6th Affair

Jake was dying. His wife, Becky, was maintaining a candlelight vigil by his side. She held his fragile hand, with tears running down her face. Her praying roused him from his slumber. He looked up and his pale lips began to move slightly.

"Becky my darling," he whispered.
"Hush my love," she said. "Rest, don't talk."
He was insistent. "Becky," he said in his tired voice, "I have something that I must confess."
"There's nothing to confess," replied the weeping Becky, "everything's all right, go to sleep."
"No, no. I must die in peace, Becky. I slept with your sister, your best friend, her best friend and your mother!"
"I know, my sweet one," whispered Becky, "let the poison work."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Diarrhea Of The Pen

Thought I would spout off on a few writing related tidbits today, since it is Writing Wednesday.

Tidbit #1: I'm not making a whole hell of lot of progress with Dandelion Tears. What started out as a story of a hybrid woman trying to keep her human husband from being kidnapped and taken back to her home planet/pod keeps getting sidetracked whenever I decide to add a smidgen more detail to the mix.

For instance, since I decided to make one of the protaganists a mulatto woman (yeah, I researched that: time spent, 45 minutes), I needed a new name. The old name, Freyja, was one I picked from Norse mythology (yeah, I researched that: time spent, two days six months prior to starting this particular story) so it didn't really fit. So off I went to Wikipedia to research war goddesses (don't ask). I didn't find any to my liking, but after doing an hour's worth of research, I found a Greek deity called Nyx. I also found a name for a mid-major character called Thanatos.

Then I decided I wanted to give the character a tattoo that would match up with her extremely dark personality. So I spent another two hours (spread out over two days) researching black flowers (note: there is no such thing as a real black flower). I finally found one to my liking (a black lily), then spent a half hour or so describing and making it fit with the overall theme of the story (again, don't ask...well, maybe you could ask).

Go ahead, ask away.

"G, how did you describe the tattoo?"

Glad you asked, because here it is:

"On her breasts were two of the ugliest looking black lily tattoos that she'd ever regretted having done. Starting with the oozing yellow center at each nipple, the six deep purple petals were drawn to maximize visual discomfort. One pedal on each breast shot straight up to the shoulder, four more shot out horizontal, with the two of the tips touching at the center of her chest. Four more shot down diagonal with two more tips touching at the bellybutton to form a nasty triangle, while the remaining two dropped straight down to the waist.  All the pedals were adorned with silver thorns and blood red teardrops, while the triangle contained a psychedelic pattern specifically designed to lobotomize and hypnotize anyone who looked at it."
Nasty, yes? Or does it need a little more work?

Anyways, right now, the current stoppage is due to the fact that I'm thinking about how I'm gonna write about two semi-dead humans becoming reanimated so that they lead a small scout patrol of reproductions to the first plot climax.

Tidbit #2: I'm finally screwing up (no not really) the courage, the gumption, the wherewithal to jump in feet first and sink to the bottom of the lake where I shall get stuck until my lungs explode from the lack of oxygen, to start querying Line 21.

I have my synopsis at the ready, my manuscript polished to a high glossy finish, and most importantly, a decent place to start at, which is the Query Tracker database.

It may be a tough go, simply because my manuscript isn't the latest flavor of the past few years (YA), but I think that this time around, I can weather the rejection storm with my feet firmly planted in the ground and shaking my fist in the air, and saying, "You will not beat me, because I have a secret weapon at my disposal!"

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!

What secret weapon? Why my blog of course. What, you thought I wasn't gonna share my pain with at least 143 of my closest friends?

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!

HAH!

Tidbit #3: Well, there is no tidbit #3, simply because while I was handwriting tidbit #3, I was starting to come off like a major league sourpuss, so I decided to trash what I wrote (note: it was about poetry, and no, it wasn't about why it doesn't affect me like other genres, but more about the seemingly endless supply of publishers who publish it).

Instead, how 'bout I leave you with this funky video link from the movie Johnny Dangerously.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Soft Fluffy White Stuff Rage!!!!

I really need to continue with the theme of yesterday's (2/6/11) post, because frankly, I've had it up to my full 5' 5" height with the amount of God's dandruff that has been dumped on the state of Connecticut for the past month and a half.

I. Hate. Snow.

I hate the way it falls. I hate the way it doesn't stick. I hate the way it accumulates. Most importantly though, I absolutely hate with every single middle-aged bone in my 5' 5" body how it turns supposedly intelligent appointed officials into gibbering idiots whenever more than three inches drops on us with a giant THUD.

Due to forty years of poor city planning, combined with a policy of being reactive, the capitol city of Hartford CT had declared a state of emergency because it has been unable for the past three weeks to intelligently clear the roads in that decaying city.

You would think that because of the amount of businesses, which includes the single largest employer in the state headquartered in the city, they would properly plow the streets so that traffic would flow smoothly, right?

WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

Boy are you ever wrong.

Let me tell you something, when a city turns a four lane road into one and a half lanes due to inept plowing, what does that turn your commute into?

That's right, it turns your commute into 100% pure unadulterated H-E-DOUBLE TOOTHPICKS!

To quote Fire Marshal Bill, "Let me show you something!"

On the average, my normal 20 minute commute (morning or evening, it don't matter) is now about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Think I'm joking?

Example #1: during the last snowstorm that we got tagged with (on 2/2/11), this is what my morning drive was like. I drove into West Hartford from Newington until I got to the Parkville section of Hartford, before making a right turn and driving towards my ultimate destination of semi-downtown Hartford. Now I know the route I just described makes absolutely no sense to any of my readers outside of Connecticut, so here's the next best way of describing it.

Think about what your normal morning destination is. Think about how you normally get there from where you live (say east to west). Now, drive to your normal morning destination, only this time, instead of arriving from the usual direction, arrive from the other side (east to east).

That was my morning commute.

Example #2: I live south of where I work. For the most part, my evening commute has consisted of me driving northeast, I repeat, driving northeast and going home through Wethersfield. I did have one evening commute that wound up like I was taking two steps forward before taking three steps backwards and a half step sideways.

Example #3: This one is a biggie because this could only be described by that popular military phrase "clusterf#*k". This one happened to me this past Friday morning (2/4) as I was driving back from my friendly neighborhood mechanic where I had gotten my car fixed. Now, the drive from there to where I worked was relatively uneventful...until I got to about 3/4 of a mile away from my office. Then all hell broke loose.

I saw the traffic jam at the light up ahead, so I slowed down and pulled a U-turn. I drove back in the opposite direction for about a fifth of a mile before taking a right at traffic light. I proceeded to spend the next several minutes driving in a zig-zag fashion as I went up various side streets trying to dodge traffic. I made fantastic progress until I again I got to about 3/4 of a mile from my office, then traffic screeched to a halt.

I thought to myself, "Okay G, since you can't get there from the southern side of the city, let's try it from the central part of the city". So I cut down a side road and I made a right turn at the light. Seconds after making the turn, I saw a fire truck about a mile down the road. So I made a left and continue zig-zagging my way through the side streets.

I should point out that by this time I was some two miles away from my intended destination. Anyways, I battled through a few more super narrow unplowed streets and got to the main drag. The second I made that right turn, traffic was a major "clusterf##k" as you had cars parked on both sides of an unplowed road and two lanes of traffic trying to squeeze into one and a half lanes. So I found another unplowed side street and made a right turn down that. When I got to the stop sign, I banged another right until I got to the traffic light, then I took another right, then another left.

At this point, I was roughly parallel on the map with the assisted living center called Avery Heights, which is located about two and a half miles from where I live in Newington. What's this all mean? This means I was now about three and a half miles from my intended destination. Twenty minutes later, I finally got to my office.

What should have been a simple fifteen minute drive from one part of Hartford to the other turned into a 45 minute drive from hell in which I had driven a total of five extra miles out of my way in order to get to work.

So.

For those of you who aren't from New England or New York, how's the weather out your way?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

This And That

Yapple Dapple, Dapple Yapple!

Over at Shooting Suburbia is part two of the Waterfall Festival. Please take a stroll over to there and check it out.

Over here I was going to share another small slice of the one part of myself that I keep very well hidden from everyone in the Cyber World. Unfortunately, as I was doing a little basic research on a particular e-mail that I wanted to use, I discovered that the content of the e-mail actually came from another person's website.

So instead of using the content without permission, I will simply direct you to the website itself, which is called "The Daily Motivator". Please note that it is a Christian oriented website, so if that really isn't your bag, by all means, don't explore. I may explore it myself in the future, but if anything, this leaves me with the sticky problem of what to write about today.

Since I can't think of anything to write about, that leaves me with the old standby of presenting to you a picture. In this case, a picture of what winter should look like in Newington today, but in reality doesn't. If anything, this will help explain why I'm starting to go off the deep end about snow, which was famously called, "soft fluffy white stuff" by Thomas The Tank Engine.



Looks all kinds of innocent and pleasing to the eye, don't it. Well my friends, please add about five feet of snow and imagine the width of the road to be exactly one car (an Oldsmobile Alero should do the trick), and that should give you a basic idea on why this winter is really sucking the big one and why the old record for the season will probably be surpassed* by the time this particular week (2/6/11 thru 2/12/11) plays out.

*the old record for total snow accumulation for the season in Connecticut is about 115 inches

Friday, February 4, 2011

Don't Break The Silence

I was having a behind the scenes (e-mail) conversation the other day with a very good friend of mine and she happened to make an observation that I was becoming a little guarded with a few of my e-mails. And being the good friend that I am, I naturally agreed with her. I didn't say it to be nice or score brownie points, I said it because I am genuinely like that in my personal correspondence with my friends.

I would like to use my answer that I gave to her as an explanation as to why I'm so guarded with my personal correspondence with my friends.

"I'm always worried about offending my friends...as you know, my circle of friends is predominately female and while sometimes its hard to get a read on what their frame of mind is at a given moment, it's doubly hard when the only way you can communicate is via the written word.

When you're face to face, it's easy to read body language and facial expressions, and it's kind of easy to figure out the verbal nuances and clues that people give off when they speak.

With the written word, its very hard to read body language, facial language or even verbal nuances or inflection when a person writes.

I can't tell you the amount of times that I've had to back peddle or apologize or even go into a lengthy explanation over something that I've written (remember the innocuous comment I made about your hair last year?) that was grossly misinterpreted as something else.

I won't say that all my friends are mercurial by nature, but I've learned over the past several years that sometimes what I say can often be the death of me, which is why I'm a little nuanced and guarded when I talk to you, or to anyone else for that matter, via the e-mail.

I know that you've reiterated on numerous occasions that it's very hard to offend you, but just the same, I always want to err on the side of caution when I write, which is why I sometimes sound like a politician in my e-mails."


The reasoning as to why I decided to write about such a strange topic probably has more to do with being curious about why I do what I do than anything else. I like thinking out loud and while I was having this conversation, I got to thinking about the fact that even though I'm having a casual conversation with a good friend, I'm still sort of editing myself as I type. I'm either prefacing what I say with an apology, or giving an unnecessary explanation as to why I said what I said or I'm holding back what I'm saying just enough for the person that I'm talking to ask if something is wrong.

So tell me, do you have the same problem or do the same thing that I do when you have conversations with friends, especially when you're doing it via the e-mail or texting? Do you still edit/censor your more salacious thoughts and words, even though you've gotten reassurances from the other party that they won't be offended by whatever it is that you want to say? Or do you just go ahead and say whatever it is that you want to say and damn the consequences?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Stubborn Side Of Writing (1)

By the time the spring of 2009 rolled around, I was sufficiently recovered from the battle scars that I gained during the disastrous adventure that was my first self-pubbed novel to take another crack at self publishing. I felt extremely confident about my abilities to write a good story, and since I came up with a plan during the interim that called for me to self-pub a bunch of chapbooks and try to establish myself as a writer, I felt that now would be good time to implement it.

Since I had all the components in place at the time ("publisher", money, rudimentary marketing strategy) all I needed to make this plan a reality, was a good medium length short story.

Problem was, what short story should I use as the opening salvo to my master plan of making me a semi-well known writer. Although I had quite a few to choose from, the minimum page constraints that the "publisher" had had forced me to narrow my selection down to a story that met that minimum page requirement (which was 44).

The one story that met that particular requirement, "A Betrayal of Vows", was one that I spent a considerable amount of time trying to covert into a novel (about six months or so), but had recently put it away because I had written myself into a small corner with it.

I actually gave this particular story a lot of thought, not only because I was trying to convert it into a novel, but it was one of the first stories that I posted here on Cedar's Mountain, back when I was trying to first establish myself as a blogger before I added writing to the mix to make myself what I am today, a blogger/writer. So if I wanted to self-pub this story and have people buy it, I would have to remove it from my blog.

And that's what I did. I reluctantly went back to the first year of my blog and nuked all 35 posts that were related to that particular story. With the exception of taking down my short story "Cedar Mountain" so that it could eventually be published in Beat To A Pulp, that particular block of posts remains the only posts that I've ever removed from this blog.

Anyways, I dug out the story and got right to work on it, because the version I had posted here was quite frankly, a piece of garbage. I originally wrote it during my fertile and personally forgettable year of 2006 and what I learned in the subsequent years, was that the original story was a piece of shit. The only good thing about that original story, was that it became a thirty-five plus page outline for me to work from.

Up next: turning that thirty-five page outline into a reasonably coherent and entertaining story.

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) 2008-16 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 georgebjr2006@gmail.com