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Status Update

May 17, 2013 Leave a comment

I am currently looking out on a field of green and can feel the warmth of the sun on my face as it beams in through the window. It has been a long and difficult winter, but that time is behind us now. Now is the time of warmth and of shorts and t-shirts, of backyard swimming pools and sprinklers on the lawn. Though it has been spring, in the technical sense, since March 20th, we have gone from wondering if the frozen grip of winter would ever loosen from around our throats, to feeling as though the summer sun will pummel us into the ground with its fiery fists. Indeed, spring has done a fine job of hiding this year.

I’ve spent almost all of the day so far writing. What time I did spend away from the computer was spent trekking to the post office and the local market. The television has laid silent and still in the other room since I woke up this morning, only music has been played, only a handful of YouTube clips have been viewed. All other time has been spent writing, jumping from project to project, and I’m quite happy.

I wrote yesterday, as well. A short piece entitled The Depth of Life. It’s here if you’re interested. Another short (if rambling) piece that I completed this afternoon, called UNTITLED #1, can be found here.

There are other things in the works as well, longer things made up of smaller bits that I’ve been working on. Some bits are finished, others have been started, others still remain untouched as yet. It will all come together someday very soon.

Every so often, Alan Moore awakens from his long slumber and grants us all with his wisdom. Such wisdom can be found below:




August 27th will be the next time I attend a concert. It will be the first time I’ve been to a concert in nearly a decade, the first concert I will be attending with the wife, and the first time I will be seeing Depeche Mode in concert.

I’m very excited.

Here is Dave Gahan talking about their current world tour, their latest album, entitled Delta Machine, and his bout with cancer a few years ago.




And here is the music video for Heaven, the first single off of Delta Machine.

As I finish this post, the sun is now gone and only clouds remain. I think I’ve written enough for today and I feel it’s time to go do a bit of reading. Enough pouring out, time to soak up something someone else has written.

I’ll update again soon, though probably not as soon as I intend to.

31 Days = 31 Horror Reviews

October 1, 2012 3 comments

Last year, I spent the month of October updating my “writingcentric” Tumblr blog with various horror short stories (read them here). This year, I thought I’d do something different.

First, let me preface this by saying that Halloween is my favorite holiday and it has been since I was a child. Don’t get me wrong, here. I love Christmas. The family togetherness, the exchange of gifts, the sights and smells of winter filling the air. It’s great. However, Halloween offers some things that Christmas does not: The colors of the leaves, both the ones that litter the ground and the ones that cling to their trees with hopes of miraculously making it through winter, the look on the faces of children as you dump handfuls of cavity inducing goodies into their bags or buckets.

And of course, horror movies.

I’ve had a passion for horror movies ever since I was a kid. My father would sit me down with him and we’d watch all of the old Universal Monster classics. Those movies taught me a lot. I gained an appreciation for the delicate process of bringing a hodge podge of dead body parts back to life in Frankenstien, I learned how to kill a vampire in Dracula, The Mummy taught me never to read the contents of an ancient scroll out loud, and The Wolfman taught me that even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night may become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright. All of this was merely the groundwork being set up to a lifelong love of scary movies. As I grew, so did my taste in horror, and I became introduced to the works of George A. Romero and John Carpenter, Wes Craven and Brian De Palma, Clive Barker and David Cronenberg. My list of horrible creatures of which I had some knowledge grew to include zombies and ghosts, demons and twisted alien creatures.

The great thing about the month of October is that you would be hard pressed to find more than a few channels that aren’t showing horror movies all the time. Truly, it is the most wonderful time of the year.

And so this year, I’ve decided to review thirty-one horror movies over thirty-one days.

Here are some facts about that:

1: Due to work, I might end up doubling up on reviews (meaning I might have two reviews in one day every once in a while), but I’m committed to thirty-one reviews.

2: I have a lot planned, most of which are DVDs that I own, but I’m probably going to throw a few in as the month progresses on a whim. If I see something on cable or after scanning my Netflix queue that piques my interest, I might add it into the rotation.

3: Not all of these movies will be good and the reviews will most certainly touch on that.

4: I’m going to be incredibly biased as far as what movies are included in the list (as the first movie of the month will indicate) because there are a lot that I consider to be favorites.

5: If you can’t wait to read movie reviews written by me, you could always visit BadSequels.Com and visit my author profile. I mean, no one will hold it against you if you do. Also, note that almost all of the movies I’ve reviewed over there are horror movies except one: Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. That might still count as horror, depending on who you ask.

6: I won’t be “rereviewing” or reposting reviews from BadSequels here.

Stay tuned for the first review coming sometime later this evening.

Edit: And we’re off! List of movies below will be updated as I go:

October 1st: An American Werewolf in London
October 2nd: An American Werewolf in Paris
October 3rd: Fright Night (1985)
October 4th: Dawn of the Dead (2004)
October 5th: Ginger Snaps
October 6th: The Descent
October 7th: Trick ‘r Treat
October 8th: The Lost Boys
October 9th: House on Haunted Hill (1959)
October 10th: Dog Soldiers
October 11th: From Dusk Till Dawn
October 12th: 1408
October 13th: Bram Stoker’s Dracula
October 14th: The Howling
October 15th: The Thing (1982)
October 16th: Alien
October 17th: 30 Days of Night
October 18th: The Wolfman (1941)
October 19th: The Wolfman (2010)
October 20th: Evil Dead
October 21st: Near Dark
October 22nd: Cursed
October 23rd: Bad Moon
October 24th: Wolfen
October 25th: Frailty
October 26th: Silver Bullet
October 27th: Creepshow
October 28th: Night of the Living Dead
October 29th: Friday the 13th (1980)
October 30th: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
October 31st: Halloween (1978)

Ray Bradbury 1920 – 2012

June 6, 2012 2 comments

I logged into Twitter this morning, much like any other morning, with a yawn and a sip of coffee and a certain sort of sleepy curiosity as to what funny or horrible or tragic things I would learn, 140 characters at a time. It was soon thereafter that I read “RIP Ray Bradbury”. I gasped. “Oh no.” I said aloud and I raced to find a more viable source of information, preferably from a website that is not known to unceremoniously kill a different celebrity each week, only to find that said celebrity is in fact alive and well.

This is what I found.

I am deeply saddened by the passing of Mr. Bradbury. I’ve read quite a few tweets and tumblr posts from people and they all say pretty much the same sort of thing: “I met Ray Bradbury once and he was lovely and I’m so sad that we’ve lost him, but so glad that we had him, and so happy that his work has touched so many of us so deeply.”

I have not met Mr. Bradbury and while that upsets me, it does my heart good to know that there are people who have met him, and who have shared with him their stories of how they first came to read and enjoy his work, and who have walked away from the experience feeling as though they’ve accomplished something. That they had their opportunity to thank him. That warms my heart. It makes me feel happy for those who had that chance and it makes me feel glad that Bradbury knew how loved he was as a member of the writing community.

The first work of Mr. Bradbury’s that I ever read was Something Wicked This Way Comes (buy it here). It moved me in many ways. It was spooky and at times funny, it was dark and menacing, but still had enough heart to make you care about it.

Ray Bradbury is on my list of favorite science fiction writers, along with Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein, Harlan Ellison and Isaac Asimov, and countless others. Sadly, his name is also now on the list of favorite authors who have left us, and in doing so, have also left a gaping and irreparable hole in the world of fiction itself. No one will ever replace Ray Bradbury.

If you’re a fan of Bradbury, but do not yet own any of his work, I’d suggest Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Martian Chronicles, the classic Fahrenheit 451, or this collection of some of his shorter works.

If you’ve never read the work of Bradbury, please visit your local library and look him up. They’re sure to have something with his name on it and you’d be doing yourself a service.






Prologues and Dismissed Cases

April 19, 2008 1 comment

First thing, I suppose, is first. I know there will be a quite a few people reading this blog who may not know who Gordon Lee is. They may not even know what The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is.

For those currently reading:

Here is a Wikipedia entry on the CBLDF.

And here is a Wikipedia entry on Gordon Lee.

Give them a browse and get caught up.

For those unwilling to click the above links, Gordon Lee is the owner of a comic book store in Rome, Georgia, who has been previously charged and convicted with selling pornographic materials. In his own store. To adults. Who had asked him for the materials.

This current case, however, involves the alleged incident in which a comic book containing a scene in which Picasso is painting, though in the nude, was given to a nine year old child on Halloween.

If such a thing had happened to my nine year old, I would have been upset as well. But I would have approached the store owner and let me feelings known to him/her. In this instance, however, the law became involved, and Lee was charged with two felonies and five misdemeanors.

This was in 2004. In the four years since, Mr. Lee has experienced the legal equivalent of a roller coaster, involving mistrials, postponements and several other delays.

Well, it’s been announced that Gordon Lee’s case has been dismissed. The link leads to a very interesting, albeit short, Newsarama interview with the Executive Director of the CBLDF, Charles Brownstein.

Granted, the dismissal of the case is not the same as an obvious win, but- Well, Brownstein says it best below:

NRAMA: From the view of the CBLDF, how does a complete dismissal compare to a courtroom victory?

CB: A clean win is a clean win. And this is a very clean win.

It should have never gone this far to begin with.

Four years and over $100,000 of donated money later and the “attempted miscarriage of justice” (as Neil Gaiman called it) that was the Gordon Lee case is finally over. Gordon Lee can return to his daily life unafraid of the authorities watching over him.

It’s just a sad state of affairs. In what is supposed to be a free country, this sort of thing still happens. And the Gordon Lee debacle is but one of many cases that the CBLDF is on a mission to help. Here’s just a few of them in recent years.

If you have the time and the money and want to donate to a worthy cause, please give pause and consider the CBLDF.

Here is a YouTube video of Neil Gaiman making the announcement at last night’s New York Comic Con:

I’ve finished what will be the first of two prologues for the novel this morning. Really, it’s one prologue, in two parts, seperated by a quote page. I would hope to finish a chapter a day from this point on, but I can easily tell the chapters will get longer and longer as I press on. So I can only hope to finish most of a chapter a day from this point on.

I’m really enjoying myself so far.

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Happy Doctor Who Day

April 18, 2008 Leave a comment

A quick one, sorry.

Tonight will be Doctor Who and we will rejoice. The level of Doctor Who love in this household lately is amazing, as is the level of anticipation for this new season. It seems far longer than it has been since the last season.

On a brief adventure to Casey’s last night for carbonated syrup-laced beverages, I noticed a list of outside chores Boss Lady had left for me for today. I get the joy of showing up in jeans and a t-shirt and working out in the sun all day.

Few things can compare to working outside. Such a simple pleasure. Fresh air, sunshine, the smell of freshly mowed lawns. I’m actually looking forward to it.

Early this morning, after the wife had left for work, I re-read the five thousand or so words I had completed of what will be my first novel. I was suddenly struck with a far better way to start it, however.

So I did. I opened a fresh word document and began to type, using the previously written words, in a seperate window, as a base on which to build. I was able to write a solid opening before retiring to bed. I then wrote a few more solid paragraphs when I woke up until just now, when I realized I should really get dressed and go to work.

I’m excited. I think I know how to continue now.

Onward I go. Wish me luck.

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P.P.S. I want a pony.

April 14, 2008 1 comment

When I returned home from work today, I found a note on the front door.

It read:

Dear Whoever Reads This,


I went to child friend’s name omitted‘s house to see if he could play.


Love,


Ben


P.S. I’m taking money out to buy mints.


P.P.S. I want a pony.

I fear the poor boy is inheriting my sense of humor.

After reaching a minor block in the story I plucked from my “Unfinished Fiction” folder a few days ago, I took it to the wife. I explained what the story was, where I was going, where I was blocked and what the basic idea behind it was. She added her own flair to it, by way of a few ideas she presented to me, and now I’m not exactly sure what I’ll be doing. So, I’ll be making notes of the wife’s ideas and putting it away for a short while to germinate.

We’ll see.

Today, however, while going through a website containing many of my older short stories (many of which I cringed at while reading), I discovered a few other things I’d like to dust off and make whole. One such thing, a novella entitled Tales From The End Of The World, has already had a chapter and a half added to it as of this morning. More on the way, very soon.

I put my writing on hold when I moved here to Minnesota. The list of priorities that come before writing include: paying bills, providing food and clothing for a child, being a good husband, etc.

The wife continues to push me in the direction of writing, saying I need to get my first novel published so we can live off the riches that would follow (I haven’t the heart to tell her novelists are vastly underpaid), but I found it very difficult to focus with things like our livelihood looming overhead. We’re beginning the slow and steady crawl out of debt and, while bills are still thrown at us at a rate much faster than we can catch them, the stress has been somewhat relieved. So, now I’m writing again and it feels great.

Maybe I’ll finish my novel.

The Writer’s Dilemma.

April 9, 2008 1 comment

It was 3:25am when the wife left for work. It was 4:00am when I finished watching The Brady Bunch. It was 4:15am when I decided to browse my “unfinished fiction” folder, a folder that is far too full for my liking. It was then 6:24am before I was able to sleep.

Why? Because I stumbled across something I hadn’t read in well over a year. Something stirred in me as I read it and I decided to continue it. So I edited what there was, about four pages, taking out certain things that didn’t work and adding things that did, until it’s current page count of nine pages and well over three thousand words.

Here is where the dilemma appears; I find myself uncertain of a few things.

I’m uncertain as to what it is I’m writing. My short stories are usually kept at around or under one thousand words. Here I am nine pages and three thousand words later and I’m uncertain as to what nature of beast sits before me.

I’m uncertain as to where to go from here. I know where I want the story to go, but it won’t go that way. If I sit back and try to let it do it’s own thing, it just sits there.

I’m uncertain as to why it chooses to come so slowly. Five pages came pouring out of me in the wee hours of the morning. Five pages and then it all came to a grinding hault.

The above things are not permanent blocks, only temporary hindrances. I will finish this piece eventually, and all writers experience what I’ve stated above, so I am not concerned. Merely frustrated.

I’m not concerned about the uncertainty of the story’s nature. How many novels started as a mere short story in someone’s mind?

I’m not concerned about the uncertainty of where to go next. There’s a certain excitement that comes along with the lack of knowledge of what happens next. It’s more adventurous that way.

I’m not concerned about the uncertainty this particular story’s annoying habit of starting then stopping. I will be rewarded with a much higher sense of accomplishment once it finally finishes.

The life of a writer.

According to this website, Spanish scientists have found the smallest planet outside of our own solar system ever discovered. It’s only 50% larger than Earth. The scientists claim it won’t be long before we’re stumbling across worlds much like Earth.

This story, about a man using a hedgehog as a weapon, has been bouncing around the internet for a couple of weeks now. Why I’m only just now posting it is a mystery.

Someone has created working color televisions for your doll house.

A homeless man in Seattle fashioned himself a home in the form of a complex and elaborate tree house, as a means of beating the system.

Well the system found him and he’s been evicted from his leafy home.

The story ends well, though. At this link.

“Filmmaker” (if you can call him that), Uwe Boll reacts to an online petition asking him to stop making movies.

How does he respond? By calling Michael Bay a “retard” and calling George Clooney’s movies “Bullshit”.

Class act.

Babbles And Rambles, My Words All In Shambles.

April 6, 2008 Leave a comment

It seems the late night pre-bed ramble may become a habit, you poor bastards.

It’s supposed to rain tomorrow. Not just rain, but a thunderstorm is reportedly on its way through. I’m sure there are those who will see a thunderstorm in their weather update and groan.

“Ugh, rain.” they’ll say, “Just when the weather was getting nice.”

I’ve never understood the bad wrap that has accompanied rain. The scourge of childhood weekends, the ruiner of trendy hairstyles, the cause of distress to the owner of a recently washed car. All practical problems, all understandable, but they are also each clouds with their own silver lining.

For every wet weekend a child was forced to enjoy indoors, there was the series of puddles said child was then able to splash in on the way to school Monday morning.

For every trendy hairstyle ruined, there was an umbrella salesman able to feed his children.

For every recently washed car doomed to bear unsightly waterspots, a muddy jeep that hadn’t seen a drop of water in weeks got a well deserved shower.

There’s even that children’s rhyme from decades ago:

Rain, rain, go away,
Come again another day.

Rain, rain, go away.
Come again some other day.
Little Arthur wants to play,
In the meadow by the hay.

Rain, rain, go to Spain,
Never show your face again.

Rain, rain, pour down,
But not a drop on our town.

Rain on the green grass,
and rain on the tree,
And rain on the housetop,
but not on me.

Rain, rain, go away,
Come again on washing day.

Rain, rain, go to Germany,
And remain there permanently.

Rain, rain, go away,
Come on Martha’s wedding day.

Rain is generally seen as a symbol of depression, the poor hapless bastard in question generally seen marred by a small black cloud, constantly pouring droplets of liquid sadness upon his head.

It just doesn’t make sense. Rainy days should be seen as days of cleansing. A chance to wipe the slate clean and start again with the next day’s sunlight. A time when one can step outside and breathe deeply the scent of rebirth.

I’ve always loved rainy days. Even as a child, I’d go for walks in the rain. No umbrella. Just me and the showers. Of course, my mother disagreed with this fascination and I often found myself being dragged back indoors before I could get very far.

But even today, I revel in the chance to take a stroll around the neighborhood while the tiny droplets of renewing glory.

Maybe I saw Singin’ In The Rain too many times as a child.

Charlton Heston has passed away. I’ve just read this. I may not have agreed with his stance on guns, but I certainly respected him as an actor. His presence will be missed.

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing over the last few days. Not just blogging, but writing. The last thing I wrote, this short story entitled The Incident On The Roof Of The Grand Hills Hotel In This Current Year, felt great. It was cathartic, really. It was as though I was getting a fix of an addictive substance I hadn’t had a taste of in quite some time.

I may continue work on any of the number of things with which I currently find myself blocked. Or maybe another short piece will come to me. I’m not sure yet.

Another well written article on Charlton Heston’s death.

Which reminds me, it’s been quite some time since I’ve seen The Agony and the Ecstacy.

It’s late, the words are starting to swirl together into one large messy spiral, and so I believe it’s time for bed.

Topic Blog #3: Rob K On: Writing

April 4, 2008 Leave a comment

Ah, the entry that serves as both a writer discussing the medium closest to his heart and as proof that said writer should never write anything ever again. Good times.

20,000 B.C. Some hairy naked guy in serious need of a shower realizes he can take a sharp rock and carve pictures into his cave wall. That was the birth of storytelling.

Storytelling has grown a lot since then. No longer do we grunt and howl whilst we carve images of mastodons and saber tooth tigers chasing men in loin clothes, no longer do we sigh with unrequited love as we take a stick and draw a doodle in the sand of the hot cavewoman we have a crush on (Ug’s sister, the one with the unibrow and one big tooth, you know the one).

Yes, the art of storytelling has gone through many changes in the twenty or so millennia since that fateful day. For one thing, it has gotten much easier to jot down your ideas. Think back to cave drawings and hieroglyphics; if you made a mistake, what did you do? Did you cross it out with a sharp rock? Did you knock down the wall, build another one in its place and start fresh? Or maybe you just rolled with it and hoped no one noticed. Or just maybe, when faced with harsh criticism and the feeling that you had no idea what you were doing, you did what writers do today. You lied through your teeth.

Caveman 1: “Ug, this wall say Grah eat mastodon. Grah no eat mastodon, mastodon eat Grah.”

Caveman 2: “Ug was taking creative license with story of mastodon eating Grah. Ug write a ‘what if…’ scenario involving Grah and mastodon.”

Caveman 1: “No understand Ug.”

Caveman 2: “Ug no have to explain Ug’s art to you.”

Of course, that’s just the caveman days. In Ancient Egypt, when faced with the same scenario, the critic was just mummified and tossed in a tomb.

There were the days of parchment and quills, tools with which many great plays and novels got their start, through the era of pencil and paper, into typewriters, all leading up to today; the age of text messages and essays written on laptop computers.

But this blog is not about the various tools storytellers have used over the years. Rather, it’s about storytelling itself. I like to think we’re born as storytellers. Think about it; when have you ever known a young child who didn’t love talking, about anything and everything, as soon as they learn how? I distinctly remember being a child, maybe seven or eight, sitting at my grandmother’s kitchen table while she prepared dinner for that evening (pierogies, mmm) and I regaled her with tales of little men who protected a mighty castle with nothing but forks. Of course, the forks in question, in relation to the size of the men holding them, were the size of large pitchforks.

Did my grandmother believe me? Of course not. Did I believe myself? No, not entirely. I mean, even at that age, I knew I was basically lying. And I had lied before, little things akin to “I didn’t do it” or shoveling my broccoli off the table and into the waiting mouth of our dog seated next to me, then claiming I ate the whole plate. But this was different; this felt good.

I loved reading as a child. Fairy tales, White Fang, the ever popular Goosebumps series of very short novels; I liked a lot of different stuff. When I discovered Comic Books, however, is when I truly understood the thrill of storytelling. This was a visual medium, so it was hard to ignore the basic building blocks of telling a good story being laid out before me, literally, piece by piece, page by page. Panel one introduced you to the characters, panel two put the characters in some deep shit, panel three revealed the characters being rescued from the aforementioned shit. It was like the heroes from my novels, but here they were; full color ass kickery, complete with sound effects (ZING! PAFF! BOOM! SOCKO!). I was in heaven. Comics changed my life in many ways, but that’s another blog for another day. I will say this, however; Comics helped me realize my love of telling stories on the page.

I had wanted to be an artist. I bought all the “How To Draw Comics!” books, got professional grade sketch paper, fine art pencils, the works. I was a man possessed. I sat up in my room until all hours of the night scribbling and scrawling; dragging the pencil across the paper was a release for me. It was cathartic. It was a way for me to be a part of the industry I had come to love and admire; comic books. Yes sir, I was going to be one of the top comic book artists in the world, someday. I was the next Jim Lee, the next Jack Kirby. There was just one problem.

I sucked.

My drawings were laughable. Even when I traced over existing artwork, the end result looked as though someone forced a sizeable amount of alcohol into a half-blind monkey, handed him a pencil and a pad of paper, and told him to draw. I became depressed, certain I was no longer going to be a part of the industry that had recently become such an important thing in my life. I moped for a few days, ate some ice cream, stayed awake at night, staring at the ceiling, silently wondering why I had no talent. And that was the problem, I assure you. It was not lack of practice, it was not becoming acclimated to the pencil and paper; it was pure, unadulterated, plain and simple lack of any talent whatsoever. Then it hit me; I had no problem coming up with stories, no problem at all. I would read my weekly comic books and instantly come up with a thousand unique ways that I would have done that week’s particular story differently. Who would have died, who would have lived, and who would have fought whom. That was the moment I came to the realization that would cause me equal parts great pain and fantastic joy over the years since; I was a writer.

It was nearly Halloween and I had a story in my head that needed telling. It was a story about a group of kids, all of whom I knew or were related to in some way, venturing into a nearby swamp and discovering a horrible beast. Only one of the children made it out alive. I grabbed a typewriter and banged out the story in an hour or two, then read it aloud to a group of elderly people at a Halloween party. The reactions ranged from horrified at the idea of children dying in a nearby swamp, to horrified at the idea of children dying in a nearby swamp but also thinking the story was good for a person my age, to horrified at the idea of children dying in a nearby swamp but also thinking I was adorably flustered while reading in front of an audience.

It felt great.

From that point on, I was a writer. I dabbled in fan fiction, arguably the lowest form of fiction (granted, I never did anything gross or sacrilegious), I wrote comic scripts, I began screenplays that never saw any sort of ending. I even wrote poetry and songs, all of which were very weird and often depressing. I generally stuck to writing short stories, mainly because they were more interesting than poetry, but not as long as novels.

Everyone writes. We write letters, we write notes, and we write e-mails, even lists. But only writers, those of us who cannot go longer than a day without writing, even a short scene or a line of dialogue, truly understand the primal need to tell our stories. Those of us, who write for ourselves, do so to let the demons out, so to speak. If a story is locked away in our subconscious, clawing at the inner lining of our skulls, it’s a form of release. A literary orgasm, you could say.

For those of us, who write for others, it’s a different story. It’s a constant and dire need for approval, for someone to say “Good job” or “I relate to this”. It’s a desire to entertain others, to give them something to relate to. Me? I fall somewhere in the middle. I won’t shy away from constructive criticism or, God forbid, praise for my writing, but I mostly write to exercise my mental demons. Call it a blessing or a curse, but I can relate to –and associate with- both sides of the writer mentality.

Some people seem to have forgotten the power of the written word. Just a handful of words can evoke every emotion imaginable. Pain, sadness, joy, surprise. If you can feel it, there is someone out there who can make you feel it with nothing more than a few words. Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in a mere six words. His response?

For Sale: Baby Shoes, never used.

How powerful is that? Hemingway was able to, not only get the mind reeling and the heart sinking, but he was able to spark the imagination. I don’t know a single person to whom I’ve shown those six words who did not, in some way, try to imagine the bigger story behind it. But it’s those six words, that single line that holds more depth than many full length novels I’ve read.

To be put simply, writers write because they have to; because if they weren’t writing, they wouldn’t truly exist, in the existential sense. I’ve read articles that claim writers are the way they are because of any of a wide variety of mental disorders, that we’re all batshit crazy and that’s why we do the things we do, and act the way we act. While I find it increasingly difficult to argue that writers are a little kooky, I certainly don’t think we’re all bi-polar time bombs waiting to explode our crazy goo all over some poor bastard in front of us in line at Starbucks.

Some of us, maybe, but certainly not all of us. Okay, maybe most of us. Fine, maybe these articles have a point.

Was Hemingway crazy when he wrote The Old Man and the Sea? Was Vonnegut insane when he wrote Slaughterhouse Five? Was Shakespeare pissing his pants and talking to God when he wrote Hamlet?

I think the bigger question is do we care? If insanity can result in such literary genius, I think I’d prefer to be the old man on the corner in the lumberjack uniform, screaming at the aliens in my head to stop trying to convince me to assassinate the President of Bolivia.

At least life would be interesting.