On Writing: #1

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One of the goals of this blog is to sell myself as a writer. There are certain other tenets of course, but the ultimate goal is to get off the hamster wheel… stop workin’ on Maggie’s farm… quit the day job… get out from under the man. Writing is the only thing that doesn’t really make me feel worthless. That sounds sad, and I guess it is, but… nothing else really makes me feel all that useful in the grand scheme of things.

So as such, I thought that keeping a running series on what I’m learning about writing and how I’m approaching the craft would not only be a great opportunity to reflect on my work, but also to create some great content for the blog. It’s also a subtle reminder that I am what’s ultimately for sale here, not the content. And at the very least, this series is a welcome break from writing in that nihilist persona I’ve adopted during the course of my first few pieces. It’s a terrific challenge, trying to sell worthless amazon consumer goods to the bleak nihilist audience, but what better way to grow as a writer than to try the impossible? The voice of the narration does make me laugh out loud as I’m writing it, but the negativity that comes with it does get a little draining so it comes with a cost.

I came to the idea last week as I was brainstorming some blog ideas. I also began to strategize the manner in which I wanted to debut and maintain the content on the blog, so I put two ideas together and decided that every Wednesday, I would try to put out some content about my experience and growth with writing in general. And so, Writing Wednesdays became a thing, but I hate that name, so I’m not going to call it that. I thought I’d call it something like On Writing, but I think Stephen King or someone wrote something similar with the same title. I thought that was incredibly lame and a little presumptuous, so I’m just gonna go with the Writing Series, I guess. At least for now. So this is…

Writing #1.

Na fuck you, Stephen King.

On Writing: #1.

Today’s post, and possibly the following posts in this series, will be broken down into the following criteria for the sake of having a purposeful review.

Revisiting Writing Goals:

Like anything else, there will be good days and bad days with writing. I need to accept that I won’t be as proud of some pieces as I am for others. And not everything I write will even be good in the least. But that’s also a great aspect to writing blogs on the internet. It will be out there as long as I want it to be, and there’s always an opportunity to read over previous material and tweak it. Most mediums don’t have that luxury, but since this is about establishing a brand, I can always revise and republish the content I’m presenting. As mentioned above, my goal is not necessarily to sell my content, but to sell my skills. My writing won’t be great unless I go through the painstaking process of creation, destruction, re-creation, and repeat. With every successful piece there will be plenty of failures as well, but the end goal is to produce a solid writer, not necessarily solid writing.

I felt like I had a failure this week. My most recent post, 5 things I hate to admit I really enjoy, started out well. I felt like my voice was there, and it was pretty funny. I had some great ideas, but then I just hit a wall. I got tired, and didn’t revisit the piece for a couple days. And by then, I wasn’t in the same groove as I was. I ended up cutting the piece from a 10 things I hate list, instead down to a list of five. I saved the rest, maybe for a pt. 2 post at some point, but it was disappointing to have to call that one just for the sake of putting out steady content. Again though, I have to accept the failure, but it isn’t written in stone. I can always go back and adjust, revise, and update. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day… But it did fall pretty quickly.

Analyzing my craft:

One great lesson I learned this week about my craft is to stick with freewriting. It seems like such a skippable routine because you might think you already have a great list of ideas to work from, but somedays, it’s just hard to sit down and write. That’s when you know you need to freewrite. One thing with writer’s block is that sometimes we just have other things on our minds. We need that opportunity to sit down and get some things out, express those thoughts and emotions. Even if they’re never thought of again, or never used in any content, it’s extremely liberating to have the empty mind.

This is where the importance of establishing a routine comes in. So far, my routine has been to start with a bowl and a drink, or maybe do some yoga, or take in some of my own favorite content, and brainstorm some thoughts before deciding on a topic and purpose. But I can’t leave out freewriting. I need to start there before every piece. It’s a bit of an annoyance, but I think it’s a necessary evil. I will stick harder to that over the next few weeks and revisit the process. I hope and expect to find that my content flows much more freely when I’ve taken the time to express some of the daily thoughts that tend to weigh more heavily than others on a weekly basis. And maybe someday, I’ll have notebooks full of ridiculous, pointless concerns that will entertain me on a rainy afternoon. (I wish Half Price Books would start carrying these, again.)

Reflecting on my work:

Something I’ve realized is that my writing is much better when I am more honest and open. I’ve know for quite some time that one of my writing strengths is the voice I give to the speaker, whether it’s my real point of view and perspective, or if it’s just raw persona. I find that the pieces I enjoy the most are due to the element of a genuine voice coming through the writing. After some reflection, I think this is owed to a more open and honest message as well as a natural tendency to write as if I’m verbally communicating.

Maintaining that aspect, I think, is from within the actual process of drafting. It’s hard to stick to the cycles of drafting and revision, but it’s so much easier and better in the long run if I can just let my mind open and pour out on a first draft. Then, I can just go back and revise. I think this allows my voice to come out much more naturally. If I can type on the page as if I’m talking to a real person, I can go back and make sense of it later, but keep the general voice and style that shines through in the first draft. Something to work on is to write a complete draft before editing. This is easier said than done, however, seeing as how wordpress’s design almost invites the user into a mode of constant adjustment and refinement. There’s a lot of tools to work with, but starting with a lot of great content prior to revision, will allow me to maintain that voice, but in a sensical translation.

Understanding my influences:

In all honesty, this is partly an excuse to plug some books from the Amazon store, and maybe help generate some income for the blog, but in earnest, I do want to investigate some things I’m reading in order to analyze and apply some lessons into my own writing.

So here’s what I’m reading:

Haruki Murakami

This is the first I have read a Murakami. He has a growing reputation as one the great novelists of this era, so something I definitely want is to analyze how previous generations of writers accomplished such monumental acclaim. I started reading the Wind and Pinball novellas, but I have not read much yet. Something that has already struck me, from the introduction, is his mentioning of writing in his second language, English, prior to translating the story into Japanese. He mentioned that the challenge of having to use a more limited vocabulary and structural understanding resulted in a clear, direct writing style. I don’t know that this is a direction that is right for me, at least not at this stage of my experience. I am learning and using more and more Spanish everyday, but I don’t know that that writing style is very reflective of my own. It may make for more beautiful prose, but I think my direction is more in the realm of telling interesting stories about interesting characters. In other words, I’m not too concerned about the aesthetic of my content. Or at least, not this aspect. I just think my skills and strengths are in other elements and that a forced concern over sentence structure, syntax, and diction aren’t where my focus should be at this point in my development.

Conclusions are so overrated. If you read all of this, you know what the purpose is, I don’t need to artificially replicate it for the satisfaction of people like my former professors. Post concluded. Thank you for reading. Any comments and thoughts are more than welcome. Please share!

5 things I hate to admit I really enjoy

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I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand it when someone asks about my interests. Well, hell. I’m interested in staying alive. I like feeding myself. Sex feels good. What the hell do you mean what am I interested in? Maybe you should have asked, “what do you like to put in front of you whenever you need a distraction from the dark, inevitable meaningless of life?” Ah, ok. That’s an understandable question I can give an answer to.

Unless you’re really into nihilism, most of us do have things that we tend to enjoy more so than others. If you’re like me, a nihilist but also not so dead and cold-hearted on the inside that you can’t allow yourself to be happy ever, well, you might have some interests, but maybe you’re just too ashamed and insecure to admit how much you like them. Perhaps they just make you so damn happy, that it’s just too embarrassing to admit to anyone else. Well, I’m such a nihilist that I don’t mind sharing what makes me happy because we’re all slowly dying anyway. So what’s the harm?

Here’s my fucking ‘happy’ list:

Fuck you.

5 things I hate to admit I really enjoy:

5. The View

I love those ladies. There’s the cranky black one, the funny old one, the conservative white one, and then there may be one or two more can’t-tell-what-they-are-but-they’re-pretty-maybe-latina?-in-betweener ones who aren’t really all that discernible to be honest. I love that show, though. In fact, it’s kind of a pipe dream of mine to be a stay-at-home-parent and work from home. I could write blogs and take breaks to watch The View live in real time as it airs on TV everyday.

They just talk and talk about whatever happens to be hitting the interwebs. Lately it’s been mostly Trump, sometimes maybe someone like Clooney, or sometimes they even discuss their own personal lives. They talk so much about the most pointless shit, I could just lie back and listen all day. Their exchanges are like symphonies of every version of my own mother I’ve ever known throughout my life talking all at once about the current events. Except what makes The View special is that all the opinions differ in variation with their speakers’ skin color. That kind of content requires some type of secret magical recipe of perspectives. I don’t know what they’re doing over there at The View, but they’re doing something right.

4. 90s Teen Hits

What can I say? I’m a 90s-2000s kid. Where the hell do I begin? I love them all. Too much to talk about here. I could probably even write an entirely separate post on the subject. From the most popular American Pie movies, all the way to the deeper-cut Buffy the Vampire Slayer series,.there aren’t many I don’t enjoy, and why wouldn’t I? I would say this era of teen-genre hits took place during the peak of misogynistic sexual objectification in the media, but then Lady Gaga and Hannah Montana happened, so maybe not.

I remember jerking off to so many things on television back then. Stuff that wouldn’t even begin to tickle my pickle seeing them now. You can’t sit there and tell me you never watched Christina Aguilera’s “Dirty” video or Britney’s “I’m a Slave” and never once popped a woody. It didn’t help either that KISS FM was playing the mechanically researched pop tunes all day on the radio, and then MTV and VH1 were overlaying the melodies with meticulously placed images of oily, nude body parts flashing before our faces on the TVs at home until finally– uhh! I even had a friend who was caught rubbing one out while lying on the carpet with his mom reading a book on the couch in the same room. I feel bad for making fun of him now that I’m remembering how much they sold the idea of sex to us kids. But then again, he never should have told anyone about that.

3. Jersey Shore

Thank God Donald Trump? for reality TV. Anytime we feel that dark sinking pit of apathy, closing over us, there’s reality TV to the rescue to save us with someone else’s just as pointless and nonsensical narratives. The saving grace is this: they’re pointlessness is marketable to idiots like me, so we all watch and we laugh at all the nonsense and allow the pointlessness to fill the pointless holes in our pointless souls.

“The short tubby one did what?! Haha. She’s hilarious.”

“Oh, the two hot ones in the relationship are fighting again? Oh, no!”

“Who hooked up in the hot tub?! Say what?”

Thank you Jersey Shore. I will sleep well tonight knowing that Pauly D is getting laid and the Situation isn’t. I wonder what will happen next season?!

2. Pop-punk Music

Look, I’m sorry, but middle-class white kids can hate their lives, too. Impoverished minorities don’t have a monopoly on reasons to be sad, so when pop-punk came along, I finally had an outlet to express my tortured teen angst. One day I was happy, jamming out to the Spice Girls because it was on the radio, nothing going, Hakuna Matata, and then the next, I’m listening to angry guitars and crashing drums with lyrics about spilling apple juice in the hall… please tell Mom this is not your fault. Duh-nuh-nuh. Duh-nuh-nuh. You know the tune.

And then I thought, “huh? I’ve felt like this before…” And before you know it, your hair is black, Senses Fail is the most hardcore band of tough guys but they’re accessible because of their feelings, and all your friends are drawing fake tattoos on their wrists with sharpies, getting piercings with giant needles from Hot Topic, and wearing tight, skinny jeans made for women, but you can’t because you have a conservative father who might disown you, and then where would you be? Damn you, world!

1. Doing Nothing

What the hell is wrong with doing nothing? People are seriously fucking deluded in thinking that every second of every day needs to be occupied with blinking screens, chatty friends with ailing dramas, moving settings with stand-in character extras. Shut the fuck up and just stare at a wall for a second. Put your phone away, turn off the tv, tell your friends you need some god-damn alone time, and just sit. Do nothing. It feels really good. You’ll think of the most random things that you probably haven’t thought of in years. Things like the time you peeked under your teacher’s dress in first grade, and you didn’t know it was wrong, but you also knew it wasn’t right because it kinda felt good and you liked it…

5 lies to tell on the first date– and an unrelated apology

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When I started brainstorming some ideas for a new post this afternoon, I began listing off ideas before I stopped and had a laugh. It occurred to me that it might be appropriate to compose a new piece with an apology to my Facebook followers for all the political shit-spewing I’ve been submitting them to over the last few months.

I’m normally not that kind of media user, but with the stakes as high as they were in the recent election, I felt like I needed to express myself loud and often. I also suspect that in the process, my parents may have become my only Facebook friends who haven’t yet un-followed me, and since they tend to vote red, I felt it all the more pertinent to put my political views on blast. You know, maybe change some minds by insulting the shit out of them everyday after work.

Well… anyway.

I suppose, an apology is in order: Facebook friends, I’m sorry about all that. I suddenly found myself single, fresh out of a breakup, and with a suddenly tremendous amount of free time… which brings me to the main post.

I’m single and dating again, and with Valentine’s approaching, I thought I’d write a post about dating. Specifically, I thought a piece about lying on the first date would make an entertaining piece. I must preface this, however, by emphasizing that these lies are harmless in the right context. These lies aren’t the ‘no, my roommate and I are just friends; I promise she’s not my ex’ type of lies. These lies are only as harmless as one allows them to be. If you’re just trying to get laid, and you’ll say whatever it takes, well then, the truth can be just as harmful than a lie if that’s what you’re playing at…

So here we are…

5 harmless lies to tell on the first date if you want to get a second:

5. “Take me rock climbing.”

This was a line I used on my tinder profile that was getting matches with every-single-swipe to the right. I was on fire with this one. It took me a while to figure this one out, though. I guess when ‘I like to smoke weed and watch Netflix’ doesn’t work enough times, one learns soon enough how important it is to actually convey to potential dates that you actually like doing exciting and interesting activities.

Now, there is a caveat. If you go with this approach, you might eventually have to go rock-climbing. Now, maybe you actually wouldn’t mind that. But I’m targeting a certain audience, so my assumption is that rock climbing sounds like a nightmare. If this is the case, you’ll have to be creative enough to keep your date interested with however many ‘interesting’ dates that it takes in order to take the relationship into the sweet spot, also known as the ‘always wearing sweatpants* and never leaving home again’ phase, that we all strive to stay in once we finally make it there. It might be easier to just go rock climbing and get it over with. It’s not terrible…

*damn, I want these

4. “Oh, you saw Local Natives, tonight? Awesome.”

This is one I used to pick up someone at the bar.  She was a dreamy girl. Nice smile, very fit. She was obviously a hipster-type. She was wearing tight cut-off blues and probably something like that one Iron Maiden shirt that everyone wears in vintage fashion, but the shirt sells in every single Target location I’ve ever been in.

The lie of course is that at the time, I had no idea who Local Natives were. When I asked her how her night was going, I all of a sudden became a Local Natives fan inferring, both from the context of the conversation, but also her generally hip appearance, that this was an indie- rock band. Indie-rock bands are only cool if no one has ever heard them before. But if you’ve never heard an indie-rock band before, you’re a fuckin’ normy and not worth anyone’s time. Especially if that anyone is so fuckang kewllll. This one hurt for a bit…

3. “I haven’t dated in awhile.”

This one is a no-brainer. If you really haven’t dated in a while, well it’s better to just own it and be confident about it. It’ll ease a lot of pressure to impress the first time you… you know.

But, if it’s a lie, well, the other person will likely admire the sensibility and openness. So there you have it, you’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A hunter weakening an adversarial predator luring it’s prey under disguise of wounded prey. Yes, misogyny. It’s awful, I know. We’re more humane without it, but deep-down, we’re still animals in very real ways.

2. “I work in marketing.”

This is a solid line. Not all of us have the most exciting careers. Here’s looking at you Human Resources. So, for some people, it-is-out-of-necessity to lie about your job to impress a date. It-is-required if you don’t have a job at all. If you’re unemployed and dating, you’d be better off just spending your money buying sex from a professional as opposed to taking dates out night after night, buying dinner and drinks, only to be denied when the career question arises. No person wants to be with a sad-sap, jobless loser.

And anyone can work in marketing, so this line works on several levels. First, marketing can sound kind of complicated to someone who doesn’t work in the field. Don’t worry, though, you can easily talk about nothing while also talking about marketing because it’s also a pretty simple concept: sell things to people. There’s so much room for bullshitting there (that’s what everyone who sells is selling) that it’s too easy not to throw in for discussion. If you’re date is also in marketing, well then you’re both bullshitters and you should get along just fine.

1. “I’m a drug dealer.”

Alright, this one really only works on a special type of person– the type who like drugs. I must say, though, that the first– and only, time I used the line I didn’t even mean to. I was being coy on purpose; I don’t recall why exactly, but I’ll try anything at least once. Anyhow, she questioned if I was a drug dealer because of the aloof approach. And then, I didn’t even have to lie to her. She just took my silence as affirmative, later making out with me in an attempt to score. She eventually realized though, after the third five-second-frencher, that I in fact was not a drug dealer and therefore had no drugs. That one obviously isn’t a play for the long game, but… they were very nice kisses, I guess.

Before I leave you, I must remind that these lies are told within harmless contexts. Don’t lead someone to believe you’re someone you’re not. After the first date, if you continue to see someone you lied to, just admit that you only did it to impress. The right person will admire the creativity, and the honesty in coming clean about it.

5 Valentine’s ideas for the Nihilist in your life

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Let’s face it. Valentine’s Day is pretty gay. Yeah, I said it. It’s gay. And I mean that in a derogatory context, too. Gay. Gay. Gay.

Gay as in happy and joyful, of course, what did you think I meant?

If you’re a nihilist, gaiety can be just down right miserable.

But nihilism doesn’t have to demand a constant neglect of all things joyful. So, Nihilists, feel free to celebrate this Valentine’s. There’s never a good reason to avoid expressing messages of goodness toward one another, and Valentine’s is always a perfect excuse to do just that. Put your depression on hold for a day and spread some love.

Just get over it, Nihilists. Try being gay for a night. You might like it.

5 Valentine’s ideas for the Nihilist in your life:

5. Have a relaxing night at home

Stay home. The world is a dark and terrible place. Make a pasta dinner with wine, cheese and fresh fruits, smoke a bowl, snuggle up, and watch a movie together. If you can, never leave home again. Don’t forget to stock up on cocoa puffs and wear your softest sweatpants.

Some classic Nihilist films to feed your dread on such a disgustingly wonderful day: Fight Club, Harold and Maude, American Beauty, American Psycho, Donnie Darko, or my personal favorite

4. Be spontaneous

Spontaneity may be a Nihilist’s kryptonite as we don’t tend to engage well with the unknown, but we could all use a little kick in the pants every now and then to remind us why we haven’t turned out the lights yet. Though life may be pointless, a little enjoyment here and there never harmed anyone.

Get on the first ride out of town. Go to the airport and just hop the next flight out. With sites like airbnb, hostelworld, and couchsurfer, and ride share programs like lyft and uber, taking a quick weekend trip is entirely feasible on such short notice. If a place is big enough for an airport, there are bound to be easy options for transportation and lodging.

Or… be spontaneous in the bedroom. Talk about trying something new with your partner. Visit an adult website together if you need some ideas. Or you and your partner can peruse the shelves at the local sex shop. Buy something interesting. Get a toy, a costume, or a game. You’ll even get a little excited just looking at all there is to offer. And there is a lot to offer. People design and sell some of the oddest things.

3. Be reflective

If there’s one thing a Nihilist loves- I mean hates to love… it’s thinking. Sooner or later all thoughts lead down a dark, endless hole of despair. Ah, the bliss of ignorance. Those were happier times…

There’s no better way to get a good think on than to go on a walk. Go to your local park or city center. Get out into nature and see all the living-soon-to-be-dying things. Browse the local markets or grab a Cinnabon and people-watch at the local shopping mall. That’ll tickle your Nihilist pickle, and make you wish you were dead.

Or just start walking from the front steps of your home. Don’t go with a plan or a set direction. Just walk. See how far you go. You never know where you might end up. Could be in the dumpster at the end of a dark alley, or a gorge at the bottom of a rocky cliff. But don’t forget to enjoy the conversation and the scenery along the way!

Another reflective gesture is the gift of a book. But don’t just give a book. Give a book that you’ve already read and loved. Mark your favorite passage. Write an inscription. Explain how the book is so much better than the movie. If it’s a used book, it’ll have all the more character. It’ll be like gifting a story within a story.

If you want to gift a new book, might I suggest F**k it: The Ultimate Spiritual Way or, the aptly priced at $6.66, Neo-Nihilism: The Philosophy of Power.

Of course there are always more ‘hallucin-esque’ activities if you have the means and resources that are plenty reflective and romantic as well.

2. Be generous

Instead of spending on a date or a gift, there is no better way to warm a cold Nihilist heart giving to a good cause. You can donate to a charity, for example. There are plenty of good charities you can donate to from the web that are always in need. Or you can always find good local foundations and donate directly to your community.

You could also volunteer your time. Spend a few hours at the humane society. The animals always need someone to take them out for a little bit. You can serve at a local kitchen, spend time with the elderly at nursing homes or with sick children and wounded veterans at an area hospital. Nothing beats giving someone else your attention, time, and energy.

You can always browse crowdfunding sites, too. Oftentimes, if you donate enough money, you can get some pretty interesting gifts in return. Helping someone else’s dream come true will grow your shrinking heart to two sizes too big.

1. Be creative

When Nihilists aren’t contemplating our lack of purpose in the universe, we’re probably expressing ourselves creatively with art and culture. Pick a medium and make something with your partner. You could try painting each other’s portrait without looking at the canvas, or you could write a poem about how much you loathe one another. Art kits and packages are easy and simple if you’re not an art hobbyist, but still interested in making it a romantic activity. Try something like this from Art 101 or this one from Royal and Langnickel if a built-in easel sounds appealing.

Or take your art on the road. Make it an outdoor activity at the park or in the square. Get inspired at a museum or a local university. Just get out and live your life, even if there is no point.

Valentine’s is really like any other day if you’re a Nihilist, pointless. But hey, give feeling good a shot for a change. You can brood any day. Valentine’s happens once a year.

 

My First Post: Freelance Writer for Sale

This should serve as a declaration or mission statement, I suppose. Well, the purpose is simply this: I’m here to sell myself. My freelance writing skills, my voice, my brand, every space on this page, my morality, my loyalty, everything. It’s all for sale.

We all tend to sell ourselves anyway, right? We sell our time and our energy working for someone else… making money for someone else. So why can’t I sell my time and energy working for myself… making money for myself?

So there it is potential audience. I’m for sale.

I’ll be adding content to the blog as I wish, and I’m not sure yet what that will always constitute exactly, but that one founding principle will always stand. Everything here is for sale.

If you’ll pay me to sell your goggles made for dogs or your iFart app, I will certainly do it.

Doggles ILS Small Metallic Black Frame and Smoke Lens

Lawn aerator shoes? Yeah, sure. I’ll sell that. Pay me.

Ohuhu Lawn Aerator Shoes /Spikes Aerator Sandals for Aerating Your Lawn or Yard

Oh, it’s coffee, but you rub it on your skin? That’s a creative way to sell coffee… sure, I’ll sell it.

Frank Body Original Coffee Scrub – The Number 1 Australian Coffee Scrub

Brain pills? Why, yes, Dr. Tobias. Of course I’ll sell your “brain pills”. Let me know when the organic garlic-based vampire repellent is available. I’ll sell that, too.

Dr. Tobias Brain Function Support for Focus, Clarity & Memory. Nootropic Smart Choice

I don’t know what this blog is yet or what it could be become, but the one guiding principle is this: Everything here is for sale.

Spy pens?! Hell yes. Let’s all spy on each other!

Premium Full 1080p HD Hidden Camera Spy Pen BUNDLE 16GB SD Micro Card + USB card Reader + 7 INK FILLS + updated battery + USB Plug! – Record Executive Multifunction DVR. Perfect Gift – Easy to Use

Or we could just pretend to overtly spy on each other!

Masione 4 Pack Outdoor Fake/ Dummy Security Camera w/ Blinking Light CCTV Surveillance (Silver)

Goodbye, soul.

Alright, who else is buying?