Monday, October 27, 2008

This Makes Me Sick Beyond Words...

Don't Be (A) Fool(ed)

If you follow the polls, you've already noticed that Barack Obama has a hefty lead. But since when are polls the crystal ball? Already some are saying it's a slam dunk - that no way will John McCain win. But have you ever come home after a hard day, loosened the neck-tie, unleashed the bra, changed into your comfy clothes and settled in to watch some tube, when something crazy occurs ruining your relaxed state?

Remember Watergate? Ever hear of election rigging? It can happen, but worse than that are the folks believing in the polls. You know the ones. They shrug and say, "Hey, my one measly vote doesn't mean diddly-squat," and they take the day to go shopping, hunting, or just being a lazy ass because it's easier to sit home than go stand for two seconds inside a voting booth.

Don't be a lemming. The polls are a good indication of what might happen, but YOU HAVE TO GET OFF YOUR FAT ASS AND VOTE! If you don't then don't come complaining when certain rights you've enjoyed are suddenly history. Don't go talking trash about the President, no matter who gets to clean up the spill in aisle Bush. If you don't VOTE than you can just shut the hell up and suck it up...

Because it's never, ever over until the Fat Lady sings it like her last Whopper depends on it. SO GET OUT AND VOTE! NOVEMBER 4! If you can do it sooner, then JUST DO IT! And don't be fooled into thinking that you can vote beyond NOVEMBER 4. It's either VOTE before November 4 or on November 4. After NOVEMBER 4 it's all over. Just don't make it all over by not VOTING.

If you do nothing else in your life, be the one to make a difference because you exercised your right to VOTE.

VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! On or before November 4!

P.S. My eye is still in the healing process, according to Dr. Goddess. The good news: I read beyond the big E! The bad news: there is none. I return for another look on, would you believe, November 4. ELECTION DAY! Voting and eyeballing all in one glorious day. How much better could it get?


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Changes and Adaptation

There are some things in life we can't control - curve balls that mess up plans, bringing regrets or new found endurance. The more it happens, the better we cope. But always we look back and realize that even though we survived, if we had previous knowledge of the curve balls, we'd have balked, because who chooses the tougher road? As it stands, hard times find us.

My resolve will be put to the test again this week. Yet another eye surgery that'll sideline me for two weeks. I'll have to take it easy - skip working out (and I was on a roll, too, drat it!), let someone else carry the laundry basket to the basement, and last but not least, no computer time. Zero. Zip. Stay away or risk major setback in healing.

I'm good with all of that. No big deal. Yet today I thought about curve balls, and how we never see them coming, and if we did, what would we do? Duck? Say for instance we could have looked into our future before the curve balls were pitched. Would any of us have chosen the bad times? Speaking for myself, if told I'd suffer a torn retina, I'd first have said, "A torn what?" and then when told the procedure for repair, I'd have said, "Are ya fuckin' kiddin' me?" If I knew that I'd be facing a six inch needle close-up I'd have barfed profusely and asked how I'd get out of that one. (Let's just say, if I had considered the literal meaning to the phrase "stick a needle in my eye," I'd never had made any promises ever.) And if I knew I'd lose sight in my left eye I might have downed a bottle of Valium with a Stoly chaser.

You get my drift. Shit happens that we can't run from. Time and again it does, reshaping our coping mechanism. Mine is now a finely tuned instrument that would put the Ferrari engine to shame. And I'm not the only one on the planet whose faced sudden life changers. I know more people who have than have not. Many I've met through writing. They know who they are.

Isn't it funny how birds of a feather not only flock together, but do it so brilliantly?

My eye explosion was one of my worst life changers to date, but if not for it I might never have returned to college. I'd never have expanded my horizons. I'd never have met my newest Rock Star, former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins. I heart the man.

And without further adieu and in forced segue, I'm sharing the YouTube to the right. It resonates with what me on levels too numerous to list. Listen to his words, and those of you with good eyes, read along as he recites "The Last Cigarette".

The Last Cigarette by Billy Collins

There are many that I miss
having sent my last one out a car window
sparking along the road one night, years ago.

The heralded one, of course:
after sex, the two glowing tips
now the lights of a single ship;
at the end of a long dinner
with more wine to come
and a smoke ring coasting into the chandelier;
or on a white beach,
holding one with fingers still wet from a swim.

How bittersweet these punctuations
of flame and gesture;
but the best were on those mornings
when I would have a little something going
in the typewriter,
the sun bright in the windows,
maybe some Berlioz on in the background.
I would go into the kitchen for coffee
and on the way back to the page,
curled in its roller,
I would light one up and feel
its dry rush mix with the dark taste of coffee.

Then I would be my own locomotive,
trailing behind me as I returned to work
little puffs of smoke,
indicators of progress,
signs of industry and thought,
the signal that told the nineteenth century
it was moving forward.
That was the best cigarette,
when I would steam into the study
full of vaporous hope
and stand there,
the big headlamp of my face
pointed down at all the words in parallel lines.

Enjoy and reflect! For two weeks I'll be reading things from my "To Be Reads", one of them Billy Collins' newest book of poetry titled, "Ballistics". And upon my return to cyber-land, I'll want to read all the comments in response to this weeks question: How have you grown from those curve balls in life?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Talkin' To Myself: What's Your POV?

Something strange occurred to me today, or maybe it isn't. After tearing apart a manuscript and re-writing it from the ground up, I've noticed something: It's all in one point of view.

Good thing or bad, that's the question. On one hand keeping the story strictly with one POV limits length. After all, with only one person's view, it cuts down on what everyone else is thinking, right? But then on the other hand, the reader might want to know what the other characters think.

Yet another dilemma writers face, at least, this writer. As if we don't have enough to think about already. Oh well. Such is the nature of the beast.

I never thought much about how many POV's to add to a story before, mainly because I used everyone. No wonder my manuscripts hovered around 150,000 words. And now that I think about it, if I revise any of them it might not be a bad idea to shave off a few POV's. But, I find that writing with only one POV is a lot like talking to yourself, which feels a little lonely in a weird sort of way for the character as if he's invisible to all the characters surrounding him.

This POV dilemma surfaced recently while reading Jeff Lindsey's "Dexter" series. Each one is in Dexter's POV only. I never got a strong grip of anyone else in the story. Showtime developed a series based on "Dexter" but the story was expanded to include the lives of other characters we met in the books. Of course, if they hadn't it might not be as wildly successful. It might not fill an hour every Sunday night.

But as far as writing the story, when does one know how many POV's to include? Now that I'm considering the question, other novels I've read recently come to mind that had only one POV. And now I wonder if editors might suggest eliminating certain character's POV as a way of making the story pace breeze along. I have to admit, the one I'm writing now does move along, but the question remains. How to decide what to do?In a way using one POV doesn't make the reader feel involved. And what if the reader doesn't care for the main character? They have no one to fall back on or otherwise endear them to the story.

I'm sure if I looked in one of my handy "How To Write a Novel" guides, I'd find the answer. But, this is more fun. I want others to consider the POV situation. Anyone write all their stories with just one POV, or do you alternate? One thing for sure, when writing in one POV there is no danger of head-hopping.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Un-reality TV Redux

Does this picture look anything like John McCain? If you think it does, then either you're eyesight is worse than mine or you weren't born during the Jurassic age.

To the left is actor James Garner, star of the TV show "Maverick" which ran from (gulp) 1957 to 1962.

Sarah, my dear, I hate to burst your effervescent bee-hive, but there was only one Maverick, and he sure as hell isn't John McCain. If you said it once (which was plenty) you said it five thousand times. But I'm not surprised. It must have been hard to remember all your lines.

And that's why some think Sarah Palin did a stellar job. She proved to be a wizard at memorization, but did that also prove that she possesses the knowledge and understanding to back it up?

Of course not. When she couldn't come up with an answer, she resorted to back-pedaling. And when that didn't work, she spoke of her illustrious career as mayor of Wasilla and governor of Alaska. Let's not forget her "folksy" charm. Was it necessary to wink at the TV audience? Was she trying to impress us with her beauty pageant poise? Seriously, if I want to see those antics, I'll tune into TV Land for the Beverly Hillbillies Marathon. Gosh darn right I will.

Way to show her statesmanship. Treating the debates like she was vying for Miss Alaska just didn't endear her to my heart.

Nothing against the woman. I'm sure she's a real charmer at all the cocktail parties. I just wouldn't invite her to any of mine. There's something evil about a person who refers to gay as "choosing" to be so.

Admitting that she only had five weeks to get up to speed as the V.P. candidate, topped off with whining that she's not a "Washington insider" only further proved how under qualified she is.

This woman has hardly ventured outside of Wasilla, except for occasional moose hunts. This is not "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Has she ever seen a city after all its industries closed because all the jobs went outside of the country. Has she heard of Detroit? I wonder if she's ever driven through an intersection of Wasilla and had her windshield washed by a homeless dude?

Has she ever seen a homeless dude? Has McCain the Maverick?

If McCain were truly a "maverick" he never would have bowed to the pressures of the party and picked Sarah Palin. This is a man who survived the Hanoi Hilton. Surely he could stand up to a few Republican blow-hards.

Sorry to burst your bee-hive, Sarah, but your Maverick has done been gelded, by golly.

In summary, the debate proved once again that Joe Biden is a gentleman, a scholar, and most of all, in touch with the human condition.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Un-reality TV

There's only one TV show I've looked forward to more than the new season of "Dexter": Tonight's Vice Presidential debate. I call it "Unreal Reality TV."

This will be the train wreck to beat all, and I'll be front and center for the sublime. My prediction is that Sarah Palin will either speak while Joe Biden still is, or forget well rehearsed answers because she'll be too worried about trying to remember them all.

I've wondered if the Republicans had a specialist sit up with her cramming on foreign policy, the economy, how to pronounce "Iran," and most importantly, how not to look like a frightened moose in the cross-hairs. Let's face it. She wasn't prepared for Charlie Gibson or Katie Couric. Unless she's secretly miked, I can't imagine her keeping up with all she's had to learn.

Cramming never works. Only crib-sheets do. And since this is to be televised in real time, there's no chance for the dubbing in of answers later by someone in the editing booth. And I really doubt her palms are big enough to have written all the knowledge she lacks.

And that's the point everyone enthralled with her, both male and female, seems to miss. She didn't have an "A" game to bring when accepting the invitation to run with J. Mac. All she possessed was an ego that wouldn't allow her to say "no." Being a mayor of Wasilla, population 7,000, and governor of Alaska, population 650,000, is not a credential. It's just dabbling in small politics. A blip on the radar, not the experience necessary to be number two, and without the necessary experience and knowledge, then the country will literally be number two if she's called into action.

It's like being asked to pilot a 747 when you only have a drivers license. Would you say, "Hell, yeah. I can do that - straight to Uranus and back! Last night I slept at a Holiday Inn?" Wouldn't you consider the passengers' safety? Would you risk innocent bystanders just for a shot at the impossible?

Sure, she's a woman, so every member of that sex should be grateful that she's been chosen to run along side Grampa Munster. Hello? I am woman, hear me roar, "Hell no!" To me a self-respecting leader would recognize their potential and lack thereof. A self-respecting woman knows her limitations and doesn't sacrifice the greater good just to satisfy her ego.

So tonight I'll be front and center for the sublime abomination known as the "Sarah Palin Ego Stroke." If this is the ticket that wins in November, then I hope Canada has room for an increase in population.

Get your exit strategy ready, learn "O Canada", or load up on the Prozac. The J. Mac-Palin Ego show will be the beginning of the end of America as we know it.