Thursday, October 27, 2011

How I want to write

I know how I want to write: I want to write the way Steven Spielberg directs a film. With that very same level of gravitas, importance, scope, and wonder. That's what I want. I want to write something so bold, eloquent, intelligent, and at the same time fun, that people generations from now will look back and say, "That Phil Hall guy? Remember him? Yeah, the dude that wrote that thing! Man, they don't write like that anymore!"

The question I have is: is it in me? Am I able to perform at that level?

Honestly, I don't know. I hope so, but then again, every writer (hopeful or those that have a measure of success) all want to blow you out of your socks with something new and fresh. I'm not new there.

Recently, little snippet ideas pop into my head, I think about writing them, and then I don't. Not because the idea "sucks," but because it's not "new."

I have two goals for the new year: (1) finish MINIMAL; and (2) write something really new. But I fear that as likely #1 is to succeed, #2 is just as likely to fail--have all the ideas been already written? I sure hope not.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A new short story: They Met Over the Internet

For a while now, I had been a bit afraid to actually post this out of some baloney fear that you all might think me crazed (or some kind of pervert.) I assure you, I am neither; this is just a story that plopped into my head a bit ago. If you like it, that is awesome; and if not, that's OK too. At any rate, here's probably the only bit of erotica I've ever written. Enjoy.

"Ooh!" She sighed and immediately asked, "Will it leave a mark?"

There was a twinkle in her eyes when he held the dark leather strop to her face, forcing her to smell the rich, powerful, luxuriant fragrance that only craftsman-prepared cowhide can muster--that musky, silky, sweaty, dream-like fragrance of such masculine quality that it fills the nostrils and that the mind instinctively knows. The belt had been worn smooth from many years of touch and loving use; and through it could be seen off-center, hand-bored holes of various shape and size: some were round, others square, and a few were in the likeness of stars that a child might playfully cut from strips of construction paper. The thickness of the band held the holes to taught perfection; she liked that, and held in high appreciation the discipline of the design.

As the warm sunlight beamed through decaying window blinds behind the upheld, perforated belt, our blazing star painted zebra-stripe shadows on her tanned and willing body. She knew that for which she came would soon be tasted.

"Yes, it will." 

His voice was deep, strong, confident, powerful, and it brought forth from within her memories of a long-lost father upon which she fixated often.

She harnessed the ball-gag carefully around her head and was nearly prepared for the lingering sting; but her gnashing teeth would need to bite when the time came--a time long needed--and her cries of desire and pain would need to be quieted, and he would not begin unless she was properly outfitted: order must confine the chaos. She took her time pulling the fasteners tight; she knew he wanted this as much as she did, and the anticipation was so rank in the room it could be felt even more than the small droplets of perspiration that formed on his brow. 

When finished with the black-lacquered mouthpiece, she lowered her skirt to the floor, exposing her bare-end flesh for him to see, freeing it from the confines that the laws of man dictate.  Her perfect heart-shaped ass stood stark in the room's morning air. He could see the gleaming of her piercings from where he stood, and the diamond stud twinkled in miniature reflection of the rising sun. He could smell her scent as it permeated the room, and this pleased him. He knew as the power of her musk increased so did the desire that drove it. Never once would he give his gift to the unwilling; and most certainly she was willing, waiting, and wet.

Arching downwards to brace for the impact, she was finally ready, and nodded in the affirmative as she bit down on the rubber ball that was held tight in her teeth. The time had come, and the much desired beating began.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Writing like...

There's a post floating about the Internet on how to write like Douglas Adams, of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy fame. And I almost read it.


I was about to click on the link, so as to "steal" what info I could, and then I stopped. I stopped because a little voice in my head said something to the effect of, "You don't want to write like Adams, no matter how awesome he is (and he is). You want to write like you."

I thought about that for a moment and realized that it was true: Although I love his writing, I want to be me, not a ripoff of Douglas Adams. And while I'm sure that I could have learned something neato from the article, at what cost would it be? Would I, accidentally or otherwise, emulate (in poor fashion, I'm sure) his style somehow--or work it into my writing at a subconscious level--and thereby taint what ever it is I might touch?

I'd rather not. So I stopped and didn't click the link.

Such are the things that pop into my head. Such is the horror of wanting to be me and find my own voice that I'm absolutely willing to forgo some "easy" info in the name of "being me."

I wonder if I really am crazy...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Awesome quote

Any fool can write a novel but it takes real genius to sell it. -- J G Ballard

Thursday, October 13, 2011

An idea in my head. Here's the beginnings.

Below is a very early (and rough) draft for the intro to a story I'm brewing in my noggin. The story is titled "Wašin Icu," and is about a Lakota WWII veteran who returns home from a VA Hospital visit only to have a premonition of something horrible about to occur. He's not sure what's going to happen, but he knows it'll be bad.

You see, Joseph Crow, the aforementioned veteran (decorated, thank you very much) is often prescient, and he only feels this way when bad things are coming. And definitely, something bad is about to make it's way onto the reservation.

So, for your enjoyment (I hope), here's an early draft idea for the intro to "Wašin Icu."

From the rear seat of the taxi, the slowly approaching gray, dead trees in the distance looked like low-lying smoke, and the branches merely wisps of fumes that were diffused in the wind. Behind the gray wall of woods were the fir trees, green as ever--as their common name would show--and beyond those were the fields of corn that had turned color. He was nearly home.

It was harvest time, and Joseph Crow would soon be back on the Lakota reservation. Being a decorated war veteran granted him some privileges--not great, grand honors--but a ride to and from the VA hospital as needed, and that was good enough for him. Pulling up to his crushed rock driveway, Joe stepped out of the dusty yellow cab and signed papers the driver had prepared. These papers--a mere legal formality--simply allowed the taxi company to declare Joe "returned" and they could get their payment for the work done. Better than having to pay those crazy mileage fees; and Joe couldn't drive himself, at least not until his leg healed.

Joe didn't mind signing the forms; he got his ride, and really that's all that mattered. As he stood there, his right leg began to throb around the new stitches, but he'd survive. After all, he survived the Ardennes Offensive, where some shrapnel from a German grenade managed to lodge in his leg; certainly, he could survive itching that would ensue over the next few days.

As he signed the last line--much to the happiness of the taxi driver--a chill wind blew and Joe shuddered. Not entirely from the cold, but from something else. It was a feeling Joe hadn't felt since he was a young man in the infantry. Something was wrong--something bad was going to happen. He just wasn't sure what. It concerned him so much, he stopped writing mid-signature, and lifted his eyes to the horizon, over the fields of dusky, yellow, dried corn, past the farms, and to the smallest of trees miles away.

These premonitions that Joe would experience were the reason his father had originally chose him to be the village's new medicine man, but thanks to a draft notice, Joe went off to fight in Europe, but the village's needs still remained; and so, Joe's younger brother, Thomas, would end up filling the role. A role which he was never suited for--or meant to have.

The last time Joe felt like this was the day he was hit by that damn Kraut grenade. Joe was the lucky one, he was only injured--for which he received a Purple Heart--three others nearby were not so fortunate. They received the honor of a battlefield burial, and Joe was evacuated to the rear by medics.

Just as then: the same chill shudder. The same feeling of dread. Something was going to happen soon.

The taxi driver tapped the clipboard with his knuckles. "Done signing?" He was impatient and wanted to leave.

"Huh?" Joe's trance was broken. "Uh, yeah, sure. Here." Handing everything back to the driver, Joe stood still staring, wondering what was going on.

The driver left Joe standing there, alone, in his driveway, blankly scanning the horizon for what he did not know.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A damn awesome quote

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
                                                                                                          -- Steve Jobs

Even though he is gone, I still learn from him. Crazy, how life works like that.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

On the passing of Steve Jobs

I'm not sure exactly what to say about the passing of Steve Jobs; I'm not even sure if I should.

The Apple II computer was the first computer I ever used. Even now, all these years since, the nostalgia of the machine pulls to me in ways I cannot explain. I guess that means "he did it right," and perhaps that's the best possible compliment.

My fascination with computers began there, with that Apple II, and continues onward; and although I am not a "Mac fan boy," I see what Macs are, and what Apple was trying to do, and how they changed things forever. I get it, Steve. I really do.

Without Steve at the helm, I don't see Apple going in the direction he steered--MBAs will inevitably go for the quick buck, and they're often willing to forgo quality in their hell-bent acquisition of power and wealth. But Steve wasn't like that. No, he was driven by something more: A design philosophy. The fact that he became powerful and wealthy is just a testament to the philosophy to which he held. He saw the design as artistry, and in a way demanded to be treated like one. Usually, we use the word "visionary" to describe men such as he, but he would have rather been called "artist." It was more fitting.

Steve's gone now, and I suspect Apple will not follow the path he laid out for the company he founded. So much is the pity. But from within, Apple can easily remember the right direction, I think, by simply asking themselves: What would Steve do?

(Steve would release an iPhone 5 that's twice as powerful as the iPhone 4S, and he'd thumb his nose at the competition. Let them catch up. Let them try.)

There can be no doubt as to the long shadow he casts upon the tech landscape; and as an early giant of the early personal-computing era, his footsteps are deep and powerful. All we can do is follow them, and where those footsteps end we will pause and wonder: how did the giant manage to fly?

We (techie folks) will have to make our way forward in a Steve Jobs-less world now. It can be done, it'll suck, but it can be done. The landscapes we'll eventually see will be beyond even the imagining of the giant we once followed.

And maybe, just maybe, we'll eventually figure out how the giant managed to fly.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Don't write what you know

Don't Write What You Know

Use what you know, but don't rely upon it. Expand, fictionally, on it; don't use your experiences as the crutch.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

25 Writing tips

25 Insights on Becoming a Better Writer

This list is great, and my favorite is not being afraid to write crap. That fear alone is what kills the desire. That unfortunate "OMG! What if they hate it?" moment is the thing that destroys from within. Write what you write, how you write it, and let the chips fall where they may.

Maybe,'re going to create something totally craptacular. Yes, that can happen; but you can also possibly be the one to craft something fresh, new, and exciting.

I would rather, as a reader, see for myself if your writing is good or ill. I would rather have the opportunity to read it.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Short story: The Coming of the Dawn of Decay

Below is a short story I wrote a while ago. I think I've been reading too much Lovecraft, but anyway, take a gander, enjoy, and do not worry--I'm not actually crazy or anything. ;)
The four Fellaheen from places unknown had been brought before him, and at the beginning of his journey they were forced to bow, solemnly, and compelled to intone great and awful praise.

But he paid them and their honorarium no heed--they were mere puppets with meaningless lives and worthless souls; and before him they would subjugate themselves ten thousand times (or more.) And each repetitious motion exclaiming his grandeur would endlessly drone to the point of stupor. The sound of such music would be utterly meaningless in his ears, yet others that heard the torments would be driven to the brink of their fragile sanity--and this pleased him, that man might be made to suffer so.

He despised these slaves, yet he needed their aid, for his feet must not be allowed to touch the ground. It is written that in his footprints are stanzas of many unholy blasphemies, and God would not allow such abomination to taint the soils from which the First Man was made.

Upon the ground the unwilling servitors would lay prostrate as he walked upon their upturned backs as one might a carpet of living fibers. Their cries of anguish were purposefully muffled by their own hands, as they did not wish to dishonor themselves or the ears of he-who-walked upon them, for to do so would mean that they would be made to excavate their own tongues: such was the penalty written in texts no longer perused by the learned few--those ancient tomes that Man was not meant to know.

Upon the last of the four he would stand, waiting, until the previous three had realigned themselves before him; and when they finished their quick move to a new position, he continued on towards the city. It was in this way, on each aching and creaking back, and with each painful and jutting footstep, he would inch forward, ever forward, toward the barred gates.

When he arrived he found that the denizens had already fled, the city had been burned, and those too weak or infirm to flee had been slaughtered by their own kin--with throats cut, skin flayed, and entrails loosed from the bonds of the body. Men and women had been hanged from rooftop and archway, all by their own hand. Each of the dead, in their own way, escaped the chaos which would come with the approach of the unholy Dawn of Decay.

Within the empty city he marched--he and his living roadway of flesh--up to the city center, and then to the steps of the royal palace that were carved in marble as white as the snows of distant mountain tops. Stepping from the broken backs he then strode upon the hand-worked stones; and where he would step, blackness was left in his wake like the scorch of a recent fire--and in the soot were seen remnants of unspeakable things shimmering; and those that dared to peruse these glyphs found their spirits in a world of fire and pain.

As he took to the throne, he turned, facing the gathered throng that followed, then sat upon the alabaster seat that men claimed was carved by angels. In doing so, the dead that lay in the courtyards rose up, and sang to him in voices from the grave.

This hideous thing in form of a man smiled, for he no longer needed to hide his true nature, and the present living witnesses boiled in their own fear at the sight of him. His eyes swirled like inky black maelstroms, and where his hands clutched the arm rests, blood of equal blackness drained down upon the perfect, white floor. The blood, like living rivers, ran outward and down the steps, across the courtyard, beyond the risen corpses, and to the hidden corners of the Earth.

And God wept as Creation was undone.