jimagain

Rants & ramblings of the disaffected

Archive for the tag “writing”

But Write I Must…

It was all sad and funny, yet pathetic. It was all those things at once.

Sitting in my underwear writing; typing away at the keyboard, watching the letters collect across the screen. I felt compelled to write as I dawdled away the day, frivolously squandering what little time I had left. But write I must. Other things impatiently clamored for my attention but I managed to suppress them. Action demanded I do something. Yet here I sat. As I wrote, a sense of doom pervading permeated my thoughts lurked in the back of my mind poised to leap at me like some dread beast. I felt as if my fate stalked me, coiling for the final pounce.

The clock in the den struck on the hour, striking me out of my stupor. Time was running out. It was all happening now. I knew it. But I had to finish this, before the deadline came. And so I wrote, feverishly. I wrestled with the words as I typed them, carefully choosing each of them, arranging them; crafting them to say what I desperately need them to say, before it was too late.

I looked up. The minute hand announced the next event with somber efficiency as the ticks of fleeting time counted down. Any moment now.

And then, as if on cue, the door to my room swung suddenly open. My wife barged in. She cast her eyes at me. In one glance, her expression went from hurt to scorn.
“Are you going to sit around the house all day in your underwear,” she scolded me! “What’s gotten into you?”
I sat sullen, silent. There was nothing I could say. How could I explain this to her?
She paused before storming off. I knew what would happen next. Like a script in my mind, I heard the angry clack of heels across a wooden floor followed by the slam of a door. The dog sprawled out on the floor as a silent spectator lazily picked his head up to look my way before giving a sigh and slumping back to the floor, limp. Moments later I heard the distinctive sound of a car engine turn over, of wheels crunching in the gravel, and the spin of tires accelerating on the asphalt road; and then…silence. A deafening silence.

I loved her. I desperately did so. It hurt to see her leave. Her absence stung at me like salt in a wound. I so wanted to run after her, to tell her how I felt. But we were about to go our separate ways from here. The time to say I love you, as too often is, that time was past.

Desperate thoughts tugged at me as I resumed to write. I should do something, I thought. But what? What could I do to avert the impending visit? Could I run? Hide? Was there a place of refuge I could resort to? Nay. Was there some one I could call? Again, nay. No, the script was cast in stone. And yet the pathos somehow fed my desire to write, to record my fate as some detached but dreary undertaker going about his morbid task in the mortuary we call life.

I had sensed for days this sense of impending fate but felt unable to change the course of events. Postponing, deferring, prolonging the agony creeping over me, I braced for the next turn. I knew what would happen next.

And yet the pathos somehow fed my desire to write, to record my fate as some detached but dreary undertaker going about his morbid task in the mortuary we call life. I rehearsed in my mind the events as I supposed them to unfold, as if I were somehow performing my own autopsy. Grim duties of the writer, recording my life in the third person. It seemed I had chronicled my own demise, one sentence at a time.

And then the inevitable came. A knock at my door. I answered with reluctance. It was him. I knew he was coming, I was never sure when but now he stood at my door. I didn’t want to answer, I desperately wanted to deny he was there on my stoop but there are some appointments you cannot ignore. This was one of those.

This time I ceased to write. I trudged with trepidation toward the door. Into the maw I go.

The visitor called me by name. Are you he?
“You know who I am,” I stammered. A brief pause and then in quivering voice, “Have you come to do your business?”
He nodded.
A lump formed in my throat. And then silence prevailed. There was nothing more to say.

The eirie thing is two days ago, this turn of events was only a story I had written. A simple work of fiction written by my own hands that quickly became a snare of my own making. And now I found myself caught in the undertow of my own writing. I was becoming a victim of my own narrative. If only I had written this differently.

Perhaps you should also be careful how you write your own biography.

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My Palette of Words

Words are the palette which a writer paints the scene; the fifty shades of grey expressed by ‘grey matter’ that occupies those scant few inches between the left and right ear.

Words express thoughts and opinions with clarity and precision. Synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, idiom and jargon, metaphor and simile; these are the tools of the trade for the writer. Words convey meaning; they express the subtlety and nuance of what we think. Somewhere in the past we discovered we needed more words; larger, more precise than before. Rather than the blunt edge of a dull axe, words are a scalpel in the hands of a skilled writer.

Properly marinated, vocabulary enhance the entrée in the cuisine of language; it adds a savory nuance that accents what would otherwise leave the buffet line of literature an unpalatable assortment of bland and tasteless offerings to be chewed without flavor.


At some point we, the collective mass of humanity, realized the art of communication required more than the few monosyllabic utterances and wild gesticulations made by our inarticulate predecessors. So being the enterprising hominids we suppose ourselves to be, mankind expanded his vocabulary somewhere along the trek, from the primitive to the modern. And so I, after 6,000 years of recorded human history, am reluctant to eviscerate the English vocabulary in lieu of words with less meaning simply because they’re simple.

That’s what the dictionary is for!

New words to add to your vocabulary
Sesquipedalian – characterized by use of long words

How to Write Blogs That No One Reads!

Over the course of the past two years I have managed to distinguish myself with an impressive portfolio of mediocre blogs that have been largely ignored. To the untrained amateur, it would appear to be largely due to my complete lack of literary ability to string together a few coherent sentences but my wife assures me it’s only because I suck at writing. While other bloggers routinely produce quality efforts that attract a large segment of the readership, my posts have mostly floundered in anonymity and neglect.

I however refuse to indulge in excessive self-pity but rather have resigned myself with a certain savoir faire to my marginal place in the literary universe. It is my karma! And so now I seek to attain a Zen state of mediocrity which I would be content to occupy. That is, as long as I don’t think about all my unread posts languishing in cyberspace.

Part of the problem I face is that I have been forced to compete with impressive titles like, “Laundry Lists of Former Celebrities” or eye-grabbing articles that would make the National Enquirer blush. Then there are those scintillating topics, such as how to create artful crafts woven from excess nasal hair. I frequently find myself repeatedly smacking my forehead with the palm of my hand and asking myself why didn’t I think of that first?

Oh, I admit at first I was really miffed! I confess I too wanted to be popular and attract large numbers of readers who would deluge me with gushing reviews of my work until I blushed. I admit I was jealous of the other writers; the ones not like me who actually didn’t suck at writing. All of which left me to sulk from my petty perch of petulant self-pity as their blogs attracted significant number of readers who actually READ them.

There is however several advantages when it comes to being an anonymous writer that no one wants to read. For instance, I frequently make up completely bizarre and unfactual facts without fear of slander because no one will ever know.

I Love Conspiracy Theories!

I was desperately in need of something to write so I concocted an act of literary sabotage with complete impunity by reinventing history. Journalism, as a writing endeavor, is just a little too constricted for me since they expect you to maintain a semblance of integrity and at least appear objective. They actually frown on reporting events without actual evidence unless you happen to be Dan Rather or a Jayson Blair. All this means you are required to do painstaking research and cite your sources. This is why I prefer to hatch up kooky conspiracy theories so bizarre that only an idiot would believe. And so I surmise that my writings are largely ignored due to some obscure conspiracy theory based on some arrangement between Hubpages and the…um…the Illuminati. Yes that’s it! That must be why no one reads my Hubs. Darn those secret societies!

And then there was the blog I wrote about my most recent alien abduction which only appeared to be similar to the one I wrote about a recent UFO sighting. Fortunately I was able to write about these incidents in complete anonymity without all those annoying media satellite trucks parked in my front yard. Not to mention the incessant demands for interviews! Alien abduction stories are not considered the forte’ of intelligent readers but again, no one will ever know I wrote them.

I once hid out in the woods after dark in a desperate attempt to garner material for a Sasquatch sighting. Oh sure, you say. Another Sasquatch sighting? Ho, hum! This may not seem significant until you consider all the other fakers in the big fuzzy gorilla costumes you see in those badly blurred photographs are in on the conspiracy to discredit true Bigfoot sightings like mine. Actually there is no conspiracy which I surmise may be part of a larger conspiracy itself. No, wait! I remember now. It was Sasquatch and he was spotted…in a UFO and he’s engaged in some apocalyptic war with the Yetis . . .Yetis with light sabers!! Ok. I admit that was not one of my better efforts! I’d be really embarrassed about that one but since no one ever read it, I have not been banned by the Writer’s Guild. If I had really seen Bigfoot, I would have asked him to write my Hub for me. How about that, all you talented overachievers! Ha!

Oh, wait. Don’t tell me, you never read that one either!

Napoleon Flunked Geography!

And then there was the time I wrote about dating Brittany Spears…once. True story! I haven’t told any because after I broke up with her she was so despondent she shaved her head. Don’t go ask her about it; she can’t remember a thing since she was still in rehab at the time. But we had a great time together. In retrospect it may have just been a life-sized cardboard cut-out of Brittany but that’s beside the point.

I won’t stoop to the level of those who would insult your intelligence with worn out recounts of time-travel or the same old boring reincarnation drivel. Even I have a semblance of scruples as a writer however in a completely unrelated incident from my former life; I did know Napoleon in the third grade. That at least seemed like good material for another Hub. Back in the 17th century we used to hang out. After class we dusted erasers and talked about girls. Napoleon was actually a little dweeb which is why the other kids refused to sit with him during lunch, mostly because he insisted on wearing that funny sideways hat. So he resorted to organizing full scale armed revolts during recess when he should have been doing his book report. This made things difficult for the Principal since he often had to thwart his mad maniacal plots to take over grammar school and declare himself dictator. Once because he got a D-minus in geography – -he thought Russia was supposed to be a part of France- – he was so livid. Years later he invaded Russia just because he couldn’t admit he was wrong. This, even after two decades of therapy!!

And the famous pictures of old Bonaparte with his hand inside his jacket? I refuse to tell why . . .OK, OK. You made me blurt out the tawdry little secret. He was adjusting his brazier…or maybe his hand was cold. I can’t remember. My memory gets a little fuzzy after several centuries have passed. Secretly he did suffer from hot flashes and severe mood swings which is why he was so hostile and occasionally felt the need to invade other countries. Now I regret telling you this since he made me pinky promise not to tell anyone.

Most writers would have already received an angry letter of protest from the French Consulate for what could be construed as blatant lies which under normal circumstances would have created an embarrassing international incident. But since no one reads what I write, they never found out. Crisis averted. Otherwise I would have had to enlist the expertise of Susan Rice to cover up the whole mess. If only I can get the media to look the other way until after the election

Since I have nothing else intelligent to say, now would be a great time to insert a pointless bullet list; This si supposed to help you gain more notorerity as a blogger but it hasn’t worked for me…and I tried everyone of the tips below.

How to Bolster Sagging Readership

  • Change your name.

No one reads anything written by Sam or Bob… You must have a fancy moniker. I prefer an unspoken name or you may refer to me as, ‘The Writer formally Known as Jimagain’.

  • Be a deviant. Any kind will do.

Develop some kind of lurid, crippling psychosis. Normal is so blasé’. Psychopaths and sexual deviants have the inside track when it comes to notoriety. Attention, please. Morally upstanding writers with talent, please step to the back of the line.

  • Be declared mentally insane.

Writer’s have the inside track on the insanity plea. Just try it with the judge the next time you appear in court. This used to a lot harder back when they made you undergo psychiatric evaluation or endure endless sanity hearings. Now you have no excuse.

  • Go on a few well reported drunken or drug induced binges.

It helps to have at least one really bad celebrity mug shot splashed across the five O’ clock news to keep up your public image.

  • Angry or dysfunctional relatives or spouses are a huge plus!

This reminds me how my wife frequently beats me about the head & neck with a cast iron skillet. My psychiatrist didn’t believe me either until after she called him a ‘nutty old fruit cake’ and ‘bonked’ him on his bald goateed head.

My latest project…

I probably shouldn’t divulge sensitive information like this about my many aberrations of good judgment and the numerous death threats I have received from the Writer’s Guild not to mention the injunction they filed against me for defamation on behalf of all the legitimate writers. This is why the judge signed that stupid restraining order forbidding me within 500 feet of a word processor. But of course, no one reads what I write so the world will never know!

Because frankly, as I have discovered, no one is even remotely interested in reading anything I wrote. And if you don’t believe that just ask my wife and she will tell you as much.

And now if you will excuse me, I must return to my latest really big project destined to propel me into fame entitled,”Artful Crafts Woven from Excess Celebrity Nasal Hair.”

Betcha’ wish you’d thought of that one!

The Wee Hours

I suppose I should know better by now. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I should know that the rules of the universe have been temporarily waived. Things that normally can’t happen within the realm of possibility often do in that nether region between those late night to early morning hours. Strange things happen in the wee hours.

Some things are best left untold. As to the state of my mind, you are free to draw your own conclusions. But these are the facts.

The last thing I recall that night was working away at my laptop in my study. It was late, already after twelve. I remember thinking I should be in bed. My friend, Cletus waited impatiently for me to finish. Finally in an expression of impatience he laid his huge head on the desk beside the laptop and looked up at me with those sad eyes, as if he knew what I refused to admit to myself. He does this easily with all four paws on the floor while looking pathetically depressed. Cletus is a Great Dane. He says so much without saying a word. I was groggily trudging along at my project and occasionally dozed at the keyboard. I got a loud sigh from my impatient friend but I pressed on wearily groping for that some particular thing I wanted to say, as if sheer determination may bridge the impasse I found myself at. Finally in exhaustion, I gave up, shut down the laptop, turned out the light, and trudged wearily to bed where my friend has already gone on to occupy the best spot. He took up almost the whole bed as usual and once again I had barely a corner left to curl up in.

Sleep; a deep trance-like state of narcoleptic respite descends upon me as my mind struggles to resist. Overwhelming sleep wafts me away on a journey into nothingness, drifting along on a current of unconscious bliss. And somehow, in my semi-catatonic state, I become aware that something is amiss. The harder I try to ignore the sensation, the more prevailing it became.  The ebb & flow of unconsciousness begins to recede as the tide, once again leaving me somewhere between awake and asleep.

I feel this sense of something amiss, a general state of foreboding yet lacking a specific, discrete cause for it.

I should just roll over and go back to sleep. I should but I don’t. I am awake, I’m not sleep-walking. If this were a dream, maybe I would once again find myself wandering along some nameless interstate in just my boxers to face an endless cavalcade of preposterous incongruities. I feel sure I’m not dreaming.  “What this time,” I groan?

Once again, I drag my weary self from a comfortable bed and stagger off with trepidation to investigate. I grope along the wall toward a room which I had left darkened but instead a sliver of light glimmers beneath the door. It’s coming from under the door to my study. Odd, I remember thinking to myself. I turned off the light in there before I retired to bed.

It’s happening again.

For a moment I pause to brace myself for the unexpected, and  give the reluctant door a shove.

Perhaps I’m too weary to be shocked but this is the wee hours of the morning. I find Cletus in my chair, sitting upright at my desk, typing at my laptop. My wife is sprawled out across the floor. She looks up at me, silent. I stumble in the room, take in the bizarre scene in disbelief, pause, then take another look. When I am satisfied I see what I’m seeing, I step over her to slump into the recliner beside my desk. Silent.
“You look awful,” he says to me. “Go back to bed”
Ok. So my dog is typing at my laptop, why shouldn’t he talk as well? And why should I hesitate to reply?

My mind gropes for an explanation, it must be playing tricks on me., weariness has caused a temporary departure from reality. May as well go along with the joke, “Something seems…odd.” I reply. What are you doing?”

He turns to me and pulls his glasses down at the bridge of his nose. “What’s it look like I’m doing?” “You know,” he pauses looking directly at me, “you know this is all kind of strange, don’t you?”

I yawn. “Yes it is.  I never knew you could type, let alone read.” On the surface I appear nonchalant but beneath the facade my mind desperately tries to reconcile the irreconcilable disparities I’m confronted with.

“No, I was talking about your story. It doesn’t transition well, and the plot seems a little too…contrived.”

“Contrived? I’m having a discussion with a dog while my wife lies on the floor. That is contrived. Besides,” pointing toward the laptop, “it’s a work in progress,” I protest.

“Just offering some constructive criticism.”

Cletus holds a treat over her head. “Sit,” he demands. She sits upright on her haunches for a moment for her treat, then scratches behind her ear with her foot before collapsing back onto the floor. “Good girl,” he praises her with a pat on her head. Then adds, “I think she needs out.”

Without thinking, I put her collar around her neck, lead her to the door and put her outside on a leash. And that’s when I thought I heard the voice from inside the pizza box. “It’s time to get up.” I peek inside the carton to see one lone anchovy on a slice of stale pizza lecturing me in a raspy voice. “Get up!”

“I am up,” I argue.

The next morning I wake up back in my corner of the bed and suspiciously cast an eye toward the reticent canine sprawled across the bed. “You never told me you can talk,” I taunted him. Cletus shifts his eyes toward me in a gesture of presumed innocence.

A twinge of guilt takes me. “I’m sorry if I was a little testy last night, Any time you want to give me your insight, I will listen.”

From the corner of my eye, I catch a glimpse of my incredulous wife as she walks by, cup of coffee in hand, house shoes scuffing across the carpet. She gives me her patented look of disdain before moving on.

“What got into her,” I wonder? No more pizza with anchovies before bed for me, I tell myself.

Imaginary Self-help Clinic For Delusional Writers

Disclaimer
Warning to Readers. This material from ‘Jimagain’ must not be distributed without a warning label and may be hazardous to your mental health. Repeated use is discouraged and only advised under medical supervision. Discontinue use immediately if you have any of these symptoms…redness or swelling of eyes, nausea, emotional distress, depression, diarrhea, hysterical laughing, or feelings of paranoia.

WARNING: Reading material from jimagain has been known to cause cancer in laboratory rats; if you have rats that can read, do NOT allow them to read this!

Clinic In Session
Ever want to be a writer? Perhaps I should first ask if you have a history of entertaining other delusions as well? Are you given to frequent departures from reality? Yes, this is a concern if, for example, you are also occasionally subjected to alien abductions or are familiar with a large talking bipedal rabbit named Harvey who happens to wear a tuxedo. If you answer no, or you at least recognize such behavior as delusional, then you may still maintain a legitimate hold on reality. My experience is that writing, among other deviant forms of behavior, is a purely delusional endeavor and is usually accompanied by other mental disorders. These may include the onset of senility, dementia, alzheimer’s, incontinence, and in the male gender – impotence! If you’re still contemplating being a writer it’s probably too late to seek professional help.

One question you have to ask is, what compels a person to want to write? To put this in context, I should also note that humanity has a long and nefarious association with flogging and other forms of public humiliation. But writing? Writing is a self-inflicted malady; like putting yourself in the stock, a self-imposed pillory. Which leads me to suspect that many writers were previously engaged in self-denigrating behavior in their prior lives.

Getting started is always difficult. If you want to bypass the normal route most take and immediately skyrocket into fame, I suggest you plagiarize. Otherwise you’re in for a long trek, which will probably include several phases along the path to achieving said goal;

  1. Mildly Delusional – “I want to be a writer”
  2. Pathetic – thinking your material is good
  3. Desperation – Quitting your job at the 7-11 to make $$ writing full-time
  4. Reality – Asking your boss at the 7-11 for your job back,
  5. You may periodically repeat steps 3 and 4 as often as you like

My Crtics! What Do They Know?
Not only do you have to be a shameless self-promoter, it helps to be thick-skinned. Any endeavor has it’s share of critics, this one is no exception. I myself have had my share but I learned to block them out. Besides, my critics …what do they know? Here’s what a few of them have said;

Shakespeare: “Behold, he sucketh enormously!”

 
Poe: “His writing scares the bejeebers out of me! Anybody want a dead cat?”

Dr. Seuss: “I would not read him in a log, I would read him on a hog; I do not like Jimagain, I do not like him, Spam I am!”

 
Mark Twain: “Jumping bullfrogs! I just rolled over in my literary grave!”

 
Louis LaMour: “Let’s take him out and hang him …or we can shoot him dead between the eyes!”

 
Stephen Hawking: “Oh great! Another black hole in the literary universe!”

 
Siskel & Eibert: “Two Thumbs Down. This is not just crap, it’s really bad crap!”

 
Oprah Winfrey: “He is NOT on my approved book list.”

 
Dr. Phil: “You suck! Your readers feel violated. How does that make you feel?”

 
My wife: “Are you on the computer again? Get up and go clean the toilet!”

 
My 3rd grade teacher: “If you tell me your dog ate your homework one more time…”


Cletus, my dog: “Rowf!! Aaarff, aaarrff! Grrrrr!”

…but that’s ok with me because that means somewhere in the multi-verse there is a reverse parallel dimension where there’s an alternate persona of me who is really an awesome writer!

Meet The Community!
For the rest of you poor delusional saps like me with similar afflictions, who still think you can actuallly write; I’ve organized a local chapter of the AA, the Author’s Anonymous. Join me in a recent session where we introduce ourselves to the ‘community’. It’s almost time to start. Seated in a semi-circle of cold metal folding chairs are a collection of sundry haggard-looking participants in varying states of denial, some of which are cognizant. Let me introduce you to a few; there’s Bob. He’s that guy with the ‘toothy’ Cheshire-cat grin. See the girl with the creepy big-bug-eyed stare? The empty chair beside her is for her imaginary agent. Dont sit there! The guy on the end in the suspenders and wearing a bow-tie, he has some kind of twitching thing going on… Wait! It’s my turn to stand up.

“My name is Jim. I’m a writer and I suck…”

“Hi Jim” (unenthusiastic response in unison from recovering ‘write-a-holics’)

Hey! Maybe I will see you there?!! I’ll save you a seat.

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