Monthly Archives: January 2007

final draft woes

agh! why are you crashing! don’t crash!

i love you, final draft! i need you! i can’t imagine writing screenplays without you!

don’t crash!

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last night

i stood on my balcony, and looked across the frozen darkness in the apartment complex.

a police car stopped right in front of our building. a cop got out, turned on his flashlight, and opened the backseat door. he reached down to the floor of the car, and seemed to be rummaging around.

then, a person appeared from the floor of the car, in handcuffs.

the cop chided the man, and told him to sit this way so he won’t hurt himself.

the man looked like he was crying. i can see where he comes from, now.

late at night, one bleak January, the police came for him in the night, knocking on his door while his family was asleep. they cuffed him, read him his rights, and put him in a car. he crumpled to the floor of the car. he didn’t want people to see him in his neighborhood, in a cop car. he didn’t want anyone to see.

the cop car hit a speed bump or two. the man bounced. it hurt. the cops came to a stop. the cop was a little embarassed that this man was crying so hard, and hiding so hard. nothing manly about that. the cop told the guy to sit with his head between his legs so he could hide his face, and he wouldn’t get hurt.

but i could see him, now.

i looked away from the car. poor guy didn’t want me to look at him.

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did you make the list?

acknowledgment pages are very fun to write.

here’s an excerpt of the first paragraph.

“First novels occur late at night, or early in the morning, as a public secret among close friends and relations. Everyone knows you’re doing it, but no one dare talk about it, and it’s probably no good. The many people around aspiring authors that indulge this odd habit deserve to be acknowledged as the enablers they are. If anyone’s looking for someone to blame for my book, look no further than this list.”

unfortunately, i can already think of people i should have included. alas, i am simply too late. i could spend a week toying with the stupid thing and change my mind a thousand times, and run it off into pages and pages of purple prose. heck, my dad’s the eldest of ten kids, and i could do that with just his side of the family.

maybe next time.

gentle reader, do you think you made my acknowledgment page? will you be immortalized in glorious prose by the greatest living author (within twelve square feet of my ass right now)?


you will just have to buy the book to find out.

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man walking with his wife

an older man with a wife went for a walk around the complex.

she stayed fifty paces behind him.

they were dressed in traditional north african muslim garb.

he looked over his shoulder at his wife, because he did not know which walkway to take to get home. she shouted at him in their shared language, fifty paces behind him. he walked up without her. he did not hold the door.

cultural sensitivity is important, but this really bothered me. i don’t understand this. i don’t think i want to, either.

it’s their life, and they’re welcome to live it however they want. this is america, after all. however, this is a strange sight to see in suburban texas. part of living in america is finding out how not to stand out from the crowd.


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someone comes to a bookstore, someone leaves a bookstore

i like buying books. i like buying books almost as much as i like reading them.

i just read this book yesterday, as soon as i bought it.

i called ahead to different bookstores because i was sick of not finding it when i wanted it. after the fifth bookstore confirmed that they had the book, and that they’d hold it for me, i drove across town to get it.

then, i went to the counter and asked for it.

the cute young lady behind the counter looked at the cover, and i could tell she was the one i had spoken to on the phone. she looked up at me and said, “that’s a really cool title.”

i said something blunt like, “Oh, yeah…” when I should have said, “I hope the book’s as good as the title.”

that would have been appropriate since the book was as good as the title.

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i remember dreams as real as needles in my skin. i remember dreams i had when i was five years old living in the mountains of new mexico. i can’t tell the difference between the real of purple mountain sunsets and the false of escaping an orange muppet monster through the back alleys of hong kong.

last night i dreamed about a beautiful girl wandering through gorgeous oil paintings. recurring themes of beauty and the beast, alice in wonderland, and st. george and the dragon appeared in every painted room. the walls were thick brush-strokes of purple and gauzy gray, but they were as solid as stone.

this labyrinth was not a maze, exactly, full of dead ends and dropoffs. it was a cluster of painted rooms and the way through was to solve a little puzzle in the paintings.

then, at the center of the maze, her minotaur was mostly a man. he had pale skin, small black horns, and an elegant robe. he had jewelry.

he reached out for her with a broken kind of love, all torment and pain disguised as destiny.

she said, “You have no power over me.” The world came crashing down.

I woke up.

Was I the elegant minotaur? was I the beautiful girl? i was neither. i was both.

art feeds your dreams. 1/3 of your life is spent asleep. ingesting art will feed your dreams, and make landscapes and stories that no other soul can tell.

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people you haven’t seen in a very long time, and didn’t know very well when you did know them

i still live in the same area as my alma mater. today, someone i went to high school with sat next to me at mass with what appeared to be her husband.

she certainly seemed nice enough in high school, though her preferred friends probably could not have quoted yoda, and probably have not spent all of spring break reading “shogun” by james clavell. however, i certainly thought well enough of her to remember her after ten years with vague well-wishes.

i didn’t really say anything to her in high school. she didn’t say anything to me now. I didn’t say anything to her now.

what are we supposed to say?

“hello, we went to high school together, and these few words we are about to say politely are perhaps the most we’ve ever spoken to each other at one time.”

how strange that we mortals remain forever in high school, measuring our lives by the glory we bring to reunions. these are pictures of my children. this is my car. let me tell you about my breathtaking job.

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why here?

we spent a good seven minutes complaining about the stupidity and mismanagement of the city of arlington.

then, the good doctor talked about his work in hospice care.

confused, i asked for clarification.
“why arlington?”
“what do you mean?”
“you can do hospice anywhere. why arlington?”
“i don’t just do arlington. i branch out into fort worth, too.”
“no, but i mean… why do you choose to live here instead of oklahoma or austin or africa?”
“my wife works for qwest diagnostics here in town. she’s a technician.”

why do people live where they do? it’s like people don’t choose where they live.

if you could live anywhere, where would you live? if you don’t live there, why not?

why do we wait for retirement to live the places we actually want to live?

i’m buying plane tickets in the morning, and i don’t understand the kind of people who get up, go to work, and accept where they are as where they must always be.

it’s a big world, after all, and you only need such a small piece of it to make your home.

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the snowstorms of seattle

i’m having two snow days in a row, even though i’m in texas.

my editor is in seattle, and he got snowed in. his kids rejoiced. he and i had to reschedule for monday.

yes, even texans get their snow days, sometimes.

i spent all day looking for modern vampire anthologies. couldn’t find any good-looking ones published after 2000. at least, not the kind of vampire anthology i’m seeking.

if anyone knows a good modern vampire short story anthology, or at least a horror anthology that is heroin-addicted-child-killing-vampire friendly please let me know. i’m trying to find a secondary market for a short story that i believe merits wider readership than the one journal in which it was published.

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Strunk & White, Alright vs All Right

Strunk & White’s immortal classic of clear writing, “The Elements of Style”, was composed and published in 1919. Even today, editors and authors use this tiny, little book as a definitive source.

However, the book was published in 1919, ad things have changed since. One specific thing has changed: “Alright”.

In 1919, “Alright” was not a recognized word. It was a common misspelling of “All Correct”, which is no longer a synonym.

Today “Alright” is a synonym of “Okay”. “Are you okay?” = “Are you alright?”. “Are you all correct?” is not correct.

However, because we hang on to this little book and use it as a guide for modern…

i interrupt this rant to announce that a tiny ant has crawled across my screen. i do not know where this ant hopped aboard my laptop. i do know, that the poor thing will likely never return home before it starves to death somewhere in the guts of my little machine.

i’ve completely lost my train of thought because i’m seeing scent trails an pheromones all over my computer. ants leave scent trails. they communicate with smell.

someday, when we meet an alien race with insectile similarities, they might hand us their holy book in a vial. we’ll open the jar, and see nothing. we’ll sniff the air inside and say, “it smells like cheese and feet.”

hopefully such a scent will be considered a complement lest we begin an intergalactic incident.

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