Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Strange, the Weird and the Wonderful

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I love to watch people and how they interact with others. I’m fascinated with what their body language says and if it represents the words coming out of their mouths.  I enjoy writing character sketches after spending an afternoon out and observing folks. I suppose it is this fascination with what makes people tick that causes me to gravitate to even the oddest of behaviors in people. And when I say odd…well, you’ll get the idea.

Can people really be addicted to anything? After watching a couple of episodes of My Strange Addiction on The Learning Channel you may begin to think so. But people addicted to eating toilet paper and drinking their own urine?  Those are tough to swallow (couldn’t resist).

As long as we’re talking strange behavior I’ll confess – I have an affinity for freshmint Tic Tacs. No other flavor will do and I inhale them by the pack. No, I won’t tell you how many packs I’m up to a day – I’d sooner confess to some deviant sexual behavior than admit to how many Tic Tacs I eat a day. When I’m writing, though, and especially when stuck on a thought, I consume those crunchy little mints like crazy. Am I as twisted as the urine drinker? Not that I’m judging – well, maybe a little. I think that’s pretty sick.

Shows like My Strange Addiction are akin to the  wild and weird carnival acts of the early 20th century. You know you don’t want to be intrigued by it, but you just can’t turn away. In the early to mid 1900s, circus sideshows proudly displayed those with unfortunate physical disabilities. Some say these folks were completely exploited while others say it gave them a chance to be recognized and earn money they might not have been able to otherwise. I’ll leave that one for you to decide. One thing to remember, though, is that we are creatures prone to curiosity, and prior to the advent of television most people weren’t exposed to anything unusual or different. Therefore, their fascination with a person’s disability or illness was born from the natural human instinct for discovery. How we react once we’ve gained knowledge is what sets us apart from the crowd.  Do we laugh, mock, sympathize? Do we continue to question or seek answers? Humanity is a fascinating subject for a writer – the depth of our emotions, the desires of the heart, curiosity for the bizarre, and the need to know about those things which can cause us harm and yet still seek them out because we want answers to our questions.

Are people with strange compulsions to sniff mothballs and gasoline gaining anything from being televised? Are they wonderful exceptions to the rules of normalcy? Are they being exploited or are they attention-seeking to begin with? I don’t have any answers. Without a viewing audience, the sideshows of days gone by would have never existed. What about today? The viewing audience keeps these shows on the air. I’m simply fascinated with both sides of the coin – the ‘addict’ and the ‘viewer.’  You tell me – whose compulsion is worse?

Resources: The Learning Channel, My Strange Addiction

The List Blog – Top 10

Tic Tac

Blue Birds and Rock Gods

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The Universe is trying to tell me something and I’ve been ignoring it, but I’m listening now. There’s a story I need to write. It’s just outside my window. It wakes me up every morning and badgers me throughout the day. This story comes in the form of a bluebird – with a nasty habit of attacking my windows. He’s begging to be immortalized in the written word, so I’m going to give in and write his story. I have no idea where to go with it but I’m thinking it may be a little creepy since that’s how I feel when I look up to find the damn thing staring at me like he wants to poke my eyes out.

I’m feeling a little Hitchcockian. I’m feeling a little dark. What horrible demise might come to this feathered friend? Or will he be the terminator of life? No sweetness and light here. It’s all sick and twisted. Well, at least I have the idea. Now, to let the words find me.

By the way, dear reader, I am doing something tonight I’ve never done before. I’m going to my first rock concert – Van Halen. Yeah, I know I’m a little old to be stepping into virgin territory of this kind – I’ve lived a sheltered life, what can I say?  Who have you seen in concert?

Amusing Muses

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(Just having a little fun with words tonight – I hope you enjoy it… )

 

Male poets and their muses,

The male novelist is implicated, as well

Whisperers of tantalizing inspiration

Do they touch your pen, pray tell…

 

Do they have hair of gold?

Lips of truest shade?

Do they model perfection

In every single way?

 

The female writer of words

Can surely join in the fun

What sort of muse should inspire

A woman’s creative flame to burn?

 

Will he be built as an Adonis

Listening to her every sigh

A lover only in her mind or

Real flesh to cling to at night?

 

It shall be scandalous, risque in truest form

She’ll be one of ‘those women’

But won’t she have such fun…

A Passing Feeling

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Oftentimes, I write based on feelings and whims. I allow myself to ‘free think’ when I’m doing other things and tasks around the house. I may jot down some of those ideas and then when I sit down to write, I consider some of those and see what comes to me. Usually, I’m surprised because I don’t always know where the story will take me. I didn’t plan on writing the following story. I was filtering through my thoughts and this fella named Clarence popped into my mind. At first, I thought his life up to this point was insignificant to the story, but now I realize this isn’t true. Just like us all, past experiences have made him who he is, led him to make certain decisions that altered or directed the course of his life and the lives of others. The outcome isn’t always what we expect.

 

He didn’t like to feel this way, anxious and uneasy, feeling uncertain, feeling like he wasn’t sure where things were headed. Clarence tried to make it go away. He took to the television, immersing himself in standup comedians and sitcoms with laugh tracks, hoping they would remind him to smile. They didn’t.

He drank beer and tried to get drunk. When the beer didn’t work, he looked for something harder but he was out of everything. He didn’t feel like going out to buy any booze. He decided to go rummaging through the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. Maybe he had some old cough medicine that would knock him out for the night. As luck would have it, a bottle of codeine cough syrup had been pushed to the back of the top shelf. He turned it up like it was a bottle of beer, realizing he might have drank too much after he’d already consumed it. Didn’t matter now. He shut the cabinet to face himself in the mirror. He looked tired and old and worn down.

Only a guilty conscience or desperation could do this to a man. In his case, it was desperation, the kind that comes from loving a woman too much. He wondered if she ever felt that kind of need, too. He wondered if she ever felt anything, sitting at home with her rich husband. She had the world by the balls. Slumming, that’s what she wanted. Highfalutin to her friends and a poor man’s whore for him. Well, he’d had enough of her and her game playing.

He would take care of this in the morning. He’d walk over to her fine house at the edge of town and tell her directly that he was through; he wasn’t going to be somebody she could toy with anymore. He didn’t care who saw him there. He didn’t care if her husband was home.

 

The next afternoon a woman stood outside Clarence’s apartment, knocking gently at the door. She shifted her weight, trying to balance the suitcases she carried. Finally, she set them down, calling out to Clarence, knocking a little harder. The next-door neighbor heard her calling for Clarence. He opened his door a crack. He’d seen her around before.

“Ma’am, Clarence ain’t there no more. They took him away this morning. He…well, he done drank himself to death.”

The woman leaned against the door of Clarence’s apartment, hands and face pressed against its cold exterior. She looked down at the bags by her feet. A knot formed in the pit of her stomach. Whenever life was especially difficult growing up, her mama used to say, “This, too, shall pass.” Until now, she always believed it was true.

 

 

An Interest in Pinterest?

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Hello one and all…I’ve been snooping around various social media and I’m sort of falling in love with one called Pinterest. Before I go on with this post, let me say now that if you aren’t utilizing social media to network with others, establish a following and promote your work/writing, you are really missing out on an opportunity.  Besides a chance to market your work, you are gaining the chance to meet and interact with some amazingly talented folks and build some truly wonderful relationships.

You guys probably know all about Pinterest but if not, here’s the skinny in simplified form. It’s as the name suggests – a place to ‘pin’ things of interest to you on a ‘board.’ Others can follow the things you pin to your virtual board and share those items with their followers. In this way, it’s another available marketing tool for those of you with books to sell. Ok, so maybe none of this makes sense. Take a look at my link below to see an example of what Pinterest is about.

I have several boards but one is called Books – All Things Bookish – where I’ve pinned several books and book-related items. If you have a book link you’d like pinned to my board, please let me know via the comments section and I’ll be happy to pin it.

You can get as creative as you like with your boards. If you want to stick with writing, try a fiction board, poetry board, non-fiction board, favorite author quotes, pictures of bookshelves, bookmarks or just about anything you like! You can have a board that only promotes your novel(s).

My own link to Pinterest is http://pinterest.com/sheilapierson1/

I use Facebook, Twitter and now Pinterest. I’m signed up with others but have not taken the time to do anything significant with those yet. Which do you use? Which do you like best?

A Place to Write

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Do you have a dedicated area in which to write? My dedicated area is the corner pocket of my sectional in the living room. It isn’t ideal. In fact, it’s a terrible place for writing. First, there are constant distractions, with spouse and children interrupting my train of thought right at the moment of … Oh, sorry. What was I saying?  My 4-year-old had to tell me about the space alien in the front yard.

I believe I was looking for just the right word, which even now eludes me. I have no office or room in which to escape. My writing is done between laundry, dishes, errands, all those “Mom” moments when the children can’t find their shoes, a lost toy or their father.

This is why I have taken to running away from home. Yes, I escape when I can. I go down to a quiet spot near the river’s edge with my choice of personal defense weapons, lock my car doors, open my laptop and write. Sometimes, I head even further out town, find a quiet corner in a favorite haunt and do some character studies.In order to write, one must write, wherever, whenever and however. Mary Heaton Vorse said, “The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.”

What’s your biggest challenge to getting your writing done? Do you have a favorite place to write? Please share…