Tag Archives: People

The Foaming Action Means He’s Working

It never fails, or cease to surprise me that I make a few posts to get back into the swing of things and the universe decides to pull me apart. That’s not an excuse, but an explanation nonetheless. I had the most ambitious of personal lists on the three-day time span: outside lighting to install, a yard to clean, clothes to launder, and books to write. I gained such momentum I crashed completely into a brick wall producing a solid paragraph of new material. [Insert Expletive Here]

The relative peace brought by the Labor Day weekend rallied a fierce week of deadlines and customer service challenges making my calves hurt more than getting stood up on your Prom night for Gary, the more well-to-do son of a chiropractor. That’s where I keep most of my stress, and I need to sit down after a while of brooding over people and their obstacles. Side Note: Kelly, I’m glad you showed me your true colors quickly.

So, as I said, I only made a paragraph’s progress on Sunday. That’s pitiful. In lieu of providing anything new to me, how about something new (mostly) to you? Here’s an excerpt from when I was writing back in March.

“Every lump on your face will match that of your gravy!” The sous-chef slapped his saucier enough to make eyes water. His stubs wrenched the pot and heaved it towards an open window. “Make it again, and quick. We’re already an hour behind.” A cuisinier snuck a peek over the stove to catch a ladle in the face. “If this night doesn’t go well, it doesn’t take me to tell you we’ll all be dead by morning.” This made for a typical event night with Gerard Grossecul shading a boundary between fact and melodrama as he explosively smacked the tile on his way to the dining room.

Screams rattled the pins on the sewing desk and down the hall straight out through the wood and iron latticed doors of the estate’s couture house. Mostly bare, a handmaiden scrambled for the chamber door only to be clocked by a half-clothed mannequin. Gathering herself, and the rest of her garments, off the floor she hid behind the wardrobe. The Seamstress Premier Naedlbán took up her shears and pointed it at the wimping wench. “If you can’t sew these seems properly I’ll rip you apart and show you!” Spoiling her tin of threaded spools, she charged at the young lady and buried her scissors in the knotted woodwork. Slowly creeping to the fresh face she whispered, “…and if that doesn’t work, I’ll cut those wretched fingers off. They aren’t doing you any good.”

I’m sure I’ll need to re-read the whole thing once it’s completed in draft format, but it seems to fit together enough that I don’t feel like scrapping the whole thing.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Once again, I circle the blackened sky like a bat. I get myself so worked up in the morning and early afternoon that by evening I fall asleep only to wake up at midnight or so. It’s not so bad, I guess. It’s the not the rhythm of diurnal beings such as typical humans, but at least a late-night drive is filled with light scents of flowers and burnt wood.

Last night I was having a tonic and reading at Fricker’s. It’s just a sports bar, but it has a patio. That part I like very much. However, I happened to be visited by my friend, and master potter, Eliseo. We always have a good conversation, and I appreciate him being in such a simple area.

We talked about many things, mostly art related, but last night’s discussion dabbled in Kokology. This is the study of  心, or in English terms kokoro (“mind” or “spirit”). Its a way of discussing a person’s personality, and how they see the world. This was done in a basic three-part question and answer session called “the Cube test.” The narrator asks the following questions and interprets an understanding of the person answering them:

1. You are alone in a desert. There is a cube near you. What does it look like?

2. There is also a ladder around. What does it look like?

3. There is also a horse around. What does it look like?

Instead of giving away the answers (mine or what the metaphors mean) I’d like to try something. If you would indulge me, please write down the answer to these questions in the comments section of this entry. I’ll put trust in you to not look anything up on the Internet, rather tell me the images that come to your mind first.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, May 25th, 2014 – Why Do You Write?

It would seem bad form not to tell you the results of my letter writing campaign to the Ohio House of Representatives. Out of 99 representatives contacted, only 4 had replied with an actual response. There were 5 others who had the auto-response system set up, but that’s not really acceptable. Of those 4 representatives who took the time to respond, only one was longer than two sentences. Even though he wasn’t my district representative, I enjoyed our conversation. Funny how ten sentences can brighten one’s day.

Now, on with the blog hop as requested by Laura Lynn from  Cancer: My Journey Back to Health-Kicking & Screaming the Whole Damn Way. Yeah, it’s a chain post and I’m not huge on them, but it’s Laura Lynn. She has been nice to me for as long as I’ve known her.

What am I working on?

In the short-term nothing. I’ve picked up a new organization (BNI) in April, which has some elements of Kiwanis/Rotary International without the community outreach element. I think of it as a business dating service where the “dates” are referred business. You get to know and trust the people in your group and refer clients in need of member services to them. Most members are local merchants anyway. So, you’re helping out people in your community get more business to stay in business. This has taken much of my time in the past five weeks, and I don’t regret it.

In the long-term, I’ve always got My City by the Bay, which I haven’t finished. It’ll need a new title (sorry, Steve Perry). I stopped when I hit a logic gap in a pursuit scene. The back of my mind has been telling me that no seasoned detective would let the suspect drive off after he visited his girlfriend’s apartment. They could question the girlfriend later, if they lose him but they need to follow the suspect further. Personally, with all of the writing improvements I’ve learned in the past year, I’d like to rework the entire story including a VERY edgy part that dealt with bigotry and racism in the non-lofty, street-level, day-to-day sense.

Too many Americans want to take this topic and make it all lofty, when the application is so flawed we [Americans] can’t even see straight. I like the overall premise of the chapter and the ending, but there’s an even harder uppercut I need to swing. I felt like I was gingerly dancing around the point, even though I jumped straight into the lake.

Aside from that, there’s the flash fiction that I’ve become somewhat adept at writing. While I have practiced at it for a few months, it seems the most natural of all types of fiction to write. I do want to be a novelist. I love developing stories and characters and starting fresh in a new book. I don’t like sequels. I think that’s the author’s way of being lazy. If my work ever goes public, the powers-that-be would have to be very convincing for me to write a sequel to any of my non-existent books.

Although I’ve never mentioned it here, there is another novel idea I’ve shelved months ago. I’ve desperately tried to keep it away from the Young Adult genre, but in a late-night cabal of wannabe writers another has said “yeah, that has YA written all over it.” Damn it!

How Does My Writing Differ?

At this point in time, does any current writer have much difference? We’re all variations on a theme. Millennia of authors pouring out pages upon pages of stories have covered so much, it’s difficult not to be seen as a writer who came before. Is there really much anymore to differ? I suppose I could say I have a better knack for coming up with people’s names than I’ve seen with others writers, but that’s not much. I’d leave the identification of difference to the reader. I suppose that’s why they’d read my material? They’d know better than I would.

Why Do I Write What I Do?

Mostly because I don’t want my life to be a “series of beige incidents” as coined by Patton Oswalt. I want something to be here when I leave. I don’t want to wake up 85 and have nothing to show for myself, except an oxygen tank and tears. Hell, even if it’s mediocre prose that’s something. It’ll make Vonnegut happy.

Do you hear that Bukowski?! I am trying!

How Does My Writing Process Work?

I wouldn’t call it a “process.” Most people won’t understand how ironic that statement is, until they realize I’m a classically-trained accountant. I’ve dealt with creating processes for the better part of fifteen years, and I can’t even control a pet project of mine. How funny is that?

Some of the time, it starts with a trip to a bar or a later trip to a hash house. Waffle House is the best place to write at 3:00 in the morning. Why? It’s open, and the people aren’t intellectuals. Non-intellectuals make for great people watching, because they act out more often. It’s a funnier story when the drunk guy is singing to his penis in encouragement to urinate.

I keep a mole skin journal and a mechanical pencil in my car, Falcor. No, it’s not a sports car or anything flashy. It’s a Honda Accord. I can name my car whatever I damn well please. Over a glass of cheap red wine or “luxurious” cup of Arabica coffee, I scribble sentences. More often than not, they turn into stories. I’ve yet to figure out how that happens, but it does. So, I don’t argue with it much.  After I have a “starter,” as I like to call it, I take it home to be written in a WordPress post.

Recently, I’ve also been posting them in the writer’s prompt section of Reddit, but have found it less rewarding. The people on Reddit are of low caliber, and aren’t really as mature as they need to be to discuss writing. Often times, it seems like wasted effort.

——

This is where I would pass the writing duties of the blog hop to two other bloggers. Guess what? I’m not going to do that. I don’t believe in chain posting. Good night, Seattle. We love you!

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Blushing

You would not believe how hard it is to squeeze writing in through all of this scheduling madness. ~ Nate

——

Tiny drops wet the pavement near Jessica’s white satin heels. The circles turn a light sandstone into muddied brown and she sees her reflection for the first time since this morning. While not crystal clear, black shone prominently on her cheeks. The dress wrinkling and smoothing under her hands made restless rustles against the sounds of rain.

Soon the booth housing her dress freckles with moisture and transitions into tiny streaks of precipitation down the side. Stabbing her freshly-painted nail, “Bouquet,” at the lacquered sign, she checks the next pick up time. It would be a while before she would use her phone again or catch a ride. Loved ones are the plague. People dripping with pity and sympathy. Running out the church felt like the only relief available.

The hulking, metallic slug of a transport finally saw fit to grace Jessica with its presence. Childlike splashes came from the filled potholes in the road, as it began to sway left and right. Sliding its cheap, silver doors open an old man in a blue uniform gave her the once-over and looked back out on the road. With exact change, she was permitted to take a seat, possibly without vomit stains on the cushions.

The cracked floor and dirty space of the bus made for a fine chariot. Maybe they’d tie some whiskey bottle to the bumper, too? A survey of the carriage revealed that the only two open seats were beside a bag lady who must have been eating an onion sandwich prior to her journey. She would keep the bird of a feather company. Bunching up her dress, she sat down and knew any attempts to return her gown would be a laughable failure.

“You smell lovely, deary.” A crackle of phlegm punctuates the decrepit one’s sentiments.

“Thanks,” Jessica’s grimace was somewhat hidden by the paint.

Gifts greet her as the apartment lights illuminate the kitchen table. Still sealed, never to be opened. By way of magic, or the work of her parents, the well-wishing invades her space centered around a large, smooth, white cake. Its perfection can be seen from all angles, and would match her perfectly if she wasn’t part of an experiment in public transit.

With a hearty thud, a bottle of vodka hits the cheap tabletop and a generous sweep of the hand launches a cake decoration off into the kitchen. The black-suited, plastic figurine comes to rest smiling stupidly at the ceiling. Jessica’s cat, Miss Havisham, slinks by to investigate the foreign object but walks away in quick disinterest. It will lay they for quite some time.

Staring at the cake for the better part of fifteen minutes, Jess admires the craftsmanship. Forgoing any sort of protocol she dips her hand into the dessert stationed in front of her and shoves a handful into her mouth. More cake matter winds up on the floor, as she lets out a stream of profanity. Fondant is the Devil’s practical joke for confectionery.

© 2014 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

Tagged , , , , , ,

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

Dear God, I’ve opened a Pandora’s box. That networking group has given me a lot of activities to keep me on my toes. On the down side, it has cut into my writing time. I’ve been here before though and have watched other people under the stress. Remember the metaphor of running a marathon versus sprinting? Yeah, that’s this.

I AM NOT GOING TO CALL MY WRITING A PASSION. That’s trite and it belongs in a job interview, not on my writer’s palette. If  I know only one thing of the writers I love, they don’t make overtures to their personal craft. They use it. They love it, but they don’t massage it. The passion is understood though their output. There’s no need to talk it up.

That last paragraph should read “I’m still writing.” This is the time to clutch on to my creativity like a balloon you don’t want to fly away. That’s especially so after last week’s story. It was a very difficult write, but I’m very proud of the result. It’s more soulful than my other works. It’s more alive. It’s that gritty realism very few people are comfortable acknowledging. My style is why I get suggestions to read Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski, and the like. I’ll get there, people.

May’s got me in a much better mood than three months ago. It’s 17° C out (62° F), and I can walk outside without wanting to erupt into profanity like Lewis Black. I’m getting some landscaping done mid-week and sooner or later I can put the screens back in the windows. I haven’t scored any big victories lately. So, the small ones will have to do.

Tagged , , , , , ,

City in the Fields

There was a flash fiction challenge yesterday from Opinionated Man of which I had not participated. I had already posted yesterday’s flash, which was for another Reddit contest (did not win/no honorable mention). That’s not to say I’m upset about it. I didn’t want to leave people on here hanging.  The WordPress challenge seemed a little more like a Saturday write anyway. If people have read my blog for any length of time, they know I’ve spoke about my town slightly in my stories. In 1,000 words or less, I shall condense that.

——————-

Urbanites often clamor for the countryside, a respite from the “noise” and “pollution” of a metropolitan backdrop. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence especially if it’s compared to concrete. Plenty of green dots the landscape of my city, even if it’s mold. Perhaps the agricultural nature of the outer limits appeal, waving arms of wheat and corn in a Summer’s gust? The ears certainly make for better conversation anyway.

Crumbling corners and mended roads, all drizzled in chocolaty-tar sauce like a sundae stretch for miles under questionable skies. Built once with pride, brick buildings burn from apathy’s children leaving only work for the crewmen to raze. Holes, like pulled teeth, pit a once wealthy dirt. An asphalt crown is the new order of business.

Hulking and oppressive, the courthouse stands idle with all of its faded glory. Since when had you last felt alive? Bluebottle cars fly around your rotten carcass of petty justice. Your delusions of grandeur are transparent! Your mightiness is moot!

…and the floods. O, the floods! Have you come to visit us with fervor of Zelus? Have your waters ran through our hair enough? Can you not stand the sight of our houses as much as I? There would be no blame in that. Bring it to us so that we may bathe in a pool of our mistakes.

Time has come and time has passed, leaving nothing but old values as new ideas spread across a nation. Angry and afraid, a retirement community is proclaimed. Leave it as it once was, so we remember it fondly. A sepulcher for the nostalgic. There is no need to share; it is ours!

A generation took that to heart, and a generation made a new start off on coasts and in between. “They will be back!” Was the mantra of the day which fizzled to a murmur on the lips of the selfish. The world is not as it once was. Haughtiness becomes highlighted in hindsight.

Ghosts of people past still haunt the streets in which I ride. Past the schools. Past the homes. Past the shops I’ve seen too many times to remember. Pictures on the gelatin of my eyes. Translucent and faded they post bills of their likeness where I’ve been before. Up on the hill, down by the river, out by the freeway, or around the corner, I cannot live them down. The city will not let me live them down.

© 2014 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

As stated in my last post, I have purchased a new set of work boots in hopes the quality will last me a few years. These Red Wing shoes were styled after those used for working in the mines of the Mesabi Iron Range in Minnesota. Does that mean much to a guy in Ohio? No, not really. I liked the design. Had the Farmer’s boot come without white soles, I would have bought those. Go figure.

It seems the Mesabi Range has had a bit of a troubled past. It’s the largest iron ore deposit in the world, yet mostly filled with taconite. This is the lesser quality ore that only rose to prominence because the better ore (hematite) was exhausted. Even at that, the demand for ore had declined in the mid-20th century. It seems Chinese buyers have taken a recent interest in the mineral, but the region should know by now not to hang their hopes upon one hook in the closet.

Many miners were laid off in the mid to late 1900s. They stewed in unemployed and drank like a fish. I know those feels. Regional native Bob Dylan mentioned the problem in “North Country Blues” off of The Times They Are A-Changin’ album.

So the mining gates locked and the red iron rotted

And the room smelled heavy from drinking

When the sad, silent song made the hour twice as long

As I waited for the sun to go sinking

If it wasn’t the lack of job opportunities, it was the conduct of the miners that gave the area headaches. Generally speaking, Lois E. Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Co. was a class-action lawsuit against EVTAC (a mining company) for not preventing the sexual harassment of sixteen female employees. The case bounced around the court system in the 80s and 90s until it was settled for $3.5 million. Flat out, it’s not surprising. Know-it-all government officials and disingenuous human resource departments will throw out the “training” card as a solution. Mea culpas and whatnot.

Coming from a guy that has been in a blue-collar environment before, guys who do that know what they’re doing. There is no ignorance that would be miraculously erased through a training video. No. They know their life’s at the bottom of the societal totem pole. Throwing them in jail or fining them money they don’t have isn’t going to frighten them.

Power is a very dangerous concept. I’m willing to liken it to precious metals or stones. There are many people out there who would do very underhanded things for power as they would wealth. For the American stooge, pushing around a woman is a cheap attempt to fill that emptiness inside, that lack of importance.

On the other hand, I’ve seen workplace seduction that ended up in a lasting marriage. This world is mad.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday. Well, it’ll be later than that when you read this post. I seem to have ground a little too hard on the last story and find myself in a fog today. Certainly things like the laundry got done, but nothing creative. I feel like a lout when that happens. To be in the flow of writing is such a wonderful experience. It’s direction in an otherwise listless existence. There’s even a writer’s prompt I’m halfway interest in. It seems as though I’ve not the energy to answer it right yet.

I love Saturday night. It’s a night I like to be out of the house. Unfortunately, I’m trying to figure out if it’s worth spending the money to sit at a bar and pay $5.00 plus tip for a Fat Tire. Now before I hear “that’s cheaper than (location)” I’ll remind you they pay us less in the Fields. It’s a wash. I suppose I could hit the $2.00 Bud Light specials… no, I’ll go without before I go Bud Light.

The additional work is still in the searching phase. It seems if I don’t have a Commercial Driver’s License (re: trucking) or manufacturing experience, I’m out of luck right now. There is an ad for an exotic dancer. I’m sure they’re talking about females. Even if they weren’t, I’m not exactly dancing material. I even hate doing the hokey pokey.

One thing that cutting back has helped me with is cooking at home. Granted most people would get tired of baked chicken, but its time delay lets me do other things around the house. Normally, I’m the type to focus on what I’m doing with little distraction but manual work’s always multitasking. Funny how that works.

My mind’s getting to me. Where did I put my car keys?

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Friday, March 14th, 2014

These past few days have been very reflective, and not much has been said on here. I know I excitedly discussed the options I had over the last weekend, but Sunday brought a certain withdrawal of such claims. There is a lot to be said about The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, and I’m not entirely sure it could be done justice with a blog post. To say that Americans are in a better position financially now than 100 years ago is truthful. A person of my station at that time would not be able to afford a house or possessions without the use of graft or other crime. On the flip side of the coin, there has been a deep sacrifice in family to procure such things today. Sacrifice. Something tossed about these days, as if it were a foreign war. As it stands right now, I am staring down the barrel of acquiring a second job. It’s nothing new for a guy like me, as I have been there before, but it does make me wonder if others aren’t fully recognizing the damage done to this country. This is the point in my life that I fully understand the honest man isn’t the common man. The honest man is the uncommon man, which is only paid lip service by those who “know better.”

Naïve? Yes. I will not argue the naïveté of such. What should it matter, at this point, to anyone anyway? Being frank is a part of who I am. Should anyone hold it against me that I try to make it work? It was that hope which made this all naïve.

There are brighter notes to this, and I’m willing to move on to them. Tuesday night brought me an acquaintance for a chat. He learnt I wrote, and was very enthusiastic about the idea. He’s a potter, painter, and teacher. In the middle of discussing motivation and inspiration, he recommended the documentary PressPausePlay. Having a deep respect for Eliseo, I watched it the following afternoon piecemeal between projects. They key for this particular movie is to take it all in without expressing an opinion until afterward. It touches on many aspects of what the artist has to grapple today.

My take had multiple thoughts, but initially there was only one. It takes time for me to sit and think for the rest to come to light. Regardless, I wrote a note to myself which eventually found its way to my home office wall. It reads:

Nate,

You cannot spend your life worrying about the ends. The only true end is death. It’s the process of making [creating] that means more than death.”

I found something personally useful this week,  and with a bit of spirit, I won’t forget it.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Saturday March 8th, 2014

Today I have a couple of things to say for a change! There is reason enough to believe I should break them out into separate posts, as they’re different topics. What fortune! I think I’m more excited about that fact than I am the actual material but what happens next is still a bright spot on the grey-matter-gone-black that is my mental faculties. There may have been a spider or two that scurried away as I cracked open that cellar door.

Last night was shaping up to be a real Emo-city, cut-and-not-so-dry, window-gazer of an evening. All dressed up in suit and tie from a seminar I attended that day, I went to eat dinner out. The hurried, mechanical pace of American restaurants and a waitress too young to flirt with didn’t satisfy what I craved. Fortunately I keep a book at my side, being that dining alone is a way of life here. I thumbed the pages of The Jungle before setting out for a different venue. Ho-hum. That’s not in reference to the book, just the atmosphere.

Next stop was a swankier bar downtown. I’m not entirely sure why I went there. Maybe it’s because the women dress better? With better dress though can come attitudes, especially with the clientele being employees of a large corporate headquarters a few blocks away. Just as a side note, it doesn’t take much money to gain a sense of superiority in the Fields. A yearly salary of $70,000 could cultivate a behavior similar to that seen on “The Real Housewives of…” It’s slightly amusing, as I have been to much more wealthy locations in this country, but mostly tragic… and annoying. Most annoying was the woman so drunk she was laughing like Salacious B. Crumb and loudly.

Scratching cold starts in my journal, I could only stare out the window in efforts to find some sort of inspiration. A video comment by Ira Glass found on Jodie Llewellyn’s blog was running through my mind at the time, and I felt I needed a running start to have the spirit move me. I ended up walking out with little to show for it. The gloom of a failed evening was starting to follow me. So, I did the best I could: change cities.

Driving about 20 minutes north reveals a small college town with a better tone throughout, in my opinion. I set up camp at a sports bar near the highway just to sit and read. Those are what I’ve decided to be the staples in my life right now: reading and writing. Most of the time there was being conscious of a presence sitting next to me. Cocksure and country alpha, I could feel a pissy nature emit from the turned back of a patron. Was he jealous that I was reading, or just a jerk? Later in the evening he was joined by another and his dialog only assured me of the latter. Foul with crass etiquette (i.e. spitting), his  conversation covered a gamut of gems ranging from aggression to sour grapes.

Not quite ready to give up the ship, I stopped by a bar I usually visit for some tonic and whatever else I could squeeze out of Upton Sinclair. I don’t like the idea of being so frequent to an establishment that I either lose interest or wear out my welcome. Last night was not one to mull over that fine point. It turned out to be a great decision, as a girl broke my concentration with an inquiry of the reading material. After a well-received joke, I went back to reading as her significant other body-blocked our field of view. He was definitely jealous of our rapport, and I relished it like a villain.

Stepping outside for another broken promise, I had the pleasure of meeting two gentlemen from the local university. Both were philosophy majors with a interest in books. Naturally they opened up with my selection for the evening and we had a delightful conversation that ran almost an hour in the freezing cold. Steinbeck, Hemingway, Sinclair, Dick, Asimov, Kerouac, Bradbury, Heinlein, Faulkner, and Fitzgerald were all under the same roof. I could not have been happier even if I wasn’t a fan of some of the authors. The spectre of depression had been banished to the void for at least a night. Happily, I drove home content for a change.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,