100 Themes Boot Camp – Day 3 – Dawn

Dawn

A whisper, a prayer;
The longing and the promise of
New life.
I watch you carefully,
Knowing that I can only see
In part.
Slow revelation;
You hide so that you may
Be found.
First a sliver, a hint
Unfolding your glory,
You rise.
Terrible beauty,
You stand high above, untouched
Alone.
Giving all,
You ask for nothing in
Return.
Salvation;
Darkness flees before your
Pure light.
Awakening.
Oh, that you would last more than a moment!
I am so thankful that you come again and again,
For no matter how dark the night, there is always the
Dawn.

100 Themes Boot Camp – Day 2 – Power

I realize, at this rate, it will take me two years to complete the 100TBC.  And you know what?  I don't really have a problem with that.  So without any further ado, here is my entry for day 2.  The theme is Power.:

———————————————————————-

Something had been bothering Joe all night, eating at the
back of his mind, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on it.

He tried to recall if he had noticed anything different
today.  He kept a fairly consistent routine;
he didn’t want to forget anything.  After
all, he was Old Joe, the retired bookkeeper, with no family to help him in his
old age.  At least, that’s who he’d been
for the last two years, since he found this nice little town in the mountains.

It had been nearly twenty years since he had been Joseph
Michael Teague, a man of importance, prestige, honor, and power.  He was once an angel, but had fallen from
grace.  Since then, he’d been moving from
town to town, state to state, even nation to nation, trying to outrun his past.

He had to sharp, pay attention.  He never stayed anywhere for long; he had to
keep moving.  He had to stay alive and
out of prison.  One day, he would atone
for his sins; fix all that he had broken. 
But running makes a man weary, especially after nearly twenty
years. 

What was the point anyway? 
He was so old, what difference could he make anymore?

These questions had been haunting Joe for the last few
years, and this town seemed as good a place as any to stop and rest for a
while.  Old Joe, the bookkeeper, was not
a cover as much as it was a new identity.  Joseph Michael Teague was dead; long live Old
Joe.

Today, however, something was different.  What was it?

In this quiet little town, not much changed over the last
two years, probably little had changed over the last twenty.  One would see the same faces day after day,
month after month… Wait, a minute!

There was somebody new today.  A new bagger was working at the grocery store
today, a young woman, maybe nineteen or twenty years old.  She had helped Joe load his bags into his
car.  There was something odd about the
way she looked at him.  Could it have
been a hint of recognition that passed over her face?  Maybe, even a little fear?

“Well, shit,” were the only words Joe could find to express
himself in that moment.  He had gotten
lazy, careless.  Tired.  They would be coming soon.  He had an emergency kit packed, ready to go,
in the closet.  A new identity, keys to
car he kept parked a few blocks away, and a handgun, just in case.  He was not the frail old man that everyone
believed him to be, he could run.  He
could escape and start over again, in some other small, hidden town.

Instead, he sat in his favorite chair, reading his favorite
book, and waited.  He did not move, and
was not startled, when the power went out and his small apartment was flooded
in darkness.  And he did not jump when
they kicked in his door.  With quiet
dignity, he surrendered to the police.

They handcuffed him and read him his rights.  He was loaded into the back of the police
car, in front of all his friends and neighbors. 
As they were leaving, the young officer in the passenger seat up front
turned to him a said, “You are going to pay for what you’ve done, Mister
President.”

“Ah, yes,” said Joe, “I suppose I shall.”

Huh. Weird.

This is only the second day of my renewed vigor for creative writing and the 100 Themes Boot Camp – and I'm already not going to do it.  I have a toothache.  That's is very nearly the only thing I can think about at this time.  Yes, I had all day to write something, but I used that time to clean my house and cook dinner for a friend.  Then we watched a movie.  Then we talked for a while.  Then she left and I watched another movie.  And now I have a toothache.  I blame the media.

In the meantime, a quarter is going into the "Jar of Shame", which, in this case, is a mug.

Good night, blogosphere!

100 Themes Boot Camp – Day 1 – Stardust

The valley below was obscenely beautiful.  I have hiked these hills all my life, but this
time it was as if I had never seen it before. 
The trees were taller, greener. 
The river was clearer.  The sky
was bluer. 

“No!” I shook my head and chided myself, “Don’t fall under
that spell.”  The little pixie had stolen
my stardust and I was going get it back, no matter what.

I knew that she was headed for The Circle, the border
between the ‘real’ world and the world of Faerie.  Most people avoided this place, but I knew
the rules.  That stardust was given to me
by my mother and I, in turn, was going to give it to my wife to be.  “A gift received to be given” is sacred, untouchable,
both in this world and the other.  I
would be allowed to pursue the thief through any realm…or so I had heard.  It’s not as if this ‘rule’ had been tested;
it was just something that everybody ‘knew’. 
I was sure that I would find out, one way or another.  I laughed out loud at the thought of a book
of laws outlining human/faerie relations.

As I approached The Circle, the trees moved to keep me
out.  I felt a sinking feeling that both
justice and my stardust would be out of my reach forever.  However, when I touched a tree, I discovered
that is was soft, barely even there.  I
was able to walk right through it, as if it were a blanket or a curtain.  As I did so, I thought that I heard a
childlike voice whispering, “No sin.”

I passed through or around many more trees until I emerged
into a clearing.  At the center of the clearing
was a small pond of clearest, calmest water I have ever seen.  It was like crystal.  Around the pond were several toadstool
circles; Faeries had definitely been here recently, but there was no evidence
of them now.

“Well,” I told myself, “what’s the worst than can
happen?  Maybe I’ll get wet.”  And with that, I jumped into the pond. 

Strangely, it wasn’t until that very moment that I finally
asked myself why the pixie had stolen my stardust and broken the law in the
first place.  I figured that was
something else that I would be discovering soon enough.

Hi!

So, according to XKCD, I am the least interesting man in the world.

I will not, therefore, apologize for not posting much over the last few months.  I'm the one that pays for this site, dammit, not you.  Where do you get off, anyway, buddy?!

Sorry.  Sorry.  I didn't mean to get abusive, it happens when I'm feeling defensive.  Are we cool?

Anyway, I'm back, baby.  Strap yourselves in for some kick-ass blogging and writing and suchlike!

I've decided to join the 100 Themes Boot Camp on DeviantArt.  Thankfully, they've made provision for us writer-y people that, you know, prefer to use 1000 words to tell a story rather than one picture.  The big idea for me is to get to writing, quick-like.  'Cause, you see, if I don't, when my unemployment runs out, I'm going to have to get another job, working in an office or something, for someone else that is not me.  That can't happen.  No way.  I'm also trying to pick up carpentry.  At least I wouldn't be working at a desk all day.  That really needs to not happen.

So there you go.  The next entry in this blog will be my first entry for the 100 Themes Boot Camp.

Bye-eee!

How to Get Started and Build Your Blog

I've decided to stop dragging my feet and jump in to freelance writing.  I figure, what's a better time to start a new, high-risk career than an economic depression?  Here is a sample article from my portfolio…

Looking at popular blog sites like Dooce (www.dooce.com) or Lifehacker (www.lifehacker.com) makes many amateur (and some professional) writers say “Man, I wish I could do that!”  Well, guess what?  You can!  However, just wanting to do it is not enough (trust me, I know this feeling).  No, you have to get started and it’s easier than you may think.

First, start by signing up with one of the free blog hosting sites, such as Blogger (www.blogger.com) or WordPress (www.wordpress.com).  You may feel the temptation to jump right in and sign up with a paid service or purchase space on an ISP web server.  I would advise holding off on those decisions if you’re just starting out.  Writing is hard work and it can be intimidating to know that strangers are looking at your work.  Developing a style and vocabulary takes time, adding a monthly or annual bill to that pressure makes many a potential blog superstar a non-starter.

However, once you become comfortable writing for the web, you will want to move or upgrade to a paid blog hosting service.  The free sites have a great advantage in that they are, well…free.  However, ‘free’ often comes at a price.  A free blog host can put ads on your site and will, generally, prevent you from selling you own advertising.  It makes sense, why should you reap financial gain from their free service?  Also, with a free host, you do not ‘own’ your site.  You are basically a guest on their service and they can delete your blog any time they want, not to mention that the blog hosting service itself could go out of business and shut down.  What happens to all your hard work then?

Most paid blogging services, such as TypePad (www.typepad.com) offer more features and support, as well as letting you sell advertising space on your blog.  Another great feature of a paid blog host is that, depending on your plan, you can use your own domain name.  Picking a clever, catchy domain name can be one of the major keys to your future success.  It’s essentially a brand name, look at Google (www.google.com), for instance.  The nice thing about having your own domain name is that if you want to change blog hosts or even purchase or host your own website, you can go anywhere you want and point your domain name to your new location.  Nobody will even know (unless you tell them).  Also having your own a domain name (and a service that supports it) makes you look more professional, which is not only good for drawing in new readers, but also for drawing in advertisers.  And let’s face it, wouldn’t you like to get paid for doing what you love to do?  Of course you would.

The most important thing is to get started and get writing.  The only way to build a successful blog is to write as often as you can.  Don’t worry if your words are not flowing like a river from your heart through your fingers.  You’ll get there, but you have to write, write, write.

Good luck …and get started already!

Plotting & Machine Writing

As an “Evil Genius”, I am quite comfortable plotting my next scheme or the demise of my enemies, but I have the hardest time coming up with a plot for a story.  Premise?  No problem.  Characters? Check.  Background, Setting, etc.?  Yep. Conflict/Resolution/Character growth?  Umm…

I kinda, sorta wish their was a “Sims” game for writing.  I could do all the setup, create the characters, establish certain behaviors, and just let them go at it.  Of course, it would lack my personal style (if any), but it would at least be a good place to start or revise.

I don’t really want that, in my heart.  I would not be as invested in the story, in the creation.  I would not love the story and, as day follows night, neither would anyone else.

The scary/exciting thing is I’m sure that someone is working on something like this.  Could you imagine an RPG with instantly created, imersive, and unique storylines and missions created specifically for individual players and/or teams?  I’d buy that game.  I probably wouldn’t buy that book.