Wednesday, April 23, 2014

EE Is Eight


The great thing about anniversaries is that they’re guaranteed to come around every year.

Mostly, anniversaries are good things — unless your calendar indicates hey, it’s X years since the godawful day when your crock of a Chevy hit that runaway moose on the freeway and you clambered out to give it the kiss of life only to be clipped on the leg by some dumbass hillbillies in a rusty VW camper van, and yeah, so they climbed out the roof after you shouted FUUUUUCK, and chased you down the freeway with pitchforks and axes, screaming merry hell.  You fought them off with the moose’s antlers but when that busload of day tripping schoolkids veered off through the barrier into the opposite lane just as you scored a direct hit on the hillbilly leader’s cranium and the blood spewed out over a passing cop, no way were you backing down or allowing those kids to suffer the same fate as the moose.  So you took out your rod and got blasting KAPOW KAPOW KAPOW — every hillbilly heart, every tyre on every car heading for that upturned bus as it skidded along the tarmac towards the fifty foot drop to the ocean.  You shot the cop and grabbed his bike, revving that ole engine like Optimus Prime clearing his throat of enemy nanobots.  Oregon State Police utility lasso in hand, you flung a makeshift noose over the wing mirror of what seemed destined to become a giant yellow kiddy coffin, and you tugged and tugged with all your might till the whole emergency nightmare spectacle ground to a flaming halt.  Kids spilled from the bus like spawn from a severed frog, and you breathed a sigh of relief to rival the long, deep, low, soft groan of pleasure a gorilla might emit if permitted to sup a latte in Starbucks.  That’s when the ocean waves parted, and a mad-as-hell Godzilla cyborg replicant burst from the foam with evil and a hapless schooner in his eye...

So, yes — unless your calendar indicates that, anniversaries are gtg.

Maybe you have a birthday today, or maybe it’s 25 years since your gelded stallion mysteriously gave birth to triplets.  If so, then whup out the cakes and party hats for all that shit.

But if you’ve nothing to celebrate at all (and possibly even no genuine desire to live) or you’re one of those people unable to gush with sympathetic generosity in the face of an editor overlord with weird hair, then head on over to EVIL EDITOR’S BLOG right now.

However momentous today turns out, Day 1 of EE’s blog will always be eight years older.







April 23rd: To Slay Or Not To Slay

The story of St George and the Dragon reminds us that in spite of Nietzsche’s advice to the contrary it is sometimes necessary to do battle with monsters.

In our hearts, we would rather such monsters did not exist, and even in our worst case scenarios, where wings beat and talons rend at flesh, we cling to the hope that the terrifying behemoths can somehow be tamed.

Occasionally we get lucky, and the monsters consume someone else (ha!).  Other times, we make our own luck.  As I have discovered, it’s remarkable how easy it is to spook out ferocious dogs with the right kind of non-staring stare.

But when you’re face to face with a monster, and there really is no way out, don’t you curse yourself for all the luck and tricks you’ve burned up along the way? 

Don’t you wish you’d got better at fighting?

Hmm, well, that depends.

Returning to heroic old St George, while it’s true that he rescued the princess, and truer that he slewerated the dragon, the whole courageous escapade was part of a deal.

“Sure, I’ll twat your dragon,” said the bold St George, “but only if you guys convert to the Good Lord On High.”

Seems like St George’s dragon was a take-it-or-leave-it monster — a perk of the knighting job, like a cup of tea for a plumber.  Heroic St George could have stayed at home and polished his helmet.

Real monsters don’t sit and wait for would-be could-be heroes to wander along on a whim.

They hunt us down and prey on our uncertainty.

This is why unreliable narrators are such compelling reads.  

Fear is probably the only thing such narrators truly believe in, and whenever we prise open the jaws of a book and stare down the throat of its unfolding narrative (an image that doesn’t quite work with an eReader, I confess — unless you’ve fitted dentures to your Nexus as part of a Live The Real Deal deal) we’re shoulder to shoulder with the monsters in our own lives.

Deep down, we all know we’re flawed, and deeper down, we know there are monsters OUT THERE.

So if you’re writing today, make sure the horns of your protagonist’s inner dilemma dwarf those of your monster’s HUMUNGOUS exterior.  Makes for a better fight.

If you’re not writing today, ask what dragons fluttering over your horizon are worth a moment of your combat time.  Then take a good look in the mirror and prepare for battle, one way or another.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Peaky


    Treated the whole fam to a day out in the Peak District on Good Friday but some of the monolithic structures ruined the whole trip with their moody pessimism.



Sunday, April 20, 2014

Albumentalistically Thine


    If Armageddon is inevitable (and you have to figure there's at least some small chance of this in an infinite universe) then at what point in time do we reach a stage where there is no going back?

    Are there turning points we should look for?  Gatherings of momentum we should experience?  Or is it simply best to get on with things as per usual on the (careworn) assumption that the cosmos was bollocksed from Day One?

    I'm concerned right now by a number of emerging pre-Armageddonalikes.

    The crisis in the Ukraine is bad news waiting to go viral, and the worldwide rise of right-wing governments seems set to spin all things vaguely peacetime and generosity-based into a downward spiral.

    Plus, Nikki Minaj's backside could explode at any moment.
   
    Maybe all we can hope for is a monster consignment of goodies from the Easter Bunny.  Right now, I’m looking at a feast of Creme Eggs, a bigger feast of smaller golden eggs, and a weird kind of rabbit in blue foil.

    Happy Easter, whatever your take on the day!



Monday, April 14, 2014

Hunting For Bargains On Planet Cheapo/Weirdo


Queueing for DIY bargains at Wreck The Shite Outta Yer Abode R Us last week, I encountered a bearded guru prostrating himself in mid-chant before the cashier.  As tolerators of bearded gurus go, I position myself towards the liberal end of the chance kick at a bogus holy man spectrum, and moved to step over the guy.

“Wanton chocolate!  Temporal versimilitude!” he cried.

Presuming this to be a discount coupon offer code, I shamelessly repeated his words to the checkout girl while waving a top-of-the-range blister pack of rawlplugs at her.  That’s how it goes with bearded gurus: one minute you’re tactfully avoiding them for fear of witnessing an embarrassing divine non-intervention, the next, you’re in cahoots regarding the quest for the bargain Inevitable.

There’s a moral to this story somewhere, but it’s Monday morning.

Perhaps I’d better pass on this one and do something practical and useful, like eating a nutritious biscuit or catching up on old episodes of Cash In The Attic... 



Monday, April 7, 2014

Game Of Throats


Technical woes continue to throttle my time.

It all started back in the 1990s when my Yamaha natural sound amplifier went tits up.  I never realised that electrical equipment even had tits until that moment, let alone potentially irritating bra hook-up problems further down the line.

Truly, I am to gadgetry failure what Uri Geller is to spoons, only without the charlatan chicanery and Spock fanfiction eyebrows.

Cutting to the present (with an ordinary knife, not one of those vibrating Heston Blumethal efforts — for obvious reasons), my legs currently straddle a techno woe mule whose backpacks contain the following:

* My #1 computer, on which resideth all my data.

* My phone, without which I cannot end globe-spanning conversations with a cheery see ya later...

* The whizzer thing I use to blend stuff before serving it up to the fam in a blaze of cheers.

* My wig groomer.  I don’t wear a wig as yet, but when the big day comes I want to be ready to cope with the fallout.  Right now I’m getting random partings and no joy with the Sporty Fringe settings.

* Next door’s dog.  Yes, I know — a flesh and blood mammal.  But I swear it’s some kind of cyborg, and since the weekend it’s been eyeing me up suspiciously, so go ahead, google ‘cyborg dog retina failure’ and tell me I’m wrong.

* The fridge.  Don’t get me bloody started.

Taken together, this ragbag collection of Singularity-busting trash has me cornereder than a hamster in a room full of stare-out contest lizards, so I’m taking a rain check on doing anything  productive today.

And the Game of Throats?

Ach — it’s only me screaming AAAAAARRRGGGHHH!  AAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!  AAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!


Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Game Of SPOON


Sometimes we get stuck for ideas.

We badly need a fix for our fiction, business or life, but our brains keep on throwing out the same stuck stuff.

So here’s a useful game anyone can play.

It’s nothing new, and umpteen variations of it exist OUT THERE, but my version is the simple one.

My version is SPOON.

If you can imagine you possess a SPOON then you can play this game.

So, let’s spoon up some stuff — new stuff, habit-busting unstuck stuff — and dispense it over the horns of our dilemma like soup from a ladle.

Look around you right now, with half an eye on your conundrum.  Pick the first two objects you see.

(Right now, I have a blue wine bottle and a door, and a cowardy custard Stucky Not slapped over a short piece of fiction.)

These two objects on your spoon — in how any ways can you make them interact?

That’s the game of SPOON; those are the rules.

Your brain is hungry for a solution to your Thorny P Horny D Thang, but because it can only reproduce what it has already learned, if the problem is perceived to be a STICKLER then it will TRY HARDER at what it already knows rather than SEEKING OUT A NEW METHOD, thus STICKLERATING ITSELF into a husk.

The two objects you spoon (and the interactions you generate between them) constitute your new information, delivered via the mechanism of EVIDENT WHIMSY.

The beauty of this game lies in the fact that it doesn’t matter what objects are spooned.  Very often, when we seek out new information to help us solve a puzzle, the nature of the puzzle determines the nature of the information we hunt down.

So, here I go with my wine bottle and my door.

drunken party
family of wine bottles (kids’ story — so maybe POP bottles...)
message in a bottle is cabin door from captain’s missing miniature ship
pour doors as wine
door Oddjob hat’s its way through bottle at circus
thug hits door with bottle
positional — door balanced on bottle, bottle balanced on door
bottle pouring doors (like this idea) — wizard’s portal, metaphor for de-inhibitory effects of alcohol, 200' bottle full of doors for environmental re-peating of Ireland

That’s a minute’s worth.  If I hadn’t been required by bloggerly example provision necessity (B.E.P.N.) to type all that out then I would have generated more links and ideas.

Try it now, with UR thang.

When your game ends, you ought to find yourself holding two things:

1) An adrenaline rush from engaging in combinatorial fancy.  Beats donning a jogging suit and embarrassing your neighbours.

2) An idea (or ideas), however small: MOVEMENT.

My choice, from my game of SPOON, is the bottle full of doors.

Now I have a corrupt wizard and a theme of false promises.  Is a scoundrel loose in Fairyland, offering pirated portals to Narnia?  Or is my wizard an unscrupulous business tycoon who plies unsuspecting victims with cocktails of mind-bending smart drugs at product launches?

Only one thing is certain.

Until I played the game of SPOON just now, I had NONE OF THIS.

Until I scooped up a blue wine bottle and a door with my SPOON and unleashed my brain on the gulf between them, no wizards were forthcoming and I’d forgotten I’d even forgotten about Irish peat bogs.

The game of SPOON works especially well with fiction, including that awkward subset of fancy we like to call FACT (and I’ll catch up with that rascal, “the Future” in a future post...).

So away with your 10-Step creative plans, your flowcharts and your cerebelluar gazetteers!

Lead with a SPOON, 2 objects — and your hungry brain.

It’s like the I Ching for goobers.  Prom.




Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Me Is Has Was 6


    When I began this blog, I never believed I’d run it for six years.

    But then again, when I was in my 30s, I never believed my eyes would return to my sockets after a particularly disturbing photo booth de-retinal nerving teleport stunt.

    But life is kind of weird that way...