Monday, May 14, 2012

Talkin' 'bout a Bunch of Shift Work

Today, my life changed.

Today...I started working. Full-time, I might add.

And I know that makes me sound incredibly lazy, being nineteen and all, but take it how you will. Till now I've been blessed not to desperately need to work, and I took advantage of that. But now I work in a warehouse, which basically constitutes eight hour days of forklifts, cardboard boxes, and scary break rooms with cracked tile floors.

I wake up at five o'clock, shower, dress, drink a cup of coffee, all the while desperately trying to overcome the homicidal tendencies that accompany every eviction from the land of dreams.

No, I haven't actually killed anyone yet, but this is something I'm actively trying to prevent. I'm quite the night owl. I'm at my happiest and most productive when the sun has set, and the world has taken its NyQuil. So this whole "getting up at 5" thing is not only aggravating, it's completely counter-nature for me.

So after my soon-to-be-ritualistic morning, I drove to East Point, missed the turn, reversed directions in the Dairy Queen parking lot ("Try our new Chickn Bacn rAnch"), and crossed the train tracks, finally arriving at the warehouse.

And then spent nearly the rest of my day driving circles in a forklift. I lifted things. I set things down. Some things (be impressed) I even moved to new shelves.

But hey, I'm now a certified forklift operator. I'm pretty sure I even get a certificate (I'm counting on this certificate to satisfy me 'till I get my B.S. in Counseling. Like an intellectual snack.). 

Now, I know it sounds like I'm complaining, and were you to ask me seven hours from now, I would be. But really, I'm quite grateful for this job, as I realize that there are many who do not have one, who need it more desperately than I. And, honestly, it's kind of exciting.

Let me clarify.

I spent hours pondering the meaning of existence today, as I drove circuit after circuit around the parking lot under the watchful eyes of my instructor, and realized something that this job, if I manage it correctly, will do for me.

It will force me to prioritize.

I'm notoriously bad at prioritizing. Terrible. Everything that I have any interest in feels like the most important thing ever when I'm doing it. This goes for writing, piano, reading, sleeping, watching T.V., eating, staring at walls, etc., etc. With eight hours of every day now being monopolized by wage-making, and with so much of my night now dominated by the need for R.E.M., I'm going to have to buckle down and decide what is important, and what I should spend my time on.
Now, this obviously is applicable to writing, because for a couple of years now I have been telling myself, "You need to treat it as more than a hobby. It's a part of your life, dang it, act like it!"...And I have failed, miserably. I realized in this one, earth-shaking day of fork-lifting, that I am really going to have to buckle down if I ever plan on accomplishing anything. So I am committing myself to forty-five minutes of writing, every day.

This is a minimum, but I think a good one. So if I only get in forty-five minutes of collective writing every day when I get back from work, I'll know that I've made some improvement.

I know I'll waver some, and I'm working on that.

So, my question to you today is this, "How do you manage to prioritize and manage your various and sundry interests with your commitments, be they work, children, a herd of alpaca, or a radish garden? What works best for you?"

And with that, I bid you a good night's rest...

And pray for your immortal soul if you are destined to encounter me before ten in the morning.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Memories of Mom (Or "How I Was Forced to Write About Monkeys, and Am Now An Author")

            (I realize this post is coming really early. But the time zone settings are all messed up on my profile, and it's taking more brain-power than I have to sort it out. So this'll just be a really early post.)
            Let’s face it. In one way or another, our mothers are at the root of everything we do. Now, I’m not saying this in some cheap pop psych way, but fundamentally, without mothers, we wouldn’t do anything that we do.

            At the most basic level, they gave birth to us. We need to be born, obviously. But then, in many cases, they raise us. They teach us. As if it wasn’t enough that we literally fed off of them for nine months, and then caused hours of excruciating pain and hard work, they then spent a great majority of the next eighteen-ish (rough approximation, obviously) years putting up with us.

            Seriously. Mothers are awesome. They deserve much more than a day of recognition.

            So, that is why I’m writing this post. To honor the complete awesomeness that is my mother. Not only is she pretty much the most amazing mother in the history of ever (I know many of you will disagree, but really, you’re just biased), she’s also pretty much the most significant reason I write.

            I don’t think she knows this. But let me prove my point.

            ::Cues nostalgic music::

            I don’t even remember what grade I was in, honestly. It was one of the early ones. I was sitting in what was then our school room, and is now our play room (an obvious improvement).

            It was time for English, and I was sitting in my throne of dorkiness, which most people refer to as a desk. Mom and I had already identified the subject and predicate of a few sentences on those pages from the A Beka curriculum, and I felt pretty darn good about it.

            And then, horror of all horrors, she placed a blank sheet of paper before me. I looked at her expectantly, waiting for directions. She held the A Beka book before her and read, “Write a ten sentence story about monkeys,” and closed the book.

            I stared. Surely there were more directions! I couldn’t possibly be expected to come up with ten whole sentences on my own, could I? That was outrageous!

            So I asked, “But what am I supposed to write?”

            “Whatever you want,” came the reply.

            And, literally, I dissolved into tears. I completely freaked out.

            I spent probably fifteen minutes of my life begging my mother to give me instructions. And then I tried bargaining.

            “At least let it be about people!” I cried, sprawled quite dramatically across the couch, downstairs.

            Yes, this was a multi-floor crisis.

            Mom remained firm. Loving, of course, but firm. And I’m pretty sure she was suppressing laughter, but then again, I was sobbing, so I’m not sure how reliable that memory is.

            So eventually, succumbing to the inevitable, I wrote the story, about a teenage monkey who decided to steal the whole village’s bananas one night, as an act of rebellion. And, naturally, sweeping the emotional crisis of a few minutes before from my mind, I was rather proud.

            That’s my earliest memory of any brush with creative writing of any form. I’d say I’ve come a long way, if not in writing quality, at least in my willing embrace of the insanity. (But hopefully the writing’s improved. At least a little.)

            Then came the ill-fated attempts at mystery novels, inspired by my love for the Hardy Boys series. Mom listened to every idea, every sentence I threw together. She even managed to smile when I forced her to look at the illustrations I had provided, but thankfully I gave up on that fairly quickly.

            Those are my earliest memories, and as you can see, my mother was involved every step of the way. Now, fast-forward a few years.

            My senior year was pretty spectacular, for many reasons, one of the more significant being the fact that Mom had, in lieu of a traditional grammar course, allowed me to write my novel, and let that count as Grammar, Writing, and Vocab. Because of that, I finally got down and dirty with my first significant writing project, the now-abandoned Darkness Falls.

            I think it’s pretty safe to say that my Mom is the reason I write. Obviously something such as this is more complex than such a reductionist explanation can capture, but I think it makes my point nicely.

            So…I’d like to thank you, Mom. I don’t even know if you’ll end up reading this.

            But thanks.

So, this is my story. What about all of you? How did your mother affect your writing, or your desire to write? 

Friday, May 11, 2012

More Flash Fiction!

Hello again! This makes the third consecutive day that I have posted, and while neither this nor the last are terribly substantial, they are posts nonetheless.

Also...don't come to expect such regular updates. Though I'd like to continue this pace, and might even manage  it sporadically through the summer, it's highly unlikely. So enjoy it while you can.

So, today's post consists of yet another foray into the dangerous world of Flash Fiction (dangerous because of it's addictive nature, naturally). I was introduced to Friday Fictioneers (Hosted by Madison Woods on her blog.) by the awesome McKenzie Barham on her blog The Other Side of Sorrow. FF gives you a photo prompt which you use as inspiration for a one hundred word Flash Fiction.

So I decided to try it. Here is my entry.

Moon and Sky

            It always happens in the grove, and the moon always watches.

            The trees guard us from sight, though no one comes here who does not already know. The trees still guard; the moon still watches.

            We file into the grove at random. There is no order to it, no pattern. At times, the first to arrive is the baker’s kid. Other times, the pastor.

            No one talks. Ever.

            And it’s not till the music swells that there is any sound, other than the quiet whispers of those who led us there.

The music envelops, and we sing its will.

Tis not my favorite thing I've ever written, but I like it okay. It seems to hold potential for a short story, and I might revisit it for just such a purpose in the future...

So tell me what you think! Once again, all feedback is appreciated.

Also, you really should visit those two blogs I linked to, up above. Even if you're not interested in participating. They're great blogs, and definitely worth your time!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction: Sombrero

Not too terribly long ago, I was introduced to the fascinating online writing community, and one of the more interesting opportunities it has afforded me is participation in Lillie McFerrin's awesome Five Sentence Fiction.

I say that as if I've actually participated in it. Let me clarify. It has given me the opportunity, one which I have yet to take advantage of. But this post will change that.

So...without further ado...My first stab at FSF!

Prompt: Sombrero

Stares burned from all directions, setting my face afire. The heat couldn’t escape anywhere with the woven-straw dome trapping it atop my head, and I shifted it a few times.

            A snicker sounded just off to my right, and I scowled at the mountain of books in my locker.
            “Told you not to do it, no one ever wins a bet against her,” Logan said. And laughed again.

So there you have it! Feel free to comment, any and all are appreciated and loved.

Also, you really should check out Lillie McFerrin's blog. She'll give you the full scoop on FSF, and you'll need to link your submission to her blog, anyways.
Plus, it's just an awesome blog.

Crossing the Threshold

Hello there.

I'm really quite glad you're here. And while I do hope you decide to stick around, I hold no illusions. Primarily, a place such as this is simply an outlet, yet another form of expression. A place I can proudly publish my thoughts.

But introductions are in order. I am an author, amateur linguist, and avid reader. Basically, a lover of words. Language fascinates me, with its complexities, the possibilities it offers, with its breathtaking beauty (Which is almost a pun...But only almost). So, naturally, this shall be the primary focus and subject matter of this blog. I will take you along with me, on my journey through life as a lover of words, expressed most significantly through my endeavors as an author.

Now, I cannot promise that I'll be a terribly regular blogger. I shall try, at least initially as I do plan on becoming more dedicated, to post at least once a week. And, seeing as how I am literally beginning this blog the morning of my last final, this should not prove to be too difficult. We. Shall. See.

Why am I doing this? Well, there are quite a few reasons, not the least of which is that I feel I've watched the lively online writing community from the sidelines for far too long. I think it's about time I participated in the insanity. The other, more selfish, reason is that I see this as a wonderful opportunity to develop my writing. 

Now, I know I said earlier that blogs are primarily for publishing thoughts, and in a sense, that's true. However, that is not all I desire. I would like, and it is very much my goal, for this to be an interaction, a dialogue. Because simply publishing your thoughts is boring. It is the response you get that makes it worthwhile.

Well, here is my introduction, and a few thoughts. I realize that it is short, and somewhat incomplete, but that's the point of blogging, isn't it? To delve deeper, to constantly build upon, to explore. So...will you go on an adventure with me? I'm fascinated to see where it'll lead.

P.S. - My name's Blake. Just in case you were wondering.
P.P.S. - Warning/Disclaimer: I'm utterly insane. I only specify this for those of you who do not automatically equate the words "author" and "insane". You have been warned.