Brain Dead

I’m not good with games. As a kid, I could handle the tough stuff like Go Fish and Crazy Eights. Eventually, I graduated to Checkers and Monopoly.  In University, my brother tried to teach me Chess, please — way too many rules. Trivial Pursuit? If you need a Cole Porter lyric, I’m your man. Poker? I can’t bluff and I can’t be bothered to worry about who’s holding what. Apparently, I lack the killer instinct.

And then, there’s the whole world of computer and phone games. Remember Farmville? I was hooked there for a while, till I ran out of friends. I quit Candy Crush around level 79. I got a little cocky with Jewel Quest and thought I could handle a hidden object game called, Dying For Daylight. I was wrong. Poor Dahlia the Vampire, she’s still looking for that potion on an old laptop that’s been banished to the spare room.

These days I play it safe with Solitaire and Cut the Buttons. Last week, I was forced to acknowledge my abysmal game playing skills …

While trying to entertain a four year old, I installed Astraware’s Alien Pop!
The blurb read: The aliens are coming! Tap to pop them. Designed to develop manual dexterity in young children. Lots of sound and visual effects, no win or lose. Enough variety to keep little ones interested and entertained.

Perfect, right?

The four year old played the game for maybe five minutes and then decided he’d prefer to watch Rescue Bots — but the game was sitting on my screen and I spent a whole dollar and a half on it.

Yep, you got it. I’m now playing a game for the preschool group. I can’t tell you how proud I am 🙂

brain dead (3)

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Don’t Worry, Be Happy.

Back in the day, Bobby McFerrin sang, Don’t Worry, Be Happy.  

These days, pop-culture spouts the phrase, Be Present.

More than two thousand years ago, the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu expressed much the same idea in these words:  “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”

Similar philosophies, but notice the tone. The first one is all sunshine and beach days, the second seems a tad dictatorial to me, and the third is a helping hand offered over a cup of tea.

It’s a beautiful day today and I’m on vacation so I’ve got to go with McFerrin on this one 🙂

 

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A Love/Hate Thing

I hate writing, I love having written.” – Dorothy Parker 

I came across the above quote in a post by Whitney Carter and thought, Yes. Exactly!

Writing is torture. It’s staring at a blank screen and a keyboard full of letters until your brain melts and you head into the kitchen for sugar and caffeine. It’s squeezing those little grey cells until a word pops out … and then another and another. It’s checking your word count and wanting to cry.  It’s masochistic.

That’s writing, the process is excruciating, but … the product?

Yes, it can be total crap, but it’s your total crap. You did this. You wrestled the words into a thought. You agonized over character, plot, voice, point of view, and freaking punctuation.  You hit Google so many times your mouse needs a new battery, but you did it. You’re DiCaprio on the Titanic, arms spread shouting, “I Am The King of The World.”

King (2)

Writers are schizophrenic. It’s a love/hate thing 🙂

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Be You

 

Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”

 

If our fingerprints are to be believed we are, each one of us, unique. It is imprinted on our DNA, our birthright as human beings. Our singularity is something to be cherished and yet, so many of us waste our time trying to blend in with the herd.

Like the world around us, we are none of us static. Each of us is a collection of idiosyncrasies. A collection that time and experience mold and shape so that who we are is more a variable than a constant. Given the fluidity of our psyches, it makes no sense to lock ourselves into the straight jacket of conformity.

It’s hard enough to figure out who we are, never mind pretending to be someone else.

We should embrace our individuality, cultivate it, play with it. Take our weirdness out for a stroll and make life interesting for both ourselves and the people around us.

Why fit in when you can stand out?

 

stand out

 

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Real – ish

I’m a spectacular wimp when it comes to roller coaster rides. Not for me, hurtling down mountains of steel track, defying gravity and sanity. Nope, can’t do it. I’ll take my terror in a virtual format, please.

This past week, I climbed aboard my very own banshee and flew. 

banshee

 

Pandora spread out below me, friends flying beside me. A breath-stealing experience.

Was it real? No.

Does virtual reality count? Uh … did you hear the part about flying?

Every animal on the planet can do real: perceive the world around them as it actually is. As far as we know, only humans can do real-ish: perceive the world around them as it actually isn’t.

Real-ish — it’s the basis of everything we are. Everything we’ve become since that long ago kid in a cave picked up a stick and drew in the dirt.

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Attitude

I’m not a fan of inspirational quotes. Way too rah, rah, cheerleader for me.

Truth be told, I find most of these tiny slices of wisdom annoying.

I read quotes like the ones below and think:

success2“So … this is my fault?”

 

success1 (2)    “Right, like it’s that easy.”

 

success3 (2)“You’ve heard of depression, right?”

I’m skeptical as to whether these facile bromides help anyone, but the Can Do This attitude they tout … to borrow from Martha Stewart, “It’s a good thing.”

As a writer, before you ever open a Word document some part of you has to believe I can do this. In my case, it was more like a maybe I can do this … baby steps 🙂

If  you tell yourself you can’t, you won’t.

Attitude is everything.

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Blog to the Rescue

I’m slow. Depressingly slow. Not when I’m sprinting for the nearest caramel latte, but as a writer — hair grows faster than I write.

Needless to say, I don’t plan anything out. Yeah, I know 🙂

Because I write about as fast as paint dries, my enthusiasm inevitably crashes and sitting down at my laptop becomes the last thing I want to do. I fall into the My Writing Sucks Blues and it’s not a pretty song.

It seems counterintuitive, but I’ve discovered that writing this blog makes me happier with and more excited about my WIP. It turns out, the more I write, the more I write 🙂

I’d been neglecting my blog for months because I thought I should be disciplined and mature and concentrate on my book. It seemed to me that any time taken for my blog was time taken away from my book.

But writing isn’t math, it’s not a plus or minus kind of thing. It’s more like biology, cells multiplying in a petri dish when you’re not looking.  The thought and energy I put into my blog generates more thought and energy for my WIP. Who knew?

who knew

Uh … everyone. What seemed like a revelation to me is actually a fairly common trick writers pass among themselves — when you’re stuck, write something else.

I may even have heard this advice before, but stubborn ass that I am, I had to discover the truth for myself 🙂

I’d like to thank everyone who reads my posts. Your views, likes, and comments are the life preserver that saves me from the My Writing Sucks Blues 🙂

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A Better World

Here in Toronto, we’re smack in the middle of Pride month. As Rodgers and Hammerstein put it eons ago, June Is Bustin’ Out All Over … with rainbow flags and tourists. The annual Pride Parade, this year in its 37th year, has become the official start to our short-lived summer.

In my local suburban mall, Purdys Chocolatier, a Canadian confectionery retail chain, flies the flag with a display of chocolates wrapped in rainbow ribbons and a sign that reads, “Love is the Answer.”  Granted, Purdys is looking to push their product, but the display made me smile anyway … and made me think …

I’m old enough to remember a time before Pride, before words like transgender and homophobia became commonplace. I grew up in a era when the world was presented to the younger generation as a monolith of heterosexuality.

There were no cute books with titles like Sally Has Two Moms. Lexus didn’t run television commercials that featured a man hugging his male partner on his way out the door in the morning. Actually, now that I think about it, Lexus didn’t exist back then and the family car was a station wagon not an SUV.

The complacent fabrication I had unconsciously absorbed, the myth of a solely Adam and Eve world, was obliterated — because of a book. A pink paperback I plucked off a rack in a convenience store.

E. M. Forster’s Maurice broke the world I knew and built a better one. A more interesting, more diverse world. Turns out, I didn’t have to go into outer space with the crew from the star ship Enterprise. There was infinite diversity in infinite combinations to be found right here in my own backyard.

Happy Pride 🙂

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Censorship: A Time Honoured Tradition

The ancient Greeks appreciated the human body for the gift that it is. The body was both natural and holy, a concept that didn’t translate well to the Christian world in the dark times of the Middle Ages. A succession of Popes, starting with Pope Paul IV felt that while man was an expression of God’s creation, there was no need for that expression to be anatomically correct.

Welcome to a period of prolific art desecration, a centuries long brutal and clumsy attempt at censorship. Goodbye genitalia and hello fig leaves.

Still today, the line between art and pornography is a blurry, wavy thing dictated by taste and culture. While the ethics of depicting the phallus itself change with the tides of time, phallic images have managed to escape the scourge of the censor. They pop out everywhere, impulsive and indiscrete, and often amusing. Freud was particularly fond of them but that’s a whole other post.

With phallic images, it’s not so much what you see but what you think you see.

Phallic images, like the phallus they represent, come in all shapes, sizes, and flavours.

From traditional
penis1

to whimsical
penis5

to artistic

penis3

 

Personally, I’ve always found that the space ship, Andromeda Ascendant from the television show Andromeda bears more than a vague resemblance to parts unmentionable …

penis4

or maybe that’s just me 🙂

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Google

Google is an amazing tool, everything you will ever need right there at the click of a mouse. Also everything you don’t need, will never need, and shouldn’t be wasting your time with.

Case in point: There are only so many ways to describe the human body in motion. In motion in private. In motion in private behind closed doors. Body parts in particular are a bit of a toil. If you don’t want to get into ridiculous euphemisms, and I don’t, you find yourself writing the same words over and over… and how exciting is that?

My solution is Google and its lovely gateway to synonym heaven. Google rarely fails me, but she does lead me astray. I wish I could blame Google, but the fault is mine. When faced with the siren call of her lovely connected links, I have no self-control. I wander in her never ending forest and lose myself.

It’s shameful, but I have been known to wander Google’s paths for hours. Hours spent researching a detail that I may or may not end up using in my book. What can I say? I’m a weak, weak person.

Google’s rather like the universe’s largest department store, you go in looking for one thing and come out with something else. Sometimes that something else is pretty damn funny …

penis waving

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