The Writing Bug

9.27.2009 12
Thanks to a posting by Marsha’s Musings, I was forced to think about when I started to really be a writer. I’ve been a writer since I fist put pen (or crayon) to paper in pre-k, forging stories, retelling situations and imagining scenarios. Regrettably, It is not something I pursued as actively as I would have liked to.

That said, the writing bug has been with me for as long as I can remember.

However, it hovered in dark closets, relegating itself to obscure binders of loose pages containing a myriad of thoughts and random regurgitation of feelings throughout middle and high school. It went into remission for a few years, but it was around age 25 that the bug bit me. It infected me, and it has been deemed to have caused lifelong lasting effects. That was 8 years ago, and the infection continues to spread.

I hope it never stops.

What about you? When did it start, and besides published, what kind of writer do you aspire to be?


The Malefaction of Doubt

9.24.2009 8
For the record, I am not an Atheist. I am however an Agnostic, that leans heavily toward Atheism. I admit that there are things that we simply do not understand, and have no way of understanding, yet. I believe in all likelihood, all religions got it wrong, and it is in this sprit that we should continue to investigate and explore instead of feeling complacent with what we "know" as a species.

I think however, that the probability scale leans closer to a non-God universe (or multiverse as science now proclaims). But that doesn't mean we should stop looking for a creation force, let it be astronomical or quantum. Perhaps Stephen Hawkins is right in trying to hammer out the unified theory, but we will see. In my opinion, it all comes down to doubt. The fear that doubt strings along with it, pulling at our most primitive instincts, is comparable to that unexplained fear of the dark most people are born with. It’s not the dark in itself is frightening, it’s the not knowing what could be there. All belief systems, including Atheism, claim to have the answers. They KNOW that everybody is wrong and use either faith or empirical evidence as their ammunition, throwing around beliefs as an ultimate axiom. I’ll give science one thing though, they are quick to admit they were wrong when a new idea or theory can be proven. Though it is difficult to introduce a new idea in science, it is not impossible to so, as I’ve learned from religion. In my experience, any new idea or thought in religion results in the birth of a whole new theology, rather than a correction to the old one. Correct me if I am wrong. I’d love nothing more than to be mistaken here.

But that was not what I wanted to address with the previous post. The previous post was spawned from my irritation at the not-so-subtle inequality of our country. If Jesus can get a billboard, why can’t Darwin or Dawkins? – And I don’t like Dawkins. He’s just another attention deprived ass hole.

I can’t finish this post without mentioning Amber Tidd Murphy’s suggestions. Those were pretty funny.

To conclude, a rhetorical question: Why, WHY, is it such taboo for an Atheist to promote his/her views? How can we live in a country where not believing in a God is worse than cheating on your wife, committing fraud, molesting children, or even being accused of rape? Why do we allow people like this to be our elected officials, but an Atheist is a just unimaginable? Go HERE to see what I’m talking about.


The misfortune of disbelief: Atheism, the new gay?

9.23.2009 15
In an age of tolerance, of love thy brother, and do onto others and all that jazz, it is sad that these sentiments only apply to those of like mindedness, or of like faithesness rather. I do not understand how plastering entire highways with “Jesus Saves”, “Jesus Still Loves you”, “God is the way,” or my personal favorite, “You know you lie, but God knows only truth,” is not only acceptable, but evidently necessary for a community to consider itself safe. However, let one person stand up and say “I’m sorry, I don’t believe you,” and the rage that ensues is equivalent with what I’d expect to see if had slapped their children, made out with their spouse and ran over their dog, while proceeding to trim the cat’s whiskers.

I’m not about to go all Richard Dawkins on you or anything. That guy is a dick (pun totally intended). I understand and respect the traditions, and don’t think there is a damned thing wrong with “In God we Trust,” or “One nation under God.” That’s all fine and dandy, but to equate not believing in God with Satanism is, simply put, ignorant. Atheists don’t believe in Satan, re-tard. In fact, one can argue that atheists are amongst the most peaceful people around (scratch the above mentioned dick off that list). When was the last time you heard of an Atheist extremist blowing somebody up, or an Atheist crusade to recover the empirical land? Atheists tend to be well read people, informed, and open to discussion. There are always the bad sheep that go around insulting people for their beliefs, but they are a different kind of Atheist, commonly referred to as the Douche bag Atheists.

Speaking of asinine non-believers, I am constantly aggravated by the trendy faithless. When did Atheism become the new gay? When did denouncing beliefs loud and proud turn into a cache currency? Belief in what you hold dearest is sacred, let it be you pray to Jesus, Moses, Ala, Buddha, or Darwin (yes, all atheists pray to Dr. Charles, didn’t you know?). We hold candlelight vigils to little plastic fishies with legs before stamping them on the back of our cars.

But I digress.

But not really. Belief, no matter what it is, should be respected so far as no other person is being harmed for it. If there a people that need a God or a church system to get them to be compassionate toward their neighbor, and help the community, then so be it. More power to you. Some of us do all that, and still don’t need to believe in your theology.

So tell me, how would you react if you saw advertisements promoting Atheism in your neighborhood, your TV, your radio? And what about Agnostics? Oh, I can write a whole other tirade on the Agnostics, so perhaps I will, later.

Duty post

I had all these great ideas for a post today, but I've run out of time. Maybe if I look under this rock here, I'll find some extra time. So, this post is to satisfy my duty as a blogger and for once (yeah, once) bitch. I long for those days when time seemed to stretch on for hours, the concept of "waiting for ice cream" or "go to the park," TOMORROW was dreadfully distant. Tomorrow was like, in forever, or something.
Now I'm relegated to stretching my day, and the things I can get accomplished by typing them up on my iPhone, while trying (hoping) to get some sleep.
Maybe I'll hide under this here imaginary rock for a while.

Hasta maƱana, amigos.

Ps. Not that long ago, I caught my six year old staring at me through the rear view mirror of my car, while we drove on the highway. I felt his eyes, big giant chestnuts, scanning me until I finally asked, "what's up?". He proceeded to ask me a question which damn near made crash into the car next to me as I whipped my head around in astonishment and utter disbelief.
He said: "Papa, are all old people bald?"

awesome, eh? I just shaved my head a few months ago and now I'm in the old people category.
That's what I deal with.


Caged Tigers

9.19.2009 8
I got nothing though I felt obligated to write something. My prickling fingertips told me so, as did the voices that rummage in my head from time to time (a lot of times). But we won’t get into that subject, my mother always said to never speak of them. EVER!

Today is supposed to be the beer festival in Atlanta. I was looking forward to taking my kids to their mother’s house for the weekend, and proceeding to allow the shitfacedness to ensue. Alas, it is not to be. You see, the festival is in the open streets of East Atlanta, but today the sky weeps. There is even a chance of a thunderstorm or two sweeping by. Bad enough to have drunks on the street, but to have drunks on the wet, rainy road, ehh… no gracias. You have no idea how retarded people get when it rains in this city. You'd think they got gassed or something.

Its' not that I hate the rain, hell, without it most people don’t know how strike up conversation. It’s just that it’s been raining for two weeks already. We are starting to feel and sound a lot like caged tigers: A lot of pacing, roaring, and clawing at one another. Its getting ugly. Wish me luck, but above all, wish me beer.


Gooaaaaalllll....... Changed.

9.17.2009 13
Thanks to Marsha's Musing's, I have set myself a new goal: To have this novel done by October 30th. That’s right folks you heard it here first! Not that I have CNN and Fox news shoving Oprah out of the way to learn this information, but it’s there anyway.
I am 65,000 words in. I feel pretty good that I can get it done. The story is laid out, I’m just tweaking at this point. So, after I close this laptop tonight, I will get my I.V. drip ready and shove into the trunk of my car. Tomorrow morning as I take some time to write, I will walk into my usual Starbucks and boldly declare: “Plug me in Christie.” And she – having always wanting to inflict some kind of pain on me – will eagerly jab that hypodermic needle in my arm and proceed to pour down espresso shots into my fluids bag, letting it nourish me intravenously. That’s not just a mere high-five moment (it may tear the needle out of my arm causing some pain and excruciating sorrow at the loss of espresso), but rather an absolute “Hell Yeah!” moment. Fierce, creative keyboard pounding ensues.
Can you smell that awesome? I can.

What about you? Have you given your project an end date?

**All names and places mentioned are totally not a work of fiction, and only by coincidence, would somebody think they are.


Oh Look, Another Amateur.

9.15.2009 8
After this fantastic post by Fiction Groupie, that is precisely how I felt. These were items that I knew, I understood, I was even aware to avoid, yet did not. Oh, the shame! Read Fiction Groupie’s list, follow the blog, and revise your work. You will be glad, I know I am.

Go, do it!


Indecisions, in decisions

9.14.2009 6
I have reached an impasse in my novel. I have what I believe to be a good story, yet last night a new thought occurred to me. Granted, it came from the period when one is asleep, yet somewhat aware of the immediate surroundings. The noises of owls cooing outside, crickets stringing their legs together, and thoughts… Thoughts dancing wildly in the brain.
Should I plow forward with what I have? Or, stop, drop and roll… To the beginning and make the modifications to the story that invaded my thoughts at dawn? I could hold off the idea for the next novel… Oh, what WWJMD? (What Will JM Do) ;)


What is Facebook Etiquette?

9.13.2009 10
Pondering upon the new way of making contacts and friends online, meeting people whom otherwise I probably would never have come in contact with, I’m curious about how to properly establish the digital relationship. This is not to be confused with my digital-porn relationship, that’s a whole different subject.

Friend request sent, friend request accepted, and now I have a new little face in my “friends” box and a new tick under the number of friends. Which is weird in itself. I don’t recall spending my childhood days keeping account in my brown leather journal of how many friends I had. It’s not like when Javier took my wallet and dunk it in the boys room toilet, I went into my little notebook and crossed him off my “number of friends” list, scratching out 28 to 27. That asshole.

Nevertheless, here we are. And now that I have accepted the friend request, do I go and start commenting on my new friend’s pictures and posts like we are long lost buddies? Notice, I don’t ask if it was acceptable to go through the pictures, because, let’s face it, that’s happening regardless. Those pictures, the personal info wall, and the “likes” are absorbed with such scrutiny it would make the cavity search guy at the airport jealous.

Or better yet, should I initiate with a humble “I Like” on their current status, to warm each other up to our presence in one anothers life? On the hand, one could just dive right in the middle of the action, not unlike Steven Seagal, jumping in the middle of bilingual super-stealth ninjas turned yakuza-mafiosos (with outstanding Armani suits and swords): Kicking ass, not caring about names, and never, ever, losing his cool as much as to flake off his hair gel. Hmmm, I often think about this. I don’t have to worry about gel anymore, but would love to know how you approach your new, never-shook-hands-with, friends.


Giddy up on that healthcare bandwagon!

9.09.2009 4
I, as I suspect most Americans out there, have been hearing about the ongoing healthcare debate taking place currently on Capitol Hill. I’ve made no secret that I am not a fan of the current administration. I’m not a fan of the previous one either, so let’s not get any ideas. Regardless, I do have my opinions which (not shocking) do not jive with either of the propositions. And since nobody asked me them, I’m about to give them to you.

I’ve been listening to my peers argue about not wanting socialized healthcare, that we don’t want our hospitals run like the DMV, or that death squads (and I really laughed out loud, snorting and all, at this one) will be deciding who lives and who doesn’t.

One the other side, I heard about how the social healthcare works in other “advanced” countries, why not here? Let me stick to that point for a moment. Japan has a national healthcare system, one that covers approximately one-hundred and twenty seven million Japanese citizens. An article from NPR discusses just how cheap the health care is. “Perhaps too cheap” reports the article, stating that Doctor’s incomes are extremely low. I already see a problem with this. A problem that we, here in the states, are starting to suffer from. All the smart people are no longer becoming Doctors. And I don’t know about you, but I want my physicians to be as smart as, well, a doctor!

Never mind that for now. Another issue in Japan is that, while the national healthcare program started as a cover all – for everything, it is no longer the case. Over the last years, the co-payments and deductibles have increased, first by 10%, then to 20% and are currently at 30% patient responsibility. This means that in order to have full coverage in Japan, you have to carry two insurances, a GAP insurance if you will. So, they are partially back on private insurance, while their government tries to reel back in the ballooning costs of their healthcare program. And that with 127mil people! We have more than double the amount of bodies here. And don’t get me started on the weight and general health differences.
I don’t disagree with some government interference here though. Some. The pre-existing condition thing has got to go. That is retarded. And if you are offended because you think that the word retarded is insensitive because of those people that are in fact born with brain damage, well, I got news for you. The pre-existing condition thing is retarded.

However, we are a capitalist nation still, last time I checked. Forbid the insurance companies from setting negotiated rates with doctors. Let the doctor or hospital set his pricing according to what they see fit. The market will determine the value of the service, and people will go to whichever provider has mentioned best value. Abolish the referral system, so we can see whatever doctor we feel comfortable with. Let American’s get the insurance plan we want, at an affordable price. Not those ridiculous self-pay rates. Make it mandatory for citizens and residents to have healthcare. It seems to work just fine with auto insurance. Competitive rates, no in-network car mechanic nonsense. Grant us discounts for being healthy, and engaging in healthy activities. Slap us on the wrist for smoking (I’m getting slapped), and for letting our cholesterol shoot through the roof. Prevent as much as we can. Money is a great motivator, and as such we should leverage it properly.

Oh, and we should really reform the DMV. Everyone seems to already know it sucks.
Did I miss anything? Or am I totally wrong here? Let me know.


Books 4 Beer!

9.07.2009 3
This weekend was the Decatur Book Festival in Decatur, GA. A fabulous gathering of booksellers, authors, and readers to which I could not help but smile at. Not to say that the event was without the token redneck, or gratuitous drunk, but it was still fun nonetheless. Literary event or not, this is still Georgia we are talking about.
Regrets: I missed Lee Child's appearance.
That's it, nothing else. Oh, except maybe that its only a weekend, and and not a whole week long festival. Then again, that would probably displace the beer festival coming up in a few weeks.
But I digress. The DBF is one of those events, that to the avid reader and writer, provide an unparalleled opportunity to meet with independent booksellers, authors, and acquire large quantities of reading material for damn near nothing. Seriously, where else can you walk away with eight (8) books in exchange for one (1) beer. Huh? Beat that Amazon!
It happens once a year, but if anybody would be interested, I can keep you posted for next year's end of summer event. Are there any other book fairs or writers conferences worth attending out there later this year? I'd love to know.


Selfless? Bullshit!

9.04.2009 2
I am exhausted from hearing praise for those “selfless” acts. There is no such thing. Selflessness is one of those things that people think they exist, but don’t. Not unlike the pretense of “buy 1- get 1 free”. No free lunch either (sorry). You are paying for it one way or the other.
But I digress, but not really. Even when people do something for the sake of doing it, and have no material, or otherwise apparent gain, it is still not selfless. Those words are usually accompanied by: “It feels right, or I feel good helping, or could stand and do nothing.” Well, that’s grand and all, but you are doing it for selfish reasons still. To make YOU feel good. If one helps without feeling anything, in a true selfless way, it would be closer to apathy, and that would just be sad.
So go ahead, stroke your ego a bit, butter up that hero complex a little, and if somebody gets helped in the process, then you just made two people feel good. In the end, isn’t that really what it’s all about. Let’s not mislabel things. Call them for what they are, and I am confident you will find yourself feeling even better about your selfless *ehm* actions.
I’d love to know your thoughts. Can you give me an example of a non-self rewarding action that is not apathetic?


A Kindle? For me? You shouldn't have... Really. Don't

9.01.2009 4
I love tech, I make a living with it after all, but some things I feel are best left alone. I understand the book publishing industry is changing, but the new e-readers seem less like evolution, and more like evolutionary mutation. I enjoy the leafing through pages sensation, the smell of the pages, the binding, the glue...never mind the type! Maybe I'm a thirty-three year old, old soul.
So, I take no shame when I declare that my approach to the kindle is: "Just say no!"
Maybe time will force my hand, but until then, I refuse.
As far as lending books, I also quit. It easier than quitting smoking, and made me feel good to do so, not antsy like my departing nicotine chum.
A few weeks after parting with my paper bound treasures, I could hear my fathers words echoing in my mind: "I'm not sure who's dumber. The person that lends a book, or the one who returns it." Turns out, I was the dumber-er.
I'd like to hear the other side of the argument though? What is the advantage of an e-reader? Especially if you enjoy book sharing.
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