Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

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I Just Finished Playing Max Payne

March 6, 2008

The crumbs were scattered down the counter like Hansel and Gretel’s roadtrip to Hell. The bread loaf, the apple, nothing else had been hit. Just the jar. Somebody knew what they wanted ahead of time. An inside job always stinks, and I was fresh out of Lysol.

“I told them I was saving them for the potluck. Why would they do this?”

A good question. A better one would be, who are they?

“Honey, cut it out.”

The dame was feisty, I’ll give her that. She was all sleek curves and dangerous eyes that flashed like lightening or gunfire, take your pick. I like gunfire.

“Damnit John, just go talk to your boys!”

The perps were holed up in their rathole, a cramped attic filled with beds and dressers and little plastic landmines that hurt really bad if you stepped on them with bare feet. Bad like a moon rising in that song. The usual suspects were there. I knew Billy was a stoolie, but only when Tommy and Jimmy weren’t there to keep him in line. Worse luck, they were. They looked up, all puzzled innocence.

“Uh…dad? Why are you talking like-”

Clever, real clever of them. They were trying to take the lead in the conversation, I’d have to watch my back.

All right, you thugs, I said. Who took the cookies from the cookie jar?

“Thugs?”

“Dad, that’s a little harsh.”

I needed answers, not backtalk. This was going nowhere fast. Or everywhere slow, I couldn’t tell. Riddles upon riddles until my head hurt.

“Yeah, you seem like you might have hit it pretty hard.”

I still needed answers, bad. Ly. I had some leverage against them, I decided to use it. If I didn’t find out whodunit, I’d ground them like grounded pepper. Billy looked ready to crack. I asked them again about who took the cookies from the cookie jar.

“Tommy took the cookies from the cookie jar!”

“Me? Couldn’t be, I was at practice.”

Then who?

“Jimmy. Jimmy must have taken the cookies from the cookie jar.”

“You’re on crack, Billy. I don’t even like cookies, dumbass.”

But if the truth wasn’t behind door number one, and it wasn’t behind door number two, then what was behind door number three? The truth? I had my doubts.

“Okay, okay. I did it. I took the cookies from the cookie jar.”

This was a surprise. Sleet and ice water filled my veins. Something was wrong. A big something. The kind of something that gets called the Blankity-blank Incident for years to come. I had no evidence. Why would Billy cop to it? What’s his angle?

“Honey!”

The dame was calling from down below, like a voice out of Hell.

“Never mind, I found crumbs all over the dog’s bed. And I heard that voice of Hell thing, you’re sleeping on the couch.”

One mystery solved, but I’d stumbled across something even bigger. Why would Billy take the fall for Rex?

“I…I just didn’t want to be grounded.”

The last shoe, dropped at last. It was a big line of shoes, like at Footlocker.

“Wait, you didn’t want to be grounded for something the dog did, so you tried to get us grounded instead? Don’t go to sleep tonight, twerp. I’m warning you.”

Oh. Well then. Tom, Jim, be nice to your brother. Billy, watch your back.

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Paper #3 for my Theory of Authorship class

February 26, 2008

In Foucault’s “What is an Author?”, he summarizes his theory of what he calls the authorship function as having four distinct characteristics. The very first of these is that “the author function is linked to the juridical and institutional system that encompasses, determines, and articulates the universe of discourses.” He more fully explains this passage as the “penal appropriation,” and argues that authorial ownership is first appropriated on behalf of the writer by the relevant local judicial authorities- whether the writer wants it or not. The story that is related in Malcolm Gladwell’s “Something Borrowed” is a good case study for the practical implications of Foucault’s penal appropriation.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Great Moments in Procrastination

February 23, 2008

I woke up at the crack of 1 pm today, and realized that I had 9 pages worth of essay to write for two different classes. One will require that I read another essay I have yet to go over and then apply its ideas to a book that I hate, and the other will require that I find 5 sources to back up a stupid medieval travelogue I’m supposed to compose. It was off to the salt mines for me.

Then I realized- wait, it’s Saturday, not Sunday.

Fuck yeah! Team Fortress, here I come!

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Invisible Friends

January 17, 2008

I’m reading about the Crusades in one of my classes, and it has sparked some internal monologuing on the subject of religious wars. It seems to me that religious strife comes from a deep seated insecurity about the nature of one’s own beliefs. If it was a simple disagreement, I don’t see why differing religious theories would so regularly lead to violence. Controversies in science and art sometimes become bitter and personal, but they rarely lead to bloodshed. In fact I cannot think of a single time that an artistic or scientific disagreement even got near the mere threat of force, unless it was a disagreement between the scientists/artists on one side, and some very religious people on the other.

But religious disputes are different from art and science. On some unconscious level, people recognize the irrationality and inconsistencies of a belief in the divine, and in response they come up with ways to justify that belief. But when they encounter other people doing the same thing but in a different manner- and this might be particularly true for different denominations of the same faith- it can be terribly upsetting. The question that arises is: if the Word of God is so true and profound and universal, how come so many other people get it wrong? How is it that they arrive at these silly excuses they tell themselves to paper over the flaws in their beliefs, and how is it that they can believe so fervently in them?

How dare you claim your invisible friend is the one true invisible friend when it is so clearly obvious that my invisible friend is the one true invisible friend! Furthermore, I hate you for believing so fervently in your invisible friend, because your ability to rationalize your clearly delusional beliefs about him unsettles the strength of my belief in my own invisible friend; I recognize in your face the same incredulity I wear when I look at your church and your god and it tempts me to wonder if perhaps the points I make about you may apply equally to me. And for the sake of all the years and effort I have invested in my belief, I cannot allow that to happen.

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La Resistance

December 29, 2007

INT. A WAREHOUSE- NIGHT

We’re looking through the viewfinder of a camcorder. In the corner, a red dot flares to life next to REC. The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES kneels blindfolded with his hands bound behind his back before a black sheet hung up on a cement wall. Standing next to him, pistol in hand, is the LEADER. He is a young, fit man wearing a ski mask.

LEADER
People of America! For too long you have allowed your corrupt masters to define your existence for you! The freedom they offer is a lie! Time and again you elect corporate stooges who do nothing but give you the illusion of control! It is time reject this false democracy and force the people to retake their own destiny!

The Leader raises his pistol to the President’s head.

LEADER (CONT’D)
Sic semper tyrannus!

CUT TO the CAMERAMAN, standing stepping out from behind the camera.

CAMERAMAN
Whoa whoa, stop!

LEADER (exasperated)
What?

CAMERAMAN
Sic semper tyrannus? Are you kidding?

LEADER
What’s wrong with it?

CAMERAMAN
Well nothing, if we’re the Cliché Liberation Front.

CUT TO the SOUNDGUY, holding a boom mic, a confused look playing across his face.

SOUNDGUY
Wait, I thought we were the American Revolution Leauge.

LEADER
Don’t be an idiot, Darryl.

CAMERAMAN
No names! We agreed no names around the hostage!

LEADER
Oh come on, it doesn’t even matter anymore! We’re about to kill him- hell, he’d already be dead if you hadn’t-

A window BREAKS. A flash grenade lands CLATTERING at their feet. The faint sound of CLOMPING BOOTS is heard lining up next to the door.

CAMERAMAN
Aw shit.

The flash grenade EXPLODES…

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Dilemma!

December 22, 2007
I’ve finally started to write in my book again, but I’ve come up against a sticky problem. A lot of the prose seems dead and pointless, like I’m just going through the motions, and normally I’d be fine with that because this is a first draft after all. But I’m concerned that if I keep writing bland pages, I’ll either get frustrated and give up, or I will come to accept bland pages as acceptable even during the edit process because I can’t see any way to spice them up.

So I’m considering rewriting what I’ve got so far with the present-tense, to see if that helps things. The present tense is nice because it naturally lends itself to active sentences, and if used well can be very fun to read.

The problem is that I was already planning to use the present tense as a way to distinguish a dream sequence that will be coming up in a few chapters. I thought it would be nice to use it as a way to cue the reader in to the fact that the events of that scene take place outside of the regular timeline in a dream. But if the whole book is written in present tense, then I lose that. I suppose I could just make the dream sequence past-tense, but I don’t think the contrast would work as well that way.

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Word of the Day

November 27, 2007

apodyopsis
n. the act of imagining a person naked