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A Party for You Know Who! March 30, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Special Events, Writing & Writers.
Tags: , , ,
36 comments

In honor of his Birthday and all the books he wrote . . .

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A party was in order with a favorite poster quote . . .

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Small fans arrived in costume . . . as foxes, fishes, and a goat!

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They decor-ated cupcakes and left with belly bloat.

Aah . . . that’s better!

There’s no end to the things you might know, depending how far beyond Zebra you go. ~ Dr. Seuss

What’s your favorite Seussian book, character, word, rhyme or quote?

 

Häagen-Dazs & Pretzel: A Fairy Tale March 22, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
Tags: , , , ,
37 comments

Once upon a time, an extremely unattractive and petulant misanthrope grew tired of living in close proximity to a bunch of Nosy Parkers.

“Hell is other people,” Mizzie Borden muttered while stirring a cauldron of Cream of Newt Soup.  “Always butting in where they don’t belong.”

She decided to follow Thoreau’s footsteps into the woods.  She surfed MAXEDOUT.com and found a small cottage with a large oven and great curb appeal.  Real eye candy.

Mizzie purchased the cottage without requesting a home inspection.  An army of ants nibbling the gingerbread siding wasn’t the worst of it.

Walden Township raised property taxes, FEMA hiked flood insurance premiums, and subsidies under the Unaffordable Health Care Act never materialized.  

Desperate to make ends meet, Mizzie advertised on Angie’s List as an unlicensed child care provider (a/k/a “a babysitter”).  

The next day, a woodcutter left Häagen-Dazs and Pretzel in Mizzie’s care.

“I’m off to protest mountaintop removal by short-sighted privateers intent on raping the earth of its coal.  Soon, there won’t be any trees left for me to cut.  I’ll be back at 5.”

Häagen-Dazs and Pretzel proved  to be both crude and rude.

“Spoiled brats!”

Impatient for lunch, they pulled the gingerbread siding off her cottage and ate it.  Ants and all.

“Insubordinate beasts!”

When the woodcutter didn’t show on time, Mizzie shoved Häagen-Dazs and Pretzel into the oven for a “time out.”

Unbeknownst to Mizzie, the oven was blazing.

“Oh, well. I warned Häagen-Dazs not to play with matches.”

Following a half-hearted investigation plagued with bureaucratic foul ups, bribery, and corruption, the police dropped all charges.  Mizzie returned home and became a writer (the best occupation for misanthropes).  

Unable to find a publisher for her horror stories and fractured fairy tales, Mizzie self-published.  Fueled by her recent notoriety, Eat Mor’ Children  took off in a blaze of tweets.  

Paparazzi became a nuisance, sitting in trees with long lenses.

“Every blessing is cursed!”

Mizzie stormed the glade, “Get off, the lot of you!  Go shoot Cumberbatch’s bitches!”

When entreaties failed, Mizzie invited them for lunch.  As lunch.

If not for government-sanctioned invasions of privacy, Mizzie would have lived happily-ever-after.

“No one’s gonna miss a few pesky paparazzi.”

Except for other Nosy Parkers.

NSA (National Screening Agents) intercepted Mizzie’s e-mails, including her recipes for “Paparazzi Primavera” and “Children Cacciatore.”

“Hell is other people,” Mizzie muttered, when arrested.  ”Always poking about where they don’t belong.”

* * *

Join the fun ~> Susanna’s March Madness Writing Contest is Here!

Writing is a solitary occupation.  Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer.  He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking. ~ Lawrence Clark Powell

Related post:  A Fairy Tale Tribunal

Illustrations:  Wikipedia ~ Hansel & Gretel (in Public Domain)

Breathing Life Into Characters February 26, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
Tags: , , , , ,
22 comments

Tim Dorsey knows how to breathe life into his characters.

In a single paragraph, he describes 7 characters using brief sketches, allowing readers to flesh in the rest:

* Major Fletcher ~ steady leader with blond hair, a close shave, and a square dependable jaw

* Lee Barnes ~ a crusty and foul-mouthed veteran with hangover stubble and a footlocker of vintage Playboys

* Milton “Bananas” Foster ~ a highly excitable yet gifted mechanical wizard

* Marilyn Sebastian ~ a plucky aerial reconnaissance officer, as tough as any man, but every bit a woman

* Pepe Miguelito ~ a forlorn youth with pencil mustaches and unending girl troubles

* “Tiny” Baxter ~ a massive country boy from Oklahoma with simple but strong values

* William Honeycutt ~ a former bantamweight champion

Dorsey provides enough detail to bring his characters to life . . . without beating them to death.

Sometimes a skeletal outline or quick sketch connects us to a character faster than too many extraneous details.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Explanations (Candid Impressions) * Two Writers Debate: Pantsing vs. Plotting (Eric John Baker) * The End is Never the End (Grannymar)

A Few Good Quotes February 24, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
Tags: , ,
40 comments

Donald-Duck-Diving Do It!  Let’s Get Off Our Buts by Peter McWilliams  contains a plethora of fantastic quotes.

Here are a few favorites:

1.  Do or do not.  There is no try. ~ Yoda

2.  It’s hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head. ~ Sally Kempton

3.  Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed. ~ Michael Pritchard

4.  Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function. ~ Garrison Keillor

5.  Only two things are infinite ~ the universe and human stupidity.  And I’m not sure about the former. ~ Albert Einstein

Donald-Duck-Baseball6.  The ancestor of every action is a thought. ~ Emerson

7.  Lots of folks confuse bad management with destiny. ~ Kin Hubbard

8.  Poor is the man whose pleasures depend on the permission of another. ~ Madonna

9.  The only man who is really free is the one who can turn down an invitation to dinner without giving an excuse. ~ Jules Renard

10.  Do not do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Their tastes may not be the same.  ~ George Bernard Shaw

11.  Never keep up with the Joneses.  Drag them down to your level.  It’s cheaper. ~ Quentin Crisp

12.  I always wanted to be somebody.  I should have been more specific. ~ Lily Tomlin

Donald-Director13.  How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterward. ~ Spanish Proverb

14.  Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired. ~ Jules Renard

15.  The sun will set without thy assistance. ~ The Talmud

16.  A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to leave alone. ~ Thoreau

17.  There is only one success ~ to be able to spend your life in your own way. ~ Christopher Morley

18.  What is money?  A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do. ~ Bob Dylan

19.  There is more to life than increasing its speed. ~ Gandhi

Donald-Duck-Painting20.  A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. ~ Abraham Maslow

21.  When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

22.  He deserves Paradise who makes his companions laugh. ~ The Koran

Aah . . . that’s better!

Passing the Hat . . . to Write February 8, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Blogs & Blogging, Books & Movies, Writing & Writers.
Tags: , , , ,
51 comments

The internet has changed the writing landscape in many ways:

* Writers can start a blog to gain a fan base.
* Writers can create a platform on Facebook to discuss work in progress.
* Writers can tweet about their new or soon-to-be releases to build interest.

And . . . they can pass the hat to sell their promised words BEFORE they’ve even set them down in digital ink.

Wikipedia ~ Beggar (Public Domain)

Imagine if everyone could get paid for doing nothing.

* Would you pay a chef to create a meal that you might never get to taste?
* Would you pay a chauffeur to buy a car that you might never occupy?
* Would you pay an attorney for advice not yet proffered?

If not, why would you pay a writer (you’ve never met) to write a book you might never have a chance to read . . . because it hasn’t been written yet?

Internet Begging is BIG business.

There are hundreds of cyber begging sites designed to allow people to raise money to support the penchant for designer clothes, a desire for bigger boobs, or to create a fund of creative financing for creatives endeavoring to create creative endeavors before those endeavors have been created.

I’m all for supporting The Arts . . . but I’m not inclined to pay a writer for words not yet written.

* * *

What say you?  

When people “pass the hat” to finance unfulfilled desires, are you inclined to toss money into the pot?  Do you swing by Kickstarter on a regular basis to discover writing projects to support?  If so, there are 15,828 potential publishing projects on Kickstarter from which to choose.

Or, like me, would you rather support writers by buying books AFTER they’ve been written?

Aah . . . that’s better!

Wading Through Sot-Weeds January 8, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
Tags: , , , , ,
32 comments

My favorite thing about writing is its complete and utter autonomy:

* My book.
* My rules.
* My choice of characters.

Anyone who writes a book, play, or screenplay gets to choose the world, the setting, the time period, and the people populating center stage.

That said, readers do have a voice.

When following the threads of a story, I enjoy a sense of continuity.  Imagery and poetry in perpetuity are not enough for me.  I need something to hang my hat on or my attention wanes.

“Sot-Weed Factor” fan
proclaims it ~ “the best English
written novel yet”

Hopes high, I dove deep
where obscure digressions and
parodies parade

Wading through Sot-Weeds
grew cruelly tiresome, I
turned to other worlds

Reading a voluminous tome or treatise filled with esoteric references holds little appeal . . . when the whole forest is out there waiting to be explored.

That’s my favorite thing about reading ~ the complete and utter autonomy to choose whether to remain in an author’s audience or turn to other words and other worlds.

Aah . . . that’s better!

While writing this post, I learned I’m not alone in my unwillingness to wade through Barth’s laborious labors:

“John Barth’s “The Sot-Weed Factor” is a brilliantly specialized performance, so monstrously long that reading it seemed nearly as laborious as writing it. Obviously Barth (author previous of “The End of the Road” and “The Floating Opera”) believed he needed these approximately 500,000 words to achieve his effects. Few will agree with him, for though he abounds in excellent satirical devices he is addicted to repeating them.”

* * *

“Though it is not for all palates, it is possible that Barth’s book may be cherished by its true audience for some time to come.”

Fuller, Edmond, “The Joke is on Mankind,” NY Times, August 21, 1960.

Have you read The Sot-Weed Factor?  

Did you consume its 500,000 words in one gulp or spit it out before digesting its divergent digressions?

Related posts:  The Clean (Book)Plate Club *  Andrew Zimmern’s Picks Don’t Appeal

A Jangle and Tangle of Keys & Change December 26, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
Tags: , , , , ,
27 comments

IMGP3907If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?

Would you let go of something that isn’t working?  Or reach out to latch onto something new?

Would you swap your house, your career, your hobbies, or something more subtle ~ like your definition of “happiness” or of “success”?

What doors would you open?  What doors would you close?  What doors would you LOCK tight and mark “NO ADMITTANCE”?

Would you keep the keys?

* * * * *

A Quartet of Writing Prompts from Poets & Writers:

Change:  Our lives are constantly changing as we navigate what we can and can’t control. Every day there is a new beginning and ending ~ in big and small ways. We fall in love. We lose an eyelash. Change is complex and emotional because it reminds us of our humanity and our mortality.  Write a poem about how your life is changing. Be specific.

Keys:  Keys remind us that the world is untrustworthy and unsafe, and that locks are needed to protect loved ones and possessions from humanity’s less appealing inclinations.  Keys are also filled with memories ~ a first apartment, a new car, access to a home no longer occupied by a friend. Choose a key from your keychain, or perhaps one abandoned in the back of a kitchen drawer, and write a detailed description of the key.  Segue into broader, more meaningful thoughts.

 

Homes:  Our homes are extensions of our souls ~ the vibrant oil painting of a French villa hanging in the dining room, the tattered couch stained by a child’s bowl of ice cream in the den, the dead, blackened peace lily on an empty bookshelf. Write a poem about the home you were raised in. Focus on the decorations, the furniture, and the items that reveal the most about the people who lived among them.  In our homes, everything means something.

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Collections:  People often collect strange things for unknown reasons ~ ceramic elves from Europe, antique trout fishing lures, bamboo back scratchers from around the world. What we collect often reveals our idiosyncrasies, and therefore our true natures. Recall someone in your life who collected something intriguing or odd. Try to define the attraction, and in the process, bring that person to life.

Related sites:  Minto Florida

Halloween Horror House October 30, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
Tags: , , , , ,
29 comments

IMGP4171“C’mon, Karen!  Let’s go into the Haunted House.  It’s Halloween.”

“Nah.  Let’s ride the Ferris Wheel, Brad.  It’s more my speed.”

“I thought you said you wanted to try new things.”

“I did, I do, but . . . “

“Don’t worry.  I’ll protect you.  Just think how romantic it will be.  The two of us, wandering  through the dark, with only ghosts and ghouls for company.”

“I don’t know . . . “

“It’ll be fun.  I promise!”

“OK.  OK.  Fine.  Let’s go before I change my mind.”

Hand-in-hand, Karen and Brad groped through the dark doorway .  Spider webs brushed Karen’s cheek, “Eeek!”

“It’s nothing, just some silly string.”

“Right.”

Unable to see, Karen slid her feet across the planked floor, straining to hear amid the screams that filled the house with decibels of surround sound.

The noise creeped her out.  As did the dark.  She let go of Brad’s hand to scratch her leg, then held her hand up in front of her nose.  Nothing.

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“I can’t even see my hand, Brad.  Let’s get out of here.  I’ve had enough.”

Karen swung her arm out to reconnect with Brad, finding nothing but chill air.

“Stop playing around, Brad.  It isn’t funny.  Where are you?”

“I mean it, Brad.  Answer me!”

Just ahead, Karen heard a gasp, followed by a scream, then laughter.

“Oh, my god!  I think I stepped on a bloody corpse!  Eww!”

Nervous laughter erupted from the group.

Karen inched forward in the dark.  Being with a group of strangers would be better than being alone.  Right?  

Where the hell is Brad?

As she reached the group in front of her, a beam of light flashed over the bloody corpse splayed across the wooden floor.

Karen rolled her eyes in disgust, “Very funny, Brad!  Get up now.  I’ve had enough Halloween Horror for one night.”

The girl holding the flashlight pointed it straight at Karen.  “You know this guy?”

Karen held a hand up to shield her eyes, “Yeah. That’s my on again, off again boyfriend. Soon to be ex-boyfriend if he doesn’t stop playing games.”

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The girl aimed the flashlight at Brad, sprawled motionless in the middle of the dark corridor.  She nudged the body with the tip of a black boot.

Karen stepped forward, “Brad, if you don’t get up right now, I’m going to kill you.”

“I don’t think he can hear you . . . he’s dead to the world.”

Karen noticed blood pooling under Brad’s head and started to scream.

She didn’t stop until the lights came on. By then, a flood of mummies and ghoulish figures surrounded Brad’s lifeless body.

Karen took in the surreal scene, transfixed by the blood.  The girl with the flashlight touched her arm, causing Karen to flinch.

“We called the police. They’re on the way. I’ll stay with you until they arrive. They’re going to want to question you. I’m Rachel, by the way.”

Karen nodded, “I told Brad I didn’t want to come in here.  I told him the Ferris Wheel was more my speed.  He didn’t bloody listen.  That’s always been his problem.  He’s doesn’t bloody listen.”

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Want more?  For a True Ghost Story ~ When The Dead Refuse To Leave (Living on the Edge of the Wild)

Cackle . . . the Spooky Black Cat October 28, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
Tags: , , , , ,
118 comments

On a dark gloomy night in a gloomy dark wood
A black cat rapped as he prowled his hood

“Don’t mess wit me . . . cuz I’m all that!”
“They call me Cackle . . . the Spooky Black Cat!”

Cats-eyes

Trolling the corner of Cauldron and Newt
Cackle bumped into a chick in a witch’s suit

Raising one finger to the wart on her nose
Winnie applauded with glee, as Cackle froze

IMGP1466

Cackle hissed and growled, arching his back
Winnie laughed at his antics, “Enough of that!”

She waved her wand with a “Zim Zither Zee”
Cackle’s hackles melted, “You’re THE witch for me!”

black-cat

Join Susanna Hill’s 3rd Annual Halloweensie Contest ~> No tricks.  Just treats.

Related post: Halloween Drives Me Batty * Halloweensie Contest 2013 Winners! (Cackle => “Most Original Format” . . . for his Rap!)

The Man Behind The Curtain October 15, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Life Lessons, People, Spirit & Ego, Writing & Writers.
Tags: , , , ,
32 comments

question-mark3aHave you guessed the identity of the author in yesterday’s post yet?

Need a few more clues?

OK . . .

This well-known self-help guru and best selling author is “equally qualified” to give one-size-fits-all marriage and parenting advice since he’s been married three times.

He has a daughter from his first marriage and five children with his third wife, who had two children from a prior marriage.

He and Wife #3 separated in 2003 after twenty years, but remain married.

Hmm . . . maybe they’re waiting for his next best-seller to climb the charts so they can file, finance, and finalize the divorce?

OK . . . enough suspense.  From his Bio on Amazon:

Wayne W. Dyer, Ph.D., is an internationally renowned author and speaker in the field of self-development. He’s the author of 30 books, has created many audio programs and videos, and has appeared on thousands of television and radio shows.

His books Manifest Your Destiny, Wisdom of the Ages, There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem, and the New York Times bestsellers 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace, The Power of Intention, and Inspiration and now Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life have all been featured as National Public Television specials.

Dyer holds a doctorate in educational counseling from Wayne State University and was an associate professor at St. John’s University in New York.

* * * * *

Does Dr. Dyer offer up good advice?

Sure!  For some of the people some of the time, but his advice is NOT a custom fit for all of the people all of the time.

My advice?

Before following advice from a self-help “guru” who has never met you, consider the source, consider the context, and tailor the advice to suit you ~ don’t tailor Your Sacred Self to suit the advice.

Aah . . . that’s better!

If you are looking for advice to live a more peaceful and happy life, you can find links to some of my favorite books here ~ 13 Books That Changed My Life

Or . . . skip the books and just read Adam’s post on Awareness!

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