Smoke and Mirrors

In a perfect world . . .

Category: writing (page 1 of 9)

Supposed 2

I was supposed to do many things in my life that I never did: to sign with a major record label like 36 years ago but I got a major flat tire along the way, to listen to the music my 3 daughters grew up with to understand where they were coming from
(obviously trying to sniff out signs of devil worship, anarchy and drug abuse),
to write books like  ‘Dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease’, ‘Moving your parents’, ‘Cooking with the Sneaker’, ‘Starting a blog’, ‘Starting a coal fire’ and on and on.

I was supposed to do so many things.
I did not do any of them.
Life comes stomping in and tells you what you need to do.
Immediately.
Or else.
Your life plans are always somewhat temporary, truth be told.
End of story.
You can heed the call or as Fleetwood Mac says, ‘you can go your own way’.
Stevie Ray Vaughn was supposed to live until he was 101, just like Robin Williams, Janis Joplin, Miles Davis, Len Bias, Bill Evans, Hendrix, John Lennon, Marvin Gaye, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and the list goes on and on ad nauseum.
I’m writing tonight, so in a small way I’ll consider that a victory.
I’m supposed to write every day.
Do I write every day?
No, I don’t.
Why?
Maybe it has something to do with the way my stars are aligned or the fact that I have tomatoes to plant or a client that I have to visit, or a meal that must be made for a special occasion, a song to be learned, a call to be made, an email to be sent, a scratch to be itched, a broken heart to be healed.
I’m never going to figure this thing out so for now I’m just going to take it slow.
One day (stone) at a time.
In writing terms, the ever eloquent Stephen King said it best:

“When asked, “How do you write?” I invariably answer, “One word at a time,” and the answer is invariably dismissed. But that is all it is. It sounds too simple to be true, but consider the Great Wall of China, if you will: One stone at a time, man. That’s all. One stone at a time. But I’ve read you can see that motherfucker from space without a telescope.”

Put that in your peace pipe and smoke it.
Tomorrow is another day.
Another chance to just do good.
Maybe I’m supposed to be blessed enough to open my eyes in the morning and see sunshine glowing from inside the dewdrops of moisture on the shamrock green of my lawn.
Maybe I’m supposed to try and make people believe my lawn is actually shamrock green.
Yeah, that’s a definite ‘maybe’ . . .

For Kat

I downloaded an app today called Omm (available for PC/Mac).
It’s a writing app designed for writers to enhance a ‘distraction free’ experience.
I’m sitting on my deck right now and can see how this app could enhance the creative process.
You have control over the background that you write on, and the sounds that you hear (best if you use headphones).
The bottom line is that you write, plain and simple.
There is nothing that takes your mind away from your writing.
You can control the sound your keyboard makes as you type enabling you to enter a rhythm of sorts that immerses you in a pool of sound that ultimately enables you to just write.
I am in no way saying that it will make you write better but after a few minutes of typing, the world seemingly disappears. There doesn’t appear to be any sort of auto-correct for spelling errors but that isn’t the real point of this application.
I love to write and this app let’s me do just that.
Not a lot of bells and whistles but it’s a very earthy and sensitive program.

If you are a writer, please check this program out. The price is what you want it to be.
They set a minimum for a donation of sorts to pay for software updates and maintenance.
I’m writing this post tonight using Omm in remembrance of a friend that I lost yesterday.
She was a  dear friend and a writer of the highest order that always inspired me to greater heights.
In one day, she left us and has left a void that will be hard to fill.

Her name was Kat.
The year was 1999 when I joined an online writers group.
I was just starting to write and wanted some feedback on my work.
After joining the F2K writers group I needed to find a forum to join.
At the time I was confused about exactly what I was writing.
Memoir, Horror, Literary Fiction, Autobiographical Bullshit, it was a basic clusterf&*ck and I decided on a group because of its name; Shadowlands.
After posting a few insignificant things, I got a message from Kat saying ‘hey, I like what you’re doing’ or something to that effect.
It was a connection that lasted for over 15 years until yesterday.
I read that Kat died on my Facebook thread.
Life paused for a moment to let the actual information sink in in.
As of tonight, I’m still gobsmacked and sad. Life moves at a pace many of us don’t understand or comprehend.
Kat inspired me and always offered a creative shoulder that I could ‘cry’ on.
I’ve yet to meet a person that could offer that kind of support.
Although she will be missed by many she will also live on in the many words she wrote, the stories she so skillfully told and the ultimate love she shared with the many friends she so easily made.
I traded several messages with her on New Year’s Eve of last year.
I had lost my job and needed someone to write to one particular evening.
In her own special way, she offered me hope, prayers and brighter days through a Facebook message.
I never had the chance to thank her or to say goodbye.
She’s gone now but in my heart of hearts she knows how I feel.
I pray for angel wings to take her to all the places she would write about, all the landscapes and unearthly destinations that she described to us, all the lovely and breathtaking places that were HER world.
I will miss you, Kat, and I pray that we meet in the great hereafter.
Blessings . . .

~m

BBIC

writing, bic, words, happiness, stories

It’s been sometime since I actually posted anything of substance here.
Curious if anyone will actually read this as well.
If you do, please leave a comment that says, ‘BIC is good for you. Keep doing that.’
BIC simply means, ‘Butt in Chair’ or ‘Just write’ or ‘Stop your whining, moaning and bitching that you have nothing to write about’.
BIC was first suggested to me by my friend Mira Bartok, writer of the memoir ‘The Memory Palace‘ and many other
publications and books. She is an amazing artist in so very many ways.
I finally submitted some writing today.
The first in over 10 years.
Why?
I have no idea. I just felt the need to share something that I created.
My virtual blackboard is covered with thoughts, stories, jokes, people and the stuff that makes life worth living.
I want to find the time to share it, to write it down, to make it real, to make my words live.
And sometimes the only way to do that is to put your Big Butt in the Chair, and write.
Thanks, MiraBee . . .

Sloppy Joes

writing, Hemingway, alcohol, life

Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.
Not prescribed/approved by my MD though.
Will write anyway . . .

The Wonderful Pens of Ross G

pens, writing, RossG

I’ve always had an affinity for pens.
Maybe it’s more like a clandestine love affair as I fall hopelessly into the inkwell of love every time I troll the net looking at writing instruments.
I love fountain pens and rollerballs and all the accoutrements associated with them.
I love ink. No tattoo for me but I have some amazing fountain pen ink.
Some of my favorites are Noodler’s , Private Reserve, Pelican and Aurora.
Ballpoints irritate me to no end.
That’s just me.
My interest in pens began many years ago when I began writing.
I had this silly idea that the pen I used would make a difference when I was writing.
Logical? I think not.
I did realize that all pens were not created equal and a writer needed a pen with an even flow of ink and a comfortable balance of weight in the hand. Words and thoughts would flow more easily.
I am a writer. I need pens.
Looking online I was appalled at the money some of these things commanded.
$2000 for a rollerball?
$20,000 for a fountain pen?  (This pen should automatically come with a publishing deal)
With 3 daughters in and out of college/Grad school, I’m lucky to have a decent gel roller.
I currently have 5-6 fairly decent fountain pens:  Pelican, Aurora, Namiki (vanishing point), a Parker Sonnet and several other inexpensive models.
A friend I work with came in one day and showed me a pen sent to him by a friend or a friend.
It was a ballpoint which didn’t excite me but the pen itself was beautiful.
He told me it was given to him by so and so and that this guy made pens to give to friends.
I wanted to get on that list.
Several months went by before this same friend came in with another pen; a ballpoint but still really nice.

My curiosity got the best of me.
“Does this guy have a website?”

I went to the website and found many wonderful handmade things.
I found rollerballs, ballpoints and several wicked pissa fountain pens.
Years ago, Ross decided to try his hand at making pens.
Most were given to friends as gifts until he realized he was quite good at
this specialized art and decided to expand.

I spied one particular pen and wondered if Ross would be willing to barter a bit.
After a few emails and several days, I now have a fountain pen made by none other than RossG.
I promised him an honest review of the pen and here it is . . .

Appearance:
Modern, sleek, funky, gorgeous rosewood with gold-plated hardware.
Definitely catches the eye.
Several people have already commented on it (and they want more info)

Feel:
Solid in the hand with a very comfortable weight.
To me it has the feel of a pen that should cost much more.
It feels expensive.
You know you’re holding something special.

Nib and writing quality:
The pen came with a cartridge and a converter (my preference).
The nib was medium size iridium.
Although I’m not a big fan of iridium nibs this sucker worked better than my inexpensive Pelican (which has an iridium nib).
The ink flow was simply amazing and a total pleasure to write with.

Conclusion:
If you want a pen that is aesthetically pleasing, easy to write with, ridiculously affordable and a designated friend for life,  please check out Ross. (Click on the post picture!)
Or click HERE. (Tell Ross I sent you)
All pens are handmade and have that warm, comfortable feeling in your hand.
I know several people that already want a pen made by this man so get in line.
His pens are in short supply right now as he is waiting for some materials to come in.

He will ship all over the world.
He even says Australia’s not too far away.
I may send him some TinTams someday.

If you can’t buy one of his pens, please promise me you will send the link to this post to someone who will.
That would make me and Ross very, very happy.

For the Love of Books

A long time blogging friend posted this video on my Facebook Timeline tonight.
This video is over 15 minutes long but it makes a serious statement regarding the media we use on a daily basis.
I love my Kindle and my Iphone but there is something very personal about a book.
I dedicate this post to my 3 amazing daughters who have a love of books and reading that makes me proud.
I like to think Pamela and I had something to do with that love of the page.
Please, please, please take the time and watch this video.
I know. 15 minutes is a long time.
Think of how much time you spend with a book.
Think of the feel and smell of a book.
Visit my friend Ang @ Don’t Put Boogers in your neighbors Cereal
She is a grade school teacher with some amazing (and hysterical) insight into the life of her students and their growing little minds.
This video moved me in many ways as a lover of books.
I hope they never go away.
Books rule.

~m

Limbo Bingo

writing, create

 

A truth greater than words.
Don’t know if I’m up to the task.
I’ve tried before and failed miserably.
Self doubt is a writer’s worst block.
Some stories are just hard to write.
Maybe I just need to admit that to myself,
and write anyway because I am ultimately trapped inside my own weird thoughts and words.
And maybe that’s a good thing.
Or not.
Asylum? I am here . . .

Black Cows

steely dan, music, life, love

I was on the train home tonight when I reached in my manpurse and found my long lost Ipod.
I’d put it in my bag weeks ago but forgot I actually had it.
Settling in I set it on Shuffle and sat back for the magnificent ride out of Boston.
Steve Lukather, Steve Khan, Marc Jordan, Marcin Marsilweski and many other musicians found their way to my earbuds.
It was around or near Ashland that ‘Black Cow’ came on, a Steely Dan version from the band that I used to play in.
I listened and smiled.
It was good.
Even my ‘Fender Rhodes’ solo was okay.
I thought about that time in my life when it had a rhythm and a purpose but somehow I lost it.
Or it lost me.
The nights of packing down gear at 1:30am after a gig no longer made sense to me.
The $50 paycheck at the end of the night was a slap in the face for all the time I’d spent learning tunes, harmonies and all.
30% of the folks that followed us got it, most didn’t.
Most understood that we spent a considerable amount of time doing what we did, the reason the 10 of them came out every night.
Hack musicians need not apply.
I was happy and musically fulfilled until the day my heart and soul just couldn’t do it anymore.
I like to think that the musicians that truly know me understand.
It makes me sad that some could never understand me.
I still play piano from time to time and still write a song or two but my gigging days are over, barring some unforeseen miracle.
I will forever have a problem with one bridge that burned for no particular reason.
We musicians are a funny lot.
These days find me writing words without music but somehow rhythm stil finds its way into my words.
Or so I think.
There was a time when my musical chops were finely tuned.
These days they are a bit dull and dusty.
But thank God they’re still there.
I’m just following my instincts these days.
And my gigging days are done.
If  it’s right for me, it’s write.
And get outta here . . .  {rhodes solo}

 

ps. anyone want an MP3 of Black Cow delivered to your inbox, email me.

Just right

writing, blog, creative

 

Writing is such a funny thing.
When you want it to happen it doesn’t.
Never has for me anyway.
A friend of mine told me that writing is simply ‘BIC’.
Butt in Chair.
Life is hectic these days and creativity has no schedule.
It has no rules, no times when it will happen, why, when or if’s in terms of gestation.
I’ve just filled my favorite fountain pen with Noodler’s Black (my favorite ink!)
No idea whether my muse (looks like Danny Devito) will visit me tomorrow but I will write anyway.
It may be shit, it may be good but it will be writing.
New Year, New stories, a New Me.
I’m going for ‘BIC’ . . .

~m

Extremely Louder and Incredibly Closer

blog, writing, life, Facebook

Once upon a time my blog was an essential part of my life.
I lived here almost 24/7.
God forbid I should get some godforsaken CSS error that screwed with my theme (not my theme!) or my plugins.
Life gets in the way.
Politics get in the way.
Facebook really gets in the way.
Twitter? Not so much.
I realized tonight that I have neglected a place that once meant so much to me.
I have for all intents and purposes abandoned a creative harbour that held stories, memories and many things I once held so dear.
Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

Like I need to tell you about last Tuesday night when I went to dinner with my wife for our 29th anniversary.
Anniversaries are supposed to be special and perfect, right?
We sat down and perused the menu when our waitress came by to say hi.
We ordered a few appetizers to start off.
Grape leaves & some hummus.

“Would you like something to drink before you order?” our waitress asked.

“Yes, please,” I said.

Pamela ordered an Almond Joy Martini and I ordered a Maker’s Mark Manhattan.
All was right with the world.

Our drinks arrived several minutes later. Perfect.

We didn’t even have time to toast when I spilled the entire Manhattan all over my crotch.
As the icy concoction slithered its way to my unsuspecting jewels and eventually to the crack of my ass, I felt the need for
a new pair of pants or at least a pair of Depends.
As my manhood rose up into my abdominal cavity to escape the chill, we laughed and laughed again.
You can’t make this stuff up.
They made me another Manhattan (in a sippy cup jk) and all was right with the world.
Although I did squirm and make funny faces as I ate my dinner.
Will we remember our 29th anniversary?
You can take that to the bank.

I guess the bottom line is that I’ve given up my energy to Facebook and other URL’s lately.
And while I love talking to friends it just isn’t taking care of my writing mojo.
Writers write stories and rarely do Facebook.
Change is in the wind.
“to thine own self be true”
And I am long overdue.
Let’s roll . . .

~m

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