Saturday, March 31, 2012


Well, fuck. Here I am again, writing. I’m fighting one of those moods in which I do just about anything else in order to avoid the task I’ve given myself. I don’t want to write. I don’t really want to do anything else either, however. I read so often it’s not like there’s reading to catch up on. In fact I’m in the middle of two books right now, one on Kindle and one physical. I don’t own a Kindle mind you, I just use the app for PC/Mac. I’m reading some fantasy book by some Kindle novelist whose name I don’t particularly care to remember or look up and Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein. Once upon a time I considered Heinlein my favorite author. I’m still a fan, but not to the degree I once was. Still one of my top three, though. Heinlein, Gaiman, and Orson Scott Card in no particular order.

Lasagna is binging. BRB.

And I return to complain about the weather. If you’re one of those people whose had an early spring/summer this year, I envy you. As an acquaintance of mine noted today, even though it’s warmed up and raining, everything is still brown here. None of the vegetation has started to liven up. I heard bird song one day this week, but only one. I’m tired of it.But it is what it is, so. . . make the most of life anyway.

Today I spent the morning with a girl from work. There’s a peculiar dynamic between us that I can’t define. I don’t know if we’re just on opposite ends of some spectrum or what. I enjoy her company and even without any particular need or desire to become intimate with her, she is beautiful. (This is the girl about whom I commented to a friend that she could make Paris and the Greeks forget Helen.) Even today, in her t-shirt, blacks tights and calf-high boots, she looked amazing. I am somewhat partial to that look, though, which I describe as “equestrian”. Regardless, I’m undeniably drawn to beauty. That’s just the way I am.

My appreciation of beauty and excellence is actually one of my top seven character strengths according to the VIA survey. VIA stands for Value in Action and is measurement of an individual’s strengths in 24 characteristics that are valued by cultures around the world. For the hell of it, my top five are: creativity, ingenuity, and originality; appreciation of beauty and excellence; curiosity and interest in the world; honesty, authenticity, and genuineness; and love of learning. If you’re interested in learning about your strengths, check out

Back to my day. We met for breakfast at a little bakery/cafĂ© in town to which neither of us had ever been. She invited me earlier this week and I was happy to say yes. After finishing off a chocolate croissant, (my favorite pastry), we went antique hunting. Having joined her for this adventure, I have solidified my opinion on the interior decor aspect of any future relationship I have. As long as I retain veto power over anything I find particularly hideous, I’m leaving furnishing/decorating to my girlfriend/wife. I’m pretty satisfied with the $40 writing desk I finally went and picked up from Walmart after trolling antique stores all day. I will never convince myself to spend more than a $100 on a desk. Nor, as nice as they were, could I spend $125 on three original prints of nude women beneath chiffon covers. (She was tempted, but decided to think about it. I respect that decision.) They were lovely prints/photographs, but. . . I just couldn’t do it. All the paintings/art/decor in my apartment was either under $30 or free. Mostly free. I’m somewhere between minimalist and frugal. I’d probably be offended if someone called me a miser. I’d just rather live without something I don’t particularly need than spend money on it. I’m pretty certain this arrangement will go over fairly well with whomever is in my future. As long as she isn’t addicted to stuff the way my mother is, we’ll be just fine.

Speaking of the future, one of my new. . . friends always has a deck of tarot cards sitting out at his house. I need a word that fits in between acquaintance and friend. Any suggestions? Anyway, I used to play with tarot cards on a regular basis when I was younger and hadn’t even seen a deck in years. I don’t have the cards memorized, but I know the standard(?) layout by memory and have done two readings while passing time at his place. I ask a simple question, “What’s next?” and both readings have been fairly complementary. It seems like the future I want is in the cards. I give it the credit it’s due, but it still makes me smile. In the last reading, the Tower sat in my past and the Queen of Cups in my future. The Tower was a significant obstacle in readings I did when I was younger, so it kind of had a little personal meaning to see it firmly rooted in the past. I am content with whatever the future brings. Que sera, sera.

But I can’t wait to meet her. I love her already.

I’m open to the possibility that I’ve met her already and we just haven’t figured out that part of our lives yet. I can think of a few women I wouldn’t mind exploring the world with, but we’ll see. Isn’t that part of the beauty of it? It’s going to be adventure.

Surgeon general’s warning: don’t eat half a loaf of french bread and hummus to tide you over while your lasagna is in the oven. I am not hungry. At all. Oi.

Speaking of looking forward, tonight will be interesting. I’m not certain what’s going to happen. One of our new co-workers, who is likely the only metro guy in Idaho, is hosting a small housewarming party in about an hour. I haven’t attended a lot of social functions with the people I work with, mostly just run into them on nights when I go out on the town. It will be nice to take another step toward being more than a face in the hallway and a hello. It helps, of course, that I’ve been able to conquer my shyness more and more as time has passed. It helps that I’ve taken my life in my hands and thrown myself into the community I live in, becoming a little “famous” in my own right.

When Capri moved to Missoula and subsequently started ignoring me altogether, I was heartbroken. I was lonely, depressed and life, for a while, was really hard. The peculiarities of our relationship didn’t make things any easier. She encouraged me to do as she had. It was her belief that I was unhappy because of where I was. She was wrong. I was unhappy because of who I was.

I made it my goal, in the aftermath of those events, to stay here until I could be happy wherever I went. I wanted, and want, to be someone who is happy with himself. I want the world to be my dance floor. (The one place where I am most comfortable.) I’ve come a long way since last September. I joined the local theatre and have been lauded for talent I’m not certain I have. I’ve been given credit by some for stealing the show for the last two shows I’ve been in, in spite of my minor roles. I continue to teach my dance class and have gotten involved in a group that plays D&D regularly. People I don’t know appreciate my karaoke and I receive a lot of support when I play my music at a local open mic night. I think this summer is going to be great as I continue to explore and open up to accepting myself. It’s important to note that the best part of all of this is not the events and recognition itself, but the changes in my self-expression. I am most content because I am finding my own voice, my own way and a self who is eager to be great.

Remember, there are two wolves fighting within you at all times, the positive and the negative. The one you feed, wins.

And a thousand words, goodnight.


Friday, March 30, 2012

Nobody's Perfect

Another day, another doughnut. Then again, I don’t eat doughnuts. One of the many unnecessary foods I gave up a long time ago. They’re disgusting. Between the sensation of all that sugar scumming my teeth and the way they sit in my stomach, I just can’t do it any more. Every once in the rare while I try again and remember why I “just say no.”

I feel the same way about fast food. I can’t eat it anymore. I’d rather eat an entire bag of parmesan Goldfish for dinner than shell out for Taco Bell. (And do. As recently as oh, an hour ago.)

I’ve been thinking about my surprising degree of confidence, as one of my friends put it. When we were out for our cast party I made some comment about “even if I am an ass sometimes,” and she responded, “It’s not that you’re an ass, you just have a mind boggling degree of confidence.” People shouldn’t say things like that to me. It goes to my head. -grins- More seriously, I wonder how much of that is confidence and how much of it is, as I’ve come to think of and recognize it over the last week, conviction. And what is the line between the two? Is confidence something that feeds conviction or is conviction more like faith, which doesn’t take confidence. Or does it? What is faith without confidence. Are faith and conviction any different? If so, are faith, conviction and confidence all part and parcel?

I do not have the answers. Apparently what I do have is confidence. And self-diagnosed conviction. It’s one of the flaws of being wrong so rarely. Another friend once said, “The problem with the fact that Morgan is right all the time is that he admits it when he’s wrong.” This probably should not have been said either. It definitely went to my head. And while my opinion may be biased, I don’t really think it’s far from the truth.

Before you snort in disgust and run off to read something else, hear me out. Instead of labeling me arrogant, listen. I think the most important thing to remember when discussing this tendency of mine to think I’m right is that I don’t think that what is right for me makes what you believe wrong for you. I may not understand your opinion. I may think you’re wrong. But I’ll respect your right to your opinion. I don’t have to respect your opinion, but I’ll certainly respect your right to it. There isn’t any one Truth.

Truth, it turns out, is based on perception and no one shares the same perception. Not even identical twins, who seem to share more than any other pair of individuals share the same perception. At some point, we all learn the meaning of a word differently. We all experience some situation that changes our perspective on that scenario for life. We make different choices. We skip church on a day when the sermon changes the life for another parishioner. We attend church on a day when the sermon changes our life and bores the fuck out of the last guy. It doesn’t matter what you believe. The only “Truth” is that each of us have our own truth.

It’s like expecting some kind of constant in your life. There IS one constant, but it’s not your wife, your brother, your friend, your mother, your job, your house, your kids, or the government. There’s one constant and that constant is CHANGE. All things change, and they do it a lot, day by day. As a wise man once said, “No man can step in the same river twice, for the second time it is not the same river and he is not the same man.” No matter what we do or who we were yesterday, who we were yesterday was not the person who went through today. And lives can change drastically in seconds.

Not quite a thousand words, goodnight.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Music of the Night

Tonight is a little more Jack’s Mannequin and a little less The Civil Wars. That’s just a reference to the station I chose on Pandora, not any reference to my mood. I had one ear plugged into my Poison & Wine radio station all afternoon anyway. I’m ready for something with a little more energy.

It’s a little weird to write from home. I don’t remember the last time I wrote prose while in my apartment. It’s been a while. I often write lyrics or poems, but not prose. I usually fill the kind of time prose takes with video games, books, or movies.

On a completely random note, I’m finding it difficult to remember to use Oxford commas. We don’t use them at work so I spend plenty of time deleting them from copy. Yes, you can get paid for that. It’s a little weird, but hey, if they want to pay me to delete commas, that’s cool.

I am, however, applying for a new position at work. We have three web copywriting positions open and the hiring manager told me specifically that she wants to tailor one of those positions to an entry-level position that uses my skill set, which she thinks the team needs. I’m not entirely sure what she thinks that skill set is, but the entire copywriting team, web and direct, apparently to have good things to say about me when I’m not around.  

The woman in HR who is in charge of recruiting called me down to her office today to talk to me about what they want from me. She had a conversation with our new SVP of Creative Services and they decided they wanted me to go through the whole application process in the standard way. This means they want a portfolio from me, even if I have to fake it. This is contrary to the information I received from the hiring manager and it’s clear that the three of them ought to sit down and have one conversation instead of several different conversations depending on who is talking to whom.

In the meantime, I’m submitting to the will of the gods and doing what was requested of me. I don’t really mind, since I really don’t have anything else going on most of the time and can just get paid to make this portfolio. My current plan is to gather the articles that I’ve had “published” on our company Intranet, include a few of my poems (specifically one titled “Seeming” that uses clothing metaphors heavily), and make up some fake ads/copy for the company.

Which is what I spent my afternoon doing. I jacked the template for our retail postcards from the server and made up two ad campaigns with original copy. I may do a third. Considering I’ve written hundreds of poems and a collection of lyrics I’ve never bothered to count, it’s not as though that kind of creative writing is challenging in the slightest.

At the recommendation of our senior copy editor, I’m going to find some pieces I’m not familiar with and come up with my own names and copy for them. He suggested finding the actual clothing, but I think I’m going to just take advantage of my access to our images server and find a few worthwhile archived pieces and include them with my “copy”. When I’ve put everything together, I’m going to have him take a look at it and tell me what he thinks. He’s pretty critical, so that should be good. Lord knows, I hate it when I write something, ask someone to edit it and all they have to tell me is that my work is wonderful. I’m not so talented that I don’t need to edit at all. If there aren’t typos somewhere, I’m sure some of my transitions could be improved. Somewhere in all those sentences there has to be one that is weighty, awkward or could at least use improved diction. Telling a writer his first draft is wonderful is actually kind of insulting, I think. Perhaps disrespectful is better. Take a second and think about it. You’re my editor. Edit.

In other news, writing is going pretty well. I haven’t done as much work on any of my creative projects as I’d like, though I did write the first scene of a comic/TV show out. That’s the Angelus entry. It’s friend’s only due to wanting to protect my copyright-worthy ideas. Of course, I haven’t made it a week yet, but as things stand, come tomorrow I’ll have written approximately seven thousand words. Only 155 weeks to go!

I jest. Not regarding the intended amount of time, but that I’m counting. This is about the journey, not the goal. It’s about the art that stems from it and the growth of self. It’s about self-discovery and creation. Stories and entries are the byproduct. They’re the scenery you see as you drive down Highway 200 through Montana: the breathtaking beauty of a twisting highway married to the curves of the Clark Fork river. My work is the vista we see from one of the many viewpoints along the way. They’re beautiful and we’ll never forget them, but it’s the drive that matters. Without it, we’d see nothing.

Thank you, if you’re still reading, for heading out on the road with me. When we stop for the night, let’s pull out Kerouac and read aloud to each other. I’ve never read it, myself. It’s on my list, along with Fahrenheit 451. Whaddya say?

I was thinking about how this project adds up in the terms of psychology. According to the scientists I’ve been reading, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve Mastery of anything. In those terms, Bradbury’s little challenge to the want-to-be writers of the world makes a lot of sense. I don’t think writing a thousand words every day for three years will quite add up to 10,000 hours, but it’s certainly a damn good start and hardly includes the uncounted hours I’ve done so since I was a child.

If nothing else, I’ll walk away from this with an awesome habit. I hope it helps me accomplish one of my other desires while I’m at it: I want to be someone who inspires others through his passions. My announcement of this plan already had someone declare a similar intent, though he has yet to follow through at all. But hey, that’s enough to make me smile and chalk one up for my purpose. If someone wants to walk my path with me, that’s wonderful. In the meantime, the guy singing Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be” while he’s wandering down the halls at work is pretty good company.

And a thousand words, goodnight.


A Blade, A Fang in the Night

Today is my fifth day of writing 1,000 words a day. It’s also been the hardest to get around to the task. Some of this is because I actually had work to do, which I certainly prioritize over my own projects. To do otherwise would be unethical. I’ve also been rather engrossed in a novel I’m reading. It’s a novel I’ve wanted to read for a while. Not this specific one, but the topic. It’s a variation of the fantasy assassin story. Much like Brent Weeks’ Night Angel trilogy, but with it’s own take and a female protagonist. I’ve been eager to find a novel in this vein with a heroine. It turns out it’s hard to find a strong heroine who doesn’t turn into a sap every time some glittering mope looks at her funny. I’m about ¾ of the way through the book and am only now encountering any potential romantic interest. I’m interested to see how she handles it, since her assignment is, one way or another, to ruin the man. There are a lot of possible roads. Hopefully none of them glitter.

This book, by the way, is free for Kindle only. It’s called Child of the Ghosts by someoneoranother. He also has another free novel called Demonsouled. So far I like this novel better.

I’m not sure why but I’m a big fan of novels that feature assassins as the protagonist. Maybe it’s the same dark fascination that we as a race have with vampires. Assassins are mysterious, deadly, creatures of darkness that let us walk in the shadows with them. Their morality is grey at best, black at worst. Yet so often in fiction they follow a personal code of ethics or honor. Perhaps that’s the crux of it for me. I don’t really believe in a black and white morality and while I don’t really believe in assassination as a means of solving problems, I enjoy reading about characters that exist outside the status quo of culture and form one of their own, even if they follow that path alone.

The autonomous, individual culture of these kinds of protagonists appeals to me because that is a distinct facet of my own personality. Note that I don’t refer to it as a counter-culture. Sticking my thumbs in my ears and wagging my tongue at the world isn’t the purpose. Individualism is. I hold to the beliefs that are important to me in spite of what the world urges me toward. An example can be found in something as small as not watching, nor owning, a television. It astounds many people that I am so disconnected from that which fills so much of their free time. As a result I’m rather out of touch with pop culture.

I have never regretted the points where I found myself standing on the sidelines watching the ‘civilized’ West go about their days. (Perhaps ‘domesticated’ West would be a more appropriate term.) Their choices often boggle my mind.

A woman I met recently is a prime example. She’s new to the area and just moved into her house. One of the first things she did was go out and buy a 55” TV, which I consider excessive, personally. I can think of much better things to spend that kind of money on. When I asked her what she spent on it, she responded, “What matters is that I saved $700.” I’m sorry, I beg to differ. Saving $700 when you spend a fuckload isn’t “saving anything”. Sales and rebates are mostly mind games anyway, to get you to buy when you might otherwise go home with all your money in your pocket. Just say no, consumer. Go home with your money.

Already being rather unimpressed with said person and her domesticated Westness, you can imagine my excitement when she decided to share with me the fact that she had held a “puppy shower” for her dog when she got it. I was also not as moved as she expected when she showed off the calendar that just arrived in the mail: it was made with pictures from the day she bought her new car. Who does that?

Not being a fan of rampant materialism, loathing the boob tube and otherwise having different values from the ‘average Joe’, it’s easy for me to be drawn to bold, dark characters who are as defined by their flaws as their heroics. It’s why my favorite protagonists are Lestat, a myriad cast of assassins and Ender. Even when their actions don’t shape the world around them, they transcend the bourgeoise. They move through the world as giants of personality, characters instead of caricatures and I can barely rip myself away from their stories.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


The following is the opening to one of the several projects I want accomplish with my writing. At this point, there are two novels, a TV show/comic, and at some point a book of poems. This is an excerpt from the TV show. I hadn’t actually thought of presenting it in comic form before, but it seems like a more than adequate presentation to me. I even have a friend who’s an artist who might want to work on it with me.

The show/comic is called Angelus, (working title). In the world of Angelus, when the Lucifer fell from Heaven, angels and man worked side by side. God recalled the angels to heaven to prevent further temptations, but some angels who loved their mortal counterparts chose to fall. They became mortal, but their divine heritage remained intact. They bred with mortals, and their children are the Angelus.

Angelus takes place in the contemporary era. The protagonist, Magnus King, is the last Angelus, the only child of two Angelus bloodlines. The rest have become so diluted that the divinity rarely, if ever, manifests. Magnus knows nothing of his ancestry, nor of the power that resides inside him. He is a student working on the thesis for his Master’s degree. His closest friends get dragged into his quest with him.

The seven Princes of Hell have a plan to open the Pearlescent Gates and bring war to Heaven. The gate can only be opened on Earth, by collecting and performing a ritual involving seven diamonds that were used to seal the gates in the first place. The demons already have possession of three of the diamonds and a searching for the other four. Magnus wears one as a family heirloom, one is lost and the locations of the other two are known by the forces of Heaven and Hell. (For now. I may change my mind.)

Magnus, as the only Angelus left, is the only being on the mortal plane with the power to stop them. God and the angels continue to follow their policy of non-intervention. (Guardian angels and minor miracles as exceptions to the rule.) The demons have targeted Magnus and intend to tie up loose ends before collecting the last of the diamonds. That he wears one is just a bonus, two birds with one stone and all.

As you’ll see in the first scene, Magnus’ guardian angel, Gabriella, chooses to fall to earth in order to protect him from physical danger. She pretends to be a foreign exchange student from Rome in order to get close to him. He is also joined by Jae Roberts, his best friend and potential romantic interest; Jenna Dubois, a twenty year old genius Southern Belle who wants to be his romantic interest; Jaxxon Morgan, another close friend, theatre major and life of the party; and later, Nathaniel Ryan, a 28 year old ex-pat living in a posh apartment in Paris. Ryan lives as much like Hemingway as possible and joins the group as a guide as they visit strange places in search of the diamonds.

What happens on that search, we’ll see in time.

Scene opens: A man with wings stand at the top of a hill over looking a hamlet of huts lit by cooking fires with his arm around the waist of a woman standing next to him. Together they watch seven stars fall together from the sky. A single tear falls from his eye as his wings dissipate into nothingness. He turns and smiles sadly into the eyes of the woman, then embraces and kisses her.
Narrator: At the dawn of the ancient world, God cast Lucifer and his brethren from Heaven and closed the Pearlescent Gates. Forced to choose between love for their mortal charges and an eternity separate from the human race they loved, some angels volunteered to fall for the love of mortal men and women. With the blessing of the Father and the charge to help protect humanity from the depravity of demons, these fallen angels lived as mortals did, married and bore children. Their children were half-human, half-divine. These children were known as Angelus.
Scene fades and opens on a 3/4 view of a modern city in springtime, at sunset, focused on a college campus with a lot of trees. Camera pans over city and campus while two voices discuss one man’s fate.
Gabriella’s voice: I can’t protect him from what’s coming if I’m here, Father.
Older man’s voice: You know the rules, my child. We are forbidden to interact with mortals.
Gabriella: He will die without our help!
Older man: Are you so certain?
Gabriella: He’s not a warrior. He doesn’t know what he is or what it means. He doesn’t even have faith to ward him from the danger.
Older man: Men die, my child. There will be others to guard.
Gabriella: -protesting- But this one is the last Angelus. If he dies, there will be no one else.
Older man: It is out of our hands, my daughter.
Gabriella: There must be something I can do! It hasn’t always been this way!
Older man: Careful, Gabriella. Your words shine dark with the light of the Morning Star.
Scene: Clouds begin to roll in over the town.
Gabriella: -sudden realization- I will do it. If that’s what it takes, I will do it.
Older man: This is highly irregular. No angel has left heaven since the Fall.
Gabriella: Desperate times, Father. Let me do this.
Older man: I don’t think this is the answer, my child. If you choose this path, you will never return. You will be mortal. You will age. You will die. You might be hit by a car tomorrow and your sacrifice be for naught.
Gabriella: It is worth the risk. I can’t let him go through this alone.
Older man: -pause- Then go, Gabriella. Go with my blessing and my sorrow. I will miss you, daughter.
Gabriella: And I will miss you, Father. Shall I go now?
Older man: There is no other time in this world. Farewell, child. -sadly-
Scene: -music plays- A woman falls head first through the night sky above a sea of clouds hiding the city. Her wings are tucked in as she falls and they begin to burn. She drops quickly into the clouds and it begins to storm, lightning cracks within the clouds as she passes through them, rain falling. Her wings turn to ash as she falls. As she reaches the ground there is a huge flash of lightning, blinding the camera. When the light fades, the woman sits naked, wingless with her arms around her knees, rocking and crying. She sits surrounded by puddles while the rain pours down. The scene goes black.

And a thousand words, goodnight.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Ramble On Ye Doggies

Contrary to appearances, I did not give up one day in to my newest effort. I spent a fair amount of time out and about doing some writing at a local wine/espresso bar on Saturday and got close enough to my 1,000 words for government work. Sunday I took off, which I intend to do weekly. The rules, which I failed to be clear enough about are as follows: 

-       I will write 1,000 words a day, six days a week.
-       I can write anything I want, in any form. Multiple forms for the same day are acceptable.
-       Preferably in one sitting, but not required. 

That’s it. Rules should be simple and clear. We can all see what happens when laws have laws governing how laws should be governed. It makes for terrible sentences, for one, and pretty crappy government as well. Not something I intend to rant about today, however. 

If you’re lucky, I’ll spend some time and type out my writing from Saturday. I talked about the play I was in the last couple weekends and, of course, incorporated a few segues. Perhaps someday my writing won’t have more of them than the Microsoft campus. Or maybe that will just be part of my voice, (much like my tendency to toss in parenthetical asides). If you can’t see what I did there, I highly recommend glasses. Or remedial literacy classes. I jest . . . Ok. Not really. 

Leaving my obsession with my own cleverness behind, I had a pretty good weekend. We had our final local performances of the first run of Separate Checks, a brand new play written and directed by a friend of mine from high school. We had a lot of local acclaim for the work and we’re going to travel with it a bit. We’re shooting for the “stars”. Or at least more theatres in the surrounding area. We have a weekend booked in a small town north of here and if that goes well, we’ll start heading south toward bigger pastures. Yee ha, get down little doggy, get down.  

. . . Don’t ask. 

We went out after our performances, to a place that’s both “hoighty and toighty” on Friday night and out to one of the local dives on Saturday for our cast party. I didn’t drink on Friday. I haven’t been drinking as much in general the last couple of weeks. I’ve only had a few beers a week instead of half a bottle of wine (or more) just about every night. It’s part of my anti-gut initiative. Not to mention that even with cheap wine, that adds up pretty fast and -all- my vices are like that. I like wine and coffee. Paired up, that’s a lot of money I pour down my throat and literally piss away. I’d really like my wallet to be fatter and my belly trimmer. I weigh more now than I ever have. Plenty of it is muscle. Plenty of it is a half-inch to inch thick layer of bleh. The most I’ve seen on the scale is 183, but that’s thirty pounds more than I weighed when I graduated high school and 15-20 more than I want.

A note about that, however. The scale is a terrible invention. I don’t like them and in all honesty, I don’t actually care what my weight is. If I weighed 183 and looked like Adonis or Hercules, I’d be content. Scratch Hercules. I imagine Adonis toned and not steroid-chiseled. That’s the look that I would prefer.

Back to the weekend. We had a day of spring on Sunday! After getting up and heading to a local coffee shop for a mocha and a breakfast burrito while I settled in to re-read Heinlein’sGlory Road, I filled up a few spare moments with Kingdom’s of Amalur before hitting the theatre to watch Disney’s John Carter. If you’ve read Heinlein, you know that he drew plenty of inspiration from Burrough’s stories of Barsoom. Glory Road refers to Dejah Thoris, Princess of Mars within the first 20-40 pages. While I’ve known the names and source since my childhood, I hadn’t read any of the books until this fall. I remedied that and started looking forward to the movie. Apparently it was a flop but I might actually buy it when it’s available on DVD. (Yes, I still buy DVDs.) I really enjoyed the movie, it was a lot of fun and while it was the standard “based, loosely, on the books” it still had a lot of the important elements. The romance was even toned down some, I think.

When I left the theatre I had to take off my pea coat. I don’t honestly remember the last time that happened. The sun was warm on my face and what had been a fierce wind in the morning had calmed to a light breeze. I had nothing to do outside, but I knew I wanted to be there. I was inspired by the movie and my knowledge of the books and started to sing a new song as I walked to my car. The afternoon found me downtown in an quiet, empty park where the farmer’s market is usually held, laying against the curl of a decorative brick wall playing my guitar and writing “Dejah Thoris,” (working title).

It’s still a work in progress. So far it goes like this:

Princess, are you waiting there on Mars
watching from the stars
I’m on my way to you
I’ll leave the world behind for you

Dejah, are you looking for a hero
when everything seems lost
I’m looking for a cause
I’ll leave the world behind for you

The chord progression for the repeated line is giving me nightmares. I exaggerate, but I can’t find chords to fit what I’m singing that also fit the chords I’m already playing. It may be worth noting that my songs tend to be simple and the chords in this particular song are more variations on a theme than distinct chords. I’m also trying out a plucking pattern that is difficult for me to play and sing at the same time. This is pretty standard for me, most of my improvements in my playing have come from writing songs that I can’t physically play at first. If you’re a music person, the chords so far are Cmaj7 with my pinky on the B string, 3rd fret; C, and Cmaj7. I’m open to suggestions.

In spite of that minor frustration, it was good afternoon, marred only by the approach of a guy who looked like he was inclined to mug people in dark alleys who asked me for change to help out with the fact that he’s two months behind on rent. All I had was a guitar pick, so I couldn’t have helped had I wanted to. (Nor did I particularly believe him, but that’s neither here nor there.)

The rest of the evening was fun too. Instead of playing 4e D&D, since our session was cancelled, three of us sat around and broke out the old Magic cards and played til midnight. I had a good time.

All in all, a good evening. Now I just have to look forward to a slow week. I’ve got three days booked, but free time on tonight and Friday. After weeks of rehearsals and performances I’m already feeling a little antsy. I’m already looking forward to taking part in the upcoming auditions for Music Man and playing whatever part I’m given. I know the woman who runs the production company wants me to have a bigger part this time around, but that’s up to the director. I don’t mind small parts that much, really. Less stress, less to memorize and there’s always a chance to steal the show. But a lead role would be fun. A new experience, for certain. And I’ve never had a stage kiss. I’m nervous for that first one!

One good thing about this project. I can work on my endings. I’m terrible at ending things. Whether it’s telling an anecdote to friends or writing a journal entry, it’s tough for me. I always feel like there’s a giant AND? sitting at the end right by his buddy, awkward silence.

Oh well. The End.

And a thousand words, goodnight.


More or Less

As I mentioned in a previous post, Ray Bradbury talks about writing a thousand words a day for three years, no matter if you write a masterpiece or a piece of garbage that makes it to the trash without it ever passing the eyes of another human being. After this period, you may finally be a decent writer. The words have been on my mind since I read them and it’s something I want to do. I may as well start today. That was not verbatim.

I don’t have any particular goal for what I’m going to write. It may be prose or poetry. I may spill out scenes from the various fictions floating around inside my head. As my reader, you may have to suffer through the times I write experimental garbage, wax philosophical or, even worse, wax political. You may choose to run screaming and slam the door behind you. That’s okay. It’s right over there.

If you decide to stick around, I’m hoping you’ll help hold me to this bold declaration. Put your finger in my face and while wagging it say, “Morgan, I don’t care if you don’t sleep til 2am, write my thousand words, damn it. After all, if Scheherazade could tell stories for 1001 evenings just to save her pretty neck, (and those of all the young women in her city, woman deserves some credit), then I certainly can make an effort. Especially if I want to achieve one of those top three goals of mine: immortality.

While I admit that I enjoy being a show off to a certain extent, it always surprises me when, in spite of my tenacity in declaring I want to be immortal, no one ever asks me why or how. (The show off thing is another conversation altogether. Yes, I do, but as one person once put it, I just like to play.) I really do want to be immortal. Since it’s unlikely that Lestat is ever going to stop by for a visit, (if one of the Cullen family shows, they can go fuck themselves. I refuse to glitter for eternity), I’ve decided that barring some unlikely medical miracle that reverses aging and allows mankind to expand its life indefinitely, there’s only two ways of going about this. Both are classically Shakespearean, in fact. Immortality is a constant theme in his sonnets and that’s the kind of immortality I’m aiming for. 

Shakespeare is my inspiration for many reasons. First, he achieved my goal, whether he was planning on doing so or not. Second, he managed to immortalize those he loved as well. Third, whether his friend ever acted on his advice or not, Shakespeare told him repetitively to get it on and have a family. Which is another of my goals. I’m a little further down the writing road than I am the family road, but I plan to knock them both out while my feet are still glued firmly to the surface of this hunk of rock of ours. As they say, where there’s a Will, there’s a way. In the meantime, I’ll keep my day job.

(Pun courtesy of the Bard.)

It is not the lack of ideas or inspiration that has kept me from heading up this Sisyphean hill to this point. The rock is heavy and I’m all too fond of letting myself sleep the days away. A constant battle of wills with my lack of motivation has previously wedged itself tight on the uphill side of the slope. In the past, I spent most of my time trying to shove the rock over the wedge. I think, perhaps, I might try just removing it this time around and get this rock n rolling. No need to tip a hat to Shakespeare for that one. 

On to more random topics, just to fill space and use up words. It turns out that I’m more comfortable around the 500 word mark, after which I find myself staring at the screen and mopping up puddles of drool from my desk. That’s okay though. As the Zen Buddhist’s say, I have to keep a Beginner’s Mind. I’ve just started on this journey and the only way I’m going to open enough pathways in my mind to make 1,000 words spill out like water from a broken dam is to start digging. Creativity, much as anything else, is a muscle and it is no easier to use than any other muscle is when you first make an effort.

I recognize that I’m not exactly starting from scratch. I do have a degree in creative writing and hundreds of poems and a series of song lyrics that I haven’t bothered to count. In spite of this, I most certainly consider myself a beginner. I may not suck, but my masterpiece is buried deep down there somewhere and I’ve not even started to uncover it. This is going to be an almost archaeological process. One inch down at a time over a significant area. I’m in no hurry. I know it’s there somewhere and I’m young yet. I may not be Christopher Paolini, but I’m also not letting anyone other than Neil Gaiman write the screenplay based on my novel. (Shh. . . let me dream.) As the song goes, “Ti-i-i-ime is on my side, yes it is.” I could, of course, die tomorrow, but hey, shit happens.

So here I go. I’m off, the starting gun has fired. I’m on a journey to find my voice, improve my writing, become a writer, write a novel, write, write, write, write. Alf laylah wa laylah, (a thousand and one nights). A thousand tiny stories each with their own meaning a day. A trial, a tribulation and a chance to sink my hands deep into the stuff of my self and draw it out, dripping from my fingers in large gooey chunks. A thousand words a day to cut and polish the facets of this diamond in the rough. I may be hidden in thick casing of kimberlite today, but damnit, there’s a fuckton of gems in there somewhere. If you’re nice to me, I may let you have one.

And a thousand words, goodnight.