Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Denial Ain’t Just a River in Egypt…

I wrote that line!  You are all my witnesses in case anybody asks, right?  It’s a fact!  You just read it, on MY blog, in black and white! Can’t denial that!  

I’m sure a few people out there will go around saying that I wasn’t the first one to do so, but my answer to them is, ‘Get a life!’  I mean, really!  Why make such a fuss?  

O.K., O.K.! Fine!  So it was Mark Twain who wrote the line before me but hey, that was sooo long ago…..

Speaking of denial - I hate Phillip Roth!  There, I said it!  Yes, I did and I do.  Any writer slash hoping to get published and become an author type person person, should detest Phillip Roth!  Why?  I’ll tell you why! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A. J. phone Him...

                                                             I called God.  Picked up the phone and dialed G - O - D.  Numerically, it’s 4 - 6 - 3.  (Depending on where you are, you may have to dial a ‘1’ first.) 

The call was answered on the second ring which really, I mean REALLY, freaked me out!  To be perfectly honest (as opposed to my usual kinda honest), I didn’t expect Him to pick up. 
A voice boomed, “ALMIGHTY.” 
(Tip: Always remember, when calling Him, to keep the receiver a little distance away from you.  My eardrum was almost blown out, except that I dropped the handset right when He answered.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Homage to a Brilliant Book

Overcoming my reluctance, I finally went to see a book matchmaker because, well, though I had been with a lot of good reads lately, I was looking for the Book Perfect You know, that special ONE?  The one that comes along only once in a while, and when it does, it just knocks your reading glasses off?  The one that makes you laugh out loud, shed a tear (but in a good way), gives you advice and support when you need it, is honest and straightforward, doesn’t try to sell you bullshit?   I know, I know, It was a lot to ask, but I  had my dreams….

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Back on Board….

After my bout of reading sickness, brought on by the gift shop-dispensed trip packet, I crawled back from the railing to the lounge chair and, pulling the blanket up to my chin, I lay down and closed my eyes.   Time to review.  I recalled all the instances when my virtual travels took me to the places this ship was going to visit, locations where I stuck around long enough to get a place of my own.  I had addresses in almost all the ports - Website, Facebook, Blog and even TwitterYouTube was the only areal where I stayed in a hotel, as I was only ever there as a visitor. Problem is, all my residences were either very small (since I hardly stayed there) or terribly out of date and in need of a complete rebuild. 

I thought back to my first foray into Blog and how, being relatively new to this huge glogosphere...ah, sorry...Freudian typo….I mean blogosphere, I kept on checking the stats of my blog several times a day, pleased to see that the number of ‘views’ to my site was climbing with turtle-like jet speed.  

Friday, November 16, 2012

Why is Sex so Damned, uh, Funny?

The voyage interrupted....

All the social media-ing was taking so much of what little free time I had, that my manuscript was starving to death.  It was in urgent need of sustenance but I kept putting off the feeding.  My voyage had to take a brief time-out but I,  stubbornly and consistently, came up with excuses for not leaving ‘the mother ship’.  There was a very good reason for that; well, at least I saw it as such.  You see, I had come to a point in my story where I had to write the dreaded ‘carnal scene’.  

Don’t misunderstand me, it’s not that I find sex itself repugnant.  Lord, no, not me, I’m all for it, I am!  It’s just that writing about it is difficult because I find it impossible to type and laugh hysterically at the same time!  I keep hitting the wrong keys.  The cursor on my screen seems to be stuck in reverse from all the deleting I have to do.  Writing on most every other subject is a walk in the park compared to describing, in the most vivid of detail, the physical, shall we say, ‘attributes’ of various body parts, not to mention the machinations of two people engaging in ‘sexual conduct’.  No matter what words I use, the end effect is always either coldly clinical or ridiculously cliché.  It took me about three hours just to write the following:

She, as if mesmerized, grasped his pulsating shaft with her left hand and kissed the swollen tip which had turned an almost impossibly intense shade of raw flesh. With the concentration of a child holding an ice cream cone, licking here and there where the frozen substance threatened to drip, she drove his senses wild!”

Oh please!  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

It Weren’t the Waves What Made Me Retch…

My voyage continued….

The sea eventually calmed down but it was a little nippy.  Documentation in hand, I sneaked up to a deck reserved for the “Aspire” passengers and found an empty lounge chair. The 'gliterati' in "Success" have small, individual hovercraft to recline on but you need a code to activate one of those suckers.  In all fairness I have to say that, for those of us in third class who wished to spend time outside,  empty lobster crates to sit on were provided, but I preferred to park my butt on the soft cushions in second and cover my legs with the thick warm blanky which also came with each chair.  Pulling out my reading sunglasses, I continued with the literature the bitchy gift shop lady had given to me a couple of days before.  

Now, where was I? In case you are worried about the expense, dear reader….’ blah, blah, blah…Most of the places we are about to describe to you provide public housing, free of charge!”  Ah, here we go.  The text went on to say:

 The next areas we will talk about is Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Website and Blog which are extremely large and sprawling urban conglomerations whose populations continue to grow exponentially.  Because of this phenomenon,  government and administration of these places had to be set up and run by very particular individuals possessed of a special skill set.  Curiously, it also made them unable to speak to one another face to face so that, as a consequence, all communication between them always took place in written form only.  So much so that, over the years, evolutionary forces which are, of course, always at work, caused new generations of these administrators to be born without vocal cords as they no longer had any need for such.  The talents which made these, shall we say, ‘evolved’ life forms ideally suited for the positions they held, are the very same ones which also predisposed all of them to suffer from KADD - Keyboard Attention Deficit Disorder.  

As a result of all of the above, the official language of the conglomerations we will be stopping at is Compish.  Visitors and tourists can use their native languages but those who wish to set up a residence (and you, dear reader, are one of these!) must, at the minimum, have a rudimentary understanding of Compish if you hope to get anywhere.

To assist you in recognizing what Compish looks like, the following is an example:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN"
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<title>Title of document</title>

The KADD afflicted individual who wrote the above attempted to say something about public transitions but found it damn near impossible.  After writing only a very few coherent words, a typical KADD sufferer is compelled to press various keys on the computer keyboard at random, without rhyme or discernible logic, clearly visible here.  Naturally this initially caused indescribable confusion, (as you can well imagine!) so a language was devised to standardize this random babbling.  Compish came to be.  It is said that it has it’s roots in Pig Latin or Piglish, if you will.

Yeah, but, obviously, this particular porker is hopped up on steroids! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Ship of Fools Sails Out to See…

 It took me a while to learn how to get around this mighty ship I was on.  The many narrow passageways all looked the same. I felt like a tiny mouse in a huge steel maze and hoped there were no traps along the way. 

 On one of my attempts to reach the upper decks, I passed a bulletin board which was designed to aid all those on their “maiden voyage” (a euphemism for third class passengers) to find their way around, as well as to outline the trip's itinerary on the way to the kingdom of the published.  It stated as follows:

“Ship of Fools” ports of call:

English language destinations: 
Village of Query
Synopsis Town
Outline City

Non-English destinations: *

*Please keep in mind that setting up residence in these locations does not require knowledge of local language and custom but it is strongly advised! 

Huh?  What language?  Which customs?  Residence?  What was all this?  The sign went on to say:

For further information please consult the trip packet 
available in the gift shop on the poop deck.
Thank you!

Monday, November 12, 2012

The C.I.A. is Looking to Hire a New Director

"Ye shall know the truth and it shall set you free."

Today the Central Intelligence Agency announced that it will be actively seeking to hire a highly motivated person for the position of Director General.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Trip to the Promised Land?

Having decided to embark on a voyage whose destination was publishing success, I foolishly neglected to read the all important brochure first.  Instead, with naive enthusiasm and the innocence of an unsuspecting child, I painstakingly collected and arranged words, like pennies into dollars until, after months of hard labor,  I had enough for an entire manuscript a.k.a the price of my ticket.  Happily arriving at the dock on the appointed day, I was indeed allowed to board, only to be unceremoniously directed towards steerage which, I was told, was all the accommodation my ticket entitled me to.  

Friday, November 9, 2012

Adding insult to %$@#*!? injury….

Some years ago I visited my good friends who lived in Ghana.  Having never been to the country before (and not availing myself, beforehand, of any information on the subject), I expected that the capital, Accra, would probably be similar in appearance to Nairobi, Kenya, a city I have never had the pleasure to travel to, but which I have often seen on television for one reason or another.  As it turned out, I could not have been more far off in my assumptions (which, as we all know, make an ass out of…..etc.)  Accra was nothing like Nairobi, at least it wasn’t then and I’m talking a good fifteen years ago.  There were no elegant sky scrapers, no exclusive shopping district, no tree-lined avenues.  Mind you, I was not disappointed, not at all.  I was just, well, expecting something else.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Julius - a short story

Brice Sommerville was the original Sommerville.  The founder of the Sommerville dynasty, this tall and impressive looking man, made his considerable fortune in shipping, his success being a tribute as much to his business acumen, as to his choice of an exceedingly well endowed (lamentably, only financially speaking) bride.  The marriage produced two sons – first Simon and then, two years later, Roger. 

Simon was charismatic, good looking, outgoing and clever.  Roger was an introvert who inherited his mother’s diminutive build and mousy disposition.  Simon was charming and fun to be with. Roger wasn’t.  Simon loved his brother, Roger resented him in return.  At school, anyone who tried to bully Roger incurred the wrath of Simon.  Since the two boys were inseparable, like it or not, Simon’s numerous friends were made to endure the company of his younger, painfully dull brother.  Roger spent his childhood and adolescence under Simon’s protection, and permanently in the enormous shadow Simon naturally cast.

When Brice Sommerville suddenly expired from a massive heart attack, it was natural that Simon, the eldest, took over running the empire.  He was suited for the job and added further revenue to the already bulging Sommerville coffers.  He immediately (and gladly) appointed Roger to vice president of something or other. Unfortunately, it didn't take long for evidence to mount that the newly minted VP's aptitude for business was nil.  On his best day he was incompetent, to say the least.  Though no one dared to say anything, Simon nonetheless quickly realized that his brother was, in a word, useless. To remedy the situation, he slowly and quietly diverted all responsibility from the position, leaving Roger in place as vice president, the post now largely ceremonial.  Firing was not an option.  It would cause a scandal, not to mention that it would hurt Roger's feelings.

The discreet process of getting harm out of Rogers’ way was so successful that, few inside the company, and no one on the outside, knew that anything had changed.  Roger was still viewed as a full-fledged officer of the company, and he was accorded the privilege his position and status commanded.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The case of A. J. Aston

Docket Nr. 276,643

(a.k.a. Aja Jakubowicz-Berger)

Plaintiff’s complaint is as follows:
I am a busy person.  Very busy.  In the morning I take two showers, brush two sets of teeth,  I dress twice, I go through two breakfasts, make two beds, go to the toilet twice, take two sets of medications.  Throughout the day, this dual action continues (e.g. two lunches, two dinners, two evening ablutions, etc.), augmented by activities which are, shall we say, singular - things like house cleaning, food shopping, paying the bills and, lest we forget, writing my book (keeping in mind that the words I initially put down then insist on crying out to be re-written, not just once but many, many times over). 
In short, I lead two lives.  No, I’m not schizophrenic nor has my personality split, at least not that I’m aware. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

In the name of the English language…..

Just in the last three months, I have bought fourteen books.  Most deal with the subject of what to do to improve my chances of getting published, such as “77 Reasons Why Your Book was Rejected” by Mike Nappa or “No More Rejections” by Alice Orr, then progressing on to “How to Land and Keep a Literary Agent’ by Noah Lukeman, and ending in marketing instructions, as in “Publicize Your Book” by Jacqueline Deval.

Four of the books I purchased are by Mr. Robert Hartwell Fiske. These have nothing to do with publishing, instead focusing on English language (mis)usage.  In one, “The Dimwit’s Dictionary”, Mr. Fiske, a self-proclaimed ‘grumbling grammarian’, has compiled a list of what he calls ‘dimwitticisms’ - infantile words, grammatical gimmicks, ineffectual phrases, moribund metaphors and plebeian sentiments, to name a few.

After I finished reading, I opened one of my manuscripts and, with the help of  the ‘search’ window, painstakingly wrote in each expression or word from the dictionary and pressed ‘enter‘ only to find, to my dismay, that I was very guilty of their use, in (too) many cases to excess.  Though this meant I had yet more work to do on a text I thought was quite ‘polished’ already, the changes I was forced by my own embarrassment to make, improved the quality of my prose enormously, at least to my eyes (though such qualitative judgement should likely be left to others to make).  The other three books called “The Dictionary of Disagreeable English”, “The Best Words” and “Silent Language & Society” were also very instrumental in pointing out just where I had gone wrong.