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Epic Selfie Fail

Apparently, the mobile application for WordPress allows you to make a quick video, then upload it into a video post lickity split. Nah. Didn’t happen. That was my attempt at a unique NaBloPoMo moment, but alas, no.

I will tell you this: I got the arc done. Yessir! The arc. Is DONE. Which means, I can get back in shoot ‘em up, fight club, bang bang mode, and sail this awesome manuscript on.

Three full days. I am treating myself to a movie! Here’s an audio representation of a pat on my back:

“Death Is Real”

Yesterday was a New Moon in Scorpio. You astrology enthusiasts know, the new moon signifies new beginnings, and the sign the moon phase occurs in determines the cosmic tone, if you will, for the cycle until the next moon.

For me, new moon in Scorpio is usually a headbanger. I tend to experience something visceral or spiritual at an extreme level. I thought the all-nighter was the visceral extreme, since I did so well through it and the next day I recovered well. But no, at 10pm last night, was ready to wind down, so I logged into The Red Channel, scrolled through my queue, a found a documentary titled:

titleofdocumentary

 

Now this, I surmised, shall be interesting.

Boy, oh boy. Ohhhhh man, talk about a story. A chronicle of the life of Bobby, Dannis, and David Hackney, brothers who created a group called Death, a proto-punk band, during the 70s. Three Black American men in Detroit, Michigan creating a sound before its time. I can’t really do music critique on it, here’s the New York Times article referenced in the documentary.

The music is…PERFECT. But the story itself was what moved me. Bobby and Dannis Hackney spoke about David’s vision for their music, and the consequence David was to incur in order for the music to be heard. It wasn’t that the trials of getting record companies and radio stations to accept their music brought him down. It was the fact that no one could get past the name, Death. Obviously now, not an issue. It was a name, a concept, way before its time.

I love the part when Dannis and Bobby describe the day they came home to David’s announcement of the name. “The name is…DEATH.” And they reacted accordingly, “Oh mann…” But David said, the name had shock value. They wondered why? And David told them, “Because death is REAL.”  The documentary then continues with playing an audio of David’s reverbed voice, “The ultimate trip, trip, trip…DEATH, death, death…”

bobbydannisdavidhackney

Bobby Hackney, singer/bass guitar; Dannis Hackney, drummer; David Hackney, lead guitar

I was floored. How is this cat in my head?? He saw death as I see death, not a finality, but a station, a spiritual temporary station, and you move on to the next station. David was about the Three – Mind, Body, Spirit as the components of life/death. Death, like Life, is to be celebrated. He had a positive view of death, just as I have a positive view.

I tell you, I was shook. And as the documentary continued and the story unfolded, and David’s death and how it impacted his brothers happened, I was a mess. Just bawling, crying my face off, I hadn’t cried like that at any point in 2013. The more the music played in the background, the more I related to the man on lead guitar.

I Blew Up Juarez. The title is deliberate shock value. The story is about family, particularly brotherly love, and the lamentations that come from losing someone who’s such a force in your life, who’s finality makes one question faith and humanity. Talk about the parallels the Universe provides. Proof we’re all one, we’re all experiencing the same events, while in the same plane of existence. And while I do adopt a fatalist view more often than not (it does help with the dark stories, after all) I am not as prophetic as David. David knew he needed to move on in order for Death to reach the masses, ‘for the whole world to see.’ I want to see I Blew Up Juarez get some audience, and I do desire publishing the rest of Johnny’s story, and I want to be in this plane of existence at least for these four novels. But my writing partner also knows, if I am not to continue on in this vessel while Johnny’s story exists, she’s put to task to make sure that shit happens. We’re not gonna have a Stieg Larsson happen to Johnny Saucedo. The story must live on.

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Today I loaded Death’s album in my Slacker app and played the station while on the treadmill. Guys, I’m not a good runner. My blown out right hip and knee will validate. But I’m listening to Freakin’ Out, Politicians In My Eye, Keep On Knockin’, and I have no quit in me. I’m FLYING. Got back to the Treehouse, laid down 2,453 words for NaNo, and started visualizing the story map to fix the fishtail. Baby girl’s got a plan. 

Thanks be to Death.

Summer Means Bikinis and Book Clubs

Original Post Date May 08, 2013 at 05:24 PM

The author has a project plan for conquering the 2013 Summer season.

Last week, I took my art too seriously. This week, I worked on recalibrating back to a placid state. I had good company in the form of my business partner, in town from Orlando (or “up north” as I find the locals saying), and we made the most of Cinco de Mayo/my birthday. Our new friends at Red Mesa Cantina and The Avenue reminded us both we should spend more time celebrating, not scrutinizing, our achievements. And celebrate we did.

* * *

Why are mothers so good at picking out birthday cards? I provided you a picture of mine. Nothing like a to-do list to keep the calibration in check! That’s basically my objective list for the 36th solar cycle. I posted it above my workstation, so in those challenging moments when my characters are hesitant or my storytelling peters off, I’ll move my eyes to my objectives. Like Marie’s great impression of Tim Gunn, I’m gonna make it work.

* * *

When you have company on the beach, it’s a great time to proselytize, and Gina and I are great at selling each other on concepts and ideas we can carry forward in our enterprises as we soak up sun. I had to get something off my chest to her, which I’ll summarize here but with the preface that I’m not trying to stoke dramatics. That’s what Facebook is for. Merely mentioning a facet of participating in the creative community: haters.

I thought, as I have progressed in age, persons in my demographic bracket and the next tier above would have some sort of, I don’t know, decorum, when it comes to interacting artistically. I don’t want to say there needs to be a professionalism about it, because ‘professionalism’ denotes stuffy shirts, time sheets, and quotas. It would be nice, fellow artists, if we could stand out from the at-large society by automatically projecting positivity instead of negativity towards each other when we’re engaging as a community? It’s hard enough to work the energy and mind towards sharing something so intimate and definitive, one shouldn’t have to add to the struggle by defending against daggers and shards of animosity. Especially when all I’ve done is promote and laud your artistry! I didn’t like experiencing that when I wore suits and my hair pinned back. I definitely don’t want to repeat it in my bohemian artist mode. So can I just make a blanket request here…save the hatred for global terrorists? If everybody loves everybody, it makes for richer art and productive creative sessions. Thank you, the management.

* * *

This summer, I invite you to join me in exploring all the James Bond novels by Ian Fleming, starting with Casino Royale. These average about 200 pages; you can get it done in one beach or pool outing.

And I did re-read The Great Gatsby with the DiCaprio movie coming out soon. The 1974 Redford/Farrow film is available on Netflix. Check ‘em out!

How Conan The Destroyer Saved A Sagging Storyline

Original Post Date April 05, 2013 at 01:34 AM

Where does inspiration come from when you’re mentally, physically and artistically drained? The author reveals unique sources for recovering the dreaded sagging storyline.

2013-04-04 09.31.12 2013-04-04 10.31.50I feel honored to mention this, as I understand every novelist experiences this. I encountered a sagging storyline. I know, from reading the advice accomplished fiction writers give on plot development, to not get discouraged. It happens to everyone. Just like crashing a motorcycle or falling off a high platform. Everyone.

One way to fix it, successful writers share, is to find sources of inspiration. This was a challenge. I had spent every alert minute addressing my changes, and my body was in no condition to leave the Treehouse. And lo, from the darkness, a distinct flash of red called me forward. Ah yes, Netflix.

I’m not going to stop Netflix from rewarding my praises, but I assure you all I am not endorsing them exclusively. However, there is a treasure trove of movies, films and documentaries to indulge in. As I edited, I played in the background useful references such as Cleopatra (now there’s a way to kill four hours), Nacho Libre (filmed entirely in Mexico, where my story occurs), and Hellboy (no one presents diabolical creatures as beautifully as Guillermo del Toro).

My characters, specifically the warriors, were blah. So I referenced my personal favorite of the Conan series, Conan the Destroyer. Arnold Schwarzenegger? Wilt Chamberlain? Grace Jones? Oh yeah! You who know know what kind of antics those celebrities were up to in their heyday. So I lightened up my warriors. Gave them zing.

Another area the warrior concept sagged was the dialogue itself. Too cerebral, too proselytic. At 1:30am, the wheels weren’t turning, so I visited my auxiliary unit. He and I shared a late night meal, and we discussed, ironically, committed relationships. I meant to say, “I posit this. The fallacy of men in contemporary relationships is they don’t understand fortitude. The moment the relationship gets tough, they back out and give up.” He stopped me at “contemporary” and asked, what does “fallacy” mean? I paused and responded, “Oh, that means, the downfall or the failure of…” He made this face, and in an agitated voice said, “Why don’t you just say that then?? What’s with the big words?” That fury in his voice, that annoyance and frustration he exuded, triggered an idea for a comedic exchange. When I got back to the Treehouse I worked it in. Now that subplot is crisp.

Last night, at 8:32pm per Google Drive, I completed the minesweep. Although I experienced sag, I didn’t get discouraged, I found inspiration, and I avoided the mistake that accomplished writers warn against, rewriting the whole thing. That is defeatist behavior. If a Les Paul plays out of tune, you don’t go and smash it!

Corrections are frustrating, but as you complete them, you’ll find you have a richer, sweeter instrument to present to the world. That’s what I’m working towards.

Now if you don’t mind, I’m gonna go pass out for the next four days.

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