Friday, May 23, 2014

Waste Management

Somebody wanted to know how come I don’t write more here about the Bible. First of all, I have to get over the flattery. Someone actually reads this blog. So, thanks for the input and hubba-hubba. That said, here’s what I’m thinking: Bibles are at Dollar General for less than ten bucks. Go buy a Bible and read it.  It says it better than I can.

Yet, ever the one to accommodate – here’s something to think about.

The amount of food people throw away is interesting. I’m not talking about corporations or grocery stores or restaurants, though they waste prodigious amounts. It’s quite fashionable to trash corporations and businesses these days and the hypocrisy involved is chagrin-worthy.  And mirrors used to be called vanities.

Ever since I was little, there’s been a household chore all about throwing away food. Every once in a while it’s time to, “clean out the fridge.” This does not usually involve Windex and a roll of paper towels. Instead, cleaning out the fridge means going through the shelves and throwing away old food. This happens when the shelves become so packed with leftovers and bits & pieces of things not eaten, that there isn’t room for more.

Only, people don’t wake up on Saturday morning and tell themselves, “Today I’m going to throw away food that’s now too old to eat and that we didn’t get around to eating.” Instead, they tell themselves and, later, may even boast to others in the family, “I cleaned out the fridge today.” That sounds much nicer and may merit a commendation. Cleaning out the fridge has to be done.

I wonder what God thinks about all the wasted food. Someday, as I stand to answer for all the wrongs I’ve done, this may come up. It’s low on the list of things I think I’ll have to answer for. Then again, there may be surprise topics in that day.

A similar example has to do with television. Numbers vary, but people who watch television watch a lot of television. Notice the word is “watch”. That sounds more active and palatable than saying, “I looked at the television for three hours last night.” Looked at, watched… what’s the difference? When was the last time you looked at a group of bearded irises, or something else very beautiful, for three hours before bed time? Again, another case of reality softened and made, perhaps, more acceptable via word choice.

Then there’s the person who doesn’t get enough exercise. So, instead of a push-mower and a snow-shovel they buy the rider and the blower. Then they pay for the gym membership.  Then they complain money is tight.

Examples abound…

Waste not, want not – a proverb from yesteryear not in the Bible.  It makes some, though not total, sense. Food, time, talents, educational opportunities, potential… all these things can languish in the land of abundance. The Bible says quite a bit about waste.  Don’t take my word for it. Look it up and read it if you have the time.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

In the middle of chemo


and retreat.

There's nothing wrong with this strategy.

Capital city is miles away

and only if it ever comes to that

then be done retreating.

Begrudge it

the border counties,

the approaches,



the faculties of what it takes.

Absorb this.

Give ground

as necessary.


I'm not saying give up.

But take a moment.

Realize the vast nation of who you are.

The reserves,

the untouched and untouchable places,

the industry,

the glorious shrines,

and all the landscapes

that even before the invasion

few bothered to see.

But you know them

and love them

and they are still there.

That's what you fight with

and preserve.

Some will be ruined

and really,

the entire place has already changed.

Yes, there is much to consider.

But right now, get through.

Later, reclaim.

Just don't worry about all that yet.

For now, hang on.


and retreat.

Quick Note

I find myself drawn to poetry lately.  This has to do with the type of energy it takes to write the stuff, as opposed to prose. It's difficult to explain but anyone who has ever tried understands the difference.  I'm also trying to not make this blog about cancer.  But right now, that's the frame I'm stuffed into.  So...  That said, I am working on a few things that have nothing to do with either cancer or poetry.  Stay tuned, skip it, or whatever.  If you're still reading, thanks.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Pursue That Premise

Ponder that, in November of 1983, Kevin Eastman drew a bipedal turtle, wearing a mask, with nunchucks.  Within a few days, Eastman and his friend, Peter Laird, had created four such turtles, each armed with a different ninja weapon; fast forward thirty plus years and multi-million dollars of franchise later.  The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are yet alive and well, and making money.  Bless the heroes in the half-shell.

Get that?  Bi-pedal turtles, martial arts, and fighting crime.
I know there was some luck involved.  There always is.  But I also know this:  PT Barnum is accredited with saying, "The American public will buy almost anything."  Ok, Barnum is accredited with saying a sucker is born every minute, but my version is a tad nicer, and no less true.
As writers, or whoever happens to be reading this, let us bow our heads and contemplate that premise may not be as important as we think.  Nor should premise be dismissed because it sounds a bit goofy.  Speaking of which, why does Pluto never get to talk, while Donald is nearly incomprehensible when he does say something (at least in the original)?  Speech impediments and limitations must have been part of the original idea.

What is a writer's premise, or, to become all high-falootin', what is a literary premise?  Ok, never mind the high-falootin (it doesn't sell that well anyway).  But according to a plain old thesaurus, a premise is:  an assumption, hypothesis, thesis, presupposition, postulation, supposition, presumption, surmise, conjecture, so on, and so forth.
A premise is a simple game of 'what-if' the writer plays.  For example, what if I filmed an almost recognizable celebrity spouse swapping places with another sorta-kinda recognizable celebrity spouse?  That would be the premise for Celebrity Wife-Swap.  Titillating, no?  Maybe not so much, but people do watch that crap. And, somebody somewhere probably enjoys making those episodes.  And this, perhaps, is the key.

As a fiction writer, if one does not enjoy one's premise, then what's the point?
I posit today that if a premise (any premise at all) has ensnared your imagination, then please, do run with it.  Go ahead and play, 'what if'.  Flesh it out and see what happens.  If it doesn't work, so what?  All that has been lost is a little time.  Make it up in your sleep.  If it does work, then guess what?  Therein lies the tale.  It may be explored and pushed and pulled and turned into something people (at last, or maybe at least, you) will enjoy.
Premise is not story.  Premise is not character.  Premise is only a situation and some of the setting.  The writing is the magic and the magic will tell the tale.  But it order for that to happen, a writer needs to follow-up on a few things.
Writers, let us now place our foreheads on the dirt and ask, 'How many ideas have I rejected because I dismissed the premise as not very good, dull, or stupid?' The answer is probably far too many.  Remember, someone will read it.  That's how the reading public is.  In the meantime, give your imagination a break.  Let us run loose for a while.  One never knows when a great idea has just arrived and to dismiss it out of hand is just a bit premature.  And no one likes to be premature.

Monday, May 12, 2014

It's Not The Water

I thought I would do something today to feel a little alive
like maybe eat some popcorn or have a slushy;
roll the window down and turn the music up.
But those are little tricks
and they don’t work all the time.
I suppose they’re decent reminders though,
better than nothing.
The ironic thing, well, one of the ironic things
is that the medicine that’s supposedly killing the cancer,
or that I hope is killing the cancer,
is killing everything
and I am fully aware of this.
It’s like losing my hair;
not that I mind being bald
because it’s summer and I look like that dude on Breaking Bad.
But it’s too obvious to not notice…
that sort of thing.
It’s like how something once pleasant
like smelling a nice cup of coffee
makes me want to lose my breakfast
before I’ve even had breakfast
and that’s how the day’s going to go
and I know it before I even get out of bed.
I’m supposed to choke down these four pills in the morning
and then four identical pills in the evening, with food,
and of course the pills don’t have a taste…
you swallow them
with water
and that shouldn’t be so bad.
But the water tastes terrible.