New on Eat Sleep Write dot net

Entries from my weekly writing blog on Eat, Sleep, Write:

6.14 RULES & STANDARDS
http://eatsleepwrite.net/rulesandstandards

6.06 DISCIPLINE
http://eatsleepwrite.net/discipline
The line between a hobbiest and professional writer

5.27 THE WRITER’S RIGHTS #2
http://eatsleepwrite.net/writersrights2
Second installment in a series of bite-sized lessons on copyright law.

5.21 Serendipity
http://eatsleepwrite.net/serendipity
Happy accidents, preparing for them, allowing them to happen.

5.17 Observations
http://eatsleepwrite.net/observations
Thoughts on character development and people-watching.

5.13 The Daily Grind
‘The Daily Grind.’  http://eatsleepwrite.net/dailygrind
Why the best time to write is when you don’t feel like writing.

5.09 The Writer’s Rights
A bite sized introduction to copyright law.
http://eatsleepwrite.net/writersrights

5.07 Humor Me
Writing comedy and how to do it.
http://eatsleepwrite.net/humorme

5.03 All Experience Required
Write what you know. Get out and live.
http://eatsleepwrite.net/allexperience

4.30 Ready or Not
Your light is green, you have the right of way.
http://eatsleepwrite.net/readyornot

4.25 Dangerous Learning
Self taught or educated. Keeping learning.
http://eatsleepwrite.net/dangerouslearning

4.23 Self Doubt
Examining the Impostor Syndrome
http://eatsleepwrite.net/selfdoubts

4.18 The First Draft
Shut up and write.
http://eatsleepwrite.net/firstdraft

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Any Team Can Have A Bad Eon

goatThere’s a mantra one will hear in Chicago. It starts in the spring and usually by June it grows to a cacophony of disgust. “There’s always next year.”

Today the teams owners spoke up about this oft repeated phrase. They are asking everyone to refrain from saying it, as it gives the coaching staff and management unbearable anxiety. The thought of putting together a successful team and having them ready to compete in only a year,  it puts a lot of pressure on the organization.

The city is developing a concession phrase, working with the team as well as the general public. So far their offerings of “Give it ten years or so,” and “There will be other millennia,” were both rejected by the team as unrealistic time frames.

In the end the Cubs and the city came to an agreement. The phrase they chose is much longer than anyone wanted. It lacks the poetic ring of the old phrase, but at least it now reflects an attainable goal for the team.

“There will always be survivors in the dystopian post-nuclear-apocalypse wasteland, and perhaps some of them will form a baseball team as a nostalgic display of escapism, maybe then, and only then, will the Cubs have a chance at winning their division.”

The Law of More

The Elimination of Middlemen

The Elimination of Middlemen

Moore’s law, put simply, states that computing power will double every eighteen months. This was predicted back in 1965 at the dawn of modern computing and has so far held true. What used to be a precious and costly commodity is now being produced at an exponentially faster rate. Some find this humorous, in a sardonic way. To others it is overwhelming.

The Commodore 64 when it was introduced boasted sixty-four kilobytes of RAM, all within that ‘little’ box. There is the famous quote from one of the pioneers in the industry where he can’t ever foresee anyone needing more than 64k. Only a decade earlier such an extravagant amount of memory would require an entire building. Nowadays memory is so cheap you can easily afford to store a well-stocked bookstore on the phone in your pocket.

It’s amazing how far we have come. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai it took two tablets to hold ten short paragraphs. Nowadays even the most basic tablet or ereader can store dozens, even hundreds, of books in their entirety.

Daylight Savings Time Cheat Code

Deadline

Deadline

SHHHH! daylight savings time cheat code:

Hour up, hour up, hour down, hour down, minute ahead, minute back, alarm, snooze, start.

Gives you unlimited hours, multi-ball, and all the ghosts you can eat.

The Plastic Static

Static

Static

Damn. How did so much time get away from us?

It’s like one minute you are standing in the middle of a warehouse in the early nineties, high on cheap beer, brown weed, teenage freedom and rock and roll; next thing you know it’s a different century and a different world, and everyone is compartmentalized and plastic and isolated.

Yes, we are getting older. Some of us, not all of us survived.

And one has to wonder sometimes, who is the winner in this game? The ones who checked out early? The ones who missed so many years? Those of us left behind? To carry on, to trudge forth even as we see everyone and everything around us crumbling.

These days I’m not so sure.

I crawled out of a cave. I fell asleep sometime in the last century and woke up here. In a museum, in a cheap science fiction movie. Here, we are both the spectators and the spectacle.

This hallway is black. Not dark. Black. Light doesn’t dare traverse it’s expanse. There are glimpses of neon here and there, but it’s impossible to tell if they are real or hallucination. The absence of light makes the hallway feel immense, long, possibly unending. That’s another scary notion. Eternity. The thought that there may be no end to this.

And then we must ask ourselves again, which is worse? The eternal shuffling toward nothing, or the exit too early; the ones we have lost, who have fallen along the way. Are we sad they have gone? Or is it only us growing ever lonelier as they one by one depart?

I looked for you. I looked forward to reconnecting.

You wouldn’t recognize the place. Everything has changed since you left.

We’ve torn down nature and put up a plastic nature replica. It will last forever, and it doesn’t get messy like the real thing. We still aren’t sure if the birth defects are a direct result of the synthetic natural plastic alloy or merely a coincidence, but we aren’t letting it slow us down either way.

The streets are emptier too. You would get along a little better with less traffic, fewer distractions to fight for your attention. You see that’s where there was a bookshop. That used to be a record store. This was a Wags before it was a Perkins before it was a Bakers Square before it was the Sunshine Breakfast Club before it was finally abandoned and left to rot away.

This used to be the beach. Our beach. I wish I could say they left this one alone.

It almost feels the same, the yellow moon peeking down through slivers of cloud. That breeze that always hints of winter, even in August, always reminds you of how cold it could be.

As if it had any idea.

Nothing that lives or breaths or moves really knows anything of the true cold. The freezing. The motionless waiting, staring. Stuck in your tracks. So cold you can’t even feel it anymore.

It doesn’t matter, you wouldn’t recognize this anyway. It is not ours. This is no longer the world we knew.

This. You see this? This passes for sand. I know. It is cleaner. It doesn’t get in your shoes and stuck in every crevice. This is static. This is electronic noise, pixels, bits of information formed to resemble the granules we knew growing up but without all the mess.

Maybe that’s how they’ve done it. Maybe that’s how the rug was pulled out from under us. Maybe they filled up all the hourglasses with this synthetic sand. It bought them all the time in the world.

There was a point I was trying to make. There was something I wanted to say to you, but I seem to be only rambling. I’m sorry to waste your time. You would have laughed at that one. The idea of wasting time. Maybe you had it right all along, you and the Mad Hatter.

Maybe yours was the right move. Maybe I’m worse off for witnessing this. Maybe it is you who escaped and I who am trapped. Imprisoned in black iron, indeed the empire never ended.

Still, I thought there would be more time. I thought we would meet again. Even if it was out here in the fringes of reality. This crumbling pier hanging precariously over the edge, over nothing, a bottomless pit of black frozen emptiness.

©Robert Emmett McWhorter

Tree of Life, Foot in Mouth, Hot Dog in the Snow

Tree of Life, Foot in Mouth, Hot Dog in the Snow

NOTICE: Ragnarok, Viking Apocalypse

Today is Ragnarok, the Viking version of ‘end of the world’ mythology. Experts are expecting things to progress in a smooth, orderly fashion. I think we have all learned much from the recent Mayan apocalypse, The Rapture, The oft-forgotten zombie apocalypse and of course Y2K.

As events commence later this afternoon when the sun is being eaten by an enormous cosmic wolf, all Vikings and people with substantial Nordic heritage should form a single file line, and kindly await notice before exiting.

Screaming and panicking will only be permitted in predetermined screaming and panicking zones, please consult your local apocalyptic protocols for the nearest location.

Parents of young children should make sure their own spirit has been safely released from the mortal coil before assisting their young ones with metaphysical disembodiment.

We know Ragnarok is not your only choice for end of the world ideologies, so we doubly appreciate your choice to end the world with us, and we hope to make the experience as enjoyable for everyone as is possible. We hope you will fill out a short customer satisfaction survey which you will receive once you make it to the other side.

Vote Sprud in ’15

billsprudBill Sprud, the often beleaguered mayor of Meow Town, Flip Top Island, held a press conference today to announce he is running for president, asking everyone to ‘Vote Sprud in ’15!’

A journalist quickly pointed out that the next presidential elections will be in November 2016.

“That’s why I’m running in ’15,” Sprud replied, “Early worm gets the bird.”

Olympic Committee called on to ban anthem

Flip Top News LogoDATELINE, Sochi.

It began with a few countries asking the International Olympic Committee to ban the national anthem of Lichtenstein, which is the 1968 hippie masterpiece In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly.

Lichtenstein, a tiny sixty-two mile square mile strip of land between Switzerland and Austria, is well used to being overlooked. The country began to gain publicity and fame when it was reported that Doug Ingle, vocalist and organ player for Iron Butterfly, was born in the tiny nation. Eventually, in recognition and gratitude to Lichtenstein’s most famous export, they changed their national anthem to the seventeen minute long In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.

This has gone mostly unnoticed as does most everything the tiny state does. They have rarely won medals in previous Olympics and have skipped about half of them altogether.

This year, however, the Lichtenstein athletes have come to compete. They won their first gold medal in the early events that were held the day before the official opening, besting the rest of the competitors in Figure Skating- Pairs- Siamese Twin- Short Routine. When the seventeen minute hippie anthem was played while the athletes stood with their medals, some countries protested primarily on the burdening length of the song.

Lichtenstein has continued to place well in the competition, winning seven gold medals as of this writing, most notably in Women’s Cross-Country Speed Curling, and Men’s Individual Ski-Lift Defenestration.

More and more countries have aligned with the protest as the extended acid rock staple is played repeatedly. Some national ambassadors are citing the thick cloud of marijuana smoke that permeates the stands every time Lichtenstein wins a medal, and the general feeling around the grounds which are starting to resemble a Grateful Dead pre-concert parking lot.

Olympic Officials could not be reached for comment at this time. They could be reached, but refused to comment as their mouths were full, mostly Cool Ranch Doritos and Krispy Kreme Donuts.

©Robert Emmett McWhorter

Roadsong

roadsongI took my car today
and drove out for many miles
to where the road opens up
and the traffic disappears,
past seven islands of
fast food salvation,
past the edge of
radio reception,
where I found a song
from when I was younger.
As the darkness fell,
I sang it again…

There are roads branching off,
creeping over the horizon,
tracing paths into the unknown
where distant memories are held,
markers on the land where
I’ve left parts of my life behind,
let go of certain aspects,
abandoned ideas here
to be forgotten and fade away.
And I haven’t seen this
road since I was seventeen,
so sing it again…

Miles pass like the years,
each one faster than the last,
counting out the intersecting highways
like the rings of a tree.
Gravel kicks up memories below me,
the further I can get from where I was,
the closer I become to me,
so sing it again…

©Robert Emmett McWhorter 

Back to One

5512587253_768845ce89_oI often use the New Year, New Years Day, as a common theme in my work. More so in songs, it’s a pretty standard symbol of change and rebirth and starting over fresh. But in reality, it’s just another day.

I think we set ourselves up for disappointment. Many use the New Year as a catalyst for change. New years resolutions are the perfect example, many make them, few follow through.

Instead of standing as symbol for change, New Year can take on an ominous feeling that we are stuck, no change is possible, might as well not try.

But this, I think in part at least, comes from applying too much power, or too much weight, to the date. Nothing is really different about today, compared to yesterday, other than the arbitrary number we have assigned to it.

Changing the calendar won’t change our lives. I think it sets many up for disappointment and an acceptance of their lot. We can change, it is possible, but it takes more than a cosmic odometer rolling over.

If I want to quit smoking once and for all I will make a plan, talk to a doctor, put some steps in place, change the way I approach some situations and thoughts.

Change is not easy, it is possible, but let’s look at it realistically. Let’s look at what steps need to be taken, let’s put a plan in place to affect some real, actual change. Let’s not leave it up to the calendar, and expect the world to be as fresh as January’s brand new page, which is, after all, just a number jotted on paper.

©M²XIV/REM

Final Transmission of the Annual Cycle

weirdstopwatchIt’s time to rotate and change your calendar, if your grasp of time is tenuous, please do not hesitate to contact a professional and ensure your transition into the future is as safe and smooth as possible…

So, just to be a pain in the ass and to stay true to my usual MO of difficulty and absurdity, I have decided that I don’t believe in New Years. I guess this is in part due to the politically correct atheists and all the fun they get to have keeping people on their toes around the holidays, and all the trouble they get to cause, everybody walking around on egg-shells and watching what they say. Not being insensitive to the beliefs of others, and just to be on the safe side, I have been wishing everyone a Merry Christmas/ Happy Hannukah/ Solemn Ramadan/ Festive Tet/ Joyous Solstice/ Rewarding Brumalia/ Enlightening Kwanzaa/ and a Festivus for the rest of us.

But due to my personal beliefs I just cannot join in with their rain-down games, plus all that PC nonsense, as absurd as it is, just isn’t silly enough for me.

So I have renounced New Years. Of course I can back this up historically, it was only in the fifteenth century with the adoption of the Gregorian calendar that January 1st got the honor as international hang-over day .Previously, according to the Roman calendar, new years came late in march. Many cultures still start their new year with the beginning of spring. Chinese and Hebrew traditions still hold fast to their differing views of when one year ends and the next begins.

So who can say, really, when the year ends. I suppose realistically, it is relative to each person, depending on when they were born, technically speaking, a new year for myself would begin on March 20 (eerily coinciding with the ancient Roman calendar). Not to mention the other planets, with completely different solar cycles. I can almost assure you that the Beagle 2 Probe is not celebrating a new year tonight, but that is another story for another time…

So I realize this new credo puts me out of step with the rest of the western hemisphere, and most of the rest of the world. This does not bother me. As my friends around the world look back upon the past year, and make resolutions they have no real intentions of keeping in the next; as the Earth slowly rotates and rings in the celebration from one time zone to the next, I would just like to take this opportunity to wish peace and love to everyone, no matter what you do or do not believe in, and wish everyone, heartfelt and sincerely, have a festive Calendar Recycling Day.

(Wednesday, 31 December 2003)