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Hemingway’s Rough Drafts (from XKCD)

20/04/2017

hemingway rough drafts from xkcd

found at xkcd

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“Love III” by George Herbert

15/04/2017

Love bade me welcome, yet my soul drew back,
…..Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey’d Love, observing me grow slack
…..From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
…..If I lack’d anything.

“A guest,” I answer’d, “worthy to be here”;
…..Love said, “You shall be he.”
“I, the unkind, ungrateful? ah my dear,
…..I cannot look on thee.”
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
…..“Who made the eyes but I?”

“Truth, Lord, but I have marr’d them; let my shame
…..Go where it doth deserve.”
“And know you not,” says Love, “who bore the blame?”
…..“My dear, then I will serve.”
“You must sit down,” says Love, “and taste my meat.”
…..So I did sit and eat.

(found at Centre For Public Christianity)

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the magic hours of the night

7/04/2017

the first magic hour of the night occurs just after the last trace of dusk disappears and the first true darkness of night falls.

it is the moment the night people
disconnect from the day people

(“the night people” that sounds so sinister, doesn’t it? like vampires or demons roaming the Earth in search of victims. nothing could be further from the truth: the night people are people just like the day people, humans with the same strengths and weaknesses, same virtues and vices, same wisdom and foolishness. the only difference is they are of the night tribe, and as such they live apart from the rest of humanity even while living among them)

as darkness falls, the day people come to their homes, ready to retire for the evening, prepare for sleep

but the night people feel something else calling them, something beckoning them awake

elsewhere children ignore their mothers, stay out on the street, engage in vast games of capture-the-flag that rage over many blocks, coming home only when exasperated parents finally drag them in

these children can’t articulate what they feel — not yet, at least — but they are answering the call of the night tribe

in years to come they will look back fondly on these games and remember them as their initiation into the night tribe, but for now they go in and wash up and eat dinner and dull their minds with TV and brush their teeth and go to bed and lay there awaken for hours, not knowing who or what is calling to them, only that they are called

this is the first magic hour of the night

.

in a small industrial strip, a single garage stays open, yellow light pouring out onto the empty moonlit street

the mechanic works on his own project, taking his time, sipping his coffee

he is alone but not alone; a mile away, a county away, a whole country away his brothers and sisters set about their solitary tasks while the day people prepare to shut down for the night

they are the vanguard of a vast army, ready to claim this night for their own

the mechanic may only be there for another hour, but that is time enough; he has disconnected with the day people, he sees and experience the hour in a way they never can

this is the second magic hour of the night

.

there are people going out to eat and drink and socialize, people going to plays and concerts and movies

these are not night people

these are day people, slumming as it were in the sacred lands of the night tribe

the night tribe bears them no animosity; rather, they ignore them: big dumb loud noisy day people, not knowing how to breathe the night air, live the night way

pretty soon they will stumble home to bed and leave the night for the tribe

the police and the criminals think they are of the night tribe, but they are not

the police are invaders, intruders, interlopers; they are only there to catch criminals

and criminals like to think they are night people but they aren’t

to them the night is a shield, a cloak

they can’t hear the night music

no, the real night people hang back while the day people finish their farces and seek oblivion

whatever the night people want,
it is not oblivion

.

one by one, like time delay candles, the main body of the night people tribe come online, not in a literal sense (thought God knows enough prowl the web at that hour) but in the sense that one by one their begin their real function, their true purpose, and one by one become aware in some quantum or psychic way of the others out there, waiting for them

their people

a poet pours a small glass of sweet red vermouth, takes out paper and pen, and sets to work

a disc jockey fills most of his show with idle mindless chatter but every once in a while sends out a message to those within the sound of his voice: “Jean has a long mustache; the hour of liberation is at hand”

a mother puts her child to bed, satisfies her husband, then creeps into the living room ostensibly to read

in truth the book lays unopen in her lap, the TV remains cool and inert

her mind is racing, leaping, a gazelle among and above the winding streets around her

in a thousand and one shuttered businesses a thousand and one seemingly menial workers reveal themselves to be poets and philosophers and kings and queens

writers and artists sharpen their pencils, lick their points, ready to put heart and soul together

and they work together, or separately, seemingly disparate individuals but all contributing, all fueling the mind / the soul / the gestalt of the night tribe

it’s a time for music and musing, of creation both pro- and re-, of art and ideas, of knowledge and questions, of titans and trivia

this is the third magic hour of the night

.

at last comes the final hour of the night, the begrudging hour, the resentful hour when the night tribe must surrender their possession and co-exist with the mundane world of the day

an hour where the night tribe feels the spider web connecting them start to dissolve like dew in the morning sun

when grumpy day people come stomping in, turning on stoves, filling tanks, brewing coffee

and the night tribe silently releases their tenuous hold on the links that bind them and are blasted apart by the harsh rays of dawn

(yes, they’ll meet again, and yes, they’ll reclaim the night, but no parting is ever pleasant, no parting is ever sweet)

this is the last magic hour of the night

“well” the night tribe seems to say “what have we accomplished tonight? what have we done?”

a day person would fill the air with a long list of things concrete examples pre-comodified and sold: so many bagels, so many sonnets, so many lovers deceived, so many hearts broken

the night tribe answers differently

“what have we accomplished? we kept the faith, baby. we made it possible for other members of our tribe to make it through to another daybreak, supported by the knowledge there are others just like them out here.

“isn’t that enough?”

.

.

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© Buzz Dixon

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Jack Kerouac On Finding The Right Words

5/04/2017

kerouac on finding the right words

“One day I will find
the right words and
they will be simple.”
— Jack Kerouac

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It Was Only A Kiss

3/04/2017

It was only a kiss
But it was so much more
It opened up so many things
The heart became a door
It was only a kiss
It was only a kiss

 

text © Buzz Dixon

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Papa Asks What Kind Of Bird You Are

30/03/2017

Ernest-Hemingway-Quotes-5

“A serious writer is not to be confused with a solemn writer.  A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl.” — Ernest Hemingway

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Writing Report March 28, 2017

28/03/2017

To demonstrate how the creative mind works[1], consider:

Last night I was watching an episode of a classic old genre show (hence, Show A). It was a typical standalone, villain-of-the-week episode of the series, nothing spectacular in and of itself. I don’t recall ever seeing this particular episode, but if I did, it must’ve been 50-60 years ago in its initial run.

It struck me that this episode’s particular baddie was in a unique position to help the protagonists with their mission, but only at a terrible cost. They turn him down, of course, opting to struggle on nobly rather than employ the services of such a villain, but it occurred to me…

…if the villain wasn’t so villainous (or at least didn’t appear so villainous), and they did take him up on his offer…

…then the show would have moved in a radically differ (albeit similar) direction from the way it actually did when aired.

That got me thinking about the basic premise of the show. It was far-fetched 60 years ago and completely unviable today…given the backstory of the show.

But if you changed that backstory…

I thought of genre Show B; it had a similar premise but a significantly different backstory. Swap out a few elements of Show A’s backstory with Show B…

…now you have a similar premise / mission but with a different sense of urgency.

So different it makes the original Show A villain’s offer all the more tempting.

Still, I’m not interested in doing straight up fan fic using somebody else’s characters. While their archetypes (to be generous) and stock characters (to be honest) were common to the genre, they’d still require considerable tweaking to make them my own.

Gender and age substitutions were easy enough, but one stock character reminded me of a comedy relief team of similar stock characters in genre Show C, so if I port that team over, play them straight but keep the core essence of their personalities…

Still, it struck me as a little too cut-&-pasty. Sharp-eyed readers might notice what I lifted from Show B and Show C.

Then I remember Genre Movie had used a similar setting to Show B and similar characters to Show C but had been released before either of those two shows aired, so if anybody said, “You ripped off Show B & C” I could say, no, Genre Movie did that, too and vice versa.

Great, so now I have a strong, workable premise, but no place to put it. I suppose I could write it (eventually) as a novel…

Then it struck me to approach the material as I would a TV series, each chapter an episode in a season or a long story arc.[2] Thirteen episodes of three acts, each act with a minimum of three scenes, each scene 500 words long = 58,500 words right there. Easily within striking range of a standard genre novel.

Well, that’s good.

The only real question now is when to find time to write this!

We just got in the cover art for Poor Banished Children Of Eve, my young adult “World War Two Lord Of The Flies with Catholic school girls” novel; I’ll be sharing that with you shortly. That should be hitting the market (well, Amazon) in a matter of weeks.

Completed the second draft on the short story I mentioned last time that’s set in a book store; trimmed it down a little tighter, punched up a few lines. As soon as I have more info on the anthology’s final title and release date Ill let you know.

The modern Western YA novel about four teen girls saving a herd of wild horses is still awaiting the next round of revisions; gotta get that one in the hopper ASAP.

Haven’t forgotten about the female barbarian story, either; it’s still stewing in the back of me widdle brain.

We went to Canada for a wedding last weekend and to amuse myself in the down time I wrote a 1,400 word short story I now have no idea what to do with. It’s not a genre story[3] and it has a nasty little twist that hinges on a sharp change in tone, so markets that might like the first half of the story won’t like the second and vice versa. If anybody has any general fiction markets they know of, bounce ‘em along to me, please.

I’ve also written a short factoid that will eventually find its way into the rotation on this blog. It’s more of a mood piece that an actual story, but I liked the way it turned out and as they say in the song, “Whaddya want for nuthin’? A rubber beeeeescuit?”

Oh, and I’ve got some links to share of a book review of The Most Dangerous Man In The World: The Lost Classic G.I. Joe Episode and an interview I did recently, so I gotta get those up plus you’ll probably be seeing some format changes on this blog in the very near future as we are shifting from one platform to another.

So brace yourselves, there’s a lot coming!

Ray bradbury write a story

[1]  Well, how this creative mind works.

[2]  But how to hide the episodic nature so that it flows like a real novel instead of a series of adventures? Well, when we were doing the classic Sunbow shows we were forced into a pretty rigid three act structure by the need to run commercials. If each chapter is the equivalent of an episode, just move the chapter break to the cliff hanger at the end of act two, resolve it in the next chapter, then segue on to the next story.

[3]  Unless you want to call it a crime story but while there’s a crime in it, the focus of a genre crime story is the crime itself while the focus of this story is what motivates the crime.

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Barack Obama On Writing

20/03/2017

 

1) “Careful about too many adverbs, particularly describing how people speak (Paul asked disbelievingly, etc.).  It can be cumbersome and a bit intrusive on the reader.”

2) “Resist the temptation of easy satire. … Good satire has to be a little muted.  Should spill out from under a seemingly somber situation.”

3) “Try to get the basic stats on the characters out of the way early {Paul was 24} so that you can spend the rest of the story revealing character.”

4) “Think about the key moment(s) in the story, and build tension leading to those key moments.”

5) “[W]rite outside your own experience. … I find that this works the fictive imagination harder.”

(found here)

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Writing Report March 14, 2017

14/03/2017

More details will follow, but I’ll have a short story in an upcoming original anthology.

Not science fiction / fantasy / horror, but a light hearted look at book hunters and what motivates them.

It was tons o’fun to write:
The plot unfolded itself pretty quickly to me, and the actual writing took only a single afternoon.

You’ll sometimes hear writers saying something “wrote itself” and I think that’s true.

You can get metaphysical about it and say the stories are circling around …somewhere… …out…there… just waiting for a chance to land.

You can be brutally pragmatic about it and say sometimes the logical sequence of events is so self apparent there’s no need to over think the material.

Whatever… It’s written and it’s waiting its turn to make itself known to the world.

Poor Banished Children Of Eve is having its cover art completed; more about it as we get closer to the publication date.

The modern day YA western needs its turn in the re-writer hopper, then the 2nd female barbarian novella, then finally I can get started on the big book I’ve been planning.

And I have a lot more on deck, but first (and second, and third) things first.

behind every great novelist

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fictoid: Ride & Grow

13/03/2017

“There are enough elephants in the forest,” Kyle said. “We don’t need to import more.”

“They have to go somewhere,” I said. “We just can’t let them roam free.”

“There’s not enough food for them in the forest,” Kyle said. “Any more and they’ll disrupt the ecosystem. Can’t have that, can we?”

“What do you suggest?”

“Have you tried the mall?”

“The mall? What’s for them to eat at the mall?”

“Well, you could sell rides on them, and customers could pay with elephant food.  Hey, I bet they’ll work for peanuts!”

Kyle chortled at his own wit; I was not amused. I had fourteen elephants on my hands, maybe fifteen if the older female was indeed pregnant, and I needed a place to stash them.

“Try something else,” I said.

“Farming?”

“Hmm, that’s an idea, but there aren’t that many farms around here. Besides, the elephants will eat a lot.”

“True, but they’ll refertilize the fields with dung.”

I snapped my fingers: Kyle’s two bad ideas just synthesized into a single good one.

So that’s how I started Ride & Grow, a service that provides custom made organic fertilizer to your garden and educates and entertains your kids at the same time.

  • You select the feed mix that will provide the perfect manure for your yard or garden
  • Your kids feed the elephant
  • Your kids ride the elephant and guide him (or her, as the case may be) to deposit your custom made manure right where you want it

How’s business? It’s booming!

In fact, we’ve been doing so well I’ve been thinking about poaching a few elephants from the forest…

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© Buzz Dixon

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Written today while my car was undergoing a smog check.  If you want to know where we get our ideas, damned if I know.  I sat down, opened my note book, the first sentenced appeared out of nowhere, and we were off and running…

 

 

 

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