|Fresh Dirt Archives: Jan.-March
Mar. 27, 2006
For those Defenders of the English Language (DEL), I heard three different announcers use a "th" on the end of the word "height" during the weekend's basketball action. More than three-fourths of the people I've heard say that word in the last year also use the "th" ending. Is this another one of those cases where we just surrender and let the idiots win? I've also noticed an alarming trend in the government meetings I cover toward the use of "statue" for "statute" and "physical" for "fiscal." And these are supposedly educated people who should know better. Well, in a perfect world, these would be hanging offenses.
Mar. 21, 2006
Sold story "Dog Person" to Cemetery Dance, tentative for issue #57. This story was originally written for a Mystery Writers of America anthology, one I think was edited by Michael Connelly. Anyway, one bounce later and it finds a pretty darned good home.
Here's a picture taken on a local journalism mission. I was a bit perturbed when the photographer said, "You look way too natural." For the record, my biggest criminal offense (at least, one for which I have pleaded guilty) is a seatbelt violation. But, hey, the future offers endless opportunities, right?
Recently joined International Thriller Writers. Looks pretty good from here, since I'm one of those weird guys who falls between the cracks. Horror people sometimes say I'm not scary enough, thriller people believe ghosts aren't real, mystery people want Jessica Fletcher in a lesbian love affair with Elizabeth Peters. Well, who wouldn't want to have a lesbian love affair with Elizabeth Peters? Barbara Michaels, maybe?
Mar. 9, 2006
Mar. 4, 2006
I'm also late on my Storytellers Unplugged Essay but it will be there by the time you click this link.
Feb. 27, 2006
Started a new short story, and the new novel has launched some real cool research. Writing is fun again, for now. I'm reading The Farm through, the last dry run, and this is the point I absolutely loathe. The book bores me. Really. It's torture, but I have to catch those final mistakes. I also realized I'm now writing chick lit. A mother-daughter relationship is the core of the book. Hmmm. And the cover says macho horror.
Feb. 24, 2006
Just got the galley for The Farm, must make the final run-through of the 394 proof pages. I'm not sure I can stand to look at those pages again. Maybe I can do it for the goats. Yeah...the goats.
Feb. 22, 2006
Continuing work on the Gorge novel, though its name will change. The characters are finally starting to find their voices. I have an ebay auction up, ending tomorrow, with Richard Laymon, Harry Shannon, Cemetery Dance, and a magazine assortment. My id is hauntedcomputer there if you want to make a last-minute bid.
Feb. 18, 2006
A relatively obscure but decidedly nonobsequious specimen, an aberrant genetic mutation. A quadruped that feeds at ground level, mostly on insentient humans and slow-flying insects, as if there were any difference. Omnivorous yet prefers spam. Resists easy classification. Wants a fang. Has a tongue.
The species' survival tenacity has been compared to that of Hitler's vociferous fighting on seven different fronts, all doomed to failure but never "wrong," though sometimes plagued by adjectives. Often compared to weasel and mongoose, despite reptilian demeanor and cold-bloodedness. Succeeding generations of the species seek larger territory. Scientists differ on whether this mutation represents evolution or intelligent design or a lost meatball from the flying spaghetti monster. Other descriptions hover between Moray eel and, as Dickens might say, a creature that bites its own tail to eat its own hat.
Mamatas. About it, dear Kelly Goldberg said, "If Mamatas did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him." Who on this fair Earth could ever dispute god or Goldberg? And Mamatas at its highest evolutionary arc bears an aching (although slightly green) resemblance to Robert Smith during the singer's "Fat Elvis" period. Or was that a question mark?
Mamatas. It's alive.
Feb. 17, 2006
I was doing a story at a third-grade class yesterday, and while waiting for the class to change, I saw on the bulletin board: "Creative Mind's." I desperately fumbled in my coat pocket for a pen to scratch out the offending apostrophe, but, as happens far too often for someone who trades beans for words, I had no writing implement. I was tempted to scratch out the apostrophe with my fingernails, but I have no fingernails in winter, thanks to stresses beyond the power of tai chi and positive visualization.
I stopped by a pharmacy after that to do an interview about the health care debacle known as Medicare D. On the wall, in cut-out nylon letters above an office door, was "Hearing Aid's." Well, maybe the hearing belonged to the aid, or the aid possessed the hearing. This language is so inscrutable, no wonder we should all learn Espanol, Kilgorian, or Esperanto. Or Espresso. Or cheeky-monkey. Or cha-cha-chee.
Beat's making s'ense. For the sake of communication's. Or communication'ses' s'ake. Doe'sn't matter.
Feb. 13, 2006
But there's a degree of pleasure in planting seeds, and seeing other seeds planted by the candidates. My favorite is, "I don't want to make this a negative campaign, but..."
In other words, you desperately want it to be negative, but you want somebody else to fire the first round.
In other stuff, I got a bunch of blisters and peeling skin from playing too much guitar. I feel like a virgin again.
Feb. 10, 2006
What planet is this again?
Feb. 8, 2006
Well, there's simply no arguing with that. So let the house be a work of art.
Here's some art by a guy I know and love. It's good stuff. Real. Like, comets and people you can trust. Unintelligent design. Unlike computers. Where are the B-52s when you need them?
New essay up at Storytellers Unplugged
Feb. 3, 2006
Richard Chizmar of Cemetery Dance took my story "Good Fences" for the Shivers V anthology, probably out in 2007. The story was sparked by a real-life incident: this strange old man up the road would come down and fix our fence post whenever it was leaning. It got so that we would deliberately tilt it just to work him into a frenzy. Of course, I exaggerated for effect, but hey, I never claimed I wasn't a liar.
Link of the week: www.supernaturalminds.com. You know you want to. I know you want to. Ooooh.
Feb. 1, 2005
Jan. 28, 2005
Received proofs for "Burial to Follow," my novella contribution to Cemetery Dance's Brimstone Turnpike anthology. It will probably be coming out this spring. Poe's Lighthouse looks like it has a firm release date in February. I got a postcard from Robyn Hitchcock, thanking me for the copy of "The Home" I sent him. Cool.
A few friends and I have been collecting photos of language mangling and I'll post here from time to time. I took this one at a local church. Sounds like God is a naughty little bugger after all. Ordinarily, I'd be a little kinder, but this church sometimes has the kind of hateful messages that other Christians should abhor.
Jan. 16, 2005
Here's a picture that appeared on the front
page of the local paper, proof that photographers should
actually look through their viewfinder before clicking.
The beheaded mayor is presented by a Chamber of Commerce
Jan. 9, 2005
Got a royalty check for The Harvest. Tonight let it be Lowenbrau--or, actually, meat on a stick. With rice. Also received contributor copies of The Corpse Blossom anthology and am starting to dig into it. I placed "The Endless Bivouac" with Surreal Magazine. It's a sister story to my Civil War-Andersonville prison tale "The Three-Dollar Corpse." Nearly out of stories. Must write more. I love my guitar.
Here are some cool pics of the Worcester State Hospital (the old term for "nuthouse") in NY. Looks like a great place to film a movie--like "The Home," maybe. Wes Craven, are you listening?
Jan. 2, 2005
Death of a Gunfighter: western starring Richard Widmark as an irredeemable jerk sheriff who is pretty much above the law until the town finally takes him down. Good.
There's Something About Mary: Not as bad as I thought it would be, though some of the juvenile genital humor kind of got in the way of the story. And I can't abide Ben Stiller in any format.
Thin Red Line: Overly long war movie that tries to be too literary. Parts of it are great, and I've slowly become a Sean Penn admirer (perhaps Madonna is far enough in his past now)
White Zombie--Dark and slow, creepy at times, a pretty sexy heroine for the period, Lugosi loves to count. Worthwhile.
Did a seventh or eighth draft in the first half of "The Manor" screenplay. I think it's finally getting a little better. My friend Steph Boddington, a very gifted screenwriter, gave me lots of great feedback. I'm finally starting to see the thing in my head instead of just words on paper. Then I see how much better it needs to be and I just sigh.
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