May 22 2013

Fictionlet

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“So I have this shaving cream…” said Greg.

“Promising start to a conversation,” replied Brigid.

“Hush, let me finish my sentence,” said Greg. “So I have this shaving cream, marketed specifically and in bold letters ‘For Men!’ which, for some inexplicable reason, is this day-glo neon blue color.”

“What, like gel toothpaste blue?” said Brigid.

“Yeah, pretty much like that,” replied Greg. “And I can’t help but wonder, what are the thought processes that led to this? I mean, did they have a focus group, where a bunch of guys came together and said, ‘Yeah, I really like this shaving cream, but I wish it was more comic-book-radiation-leak colored!’ or what?”

Brigid smirked. “Well obviously, day-glo neon blue is a very masculine color. Shaving cream for women is all pastel pink. All of it. No exceptions.”

“And it’s not like the color is even indicated on the packaging!” said Greg, warming to the topic. “So how can it be a marketing element? You don’t discover that it’s the color of something you’d never want on your face until after you’ve bought and opened it. Therefore, it has to be intended to get guys to buy that same shaving cream again. ‘I remember that shaving cream, it was neon blue! I’m getting that one!'”

“Maybe they’re depending on the fact that guys are, overall, a bunch of idiots.”

“Or the marketing team are all a bunch of idiots themselves.”

“They’re probably guys, aren’t they?” said Brigid.

“You’ve got me there,” said Greg.

-The Gneech

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May 20 2013

Despite What the Song Says, It Turns Out Killmo Dwaggins is Actually the Bravest Little Hobbit of Them All

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In the middle of the Earth in the land of the Shire
lives a brave little hobbit whom we all admire
but there’s an even braver one who lives just up the road
but he kept his adventures secret so his family wouldn’t know, oh!

Killmo, Killmo Dwaggins
with a lowbrow country drawl
Killmo, Killmo Dwaggins
the actual bravest hobbit of them all

Now hobbits are peaceloving folks y’know
“Keep your adventures in the closet and on the down low!”
But Killmo had some dwarf friends traveling to and fro
and dragons kept eating up his buddies so they had to go

So Killmo strapped on his sword and mail
He couldn’t find a helmet so he used an old pail
He had to keep it secret so he found a way to ‘morph:
Killmo put on some false whiskers and became a dwarf, oh!

Killmo, Killmo Dwaggins
with a lowbrow country drawl
Killmo, Killmo Dwaggins
the actual bravest hobbit of them all

Killmo was a better fighter than you might think
He killed so many dragons that they’re all but extinct
He was toasted and rewarded by all his dwarf pals
And found out that it’s true what they say about dwarf gals, oh!

Killmo, Killmo Dwaggins
with a lowbrow country drawl
Killmo, Killmo Dwaggins
the actual bravest hobbit of them all

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May 13 2013

Fictionlet

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“I was over hipsters before being over hipsters was cool,” said Greg.

“No, no, stop right there,” said Brigid. “That’s too obvious. Too cliché. You’re just phoning it in, now.”

“Aw, c’mon,” said Greg. “Do you realize how hard it is to be have just the right amount of world-weary cool while still maintaining a kind of innocent charm? It’s not easy, what I do!”

“Well it’s too late now,” said Brigid. “You just blew the whole thing. Toss it and start over.”

“Um…” Greg shrugged. “No idea. I got nothing.”

“So you’re going for straight-up nihilism, now?”

“A-ha! I’ve got it!” said Greg, and cleared his throat. “Being a coffee-loving hipster is hard. I just burned my mouth because I drank my coffee before it was cool.”

Brigid just stared at Greg, flatly. “Go back to phoning it in,” she finally said.

-The Gneech

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May 07 2013

A Message for the People of Earth

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Sleestak, Skeksi, Tellarites
Morloks eating trilobites
Wormhole, portal, dimensional rift
Klaatu barada, catch my drift?
Ghostly creatures of living gas
this planet is forbidden; none shall pass!
Atlantis, Lemuria, the land of Mu
Autotrepanation is bad juju
Frozen in time and lost in space
in a vinyl playset with a carrying case
Shoggoths quiver, phantoms creep
androids dream of electric sheep
It can happen here! Watch the skies!
Search a thousand years for the girl with green eyes
’cause when the worlds collide and Mars attacks?
It’s just a show, so just relax.

-The Gneech

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May 03 2013

Fictionlet

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“Do a little dance,” said Greg. “Make a little love. Get down tonight.”

“You can’t make me,” said Brigid.

“Well, no,” said Greg, “I just thought I’d suggest it.”

-The Gneech

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May 01 2013

Ev’ry Day I’m Creatin’

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While my work computer suffers from a brain hemorrhage (is that spelled right?), I’m going to take the opportunity, rare for me any more, to sit and ramble about a topic that’s been on my mind lately. And I’m going to start with what may be the most puffed-up, hubristic (is that a real word?) thing I’ve ever said:

I think I’m as good a writer as Neil Gaiman.

Not always; I mean, when I’m having a good day and he’s having a bad one, that kind of thing. The point is, in terms of my quality of prose, I’m in his league.

But of course, he’s a famous, respected, professional author who makes a living (and one assumes a pretty good one) with his craft, whereas I’m this guy on the internet, y’know? So what’s the difference?

My theory, at least at the moment, is volume. Neil Gaiman writes a metric buttload of stuff, all the time, and he sells it to anybody and everybody willing to pay. The sun comes up, he sneezes out a short story and sells it to some magazine, then he works on a novel for a few hours, goes to lunch and finds a Doctor Who script in his back pocket he’s been meaning to send off, then comes back home and works on his Ted talk.

He’s creating, all the time. He’s always got more stories to tell. This is where I break down.

I don’t feel like I’ve got lots of stories to tell. I’ve talked before about having tons of characters and settings but no plot: this is what I mean. This is the giant broken part of my writing craft that I’ve struggled with since forever. I’m working right now on a story idea that should flow from me like a rushing river, as it combines many things that I love dearly. Think “Jeeves, Wooster, and horrible monsters,” and you’ll get a glimmering of the notion. I should be all over that, right?

I’m not. I have no idea what happens. The characters are sitting around a table staring at me, waiting for me to tell them what to do. I keep shouting at them, “How should I know? Telling me what you do is your job!” and they just keep on staring.

This is why Neil is Neil, and I’m me.

But writing and making art is what I’m here for; one of the reasons I’ve been so horribly depressed lately is that I’m not doing what it is I’m supposed to do. (Pony fans: insert a reference to ‘What My Cutie Mark Is Telling Me’ here. ‘cos I ain’t gonna do it. ;P) So if the difference between Neil Gaiman and me is volume, volume, volume, that means I need to start creating more. Anything more.

To that end, I’ve been instituting a “make something every day” policy. It doesn’t have to be a finished piece every day (and in fact, there’s no way I could do that kind of volume in the 15-45 minute increments I’ve got to work with), but it has to be some kind of progress. Obviously, more is better, but as little as a sketch or a paragraph counts. The key is that no day goes by without at least a tiny dot on the progress bar.

I think there have been results already: yesterday’s Fictionlet (the first in months) was well-received, I’ve got the beginnings of an art piece that I’m looking forward to seeing the end of, and some creative thoughts regarding my new comic idea have bubbled to the surface.

It’s agonizing, glacially-slow progress, but even that is more than the no progress I was making, say, this time last month. Here’s hoping that it snowballs.

I’m halfway through my life. I don’t have time to “hope for better things in the future” any more. I’m in my future. If it doesn’t get better now, it’s not going to.

-The Gneech

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