Monday, December 28, 2015

Brutal Honesty

Somewhere in what you are about to read, sculpted in an odd and confusing manner, explains exactly why no one ever talks to me. (Psst, the guards haven’t let me out of my room in weeks, and to be honest, that’s probably a good thing.)

During my formidable learning years, a teacher once told me that I had a vivid imagination, but I was a terrible writer. At the time, I assumed she was right, after all, she was the teacher and I was the student. So, me being a wise young lad, I figured the only way to get better was to keep writing.

Screw that noise, I spent the next 30 years making potatoes look smart.

The two on the right invented Hash Browns this morning.

Yes, I decided to take the low road instead. I never wrote another word, at least none to be read by anyone of distinction. But that was then and this is now. Therefore, in the interest of torturing myself, I am revisiting my passion yet again, (or my persistent need for ridicule) writing another fantasy novel that will systematically torment my soul.

The voice inside my head says, “NO!!!” I answered it back with a resounding, “Huh?”

So, is honesty the best policy? Only when it’s the truth, or categorically avoids upsetting someone, or prevents herpes, or or or . . . never mind. Where was I?

For the record . . . I love ellipsis, only because it pisses off the punctuation police.

From the moment I began writing my first book, and even now, the memory of that teacher’s educated observation swirls around inside my head. I, however, refuse to succumb to her knowledgeable opinion. Thinking back, I probably should have picked a different hobby to occupy my time.

Yes, writing is a hobby for me. I do not take it seriously. Consequently, there is a strong chance I will never master the skillful art of making words enjoyable to read.

I am an idea sort of guy. I got tons of them. Trouble is my idea’s are constantly pounding on my brain, seeking a way to escape. I have no alternative but to release them. You are currently reading one of those idea's.

This is what happens when someone is 'Brutally Honest', although pointing out stinkiness is not always bad thing. (I know stinkiness is not a word. Don't worry, I'll gladly pay the fine to the dictionary police.) So, do you know what happens when brutal honesty is suspended? I’ll tell you what happens, stinkiness festers. And without proper medicated cream the stinkiness will get worse, which I am sure you all know what happens next. You become famous and makes millions!


Sadly, you eventually find out the hard way that your stinkiness is really stinky and then on cold dark nights you hide under the bed with the boogie man, screaming for your mommy to save you. But you can take comfort in the fact that stinkiness, though painful and will always leave a nasty scar, is curable. The pain and scars serve as a reminder that your stinkiness needs some work, or several trips to a therapist.

“jimmy! I need more coffee!”

“Mr. Kafka, I’ve given you all we got!”

“Dammit jimmy, there is no way I’ll finish this without more coffee!”

“Can I be brutally honest with you?”

“Sure jimmy, go for it.”

“Your stinkiness is putrid.”

“Thank you, jimmy.”

In conclusion, be honest, and if it hurts the ones you love the most, I can recommend a good medicated cream to alleviate the stench of unwanted stinkiness.

Have a great week and celebrate the New Year with lots of alcoholic beverages and please do not drink and drive.

Make 2016 a year of Flaming Lies and Purple Honesty

Hey! Purple is our thing, don't be stealing it.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Staying Positive

I am going to assume that most writers appreciate it when a reader takes the time to write a review about their work, even if they write something negative. However, I suggest that when authors read the bad reviews, they keep an open mind and stay positive.  

The Road to Success is never straight forward.

For today’s exercise, I decided to share some of the reviews I’ve received via e-mail, along with my tactful responses.

Bob: Dude, be thankful I didn’t have to pay for this crap; otherwise I’d be in jail right now for murdering you as well.
Response: Thank you for your honesty, and if it’s not too much trouble, now that you finished reading it; can you pass it along to the inmates in the cell next to you? (Being a newbie author, I donated 10 books to the local prison library. You do what you gotta do to find readers.)

Karen: Another wannabe writer with no skills, exactly what the world needs more of.
Response: Thank you and I appreciate you reading my book. (She’s the evil dog lady whose pooch craps in my yard every day.)

Alice: Your book was awesome, because reading it every night before I went to bed helped solve my insomnia problem.
Response: That’s good to hear. At least it was good for something. (She used to be my favorite cousin.)

Irene: Were you trying to make a political statement with this book?
Response: No, not that I’m aware of. (She’s my radical sister-in-law.)

Sam: I got so lost with all the plot twist, I had to quit reading it. I gave the book to my dog to play with and he really enjoyed it.
Response: Glad to hear your dog liked it. (I went to school with him; he and I failed 3rd grade three times.)

Sue: After a friend read it, she gave it to me to read. We’re no longer friends. Please do not write another book.
Response: I’m sorry you didn’t like it. (I told my neighbor not to give it to anyone.)

Tom: I suggest you hire a good editor for your next book.
Response: Yes, I agree. (Tom is my editor.)

Jack: Is there a way I can get my money back?  I want a refund.  You owe me $20.
Response: I gave you the book! (He’s my nephew.)
Jack: I still think you owe me something for reading it!

Ms. Mary: Anyone who buys and reads your book deserves an award.
Response: Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind. (She was my 5th grade English teacher.)

Janet: Who told you this book was good?
Response: My wife. (Janet is my wife’s boss.)

John: I am going to be completely honest. It was a very good book.
Response: Thanks John. (He’s my oldest son and a very well-mannered young man.)

Nancy: What was with all the dumb character names? I couldn’t pronounce any of them. My husband said there is an opening where he works. He could put in a good word for you so that you’ll have a real job.
Response: I was trying to be unique. (She’s my youngest sister.)

Walt: I was out of toilet paper so your book came in handy.
Response: *Sigh* (He’s my second son.)

There you have it, the readers have spoken. Such torrent positivity makes me want to finish my next book as soon as possible.

“Mr. Kafka, I saw in the paper that the local construction company is hiring.”

“Thanks jimmy, but I think I’ll stick to writing books.”

“So, I guess we’re eating spam for lunch today, again?”

“We can pretend it’s steak.”

“I don’t have that good of an imagination, Mr. Kafka.”


Monday, December 7, 2015

Words on Trial

Weird, sometimes a little creepy, almost comical, but rarely am I ever serious.

However, seriousness is everywhere and it’s a bit frightening, almost to the point of ridiculousness. Oddly, words and how they are used are to blame for recent outbreaks of intense behavior. It’s amazing how any one particular word or group of words can incite such rage, but certain words or phrases that people consider to be offensive, well, they just might get you killed for uttering them in public.

The Scopes Trial, formally known as The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes and commonly referred to as the Scopes Monkey Trial, was an American legal case in 1925 in which a substitute high school teacher, John Scopes, was accused of violating Tennessee's Butler Act, which made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school. (Incredible that the word ‘evolution’ scared people silly back then; the word ‘religion’ equally scared the masses, and continues to do so even now. Gather outside the courthouse folks, we gonna have us a word burning party!)

A jury of my peers is all I can hope for.

90 years have gone by since the trial and still certain words are very powerful. But why? They’re just words. Words have been uttered at me over the years, and not a single word has ever physically hurt me, after all, they’re just words. Nevertheless, some people truly believe words can hurt you.

I’ve spent the better part of my life pondering over words, and I have finally concluded that in order for us to survive, we must enact word-control-laws. Conceal and carry word-laws will keep us safe in the dark. (I’m packing a loaded 9mm dictionary, so back off.)

Sticks and stones may hurt me, but words never will. (So not true!)

Back to the ‘but why do words hurt’. They hurt because more often than not, the words being spoken are probably true and thus the reason why they hurt. A thing not many will admit to. On the other hand, aren’t we supposed to tell the truth?

It boils down to discretion, good judgment, and sensitivity to avoid embarrassing or upsetting others.

I have four sisters, and when we all come together at Christmas, I tell them they all look good, they’re hair is nice, and … well, you get the point. Saying nice things even though they are probably not true makes for a more civil family gathering. I’m told that being polite and not telling the truth is the better part of valor. In other words, we’re conditioned to hear lies, instead of the truth.

I rather enjoy being lied to, because I already know the truth, and the truth is boring, but a good lie is always interesting.

I could list the current group of words that are on 'death-row', which will undoubtedly incite a riot, but I’m yellow. (Yellow is an old term, meaning the person is a coward.) Yes, I’m a coward, and I don’t want to upset anyone, so I won’t do it.

A mouth loaded with words is deadlier than a loaded gun. Word abuse is a crime and the punishment is a lifetime of trying to shove them back into your mouth. But a proper lie is eternal happiness, so read or write fiction; it’s never about the truth.

“Mr. Kafka, you’re awesome.”

“Thanks, jimmy, you’re awesome too.”

“Now get back to work writing more words, your next book ain’t gonna write itself.”

“jimmy, there’s a word for people like you.”

“Yeah, but you’re too big of a coward to say it.”

“Hard to argue with the truth.”