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Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Smorgasbord of Characters

We live in a world where everyone is free to be different, but yet why is it that we blackball people just because they ARE different? We poke fun at or shy away from people that are homeless, gay, of different religions, jobless, have a physical or mental disability, or people that just don't fit our ideals. I'm a good christian and I was brought up to respect people, even if they are different. If everyone were the same, that would make for a very boring world. So why do we do it? Why do we hold it against someone if they don't have a great job or don't want to come to a party or don't believe in the same things we do?

I have lived on both sides of the spectrum here. When I was in high school, I had this scrawny little "nerdy" guy fawning over me, but he didn't measure up to my ideal boyfriend, so I ignored him. Well, that scrawny little boy grew up to be a very handsome and rich young man. He went on to be a success, while I stammered in my own wallowing and tried to eke out a living.

Now I'm seeing life on the other side. I don't do well in social situations and prefer my computer to a live person. People see me as a loser and one to be left alone. I don't live up to their ideals and to some, even members of my own family, I will be a bum the rest of my life.

Could I be paying for my mean streak as a teen? Is this karma come calling? Or do I deserve to be blackballed by my peers because I chose the life of a loner years ago?

When my family gets together, I listen to them talk and complain about what so and so is doing. That's all they ever talk about -- who is doing something wrong or not living up to their ideal situation. I'm the black sheep because I'm the only one that didn't choose a life of wedded imprisonment and I don't have a good job. Is that a reason to name me a loser, just because I didn't end up like my sisters (who aren't exactly living in bliss themselves.)?

So I ask you. Before you pass judgment on someone for their physical attributes, their mental capacity, their choice of jobs, etc., stop and think about life if the tables had been turned.

Now go forth and be good people! :-)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Fiction Genres

1. What fiction genre is your favorite to read?

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Exercise: The Perfect Day!

Write an essay in under 500 words on what your perfect day would entail, starting from the moment you wake in the morning until the time you fall asleep at night.

Send me your links and I'll post them here.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Writing Life

Writing is a lonely profession. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

Writers can sit for hours on end, staring at their computers, talking to imaginary friends, creating fictional worlds, and giving voice to their own special characters. They lock themselves away from “real life” distractions in order to master their wordcraft. For most, they welcome this lonely life and they prepare for many nights of being alone with their own thoughts.

Writing is hard work. I know quite a few people that don’t understand what goes into writing. To them, it’s not considered real work, just a fun hobby to pass the time away. But writers everywhere know and understand how much work can actually go into a piece.

One paragraph can take several hours to write. Then when you finally have something down, it most likely will be scrapped and you’ll have to start all over again. Even when you complete the piece, you will have to contend with rewrites and edits. It’s a never-ending process.

Research and/or knowledge are also required for any type of writing. There are certain rules to follow and mastering them can be hard work. Even when creating a completely fictional world, laws of nature specific to your world should still apply. Your characters need some kind of law and order as well or you’ll end up in a pit of paper scraps and misguided notions.

So why do we write?

Because we enjoy it. Where else can we create fictional worlds or control people and their surroundings? It’s similar to the God Complex. Every thought, every action, every place is controlled by the writer. In real life, we would never have even half as much control over things.

For me, I love to share my worlds with other people. There’s nothing better than an elated feeling when someone reads something I’ve written and gives it a thumbs up or asks that wondrous question, “Where on earth did you ever come up with something this good?”

Writing is a chance for me to steal away from reality and spend some time with my fictional friends. It’s a lonely world, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Dangers of MP3s

Has anyone heard this news report?

40 tons of spilled cow intestines close part of I-43

Mess around with your mp3 player while you're driving, and this could happen: You could drive off the road, flip your truck, dump 40 tons of cow intestines and bones on the road and close part of the freeway.

That's exactly what happened to Ryan Engle early this morning as he drove north on Interstate 43 near the Sheboygan-Manitowoc county line.

Engle, 25, of Kenosha, was northbound on I-43 about 2:15 a.m. near Orchard Road in the town of Mosel, about a mile south of the county line, when the truck veered off the right side of the road as he adjusted an mp3 player, according to Sgt. Blaine Spicer of the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department.

Engle drove onto the shoulder and was unable to regain control as the load shifted. The truck fell onto its right side in the east ditch, the sheriff's department said.About 76,000 pounds of beef byproduct spilled into the ditch and onto the road. The right lane of northbound I-43 was closed for two hours as crews cleaned up.

Engle, who was cited for inattentive driving, was taken to St. Nicholas Hospital in Sheboygan with non-life-threatening injuries. The semi, which had to be towed from the scene, is owned by Kenosha-based Birchwood Transport.

I don't have an MP3 player in my car, but the radio could be just as bad. I remember once when I was wild and crazy. I used to go out driving around with friends, but back then I couldn't go anywhere without listening to my tunes. I was constantly distracted by flipping the radio station. One time when I had my girlfriend and two guys in the car, I was doing my distraction thing when I looked up and saw I was on the wrong side of the road and cars were headed in my direction! Thankfully, I was able to avoid a collision and get back to the right side of the road in time. I've been a bit more careful since then, but wow, what a nightmare.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Cell Phones: A Godsend or the Devil's Handiwork?

What's your take on the cell phone craze? Just like my car alarm, I used to think I could do without a cell phone, but the first time my car broke down, I was thankful to have had one. Now I carry one with me wherever I go; however, it's only used for emergencies. I don't sit there and talk on the phone while driving or waiting in line at the post office, like way too many people do. I never had one when I was in high school or younger, like a lot of kids do these days. What do young kids need cell phones for anyway? And why do people have to talk on the phone while driving? If it's that important, they should pull over before attempting to talk. I've seen and heard about too many accidents involved with people talking on cell phones while driving. It's ridiculous.

Let me tell you a story. When you go to any business, such as the post office or the cable company, they have signs posted informing people not to use their cell phones at the desk. Well, I went to talk to someone one time about our cable bill. There was quite a long line on that day. About three people in front of me was a lady talking really loud on her phone. She got up to the desk and never stopped talking on her cell phone. She ignored the lady behind the counter and kept on talking, while the rest of us had to wait to do our business. When the lady behind her, the next one in line, told her to hang up and do her business, the cell phone user told her to shut up and mind her own business. The lady in line informed her that other people were waiting and that there were signs up on not using a cell phone at the desk. It got so bad that the two women almost got into a fist fight over it. Now how stupid is that?

Are cell phones becoming an extension of people's anatomy? It sure seems like it.

So, I ask you again, what's your take on this subject?

Monday, February 5, 2007

The other day I received an email from Mr. Joe Blogs requesting an interview, so I thought, "why not?" I visited his site at http://mrjoeblogs.blogspot.com/ and found some great interviews there. This could be fun. I jotted down some answers to his questions and voila! I am his Interview #66.

Go ahead and visit his site, say hi, or take a look at some of his interviewee's blogs. There are some pretty good resources there.


Friday, February 2, 2007

Punxsutawney Phil's Predictions -- Fact or Fiction?

Today is Groundhog's Day, which Americans have made a tradition of predicting a future weather season. Supposedly, a German legend has it that if the groundhog does not see his shadow on this day at this particular hour, an early spring is headed our way. That would be wonderful, in my opinion, but considering that temps are supposed to take a turn for the worse this weekend, is an early spring really on the way? According to the weather reports, we might see wind chills from -5 to -15 this weekend . . . brrrrrr! How many more days until the first signs of spring appear? I don't know, but I sure can't wait. Snow and ice is a pain, but bitter cold temperatures is another thing. It sure would be nice if Punxsutawney Phil, the weather predicting groundhog, was right on the mark!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Exercise: Be My Valentine or Not!

Okay, since it's officially February, let's do a short assignment related to the upcoming holiday this month. I usually don't mention due dates, but perhaps I should start, so I'll post any links to your assignment if you send them to me by February 8th.

The assignment this week is:

Write a scene involving the worst Valentine’s Day ever.