Alasdair Gray

People in Scotland have a queer idea of the arts. They think you can be an artist in your spare time, though nobody expects you to be a spare-time dustman, engineer, lawyer or brain surgeon.

I May Have Out-Smutted Myself

Originally posted on Sleep Before Waking:

How is that even possible, you say? I don’t even know.

The reality of writing smut (erotica, but I just really love the word smut. Just say it with me, Ssssssmmmmmut! It doesn’t roll off the tongue, you have to hiss to say it properly. Word perfection.) is interesting. Sitting at the laptop in the late hours writing a graphic sex scene is not new to me; I’ve been writing for a very long time, writing novels for six years, and thus far, they’ve all included some shagging. Hell, sometimes I just get this fantasy in my highly undersexed, but prolific mind and rather than simply sit in quiet serenity replaying it over and over, I put it to use and write it the hell down.

Then it gets tucked away in the corners of my laptop, never to be seen aga-

WRONG! It gets published under a pen name…

View original 464 more words

A Farewell to Facebook

Originally Published November 19th, but given the return of the Facebook Blackout in my life, I share again!

(Don’t freak out! I’m not going to suggest you shave your head and join a cult; it’s only temporary.)

Are-Like-Facebook-meme-01Imagine, if you will, a man sitting at his desk. He’s in his office, has no pressing emails to respond to, no urgent calls to take. He leans back in his chair, turns to the window and sees a single snowflake drifting by outside.

Does he think, “I should relish this moment of Zen. Contemplate the beauty of changing seasons and the unique fragility of that single snowflake, the only one of its kind to ever be?”

No. He thinks, “A snowflake? Holy shit, I gotta tell fucking EVERYBODY!”

This is just one of the quiet subversive natures of the Facebook beast.

Facebook Status –
This Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate from Dunkin Donuts makes me want to eat my own face.

Wearing flip flops in November. Yes, my feet ARE cold.

Look at my CAT! (Picture included)

Dude wearing tight pants. I’m not your physician. I don’t want to see that. And please don’t cough.

430030_10151233809800612_708350611_22912011_1412715473_nDon’t think for a second that I am mocking you. I am mocking myself – these are all statuses I have NOT shared since deactivating my Facebook three days ago. I was and am wholly susceptible to this aspect of FB. I saw FB as a means to turn to my friend and make a joke, despite my friend not standing next to me to hear it. Yet, on the flip side of that tendency of endless sharing is the social voyeurism of those who do NOT engage in constant sharing, but do engage in the quiet scrolling that fills the empty space where they would otherwise be forced to spend a quiet moment with their thoughts.

untitledOn the plus side, I’ve benefitted from it in many ways over the years – reconnected with friends from Grade School that I love and adore, kept in touch with new friends I made in Scotland over the Summer who otherwise I’d never have spoken to again, started a yearly Christmas party that the whole family attends because of a Face book invite. I proclaim wholly, it has its merits. Yet there’s the not so sexy side as well. The degradation of human relationship, the addictive nature of instant gratification. There is Dopamine involved, self soothing behavior that parallels fidgeting when you’re anxious or eating when you’re bored. It’s mental occupation where once we might have read a book, or in my case written in a journal to quiet my mind. When researching how to deactivate FB chat a few weeks ago, I discovered entire forums on how Facebook Chat caused breakups and blowouts by creating an avenue through which your internet presence is always on display, whether you comment, or post, or simply lurk. Having been stalked (literally. In the creepy, lock your door at night kind of way) via Facebook on more than one occasion, I was mildly unnerved by that.

I’d contemplated the break for a good long time, but found myself unable to resist the simple click and scan that having an iPhone, a laptop, an iPad, etc. offered. Now, with a deactivated account, I have received emails of concerned friends who think I’m potentially living in a cabin in the woods and building explosives. Not having a Facebook isn’t anti-social, ladies and gentlemen.

I’ve noticed the far reaching impact of the social networking behavior. You walk through the world constantly judging experience on whether or not it is worth sharing on Facebook. I only notice it because I don’t share anymore. No, though this Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate is melting my face, it’s so good, it’s entirely acceptable to enjoy it without anyone having to know.

funny-memes-facebook1And of course as a writer, there is the undeniable impact of its distracting power.

“Holy mother of balls, I have a Facebook notification!” *Spends seven minutes scrolling, commenting, liking, perusing, silently judging, whatever it is that floats your boat.*

It was time. Time to take a break. Time to not be constantly available to people who don’t need to know where I am at all times. Time to let those who are important to me be more than a Facebook post every day or two. And time to let my mind wander again. That’s where all my best ideas come from. I assure you, none of my novels thus far were inspired while scrolling on Facebook.

So though I recognize that some need a Facebook presence for business, marketing, etc., to those who do not  – a challenge.

1) Unfollow as many pages and random acquaintances that you needn’t keep up to date with on a minute to minute basis.

2) Delete the app from your phone and only allow a perusal when you’re sitting to a computer or laptop.

3) Go on a Facebook fast. Start with a week, if that seems easy try a month. If you’re like me and having an active account and point/click access is too tempting, deactivate for a while and see how you feel.

Does the mere notion of this piss you off or upset you? Are you afraid you’re going to miss something enormously important as a result of not being active? Are you devastated to think your old friends from Fifth grade won’t be able to get in touch with you for a short length of time? Then you might be addicted.

Don’t feel bad, you’re not alone.

Hero

The Writing Will Commence… Shortly.

More Paintings – Procrastination By Any Other Name

Finally sent my pages to the Agent last night. Even the once over I wanted to give those pages gave me pause. Inertia has set in for a wee bit, ladies and gentlemen.

Yes, I know this is not an acceptable substitute, but the Long, Dark Teatime is strong this time around. Retreating to some room of my own in some podunk nowhere town for a few days to kickstart it all again. Wish me luck.

In the meantime, here’s George R. R. Martin. :P

DSC_0035

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And his creation.

When I Can’t Make Myself Write…

… I paint.

king

Stephen King

Hunter

Hunter S. Thompson

neil

Neil Gaiman

Twain

“A man who does not read has no advantage over a man who cannot read.” – Mark Twain

I always wanted to paint. My uncle and hero, Jack Carrigan, was one of the most talented Guitar Players and Painters that I will ever know. His paintings were around the house as I was growing up and I grew accustomed to being in homes that smelled of home cooked meals, leather sheepskin slippers, wood smoke, and books. I equated those things to home and comfort. It never occurred to me that massive oil paintings of Apples in a Bowl were an uncommon sight in most homes.

I couldn’t quite tell you what it was that triggered the need – A Paint Nite event my friends took me to where I went AWOL and painted something completely different than the assigned painting because I thought it was dreadful? Perhaps. Or perhaps it was just latent and waiting. These are only four of over a dozen watercolors I’ve done; a series of different famous authors – from Rowling to Thoreau – all with the constant urge to do more, do more, make more.

So, I thought I would share, given that we are many of us writers, here. Perhaps I’ll share more down the road as they come to me.

Live long and Prosper.

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