rogue rhetoric

random musings by michael d. durkota

Category: .: Writery things (page 1 of 4)

Neil Gaiman Rocks

I served on a submarine for several years. There isn’t much room for books on a submarine—the library was a drawer with maybe 20 tattered trade paperbacks—and, this was the pre-Kindle world. So, when we were at sea we told each other sea stories to pass the time. Some of the stories were personal (hellishly exaggerated childhood stories) and some were retellings of stories we had read. A friend once told me the story of Sandman over the course of many days at sea. Each day he picked up exactly where he had left off the day before. He described the images and captions and wove the story for me. Death was my favorite character before I even saw her depiction in the comic, but he explained every detail of her with stunning accuracy. When I eventually collected the comics for myself, I was thrilled that I was already a fan of the author; I had read (and loved) Neil’s Don’t Panic a few years before.

Neil challenged my imagination during those many days at sea. He inspired me to pick up a pencil and write. I had scribbled stories and poems in grade school, but never with much purpose or conviction. Neil made me realize I wanted to be a writer and tell stories like he did. I wanted to write stories that other people would want to retell.

Now, Neil is everywhere. He has a show on television (American Gods), a show on the radio (Anansi Boys), he has a film or two in production. He has countless books. And comics. His advice on writing and craft is sage. His generosity is endless. His contributions to the arts seem to have no bounds.

To this day, every time I see him or hear him, I am reminded to just keep writing, to just keep creating. Write. Finish things. Keep writing. I keep the message as my wallpaper, my daily inspiration.

I encourage everyone to read his books, give his books as gifts (there are ones for children, and adults, and adults that want to be children), and follow his twitter feed. Listen to him read The Raven or A Christmas Carol. Support PEN American and UNHCR, and any other cause Neil supports. Let him inspire you to do more, to be better this year.

Neil’s tweet for the new year 2018:

We love you too, Neil. Keep doing what you do.

The Two Great American Writers Who Met at War

Literary legends Ernest Hemingway and J.D. Salinger met more than once in the middle of World War II.

Source: The Two Great American Writers Who Met at War | Flashback | OZY

On Stephen King Terrorizing Me Telepathically

I started reading On Writing a chapter or so at a time for the past couple weeks. I needed some inspiration. Perhaps some consolation. I intended to post a review. I enjoyed King’s insight, his early failures, his inspirations, his eventual success. I smiled when he equated writing to telepathy, the ability of writers to put thoughts in the heads of readers over a vast span of time and space. King described a rabbit with the number eight on its back; he wrote, “It’s an eight. This is what we’re looking at, and we all see it. I didn’t tell you. You didn’t ask… We’ve engaged in an act of telepathy.” The concept was fun to think about.

But then I reached the middle of the book where he began to speak about the craft of writing. What it means to be a writer, the investment it requires. King wrote, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” Of course, I agreed with this. I even agreed with him when he wrote, “When you find something at which you are talented, you do (whatever it is) until your fingers bleed and your eyes are ready to fall out of your head.”

I almost tweeted, “Fuck you, Stephen King.”

Why was I so angry? I was angry because he expected me to read and write for four to six hours a day. Write 2000 words a day, read a novel each week. I was quite proud of my 55K words this year until he talked about the 180K he pumps out in just three months. The implication was that if I did anything less I was either not committed to the craft, or I lacked talent.

If only I scored an early success in the literary lottery, Mr. King. If only I had even a fraction of your bank account, Mr. King. If only I didn’t have to work 12 hours a day just to pay the bills.

I wanted to explain to Mr. King that I wrote most of my first novel while working as a security guard on the night shift. I drank coffee by the pot and I wrote; I acted out scenes in the parking lot with a dozen or so bats swooping over my head. I went straight from there to my job at the registrar’s office helping veterans submit GI Bill claims. Sometimes I went to class. I got home around five and puked out freelance ad copy; I wrote product reviews at $20 a blurb until I fell asleep at the computer. Sometimes I made it into bed before the alarm sounded and another night of guard duty began.

Years later, not much has really changed. Yes, I did add my very own novel to my bookshelf; a few people that aren’t family have even read it. But nowadays I work a day job with an hour-long commute. I eat dinner, catch up on email, and do my own book marketing. I struggle to get an hour at the computer to write; my goal is a measly 500 words a day. I fall asleep with my Kindle on my lap; my battery life is horrendous and the damn thing thinks it takes me four hours to read a single page.

I wanted to ask Mr. King that if all of that isn’t commitment, what is? I wanted to scream, “You suck, Stephen King!”

And then…  Stephen King contacted me… Telepathically.

He said, “Toughen up, cupcake.”

The words vibrated through my skull. I looked around the room and no one was there but me. My phone and the computer were both off. I was reading a paper copy of his book since my Kindle was still charging.

I thought, “Why are you so mean and condescending, Mr. King? Why crush my dreams?”

He said, “I’m a bully. I like bullying writers.”

I thought, “You make me so angry. What do you do when you are not destroying inferior writers?”

I kill kittens and harvest their blood for my fountain pen.”

“You are evil, Stephen King.”

What did you expect? I’m Stephen-fucking-King. Are we done here?

And that was all. The voice was gone. I sat in the dark of my office and wondered if I had imagined it all. It didn’t matter though. Mr. King had won. Those few chapters of his book angered me so much that I pounded out this blog out at 1:19 A.M. after I slogged through about 1500 words of my second novel. Yes, he inspired me to triple my productivity. I will probably have to give up sleep and jeopardize my job. But, I am a writer. Writer’s write. I’ll keep churning out words in hopes I finally arrange them in some divine order. Thank you, Mr. King. I guess.

You’re welcome. Now stop whining and keep writing.”

Review: Being Indie by Eeva Lancaster

A quick read and a candid view of Indie publishing. Every aspiring author should immediately add this to their reading list. I wish I had this years ago when I started; it would have saved me a lot of pain and suffering.

Follow Eeva on twitter and download Being Indie on Amazon.

13 Ways to Support an Author Without Ever Spending a Dime

Source: 13 Ways to Support an Author Without Ever Spending a Dime | LitReactor

Random Musings for Saint Patrick’s Day

  • I may partake in an adult beverage tonight, but it will not be green beer (see link below for one of the reasons why).
  • Once in a Blue Year now has a book trailer. Check it out on YouTube.
  • I have topped 30,000 words for the year. They haven’t quite congealed into a draft of the next novel, but I am getting close.
  • If you write, or even if you just like reading good writing, I highly recommend On Writing by Stephen King.
  • Has anyone read Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick? I typically steer clear from autobiographies, but I am curious about this one for some reason. Also, if you haven’t Mr. Right, you need to fix that immediately.
  • I have listened to the new Ed Sheeran album about a thousand times now. I’m still not tired of it.

Are you planning to grab a pint of green beer on St. Paddy’s Day?

Source: The truth about green beer and its potential nasty side effect | Fox News

7 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Writing Files

Picture this: a bear has been hibernating all winter, sleeping a lot, eating everything within reach, and staying close to its den. March comes. The air warms. Flowers bloom. The bear wakes up, shakes itself off, looks around its cave, and realizes what a freaking mess it’s made. There are bones and food scraps stacked in the corners, loose bear fur clustered everywhere, piles of crap, and the whole place reeks.

Twist: this is a metaphor. Writers, you’re the bear…

Source: 7 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Writing Files | LitReactor

Random Musings for Groundhog Day

  • I’m not overly disappointed that Phil predicted six more weeks of winter. Aside from a few frigid days, this winter has been a letdown. I want some snow.
  • I will probably watch the Super Bowl on Sunday even though I will be angry when the Patriots inevitably win.
  • I will definitely watch the next episode of Black Sails to uplift my spirits after suffering through the Patriots victory. Unless of course they use a flashback to remind me that they killed my favorite character at the end of last season.
  • Despite having two whole days off work, I have not a read a single thing. That said, I have written over 2000 words in those two days and topped 12000 for the year so far.
  • I am proud of Black Rifle Coffee Company for standing up to Starbucks.

The Haunting: How To Conquer The Shame Of Being A Writer

LitReactor is a destination for writers to improve their craft; a haven for readers to geek out about books; and a platform to kickstart your writing goals.

Source: The Haunting: How To Conquer The Shame Of Being A Writer | LitReactor

Great Event to Support Veterans

I was honored to participate in a public reading yesterday with Ryne Tobar, a fellow veteran and an excellent writer. The event was held at Norwin Public Library and was organized by Ashley Kunsa and Brad Coffield of VetsWrite; the festivities included refreshments and a Q&A with the audience.  We had a great turnout and participation. I signed a few books at the end and raised almost $100 for Operation Homefront!

Here’s a shot of me trying not to let the nerves show:

vetswrite-durkota1b

Here’s the Q&A with Ryne:

vetswrite-durkota2b

Here’s the team celebrating the success (Ryne, me, Ashley, and Brad):

vetswrite-durkota4b

And here’s me getting ready to sign some books and raise some money for Operation Homefront:

vetswrite-durkota3b

Older posts

© 2018 rogue rhetoric

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: