SUN!

little girl outdoorsThe day is beautiful.  There must be something redeeming in that statement but I’m afraid that means nothing while I’m sitting here inside.  I did a bunch of bitching when the weather was no so great.  Last winter was either ice or snow for the most part.  Technically we are still in spring, but it’s a lot more like summer out there and I’m here at home, only stepping outside to have a smoke.  The weather is beautiful.  No rain.  No hail.  The few clouds in the sky are afraid to even show themselves on a day like today.  Only the most brave and puffy are lingering in the spring fresh air.

Most of you are probably screaming through the monitor to get my butt from this house and get some sun.  I have the option of going to a pool for Chrissakes, but I’m still here typing.   Don’t get me wrong, I love the beautiful weather.  There something so simple as to get into my car and not have to worry about whether I will have to have a cover on my skin, or even have to trudge through feet of snow, dig out my car, and pray I don’t become the a tree’s worst nightmare, sliding out of control on ice.  Maybe it’s too beautiful.  Yeah, I’ve set it.  With a week of rain coming up in the forecast, I need to take advantage of this perfect day, or living with the Noah effect will make it all the more precious.

I’ve thought about it.  I really need to get out of here.  But here is my dilemma, what am I going to do?  With all these options what could I do? What would I want to do?  If I lived in Key West, I know what to do, go to the beach.  What else would you do?  Here in mostly landlocked Pennsylvania there really isn’t much to do.  I don’t want to spend money, for what?  Sun?  Most of the time it’s free, assuming there is enough sunscreen on you that you don’t wind up paying for it in the end.   I know that is just my negativity talking, but there is something to be said for stage 3 melanoma to ruin a guy’s day.

Sun has always been a component of my family; picnics, outside parties, etc.  It was the great gatherer; start the grill and they will come.  Hot and sweaty sizzling under the great orange ball in the sky was part of every childhood summer.  There was always a weekend holiday party to be present at.  Meeting the relatives.  Chowing down on food, going home, and lying in bed realizing kind of what it was like to feel like a lobster in a pot of boiling water.   I look back fondly, although at the time I was wonder what the fuck did I do to deserve all this itchy peeling skin in places I didn’t know I had.   If I wanted peeling skin, I could have avoided the sun and put rubber cement or Elmer’s glue on, wait for it to dry and then peel it off.   NO PAIN!

Cars are whizzing by, I can see though my window.   Trees are all green and smiling, are caressing the gentle breeze.  Joggers run up and down the hill next to me.  Squirrels jump and frolic in the high dandelioned grass, playing tag.  A bird just bumped my window.  Mosquitos are even on the job, sucking blood from unsuspecting naked arms and legs.  This could be a great memory.  I could be lying in bed later in the week, unable to get up because of the drearies brought on by the copious amounts of rain thinking of this time, when once I decided to step from the safety of my apartment, to bask in the rays of the great life giver in the sky.  I could, or I could just watch more television.

Spaghetti with Ketchup

english  handwritingI’m so frustrated, I could make spaghetti with ketchup.  Anyone that knows me that is like fighting words, vomit, or like finding out that McDonald’s is dropping the seasonal McRib sandwich again; there is anger, dismay,  a feeling of being out of control.  I’m all about the San Marzano tomatoes, a can of paste, and a cup of wine when I make spaghetti sauce.  Mangled pork, in any configuration, with plenty of barbeque sauce, onions, pickles, etc. should be on the menu all the time. The McRib is like the McDonald’s version of White Castle Hamburgers; I buy them by the sack!   Writing sometimes frustrates me to the point where I feel like I’m writing ‘spaghetti with ketchup’ instead of taking the time to make the good stuff.  It’s a challenge sitting at the computer, setting the focus of my mind, turning on the music, and go into another world for a while.  Writing is one of those things that can be described as agony and ecstasy. Guess what I’m feeling now?  It’s been a whole week since I’ve had the chance since I’ve put the preverbal ‘pen to paper’ but today I had some free time over lunch to go into my special world.  Most real writers have the cavalier attitude of ‘just do it’ and when I’m in that zone, I can crank out words as much as anyone.  Well, not anyone, but at least as good as average literate person.   I can spin a phrase or two and soon I’m looking at the bottom of the page ready to go on to the next.

I guess I’m a little concerned.  I’ve been revising my new novel Mariline, and I’ve been making some major changes.  Yes, it worked fine the way it was, but ‘fine’ is just not enough.  I want people to ask questions, wonder, want to rip off all their clothes, punch their neighbors, and scratch their head.  I threw out the last 10 chapters and rendered an entirely new ending.  I think it’s really come together.   I’ve cut scenes.  I’ve edited down others to make it streamline, accessible, and clean.   It gets right to the story, it doesn’t wait around for things to happen.  It has morphed from a scattered NANOWRIMO novel of three years ago, into some monster of a thing.   I think will make a statement, and that statement has an explanation point at the end of it, along with some choice verbs and nouns.   I have to say that because what kind of writer would I be without some braggadocio?

So between having to go the distance like a bloody and beaten prize fighter, and adding more pertinent scenes, I’m staring at a chapter trying to eke out some content. The flickering computer screen is filled with swirling words; some that make sense and others that are merely there as placeholders for others.  Like a sculptor or a painter, I see the medium before me, ready to get my fingernails dirty and my hands all full with slop, hoping not to pull or paint over the beauty and thus make it ugly, losing the meaning, the purpose, the value.

There is a tight rope a writer travels over when revising.  You need to keep fidelity to the story.  You need to keep it tight and clean.  But you also have to know when your poetic bullshit is too much, no matter how much you and the Gods have told you they love it.    Bring back McRIBS!!

Author Kimberli Michele

Blogged by author EJ Eisman
Blogged by author EJ Eisman
Author Kimberli Michele







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Author Kimberli Michele talks about writing, about herself, and about her literary inspirations.

https://www.facebook.com/kimberlimicheleauthor

http://kimberlimicheleauthor.wordpress.com/

When the Interns Are Away

 

black coffee and a bookI’m stuck over the summer without my right hands.  The kiddies have left and I’m am up to my own to answer these questions posted to the comment section of my blogs.  I warn you, they may not be as witty as I’m able.  I’m holding back funnier stuff for a later date and time.

  • When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks a lot! fiscoe@gmail.com, xjsghpboepz@gmail.com

  I have looked into this, and no. There isn’t anything on my side to take away this nuisance. Let that be a warning to all of you…

  •  I don’t drop a leave a response, however I looked at a lot of comments on %BLOG_TITLE%. I do have 2 questions for you if you tend not to mind. Is it just me or do some of these remarks appear like they are written by brain dead folks? And, if you are writing at additional online sites, I would like to follow you. Would you post a list of all of all your social pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile? wcbfcz@gmail.com

I’m glad you spend the time looking through “%BLOG_TITLE%.”  “%BLOG_TITLE%” one of my favorite posts.

Brain dead folks? I think the PC word would be sentenced handicapped. Not knowing where they are coming from, as not everyone here is from New Jersey, I don’t make so many limitations on my praise. A pat on the back is a pat on the back, and a kick in the ass is, well a boost into next Tuesday. I could list all my pages, but the links are on my website http://www.ejeisman.com and right here on the blog site. Look on the navigation bar, you’ll see where you need to go.

  •  Hello! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good gains. If you know of any please share. Appreciate it! wtdcuarva@gmail.com

I have no clue. Oh, wait…

  • Hello Web Admin, I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors, for one you do not use all three H tags in your post, also I notice that you are not using bold or italics properly in your SEO optimization. On-Page SEO means more now than ever since the new Google update: Panda. No longer are backlinks and simply pinging or sending out a RSS feed the key to getting Google PageRank or Alexa Rankings, You now NEED On-Page SEO. So what is good On-Page SEO?First your keyword must appear in the title.Then it must appear in the URL.You have to optimize your keyword and make sure that it has a nice keyword density of 3-5% in your article with relevant LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing). Then you should spread all H1,H2,H3 tags in your article.Your Keyword should appear in your first paragraph and in the last sentence of the page. You should have relevant usage of Bold and italics of your keyword.There should be one internal link to a page on your blog and you should have one image with an alt tag that has your keyword….wait there’s even more Now what if i told you there was a simple WordPress plugin that does all the On-Page SEO, and automatically for you? That’s right AUTOMATICALLY, just watch this 4minute video for more information at. Seo Plugin    ddchnnfc@gmail.com, ibjxujl@gmail.com, rcjldt@gmail.com, sorbxliwf@gmail.com, gejetuwn@gmail.com, dnploafwg@gmail.com, foywtuixkkj@gmail.com, egbanb@gmail.com

 I don’t know if it is any good but there are a bunch of people pushing it.

  • Hi there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading through your articles. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics? Thanks! qbtytgrw@gmail.com

Hmm, who would want to write like me?

Do I? Look above any you will see the link for Twitter. I would be honored for you to follow me!

  • Hello would ʏou mind letting me know wÒºich wеbhost you’re using? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 differеոt broԝsers and I must say this Æ„log loads a lot quicker thеn most. Can you reсommend a good hosting proviÉ—er at a reasoÕ¸able price? Kudos, I aÑ€preciate it! warnerives@gmx.de

I don’t know if their price is reasonable but I have my website through Yahoo. I’ve used it for many years and while I’ve been frustrated with it sometimes, it does a decent job for the most part. With the package, I have MySQL and WordPress (for blogs).

  •  My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find most of your post’s to be exactly I’m looking for. Does one offer guest writers to write content to suit your needs? I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on a number of the subjects you write regarding here.  Again, awesome web site!   carmenproctor@gmail.com

Thanks for your high praise.  I do welcome guest bloggers, as I did for Karen Cole on 1/25/2013.  If you have something you’d like to talk about, regarding writing or related field, send me an email  ej@ejeisman.com.  I will review the article and if it fits within the parameters I’ve mapped out, I would be happy to post it. 

Thank you all for your comments.

The Interns Are Restless

girl gesturingIn that momentary, abyss between light and light again the next day, some people call it night, there was something extraordinary that happened.  Perhaps TMZ was too busy chasing down Solange and Jay-Z hoping to get another pugilistic exposition between them or they would have covered this ground breaking news here on the home front.   After months of denying any involvement, when, yes, it was painfully obvious that there was some indiscreet meetings, close working, and maybe even some physical contact, whether it involved the old “in-and-out”   is still unclear, but  two of my interns are now officially dating.  Their Facebook status’ have been changed.  There is no backing out now.

The beacon of Facebook blinded me this morning with their cheery notification in the form of a heart and their two names, we’ll call them Miss X and Mister Y and the promise of a commitment, at least until they read this blog, for all eternity.  Just like Ma and Pa Eisman, when they made a solemn oath over a few too many and a high school stick pin, they will be counting on their future grandchildren to be taking care of their diapers when they are old and feeble and drooling onto their bedclothes.

So when did this start?  What magical concoction between the two could ever have brought them together?  Vodka?  Gin?  Jack Daniels?  Beer?  Wine?  Love?  Nah, it could only be chemistry!  Like a bad date from eHarmony.com, they were brought together working for me;  editing, researching, and making bad jokes about each other.  Working close under this high stress, super-heated cauldron of drudgery would have been enough to make crystalized form of zirconium dioxide, but with the proper alignment of each of their charcoal atoms, they have become this diamond in the rough.

Happy?  Of course, I am happy for them.  I wish them well.  It couldn’t have happened to a better couple of insanely good looking people, although I am noting a hint of jealousy from the one remaining, who we will call Miss Z.   Miss Z and Mister Y, all though they didn’t know that I know, but I know, had had something before.  Does that make Mister Y as man-slut?  Yes, absolutely!   She and I knew about Mister Y and Miss X, before they knew, or were even speaking about it, let alone making the great Facebook commitment.    Miss Z had her cry.  She’s let Mister Y go, and now they can still pretend to be friends, although,  I’m sure she would surely put a fish gutting knife in his ribs as much as give him the time of day.  As pleased as I would be to see such a graphic display, I’ve made sure that that all sharp implements are kept under lock and key, or evacuated from the building before they arrived for work this morning.

Two more weeks and they will be free of working for me, so why make such a commitment now?   I’m really starting to think it was as much as a statement of “screw Miss Z” as much as statement of love between Miss X and Mister Y.  In two weeks they will be on to their next adventures as interns as they make their way through the education system.  I wouldn’t even be writing about this.  I’d have to think of another topic, like socks, instead of relaying this juicy bit of workplace indiscretion.  Perhaps it was tempting immortality.  They could have been just a couple of college students that fall in love, and that was it.  By stating now, they have this blog written about them.  When they get old they can show it to their children, and their children’s children, and be reminded about their moment of dedication to each other, and thus making their love immortal, even if their Facebook allegiance is finite.

Where Is Spring?

flowering yellow dandelionsThe summer winds came in way too early this year; I like warm weather, but not right after snow.  Much of my happy childhood memories revolve around this concept called “spring.”  Perhaps in your distant days the echoes of spring are still resident in your memory.  It is one of my most beloved seasons, because it ushered in summer, and, I’m not stupid, the end of school.  But, back in the day, (yes, I’m starting to sound like my grandfather), we had beautiful sixty to seventy degree weather for like months.  Birds didn’t already look like they were sweating.  Flowers didn’t all come out on the same morning, they were scattered throughout this spring time, so people could enjoy them each.  At the beginning there were the tulips around Easter time, and by the end there were explosions of color.  Everywhere.  My cherry tree is already losing its delicate pink flowers.  They only came out a couple of days ago.   This warm weather is causing everything to accelerate.  Danelions, yellow yesterday, are now gone to seed, ready to spread the grass with its annoying appearance, given a good stiff wind or a kid kicking them sets them free.   It is madness.

There was also a graduation loss of clothing.  Women and men didn’t simple move to speedos and shorts the instant that the weather changed.  It was gradual; loss of jacket, a short sleeve, then shorts, flip-flops, and then the occasional tank top.  Now, the first time it hits above fifty, there are pale naked limbs everywhere.   How are we supposed to adapt?  Where is the protocol? I have a perfectly good leather jacket that is collecting dust because there wasn’t that middle time between the winter and the summer.  I’m already wearing short sleeves to work, because of the heat.  I look like Sipowicz for cristsakes!  And it’s only May!

We need to get back to the old days.  Whatever we are doing that we shouldn’t should stop.   Like the old saying, “Everything in moderation,”  Mother Nature.    I really don’t want to live in a region where summer is nine months of the year, and the other three months is snow.   If I want to live in Florida, at least I could take advantage of the no shoveling, or my brother’s pool.  There a jacket is a rarity, and bare limbs have a natural tanned hue.

The Interview

image

The interns thought it would be funny to ask me stock questions about what I do.   They didn’t think I did anything, but I proved them wrong.  Maybe…

What was the biggest stumbling block or frustration for you as a writer, and how did you overcome it?

My biggest stumbling block was not believing in myself.   I had been writing since I was in my teens, but was always afraid to show it to people.   Not that I didn’t have support in my childhood, but let’s just say I had parents (and when I say parents, I mean Mom)  that were constantly disappointed in my successes:

“Sorry, A’s are not good enough, you can do better.” 

No matter how good I felt about myself, my parents would be able to put me back into my under the stairway, pit of no return, place.  My self-esteem was somewhere in the toilet for most of my life, but until I was in my middle thirties I started to unburden myself from others disappointments.  I said, “fuck it” and started up my own band after years of teaching myself how to play guitar.  Despite how poorly I suck at playing and singing at the same time, people still had fun and applauded, so I learned to set my expectations of myself to somewhere less than the high bar I had set.  There is an audience out there for me.  A lot of writers feel they won’t be good enough, but they expect too much.  If you are true to yourself, eschew negative people, and do your best at telling a story, there will be someone out there to read you too!

What role does social media play in staying connected to readers and/or building an audience?

I think it has a big role.  I’m a friendly guy, but I don’t have a million friends, all over the country and throughout the world to get the word out that I can write.  Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, YouTube, Pintrest and others get out the word, that here is this guy, writing semi-decent novels and maybe you’d be interested in reading one (or more) of them.  My weekly blogs generate interest and traffic to my website.  Certainly, there are more people knowing that I write now that I’ve been on these outlets for several years.

How did you get your first literary agent?

HA!  Funny.  Still looking.  Do you know of any?  I’ve self-published my last two books through Authorhouse.   I know it is pretty cocky to say, but I think for Mariline I’d like to try to go the conventional route.  I’ve build a “brand” for my writing and have a great online personality.

What patterns, habits, or motivational techniques have best served you on your journey to success?

I get an hour break at lunch (yes, I have a day job).  I sequester myself with Mozart streaming off the internet and I type away.  I like to chart out my book before I start to write, so I already know what the chapters will be about.  As I drive to work in the morning, I don’t listen to music.  I have thoughts of the chapter rolling around in my head.  By lunch time I’m reading to go.

In one sentence, what’s your best piece of advice for getting a book published?

Don’t give up.

Has a particular rejection ever been helpful to you? What were the details?

I’ve accepted my failures as a part of me, but I’m not looking back.  Getting one star review for Malaise was hard, but I take it as a learning experience.   Not everyone is going to like my writing.  Someday I will look back and laugh, but for now I will try harder.

What advice do you have for a first time writer?

Read, write, and learn as much as you can.  Don’t be afraid of failures.

Another F*ing Cold

a man with the fluThe Gods have spoken. I have no control. I have nothing but to except their guidance in this issue. This cold is knocking me on my ass. As you might remember, the last time I came back from Wisconsin I had a bad cold. I hemmed and hawed about it, but this one has me trumped. I’ve played all the cards I could, from Comtrex, Vicks Vapor Rub, to chicken soup, to a hot toddy, to dressing up in every warm thing I have and try to sweat it out, but this thing has got me. Just like a fly in a web, it’s been cocooning me in hot and cold, cough, sneezing, head ache, stuffy and runny, drippy nose, wheezing, lack of sleep and the coup de grace, an overall feeling like shit. Now, feeling like shit is something I’m used to, but add all those other things to the mix and you just want to crawl under the blankets and wait for something to grow out of your head.
Colds have been around forever, ever since the cave man. Any time you get too many people together there are bound to have germs passing between them. Back then the cave man would have just died and been replaced by another, since there were so plentiful. Today’s bodies, try in vein, to fight and fight, with the help of all kinds of over the counter medicines to keep us moving; sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes it’s a roller coaster ride you can’t get off until the end and you just have to suck up the ebb and flow of the virus as it, gangs up, fortifies it offence, and plans to go around your medicines. After all these years, colds have become smarter than the medications that have been sent into battle to fight for you. When I was a kid, the answer to everything was penicillin. Have a cold, have some bubblegum flavored penicillin. If you were really sick, they had a grape flavor. Being a kid with the grape flavor, you were instantly treated to sleeping in the penthouse suite on the couch in case, I suppose, you caught on fire with your fever, you’d be closer to the fire extinguisher in the pantry. On the couch, you’d be treated to the heaviest parade of extra blankets from past relatives and dead people you’d ever want to be under. Your parents would tuck in all the blankets neatly under you so you couldn’t move during the night. Just a head, covered with a sock hat and as slit for your eyes and the rest of you would be mummified until morning; if you survived. Parents have a way of over doing things, especially as when you are a kid, sometimes you actually think they want you to survive or something. When you aren’t sick, their, “go play in the street” attitude might make them seem otherwise. As a child, I was always sick; from measles, to chicken pox, to colds, strep throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, mononucleosis, and there was a point when there was a viral meningitis scare. I’m surprised they didn’t just leave me at a K-Mart bathroom, just to get away from me. I’ve been battling diseases for most of my life, you would think that I would have some antibodies set up for this shit by now. But NOOOOOO! As an adult, I’m reduced to a childlike state, fighting the good fight for control of my body temperature, my breathing, and the fluids running, like cockroach in the light, out of my nose. I want to suck my thumb and get out my wubby blanket and have it tell me it will be all right. My girlfriend tries to help, but I’m just a colicky baby. I don’t know what I want, but I want it now. In frustration, she shrugs her shoulders. I’m sorry. I’ll roll out the chicken soup, drink more fluids, and bundle on the clothes. I have to ride out the hurricane in my body, alone. Like the doctor in the emergency room that told me when I was bleeding profusely after I nearly cut off my finger, “It will stop bleeding one way or another,” I will temper my response, because like most things in life, this too, will pass.