It’s Pronounced “Frawnkensteen”

I’ve had a few inquiries about my absence from my blogs and I thought I would share with my readers at least one thing I did to keep myself busy over the past several months.

I stepped away from writing, but I still had this creative urge so I became a Pinterest junkie and started working on Halloween props. Initially, I looked online to see if I could find a few small projects to try, just for fun. I thought I’d make a few decorations for a potential upcoming party but I enjoyed the process so much I began taking things to the next level.

I should stress that I am NOT an artist and the photos below are my first attempts at making anything like this. They are not terribly good but it was a nice way to create something from nothing (much like writing) and indulge my darker side at the same time. I have taken a break from my creations but I think I’ll be getting back to my “Dr. Frankenstein” days very soon.

If anyone is interested, I will post links to some of the very talented people I found online and you can see how these kinds of things should actually look.

My first pumpkin was very awkward and goofy looking and I learned a lot of “don’t do this” kinds of lessons.

George Sqashington

George Squashington

My second pumpkin turned out just a little bit better.

img_20161002_192318950  img_20161002_193219461

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To Publish Or Not To Publish?

books-in-the-trash

Milo Yiannopoulos has been making news lately. For those not yet familiar with the name, he’s a young writer currently working as an editor for Breitbart News. He’s best known for his alt-right perspective and his inflammatory writing which has earned him a fan base on the far Right and the derision and scorn from Moderates and Progressives.

Most recently, Milo was invited and then dis-invited to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) due to attention to resurfaced videos that appears to show Yiannopoulos defending consensual sex between adult men and underage boys. Yiannopoulos himself engaged in sexual acts with a priest as a young man and jokes about the experience in a positive light, saying it helped him to become more skilled at performing oral sex.

In addition, Yiannopoulos lost a book deal he’d signed with Simon and Schuster. The publishing house announced it was halting the publication of  the book, “Dangerous” written by Yiannopoulos.

Using Yiannopoulos as a prime example, I could comment about the changing zeitgeist of American morality or the current state of the Conservative movement but those discussions are already occurring (almost ad nauseum) all across the news outlets and social media. I’d rather focus on the decision made by Simon and Schuster to stop publication of the book.

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A Test Of Democracy

Are you listening?

Are you listening?

Since his inauguration, I have watched in horror as President Trump has fulfilled my worst fears about his administration. He has behaved exactly as I expected he would and I’ve spent the past several weeks in a cold stupor. It’s been a combination of disbelief and a deep visceral fear that has kept me in a daze. But I’m coming out of my political coma and starting to take action. I’ll be writing more articles in the coming days and weeks and today I wanted to share a letter I emailed to my representative in the House, Speaker Paul Ryan.

While I have little faith that he will even read my letter and I’m almost positive that even if he did, it would have virtually no impact on his perspective or his actions in Congress, I felt I had to start my journey into the revolution somewhere and that was as good a place as any.

Despite my cynicism about letter writing, I would suggest that if you are like me, if you’ve been watching with horror at the events unfolding around us and if you’ve been experiencing the same feeling of both helplessness and a desire to break free and take action, why not start by writing to your representatives in government. I’ll include links at the bottom of the article to assist you in finding contact information.

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License to Lead – A New Beginning

pass-fail

I have a thought. Maybe it’s a good one. Maybe not. I’ll let you decide.

It occurred to me that in America, we love proficiency tests. We test teenagers with both a written and practical test before issuing them a license to operate an automobile. Many states even require employees of restaurants to pass an exam to get certified to prepare food. Lots of professions require schooling and proficiency testing before one can practice a certain field of expertise.

Yet here are the only prerequisites for becoming President:

  • He/she must be a Citizen or Natural Born citizen of the United States of America.
  • Must be at least 35 years of age.
  • Must have resided in the United States for at least fourteen years.

That’s it. There is no requirement for the candidate to possess any type of knowledge or expertise in order to become the most powerful person in the world. The entire US military and our nuclear arsenal are in the hands of anyone that can raise enough money to campaign for the office and convince enough people (through a rigged electoral system – I’ll leave that for another article) that they should sit in the Oval Office. To be honest, I’m amazed that I never questioned this before. This is insanity.

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Announcement: A Writers Forum

I’m happy to announce that I’ve opened up a new discussion forum for writers. Registration is free and open to all. Whether you’re a published author looking for volunteer beta readers for your next project, a novice looking for resources and advice or just someone who loves to share your thoughts and ideas with other, The Writers Den may be for you.

I welcome all to come take a look and join in. If you have any questions, please comment here or you can use my Contact Me page (link at the top of my blog).

Thanks and Welcome!

The Voice (Chris)

Never Become a Writer

As children, we’re often interrogated by well-meaning adults with the question: What do you want to do when you grow up? For adults, this comes across as an innocuous question with an entertaining response from children, but from the perspective of the child, it can often feel like we’re on trial.

“Order in the court! Order I say… Now, the defendant will answer the question. What do you want to do when you grow up?”

How is any kid realistically supposed to respond to that? When I was young, I could scarcely choose between a plain Hershey’s chocolate bar and one with almonds (I still waffle between the two). Suddenly we’re cornered and asked to make a lifetime commitment to a career choice? Before I’ve even started Middle School? Yikes!

I’ve spent decades soul searching and after many self-help books, failed career attempts, a nervous breakdown (or two) I’ve finally answered that question. I want to be a writer. Whew! Better late than never, right?

So, filled with relief and joy, I announced to the world that I finally had the answer to the question that has plagued so many of us. In return, what I received was less than the triumphant exaltations I had expected. Rather, my choice was met with scorn and derision by friends and family.

“You want to do what? Are you crazy?”

“Well, no I don’t think so. I just love to write and I think I’m pretty good and it’s something that doesn’t bore me to tears or make me sick to my stomach when I think about doing it day after day so… No, I’m not crazy. I want to write.”

“Sigh… Why can’t you just get a REAL job?”

Sound familiar?

I spent decades of my life doing all kinds of things. I delivered pizzas, worked at banks, fashioned fake deer heads for a taxidermy supply shop, assembled automobiles in a General Motors plant, managed rent-to-own stores, took copious amounts of abuse at the front desk of a resort hotel, helped those with injuries restore their bodies to good health, and took more abuse on the telephone assisting folks with their employee benefits. None of the jobs paid very well and none of them lit the flames of passion within me. They were jobs and I was a drone bee and it was made clear that I was to do the bidding of my employer overlords without complaint or question and I would tolerate it. This was to be my life.

Except that I knew that it wasn’t to be my life. I knew that life had more to offer me and I had more to offer to the world. I just didn’t know what it was.

Except… that deep down, I did know. I’d loved writing since I was a teen and fantasized about becoming the next Stephen King. I even fantasized that I would one day meet him, show him my work and he’d praise me as the new literary genius of our time. In fact, I did meet him on a few occasions and he was delightful and friendly, but he never had an inkling that I was (and still am) an aspiring writer. (That’s another story, anyway)

I held back seriously entertaining the notion that I could write for a living because even my teenage brain grasped, at least on a rudimentary level, how challenging and competitive the market is. I had little faith in my abilities and assumed that all of the “real” writers of the world would scoff at my impertinence for believing I could join their esteemed ranks.

Now that I’ve elected my new dream/goal/profession, I’ve come to understand with growing clarity how right I was about the competition and the challenges. It’s tough. It’s tough, but it is not impossible.

So yes, I’ll read the books and take the classes and practice, practice, practice. I’ll make my lists and charts and submit my work and enter the contests and practice, practice, practice. I’ll network and market and practice, practice, practice. Because no matter what anyone else says, I’ve answered that question and I believe it with all my heart.

What do I want to do when I grown up?

I want to be a writer.

And now sit back and enjoy some pretty sappy, emotional stuff: Lyrics to The Impossible Dream from Man of LaMancha. :)

To dream … the impossible dream …
To fight … the unbeatable foe …
To bear … with unbearable sorrow …
To run … where the brave dare not go …
To right … the unrightable wrong …
To love … pure and chaste from afar …
To try … when your arms are too weary …
To reach … the unreachable star …

This is my quest, to follow that star …
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far …
To fight for the right, without question or pause …
To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause …

And I know if I’ll only be true, to this glorious quest,
That my heart will lie will lie peaceful and calm,
when I’m laid to my rest …
And the world will be better for this:
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach … the unreachable star …

~V

Confessions of a Pizza Delivery Guy

Special Delivery!

Special Delivery!

Rather than writing another social/political essay on the evils of the world, I thought I’d just chat with you for a bit.

Many moons ago I worked at a pizza place as a delivery driver. It was a pretty decent gig for a young man in his late teens/early twenties. The money was good for a simple, entry-level job, the work was easy and I ate a LOT of pizza!

Anyone who has performed this work has stories. The one I always wished I could tell later on is a basic plot device for porn films. Pizza guy delivers to a young, single gorgeous woman with a raging libido. Rather than a monetary tip, the man receives something far more intimate. Sadly, this never happened to me.

I was offered my fair share of drugs as a method of gratuity, but I always declined. Not because I had high moral values or respected my body enough to keep it free from illicit substances, but rather I refused to take things from strangers because I learned how unwise that was.

The first time it happened, a guy gave me a joint to enjoy later. I saved it for the end of the night and shared it with my boss after we closed the shop. I have no idea what that rotten little Mary Jewana cigarette was laced with, but after about five minutes of heavy toking, I felt like someone had driven a railroad spike through my head. The three minute drive home seemed to take hours and though I was exhausted, I feared falling asleep because I kept waking up from not breathing. Terrifying night.

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I Am NOT a Wordsmith

Drive with caution, artist at work

Drive with caution, artist at work

For someone that has profusely expressed his longing to write professionally, it might seem a bit odd for me to declare that I am not a wordsmith. In truth, I used to love that term. I found it to be a rather pithy and clever expression. Who wouldn’t want to think of themselves as a refined craftsman?

My change in attitude came from a friend and co-worker. This is a man for whom I have great respect. He’s highly intelligent, (although, like me, fails to live up to his potential), clever and wickedly funny. (He hails from the Boston area originally so I think it’s required that I use the term “wicked” in his description.)

While sitting at work, pretending to be busy (a worthwhile skill practiced by so many), we inevitably began a discussion about writing as a career. He expressed his dislike for the term “wordsmith”. In fact, I think his actual comment was “I fucking HATE that word! It’s so pretentious.”

Needless to say, I wasn’t prepared for that bit of sarcastic insight and while I neither submitted an agreement or disagreement, inwardly I felt just a touch offended.

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My 100th Post!

100 post

Ok, so for many bloggers, this isn’t really a big deal. A great number of blogs I follow have long passed this milestone but hey, this is my little victory, so I’m going to enjoy it.

This landmark post for my blog comes just a few days from the one year anniversary for Dumasaphobic Diatribes. (Feb. 10th) While I started out with the lofty ambition of writing 3-5 posts a week, I have fallen short of that in recent months. In my defense, my energy has been spent crafting fiction for my other blog, The Well of Fiction. (I published my 100th story “Being in the Right Place at the Wrong Time” today as well. Nice timing, huh?)

I began this journey a year ago with the aspirations of a novice writer who wanted find out if my dreams of writing professionally were achievable or if the voice of fear and doubt in my head had been right all along. I’m happy to say that while I’m still not making money with my writing (sigh), I’ve made great strides in discovering my talents and rousing the creative mind within. I now know that I have the talent and the drive to go to the next level.

I plan to continue this blog as an outlet for all of my personal thoughts and ideas that I cannot package into my fiction, but I don’t expect that my contributions will be as frequent as my short stories on my other blog and I’m ok with that. I’m compelled towards verbal expression in all forms, but fiction has become my mistress and she demands so much of my time. I’m sure I’ll pop in over here to the wild side now and then to vent, share, vent some more, entertain, infuriate and utterly confuse my readers.

Thank you to all who have come along for the ride and have either chosen to follow this blog or just wandered in and stayed long enough to read a post. I hope I can keep providing you all with something worth reading.

So if it’s alright with you, I’m going to take a moment and enjoy a small celebration of my accomplishments.

100th post

Yay me!

Ok, enough of that self-indulgent crap. Back to work, writer boy!

~V

Fun Facts That Aren’t True

Correct his is.

Correct his is.

Since people are so eager and willing to not only believe completely false information, but to pass it on, let me provide a number of Fun Facts (That Just Aren’t True)! Enjoy!

 

Fun Fact: More people poop in holes in the ground than in porcelain toilets (this… actually might be true. I can’t find confirmation either way.)

Fun Fact: There is no record of any man named Donald having a penis over five inches.

Fun Fact: Polar bear feces is white. Scientists think this happens to help the bear keep rival bears from tracking them.

Fun Fact: While no two snowflakes are exactly alike, over 10 million of them like Game of Thrones.

Fun Fact: Amish women are forbidden from braiding their pubic hair (but apparently pony tails are ok)

Fun Fact: Falafels were originally made from mixing sand and camel dung with water and frying them on flat rocks heated from the sun. (If someone offers you a “traditional” falafel, you may want to decline.)

Fun Fact: Silk is made from a by-product of the silkworm. Gum is made from the by-product of the Gummi worm.

Fun Fact: It takes light from the sun over 8 minutes to reach the Earth, which is about the same amount of time it takes for a blonde to understand a dumb blonde joke. Scientists suspect there may be a connection.

Fun Fact: Samuel L. Jackson is contractually obligated to appear in at least 200 films per year.

Fun Fact: People from Belgium have the largest belly buttons in the world.

Fun Fact: It is estimated that over 20 million tons of leaves fall in the state of Maine each Autumn. Nearly a third of that falls on the lawn of a guy named Dirk Gunderson.

Fun Fact: The state of California recently passed a law declaring Monday as a recognized holiday officially named “Fuck It, I’m Not Coming In To Work Day”.

Fun Fact: Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity predicts that the later you are to an appointment, the denser the traffic will be between you and your destination.

Fun Fact: The lower a person’s IQ, the more times they will post “Amen” on a “Do you love Jesus” Facebook meme.

Fun Fact: Humans give off a specific pheromone that causes cats to simply not give a shit.

Fun Fact: American Airlines recently announced that in order to fit more people on their planes and increase profitability, passengers will be required to don a straight jacket and sit on a small stool.

Fun Fact: Marijuana contains a chemical called munchitol that causes a person to crave Doritos and Oreos.

Fun Fact: A two year study from the University of Arizona found that dog feces tastes pretty bad. (If you can’t figure out which part of this “fact” isn’t true, I suggest you test this conclusion yourself)

~V