When God Winks

I am currently reading two books: “Book of Shadows” by James Reese and “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage” by Alice Munro.
I always have several in the backpack.
The count was three as of earlier this evening before I finished
When God Winks” by SQuire Rushnell, a belated birthday gift from my sister
(actually, wicked belated :mrgreen: ).
WGW is a book that explores the deeper meaning of coincidence in our lives.

God Wink
; a personal signal or message, directly from a higher power, usually, but not always, in the form of a coincidence

My sister bought it for me simply because she and I are intensely familiar with God Winks.
There’s this.
Or this.
Or this.

The book goes on to explain that these instances of coincidence (or serendipity, if you like that better) are signposts from the heavens that we’re on the right track; cosmic signals that we are not alone.
I’ve had many “winks” in my lifetime.

A few years after I began writing, I entered a contest at Writer’s Digest.
Ten people could win $100 in WD writing books and a year’s subscription to Writer’s Market, a WD site that helps find a home for that oh, so lonely priceless manuscript.

Months passed and I forgot all about the contest BUT I was still writing.
I remember sitting at the computer one day and staring at the damned blinking cursor thinking, “What the hell am I doing? I can’t write. This is stupid.”
Feeling disgusted and totally unoriginal, I closed Word and checked my email.
Spam.
Spam.
Spam.
Word of the Day.
Spam.
Writer’s Digest.
Writer’s Digest?
Hmmm.
I opened the email and started yelling.
I won.
Ask my wife. I NEVER WIN ANYTHING. Truth.
A wink to be sure.
And hey, I’m still writing, right?
Now I pass the pen to you guys. I love coincidence and I love winks.
Tell me about one.
Come on, now. You have at least one if you really think about it.
If you haven’t, you’re not looking hard enough. 😉

MMM

 

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Walking Distance

When I was 9 years old I had a favorite paperback book called “Stories from the Twilight Zone”, a book of short stories based on the skin and bones for sketches produced on the TV program of the same name.
I had a favorite called “Walking Distance”, the story of a tired middle aged business man that leaves the big city one weekend and simply drives in an effort to get away from his job and the Rat Race in general.
His car breaks down and he gets towed to a local garage for repairs when he sees a road sign for the town he grew up in years ago.
He asks how far it is to the town and is told, “It’s walking distance.”
He enters the Twilight Zone and walks into his hometown of 40 years ago where his mother and father are still alive.

It’s funny that I was falling for these kinds of tender stories when I was ten.
Yeah, I was a weird kid, huh?
Much of my writing loosely falls into the same sentimental category. Go figure.
I started thinking about the last good day I had with my mother and father, sadly the memory has vanished deep into the recesses of my own scattered mind.
The ‘moment’ did happen though when I came to a realization that I could never get those moments back; accepting the idea was painfully difficult but I knew it had to be done.
It occurred to me that I began saying goodbye to the individual pieces of both of them, various facets of their personalities, phrases they often used and the stories they loved to tell.

I remember fruitlessly trying to pull my mother back into my world with my “remember when” queries that all too quickly lost their magical powers.
If I’ve learned anything at all from their tragic situation it’s that life is about seizing moments, grabbing them by whatever means possible and never ever letting them go.
I only wish I’d realized that fifteen years ago, wish I’d accepted their fates sooner, if that makes sense.
But I’m only human and I desperately wanted to believe otherwise.
If I could have several more hours with both of them it would be spent on the back deck of the Goodbye House’.
It would be a warm but comfortable summer night with nothing but a cricket soundtrack and a deep, orange creamsicle sunset off to the West.
My father would be standing by the grill wearing his signature wrinkled Bermuda shorts (or were they seersucker? God forbid), sans shirt with his pot belly exposed to the world with a can of Busch beer in his hand as he flipped burgers and hot dogs.
My mother would be flitting around the kitchen like some culinary Tasmanian devil putting the finishing touches on one of her ‘signature’ desserts.
We wouldn’t be talking about anything in particular; it would just be like it once was.
But it would be different to me because I would mentally file away and lock every smile, every laugh, and every taste and smell living inside that one bittersweet summer evening.
And I would remember all of it again, if I had one more chance.
Maybe the truth of the matter is that those memories are never very far away; in fact they’re easily accessible because wherever I am, ‘home’ is always close by.
Actually, it’s walking distance . . .

~m

Clinker

Most of the time I’m able to let the daily bullshit and banter sift through the cranial grates inside my cue ball noggin but on occasion I get a difficult clinker that won’t pass through.
I have to take it out and look at it and figure out why I can’t mentally digest it.
Case in point: the other night I was surfing the net for the latest in the way of books on Alzheimer’s disease; a simple and innocent task, right?
Imagine my surprise (and horror) to find a book titled “Alzheimer’s for Dummies”.
Needless to say, my searching was over for the night.
I’d found a seriously incongruous clinker that fueled my rage against the literary machine.
I was livid.
This was a subject much too close to home for me and to see it reduced to a ‘manual for dummies’ format personally devastated me.

“Dummies” manuals cover a range of topics: Chess, Poker, MSWord, Windows Vista and Grammar, to name but a few.
But Alzheimer’s disease?
Personally, it was unthinkable.

Why not “Breast Cancer for Dummies”?
How would that go over?
Believe me, I know.
I’ve lost too many friends to the disease and I would be outraged at the total lack of compassion and sensitivity used in publishing such a book.

Never mind.
What the hell is going on here?
I must be losing my mind.

I’ve checked out the contents of the AFD book and I’ve no doubt the author’s intentions were good.
But . . .
So this is what’s it’s come to?
Christ in a sidecar, I’m almost speechless here.
File this one under “roll up that manual and insert forcefully into your keester, sideways“.
But maybe there’s a “Dummies” guide for that as well.
Hey, if ICHC can get a book deal, why the hell not these buttmonkeys?
IMHO, those suffering from this disease deserve an apology from these inconsiderate ‘Dummie’ assholes.
Do I know what I’m talking about here?
Yes, I think I do.
All too well . . .

~m

Sherlock's Doppelganger

I was sent an email from my good writing friend Deb Woehr.
The email had some truly amazing pictures.
I sent it to many people.
If you didn’t get a copy, leave a comment and I’ll send it on to you.
What amazed me ( and my wife) was the picture above.
I swear to God, it looks exactly like my male cat, Sherlock!
Maybe it’s his identical twin; a feline doppelganger of sorts.
Too cool.
I’m off next week and plan on reading, writing, drinking some beer, smoking some good cigars, watching some movies, raking some leaves and cooking alot.
(a pot of Guinness Chili is already on my mind)
Sarah has been bugging me for Chicken Parm. (on its way, for sure)
I’m off starting Sunday but on Monday I truly start my “vacation” with a massage from my good friend and fellow blogger Yvonne.
Good God, I can’t wait. {and she knows that :0)}
Not sure what’s up for the blog but chances are I’ll be around in some capacity.
Have a great weekend, folks.
Go Sox! Go Pats! Go Celts! Go Bruins!
It’s great to be from New England these days . . .

~m

Sherlock’s Doppelganger

I was sent an email from my good writing friend Deb Woehr.
The email had some truly amazing pictures.
I sent it to many people.
If you didn’t get a copy, leave a comment and I’ll send it on to you.
What amazed me ( and my wife) was the picture above.
I swear to God, it looks exactly like my male cat, Sherlock!
Maybe it’s his identical twin; a feline doppelganger of sorts.
Too cool.
I’m off next week and plan on reading, writing, drinking some beer, smoking some good cigars, watching some movies, raking some leaves and cooking alot.
(a pot of Guinness Chili is already on my mind)
Sarah has been bugging me for Chicken Parm. (on its way, for sure)
I’m off starting Sunday but on Monday I truly start my “vacation” with a massage from my good friend and fellow blogger Yvonne.
Good God, I can’t wait. {and she knows that :0)}
Not sure what’s up for the blog but chances are I’ll be around in some capacity.
Have a great weekend, folks.
Go Sox! Go Pats! Go Celts! Go Bruins!
It’s great to be from New England these days . . .

~m

The October Game

I’ve decided it’s time for a re-post. It is that time of year.
This short story by Ray Bradbury was written in 1948.
Oddly enough, it seems like something you would see gracing the front pages of today’s morning paper. I’ve decided to re-post this perennial favorite.
Just to warn you, it’s a fairly gruesome tale. Bradbury was so far ahead of his time.
If you haven’t read The October Game and would like to, click on the picture above.
(or HERE)

~m

Pass the Tums

About “No Reservations” . . .

I’ve read some bad film reviews in my life but nothing can top what folks are saying about this rotten turd of celluloid.
Just had to share this.

“No Reservations” has garnered comments such as this from
Shawn Edwards of Fox TV:

“The most delightful film of the year!”

and from Bonnie Laufer of Tribute TV

“Irresistible and charming. The PERFECT DATE movie.”

and from Gene Shalit
(Does anyone really believe this mustachioed whackjob anyway?)

“A Pleasure”
(thank, Gene. Now take care of the caterpillars mating on your forehead)

I want to set the record straight with a few choice comments from a weekly paper here in Boston. You can click HERE to get to the WeeklyDig but right now the site is suspiciously under construction. [BRB]
I’ve read reviews here before and have to say they’re usually outrageous and downright true.
And no, I haven’t seen the movie, but damn, this was funny . . .
Here are a few choice comments from David Wildman of the Dig:

“Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart go through the motions of pretending to be real humans with actual feelings, all the while displaying the depth and emotional resonance of the underwear models in a Sears circular.”

Nice.

“Watching this film is the cinematic equivalent of taking that dreadful feeling you have just before you know you’re going to barf and prolonging it for 90 minutes.”

You know that feeling?

Wildman goes on and on but I think you get the point; do yourself a favor and take No Reservations off your menu immediately before someone else gets sick.
Just wanted to save you a few bucks.
Hey, there’s always NetFlix, right?

~m

Walking on Alligators

It is vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility; they must have action, and they will make it if they cannot find it.
~Charlotte Bronte

 

 

I got on the train and began writing when my pen decided to go postal and ink itself to death while taking my right hand hostage.
I wanted to write because I ransacked my leather satchel like a madman looking for another pen which I didn’t have.
(One pen in my bag and I call myself a writer. What is up with that? Sheesh)
I cleaned off the suicidal gel point and opened my journal to write, black fingers and all.

I’d just read a thoughtful little piece in a book called Walking on Alligators – a book of Meditations for Writers
The uber short chapter focused on something we creative types can all agree on.
I think.

How many of you have put off your writing in hopes of waiting for that ‘perfect’ moment? That time when the stresses of your lives are at their lowest level?
If you’ve never found yourself in that situation, I’m jealous.

I’ve done it many times but try hard to tell myself that writing itself, be it good or bad, happens in the midst of our hectic and stressful lives.

Ideas show up unannounced, sometimes in the mid-bite of a ham sandwich, while waiting for your oil to be changed, or driving an altogether too familiar fifty mile stretch of highway when your subconscious thoughts come out to play.
I’ve even had words come to me sitting in the dentist’s electric chair.

Always have a pen and paper.
If your pen explodes, clean it off and continue.
This is writing.
And this is life.

The author, Susan Shaughnessy, explains that “. . . books, poems, and screenplays are written while household appliances are breaking down, rebellious kids are trying your patience, and family and friends are quarreling and making up again.”

I thought about how brilliant that thought truly was and wanted to share it with you.
Write today.
Don’t wait until the morning sun rises and your life will supposedly be settled and less hectic.
Class dismissed.

 

~m

Lit meme

This was a great meme I saw posted at Interstellar Adventures.
I’m a bit ashamed I haven’t read more of these.
I also feel that Raymond Carver, Ray Bradbury, Russell Banks and Tobias Wolff (for starters) should have been included.
That being said here’s my whimpy list.

Instructions:
Look at the list of books below.
*Bold the ones you’ve read
*Italicize the ones you want to read
*Leave the ones that you aren’t interested in alone.

1.The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2.Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3.To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) (alright, slap me for this one)
4.Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5.The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6.The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7.The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10.A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11.Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12.Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13.Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16.Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees(Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21.The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22.The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23.Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26.The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) (Gone way too soon)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck) (I love Steinbeck, cryptic as he is)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie(Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32.The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks) (AKA, the story of my mom and dad. mucho tears)
33.Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34.1984 (Orwell) (Slap me again)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True(Wally Lamb)(Lamb is totally underrated)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40.The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)(Too sappy for me)
45. Bible (parts only)(The book of Job)
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47.The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48.Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49.The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50.She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51.The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54.Great Expectations (Dickens)
55.The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62.The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolsoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73.Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75.The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78.The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth(Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100.Ulysses (James Joyce)

I’m pathetic.

~m

Moleskines and a meme. . .

Now and then I do something to push and inspire me to write.
As I said in a previous post, February has always been a brutal month for me in terms of creativity. Anything I can do to root myself in the right direction seems the thing to do.
It can be something as simple as a new (cheap) pen or as complex as listening to a Charles Ives piano piece.
That said, I found myself at Borders in Copley Square last Saturday morning with a 25$ gift card I’d received at Christmas.
I had about an hour to kill and began my search for the perfect whatever.
It didn’t take long before I found a Chuck Klosterman book I’d been wanting for sometime. Klosterman is a psychedelic version of David Sedaris and one unique author you should consider reading at least once.
I absolutely love the way he writes.
The book was $14.
I had more money to spend.
And spend it I did.
I’m writing this post in a Moleskine journal that I bought, a writing paper used by the likes of Hemingway. (no, I’m not implying I’m a pseudo Hemingway wannabe but damn he had a great name for a writer)
The quality of the paper we write on is obviously not as important as what we write.
But the line spacing in the Moleskine is a bit different than what I’m used to and I can’t help but wonder if that will affect the way I write.
The paper is smooth as silk, to be honest.
More words are finding their way onto the page and I’m hoping that my writing flow improves in some way.
Obviously, I have to write for this to even have a chance to work. (duh)
I have also decided to read for at least 45 minutes to an hour every day, a minuscule allotment I realize but with my working hours it’s all I can reasonably spare.
I’m thinking about doing a writing exercise modeled after Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages” called “Night Pages”– three pages of continuous long hand writing about anything; basically it’s a free-write that’s crazy out of control.

I’m hoping to empty out any extraneous bullshit swimming around in my gallon or so of cerebrospinal fluid; a purging of thought and a mental dusting of the long forgotten cranial shelves that possibly harbour literary gems I can (for right now) only dream of.
I am committed to this writing thing, (and should be committed. period.) but I’m also curious . . .
What keeps you writing against all odds?

Here’s an awesome meme from Red, do it if it feels right… (I refuse to tag you!)

“If your life were a film, what would your soundtrack be?”

So, here’s how it works:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that’s playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button

Opening Credits: Kid Zero – Fourplay

Waking Up: I got the news – Steely Dan

Life: Angel in the House – The Story

Falling in Love: Morph the Cat – Donald Fagen

Make-out Scene: Embraceable You – Joe Sample (how perfect)

Breaking Up: All you need – Mike Stern

Mental Breakdown: The Border – Mr. Mister (Richard Page at his finest)

Driving: Late Night Duke Street – Acoustic Alchemy

Getting Back Together: All I know – Jimmy Webb ( I love this man. . . kinda)

Wedding: Panama – Van Halen (David Lee Roth, rocked)

Birth of Child: East of Eden – Michael McDonald (no words)

Final Battle: Sneaking up on Boo Radley – Bruce Hornsby (again, no words)

Death Scene: Route 17 – Lee Ritenour

Funeral: Blue Monk – Thelonious Monk

End Credits: Eraser – Nine Inch Nails

If you do this meme, puuleeese let me know.
I’d love to see your tunes

~m