Monday, May 30, 2016

X-Men: Apocalypse

I grew up reading the X-Men comics, so when Fox announced they were doing a movie, I was excited.  Sadly, the franchise that the X-films have become no longer elicit excitement; instead, they made me wince.  Sometimes, I even cringed.
The latest movie, X-Men: Apocalypse, just makes me sigh.
The movie is dull and ponderous. There is no real sense of excitement or anticipation. It never really feels like the cast engages with their characters, or their audience.
As for Apocalypse?  He’s a stock villain with an end-the-world plan and a plethora of super-powers that just make him feel like a cliche.
On a scale of one to five, I would give X-Men: Apocalypse a three.  It’s not a bad movie, but it’s not that good either.  Honestly, I felt like I was watching a better quality Syfy Channel movie than a cinematic release.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Turn Away

Standing on the shore,
watching you float away,
drifting toward the other side,
obscured by clouds of gray.

What lies behind those clouds?
No one knows for sure.
I like to think its night there,
on that distant shore.

That the moon is full and fine,
that stars shine down on you.
That the crickets sing in harmony,
beneath a vault of blue.

And you rest upon the grassy banks,
your back against a tree,
looking back across the water,
rolling your eyes at me.

“Don’t make this all so maudlin.
We knew it was in the cards.
I lost the bet and paid the debt,
it wasn’t all that hard.”

“Stop being so dramatic,”
you say and look away.
“We’re all dying from the moment,
we first see the light of day.”

“So quit being such a ninny.
Turn around and walk away.
Go live your life and when you pay your debts,
I’ll see you on that day.”

It’s sound advice, I think,
and so turn my eyes away,
from the dark expanse that separates us,
and from walls of cloudy gray.

And if the sun seems dimmer,
as it rises in the east,
I know that this is just a phase,
and time will bring me peace.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Goodbye, Olivia

My friend Olivia is dead.
She was diagnosed with cancer two years ago.  She fought it but it had spread and, a little while ago, her doctors told her that even if they continued their aggressive treatment, it would only prolong things for five to seven years.  Olivia's mother died from cancer when she was very young.  Her grandmother died from it before Olivia was even born.
Olivia decided to stop the treatments.
She tidied up her life and, earlier this week, went into hospice care.  I wanted to see her, but she refused.  She said she didn't want anyone to visit because she didn't want them to remember her as she was then, but as they used to know her.
This evening, when I checked my e-mail, I learned that Olivia had died this afternoon.  She had gone to sleep early this morning and never woken up.
My friend is dead.
And even after she's gone, she's still managing things.  Still tidying up.
There was a poem, included with the e-mail, picked out by Olivia.

Look For Me In Rainbows
Time for me to go now, I won't say goodbye;
Look for me in rainbows, way up in the sky.
In the morning sunrise when all the world is new,
Just look for me and love me, as you know I loved you.

Time for me to leave you, I won't say goodbye;
Look for me in rainbows, high up in the sky.
In the evening sunset, when all the world is through,
Just look for me and love me, and I'll be close to you.

It won't be forever, the day will come and then
My loving arms will hold you, when we meet again.

Time for us to part now, we won't say goodbye;
Look for me in rainbows, shining in the sky.
Every waking moment, and all your whole life through
Just look for me and love me, as you know I loved you.

Just wish me to be near you,
And I'll be there with you.

The poem didn't really sound like Olivia until I did some research and found out it's not a poem. They're the lyrics of a song, written by a woman named Vicki Brown who died of breast cancer back in '91.  Then, it made perfect sense.
But my friend is still gone.
That does not make sense.
I will miss you, Olivia. You were smart and honest, infuriating as hell and stubborn as an old mule. But I remember your laugh, and the way you'd slump against my shoulder at the 9:30 Club and the time we tried to date but we both realized what a wreck that would be so we settled on being good friends.
And now you're gone.
And the world makes a little less sense to me.
A lot of people might be wondering why I'm writing about this in this blog. This blog deals mostly with me bitching about my inability to write anything good and the minutia of my life. Stuff that probably doesn't really matter to anyone but me and the chronically bored.
But I'm writing about this because I have something important to say.  I'm writing this because I need to get the words out, to help process the grief.
I was fortunate enough to have this wonderful person in my life. And I told her that I loved her before she slipped away.
Tell the precious people in your lives that you love them.  Tell your parents and your aunts and pets and boyfriends or whoever.  Tell them that you love them.  Because there comes a point where you won't be able to tell them that anymore, because they'll be gone.  You'll grieve, like I'm doing now, and you'll regret not being able to tell them again.  But you'll regret it even more if you don't tell them in the first place.
Goodbye, Olivia. You were my friend. I loved you. I'll miss you. And, hopefully, some day, I'll see you again.  Until then, sweetheart, I'll think of you when I see rainbows.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Throw Out the Banjo

"Everything I write is crap."
I said that to a friend of mine the other day.  
We were having a conversation about writing and the various pitfalls and pleasures associated with the act.  
Then the words came out of me, "Everything I write is crap."
My friend looked at me, dead in the eye, then nodded and said, "I know exactly what you mean. But you're still writing. Right?"
"Yes," I admitted.
"Then don't worry about it.  It'll click when it happens."
Then we went back to our conversation which segued into a discussion of PhotoShop and the various e-publishing platforms.
It was nice to commiserate with someone, to be self-critical and not get a polite, knee-jerk response of, "Oh, I'm sure it's not!"
Sometimes, only other creative people will understand what you're going through. Only someone who paints or writes or composes music will understand that sense of ennui and loathing your own work produces within you.
Not because your work is that bad, but because it's not as good as it could be.
When you realize that this is happening to you, that this is how your work makes you feel, the best advice I can give is to take a break. Put down the pen, turn off the laptop, throw the banjo out the window.
Put it down, walk away and take a little time doing something else.  Then go back to your work at some future time.  Repeat as necessary.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

20 Questions

Hello, gentle readers! Sorry for being a day late, but life happens. Anywho, here's twenty questions from the Internet. Let's get to know each other, okay?

What's a ridiculous nickname you've had?
For a brief time, in the days of my misspent youth, my friends referred to me as 'Wicked.'  That's all I'm saying.

Why do you write a blog?
I've been blogging for over ten years. I was on Livejournal for the longest time, then popped over to Blogger. I'm resisting efforts to move me to Writepad or some other site. Two moves is enough.

Have your reasons for blogging changed?
Overall, I'd have to say 'No.' I started blogging as a way to keep in contact with friends. Since I lept into the world of self-publishing, I'd like to say I use the blog as a serious promotional tool. But, honestly? I just like writing stuff and putting it online.

Where do you like to be when you are writing?
Home, in bed, with the box fan blowing right on me. That's my sweet spot. :)

Peanut butter & ______.

What does your writing process look like?
Me, glaring at the screen of my laptop, gnashing my teeth as I decide that everything I've just written is crap. CRAP, I TELL YOU!

What keeps you up at night?
Nothing, really. I'm pretty chill. One person of my acquaintance described me as 'Zen.' I don't generally fuss over things I can't control and I don't worry about the stuff I can control.

What was your last online purchase? Did you hide it from anyone?
My last online purchase was the 30th Anniversary Edition Reprint of Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition. And no, I didn't hide it from anyone.

What do you honestly think of elastic wastebands.
They should be fucking mandatory.

What blogs or magazines do you love to read? Why?
There are a couple of interesting blogs that I follow. Eyes on London is a great photoblog exploring London. I also read Jillian Venters, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer, amongst others because they have interesting worldviews and are talented creatives. I need more people like that in my life.

What is your favorite way to express your creativity?
Writing, obviously. Followed closely by photoshop. If I can't do one, I can always do the other.

DSLR or iPhone?
Neither. I have a cheap ass, pay-as-you-go phone.

How do you feel about the semicolon? Do you have any feelings about punctuation marks, in general?
I probably use the semicolon more than I should. As for other punction marks, I don't have feelings for or against them. They're just there. Like Gibraltar.

What is a skill you really want to learn?
I have always wanted to take voice lessons, but have never taken them.

Do you use a planner or journal to keep your life from derailing? What kind?
No. My life isn't that complicated. Get up. Save the world. Watch Netflix. Go to sleep. Repeat.

What does your dream Sunday look like?
I'm not working. I'm home, tucked up in bed, writing and actually producing something. *gasp!*

Do you have a full-time business or a side hustle?
Nope and nope.

Coffee or tea?
Tea. Green. With honey and ginseng, please.

What is your favorite outfit?
Terrycloth shorts and a t-shirt.

What scares you?
The thought that one day I might be homeless, penniless and living on the street as a bag person.

Cats or dogs?
Cats. Definitely.

So, there you have it. Got any other questions you want answered, just leave your questions in the comments.
What's next? You tell me!