Exercising My Right to Freely BBQ

I am so off schedule, it’s up there with completely ridiculous. Obviously, my posting at this blog has suffered greatly, and most of you who follow along on my writing journey know that it’s due to the recent publication of my alter-ego’s first book.

Quick update: Going great – seems like a good response so far. No reviews or royalty statement, so I am currently in Wonderland as to how many units have sold and whether or not people love or hate this thing. For my impatient demeanor, that has been frustrating, yet to be expected. I am moving to phase 2 of promo; after the virtual blog tour for the anthology, I am now setting up – or supposed to be setting up, sigh – the next blog tour for the standalone release on June 11th. More on that later.

That actually brings me to the present, and why I’m even more off-schedule. It’s been a non-stop drama-fest at work for the last week or so with more ch-ch-ch-changes. Some of you will remember that my position was eliminated in a corporate re-structuring (paste my name and face on thousands upon thousands of Americans around the country) blablabla three months ago. Due to my friend and co-worker’s enormously wise decision to escape from Hellhouse, my job has just become available again. Which would mean going back to salary exempt, staying up all hours to write, being exhausted, and not getting to make homemade potato salad and Sopapilla cheesecake pie (thanks for that recipe, very wise co-worker) on a holiday Monday that I get to spend with my family. The financial reward? A few hundred bucks. Not that I don’t need that few hundred bucks (I do), but I still haven’t seen that royalty statement yet. Will it replace that money? And haven’t we survived these last few months without it? And if I don’t make up the money now, won’t a few months down the road (and more completed writing) replace it then?

Enter my boss who swooped down on our little beach hamlet last Monday to grill us all like day-old grilled cheese sandwiches ( I have no idea what that means) on what our workplace intentions were. And to ask if I’d like my old job back. Uh…….hmmmmmmm…well….NO. I need to stay true to my writing path, and my sanity. And, okay, I confess; I did have a little bit of a “HA! NOW you want me! Forget it…” moment. But hey, I’m human, and I have been taking it in a part of my anatomy that shall remain unmentioned, quite a lot lately at this job.

I am now officially the trouble-maker. Or, the worse than ever before trouble-maker. But I need to stay true to my path here, and to my family that is also along for the ride. However, it’s been stressful because since I didn’t make it easy by neatly filling in the gap at work just as we go into our busy season, the boss is not thrilled. I did leave the position available for others – one in particular – who would do great and really benefit from it – but not according to the corporate rules and regulations. In other words, the expected and proper line of ascension up the corporate ladder. Such nonsense. So I say – they are bringing it on themselves, which is why all of this happened in the first place. Had well enough been left alone, my wise co-worker and I might have just stuck it out. But once she got my job – in addition to the essentially two jobs she was already doing – dumped on her, well, there’s only so much one person can take in the name of corporate down-sizing.

But here we are, it’s a nice day, and we’re all celebrating (those who don’t work retail anyway) the freedoms we have because others sacrificed and fought for us. I haven’t had a holiday day off like this in the four years since I took this job, so I’m going to exercise my right to BBQ – and to be with my family for a change. Happy Memorial Day to my American friends out there!

 

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This is the Working Hour…

…We are paid by those who learn by our mistakes. (Tears For Fears – “The Working Hour”, Songs From the Big Chair)

Bad moods, certain songs, and an internet connection could get one into a lot of trouble. But I will refrain from that and just ask you, my dear readers, are there certain songs, entire albums, musicians, etc. that just take you ‘there’? ‘There’ is that place where you connect with some small part of you that you forget you have most of the time. It’s the alive spot in you that can be released just by playing that certain disc or song.

Sometimes I can connect like that when I’m writing. Sometimes not. If I can get that perfect synergy between writing and playing music, then it’s insane. I used to achieve it by writing music. Writing music and playing music at the same time is counter-productive – and ridiculous –  so I’ve only had this marriage of connection activities since I’ve become so invested in my writing.

Then there’s this other thing. The other thing is related to all of the crap I deal with on a daily basis. Sometimes writing can’t help that; sometimes it is absolutely necessary to help it. But there’s one thing I know for sure that always helps it: music. Certain music. I have a rather lengthy list of varying and sundry artists and songs, but I’m currently on a tangent. You know how that is; it’s when only one type of musical vibe will do. What’s your certain music? I bet you can get a feel of where my vibe is at by my certain tangent right now:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOY_aqkUTxY

The Grey, The Hunger Games & Struggling to Survive

Apparently, I’m an idiot for not staying after the credits to see the extra scene at the end of the Liam Neeson survival film, “The Grey”.  Although, as John and I both felt, the very fact that everything was left unresolved made for a very impactful end; one that made you have to think for yourself. God forbid.

As long as we’re on the subject of this film, I do want to point out that it is not a typical action thriller. Even though Liam Neeson is so bad-ass that he makes bad-ass cower in the corner, there is a heavy philosophical undertone that is not typically Hollywood. The film is based on the short story (ya’ see short story writers – it’s not just novels that rule the world!) “Ghost Walker” that one of the screenwriters, Ian Mackenzie Jeffers wrote. The story truly makes you consider life, death, and how we choose to fight for our right to exist. Heavy man. Definitely not typical Hollywood. I worry about this film’s prospects though, as it was marketed to appeal more to the Action/Thriller crowd. “Hey dudes, how about a nice exciting film about the underlying layers to the meaning of life with intense metaphysical takes on death? Then we can grab a couple brewskys and shoot some pool after.” Hmmm…

I am also currently reading the final installment of the Hunger Games trilogy, “Mockingjay”. Hey – we’ve been through this before – I get around to stuff when I’m ready, not necessarily when everyone else is obsessing over it. The fact that I made it to a film on opening night for the first time since “Return of the King” is about all I can handle in the being-up-to-date department. Which reminds me – less than 11 shopping months before The Hobbit opens!

Okay, I’m back. For those of you woefully behind the bestseller times – such as myself – The Hunger Games is a YA dystopian trilogy that is going to emerge  in theatres soon. I think they may be trying to turn this franchise into the next Twilight phenomena. God help us – they’d better not ruin it. They have an excellent actress playing the lead (Jennifer Lawrence) and the author (Suzanne Collins) is contributing as a screenwriter. We may be safe.

The books are excellent. Suzanne Collins has said in several interviews that she doesn’t write about adolescents; she writes about what war does to adolescents. The central theme to these books is very much one of survival; again, fighting for one’s right to exist, to stave off death. The choices that each individual makes are not only the difference between you surviving, but another person dying.

The similarities in theme between both The Grey and The Hunger Games cannot be denied. Neither Hero/Heroine of these stories is magically endowed with awesomeness, they are not super heroes. They are everyday people with checkered, difficult pasts that exist in challenging and depressing circumstances that find themselves tested to their limits. Neither of these characters give in. They fight, not only against the odds thrust at them, but against their own personal doubts about the sanctity of their own lives. Can I hear another “heavy man” from the audience?

Yet, these are not depressing stories at all. Hard to believe, right? Yes, they do make you think because they are not cardboard stereotypical beautiful or magic people. They inspire because they are so relatable.  You feel if they can transcend these outrageous circumstances, than you can probably get it together enough to pay your utility bill on time this month. Because seriously, if Batman gets pummelled by Ra’s al Ghul, there’s no way that I can possibly be expected to achieve much with my limited skills. I told you Liam Neeson was bad-ass. 

I like that the characters in The Grey and The Hunger Games are real. It gives me hope.