Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Resolution

Trifecta Writing Challenge is to make a three word resolution for the New Year.

www.trifectawritingchallenge.com

My entry is ----    "Oops, next please."


For those of you are regular readers, well for all I know you could be quite irregular all the time, I hope you have a great New Year and only look back at the good times with this past year. 2013 had a good ring to it. This goes for visitors too!

Sometimes the bad has its good points when you look back. It pushes us to think or do in ways we would have never thought.  Jumping out of the rut is better looking back than doing.

My older brother is developmentally delayed. He is becoming a grouchy old man when he meets any frustration. In thinking how I could break the pattern, I realized it will never happen. He has a fire within like all of us and we are blessed that he normally is of good humor.

Anyway, I have pulled out all the exotic teabags and put them in a beautiful clear glass serving dish with a lid. We have all resolved to drink hot tea every day this winter. With three weeks of winter a day here and a day there. We got to be on the ball to accomplish this. I've purchased a cheap camcorder with plans for a better one later. I hope to post the seasonal changes on occasion.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Candy Crush Overload

I sit and play the Crush about three, four times a day. The first couple of times I use all five lives, then I quit early the last time. Sometimes I am so wound up at the end of a life I play Papa Pear. It was boring at first, but it has an attraction almost as much as Candy Crush.

What pisses me off with myself is that I waste time doing it. No solace in seeing other professionals with hectic schedules forty to one hundred levels above me.

Surprisingly, there is wisdom in the sing song of the game. One of the impediment is a fudge spinner that slings fudge out and stops up the flow of play and of course you lose more quickly. For a little money, you can buy these bubblegum plugs to stop the chocolate. I have a rule, I pay nothing to play except for the thirty cents to go from one episode to another.

Like so much in life, ignore the crap and make the best of things. I suspect the game is made to win whether you play well or poor after so many tries. It is hard to get excited when you win when you realize it is designed to encourage people to buy money for power-ups and extended play on each game.

I remember looking at people at the Harrah's casino in Cherokee, North Carolina. Lots of cigaret smoke, strong exhaust fans, folks who are incredibly out of shape due to age and obesity staring into the machines as they hit the auto replay button. I'm baffled by the attraction but not critical as I see my computer puzzle games to be terribly similar.

Anyway, I am making progress on my screenplays. It has taken me forever to get restarted. The fear of
failure can be overwhelming. It's funny how playing a time wasting computer game has jolted me out of a rut.

I have done my Wonder woman pose for a minute tonight. A ted talk on NPR proposes that standing boldly for several minutes will rewire your brain to handle the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that life delivers.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Frank (4-14-1997 to 12-12-2013) - A damn good dog.

My little buddy Frank passed away Thursday. I thought it would be easy to take. He had gotten very old. He could not see. He could not hear. If he got to running down the driveway on a walk, I had to chase him down. Luckily, he couldn't run that fast.

His stiff, quick movements of his legs when he walked made me think of a gunfighter. And sometimes he was. He would tell the other dogs to move out of his way. I watched or placed him alone with the right dogs. Usually, I had to make my young dog Boduke stop hassling him. Duke would look at me like,"I want to but I won't." Two nights before, I had to chastise Frankie to leave Duke alone. Duke loved being protected.

Frank had a stroke. His best friend and partner in life, Lester who was a golden retriever mix had a stroke at 15 and passed within minutes. Frank was not as lucky. I took him to the vet to be put down. Frank was four months shy of turning 17. What tore at me the most is I knew he thought the vet would help him.

I don't know what happens we die. I think there may be an afterlife. When you have someone very close to you to pass, you get a "last goodbye". Whether they are real or imaginings, they feel real. My dad was fond of the "poo" boy. I hope he is there with all the other pets with my dad.

The funeral was quiet with just me and Duke. I dug the hole and laid a worn towel across the small grave. My family has come out for a few words with other pets. I guess it was too painful with Frank. I laid him on the towel and covered his body with the other and quickly covered him with Earth. I live in the country and so laid concrete blocks over his grave. Visiting opossums and like would disturb his small body.

My sister came out and said a few words. She was surprised I had finished so quickly. Duke watched me and he shivered when I put Frank in the ground. Daisy was surprisingly sweet to me. JoJo was acting very sad. You wonder what dogs comprehend. Louise has taken his place on the bed.

Anyway, life moves on. It's two days later and I still feel the sadness. I knew he was old, arthritic, had a collapsing trachea and did not have long. What I remember is him running through the doorway with the chihuahua's on the big bark festival walking in the front pasture. Rest in Peace sweet boy.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ten points all beginning artists need to consider.

A picture of their family or pets, the need to have a roof over their head, something to eat or a really big payday are the motivations for some people in doing a loathsome job.

My main career was teaching school. It paid well for a woman and of course with depression era parents, I was schooled in getting a secure job. I had this desire to write from a young age.

The following article is food for thought.  My reservation is that teaching is a demanding job. Combine that with a family and you have very little time to clean the house much less artistic pursuits.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/30/the-real-humanities-crisis/?smid=fb-share&_r=0

These are a few reasons why people can't make a living as an artist.

  • There should be a bonus plan for films that are box office successes. The first year's revenue should trickle into bonus' for extras and bit players and crew. You can't make a movie without these peons.
  • There are a few authors that have been financially successful with book a year deals. They have a new book prominently displayed for full price and last year's on the clearance rack. Getting an advance of about 2000 dollars is what most writers get.
  • I go to several local theatres. Their productions rival much larger productions that I have seen at the Alliance theatre in Atlanta. 
  • You have to sell a lot of prints and original paintings to pay the bills.


What I do know about being an artist can be summed up in these words of wisdom.

1. Get started. Don't wait until late in life. You may be dead or too old to pursue your passion. Many careers are a young person's game or you will never be good enough if you don't start.

2. Be realistic. You want to be a novelist. No you don't quit your job and start writing like they do in the movies. Read books about writing books. Read good novels. Read bad novels. Take any courses about writing you can. It's hard to be a good writer when you live under a bridge or your family is so sick of you not pitching in with the bills. Plus understanding working and living helps you write about the human condition.

3. Study your chosen field. If you want to be an actor or singer, you need to go to school. A quick acting class now and then is not enough. Go to school and get started. It's harder to break into the business as you get older. Day jobs are recommended. Couch surfing is not a good strategy and don't get so broke, you will do anything for a good meal.

4. Make a plan. If you are going to write, designate an hour you write whether it is garbage or the start of a bestseller. Know what you plan to do to reach your goals. Talking about it and daydreaming may be the start but it is definitely not the finish.

5. Patience is a must. All of your hard work could be a wreck. No one starts out wonderful. I've seen a play ruined by a boring actor; read a self-published novel that was an exercise in venting; complimented a print of a painting that was OK. Practice brings out the best in us all.

6. Decide what your goal is. Great works don't always get acknowledged and "50 Shades of Gray" pulls in millions of dollars. There is a reason why Las Vegas is lit up with a million lights and a museum barely can make payroll. Have you ever watched people playing the slots. Many of them old, overweight, smoking staring into the machine. It doesn't take much effort.

7. Live life as fully and responsibly as possible. An alcohol fueled story rarely makes sense. Family and friends are the essence of what is good about life. Work that boring day to day job to pay the bills. It's easier to create when your basic needs are met and your children are well.

8. Everything prepares you.  I read a person's account of what a wonderful place a retail giant was to work. They had worked there 9 months. For an individual hassled at year nine because you get tenured for retirement after ten years, that is more relevant.

9. Know when to reconsider your dreams. Much like very few athletes turn pro and work several years, the same is true for acting, writing, singing, painting.

10. Respect criticism. Whether mean spirited or just plain off-based, a criticism gives you the opportunity to reflect on your work and decide if it can be improved. Be gracious to criticism or you will never hear it from that person again. I had two students who were critical and vicious the first year I taught Chemistry. In short, my worksheets were impeccable and served me well in subsequent years.

In short, being an artist is worth your effort. I did not pursue a creative field and regret it. But not as much as I am glad I can support myself and take care of family members. Balance your dreams with a job.