So Glad You Asked (Warning: Contains Lame Top 5 List)

There’s a dozen things on my plate that are begging for my attention at the moment; not least of which is trying to find gainful employment.

  • I just bought stacks of index cards this weekend, so I’m pretty serious about writing Chapter 2 and beyond for my current piece of fiction. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.
  • I have to finish a company logo for a re-launching of one of my brands. I love the process, but designing is still “French As a Second Language” type of thing for me. Left to my own devices, something that should take minutes, takes hours.
  • There are courses that I started weeks ago and have yet to finish; Not because they’re boring, which they are, but because I have begun to question the validity of such and endeavor to begin with. I’m I helping myself, or am I kidding myself?

And cooking and cleaning and on and on… Oh, and not to mention that something had better change for the good soon because I’m going to be welcoming another child into my life within the next few months. Full agenda today as always. But at the moment, I got hung up. Again. Earlier today, there was a question posited by Amanda Staley; a moderator for one of my Goggle+ Communities. There are a few writers/bloggers who I tend to give long, rambling responses to when asked a question as it pertains to how I write, and she is one of them. I could offer a more condensed version of an answer under her question, but here are the Top 5 Reasons Why I Don’t Wanna…

1. Sometimes I have to check myself. The responses I have been leaving on people’s posts have become longer and longer. I am literally a breath away from “tl;dr” land, however, I have no intention of changing my zip code, so instead of turning off everyone else that comes by to offer their two cents, I decided my blog would be a better platform for it.

2. There are other times whenever I hit the “Publish” button, I can’t help but feel like I’ve spammed these guys a little too hard. I mean, yes, I’m doing what I should and posting to a place where the chance of something of mine being read are multiplied greatly, but still, there is that feeling of, “oh…YOU again.”

3. That last reason wasn’t really a reason at all, was it? It was more like I had a good intention and a sound motivation as to why I’m doing what I’m doing, but instead it sounded like a bicycle tire deflating. Well now. It looks like I don’t have enough to fill out a Top 5 list…again. That was seriously all I had. I had a brilliant idea that other reasons would just fly out of nowhere and slap me in the face, but it’s just not there.

4. I had sushi for lunch…just thought I’d point that out…


Anyway, her question caught me at the right time as always, right when I should be doing something else. She asked…

I must not answer. I have stuff to do. I have ssstuffff tooo dooo. I have ssssssssoooo glad you asked. Oh, who am I kidding? Questions like this are like chocolate covered pretzels; I can’t help but indulge…

There are two reasons why I started my current work in progress. The first is easy, the second is rather more cerebral and can be incorporated into the second part of the question. The first is my youngest daughter. There are times when I’m in absolute awe at the gold that flies out of her mouth; a product of an unspoiled imagination.
The family sat down to dinner the other night. As per our practice of talking about our days at the table, her mother started things off. “Hey Lainey,” her mother asked. Lainey’s head snapped to attention. “Tell daddy what you saw today.”
That’s my girl.

My youngest has been going to preschool for a while now. During that time, her parents have found a couple of different ways to get to her school. The first is what she refers to as the “Pretty Way”. It’s a section of State owned park land that has yet to be spoiled by the presence of another strip mall; long stretches of straight-away roads that are covered in perfect canopies of trees that seem to emulate Gothic architecture. It’s a nice and relaxing drive, but it’s a little out of the way to where we need to go. The second way is more direct, but it lacks in the scenery. The second way is straight up US Route 1. Most of the time, you are speeding along too fast to notice anything, not that there’s much to notice, just sleepy clam shacks, biker bars, RV showrooms, and, as my daughter tried to explain, an ancient establishment that fabricates headstones.

“I can’t remember what I saw today,” was the reply to her mother. She needed a little prodding.
“Sure you remember,” said her mother. “Remember that place you pointed out? The one with all the graves?” It took her a second and then she lit up, “…oh YEAH! I ‘uhmember!”
 “Good,” said mom. “Can you tell daddy what you told me when you saw it?” She looked at me and said, “That’s where all the zombies come from!” Her tiny voice was resolute, as if she just pegged Professor Plum…in the library…with a wrench. I laughed. I couldn’t help it. At first it was because she was being adorable. But the longer it stayed in my head, the longer the phrase “What If?” had time to play with it and the less cute and the more interesting it became:
What if she was right? What if that place WAS the place where all zombies came from? WAIT! Better yet… what if that wasn’t the place where all the zombies came from, but what if it were a place where zombies were employed? What if that this place was where all the zombies…worked? What if this was the place that all the zombies in this particular area code just had to be employed at? Like a new Starbucks opened or something. In some small way, it was something I could relate to in my quest to find another job. Ideas just started popping after that…
“Wanna Take a Riiiiide?”

Now, my daughter’s imagination was merely a vessel to convey a message that I’ve been trying to express for a couple of months now. It was based on or inspired by something that happened to me that I would like to turn into a story. Sure, I could post something to the effect of what happened as it happened verbatim, but where’s the fun in that? Like what Hadden said to Ellie Arroway in Contact, “Why make one when you can make two at twice the price?”

Based on Actual Events

While I’m on the subject, even though I’m not completely, head-over-heels in love with Science Fiction, (I mean let’s be honest, some of it is absolute crap) I still believe that the best of the genre, the best Science Fiction stories have at its core, a message that isn’t very science-y or fiction-y at all. The best stories are the ones that deal with social/economic/political/philosophical subjects as they pertain to current events or mores at the time. Gene Rodenberry was a pro at this. So was Philip K. Dick, George Romero (of course), Alan Moore etc. I decided to go this route to tell my story because analogy grabs the imagination tighter, makes it listen to what it has to say, and as a result turns something as simple as a morality play into a classic piece of story telling.

A couple of months ago, I joined another social site. I have very little in common with most people on this site, but I feel that given my situation, I thought it would be best to at least make an effort and start networking. That means walking the walk and talking the talk, or at least faking it. One day, someone posted an article that just stirred up passion in me. Not the kind of passion that sweeps lovers off their feet and rips bodices, but the kind of passion that starts a revolution and divides countries. It was an article that asked the question: “Are You A Boss Hater?”

It was this page and half long, meandering piece that was written by someone who has way too much time and money on their hands. It was less like and article, and more like an Internal Report issued by a company CEO and passed out to everyone in middle management. As I was reading, I noticed that great care was taken to recognize and assess who might be considered a liability to your company. However, nothing was mentioned or offered as to different ways to nurture and probably rectify the issue into a positive outcome. So, the longer I was reading this, the less it sounded like an informative piece, and the more it sounded like propaganda. As a result, I decided to express my passion in the form of a comment; taking a measure of comfort in knowing that whatever I say will just get swept under the rug by legions of sycophantic yes-men, so it wouldn’t matter anyway. My response was brief, but pointed. I hit Reply and left it alone. The next day, I had accumulated 16 likes and two responses. By the beginning of the second day, I had gathered close to 40, by the end of the day, close to 90. By the end of the week, I had gathered close to 150 likes for my comment. It was unprecedented. I expected to scream into a vacuum, as a result…

“…Walked out this morning
Don’t believe what I saw
A hundred billion bottles
Washed up on the shore
Seems I’m not alone at being alone
A hundred billion castaways
Looking for a home…”

And I know and I know and I know that this is nothing new or special or unique, but stuff like this rarely happens to me. I’m just happy in my validation. Plain and simple. I’m just happy that one simple decision that I made was acceptable to so many people. From here on in, whenever I get the urge to second guess what I’m thinking, I’ll remember this moment, and know that I’m on the right track. I guess you can say that was my motivation.

Photo Credits:
Want Ads
Long Cat 

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