Friday, March 22, 2013

I Will Name Him George

  What's in a name?
  More appropriately, what's in a blog name?  When I first decided to undertake this endeavor two days ago, my wife (a prolific blogger herself) warned me.  Blogging is easy.  Creating a name for said blog (much less an original domain name) is where things got tricky.
  I wanted something that reflected my recent attempts to become an actual author, not just an autobiographer recounting the events of my rather non-eventful life.
  I've always had a soft spot for a good pun.  And don't get me started on my infatuation with the blissful double entendre.
  I wrestled with a couple of different titles.  The first was "The Plot Sickens," since the majority of my stories are horror-inspired.  After a quick Google search, I learned I was not nearly as clever or original as I thought.
  It turns out a movie of that same name was released all the way back in 1961.  The storyline centers around a wife who constantly ignores her husband.  Each night, while he cooks and cleans, she perches in front of the TV watching Westerns (yes, you read that right).  Instead of trying to resolve the problem in a conventional way--like through actual communication with his wife--he attempts to kill her instead, apparently in increasingly outlandish ways.  I guess marriage counseling hadn't really caught on back then.  Oddly enough, it seemed like the plot of one of my stories.
  Next I chose "Twist of the Life," again trying to play up the horror pun angle ("Life" instead of "Knife" in case I wasn't clear).  I didn't find another blog with that name, but there are lots of hits for "Twist of Life" or some such variation that just seemed way too common.
  I even considered "Plotted Pants."
  I was beginning to think my wife was right.
  Then, while speeding down the highway yesterday morning, I came up with "The Write Fandango," a punned nod toward the opening lyrics of Procol Harum's biggest single, "A Whiter Shade of Pale."  I've always loved the song, but I've never really understood it, aside from the allusion to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.  It has never made a lot of sense, but there are cryptic passages scattered throughout (again, kind of like one of my stories) and I absolutely eat that stuff up.  I love trying to find the hidden, deeper meanings in that type of imagery, even if the only real message is what you decipher on your own.
  Anyway, I haven't heard that song in probably two years now.  Yesterday afternoon, as I was once again motoring along the return route of my morning commute, I turned on the radio.  Flipped two channels, and there it was.    Gary Brooker was telling me that, "She said there is no reason, and the truth is plain to see."  Procul Harum and I were skipping the light fandango--or was it the Write Fandango?--together.  And I received my confirmation.
  So what's in a name?  Inspiration, failure, wackiness, unexplained phenomena and a little bit of luck.
  Just like one of my stories.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I Want My World To Know

  I hate talking about myself.  No, really.  'Hate it.  Chances are, you'll never get a Christmas letter from me about all the uninteresting things I've done during the previous year (unless you received one when I was required to write them during my first marriage.  Note that I said "first" marriage.  Thus the weight of my aversion to tooting my own horn).
  So why blog?  For strictly strategic reasons.  I've always written--whether for personal escapist enjoyment, or to earn a journalism-funded stipend.  But I have never made a concerted effort to be published to the masses.  Until last fall.  I penned my first short story, "The Entertainers," and submitted it with high hopes and crossed fingers.
  'Still hoping...and wondering if my fingers are going to stay this way when and if I finally untangle them.  I've gotten almost as many rejections as I did from potential suitors during my awkward teen years.  Maybe they don't want to ruin a good friendship.  Maybe it's not me, maybe it's them.  Maybe they're seeing an upperclassman I don't know from a school in a different county. 
  Whatever the case, it hasn't discouraged me.  Well, not so much.  I've continued to write, and have submitted a second story; a third one will likely be sent out in a couple of days.  I recently received word that my flash fiction piece, "Cave Dwellers," was picked up and will soon receive online publication (I'll keep you posted when it drops). 
  And so this blog will be used in the most exploitative fashion to help call attention to my efforts.  If I can build a small army of enthralling followers (i.e. cult), perhaps I will capture the eye of a publisher who appreciates my undiscovered genius.  The infamous "If-I-Can-Make-All-Her-Friends-Think-I'm-Dreamy-She'll-Have-To-Go-Out-With-Me" move.  Don't act like you never tried it.
  Basically I'm using you, dear reader, to do my dirty work for me.  I can't really promise to compensate you for your efforts, as most of these publishing opportunities aren't paying gigs.  But I do remember the little people--I've been one all my life. You will receive a hearty thanks and a favorable mention on this page and all those that will allow it.
  So in the days and weeks to follow, if you find something you like here, please, by all means, make like we're at a summer camp sing-along and pass it on.  After all, it only takes a spark.