Happy last night of Chanukah.

Dec 31, 2016 at 5:45 PM
Happy last night of Chanukah.
~ from Facebook

Apparently, there is a rather large class of society to which turn signal does not apply. Silly me, I must've missed that chapter in the drivers manual.

at 2:20 PM
Apparently, there is a rather large class of society to which turn signal does not apply. Silly me, I must've missed that chapter in the drivers manual.
~ from Facebook

I want to travel somewhere new in 2017. #notaresolution

at 9:27 AM
I want to travel somewhere new in 2017. #notaresolution
~ from Facebook

Just watched The Big Short again. Might have been a mistake. Need someone to remind me why I should have faith in humanity. Haha. Just kidding. Kinda.

Dec 30, 2016 at 11:55 PM
Just watched The Big Short again. Might have been a mistake. Need someone to remind me why I should have faith in humanity. Haha. Just kidding. Kinda.
~ from Facebook

where is a good place in Clearwater to get your legs waxed?

at 10:37 AM
where is a good place in Clearwater to get your legs waxed?
~ from Facebook

Look what I just got from Kat and Colin!

Dec 29, 2016 at 8:06 PM
Look what I just got from Kat and Colin!
~ from Facebook

I'm so done. Facebook has become where I go to find out who died today. I can't deal. If you want to know where I will be, I will be in my kitchen doing my dishes while singing. Today's feature, "Good Morning!"

at 9:17 AM
I'm so done. Facebook has become where I go to find out who died today. I can't deal. If you want to know where I will be, I will be in my kitchen doing my dishes while singing. Today's feature, "Good Morning!"
~ from Facebook

Rugged and mature, huh? Sounds sexy.

Dec 28, 2016 at 10:29 AM
Rugged and mature, huh? Sounds sexy.
~ from Facebook

The highlight of my day was definitely belting out Four Non-Blondes with Aurora, my mini-me.

Dec 27, 2016 at 8:04 PM
The highlight of my day was definitely belting out Four Non-Blondes with Aurora, my mini-me.
~ from Facebook

Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. ~ Dr. Seuss

at 3:00 PM
Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. ~ Dr. Seuss
~ from Facebook

I struggled with it for a few days, I didn't want to do it, but I had to. Last night, after tossing and turning, I jumped out of bed and I solved my problem. I'm running the air conditioner again, even though it's December. DAMMIT.

at 12:14 PM
I struggled with it for a few days, I didn't want to do it, but I had to. Last night, after tossing and turning, I jumped out of bed and I solved my problem. I'm running the air conditioner again, even though it's December. DAMMIT.
~ from Facebook

My 2017 wish is that we all recognize truth more fully, live in peaceful harmony more of the time, and set off after our goals more often.

Dec 26, 2016 at 8:57 PM
My 2017 wish is that we all recognize truth more fully, live in peaceful harmony more of the time, and set off after our goals more often.
~ from Facebook

The December posts have almost made up for the November ones. I love seeing all your light and love filling my feed. You guys warm my cockles.

at 7:24 PM
The December posts have almost made up for the November ones. I love seeing all your light and love filling my feed. You guys warm my cockles.
~ from Facebook

Oh no, our Chinese restaurant is closed. How am I supposed to survive Christmas now? What is even happening!!

Dec 25, 2016 at 8:00 PM
Oh no, our Chinese restaurant is closed. How am I supposed to survive Christmas now? What is even happening!!
~ from Facebook

Even Walmart is closed right now. I didn't think that happened until the zombie apocalypse.

at 7:42 PM
Even Walmart is closed right now. I didn't think that happened until the zombie apocalypse.
~ from Facebook

I hope everyone stays this nice all year.

at 2:11 PM
I hope everyone stays this nice all year.
~ from Facebook

Just had a lovely Chanukah with Shelley and Larry. Happy Chanukah to them, to my Auntie Carol, momma Evan, and the rest of the Symondses. Hugs!

Dec 24, 2016 at 9:26 PM
Just had a lovely Chanukah with Shelley and Larry. Happy Chanukah to them, to my Auntie Carol, momma Evan, and the rest of the Symondses. Hugs!
~ from Facebook

Aftermath of nom noms...

at 7:53 PM
Aftermath of nom noms...
~ from Facebook

Rogue One is kind of like a Viking river boat tour for the Star Wars universe... And here's Mustafar! And here's Jedha! And here's yet another desert planet! And here's a nice beach to rest and relax on!

at 1:53 PM
Rogue One is kind of like a Viking river boat tour for the Star Wars universe... And here's Mustafar! And here's Jedha! And here's yet another desert planet! And here's a nice beach to rest and relax on!
~ from Facebook

I can't find my chanukiyah. The garage has become full since last year. I have a feeling the box is buried... Does anyone know where I could buy one last minute?

Dec 23, 2016 at 6:38 PM
I can't find my chanukiyah. The garage has become full since last year. I have a feeling the box is buried... Does anyone know where I could buy one last minute?
~ from Facebook

Are they serious? Does FB really want me to post about a fake holiday invented for TV? This is too much "leading text" for me...

at 6:31 PM
Are they serious? Does FB really want me to post about a fake holiday invented for TV? This is too much "leading text" for me...
~ from Facebook

I just showed up 47 hours early for a Christmas party. Oops!

at 4:45 PM
I just showed up 47 hours early for a Christmas party. Oops!
~ from Facebook

Trust is one thing but when a friend is willing to hand you a big wad of cash to give to another friend, you know they TRUST you.

at 11:51 AM
Trust is one thing but when a friend is willing to hand you a big wad of cash to give to another friend, you know they TRUST you.
~ from Facebook

Friend who shall not be named: "Is it going to embarrass you if I just wear these gym clothes?" Me: "No! As long as your nipples are covered, you're fine!" Friend who shall not be named: ((flashes me))

Dec 22, 2016 at 9:19 PM
Friend who shall not be named: "Is it going to embarrass you if I just wear these gym clothes?" Me: "No! As long as your nipples are covered, you're fine!" Friend who shall not be named: ((flashes me))
~ from Facebook

Thinking about going live with Christmas carols. Because I can't get it out of my head anyway, they are such ear worms.

at 2:38 PM
Thinking about going live with Christmas carols. Because I can't get it out of my head anyway, they are such ear worms.
~ from Facebook

It's always such a treat when people get pissed at me for using a roundabout correctly.

at 12:34 PM
It's always such a treat when people get pissed at me for using a roundabout correctly.
~ from Facebook

I will never have enough tea. Or teapots. Or steepers.

Dec 21, 2016 at 10:20 PM
I will never have enough tea. Or teapots. Or steepers.
~ from Facebook

I was just looking for an old photo for a friend and realized I look older now than I did a decade ago. Obvious? Yes! Still unnerving? Yup.

at 8:00 PM
I was just looking for an old photo for a friend and realized I look older now than I did a decade ago. Obvious? Yes! Still unnerving? Yup.
~ from Facebook

The next person after me's comment has Christmas capitalized as though to shame me for using the "wrong" terminology - no one else did that. But I am feeling festive and enjoying the cheer, and I'm Jewish. So, I use the phrase that includes everyone. I feel we should all have happy holidays... right? As a bonus, these two religions' holidays are simultaneous this year! Maybe the universe is sending a message of peace and harmony? I will certainly be lighting my candles in the spirit of harmony.

at 9:50 AM
The next person after me's comment has Christmas capitalized as though to shame me for using the "wrong" terminology - no one else did that. But I am feeling festive and enjoying the cheer, and I'm Jewish. So, I use the phrase that includes everyone. I feel we should all have happy holidays... right? As a bonus, these two religions' holidays are simultaneous this year! Maybe the universe is sending a message of peace and harmony? I will certainly be lighting my candles in the spirit of harmony.
~ from Facebook

The air is full of sea fog this morning, which is dreary and gray like snow, but instead of snowing, your car gets covered in grimy, slimy salt water.

at 9:28 AM
The air is full of sea fog this morning, which is dreary and gray like snow, but instead of snowing, your car gets covered in grimy, slimy salt water.
~ from Facebook

Every time I watch video or snaps of y'all chatting while you drive, it gives me hives. I spend the whole time worried y'all are going to wreck... #drivesafeupdatemelaterwhenyougethome

at 1:18 AM
Every time I watch video or snaps of y'all chatting while you drive, it gives me hives. I spend the whole time worried y'all are going to wreck... #drivesafeupdatemelaterwhenyougethome
~ from Facebook

In my opinion, the only reason that IQs higher than 170 are rarely recorded is because few people that intelligent in their right minds would let anyone else know.

Dec 20, 2016 at 9:41 PM
In my opinion, the only reason that IQs higher than 170 are rarely recorded is because few people that intelligent in their right minds would let anyone else know.
~ from Facebook

I just saw a license plate: KAFKASQ - solidarity. Solidarity.

at 3:43 PM
I just saw a license plate: KAFKASQ - solidarity. Solidarity.
~ from Facebook

Try opening the windows and letting this lovely breeze through your house, along with the lovely cloud-filtered light... ahhhhh. #FloridaWinter I'm not trying to gloat, it's just so NICE out!

at 12:39 PM
Try opening the windows and letting this lovely breeze through your house, along with the lovely cloud-filtered light... ahhhhh. #FloridaWinter I'm not trying to gloat, it's just so NICE out!
~ from Facebook

So far, Frontier's version of FiOS is slower, comes with terrible app interfaces where I can't actually edit anything or make changes, costs a lot more, has customer support that can't actually help me make any changes, and costs that rise regularly every six months or so. All this and I never actually CHOSE to be their customer. Still ticked about that.

at 11:51 AM
So far, Frontier's version of FiOS is slower, comes with terrible app interfaces where I can't actually edit anything or make changes, costs a lot more, has customer support that can't actually help me make any changes, and costs that rise regularly every six months or so. All this and I never actually CHOSE to be their customer. Still ticked about that.
~ from Facebook

Tea time...

Dec 19, 2016 at 10:00 PM
Tea time...
~ from Facebook

My business got me a Christmas gift in the form of a corseted pour over coffee whatsit.

at 9:56 PM
My business got me a Christmas gift in the form of a corseted pour over coffee whatsit.
~ from Facebook

Nobody to blame makes it that much easier to work out whose job it is to fix the problems. #hardworkisgoodforyou

at 9:46 PM
Nobody to blame makes it that much easier to work out whose job it is to fix the problems. #hardworkisgoodforyou
~ from Facebook

Benjamin Franklin said impeachment was for a leader who "rendered himself obnoxious" - with all that the word meant in the 1700s. So, I say there's nothing to worry about. I'm pretty sure someone will retroactively impeach The Orange One. I think a case could be made that he's been obnoxious since at least the 1980s.

at 1:21 PM
Benjamin Franklin said impeachment was for a leader who "rendered himself obnoxious" - with all that the word meant in the 1700s. So, I say there's nothing to worry about. I'm pretty sure someone will retroactively impeach The Orange One. I think a case could be made that he's been obnoxious since at least the 1980s.
~ from Facebook

Zach bought me a ticket to go see Rogue One tonight, even though he's all the way up in freezing cold land. Very sweet of him.

Dec 18, 2016 at 7:20 PM
Zach bought me a ticket to go see Rogue One tonight, even though he's all the way up in freezing cold land. Very sweet of him.
~ from Facebook

Dishes, laundry, and cat litter. I already live in the Sisyphean nightmare that begins Dante's first level of hell. It's not actually so bad, as long as you have a good Pandora playlist to distract from the monotony...

at 4:52 PM
Dishes, laundry, and cat litter. I already live in the Sisyphean nightmare that begins Dante's first level of hell. It's not actually so bad, as long as you have a good Pandora playlist to distract from the monotony...
~ from Facebook

I have learned that my watch is indeed hummus-resistant.

Dec 17, 2016 at 8:04 PM
I have learned that my watch is indeed hummus-resistant.
~ from Facebook

Where's my time out emoji?

at 2:29 PM
Where's my time out emoji?
~ from Facebook

I get to see my literary peeps tonight. Phew.

at 2:19 PM
I get to see my literary peeps tonight. Phew.
~ from Facebook

This is BS but let's make it a real thing...

at 11:11 AM
This is BS but let's make it a real thing...
~ from Facebook

This is total BS but I say we make this a real thing...

at 11:09 AM
This is total BS but I say we make this a real thing...
~ from Facebook

Moon in morning in Florida with birds.

at 7:01 AM
Moon in morning in Florida with birds.
~ from Facebook

I'm not usually up this late but I've been making pancakes since an hour before dawn... #racedayvolunteer

at 6:56 AM
I'm not usually up this late but I've been making pancakes since an hour before dawn... #racedayvolunteer
~ from Facebook

Just a work in progress...

Dec 14, 2016 at 11:23 PM
Just a work in progress...
~ from Facebook

Make your life about reaching your goals, achieving the end-all of accomplishing a dream, and the criticism of assholes who didn't make their own dreams come true will matter a lot, lot less. Making progress toward a goal is the absolute BEST antidepressant and asshole-deterrent there could possibly be in this screwy world.

at 10:06 PM
Make your life about reaching your goals, achieving the end-all of accomplishing a dream, and the criticism of assholes who didn't make their own dreams come true will matter a lot, lot less. Making progress toward a goal is the absolute BEST antidepressant and asshole-deterrent there could possibly be in this screwy world.
~ from Facebook

As you count down toward your holiday, consider making choices that will teach generosity. Make extra cookies for the kids to pass out to friends. Give them two of something, one to keep and one to give away to a person outside your family. Charitable giving is taught young.

at 4:13 PM
As you count down toward your holiday, consider making choices that will teach generosity. Make extra cookies for the kids to pass out to friends. Give them two of something, one to keep and one to give away to a person outside your family. Charitable giving is taught young.
~ from Facebook

Claire wants you to tell her she's beautiful.

at 1:41 PM
Claire wants you to tell her she's beautiful.
~ from Facebook
Dec 13, 2016 at 8:57 PM

~ from Facebook

Moving Day from Blogger

at 4:12 PM
Hi Guys.

So, I've moved my blog over to my Author website.

I've just used ifttt.com to connect up my Twitter, FB, and Blogger. FB won't get any busier, but the other services should finally start seeing more posts... #facebookaddict

Dec 12, 2016 at 2:45 PM
I've just used ifttt.com to connect up my Twitter, FB, and Blogger. FB won't get any busier, but the other services should finally start seeing more posts... #facebookaddict
~ from Facebook

A story about the importance of looking for truth

Oct 16, 2016 at 2:45 PM
In my most recent published short story, I look at how the emotional state of the magic user affects their magic, and I relate magic to the real world more explicitly than is usually done.

If you haven't read it yet, it's called "Threads that Bind" and it's published in the anthology, Serenity Rising -- I actually manage to discuss the story below without completely spoiling it. But if you're worried, go read it and then come back.  Seriously, it's like THREE BUCKS. Do it, and then we can talk.

---

In this magical story, there's no alternate universe. Annika lives in the same world that you do, in fact she lives in Los Angeles. In the world that Annika lives in, magic is a channeling of life force and truth, rather than some mysterious ethereal unknown, unreachable and beyond the reader's grasp.

Our protagonist is arguably a second character, Fenn, but our lead character is Annika, a girl who is unconsciously broken , emotionally choked off. She experienced youthful trauma she has not yet confronted, because of her mother's poor choices and addictions, and now lives a lonely existence. She's also a magic wielder, in a form of magic I invented for the purpose and called "the weaver's magic" or "magrama" based on a fanciful play on the origins of macrame. She would have continued in a lonely endless tailspin if an old friend hadn't shown up in the form of Fenn, a gypsy from the troupe she and her mother traveled with when she was young.

Her life slowly transitions in ways she doesn't realize until things suddenly become clear to her at the end, solving the mystery of the rest of her family's whereabouts.

I'm proudest of the aspect of this story that involves the overcoming of traumatic events, and of how love helps her. It isn't always this direct, but real love, the kind you can lean on, does wonders for survivors of abusive situations.

I'm also proud of who Annika innately is, in the unspoken choices she makes with her magic to use it more wisely than others have, more wisely than she would have seen direct examples of from her mentors. Our choices define us... even when we're magical, and honor is even more important amongst those with powers. I don't overtly state a moral, but I feel this story has several morals, depending on what resonates with you.

I have every intention of continuing to write stories for Annika and Fenn into the future, should I find a value they can help pass along.

This is my favorite story since Rain, published in "Into the Abyss". That one's only a buck right now. If you can't afford a buck for your old pal, then you're in a sorry state. Go buy that one, too.

See all of my published works listed here on my Amazon author page. www.amazon.com/author/desireematlock

Open Mic

Sep 20, 2016 at 10:28 PM
Just attended an open mic night. It made me realize a few things.

The first speaker was an old school print journalist talking about the case that haunts him. The murder trial that still lives within his head, unsolved, the pieces never quite fitting. I spent most of the time he spoke listening past the words, to how fascinating a mind can be that is trained so thoroughly to remove all personal commentary, to corroborate, substantiate or repudiate all data until the facts, nothing but the facts, remain... I admired his discipline, but I found myself wishing he'd allowed himself the freedom, in this, his personal musings, to speak his opinions and to truly revel in the abandon possible in responsibility-free writing.

There was a fantastic zombie ghost story set in the depression, that I will very likely buy. There was a wizened older author whose writing bites and cants its way forward like a well trained , urging you into interest in historical subject you might otherwise have ignored, and whose teeth unsettle me. Like he's something else pretending to be human. I can't explain it, and it doesn't strike me until he smiles. Then my bones grow cold. But his writing shows a deep and considered understanding of human interaction and altercations.

There was a stand up comedienne who focused on height-related jokes and made everyone groan and chuckle.

But what hit me hardest was that there were several young people who spoke, full of the various dichotomies of youth. Lithe, vigorous promising minds, as yet unhumbled by the usual hardships, and voices so ready to speak with strength that knows no better than to stand alone. I loved listening to the flow of bright fresh thought, as they grimaced and stammered over the odd word with the thready timbre of temerity, the usual "excuse me" and "sorry" as stage fright kicked in, and then released, and then magic happened.

I wanted to interrupt to tell them to let nothing kill the flow of your words. Let nothing dull the keen blade of the youthful urgency of soliloquy, of unfolding meaning into words at the raw bleeding edge of their lives. There will be only so many opportunities to bask in the cool spring waters of the ingenue.

I grew nostalgic for a time I'm not sure ever existed. When I, too, was taut and ready, while conversely nervous and unsure. When I had not yet formed the first callouses of a life lived earnestly. And, while I appreciate the brevity and clarity that my writer's soul has attained from age, I do occasionally miss the urgency of youth.

The simple truth is that I wouldn't trade that for what I've got now. I prefer to sit back and listen to the variety of thoughts that cascase from fresh minds as someone new worries a story into being.

And there's what I realized. I write now from a place of comfortable wisdom. And I'm good with that. I don't need to be the one writing the painful urgent clarion cry of youth. I am fine with merely being the one who finds the single perfect sentence that sums it up, and pressing Ctrl+A on the rest of it, and deleting it because my editor wants only 1500 words.

The trial that is brevity

Aug 13, 2016 at 9:13 PM
Many of you know that when I'm in social settings, my worst failing is that I fall into my own mouth. I get word vomit, and the more nervous I get about word vomit, the more random blatherings come pouring out. It's my primary social failing. I'm too damn wordy.

------

Now that I've been writing steadily and getting published for a few years, let me tell you of the hardest part of writing, from my perspective.

Some writers talk about how hard it is to come up with an original story. I'm never troubled by that. See, I personally believe that even if it's already been told, I might be able to write it in a new way. And then it's new again.

Some people say they have trouble getting started. That's not my problem.

Some people say they're too perfectionistic and never let go of their babies. Not my problem, anymore at least. This blog already helped me past that problem.

Some people say they get writer's block, a sudden inability to come up with any further words. I've almost never run into that unless the project simply stopped working, and that's a structure problem, not a writer's block problem. If I've got structure resolved, and know what I'm writing toward, I can write all day every day.

Nope, my problem is I'm too wordy. I'll be told I need to turn in a thousand-word story by tomorrow, and then at the end of the day tomorrow I've got 15,000 words.

I have the damndest time writing less than 5000 words on ANYTHING.

So, of all my published works, my favorites are the ones that took the most work. The ones that tell a whole story in less than ten thousand words. That, to me, is a real kicker of an accomplishment.

Most of the people I meet that have read my short stories tell me that they loved "Rain". Honestly, if they'd seen the 25,000 word monstrosity I turned into the editor on the first go round, they wouldn't have loved it. Sure, the editor killed some of my babies, such as Lester's death scene, and several encounters that I felt were necessary to the plot. And several meandering walks through the scenery that were poetic but useless. And I hated it. But I ended up with one of the best things I've ever written, that lost more than half its length before we were done cutting and cutting and cutting away the excess rock.

Since then, I've gone through several changes, metamorphing slowly into a better writer. I've shed the requirement to be perfect, to write like my idols do, to write every thought that I think whether it relates or not, and most importantly, I've worked hard to shed the inability to self-edit without invalidation and self-criticism. I can now cut out a few pages without blinking, if I know they don't carry the forward motion of the story. And I can do this without cursing myself as inept.

At this point, the hardest thing about writing, for me, is that the work tends to get too florid and tends to wander off the beaten trail. That only works if that's the style of the story. But that's rarely the case, that you can hold interest while meandering. I've gotten away with it exceedingly rarely. Mostly, I cut and cut and cut. Like Michelangelo trying to find David in the marble, I write a large chunky rock of a story, and then I cut it down. Excellent work only happens in the second pass, in the self editing process that results in a second, third, fourth rough draft.  And you can't hate yourself for either end of the process, being too wordy, or cutting away favorites.

Of course, there's no such thing as a second, third, or fourth draft anymore REALLY, since we're digital. At some point, I say to myself, "Okay, I've cut away a third of the dead weight here. Let's see what Courtenay (my editor) thinks." And I ship it off to her. And together we polish the work until it shines, renaming each part of the process with another draft name.

Honestly, I think this might actually be the only real challenge to a writer, if they're actually writing from their own voice:

Staying brief when the word vomit wants to start.