rogue rhetoric

random musings by michael d. durkota

Category: .: Random Musings (page 2 of 6)

On Stephen King Terrorizing Me Telepathically

I started reading On Writing a chapter or so at a time for the past couple weeks. I needed some inspiration. Perhaps some consolation. I intended to post a review. I enjoyed King’s insight, his early failures, his inspirations, his eventual success. I smiled when he equated writing to telepathy, the ability of writers to put thoughts in the heads of readers over a vast span of time and space. King described a rabbit with the number eight on its back; he wrote, “It’s an eight. This is what we’re looking at, and we all see it. I didn’t tell you. You didn’t ask… We’ve engaged in an act of telepathy.” The concept was fun to think about.

But then I reached the middle of the book where he began to speak about the craft of writing. What it means to be a writer, the investment it requires. King wrote, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” Of course, I agreed with this. I even agreed with him when he wrote, “When you find something at which you are talented, you do (whatever it is) until your fingers bleed and your eyes are ready to fall out of your head.”

I almost tweeted, “Fuck you, Stephen King.”

Why was I so angry? I was angry because he expected me to read and write for four to six hours a day. Write 2000 words a day, read a novel each week. I was quite proud of my 55K words this year until he talked about the 180K he pumps out in just three months. The implication was that if I did anything less I was either not committed to the craft, or I lacked talent.

If only I scored an early success in the literary lottery, Mr. King. If only I had even a fraction of your bank account, Mr. King. If only I didn’t have to work 12 hours a day just to pay the bills.

I wanted to explain to Mr. King that I wrote most of my first novel while working as a security guard on the night shift. I drank coffee by the pot and I wrote; I acted out scenes in the parking lot with a dozen or so bats swooping over my head. I went straight from there to my job at the registrar’s office helping veterans submit GI Bill claims. Sometimes I went to class. I got home around five and puked out freelance ad copy; I wrote product reviews at $20 a blurb until I fell asleep at the computer. Sometimes I made it into bed before the alarm sounded and another night of guard duty began.

Years later, not much has really changed. Yes, I did add my very own novel to my bookshelf; a few people that aren’t family have even read it. But nowadays I work a day job with an hour-long commute. I eat dinner, catch up on email, and do my own book marketing. I struggle to get an hour at the computer to write; my goal is a measly 500 words a day. I fall asleep with my Kindle on my lap; my battery life is horrendous and the damn thing thinks it takes me four hours to read a single page.

I wanted to ask Mr. King that if all of that isn’t commitment, what is? I wanted to scream, “You suck, Stephen King!”

And then…  Stephen King contacted me… Telepathically.

He said, “Toughen up, cupcake.”

The words vibrated through my skull. I looked around the room and no one was there but me. My phone and the computer were both off. I was reading a paper copy of his book since my Kindle was still charging.

I thought, “Why are you so mean and condescending, Mr. King? Why crush my dreams?”

He said, “I’m a bully. I like bullying writers.”

I thought, “You make me so angry. What do you do when you are not destroying inferior writers?”

I kill kittens and harvest their blood for my fountain pen.”

“You are evil, Stephen King.”

What did you expect? I’m Stephen-fucking-King. Are we done here?

And that was all. The voice was gone. I sat in the dark of my office and wondered if I had imagined it all. It didn’t matter though. Mr. King had won. Those few chapters of his book angered me so much that I pounded out this blog out at 1:19 A.M. after I slogged through about 1500 words of my second novel. Yes, he inspired me to triple my productivity. I will probably have to give up sleep and jeopardize my job. But, I am a writer. Writer’s write. I’ll keep churning out words in hopes I finally arrange them in some divine order. Thank you, Mr. King. I guess.

You’re welcome. Now stop whining and keep writing.”

Random Musings for Saint Patrick’s Day

  • I may partake in an adult beverage tonight, but it will not be green beer (see link below for one of the reasons why).
  • Once in a Blue Year now has a book trailer. Check it out on YouTube.
  • I have topped 30,000 words for the year. They haven’t quite congealed into a draft of the next novel, but I am getting close.
  • If you write, or even if you just like reading good writing, I highly recommend On Writing by Stephen King.
  • Has anyone read Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick? I typically steer clear from autobiographies, but I am curious about this one for some reason. Also, if you haven’t Mr. Right, you need to fix that immediately.
  • I have listened to the new Ed Sheeran album about a thousand times now. I’m still not tired of it.

Are you planning to grab a pint of green beer on St. Paddy’s Day?

Source: The truth about green beer and its potential nasty side effect | Fox News

Indie musicians need love too

Metal heads, take notice: Conflict Cycle has arrived. Their debut album is definitely worth a listen. Hellfire is a truly worthy metal offering full of guitar shredding, bass punching, and sheer vocal aggression. My favorite track by far is Deadly Paradise, but they are all well-crafted and recorded. This collection even comes close to matching the raw intensity of their live shows. Horns up! \m/

You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Grab a copy of Hellfire on amazon.

 

Random Musings for Groundhog Day

  • I’m not overly disappointed that Phil predicted six more weeks of winter. Aside from a few frigid days, this winter has been a letdown. I want some snow.
  • I will probably watch the Super Bowl on Sunday even though I will be angry when the Patriots inevitably win.
  • I will definitely watch the next episode of Black Sails to uplift my spirits after suffering through the Patriots victory. Unless of course they use a flashback to remind me that they killed my favorite character at the end of last season.
  • Despite having two whole days off work, I have not a read a single thing. That said, I have written over 2000 words in those two days and topped 12000 for the year so far.
  • I am proud of Black Rifle Coffee Company for standing up to Starbucks.

Random musings for the holidays

  • I finally started an Instagram account: michaeldurkota. Stand by for pictures of beer and coffee.
  • Started reading Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson. Good stuff.
  • Looking forward to the Ronda Rousey fight.
  • Office Christmas Party was not as bad as it could have been.
  • Didn’t read or write nearly as much as I had hoped.
  • Still excited about the article in the Tribune Review!
  • Only two weeks until the new season of Homeland!
  • The Breaking Bad marathon is killing my productivity.
  • Love the new Highly Suspect album. In a word, it’s ‘groovy.’
  • My review of The Bull by Erica Crockett is coming soon.
  • Best Christmas present – a precision spinning top from my brother. I didn’t know these existed. It has changed my life, and possibly created yet another addiction.
  • Only one month until Black Sails returns!
  • I watch too much TV.

Veterans Day, a public reading, and some random musings

First. The Veterans Day charity pledge will continue until November 19. This year all proceeds will benefit Operation Homefront; they provide short-term and critical assistance, long-term stability, and recurring support programs to military families. Seriously a great organization. Please support them by grabbing a copy of Once in a Blue Year on Amazon.com.durkota-vets

Second. I am honored to participate in a public reading celebrating Veterans Day. The event is hosted by Ashley Kunsa of VetsWrite and is taking place at the Norwin Public Library on Saturday, November 12. I will be joined by fellow writer and veteran Ryne Tobar. If you are in the greater Pittsburgh area, please stop in. There will be a Q&A, refreshments, and I will be signing copies of Once in a Blue Year with all proceeds of course supporting Operation Homefront.

Third. Some random musings from this week:

  • I started reading the second book in Erica Crockett’s Blood Zodiac series. It is haunting and beautiful. She is a gifted writer. I highly recommend that you check out her first book, Chemicals. After that, you should get started with book one of the Blood Zodiac, The Ram.
  • I discovered that a random tweet of mine from last year was referenced in an article by The International Business Times. I was venting about the Oxford word of year being an emoji.
  • I am glad I stayed up to watch the last couple games of the World Series, but I think it will take me few days to catch up on all the lost sleep. I really didn’t care who won in the end, I just love the excitement of post-season baseball.

Random Musings for a Sunday Evening

  • Highlight of the weekend was watching crows eat peanuts on my mother’s porch. They come every day.
  • I didn’t know how to feel about Bob Dylan winning the Nobel prize for literature. Now I do. What a waste.crow
  • Certainly the beginning of the end for The Walking Dumb.  They really should have clubbed the writers instead. It reminded me of the time someone thought it was a good idea to give Dexter a wife and kids. On the bright side, it is so nice to have an extra hour of free time on Sunday evenings.
  • Watched Mr. Right last night. Sure to be a cult classic. Reminded me of Grosse Pointe Blank in many ways.
  • I am about 20% through The Bull by Erica Crockett (@EricaCrockett). She is an amazing writer.
  • Consider me a fan of Colbie Caillat, High Dive Heart, and Justin Young. Great show last week.

Drunken sailors and other random musings for a rainy Sunday

  • The Readers’ Favorite 2016 International Book Awards were announced yesterday. Once in a Blue Year was a finalist in the Fiction-Military category!
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was excellent, and I’m not generally a fan of Burton’s films. It was creative, intriguing, and thoroughly entertaining. Highly recommended.
  • What was the Navy thinking when it got rid of job titles? I was always proud to be a Machinist’s Mate even though my actual job didn’t require machining. It mm1was a traditional rating with a long history.
  • I am so very glad that hockey season begins in 11 days. Let’s go Pens!
  • I encountered no less than three people texting and driving this weekend, and I still haven’t figured out a way to legally retaliate.
  • For some reason, I really miss Vegas today. Well, I guess I miss Vegas a little at some point every day.
  • How’s this for a story of drunken sailor debauchery?
    Going overboard: Bar and cinema trashed by ‘drunken Royal Navy officers’

Should I be flattered that my book was pirated?

While searching for a link to a press release, a google search revealed a website offering free PDF’s of my novel. They even provided their own book review:

Once in a Blue Year Reviewblue year

This Once in a Blue Year book is not really ordinary book, you have it then the world is in your hands.  The  benefit  you  get  by  reading this  book  is  actually  information  inside  this  reserve incredible  fresh,  you  will  get  information  which  is  getting  deeper  an  individual  read  a  lot  of information you will get. This kind of Once in a Blue Year without we recognize teach the one who looking at it become critical in imagining and analyzing. Don’t be worry Once in a Blue Year can bring any time you are and not make your tote space or bookshelves’ grow to be full because you can have it inside your lovely laptop even cell phone. This Once in a Blue Year having great arrangement in word and layout, so you will not really feel uninterested in reading. Relate

Needless to say, I did not dare click the link.

To conjoin or not to conjoin?

I attended the second session of VetsWrite yesterday. Although it has been lightly attended, I have enjoyed the company of fellow writers and the fresh perspective. The writing exercises have been truly helpful; I’m embarrassed to admit I really can’t remember the last time I conducted a free-write on my own. At the end of the session, Ashley and Brad suggested that we share some pages from our current projects and discuss them during the next session.write

This presented me with a conundrum.

I’ve been working on two separate novels for the last few months. They are each stalled around 30% complete. One keeps distracting me from the other. I was beginning to worry that I would never finish either since they both were still missing so much.

So, which one do I share? I was about to flip a coin when I decided just to share an excerpt from each. Perhaps the group could point me in the right direction or provide some needed guidance. I opened the files and began reading. One, then the other, and then back again.

As I read, I slowly began to realize that what each one was missing was possibly contained in the other. In a moment of Zen-like clarity I decided they needed to be combined. They wanted to be combined. In fact, they were practically begging to be combined. I spent the rest of the day, most of the night, and virtually every waking moment since then trying to pull the pieces together in some comprehensible fashion.

I was frustrated last night when I put them away, but I woke up with a few ideas. After some effort this afternoon, I think I’ve made a breakthrough. The result may not quite be 60% of a completed story, but close. In the very least, I am excited to have made some headway and I was also able to easily identify the pages I need to share.

Other random musings from the weekend:

  • Only 18 days until hockey returns. Go Pens!
  • I am loving my new Motorola Moto Z.
  • Comcast is irritating me by repeatedly pushing the addition of a land-line phone. Today they resorted to scare tactics: “How would you make a call in an emergency if your cell phone wasn’t available?” I guess they fail to realize my cell phone is never out of arm’s reach.
  • I am certainly going to keep my promise from March and never again review an episode of The Walking Dead. In fact, I may not even watch the new season. I’m actually surprised that my disdain has not faded over the summer.
  • I made some additions to the Writer Resources page.
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