rogue rhetoric

random musings by michael d. durkota

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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.”

Review: Being Indie by Eeva Lancaster

A quick read and a candid view of Indie publishing. Every aspiring author should immediately add this to their reading list. I wish I had this years ago when I started; it would have saved me a lot of pain and suffering.

Follow Eeva on twitter and download Being Indie on Amazon.

Book Review: The Bull by Erica Crockett

Anyone who knows me, probably knows I’m a fan of anything Ms. Crockett pens. Her complex characters are a joy to follow and her apocalyptic sense of adventure is enthralling. Her third outing was equally satisfying.

Cycle 2 of The Blood Zodiac series begins with a chilling and intriguing line: “She can’t get the blood out of her blond wig.” If you want to know how the blood got there, you need to immediately start reading The Ram. If you know how the blood got there, you should be pleased to learn that The Bull begins where The Ram ended.

There is no rest for Peach. Her mission continues; she is driven even further (literally and figuratively) from her seemingly humble life. And there is perhaps too much rest for Riley; being idle seems to attract more problems for him. Gravity continues to pull the orbits of Peach and Riley closer together. Their lives must certainly intersect. But when? And, even better, why?

Some of my favorite lines:

  • “Logic and fear should partner in this moment, act to push him toward the exit of this unknown home and away from his dastardly doings.”
  • “A familiar and welcome friend arrives. Anger.”
  • “You’ve had some low points recently, but after you lost your toes, these past few weeks have been epically strange.”
  • “The finger in the air begs all other people in the room to shut up and pause so that thinking can smoothly and succinctly remedy the situation.”
  • “Riley is determined to figure out why distant stars are sending him strange cards in the mail.”
  • “Riley tosses the card back on the table, as if it could burn him or possess him or stab him.”
  • “Her eyes water and she convinces herself it’s because of the stark power of the light and not because she knows Lars is good and nice and will still have to die.”
  • “He considers calling Walker but he’s sure his friend would just make more demands about seeing the police or doing something logical.”

Bottom line: If you like thrillers, or anti-heroes, or psychological suspense, you should be reading The Blood Zodiac. After just two books, the series is already an intricate web of characters and stories. It is hard to imagine that this adventure is just beginning. I hear from a good source that book three is on its way, so you better get started.

Follow Erica on twitter, check out her website, and buy her books on Amazon. And if you haven’t read Chemicals (Erica’s first novel) yet, you need to fix that.

13 Ways to Support an Author Without Ever Spending a Dime

Source: 13 Ways to Support an Author Without Ever Spending a Dime | LitReactor

Haven’t posted anything about coffee in a while

The “world’s strongest coffee” is now available in the US, but just one cup could spill you over the daily caffeine limit.”If you want to stand out, you need to be the ‘est’ — the biggest, smartest, strongest, or cheapest,” said Black Insomnia founder Sean Kristafor. “So when we wanted to compete in coffee, as a caffeine product, we had to be the strongest, but obviously, we don’t exceed the world guidelines.”

Source: Black Insomnia: ‘World’s Strongest Coffee’ Now Available in U.S. | KTLA

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

7 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Writing Files

Picture this: a bear has been hibernating all winter, sleeping a lot, eating everything within reach, and staying close to its den. March comes. The air warms. Flowers bloom. The bear wakes up, shakes itself off, looks around its cave, and realizes what a freaking mess it’s made. There are bones and food scraps stacked in the corners, loose bear fur clustered everywhere, piles of crap, and the whole place reeks.

Twist: this is a metaphor. Writers, you’re the bear…

Source: 7 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Writing Files | LitReactor

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.

The Haunting: How To Conquer The Shame Of Being A Writer

LitReactor is a destination for writers to improve their craft; a haven for readers to geek out about books; and a platform to kickstart your writing goals.

Source: The Haunting: How To Conquer The Shame Of Being A Writer | LitReactor

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