Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Journey

Oddly enough, I'm having a bit of trouble starting this blog. I've typed out a few sentences and none of them really seem to say what I want them to say. This one doesn't either, but I'm going with it. It's a rarity that words fail me, but when it comes to the ever-present pondering of life, I can't seem to articulate myself.

You see, I've been thinking about the concept of life. Not about my life or yours, but about our lives. The entire sense of living. I've been looking around, watching people, and I've come to the conclusion that we're missing the plot. We seem to be almost robotic in the way we function and, to be blunt, the drone-like way we move through life is very depressing. The things that drive us seem to be a bit off-kilter. And by a bit, I mean a lot.

In nearly every conversation I've had in the past few weeks, I've noticed how much people want. People waste so much of their time wanting things. Things they don't even need. Things that stump me. They want a new car and a new house. They want a six book contract with one of the top six publishers. They want a cherry red refrigerator, a sheep dog named Woolly, seasons tickets to their favourite football team, or a kid. They want a lot of things-items like clothes, decorations, furniture and knickknacks. Things that will fill up their lives and...and what?

Make them happy?

Surely, happiness doesn't come from possessions, does it?

Well, I looked at the people who worked overtime to acquire the things they wanted, the people who already have the house and the kid and the hairy dog. As it turns out, they aren't really happy. The wanting didn't stop. They didn't sit back on their sectional, heave a sigh of relief and slip under a blanket of contentment. No. They wanted more. A boat, a bigger television, a swimming pool in the backyard, a motorcycle, a trip to England and another kid.

This just baffles me. This thing called life is a real stumper. Apparently, no matter what you get you'll always want more. Or, you'll change your mind and want something different.

What are people doing? Are we really trying to buy our happiness? Because, I hate to be the one to bring this up, but happiness can't be bought. It's not for sale. It's not something that comes in a pretty pink box with a purple bow and a lovely card attached. It isn't a thing. It's a state of mind. We fill our lives up with belongings, but we can't take those with us when we shuffle out of existence. At the end of the day, things don't keep us warm at night. Unless we have an electric blanket. But then, I wasn't talking about physical warmth, was I?

I was talking about mental warmth.

So, here we are, struggling along our paths, fighting to get more, battling to get on top, and missing the point completely. This little race we're participating in is an oasis. It's a figment of our own imaginations. The race of life doesn't really exist. We rush about, picking things up, clocking in at work, and arguing with our core values in order to get to...what? The end?

Life is full of mini ends. We get married and it's the end of being alone. We have sex and it's the end of being a virgin. We turn thirteen and it's the end of our childhood. We buy a house and it's the end of not being a home owner. Mini ends fill up our lives and we cram as many in as possible. But, and this is the thing, we try to avoid thinking about the grand finale end. The end of all ends.


It scares the shit out of most of us. Yet, we race through life, wasting our time, ignoring the journey and catapulting ourselves towards that final curtain call. We hate to admit to ourselves how fleeting life is. Even when we have reminders of it every day. And we fail to enjoy today and instead we focus on tomorrow...or next week...or next month.

And, why?

No one can guarantee tomorrow is going to be there. Not for you or me. Not for anyone.

Is it time for us to put the brakes on and learn how to appreciate what we do have? Should we not enjoy the breath in our lungs and the beat in our heart? There are so many beautiful things we miss daily, simply because we are so busy trying to get the day over with so we can sit on our leather sofa with a bag of Skittles and watch that really funny comedy on Global television.

And the somewhat sad part is, these beautiful things we are missing are often free. A smile, a kiss, a wink, a wave. A sunset, a breeze, raindrops on windows, a bird whistling it's melodic tune. The mountains, the clouds, the waves lapping at the beach. We rush by these thing without batting an eye, not realizing we are missing the true beauty of being alive.

We have the ability to be happy, if we really wanted to be. Don't get me wrong. Life is tough. Whoever invented it needs a good kick in the pants. This whole cognitive thinking thing is a bit of a pain in the rear. But we still need to remember that it isn't about the end. The end will always be there. It's about the now, the path, the journey. It's about simple things. And it doesn't matter how much you buy, or how fast you get it, because there will always be something else. Until your flickering candle of life is snuffed out and then...then it's just the imprint you've left on the world.

And, to be frank, when I die, I don't want people to say, "Oh, yeah, Tyson. She had a really nice television."

I want people to say, "Oh, yeah, Tyson. She had some really long winded blogs."

So, I will leave you with this week's vlog...a little early because I am heading off into the mountains for a short spell:

And Billy Joel's song Vienna:

And this quote by Charles Bukowski:

Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thank You For Hating, Haters.

This morning, I woke up feeling romantic and sad. I don't know why. I looked over at my big, empty bed and thought it'd be nice to have someone to curl up and have a laugh with. Like a good laugh. A real side-splitting, headache inducing, tears running down your cheeks kind of laugh. And, as I drove myself to work, I thought about soft kisses on my neck, fingertips butterflying over my skin and the warm nook provided by the right set of arms. To be honest, I don't think about those things a lot. Not even often. Once in awhile, maybe, if that.

So, this morning took me by surprise. And, as I sat listening to Sade's By Your Side on repeat, I found myself romantically depressed, contemplating love and brooding over what the future holds for me. You see, I'm a solitary creature, I move on my own, there are no strings on me. But, I still want that connection, at times. Maybe it's because sometimes I get cold and want someone to keep me warm.

You might be wondering how love has anything to do with the title of this blog. Hold on, I'm getting to it. And rest assured it will all tie in.

If I am honest, which I always seem to be, regardless of whether my brain tells me to put the brakes on, I don't like feeling romantically depressed. I actually don't like having these feelings at all. There's this big part of me that wants to be happy alone, always, but the truth is, sometimes I want someone. Sometimes it's hard being alone. Sometimes. Not most of the time, just on few odd and rare occasions, like this morning, for example.

Well, I did the only reasonable thing to do. I worked myself up into a melancholic funk. And, when I was contemplating sending a love email to someone to let them know how important they are to me, I signed into Authonomy. Thank goodness!

Some of you know I have a book posted there. Some of you might even know it was number one, but recently slipped to number two. If you really know me, you know I don't give a fart about the Editor's Desk or being number one or two. If you really know me, you know I use the site to help others and deliver some entertainment to the struggling writers the world over. That's it. I don't have any hopes or dreams of Harper Collins recognizing my geniusness.

Today was different on Authonomy. Not because people were saying bad things about me, no...that's normal, but because the person who knocked me out of the number one spot was accusing me of trying to overthrow him through nefarious and dishonest actions. Doesn't that make me sound like a villain from a Disney movie?

I can't even sum up what he said, because it irks me, so I will post it here:
Isn't that beautiful? First, I didn't take advantage of Evie. Second, I didn't try to frame him. Third, I wouldn't ever try to get his book deleted. And lastly, I don't give a flying feck about the number one spot.

I'm not a big fan of liars. So, I got a little steamed. I responded harshly. And, I'm embarrassed to admit, I called him a weasel. Which, I kind of stand by, because his tactics reek of someone who simply wants to slander my good (haha) name.

In reality, I don't care what people say about me, regardless of my sharp and heated reply. The one's who know me, know I'd never resort to such childish antics. Not only do I not have the time for it, but I'm way above playing people's petty games. That said, he's a snot wad.

So, how could this possibly tie in with love and the title of this thread?

Here it goes, the famous Tyson-Tie-In...

As of right now, I am no longer romantically depressed. The slight flush in my cheeks, the tears welling in my eyes, the ache in my heart, the flare of desire between my legs, and the tingle of my lips which so desperately wanted to be kissed is gone. Completely disappeared. Evaporated. Axed. Destroyed. Disintegrated. Gone.

Without the haters hate I'd still be stewing. Or worse, I might have sent the love email to that poor bloke. In the end, I don't feel weepy, I'm not staring longingly at attractive men in my office, and I've stopped listening to Sade's By Your Side -- I think adding 150 views to it in one day is quite enough. Not only that, but the sudden spike in my adrenaline from the initial anger has left me feeling energized.

Haters are going to hate regardless of whether you're sweet as pumpkin pie or as rancid as a pile of trash baking on the curb in the dead of summer. It doesn't matter if you're nice, mean, honest, caring, smart or funny. Someone is going to hate you, hate your work and make it their goal to knock you down. Shake it off, smile and say, Thank you. You can't change their minds, but trust the people who matter know the truth about you. That's all you can do.

And I'm going to forget that Sade song even exists...well, after this one last time:

Sunday, September 11, 2011

When To Defend

As a writer, I know it's always a good idea to be humble. More than anyone else, I am aware of how much I can grow, the potential I have, and the need to be open minded with what others tell me. I do not know everything--that actually was a bit painful to type out--and when it comes to my writing, I know I can improve...a lot. (I have a feeling this is going to be a painful blog for me)

The truth is, there is no 'perfect' writing.

There isn't! Not even Cormac McCarthy or Bret Easton Ellis are perfect.

It isn't because they have editors who comb over their work looking for mistakes and plot holes. No, it's because someone, somewhere won't like what they create. Someone, somewhere will always have something negative to say about whatever they pen.

There are some authors I think are the bee's knees. Authors like Christopher Moore and Chuck Palahniuk can do no wrong, in my opinion. But other people hate them. Other people despise them. Can you believe that? It's true! I'm not making it up.

We, as human beings, have this little thing called an opinion. It's really an annoying thing--well, when other people are battering you with their own. You see, one person might tell you to do something one way, like wear your hair in pigtails, and another person might tell you to do it a completely different way, like a beehive. (Actually, if anyone tells you to wear your hair in either of these fashions and it isn't for a themed party or sexy times in the sack, don't listen to them.)

But, in the big picture, it's nice to be open to other people's opinions, their expertise and advice. From time-to-time, what they have to say might actually benefit you. This can be applied to many things in life, like what route is the fastest way home from the football game when you've downed a badder buster soda and the three 'everything' hot dogs you scarfed in the last twenty minutes of the game just aren't sitting quite right.

Sometimes, in instances like that, we welcome the advice. We embrace it. It's good to do this. It's good to accept what other people are saying is right. And it's healthy to concede and be wrong.

But, and here is the big old but, you have to be prepared for the consequences if they are wrong. Like when there's roadwork on the bridge of the 'faster' route home and you end up...Well, let's just say those hot dogs aren't going to wait for the construction crew to wave you through, if you know what I mean.

So, to review, it's good to trust other people, but you have to be prepared to suffer if they are wrong and everything backfires (Taking into consideration the 'hot dog' example, this is kind of gross). Now, you're probably sitting there thinking, "Okay, what are you getting at, Blondie?"

Well, here we go...

Just like knowing when to fold them, you have to know when to hold them. Sometimes, you are right--probably not as much as you think though-- and in these instances you have to be able to defend yourself. To use a cliche, you have to know when to put your foot down.

Especially when it comes to your writing.
Oh, it's a writing blog! Suddenly, you're more interested. You lean closer to your monitors and eagerly read on. (Or so I imagine.)

Writing is a form of art. Just like painting or playing the cello, it takes talent and work, it takes tenacity. It also takes knowing your art form to turn out something you're proud of. This is where you need to know what you are willing to cut, cull, bend, re-write and twist and what you aren't. You have to know when you don't want to change something integral to your story. Most importantly, you need to understand why you don't want to change it and how to defend yourself if there is backlash from it.

Anyone who has participated in the on-line writing community cicuit knows how ridiculous people can get when giving their opinions. You hear things like, "Agents hate it when..." or "Publishers won't take you on if...". It's a bit out of control, to be honest. People will tell you to change your characters names, the location it is set, how graphic a violent scene is, whether or not you use too many speech tags, to ditch the head hopping, and to consider a pen name because yours really isn't all that writerly.

Most recently, I have had people tell me to rewrite the novel I have posted on Authonomy so it is in past tense. Yes, the whole novel. And, no, they weren't joking. Apparently, agents hate first person present tense and won't pick it up, ever, never, not in a million years!

But, this just happens to be something I'm not willing to bend on. If an agent or publisher asked me to do this, I might consider it, but as it is, I like the tense of my novel and will be keeping it as such. I've gone to the mat a few times over this issue with people who think they are a spokesperson for agents and publishers everywhere. The truth is, I've even been called names over defending my tense (shocking!) and, even worse, told the only reason I won't do it is because I'm afraid of the work involved. 

PLEASE! I love work. Work is my middle name! I'd rewrite all my books if I thought it would land me a fancy pants agent or big shiney contract. Rewriting isn't the issue. Changing my book for someone who read three paragraphs and who has never worked in the industry is my issue.

Also, not too long ago, I had an agency interested in Seeking Eleanor, but they wanted me to rewrite the book in first person to get into Eleanor's head more. The issue I had? The book is predominately from Devon's point of view (third person limited). How could I possibly write the book from Eleanor's POV when she isn't present for half the stuff? It made no sense. And so, I passed on the agency and Eleanor is sitting on my hard-drive, collecting dust. But I feel good over defending what I thought was best for my piece of 'art'. Because, in the end, it is MY art. No one else's. And once it's out there, in the world, I want to be proud of it. Not doubting it.

The hard, cold truth is: Pussies Don't Get Published.

And yes, you can quote me on that.

You need a backbone. You need balls. You need drive. And you need to know when to say 'yay' and when to say 'nay'.

Know when to defend yourself and when to acquiesce and say, "Okay, teach me."

This is, I feel, the most important thing in the industry we are so striving to break out in.

Don't settle. Know your art. And my favourite, 'Stay true to what you do.'

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Rap Lyric Of The Week #2

Every so often you come across a song that you connect with. Whether it's the lyrics, the beat or the amazing vocal range of the lead singer, for some reason the song just speaks to you. It might inspire you or remind you of a time and place in your life you haven't thought about for years.

Great music has the ability to conjure up feelings and memories. It also is capable of soothing even the most temerpmental souls.

Well, this isn't one of those songs.

Xzibit has a song called "Choke Me, Spank Me".

Just from the title I already know what you're thinking, what a wonderful masterpiece!

Well, step right up and take a listen to this:

It's now your new favourite song, right? Right?


I am all for dirty songs, and you all know I love rap music. It's fun to dance to and sing at work to shock the people sitting at the desks around you. But this song, not even I would force it upon the unwilling around me. After all, I wouldn't want to tap dance all over their personal boundaries.

Here are my favourite lyrics from this song:

"I see her twin towers and I'm ready to crash."

"And just try a new position, perfect your dick kissin'. Bang on your G-spot 'til your (voice is missin)"

"Suck it, swallow it, down the hatch. It ain't a game when she givin me brain, she doin her thang."

"I know it's hard to talk with all this dick in your mouth."

And we can't forget the catchy and swoon worthy chorus:

"I don't want to love you. I just want to fuck you."

Sounds like a really caring fella.

This proves my theory that rap music is not supposed to be analyzed, just spun out and enjoyed.