Of Writing Muscles

I haven’t written a plot driven story, poem, limerick, or really anything since I graduated. And it’s already been a year and a half since that momentous event occurred.

Recently I discovered that while my ability to ramble has not faded, my fiction muscles were defiantly out of shape.

When I first sat down at my laptop I was ready to kick ass. After all, in the past I’ve written fantastic stories on two hours of sleep and within extreme time constraints. So obviously this was gonna go well:

Anchorman - Big Deal

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The first draft was nothing more than awkward, unnatural dialogue. No imagery, limited movement, and hardly even a purpose. It was deleted.

So I decided it was best to start over. Now that the initial creative process kinks were out-of-the-way it was just a matter of accomplishing the task at hand:

Anchorman - Fight

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The second draft was much better, but not improved enough to make me say, “Good job self.” Most of this version will be deleted.

Now I’m embarking on draft three. If all goes well, this draft will be on par with the stories I wrote when I had only an hour to throw together a 2-5 page exercise to discuss during class. At this phase it feels a bit chaotic. However, now I’m invested, and turning back to the la-de-da world of binge watching Netflix is no longer an option. Sadly, this draft will most likely also join the scrap heap:

Anchorman - Regret Decision

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By draft four, maybe just maybe, it might be good enough to share with the internet. Because if by the fourth draft I still haven’t got my writing muscles back into shape, that would be a true travesty:

Anchorman - Glass Cage

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I think what I need is a writing group to keep me accountable. Whether they be strangers via the online universe, or people I may or may not know who live nearby. I need someone to give me a deadline and a reason to stare a computer for hours a day. Initially I will hate them for making me enter the treacherous love/hate world of writing. But when I finally have a tangible (and awesome) story that I can hand to a group for discussion, all I’ll be able to say is:

Anchorman - Love You

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They say that, “You’re always your worst critic,” but I’ve always thought I was decently awesome. So if I say it sucks, trust me when I say it’s a shitfest that’s not ready to be viewed by anyone. However, when my writing is once again impressive …. I shall show it everyone:

Anchorman - Jump for Joy

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Of PTX, Vol. 1 by Pentatonix (Music Review)

Pentatonix

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The first EP entitled PTX, Vol. 1 by the a capella group Pentatonix is officially out. Go buy it! All of you, its sheer genius.

WARNING: these singers will make you feel extremely untalented (but in a good way).

I pre-ordered this album weeks ago and was incredibly thrilled to see it had automatically downloaded into my iTunes (no waiting, excellent). When I watched this group on NBC’s The Sing Off last season they stood out in a way that no a capella group ever has, and trust me I’m an a capella nerd. They were modern, attractive, seemed genuinely nice, and have every possibility of creating a buzz that will make them well-known in the mainstream market.

Here’s what makes them so special, they break the boundaries. They come up with unique arrangements, can pull of vocal dub-step/techno as well as pop, r&b, hip-hop, and virtually whatever genre they feel like singing, but most of all each of their band mates has equal importance. Most the time when watching an a capella group perform there is the clear star, everyone else seems to fade into the background while they get all the attention and praise. With Pentatonix everyone shines at all times, they are a team that works together. Plus their bass and beatboxer (who also gets props for knowing how to play the cello) are crazy awesome.

When I started listening to the EP I thought, this is so epic! Followed shortly by, how do they get their voices to do that? And from that point on this album is all I’ve listened to. To give you a taste of this brilliant group I’ve posted their first music video below, which also happens to be the first track on PTX, Vol. 1:

The rest of the EP is up to the same caliber of technical quality regarding their arrangement as well as entertainment. My only complaint is that it’s only seven songs long. When they release a full length album I’ll be giddy as hell, like a kid at Christmas, unable to sleep the night before from the excitement.

Trust me, you need this album in your life.

Of the Marvelous Gene Kelly

Gene Kelly

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It’s no secret that I’ll always have a huge crush on Gene Kelly. It’s a shame he’s deceased. I would happily murder the majority of celebrities just to bring him back into the world *cough* Justin Bieber, *cough* Kim Kardashian. I’ve been in love with him ever since I watched Singing in the Rain for the first time when I was a child. What can I say? I was a classy ass five-year old, I’m very proud that he was my first celebrity crush.

I always wanted to be Kathy Selden aka Debbie Reynolds

The other night I was watching An American in Paris, and this rekindled my fondness for the beautiful Gene Kelly and the musical genre as a whole. He’s graceful and yet completely masculine in his motions, it’s like he can control gravity. One can’t help but smile when he is on-screen, especially when he’s dancing. At the same time he wasn’t afraid to be a bit silly. He’s credited with creating the American Musical Genre, which unfortunately is no longer brought forth in modern-day movies. There’s a reason why those movies are classics, why they are timeless – my heart belongs to the musicals of the late 40s – early 60s and it always will. Haters be damned.

Fred Astaire was the gentleman, Gene Kelly was the boy next door. Or as Bob Fosse once said, “He looked like a guy on your bowling team, only classier.” In hindsight maybe Gene Kelly (and yes, I do always say his full name) is where I got my obsession with class from. The quote below is from Time Entertainment magazine – I couldn’t express the differences between the two men better than this if I tried:

In the two men, oppositions abound. Fred was grace, Gene was energy. Fred was poise, Gene was power. Fred was ethereal, Gene was earthy. Fred was the Continental (he danced it too); Gene was all-American. Fred was top hat, white tie and tails, Gene was a baseball cap, T-shirt and jeans. (Can you imagine Astaire in a baseball cap? Can you imagine Kelly without one?) Fred would just materialize, a slim apparition who hardly noticed the impact he made; his attitude said, in a sidelong glance and sidewise murmur, “Ooh, is someone out there?” Gene came barreling toward you, arms outstretched in — not supplication, never that — an offer his smile told you he thought you couldn’t refuse.

– Richard Coliss (article)

Is it any wonder I prefer Gene Kelly? Even if for shallow reasons alone, I doubt most will disagree that Fred Astaire was never a beautiful man. I sent out a mass text to my friends with vaginas asking who they thought the sexiest male celebrity was, here’s the bulk of the answers:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ryan Gosling, David Beckham, Lee PaceJason Statham, Jake Gyllenhaal, Trey Songz, Jude LawZac Efron, Brad Pitt, Michael Cera

While it’s not in question that these men are attractive, the majority of them don’t have the kind of attractive that transcends decades. Most of them have that look of trying to be sexy. Some I disagree about them being the sexiest male celebrity, cute sure, attractive yes, but sexy? hmm, not really. I’ll let you judge on that for yourselves.

Gene Kelly is not sexy, he’s beyond that – he’s handsome. To call him sexy seems like an injustice, sexy implies a fleeting heart-throb, or the kind of human being that makes ones mind instantly think something along the not-so-classy lines of, “I’d tap that,” or “I wanna lick him/her,” or “I wanna fuck him/her,” or “Damn baby! You a model or something?”

Like I said, Gene Kelly is classy, he makes you fall in love with him, not just lust after him. He’s handsome. If you want proof, look at these wonderful pictures of the late, great, Gene Kelly!

Gene Kelly - Singing in the Rain

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Gene Kelly, Ballet from Broadway Melody

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Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds

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Gene Kelly Close Up

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Gene Kelly, Donald O'Conner - dancing gif

Plus … he could do that! (Click image to view source.)

Of Pure Writing Talent

Me and Joe

Me and my best friend Joe. I miss the kid. This photo technically has nothing to do with the post. Except, just look how awesome we are. Awesomeness = relevance.

Before I begin. I was planning on doing a November challenge, where I would get my ass in gear and write a post a day. My personalized version of the write a novella in a month challenge. I figured this is more doable since I am a busy person. However, I’m starting a couple of days late. Oh well, better late than never.

Okay, post time!

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Let’s be honest. I’m fucking talented.

Every quarter I take a creative writing workshop, fiction or non-fiction, and every quarter I’m reminded of how awesome I am. This is not to say I am the best, but I’m certainly not the worst. I read a lot of lame or simply AWFUL work from people who are supposedly creative writing majors, these same people are intending to graduate within the next year or two. Crazy, surely there must be something else they are more talented at. I have to read so many plotless fiction stories, and poorly written non-fiction essays that make me feel like a bitch for prying into a private moment.

Sigh. Why creative writing majors? But, on the other hand, thank you for making me feel like a very talented person in this smallish school.

Most of what I write I throw together in a blur. Typically I’m low on sleep, high on caffeine, and limited on time. This quarter especially is a sleepless haze, I’m taking eighteen credits and work twenty – twenty-five hours every weekend. Then when I can I try to throw in a night of dancing or mindless television for the sake of sanity. It’s pure magic that I manage to get my assignments finished on time.

Ironically, I refuse to half-ass things, so maybe that’s why my work turns out above average most of the time. Let’s be honest again, grammatically I’m not a queen or a Nazi. In fact, most of my writing buddies will agree that while I’ve improved that is still my weakest department – thus I have no desire to be a copy-editor. I would no doubt suck at that.

But in terms of content, yeah, I’m pretty fucking awesome.