WORK: Or, I Know Why the Poor Artist Serves Burgers. Also, A Contest Kind Of?

Greetings, minions. It’s been some time since I’ve been able to stand over you wearing an expression of general discontent, and, I’ll say it, I’ve missed you.

Not you, though. You annoy the shit out of me. Why are you even here? GUARDS!

*scuffle ensues*

There. Now where was I?

Ah, yes. Work. 

Like most adults of my species, I’ve procured a job because unlike civilized society, here, we barter with little pieces of paper and plastic cards with names printed on them. I know, weird, right? And this job has gotten in the way of a lot of things–face (talk?) time with my partners in crime, Hanna and Renee, time usually spent plotting ridiculous stories I may or not not write in the future, reading time…

Notice a trend? Like the cell phones of 10 years ago, this job EATS all of the minutes. 

But I’ll let you in a secret: it regurgitates some awesome things, too. 

No, I’m not just talking about the bartering paper (even though that is a bonus–side note, tip your fucking servers, people, or I will find you and stick you in the chokey). 

Ever walked into the middle of a conversation and immediately felt awkward about it because of what was said? Of course you have. And I’ll also bet that you’ve wished to have heard the rest of it, too. How about looked across the room at a person and IMMEDIATELY come up with a background story for them because to your insane mind, it’s fucking OBVIOUS that they’re a secret agent for MI-6, or has a scale model of Las Vegas in their basement where they perform Barbara Streisand medleys with their pet parrot, Veronica?

Exactly. This is my life, people, and it’s like catnip for writers. 

Feeling blocked? Get a job. Your mom will thank you, and so will your wife/husband/Kryptonian Master. Or, if you’re feeling lazy and would rather live vicariously through me (jerks), I’ll be posting the best of my observations once a week. Mondays. Yeah, Mondays, because they need some serious fucking improvement. What should we call it? Leave your suggestions in the comments and the person who gives me the best one will win something bookish. 

 

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(More) Lines To Be Inspired By

There are three days left in this month from Hell we call National Novel Writing Month.

If your’e participating this year, yay!

If you’re not but are writing anyway, also yay!

If neither apply to you, still yay! Because tomorrow is Turkey Day and turkey always warrants a yay.

As a final push toward the finish line, here are 5 more lines that have inspired me. Enjoy them. Or don’t (party pooper).

From GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn

I feel a queasy mixture of relief and horror: when you finally stop an itch and realize it’s because you’ve ripped a hole in your skin.

From BY NIGHTFALL by Michael Cunningham (Literary master, this guy)

The family of women really ruined this poor kid, didn’t they? Who could survive having been so desperately loved?

And

The Mistake is coming to stay for a while.

From STRIP TEASE by Carl Hiaasen (a new favorite author of mine)

If you know your stuff, you could work a guy all night and get every last dollar out of his wallet. You didn’t have to blow him or screw him or even act like you might. A girlish smile, a sisterly hug, a few minutes of private conversation – Urbana Sprawl said it was the easiest money in the world, if you could get past being naked.

From THE LONELY POLYGAMIST by Brady Udall

[Sex] freaks him out. Which probably has something to do with his growing suspicion that sex is behind everything, that it is what drives adults to act in strange, unpredictable ways, that it lurks in places it should not belong, in church sermons and evening meals and daily family prayer, that it is responsible for the unreasonable number of brothers and sisters he has and is therefore responsible in some way for the state of his confusing and miserable life.

Go forth and make words, wordsmiths! 

Lines to Be Inspired By (because they’re better than anything I’ll ever write)

I’m one of those writers that rarely blogs but writes in her journal DAILY. My most recent moleskin is packed with things like interesting tidbits about psychology, family trees of infamous English rulers from the 12th to 18th centuries, fun facts (example: the dot above a lowercase “i” is called a tittle – I know, mind BLOWN), and lines from books I read that grab my eyeballs from their sockets with a frightening voracity.

In the spirit of NaNoWriMo – an event I recently decided to put off until December because life and because reasons and because you can’t tell me what to do – I want to share a few of these favorite lines with you in the hope that they inspire you the way they inspired me.

From THE KINGS AND QUEENS OF ROAM by Daniel Wallace 

So Helen remained and discovered in her sister’s absense what love and the loss of it is; she discovered both at the exact same time. It’s not just a feeling; it’s a real think inside of you made of paper-thin glass, and when it breaks the shards move through your blood and cut you to pieces.

 

From CASE HISTORIES by Kate Atkinson

Women seemed to him to be in possession of all kinds of undesirable properties, chiefly madness, but also a multiplicity of physical drawbacks – blood, sex, children – which were unsettling and other.

And

Sometimes she wanted to eat Olivia, to bite into a tender forearm or a soft calf muscle, even to devour her whole like a snake and take her back inside her where she would be safe. 

 

From I WEAR THE BLACK HAT by Chuck Klosterman

It’s not intelligence that people dislike; it’s the dispassionate application of that intelligence. It’s the calculation. It’s someone who views life as a game where the rules are poorly written and designed for abuse.

 

From BURIAL RITES by Hannah Kent (Note: This is a phenomenal debut novel by a young author with extraordinary skill.)

After the trial, the priest from Tjorn told me that I would burn if I did not cast my mind back over the sin of my life and pray for forgiveness. As though a prayer could simply pluck sin out. But any woman knows that a thread once woven is fixed in place. The only way to smooth a mistake is to let it all unravel. 

 

From DORA: A HEADCASE by Lidia Yuknavitch (Thoroughly fantastic novel.)

Then it’s her lunging at me inside the jeans donut, knocking me down to the Nord floor, it’s her lying on top of me and kissing me and I hope I die right that second. Her hair down on my face, her skin rain and trees her hips pushing against mine her dagger of black stone hanging down and touching the hollow of my neck. Let her neck-rock stab me and kill me. Please let me die like this. I shiver and pant and almost cry. 

 

From HUMAN CROQUET by Kate Atkinson

I wished to go by Carterhaugh, to kilt up my skirts, forfeit the fee of my maidenhead and walk on the wild shores of sexual passion.

 

From DOUGHNUT by Tom Holt (This guy is great. If you like humor in your fiction, you’ll fall in love).

The world is an unfair place. Blow up just one multibillion-dollar research facility, and suddenly no one wants to be your friend. Except me, and I’m dead. You, on the other hand, are going to have a really amazingly good life, thanks to the bottle.

 

From HOPE: A TRAGEDY by Shalom Auslander

Such is life, he thought as he unfolded the wooden attic stairs: you get to a point one day, where you are hoping to find crap; where the best possible outcome of all possible outcomes would be the discovery, Praise Jesus, of a pile of shit.

 

From THE END OF ALICE by A.M. Homes (If you haven’t read any of her novels, it is your DUTY to pick one up and devour it.)

Again, I try and imagine the graciousness of a girl, her spacious slit, the womanly wound that can swallow me whole. How odd it must be to have at your center a great gap, a poisonous pit.

And

The audience looks directly at me and recognizing my visage from its halftone reproductions is entirely atitter. I am the first pervert, the first lover of youth they’ve had on the show. I am honored. I am touched. When I think no one is looking, I touch myself. 

 

Now, go forth and create, word nerds.