Sarasota Jungle Days: You Can(‘t) Go Back

The memories of Sarasota Jungle Gardens are vivid in my head: a macaw on a little bike, another one on my arm, alligators basking, flamingos silhouetted against the bright water in the sun, marvelous things all around.

I don’t remember how I got there. I don’t remember any of the who’s and what’s. It was just the magic of being there.

And so I went back, many years later, and listened to the ponytailed guy’s well-worn bits about his cranky colorful birds, and watched the children watching him, wowed by the birds meows and cackles.

The show went for 15 minutes, me and the other kids getting restless before it was over, and I walked around the zoo, glancing at the snakes and owls and lemurs before getting back to my car. The magic was no more. I had to call my lawyer and start the lawsuit against them for using my image without permission.

The Worst/Best Piece I Have Ever Written

Having completed the 9th (or 11th?) draft of Anori, I have no clue what I have written. Some of it flowed just as I remembered. Others parts had to be reworked…to what effect I have no clue. Dee was consistent. I think. As was the tone. On the verge of death or already dead. Something like that. Anyway, I shouldn’t be blogging about this. I am a cotton-headed ninny muggins at present.

Instead I will offer this quote from Ken McGoogan’s book Dead Reckoning on the taste of polar bear cub meat: Apart from its tenderness, the cub’s meat had a particularly piquant taste, and we greatly regretted that the old bear had not had twins.

Writing Process: Editing Asshole

All editors are assholes because they think they know better than everyone else. I’m editing Anori for the nth time, and I know that I am an asshole. More than usual anyway. (Meant as a joke? Needed? Find a better means.)

Editing is about honing the narrative, dumping the meaningless characters, trite dialogue and extraneous description. It’s about writing something that has truth to it. (Truth? As in? Clarity needed here.)

Editing also ruins the simple pleasure of enjoying a film. (Why simple? And why film? Have you mentioned this previously?) Before going to bed, I went through the channels and watched bits of Coppola’s The Godfather Part II and Kubrick’s Paths of Glory. I have seen both numerous times, but they now came off as dull, dominated by weak dialogue and predictable archetypes, nothing more than melodrama.

Michael Corleone in between saying melodramatic things

The 2005 version of King Kong was more engaging with its sentimental ape and girl in a nightgown. Even the reboot of Hawaii Five O, with its B actors and trite Chat GPT script, had more entertainment value. It wasn’t pretending to be something it wasn’t. (What? You’ve lost me here.)

Detectives Steve and Danny look for truth in Hawaii Five O

Less is more. That’s the mantra of the editor. Which would leads me to believe that none is the ultimate aim. And so why write at all? (Indeed. Consider deleting this post.)

Chat GPT Pitches “My Bad Side”

I instructed Chat GPT to write a pitch for my novel My Bad Side based on this tagline: Three days Dee could not remember and now would never forget

My Bad Side is a psychological thriller that follows the story of Dee, a young woman who wakes up in a hospital with no memory of the past three days. As she struggles to piece together what happened during that time, she begins to uncover dark secrets and a web of deceit that threatens to destroy her life.

As Dee delves deeper into the mystery, she is faced with unimaginable horrors and must fight for her survival against powerful enemies who will stop at nothing to keep the truth hidden. With the help of a few trusted friends, Dee must use all of her strength and cunning to uncover the truth and protect herself from those who seek to do her harm. Filled with twists and turns, My Bad Side is a gripping and suspenseful novel that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.

Well, no. This is wide right. Very wide right.

Nyx & Nox Enter the Marvel Universe

I have come to realize that Chat GPT is the Marvel Universe of writing – meaning that it is middle of the road and predictable. To prove this, I prompted Chat GPT to write a Marvel Universe pitch with Nyx (Greek Goddess of night) and Nox (Roman Goddess of night) as new super heroines

Welcome to the Marvel Universe, where new heroes are constantly emerging to save the day. In this exciting new series, we introduce Nyx and Nox – twin sisters with extraordinary powers. Nyx, the younger sister, has the ability to manipulate light and use it as a weapon. She is impulsive and headstrong, often rushing into situations without fully thinking them through. Nox, on the other hand, has the power to control darkness and shadows. She is more calculated and strategic, serving as the voice of reason for her sister.

Nyx and Nox make a formidable team

Together, Nyx and Nox make a formidable team as they fight to protect their city from all sorts of threats, both terrestrial and extraterrestrial. But as they learn to harness their powers and work together, they must also confront their own personal demons and the complicated dynamic of their sisterhood. As they face off against super villains and confront personal challenges, Nyx and Nox will prove that they are more than just powerful heroines – they are complex and fully realized characters with their own flaws and strengths. Join us on this thrilling journey as Nyx and Nox become the latest additions to the Marvel Universe.

Chat GPT Writes Me a Pitch for “The Cx Trilogy”

Hey Chat GPT, write me a pitch for a speculative story about an intergenerational starship and incorporates themes of greed and sexuality.

In the far future, a massive intergenerational starship, the USS Hope, is built to take a small group of humans on a centuries-long journey to a distant planet. As the ship sets off, the human passengers are faced with the challenges of living in close quarters for an extended period of time. Personal relationships, both romantic and familial, are tested and strained as the years pass by.

Greed and power struggles threaten to tear the group apart as they navigate the challenges of living in an enclosed space for so long. As they near their destination, the ship’s leaders discover that the planet they were headed to has already been colonized by another alien species. In the end, the group is forced to confront their own humanity and the flaws that have accompanied them on their journey. They must decide whether the pursuit of their own desires is worth the cost of potentially destroying an entire alien civilization.

Sounds more like Avatar than The Cx Trilogy. I guess I’ll have to try a few more thousand regenerations (drafts).

Guest Blogger: Chat GPT

Chat GPT is a program that utilizes artificial intelligence to write responses to any prompt. I entered the following: “Write a 200-word blog on the writing process” and got this:

The writing process is the series of steps that writers go through to create a written work. It is an iterative process that involves planning, drafting, revising, and editing. The first step in the writing process is planning. This involves deciding on the topic, purpose, and audience for the written work. It also involves gathering and organizing ideas, creating an outline, and determining the structure and flow of the piece.

The second step is drafting. This involves using the outline and ideas gathered during the planning phase to begin writing the piece. The goal of the drafting phase is to get as many ideas down on paper as possible, without worrying too much about grammar or structure. The third step is revising. During the revising phase, writers review and assess their work, looking for areas that need improvement or clarification. This may involve adding or deleting material, rearranging paragraphs, or changing the tone or style of the piece.

The final step is editing. This involves reviewing the piece for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors and making any necessary corrections. It is important to have a fresh set of eyes review the work during the editing phase, as it can be easy to overlook mistakes when reviewing one’s own work. The writing process is an essential part of creating a well-written and effective piece of work. By following these steps and being mindful of the planning, drafting, revising, and editing stages, writers can produce clear and concise written works that effectively convey their ideas and messages.

It’s a dull machine but more on point than I’ve ever been. Time to board Aqaara!

Editing Process: Draft #9-16? of “Anori: The Cx Trilogy”

I am amidst another edit of Anori, which is been smooth and terrible, satisfyingly angst-ridden? Anyway, I have dumped another couple of bits I previously adored. This is small bit of dialogue which did nothing in the end.

“I’m the captain.”

“Hubris, Pax, That’s what gets captains killed.”

“That’s what what makes them captains.”

“What happened to Cook and Bligh?”

“They didn’t kill Bligh.”

“I think you’re missing the point.”

The second is a scene that took the narrative sideways and just didn’t even work.

Nico offered her his hand. “I’m trying to understand who I am.”

“How did you get up here?” She went past him and looked out at the empty expanse. The sky had gone dark, the clouds coming in low. Dee crossed her arms. “Where did Pax go? Seriously, where the hell is he?”

Nico walked ahead. “You know, I was on the football team in high school. Middle linebacker. We won the city championship.”

“Congratulations.” He stopped suddenly. “I raped a freshman at a party.”

“What the fuck are you telling me this for?”

“I got her totally drunk. I was drunk too, but I knew what I was doing. I just did it mechanically, like it was my right, took off her clothes, stripped her naked, and, yeah, went at it. She was so goddamn beautiful. I was King Kong. That’s’ what I thought. And I loved the girl. I think I did. Evelyn. She never looked at me again.” He zipped his jacket up and then back down again. “I never had to face what I did. And I wish I did.”

“I’m going to call bullshit on that.”

A Writer. Not a Writer

As I mentioned, I am in the midst of the tenth draft of Anori.

Which means that I go back and forth between feeling like a writer – at the exact center of a marvelously spinning wheel with moments and experiences flashing out in wonder – and a monosyllabic imbecile who blathers on about nothing. Or both at the same time, the wheel spinning out blather.

Well, at least I wrote this. It feels like something, even if it isn’t.

Change is God

Who Am I? Am I the sum of my days? My work? My words? My realizations? My nerves breaking apart?

The only thing I know is that I will never realize anything about inner peace. I won’t do that because it does not exist. It is nonsense. Just look inside and see what a bag of nothing it all is. We are fighting for racial justice today? How is that possible? Why was that not solved a hundred years ago? Pick any social issue and think about it. Why does that problem still exist? Principles of love, family, truth, all of it is nonsense.

My existence is nonsense. But I still have a brain and I can process light and heat. And so I am good – as long as there is cold beer and the promise of sex at the end of the day.