Sappho

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Since Ariel is the closest thing I have in my photo library to a penguin (if you read the article you’ll know what I’m talking about), she will do nicely.

Complaints may be directed to the Internet Watchdog Foundation, a cyber-etiquette organization whose primary purpose is to protect the public from gratuitous colors and improperly-sized fonts. Ask for Raoul, stationed in Manila. Though he may not be sympathetic to your cause, he’s always willing to show someone a good time. 

 

The secret to becoming a bestselling author is to find the right niche. Luckily, I will be helping you with this simple though tiresome task.

You should know, however, that talent is almost always overrated and, in the case of niche hunting, completely unnecessary–if not downright harmful. Broadly speaking, if one were to consider vocations other than writing, such as playing the rosewood fife or wrestling naked with white tigers, one might acknowledge the need certain brave individuals might have to be endowed with a modicum of talent. Even an execrable instrument such as the lyre requires a willing and able and modestly talented conduit. The jaw harp, or Jew’s harp as it is sometimes called, may be cited as an exception, as it requires neither skill nor great dexterity for a walking zombie to wheedle a sound from its ill-construed frame, and the random sounds it emits could easily have been produced by an unconscious, syphilitic drunkard lying supine on the beer-splattered floor of some funky tavern.

After having excited your attention,  I shall return to the subject in hand. In order to become an obnoxiously rich author, you must choose a category which has little or no competition. This way it will be easier to get top ranking in that niche.

This is a top-down process. First choose the broadest category first and then keep refining it. Stop if your hair loss exceeds 150 strands per day.

This is an example of the selection process for the novel I’m writing:

Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Mystery > LGBT > Pelagic Birds  > Penguins > Macaroni Penguins

The child category is “Macaroni Penguin” because no sub-categories exist beyond that point.  This is called a flightless point in the industry.

With this ironclad strategy, my book, “Who’s Killing the Penguins of Lesbos,” the nail-biting story of  Sappho– an amateur detective and unapologetic flame-crested penguin who, while vacationing on a sun-flecked Greek isle, discovers herself and, alas, a homicidal maniac in a hockey mask slaughtering penguins–will have a decent chance of being # 1.

 

Please support my work by selling all your worldly goods and making a meaningful investment in the arts.

See you at the top of the charts,

Prospero

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Mat For

For Mat, who yesterday, against my better judgement, exhorted me not to give up the wordpress.  

Continuing my series on advices for the modern writer, I shall seek to debunk the traditional belief (promoted by certain unlettered bloggers, historians, and book binders) that writer’s block can be cured by peripatetic means. There is only one cure for writer’s block  and that’s an alfalfa sandwich on whole wheat toast–made by pygmies or a coven of witches; regarding pygmies, any race of diminutives or lilliputians will do: check the farmers’ almanac or get in touch with your nearest anthropological society–don’t call as they never seem to be home.

The real problem with words, from a semantic perspective, is that they must be de rigueur combined in such a way. I think Wittgenstein agrees with me on this important finding. But there’s such a thing as being too careful. One can easily depauperate the language by trying to make it conform to comely though arbitrary rules. I once came upon a garden of great beauty and instinctively took a machete to it in the mistaken belief that I could tame its wild beauty. Naturally I was charged with trespass by some uppity landowner, and the calamitous fortnight spent in the jailhouse, next to a toothless hobo (malodorous and no doubt implicated in some heinous sex crime) and without basic amenities such as an electric razor, proper ventilation, and unfettered access to fresh fruit, carambola and black sapote for example, was truly distasteful.

My lawyer, a former ventriloquist, was already making great strides in extricating me from my unfortunate predicament. An early release was imminent, or so his dummy was telling me. Our basic legal strategy was to confound the sheriff’s deputy with a litany of detailed requests for information. Swimming in a toilet bowl of paperwork, his mind (the little morsel atop his head) would be too busy to notice the telltale signs of a brazen escape attempt involving a front-end loader, an enormous bulldozer, and a giant catapult (rented, I think, from a mafia don). Bruno, that was the dummy’s Christian name, assured me that the plan was solid and that a failed attempt would not unduly prejudice my case.

The toothless man started to dig a tunnel (he had indubitably seen this in a movie). Later, at three miles from the jail, he collapsed, rusted spoon in hand, seventy-five feet under a dairy truck. Meanwhile the stealth operation at the jailhouse was on schedule. Depute Dunderhead was in a stertorous slumber (incredible what bureaucracy can do to the small, underworked mind) when a flamboyant man, Mr. X,  whose first name after our brief introduction sounded like Dae Us, and looking strangely like Peter Lorre, arrived with letters of transit and I was given safe passage to a neighboring island.

Thus ends this week’s lesson on writer’s block. And here are the three blocks you must play with: a beginning, a middle, and an end. And as Mat often says (while shooting a pistol from the oeil-de-boeuf window of his lavatory): the writing is eeezy–it’s the reeder that buggers things up.

Mat’s writing can be found

This just in …

Arbosculpture

And

Timebox

 

 

 

Advice for writers

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My advice to writers:

Write what you know.

Unfortunately, this has not worked in my case (read the DSM 5 for tantalizing clues).

So, here is my personal directive on writing: learn the difference between advice and advise, for starters, and never forget to take your medications. There are so many underutilized forms of psychosis, so much untapped potential. Add to this the fact that there are thousands of medications out there (the drug companies, your friends, have a wonderful assortment of pills for you; just ask your doctor if such and such is right for you, as if your own physician, Dr. Sugar, can’t determine what you should take!)  just waiting for a chance to get in the door–and you can soon see the scope of the problem. It’s an inequity that needs redress. Watch television, pay attention to the commercials, get ideas.  I am asking you to do something about this–you’ll be a better writer for it (and, concurrently, the drug companies will have better balance sheets, which makes for prettier graphs, rendered beautifully in prescription pill colors such as sucked-you-in red and loser-you’re-hooked yellow, in their annual report, a tradition among business people, which is, sadly never read, as sleeping in broad daylight can be dangerous, particularly in skyscrapers, where business people tend to cocoon in and can, quite easily, after a bout of somnambulism, result in  people falling out of windows, which can be painful.

Oh, one other thing. Exercise your brain. And no I don’t mean to put it on a treadmill. That’s silly. Brains don’t have a means of locomotion (a brain might swim though, so there may be some benefit to dropping it into a bucket of water and letting it do some laps–flailing about trying the butterfly stroke, the dog paddle… whatever. ) No, I mean exercise the body, such as performing a galliard with cinque-pace leaps, in the hopes that some motes of oxygen produced during the exertion may actually reach your gelatinous brain and do wonderful things.

For more writing tips please consult an actual writing guide (which can, in a pinch, be used as a paperweight, or as fuel–if things ever get as bad as I predict they will.

Of course you could get a butterfly dog (to do the butterfly stroke) simply for the beauty of the thing. No special advice or grammar required here.

“There was a farmer who had a dog. And Bingo was his name”… an old ditty, and a brilliant writerly segue to this–

 

https://www.101words.org/bingo/