Author Archives: Anonymole

About Anonymole

Do you like grubs?

Writer’s Log: 2158 Writer’s Workshop

In my desire to learn to write well, I’ve decided that I’ve reached a point where my limited skills can be shared. So, I announced that I will be offering a Writer’s Workshop at my place of work; a couple of hours, after 5:00 pm on a weeknight within our same building (so that people can leverage their commutes). Half a dozen folks have already signed up.

I’ve reviewed my various “Writer’s Log” posts here as well as the compendium of advice I’ve received from various others (all dumped into a big-ass GDocs file) and reduced my syllabus down to the following list you see below. This list is a teaser I printed on strips of paper to hand out. The actual syllabus is a slide-deck of this content with examples and illustrations.

I’d like to solicit opinions from the writers in this group as to what you’d care to teach a set of neophytes on the task of writing well. This specific list comes directly from my own stumbling blocks upon which I skinned my shins repeatedly.

WRITER’s WORKSHOP

POV
Point of View

TENSE
Past & present

DIALOG
People act while speaking

ACTIVE vs PASSIVE
Was & were

CONFLICT
Bad things happening to good people

STRUCTURE
Nested story, chapter, scene, paragraph, sentence

TIME
Sequential, episodic, flashbacks

PROCESS
How to write: Plan, wing-it, a blend

TOPICS
Genre, Theme, Story, Plot, Characters, Setting, POV, Tense, Dialogue, Scenes, Conflict, Pace, Active vs Passive, Narration, Description, Show vs tell, Protagonist, Antagonist, Tone, Mood, Style, Voice, Diction, Device, Allusions, Red Herrings, MacGuffins, Hooks, Climax, Conclusion, Denouement.

 

 


Dear Mudge, Peanut butter

Dear Mudge,

You, sir, are one of the most enigmatic personalities who swims in these semi-anonymous waters. The net is nothing if not strong opinions voiced with impunity, don’t you think?

I hear your appeal to elevate the word “tribe” to mean actual, honest-to-god, tribes of native humans collected together for survival and cohesion. I hereby relinquish my use of the term for specious purposes (and I have used it frequently over the years). However, as you attempt to convince us that your curmudgeonly ways permeate your actual life, I call foul. As evidence I call forth this very repository of hypocrisy and your comments forthwith. Not even Gandhi himself could be more polite and considerate when addressing some of the just-as-strong opinions voiced here against/about our correspondence.

You sir, are a nice guy.

Regarding your supposition that intellect begets misery I would wholeheartedly agree. I’ve mentioned this very concept within these pages. I went searching and found this: https://anonymole.com/2017/06/21/how-smart-are-we/ and, in fact, if you search for “unhappy” here you’ll find a set of posts that pertain to this discussion. Basically (and I do mean that in its purest form of the word) the smarter you are the greater capacity you have for [words that reflect misery]. And happiness is about as far as you can get from intelligence.

Okay, that’s enough overt hot-linking (TomBeingTom). (Does anybody actually click embedded links? I don’t.)

On to my chosen topic of the moment: Peanut butter.

Seriously. I have this fascination for the origins of food. Where the hell did peanuts first come into culinary usage? (South America/Peru). Sesame seeds? The Fertile Crescent (where they may have been the first oil-pressed crop). Pistachios? (Afghanistan, as are hazelnuts). Turkeys, Tomatoes, Turmeric, Tilapia, Tapioca, Thyme, Turnips…

hazelnuttree

Hazelnuts / filberts grown in Oregon and Afghanistan

We don’t often consider food provenance but I do. Italians and tomatoes and polenta, Irish and potatoes, Asia and their peppers, all of it barely 500 years old, all of it “stolen” native foods. While humans have obviously been cultivating and consuming these foods for millennia, we rarely consider how recent our spice, nut, fruit and veggie basket has filled out due to globalism. The point I’m slowly getting to here is that, although we love to share food-culture across the planet and, I suspect, eventually, Terran food will be a thing (as opposed to Lunar or Martian food), we refuse to admit our global humanity; the tribe (ahem) of Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

Music, dance, art, food — all of these things tend to unite us. Although, like yourself, I don’t really give a shit about humanity as a cosmic entity, I still like to contemplate grand problems and propose grandiose solutions; they’re like puzzles, intricate quandaries that beg for analysis, elucidation and answers.

And so, in our wretched profundity, embittered by our self administered flagellation, were you to envision a day where your contempt for mankind, as compelling as it might be, is tempered by something, some occurrence, some transformation that renders humanity tolerable—what might that event be? Clearly, sagacious beings before us have gazed upon mankind and hoped someday that our species could elevate itself above its petty differences and see the universe as a frontier only we, humanity can hope to explore. Do you see such a possibility, in some future epoch? A globally shared peanut butter sandwich?

Aw, hell. Fuck that. I’m just yanking your chain. I’m trying to see how many 9+ letter words I can get into a post in remembrance of your dead blogging site.

Oh, and ZorkerBorg? Yeah, fuck him. I despise that pissant, the lucky prick that he is.

Happy dead of winter,
‘Mole

[PS: You’ll notice that if you end a post on a Fuck You tone, few people are wont to comment. I did this intentionally as I wanted to see if both yours and mine both elicited the same disgust. It appears to be the case. I wager that if we end our next correspondences with rainbows and ribbons, we’ll get a different response.]

[PPS: For Mr. Van Helsing, “The Peanut Butter and banana sandwich, or peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich, sometimes referred to as an Elvis sandwich or simply the Elvis, consists of toasted bread slices with peanut butter, sliced or mashed banana, and sometimes bacon. Honey is seen in some variations of the sandwich.” Wikipedia]


Dear Mudge, Tribal Context

TribalContext

Dear Mudge,

Didn’t work a day in 2019? What did you call that work-a-day drudgery where you slogged, scene-by-scene, through that teencom “Fifteen” for Notes from the Avalon? If that wasn’t work, I’ve got a slew of yard “scenes” for you that need editing (mowing and pruning)…

I like your choice in calendars. I, for one, don’t use one. What future event do I have to look forward to that deserves a reminder or planning? Now, if I knew the date and time of my death, I’d gladly buy a stack of calendars (or just the one) to eagerly “X” off the days. I recall a time-management guru who once said, subtract your age from 80, multiple that by 52 and go buy that many marbles, placing them in a jar on your shelf. Every Saturday, take one out and throw it away. A sobering reminder of the passage of time.

In this letter I’d like to examine the concept of tribes and the context they provide.

I’ll go out on a limb here and say that within this narrow context of our correspondence we’ve developed a tribe of sorts, surely between the two of us, but I’d expand the embrace and say there are numerous others who participate in this philosophical experiment—the examination of life’s puzzles and choices, being the focus. And within that focus, were recommendations voiced: movies, books, cartoons, art, etc. we’d be inclined to trust those recommendations. Trust the Tribe.

Other tribes that we might examine are satellite to this one but still important: one’s family, one’s work place, other’s whom you share thoughts of cuisine, travel, hobbies, and so forth. All tribal circles, if you will, that, within their own context, provide valuable guidance in choosing directions.

TomBeingTom, for instance, has his football/beer tribe, a group he trusts to recommend like-minded pursuits and suggestions: restaurants, team sports, BBQ recipes, cheese-dip… From them, he’s unlikely to accept advice on erudite non-fiction books regarding human evolution. He’s got other tribes for that.

In this way, the cultivation of numerous, individual tribal contexts seems like a crucial aspect to developing a working, enjoyable lifestyle. Different peeps for different needs and situations.

Ultimately, it would be nice to have a single context which provides for all one’s questions and accepts, in turn, one’s recommendations. In actuality, just the opposite seems to be the trend, factions of fractions, all with narrowly defined goals and stipulations.

Your tribe selection appears limited. Mine just as much. This tribe of folks here is a strangely time-dominate context, one my wife grudgingly bequeaths.

What are your thoughts on this concept? Additionally, what are your thoughts on how the media has used it to divide and conquer our sentiments and beliefs, and if you have notable tribes, currently or in the past, what might they be and how do you think they influence (have influenced) your life.

New year like the old year, only greyer and slower.

Your friend,
‘Mole

PS: Thanks to Audrey Driscoll for the prompt for this post: The “Why” of recommendations.

 


Dear Mudge, Complacency

Dear Mudge,

Does complacency equate to surrender?

In acquiescence do we relinquish a piece of ourselves to the other side? Is compromise a sign of weakness, or wisdom?

I hear your 2019 summer campaign to battle your own existential apathy, which you overwhelmingly won in the completion of your self-made challenge to document, as a sirens call to a muse I’ll never understand—the Canadian teen-com “Fifteen”, has afforded you some well earned, if unexpected, adulation from various members of the cast of that ignominious cavalcade of petulant pulchritude. Congratulations.

I mention your Quixotic pursuit as you, in contrast to my opening statement, most certainly did not give up in the throes of self-doubt and a certain bet against you (your $1000 remains a debt you may still collect provided you adhere to aforementioned stipulations).

And as I mention your triumph, I can’t help but consider our recent epistolary exchange and how we both appeared to have come to the conclusion that living at the “N’th” level was untenable. And that at least the N-1 level must be embraced in order to not dwell in a perpetual, self-induced living hell.

If what I’ve read on your NFTA blog is indication, I would applaud your expansion of N-1 and hope to read of your pursuits along that vein.

I did, however, begin this treatise with another point in mind regarding complacency. One I hope that, were you to once again take up the pen, you might apply in Ningun 2.0, which is, specifically, writers can never let their characters enjoy a drop of extended comfort.

Dorothy can never, truly, feel comfortable while she travels the lands of OZ. Luke may never enjoy perpetual peace. Frodo must forever endure an unrestful soul. Alice cannot be allowed to put her feet up and take a weekend off. Harry’s Christmas platitudes are mere lozenges dosed with laudanum designed to lure us into languid, lazy lassitude in preparation for the next heavy Hagrid-boot drop.

Briefly, we can never let our characters rest. Readers must feel compelled to turn the page to learn what calamity awaits our hero. Constant, relentless trepidation must permeate our writing. This technique dominates my thoughts as I continue writing on my next major novel effort.

In contrast, for our actual lives, I wish you nothing but placid, Avon waters serenity, dragonflies and water-skippers, ribbon ripples and pareidolian paradolian clouds drifting through your country-picnic days of 2020.

Best in the coming year,
‘Mole

DantesHell

That’s you and me at N-1


Apocalyptic Scenario 1.a

I told Brian that I’d write a somber piece for him to read aloud.
And so I did.
And so he did.

Brian’s rendition:
https://soundcloud.com/bmh81/apocalyptic-scenario-1a
BrianSoundCloud

The full post:
https://davecline.wordpress.com/2019/12/27/apocalyptic-scenario-1-a/

 

 


Curse you TomBeingTom

I despise these vapid Webby type contrivances designed to stroke the poles of bloggers and web developers since the late ’90s. My walls are lined with ribbons and placards of all the awards I’ve won. To add another is more nuisance than accolade.

(Mole dear, your wall is covered with posters of the Partridge Family, not web awards.)

Oh, right. Damn, that was the life I was GOING to have having dedicated my thirty’s to learning web languages and becoming a published web author. Alas, none of that panned out. I ended up working for failed startup after failed startup. (Geeze, maybe I’m the accursed one…)

OK, OK, here we go: Thanks TomBeingTom for, you know, calling me a female fox and obligating me to reply else I feel the heel and potentially miss the opportunity to flash my programming prowess, albeit, 20 years too late.

BlogEntry

That, my friends, is some of the first C# I wrote back in late 2002 when .NET first came out. And what did I apply myself to building with that great new language? A blog of course, or rather: Web Log, as no one called it a blog back then.

I managed to post more than 500 entries into my custom made blog over the next 10 years until my server’s harddrive failed and I quit trying to fool myself that I would ever win any praise as a developer. A living career, yes. Awards, never. (I did make copies of everything, I’m not entirely daft.)

My first ever “blog” post in January 2003: (I used XML as a storage format — pretty prophetic, no?)

BlogEntryXml

Blogging became more of a personal diary. But after things fell apart, I pishposhed about until I thought I’d better get back in and WordPress was a platform that seemed easy (free) and open (and free) and so I joined up (because it was free) in 2009; or so it says on my account page, I can’t believe it’s been that long.

Anonymole came a few years later in 2012.

The rest is all documented here in the pages of a subterranean gadriosopher (gatherer of knowledge). When it comes to life histories, brief is best. So, in short, I learned to code, made a blog, wrote some shit, the end.

But, hey, thanks AGAIN TomBeingTom for being the first to shine a bright light onto my failure as a web developer. (Kidding) [No, not kidding.] (No, seriously, I’m kidding.) [No, I’m not kidding at all, this is heavy shit. I think I may have to write another letter to Mudge begging to be consoled, placated at least, uncomfortably petted? Ya see, it’s all about bloggers getting stroked!]


Dear Mudge, Saturnalian Salutations

Dear Mudge,

I’ve been reading a book entitled Fantasyland, all about how America was founded, raised and now thrives on fantasies. Lo and behold, here we are, smack-dab in the middle of fantasy-mania. One of our common themes seems to be how humans, Americans specifically, have addicted themselves to alternate realities. If this holiday season doesn’t embody the idea of the surreal and strange, I sense–primarily, to escape the drudgery of a gloomy winter–then I’m moving to Tahiti to paint bizarre landscapes and island beauties.

Winter Wonderland, Dreaming of a White Christmas, Wonderful time of the year, Have yourself a Merry Christmas, and on and on, every song it seems dedicated to describing a fabricated fantastical fairyland. Sleigh bells? Angels? Snowmen? Flying reindeer? Elves? Joy to the World? Happiness? Compassion to our fellow man? Good cheer and loud singing for all to hear? Bah Humbug!

What a bushel of blarney.

My son and I watch and mock these xmas car commercials: “Here you go honey, I bought us matching Mercedes, drained our savings, spent the kids tuitions and expect to be evicted come January — but don’t we look groovy now?”

Sadly, money lies at the coal-black center of Santa Clauses’ heart. No money? No list. Get back to work, you scab. Swill-soup will be served when you finish pumping the septic-tank.

saturnalia

And so, as I personally approach–and blunder through–this holiday season, I take solace in knowing that there used to be a true fantasy celebration, created by pagan Romans, that supplants this Christian nonsense, that of Saturnalia: The cycle of the seasons, the death of the old year and the birth of the new, the lighting of lights, the drinking of drink and the making of merry.

Due to the fact that one cannot actually make merry without the companionship of friends, I care to wish you a jolly and raucous Saturnalia–may you frolic in the streets, drunk, high or just stoned on life, with whomever the occasion presents. I too, will be reveling as I may with those I call friends, yet feeling the absence of yourself and others here whose cajoling camaraderie I have come to cherish.

Cheers,
‘Mole