Monday, April 30, 2007

Ethical Dilemma

Hi, all. I'm knackered. Since last blog post, I sold another poem that's coming out in June, but also was hired by two web content sites. One is an American site, and addresses me by my name. The other is a Russian website, (but they want me to write in English, fortunately) and refers to me as Writer 870. Wow--I think I've discovered my true alter-ego. ("Aha! Writer 870! So, we meet again!") I'm also still scribbling and submitting as well as doing keyword articles and trying out for other writing gigs. I'm amazed at how little time you get to spend writing when you're a freelance writer. Most of the time is spent in sales and blagging your talent to invisible editors.

Now, I've noticed that most online and hard-copy publications will not consider anything that has been "previously published". Unfortunately, I've discovered that this blog counts, for a majority of editors, as a publishing source, even though I don't get any money for it.

Which brings me to my ethical dilemma: what do I post on this blog as free to the world and what writing to I try and squirrel away and sell? I cherish my loyal readers, both of you, and want to treat you as the extra special souls that you are. But I'm also flat-ass broke. So don't be suprised if I don't post as frequently anymore. No offence.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Jewish Lesson

I guess someone does want me to post about the history of the Jews and Judiasm, for I haven't sold anything in a bit and the freelance/columnist jobs haven't panned out. (I know -- pity party for rraven!)

I'm not Jewish (not that I know of, anyway)and I do not profess to be any sort of expert. But I can't help but notice that the history of the Jewish people is one of the grimmest stories out there. I'm hard pressed to say that they've been blessed. Pograms, concentration camps, Krystal nacht, the whole "didn't they kill Jesus?" bugaboo, Woody Allen...definately not any stories you'd like to tuck your kids in at night with. And yet, after all the thousands of years of Gentiles determined to wipe out the Jews in the name of God or country or whatever, they're still here. In fact, most of the peoples and kingdoms who bullied them are now dust. We haven't heard a lot from the Babylonians or the Chaldeans, huh? Heck, Jews were around long before AND AFTER the Roman Empire, and we still haven't completely gotten over that.


Personally, I think it's for 3 reasons:

1) They arguably were the first peoples to REALLY develop a sense of humor. hat gets you through quite a lot. It has been reported (I don't know how true it is) that Jews in Auschwitz wrote and told each other jokes. Now that is one hard room, let me tell you.

2) Someone has always kept the myths, traditions and little rituals going. This gave a sense of comfort, continuity and inner strength, even whe exiled (helLO, Tibetans!).

3) In one way, I do believe that they are a chosen people. What they've been chosen for, I do not envy. But they have continually shown triumph over adversity, grace under pressure and thrived. No matter what your religion or nationality, there's a lot to learn from sturdying the history of the Jews.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

"Beware of Goatfeathers"

(NOTE: This has NOTHING to do with any businesses/resteraunts named Goatfeathers! Thanks for your patience. We now return you to your regulary scheduled blog post, already in progress...)

"Let's pick our target, set our aim, but let's beware of goatfeathers."

I'm currently reading one of the best kinds of books in the world -- FREE. This book was in a give away bin so I took it. It's called Your Creative Power : How To Use Your Imagination by an Alex Osborne (no relation). It was published in 1949. It's quite good.

But what the heck are GOATFEATHERS? I asked my Mom and she'd never heard of the expression. We assume it means horsefeathers, just the feathers are a lot smaller. But what a great title for a book, huh? I've got to keep that on file.

I do still firmly believe that books are kinda blocky looking spirits that travel from who needs them to who needs them. When they're thrown out is when they're dead and going on to the next reprint and no one goes through the trash to pick them up...not that I do that anymore, but I think you get the idea.

That's one of the reasons I'm so drawn to writing. When I'm really in the "zone", I feel as if more of a reporter than a fiction writer, because the scenes and charactes are so vivid. There have been times when the pen/typewriter seems to move by itself, but those episodes are happening less and less often. Perhaps the Prozac has something to do with that. But it's a brilliant feeling and I enjoy it.

Ooo! Ooo! One of my poems is now published. Go read it. And I got the check, too. Makes all those goatfeathers worthwhile.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Yet More Proof That Ignorance is Bliss

(Note: No dogs were harmed in the taking of this photograph...really!)

Well, folks, the writing "career" stumbles ever onward. I've sold three short stories and four poems (only one published so far) and am on pins and needles (and Extra-Strength Excedrin) finding out if I'll be accepted as a writer for a dog website. (I'll not put a link to them here ...might jinx me). Things are starting to very very slowly roll in my direction, whether for good or for a smashed foot, I don't know.

Now, memory is a tricky beast. I used to have a photographic memory up until my 30th birthday...or my 29th...wait, maybe it was the 28th...ANYWAY, I could quickly recall entire conversations, comedians' momologues, what artist did what album cover, stuff like that. My head was full of useless trivia. And I discovered that if you have a photographic memory and no one else in the room does, you can really piss a lot of people off really fast! :-)

So it was an absolute shocker for me to find the first draft of an old poem called, erm, "The Ballad of Lucky Feet" (which I am NOT letting out of the house!) which had a scribbled note which read: "This is the version sent to Peter Gabriel".




I didn't send my hero a copy of a crappy poem about a horse, did I???? Alarm bells were going off in my head, my blood pressure hit the roof and I needed more Excedrin. I really didn't want to know the answer to this question, but the cobwebs cleared and I suddenly remembered that I sent my inspiration and my aspiration A WHOLE BOOK of my handwritten poems for his 47th birthday! Oh, NOOOO! Knowing idiot pre-Prozac me, I sent him a few exquistitely crappy love poems that make me blush to remember. Hell, I'm not even revealing the TITLES of them on my blog, let alone any excerpts. If I ever get to be a famous writer, he could blackmail me with that damn book. God, he must think I'm a lunatic...well, I am a lunatic, but I'm a harmless lunatic. There's probably a list of CRAZY FANS TO SHOOT AT ON SIGHT list at his studio(and if there isn't, why not?) and my name is on it in big black capitals.

"Now, calm down," the Excedrin and the Prozac told me (after a while, the chemicals do give some good advice)"what are the odds that the great, supremely busy Peter GAbriel would ever sully his hands on a grubby little poetry book from an ugly, unpublished American? You have NOTHING to worry about. His secretary probably chucked it in the bin."

Ahh....thank you for that mental image of someone tossing my blood, sweat and tears into a paper shredder. I feel so much better now.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

That's Capital, Mate

I have arguments with Peter Gabriel inside of my head or during my lucid dreaming sessions. I guess Dream Pete and I both getting a bit bored with sex (and it's just so TIRING)so mostly we either play games, visit other people or argue like a married couple. (Note to self: Perhaps I should ask my shrink why my dream life is so much more interesting than my waking life). ANYWAY, last night we bickered about capital punishment. (Married couple --> Capital punishment. Logical connection, ennit?). It went something like this:

PG: So, how's the writing going?

Me: It's punishing. I'm a bit worried whether any of my fellow man will be left alive to read it.

PG: Oh, God, this isn't going to become another rant about the murder rate in Philadelphia, is it?

Me: Well, I hadn't INTENDED to rant, but now that you point it out, I wonder how many of the murderers are repeat offenders. I know you're against capital punishment, but do we really need to play Russian Roulette whenever we leave our homes?

PG: It's illogical to kill, for almost any reason. If we abhor it in murderers, then why murder them in turn? It doesn't make sense. I'm glad we don't have it in England. I hope one day America will join Western civilization.

Me: Hardy ha ha. But what should we do with all of these mental cases who care nothing about anybody but themselves? They just get into a pattern and go killing again and again.

PG: Not every one.

Me: No, not every one, but what about those that are? Come to think of it, what about those who volunteer for police assisted suicide? Shouldn't we just give them what they want and get on with our lives? Less time, money and effort that way.

PG: Capital punishment by no means is an effective deterrrent to crime.

Me: I don't think anyone ever believed it was. They just wanted to sound clever in capital punishment debates.

PG: It's a clever, bloodless euphemism for government sanctioned murder, isn't it? Capital punishment...sounds like they make criminals stand in a corner and wear a dunce cap.

Me: Well, I can't argue with that. I think "cold revenge" is a better term. I mean, that's what it is, isn't it? A sort of trying to get the fairness balance back in the victim's lives.

PG: There are no lost cases. And who are you to judge who should live or die? Or me, for that matter.

Me: Two words.

PG: What?

Me: Mark Chapman.

PG: (Sighs, then shakes head). Even for Mark Chapman, I still say that capital punishment is cruel and inhuman treatment.

Me: That's the point, isn't it? It's SUPPOSED to be inhuman. He made me suffer, I want him to suffer.

PG: Um, are you still taking the Prozac?

Me: Yes, I am, Mr. Let's Change The Subject.

PG: I thought you were a Witch. Leave the revenge to the Goddess Nemesis, kiss a tree and all that sort of thing.

Me: Well, I make my opinions from observing nature. And nature seems to condone revenge. Therefore, I do, too. (Narrows eyes) Which reminds me, you did a concert in my hometown of Philadelphia on my birthday AFTER I'd moved to England!

PG: Wow! Is that the time? Shouldn't your bladder be screaming at you to wake up about now?


I guess reading this far in my dream is punishing enough. (I'm just a fan of Peter's -- neither he nor his charities endorse this blogpost in any way, shape or form.)

Monday, April 02, 2007

We're Number One!

Right. Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, which is about ten minutes from where I type, has now been rated the number one murder city in the nation. WHOO-HOO! And I'm sure we can do much, much better! Hey, it's only April!

Good Lord. Seriously, it is a little much. Even New York cops are making fun of Philadelphia, and just that makes me know the situation is BAD. I mean, I assume that eventually the problem will go away because everyone will have shot each other, but does it really have to come to that?

"So, rraven, save us!" I hear those in Philly cry. Here are my suggestions for lowering the murder rate in Philadephia:

1) Pay people to not shoot other people. Hey, some people need a basic incentive. Money, or lack thereof, is the reason behind most of these shootings. Let's nip the problem in the bud, I say!

2) For those who have guns, free shooting lessons with no questions asked. It's always these "innocent bystanders" who get killed. Why can't we at least make sure these punks kill who they're aiming for?

3) Spray marijuana smoke over Philadephia with crop dusters. That way, some pilots of small planes will be employed and no one in Philly will care about the murder rate, money, lack thereof or anything else except Tastycakes, for that matter. Perhaps to keep anyone from shooting anyone for a Butterscotch Krimpet, the crop dusters could drop them all over the city after the ganja.

4) Watch this public service announcement.

5) Take all the people tracking down illegal immagrants and add them to the police force. Philadelphia NEEDS illegal immagrants. Who else would be grateful to work two full time minimum wage jobs and never be able to pay the bills? Only kick the immagrants back to their places of origin after and only after they've committed a crime...I mean a REAL crime.

6) Lower the cost of everything. No one can make enough money anymore to buy what they need, let alone what they want. No black/white/tan kid says, "Yeah, I think I'll grow up to sell drugs and kill those who don't pay me." But where are the alternatives?

7) Use drug addicts for medical research. Hell, they already like killing themselves with unidentifiable objects. Why not pay them to test medicines or surguries and let the research animals go? Also, it would just be damn funny (says the woman who was abused by an alchoholic).

8) Immediate death penalty for anyone who says, "It's not the heat, it's the humidity." Well, I think that's self explanatory.