A Dark Chest of Wonders

Welcome to the House of the Kennedy

Month: January, 2015

Exercise: Let Go of the Wheel, Bro

Recently, I finally started my next novel, and I’m pretty convinced that it’s the next one. I can just feel it, this is it: this character, this narrator, he’s calling for me to write about his life (quite literally actually) so that’s what I’m going to do. Of course, it took a while for me to find the right directions to where he wanted to meet up. i knew that he lived in California, but I hadn’t been to California in a while, in fact, the last time I went to California was a great long while ago, and even then, I didn’t stay for a very long visit because my calling was in New York, and the story demanded that I finish whatever the business was in New York. In short, I’ve never been very fond of California, I’ve always looked east and south, but never west, I don’t know hy,k but suddenly, it feels right. So I finally found out where I was going, and even though the conversation got off a little rough, we shared some burgers and fries and cokes, and the afternoon went well; he even called up some of his other friends. Yeah, this is one cool dude, I think.

There is something rewarding about walking through the woods, i.e. your imagination, and picking up and investigating all these leaves, learning about all these different trees, and trying to find the way the wind goes when it’s being bent in every direction on either side of you. But there’s something like serendipity when you come up on another traveler: these travelers, from antique and far away lands are characters, the people who will be telling their story to you so that you can write it down, or at least take a break from all this walking. It is when you realize that’s all writing is, finding a character in the woods and listening to them for a little while to give your legs a break and get warm by the fire, that it becomes so much more enjoyable because now you’re not just writing, you’re telling, you’re understanding, you’re imagining.

When you write, you cannot drive the story, otherwise you come up with something that you don’t really like because you took too much control of the story. Think about this: your story, your book, is a television program, alright? Better yet, it’s a reality television program. Now imagine that you’re one of the producers for the show, yeah? As the producer of the show, you’re just there to liven up the dull moments and move the “story” along, the story being the set up for this show: 7 people, one city, one house, let’s see what happens. It’s like rolling dice. You can only do so much to make sure that you get the outcome that you want, but in the end, it’s not about you: it’s about the dice. It’s about the characters. Therefore, all you people driving your books, your stories, you need to be a little bit more like Tyler Durden and let go of the wheel, or at least ease up on it. The best stories are the stories that the characters tell themselves, they drive the story, you are a passenger who might control the gear shift, or might have an extra gas and brake pedal to keep just a limited swing of control, but you do not have the wheel: they’re taking you where they want to go. Once you learn to let go, sacrifice your control, then you’ll start writing stories that people really want to read, then you’ll start writing stories that people will remember.

Homework; let go of thew wheel. Just let go, and let the characters take the story wherever they want. Pair this with Method Writing even to help you push this out a little bit harder. Even when you feel like nothing is happening, the story is not going anywhere, you have to trust, like letting yourself fall backwards into someone’s arms, that the characters will get you there safely, that they have everything under control. If you never learn to trust your characters, then you will never be able to write very good ones, because it takes a whole of trust to become friends with someone, to let them drive your car: and pray to God that they don’t wreck it, that you don’t die. It takes trust, and as an author, that’s what you need to learn, just like you would with people, because characters are people, so it’s just a matter of figuring if you trust them. If you don’t, then you need to reanalyze the relationship.

Happy Writing, guys!

Exercise: Method Writing

When an actor really wants to get into his role, he’ll do something that is called method acting. This means that the actor will not break character for the duration of shooting a film: he will learn to become this character,a ll the aspects of this character, and not only know all his lines by heart for the rest of his life, but will find himself inventing his own lines, monologues, and thoughts of this character. In order to do this, the actor will wear the clothes of this character, change his apperance as much as he can–as long as it’s reversible by the end of the project, such as when actors chip their teeth for roles or lose dramatic amounts of weight–to look like what this character should and would look like. They become the character, and this is what makes method actors performances so mesmerizing and incredible when done just right. These are actors like Bryan Cranston, Heath Ledger, James Franco, Christian Bale, and others: when they get into character, you begin to forget that these are people who have played goofy dads, drug dealers, and psychopaths.

For this matter, when a writer writes a first person story, they open the skull of a particular peson whose walking in a city in their head, and follow them on their way. There are two ways to do this: firstly, you could guide these people like God stepping into a man and walking around in his skin with plenty of authorial intrusion on multiple levels, and making sure that everything goes as planned for not only the character, but also you yourself the author. Then there are stream-of-consciousness narratives like American Psycho and other works by Bret Easton Ellis, the works of James Joyce, Chuck Palahniuk, and many other authors. Stream-of-Consciousness narratives are those narratives that start  to really sound like someone riffing off their unspoken thoughts into a tape recorder without pause. These narratives are ones that have zero authorial intrusion to interrupt the narrative, and suddenly, there’s only the character: the author just so happens to have his name on the cover for transcribing these thoughts. This is what Bret Easton Ellis does with American Psycho. I highly recommend the book if you want to learn how to write better characters, because BEE totally lets Patrick Batemen be Patrick Batemen: not once throughout the entire book do we hear a peep of what might be BEE. The first third of the novel is totally embellished in brand names and superfluous adventures, the second third serves as a kind of purgatory, while the final act is served to us a la magical realism which is done in a way that I don’t think anyone can top. BEE is a method writer.

Method writers give themselves up to the character and allow the character(s) to drive the story: they don’t say a word, they just write it down like the observer of a support group. For this matter, method writers will often times write the best and worst books. The best because they are so good, so real, and manage to really portray a human being and not a fabrication: you forget that they are just that, though, a fabrication. They can also be the worst though because, like American Psycho, you only have the character to depend on to break up the narrative; you’ll often get full days as chapters with no exclusions. A chapter in American Psycho is titled ‘Morning” and simply describes every little detail of Patrick Bateman’s morning and his apartment. While the chapter does have some literary significance, when reading it for the first time open minded, one continues to flip forward to learn when the chapter ends, and it seemingly doesn’t. You get lost in all the products and little embellishments and description that Ellis throws at you. For this matter, chapters like this, make stream-of-consciousness narratives a slog to get through, but in the end, you have to admire that it was a rewarding experience. SOC narratives are often a breath of fresh air because they are both active and sedentary creatures for your brain, and if you allow yourself to fall too much asleep while reading them, you will lose yourself.

So, today’s homework? Become a method writer. Write a first person narrative that has no authorial intrusion at all, that just gives itself to the character. It doesn’t have to be a SOC narrative, but it needs to be pretty damn close if you want to write a convincing narrative that makes the reader feel like this character is real. In order to further your experience, spend time thinking how this character would think: speak how you want this character to speak, dress how this character should dress, and really become this character before you sit down to write this character. Throughout the day, interview this character in your head, really get to the bottom of why he’s doing what he’s doing in the story, and study him: what are his gestures, what are some of his catchphrases and repeated phrases? What are his ideas, hopes, dreams: learn this character like you want him to be your best friend, and speaking of that: what does he do on the weekends? Is he free? This character is now your best friend, and you’re going to write about him, so get to it!

Furthermore, look up the Chuck Palahniuk essay, “Submerging the I”, this is a great essay about how to keep the reader engaged in the story and keep the adventure communal instead of private; this could help you while writing your Method Piece.

Have a good weekend!

Exercise: It’s a Euphemism

So, today there’s not really a lesson, just the homework, but I’ll explain.

Yeah, I think is wife might’ve killed him or something, I also heard that the dog licked up the blood. It was sick.

Imagine if you wrote a story with that tone, with that flatness, as though you were having a friendly, dissociated conversation with a friend about the news that day without any real care for it, just a conversation starter. Often times, when we write, we like to embellish and add flare to extraordinary by adding figurative language and other literary devices like hyperbolic: the dancing flames were up to the stars, ravaging the night with it’s sharp jabs. Now, imagine if the sentence was written in a euphemistic fashion: The flames burned brightly. Suddenly, there’s no urgency, nothing more than what’s there. The reader is now really left to figure out what these flames look like. Imagine that your work is a minimalist piece of art work that the readers have to pay attention to or just read a couple of times to really grasp what’s being said. You as the author have to do two things: work incredibly hard to keep your inner writing voice from pushing you to write beautifully and do as little as possible.

Imagine that your story is purgatory: the place in between two stories that a reader is reading. It’s a commercial break. Too often, writers always want their work to be in the spotlight, but sometimes in order to really be in the spotlight, you have to do something that no one has seen before, or doesn’t see often. What is more, new writers, and sometimes experienced ones, will want to write and craft all these beautiful things, writing everything perfectly, and making sure that the reader gets every detail, but that will get you nowhere: the reader will begin to skim your work, begin to get bogged down by all this superfluous description, and at some point, they’re going to stop reading. What you want is to engage the reader, and one of the ways you can do that is by making every sentence imperative. Dire. Essential. And the best way to do this is get rid of all the fluff. Strip the house down, throw out all the furniture, now all you’ve got is concrete. You need to give the reader concrete, and what they decide to do with that concrete, if they decide to bring everything back, that’s on them: in this scenario, it’s just your job as the writer to show them the house. Chuck Palahniuk once wrote, in an essay, that there are two kinds of people who will sell you a house: the agents and the owners. The agents will give you all the facts, the dimensions, the build, style, and everything that you need to know about the house that’s essential. Then there are the owners who will tell you about every rock and and crack in the drive way, how they used to have dinner, how they raised their kids, and the qualms of marriage as they give you a tour of your house.

This time, you’re going to be the agent: you’re just going to give us the facts, dimensions, and aspects of the house. No heart. You’re a cold hearted agent who’s just trying to sell a house. Write a story in the form of a very long euphemism. Undercut and minimize  everything so that it doesn’t sound drastic, but it is. Hide the heart of this story like you would a loaded gun under the floorboards.

Post in comments!

Exercise: Let’s Talk About Sex Baby

Yeah, you know that song, don’t pretend that you don’t, and if you really don’t, GTFO. Today, boys and girls and horny squirrels, we’re going to be talking about sex. *Gasp*; “Oh my gosh, Becky, did he just…did he really just say that? Is he serious? Sex?” Yes, gossiping little birds, sex, we’re going to be talking about SEX. Everyone always cowers in fear when they hear the word, shift uncomfortably in their seats, or giggle a little bit, because, I mean, why not? Sex. It’s kind of a funny weard. Sex. Sex. Sexsexsexsexsex. Somehow, unlike most words, it just doesn’t lose it’s meaning after a while. It’s always the same, that sex. That’s why you guys, writers, have got to make sex something unconventional, have got to really revitalize it and turn it into something new.

I’m not encouraging you to write the next Fifty Shades of Gray but I am saying that you need to write about sex. Or something like it. Every one of us has had an embarrassing moment that we don’t like to talk about, that were really don’t want to share with the world, and for this matter, by expressing these fears and embarrassing tales, we become better writers as we are no longer afraid to tell people these things, we’re able to describe them the way that it happened because of the way and the situation that they happened to us. In order to understand how people work, you have to push them to the limit (yeah, you know that song too), which means putting them in situations that you wouldn’t even talk about with your doctor, or things that your doctor would tell you. The best example that I can give is Chuck Palahniuk’s story Guts. It’s a wonderful tale, and you should really give it a try. Just don’t hold your breath 😉

Today’s homework? Write a story about the most humiliating thing that happened to this kid you know named Billy. I don’t know who Billy is, so I don’t know what makes this story so humiliating, but it is. You have to make me feel this humiliation, this discomfort that one would get when talking about sex, and with that in mind, you have to draw this story on like when two people try to have sex for the first time: get the lighting just right, set it up before you even get to the exposition: I want to feel discomfort. Want an even greater challenge? Write it in the very rigid form of a school essay that gets derailed, but you just have to keep going if you want to get an A on this exam.

Post them in the comments!

Exercise: Crampin’ your style, yo

Aside from my poor attempt at slang, we need to talk about writing. Again. As always. So, welcome back to the Kennedy Memorial Gym, this is another routine lead by instructor Kennedy. This time, I’m going to be talking to you about crampin’ your style (yo). Hacking your writing, breaking plates, burning bridges, everything, yo. Last year, I read Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King. I thought the book as absolutely awful, especially from such a respected author such as King, specifically for me, as King is my role model and writing rock star. He’s influenced my writing the most and  has taught me a lot of what I know how to do, especialy in the area of style. So when I read Mr. Mercedes, I had high expectations, but I ended up leaving the theater early and hopped over to something else a little bit more exciting, though I guess it wasn’t that good since I forgotw hat it is that I read after that. Mr. Mercedes was definitely a departure to unknown waters for King, as it came off as a half baked novel by a new writing instead of a writer with over 40 years under his belt, and that’s why I walked out. But in hindsight, I think that I can respect King’s effort in trying to hack his style, trying to break the old routine and bring something new to the table. Now, this of course doesn’t mean that I have to like what he tries to do.

Recently, I became a fan of Chuck Palahniuk. I’ve watched as much content on him as possible as I waited for a shipment of his books to arrive, albiet incredibly slowly due to UPS. I listened to him talk about the craft (and this guy knows his stuff, he really is on par with legends who have been doing it for years and are fumbling to hold the ball as they race towards the touchdown, a.k.a. the finish line) and 3 of his stories prior to actually getting to read one of his books. He was the kind of author who I’d been waiting to arrive at the airport for a very long time. He was tsunami that baptized my imagination and allowed me to be reborn as a follower of his. I wanted a writer who pushed boundaries, used unconventional methods to tell a story, and expand the genre that he was writing in, and after reading Pygmy, I definitely know that Chuck is the One. What Chuck does is what all writers should do: fall in love and stay in love by doing as many different things as possible on as many dates as possible while you can. You have to run after the bullets and try to watch them graze you and laugh as you realize you’ve escaped death again.

So what is is that Chuck does exactly? He does what the truly great authors like Faulkner and Hemingway did: he broke writing and made it something new all together, and redefined the genre and the way that we write. We all want to be as great as Hemingway and Faulkner, but we don’t get there by being like them: we get there by not being like them, doing something totally different with the same piece of marble as everyone else. This means, bending and breaking the rules, climbing trees and chopping them down, and digging where you’re not supposed to, driving faster than you’re allowed, and talking a bit louder too.

Homework: write a story like you don’t usually write a story. Do you usually start with action? Start with dialogue, create a long conversation or sequence of dialogue that would usually be action instead. Start with description? Par down your description, turn everything into a one liner. Establish voice first? Destroy this voice and imagine that someone is speaking to you through a loud thunder storm and you can only hear bits and fragments of what they’re saying,and it’s up to you to fill in the blanks. I want you to break all of your own rules as well as the rules you know, and break windows that people usually only look through: everyone always says it was a clear blue day, the sun was out, and I couldn’t be happier. Yeah, well, you know what? Shatter that shit, break it, and turn it into something startlingly terrifying and beautiful all at the same time: take the same thing that everyone always says, and hack it: beautifully ugly. Change punctuation and word choice: instead of writing periods, only write question marks, instead of writing things in perfect order, choose the alternative way to say it that is not grammatically correct. Break. Those. Plates.

And eat off of them too.

Exercise: Legal Pads

I once wrote a 120 page book all on lose leaf paper. It was the fourth grade, and I was obsessed with Percy Jackson, so I decided I would write a book just as exciting, with Greek gods, humor, and mythology all bundled into one. Before even that, I wrote 40 page short stories on lose leaf paper about total nonsense, but damn were they good, and to be sure, they are what really set me off wanting to become a writer in the first place, especially when my English teacher at the time gave me candid feedback about a piece that she wrote, saying that it was pretty decent. When I learned to type, and I mean really type, I stopped writing on paper: it seemed primordial and savage, and I could get so much more done typing. My mind went into a totally new set when I typed, and my work advanced because of this. I was getting drafts done in less time than ever. It was many years before I actually sat down to write a real story on paper again, and I learned that, I actually wrote much better on paper than I did when I typed. It may have had something to do with the actual kinetic experience of picking up a pen and engaging with the paper, or maybe it was just that innate way that I had been writing in the beginning which kicked in again: like a suppressed instinct that had no use in modern society, yet you learn it’s just so applicable today. However, I did not altogether stop typing, but more and more I felt the compulsion to instead write on paper as there was something about it that really helped to move the story along.

The reason why it’s important for a writer to go back to either their roots, writing the way they wrote before a change in thieir method, is because now you’re forced to do something that you may have forgotten how to do or never did before. There is an episode of Parks and Recreation where Donna has Jerry put flyers in envelopes to sell, and like a machine Jerry is just throwing these flyers in and gluing them, and filing them away. At the end of the episode, we learn that he put the wrong flyer in all the envelopes without realizing it. This is what happens when you do something no autopilot: your brain takes a vacation, and leaves your body to walk easy until it comes back. At this point, you need to change up the routine, do something different: go a different path, wear your hair different: just something that wakes your brain up and keeps you from falling into a bad habit or mindset: when I was depressed, everyday seemed to start the same way. I would wake up feeling a little better, but then I would turn on the TV, and then I’d go to the bathroom and look at myself, and then I’m slump, and then I’d get my things together for school, and then I’d go to school, and then I’d sit in silence, and then and then and then and then and then: the way that I alleviated my ailment was I changed up what kind of soup I was eating. I put a little less pepper, more salt, more tomatoes, less onions, more water, less artificial flavoring. If you are looking to do better, become better, like when you become stronger after exercising for a week, you need to add something, you have to do something so that your muscles can break down and build up again as they figure out how to do this new movies you’ve added to your routine. Change. It. Up.

So, homework assignment guys: go to your local Wal-Mart, Target, or whatever major store, buy a 3 pack of yellow legal pads (I promise, they probably won’t cost more than 3 dollars for 150 sheets total in all packs), buy maybe a 10 pack of some black pens, probably no more than a dollar, and walk back home if you’re close enough to the store, if not, then drive slow. Now, take a break from the keyboard and only use the legal pads for writing: force yourself to write these stories on paper instead of the computer, get out of your comfort zone and do something different goddammit. An even further suggestion, stories are not allowed to exceed 7 pages. Why? Because, I like Chuck Palahniuk, and he says that when he was taking workshop, his instructor said you couldn’t say it in 7 pages, then you definitely couldn’t say it in 700. Plus, if every legal pad is only 50 pages, you can write 7 stories (7×7=49, for all you guys who haven’t been in school for a while) with the last story being a little bit longer for that extra page, unless you tear it out. Plus 7 pages forces you to hit all the important parts, all the vital moments of the story, and really get down to it: plus, 7 pages doesn’t take long to read or write, you could do it on lunch break, before you go to bed, on the bus, etc. So, I say, go buy yellow legal pads, write seven 7 page stories and watch as your writing improves from getting out of your element for a little while. Only write longhand until you fill up these legal pads, then transfer them to your computer if you must, or edit them all on paper, your call.

Exercise: The Ruh-re-remix

In our modern era, we’re very fond of remixes. It seems that every popular song in the history of ever has been remixed to death. Rap artists, pop artists, bad artists all remix their songs in a filthy cash grabbing effort to get their song to be broadcasted more on the radio. What’s funny is that, people often times flock to find more remixes or remix the song themselves, making it better, sometimes worse, in an effort to form this communal experience of being a part of this song’s lifeline, keeping it alive as long as they can in order to make sure that it stays fresh, and to create music that they really want to listen to. Also, there really is nothing better than digging your hands into something and getting dirty about it. But now, one wonders why it’s usually only in the music industry that things are remixed? Verses, lyrics, and sounds reordered and revamped in order to create a new song. One could argue that films have this with a directors cut, but this really isn’t what I’m talking about. A directors cut might add something that was taken out, but it dosen’t really change the movie, gives it a different look, for the most part; some director’s cuts do embellish and really make you reanalyze the movie, but those can often times be rare.

But, books usually never do this, and the only book that comes to mind is of course Chuck Palahniuk’s Invisible Monsters Remix, which has remix in the flipping title. Technically, it’s Palahniuk’s original version of the book, rather than the one that was published before, it’s now written and stylized the way that Palahnkuk always imagined. It’s an interesting thing and I can’t wait to finally read the book after I finish Survivor. Now, I wonder: why don’t more authors do this? Why don’t they tear apart their work, give it a different look, a different sound, embellish a little bit more or totally rework the whole thing, using all the same parts, just in different places. Instead of having the novel open with, “The summer of 1980 was a scorcher,” why don’t they break this apart and bring in the different description of that summer and place it in between, “The summer of 1980 was a scorcher,” or add repetition and more figurative language: play with this novel so that it becomes something different, the message changes this time around. Arguably the reason is because, many novels need that linear format, and for the most part, it would seem like the author was simply trying to add stuff that wasn’t there before, or make more money on this novel by “remixing” it. What I’ve described is probably more akin to a literary director’s cut, but it’s not.

Homework: write a story or take an old story of yours, and then remix it. Take the first line of the story and put it at the end, rewrite a description using all the same words, add a part that wasn’t there before at all, a totally made up part; change the formatting of the story, embellish on something that’s already been embellished to death, restructure the actual syntax of the story and make the page look a little bit morel like eye candy. Add color to color words, find the fonts for logos of signs and brands and insert it into the work itself: immerse yourself in the story and ask how would this sound if I did this or, what would be the connotation if I put this word here instead of there? Remix a story either of your own, or maybe take one of your favorite passages and remix it. This will make you an exploratory writer, a writer who does more with what they have, make an art out of their work, and you will benefit from finding new ways to say old things.

And a dare: I dare you to remix your remix! Take the remix and throw it in the blender again, or cut up the pages and rearrange all the lines, take away the punctuation, add more repetition of this phrase, replace something essential like “the” with “dog”, “it” with “fat”, something abstract that actually has a lot to do with the theme of your story. Add a background vocal too, something that’s “in between” the lines of the original that you might not have caught if it weren’t for this remix.

Double dare: Unmix the remix of the dare, don’t simply revert the changes, simply unpack the story so that it’s coherent again, but still a new thing, yet closer to the original work.

Triple Dog Dare? No, just kidding, I think your story might murder you if you abused it any further.

If you want to share, upload it to your blog and link to it in the comments, have fun!

2015 New Workout Plan: For Reading

So, I really should have posted this a little bit earlier, but I still think it’s appropriate to post it even now. So, this year, I set a goal for myself: read 120 books. That means at least 10 books a month. Last year I barely managed at least 2 a month, and even then. So far, I’ve read 4 books this month, so only 6 more to reach my goal, and it’s only the 11th at the writing of this post, I’m currently working on my 5th (Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk), so I think I’m doing well. Another part of my challenge is that, each month I will read at least one book outside of a genre that I normally read: for me, I rarely read romance, never have read erotica, rarely read crime, science fiction, or fantasy. So, here’s the workout plan guys:

  • At least 5 books a month, but I suggest 10
    -This means, if you decide to read 10 books per month, depending on the sizes of these books, you’d be reading about 3 books a week: to keep up this pace, I’d say read books less or at least 300 pages a piece. Some authors who write very short and enthralling books are Chuck Palahniuk (all his books are just around 300 pages at least check), Bret Easton Ellis (the book of his that I’m reading at the moment, Less than Zero isn’t even 200 pages), Earnest Hemingway, Faulkner, Jack Kerouac, and other great writers from the past. You don’t have to go extreme and read something like War and Peace, but if you do, then you get a pass for lifting big time. If you were to read 5 book, you’d only be on a book a week (one week you’d read 2). You may read multiple books at once, I’m doing it. This keeps everything varied and keeps you from being dragged down by one book you may not really like at a particular moment.
  • Each month, read at least one author that you’ve never read before
    -This month, I finally read Chuck Palahniuk, and I’ve fallen in love.
  • Each month, read at least one book in a genre you’ve never read before
    -For me, this has been transgressive fiction, I really do like it; I “hope” to finally read an erotica novel, I mean a straight one, this year as well. It will likely be in February, just in time for the Fifty Shades of Gray premiere.
  • Reread a book a month (this does count towards that 5/10 book goal)
    -This can be a book you’ve read before or it can be one that you read that month; I’m rereading Pygmy, the book I recently finished this month.
  • Fall in love with at least one book a month, this means tearing this book apart and understanding what makes it tick. I’ll be doing this with Chuck Palahniuk’s Pygmy, which I just finished reading, at the end of the month, so be on the look out for that.

But, even if you don’t follow the workout plan, at least read more than you did last year and get out of your comfort zone. Learn to sweat a little. You don’t get stronger sitting.

Exercise: Walking

I walk a lot. I mean, more than the normal person walks on a given weekend, especially if they have a show that they want to watch, work to get done for school or a job, or simply are too lazy to do much more than breathe in and out, lethargically and snort a couple of times when the air doesn’t go in and out right: wheeze, huuuuh-huuuh, like you’re some kind of mad cow who just had a good sprint from the whip, only, you didn’t. You’re just human, I guess.

Still, I like to think that my walking patterns are what keep me on the brink of health, per the fact that over the years, numerous times, by many doctors, that I need to lose weight. This is not only because I have asthma and all that fat pressing against my lungs will do me no good at all, but also because…fat. Not fun, nor is it pretty: have you ever got out of the shower and just traced with your eyes your stretch marks, and then you feel them: how bumpy and smooth they are,and then you just start to wonder where they came from? Time wasted pondering your fat, pudgy, lethargic, cow-like body. So, yeah, I need to lose weight, and these walks are what keep me on the edge. Now, I don’t walk just to walk: I walk because I didn’t have a car, nor a bike because the pedal fell off from my incredible girth, or something like that, and I don’t know how to fix it. For this matter, I go to stores and other people’s houses by foot, though mostly, to stores, especially since they’re all walking distance anyways.

On these walks, there is a bountiful wealth of information and idealism for me to grab from. A couple of years ago, I realized how much I hate cars, or rather, not being the one in side of it. People fly down the street, stare at you all the while, and kind of give you this scowl of discontent and elitism like they’re better than you because they walk, or because you walk, you must be some lower type of human being. The first time this all happened, I always just looked away or at the ground, but these days, I’ve learned to look right back at them and counter their thoughts: I hope you get into an accident for paying more attention to me on the sidewalk than this street full of cars. This is the idealism, almost brainwashed propaganda, crafted and distributed by the dictator that is consciousness, that you begin to teach yourself when you walk or in a situation where you are the walker. This is why not only exercise, something as minimal as walking from place to place to consume and defecate, and walking are good for the writer: you lean yourself, and you learn about the world, your perception is broadened and suddenly ideas are streaming in your head about how you can convey these idealisms and thoughts into something that is not so harsh and more entertaining…though, imagining a Grand Theft Auto like car accident can be quite grand in hindsight.

So, I’ve got some homework for you: go for a walk. A friend told me once when I said I might start running (this never happened) that don’t just run to run: run somewhere where you’re actually going to do something. In truth, really, there is actually nothing more unsatisfying for the brain to do something that has no reward. We are consumerist creatures and for this matter, we need something to consume, we need rewards for spending time and energy on something. This can be something as minimal as water, food, or cool air a the end of a workout, but in our times and the way our minds have been trained, I think you need something more: to buy something (buying those shoes you really wanted for a long time) , to receive something exciting (running to the movies to see this movie you’ve been waiting to see because it has your favorite actor), or to see someone you haven’t seen in a while, so you run all the way there because you just want to see their face. With this in mind, don’t just go for a walk for the benefit of your writing only, go for a walk to go somewhere, and alongtha t walk, that odyssey to this place, listen to music or the sound of the world, and learn about yourself and this world from the view point of someone who has always driven or been very impartial, you’ll learn a great deal about yourself and notice things you always missed while driving: “I didn’t know they got a new fence; I didn’t know they went fishing; I didn’t know she has a Porsche, I wonder how much this bitch makes.” Go for a walk this week or this weekend.