Sunday, September 14, 2008

Praised and Confused

After attending a writer's workshop this past weekend, I found myself swimming in enough over-used cliches, and tripe filled superlatives, that Michael Phelps would've needed a life jacket, and a flotation device. These are just a few of my observations regarding the "4th Annual Writer's Workshop" (whose organization shall remain nameless) to protect the innocent and the not-so innocent. My views in no way reflect the merit of the attendees, and I apologize in advance for this lopsided precis.

The moderator, an author of several books, currently works as a "life coach" and part-time agent/editor. His presentation was a confusing summary of the genres he liked and didn't like. The prepared lecture, littered with trite euphemisms, and tired expressions that "everybody uses" was predictable and uninspiring. Phraseology such as "spontaneous combustion" "make no mistake" and using the words "like" and "drama" as a verb and a noun at the end of every other sentence lacked an interesting and intelligent use of the English language.

Seconds before half of the participants had exited the classroom, he decided to praise a few of the attendees by reading their writing samples in a fake Shakespearean accent. I listened peevishly as he read a gritty, character driven selection, written by a retired farmer from Sugar Ditch, Mississippi. While this brilliantly crafted narrative was deflowered by the ostentatious moderator, the few remaining dumb asses (myself included) didn't dare budge. We were altogether intrigued by this guy's effusive theatrics. Humbly, he concluded his lecture by passing a collection plate. Everybody shifted their butts, gathered their belongings, and when he wasn't looking we bolted for the door.

Disillusioned, I went home, and wracked-up everything I hated most about the workshop. From the cliches, meaningless rhetoric, people with Master's Degrees in Creative Writing, to the network marketers hosting the workshop trying to sell soap and market their "professional services" to unsuspecting authors. As the mental flatulence ejected from the seat of my pea-sized brain, I felt as confused as a duck wearing rubber gloves and wool socks in the middle of a sandstorm.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

It's a Blog Eat Blog World

In my quest to save the literary arts community, I've discovered two very exciting websites for the Independent Writer. Whether your writing style is lyrical, erotic, political, fictional, biographical or satirical, you'll be sure to find a a strait-jacket and a warm body-bag at the following Indie Publishers: Soft Skull Press and Melville House Publishing

As one who grizzles at the dust jackets of corny, hokum milk-toast emanating from the butt-holes of mainstream publishing; my faith in literary art has been thoroughly revived. After placing my "baby" into the loving arms of Melville House, I finally feel I'm Home. Melville House has a simple credo. they want to see the whole thing and they want more than anything, "to let the work speak for itself". I also like their dark humor and utterly hostile stance toward talentless literary agents, and half-dead, barely alive publishers. So, if you are an illustrator or writer in the throes of finding a publisher; or you possess an artistic style that is not easily encapsulated in a one paragraph synopsis, I urge you to visit their websites. As Naked Ape would say: You'll like what you see and you will be satisfied.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Basking in The Laptop of Luxury

After receiving a recent influx of invitations to "make money completing surveys" I wondered if anybody has ever profited from this enterprise. One of my team members earned 30.00 from writing a few articles on the internet, but other than that, I have yet to meet these fire breathing entrepreneurs getting rich for "their answers to whether they use 1 or 2 ply toilet tissue. Granted, I have always been a skeptic at heart. Trust but verify. But how do you verify the value of an online survey?

People are not created equal. Some individuals have generated a passive income (which is the ultimate form of wealth) completing online surveys, while the latter develop red eyes, stiff necks and tired hands. I know this, because I completed one of those "short surveys" last night. And like the morning after a hangover, backwards pants a lost shoe and a dead cell phone; the answers I seek to augmenting my income will not be found in this sector of the transnational e-conomy. Because what I've learned from this experience, is that submitting wasted time, energy and opportunity for a "chance" to win a 25.00 gift card is fruitless. And no matter how compelling the enticement, such efforts are not exactly the true path to basking in the laptop of luxury.