But it sure is a lot to me!
We're only 6 away from breaking 100 likes on the C.M. Humphries facebook Author Page!
You're already getting the free story in 2014, but I've challenged my self as a sort of early New Year's Resolution.
The last few days you might've noticed I sort of fell off the map. Reason 1 is that I'm currently work on some music, which takes some time. Reason 2 is because I had the great fortune of having my computer malfunction.
After a few days without access to my main writing device, I found myself diving deeper into music and writing out a new version of His Daughter by hand, and that's when I realized there were even more benefits than I previously mentioned.
Any curmudgeon out there will tell you the problem with the kids these days is a sense of entitlement. I think that's what every generation says. "You mean, some bus comes to your house and picks you up for school? In my day I had to walk 20 miles, along a snow mountaintop, to reach the 10-mile-away point . . . ."
The second thing they might tell you, is that more and more youngsters aren't doing their homework. That is, social media ruined our true connection with people & the spoken/written word. If no one's reading and writing, they're losing out big time. However, that's just not the case.
I've roamed around the web a few times, and now there seems to be a combination of recreational social media use and, of course, the homework. And guess what? Youngsters are online and writing more than ever.
Today I was spoiled with an opportunity to interview author Andrew Cyrus Hudson, the mastermind behind Somewhere in the Shadows: The Anthology. See, he's the guy who designed the book and had it made.
He's worked with multiple aspects of publishing, and his passion resides in producing a book from the ground up. He's also the guy who asked me to be in the short story collection.
You know that "Charlatan" thing I've been, admittedly, self-promoting like crazy as of late? That's the short story I contributed.
For now, here are the publishing-related questions and his uncensored response to them all.
C.M. Humphries (C):
C: How did you decide which authors would be in the anthology?
C: What were the overhead expenses for producing such an anthology?
C: What are your future plans for Somewhere in the Shadows or for other story collections?
C: Where can everyone find you online?
You Might Also Enjoy:
Ask Andrew Cyrus Hudson Anything About Somewhere in the Shadows or independent & self-publishing in the comments - and earn points towards a hand-bound edition of No-Injury Policy!
It's getting closer to bedtime and you're looking at your loved one, thinking about the ways you would love to express your love. The day was a long one, and now you want to share the excitement of a relationship and reduce stress in one fell swoop. You start with the sweet nothings and pillow talk shortly before your loved one turns to you and says they're too tired, too stressed, or they have a headache. Now, making love would be the cure-all in this instance, but it takes two to tango. Getting two people to agree about anything is difficult. So there you are, wanting to embrace your lover and wishing the stressors keeping you awake at night would go away. What do you do?
From day one, we learn plagiarism is a big no-no. Likewise, we tend to dislike anyone who "borrows" our hard work, whether in the case of a story or a witticism.
But can someone borrow just a little and get away with it?
For instance, music producers tend to pay an "homage" to other artists by sampling their tracks. We've seen in the past how record labels can sue each other for sharing too much of the same work. Does the same rule apply to literature?
Awhile back I wrote about the benefits of Writing Drunk. If you're too busy or too lazy to review the post, it is about the inability to focus under the influence of alcohol, which prohibits individuals from comprehending the complexity of brain teasers; therefore resulting in some very creative answers.
While under the influence of alcohol, people (especially writers) are more inclined to be creative and think outside of the box. In fact, studies show subjects who volunteered for an analytical analysis scored higher when they hovered around the legal limit.
As far as writing is concerned, a little rum n' coke alongside the keyboard (be careful, you might spill your drink) could potentially lead to more creative, inside-out writing. However, how does writing drunk affect you in the long run? You probably just finished sploshing bourbon in a slutty Halloween costume, so maybe this is a topic worth a glance.
When expectations are high, money is tight, love is tainted and stress is ubiquitous, the citizens of Chase County will do anything to make sure they survive. From the deconstruction of a town to frivolous intercourse with strangers, No-Injury Policy explores the dark depths of human nature when social pressures peak.
No sooner than the meek taste retribution, however, they encounter the demons that have aided authority figures to the top - demons that refuse to lose control no matter what it takes.
No-Injury Policy is the 1st short story collection by C.M. Humphries, showcasing seven of the eeriest tales from every town in Chase County: Raven's Crook, Lovington, Lakeside, and Long Brooke.
Following along as I provide a snippet of each story in the collection. If there's a picture to the left of the premise, that means I blogged on a topic from the story. Be sure to check them all out.
Back when I was still a freshman at Ball State University, I greeted a girlfriend at her place of work with a bouquet of red roses. It was the end of her shift, and it was Valentine's Day. I walked up to her desk, with all her co-workers gawking at us, and said, "Here, I got you a cliche." I rolled in laughter with the dust bunnies along the catacombs of my mind. Surely someone could appreciate both the flowers and the joke. But I was wrong. Apparently, she took one look at the flowers and surrendered to bliss, whereas after my one-liner, the sensation evaded her. (Guys, never ruin a woman's moment of joy. Just a tip.)
See, it wasn't the cliche that sabotaged the story here, but a severe reaction to it. Such a life lesson carried on, even into my writing. Today, I will show you the right way to treat a cliche, a method which may prove handy in everyday life.
Almost anything can inspire me to write. As Stephen King would say, "Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, while the rest of us just get up and go to work." There's no reason to force inspiration, and sometimes, it's best to make time and push out some creativity. However, when it comes to my fiction, a story really fleshes out when I discover a new fear.
While no one enjoys the sensation of being lost, I always feel I have a good handle on location and rarely panic when I make a wrong turn. Let's face it, some of us aren't as geographically savvy as others. When we're totally lost, we're scared shitless for a moment. That's me in New York last summer. And the following is what both provided inspiration for a story and the fearful turn it needed.
Tim Kreider is a popular guy lately. As of late, readers are starting to pay attention to him for his comments on the difference between being "too busy" or "too tired" and this cartoon. And while I would love to comment on saying your too busy when you're really too tired, I think there's something else in a recent Huffington Post that moved along a few wheels in my head: The concept of messy writing.
Messy writing is certainly an under-appreciated thing. There appears to be a disconnect about how much work actually goes into writing a messy book.
It's Not a Lack of Discipline
Admittedly, there are quite a few disorganized books out there, and I don't mean for effect. These are the sort of stories an author haphazardly writes in an effort to make money or because they don't read enough. They're sloppy and terrible.
Then there are the other type of messy books. These are the stories in which a tale is told from middle to beginning to end to middle to beginning to 1,000s of years ago in the future. Stories like these are written with the intent of being disjointed. Writing a decent disjointed tale takes a tremendous amount of patience, planning, and revision.
Some people will automatically disregard such novels because they aren't verse-chorus-verse. But should all books be?
Euphoria Comes Before Epiphany
The standard way of writing a novel is to pick a starting point and build to the end.I think we've all encountered Freytag's arc. Most novels anymore have this unrealistic progression of events. Right now you might be thinking my stories aren't the most realistic, especially stories like Excluded or Lovely Weather in Long Brooke. However, my focus isn't whether or not hands can reach out of walls or whether a man's identity can be literally stolen. Instead, my argument surrounds the way a story develops.
We tend to have a certain mindset that after something happens, we immediately learn from it. I don't know about you, but I'm normally left in disarray after something momentous strikes. For example, the minute you lose a loved one, you might not immediately think, "Oh, I should've listened to them more." On the other hand, you're more likely to lose yourself to thought.
This is the sort of messy story I like. After significant events, characters should spend some time in a euphoric or miserable state. They need time to sort things out and make great or terrible decisions as they begin to learn and change.
Writing a disjointed tale, one that is messy and all over the place, can sometimes be serendipitous to the read. Unfortunately, they require a second or two of patience, but they tend to be worthwhile in the end. While we all - myself included - are influenced by the norm of it-has-to-make-sense-by-page-two, we should consider reading a novel in which things aren't linear and don't always make sense right away. At the beginning, you might think, "Now why would Character A do that?" It's likely you'll know the answer in the next few pages, as long as you're willing to travel to past, the future, throughout the present, and somewhere else in time.
He's a rough snippet or my disjointed narrative in-the-works:
from His Daughter
Someone in the mob yells “bastard” at my second-story bedroom window. They all sway in my front yard, trying to keep warm and all yelling the same word. They’re like geese calling . And considering I’m a girl, their insults don’t even make sense.
On the tenth anniversary of the bridge incident, I remain indoors, hiding. I don't understand these people, or how they can ridicule me for a past I did not control. Just because my father murdered those eight people, doesn't mean I possess the same blood-lust. I’m not like my father. Not at all. Consider this my confession.
It's the third day of October, and in Lakeside that means something—means something more than any Halloween. This day means something more than any goddamn Styrofoam cup of hot apple cider or ghost costumes made from bed sheets. Halloween’s essentially a holiday when kids pretend they are things that matter. The third of October is the day when the adults of Lakeside do the same. At times, however, the mob in my front yard means nothing more than the crinkled, dead leaves on my front lawn.
The protests mean more nine years ago, when I’m ten—the first time anyone gathers in my front yard. I still live with my mother. My mother still lives.
"I don't know what they want from us, Cameron," mother says. She gazes out the front windows of the living room, her eyes barely peeking between the blinds. She shakes her head every so often and mutters something I cannot quite understand. I don't know that she really says anything; perhaps, her words are as broken as her thoughts.
The second anniversary of the bridge incident isn’t much better. I lie on my bed the entire day, alone in the townhouse; my uncle out somewhere. It's a narrow place. Hardly accommodates three, which by some standards, is significant. To me it means a little less than half as many people as my father killed. I need people around—as many as possible. Otherwise the world hates me; radiates animosity, hot and stinging. On the second anniversary I pray to God—something I haven't done in years. I ask for my mother back. I ask to go back in time so I can take the gun out of her hands.
I prepare for the day, sliding neon green gages through my earlobes. I brush my teeth and straighten my black hair. Setting the straightener down on my sink, I glance at the pack of cigarettes on my medicine cabinet. I pull them down and flip open the lid only to find that the box is empty. “Fuck,” I mutter to the mirror.
Moving on, I slide on black and blue Chuck Taylors and creep downstairs to my living room windows. Through parted blinds, I see the mob taking a break. They all sit on the ground, munching on thick sandwiches stacked with deli meats and generic American cheese and foam cups of steaming something. It’s all routine procedure for us, like we’re counterparts, except I’m not the one allowed to take a break.
Changing my direction, I sneak underneath the windows and scurry out of my backyard. In case I haven't painted the right picture yet, this is what it's like every October 3rd. Normally I would stay indoors, but a mob on your front yard will make anyone want a cigarette. Even if you don't like cigarettes, you can understand what this feels like to me. Imagine having to sneak around your own house or town for a large cup of coffee. I have been denied such simple guilty pleasures. Sometimes I wonder why I don’t just stay indoors. Then again, I won’t succumb to their torturing.
Determined to have my safe blanket of cigarettes, I head down the street, where something heinous is bound to happen.
SHARE YOUR OWN OR YOUR FAVORITE DISJOINTED NARRATIVE!
You Might Also Enjoy:
The Benefits of Not Being Able to Focus
Here's a brain teaser:
What do Hunter S. Thompson, Tennessee Williams, Edgar Allen Poe, Ernest Hemingway, and Dorothy Parker have in common?
They're all famous for being writers and drunkards.
Sure, it's an easy question. One that's more complex, however, is why do writers like to work under the influence of alcohol?
Several new studies might provide the answers.
Wired released a blog last week that reviewed how our brains operate under certain damages, while we're groggy, and when we're drunk. Tests given to subjects featured basic math, word association, analyzing, etc.
Many test-takers who suffered no brain damage, were wide-awake, and were sober faced some difficulty in the more creative endeavors. For example:
Move one line to make this equation true:
III = III + III
To cheat, go ahead an visit the hyperlink. You'll have to think out of the box to solve this one. But those with a limited ability to pay attention were able to solve the problem without headache.
Why? The study shows our imagination might be at its prime when we cannot focus, which also applies to alcohol.
At the peak of drunkenness, subjects were able to remain calm and consider all non-present and irrelevant data. If you've ever encountered a question in which there were a million possibilities, but none of them were choices A through D, then you might do well with creative problems.
Now I answer what this might have to do with writing - or rather, how to write when you're drunk.
I do not encourage people to see alcohol as an answer to all their problems in life, but I think it could help with the creative process of mapping out a story.
Let's face it, if you try to write a novel while smashed, the results may not be favorable. I'm no neuroscientist, but I would argue the conventions of writing such as structure and pacing are for the sober and awake mind. However, coming up with your story while drunk may be serendipitous.
The inability to focus allows us to think outside of the box; to consider all the options available and seemingly unavailable. Our minds can explore, and if we know the direction of a story, we might be able to construct one from the inside out a lot better.
While you're in the much recommended "planning stage" of a story, don't struggle getting started. If you have an idea of how the story will flow, grab a pint and scribble down everything that comes to mind. Perhaps even brainstorm with a drinking buddy (you know you've had some wild conversations whilst intoxicated, so why not see if they're truly interesting.) When you're sober and awake again, try to filter through your thoughts, see what sticks and still makes sense, and then construct your story.
It's been awhile since alcohol has been near my writing area, but maybe it's time. Maybe it's not. Never been much of a heavy drinker, but I sure like the works of the writers who are or have been.
Someone should read this blog (responsibly) drunk and tell me what they got from it. Til next time:
Ziggy Zaggy, Ziggy Zaggy, Oi, Oi, Oi!
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.