Sonia G. Medeiros’ April-May Writing Challenge: First Impressions and Famous Last Words


This month’s challenge asks participants “to write either the opening or closing lines of a story.”  Sonia mentions one of the most famous opening lines (and personally one of my favorite) from Stephen King’sGunslinger“:

“The man in Black fled across the Desert, and the Gunslinger followed.”

I do a fair amount of free writing that borders on ranting, so during my daily exercise I decided to focus on possible opening/closing lines.  Here is the opener that Zeus-ed me this afternoon:

The first time I clawed my way out of heaven I had to go back because I forgot my watch.  The second time someone clocked me, and whispered, “you’re late.”

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The Deepness in Jenga


Life is a jumble.  Sometimes everything stacks up nice and neat, but all it takes is one slight maneuver and the Jenga Tower just comes tumbling on down.  The part of the puzzle that is different for all of us is the quickness in which we build the tower, how high we build it, and how we rebuild it after it has collapsed.  I could probably expound on the aforementioned metaphor and say that each color represents a facet of our personality and that the flaws that cause the collapse of the tower are the ones that makes us stronger in the rebuilding of our beacon; however that level of detail is in a mindset and post of its own, so I’ll segue from ideological digression to something more grounded.

The last several weeks have been filled with craziness.  My girlfriend’s parents recently moved out of state leaving her feeling slightly uneasy.  All of her family now either resides in Idaho, or on the Westside of Washington State.  In their move, we helped whenever we had a chance to, and at the end of the day we ended up adopting one of their dogs to ease their move.  His name is Cody (aka Kodiak) and he is an incredibly well behaved and cute Chihuahua.  The sad part to the whole affair is that when he was a pup someone decided that negligence and abuse was the way to proceed, so unfortunately his back legs are horribly skewed because both of them were broken after being caught in a mesh kennel and then left to mend improperly.  The same individuals who left his legs shattered and misshapen, also felt it was necessary to solely feed him human food, which subsequently rotted out all of his front teeth leaving him with only his more sturdy back ones to do the munching.  When he pants he looks like a little old man, but even throughout all of the torment he is a well-adjusted, sweet, and handsome son-of-a-gun.  As I’m writing this, he is tightly wound into a little ball softly snoring away.  I’ve already become incredibly partial to him and hopefully with some diet and exercise his little chub will slowly dissipate and his legs can begin to heal.

Along with the adoption of the Chihuahua, I have been fervently writing as Celeste and I gear up for the Spokane Comic-Con.   I was fortunate enough to be able to cover the Vertigo relaunch and restructure last month, which led to quite a swell in viewership.  The Avengers vs. X-Men, which is the big Marvel summer event, just released last week and looks to be a promising 12-part arc that will pit the mightiest of the Marvel Universe in an epic slugfest.  And, at the moment, I am working on a review of Scott Snyder’s “Gates of Gotham” miniseries that premiered last year, before the DC’s new 52, as a kind of prologue to a series of articles that I will be composing about Snyder’s new Bat Family crossover story arc dubbed “The Court of Owls.”  Snyder is a superb writer and continues to push the boundaries of storytelling in both of his critically acclaimed Batman and Swamp Thing runs, so if you get a chance grab a Snyder graphic novel or comic—you won’t be disappointed.

As for the novel, “Jack and the Lilac Butcher,” I’ve kept up by fleshing out scenes here and there, and I am hopeful that the first act of the novel will be wrapped up in a couple of weeks.  It’s been a blast to write and it seems as if inspiration abounds, but I suppose once you are in love with something, whether it be a person, an idea, or a character, it is difficult not to be inspired.  In all likelihood I will post several chapters of the novel back-to-back here on WordPress, at the Writer’s Café, and at Wattpad.  I have been meaning to become more involved in Wattpad.  It seems like a great community of writers and readers that definitely deserves more of my time.

Just the other evening I finally wrapped up Clive Cussler’s “The Race” after slowly slogging through its whimsical pages.  My haste was deeply lessened with work and various sidetracks, but I was eventually able to finish the novel.  I greatly enjoyed it.  It was a fantastic period piece set in the early part of the twentieth century, specifically focusing on the early days of aviation, and the fictional Van Dorn Detective Agency’s various Pinkerton-like exploits.  I have now moved on to finally finishing King’s “Wizard in the Glass,” so that I can dive into his newest Dark Tower novel, “The Wind in the Keyhole,” which releases later this month.  Even though I have not finished the Dark Tower saga I am greatly intrigued by the fact that King has returned to his masterpiece after all this time with a fill-in novel.  Hopefully, this will give me the necessary push to finish the series that I have so longed to read, but never ‘found’ the time to enjoy.  With a stack of books at my bedside I have found that Goodreads has been an excellent site to virtually house all of my reads and want-to-reads, while simultaneously engaging in literary discussions.  If anyone is interested, or already as an account, send me a follow and I’ll make sure to follow back.  I always love to see what others are reading.  There is always a hidden gem in someone’s library.

Well, I am off to dive into the endless sea of pop culture that I ‘oh-so’ love.  A latte, a cozy Chihuahua, some Queen on vinyl, and a bought of writing are in order for this blogger.  A hat off to everyone, and hopefully the sun is shining wherever you are.

Cheers,

Anthony Schultz

Helter Skelter


Helter Skelter by Sir Stanley Spencer (1937)

Life is crazy.  Super crazy—no joke.  I spend my nights working graveyard shifts in order to retain some semblance of healthcare, and I spend my days writing, promoting, reading, and absorbing as much pop culture as Borgly possible.  During the rare occasions that I actually find some shuteye I dream of two things: electric sheep and the one-day that I’ll live abroad as a fulltime writer.  Even if it is just ever so briefly I will feel fulfilled; honestly who knows maybe the path to literary greatness only resides in alcoholism and sadness, but I am going to try my damndest to repave that yellow brick road with moderation and wit. I’m definitely not one to try and rekindle the Beat Generation in some desperate plea to find an ends to a means, but in a world where craziness runs wild like a lost bumble bee in a snow storm I think my odds of running against the grain are at least an even fifty-fifty.  To read about Billy Burroughs maybe be intriguing, but to live the life is another thing all together.

Thus far I’ve been fairly successful.  I’ve finally begun to save for that journey abroad and every minor success seems to be slowly adding together towards a fulltime writing gig.  I’ve built a following from absolutely nothing.  I’ve had complete and utter strangers shred my work as well as provide it with glowing terms of admiration.

We live in such a dichotomous life that it’s heard to believe in the gray at times.  We’re bombarded with this black and white perception of reality, when in fact we all live in a varied gray-space.  For example, when I write I listen to music.  This by itself isn’t all uncommon, but at times I like to curl up and click, clack away like a childish Bull listening to the soft crackle of my record player as the decades gone by lyrics of Sinatra sooth and influence my prose; however, at other times I sit in my study with a Bacardi and cola fervently penning my next chapter of “Jack and the Lilac Butcher” to various hip-hop legends.  This is the just a mere example of the gray that I have created for myself.

We all have it, and it extends far beyond my shallow music example.  It resides within our day-to-day interactions as well as more philosophical ideologies as they pertain to religion and politics.  I’m an agnostic liberal who tries to be a student of all faiths and politics.  I may not agree with everyone all the time, but I will always stay deeply nestled within the French cuff of knowledge—folded nicely away like a cybernetic fly on the virtual wall.

I live in a constant state of flux.  I’m constantly evaluating and re-evaluating every decision I’ve ever made as well as every immediate decision I will make.  I take different angles on all predicaments and try to proceed with the utmost care by jockeying back and forth between caution and impulse.  It’s a rough ride like all of our own personal journeys, but there is one thing that I have learned over the course of twenty some odd years: live for your desires.

So, many people live in this habitual bubble that just slowly dissipates over the years–until it just pops one day.  There is no point in existence if life is lived that way.  Just like the Force, there needs to be balance.  A beam needs to be carefully walked across as you enter every and any situation.  Caution and impulse need to be wed, and the gray needs to be embraced.  Nothing is black and white, and everything that appears to be so—isn’t.  True story.  Look it up.  I read it in a book.

Cheers,

A.R. Schultz

Sonia G Medeiros’ “February Writing Challenge: Of Love and Leap Years”


Last month I participated in Sonia Medeiros’ writing challenge, which consisted of creating a fifty-word blip using a specific word from a predetermined list.  It was the first challenge of Sonia’s that I had the pleasure of partaking in and all-in-all I had a terrific time.  I loved throwing my hat in, but what I really enjoyed was reading everyone else’s take on the task.

This month she is holding a new challenge that asks readers to compose a 250-word short about ‘Love’ and/or ‘Leap Years.’  Within the confines of the piece the writer needs to include five-words from a new predetermined list and upon completing the challenge the writer is then required to add their own word to the list in order to mix it up a bit and vary the posts.

I completed a rough draft of my entry yesterday and this morning I polished it off.  Hopefully everyone like it!  My word to be added to the challenge will be ‘idiosyncratic’ and here is my take on Sonia’s February writing challenge:

A Defective Year

Today was his sixth birthday—technically he was twenty-four, but who was counting?  After all, Leap Year was a variance—an aberration; it didn’t need to exist; yet it did.

In his book lethargy was top priority for the day.  He showered, threw on some clothes, popped open a Guinness, but just as he was about to take sip—he let out a slight cough.  It was minute, but he could feel another building.  Suddenly, he dropped his Guinness and before the can could strike the white-checkered linoleum and the second cough had commenced–he was gone.

Vanished.  Poof.  Non-existent.

For a nanosecond he felt as if he were underwater, but when he opened his eyes he was kissing a beautiful woman.  Blonde-hair, fair skinned, blue eyes, and his heart skipped forward and proceeded directly past ‘Go!’  He blushed, but the kiss was so tender and intense he fell into it like Skywalker tumbling into the Sarlacc.

As the two parted, he smiled and, in return, a smile escaped her lips.  He didn’t know where he was or how he had gotten here, but he knew he wanted to stay.  Love at first sight had never been in his paradigm, but in his heart he—poof.

He was gone.

He was back in his apartment with a Guinness bubbling at his feet.  He immediately grabbed his coat and was out the door before the can could stop spinning.  He would find the girl—that was the magic of Leap Year.

Sonia G Medeiros’ “January Writing Challenge: Fifty on One”


I regularly read and comment on Sonia’s blog, “Doing the Write Thing,” and every month or so she holds a writing challenge to her subscribers and stumble upon-ers.  For example, the last writing challenge she held could be of any genre, but had to pertain to the topic of ‘masks’; this time around the challenge is to write a piece that is exactly fifty-words and encompasses a specific word from a predetermined word list.  After a writer completes the challenge they then add their own word to the list, so that future readers/posters will have more words to choose from in order to vary up the challenge as more people post.  At the time that I read the original post there were only three words available (disintegration, quotidian, and collection), but after only a week or so there have been quite a few added to the list.  With this in mind I urge everyone to give the challenge a whirl; it is loads of fun and is a great way to flex one’s writing muscles.

My word to be added to the list will be ‘precocious’ and here is my stab at the challenge:

Rebirth

He loved her.  She loved him. They were the last.  World disintegration–left with but two.  “Breathe,” she told him, and he did.  He burst through crashing waves.  He found salvation.  They weren’t alone; they were just lost, and she had found the way.  And, then they saw the sun.