LEVEL THREE (a novel)
- I am slowly and deliberately deleting all my social sites July 21, 2019
- Sunday Morning (or, My New Ritual) March 10, 2019
- Bait-and-Switch (or, The Sham of War) February 24, 2019
- Your US Postal Service at Work November 17, 2018
- Give me that ol’ time religion. August 13, 2018
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Affirmations, Et Cetera
You can read Chris’s stuff on: www.procrassthenation.com
1. Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn’t mean anything else.
2. Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don’t implement promises, but keep them.
3. Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean “More people died” don’t say “Mortality rose.”
4. In writing. Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers, “Please will you do my job for me.”
5. Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say “infinitely” when you mean “very”; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.
“Pantsers vs Plotters” is my latest WRITING STUFF Podcast on SoundCloud.
My friend called me last night to talk with me.
Well, more precisely, he called to talk at me. And talk, and talk. He really had no interest in what I wanted to say. If he did, he would have called me at a time which was more convenient for me. I am an early riser, as you can see from the time of this post. He, on the other hand, is night owl. So when he called me the previous night at ten o’clock at night, that pegs him as a toxic person right there.
I knew I shouldn’t have called him back. If I really did want to call him back, I should have timed it to just before prime time. You see, he’s also a cheap person who refuses to buy a cable-phone-internet package. So he is a slave to the TV schedule. He has to call me when he has nothing else to do — for the next hour or so.
I put the timer on on my phone. I give him 20 minutes. (The next time we speak, he’s getting fifteen.) If you have to make excuses to cut someone off, that’s a pretty good indication that any conversation is a time-suck. Toxic.
He always knows just what is needed to save the city / state / country / world. “Someone should do this.” “Someone should call city hall.” “Someone should stand up to them.”
Not he, mind you — no, he never says that he’s going to the next city council meeting and address problem XYZ. He loves to feel that he can influence others to do his bidding. He thinks he’s a Svengali; he isn’t even a Svengoolie.
He’s bright enough, but he is also pretty lazy. And his allies are the most disgusting bunch of perverts and leeches I’ve ever know.
He wants me in that circle. No thank you, I’ll make my own circle. And I’ll tell you all about it, when I feel like it, probably some weeknight around 7:55 p.m.
I know it is going to happen. I have another of my recurring dreams, where I am walking with someone in a place that is both familiar and unfamiliar. Was it the beach, my old neighborhood, or a military base?
Where isn’t the issue so much as the fact that the dream is very real and very scary. Sometimes I scream or cry, “I’m not supposed to be here!”
The person I’m walking withers a nondescript face. We turn a corner. Someone comes out with something in his hand, whether a gun or a knife or even something as seemingly harmless as a cellphone. My companion freezes, and then drops to the ground, dead.
I catch only a glimpse of the horror, of the face of the murderer. He’s about 70, fat — boy, don’t men hate the word ‘fat’. He’s unshaven, but not in the millennial hipster way. His clothing hasn’t seen laundry soap in weeks.
I wake up. It’s very early, and the birds are already attacking my downstairs neighbor’s bird feeder. Thank goodness I’m and early riser and that I like most birds.
I go to the bathroom, look in the mirror …
… And see a face that is not mine.
Victor Laszlo: And what if you track down these men and kill them, what if you killed all of us? From every corner of Europe, hundreds, thousands would rise up to take our places. Even Nazis can’t kill that fast.