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Monday, February 24, 2014

Zombies Running Amuck in New Mexico

The worst thing about being a zombie is you can't hold down your juice. 
Last week I presented a paper and participated on a panel at the Southwest Popular American Culture (AKA Southwest PCA/ACA) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I would be a liar if I didn't admit to some disappointment about the event. I've presented at all kinds of conferences and was shocked at the number of presenters that didn't bother to show up to their own sessions. Audiences I can understand, presenters, however, are an entirely different matter.
Listen to me dammit

The panel I was on went well and we had an attendance of about 12 people, which at the time seemed pitiful, but in retrospect was pretty good. I knew things wouldn't bode well when I discovered that I was scheduled to present my paper in the only room on a different floor than the rest of the conference. I of many conferences knew that was a death knell for the hope of any kind of attendance. The other sign of doom was that two of the speakers and the moderator didn't show up.You know things are bad when even the moderator can't be bothered to attend. The two of us read our papers to an audience of five souls courageous enough to find our hidden room.

That aside, I did get to attend a crazy panel discussing zombies. One of the
presenters had written his dissertation on zombies, I kid you not, zombies have now infiltrated academia, where will they appear next? There was a heated discussion about the difference between Virus Zombies and Voodoo Zombies, which was a hoot. I didn't know there was a difference, but for the true zombie aficionado, there is a huge chasm separating them. Who knew? The panel and interested audience also pondered the lack of zombie animals, including cows and dogs. One attendee pointed out that there wouldn't appear to be much difference between a regular cow and a zombie cow. Hmm. Dog zombies could look kind of cool, though.
At least the weather was fine and heh, now I know more about zombies than I ever thought necessary. Maybe I'll write a book about zombies in love.
I'd love to kiss you, but neither of us have lips. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Long is This Winter of Our Discontent - A Writer's Survival Guide

The reality is that we're discontented with this winter. Will the gloom never end? Of course, those of you aware of where I live are probably scoffing at the minimalist winters we on the Gulf Coast experience. Scoff all you want, it's still been a lousy winter by anybody's standards.

No matter where you live, all of us are living through more cold, rainy/snowy days than we're used to or want to including my crazy Aunt that complains when Lake Ontario hasn't frozen thick enough, whatever that means, I mean frozen is frozen in my opinion.
Frozen enough for you Auntie?
The plus of all this yuckiness (and yes there is a plus) is that when the  weather is bad, we're stuck inside and inside is the best place to write. Oh I know, some writers wax poetic about writing on a sunny hillside, but unless they're using paper and pencil, it ain't happening. The glare on most laptops (including my beloved Mac) makes it impossible to write outside. Since we're forced indoors, we might as well write. I am doing just that and am getting some good stuff written.

Well, actually, I've been revising and struggling with passive voice for some bizarre reason. Passive voice has never been one of my writing problems, overuse of conjunctions is my major writing snafu, so why I'm suddenly stricken with the passive voice bug is a mystery, a lazy, meandering, passive one for sure.

Anyway, as I was saying before obsessing on my newest writing nemesis, let's use this loathsome winter to energize our writing. I realize it's hard to stay focused and positive when gloomy cold lingers outside our windows. Still, it's what we need to do, it's what I need to do.

And for my good friend freezing in her drizzly world of snow and dark skies and cold temperatures--you've got nothing else to do, you might as well get writing and remember:

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Finding Joy in the U.S.

Have you noticed an increase in the number of people spouting off predictions about our country's bleak future, their faces plastered with malicious smiles of satisfaction at the gloomy world awaiting us? You might even be beginning to agree with these pessimists, especially as we all witness the frightful increases of school shootings and road rage and at what appears to be a growing collective anger. You might, at this very moment, be on the verge of accepting that our country, and perhaps our world, has completely lost its moral compass and is heading towards annihilation.

What I don't understand is how this kind of pessimism is even possible.  How can any of us fortunate enough to live in a First World country (for those unfamiliar with the term think opposite of Third World countries where people are starving and homeless) with our full bellies and comfortable beds, choose to wallow in the negative instead of finding joy and giving thanks for all of our blessings? Why are there people so filled with misery,  they seem to revel in imagining a world without hope.
That is a place I refuse to live or even visit. Instead I choose to live in a wondrous world filled with endless promise. A world where everything and anything is possible. Why do I choose to live in a place that some might view as nothing more than idealistic nonsense? Simple, I look for joy in everything.

Now at this point you might growl (because I visualize pessimists as growlers not gentle talkers) "That's because your life has been smooth and easy, with no strife anywhere."

"In your dreams,"I would say after laughing hysterically at your ridiculousness because my life is like yours: rocky and difficult. I've struggled against all types of adversity, as you have, including more rejection emails than you can imagine. The difference is all in the attitude. What sets joyous people apart is our ability to find goodness in all things. And that means all things, not just the good stuff.

If you look, you can find joy around you. It's not hard to find. It's not hidden. It's everywhere. Seek out joy and you will discover it. And when you choose joy over anger, negativity, and violence, your journey will be a wondrous adventure instead of a tiresome chore.