“Write what you know.”

I once tried to follow this quote like a bible passage. However, as my writing has matured, I’ve found that I’ve strayed away from the quote.

To “Write what you know.” Seems so ideological, but as a creative being it limits you, to the confines of a comfort zone that is meant to be crossed.

If we did stick to what we know, we’d have some pretty boring, and uninspiring books. All of which can be directly linked to a lack of creative inspiration, and a decent imagination. It makes you glad that the imagination has no limitations; except maybe if you put into consideration a person’s level of comfort with subjects that are uncomfortable or different. Those authors who are comfortable with pushing the envelope, and emerging themselves in the uncomfortable; can usually manage to give the reader a powerful reading experience. (That will usually convey a life changing work of literary masterpiece.)

On the flip side, what you know and have experienced in life, if properly conveyed can teach the reader about different cultures, and give them a sense of worldly knowledge that other wise would’ve remained a mysterious, unexplored path.

So, perhaps to use this terminology successfully one must have been through an experience that has changed the way they view society, or on a larger scale the world. An experience of which, they have a very moving and therefore powerful message to convey. A book series that could fall under both sides of the creative spectrum, and the what you know spectrum. Would be the Harry Potter series. Where Rowling uses both a wonderful imagination, and also draws on her mother’s passing, as the backbone theme in the series. That love is a very powerful, magical emotion; which can fuel a greater purpose.

However, when an author can step outside their comfort, and let their creativity run wild. They can create worlds entirely outside the normal realm. Two books that come to mind are Alice in Wonderland and The Lord of the Rings.

Another book that draws from a very dark time in history, but also conveys beautiful, yet tragic messages of love, friendship, acceptance. As well as the importance of books, words, and imagination. Is The Book Thief, a book that lives up to its reviews as a life changing experience.

Writing what you know, is now at least for me, is a balancing act of which should not be taken lightly.


Christopher Hitchens – Drexel Interview

Last week I was talking with a friend/fellow blogger Ste J. We had gotten on to the topic of religion, which segwayed to the Bible, and God. The conversation had reached a point where Christopher Hitchens was mentioned. Remembering a book review of Mr. Hitchens Arguably, that Steve had done a while back, piqued my interest. To get of a feel for his political views, his views on religion, as well as his own writing craft; Steve had advised me to look him up on YouTube.

Unsure of where to begin my search, I clicked on an Interview which he had done a year before he passed away, at Drexel University; which revolved around his memoir Hitch 22. After seeing this interview it made me want to read his memoir, another book by Hitchens (which was briefly discussed,) during the interview was God is not Great. A book that digs into the possibilities, that there may not be a God.

Aside from the religious aspects of the interview, Hitchens discusses his feelings contempt towards Bill Clinton. I also learned about his personal life, growing up in Britain, having parents that come from two entirely different backgrounds, and why Hitchens became so interested in writing, politics, and religion.

If you’ve yet to get to know Mr. Hitchens I’d begin with this interview.

Update Post

I’ve been meaning to come around and actually write a blog post, instead of posting YouTube videos.

I’m pleased to say that First Sight is progressing nicely. Since starting to put more of an effort into the book at the beginning of last month, it has gone from, a word count of around 4,800 to 20,650, which is amazing. However, on the downside of the book’s progress, I have recently discovered that I need to change it’s title, for there are too many books out there with ‘First Sight’ somewhere in the title. So, unfortunately I’m back to untitled; which I think is sort of better, considering, that I have no idea how this story will end. I have a feeling that it’s going to be one of those books, where the author is blind until somewhere around the climax. At least it’s progressing, and I’m getting more of a sense of my main characters Roxy and Lexi; both of which have a tendency to surprise me on a daily basis.

On an entirely different subject, I should have some new posts revolving around the house, home Improvement projects, contracting don’ts (which will save you from home owner hell,) as well as some painting tips. I think that I might start with the contractor don’ts. Now that I’m in a better position with the deck; I think that I can actually get through writing a post, without cursing my contractor’s name, on every other line.

I think that’s about covers it with this little update post. Hopefully, I’ll be back around sometime next week, once I’ve finished filing my taxes.

I’ll see you guys soon.

Enjoy your weekend 🙂

First Sight Redo Intro

Yesterday, I revealed the possibilities for a new book however, I hated the way I described said book. So I kinda wanted to redo the introduction to this book idea. Which I’m hoping will serve as a duo purpose, the first to fix the intro; (which I always manage to suck at describing the first time round.)  The second purpose is a distraction, for I have the worst case of heartburn, that’s legit making me want to upchuck, all that’s missing is the gross belching. I really should look into another heartburn reliever other than Tums, because they’re so not helping in the slightest at the moment. Anyway, onto the redo intro!

Adolescence, is complicated. When you stop and think about it there are many things that can define it as such. There’s school, parental figures, teachers, popularity status, cliques, the first crush, the first date, the first kiss. Except what happens when the first crush isn’t on a boy… But a girl?

When Roxy and Lexi cross paths in the fall of 2005. It’s a friendship turned on it’s head, when an unexpected flame sparks. Rising the question, Can love truly conquer all? Can their love endure homophobic peers, a bigoted parental figure, the prospect of coming out, troubles at home, the possibility of going in separate directions?

Can young love last? Or is it doomed to leave a scar that’ll last forever?

There, wish I would’ve come up with this yesterday, and I hope that this second attempt sounds loads more interesting.

Trouble brewing

Remember that story that I didn’t have a title for? Well I still haven’t come up with a title for it, but I have been sketching out the story itself. What do you make of this revised draft bit?

Her eyes detected and then locked onto Mitch and Dustin as they entered the park. When they caught sight of herself and Crystal, smirks spread out on their faces. Oh for crying out loud what the hell are they up to? “Ever feel like you’re different from other people?” Roxy’s eyes drew back over to Crystal. “Um, what?” Crystal looked up at Roxy for an instant, and in that moment her the coloring in her cheeks had heightened to a bright red, and her eyes conveyed a look of utter nervousness. They looked up then down, and back up again. They reminded her of two basketballs being dribbled. “Nothing,” Crystal’s voice choked on the word, as if something had been lodged in her throat. “Just forget that I mentioned anything.” Roxy didn’t take the bait. For now, whatever was bothering Crystal could wait. She looked back over at the park’s main entrance, and as she did so she caught a glimpse of Alexandra, who was making her forth lap around. By the time her eyes came to rest on the entrance there was nothing to see, Mitch and Dustin has disappeared. Perhaps they really weren’t up to anything. You moron! Her mind seemed to scream back. They smirked at you, didn’t they? Okay, so maybe they were up to something, but whatever that is, can’t be found out because they’ve disappeared. I’m certainly not stupid enough to attempt to find out what that is; Although Roxy suddenly felt a strong desire to walk around the park’s vicinity, but she fought the urge. Now I’m just being paranoid. “Sorry what were you trying to tell me Crystal?” Crystal sighed sounding irritable. “I was asking you whether or not you sometimes feel –” Something was being sprinkled onto them like rain droplets. “What the?” But then Roxy understood, these weren’t droplets of rain, they were droplets of gravel and –

Roxy leaped from the swing set, landing safely in the grass, she took off in a sprint for the alleyway. “Run!” She shouted to Crystal. She was halfway down the alley when she heard a blood curdling scream. She stopped, looked behind her, she saw nothing, heard nothing else. She took off in sprint once more. When she reached the other end of the fence alleyway, a blue pickup passed her on the street, and she felt safe, she felt triumphant. No way were Mitch and Dustin going to mess with her today. Another scream reached her ears, but this scream had been a command. “Stop!” The familiar voice ordered. “She’s hurt.” Roxy changed her course and made her way back down the alleyway. She sprinted out into the park, stopped, and looked over at the swing set.

Crystal lie on the ground with Alexandra crouched over her. “What happened?” Roxy asked, as she began to look Crystal over. Then she saw the blood.

Blood gushed for a wound just above Crystal’s right eyebrow. Seeing this sight, Roxy removed her long sleeve, her forearms now exposed to the chilly autumn air broke out in gooseflesh. Her body screamed for the warmth of the long sleeve, but Roxy ignored and pressed forward. She ripped off one of the sleeves and folded it until it resembled that of a thick piece of cloth. She pressed it to Crystal’s gushing wound and Crystal winced with pain. “I’m sorry.” Roxy looked at Crystal’s pupils and – Were they getting larger, or am I just imagining that they were? “Crystal how does your head feel?” At this Crystal looked at her, as if she’d been a little on the slow side. “Sore,” she answered in slow, clear, clarity. Roxy looked at her eyes again, examining her pupils more thoroughly than before. This time there was no mistaking it they were larger. “Crystal.” She noticed Crystal’s eyelids drooping in an exhausted manner. Roxy slapped her cheek. “Ouch, bitch, what’d you do that for?” “You need to stay awake, because it looks like you might be getting a concussion.” “Okay.” Her eyelids began to droop again, and this time Roxy and Alexandra pulled her to her feet. “Come on Crystal, we need to find somebody, who can take you to the hospital.” “Is anybody home at your house?” Alexandra asked. Crystal, winced in pain as they began to walk, Both Roxy and Alexandra tightened their grip on her. “I think my sister should be.” They walked her as quickly as she would allow down the alleyway, and by the time they crossed the street only a little over a minute had passed, but to Roxy the entirety of their journey to Crystal’s seemed like it had taken them ten minutes. As they were walking down the alleyway what ran through her mind was… Oh man, oh lord, Crystal please don’t pass out, please! When they walked onto the lawn of Crystal’s house her older sister had just opened the front door twirling a set of car keys in her hand, singing the lyrics. “Tell me what’s wrong with society, when everywhere I look I see. Rich guys driving big SUV’s, while kids are starving in the-” She cut the  lyrics off when she’d caught sight of Crystal. She went sprawling down the front steps, catching her footing on the last one, she walked over to them without incident. Thank God, another head injury we don’t need. “Crystal needs to go to the hospital, aside for the head wound, Roxy carefully removed the long sleeve cloth. Crystal’s sister let loose a horrified gasp. “I think she might also be getting a concussion,” Roxy said, as she carefully placed the cloth back over the wound. Her sister looked at her eyes and inched closer to her face, examining. Looks like I’m not the only one who was unsure of the assumption. “Shit!” her sister exclaimed. “Get her into my car.” A moment later Roxy and Alexandra watched as Crystal’s sister sped off down the street. When they were out of sight Roxy looked down at her hand, in was covered in red and a coppery brown at the edges, where the blood had started to dry. Poor Crystal, God I hope she’ll be all right.     

Contractor Don’ts

To be perfectly clear this post has to do with a contractor who really sucks at his job. This post is not meant to be a guide on which contractors to avoid, though you might take a tip or two away in this post.

I hired this contractor in late June to re-build my second story deck, which runs across the length of the back of my house. The old deck had seen its best days perhaps forty years ago. At first the guy seemed great, he had given me a good price and began to re-build the structure immediately. That first week was paradise he had the old deck torn down within three days max, and began to build the frames for the new deck.

As I said that first week paradise, now it’s August 9th and I don’t even have the flooring fully in, so now that you’ve gotten an idea of what I’ve been dealing with I’ll continue.

For privacy sake I’ll be using a different name for my crazy, nut job contractor, we’ll call him… Loony Larry, or just Larry for short.

Hmm, let’s see what was the first indication that Larry was indeed loony, ah yes the garage door moment.

Friday, 10:30AM, July 29th, location: driveway/garage.

I came around to the back of the house to ask Larry a question about the deck, I expected to find him up on the deck. Instead I find him sitting again one of my garage doors, with his radio sitting beside him. The radio was cranking out country music, I’m pretty sure I heard Reba McEntire’s For my broken heart playing.

Larry sits against the garage door, his face, the definition of gloom. The lyrics, (I guess the world won’t stop, for my broken heart.) Play on, making the gloom on his face even more defined. I approach him cautiously, for fear that I might be seeing apart of him that he wouldn’t want one of his customers to see; or at least I certainly wouldn’t if I were in his shoes. He looks up and sees me, suddenly I feel awkward, as if I’ve intruded on a private moment. But then the business side of my brain pops into play with, he shouldn’t be having a private moment while on the job site. This propels me forward and I stand near him waiting.

Larry: (Turns down the music) Sorry Chelsea, I’m just feeling a bit blue at the moment.

Me: (Can’t help feeling sympathetic, though I don’t even know why he’s depressed.) I’m sorry to here that.

Larry: (Kicks at a piece of gravel.) I’ve been working so much, and I guess I’m just worn down.

Me: We all get worn down, but I wouldn’t get depressed about it.

Larry: It’s not so much that, it’s really the fact that I had to fire one of my guys last week, for stealing tools.

Me: (I have heard this story a dozen times since the termination of the employee’s position. I know the details so well, that I could recite them. So I do; out of pure annoyance and frustration.) I know the guy worked with you for years, and you’ve known him since you did flooring installs for Bob’s furniture. But the guy can’t have been that great if he stole from you.

Larry: (sighs.) I know you’re right, but he was a good friend, and I miss him.

Me: (I feel the need to repeat the last bits of what I just said to him, but decide not to because he’ll yammer on and on about the guy, and all I want Larry to do is get to work on the deck.) Say you know what would help take those blues away? (He looks at me perplexedly, then shakes his head.) Good old fashioned hard work, so roll up those sleeves, and I bet you’ll be feeling better before you know it.

Larry: You know something Chelsea, I haven’t had to use. (He raises his fists.) Old Betsy, and Bertha, since I was in high school. We’re talking fifteen years.

Me: (Tried as I might to avoid this, he’s started to yammer, great.) I’m sure that fight is a hard thing to come to terms with. But I’m telling you the kind of work that you do, building things, that probably just makes you feel so good, and releases your tensions. Perhaps I’ll join you up there, that is if I weren’t afraid of heights.

Larry: Chels you’re gay right?

Me: (wondering what in the hell my sexuality has to do with this conversation?) Yes, why?

Larry: (beginning to sob.) I- I- was just wondering if you could tell me why guys are so mean?

Me: (He’s joking right?) Well that’s hard to say considering I’m a lesbian and have never dated guys.

Larry: (Now sobbing into my shoulder.) It just sucks, why can’t you just be able to trust an employee anymore? Why would they just rob you blind, I mean he was paid a decent wage.

Me: (Creeped out and losing my patience.) Sometimes people just suck and you just need to get over it. (I pick up his hammer and hand it to him.) I’ve got to get going, so you should get back to work on the flooring install of the deck.

Larry: Yeah, I should. (He begins to sob again.)

Me: (For Christ sake.) What now?

Larry: Nothing, it just, this was Kevin’s hammer.

Me: Look there’s another hammer in the garage, I’ll be by later to see how things are progressing.

It’s ten days later and I’m still waiting for him to finish the flooring, but he has at least attached all of the railing and some of the stairs. Apparently I attract the same type of contractors as the type women that I date, both are crazy, and are full of excuses, and are extremely lazy.



Break rules and be inspired

I wanted to write a post about something that I felt inspired by; usually that has to do with something about the craft of writing. As habit would prove, I’ve dug up a YouTube video revolving around a TIME interview that fit the bill.

I’ve been attempting to broaden my horizons, both as an author and as a reader, by digging into books, and authors that ordinarily wouldn’t be my cup of tea. Most recently I’ve sank my teeth into the Twilight saga. Thus far, I have only downed the first book, which I am happy to discover turned out to be better than the movie series, (which was partially to blame for my skepticism towards the book series.) But if I paid more attention to film adaptations than the books, I’d be missing out on some true learning experiences.

When I find an author that intrigues my interest, I generally like to hear their stories on their the literary craft. How writing inspires them? What interested them in writing the kinds of stories that they write? Etcetera. Well, what else can I say except, break the rules, and let your imagination run wild. Seem a bit odd? The video below shall help.