Monday, June 4, 2012

Writing Prompt #7: As It Please You

I'm not a hoarder.  Or at least I'm not anymore.  When I was young, I would collect all my Halloween candy into a plastic My Little Pony suitcase and store it under my bed.  I didn't eat any of the candy.  Instead of having bits of chocolate at the corners of my mouth or a blue tongue from some artificially-flavored sucker, I would tuck it away.  Why?  Well, it wasn't so much for me as it was for other people.  When friends would come over and ask to see "it", I would slide the bag out from it's hiding spot and undo the aluminum latches and then I'd wait for the response.  That's what it was for: to see the wide eyes, hear the pleasing "ah" fall out of my friends' mouths.  I was showing little kids the Holy Grail of Rancid Confections.  The fact that they were pleased was more pleasurable to me than tucking my cheeks full of sugar. 

And that, friends, is what begins today's writing prompt.

Let's get our pleasure on.  

Writing Prompt #7

You can take this writing assignment two ways: go the autobiographical route or work it around a character in a story you're working on.  Or you could do neither. You could just read this prompt and flip me the middle finger.  Because honestly I have no idea what it is that you're going to do after you read this.  Unless I'm stalking you.  And I don't know if I'm stalking you because I don't know who "you" are.  But there is a good chance I'm stalking you anyway.

You can look at my bits and pieces, but you CANNOT eat them.

What activity do you engage in that gives others as much, if not more pleasure, than it gives to yourself?  And let's be realistic; the activity need only be a little ego-less on your/your character's part.  I really loved seeing other people drool over my candy.  That part was for me. 
Got it?  Now write a scene describing the action that makes other folks happy as clams or as giddy as kids looking at a rainbow-colored suitcase full of moldering Snickers Bars.    

Friday, June 1, 2012

Aware Enough to Write

It would be easier for Buddha to write if he had hands...
There is a rather entrenched belief that there is no "middle ground" to the writing life.  You either strive, strain, kill yourself over your syntax or diction or you go the way of the divinely inspired, only running to your writing desk when a sharp, clarion call to the page keeps you from eating or sleeping.  What if it's neither of these things?  What if a sustainable writing life is a mixture of the two, combined with a bit of - gasp- fun?

I was a writer that prescribed to the former way of doing things.  For years, I literally tortured myself over my writing.  There weren't any knives in my ribs or thumbscrews on my hands, but there might as well have been.  Because even though I was certain that my passion was writing, I couldn't enjoy what I was doing when I was crafting a story.  I had bought into the notion that it had to be difficult: tears shed over whether or not a paragraph was "good enough", stomach twists while watching other people reading over my words.  There was a clear lack of joy.  In fact, it wasn't even a lack of joy.  It was simply pain.

I never thought of myself as a masochist, but my actions were saying otherwise.  I was willing to write, but I was also willing to sacrifice my mental health to do so.   

So I decided to change the way I looked at writing.  Or rather, I shut out the loads of programmed bullshit I'd allowed into my brain from years of writing and English classes.  I wouldn't worry about whether or not my story about a German exchange student would be "good" enough to end up in some literary journal that five thousand people subscribe to but only five people actually read.  I wouldn't worry about artificially creating thematic elements in my work. In other words, I'd take my mind out of the Iron Maiden.  And just, whoa, write.

This new way of writing, cutting out the self-doubt and axing the nagging bitch that lives somewhere in my cerebral cortex and says rather nasty things, has allowed for a new writing experience.  My writing has gone zen, gone mindful and aware and totally present.

Here's what I do; I begin each writing session with meditation or an exercise in awareness.  I don't sweat out my plot points or worry about how I'm going to describe a murder scene.  I breathe.  I look at the grain in my desk, the way it flows, the way it looks like a bit of cartography, lighter landmasses surrounded by blue-gray water.  I touch the tip of my tongue to the roof of my mouth and smile.  I actually smile before I write.  And this makes all the difference.

Because now, when I write, I don't hate the potential product, cast doubts on it or shelve it somewhere high on a pedestal.  I am present and I am writing.

When I'm writing, I'm a writer.  When I'm not writing, I'm a person that doesn't agonize over the fact that I'm not writing.  Instead, I'm present in whatever is happening then, at that moment.  Walking in Albertson's park with a new friend, being greeted by a young doe and scores of geese dropping chocolate brown feathers.  Brushing my hair and noticing how the snags turn into shiny, flat locks.  Kissing.  Laughing.  Weeping.

All these things are just as good as the writing.  And the more aware I become of my actions, the less I care about the labels.  Am I a writer?  Yes.  But when I'm kissing, I'm a kisser.  And when I'm crying, I'm a crier. 

But am I any of these things always?  Permanently?

Hell no.

I won't always be a writer in action.  I may take on the moniker as a way to self-identify but there are many other descriptors to play with as well.  For now, writer suits the me of today.  And the writer of today, well, she's going to have a ball getting those words out and down and put to task.

She'll reveal in it, even.  She is revealing in it, now.     

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Writing Prompt #6: For Tomorrow We Die

You may be asking yourself where my writing prompts have been these past few weeks.  Or you may not.  Because you probably don't care.  But if you do, then let me explain.  I've been stuck in a well.  I know.  It sounds unlikely.  But seriously.  Wells are super slippery and and once you fall in one, it's hard to get out.  Especially when Lassie isn't around.  And there are no more buckets on ropes.  And that scary brunette girl with the wet nightgown won't have any of you leaving.

But I'm back.  And only slightly damp from the entire thing.

Writing Prompt #6: For Tomorrow We Die

Don't panic.  We aren't literally going to die tomorrow.  Well, some of us might.  I hope not.  But that's life for you.

So, in a semi-famous work known as THE BIBLE, Paul says, "Let's eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die."  Killer line.  Pithy and appropriate on so many levels...

Let's all do a "fill-in-the-blank," shall we?  The task is to come up with our own dialogue excusing our wild excesses and wanton actions, followed up by the latter part of the line, "...for tomorrow we die".  I suppose it could be something tame, like, "I think we better put on clean underwear, for tomorrow we die."  Apparently dying in dirty undies is a major point of anxiety for some people.  Not me.  But I've heard of it being worrisome.

Come up with something that needs to be done before biting the dust on the morrow.  Once you've got that, come up with a character that would speak this line in a story.  For example, the character that says, "I think we better put on clean underwear, for tomorrow we die," is a woman in her mid-fifties that wears curlers to bed, feeds her cats raw ground beef and touches her chest every time she talks to a man younger than her.  Her name is Linda.  She is a Cancerian.

Okay, got the line and the character?  Do you like them?  Do you really like them?  Well then give them a world to play in.  Maybe even let them live past tomorrow.  Or not.  But get the story done today, for tomorrow WE DIE.

And all come back as zombies.    

Monday, April 9, 2012

Writing Prompt #5: Body Parts Like Something Something

And away we gooooooooooo!!!

Writing Prompt #5

No matter who or what our characters are, no matter if they're alien or human or little shiny toasters, we have to give our readers some descriptors on what our heroes and villains look like. Thing is, a lot of writers (and I'm counting myself in this group as well) fall back on the typical physical targets for our cliche metaphors and similes. We tend to talk about the hair, the mouth, the eyes. I'm just going to go ahead and say that if we never again read about eyes described as pools of water we'll all probably have better lives. And live longer. And have awesome sex.

Seriously. Let's stretch that descriptor muscle (Um, this could be one of the physical body parts worthy of describing...). What about the earlobes? What about the shape of the moles up your heroine's inner wrist? What about the strange, stunted nub on the Tractyl Minister from Alpha-574?

Here's the deal: Dream up a character and write a paragraph describing their physical condition without resorting to the boring standbys of lips as red as blood or biceps bulging out of a ringer tee. Characters have more body parts than that. I swear I've seen more than eyes, noses and lips on people (though those might be the only parts of a Tractyl. I can't readily say.). Pick some of the other body parts and work on describing them with substance and attention to physical detail. It's sure to make your writing more dynamic and unique. Or at the very least, it'll wake up readers when you wax poetic about webbed toes and goiters.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Writing Prompt #4: Four Letter Words

Last Monday I was sick so there wasn't a writing prompt. I bet you missed having one. So I'm giving you one about swearing to make up for my absence. Hooray!

Writing Prompt #4

Swear words add a lot to writing. And life. And they're fun. A lot of them are four letters in length. This apparently has a lot to do with the Anglo-Saxons conquering the isle of Albion. So not only did they bring over a taste for sauerkraut (honestly, this is probably not even true) but they also brought over rocking things to scream out when you stub your toes.

Today we're going to create our own four letter word. The rules are simple. First, it needs to be four letters. Second, it needs to mean something naughty. You can do the first thing first or the second thing first. You can come up with some sordid definition and then produce the word or come up with a word like larm and then decide what exactly that means.

Then SHARE! I know there are those of you out there they actually do my writing prompts. And honestly, I need some new four letter words. I'm really exhausting all the ones I already have in my arsenal.

Happy swearing!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

You Will Be Rejected!

I'm on my second book. I have a 160,000 word first book waiting for a very thorough edit. I have some short stories I'd like to shop around and one that needs to get the last 3,000 or so words plopped on it to make worth something. I've been writing poetry; it's a lot of emotional, diction play. I'm doing my damnedest to blog.

I'm writing. Sort of.

But I've also been thinking lately about taking that plunge into publishing. Gasp! Eek! Yeah. I do those two things all the time. Because from what I understand, the odds of me getting my work published are close to the odds of me spontaneously looking down between my legs and discovering I've become a man.

Okay, maybe the odds aren't that much against my favor, but they ain't looking too good neither.

I've been reading books on how to get published. Man, there are a lot books on how to get published. I think my odds of getting published would skyrocket if I would just write a book about how to get books published. Except then people would be all, "So what have you published." And I'd be all, "I've published this book on how to publish books."

Besides, I'm not really into nonfiction writing. My fantasy worlds are vastly more interesting than my own relative reality.

The book I'm currently reading is titled, 77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected. I'm sort of mad at the book, because honestly I haven't even submitted a book for rejection yet, but apparently its already happened. It's been rejected. I guess this book is saving me having to go to all the trouble of actually trying to get published. Okay, no, this book is helping me be lazier. Thanks book.

I actually dig the book. I really do. Except for the little fact that according to the author, Mike Nappa (a dude that has written more than this one book on how to publish books), if an editor runs out of detangler for their unmanageable hair the day your book proposal comes through their inbox you're pretty much screwed. Or if you bore them with your title. Or if the VP of Marketing thinks that your unsellable because you don't have 3000 friends on Facebook and an in with Oprah.

Sad thing is, Mike Nappa, you're probably right.

So I've got to get a plan, dear readers. I've got to have a bomb story, perfect grammar and spelling, proper etiquette, a million social media friends, be best friends with Paris Hilton (oh God...), have a plot that fits into the current trends but doesn't fit the current trends TOO much, develop a "sales" history, do the editors job before they even lay hands on my manuscript, and become perfect.

And THEN my book will only be rejected if one of the gatekeepers stepped in dog crap that morning or just doesn't like my name. Erica Crockett? What kind of name is that, they'll think. And then the rubber stamp with the red ink will come down on the paper. REJECTED! (I bet that stamp exists and someone out there uses it on newbie writers...)

Or I'll just write what I like, tell the stories that matter to me, do what I do, so to speak, and then see what's shaking with those powers that be once I'm ready to roll. And maybe, just maybe, someone will say, "hey, this ain't too bad" (yes, this editor will use the word ain't) and I'll see my stuff somewhere besides my laptop screen.

It could happen. I'm willing to bet it might even happen before I spontaneously change genders. Oh, damn. I'm feeling lucky.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Writing Prompt #3; Add To Those Verbs, Yo

Yes, it is Monday again. I know. Wild. Let's get to it.

Writing Prompt #3

Grammar lesson! Whoo! Who knows what an adverb is? Anyone? I bet you do, even if the definition is somewhere in a section of brain you use to store memories about things like winning Scrabble words or what color your hair was when you were five.

An adverb modifies a verb or another adverb. They basically make things a little zestier or a little clearer when it comes to action, time, etc. Or they basically make things clunkier and more verbose when it comes to action, time, etc.

So, to use adverbs or not use adverbs? Style, my friends.

You're going to write two versions of the same story (and the story can be a paragraph. I'm not that much of a slave driver to make you do excessive work...). In the first one, slather on the adverbs. Have all the actions done "quickly" or "later" or whatever. Load those adverbs on. In the second one, take them out. Instead of using lots of adverbs, keep your writing close to the basics. If you want some flavor, really dig for a clever verb instead of adverbs to jazz it up (ie: choose "sprint" over "run").

Take stock of your stories. Which do you like more? Do you think the best one is the one you haven't written yet? A third version that runs the middle on adverb use? Or are you into verbage or are you all about the bare bones?

Hope this helps in clarifying your own writing style.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Writing Prompt #2: Parts

It's Monday again. Wow, that seems to happen about every week or so...which means another writing prompt! Yeah!

Writing Prompt #2

Let's consider the concept of parts and the concept of things in wholeness. For instance, think of a flower, say, jasmine. I adore jasmine. I like everything about it: the way it blooms at night, the tone of pink underlying its white color, the way it smells warm almost to the point of being overly heady in its perfume. I like the whole jasmine. But let's go ahead and pull the flower apart. What's the part of the entire experience of "jasmine" that I enjoy the most? Is it the softness of the petals? The strong, spindly stems?

Pick a concept/thing/being you love or a least like (ie: Magic markers, a beautiful woman, your first apartment, cocaine) and break it down into parts. And while you may truly dig all the parts, just pick one part to focus on, the one part that when you pull it up and out of the whole it makes you go "ah", makes you feel a little zap in your brain or gut or heart or junk.

Have that part? Good. Now write about it in a form of worship and love and adoration. Put that part on a pedestal. Decorate it with laurels and ribbon. Write about why it's the part that makes the whole something more, something amazing. Praise the cherry on top and write about why, without that cherry, it wouldn't be a whole dessert.

Good writing.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

What's Left

We live, and while we live, we have discernible impact. One of the things I adore about writing is the way it survives past the years we have in these shells, these inadequate husks. If we can put words to paper, and those words persist even after we are dust and those we loved are dust as well, a bit of our sparkle and soul remain here, on this planet, with new souls, ones we never got to meet. But maybe they get to meet us, through writing.

I want to be remembered for my stories. But what if all that survives is one of my grocery lists scrawled in shaky block letters? What if it's one of my poems written during a time of angst? Will my written aftershocks only give clue to what sort of vegetables I liked or make me seem like a bitter wretch?

Do I care? Does it count all the same if just a little bit of me stays in the physical world?

When I was a teacher, I had a student named Yasin. He was a middle-aged Afghan that would come to class in his dress shirt and tell me stories of his daughter's impending wedding. He was unassuming but proud of his heritage and his rough and sad past. He often smelled of cooked rice and he worked in a factory that made protein bars.

Yasin died in a car accident a few years ago.

The last time I was substituting at my old job, filling in for one of the other teachers, I was closing down a computer when I noticed a file on the desktop that caught my eye. It's a piece that I prompted Yasin to write about five or six years ago. I'd like to share it with you, without any editing, just as he wrote it:

I am from Kabul Afghanistan.

I was born in Kabul on 01/01/1953. Kabul is a big city and the capitol of Afghanistan. The climate is similar to Boise. I have five brothers and three sisters that live there. My whole family lives in Kabul city. I was seven years old when I started school. When I was a child, Kabul had electricity, gas, drinking water, buses and T.V. Now it does not.

Kabul had parks, gardens, university, medical school, law school, engineering, and economics.

I lived in the center of Kabul. It is a very old part of the city. All the houses are very close together. Some times I would go up on the roof and fly my kite.

The area I lived in was called Barana.

M. Yasin Khaliki

I printed off his writing, folded it into quarters, took it home in my pocket. I read it over and over. I thought of Kabul, the Kabul Yasin must have known and how it's now gone, made to rubble. I thought of Yasin, that sweet man who would only accept the best venue in Boise for his daughter's reception, the man that struggled with pronouns, and how he's now gone.

But his writing remains. It's not much. But now it's off that singular, old computer at my old job, a computer that would be replaced or wiped sooner or later. Now it's on the Internet. I've shared his words and because I have, after death, a bit of the spark that was Yasin is living again. And it will for a long while yet.

Thanks for reading his words, however simple. Thanks for experiencing his reality in an Afghanistan decades in the past. Thanks for meeting him.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Prompt It

Happy Monday! It's the beginning of the work week and in the spirit of this, I thought I would go ahead and give you all more work to do. Don't thank me all at once. I do like small gifts like tacos or shiny things, like bits of crumpled aluminum, so if you do feel like being gracious, keep that in mind. Better yet, tacos wrapped in aluminum. Double gift.

So here's the work. I figure that if I have to write (no, I'm not being forced, but if I don't do it, crazy-making happens) then you all have to write as well. Mondays are now WRITING PROMPT DAY!! Yes! I know! It is exciting! Calm yourselves for a moment and let me explain.

We all remember writing prompts from school. Whether we liked putting words to paper or not, we got assignments that asked us to detail what we did over Christmas vacation or project aspirations of our future careers (no one ever said they wanted to be a fry cook, yet, look at all the fry cooks...). Loving or hating the prompts never really mattered. They got the juicy juice around the cerebrum sloshing about. They work for me. And honestly, doling out a writing prompt each Monday will get me into a routine for just a bit more writing each week. How will it force me to maintain routine, you ask? Because I can't possibly shirk my writing duties if it means not giving people who didn't ask for more work to do more work to do.

So here's the writing prompt. It's nostalgic and sensory and sad. You're going to dig it. Oh, and if you come up with something you'd like to share, please add it as a comment to this post. I'd love to see what you've written. It's only fitting that I should care about your productivity and output if I'm making you work. I'm grinning right now.

Writing Prompt #1

Describe, in detail, one of your favorite toys from childhood (you might have toys now, but really, I don't care). How old were you when you got the toy? Was it a gift or did you save up allowance to buy it for yourself? Why was it your favorite? How did it feel on your skin? Did it give off a smell? Would you have ever let a friend borrow this toy? Describe!

Now, once you're done describing the toy, relate what happened to it. Really dig deep and figure out where that toy might be at this moment. Do you still have it or not? And if you don't have it, why not (you may have commitment issues or don't like fun anymore...)? And if you have no idea where the toy is, make up a reality for it. Is it on some other child's bookshelf somewhere? Is it under seventeen tons of landfill? Or is it in an alternate reality, leading other toys of its ilk on a jihad against sprites or fuzzy slippers?

Oh, this is Nugget. He's stellar and I still love him. If you tell me your stories, I'll tell you his.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Crooked Queen

I have a crown on my back. It's a birthmark that reigns over my lower lumbar to the left of my spine. Thing is, it's not obvious. It's the size of my two thumbs held together; it's nearly invisible, except when it sees the sun. When it gets some color and my skin tans around the crown, it brightens, stands out, and the spires, the pointy bits of the thing are jagged, like teeth. It stakes it's claim to me. Otherwise, in the winter, when I'm pale and clothed in sweaters that do not let in the light, I forget about it. I forget about that birthmark, my symbol of power.

No one should ever forget about their power. No one, but especially writers, for our power is the power to create worlds. We are mini-deities that rule over the characters we create from a spark and set into motion in places and times that also come from that void.

Lately I've forgotten my power, and because I've lost track of it, I've given it away. The baby out with the bathwater. It wasn't that I was asked to give it away. I just gave it away freely. My mom always told me to give, to place others before myself, to be nice, to not rock the boat, to forgive and forget. She piled on the adages. So I did those things until all that spark and vinegar and kindling in me that fueled my plot twists and decisions about characters' facial gestures and my diction got pulled out of me and given away as well. This writer took her power, wrapped it up in a nice, floral gift wrap and shipped it off. With a sodding bow on top.


So how do I get it back, now that I realize what I've lost? How do I get back the urge to tell stories? They're still in me. I haven't given them away, covered in pretty packaging. But I've given away the desire to tell them. I've always told them, whether on the page or verbally. I'm a bullshitter and a damn good one. It's me. Fiction. Me. Without it, without it bubbling up and out of my fingertips or my lips, I'm lost.

The crown has slipped. The crown has fallen.

Some say to just put the time in each day. Just five minutes, ten, fifteen at the keyboard. Some say to take it easy, to rest the mind and heart and soul and the inspiration will come creeping back on soft toes at 2am one restless night in the near future. Some say if you aren't writing you aren't a writer (some people are assholes). Some say nothing really. Some just want to talk. Some, the ones that are near me, will just touch my hand, as if I am grieving a loss. I am grieving a loss.

All those suggestions are good suggestions if I were looking for suggestions. But I'm not.

My birthmark has become a sort of worry stone while I've contemplated where I go from here. I knead at it with my fingers. I catch sight of it in the mirror while dressing and wish that it were brighter, the summer crown, not the one of winter. I think of it as a symbol of me at my best, in kick-ass form, in proper, game-on form.

I've decided this, while holding my palm to my birthmark. Here is how I'm reclaiming my power: I've identified where it's gone and I'm going to kindly ask for it back.

So, can I please have it back?

Man, that felt good.

The other night a friend asked me what my full name meant. Erica means ruler/royalty/queen. Crockett means crooked, as in shady or possibly crippled. I'm a Crooked Queen. It fits me perfectly. Sure, the crown is little more than a faint glimmer of power right now, but I'm still wearing it. Besides, it won't always be that way. Summer is coming. The sun is coming. My crown came with me when I entered this world wailing and it'll stay with me until I wail my way out.

And look. Just got a present. I remember this gift wrap; I remember wrapping this power up and giving it away. I'm not going to forget it again. I'm keeping it.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Introducing ECro Does Wrong

Hey you guys! All sixteen of you! Plus whoever is trolling the blog dealie on blogger that lets you blog hop. Plus my stalkers. I really don't think I have any stalkers. But if I do, and you're reading this, good job. I didn't even have an inkling about your stalking. You must be a really great stalker. You should message me and we should hang sometime. I like people that pursue their passions adeptly.

Anyway, I'm writing about my writing. But not the kind of writing that I'm doing on this blog. This kind of writing belongs on another blog. The blog is called ECro Does Wrong. No, I won't explain the title. You'll have to read my other blog to get it. Please read my other blog to get it. You reading my inane ramblings does the same thing for me that clapping does for Tinkerbell. It makes me aggressive, pouty and prone to chasing men several times my size in both height and weight. Eww. And now the mental picture arrives.

I think I'm sort of funny. This blog will have the bulk of funny stuff on it. And I swear on my posts. Lots. I mean, I attest to their validity as posts but I'm also going to say bad words. Raise your virtual hands if you like to hear Erica swear! Of course you do! Too bad you can't actually hear me swear over a blog. I'm open to performing unplugged readings of my posts to intimate groups of literary elites if the money is right. Just message me. Especially my stalkers. Just have dip there. I like dip.

Um, okay, who likes to read swearing and pretend that it's coming out of my mouth?

All of you that said yes to the above question, give ECro Does Wrong a little something something with your times and affections. And yes, adding -s to words makes them funnier by rights of me acting dumber.

Now go!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Maui, Meet Writer's Block. Writer's Block, Meet Maui.

This is going to be a funny post. Or rather, I intend for it to be funny. You might not find it funny. Anyway, I'll shut up and just write it. But I'm warning you all now, because so far my posts have been all writerly and all serious and stuff. It's been me at the laptop with my hand against my forehead full of the writer woe that plagues a bunch of us. Specifically writers. I've been woe-ing it up, drinking too many Sprites and whiskeys (yes, I pluralized whiskey) plagued by writer's block. Writer's block is lame. If you haven't had it, don't get it. Because that shit is contagious. So everyone stay the hell away from me. Thanks.

So I came to Maui. No, wait, that's not right. I didn't actually high-tail it to Maui because I had writer's block. I ran away from you all so you wouldn't get my disease. They used to have a leper colony just off the coast of Maui. It was fitting. You're welcome.

No, I came to Maui because I wanted to make fun of tourists. I like doing that sometimes. Makes me feel good about my days in two-dollar-a-night rooms in Thailand with their cold showers that consist of a kitchen sprayer you can use either sitting on the toilet OR standing over the toilet. All the Maui tourists make me feel hard. I watch them with their fancy shell leis and their wads of brochures and I think, I'm badass. I'm so hard. But if I'm so hard, then why do I have writer's block? Writer's block shouldn't affect someone that can both shower and shit at the SAME TIME. It doesn't seem right.

But it's affecting me all the same. So tourists are good fodder for material, right? You can watch them get on the tour bus and off the tour bus and pretend they are complaining about their feet hurting or about the poi not being purple enough at the last luau. I mean, that's gold for a writer. Pure gold! Oh, those inspiring tourists with their orthopedics and matching Hawaiian print clothes (they sell them for the whole family at Hilo Hattie. I kid you not. You and your spouse and your kids can match on purpose and be pretty targets for some dude with a mullet who is high on ice to mug you all and kick your children after you leave Bubba Gump's Shrimp Co. in Lahaina). Pure plot gold!

No. The answer is no. Tourists can't cure writer's block, no matter how you dislike them. And the worst ones, the ones that make me want to write "taro is the Hawaiian's potato" over and over again until my fingers split rather than look at them are the Honeymooners.

"Awwww," you might say. "How romantic." Stop it. Stop it right now or leave my blog. No cooing over the honeymooners. The ladies all have fake plumeria blossoms in their hair and the men wear Tevas with socks. They don't deserve your lauding. So stop.

Besides, I don't want to use them for prompts because my main characters in my latest novel are having a rough time of things. Two things are plaguing them. First, they are married. Second, one of them was kidnapped and shot up with heroin and the other is talking to people that aren't there. They are are as far from being on a honeymoon as I am from Idaho. Jesus, that was a shit comparison.

So watching couples wait with hands clasped for a woman at The Pearl Factory to pry a pearl out of an oyster that is only there because an irritating bit of sand was stuck in the poor mollusk and left there for years so that some newlyweds from Minnesota could have a keepsake doesn't really play into my tale of a dystopian future where my characters are unraveling and loosing it all. Because it's not an apocalyptic future for clams and other two-shelled sea creatures. Then it would be pure gold!

But it's enough to annoy the shit out of me.

And hey. I'm writing.

And as a writer, I lie. A lot. I didn't come to Maui to make fun of the tourists. I came because I could. And sometimes that's all it takes. Writers need to get out there and live so they have things to write about. Things like Maui's dramatic waterfalls on the road to Hana, or the way the amorous Humpback whales propel their bulk out of the ocean because they understand the value of play more than most humans. But those would be pretty things to write about. And I'm in the mood to bitch.

Besides, I'm blocked or something. Better go get some more writing fodder. Better find me a sunset or a lilikoi or a place to watch the surfers. I do this for all of us, for all of our states of health. Once again, you're welcome.