When Discovering Aberration is a Good Thing!

LADIES AND GENTS: Prepare yourselves for a wonderful treat! One of my dearest and earliest bloggers I met here on WordPress in the beginning, has done all I set out to do except he actually, actually accomplished it!

He is the hardest working, most dedicated author I know of and one of my fave authors sharing that honor with Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Clive Cussler, and yes my main man Charles Dickens.

Sit back, enjoy your read, and please dearest readers, please repost!  Let’s spread the word!

SCBarrusPortraitsOriginals0050

 Creating

There is this thing out there floating around the universe hiding secretly behind every passion. I don’t know what it is, but I know it’s there planting seeds and fueling flames. The Romans called it a Genius (origin of the word Genii), a spirit that would inhabit the bodies of passionate people and make them feverishly create things.

I don’t know if I was ever possessed in such a manner. All I know is my life has been driven by a singular passion since I was young. Maybe it was planted when I was very small, this urge to create things and share them with others. Maybe it didn’t take form until I was older. Whatever the case, this passion, this creative drive has fueled every major decision in my life.

Hi, my name is S.C. Barrus and I’m a writer. I remember writing my first short story back when I was still in elementary school. It was a satire about the growth and bankruptcy of Microsoft and it was all of 2 pages long. I wrote it grinning all the while, convinced that the work was genius.

I was so excited to hear what others thought, I ran to my dad and began to read the work aloud. He listened patiently. He didn’t laugh, didn’t so much as smile. As my jokes fell flat, part of me fell through a hole.

I quit reading midway through. “Maybe I should write about something else…” I said nervously.

My dad looked at me with a quizzical half smile and said, “Maybe you should.”

For some reason, I didn’t stop writing that day. And my dad has been a huge support since (didn’t want to leave him hanging there ;)

I was in highschool when I really sat down and began writing a novel. I wrote it with a deep passion convinced it was a masterpiece. It was full of teen angst and sex and drugs, all the things my adolescent mind obsessed with, and was written with a style stolen directly from Chuck Palahniuk, my teen hero.

When I finished writing, I started exploring the strange world of publishing with a fervour. I taught myself about publishers and editors and agents, about queries and rejection. The process struck me as strange then, but I accepted it because I supposed “that’s the way it is”. It felt strange that I had put in so much work and alone created something, but when the book sells I’d get 15%. But then again, what did I know?

Despite my drive, the book was never picked up, and I was left with nothing but a stack of pages littered with ink. To this day, I’m glad I littered those pages with ink, because I learned so many valuable lessons. But I’m also glad it didn’t make it, because that taught me even more.

Despite the outcome, my creative writing teacher got behind me, and my school counselor began giving me gifts; books of poetry, pamphlets to writing contests, and an award for literary excellence. It might have been obvious, but I didn’t recognize it at that time. There were people guiding me from the beginning, people who believed in me.

Ira Glass once said that artists start creating art not because they are talented, but because they have good taste. It takes years before an artists work is any good. I was going through the motions, hoping to make a great work of art, writing and writing all the while. I pushed new stories into the world one after the other, sometimes publishing, but usually merely for the act of creating.

Then, two years ago, I began crafting another story. About midway through the writing of it, I realized that this was it. I was creating something worth standing behind and sharing with the world.

Check back next week for part 2 where I share with you the story behind my upcoming novel.

Cheers,

S.Cody Barrus

 

 

Daily Prompt: Call Me Ishmael – The First Sentence

I usually do not post on a weekend but the Daily Prompt caught my eye and of course I just had to respond.  DP Challenge: Take the first sentence from your favorite book and make it the first sentence of your post.

My very very first thought was my favorite first sentence is not in my favorite book.  Way back in October 2011 I wrote about three of my personal fave authors and called it Cussler, Koontz and Stockett, and the line said, “Death was driving an emerald green Lexus“.

The first sentence of my favorite book is “He should never have taken that short cut.”  It’s from Michael Crighton’s book TIMELINE and the poor book is barely hanging on to existence.  Well actually it is not hanging on at all.  Its soft cover is curled back from the spine top and bottom.  The back cover has about an inch square flapped firmly back and some of the pages are missing.  At first I kept putting the pages back loose leaf like and then one day a few pages disappeared.  That was okay as I thought I would just fill the gaps in from memory as I read and reread and reread.  This book has served me well for the last twelve years but I can’t put it to rest until I replace it.

I discovered a long time ago that bedtime reading cannot be anything I am currently reading for the first time because I simply cannot put the book down.  So bedtime fare is one of a few fave rereads (although sometimes I get so caught up in it….well you know.)

So my poor book, like a weary soldier continues to soothe my soul and mind and guard against that thief of the night, Insomnia’ and yes it will be retired once I find another copy.

my valiant knight/night

my valiant knight/night

looks pretty weary huh?

looks pretty weary huh?

held together by the last straw I think

held together by the last straw I think

Daily Prompt: What is the 11th item on your bucket list? Nicholson and Freeman

Cover of "The Bucket List"

Cover of The Bucket List

When Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman starred in the movie The Bucket List society pulled one of their ‘HEY lets grab on to these words because its s.o darn cute and lets assume everyone needs to at least pretend they have a bucket list, and then let’s just say the words repeatedly even if we have to force it into conversation.  The same thing happened with the use of Paradigm or rather the overuse of it.  Another word over used currently is Meme.

The idea of a bucket list is fine but it just doesn’t excite everyone and what happens is that those who don’t have a list but want to fit in are forced to make a list.  And making a list of ten things (who the heck decided 10 was the magic number anyway?) can be taxing on one’s inners – souls, psyches etc etc etc….  Then at least nine things are listed that you don’t really ever want to do but you must be able to produce to be ‘acceptable’.  Then of course you start to feel guilty that you really don’t want to do any of them.  Then comes the challenge of adding Mystique.  At least one item must be nefarious, vague, baffling to an outsider and requiring explanation such as ‘Kiss the most beautiful girl in the world. as Nicholson eventually did.  To make the  list indeed a list then you must add a total of ten to fit in.

I loved the movie.  I love the idea of lists – if they work for you.  If making a list and then actually going and completing tasks and stroking off work for you then that is wonderful.

It doesn’t work quite that way for me.  I have faced my mortality and the best I could do at that time was to express immense gratitude for waking up and still be breathing.  I have no far away lands drawing me, no great adventures calling.

I love how some self important people no longer talk at great length about Bucket Lists, they just slip it into conversation, ‘Oh yes we completed our trip around the moon.  It was after all the fourth item on our bucket list.’  Soft, subtle, but just a wee bit of an air of that old monster conceit.

It’s strange that I truly admire and envy those who not only embrace A Bucket list but who also do check things off.  We all search for what we think we are looking for or should be looking for and for me these days it seems to be more of an inward search rather than external targets.

So what is my 11th item on my bucket list?

Beats me.  I would rather read about yours!

FITFS is back and Everyone Needs a Little Harper Faulkner in Their Life

Yup I have been way to negiligent in carrying out my Friday tributes to my favorite bloggers.  This Fridays Following in the FootSteps post is about Harper Faulkner.  Now just think for a minute about his name.  HF actually did a blurb on his name (darned if I can find it now although I have looked)  and how he got it laced with his usual dose of humor….which reminds me where did he get all that gut busting rolling on the floor with just a word or two humor?  But lets revisit the name thing.

So a wee darling baby boy is born.  His folks gaze upon that angelic face and decide he deserves a moniker bigger than he is.  I suspect they suspected that he would grow into it and by all that is holy he did.  Did he ever carry on relentlessly as a child forcing his mother to say, ‘Now Harper quit harping you are driving me crazy.’  To which I can imagine him saying, ‘I have to harp you named me and now you and the rest of the world must live with it.”

And live with it we do with great relish and delight over virtually everything that comes out of this man.  I have tried to choose a favorite for you to read (in case he is a stranger to you this moment) but damn as soon as I read something and pick myself up off the floor thinking it is the best I get all caught up in another post that I am sure is my fave.

Footsteps

Footsteps (Photo credit: courosa)

Now more than just I like to harp on Harper.  In March of this year Mike Silvia dedicated a post to good old HF.The man gets noticed. I am still not sure if Mike’s post is for or against but one thing is certain;  there is no way anyone will be mediocre about HF. By all accounts he adores his wife and family including the long gone Cousin Buster or at least he remembers him, sort of.  His worth it seems is in his fertile creatuve mind – man of mystery (Clive) and his height. Give yourselves a wonderful gift all wrapped up in wit and intelligence and pop over to say hello.  Just hello, now I wouldn’t you all to start harping about this genius.  That’s his job after all!Love you HF!!

Daily Prompt: Morton’s Fork – To Read or To Write

Elizabeth Browning

Elizabeth Browning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Daily Prompt folks picked a suggestion by Courtney that certainly seems a lot easier than that old Shakespeare quote: To Be or Not To Be.  Although really if one is then you already are Being which of course is a very very superficial interpretation.

Today’s Challenge from WordPress is: If you had to choose between being able to write a blog (but not read others’) and being able to read others’ blogs (but not your own), which would you pick?  Why?

For me there is no challenge.  I am definitely a reader.  I’ve tried writing…okay..so I continue to try.. and it is difficult.  Okay Okay…sometimes it is fun.  Well most of the time it is fun and there is a certain satisfaction to be had in creating but, and this is a pretty big BUT, I am a reader.  Of many things.

If I have four books at hand then I will devour them within a week.  I know, we are not talking about books.  The Challenge pertains to blogs.  Your blogs.  And yup I will surrender my pen or rather keyboarding digits to read what you write.

Reading (blogs) is more than information gathering and it brings to mind yet another poem.  Elizabeth Barrett Browning‘s How Do I Love Thee.  If I had one thing I have not had in this life it would be the relationship she had with her partner, coauthor, and husband Robert Browning and the passion and devotion she so sweetly shared with the public.

You see for me, reading your blogs, inspires, educates, motivates, consoles, comforts, exhilarates, invigorates, provokes, prompts, excites, and generates a whole mess of thinking great thoughts.  Why I wish I could list all of you and what you do for me (although that is what I am seeking to do in my Friday Following in the FootSteps series – about to be continued this week). To name names in a single post fills me with fear of forgetting even one person and besides it would take pages and pages and pages and … well you get the idea.

To read and not write, if it had to be one way or the other is a no brainer for me because in addition to all the reasons there is one even more important.  In sharing yourselves, your thoughts, you are allowing yourself to be known.  To be cherished.  And therein lies the real truth.  You have become part of my world, part of my existence.  And my life would be poorer without you.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Elizabeth Barrett Bowning (1806-1861)

Books, Books, and More Books

Libraries are wonderful places.  I have a number of ebooks downloaded that I will sometimes read, but for me, the satisfaction of holding an actual book in hand is the best reading experience.  Ebooks are a tad cold for me.  I guess the difference could be equated with feeling the warmth of interacting with another human being in person or speaking and seeing them on Skype.  Don’t get me wrong on the whole skype thing, when those you love are hundreds or thousands of miles away Skype is the best.

Skype Technologies S.A. logo

Skype Technologies S.A. logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But give me a day that cries out or even murmurs, Come curl up and lets get lost in another world, and it is the warmth of a good book I feel.

Andersonlibrary.wordpress.com

I just returned two books that I read last week.  Having thousands of books at your disposal feels like an ermine and mink kind of luxery (before furs were a bad thing).

The first book was by one of my eternal fave authors Dean Koontz and a part of the Odd Thomas series.  Picking up anything Koontz is like having an old friend visit and Odd is wonderfully entertaining.  Poor Odd, who by the way is so optimistic would never think of himself as poor in anyway is beset in solving a mystery with the also very mysterious Annamaria.

I’ve seen Mr. Koontz interviewed and he is a very gentle man who I think values his privacy but judging by the mega books he has sold his mind is as sharp as any scalpel cutting through a plot.  But I have have been a part of his literary family, Odd or not.

The second book I read last week is by an author that is new to me, but looking at her many many publications I am surprised I did come across her before.  Her name is Iris

iris johansen

Johansen and the book What Doesn’t Kill you certainly had many exciting moments.  Enough to prevent me from putting down the book at a reasonable hour and getting some sleep (which is a good indication of excellence).

In with all the suspense and action Johansen peppers sexual tension between Catherine Ling and Gallo.  Will they or will they not hit the sheets?  Personally I don’t care.  Her breasts growing taunt or taunting repeatedly is not of interest.  Ms. Johansen tells a crisp clean tale and I will read her again (and perhaps just skip over the less interesting stuff).

I have been trying to update and clean up my wordpress site this morning but it just seems to take so long and I have not suceeded very well today.  But I must not think of that right now for it off for a good cuddle with another book.

Friday’s FITFS …..Linda Cassidy Lewis

FITFS

Linda Cassidy Lewis The Brevity of Roses

 Each Friday I write about somone in the blogosphere who teaches me lessons, is supportive, and like all my Following in the Footsteps heroes is someone I would like in some small way to emulate.

How do I choose my FITFS?  Selecting first, or second, or third would be nigh unto impossible.  In addition to wanting to  honor those who I admire it seemed the easiest way would be to select those who take the time to comment on my posts first.  If you have ever commented then it is quite likely that some Friday, ‘when you least expect it you’re elected’ as the song from Candid Camera goes, you will be highlighted here.

 

 

This theme takes a better defined form  each time I do it. FITFS started out as a blanket praise and is evolving into delicious declarations of each writers’strengths, my fave posts or quotes (cause fave posts are almost impossibloe to choose), and what I have learned or what has inspired me.

Linda Cassidy Lewis is a California girl originally from Indiana.  Artistically she began expressing her creativity through drawing and eventually portaits with clientele in the US, Europe, and UK.  She is the consumate artist, drawing, living art, beading, and of course that fave expression of each of us – writing.

Certainly LCL (don’t her initials even seem poetic?) is dedicated, tenacious, persistent and very talented.

It is almost impossible to choose a favorite post – there are so  many.  Her first post was I believe October 13, 2008 in which she discusses how the Ms. Perfect side of her being judges everything she writes as garbage and with she posted a quote by C. J. Sherryh; ‘It is perfectly okay to write garbage as long as you edit brilliantly.’

My fave quote by Linda herself is; ‘When  you hoard imagination it suffers a sad, lonely death, so, as an act of mercy, I write fiction.’  Bloody brilliant I say!

See this author is all about inspiration so how could my own Ms. Perfect even think of holding me back.  So far Linda  Cassidy Lewis is the Doer and I with toes in the frigid unknown seas of publication stand poised and ready to jump in, getting braver every moment by her display of bravery.

She has a number of literary projects on the go and is the published author of ‘The Brevity of Roses. and I quote from Michelle Davidson Argyle author of ‘Monarch'; Told in gorgeous poetic tones, The Brevity of Roses will take you on a journey delving into the unique characters as delicate and beautiful as a rose itself.  Lewis’real understanding of relationships is phenomenal.’

Do yourself a favor and visit the mulitalented, multifaceted gem of a writer, and please click a ‘like’ or leave a wee comment for her.  Something we all appreciate!

I am now off to the last supper for our Scots cuz who alas must depart tomorrow!

And once again in case that linky thing isn’t working or I have made a mistake, please find LCL at lindacassidylewis.com

 

6 of 7

One of the great pleasures of serial stories is the satisfaction of starting a reread from the beginning and not having to wait for the publication of the next edition. There is flow with anticipation dependent only upon your rate of speed in gobbling up the goodies served with each novel. There are a few series I enjoy, the latest being Harry Potter. My sis had acquired all the books I was missing to complete the set of seven and what a thrill to close one book and immediately pick up the next. Even if completion of one occurred in late evening I immediately started the next, just for the satisfaction of reading what came next. Well imagine my consternation and confusion when I went to the book shelf and could not find number six, ‘The Half Blood Prince.’
It wasn’t enough to cause a case of cursing but it threw me off my stride. Where could it be? A quick search through out the place revealed nothing except for a missing sock, which I assumed had been eaten and digested by the washer sometime ago.
Through the course of the reread I had also completed two of the Stieg Larsson series about ‘The Girl': The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl who played with Fire. I am patiently waiting for the third and last book as it winds it’s way through my reading group. It’s a reasonable wait, but number six? I was sure I had all my ducks in a row so to speak.
I reached out for the seventh book, The Deathly Hallows a few times, but it just didn’t seem right you know? I searched my data memory bank and am pretty sure it was in a load of reading I had taken to my sisters. At least I am counting on it being there. Last night I started number seven, too impatient to wait but the universe is a little askew. There is an uncomfortable feeling like the way you feel when you know you should have done something and did not, or you did something and should not. It’s nothing major in the big scheme of things but it niggles. Niggles is such a perfect for those little irritations, which makes me think of muggles, which makes me think of number six.  Sigh

Separating the Wheat from the Chaff and the Boy from the Poop

It’s a lovely Saturday here on the mountain. Cold with no wind and a crisp layer of snow on the ground.  I suppose it is laughable that we call it a mountain especially to my friends on the west coast but it is ours and we like it.

Today we have done some usual chores, son and G1 are out buying a toy he has saved up for, G2 is sitting quietly and DIL is catching up on some paperwork.  The plan is to go for a family swim later today, something both G1 and G2 love.

Me?  I am rewriting Chapter 2 trying to get into the head of one of my characters.  I have done 2 rewrites on this particular chapter and am not been happy with either.  There is something I am missing but am not quite sure what it is but am confident I will recognize it when I see it.

I have opened my apartment today to the critters of the household who usually reside with the rest of the family.  Jewels, the deaf white is sleeping peacefully on the back of my sofa.  Scout who has been renamed Henry is getting cozy trying out different spots which has included my lap and chest as I try typing.  Bree our yellow is happy anywhere but especially under my desk when I work.

Now Jack our third white who I have previously reported as being foul mooded since the arrival of Henry stalked around here a bit taking the odd swipe at Henry and then left to be near DIL.  Funniest thing is that during any given work day the animals are scattered but when DIL arrives home all, and I do mean all, congregate in the kitchen en masse and then where ever she goes.  DIL is a Dr. Doolittle which suits her profession as Vet Tech.  If you need a pet whisperer of any sort she would be your choice.

Now in addressing the Chaff and the Poop.  It seems G2 who at three is learning to take dominion over parts of his life as he should do, had also decided not to part with the products of certain body functions, which is not unusual in this age group.  This was never a particular problem with G1 who is now eight, although I do recall that at that age he had decided that if the back yard was suitable for the then canine in residence, Scooby, it was good enough for him.  It was an amusing and temporary problem easily solved once we got G1 to identify with the humans in the house rather than the animals.

There doesn’t seem to be an easy solution for the problem at hand but I hope the wee guy gets it straight soon… for his own comfort.

Any suggestions out there from you  experts would be greatly appreciated!

And now a pic of our dear departed Scooby taken in 09 through the back window of the playhouse.

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