Tag Archives: Writing

Observations at a 20 Minute Intermission

It is said that writers are great observers of the nuances of life. The following is what I observed at a 20 minute intermission at a musical theatre production. It gives a great insight into the little details that make characters in novels relatable.

Observation: About 1,000 people. Mostly seniors and middle aged. Intermission begins, most everyone stands up.

Observation: About 450 smartphone screen light up.
Observation B: 90% iPhone, 8% Galaxy, 2% other.

Observation: Family of four. Mom playing Words with Friends on iPhone. Dad checking e-mails on Android phone. Youngest daughter playing game on Galaxy smartphone. Oldest daughter helping mom with Words with Friends. Minor interaction between mother / daughter. Father finishes e-mail checking, watches youngest daughter playing game. Mutters something.

Observation: Man next to me is 40s, black hair brown eyes. Pulls out smartphone at beginning of intermission. Stares into screen for the entire 20 minutes His wife doesn’t see to care.

Observation: Elderly man wearing white fedora and gray flannel suit. He is walking a few rows down from me. He pauses, talk to to a group of friends about the play, hugs them, and walks away. The gait in his walk suggests he has trouble with is right knee. His infectious smile spreads to all whom he speaks to.

Observation: A heavyset middle aged woman stands to my right, talking with her friends about the production. She has blonde hair (dyed), a red and black flower print dress, ad gold, dangling earrings. She enjoyed the movie, but thinks this particular production blows it out of the water.

Observation: Tech crew takes a break behind me. Mostly wasting time on a smartphone.

Observation: Orchestra reenters the pit about 15 minutes into intermission. Begins warming up. Conductor looks tired.

Observation: Young man, late teens or early twenties, looks like a woman from far away. His red hair is down the the small of his back and so curly that it extends a good six inches on all sides.

Observation: Volunteer ushers seem to be following the command of one elderly volunteer. Looks like she takes this thing very seriously. It’s probably her only hobby and now that her husband is dead, she devotes her entire life to it. Or so it seems. Being a volunteer usher at this theatre would not be a fun experience.

 

My fiercest enemy, revealed!

Hello again, junior pirates! Captain Dead Skin Dave here again. I’ve been gettin’ ready to debut my first book o’ adventures next month! I’ve had my first mate, Tom, go out ta all the party stores and stock up on streamers, balloons, and he even found little plastic treasure chests! It’s sure ta be a grand party, indeed!

Today, I am pleased ta introduce you to the most feared pirate in all o’ the seas, Hairy Hazelroth!
Hairy Hazelroth was the vilest pirate of all the seas! Every visible part of his body covered in dark black hair, green ribbons tied to the end of his enormously long beard, and his giant black Captain’s hat, all made this notorious pirate easily identifiable.
Hairy and his crew were known for pillaging not only Royalty ships, but even the ships of fellow pirates. And soon, he would be coming for Dead Skin Dave!

Well, junior pirates, doesn’t Hairy Hazelroth sound scary? I can assure you, he is! You can read all about my encounter with him when me book is released next month!

Next time I will be sharin’ a little more about me first mate, Tom! I hope ye are lookin’ forward to it, ’cause I am! Until then, have a swashbuckin’ good time!

 

Dead Skin Dave, the Pirate coming April 2013!
For more info, click here!

Recommended Article: The Golden Age of Writers

From Esquire’s 1,000 Words about our Culture, by Stephen Marche; A great read about the current status of printed media, novels and writers in general.

“Writers have always been whiners. For nearly a hundred years, since at least the time of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the death of the novel has been presaged. And now, egged on by BuzzFeed and video games and just general hypercaffeinated, e-mail-all-the-time ADHD, the book is apparently, finally, about to die. At least we’ll have good stuff to read while we wait. This fall alone, the number of big books published by major writers is astounding: Michael Chabon, Zadie Smith, Junot Díaz, Martin Amis, Ian McEwan, Salman Rushdie, and about a half dozen others. Not that the list has stopped anyone from complaining. Literary circles have been so full of pity for so long that they can’t accept the optimistic truth: We’re living in a golden age for writers and writing.”

Read more: Writing Careers in 2012 – Stephen Marche on the Golden Age of Writers – Esquire http://www.esquire.com/features/thousand-words-on-culture/writing-careers-1212#ixzz2NHWwwjWt

Inspiration Place: It’s a Grind Coffee House

My next journey for inspiring writing places tales me to It’s A Grind Coffee House in Long Beach, CA. For all of my writing sessions, I am using a Microsoft Surface RT with Touch cover and Office 2013. picture010

With a mostly comfortable plastic chair underneath me and an adequate sized wire mesh table, the outdoor patio is a very relaxing and inspiring place to get writing done. I was able to get a perfect table overlooking the lone plantlike tree thing which blocks out the view of the parking lot. Here in an urban setting this is the best I’m going to get unless I go down to a park.
There is also a lot of opportunity to get lost in one’s work at this location. Most of the time the other patrons of this establishment either have their iPods going or are furiously typing away on a laptop. It is an almost library-like setting without the smell of stale books. As I spend more time at this location I have a feeling people will come to recognize me, as a few regulars came by while I was writing and were enthusiastically greeted by the staff and a few patrons. This sense of community is definitely a plus of living in the walking, biking and artist friendly Bixby Knolls section of Long Beach.

picture011Listening to the chirps of birds from the, uh, plant and the slight chatter of people enjoying a cup of coffee with a friend or partner really help make this spot the best I have written at so far. It is quiet, I can get in the correct mindset, and on cold days there is ample seating inside the coffee shop with  undisturbed quiet corners. I look forward to returning to this location and I urge all of my fellow writers to get out and find the place that is right for you.

Inspiration Place: Jamba Juice patio

My next stop in a journey tpicture008o find a comfortable, inspiring writing place lands me on the outdoor patio of a Jamba Juice. For all of my “tests” I write on a Microsoft Surface RT with Touch Cover keyboard and Word 2013. The view isn’t terrible, and the little flowers are nice to look at now and again when searching for a word. The chairs and table are black wire mesh and extremely uncomfortable, making this writing a trip shorter than I had imagined. The traffic noise along the busy avenue create a nice little hum that can help keep with rhythm, or be totally distracting, depending on how one looks at it. There is always the fun activity of people watching, which at this location is plentiful, as I can see inside the store and try to guess which drink people ordered, or I can watch people driving by in their cars.picture009

Actual writing time at this location has mostly positive results, as the distractions are mostly background noise. I was able to get a good dialogue flow going between several characters and not stop once in the middle of the conversation to determine where it was going. The words were able to flow freely and quickly, especially using the traffic noise as a rhythm marker. If Jamba Juice could work on the quality of their patio seating, I would be inclined to come back, stay longer, and even order a second drink. This one is out. *slurp*

Inspiration Place: Mall Food Court

WP_000050I’ve been spending the last month going around to different locations to find inspiration for characters and stories. This is my first post in the series.

The first location I stumbled upon for inspiration is the food court at Westminster Mall in Westminster, CA. The food court is one of those places that is always busy and full of interesting people. This particular food court has a lot of different table settings, making it easy to get many different views of the area. My favorite, the counter seating, which allows for a high vantage point, and I don’t look odd sitting by myself.
Sitting in a food court, one overhears many conversations, some intriguing, others bland. There is never a lack of good story content coming from those around you.
Televisions blare out whatever advertisement the mall has paid for, which can be a little distracting, but also easily filtered out.
There are a large variety of people walking around the food court, representing every piece of the American melting pot, a perfect opportunity to create interesting and lifelike characters.
The Westminster Mall food court provides a classic American Mall vibe circa the 1980s and 90s, which provides a very rare energy that is strangely nostalgic and inspiring at the same time.

Overall, writing in a mall food court is a little distracting (and hunger inducing), but a great opportunity to create some very interesting characters and storylines.