Monday, June 28, 2010

Quick Note

So, turns out I will not be blogging the Clarion experience.  Our first instructor, Delia Sherman, made a very good case last night as to why we should not (having mostly to do with focusing on our work), and I have decided to bow to her wisdom and the strength of her arguments.

As a result, I expect posting will be sparser than previously expected, though you never know:  I may just take it into my head here and there along the way to spit something out that I'm thinking about that doesn't fit into any of the things I'm doing here.  You'll just have to check periodically and see.

I will, however, continue with my plan to post micro- and flash-fiction, along with various fragments and cast-offs from what I'm working on, on my Facebook Writer page.  So if you just really need a fix, try that.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

1200 Miles Later

I have arrived in San Diego.  Too tired to talk in detail about the trip (which was good) or the four fellow Clarionistas I've met thus far (they're awesome), but I am here, and this is happening, and, so far at least, noone's popped up and said "Smile! You're on Candid Camera" so I'm just going to continue on the assumption that this is not some elaborate hoax played by the forces of evil on yours truly.

Perhaps tomorrow I will be less exhausted, and I will blog more blogfully about what's happening, but for now I am pretty well done in by three days on the road and reunions with friends old and new.  Those few who're just absolutely jonesing for some content can look to my Writer page on Facebook, where I posted a little splash of a thing that I made tonight.  Not sure how I feel about it, if I like it or not, but I promised myself I'd put new content up there most every day, and I didn't want to not do it on the first day.  So there.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The King is Dead. Long Live the King.

Change is coming to the anticontrarian blog.  Those of you that already read it probably know that I'm attending the Clarion Writers' Workshop this year (indeed, in two days).  Those of you who've found your way here from elsewhere probably know that, too, come to think of it.

Up til now, this blog has been whatever I wanted it to be:  rants on politics, work, and people in general; a few stabs at philosophy; links to things I think are cool or funny; other cool, funny things that I embedded; quotes from other writers that struck me for some reason and that I wanted to share; the occasional aphorism.

However, given the focus I expect to exert over the coming six weeks on writing and craft and particularly the craft of writing short fiction, I expect the focus of this blog will also change to reflect that.  I imagine I'll still post interesting quotations and/or the occasional video of a dancing cat.  But I'm moving into a phase where I'll be focusing almost exclusively on fiction writing, and so the political stuff and general internet-related weirdness is likely to decrease.

The plan is that I'll use the anticontrarian blog to write about writing, about the workshop and the things I'm learning there, and how I'm applying them to my own work, both at Clarion and on other projects (most notably my novel-in-progress, which is provisionally entitled GoATDaD and the Army of Monkeys).

Those of you who are interested in what I'm actually producing are invited to view my Facebook Writer page, under my full name:  Dallas Simmons Taylor.  I would be grateful if you hit the like button there.

I won't be making any longer-form fiction available online in the immediate future (and I haven't really tried selling any yet), but I will be posting flash- and micro-fiction pieces there, along with interesting phrases and fragments from works in progress that I like but can't use.  I hope you enjoy them.

Welcome to my brand new world; I'll show you around once I figure out where the lights are.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Two Haiku I Wrote a Couple of Years Ago

The mountain looming
over my fair city will
one day destroy it.

Paranoia may
destroy ya, but only if
They don't get you first.

Friday, June 18, 2010


There are many ways to distinguish between the two major political parties in the United States, but one of the more obvious ways is in how they choose to implode. Democrats, for example, tend to implode in slow motion, when their own aimless, plodding inertia turns them into lugubrious and easy targets for the right wing media, which scurries around them, draping yet another thin, disingenuous stratum of “they’re socialist grandmother killers!” over them until the whole sludgy edifice collapses from the accumulated weight, and the Democrats are crushed underneath. Republicans, on the other hand, implode like old, fat, gassy stars, when the depleted fuel of their empty ideology can’t sustain further inward pressure from their personal idiocy, and the whole mess sucks down and then spectacularly erupts into a blazing display of abject stupidity.
-John Scalzi

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Warm Fuzzy Moments

Me to my friend (whose son was born a couple of months ago):  So how's fatherhood treating you?

My friend:  Like the first chapter of a book that you know you're gonna love.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Obama's Oval Office Speech

Can be viewed here.

In all, I can't say I was impressed.  For me, this was a lost opportunity, a chance to go big, and ask the American people to rise to the historical occasion in a meaningful way.  Which, frankly, he didn't.  Far as I could tell, his grand call to arms was sort-of kind-of urging the Senate to pass the Climate and Energy bill that passed in the House a few months ago.  Oh, and to pray.

As somebody said in the comment thread at the Washington Monthly (and I'm paraphrasing here), when the President tells the American people to pray, we are well and truly f-cked.

Here's what I would have liked to have seen:

Fascinating Stuff

It's interesting.  I had a very similar notion about the northern/southern nation prosperity gap a long time ago, which I attributed to weather, rather than time.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

True Dat

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but you always lose if you never try.
-John Cole

Friday, June 04, 2010

Night never leaves the Atchafalaya, she just lies up through the heat of the day, same as the rest of the swamp creatures.  Live in the swamp long enough, you'll see her pooled in the deep cypress groves or hiding out in the black depths of a mangrove ticket, patient and sure, biding her time.  Now and then, you'll catch a glimpse of her in mid-day, in the wind-driven shudder of a palmetto leaf or in the languid dapple of Spanish moss, draping the trees like cast-off wedding finery, ivory veils aging slowly to an antique gray.  Then the sun starts down.  Slowly, imperceptibly, night takes hold.  She steals invisibly across the water, like smoke; she spills out from the wells of shadow beneath our houses.  Night's like love.  She creeps in and takes possession of everything you ever knew or hoped to know without so much as a by-your-leave.  She takes dominion of your heart before you ever know she's there.
-Dale Bailey, from The Census Taker (The Resurrection Man's Legacy, p 164)

On Dying, and What Happens After

About a month ago, my grandmother passed away after a long period of mental and physical deterioration.  She was ninety-six, and had had a good long life, with children and grandchildren and even a couple of great-grandchildren who gave her great joy.  She died peacefully in her sleep, and we buried her next to my grandfather not far from where they'd lived their lives and raised their children.

She had a Catholic funeral, since she was a devout Catholic her whole life (her last words, so far as I know, were near-endless iterations of Our Fathers and Hail Marys), and we all agreed that it was right and proper, since she remained strong in her faith to the end, even if none of us really shared it.

And that's the thing I'm wrestling with.  Not the funeral, but her faith, and, I guess, what (if anything) it means for her after death, and what that means for me.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

My Entry for the Scalzi/Wheaton Fanfic Contest

If you'd like to know what the following is about, click here.  It'll make a lot more sense when you see the picture.

Behold, this Last of Days has come.  Dark clouds roil.  Volcanoes thrust themselves skyward, hurling dust and ash into the clouds, which cause them to roil even more roilishly.  Magma flows, glowing in the darkness, which is good, because otherwise the dark, roiling clouds, which have blocked out the sun entirely, would make it too dark to see, completely ruining the atmosphere; but it’s also bad, because magma is hot and will kill you if you touch it.  Believe me, I should know.  Not that I’ve ever touched magma, because if I had, I’d be dead, and  obviously I’m not, ‘cause if I was then who would be telling you this?  Not me, that’s for sure.  But I saw it once on TV, maybe an episode of Jackass or something.  To tell you the truth I don’t really remember.  Maybe I just read about it somewhere, like on the internet or something.  Anyway, it’s not important.  What is important is that there’s no lightning, which seems weird when you think about it, but it makes sense because then the colors would be all wrong, because lightning is kind of blue-tinged, and the theme for Behold this Last of Days is definitely red and not blue, and if it were blue, well, I can’t really imagine it would be this Last of Days because even if it was lightning-ing, that would mean it was probably going to rain, which makes plants grow, and if it’s Behold this Last of Days then that probably means that there aren’t any plants anymore anyway, so lightning is out for lots of reasons, not least of which is that there isn’t any.
Anyway, where was I?
If it wasn't for high school poetry, this would be the dumbest, most fatuous thing anybody's ever written.