Saturday, August 2, 2014

Somebody asked me about outlining and this topic should be put in context as how it helps you get to the end of the story.



THOUGHTS ON OUTLINING FOR STORY SUCCESS

BY

ARTHUR W. HERMANSEN

COPYRIGHT 2014 / ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Try working with two outlines, and a few other documents described herein. At any time you are developing these underlying/underpinning document, keep an additional window open or pad or nearby depending on how you uniquely compose as a creative individual.

Its so much more important log term to structure how you uniquely work through tinkering and experimentation first than to simply go by the dictum of a hundred or fifty year old rules formed by a culture long perceptually gone by. You want to develop breadth of skills and almost autopilot understanding of your personal strengths and limitations first, before immersing yourself in the rote regurgitology so retrogressive to culture so loyally peddled as expertise is these forums and formats.

This approach also allows your originality to crystallize earlier, strengthens your original voice and point of view in ways so if a scene plays out in the theater of your mind in the middle of outlining and you don't know where if fits or if it even fit yet, you still have the capture of data. Capture is key. Critically so.

This side prep is very important, as the creative process can solve some aspects to problems (problem defined as a creative solution(s) we seek; we will get to asking better questions later in the skill dev) very, very fast and others very slow sometimes. This slow part is often institutionally mythified as writers block, productively damning many writers not yearning for an authentic process, and creating a psychological crutch hobbling our authorial community.

You want to learn how to work (and identify for the sake of the blueprint of your general talent architecture; the most important work of art you will ever create) with the creative process's variate ways (which are finite and not undefinable) and be flexible in your thinking because there are severe drawbacks in trying to bend it to your will most of the time, and great advantages in asking everything of it once in a great while. Did writing 'Silence Is Golden' on a blackboard or a paper five hundred times ever really get anybody to shut up? I'd rather believe it launched a thousand political careers.

You have to have a really, really good set of internals developed through some rather dry procedures. Think like becoming an expert martial artist, and a black belt only means you've only achieved getting rid of bad habits, not really gained expertise of an appreciable amount contextualized to the environment of martial use.

One outline is temporal and structure observant. This is the continuity and cohesion (respect for gravity and limitations) outline. Time, distances and locations between scenes can be included so you nail the call of the position of the sun and landscape description (even the chime of Big Ben or the church bells at sundown if consistent with location) so the audience 'turns the temporal page' accurately and naturally . Rising action, complications turning point, point of no return, obligatory protagonist/antagonist face to face scenes, climax/anticlimax sequence and denouement all go here.

I often keep a generic template up on the wall to keep track, because my mind is lateralizing so creatively so fast I need to reference the map to know what questions to ask to solve the relevant complication problems next scene, sequence or overarching plot related. There is even one for character, which I'll speak of after the second.

The second one is emotional which can contain visuals (if you are a imagery type of information manipulator) or audio if you process that way or any other content type (even meta is relevant to context of plot, action and character) you individually are. I often write bad, melodramatic scenes in this outline because my need to tell a story just hits the gas, and it is better to let out some bad approaches than repress anything You might be repressing the right one because you've developed the habit. For all it's rules, keep it light, be easygoing, and never, never, never judge a first draft. People come down on themselves too hard and never let the fun in and that is what the creative process is best for, play. Einstein said that, not me. But right is right.

So, you have two outlines, one structural, one emotional. They can be put up on the wall.

I mean that literally too. The blank wall, to take Billy Wilder's advice forward into our century, is too powerful a creative tableau device to waste on maintaining data order by intellectual means alone. The mind is a difference engine and will toss out or deprioritize unordered data it considers irrational or less rational than a different choice.

But that data could be just exactly the twist or device or complication or character personality trait you want to instantiate. It just might delight your audience with 'a gallivant that looked like it was going nowhere' and give you the pivot point to come back to action and drive plot in a very fun, sexy and ever so humanistic way. Think Mel Gibson saving his life in Bird On A Wire by talking to Goldie Hawn by convincing her they might have a future with children in it. It is the only way to save himself from the crocodiles as his wire is unraveling, if I remember the scene correctly.

Remember, its how you make them feel, not think or receive instruction.

This, by the way, is one of the ways to beat the reader as well, whether at an agency, production company or publisher. Remember in this competitive industry, people vie for TOMA on the outside of a career and counter-politic inside the business.

After these two documents, character biographies come next. They generally go back three generations, so the character can display multi-generational dimension in scene, in action, just like people really do. How often do you respond to people with what your grandmother always said. Same thing, just verisimilitude in character behavior.

I have an excellent auto biographical template I will dig out and post sometime in the future. It is basically similar to one of the Struck & White books, of which you should own all three.

Other support docs that help you outline where your story would go might be maps printed from Google to the scale where all locations fit. If you don't have all locations, locations can be derived from the action through line. Example: Anjolina Jolie and Johnny Lee Miller in "Hackers." They need to get passwords and usernames from the oil company that is going to create a global environmental disaster by tipping over all the oil tankers technologically. The usernames and passwords are critical to hacking the big iron of the oil company to stop the disaster from occurring, even at the cost of breaking the law.

This is sneaky business, so they dumpster dive late at night and get some of what the ensemble needs. But an old security guard discovers them and tries to arrest them but Anjolina Jolie fires a roman candle style device at him creating both a comedic relief to the gravity of their dilemma and deepens the relationship between the two who eventually have romantic interests.

So necessity of solving the conflict can be sources of location in terms of what the protagonist, or protagonistic forces require to do so. It can also introduce new characters (Dr. Allcome from Keanu Reeve's "Johnny Mnemonic) puts Henry Rollins directly into the plot advancement and provides the setting for the conflict ecalation when the assassin shows up and kills Henry Rollins) to the ensemble, who can be quite high energy for short periods because you don't want to keep them up too long. It's a cycle.

I had a macabre historical fantasy feature I wrote with supernatural elements in it I didn't want to even come close to any previous representation, so I embodied origin myth powers in one of the characters and thus was the first screenwriter to historically demonstrate where zombies came from a long, long time ago, in land far, far away. I couldn't resist that last one, sorry.

You can draw crude drawings of what particular characters look like and pin those up on the wall if you want to. Whatever helps is whatever works. The place you are trying to get to is confidenceville. With confidence, the framework you have devised on the wall to support your creative process will allow the unconscious megawriter within you to step up and give you data that will pretty much keep you in awe of the process the rest of your life, if you are lucky and work hard and avoid a lot of BS preached as absolutism.

So a variety of documents giving you solid foundation, the foundation gives you the confidence to move forward with drafts, rewriting the drafts allow your creativity to add, subtract, change, enhance and so forth, until your product comes out the other side of the process as absolutely the best you can do, which gives you a level of satisfaction making the context of all that work worth it. And then your market sense kicks in and you bring your ability to hack narrative to the place in the market (a niche market at first perhaps, but there is no rule saying you can't swing for the fence either) where your skill is competitive enough to get you the damn money honey, LOL.

HTH and good on ya,

The Lone Comic TM
Defender of Creativity and Entertainment SM

Thursday, July 17, 2014

When the rules of writing arbitrarily dictated become chains of your own making, voluntarily worn.



I get in this habit of making long replies to posts that link to a writing article that states "The Rules" as one particular author or poet or another believes them to be.

To wit, the link please:

Poetess dictating rules of writing as absolutes to her class of young, impressionable poets and writers.

I originally posted back, after following the link, that some of the rules were valid, but some of them could be harmful.  The original poster inquired as to which ones I thought to be harmful, and here below is my reply.

I give you..


"When Rules Fail A Winning Game"


Written By
Arthur William Hermansen
Copyright 2014 / All Rights Reserved




I'd start with don't write what you don't know. Ever. There are no absolutes, to begin with.

Taking this advice literally as written in stone precludes writing what you are becoming.

Writing what you are becoming occurs (not exclusively) in the transformational act of creativity itself - the real time act of writing, while the finger are moving and the mind is listening or speaking, depending on the type of creative act one is experiencing at the time.

More specifically, it would be like starting out with one idea, and in the middle of hashing it out while capturing flow (sometimes you don't need an outline, one small piece of inspiration can commence the process just fine - especially in poetry and often in prose) you have an evolution in perspective or POV on the original idea and go with it because this happens in the real time act of creativity.

This is caused by the channel opening wider between (what the teacher you went to calls, "The Waltz between the mind and the soul.") the conscious perception of receiving the creative work from the unconscious. If its a waltz, which is a slow dance, then a particular type of work of one specified rate of capture is being processed.

However the conscious mind is capable of processing 40 bits of information per second. The unconscious, however, is capable of 11 million bits per second. This indicates that there are many more speeds that just waltz.

However, not all creative people have multiple speed capture aspects to their creative faculty. Some just have one speed. Perhaps it was the extreme familiarity with this capture rate that led your instructor to believe that the speed at which she got stuff was the sole and arbitrary definition in existence, when this is perhaps only her perception of what exists, not what all exists.

I have multiple speeds. I believe most creative people do because that is how the faculty is built. We just don't know about creativity or ourselves enough to recognize all we are developing within.

An example of some higher rates are evidenced by an experience I had when I was an early stage creator and outlined 10 science fiction novels in one four and a half hour wait at a bus stop in Ventura to go home to Santa Barbara. Talk about a good time for a writer.  That outline was done on one 3" X 5" note pad.  It was simultaneously an exercise in precise penmanship and page space utilization efficiency.

Another example would be being woken up by something in the middle of the night, and knowing you have to honor the creative process (I will blog the whole story eventually once I get it into the schedule) and write it down.

So you wake up, perhaps grumble and get down the bones. But the bones are not enough for your creative faculty, which has no sense of the temporal so doesn't even know it's waking you up; it just knows you create and it helps you because it is you, and delivery time for finished material, or perhaps more appropriately, material that is done in the incubation stage and is ready for more formal literary technique and skill application to move toward a full or complete artistic expression, has arrived.

Sometimes a whole pie comes out of the oven, not just a slice to coin a metaphor.

So in the previous reference, I got up and wrote a 21 page film script treatment in about 45 minutes or so. Eminently satisfied, (as honoring oneself does) I laid the legal pad aside and flopped gratefully back into slumber town.

I had closed my eyes for but scant seconds and the rewrite was practically plastering itself onto the inside of my eyelids.  I had to honor up again and write the second draft of the treatment.  It took another hour and blossomed to 26 pages with dialogue this time, tighter character relationships - you know the things that mark more crafted work.

I flopped back down, slept for three hours and woke up so perfectly rested, I was amazed.

Why was I amazed?

Because I had flopped into bed the night before in a hotel that had no electricity and thus no hot water.

Why was this?

Because I was a refugee from the 100 year storm in Santa Barbara, and my old video studio in the MonOlive area of Santa Barbara, where much of the movie business was born (despite the exclusivity Hollywood will try to get you to believe for well - the economic reasons associated with an exclusivity argument) was under six feet of floodwater.  I was freaking out about the safety of my body of work and studio equipment.

The body of work and studio I was protecting from the flood of the 100 year storm by sandbagging outside the studio for the previous 72 hours straight.

So waking up perfectly refreshed after all that with just three hours of sleep was really, really weird to say the least.

However, I know now it was a primal cue thing, and you nor your instructor are ready for that discussion.  It is a long one to relate, even in my circumspect hand.

So I trudged out looking for coffee, found some, sat down and the third draft jumped right into my brain.  

These relations are all examples of rates of incoming material from the unconscious to the conscious mind.  I had to write it. 

It was not a hard decision because I had knocked out the first two right? And I had two large fresh coffees in front of me (I don't like to stand in line for a second cup and interrupt the creative flow. It seems idiotic and certainly is counterproductive).

The sun was coming out, the floodwater was receding from all reports, and optimism was growing inside me that my studio and body of work had survived.

That confident feeling gave me the comfort to not worry so much and I gave the third draft some real power user (the literary skill kind) effort and just two hours later I had a 45 page short film script entirely written by hand.

This was in the pre personal computer days in 1983.

At that moment, and literally at that moment, a director whom I'd written for before when he was a Film Studies student at The Brooks Institute showed up with his girlfriend. They had driven up from LA to see how their friends had done in the storm.

I told them I had an amazing story. He replied considering the night before, everyone had one, and I said, "no, I mean story story." 

He looked at the sheaf of papers.  His girlfriend took them from me. We sat and talked as she read them and she put them down and looked at him saying, "If you don't make this, I will."

And in my experience, that is how things often get done in show business.

So you see, there are a multitude of triggers and methods and adaptations of the act of creation. To know as many of them as you can and to utilize as many methods as you can adapt is reciprocally related to the number of works you will produce in your lifetime as well as the qualitative excellence of said work.

One of the reasons we have such a stagnant culture to begin with (Hollywood, television, publishing - even most Internet) is because of rules based thinking. You gotta have it done by Friday, we shoot on Monday. It's a page one rewrite before morning. I have a blog schedule to keep to for my social media marketing and content strategy. 

Seems like there is no time for wine making writing.  I know that is where hits are born.

That is not to say to ignore the rules, but we have been taught that you have to learn the rules before you can break them, but that is not an absolutely ironclad view.

In fact, they can be chains of one's own devising, voluntarily put on through blind guru like devotion to someone we admire. 

 As a woman, you know love can be like this from a woman's POV quite often. Love and art enjoy deeper links than you think.

A rigid grammarian might keep you rewriting something ad infinitum ad nauseum when your audience well understood it a few drafts ago.  Your next idea is stagnating on deck in your unconscious ready to consciously materialize.  But you are working against yourself at the faculty that counts the most for your rich life experience and your career.

Another example of erroneous thinking is, "Great writing doesn't happen by chance." Wow! What an opportunity destroyer.

Does this lady intend to hobble everyone in her sphere of influence by peddling this dangerous ignorance?

Great writing does happen by chance, and that chance is favored by the prepared mind.

Being a good observer, a quick mind and eye, a good ear, an experienced, broad persona - and more, allows you as a writer to capitalize on thing that happen fast and inspire high res, high speed reflections that can lead to amazing poetry or prose if you allow that mental sprinter - your imagination - the chance to get out of the gate.

More easily accomplished with an open mind rather than rigidistic pre-interpretation blockades to perception.

An example of this, from my own experience as that is all the authenticity I can truthfully offer, happened one day I was riding on the bus to my machine shop job.

The sun was just rising, and where I got off to walk the rest of the way to work was a large field of grass in front of a community center. The coastal California has interesting sunrise humidity distributions.  In just a few seconds of sunlight, morning fog on or near the ground can heat up and rise quickly.  Imagine seeing a ghost fly away.

It disappears just as fast. That morning, I saw it happening, and relished my good fortune at seeing nature's active artistry, just for me. What I did not see what the dove that had been on the ground, half hidden in the mist.

My coming into the area startled the dove, and it flew off the ground at the same rate of speed as the quickly lifting mist in the new sun's heat blast.

It's wings beat at a pace so that the mist, as it disappeared, visually matched (match frame is the cinematographic/editing technique) the opacity of the moving white wings of the dove.  

The visual simultaneous simile and juxtaposition of them got me so inspired, I sat down at a nearby bench and wrote a several stanza poem comparing the wing of a dove to the light show of the sunrise and the whisper of the mist and well, I don't really have to explain more because you are a poet, you know what kind of eloquence can avail to one when such inspiration is presented.

But it was presented in the blink of an eye, and had I not had the calmness, quick thinking and broad-mindedness to instantly recognize the relationship between the dove's wing and the fleeting mist of same color as a conceptual comparison, well, poetic rhyme might not have struck me so easily, and one of the best poems I'd written that year may never have existed.

I've duped it before to be completely forthcoming.

Once I saw a man lying on the grass spasming and kicking, getting weaker and weaker as I drove past. I could not stop and I thought for the life of me the man was having a heart attack or stroke, and was dying.  I was watching death take him, real time.

It hit my sensitive poet side so hard, I wrote a poem of death and life and strangers and disconnected humanity. Yeah, imagine those verses, and how slow and laborious they were to write. Yet I had to write them.

It stuck with me all day. It would with you too, if you've got one toe in this pool of life we all swim in.

Later that day, after it got a little bit less heavy, I spoke about it to my boss's son.

"Maybe he just had the DT's," he said.

It struck me hard he was right. The old man was a wino, and was just having a case of deliriums tremens!  He had not been dying at all. I had been completely wrong.

I did walk the town for two weeks looking for the man just so I could satisfy myself he was still alive. I finally saw him and realized I had completely let my creative imagination get the best of me in entirety.

Yet, had I not been watching the area and not just the road, a very powerful poem, very powerful indeed (even though it was inspired by what I thought I saw instead of what I actually saw) would have never been written. 

Resultantly, the big question any writer of worth must eventually face in prose or poetry - questions about or impressions of - death, I would perhaps have missed the artistic developmental chance at.

This last case, however, does agree somewhat with your instructor's tenet about Universal Themes, but breaks down when you go to a dance to write a poem.  The lightheartedness of everyday people having complete abandonment of their cares and the music drives you, and you write something bright and light while the words dance along with the band.

There are several other examples of light hearted writing I could cite, but you get the idea by now.

A writer should avail themselves of as much experience in life as they can.  The Hemingway Rule of Writing is in effect here (My coining of the rule title).

"Great experience is great writing."

One does not have Universal Theme experiences all the time in an average day. One of the most important things to remember about story, whether poetry put or prose put, is to 'remember gravity.' The audience relates to the everyday world, and so should something in the work as well, whether the POV or the character behavior, or whatever. Several devices are available to a professional scribe.

One of the most beautiful women I ever saw in my entire life at a cafe in Paris at lunchtime I would have never noticed had it not been for the fact she had just drunk from her glass of red wine.

Her friend said something funny, she smiled with the red wine still splashing across her teeth.  In that instant somebody took a picture of a fountain nearby.  The mist from the water reflected the flash of the camera bulb. It's angle made a second reflection on the sheeny surface of the wine as it splashed across her teeth, because she could not not smile.  Yet the wine was in her mouth, and ruby sun shone forth from this woman's face complimenting her lipstick and hair ribbon, and how many stanzas do you think that was worth?

You gotta be of agile mind and observant to catch these things in the world. Heavy, heavy, heavy doesn't cut it in this arena.  So amend the Universal Themes bit and cut the Sylvia Plath fanboidom.  She fucking killed herself, OK? That's ample proof she wasn't right in the head, and while her work may have been fab, her example of living was not, and emulation issues exist because of the truth of the reality.  Deadly issues.  

You don't have to cut off your ear to be a great painter. If you do, you're a person with an issue that paints great. Not a suffering artist.  The bad suffering and the good art are separate.  They just happen to live in the same person, say for example, a bipolar person.  Ask Rosanne Barr about this.

Unless you want to write fifty poems about how your love for Jesus makes your heart feel and believe that actually constitutes your entire range of talent, experience and body of work.

But that would be a narrow interpretation of the rules, which is the point I am trying to make. Rules are made to be broken, and then there are rules that were never meant to be rules at all and should be thrown out the moment they are uttered and the speaker bitch-slapped out of the salon.  

Look at the world with fresh eyes. Well, this is almost mandatory for early curve creative maturity.  But as you age as a literary artist, and grow as a literary artist, there are some things out there that are just going to be the same forever. Like assholes, covetousness and gold digging. If you are going to drill down into drama, which is what we all do if we choose to live in this thing we call society, you can be sure you are enmeshed in it also. To not explore that, even if it is not Academy Award caliber work, is to deny part of your true self. Because it may lead somewhere important.

If you are trying to look at everything with fresh eyes all the time, you may miss opportunity at finding a new twist on the same ole same old, and bring your audience originality that hits home rather than giving them escape. 

Each approach has merit.

There are several kinds of writing, you see. You owe it to yourself to see if more than poetry is in your bag of tools and tricks and talents.

This last example of 'the rules' bugs me a little bit.

Write for 10 minutes every morning to get the garbage out of your head. That garbage at the top of the mind in the morning could be some of the most valuable insight you creatively receive. You may just not have all the equation given to you at once, because the unconscious has no pro forma requirement to give you a full solution to a creative problem each and every time you get something. Maybe it's just being a neural matrix, like brains are in the real reality, and giving you part of the answer to free up network resources to do the rest of the work.

Capture everything. Keep faithful notes no matter how 'vomity' (to use the directive of the great Gilda Radner "just vomit it out onto paper") it looks or feels. Waste nothing. It is all you. Why do you throw yourself away just because you don't immediately understand or contextualize something rationally? 

This is sheer idiocy and self sabotage at it's subtle finest.

As far as writer's block is concerned, it is the mark of the rank amateur or blame based co-dependent or the neanderthal origin myth perception of creativity to believe in it's existence. The method for disproving it is so simple and self-demonstrative I gladly leave that cleaning up chore to you. It should grind some of the rust out of your discovery methods.  

It's the first rule in my fame consulting business: get out of your own way.

Originality of presentation I would take down off the web if I were you.  I cite the quality of uniqueness.

I bet you know the names of every guy who wants to sleep with you right now, and what his chances really are. I bet those guys don't know that.

So you can play the Ovid routine and dance the Homer dance for as long as your instructor wants. But someday, that's going to get heavy, tired, trite, jaded and painfully and obviously apparent it is not everything you could be experiencing or creating artistically.

Nor are you, in that state, seeking every opportunity you could be nurturing the chance at the one thing we all are after in life whether we know it or not, whether we are living a lie or not, whether we are fooling ourselves or not.

We all want to discover something. 

Those of us who choose that thing to be truth often make a better brand of poetry and a better brand of creator and a better brand of time well spent living life.

FWIW, IMHO

The Lone Comic TM
Defender of Creativity and Entertainment SM







Saturday, July 12, 2014

Let's talk about writer's block and collectively get beyond this myth.



Hi Everybody, hope this writing finds you and yours well and happy.


I was surfing around creative writing hash tags and found a young writer's community post on writer's block.


I was happy to find somebody was trying to move past this false issue in the world of writing, and replied to their post approving of their efforts by asking them to help ban this myth as I often try to do when I run across it's pesky, comfortable with dysfunctional regurgitation emergence in threads here and there across the internet.


The original poster, named Sihamm wrote back and vigorously defended the existence of writer's block, claimed it was substantiated in several books and then challenged me as to, 'Who was I to dispute this writer's term?'


Well, its not a term, its a notion, and a false one as you will see by the end of this blog.


Those of you who know me as an ex-marine, performer, author and internet entrepreneur know I relish a good challenge, so herein is my response to the young, aspiring author operating so dangerously on the edge of mythic paradigms:


To wit: I give you..





LET'S TALK ABOUT WRITER'S BLOCK AND COLLECTIVELY GET BEYOND THIS CULTURAL MYTH.




Written by

Arthur William Hermansen

Copyright 2014 / All Right Reserved


I understand and recognize your community was formed to ban the myth. Your headline said, "AGAINST WRITER'S BLOCK WE FIGHT." You are talking about writer's block in your statement, are you not? The inability to write? Is that what your group is about?

I assumed so, because that is how and what I responded to. I can tell your use of the English language is limited, because of the easy misinterpretation of the definition of words. Your community is not "us" formed to ban this, it 'is' or 'was' formed to ban this myth.

Let me help you immeasurably, and you may thank me later.

Many books may have been written about writer's block, but it does not exist.

It is as big a myth as when people thought the earth was flat, but were not willing to change their point of view until they were proven wrong.

There are many myths I controvert.

Take a look at each one of those books. Then check the copyright date of the book (I assume you know how to check the copyright date in a book. Every writer should.) 

With the professional publishing understanding manuscripts for books are often completed often a year before the date of copyright in order to follow the old fashioned method of publishing, recognize that if you have a bunch of books with copyright dates at least five years old, then you are referencing books (which as educated opinions of authors at best) that are frankly conceptually out of date. Discovery moves far too fast for yesterday's news.

They wrap fish in it, as we say in show business.

Even then people often did not change their point of view until they died because they were stubborn, stupid or proud, or any mix of the three. Or worse, read the books of people who were, as we say in Democracy, 'dangerously misinformed.'

Most professional writers in film, television and literature will tell you writer's block does not exist, and I am among them, having written for half a century, and performing live onstage for half that time as a comedian and storyteller.

That's probably twice as long as you are old. So listen to the voice of experience. Carefully.

There is nothing wrong with the process of writing. A thousand books have been written on a hundred or more approaches, and I have read most of them. You pick up a pen or pencil or turn on your computer, and you start working. If you can't work, there is nothing wrong with the computer, pencil or pen, there is something wrong with your head.

What is wrong with your head is a head issue, not a writing issue. That simple, clarified distinction should be the beginning of the dawn of your understanding about this issue.

Now I will describe for you in great detail, out of the goodness of my heart, from the vast experience and education I have had in writing for decades, to a total stranger somewhere else in the world that it is not really an issue, but a process.

This misunderstanding has been popularly created by pseudo-psychology from conceptual writers eclipsed in the legacy of the romantic era, the 'self enchanted era' more than a hundred years old (here in the West we call it 'Frontier Psychology').

The next thing you need to know about the myth of writer's block is that just because you cannot work on a story, and believe yourself to be blocked, that assertion alone does not account for the creative process within which writing works, unless you are a dictionary or encyclopedia writer.

You are not one of those, are you Sihaam? I didn't think so, so let us continue.

The creative process is a semi-conscious process (meaning there is part of your conscious mind [the here, now, in a few minutes, in one hour, tomorrow, next week, next holiday and facts, details and specifics] and part of your subconscious mind [the maybe, what if, I wonder, symbolism and concepts and more we have yet to identify because science and philosophy are not high up on the subject try as they might]).

So you have two parts of you that work together when you are creating a story, a plot, a character, a scene or a bit of dialogue. Creating means: writing, painting, dancing, sculpture, graphic design, new recipe, new outfit, etc.

Still with me? Good. I'm banking on your intelligence and objectivity; always a risky proposition, but the best place to work from.

The conscious, rational part of your mind is aware of the passage of time. The creative faculty draws upon the subconscious for abstract ways to figure things out, because calling on the rational (your 'A,B,C' part of your brain) doesn't do very well many kinds of abstraction (your ‘script, pictograph, cuneiform – why were we developing language to begin with?’ part of your brain).

An example of abstraction - so you are completely clear - is going from a simple abstraction like, "Men sometimes go fishing" (something undoubtedly true though you have no direct evidence with your eyes to confirm it until you see men on a boat in a lake confirming it at a some time in the past, present or future) to a complex abstraction (or more distant from simplicity, better put) such as, "In the story written about fishing by the great science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, men go fishing on a watery moon circling another planet where the man have giant fishing rigs and boats because the fish are the size of great monsters who can easily destroy the boat and fishermen if they are not extremely careful in every fishing step they take." 

That is what the sport of fishing represents in that story concept and execution in abstract.

Get the idea of abstraction now, Sihaam?

Abstraction can be simple or sophisticated. Each has requirements of thinking time, whether easier rational thinking, or more challenging and time consuming abstract conceptual or creative thinking.

It took you a tenth of a second to assure yourself men do go fishing. It may have taken a great creator like Ray Bradbury five months to think of a sophisticated abstraction about men going fishing on another planet in the future. And at the time he wrote the story, he had been writing abstract science fiction for decades and was considered at the time one of the three top science fiction writers in the world and possibly for all history to date.  
It is good to consider the word 'story' is the most of the word 'history', not only from the adage, 'history is written by the victors'.

I have written science fiction for 25 years and personally think, but it is just my experienced opinion - I never asked Ray trivial questions - that he probably outlined the story in about an afternoon or less.  That doesn't account for the time he took to think creatively about the story. I think that is about how long it would take me.  Because he was a better writer than I am, he probably did it in less time than I could.

Let's get back to the lesson, then. 

Your subconscious mind, as opposed to your conscious mind, is not aware of the passage of time. It is not part of its faculty. It is a time nonrecognition faculty. Let's establish that.  I suggest, but cannot verify yet, this was an evolutionary trade off in exchange for other abilities.  
Another trade off I suggest is that your creative faculty does not hand you a linear narrative when solving creative problems.  It depends on the complexity and/or the degree of abstraction of the problem it is solving as to when the solution will become apparent to your conscious mental processes.  

Nature did not put certain mental process patterns in the subconscious to be part of the clock watching you, they put other mental process patterns in there to be the conceptual thinker you.

Because your conceptual subconscious (which is part of you and works for you all the time, which we do not notice because that is what the term 'subconscious' defines - things we are not consciously aware of but think about anyway on one level or another away from top of the mind awareness) does not recognize the passage of time.

It cannot differentiate whether it is processing something that takes five seconds to arrive at the answer of, or five years to arrive to the answer of.  

I have a future blog planned on this I hope you will find as illuminating as I did experiencing it.  Keep that word experience handy in your future creative endeavors involving self discovery.  

I am not talking about the noun experience, but the verb form, experiential.  

Or 30 years for that matter back to the point, if we are to pragmatically look at timescale in the way conceptual development thinking or creativity operates.

All the creative faculty knows is that you have asked it to arrive at a solution for you. It will do so no matter how long this process takes if it can, because it calls upon the subconscious, the part of you that is good with this kind of abstract and symbolic concept thinking to help it.

That part of you is at least nine times smarter than the conscious part of you reading this text right now. But it doesn't know how to tell time really very well at all. It's wasted neurons as far as efficient brain development is genetically concerned from the standpoint of human evolution.

The creative faculty within the subconscious does this all because you ask it of yourself to figure it out. This the way it loves you, by serving you. We sometimes hurt the one we love, eh, Sihamm?  In this case we hurt it by labeling mythical maladies upon it like writer's block.  

We tend to believe just because we forget something consciously, we must not have thought it was important. But the subconscious mind does not have the mental process pattern to draw that rational distinction. It only knows you are trying to figure something out, and it is there to help you because it is part of you and wants to support you in every way it can. It kinda can’t not help you, actually. Because thinking is thinking is thinking, whether rational, creative or subconscious.

But we push it to the side just like society pushes to the side creative people. This of course in both cases is poor judgment demonstrating a lack of understanding of how the more sophisticated parts of our brains, and society work.

Just because you missed the answer to the problem you posed to yourself when it was there as you woke up, and you were too lazy to write that fleeting thought down - because people often are lazy intellects unaware of how the subconscious communicates its information to the consciousness – something you asked it to do for you, doesn't mean it didn't do it’s job.

It means you failed your job of capturing the information consciously when it was presented to you.

It's sort of like taking a picture of yourself with a camera posing as a photographer looking at yourself like you are the best subject to take a picture of. Then something near you occurs that is a real picture worth taking and you say to yourself, "Oh,I could have got that shot were I paying more attention to things around me, instead of admiring my fancy self in the vain mirror of consciousness."

Now that great shot is lost forever, and it could have made your career, established you as a professional, or a good shot maker or at least made you some money stringing on the wires.

All because you were so involved with self admiration. Getting out of your own way is the key first step in becoming an authentic creator. There are a whole bunch more. But it gets a lot easier once you learn you can release yourself from the chains you willingly put yourself into intellectual slavery with.

Read Plato's "The Cave" and you might find a few clues as to how to do so.

What you did in failing to capture the information consciously does mean is that you took the job it did for you, and told yourself on a certain level you don’t care about the job it did for you - that the job it did for you has no value.

This is known in psychological terms as self-diminishment. It's a small part of our dysfunctional society - something you must overcome if you are to become a creator of significance.

You harshly diminish and sweep under the conscious rug a particular aspect of your deeper self for the job it did for you because the way you treated it when it served you because you asked it by coming up with the answer to the job and it was not the easy, convenient way for you gather that information.

This is harshly judging yourself, and technically self abuse. Your subconscious doesn't forget this abuse. And remember, it's actually in charge of your life, so this is not an intelligent or self compassionate thing to do at all. Yet people do it all the time and we are all doing it right now for the most part.

It takes years of discipline to not do it, in my opinion, and we are not perfect, but we must be genuine when it comes to dealing with ourselves on every level.

So now you know why we have so many problems in our personal lives and in our societies because we simply do not work with the rest of who we are in a respectful, committed and meaningful way. It's hard work, and hard work is almost the sole ingredient in success on just about any level, personal, professional or creative or global you can name, define or conceptualize.

This is one of the great losses of the human potential, and why I stand by and commit to the values of calling myself The Defender Of Creativity.

We perpetrate this abuse upon ourselves because we inherited the script from an antiquated and underdeveloped element of society. The part of society that tells you, "You'd better have something to fall back on in case you don't make it as an artist." This perception alone can create enough life long fear to prevent you from taking the degree of risk for your creative life to succeed for your entire life. It can virtually assuring you will fail as an artist.

Taking yesterday's advice is not always the best investment in tomorrow.

Things like slavery and monopoly have taught us this important perspective when evaluating yesterday's wisdom.

Comparatively, it is also well documented that 95% of all businesses fail five years after they start, primarily due to the lack of planning, marketing or funding. But it took the finest entrepreneurial minds of Silicon Valley years to discover the real reason for business failure was the business planning process itself.

Yet for decades bordering on a century, we were faithfully and diligently prescribed to that all new business owners must have a business plan proving it will make money before any particular agency like a bank or the Small Business Administration would give them money to start the business with.

And yet they failed anyway. It was big data that brought us (and one Swedish scientist who wrote a book called Business Model Generation) to the conclusion that it was not business planning that was the guarantee of successful businesses, it was the business modeling process that was not sufficiently developed that lead to failure.

So now I am analogously going to loop back to the creative process and tell you writer's block does not exist because what we thought was writer's block was actually just an inability or lack of effort to define the creative process specifically enough within which the writing, painting and other creative disciplines are part of.

The result of that lack of specific definition of the creative process which in our case precisely deals with a temporal aspect of how part of our brain works with solving problems is the misnomer, or myth or writer's block.

So now you know the truth of it, Sihamm.

Writer's block exists as an excuse for not doing enough work defining the creative process within which writing works to clear up it's existence as a mistaken perception in writing pro forma. Because there was a label to hang all blame for not writing on that avoided personal, professional and individual wellness accountability, we stuck with what we thought was sufficient definition in the category topic of writer's block.


And we might as well account for another part of the creative process known as gestation, which is often mislabeled as writer's block. Something that is a natural part of the creative process (the gestation phase) is being mistaken for writer's block because nothing is happening at the time and our convenience mentality loses it.

Self-diminishment or populist frontier psychology takes over and you wave the flag at the top of Unscaled Heights hill screaming, "Writer's Block!  Writer' Block!1" when nothing could be further from the truth.  Joseph Heller, the author of the classic "Catch 22" used to say, "I think for ten years, then I type for one."  

Getting the picture of the gestation phase now?  It can take as long as the complication of the problem you pose it.  This does not include the interpretation time your rationale takes to convert the deliverable into words on the page.  

You gotta watch out for convenience rage in writing and in life.  You ever seen convenience rage?  It’s up there with road rage but much more frequent, given the range of retail experiences available to consumers.  Sort of like retail frustration on steroids.  Think Christmas returns as the origin story for this phenom, then hit it with the anabolics, and you get the picture.  

The myth of writer' block, and other blocks for that matter, was born in an immensely self absorbed time (which would account for the predisposition to not take accountability for much on a personal basis. These were times of: colonialism, rampant financial exploitation at great human and environmental cost, indigenous people's 'anglofication' and institutional and doctrinal abuses virtually ruining entire races, countries and cultural heritages) within which high falutin' self view was the norm, not the aberrant thinking we know it to be today.

Today we know it as vanity, ego, self absorbed behavior, the ignorance of arrogance and the like. Back then, when the term was coined, it was easier to blame something other than ourselves. We viewed ourselves as far too perfect in our own special ways. We thought in most aristocratic, provincial and cloistered terms. It has not entirely gone away today, sadly.

But fortunately, our need to know the truth and our highest cognitive function genetically, discovery, will not allow a healthy consciousness to wallow in self admiration for long. Such behavior is simply not evolutionary wisdom.

However, there are a significant number of people out there who believe that banks, breeding and big box retail are the apex of civilization. These fools, of course, constitute the majority of the population. However, anybody who has a mind as opposed to a brain understands that commercialization is not the be-all, end-all of society. This sacrifice of human dignity, worth and values for the short sighted sake of shareholder interest is but a temporary stall in our evolutionary curve as a species and a civilization star bound.

Because when you meaningfully commit to all aspects of self, you learn who you really, totally and completely are becoming as opposed to who you assume or are told who you are. I don't think our lifespan is long enough to go all the way, but I hope science will affect longevity to allows us the ability to continue the process of becoming. It is going in that process direction that is important anyway.

That is how not to live a lie, and more importantly, surprisingly, given that last statement, opens the doors to your greatest personal, professional, creative and living discoveries. And that kind of thing is the kind of thing that life is all about, not what you possess or control; these are the overwhelming self-enslaving concerns of the intellectually, philosophically and spiritually challenged.

So if you ask yourself to imagine going fishing, you can probably come up with the majority of details to complete the picture for yourself pretty quickly. But if you ask yourself to imagine yourself going fishing on another planet sometime in the future it may take five months for you (or Ray Bradbury) to figure out all the things necessary for to complete the picture for yourself so you are confident you know it.

And in the professional literary arts business and life, if you can’t write it down, you don’t truly and authentically really know it.

Just because five months have passed instead of five minutes, does not mean you are blocked and suffering from writer's block, it means you are still working on it and its going to take more time to figure out how you particularly, in your individual, unique artistic way are going to picture yourself fishing in the future on anther planet.

We, in our simpletonian, crutches-as-the-best-way-to-walk mentality believe if it is not coming to us right away or soon, we are blocked. When indeed, the process may still be working far beyond your conscious grasp, and your subconscious has not figured it out yet. You can trust it to, because it is a part of you and not in the business of screwing you unless you can’t trust yourself to have the patience to wait for the answer. And that is a head issue called self trust, not the myth of writer's block.

But because we cannot in an immediate conscious sense identify whether the solution has been arrived at, we label it with a patent lowbrow frontier psychology term called writer’s block that people who haven't done the work subscribe to as true.

In fact, the answer may have come to you long ago, but you were not self aware enough at the time to recognize it and write it down. This happens when you are intellectually lazy or convenience addicted. Just like the corporations like you to be. Or, you didn't have enough trust in your creative faculty because you don’t understand it well enough, and never really tried to on a significant level, to believe it would come up with the solution to your posed problem because you asked it to. This is an internal processing error regarding information delivery a hundred miles away from the writing process.

Are you beginning to see Sihamm how we dis-serve and abuse ourselves in a most important way simply because we lack the patience, trust, commitment and discipline to wait our less rational thinking processes out?

This is a common thing I see everywhere. I am so glad to be different, because I have no writer’s block. I have written tens of millions of words, and if anything, I have an information architecture management issue dealing with all the subjects and subtopics I have written about!

I’ll take that any day over living a lie of the myth or writer’s block because it is an easier solution to come up with than learning how to deal with other thinking processes you cannot completely control, make immediate demands of, put on a time clock on and all the other chattel consciousness limitations enslaving the vast majority of the world for centuries.

I choose to think more broadly about things, and encourage you to also, Sihaam.

So by failing to recognize the role of time *alone* in the creative development process is one key reason why the myth and patriarchal label of writer’s block has manifested itself.

It has been so happily embraced as a crutch by people of limited thinking because it is less mental work to blame the block than the person’s lack of understanding of their given creative process. Or it's a lack of personal commitment to patience and trust in the time it takes to solve some creative issues more abstract in design than others. Like how to fish on earth or how to fish on another planet, for example. Or how to sit in a chair or sit in a chair that was used as an electric chair as a method of teleporting to hell in the film "Constantine" starring Keanu Reeves.

It is because of this lack of perspective, understanding and self awareness this myth has come to popular excuse for another thing entirely. We resist the truth about the process because we are invested in defending the lie of the myth because we have been living it so long, it must be true, and we can remain intellectually lazy if we just leave it culturally instituted.

This is the definition of the Flat Earth Society consciousness. The earth is round, Sihamm.

But that is like staying in a loveless marriage that grows no fruits of the heart because the fear of being alone or going out there and making it happen romantically all over again scares us to death, so we paralyze in place. We would rather live the lie and defend it than make the effort to change for the sake of a better truth in life. A truth that could set you free from the chains you yourself put on.

And that is just laziness I am not prepared to tolerate. It is why I defend creativity from short sighted, lazy intellects who would rather peddle yesteryear’s perceptions of truth instead of burying them in the past where they belong. These yestergnomes retard the advancement of culture by providing easy explanations deflecting inherent responsibilities for harder work, clearer perceptions and defending dysfunctional institutionalized blame based cultural axioms interested in nothing but authoritarian self-perpetuation.

There is nothing wrong with the writing process. There is something wrong with the way you perceive the creative process and how it works. A portion of that perception is in complete disregard of the passage of time and its necessity in subconscious operations in thinking about creative problem solutions.

Fix your perception of how the creative process works (and it’s effect on the writing process, or painting process- whatever artistic discipline you may specify) and you will immediately see, if you are objective at all, that writer’s block is simply a label we slapped on something to pin the blame on when the harder work of objectively, and intellectual understanding of creativity as a human consciousness process was really what was at issue.


Remember my lesson of “The Razor’s Edge” by W. Somerset Maugham.

'At a certain point in the growth of awareness, the great books of yesterday are only good for fuel to keep you from freezing to death in the long, cold dark night of the soul. For when the light of day at sunrise comes to your mind and body and immediate presence, you must act responsibly, responsively and fluidly to capture, describe and record for those who will follow you the look, sound, smell and feel of yesterday’s tomorrow while it is present, immediate and clear.’

Indeed, this is the sole and exclusive legitimate reason for book burning of any kind. For as the First Law of Empirical Science states, “At every step of the way, you must be prepared to admit that everything you knew before was wrong.”

Perhaps this is the litmus test of the way we authentically progress culturally?

Now get back to work and work smart and hard. For tomorrow is promised to no one and time is rarely an ally.

Sincerely yours,

The Lone Comic TM

Defender Of Creativity and Entertainment SM

“As long as you disown your shadow, you can never be whole or satisfied.” - Carl Jung

Sunday, June 29, 2014

WITH A GUN AND A CALCULATOR

Written By
Arthur W. Hermansen
Copyright 2014 / All Rights Reserved

I used to run a big night club and restaurant on the main drag of a beach side town southern California. 

The club was in trouble when I applied, and the owner, he was a hand wringer.  He begged me to help.

After awhile, the problems revealed themselves as poor menu planning, bad cost management, and worse but typical, drug use. 

Using my reputation and Rolodex, I recruited the best waiters and waitresses in town I could, and a new head chef.  I even managed to hire Kara Tower and one of her band-mates of the nearly famous all girl band Cat Taxi. 

Just imagine beautiful blondes whirling around stage claws in the air, their voices painting the sky, and you get the idea how sexy hot Cat Taxi was once. 

Then, I fired most of the opening staff.  They were stealing behind everyone’s backs by giving away free food and drinks to friends and family, and then canceling most items on the check to pocket the cash difference.  This helped stabilize cash flow. 

The owners who had bragged all day about their entertainment experience, were too naive about the bar, club and restaurant business.  Just like the people in the bar, club and restaurant business are naive about the entertainment business. 

They sat around in denial, helplessly waving their hands in the air desperately attempting to look blameless.  I let them stay in their office where they liked to hide.  It kept them out of my way. 

Things began turning around.  I was an exhausted but happy man of the hour.  The club was popular again, the staff was making honest bank and customers were happy. 

I’d even managed to pull the plug on some card carrying asshole clientele and they were barred. 

Then one payday, about six weeks into the turnaround, a waitress I’d hired came to me. 

She showed me the money going into her payroll deduction for FICA had suddenly disappeared. 

I contacted a few other employees I knew who checked their pay stubs and sure enough, their FICA had built up for weeks then disappeared also.  Mine showed the same to the tune of about 900 bucks. 

Smart club operators, we smell fish before it comes to shore on the fisherman’s boat.

So I went in during off hours when hardly anybody was around.  My pay stubs were folded neatly deep in my pocket. 

I nosed around unobserved and easily obtained the Employer Tax ID number, the liquor license tax number, the business license number, and any other important information I could get my hands or eyes on containing information hard to falsify.  At least by amateurs. 

I went down to the IRS office and ran into the old standby song and dance of federal employees, ‘We don’t do that you should see a lawyer.’   

Frustrated for the people I’d put my reputation on the line for more than myself, I walked out the door.  On the way out I noticed across the hallway the office for the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. 

I said to myself, ‘Hmm.  We serve alcohol.  Worth a shot.’ 

I walked into a big office where a tough looking federal agent sat at a desk with a pistol in his quick draw shoulder holster and a calculator on his desk.  Something told me I was going to talk to a problem solver. 

He noticed the glint of hope in my eye and asked me if he could help me.  I introduced myself and explained to him my problem while he patiently waited.  I told him I believed something unsavory was up, and handed him my pay stubs. 

He took them, looked over the multiple deduction boxes on the stub and ran the numbers through the calculator like a Las Vegas cashier counts cash with one hand, only faster.  He went “hmm,” turned the stubs over and calculated them backwards.

He grunted and looked at me like a man who carries a gun every day to work.  Steady, uncompromisingly honest, tough but not cruel. 

He eyes said he’d unfortunately seen this kind of thing before and was a little disappointed to see it again. 
He paused, and then said matter-of-factly, “Well, I can’t get you your money back, but I can get you some revenge.”

I handed him the information I’d gathered, stuck out my hand, shook his, and said, “Thanks.  That’ll do.” 

I left and gave the bad news to the staff.  I told them if they wanted their money back I would pay them myself.  Then I told them what I had done.  Nobody asked for a dime.

The moral of the story is, once in awhile, you can trust the federal government.  As long as you keep your nose as clean as your books.  





Saturday, June 14, 2014

Literary History with a twist story


Good evening, readers.  I hope all is well with you on this fine, cool evening in Northern California.  

I'm a big fan of literary history.  I learned a lot of it in the little Science Fiction bookstore that was in De La Guerra Plaza once, long ago in Santa Barbara.

One of the interesting aspects of literary history is the prototype phenomenon - when something was created first in all history.  

Here is a story for you to enjoy I wrote about the history of a prototype event in fiction writing.  It is done in the style of a great entertainer some of you are astute or educated enough to remember: Mr. Paul Harvey. 

And now, without further adieu, I give you..




A JEST IN THE STORY

By

Arthur William Hermansen
ã 2014 All Rights Reserved



The year was 1911.  The West was less wild and more settled.  A man named Edgar lived then, making his living selling pencil sharpeners.  Edgar traveled from town to town, taking orders, making deliveries and collecting on invoices.

In one town, Edgar had a customer, a respected mercantiler named Mr. Jenkins. 

One fall afternoon, Edgar was making a delivery of pencil sharpeners to Mr. Jenkins’s general goods and sundry store.  Mrs. Jenkins was at the back of the store dusting and straightening the merchandise. 

After saying hello and how do you do, as the custom of the day was, Mr. Jenkins asked Edgar, “Edgar, you’ve been selling pencil sharpeners for some years now, haven’t you?” Mr. Jenkins asked. 

“Yes, sir, Mr. Jenkins, it’s a decent wholesale” Edgar replied, carefully checking the order, as he was meticulous with his paperwork.

“How’s that working out for you?” Mr. Jenkins asked.

“It’s a respectable living, sir.  The wife and kids are well cared for and I don’t have too many days away from them” Edgar happily replied.

Mr. Jenkins paused and looked into the back of the store where his wife Martha was standing.  She looked at him.   “Yep, I reckon so.  I s’pose they’ll be growed up before you know it, like mine are gettin' to be,” Mr. Jenkins said.

Edgar paused thoughtfully.  “Well sir, Mr. Jenkins, it’s just a livin, selling pencil sharpeners, but you won’t get rich” Edgar replied, adding, “I suppose if I desired to get rich like half the dang fools these days, I’d have to find something different to do.  But frankly sir, my spare time is not planning the next aero plane, I like my habit of reading pulp fiction.”

Edgar carefully finished up and handed Mr. Jenkins the invoice.  He took it and checked it, murmuring, “Oh yes, I see, that new fiction.  Certainly doomed the dime novel” he replied.  He finished checking the invoice and looked back at his wife who was glaring at him insistently.

Mr. Jenkins cleared his throat nervously and said, “Well, you know, Edgar, I think it’s good idea there to read those things.  You see, uh, dime novels are losing their popularity and sales are getting slack.  And this new fangled ‘pulp fiction’ may be just a passing fad, and you can’t sell any more papers than what they send us,” he laughed nervously.

Mrs. Jenkins walked out and said, “We just think this new pulp fiction is kind of, well, odd.”

“I’m certain this fiction will catch on soon enough.  I like the stories, and the printing and editing is better and better all the time,” Edgar replied. 

“Well, sounds like you really know what you’re reading, doesn’t it?,” Mr. Jenkins said, chuckling.

“I suppose I do, now that I come to think of it,” Edgar replied with an amused smile.

“You know, Edgar, mebbe you ought to write for the pulps, you sure seem to have a knowledge of what you’re reading and there’s no question in my mind your penmanship and lettering is top notch, yes sir, top notch indeed,” Mr. Jenkins said with a polished salesman’s smile. 

Edgar paused, and with a wry mock said, “Now that sound like a novel idea.”  Mr. Jenkins and his wife guffawed and they all had a good laugh. 

“Ah yes, good one, good one I say, hehe-heh,” Mr. Jenkins replied.  Then a thought came to Edgar and he said, “You know, Mr. Jenkins, that might not be a bad idea after all, you know?  I watched plenty of people do well penning the dime novels.”  “That’s true,” Mr. Jenkins replied, adding, “you never know, you might be able to get in on the next big thing.”  They chuckled agreeably at that too as Mr. Jenkins paid out the drawer to satisfy Edgar’s bill. 

“I’ll consider it, sir,” Edgar replied, “But I don’t honestly know what I would do even if I tried, Mr. Jenkins.”

Mr. Jenkins took a pencil from behind his ear and signed the sales order, and as he looked at his pencil, a thought struck him, so he said, “you know Edgar, there’s an old hardware business saying.  ‘The customer doesn’t want a drill, they want a hole.”

“I don’t follow you, sir,” Edgar replied quizzically. 

“Well, Edgar, think on this.  The next time you think about writing down something with a pencil, cogitate on the paper for a moment instead before you do.  Might just provide some inspiration, and there’d you go,” Mr. Jenkins said.

“Uh-huh.  Just might.  Makes sense in a strange way,” Edgar replied, pursing the invoice satisfaction. 

“Don’t get me wrong, Edgar, pencil sharpener sales – erm – eh, not that that isn’t an honorable profession, by Jove’s lightening it sure is, I don’t intend any offense, of course,” Mr. Jenkins said.

“Not at all, Mr. Jenkins.  I understand completely.  Your idea is in fact worth considering, I declare. I will think about it sir, I will, by gosh,” Edgar replied, and took the copy of the next sales order from Mr. Jenkins and placed in neatly in order in his sales book. 

“Good.  Goood!” Mr. Jenkins smiled, clapping young Edgar on the shoulder.  “And let me know what you come up with next time you are through, won’t you, young feller?”

“I surely will, and thank you for your order.  Mr. Jenkins, I will see you right next time I am through town.” 

They bid each other farewell, and as Edgar left town Mrs. Jenkins came out from the back, where she had listened to the rest of the conversation.  She gave her good husband a squeeze of appreciation before taking the pencil sharpeners over to the stationary supplies shelf in the mercantilery section.  She felt strongly about the publishing business, being a poetess herself.  

Edgar urged his horse and rig out of town and thought about Mr. Jenkins’s suggestion for a while as he left town.  Soon, the sun was beginning to settle into the sky.  Edgar pulled off the trail and set up camp for the night.

After supper, Edgar settling down by the fire for a pipe full.  He eventually realized Mr. Jenkins was right.  The business end of the pencil surely was a natural extension of the business he was already in.  And considering he was already accomplished in paperwork when it came to his professional affairs, he might probably be respectably decent in his literary affairs too.

So he got up after half his pipe, went over to the wagon and got himself down a board, some stationary, a couple of pencils and a sharpener.  He sat back down, lit the pipe again and let his mind wander where it would, scribbling down what came to it.

Later, before bedtime, Edgar was pleased with what he had written.  It turned into a pleasurable habit for many years to come.  He was, as time passed, to pencil and pen many works of fiction.  History would show that indeed Edgar had talent for fiction.  Great talent, in fact.  Eventually, his genius would display magnificently.

Edgar created and published many works of fiction, and went on to prosperity, fame and comfort.  He was to create perhaps the most prototypic character in all literary history, and certainly the most memorable literary character of his century.  He was to be the first writer to tell adventure stories about the planet Mars, well before any other writer in history. To this day, Edgar has more imitators than any other writer in history.  Writers as legendary as Ray Bradbury, Michael Moorcock and Robert A. Heinlein wouldn’t hesitate to say they were in his debt. 

That character?  His was named Tarzan, a prototype of this character type .  And the pencil sharpener salesman’s name?  It was Edgar Rice Burroughs.

And now you know, the jest in the story.



Hope you enjoyed my tale.  Goodnight, my Internet..

The Lone Comic TM

Defender of Creativity and Entertainment SM