An Accidental Identity Crisis

Twenty-three seconds into the accident, the nascent writer Joshua Alexander jumped for joy. Concentrating on the significant damage to the bumper of my Explorer proved challenging amidst the ever-maddening screams of “THIS IS MY MOMENT! I HAVE ARRIVED!” The poor kid who pulverized his car with my bumper, some student from George Washington University home on break, apologized repeatedly for his lapse in attention; though to be fair, I’m still not sure if he directed it to me or to the crumpled remains of his car. I consoled him, insomuch as I was capable with all the celebratory screaming coming from Joshua. To his credit, the kid remained stoic, clearly at war with the beside-himself-father in his head, taking complete blame when the officer arrived, while I stood at the back of my vehicle analyzing the damage.

“This is great. Fantastic. The best thing that could have happened.”

I countered that, citing that car accidents are not great watermarks of joy for anyone. Not that Joshua cared.

“This will pay for the conference. You should thank that kid.”

I hadn’t considered that. Granted, my bumper looked a bit as if the horrors of life had consumed its soul, leaving its remains to melt into a perpetual frown.

“It’s just a bumper. What do you even need it for?”

As far as I could tell, the moment offered an example as to the primary reason bumpers existed. If I learned anything from Bumper Cars as a kid it was to never play Bumper Cars with my older brother. He had this fixation on ejecting me from my car, or better, the entire ring. Of course, he also had a fixation with swinging me in circles from an arm and leg until my glasses flew off and I started crying, so maybe the Bumper Cars weren’t the issue. In the moment, however, I found my first appreciation for the lessons those ricocheting cars offered.

Still, I had a hard time arguing the point. It was just a bumper. What’s a bumper in comparison to a week’s worth of writing education that would certainly land me a contract with a publisher? Three days later, when the Insurance adjuster handed me a check for $1,100, Joshua’s elation caught up to me. The internal war began. Bumper vs. bills vs. writing conference. Bumper lost in the opening round, if for no reason than it shut Joshua up for a while, and the worst it could do was follow me wherever I drove, its downward slope of sadness perhaps warding off any other unwanted visitors. Bills … those were a trickier obstacle. Apparently, those are supposed to be paid? That’s what I’ve heard. Somewhere.

I guess I should probably mention I had quit my job three months prior in order to write a book. That seems important, in context. Bills and all. Sudden money at hand and the like. A lack of employment certainly made income a pestering nuisance in relation to actually paying for things. You know, the important things like bills. Food. Collectible Star Wars figures. Even writing conferences. Especially those lasting a week long and costing a thousand dollars. An amount I happened to have in my bank thanks to a careless kid fiddling with his radio at forty miles-per-hour as his car rudely greeted the stopped Explorer in its path.

Maybe I shouldn’t have quit my job, I thought for the one-hundred and thirty-first day in a row. As decisions went to this point in life, it ranked up there with the best of Not Good. Sure, I finished a first draft of the book (two if you count the less than stellar 1st person draft I finished in 21 days), and by the time the conference rolled around two months later I would have a good edit complete. The timing fit. The conference–my first ever–would offer me a chance to pitch it to agents and New York Times bestselling author David L. Robbins, who would be the judge in a fiction contest. My book, Anointed: The Passion of Timmy Christ, CEO was good, by my estimates. Okay, so I thought it was perfect. Something to behold. To cherish. To love and to squeeze and to call George. Surely the agents would agree and the whole suffering for my art thing would be worth it, just as I had envisioned. That singular dream in which I quit my job, wrote a book, went to a conference and BLAMMO … agent. Agent would become Publishing Contract. Publishing Contract would equal Advance. Advance would balance out Voluntary Unemployment. Success would follow.

THIS IS MY MOMENT.

Did I have a choice? Sure. I had many. Many, many, many, many of which began the day before I quit my job. Did it feel like it? No. No, between Joshua’s screaming and my inability to see the world of possibility as more than a single light at the end of a short road, the Universe basically sat on my head, declared itself the Master of My Destiny and urged the chariot onward. All of this wouldn’t have happened otherwise, right? Everything happens for a reason, after all.

RIGHT YOU ARE UNIVERSE!

Fueled by the need to risk it all, to bypass sanity in favor of chance (LIVE NOW FOOL!), I registered for the conference and submitted the first fifty pages of my manuscript for the contest.

Sort of.

Technically, yes? Officially … not so much.

The thing is … the thing I should mention is how incredibly tired of me I had become. I saw myself every day. In the mirror, staring back for that brief flash before looking away, lest I thought myself some kind of creepy pervert offering longing glances from the other side of the glass. I talked to myself incessantly daily (yeah, yeah talked … that’s the ticket), whether I wanted to hear me or not. I cooked for myself, cleaned for myself, got sick of my needy self and needed a break.

So, I sent Joshua Alexander to the conference. I’m not sure if I thought he would generate better results, or if it would simply be nice to not be me for a week. Truthishly, I can’t really recall a specific thought of why I should do such a thing. Maybe I took a back seat to the process and Joshua jumped in. I don’t know. I just don’t know. I’m just weird like that, I suppose.

Regardless of reason–and likely absent it as well–I made my way to the conference full of cheer and lofty dreams, toting my completed manuscript in a wooden box as if it were the lost Ark of the Covenant. I checked in under my name since Joshua, for all of his robust enthusiasm, still lacked both an ID and a bank account, settled in and made off for the Opening Remarks with another hundred plus writers. All of whom were likely themselves because they were smart that way. I sat next to a behemoth of a figure–a tall, muscular man stretched out across two chairs. As I have established, socializing is not my strong point. Joshua, on the other hand, seemed to have no issue with the complexity of Hello and jumped right in.

“Hi. Joshua Alexander.”

Good for you, Josh. Well done.

The man shifted, shook my hand, introduced himself as David L. Robbins and immediately launched into praise for my submission, about how he had planned on finding me to discuss it, and stating his wonder at the luck we would sit next to each other.

It’s possible, at this point, I considered dropping the Joshua persona to ensure Mr. David L. Robbins, New York Times bestselling author, knew who I really was. I offer the possibility of such a though only because I don’t particularly recall if I though much of anything at all. Not with Joshua in charge.

THIS IS MY MOMENT.

So, I let him run with it. Let him talk throughout the Welcome, carrying the conversation onward into my work, its strengths and weakness, the nuances of the craft of writing, echoing David’s belief that conferences were vital to the growth of a writer, and I don’t know, tacos or something. It went on for hours. The next day David even invited me to go watch him golf in between sessions. I became the envy of the entire conference, buddied up to David like a excitable, loyal, puppy. Everyone knew my name, curious about what I wrote, how I had managed to so quickly win the favor of such a notable author.

They were the best two days of Joshua Alexander’s life.

They were, in fact, the only two days of Joshua Alexander’s life.

On day three, David woke up and decided to invite good ole chum Joshua to breakfast. Strange thing though. The front desk had no room for a Joshua Alexander. David insisted they were wrong. Had them check and check again, taking potential misspellings into account. Nope. No Joshua. Confused and slightly embarrassed, David fell into full research mode, following the trail of Joshua Alexander to one Zachary Steele, in room whateverever. He called me. He grilled me. Questioned what reason a man with my name would possibly have to go under any other name, then laughed at me. For the rest of the week. As he told each and every person about the ludicrous tale of Zachary “Joshua Alexander” Steele. For the next few months, as we kept lines of communication open. For the next few years as our friendship grew, as he became a mentor to me as a writer. To this day, some sixteen years later, as the memory pops up and he needs a good laugh at my expense. His last words on this planet to me may very well be, “Tell Joshua I said hi.”

I will always accept life as a never-ending ride of Cause and Effect. For instance, I make really odd decisions, the effect of which tends to rail off into the deep recess of Shitsville. I get to relive them, marvel over them, and perhaps even grow from them, but damn. Just damn.

Every once in a while, despite myself, I get to follow a train of Cause and Effect that isn’t all bad in the end.

I quit my job to write a book, with the express purpose of getting said book published, thereby jump starting my career and minimizing the damage caused by Voluntary Unemployment. In order to facilitate this, I decided I should go to a conference to get noticed. Unable to afford said conference due to having no job, I made use of accidental money to fund my way. I changed my name for no reason, met the author I wanted to meet, made a sizable impression both due to my work and the fundamental identity crisis masquerading as me, and made a friend of David L. Robbins. David created James River Writers in Richmond, Virginia, invited me behind the scenes, to their conference, gave me time with other notable authors (um, hi there Tom Robbins) and awesome people, and taught me the craft. All of which made me a better writer. Fueled by the need for more, the hunger to be better in all aspects of life, I made other questionable decisions, one of which netted me a bookstore I called Wordsmiths Books. During my tenure as owner of Wordsmiths, I met a publisher interested in Anointed. She published it. Publisher’s Weekly gave it a good review. My career as a writer found first gear.

THIS IS MY MO … oh, wait. No.

SEVEN YEARS FROM … is that right? Seven years? Sevenish years, you say? Right.

SEVEN PLUS YEARS FROM NOW WILL BE MY MOMENT.

Sometimes the wrong way can be right. Just, like, way longer.

Because Writing About Writing is What Writers Do

Somehow, it’s reached a point these days where you aren’t really considered a writer unless you’re writing about writing. I can’t really say whether that’s good or bad. Perhaps because I don’t know, but more likely because I avoid reading most of them. One might deem this tutorial littering of the internet a consequence of self-publication, in that everyone who wants to see their book in print (or on a Kindle or whatnot), can then take to their respective blog (or blob, if you’re my mother, bless her heart) and detail all the ways in which you can achieve whatever level of success they deem they have attained.

Again, good or bad, I don’t know. This is just a truth we all have to accept. Maybe there’s useful information out there that can help you. Maybe there isn’t. No idea. I mean, I can’t tell you what the Onion is writing about today because I haven’t read it. I know it’s funny though. I can guarantee that. And it’s there. There is far better than not.  Just like writing a book. It will always be better to you if it is there than if it is not.

There you go. Hallelujah, praise Timmy Christ, and may the force be with you. My writing lesson of the day. If you don’t write a book, you don’t have a book you have written. Genius. I have now joined the ranks of pseudo-professional writers who have blogged about writing. I am nearly complete as a human being. I’m one drunken tour of Scotland’s Pub of the Day Club away from ascension.

So, what do you do? How do you decide whether the advice you’re getting is advice you should be taking? Look, the truth is–the thing you need to know before taking this whole writing thing to the next level–there’s no such thing as a simplification of writing that any one person can offer. As with life, the process of learning about writing is an extensive and exhaustive process. One blog, one book, cannot cover what you need to know. Yet here you are, all engrossed in my words, or perhaps just hiking your way across the internet one click at a time, so allow me to illustrate my point in as simplified a way as I can so you only have to read one blog about it. Then you’ll know everything you need to know about writing. Ready?

Writing is hard.

Boom. You’re welcome.

Ok, so maybe that was too concise. But the truth remains. Are there varying levels of talent in which writing becomes less hard? Absolutely. Tom Robbins forged a career out of his brilliance, tapping one mind after another with a skilled hand that is not so much stratospheric as it is alien. Yet, he wrote every manuscript by hand, working on each individual sentence until it was exactly what it needed it to be. He didn’t use word counts. He just let the work tell him when he was done. Which is not “as easy as that.” That’s fucking hard. That insane-level genius. Sure, it comes easier to him than it does to most everyone else, but his easy isn’t easy for him. It’s grueling.

Writing will kick you to hell and back, then wait for you to stand so it can kick you around some more. It’s a giant sponge sucking all your time and energy, then squeezing it down the drain while letting you know it’ll be right back k thanks. It’s something that requires you to spend more time in a world that doesn’t exist than the one you’re supposed to be living in. It offers you an array of friends you can’t live without then scoffs at your genie-in-a-bottle wish that they were real. It tempts you with hope, then insists you proceed with squashing all level of hope anywhere and everywhere for everyone you create, and, shamed though you are to admit it, love. It coaxes you with the allure of wealth, readership by the millions, adoration and praise, then leaves you with a waste basket of rejection and the realization that you have yet to leave the workforce, and probably won’t anytime soon. Writing is your mistress, and it won’t be satisfied with an occasional text. It wants all of you, but it doesn’t want you to stay over, and it sure as hell doesn’t want to be anything else. It wants you to succeed, it needs you to succeed, but it doesn’t stop badgering you just because you don’t.

And you know what? You love it. You revel in it. You slosh around in your misery like a pig in filth. You devour the entire helping of writing for the pure gluttony of it, then dive into the fridge with an appetite for more. Writing is that friend you can’t live without, and it both is and isn’t there with you at every waking moment. It is the single greatest love-hate, abusive relationship you will ever know, and it will inspire you to journey into the greatest, most wonderful, corners of your mind, where mystery and fantasy burn like wildfire, where romance and seduction beat like a heart, and where the entire universe is willing to bow to the supreme truth of 42.

This is what you want. This is why you believe you exist. This is why most of your earth-based friends and family have difficulty understanding you. This is why you creep people out in crowded spaces as you stare off into alternate realities, completely unaware of your surrounding, or of the uneasiness you leave those in your path. This … this insanely hard, difficult, maddening, bitch of an art, is why everything matters, and why every struggle is survived, every fear faced, every trace of indignity of self ignored.

If not, you can stop looking for advice on writing. You can stop worrying about improving. Just write. Do your blog thing, keep a journal, write whatever your kids or family seem to want to hear, but leave the advice on the shelf, leave the expectations be.

Because writing is hard.

And quitting it is impossible.

Charles in Charge and Writing Do Not Mix

Sometimes I’ll do anything I can to avoid writing. I’ll run from the computer like it’s a Charles in Charge reunion special. Reading, destroying brain cells on Facebook, over-managing my fantasy baseball teams, catching up on baseball news I already knew, Words With Friends, walks, shopping, driving, sitting on the patio like a grown man in time-out, harassing the cat … name it. It runs contrary to the idea writing is my passion, my life, I know, but I do it regardless. Not because I’m afraid to write. Rather, because I’m afraid to write badly.

On the surface it’s an absurd statement. It reeks of a failure in confidence. If you’re afraid to write, avoiding it for any reason, then perhaps writing isn’t for you, right? However, I don’t lack confidence in my writing. Though I’m no savant and have a great deal yet to learn, I’ve worked hard on my craft. Besides, Publisher’s Weekly thought well of me. Shouldn’t I? My issue, though, isn’t with my talent, or my ability to weave a compelling tale, or whether or not what I’m about to type will be pure crap. The ‘delete’ key takes care of that. If not, editing exists for a reason. What I’m afraid of is producing work that floats off into the ether like space debris: forgotten and forever to orbit in the dark vacuum of nothingness. Perhaps that means it was bad, perhaps it doesn’t. Sometimes you can feel so damned positive you’ve written something great–or at the least good–only to watch it wander into an uncaring world that as much notices it as avoids it altogether.

Maybe that doesn’t qualify it as bad, exactly, but as a writer it becomes difficult to separate good from bad when feedback is non-existent.  Sure, you get some words of encouragement from those who know you, or from other writers, or beta-readers, or even your Publisher/Editor/Agent. They like it. They praise you in widely generic ways. They might even specifically site an instance in your work they particularly liked. Which makes you smile. It makes you proud. It gives you that momentary feeling of heroic wonder. Then it becomes print, you talk about it through various social media portals, maybe you have some events, and you wait for the accolades and reader reviews. And wait. And wait. Ultimately, the silence invades your mind, leaving a gap in your defenses wide enough for an F5 tornado of doubt to plow a destructive path through your pristine landscape of ignorant bliss.

No matter how much you talk it up, nobody’s talking back. Your book sucks. It must. It has to. You re-read it. It doesn’t feel as sublime as the last time you looked it through. Are you no longer blind to the truth, or have you allowed silence and doubt to insert their impression in your head? What does that mean for your current manuscript? Should you suspend writing in order to review what you’ve written? Will this unedited piece of unfinished potential crap offer you insight as to why your recent work is failing? Or are you over-thinking it? Of course, you can go to your Publisher/Editor/Agent for advice, but they’ll tell you to cool your jets, this kind of thing happens all the time. But no, you think, this is happening to me. It wasn’t supposed to. My book was good.

Or was it?

It’s troubling to think all this can cross through the mind in a fraction of a second. Even more troubling, however, is the anticipation it can and might likely happen to your work-in-progress–before you’ve even finished it. You have constructed a fully viable, fully entrenched, vision of your manuscript’s future while it still doesn’t even know how it will end. The characters are gathering for an intervention and you’re in the corner wallowing about how nobody will ever care about anything you write. Ever. I suppose if I were a parent, I might better understand this, or how to cope with it. My cat doesn’t inspire worry. Her naps will always be quality naps.

So, I’ll stare at the computer screen, eyeing the open Internet tabs, finger ready to open Scrivener. I might read what I have to that point, if I haven’t wandered off already. Maybe pack the laptop and head out for coffee, read it there. Maybe take a drive to hunt for inspiration. It doesn’t happen all the time, and generally by the time I’ve begun typing, my fears have waned. My characters are at the forefront. I’m a God, moving pieces, orchestrating fates, divining obstacles. All is good. My work is good. My story is good. My book, so far, is good.

I’m a writer. I don’t write simply because I can. I write to entertain, to bring something to someone’s life they will enjoy and share. It’s narcissistic, cathartic, inspiring, and humbling. I like to imagine a God, creating a Universe, filling worlds with living creatures, molding paths, futures, destinies, holding arms to Heavens when the job is done, with a notable “Huh? Awesome, right?” expression. That God would be bummed if even the crickets went silent. I guess it’s okay for me to be as well.

I just need to keep writing.

Maybe a drive first, though.

A Conversation with Christ

Quite a treat today.  What I bring to you today is a conversation with the one and only, Billy Christ, CEO of The Christ Corporation!  The fact that I had the opportunity to sit down with this religious icon, this man who has overseen quite a tribulent time in Christianity over the past 33 years was humbling to the say the least.  I may not agree with His position on much of anything, but it’s a rarity that He speaks so candidly with an average blogger/writer like ME.  Usually, He reserves that for the media folk.  But I managed to find Him on a day that He was rather contemplative, as He nears the end of His term, and He was more than willing to accomodate MY request.

But first, I offer you today’s links:

  • It would appear that Oprah’s boarding school is turning into a sex academy.  I’m not sure how I feel about this, but I’m sending in my application and resume immediately.
  • Ugh.  I’m doing this one for Alice, because I could barely even get through the article.  The New Kids/Adults on the Block are starting their tour over, right here in Atlanta on May 28th.  Didn’t anyone tell them that their newest album actually sucked?
  • WWCD?  Really, what would the world do without Stephen Colbert?  Hey, as long as I still get the moon, he can have the space station.
  • “Now, you see what daddy just did there?  I told the man to get the money out of the drawer.  But as you can see, honey, I’m still pointing this gun here at him, so he’ll do it, and he’ll do it without trouble.”  Ah, what fathers will do for their daughters.
  • In October, a new Robert Crumb book comes out, and I will wait in line to get one. 
  • There’s nothing like a good, heartwarming resurrection story to stir the soul as we glide toward Easter.
  • From the Onion.  I added this one because I’ve always had a problem with people who botch great movie lines.  Inconceivable!
  • And this one is entirely for ME.  I enjoyed the TNG reunion on Family Guy, but I’m a geek and I’m stoked to see what J.J Abrahms can do for the franchise.  Yup.  For realz.  I’m AM that dork.

It’s rained a lot in Atlanta lately.  Not that it’s a bad thing, mind you, but it’s puddled things up pretty fair everywhere, and the water is absolutely coated in a vile layer of pollen.  I was a bit conscious of this as I approached the home of The Christ Corporation.  The opportunity to sit with Christ was monumental, and the last thing I wanted to do was track mud into His pristine home.  I mean, it’s a monolith of glass in this expansive park-like garden, and there’s limited sidewalk space, most of which was, as mention, pooled in yellow-gooped mini-lakes.  I was fortunate, however, in that the lobby was ginormous, and had ample mats with which to wipe my feet clear.  After five minutes of obsessive wiping, I trudged on.  Despite the energy of the place, and the numerous televisions blaring evangelical sermonizing (the tag read something about GFC Atlanta), it was surprisingly quiet.  I waited for a while until a mousy looking guy in glasses that reminded ME of a Martin Short/Smithers clone emerged from an elevator and shook my hand.  His name was Arvid, or Armin, or something like that.  I was a bit overwhelmed and slightly nervous, so forgive MY inability to remember.  Either way, he prattled on about Christ so completely, that I began to look around the elevator for cameras.  Surely, Christ was watching our arrival.  Nobody could be so enamored with another without knowing that said individual was watching.  And to be honest, I was reviewing the questions for Christ in MY head, so about all I caught was something to the effect of, “He will be remembered by us all.  More from some, than from others.”  I only remember that because this Arvy guy had this supreme look of sugary-donut delight on his face, kind of the same I’ve seen about town in the Ansley area, if you follow.  I decided at that point that I would not step out of the elevator first, unless my notebook had ME well covered.

We arrived on the twelfth floor, passed a rather grumpy, but quite pretty, secretary named Mary, wandered down a hallway that was lined with pictures (God, they were cheesy kind of Buddy Christ images, for those who have seen Dogma) of the previous men who have sat in the Divine chair of the CEO.  We reached a door with a plackard that read, “Billy Christ, CEO” and simply walked in.  I was somewhat aghast.  I mean, I don’t know what I was expecting, but I thought a baptism, or something of that magnitude, was in order.  Would it be that easy to get into Heaven?  Just a door marked “Heaven” and you walk right in?  No dousing, no prattling on about MY sins, and sitting in judgement and stuff? 

However brazen our entrance, we were there, and nothing could have prepared ME  for the sight.  I don’t know if it was the view of downtown Atlanta through the monstrously large glass-paned face of the office, or the rediculously large conference table, or the furniture strewn about so heavily that I thought I had walked into a high-class fringe-society version of IKEA, or if it was just the mere presence of Billy Christ, standing before his desk with a grin like I’ve never seen.  I mean, I instantly knew that this man was never unhappy.  His smile wore a permanance that immediately warmed ME, and he was dressed (I am admittedly no great judge of fashion for the record) in a suit that easily out-paced MY monthly salary.  He propelled his hand into MINE, greeted ME, and said the word “outstanding” in every sentence, as if it were punctuation to be praised.  Arm…whatever his name was excused himself with a patient bow, and Christ invited ME to sit.  I remember thinking, as I looked at His desk, and its various accutrements, laptop, His coffee mug, and even the chalice of wine that sat atop his desk, that up to that point, I had no idea what “refined” meant.  In case you were wondering, it means, “likely to net you a nice take if you sell it on ebay.”  Just so you know.

It was at that time, as I gazed hopelessly around the office, taking in all the ornate Goodness that it held, that I found Christ staring at ME.  Now I don’t profess to be religious–not in an organized way anyhow–but I felt Him look through ME.  He has a deep, penetrating, other-wordly stare.  In a way, it was much as though He had simply vacated Mind for a moment, and had taken to wandering the Universe, or perhaps just the Office, in search of Grace.  Or something grace-like.  Anyway, He snapped to and said, “So…”

I jumped in my seat trying to get my notebook out.  And then I began:

“You’re coming to the end of Your term as Christ.  When do you expect that You will announce Your retirement and, upon reflection, how do You view Your tenure as Christ?”

Christ pondered it briefly, that smile ever-persistent.  “I’m told that I’ll know when to make My announcement.  God will show the way.  I can’t be certain, but it may be that I won’t know until I know that I’ve been given the knowledge.  It’s a tried and true method, I am told.  And as to My tenure, well, that’s a rather involved question with a lengthy answer.  I would be remiss to say that I have not enjoyed My time, or that I have not accomplished many things that will forever leave a mark.  However, I am a man of great humility, and I leave the boasting to those who follow me.  Or perhaps the Council.  They like to express their thoughts about Me often.” 

He laughed then, and…hm…how do I describe this?  I don’t know, really, but I swear to you, the sound came from under the desk, as if there were some sort of time-delay, or perhaps even that it arrived ahead of His motion.  Regardless, it was the first of many laughs that had ME quite unsettled by the end of our conversation.

“What would You site as Your greatest acheivement?”

“Greatest?  What a word!  Outstanding!  Some would say the affiliation with, and branding of the GFC’s–God’s Favorite Church, that is–of which there are now fifty-five at last count, is My greatest, as you say, acheivement.  Others have pointed to the weekly Offering, which takes place here at The Christ Corporation, and has given millions an outlet to seek My blessing over the years.  But I’m partial to the contract I negotiated with a certain vineyard in California–which must remain nameless for propriety, you understand–that has reinvigorated the somewhat stale version of Communion Wine that was previously served here, and in our GFC Atlanta affiliate.”

“Wine?”  I was somewhat taken aback, but cautious.  “You believe an upgrade of Communion Wine to be your greatest acheivement?”

“Oh, most certainly!”  He pinged the chalice with a flick of a finger.  “It is California’s finest, after all!’

I collected MYSELF, flipped through a few pages of MY notebook as if searching for something, then found some reserve and moved on.  “It’s a turbulent time, economically.  Unemployment is skyrocketing, the markets are soft, and families are struggling to keep their homes, their cars, and their children’s future from being absorbed by a lack of, or decrease in, income.  What would you say to them, given the reported jump in revenue, stocks, and overall financial security of The Christ Corporation?”

Billy Christ heaved a little sigh, then His smile returned.  “I would tell them that it validates the need for Christ.  For Me.  For the Offering.  If times are tough, where else should you turn?  Government?  The lottery?  Ha!  This is what the Offering is for.  If you wish to put money on the hopes of a wish and a dream, why not invest it in your soul?  Sure, these are difficult times, but now is the time to turn to Christ, to Me, for help.  Now is the time to invest in real hope, the promise of a better tomorrow, in the hands of a loving God.”

For a moment, I pondered that, but my need for a follow up was enveloped in His smile.  It was quite remarkable.  Really.  I moved on.  “You have a Twitter account, and a blog.  Do you find using these modern tools of social networking has brought you closer to the people?”

“Oh, yes, well, I find them useful, yes.  To be quite honest, I’m still a bit leery of them.  Don’t get me wrong, I find them to be a wonderful outlet to keep My followers in touch with my activities, but My time is so limited that blogging is very difficult.  Twittering is–”

“Tweeting,” I said politely.  One does not recklessly attempt to correct Christ.

“Yes, yes, that too.  They are both very easy and brief, therefore more accessible to My schedule.  I like the Twitter, very much in fact, but I tend to forget it somewhere through the day.  And, I’m quite disappointed that I have so few followers there.  I cannot hope to compete with that Shaq individual, and he doesn’t respond to My Tweeterings, which I admit, is somewhat frustrating.  I like to do it, but I believe I look forward to my retirement, when I need not bother with such things, a great deal more.”

“I know your time is short today, so I’ll just ask one more.”  He nodded, and eyed the Communion Wine with a very satisfied grin.  “You mentioned your retirement.  What will you do, and will you miss being Christ?”

He thought about this for a long while, and for a few seconds, I was beginning to feel like He was not willing to answer.  Then He locked on ME, and His broad smile returned.  “Forty-two,” he said.

“What?” I asked before I could stop myself.

“Forty-two,” he repeated.  “It’s a reference to–”

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, yes I know.  The Ultimate question to Life, the Universe, and Everything.”

“It is?”

“Yes.  What?”

He furrowed His brow.  “Oh, very well then.  I had often wondered what it meant.”

“You didn’t know?”  Christ shook His head.  “Well, then…”

Christ stared at ME, encourged ME with a simple nod.  “Yes?”

“Your retirement?”

“Yes, I will be.  Very soon, in fact.  Too soon.”

“Uh,” I waited, hoping the conversation would get back on track of its own accord, but it did not.  Christ smiled, and drew the chalice closer.  He seemed rather anxious to partake of the wine, and it almost seemed to ME that it was far too sanctimonious an act for an average ME-kind-of-person to witness.  Therefore, I called the conversation to a close.  “Yes, so I’ve heard.” 

We said our farewells, and Armind returned to escort me back to the lobby.  I left somewhat bewilidered, but gratified all the same, to have had an opportunity that no other person in MY place had ever had before.  Hopefully, as a new Christ is Anointed, and the transition is underway, I can parlay this opportunity into another.  If not, well, I’m itching to talk to the Disciples.  I hear they’re always willing to talk.  Here’s hoping.

For more information, and further details of the tenure of Billy Christ, visit this site.

Letting Facebook Do the Work For ME

Quote of the day is from a CNN article about the growing concerns of the growth of Twitter: “I keep getting the fail whale.  Twitter got too popular too quickly.  I blame Shaq.”

The Fail Whale

The Fail Whale

A few bits today before moving on:

  • Terribly sad, sad news from Miley Cyrus.  I just don’t know if I’ll be able to go on. 
  • If you smoke, you should quit.  If you don’t care that I care, then at least think of your wallet.
  • I’m very disappointed that math was never quite like this.
  • What? Twilight isn’t real?  GTF out of here already!  I want vampires dammit!
  • The Pope has decided, for some reason, to offer his Holy insights on condoms.  Really?  Condoms don’t prevent disease, they make it easier to transmit them?  Is this a South Park episode?
  • A Republican hottie?  No way!  Thank you Mehan McCain!  There is hope for the future, and it has washboard abs!

Ok, enough for now.  I like links by the way.  You get many more.  Just not today.  Let’s talk about ME again.

In the ongoing effort to initiate you all into the finer nuances of ME, I have decided that further information is required into who, exactly, I am.  You should be thrilled now.  I’ll wait a sec for the effect to take root.  (Insert Jeopardy tune here)  There now?  Excellent.  Given that it would take some time to get together a list of oddities regarding ME, I decided to let Facebook do it on MY behalf.  So, from the meme of “25 Things About ME”, I offer you this look into MY life thus far.  Where necessary (by “necessary”, I mean to say, “Where I so chose to do as I wished”) I have made alterations or additions to the original.

1. If I could sit at a computer all day and simply communicate by the written word, I would do so, which would ensure that you all continue to find ME “funny and uplifting”. Or something like that. Talking…er…not always so much.

2. I have a dog, Curbie (or Poohsie Poo, as Alice calls him), 2 cats (Maggie the Hungry Bitch and Ray the Mildly Retarded), a rat (named One), and two bunnies (Nyven the Sweet and Cadbury “TARROC” the Bunny).  I am fond of them all, but find that having a 65 lb dog sleep on MY legs at night makes it difficult to move.  I deal with it.

3. Until very recently, I had no idea that women (generally speaking) actually found ME attractive.  I’m still not sold on this idea.  I avoid mirrors as if I were a vampire.  Which I might yet be.

4. I’m much better at being Timmy Christ than Billy Christ. Could be a function of self or of desire.  But Billy’s way more funnerer.

5. When I was, like, 8, I stole money from MY mom’s purse at home to go buy a big Chewbacca figure. No joke. Very sad. Unfortunately, MY mom happened to be in the store at that time and walked up behind ME while I was in line to pay for it. Um…not good.  Hearing, “So, whatcha got there son?” still haunts ME to this day.

6. I don’t believe that I am that good of a person. I don’t know why I feel that way. Maybe because I live in my head and know what’s there. You’d probably feel the same.

7. I don’t enjoy being poor. I refuse to be that way much longer.

8. I smoked for a week when I was 12. I got tired of rushing home to brush MY teeth before mom got home and quit. Way too much work.  I’m not that motivated.

9. After failing to cut the lawn (as ordered) at 15, I told my dad–from the lay sanctity of the sofa–“Do you ever notice how work gets in the way of having fun?” Genius.  I decided that day to be a writer.  Nothing could help ME realize MY dream more.

10. I went to a Debbie Gibson concert. Yes, I know. Just know that I am still not embarrassed by those 4th row seats.  And then I balanced that out later that year by going to see Motley Crue. Oddly, the canceling out effect did not take place. I somehow still remember the DG concert, depite MY best efforts. Total Recall? Memory wash?

11. Do not read MY work in my presence. I will hover. I’m terrified you won’t like it.  Additionally, do not read over MY shoulder while I type.  I don’t like the stalker feeling you leave ME with.

12. I miss MY cat Rocky. He was the best. I blame she-must-not-be-named to this day.

13. I came very close, in ’94 or so, to just getting in MY truck and driving off. Don’t know where I was going, but I just wanted to disappear. I had everything I needed packed, cash in MY pocket, and all the desire in the world. I stayed because of family.

14. I refrain from drinking to excess because I have seen firsthand what it can do to a person. I am sad when I see it happening to people I care about. And I won’t say anything to you because it’s your damn life you’re ruining.  I’ve got MY own problems you probably don’t have time to work on either.

15. I wonder at times if I am, in fact, Truman. I’d like to speak to the producer please.  Still one of MY favorite movies, in case you were wondering.

16. Cheese should not just be a food group, it should be a spiritual icon of hope.

17. If I had it to do all over again, I probably wouldn’t. MY littany of stupid decisions and faulty awareness have made ME who I am. I’m fine with that.  You should be too.

18. I am not hopelessly addicted to fantasy baseball as some may believe, though I will never cease to enjoy the banter between Billy Christ and Kim Jong Ilstein.  To the fray I feel I can now add the one we call, “Shank”.

19. I don’t make friends–REAL friends mind you–often at all. But if you are my friend, well, suck for you right? I mean, really, you want to be MY friend? Haven’t I scared you away yet?

20. I used to believe that writing a memoir would be pointless. But, over the years, as I continue to do stupid things that produce rediculously hard trials, I realize that even I am entertained. God, I’m an idiot.  Be prepared to laugh at MY expense.  I will leave you countless opportunities.

21. I am not atheist. I am not agnostic.  I am also not Mormon, thank you, 8lb 6 oz Baby Jesus.  I believe in God, and I believe in spirit.  And I believe that I will talk your ear off about it.  But I am not religious.  I don’t believe in organized “anything”.  I believe only an individual knows what is in their heart.  Don’t try to tell ME what’s in MINE.

22. I am a reality tv junkie. I totally dig watching people make asses of themselves.  I still dream of being on Survivor.  I would likely be the first contestant to vote others off Agatha Christie style.  DIE STUPID PERSON!  DIE!

23. When I was 12, I wanted to be a professional bowler. Kids laughed at me so I wrote horrible stories about them. I decided being a writer was way cooler. And therapuetic.  For the record, I did bowl in tournaments when I was 20 or so, averaged about 200, and topped out at a 299 for a high game.

24. As MY publisher can attest, I loathe the rules of grammar. I think they should destroyed as soon as possible. And, I, don’t, get, commas, or…elipses. 

25. I want you to succeed more than ME. Even more than that, I want to help you do it.  Just don’t let your pride get in the way.  You’ll regret it.

Funny thing is, I don’t do these memes often, but I like this one.  I’ll probably do it again at some point when I don’t feel it will bore ME to no end.  Feel free to opine.  I know I do.

Writing Devil Fiction Makes God Happy

And so it begins…

It’s been some time since I remember stating that I should start a blog.  They’re useful things, after all.  Especially when one feels they have something of relevance to say, or promote.  In my case, I have ME.  And, as such, I will promote ME (Caps are necessary in order to inflate my ego) as necessary, and hope that you (sorry, no caps for you…this is show is about ME) get some facet of enjoyment out of it.  So, let’s just start with an introduction of sorts.  Things you must know about ME in order to fully appreciate anything that I may decide is worth writing about:

  1. I am the author of Anointed: The Passion of Timmy Christ, CEO, which debuted on March 3rd of this year.
  2. I am, according to the Tacoma Public Library system, a purveyor of Devil Fiction.  Scroll to the bottom and you’ll see what I mean.
  3. I have been writing this past year as Billy Christ, the outgoing CEO of The Christ Corporation, and an overall buffoon.  He has a Twitter account, and a blog (in which he has yet  to fully figure out how to use).  In a very short time, Timmy Christ will be anointed and will take over.  I expect he (or would it be He?) will have much to say.
  4. I am not an atheist, an agnostic, or a member of any organized religion.  I believe that if you can breathe, you have the capacity to decide for yourself what to believe.
  5. I am addicted to Facebook.  I am almost always on, doing something.  Very sad.  Fun, but sad.  I loathe Myspace, but I do have an account.  I check it like it’s a sick grandparent I don’t want to watch die.  Oh, The Christ Corporation has a Myspace page as well.
  6. I am an avid Fantasy League Baseball player and I will bore, or entertain, you with the ongoings of one particular league I am in.  The chatter between a few of us can be glorious and hilarious at once, as we all play in character.  Billy has the reigns on this one as well, for now.
  7. I owned and operated Wordsmiths Books, in Decatur, Georgia, from December 2006 through March 2009.  Alas, it is no more.  Its memory is a source of penultimate joy and sadness.
  8. This is what I wake up to every morning:

Not that face in particular, but one that is not too unsimilar.  In fairness though, this is what she sees when she wakes up:

 Blah.

In order to avoid making this entire post a list-oriented detailing of ME, I’ll bypass further numbering and save that instead for a Facebook meme that more accurately described ME in an entertaining, yet less than literary, way.  Oh, a further note of use.  I am no friend of Grammar.  I will slam the door in its face if it attempts to visit.  I have a restraining order against grammar and insist that it speak only to those who edit my words.  Grammar can go to Hell.  Elipses…are…my…friend, and, I, don’t, use, commas, correctly, if I use them at all.  Do not attempt to point out flaws in my grammar, or lack thereof.  I will get a restraining order against you as well (“And if you don’t believe me, I’ll put a jihad on you, too.”).

What I hope to utilize this blog for, aside from having an outlet that is purely ME-centric, and without the weight of Christ guiding my words, is to promote and encourage discussion of whatever inane subjects I wish to talk about.  I’ll drop some bits from Anointed, write unpublished additions from time to time, bore/entertain you with the Fantasy League Baseball (forever to be FLB henceforth) exploits of the Chrysler Salvation, tap into the myriad selection of religious news of the day (looking for conversation here folks, otherwise I’ll just look at myself in a mirror and watch MYSELF talk), and lastly (or perhaps just thisly, as there is likely to be more) give a once in a while look at how not to run and operate a bookstore.  Or perhaps any business at all.  Learn from me here.  I know I’m trying to.  Regardless, there will be a very ME-present atmosphere to everything, as I wish to promote ME and only ME (and on occasion you, if it benefits ME).  Though cheese is pretty important to0.

So as to keep this intro brief, I leave by way of offering you a glimpse of sheer stupidity.  This, from another my favorite sites, Fail blog:

Be glad you aren’t that oblivious.