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Showing posts from November 16, 2008

The Blue Pill or the Red Pill? -- Writer's Poke #128

For Writers:In the move The Matrix, Neo is offered a choice. He can take the Blue Pill and continue to live in ignorant bliss, or he can take the Red Pill and learn the painful truth.
Why would anyone purposely choose pain over bliss? Yet there seems to be something hardwired in the human brain to do just that. We expect, however, to be punished for our choice.
This is what the Genesis myth is all about. Adam and Eve were basically told not to take the Red Pill. But they were, in essence, still given the choice -- and the right (the expectation) to be punished.
Now consider this: What value is being given a choice if you have no way of knowing the consequences of your decision? Neo cannot really know what will happen when he swallows the Red Pill, any more than Adam and Eve could know what would happen when they chomped down on God’s Apple. All that these characters know is ignorant bliss; but they also know that bliss without truth isn’t enough.
What pill do you choose, and why?
“The onl…

Why I Don't Write Poetry -- "Zugzwang und Zwischenzug" (circa 1994)

Yes, I've taken more than one creative writing poetry class in my life; I think they're fun, but I'm by no means a poet. And yet here's a poem that just won't die. My droogie Vikram has posted it to different Internet sites over the years, and so it's still out there. Did it really leave such an impression on him that he continues to feel the need to share it with the world?

When it was originally being reviewed in class, one of the girls in class said: "This sounds like you're trying to be pseudo intellectual." Well, really. Does anyone "try" to be pseudo intellectual?

Not me. I just had a number of things working against me. 1) I was young, 2) I knew I couldn't write poetry, 3) I liked German, and 4) I played chess. Put it all together, and you end up with the following poem.


"Zugzwang und Zwischenzug"

- Freedom or love: which do you choose?
Pretend for a moment that Life is the Let's Make a Deal game show,
and the God is…

Hairy Super Nachos -- Writer's Poke #127

For Writers:

Nothing beats Denny's in the middle of the night. The people, the atmosphere, the food...

One particular summer night, we decided to hit the local Denny's for some burgers, and we ordered the super nachos as an appetizer.

The waitress brought out the super nachos, and boy were they tasty. After consuming about half of them, however, I noticed a hair hidden in the cheese. I pulled on said hair, and I pulled, and I pulled. To put the length of this hair into perspective, if it were growing out of my head, it would have easily reached down to my ass.

Finding a hair in one's food can be quite off-putting, but finding a six foot hair hidden in my nachos made me want to go back into the kitchen and strangle the cook with his own offending hair.

But I didn't. I paid good money for those super nachos, and I just kept on eating them.

What is the grossest thing you have ever found in your food? Or, what is the grossest thing that you've ever (knowingly) ate?

"I at…

Learning How to Live -- Writer's Poke #126

For Writers:

They threw his body off the bridge just a couple of miles from my house. Later that evening, someone discovered it, and three suspects were quickly arrested.

Shane was one of the first people I bonded with when we moved to Mattoon. He came to my birthday party in 5th grade, but we didn’t remain friends for long. School wasn’t his top priority, and by middle school, he had been placed into one level of classes, and I had been tracked into another.

He grew his hair long, and got involved with people that weren’t always looking out for his best interests. By the time I entered college, he was totally off my radar. But apparently at the time of his death, he recognized his life was heading in the wrong direction. He enrolled at the local community college, and he started making a different group of friends.

The changes he was making came too late, and three or four of his “friends” bludgeoned him to death. Drugs and booze were probably involved.

I went to his funeral, but not too …

A Closet Full of Money -- Writer's Poke #125

For Writers:

God, I believe you exist. But just to prove it, put a million dollars in my closet. When I open the closet and find the million dollars, then I will know that you really exist.

I opened the closet door, but no million dollars – just the same dust pan and broom, and bottles of pepsi that were there before my prayer.

Did my eight-year old brain really expect God to prove His existence to me by poofing a million dollars into my closet? Not really, but that didn’t stop me from being angry at God for being so stingy. What was a million dollars to God? After all, didn’t God own the universe? Was my request really that unreasonable?

Over the years, my belief in God has varied – to the point that it doesn’t much matter to me one way or the other. No matter what happens in my life, I’ve learned not to expect miracles. God may exist, but not in this life.

Do you believe in God? Why or why not?

Or, does belief in God matter in your daily life? Explore why.

“I don’t know if God exists, but…

Snow Insanity -- Writer's Poke #124

For Writers:

Vikram and I decided to spend a few days with Patrick at his place in the Peru-LaSalle area. It was late December in Illinois, and we ended up getting snowed in. We tried to shovel the drive with Patrick’s plastic toy shovel, but we quickly broke it in two.

When did Patrick get so anal? That’s what Vikram and I wondered after being trapped in Patrick’s house for 18 hours. Take your shoes off, he said. Put this and that back where you found it, he said. It didn’t take long for tempers to flair. We had been friends for ten years, but we weren’t used to living together in an Illinois snow prison – especially with Patrick as the Warden.

At one point, Patrick went into his bedroom, and when he came back, he pointed a gun at my head. This was rather unexpected, but he wanted to make it quite clear that this was his house, and he wasn’t going to take my sass any longer.

As it turned out, it wasn’t real gun; it was just a starter’s pistol, but he had made his point.

If you were strand…