Germany, Austria and Italy are standing together in the middle of a pub when Serbia bumps into Austria and spills Austria’s pint. Austria demands Serbia buy it a complete new suit because there are splashes on its trouser leg. Germany expresses its support for Austria’s point of view. Britain recommends that everyone calm down a bit.
Serbia points out that it can’t afford a whole suit, but offers to pay for the cleaning of Austria’s trousers. Russia and Serbia look at Austria. Austria asks Serbia who it’s looking at. Russia suggests that Austria should leave its little brother alone. Austria inquires as to whose army will assist Russia in compelling it to do so. Germany appeals to Britain that France has been looking at it, and that this is sufficiently out of order that Britain should not intervene. Britain replies that France can look at who it wants to, that Britain is looking at Germany too, and what is Germany going to do about it?
Germany tells Russia to stop looking at Austria, or Germany will render Russia incapable of such action. Britain and France ask Germany whether it’s looking at Belgium. Turkey and Germany go off into a corner and whisper.
When they come back, Turkey makes a show of not looking at anyone. Germany rolls up its sleeves, looks at France, and punches Belgium. France and Britain punch Germany. Austria punches Russia. Germany punches Britain and France with one hand and Russia with the other. Russia throws a punch at Germany, but misses and nearly falls over. Japan calls over from the other side of the room that it’s on Britain’s side, but stays there. Italy surprises everyone by punching Austria.
Austria Australia punches Turkey, and gets punched back. There are no hard feelings because Britain made Austria Australia do it. France gets thrown through a plate glass window, but gets back up and carries on fighting. Russia gets thrown through another one, gets knocked out, suffers brain damage, and wakes up with a complete personality change. Italy throws a punch at Austria and misses, but Austria falls over anyway.
Italy raises both fists in the air and runs round the room chanting. America waits till Germany is about to fall over from sustained punching from Britain and France, then walks over and smashes it with a barstool, then pretends it won the fight all by itself. By now all the chairs are broken and the big mirror over the bar is shattered. Britain, France and America agree that Germany threw the first punch, so the whole thing is Germany’s fault. While Germany is still unconscious, they go through its pockets, steal its wallet, and buy drinks for all their friends.
When I worked at a decently sized corporation, most people would kind of jack around, look at their bootyignments etc., on Monday morning. They’d start working on it around 2 PM on Monday afternoon, half heartedly, and then start thinking about what they were going to have for dinner, go to the cooler, go have a snack, email, etc. They would have gotten about 30 minutes of real actual work in by around 3:30 in the afternoon.
By that time, they decide the day is shot, look at the project for another 30 or so minutes, "planning" until they get an email about something unimportant. They spend some time on the email for no apparent reason, and now it’s 4:30. They get on reddit till 5.
They come in Tuesday morning raring to go. They finish about half of the project by lunch. They spend the rest of the afternoon researching their fantasy football team, since they ate a big lunch to celebrate.
They come back, Wednesday, and there a decent amount of emails about nothing from Corporate in their in box. They have to fill out various forms and self evals. This sucks, and eats up their Wednesday morning. There’s a meeting around 2:30 of their department. They fuk around after lunch, until the meeting. The meeting lasts till 3:45. Fuk it, I’ll finish this Thursday.
They get another quarter of it done Thursday morning, since they are kind of bored of the work week, and their kid kept them up the night before. They start making plans and emailing and texting with their friends for Thursday happy hour, or college football watching or whatever it is that they are going to do. It’s now 2:30 Thursday and they have about 3/4 of their project done.
Their kid calls from school and needs X,Y,Z or something else occurs to take them from work, maybe they are sick, or need car repair, for whatever reason, no one was ever at work on Thursday afternoon.
They get in Friday morning, and now they are kind of anxious, because if something goes wrong, they won’t finish. That fear gets them kind of paralyzed until about 10:30. They start working on it, decide to eat lunch at their desk, and finish the work up at around 2:30 on Friday.
They go chat with their friend in HR because they feel good, and then realize they still need to send the work to their boss, look at their clock and realize it’s 4:45.
They send it to their boss, who is happy they finished "on time." Said boss continues to think it takes a week to get that kind of work done.
By Pamela Haag
Mamihlapinatapei (Yagan, an indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego): The wordless yet meaningful look shared by two people who desire to initiate something, but are both reluctant to start.
Oh yes, this is an exquisite word, compressing a thrilling and scary relationship moment. It’s that delicious, cusp-y moment of imminent seduction. Neither of you has mustered the courage to make a move, yet. Hands haven’t been placed on knees; you’ve not kissed. But you’ve both conveyed enough to know that it willhappen soon… very soon.
Yuanfen(Chinese): A relationship by fate or destiny. This is a complex concept. It draws on principles of predetermination in Chinese culture, which dictate relationships, encounters and affinities, mostly among lovers and friends.
From what I glean, in common usage yuanfen means the “binding force” that links two people together in any relationship.
But interestingly, “fate” isn’t the same thing as “destiny.” Even if lovers are fated to find each other they may not end up together. The proverb, “have fate without destiny,” describes couples who meet, but who don’t stay together, for whatever reason. It’s interesting, to distinguish in love between the fated and the destined. Romantic comedies, of course, confound the two.
Cafuné (Brazilian Portuguese): The act of tenderly running your fingers through someone’s hair.
I know him so well.
He goes to bed at ten, every night. He says goodbye to his friends on the Internet and shuts his laptop down, like clockwork, and then he changes out of his clothes and goes to bed. He dreams, but never remembers what about. When he wakes up in the morning, he’s always slept in, and he hurries to get to school in time. He gets home at thirty six minutes past three and does his homework, and then he returns to his laptop until bed. He likes gummy bears, horror films and music that has screamed vocals. He doesn’t really have any friends apart from me, so he keeps some weed in his sock drawer for when the loneliness gets too much. He doesn’t know what he wants to do after school, but he knows he wants to go and live in a big city. London, maybe. He’s so sad because he doesn’t realise how beautiful he is. I don’t know what I’d be if I didn’t love him like I do. I was nothing before him.
We’ve lived together for twelve months now, it’s nice. I used to be one of those faceless people he speaks to online, until we both realised that we couldn’t live with being so far away from each other. I moved to the other end of the country to be with him, I made so many sacrifices and I don’t regret it at all. His parents are nice, but we just spent most of the time up in his room alone. We don’t talk like we used to before I moved in, though. Most of the time I just watch him. It’s how I know so much about him.
Tonight, his routine’s changed. He doesn’t touch the laptop, he just lies on his bed with his face in the pillow and cries. I was concerned, until I looked at his calendar and realised the date. Of course he’s upset; it’s been a year since I hanged myself.
ADHD is about having broken filters on your perception.
Normal people have a sort of mental secretary that takes the 99% of irrelevant crap that crosses their mind, and simply deletes it before they become consciously aware of it. As such, their mental workspace is like a huge clean whiteboard, ready to hold and organize useful information.
ADHD people… have no such luxury. Every single thing that comes in the front door gets written directly on the whiteboard in bold, underlined red letters, no matter what it is, and no matter what has to be erased in order for it to fit.
As such, if we’re in the middle of some particularly important mental task, and our eye should happen to light upon… a doorknob, for instance, it’s like someone burst into the room, clad in pink feathers and heralded by trumpets, screaming HEY LOOK EVERYONE, IT’S A DOORKNOB! LOOK AT IT! LOOK! IT OPENS THE DOOR IF YOU TURN IT! ISN’T THAT NEAT? I WONDER HOW THAT ACTUALLY WORKS DO YOU SUPPOSE THERE’S A CAM OR WHAT? MAYBE ITS SOME KIND OF SPRING WINCH AFFAIR ALTHOUGH THAT SEEMS KIND OF UNWORKABLE.
It’s like living in a soft rain of post-it notes.
This happens every single waking moment, and we have to manually examine each thought, check for relevance, and try desperately to remember what the thing was we were thinking before it came along, if not. Most often we forget, and if we aren’t caught up in the intricacies of doorknob engineering, we cast wildly about for context, trying to guess what the fuck we were up to from the clues available.
The X-Files plot arc was about a group of people (The Syndicate) who were trying to negotiate with an alien species (The Colonists) that was intent on taking over the world, wiping out humankind in the process.
First contact with the aliens occurred in 1947, when one of their spacecraft crash landed in the desert in New Mexico. In the face of the inevitability that the superior alien intelligence and technology would ultimately beat them, a small group of powerful men negotiated an agreement that humanity would be allowed to continue in the form of an alien-human hybrid. The Syndicate spent most of its time helping The Colonists develop the hybrids by keeping them supplied with human foetuses. However, they were also covertly working on a vaccine that would save humanity from this awful fate. Unfortunately, The Colonists had lied to The Syndicate about what their plans were.
The Black Oil that was supposed to create a human-alien slave race, was in fact a virus that created aliens inside the human host and their true intention was to wipe out humanity and take the planet for themselves. The Syndicate’s discovery of this betrayal led The Colonists to develop a race of Super Soldiers to ensure that the colonisation of Earth would not be prevented. The series ends with the revelation that the alien invasion is due to start in December 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar.
She was Michael Jackson’d.
She didn’t have a childhood, she was contractually required to have a specific haircut, her entire life was formulated by her handlers, she didn’t get to hang out with friends if they weren’t friends formed through the set of a TV show, she wasn’t able to do things that other children do, she was busy working.
Although yes, she is now set for life financially (her net worth is $100,000,000 if I remember correctly) she paid with her freedom and now she’s trying to regain some control over her life, unfortunately she’s discovering that the things she’s doing aren’t her and her greatest fear is probably that who she was paid to be is who she really is.
The same thing is happening with Justin Bieber. They’re not bad people, they’re people that were taken advantage of and now just want to… feel. Michael Jackson is the best example, it’s why he was in love with children and loved peter pan and everything children: he wanted the childhood he never had. The parents are (in part) to blame for what happens to a lot of young celebrities, they take advantage of their children and don’t provide them the support they need, Lindsay Lohan is a good example of this: her parents are absolutely toxic and it caused her very real problems.
Miley is just trying to regain some control over her life. She’s becoming the exact opposite of what she was required to be before, she had to be kid safe? Not any more. She had to have long hair? Not any more. She had to sing about being in love? Now it’s about getting fucked… etc etc.
Although I’m sure it’s fun to mock a celebrity going through something like this, she’s just a vulnerable young woman trying to discover herself and trying to get used to being her own person, unfortunately for her it’s in a very public way.
If she’s going to get through this without doing something very stupid she needs to be left the fuck alone by the public and paparazzi, she needs a good group of role models and some time. She’s talented (her first album is an enjoyable pop listen) and will have a future if she doesn’t go off of the deep end.
1. “Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.”
2. “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”
3. “Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.”
4. “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
5. “In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it ‘got boring,’ the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling.”
6. “Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”
7. “So okay – there you are in your room with the shade down and the door shut and the plug pulled out of the base of the telephone. You’ve blown up your TV and committed yourself to a thousand words a day, come hell or high water. Now comes the big question: What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want. ”
8. “When asked, “How do you write?” I invariably answer, “One word at a time,” and the answer is invariably dismissed. But that is all it is. It sounds too simple to be true, but consider the Great Wall of China, if you will: one stone at a time, man. That’s all. One stone at a time. But I’ve read you can see that motherfucker from space without a telescope.”
9. “Running a close second [as a writing lesson] was the realization that stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”
10. “You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.”
Son, love is… strange. The very first time you ever feel it, it’s like a whole new world has been opened. Your head starts spinning like a propellor on a plane, your heart soaring just like that aircraft. You can construct beautiful sentences in your head, but the second you start talking to this girl, they get jumbled up and you end up stammering out a combination of mixed up words. Those words start winding around your brain and pulling a knot, making it impossible to think, and you eventually end up walking away, your cheeks as red as the blood that your heart is pumping through your body at a million beats per second. And it’s beautiful.
Then years go by and love changes. Love warps and stretches until you don’t even recognize it as the thing you felt back when you were 13. You look at this girl, and see the most beautiful thing on earth. Every time you see her you still get that feeling. The soaring, spinning feeling. It never leaves you, just fades away. Now love brings a smile to your face, a warm feeling to accompany the soaring in your heart, and the spinning slows down. You’d walk to the ends of the earth for her. You’d take a bullet for her in a heartbeat, and you know that this is the girl you want to spend the rest of your life with.
You live out your lives together, and after so many years the feeling you got when you first saw her still comes up occasionally, but it’s almost been completely replaced with another. It’s a feeling of contentment, almost. You know that you made the right decision, and your heart is bursting with love for this woman. A feeling that will never go away, not until the end of time.
You look at your wife, your anchor, the mother of your children, your other half, and you can’t imagine life without her. You squeeze her hand one last time before she closes her eyes for the last time. You can feel a part of you being ripped out of your heart, but yet, it’s still there. Now love is different. Love is a gallery of memories. You love your children, but nothing will ever compare to the love you felt for your wife. And the feeling is still there, buried under layer after layer of sadness. Regret. Wishing you could have done more. But love tells you that you did everything you could. It tells you she was happy.
“In six seconds, you’ll hate me. But in six months, you’ll be a better writer.
From this point forward—at least for the next half year—you may not use “thought” verbs. These include: Thinks, Knows, Understands, Realizes, Believes, Wants, Remembers, Imagines, Desires, and a hundred others you love to use.
The list should also include: Loves and Hates. And it should include: Is and Has, but we’ll get to those later.
Until some time around Christmas, you can’t write: Kenny wondered if Monica didn’t like him going out at night…”
Instead, you’ll have to Un-pack that to something like: “The mornings after Kenny had stayed out, beyond the last bus, until he’d had to bum a ride or pay for a cab and got home to find Monica faking sleep, faking because she never slept that quiet, those mornings, she’d only put her own cup of coffee in the microwave. Never his.”
Instead of characters knowing anything, you must now present the details that allow the reader to know them. Instead of a character wanting something, you must now describe the thing so that the reader wants it.
Instead of saying: “Adam knew Gwen liked him.” You’ll have to say: “Between classes, Gwen had always leaned on his locker when he’d go to open it. She’s roll her eyes and shove off with one foot, leaving a black-heel mark on the painted metal, but she also left the smell of her perfume. The combination lock would still be warm from her butt. And the next break, Gwen would be leaned there, again.”
In short, no more short-cuts. Only specific sensory detail: action, smell, taste, sound, and feeling.
Typically, writers use these “thought” verbs at the beginning of a paragraph (In this form, you can call them “Thesis Statements” and I’ll rail against those, later). In a way, they state the intention of the paragraph. And what follows, illustrates them.
For example: “Brenda knew she’d never make the deadline. Traffic was backed up from the bridge, past the first eight or nine exits. Her cell phone battery was dead. At home, the dogs would need to go out, or there would be a mess to clean up. Plus, she’d promised to water the plants for her neighbor…”
Do you see how the opening “thesis statement” steals the thunder of what follows? Don’t do it.
If nothing else, cut the opening sentence and place it after all the others. Better yet, transplant it and change it to: Brenda would never make the deadline.
Thinking is abstract. Knowing and believing are intangible. Your story will always be stronger if you just show the physical actions and details of your characters and allow your reader to do the thinking and knowing. And loving and hating.
Don’t tell your reader: “Lisa hated Tom.”