HuffPost, My Writing Muse (Booty Call)

Chances are if you are a writer you’ve suffered writer’s block. Hours sitting at the computer praying, begging the universe bequeath on to you the muse of Hemingway or some other departed master of prose. Whether you’re writing a feature article, a short story, or novel, try as you may, sometime the words just won’t come. Well, back in August I found my muse in the guise of The Huffington Post. After writing one heartfelt post, I quickly warmed to this commenting thing. Now I write with regularity for a very selfish reason. When I feel myself getting writers’ block, I jet on over to Huffpost, read until I encounter something I want to comment on and have at it.

Once I’ve suckled on the teats of HP till I’m fat and happy and can suckle no more,(thanks Gladiator), I return to the serious writing. The writing that hopefully gets me to Athens, Greece, the place my greatest inspiration, Socrates, lived and died. Psst…please don’t tell HP. If  they were aware they’re the equivalent of a booty call, I just might get tossed off the site. Seriously, nothing gets my writer’s juices flowing more than commenting on a topic of  interest. On top of that, Huffpost is an ego booster. If someone likes your comment, you’re faved or fanned and sometime both.

(A screen shot please don’t click below image)


Recent badge received. Go on Mary_Catter!

Yes, in this one area of my life, I seek and welcome validation. Arianna Huffington obviously had her finger on the pulse of the human psyche when she came up with the idea to marry news, content aggregation and blogging on one website. Also, a stroke of pure genius was the addition of site moderators, I call them hawk eyes, to keep commentators from straying too far off the reservation. In other words trolls are kept to a limit. Sometime there’s a lively back and forth but nothing totally outrageous like some other news sites I’ve tried.

Speaking of validation the Huffpost also hands out different levels of badges. If you’re considered to be really socially connected with a certain number of fans and friends and all that good stuff, you earn a badge if you opt to partake. If you’re up on your politicking and super sleuthing and can write to boot, there just might be a badge in it for you. Seriously, if you are a writer and find yourself in the doldrums, try commenting. It doesn’t have to be Huffpost. Any old website you happen upon with an article that illicits your two cents worth will do just fine.

I just happen to love HP because I’m impatient and it’s one stop shopping for my need to read and comment. Not to mention all my comments and interaction with others are right there.  You can’t get a better muse than knowing someone likes your little bits and pieces of commentary enough to fave or fan them, sometime both. So you  return to your manuscript, your writer’s engine revved up, knowing not if but when you falter, your writing muse is but a click away.

Prometheus Is No Alien – Not Even Close

I’ve decided to blame the Avengers movie and film critic Roger Ebert for wasting time I could’ve spent cleaning grout with a toothbrush. That’s how bad Prometheus was. If I hadn’t seen highlights of it during Avengers and read Roger Ebert’s review, I probably wouldn’t have given it much thought. But I got a little nostalgic thinking about when I first saw Ridley Scott’s Alien. Aside from nearly scaring me to death, it made my list of really great movies. Prometheus didn’t even come close.

To its credit the cinematography was quite breathtaking. Even the android, David, gave me pause. If just a modicum of characterization instilled in the soulless android had gone into the other characters, I might have cared about them a little too.

Anyway, in the beginning this at least 8-foot tall, male-looking being known as an ‘Engineer’, ingests a black goo. As its body begins this real cool disintegration, it falls into the water, strands of its DNA permeates the earth, and thus creates human life. Forget about God created the heaven and the earth and Darwinism and the Big Bang Theory. The so-called ‘Engineers’ made us. Why did they make us only to turn around and want to destroy us? And the really big question: Who made the ‘Engineers’?

Dr. Shaw, a brilliant scientist, who also happens to be quite religious and her partner, get the backing of a very very rich donor to find the answers to those very questions. So enters the Prometheus and its ragtag crew. Yes, I said ragtag ripped straight out of Alien even though one would assume such a rich man, seeking eternal life, or whatever it was he was seeking, could have afforded a much better crew then that sorry lot.

Unlike Alien this movie had a lazy quality about the writing. There was no tension buildup. The dialogue was like something you would hear in a dumb horror flick. Not only that, the characters did things you wouldn’t expect from true professionals. So much was left unanswered. Scenes just started and ended abruptly. People got lost in spite of having mapping and communication systems. An ‘Engineer’ is asleep right in the middle of a project.

The absolute weirdest scene was a C-section done robotically on Dr. Shaw. An alien was ripped out of the woman and her middle stapled back together. Instead of bleeding out she injects herself with a pain blocker, takes what appears to be pain pills, and keeps it moving. Bloodied and in pain she ends up smack dab in a room with David the android and the supposed dead billionaire getting ready to pay a visit to the alien ship. No one seems the least bit surprised to see her all bloodied. After some back and forth between her and the old guy, she suits up to go with them. She is now SUPER DR. SHAW.

Then they are there. The ‘Engineer’ is awakened. All hell breaks loose. The ‘Engineer’ boards a space craft and takes off. Somehow super Dr. knows its evil intent. She conveys this to the ship’s captain and the seemingly cold and hard Meredith dissolves into a coward and beats it the hell out of there.

Captain Janek, deep in alien territory with no worthwhile weapons if you can believe that, decides to ram the alien spacecraft with his to keep it from leaving. The two remaining crew members, god only knows what happened to all the others, decides to accompany their captain on a kamikaze mission. After some bantering the captain rams the ship into the other and brings it down.

More stuff happens but let’s just say the last super woman standing is Dr. Shaw. And what does she do? Instead of heading home she zooms off to get answers from the very beings she says wants to kill us. I can picture it now. “Hel-looo! I come in peace.” She fingers the cross around her neck. “I promise I won’t take up much of your time. But could you give me the name of your creator?”

Usually I watch a movie for the entertainment value. But some are so ridiculous it is hard to let go. Prometheus is one such movie. With so many plot holes and unanswered questions it has become a homework assignment.

FYI: I smell a sequel. What about you?

I Smile, by Kirk Franklin

Kirk Franklin’s, ‘I Smile’,’ popped into my head this morning as I walked the park. I love that song. So with the spring breeze blowing and the ducks calling to one another across the green lake water, I charged through the trees. My feet crunched through the gravel, shoes digging in and out, making me work that much more harder as I made my way along the trail. Who would’ve thunkit, me, walking and jogging up a sweat?

Anyone who knew the old me would tell you that lady didn’t fool out in the sun. That old girl would circle the parking lot looking for the closest parking space to the building she could find. Exercise was a dirty word.

There are times, like today, I feel old girl trying to seep back in. What with reading essays four hours in the evening, a temporary gig, researching, and writing, and all else I can squeeze in during the day, old girl wrapped herself around me like a warm embrace. But like we use to say back in the day, I thought, ‘I’m hip to your jive.’

Just like when you recognize someone that really doesn’t have your best interest at heart and doesn’t really wish you well, or want to see you prosper, well I recognized that old feeling. So, shrugged it off and climbed on out of bed. Then I walked into the bathroom, looked at myself in the mirror and smiled.

Everyday after I’m dressed, my first order of business is popping pills. Right before breakfast I popped one for diabetes, another for high blood pressure, and a supplement to ward off the effects of neuropathy. My two biggest fans, Tigger and Zoey, hit me up for affection, so I rubbed them and hugged them. Tigger, full of energy, jumped his butt on the sofa, off the sofa then raced to the door like a gazelle. Once he’s out the way, I dragged the blinds up in the their room. Zoey sat there and basked in the sun while I prepared breakfast.

Breakfast was two scrambled egges, pineapple and cottage cheese, and something called apple chicken links I’d picked up at the Whole Foods Market that opened just the other day. I was not instructed on the box of chicken links to place them in the oven, but that’s what I did. While they cooked, I stood in front of the mirror propped against the wall and looked at myself. In sweatpants and a short-sleeve purple shirt, I turned to profile. Old girl whispered sneeringly, ‘you ain’t losing no weight, why do you persist?” I leaned in close, brown eye to brown eye, and said, “Why not?” then strutted away singing,

(I’ll be honest with you)
I almost gave up, but a power that I can’t explain,
fell from heaven like a shower now.

(When I think how much better I’m gonna be when this is over)
I smile, even though I hurt see I smile,
I know God is working so I smile,
Even though I’ve been here for a while (what you do?)
I smile, smile…

I’m glad I didn’t listen to myself and got on out there and did the darn thing. After about 30 minutes, the OJ I had with breakfast kicked in. The closest restroom, well the closest one opened in this particular park, was about 1/2 a mile away. My car was nearer and I thought of going back to it. Old girl did her utmost to urge me back there, knowing full well if I drove off, that would be the end of my walk. My goal was to walk/jog an hour. I’d missed two days, the hour would make up for it. I inhaled, sucked in my stomach, threw up a prayer, and kept on stepping.

I walked/jogged exactly an hour. When I finally reached the car, energized and recharged, I was looking forward to a new day. Sometime we can be our own worst enemy. Even when we try to do a body good, our self can come out and try to sabotage the effort.  I’m 52 I’m not ashamed to say. I don’t know what that’s suppose to feel like. What I don’t want it to feel like is tired and broken down. I won’t be doing any cartwheels and might even emit a grunt before sitting or standing, but even if my weight is being stubborn, I’m going to persist in walking.

Listen to Kirk Franklin’s, ‘Smile’. If that doesn’t help inspire you, I don’t know what will. I know, if that doesn’t work, get a cat. There’s nothing more therapeutic than a purring cat whose paw is pressed gently against your arm while you work. This is in real time folks. My laptop sits on a small table at the foot of my bed. It’s where I work. To be close to me, Zoey has now placed both front paws on my left arm. Her eyes are closed, humming less pronounced, and her belly is making those hunger sound noises. The humming ended. I’m looking at her and can’t help but smile.

Zoey, the fat cat