The not-entirely-random thoughts of Chris Brecheen about writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Potpourri Superb Owl Edition

Every year my friends fill my FB with running commentary on the play by play reactions to the Superbowl, and I in turn fill there feeds with potpourris of wonderful memes and macros. But the last two years, I've had to settle for the same four or five potpourris because it's been so long since I made a new one. So here, for the first time in ages, is a brand new potpourri to help me spam my friends with delicious writerly updates.  Enjoy.

This one I know: sinfest.com

This is clearly a copyright image of House MD.
But my friend turned it into a personalized macro
after reading this post. It always makes me laugh
and I hope Universal doesn't make me take it down for a while.

Woefully esoteric?

Because you never know when a unicorn rainbow GIF with "The More You Know"
will come in handy. And now you know where to find one.
The more you know....
[Do you want to be featured in potpourri along with a few words from me about how awesome you are? Do you know a great writing link that I should share? Please send it to me at chris.brecheen@gmail.com, and I will post it along with a shout out singing your praises (unless, of course, you don't want one). There are four caveats to this. Please read them before you send me stuff. If I've posted anything that you feel is "yours" (or "your client's" --eeep!) please just ask and I will take it down if you wish or preferably give you credit and a link back to its source. Most everything here is some kind of meme or viral macro on social media, so it would be quite difficult for me to do proper attribution.]

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Guy Goodman Reviews Beowulf (Revision)

I said the HUMAN condition,
not the dragon condition.
[Part of our ongoing clean up of old articles.]

Why the earliest known work of Anglo-Saxon fiction got English literature off to a speculative start.

Good evening. I'm Guy Goodman St.White, your very British-sounding host.

Tonight we shall discuss the fountainhead of all English literature: Beowulf. While we will be delving back through Western Canon into the classics and other translated texts that have influenced English literature, I will, rightly, spend most of my time analyzing dead white guys.

Let us set the stage for this exploration by discussing the first known work of English literature. We can return to some other seminal Western literature works over time.

 Long told as oral tradition by the Anglo Saxon scops of Scandinavia, it was finally transcribed only after Christianity brought letters to the illiterate heathens. However, we do not know exactly who transcribed it, and we call this person only The Beowulf Poet. Like the Bible itself, Beowulf has tensions between Christian values and the value systems of the cultures that transmitted it orally (Anglo Saxon in this case), which lead often to a strange mix of conflicting messages. Beowulf sometimes extols forgiveness and sometimes retribution.

As the fountainhead of all writing ever done in English, Beowulf--in many ways--explains and sets the stage for all that will come after it. In a fundamental way it is no surprise that English speakers are so attracted to the drivel of speculative fiction; their very first story is a prime example of absolute tripe. Probably the plebs enjoy their unrealistic speculative twaddle principally due to the influence of The Beowulf Poet and his ilk. What can we really expect when this is what we have to work with as literally the first book in English. If the foundation of English literature had been set in a seedy rehab facility and the antagonists had been people's preconceptions about bisexuality, the entire English speaking world might have a sliver or two of taste and sophistication.

X-men: First First First First Class.
Beowulf performs acts quite simply impossible to mortal men, like swimming underwater for hours or engaging in combat for absurd lengths of time. This is to say nothing of his nemeses, a cadre of increasingly unrealistic monsters right out of the pages of a Stephen King horrorbook. What we have here is nothing more than a hackneyed example of speculative fiction that The Beowulf Poet tried to make "edgy" by splicing together horror and superhero genres. Not only is Beowulf genre crap, but if anything, Beowulf is extra genre with genre sauce. Realism is not on its list of virtues, and therefore it has simply nothing to inform us about humanity.

Fortunately these days we recognize this sort of malarkey for what it is; and no one who appreciates real literature would be caught dead reading Pennywise the Dancing Clown vs. The X Men. No wonder the world of words is in such a deplorable state.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Happy Birthday Writing About Writing!!! (1000 POSTS!!!)

It's a very big day for this very little blog.  

Happy 3rd Birthday and Happy 1000th post Writing About Writing!!!

Blog woke me up at three in the morning. "Is it time yet?"

"No," I said. "Go back to bed."

Then it happened again at four.

And five. And six.

At seven I could no longer contain the upswell of enthusiastic glee. Blog ran down the stairs to open presents singing "Happy Birthday to me!" the whole way. I'm not even sure Blog would have noticed if I didn't follow.

Writing About Writing is three years old.

Though I technically did a "test post" to see how blogger worked on January 17th (that was actually W.A.W.'s "conception") I actually started writing articles on January 30th, 2012.

This is also the 1000th post of Writing About Writing.

In a totally coincidental bit of serendipity, this is also the 1000th post. I didn't plan this. I knew I was coming up on 1000 posts, but I didn't realize today was going to be both milestones until this Monday when I did some math. So Blog is having a double celebration and has demanded two pieces of cake and two full-volume plays of Big Time.

Blog wants to reach two million page views by year four–totally ignoring the fact that it took three years and one fuck of a viral article to get the first million. I can tell year three is going to be an adventure.

In any case, thank you for reading. As The Contrarian reaches more and more bellwethers of his development and is able to entertain himself for a few minutes at a time or not die horribly while I do some dishes at the same time, (in addition to the help I've been able to hire) I find that I am able to bring more and more time and energy to writing. So I hope that this is our best year ever.

"Maybe if you want another million page views, Chris," Blog says around an unreasonably enormous mouthful of cake (as Big Time blasts in the background), "you should write another 1000 posts. That's only like three a day. One of them is bound to go viral. I'll remind you tomorrow."


Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Quick Disclaimer.

It's becoming clear to me that this semester Thursday is going to be the troublesome day, so let me just take a brief moment as we gather more hummus and titty sprinkles for tomorrow's festivities to make a quick disclaimer.

A few people in a few different places have asked why I bother with the kooky characters and the running plot here on Writing About Writing. Instead of posting some "filler," why not just take a day off and write the articles that people like.

The short answer, and honestly the only answer, is that I'm not writing for you. I love my readers, and I'm still a little dumbstruck that I have actual fans, but I'm writing because I love writing. And I'm writing the blog I'd love to read. I'm writing about all those kooky characters because I like them, and I would love a blog that had something I could tune into every day, even if it were just a few characters being silly in a sort of ongoing fictionesque plot arc.

I think it's fun, and it makes me happy. If you don't like it you can ignore those posts. (Which I don't want to sound dismissive if you've got criticism or concerns, but only if it's not your cup of tea.) You won't hurt my feelings. I already look at the analytics and see those posts getting thirty or forty hits (compared with 300+ on my "meaty" articles). If I were doing it for anything but the lulz, I'd have stopped years ago in a huff.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Things Made Abundantly Clear

Hi everyone,

I figured I would take a moment to give all of you readers at home a bit of unsolicited advice. If you ever employ a feminist martial arts master who wants your blog to pass the Bechdel test (or really just a martial arts master of any stripe) you might not want to imply that perhaps they had anything to do with the incoming Evil Mystery Blogger posts that keep getting posted via a hacked signal.

Unless you really, really like pain.

A few things were made abundantly clear to me after the first few nerve strikes eclipsed my world in a haze of muscle paralysis and flaring agony.

  • Leela Bruce has what she calls a "logically inexplicable" loyalty given that in the last three years, she hasn't been paid more than eighteen dollars and a few hundred Wienerschnitzel Tuesday "Add-Chili" upgrade vouchers, and doesn't appreciate that loyalty being questioned.
  • If she wanted to bring down Writing About Writing, she assures me that she wouldn't bother to do a bunch of surreptitious blogs of shitty writing advice. She would just walk up to me and do a spinning back crescent kick to the nape of my neck and explode my "Will to Live" Chakra and spinal column simultaneously draining the Chi out of me, and I'm quoting here, "like kids get the candy from a piƱata."
  • If I want her to do another ass kicking of bad writing advice, I have to get more women blogging here. Doing one post from The Pointer Sisters won't satisfy her. 
  • Dim Mak is totally real. 
  • She thinks the person I need to be talking to is most likely the EVIL VERSION OF ME LIVING IN THE BASEMENT. (Her emphasis, not mine.)