Friday, December 24, 2010

Could Be Worse . . . Could Be Better

Holy frickin' crap . . . Christmas is tomorrow!  This Christmas season has definitely had its ups and downs for me, but in the end, the very idea of family, good food and boxes wrapped in pretty paper just outweighs all those negative feelings attributed to debt, uncertain futures and bad eggs.

Kayla often says I'm quite the negative individual, so I've set a goal for a New Year's resolution to think more positively and politely.  And with Christmas just around the corner (in fact, in exactly twelve hours) how could I possibly be negative?!

My frickin' car died, that's how!

Or rather it's severely wounded.  Earlier in the week, I made it to work okay but when it came time to leave at midnight in the 20-degree weather my car started, but that's about it.  Steering . . . gone . . . acceleration . . . gone; diagnosis . . . it's a 1998 Chevrolet piece of s**t! 

I mean seriously, she was a good car but this was the very end of what became a rapid, spiraling deterioration.  For the past five years I've dealt with the car's alternator crapping out, the driver side window motor crapping out, the back-passenger side window motor completely breaking altogether, the brake-pads and rotors going bad, new tires, a cog/gear for the serpentine-belt broke off and went rattling through my engine while I was driving home one night . . . then there was that whole ordeal with the standard antifreeze Chevrolet uses ruining gaskets, which owners were advised to flush it out and replace it with new antifreeze, which I frickin' did, and yet my gaskets still ended-up in ruins . . . and now, to top it all off, the alternator casing has cracked completely apart, whereby it is disconnected from the car (i.e. in terms of being bolted down) and it now dangles there under the hood, where it subsequently tore the serpentine-belt. 


So . . . frustrated, upset and suffering an existential crisis as my thirtieth birthday approaches, I cried (just a little) three days before Christmas as I stood there in the parking lot, shivering with Kayla while we waited for her father to pick us up at one-in-the-morning. 

But now, it's Christmas eve!  Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells!  Who can be upset on such a holiday as this?!  And why would you want to be?!  So what if I don't have a car, tomorrow I get presents!  Presents!  PRESENTS!  STUFF!  MATERIAL OBJECTS!  Yay!

Seriously though . . . it is rather frustrating that my car chose three days before Christmas to torment me, her engine screaming suffer sucker! as I tried to leave that night.  But within a day, I was smiling once more as Kayla suggested that I step-it up and get a new car, sort of a Happy Thirtieth Birthday to myself.  So I figured, why not?  I'm not going to fix up my old car anymore (I've fixed it her up one-too-many times) and it is time to move forward with life.  What better way to begin said journey than in a new ride?

So hopefully in the next week or so I'll be able to scout out a few dealerships and find some good deals before the end of the year.  I already have a car or two in mind and as my credit is in real good shape, I should be able to get one I want.   

And with Christmas only a day away, I'm so excited right now!  I still have a lot of presents to wrap, then the next few days will be filled with nothing but family parties, joyous occasions, good food, presents and a new car!  Yay!  Stuff!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Weekly Writer's Report

Dead Again is still under revision, though thus far I am pleased with the new narration.  It makes the story flow a lot better, but I'm dreading yet another edit/rewrite after this one.

Also, 3 of my poems have been rejected.

Ahh . . . poetry.  A torture of emotions.  I once heard that poetry was a young man's vice . . . I'm not positive who said it, but it's a phrase which has stuck with me for years.  Indeed, it has been many, many years since I last attempted to craft a poem.  In my adolescence (in relation to maturing as a writer) I found poetry to be the penultimate form of expression.  Fine art is far too cryptic and music too blase, but poetry was a way to truly understand one's soul (if indeed such an entity exists).  I filled pages and pages and pages and pages and pages--computer paper, notebook journals, sticky notes at work--with wandering words written with woeful, sorrowful sentiments, that any reader would weep over the weariness of my wanton desires and self-loathing.  And in the end, I would sit back, read my poetic angst, and say to myself: ah, what wonderful alliteration that was.

Yet, in the past few years poetry has become sort of a pastime for the back-burner, like a pot of canned corn slowly simmering, unnoticed, unstirred.  That doesn't mean I don't write a limerick or a haiku or even a few lines of modern prose, but needless to say poetry no longer has the same fascination or wonderment it used to.  I still love to play with words, obscuring the path and altering the craft of word choice and symbolic intent, but such an effort finds its way into my stories more so than a poem.  I shall always have a profound respect for poetry, but I must admit that I find writing stories far more rewarding as it is a pursuit worthy of only serious writers.  Poetry can not only be a professional expression, but a deeply personal one, where almost anyone (specifically the illiterate [figuratively speaking]) can create a sense of flow via simple schemes of end-rhyme.

Yet, this is the beauty of poetry is it not?  From the most professional poet . . . to a writer with a woeful poetry collection withering away in dusty box of journals . . . to an immature, amateur writer that has yet to be met, chucking words on the Internet . . . such lives best expressed and easily shared through that the enigma of the poetic craft.  It doesn't matter if you have a degree in Creative Writing or are a survivor of war or are a housewife in Ohio or a sing or simply a kid that's bored during study hall in high school, poetry is poetry.  But your poem is definitely you.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I'm a winner . . . again!

The company loves to share the wealth, and every holiday they like to have a little feast and a party and every once and awhile they have a raffle . . . but today, I walked in to work and the next thing I know a number of co-workers (a small handful out of the thousands employed at our location) start congratulating me. 


Turns out I won an Ipod!  And I didn't even do anything!  No raffle ticket; no honorary-super-star employee award; and come to think of it, I totally did a no-call/no-show last Saturday!  But it matters not!  In the spirit of the holiday the company gave away thousands of dollars in prizes . . . one of which was a lovely new Ipod which I won via random drawing!  Though I'm not scheduled tomorrow, I'm going to go in and proclaim my new prize.

I like winning.

And I like music more than I like winning.  I'm a super hardcore musical fanatic, albeit of a sub-genre variety, and despite my age (crawling towards 30) I still head-bang and pine over emotional tones like a teenager at a heavy-metal vomit party.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


What a lazy week I had . . . and this is actually stemming over from last week as well.  I haven't done much of anything, except sit around and stare at things on the Internet.  I did however contact the local music academy about a possible teaching position, but other than that . . .

I had hoped to have Dead Again all nice and tidy and ready for submission, but instead I chewed it apart and started anew; I'm still in favor of the introduction, but I decided to stick to a more simple third-person narration as opposed to the first-person/stream-of-conscious/dialogue narration I originally had.  Just look at the difference:

First Draft:

He would always come to Mackie’s every so often, boasting himself as he would burst through the busted door frame.  “Robert!  Not just a ghost!” he would announce.  “But rather a host; toasting from east to west to north to south the concerning and yearning for heaven . . . or the learning of burning in hell.”  I never understood what he meant by that; honestly, I think he was trying far too hard to sound intellectually stimulating.  He was an idiot, a goofy quack-nut, a bastard.  He would just go on and on about all these wild experiences he had, as if he was some other worldly explorer.  As if I’m not already dead myself?  Though, some of his stories were fascinating.

He would talk about murderers he stalked, whispering the names of their victims in their ear while they slept; he would tell us about the naughty secrets of politicians and celebrities, as if we cared about such meaningless soulful monstrosities of humanity; and sometimes he would just say he went and had lunch with Elvis.  But most of his stories were about what he really enjoyed: a good, old fashion haunting.

First Rewrite:

He would burst through the busted door frame, announcing himself:  “Robert!  Not just a ghost, but rather a host toasting from coast to coast the concern of yearning for heaven or learning of burning in hell.”  The atmosphere of Mackie’s was always different whenever Robert came to visit; there was a juvenile fascination whenever he shared his tales.  He talked about murderers he stalked, whispering the names of their victims in their ear while they slept; he would share the naughty secrets of politicians and celebrities, which some ghosts took a particular interest in, as if their vote still counted; and sometimes he would just say he had lunch with Elvis.  But the stories Robert loved the sharing the most (which were his best stories) were about what he really enjoyed: a good, old fashion haunting. 

I feel this narration is much tighter and flows better, not too mention it makes the rewrite/editing process a little bit easier . . . although it does imply that there will have to be yet another rewrite following this one.  Oh well . . .

Friday, December 10, 2010

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Lebanon, Ohio . . . a charming, historic town with all the quaint conveniences needed to seduce any would-be wanderer.  Located amidst a stretch of rural America, smack-dab-between Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, the town of Lebanon has such alluring fascinations that anyone who lives there is more than proud to call it home.

The citizens of this small town are a rather eclectic mix of folk, ranging from the young, to hungry artists, to college students (though this isn't a college town), to retirees, senior citizens, the red hat society, upper-middle class, the GOP, and of course stoners and rednecks.  Indeed, this town is picturesque of small-town-America with a philosophy of know thy neighbor, though there's a lingering attitude, charismatic of pretentious citizens, where judgement falls on a bias, yet friendly nature, charming all the while.

The people of Lebanon may hold a snobbish demeanor, but there's no lack of politeness or friendly conversation.  It's a town where people wish to keep it one of a kind, all the way from the historic significance down to the core of local politics and businesses themselves.  It is a town that loves showcasing its history through local shops owned and operated by their owners.

My adventure in Lebanon began with coffee . . . or rather, a triple-shot espresso, peanut butter latte followed shortly thereafter by a double-shot espresso, vanilla and apple-spice latte . . . at the hip and stylish Manna.  A family owned business Manna specializes in cupcakes, offering a tempting range of devilish sweets to help jump-start the day.  It's the type of place where one can easily pass the time with friendly chats, personalized work or simply in the gathering of minds.  It's hard to pull yourself away from such temptations--coffee, cupcakes, conversations . . . what more could one ask for out of life?

From there I meandered about the local train station, which runs every weekend, offering a joyous ride to the nearby town of Mason, Ohio.  I then proceeded (not by train) to the historic district where I visited the town's library, a few shops and a small sub-section of homes and businesses.  Perhaps one of the most attractive features of this town is the vastly diverse, rustic architecture.  Buildings as old as a hundred years or more are still present in the town, and homes even as young as fifty years old are picture-perfect representations of artistic, individualistic fashions portrayed by the towns inhabitants.  No two houses look alike.  There are purple houses, green houses, red houses, firehouses, brick houses, wooden houses, big houses, bigger houses, and there's even a house with a garage fashioned in the exact same architectural style as the home itself!  Even the shops and churches all differ from one another, each offering a beauty all their own.

From there I proceeded on a quest, looking for local trophies, which I was richly awarded by the town's very own personal expression.  Statues, jewels, monuments, whimsical signs and white-boy graffiti all contribute in painting the portrait of this community; where personality, artistry and formality are the key elements in the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  I smiled then, realizing that this town was indeed a home, rather than a place.  I decided to conclude my journey at the Wine Cellar, another of the town's local family businesses.  The Wine Cellar definitely has a smooth, cool vibe, where people can engage in conversations with complete strangers over a glass of fine wine or even finer beer.  It's not a bar that caters to the likes of most American folk; offering an enormous taste of the luxurious and the exotic as opposed to the drab and bland one might find in even the quaintest of fine wine bars.

In the end, I find myself seduced by the alluring charms of Lebanon, Ohio.  The locale might represent an air of right-winged liberalism, private yet proud, but in truth it's a town where one feels safe, welcomed and admired, no matter how unique or how boring your persona may be.  I have been a citizen here for only one year, but I can think of no other place I want to call my future home.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Look, a Book!

Note: from here on the reviews of books I read will be posted at Goodreads.  This is a wonderful site for any book enthusiast, with millions of titles to choose from you can construct your own virtual library to share with the rest of the world.  You can pick the books you've read, look at books you may wish to read, and of course leave your own detailed reviews so others may peruse your thoughts on books they may consider for their own library. 

Ergo, you can find my review of Clive Barker's Galilee at my personal collection at C. D. Brinker Goodreads  (or simply click on the button on the right of my blog) and you can read my review of Galilee here: C. D. Brinker review.

Suffice it to say . . . Good Book, Good Read.

Dead Again - introduction

Dead Again
an excerpt (introduction)

Oh, hello there; glad you could finally make it. It’s sort of eerie, isn’t it—the realization that you’re dead? But hey, relax. It’s not as horrible as it sounds. You’ll get used to it.

But I know . . . I know . . . you’re wondering why you’re here; you’re wondering how you died; you’re wondering what’s next? You want to know why you’re a ghost? Well, I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you, but who the hell knows? I’ve been dead for almost one-hundred and fifty years and I gave up pondering the answer to that riddle a long, long, long time ago. Nowadays I just float about, hanging around, going here, going there; I do whatever I can to kill the time. Most ghosts do. You will too, you’ll see.

Wanderlust will begin to set in. I think most of us all start our ghostly tale the same: lingering in each of our own ethereal homes, searching for some purpose as to our existence, moping as we do so. Those first few years can be rough, but eventually all that lingering and searching will become stagnant, and boredom will start to creep in. You’ll start thinking to yourself: what’s down the street; what’s that thing over there; what are those people doing? You’ll be amazed at how quickly society, culture and technology fairs while you’re dead. It’s all so alien. Why, in my day it was quite the feat to board a train . . . but today . . . my lord, there’s naked folk on the Internet!

Yes, I know what the Internet is. I may have been dead for over one-hundred and fifty years but like I mentioned, I meander about. We all do. And you will too. There’s a whole world out there, and what you missed-out-on while living you’ll surely wish to experience as a ghost. It’s its own reward, honestly. You’re no longer restricted; now you can go anywhere and everywhere, though every once and awhile you’re bound to feel a strong, intoxicating need to return to your ethereal home—I hope you died well. But for the most part you’ll just wander and wonder.

And wander you did! Why, I’m ever so glad you made it here. It’s eerie, isn’t it: all these ghosts just sitting around in this shell of a dead building? Well this shell is quite the hideout for us. It has its charms. It was once a hot-spot of a bar known as Mackie’s, though legend has it that at the turn of the century this was a warehouse of satanic worship and witchcraft. Ooh, spooky. But there are no witches or demonic forces here now; there’s nothing here now but creaking floors, swiveling bar stools, cold drafts, the aroma of lilacs, and of course ghosts.

Over there, that’s Sally. She’s been dead for almost forty years now and she spent most of those years pining over her loved ones, watching them grow year after year after year. Don’t torture yourself like that . . .

And let’s see . . . oh, that there is William, the bartender; you know, he once served a drink to Jesse James? True story. Ask him.

And then there’s Kyle; he’s one of those—

Oh, you’ve already met Kyle? Good. And yeah, there’s . . . oh, let’s see . . . there’s . . .


Aw, yes; Robert.

“Not just a ghost!”

Just ignore his outbursts. He screams out like that every once and awhile, but he’ll calm down once William gives him some whiskey.

Oh, I forgot my manners . . . would you like something to drink? William makes a killer martini. And yes, before you ask, ghosts can drink. People aren’t the only things which die, you know? William has a whole stockpile of liquor lost over the years. So just kick back, relax, and have a drink. In fact, I think—

—“Robert! Not just a ghost!”

Well, I think I may need another drink myself, especially if I am to tell you about Robert. Because being a ghost means there are a number of stories to be shared; everyone has their own ghostly tale. Some are better than others to be sure—but whatever you do, for the love of god, do not ask Sally for her story . . . she’ll bore you with her daughter’s marriage, her grandchildren’s school recitals, her great grandchildren’s teenage angst, the death of her sister and the life of her nephew. Like I said, don’t be that ghost . . . it’s far too depressing and makes for a lousy conversation.

But Robert on the other hand, he has quite the story to tell. Unfortunately, he’s still suffering from the shock and awe, but not before he told it to me. And believe me, it’s quite a story. Maybe you heard about it while you were alive . . . or experienced it first hand? If so, then I know you didn’t die well. But such is life: death. It all comes down to how you died, for that’s how you lived. And Robert is without a doubt the most unfortunate ghost of us all. He was given a second life . . . and a third . . . and a fourth. And now he’s dead . . . again.

So what do you say? Would you like a drink?

Copyright © 2010 C. D. Brinker

Writer's Report - gah, revision!

So I went through the draft of Dead Again (a short story about the misfortunes of being a ghost) and having felt that the previous narration needed some tweaking (including a second person narrative), I added some choppy phrasing, misplaced sentences, poor word choice, a few misspellings, and a lot more words than I had hoped!  My original goal was to try and chop some of it down so it would be better suited for short fiction submissions, but alas I have elongated it into a sloppy pile of words.

Just a tad shy of 6,000 words, even I (the writer) found it difficult to keep pace with the story.  But this is merely the second draft and was, by most accounts, an experiment in narration.  I wanted to give the story a conversational tone and created an introduction centered around a stream-of-conscious-second-person narrative, but I can't seem to wrap my head around the format.  While I like the idea, I feel that this style of narration really limits the scope of the story itself.  What I essentially ended up with was a 6,000 word short fictional-conversation.  The idea has come to me that it may be best if I highlight parts I enjoy and begin molding a fresh, new story around that . . . keeping it more simplistic, with a stream-of-conscious-first/third-person narrative.


Nevertheless, I do like the introduction and wish to share it with you folks in what I hope to be an on curring ordeal here.  Unfortunately, it won't be the whole tale.  After all, I wish to seek publication for this piece . . .

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Writer's Report

I just finished the second draft of what is hopefully a comical ghost story entitled Dead Again (which is in tribute to the band Type O Negative as I'm going through an extreme T.O.N. phase right now).  It's a good-chunk of a short story, just over 5,000 words, but maybe I can shave off a few more to really tighten it up before conisdering it for submission.  I always have to go through multiple drafts before I'm even mildly satisfied with the word-choice.  I scrutinize over every little syllable. 

But for right now I'm going to take a break, get some coffee, pet the kitty, then go kiss my girlfriend awake . . . then I'll be all like: "Get in the kitchen and make breakfast!"

Just joking.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Bad Plus

Okay . . . sometimes a band comes a long and I just have to scream: "LISTEN TO THIS, DAMMIT!"  And lately, it's a rather ecclectic jazz trio known as The Bad Plus . . . and I know what you're thinking (or at least I do if you know me), you're thinking: wow, Chad, are you listening to something other than ooky-spooky metal music?  And the answer is: Yes.  Yes I am.  But I didn't stray too far . . .

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I'm a winner!

Well of course I am . . . because I won:

--from a giveaway by Wag The Fox

I like winning.  And I like books.  I like winning free books even more!  I can't wait to read it . . .

I'm a writer now, huh?!

Well, of course I'm a writer.  I went to college and earned a degree in creative writing and I have spent many years developing a little portfolio(?) . . . catalogue(?) . . . of my work which only saw the light of day amidst friends and coffee-house literary cliches.  It has always been a dream of mine to be a writer, possibly even an accomplished one, but for years I feared the inevitable . . . 


After my first rejection, from a fairly big press publication (for which my ignorance of freelance writing was too blame), I was of course crushed.  Crushed so deeply that I went out and bought books on publishing, subscribed to literary magazines, took a two day course on publishing and read everything I could about this rough industry.  I don't remember a lot of what I read, for there are a lot of words inside my head and my brain is far too spastic, but one line that always stuck out to me (and I do believe I'm paraphrasing here): it takes the average writer 100 rejections before their first acceptance.

I didn't feel so crushed any more, but when rejection followed rejection which followed rejection, that crushed feeling started to creep back in.

Well, I'm proud to announce that it only took me 39 submissions before my first acceptance.  And currently, my 41st submission, has marked my third acceptance. 

Friend or Foe has been accepted by Golden Visions Magazine; Outside the Box has been accepted by Bards and Sages Quarterly; and Careful What You Wish For has been accepted by Title Goes Here:.

So I'm a writer now, huh?!