Monday, December 26, 2011

"A Literal History of the Word Processor"

Author Anne Rice, of the Vampire Chronicles fame, brought a New York Times article to my attention about the history of the word processor that intrigued me to go read it and share it here.  Ms. Rice also asked her fans a question that I wanted to repeat here: "Does anybody still use typewriters or write by hand?"

Here's my two responses:

1.  I have 3 different paper notebooks I'm writing in at the moment. One notebook is for one story I'm working on with research notes written in it, one notebook is for a story I'm going to be starting on soon has only character names and research notes written in it so far, and one I use for poetry only. I transfer anything I've written by hand into the computer later. I don't always have my laptop everywhere I go, so if a story idea comes up or a new poem gets thought of, I like having a notebook along with me to write in before I lose the idea which happens sometimes if I can't get to a computer right away.

2.When I was younger, I used to write short stories and do homework on a typewriter because my family was poor and couldn't afford a computer until I was in my teens.

For my fellow writers out there I'll ask again, "Does anybody still use typewriters or write by hand?  Why or why not?"

Saturday, December 24, 2011

What I'm Reading and Other Stuff

Now that I've written my Christmas blog entry, I can't stop thinking about what I want to do next.  Besides win a million dollars playing the lottery!  I'm pretty much done researching a couple of my stories, but I can't seem to bring myself to actually sitting down and writing some more in the book.  One book I've been researching, I haven't started writing yet.

In "The Shepherdess Princess," a little bit of a rewrite in the future to make the time period I'm writing about more historically accurate.  Turns out, the Hundred Years War was starting during my time frame and was against England, and France.  France wasn't united at the time, and England thought they had a claim to the French throne.  Thus, a war broke out.

I was just reading about the first part of the war that lasted from 1337-1360, and come to find out that Scotland's King at the time was allied with France.  It's interesting because most of my story is set in Scotland a couple years after this war historically started, so that'll put a new spin on things I haven't been able to process and put to paper yet.  I hope I figure something out soon.

I also came across a good quote for "Magic In Their Blood" I want to start the book with.  I actually came across it while watching "Eclipse" based on Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series.  The character Billy Black says in one scene, "We Quilleutes have always had magic in our blood."  When I heard that, lightning struck.  I may watch the movie again soon, so I could jot down the quote word for word.  Of course, I'll give credit to Stephenie Meyer when I use it.

The more I research "Magic In Their Blood," the more I can't wait to write it.  I'm having a hard time starting it off though.  I'll be starting a new document file for it soon, and start off with the quote I just shared, and some acknowledgments pertaining to the research that went into it.  After I do that, maybe I'll be able to produce the first sentence, and go on from there.

Now to get to what I'm reading right now.  I got from the library this week "Vampire Stories" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  From what I gleaned from the intro to the book, which is a collection of 9 short vampire-related stories, Sir Arthur wasn't too happy about being known for his great detective Sherlock Holmes because he had written several short stories and poetry before then that he barely got recognized for.

Anyway, I just finished reading the second short story called "The Captain of the Pole-Star," and what intrigued me about it was the "vampire" in the story resembled a mist to one character, and a lost love to the Captain.  Also, instead of a vampire that drank blood, this one consumed a person's energy, life force, and body heat simultaneously.

I also found out interesting facts I didn't know about Arthur Conan Doyle's life like he quit his practice as a doctor to write full-time when he became more well-known.  His main influence for his writing was Edgar Allen Poe, and he was friends with authors H. G. Wells, Bram Stoker, Rudyard Kipling, and Robert Louis Stevenson.  He took his inspiration for the story "The Captain of the Pole-Star" and an earlier mariner work called "The Hope" from a stint of working as a ship's surgeon on a whaling vessel.

Merry Christmas!

Sorry for those who may not like The Killers like I do, but when I saw the above music video I couldn't stop laughing.  'Tis the season for "The Cowboy's Christmas Ball."  Merry Christmas!  It won't let me embed a playing video from YouTube because of the video's provider, so you'll have to click on the link above to go to it.

Here's the lyrics if you want to sing along:

Way out in Old Nevada, where the Truckee's waters flow,Where the cattle are "a-browzin'," an' the Spanish ponies grow;Where the Northers "come a-whistlin'" from beyond the Neutral Strip;And the prairie dogs are sneezin', as if they had "The Grip";Where the cayotes come a-howlin' 'round the ranches after dark,And the bluebirds are a-singin' to the lovely "meadow lark";Where the bighorns are a-grazin' and the lonely plovers call—It was there that I attended "The Cowboys' Christmas Ball."(whoo!)
The boys had left the ranches and come to town in piles;The ladies—"kinda scatterin'"—had gathered in for miles..The room was togged out gorgeous-with mistletoe and shawls,And candles flickered frescoes, around the airy walls.The women folk looked lovely-the boys looked kinda treed,Till the leader got to yellin': "Hey! fellers, let's stampede,"And the music started sighin', an' awailin' through the hallAs a kind of introduction to "The Cowboys' Christmas Ball."
Their leader was a feller that came from Swenson's ranch,They called him "Windy Billy," from "little Deadman's Branch."His rig was "kinda careless," big spurs and high-heeled boots;
He had the reputation that come when "a fellers shoots."His voice was like a bugle upon a mountainous height;His feet were animated an' a mighty, movin' sight,When he commenced to hollerin', "Now, fellers stake your pen!"Lock horns with all them heifers, an' russle 'em like men."Saloot yer lovely critters; now swing an' let 'em go,"Climb the grape vine 'round 'em—all hands do-ce-do!"You Mavericks, join the round-up- Just skip her waterfall,"Huh! It was gettin' happy, The Cowboys' Christmas Ball
Don't tell me 'bout cotillions, or germans. No sire'ee!That whirl at Carson City just takes the cake with me.I'm sick of lazy shufflin's, of them I've had my fill,Just Give me a frontier break-down, backed up by Wild Ol' Bill.
McAllister ain't nowhere, when Windy leads the show,I've seen 'em both in harness, and so I sorta know—Oh, Bill, I sha'n't forget ya, and I'll oftentimes recall,That lively gaited sworray—"The Cowboys' Christmas Ball."
Oh, Bill, I sha'n't forget ya, and I'll oftentimes recall,That lively gaited sworray—"The Cowboys' Christmas Ball."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

John Lennon-Imagine

Apparently John Lennon was assassinated 31 years ago today.  RIP, man!  You are missed.

"Imagine" happens to be one of my favorite Beatles songs he wrote.  I especially like the line "you say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

I was trying to successfully embed the above video in this blog with lyrics, but it wasn't cooperating so this is the alternative.



Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say 
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You, you may say 
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Day of Research and Writing...

I've been spending the last few hours listening to an audio book I checked out from the library called Black Elk Speaks by John G. Neihardt.  I'm currently listening to the fifth CD out of six, and each has been one hour long.  Black Elk (1863-1950, pictured below) was a Lakota Sioux medicine man/holy man who talks in Black Elk Speaks about a vision he had about the Little Big Horn battle right before it happened, and in Chapter 20 talks about his experience in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show among other stories.

I knew his name sounded familiar when I first heard it, so when I read on his Wikipedia page about him being part of Buffalo Bill's show, my reaction was "Oh, that's him.  That's where I know his name from." because I've been raised on stories of Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill, and used to fantasize as a child that I was in the show with Annie Oakley.

I'm interested in his story because he came from a long line of Shaman and the characters in my story titled "Magic In Their Blood" are supposed to be related to Shaman as well.  I have made a few notes while listening to Black Elk Speaks that include the description and meaning of a sacred ornament Holy Men in his tribe use, and the description and meaning of different elements to a peace pipe.  I've also noted a couple quotes from Black Elk that I might start the book with about the importance of keeping Native stories alive, and teaching the next generation through the stories that would survive after he's gone.  He also talks a lot about his second cousin, Crazy Horse, and shares that Crazy Horse was the first Chief they had in the family.

I also have another library book I have yet to crack open called The Secrets of Native American Herbal Remedies: A Comprehensive Guide to the Native American Tradition of Using Herbs and the Mind/Body/Spirit Connection for Improving Health and Well-Being I'll be reading to get an idea of the different herbs a Medicine Man would use for different ailments.  Again, solely for the purpose of writing "Magic In Their Blood."

I took some time out of my day earlier to write a couple more poems as well.  One poem is about Pearl Harbor, and written to commemorate the 70th anniversary of that day:

Pearl Harbor Day

In the midst of another war,
dawn breaks on a day like no other before.
Seventy years ago today
a bombing started our involvement on a familiar shore.

We were hit at home
while we peacefully slept.
Now there are tomes
talking about a morning we'll never forget.

It's always them versus us,
and the merry-go-round starts again
as one-time friends and neighbors
are questioned about terrorism.

Will the cycle ever stop?
As long as there is sin in the world, it will not.
So we go on with our lives,
and wage wars until the Earth dies.

And here's my second poem on a different subject:


I didn't want to do it,
but you left me no other choice
when you told me that you miss me,
and I felt like I no longer had a voice.

Why did you insist your previous message was a lie?
You told me you couldn't break up with her,
and left me wondering why I even try.
You played me for a fool, and my heart cried.

So much for giving you a second chance
that I thought you were happy about.
I should've thought about it a little longer,
and never agreed to go back out.

Now you are unfriended once again
for the situation you put me in.
I should have known you couldn't be faithful,
and for my freedom since I've been grateful.

I still have yet to put my new poems into a document file, and have my new manuscript started.  Until then, I'll have them stored here until I have the time to copy and paste them into Word finally.

I am still also working on "The Shepherdess Princess," but I'm taking a small break from it because I'm having a hard time putting my next thoughts onto paper for it.  I'll keep you posted on any progress when it's made.