Page 1

a good day, and a brief thought about kanye.

For this 28 day writing challenge with Wes, as always, I post during my days instead of calendar days. My days operate at very different hours than calendar days. Last time I posted this late in my day, it was because I’d spent the whole night working. Tonight it was for the opposite reason. I’ve spent my day picking out the first pair of glasses I will ever wear, getting a haircut, running 8k, cooking dinner, drinking good rum, taking Wes’s advice to watch John Wick, eating too many chocolate chip cookies, and hoping that with Marvel in charge they get it right this time and cast Donald Glover as Spider-Man (can you imagine?!?). All in all, that’s a hell of a good day. I try never to let the good days pass without being grateful for them. To quote Kenneth Parcell, “We’ve eaten our share of rock soup and squirrel tail, but we’ve also known lean times.”

You have to enjoy the good days because there’s no guarantee you’ll ever have another.

Kanye note: I don’t closely read people’s opinions about Kanye West, aside from scrolling past them when they pop up on my Facebook feed. Mostly because I’m a supporter and no one is ever saying anything new about him, yet still they act like they are handing out gold nuggets of wisdom by pointing out his readily observable flaws. He is clearly an insecure, self-conscious man who has a pretty huge immature streak and some impulse control issues. The fact that people still write entire stories about him being nuts seems like digging up the dead horse you’ve already beaten, blending it into a smoothie, and force feeding it to your loved ones. We get it, he’s crazy and unpredictable, call me when he actually harms someone or does any real damage of any kind.

But what confuses me most is that no one ever seems to point out that his insane rants, his stage storming, his bizarre interjections on VH1 telethons are almost always on behalf of someone else. Now, for transparency’s sake, I still wouldn’t give a shit and would still think he was a brilliant force in music if he was just jumping up and down on stage because he lost an award, but he wasn’t. He was angry at what he perceived as unfairness toward others. In his mind, he was standing up for people he cared about. He wasn’t doing it well, or in a way that was helpful in those situations, but his most talked about insane moments were on behalf of Beyonce (twice), Pusha-T, and more importantly, the predominantly black city of American citizens who were without housing, food, or clean water after Katrina. I’m certainly not saying he’s entirely sane, but if I ever lose the rest of my mind, I sure hope that’s the kind of crazy I become.



The end

john oliver returns tonight!

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver makes its triumphant return to HBO tonight.

As I write this, I still haven’t watched tonight’s premier, but I can’t wait to watch it later as a reward for an evening of getting shit done. There’s something beautiful about an intelligent, funny, well-articulated rant against unfairness, injustice, inaccuracy, and all their ilk. John Oliver and his writing staff do it as well as anyone I’ve seen, and he is a necessary balm on the irritating rash of nonsense that is constantly clogging the airwaves, campaign trails, corporate offices, advertising, and general conversations (I can vouch for the conversation part based on the inane things people say on the other side of my bar). Someone needs to call bullshit what it is, and comedians like Stewart, (formerly) Colbert, and Oliver seem to be the only ones willing to take the job most of the time, or at least they are the only ones any of us seem to listen to when they do. It makes what they do a pretty important job.


Too often we seem to forget that things don’t become true just because we wish they were, and conversely don’t cease to be true because we wish they weren’t. Convenience isn’t a precondition for facts. Thus, a man waving his arms and yelling is exactly what you need when what he is communicating to you is that your house is, in fact, on fire. If he can be funny while he does it, all the better.

One of the things I love most about Last Week Tonight is that I genuinely learn something most episodes, things I probably never would have learned anywhere else. They do a brilliant job of breaking down situations and educating viewers about insane things happening under our noses, while still remaining entertaining.

Here’s to hoping this season is the second of many to come, and that the quality and fearlessness continue!

The end

everyone is doing quotes wrong.

Hey everybody, can we all stop attributing quotes from characters in books to the author who wrote that dialogue? It’s just nonsensical! I don’t care what the rules are for different forms of citation, we need to change them so that they aren’t completely asinine.

There seems to be a concerted disregard for quote accuracy. For example, every time someone wants to add gravitas to a quote, they throw Hemingway or Lincoln or a Roosevelt at the end of it, regardless of whether or not it had anything to do with that person. I’ll see signs and things with a quote on it attributed to Lincoln and think, “That doesn’t seem right at all.” Then, with a shallow internet search I am able to discover that the quote is in no way connected to Lincoln. That bugs me.

Yet, what bugs me so very much more is that people will take a character’s line from a book that they like, put it in quotes, and then attribute it to the author. That’s erroneous. I may not always be against citation rules, but I can confidently say it’s stupid and people should stop doing it. Putting someone’s name at the end of a quote means that you are attributing the sentiments therein to that person. So, if I were to say “I wish people would stop being idiots.” You could very accurately put Scott Small underneath it when you throw that shit on an inspirational pillow or whatnot. However, if I were to write something on trigger fiction where a character says, “I don’t know how I’d get through the day without crystal meth,” you could not reasonably think it’s ok to attribute that quote to me personally. The sentiments clearly aren’t mine, they are those of a character in a story I was writing.

If an author writes a character who is racist, or a serial killer, or a 900 lb. wizard gorilla, you can’t use that character’s quotes to reveal some genuine belief the author holds. Yet, it’s what we do all the time when a character says something inspirational and then we throw it up on the internets as a direct quote from the author. It’s just inaccurate, and I’m so tired of how blasé we are about accuracy. And if the rules allow for it or even encourage that inaccuracy, we should change the rules.

It’s even more common for people to misquote when the author is writing as the narrator of a book. If you remember your high school English classes at all, you’ll remember that the narrator and the author are not necessarily one and the same. Actually, they very rarely are.

For example, this: “It was a pleasure to burn.” – Ray Bradbury

Now, this would be appropriate as a citation on a list of greatest opening lines in novels. Then it would be attributing it to Bradbury as an opening line, not as an idea. However, to just randomly put it on a sign or pillow or quote site would be attributing that actual sentiment to Bradbury.

How hard is it to do something like this instead?: “It was a pleasure to burn.” -Guy Montag, from Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Six more words, none of the incorrectness.

Obviously, the examples I’m using here are overdrawn. No one really gets confused when they see that Bradbury citation. No one actually thinks I need crystal meth to get through the day (because I am very good at hiding it). However, there are countless times where it is actually confusing and/or ambiguous. I see it most every day on Facebook and Goodreads and Tumblr (when I still went on Tumblr). Even worse, it can be used that way to misrepresent an author’s thoughts and ideas for the purposes of ideologues and those who want books banned.

Accuracy is important. Facts are important. Reason is important. We should collectively start acting like it.

The end