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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

RANTS & RAMBLES - Misrepresentation of What This Guy Did...

To understand what I'm ranting about, you will have to read/view this pictorial article on EyeOpening.info (it's really short):

Now for my rant...

My problem is with how this post is named (because it is simply not true!): “This Guy Started with Nothing.  What he had just 6 weeks later is amazing.”
A.      A couple lines into the article it says: “With a Thai friend’s guidance, his son-in-law’s masonry skills and a lot of work, the team made progress quickly.”
a.       What part of “a Thai friend’s guidance” and “his son-in-law’s masonry skills” are nothing?  Clearly, that is something.  Those are both two very important things to have to build a wonderful house from scratch.
B.      The SECOND line of the article is: “When Steve Areen thought about building his dream home, all he had to do was find $9,000 and a place to build.”
a.       He had to find $9,000! NINE THOUSAND DOLLARS! – That is ALSO not nothing.  That is $9,000.  It’s not like he built it out of found materials.  Sure, the next time I have $9,000, I will move down to Thailand to build my wonder hut.  Which brings me to my next point…
C.      What is he doing in Thailand anyway?  I’m sure he is employed in some way – otherwise, where did he get $9,000 to build his house.  Also, he had to GET to Thailand – that must have cost money as well, unless he fashioned a boat out of sticks and navigated down, or walked (or, if he is a native of Thailand – he lives in Thailand!  Materials & labour are sooooo much cheaper down there.  The rest of us who live in places with things called Labour Laws may have a harder time finding land and money to do the same.)
D.      I still think the house he built is super cool and deserves the attention, but SERIOUSLY, the guy did not start with NOTHING!  He knew some people and had some contacts and made it happen for cheap.  Still pretty cool, but not something the bum on the street corner can go do.
E.       Also, who designed the thing?  The article doesn’t mention that or how much that cost… unless the dude is an architect (in which case, excellent education is also not nothing – that is a very valuable something).

In short – this guy did not start out with NOTHING.  It should be named "Look at the super cool house that this well-educated resourceful man with lots of cool contacts used his savings to build" (but I realize that may not be as catchy).  Let's actually evaluate what it means to have nothing and start putting the proper value on the things we do have.

Monday, 17 March 2014

A MOVABLE FEAST - Ernest Hemingway

Okay, so I’ve been neglecting this blog for a bit and focusing my attentions on other projects, which was wrong and I’m sorry.

Things have been pretty intense for me over the past while (you can read more about that at www.myyearwithoutsex.ca) and I have had trouble making myself sit down to write.  In fact, I have barely been writing at all (even my other projects are suffering).  This thing that I love to do so much, I have just been avoiding.  I guess we all go through periods like this, but I think I have been mildly self-sabotaging.  I focused on getting my writing going last year and it started to succeed, so what do I do, I stop.  Typical me.  I’m trying to move past that.

Anyhoo, that’s not the point of this post, but it is a bit of an explanation.  The point is: I’m back.  And I just finished reading A Movable Feast by Ernest Hemingway.  This is a great place at which to jump back in because Hemingway is my FAVOURITE authour.  I’ve mentioned this in other posts, but I realize now that I have failed to actually write about Hemingway and his influences on my writing in any real way in this blog.  Crazy pants!

Monday, 27 January 2014

15 Minute Update #5

Hey!

So, it's been a while.  Things have been crazy with work.  I've had the extreme pleasure of working on the Canadian Stage hit-sensation London Road, playing until February 9, 2014 at the Bluma Appel Theatre in Toronto.  If you get a chance to catch this wonderful creation by Alecky Blythe and Adam Cork, you will not be sorry!

For more information go to:
www.candianstage.com

Also, Mike Ellis and I have started our own YouTube channel called Eleven Oh-Four.

Inspired by Mental Floss and Vlog Brothers by John & Hank Green, Mike and I started a similar list-themed channel where we post videos to each other weekly.  Mike and I used to have writing meeting each week via Skype where were would discuss the projects we were working on and throw ideas back and forth for future things.  It was a brainstorming/catch-up/inspiration type chat which always led to hilarity (as things usually do when Mike and I get together).

Whenever I go under contract for a new show, we find it hard to arrange a time we can meet - this is where the idea for Eleven Oh-Four came from.  In lieu of an actual Skype meeting, Mike and I could keep the dialogue going even during the busy periods.  As well, it would give us some exposure.

Why Eleven Oh-Four?  Well, thanks for asking!  We would always have our Skype meetings at 11:04am.  This came out of me always missing our 10am meetings and a witty banter back and forth between Mike and I while attempting to arrange a better time.  I suggest 10:45, Mike came back with 10:52, I responded with 11:01:30 and Mike finished with 11:04, so that was the time we would meet (and yes, we did usually wait until 11:04 to dial - that's just how we roll).

After discussing the concept for the channel (I'm a HUGE John & Hank Green fan, so of course I wanted to be like them!), we decided that doing lists of 11 things in 4 minutes would work out well and fit the name.  Thus, Eleven Oh-Four was born!

Please check out our videos and subscribe to the channel!!  You can find us here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfimfkOQWwApFvIAH0O_Lng

So that's what's been up in my world lately.  Trying to improve on my Twitter-ing, but writing-wise, Eleven Oh-Four is the biggest thing that Art Thief has been working on.  I'm still keeping up with www.yearwithoutsex.ca as well.  Also, the new book in the Little Logan Series has been printed.  I guess I have been kind of busy.  Anyhoo, I'll try to get Logan up ASAP and I'm working on finishing Professor Cormac.  Just keep chipping away!

Thanks so much!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

15 Minute Update #4

So, my goal of 1000 words a day fell off the rails at the end of last week.  Car trouble and out-of-town visits put a hiccup in my schedule and I'm not quite at the point in my career that my routine accounts for writing while on the road.  Anyhoo, excuses...

Today, I was engrossed in the art for the first children's book that I'm illustrating myself.  Exciting!!!

The book is called: Professor Cormac's Guide to Growing: The Alphabet.  It is an instructional series of books about all the things you need to know while growing up.  The second book will deal with numbers.  This is my first attempt at drawing in probably about 20 years.  I'm pretty pumped about the way it is turning out.

Recently, I purchased a new laptop (named "Narnia") with a touchscreen.  Being a luddite, I never thought I would get much use out of the touchscreen (I have trouble using my touch phone still), but once I conceived this book, it offered the key to completing the illustrations myself.

I have finished penciling the drawings and have begun digitizing (word?) the images.  They are all scanned and ready to go.

Here is one of my favourite sketches:
Created by AJ Laflamme (Text: "Most magpies make money making movies; Neither nifty nightingales nor notorious newts notice.")

This is the first full page that is ready for press and the sketch it was based off:
Created by AJ Laflamme
Created by AJ Laflamme

I also bought an awesome stylus, so I can draw directly on the screen.

So, though I did not "write" 1000 words today, I'm counting the work I've done on this book as 1000 words worth of effort.  Also, this book needs to get done (Cormac is now 1 yr old).  I'm hoping that once I'm back at work, I will be able to get back into a writing routine.  We shall see, but for now, this is a lot of fun!

So, that's what I've been working on!

Until next time...

Monday, 11 November 2013

ON WRITING - Stephen King (Redux)

Recently, I’ve been reading On Writing by Stephen King, which is WONDERFUL!!!  I am about the biggest chicken you will ever meet, so I have read a total on one (1) Stephen King book (this will be my second), so I wouldn’t say I’m a huge Stephen King fan, except, I am (especially after this book).  His writing is so honest and accessible.  Under the Dome is the only other book I’ve read by him and I devoured it.  Many more of his works are now on my unending reading list after On Writing, but that’s not relevant to this post.

Every writer of fiction should read this book.  It is refreshing and hopeful.  Many of my greatest fears have been soothed by reading about the humble beginnings of one of the century’s most well-known authours.  Not only this, he shares his process – invaluable.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

15 Minute Update #3

Hey!  So, it's November and I'm between contracts right now, which means it's writer time!!!  (Kind of like "Miller Time" but with writing.)

November is writing month.  I have a new draft of Empty Boxes and it will be performed this coming Friday & Saturday (November 8 & 9) at Theatre Starts in Aurora, ON.  For more information on that, please check out their website at:
http://www.theatrestarts.com/

Also, I've set a new goal for myself.  I have to write 1000 words each day.  So far it has been going fairly well.  I have been hitting between 1500-2000 words each day (except yesterday).  I find it quite the stretch to get to 500-600 words, but then suddenly, I find myself sitting at 1200 with so much more to go.  It has been really motivating.  I have also imposed rules that I'm not allowed to watch TV (or any video) or smoke until I have completed my writing.  Now, I'm just a casual smoker, but by the end of the day, I really want one, so I either get to writing or go to bed and hope for better results the next day.  Either way, it's a win-win for me - writing gets done or I don't smoke (which is a filthy habit).

I've started into my first real attempt at a novel.  I've tried other novels before, but I get about 3-4 pages in and then never touch them again.  This one I feel has better groundwork to start, so we'll see.  Also, this writing quota is really helping.  When I don't feel like updating this blog or MyYearWithoutSex.ca, I pick up the novel and plug away at it.  It's great!

Also, I've been focusing on furthering my professional development.  Every morning I'm reading 2 chapters of The Elements of Style by Strunk & White - which is touted as the holy grail of writing style manuals (so I thought I better take a peek at it).  As well, my leisure reading has been On Writing by Stephen King, which has been more than extremely inspirational.  I'm filled with confidence and motivation.

So, that's what's been up in my world!  I'll post some bits from A Man and His Dog (my novel) soon.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

IN DEFENSE OF STAGE MANAGERS - Al Franklin

I know this blog is dedicated to writing and inspiration for writing, but the place I find the most inspiration for my creative pursuits is through my “day job” as a stage manager.  Stage managing is a delicate and tricky business, yet many people have no clue what a stage manager actually does.  From family to close friends to people I’ve just met, I most commonly get introduced or asked about my life as a “stage director” - a very different thing.  To clarify, I usually describe the job as the person who wears the headset backstage and makes all the sound and lights go – a gross oversimplification of the job, but at least it puts me in the correct context of the production. 

Recently, I came across a letter written by Al Franklin, the Production Manager for Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago.  The letter was entitled In Defense of Stage Managers and went on to explain why stage managers are essential collaborators and artists in the theatrical process.  For those who are only learning what a stage manager is now, at times you come across a person who holds the perception that a stage manager is little more than the secretary of a production and has nothing to contribute creatively to the process.  This post is not about saying why that is a misconception, but how my life as a stage manager feeds and fosters me creatively.  It is something I’ve been intending on writing for a while and this happens to be my catalyst.  Franklin’s letter eloquently describes many of my own feelings toward the art of stage managing.

The letter can be viewed on the “Stage Managers Say Go” blog listed here: