Using Your Children to Grift is Child Abuse

I’ll be honest. Years of existing on the internet, with hoax after hoax pulling on people’s heartstrings and then being shown to be a grifting operation, my heart has hardened. I didn’t believe this story from the moment I saw it. Why? Because it’s too good. It’s too on the nose. Aboriginal dwarf getting bullied hits waaaay too many checkboxes for me to not put on my skeptics goggles. As my friend Michael Brown points out: And yes, this setup was a grift, one that this mother has been pulling for years. In fact, the kid is an actor. This…

Continue reading

The Epistle of Captain America – The Pop Cult is Truly a Cult

If you needed more proof that the obsession with fictional corporate franchises has a religious overtone to it, here is a major filmmaker advertising just that. When my viewers were upset about the corporate destruction of Star Wars, calling the franchise a cultural institution, I thought it a bit hyperbolic – after all, these are just stories, and you can’t uncreate what George Lucas did. I see things better now. Star Wars is part of the religious reverence for popular franchises. When Disney makes a Star Wars movie that undoes the stories of the Lucas era, it really is like…

Continue reading

Gen Y and Millenials – A Difference in Software

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about “Generation Y” (my cohort) and the strange nostalgic attachment to the franchises of the 80s and 90s. Here is another great one by JD Cowan (I recently did a narration of his “Gen Y Fragment”) The big difference between these two is nostalgia – Gen Y is obsessed with it, but the Millenials, who grew up in the grey 00s, seem to have no attachment to the past at all. Both of these cohorts have something in common, as Author Brian Niemeier has told me: they both grew up with failed…

Continue reading

What writers usually miss in analysis

One of the reasons literature majors don’t automatically turn into great writers is that they tend to focus on the wrong things when it comes to analyzing fiction. They aren’t alone. Most analysis content on the web focuses on things like themes, allegory, imbedded messages, prose, and (in genres like fantasy) world-building, and magic systems. These elements aren’t unimportant, but they are not what makes a story a good, memorable read. Here’s what writers should focus on instead (in no particular order): Story events. What happens? What order do things happen in? What was unpredictable? What impact did the events…

Continue reading

A world of comparisons and trade-offs

Following up from last night, I want to hammer home an important point: We live in a world of limitations. That means that the comparative value of your time spent doing certain activities is more important than an absolute value. Practicing scales will improve your guitar technique, but will it improve your technique as much as spending the same amount of time practicing actual musical pieces? The idea that students should practice music rather than scales isn’t exactly anathema to the orthodox music education practitioner; the traditionalist would say, “Practice both!” We don’t have unlimited time on this earth to…

Continue reading

Writing Groups

By “Writing Groups,” I mean a group of writers that read and give feedback to each others works. Are these sorts of groups useful? They can be, but compared to other things you could be doing, I think their utility is minimal or possibly a negative, depending on what sort of people are in the group. I’ll give an example to spring-board this discussion: Before I go further, this is a reminder that I never endorse piling on anyone I link in this blog. Heather wants to be a writer and improve her craft. I want anyone with that desire…

Continue reading

A Book For All Creative types

Pre-order it now on Amazon, coming in March! Here’s some of the things I go over in this book: How to self-assess your life priorities and decide where your focus should be How to design a creative process that will allow you to meet your goals, over and over again How to adjust your mindset so you can complete the projects you begin and become a prolific artist How to stay inspired and keep yourself from burning out. Pre-order it now!

Continue reading

Nostalgia Chronicles: Gen Y

It’s a hot day, and it isn’t helped by the thirty-five pounds of books in your backpack. You walk steadily away from the chaos that is the end of the school day; the swarms of cars and kids move steadily behind you, and the quiet of the deserted streets sets in, interrupted only by the occasional quip from one of your walking companions. One by one the friends of mutual direction peel off, and you’re by yourself, walking through the empty suburbs to your house. There’s never enough trees, and you begin to accumulate a layer of sweat under your…

Continue reading

It’s about dunking on you

I didn’t watch the super bowl. I haven’t in some time; Even if I wanted to, I lack the means, but as time goes on I’m ever more thankful for this. The halftime show, as usual, was a debacle of sorts. Two (middle-aged) women went on stage in skimpy attire and danced erotically for the biggest TV audience of the year. I saw some clips after the fact; I won’t link them here for reasons that will be clear. As usual, most people are missing what such a display is really about. It’s about dunking on you. It’s also about…

Continue reading

The Parable of the Wise and Lazy Farmers

There were once two grape growers, who each had plots handed down to them from their fathers. One of the farmers was a diligent, wise man, who followed the teachings of his father and was prosperous with his craft. The other man heeded little the gifts of his father, and was prone to vice and laziness. It happened that one year, as the winter was receding, the lazy farmer neglected to prune the old growth from his vines. The wise farmer, who went out to the fields with his children to prune the vines, noticed this and grumbled to himself,…

Continue reading