My Story

Monday, July 25, 2016

Beach Bumming

So I find myself writing this in the early evening of a Saturday from one of my favorite places on Earth: Destin, Florida. I know what you’re thinking, “But Wile E, Coyotes don’t go to the beach to chase Roadrunners.” Well even a Coyote needs to rest for a while and this is a wonderful place to do so.

In the writing world, two events are happening this week. The first is Necon, which is short for the Northeastern Writer’s Conference in Portsmouth. It’s a conference for Horror authors, artists, and publishers. A huge event, for sure, but this year was especially momentous because Linda Addison (a phenomenal poet, writer, and friend) was not only a guest of honor, but was inducted as a Necon legend. Seriously, check her stuff out. It’s moving and scary, all the beauty of the night and life wrapped up in thrilling words.

The second event is the Scares that Care charity, a more fan-oriented convention organized by horror author Brian Keene (if you don’t know who this is, you obviously have not spent any length of time talking to me). The proceeds are donated entirely to organizations that treat sick children or families of children with illnesses. A worthy goal no matter how you state it.

Linda and Brian are both friends and mentors. One inspired me to become a writer and the other opened my mind to the art of poetry and all the thrills, challenges, and beauty that lies in writing it.

So now you’re asking me, “if you admire these people so much why aren’t you there?” Well the answer is twofold and simple: money and weariness.

Due to traveling, bills, and generally seizing a few opportunities, my funds were a little tapped and needed time to recuperate from the ringer I’ve put them through. Writing is my vocation, but it doesn’t pay the bills… yet.

I’ve also been working hard on my writing and with my regular day job as a slave of United Airlines, some familial relationships as well as friendships have been put on the backburner. So when my family revealed they were traveling to one of my favorite places on Earth and asked if I would like to join, I felt it necessary to sacrifice time and money at two places I REALLY wanted to be and instead spend time bonding with my family. Sometimes you just can’t be everywhere at once.

My passion has not wavered, nor has my conviction. In fact, I’ll be pouring a lot of work into two novels this week. However, at the same time I can talk to my dad in person instead of over the phone, I can visit with my uncles and aunts, I can spend time with my mom and sister. I’m not some distant writer laboring away in Oklahoma City; I’m an on-hand writer laboring away in the sand, but able to multitask and be there in person for the first time in a long time.

I’m sure my writer friends will understand if I wasn’t able to make it to Rhode Island and Virginia just this once.

I’ve been coming to Destin for as long as I can remember and every year the secret seems to have been told to just a few more people. Slowly but surely, it has seen the rise of tourism.

As I arrived this year (and had to wait an hour and half in a traffic jam at a toll booth), it struck me just how much things had changed. I usually come into Destin from the west across Navarre beach; it’s a drive that lets you see the bay off to your left and the open ocean to your right. Then you cross a magnificent bridge and see it: white shores as far as the eye can see, green waters, and all the hotels, condos, and stores you could possibly want to visit. This year, however, I came in from the north and came straight into the ugly heart of commercialization without that sense of wonder that usually accompanies the sight of this place.

Still, as I walked out onto the beach this evening, I breathed in deep and felt in-tune with the universe, senses renewed and ready for the week.

Now Destin may usually be where my family stays and where my love affair with this area started, but it has changed in recent years with my discovery of a small town down the coast called Seaside. It’s kind of an artistic community, so it’s unsurprising that I fell in love with the place when I first laid eyes on it. Seaside is a new urbanism-based community; the entire town is built around an amphitheater with everything in walking distance.

When I own a house here (God willing one day), I’ll be able to walk a mere few blocks to Sundog Books and Music, or the local ice cream shop, or the myriads of restaurants and food trucks scattered around town. I could sit on my roof and write as the breeze blows in from the ocean, easily visible from wherever it is I’m sitting.

And the best thing of all about Seaside: practically no cars. Everything is in walking distance and there’s a sense of community the likes of which I have rarely seen.

This area works wonders on my spirit and I have no doubt that it’s going to affect my writing in all the best ways this week.

When I’m not trying to wrestle a shark that is.

Now it is time for…
The Wile E. World News

So this week has been the Republican National Convention, which for you nonpolitical folks is a gathering of the Republican Party where they nominate their candidate for the Presidency and burn effigy’s of Democratic Party leaders (according to the more tinfoil-hat-wearing member’s of our populace). Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump (who you may recognize as the man who didn’t stop Kevin from checking into his hotel in Home Alone 2) won the nomination.
Now this next section may see my own effigy being burned somewhere, and if so kudos to you! You have fine taste in burnable effigies, but I cannot find it in my heart to support Mr. Trump. For those of you who are still with me and aren’t sharpening your pitchforks, do not mistake my intent; I don’t support Hillary Clinton either.

This election year has been different from every one I can remember (admittedly that has been like 3, but nonetheless it is different). Both nominees cut figures of controversy for various reasons that you should all investigate for yourself, but for a person who walks in the Middle like I do, both are fairly extreme and startling.

I’ve watched and seen people on both sides taking the time to shut themselves off from anything they don’t want to hear, belittling their opponents, and finding scapegoats to place blame on for the state of the world we live in.

As a friend of mine so eloquently said: “People are waking up, and they are angry”. I agree whole-heartedly.

I’ve always been a listener; I seek to understand what the other side sees. I was always taught that the Wise listened, the Wise were patient, and the Wise sought to bring people together rather than divide them. Now I’m not perfect and I haven’t always been among “the Wise”, but I would like to think that I try.
I guess what I want to encourage and advocate is not a political candidate nor position. I walk the fine line down the middle after all, but I will use my own version of one particular candidate’s slogan: Let’s make other’s great again, let’s make ourselves great again, and let’s do it in that order.
Scary thought, I know, thinking of others, and maybe I’m just crazy for it. Wouldn’t be the first time someone thought I was nuts.
Being a writer is crazy work after all.

This week’s horror movie review is: All the Boys Love Mandy Lane

So I was really excited when I put this particular feature in my DVD player. It’s supposedly a revisionist slasher film that’s been seeing rave reviews. At its conclusion, though, I was left with mixed feelings.

The plot of the film was an interesting premise, to be sure. A Texas schoolgirl is the recipient of the affections (and lust) of the male student populace and is invited to a weekend gathering where someone (or something) begins to simultaneously kill the group while also unhealthily fixating on Mandy Lane.
I loved the twists and turns as the film progressed, but one serious flaw kept me from truly enjoying everything: I didn’t care about any of these people. Like at all. They were unlikeable jerks with no sense of responsibility or compassion.
Sort of like the average high school kid in retrospect. Hmmm… Objection to this film withdrawn.

Well then, I’ve typed away on my weekly activities and I’ve let loose with my political tirade, now I’m going to go drink a Dr. Pepper out of a coconut and see if the Roadrunner will slow down when it runs through the ocean.

Wile E. Young singing off and diving in.

Interaction of the Week
Wile E. Young: I know four numbers by heart: Yours, Dad’s, the house, and mine.
CoyoteMom: Do you know your aunt’s?
Wile E. Young: No.
CoyoteMom: What about Em the Slayer’s?
Wile E. Young: I’m going to repeat myself and you tell me where I lost you.

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