Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner



That just happened.

Hey, I'm Writing a Novel (Update 4)

Current Nanocount (Total/Goal) - 49074/45000

Short post today, just to mark the date. This is it. In another 45 minutes or so, I will reach 50k words and all will be right with the world. Right up until I hit word 50,001 and I realize that I still have a giant load of malarky on my hands and it's not even done yet and damn hell is editing going to be a bitch and a half.

Anyway, wish me words. Luck isn't a thing around here.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hey, I'm Writing a Novel (Update 3)

Current Nanocount (Total/Goal) - 41266/38333

So I guess I don't need to update this every day, but just wanted to let you all know that my goal and hope is to be done with the 50k goal by tomorrow night. Chances of that actually happening are not great, I start to go cross eyed after writing about 3500 words but who knows. I'm going to try to push myself today and tomorrow, so here's hoping. Anyway, I've gotta get back to work.

While you're waiting for me to come back, look at this guy and just be all like, "Damn, I wish I was as cool as that guy."

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hey, I'm Writing a Novel (Update 2)

NanoCount as of midnight 12/20: (Total/Goal) - 37515/33333

A quick update for today: I believe I will be finishing off the main plot of my story at right around 40k words, then it will be off to do the work on the side plot/backstory. I will be meeting up with a few people tonight for some write-in action. That's where people get together and write. You probably could have guessed that.

My spirits are still high and I'm hoping to get to the summit by Monday, giving me an extra week to expand and figure out if I've included all of what I need.

In addition, my shill for the day: If any of you are looking for solid little notebooks, check out Field Notes. I just bought some more of these and I always forget how clutch they are until I'm on their site. I may take a photo of them in action and add it to this post later. You know, playing it off like it was there the whole time.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hey, I'm Writing a Novel (Update 1)

I'm not certain why I haven't already been doing this, but I'm going to try to post short updates about the story progress here. I should be keeping a journal of this stuff for posterity, right?
At this point:
- I've completely scrapped my original outline
- My original Main Character has turned into a Supporting Character and my Supporting Character has become the Main.
- I accidentally wrote my ending about 12k words before I wanted to.
- People are real dicks.

I have about 15k words to go in November and then probably another 25-30k afterwards... then editing, etc...

Pesci, give me strength. I think I'm going to try to get a word counter up on my blog so I can point people here when they ask me how things are going.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Photo-Microfic is over for now...



I know I've failed miserably on getting back to my micro-fic postings. While I did enjoy those, and I think I will be making a coffee table type book at some point (probably with a couple more stories added), I have decided that I'm going to try to concentrate on my longer work for a while. I've got 4 projects in the works right now and I'm seriously considering starting a new one that I will be working on a first draft for over the Nanowrimo month in November.

WritewriteWRITEWRitewriTEWRITEWriiiiiite


Regardless of whether or not I do try to take on another long form project, I'm going to be using the month of November to lay low for the most part and work on my writing.

I'll let you know of any future publications that I may be embarking on. Thanks for the support.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Sorry

I've got nothing today.  G+ changed their photo editor and it sucks now because they don't have all the cool filters so I'm on the hunt for a new free photo editor for a week or two.  Hopefully I'll be back with more Photo-Microfic on the second Monday from now. In the meantime, I've got a couple of continuing education classes to keep up with and I'm going to try to get through both of them without losing focus.

To everyone who misses these stories, I want to say thank you. You're the reason I keep posting them. See you soon.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Photo-Microfic: Just as Sweet

Photo taken by Steven Ormosi with his Samsung Galaxy S3 and edited in G+. Click on the picture for a larger version.

Just as Sweet



We hit the bridge late at night. We had all been drinking and partying in the city and it was nice to lay my head on the window and watch the lights fade into the distance, bridge posts flashing past my eyes as we went. I tried to keep count but my mind wandered after three.

The others were talking, but I wasn’t listening. I was thinking about the girl I had met. The one I’d never see again. The one I probably wouldn’t even be able to remember tomorrow. A snap and she was gone. Like the bridge posts flying by out the window. But I remembered her now and cursed myself for not asking for her number.

We were both so drunk, but I held on to her memory. She had orangey hair and an insane laugh and a scathing sense of humor and her name was Stephanie… or was it Sarah?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Photo-Microfic: Plague at the Gates

Photo taken by Steven Ormosi with his Samsung Galaxy S3 and edited in G+. Click on the picture for a larger version.

Plague at the Gates



A nameless meatbag finished barring the door and then looked back to his partner.

“Thousands of ‘em. Millions maybe. They’re all standing outside, with their dead eyes, trying to get in here,” he said.

“Don’t worry, those walls are thick as your skull, they’re not coming in here,” the other replied.

“Well so what? We can’t get out either. What happens when we run out of food.”

“Eh, I’m sure they’ll move on by then.  They’re still animals, right? They’re sitting out there, trying to get to a meal that will feed what? Three of ‘em? Any animal that has a survival instinct is gonna move on before too long.”

“But what if they don’t need to eat? They’re zombies, they just live forever, right?”

“How many times do I have to tell you, they’re not zombies. They’re just people whose brains stopped working. They’re sick. Not monsters.”

“But what if they don’t go away, though? What if they just stay there?”

“Then we’ll see how long it takes ‘em to starve to death, I guess. Now enough with the twenty questions, there’s no use in worrying about things that we can’t control. We got more important things to concern ourselves with, like not letting this dinner get cold.”

We heard it all through the ventilation shaft as we crept toward them willing our bodies to stop, praying for some way to control ourselves. Instead we burst through the vent, nearly tripping over ourselves in anticipation.
 
We caught them, as usual. And they screamed. I always dreaded the first bite, the release of endorphins mixed with the taste of living flesh. Locked inside my killing coffin as it feasted, what scared me most was that soon I might start to like it.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Photo-Microfic: Wicker Throne

Photo taken by Steven Ormosi with his Samsung Galaxy S3 and edited in G+. Click on the picture for a larger version.

Wicker Throne



In the garden out back there is a chair that my mom says has always been there. Despite my skepticism, I can’t argue with her, it’s been there all my life. When we were kids, my sisters and I would take turns sitting in it and pretend we were queens of the garden. We had dominion over all the flowers. Isabel and Rita liked the daffodils, and daisies, and tulips. They would pretend to always be at grand balls and tea parties with the flower people. I liked roses the best because they were the most dangerous and I would pretend I was a protector queen. I would make those roses grow and their thorns would defend the whole kingdom. All from atop my wicker throne.

I haven’t seen my sisters in almost 25 years. And the throne is growing decrepit, just like mom. She lies in a bed upstairs mumbling to herself and I take my seat one last time to try and protect her, but the throne has lost its magic. I weep for my kingdom.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Photo-Microfic: Rural Legend

Photo taken by Steven Ormosi with his Samsung Galaxy S3 and edited in G+. Click on the picture for a larger version.

Rural Legend



“It lives in there?” asked Jake.

“That’s what they say. I’ve heard that it eats nothing but the bones of humans. Spits out all the guts and skin,” said Kat.

Jake gulped, “Amanda told me that no one has ever gone inside and come back out alive.”

“Well go on. You said you’d take the dare. Get inside and see what happens.”

“I don’t think I want to go in anymore,” said Jake, “I don’t want anything eating my bones.”

“What are you, a chicken?” Kat began to cluck at Jake.

“Stop it. I’m not a chicken.”

Kat continued clucking.

“Ok, ok. I’m going. Just shut up.”

Jake stepped into the entrance and breathed a sigh of relief when it seemed there was nothing in the darkness.

His breath caught in his throat when he heard the sound of pouring liquid filling something up. Two large yellow eyes opened and glowed, staring straight into him.

“Cup of tea?” asked a gravelly voice from behind the eyes.

Jake ran out, past Kat, and straight home, screaming the whole way.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Print Run?

Would anyone be at all interested in reasonably priced prints of any of these pictures I've been running?  I could probably do them with or without the story attached. I would have to look into pricing/feasibility, but it's something I've been thinking about and if you would be interested, let me know either here, or on Facebook, or G+, or the Twitterz @steevo83, or email me at steevo83 at gmail dot com, or call me if you happen to know my number, or send smoke signals, but that's it, there are no other ways to get in touch.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Photo-Microfic: The Bends

Photo taken by Steven Ormosi with his Samsung Galaxy S3 and edited in G+. Click on the picture for a larger version. Photo featuring Andrew Uporsky.

The Bends




We drove and drove at the morning sun. Absolution was always just around the next bend. He made dark jokes while I tried to push down my shame with false pride. He seemed genuinely happy. I was empty inside.

I felt the ghosts I thought we’d left in the dust miles ago. They were always just behind the last bend. There was nothing else for it. I said, "Just drive." So we did. We drove until the sun became the moon and the clouds became the stars and then we kept driving.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Skip Week 1

Hey everyone, I'm going to run a skip week here and come back on next Monday.  I've heard several people say that they like at least some of the microfic I've been putting out, so I'm going to get back to work on it this week.  Thanks for all the people I've heard from and I'll have more next Monday.

In the meantime:

http://i.imgur.com/6xAVIgT.gif


Friday, September 6, 2013

Photo-Microfic: Starlet

Photo taken by Steven Ormosi with his Samsung Galaxy S3 and edited in G+. Click on the picture for a larger version. Photo featuring Daria Uporsky.

Starlet



She had just stopped in to see how we were doing, she said. Wanted to make sure everything was taken care of.

We told her, “Sure, we’re fine. We’re just glad to see you now that you’re a big star. We’re happy just to know you’re thinking of us.”

She smiled a little half-smile at us as her manager ushered her back into the car, said she’d see us around. We knew it was a lie, but we replied much the same.

And then they took her away.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Crisis of Faith

From Facebook (re: Photo-Microfic posts):


Hits and feedback on these have steadily gone down since I started doing them. This leads me to believe that they are not that good or interesting. Which means once the next one runs on Friday, I'm going to take a break and try to work out how to proceed with these, or if it's worth it to keep posting them for everyone to see. Does anyone honestly read these 3 times a week and like them? It's pointless to keep posting them publically if I'm the only one getting enjoyment out of it. Sorry for clogging your feeds everyone! Only one more to go.

Photo-Microfic: One More Song

Photo taken by Steven Ormosi with his Samsung Galaxy S3 and edited in G+. Click on the picture for a larger version.

One More Song



My vision began to blur and my cigarette dropped from my hand.

I turned to Zack, “What were those pills we took, again?”

He looked at me and laughed, “I can’t remember.”

“Stop laughing,” I told him, squinting hard to make out his quickly dissipating features, “And try.”

My head became very light.  Zack fell into me and we both toppled over.

I looked at all of the feet around us. They began to turn towards us. People started shouting. The last thing I remember hearing though, was the opening riff of “Don’t Stop Believing”.

“Oh, I love this song,” I thought.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Photo-Microfic: Skipping Stones

Photo taken by Steven Ormosi with his Samsung Galaxy S3 and edited in G+. Click on the picture for a larger version.

Skipping Stones



We gathered a nice pile of flat stones and then we stood at the water’s edge and tried to skip them all the way across. They never made it to the other bank. We couldn't think of anything to talk about, my pop and me. So we just kept on skipping them rocks.

Eventually, I said, “You know they’ll catch up to you, right?  You can’t run forever.”

“I know,” he said, whipping a good one across the surface of the water “I called ‘em right before we came down here, told ‘em where I’d be tonight. Even gave you the credit for the tip so you can collect the reward money. I’m turning myself in, son. I just wanted to come out to the lake one last time and skip stones like we used to.”

Friday, August 30, 2013

Photo-Microfic: The Bargain

Photo taken by Steven Ormosi with his Samsung Galaxy S3 and edited in G+. Click on the picture for a larger version.

The Bargain



The demon passed up through the table demanding his yearly sacrifice. I was expecting him, of course, as per the terms of our agreement. One tenth of my soul each year, paid in ten equal installments in exchange for a lifetime of happiness with my then-estranged son.  My son came to the house the very night I made the deal and we worked everything out.  I promised to be a better parent than I had been when he was young.  He promised to give me that chance.  It was all I wanted. 

My boy died in a crash two weeks later. I’d raged at the demon for having the gall to come for his pay at the end of the first year, but he only said, “Our bargain was for a lifetime, you didn't say whose.”

Each year he came to take what I had promised and each year he journeyed back to hell with a little more of my essence.

This was now the tenth year and I could not say that I was any emptier than after the first.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Photo-Microfic: Nightmare Alley

Photo taken by Steven Ormosi with his Samsung Galaxy S3 and edited in G+. Click on the picture for a larger version.

Nightmare Alley



It tore through town like a hurricane, leaving crushed cars and downed phone poles in its wake.  The creature was the size of a house and we could do nothing more than watch, rapt, eyes barely peeking over window sills in darkened living rooms, hoping against hope that it would not round on us.

Old Joe Smith was stupid enough to amble outside with his .45, drunk from the night’s 12-pack.  The slug bit into the thing’s carapace and it screeched some sound I’d wager’s never been heard before or since, then swiped him from the ground like a kid lazily snatching a doll from the floor. I swear it locked eyes with him for a moment. Old Joe was completely silent, hypnotized by the thing's stare. Without warning it bit his head clean off, dropped the rest of him from its slowly unclenching claw and continued right on through town and into the forest beyond.  The trees went down like tall grasses under a man's foot.  Joe’s blood sprayed the pavement on Howard Street the darkest red I can ever remember seeing.
An army man, name of Phillip, came through the next day and told us all that we were bound by law not to tell anyone what we had seen the night before.  He gave us money and told us to keep our mouths shut or we’d be disappeared quicker than you can blink.

And we did.  But I’m old now.  The money's gone and I’m dying.  And I needed to tell someone.  I can’t take these nightmares to the grave with me.  I just can’t. They’re yours now. All yours.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Photo-Microfic: Pit Stop

Photo taken by Steven Ormosi with his Samsung Galaxy S3 and edited in G+. Click on the picture for a larger version.

Pit Stop





The blown out husk of the convenience store breathed tattered, flapping plastic at me as I approached it.  I stepped on the crude no smoking sign on the way in.  The owners must have put the plastic on the windows before everything went bye bye.  I laughed to think of that thin sheet trying to do anything to stop the holy hell that Ma Nature threw at us.

I stepped through the mostly doorway, peeked up and down the aisles, and saw they’d been cleaned out already, just like every other store within the last thirty miles.  As I walked out, I spied one last pack of cigarettes behind the counter and snagged it.

Back outside, standing on the ‘M’, I lit up the first of the pack, took a drag and exhaled.  Then I got back to walking.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Photo-Microfic: Quiet Company

All pictures in the Photo-Microfic set were taken by me with my Samsung Galaxy S3 and edited in G+. Click on the picture for a larger version.  This picture features that pig on Jon Colgan's shirt.

Quiet Company




He stood there just staring at me, cigarette hanging from his lip.

“What?” I asked him, “What is it?”

He did not make a sound.

“Do you speak English?” I asked.

Still no sign that he understood or gave a damn what I was saying.

I blew it off, “Forget it then, don’t talk to me.  I could care less, just stop staring at me like that.”

I took the cigarette out of his mouth and maneuvered the series of ropes and pulleys so that his limp body was facing the other way.

“You’re in time out now, I hope you’re happy.”

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Photo-Microfic: Storm's Comin'

Photo taken by Steven Ormosi with his Samsung Galaxy S3 and edited in G+. Click on the picture for a larger version.

Storm's Comin'




The weather man says it’s going to be the worst storm we've seen in fifty years.  I guess we have to believe him.  People all over the state are out buying supplies: water, gas, canned food, flashlights.  The wind is getting stronger outside. The smaller trees are beginning to bow like perfect gentlemen. We do one final check to be certain all the windows are closed. 

“Are we sure we have everything we need?” my roommate asks.

“We've got five candles and a large bottle of whiskey.  I think we’ll be alright.”                

Monday, August 19, 2013

Photo-Microfic: Memory Trays

Photo taken by Steven Ormosi with his Samsung Galaxy S3 and edited in G+. Click on the picture for a larger version.

Memory Trays




We smoked our cigarettes and talked noisily about better days.  They reminded us of our youth, or maybe they just reminded us that we once had a youth. The full ash trays echoed dreams at us of the persistence of hope against logic.  How long had it been since we’d emptied them? I couldn't remember or care. Maybe tomorrow we’d throw those nostalgia burdened butts in the trash, but not today. Today we stood on the porch and laughed, conjuring memories of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Tomorrow we would get back to real life, but today... today we were all doing just fine.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Photo-Microfic: The Tree

Photo taken by Steven Ormosi with his Samsung Galaxy S3 and edited in G+. Click on the picture for a larger version.

The Tree




The Tree Men come so rarely these days that I almost couldn't believe he was in my back yard.  When he was near enough, he rested, motionless for a moment and took stock of the situation.  I reverently waited for him to speak.

“You've done well with my idiot brothers,” he said.

“It makes me so happy to hear you say that," I responded, glancing at the other trees in the yard, "I take care of them the best I can.”

“I thank you for that.  Keep telling them that I love them.  I fear I will not be back for a long time.”

He made a slow circle and began to lumber back the way he came.

“Where are you going?” I asked.

“Back,” he said without turning, “Back home.”

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Photo-Microfic: No Ingress

Photo taken by Steven Ormosi with his Samsung Galaxy S3 and edited in G+. Click on the picture for a larger version. Featured in this picture: Gabe Soto.

No Ingress




Twisted lumber reveals a time less placid and I cannot help but stare.  The storm has left these people with no way down to the beach.  Oh, the humanity.

Below the stairs to nowhere, boards and screws litter the ground, filling in recent footprints left behind.  They are part of the landscape now, no longer taming it.  Even the gulls want no part of this carcass.  Driftwood to driftwood, sand to sand.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Photo-Microfic: The Sky has Fallen

Photo taken by Steven Ormosi with his Samsung Galaxy S3 and edited in G+. Click on the picture for a larger version.

The Sky has Fallen




Like an inverted night sky, the pinpricks of light from below beam up to me, inviting me to come down and play.  Through drooping eyes, I apologize to them, no more tonight.  I’m content to just stare down at you for now.

Before my bed reels me in, I concentrate on the abyssal negative spaces that surround the dots.  There is so much more blackness than light, but who would ever mention it?  That’s the thing with darkness, no one ever wants to notice it.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Photo-Microfic: At the Track

This is the first in a run of microfiction stories that were inspired by pictures that I took.  All pictures in this set were taken with my Samsung Galaxy S3 and edited in G+.  Click on the picture for a larger version.

At the Track



The horses line up at the gate all in a neat row.  Behind me I hear the bellow of a man who has bet the last of his money on a sure loser.  I don’t spoil the surprise for him.

“Baby needs a new pair of shoes,” he yells out.

His baby will be wearing a newspaper wrapped around its feet before the end of the day.  I wonder if I haven’t become too jaded to care.  I wonder that instead of caring.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Device


They knew.  He knew they knew.  And worse, there was nothing he could do to stop them now.  Was there? No way he could think of.  He slumped down onto his sofa and waited for them to come for him.  Or the other thing.

*****

It was a perfectly normal looking car, but the bomb squad donned their vestments and a sole agent slowly approached the vehicle.  When he reached the side window, the agent peeked in and his eyes widened. 

“That’s it,” he reported through his comm.  “It’s the real McCoy.”

He opened the door slowly and felt a bead of sweat roll slowly down his brow.  He cursed his inability to brush it away.  He blinked and looked at the device again.

“Careful,” he heard through the comm.

“I know that, goddammit.  If you had any idea what I was looking at right now, your pants would be so full of shit they’d fall off your ass, so please shut up and let me do my job.”

The agent pulled his helmet off and wiped his soaked forehead.  He reached inside and pulled out the box that housed the device.  He stared at the thing, no wires, no count down.  How was he supposed to shut it off?

He was the only one who knew how this thing worked and he didn’t even know how it worked.  Not exactly.  The agent pushed the first button, it set off a sequence of lights.  The sequence.  He went with his gut and trepidatiously punched in its opposite.

The device did nothing.

*****

When they broke in to the house, he was silent.  They hauled him off for questioning.

The agent asked the man, “How did you design it?  Why?”

The man remained silent.  His lips traced a vague smile.

“Is it off?” the agent asked.

The smile grew, “That’s the question, isn’t it?  How can you turn off destiny?”

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Writer's Gon' Write

Well, I should be asleep, but I've been up reading and writing and now I'm all jazzed.  I've got a four week writing workshop starting tomorrow and I'm psyched to get going with it.  We'll be doing all manner of short fiction: Twit-fics, micro, flash, you name it.

Anyway, I think that if I have a plethora of extra stuff I'll probably just start posting it up on here.

Here's one that I wrote today, as an appetizer.  And that means I can't use it for the workshop.  Yell at me if  I do.


55 word fic:

After All

I crouched in my corner and stared into the abyss. It was dark, too dark to see, but I knew what was out there. I had created it, after all. The blackness breathed at me and I desperately breathed back. It was all I could do to convince myself I was still whole.  Still me.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Schadenfreude

I got a rejection for one of my stories today, and that made me sad.  So I read Neil Gaiman's new book The Ocean at the End of the Lane...all of it.  And that made me happy.  The feeling I had while reading it was deeply nostalgic, though it is already slipping away, like a moment from childhood where you know you felt something strong and real, and even though you can remember that, you can't feel it anymore.  And all you want is to keep feeling it.  Losing that is making me sad again.  Anyway, it's a fantastic book, like all of Gaiman's work, you won't want to put it down.  And it's short, too, so you don't have to.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Prophecy

Tremble mortal, the end is nigh.
Though maybe not for you and I
The Earth was only born to waste
And soon it takes its rightful place.
Among you humans there will be
A waking life skeleton key
And when that door wide has been flung
Descent to under world's begun.
And when you reach the worldly base
You'll gaze upon a godly face
With won'drous horror he'll enslave
Until a shovel digs his grave.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ponderousness

Including breaking the habit of not posting to my blog, I have a number of bad habits I would like to try to minimize or completely destroy in 2013.  Yes, I know it's late for a resolution.  Fuck your calendar, people of Earth.  I dance to the beat of a different bumbler.

Excepting drawing, which I've been pretty good about, I have not been doing the things that fulfill me much recently.  I think I will need to rectify that, posthaste.  Let's start with this night time love letter to the Internet.  Thanks Internet for giving me so many wonderful things.  Also, thanks for being the instrument of indecent voyeurs everywhere, including my government, who sees fit to know what porn I am watching.  It's not good, I'll tell you that.  I'm a boring porn watcher with increasingly infrequent bouts of interest in what the deal is with this fetish or that one.  Most of them are not even exciting anymore.  I guess this is growing up.

In addition:  Where's my life going and why should anyone care?  This is important.  What gives any of our lives meaning?  Even the most brilliant of us circle the drain of relevance and slide into obscurity eventually.  And it's happening faster and faster nowadays.  Someone draino'd the existential sink and I'm not sure I like it.

Thoughts of the night, here on this post.  Hope they made sense to someone, because I'm just as clueless as when I sat down.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Arguments Against a Fuck You, Pay Me Mentality (Part 1)

As any good drug dealer knows, the first one's always free.

There's been a whole lot of talk, probably since the dawn of time, about not giving away your work for free.  And I agree, kind of.  Yes, we should get paid for the things we are better than other people at doing, if there is a market for it.  However, in almost any business, there are many things that are given away for free or at a loss.  Loss leaders, promos, demos, giveaways, coupon deals, etc...  The point is that there are things that come for free (or cheaper than market value) in this world, but only because those freebies are statistically likely to earn more profit, at least in theory.  That being said, the whole 'Fuck You, Pay Me' manifesto that many people in artistic communities have been espousing ever and ever more loudly is nice because it creates an arena for discussion about the problem of the starving artist, instead of letting it be swept under the rug like those months old cheerios in that spot you just hadn't gotten around to vacuuming yet.  The problem is that it is being used as a catch-all excuse for punishing the Wrong Goddamn People.

------------
An Argument Against Universal Truths

If you ask someone to author some art for you, you should pay them.  If you are looking for collaborators on a project, this is often a bit of a different story, I think.  This is a topic that I've been thinking about lately because I am putting together that damn book I keep talking about: Out of Place, Out of Time 2.  When I did the original, I asked people if they would like to contribute.  I was putting out this book anyway, regardless of whether other people were getting in on it or not, it was a topic I was interested in writing stories about and I had a lot of free time right around then (because I was unemployed and broke).  I made it as clear as possible from the get go that I had no money to pay anyone.  Most responses were very positive, there were a few people that said I should not be asking for free work.  This is where the black and white view that people take on the whole "Fuck You, Pay Me" argument gets incredibly exhausting.  Yes, I would love to pay everyone, there wasn't the money for it.  Had the book taken off, I had prepared a handy dandy Excel spreadsheet that would have tabulated percentages for everyone who contributed.  Instead, it sold about 35 copies which netted us a grand total of approximately $75, i.e. about $2 per story, which would have literally been more expensive to get to all the contributors than the ~$25 that I would have netted.  I didn't promise anyone riches, I think I was fairly upfront about the whole thing.  There's a line, is what I'm saying.  A goddamn line.  Not every argument is subject to a universal truth.

---------
Stealing to Stay Alive (Inside)

Another arena of this argument is the ubiquitous nature of the Internet snatch thief's tool set.  What is the level of deviancy in downloading an album or a comic book? Shockingly enough, I did my fair share of stealing art in the good old days of being a poor student, and it exposed me to a ton of culture that I never would have seen otherwise, granted, that doesn't help line anyone's pockets, but sorry, I'm not sorry.  Now that I have a real job and can afford to pay for things, I do.  And now that I'm working on breaking into a writing industry that is quite fucking difficult to crack, I understand that those songs and books and ideas and dreams that I stole when I was broke were not the only thing I took.  I took money out of someone's pocket.  For real.  But again, I'm not sorry.  And here's why.  Art is food for your mind and society right now as far as I can tell is fucking starving.  Without those things I stole, I would have gone hungry too because I didn't possess any other way to get them.  I know it seems ridiculous. But really, really think about it, without art, what the hell are we?  Language is an art, philosophy, our understanding of science grew from the minds of artistic geniuses (references can be made available if you are too lazy to use a free Google search to find your own favorites).  Yeah, art should be available.  That argument notwithstanding, people should be willing and able to pay what they can for it.

---------
If An Author Writes in a Basement, Does Anyone Give a Damn?

The place where the Fuck You, Pay Me line of reasoning comes from is completely justified, and hell, if you think you should be paid for everything you do, you're more than welcome to try.  However, there are certain things that I won't pay for.  What we have in our media frenzied society now is a deluge of art.  A lot of it is shitty, amateurish dreck.  But such a vast pool of work gives rise to a people driven meritocracy.  The things that get recognized are often the things that someone worked their ass off to create.  Sometimes they're not.  I never claimed we have a perfect system.  However, I know, KNOW, that a lot of people who are the loudest defenders of the Fuck You Pay Me mentality also give shit away.  This does not make them hypocrites.  It makes them businessmen (and women).  There is a model that many of us are trying to follow and it depends on being recognized for putting out good work.  If you don't have some way to prove that you put out good work, you are often left out in the cold.  How do you show people that your art is worth their time?  Give them little freebies.  Art d'oeuvres.  Blogging, or flash fiction work well for writers.  They give you a portfolio before you've been lucky enough to be published.  Hey, you want to know what my writing is like?  Check this shit out.  Same deal for physical media artists.  Sites like Deviant Art exist for a reason.  So yes, I understand Fuck You, Pay Me, but if you ride that train forever and never get work, how do you grow your passions?  Someone has to see them.  We, as artists, have a responsibility to make ourselves accessible if we hope to make it to the big leagues.  Or, I suppose, we can be unflinching and get nothing anyway.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Start of Something?

It was cold that night. Rain fell like hammers from a sky the color of industrial grade smoke belched by grey coal. I pulled my hat down over my eyes and marched forward through sheet after sheet for miles until I got to my grubby destination and yanked the door near off its hinges. Warm air blasted my face. I stared into  the fire, burning hot and mean in the hearth, while I slipped inside. The rain ran off me like dreams off a Vegas stripper and fell to the floor in puddles that reminded me of pools of blood.
 
"I'm here," I said, obviously.
 
"Obviously," came the reply.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Break Time

There are going to be a few weeks between stories here.  I'll be advertising on FB, Twitter and G+ when we're back.  In the meantime, take a look at all the stories already posted just over there on the right.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Hero Day by Steve Ormosi


This challenge was to portray a dystopian future.  Admittedly, I ripped off elements from (specifically) 1984 and (generally) a bunch of other dystopic classics, but I thought the idea for honoring something that no longer served any purpose in society was a cool one to mess with.

-------------------------------------------------------

“Today is April Twelfth, the Two Thousand Three Hundred and Twenty Second year of our Lord,” blared the loudspeaker at the corner, dragging me from my fitful sleep, “Today marks the thirty second Hero Day.  Anyone not in attendance at their town square will be arrested for treason.  Festivities begin at 1100 hours.”

Ostensibly, everyone in the world was waking to the voice of the President all at once, though I secretly believed there were other people, freer people, living out lives of quiet desperation under another rule.  We would never know of them, though.  We were the People.  And only the People had survived the Last War, we were told.

I yawned and opened a closet filled with Government Issue shirts and pants.  They were all the same, black pants, white collared shirts, pressed and filed (as though they were important legal documents) from left to right by order of when they were last washed.  I took a pair from the middle in a timid act of defiance.  I contemplated a day when I would awake to find a camera in my closet, daring me to keep grabbing those clothes from the middle.  I imagined a platoon of SoldierCopsTM awaiting my subversive choice in the hallway outside my door.  They would cinch my throat for that, for sure.  I laughed to myself.  Not loudly though, you never knew who was listening, nor what they were listening for.

It was a ten minute walk to the town square from my building, I lived in the part of town for people who were not rich enough to afford an automobile.  Unless you were among the elite, no one was allowed a car.  Everyone stepped out of their doors at the same time, 1030 hours, and we exited the building in two orderly lines.  From the front of the building, we walked in lockstep the ten minutes to the square and arrived at the same time as everyone else in the city.  1042 hours.  Once there we waited patiently for 18 minutes until they opened the gates and let us in.  We strode in unison until we stood in front of a large TeleVizorTM.

A vision appeared before our eyes and we watched and listened to it with rapt attention.  The President was talking.  We knew his voice well.

“You are here to pay homage to our heroes in the Last War,” the vision said.

“The only true and just war ever fought,” it continued.

“Heroes like these paved the way for our glorious New World Order,” the TeleVizorTM flashed images of triumphant soldiers in various poses from a time before SoldierCopsTM roamed the streets with impunity.

“They died individually so that you may live.  We are now a glorious, single-minded world.  We no longer have the need to fear an individual death.  We can be one with our System.  One with the People.  We are whole now.  Praise the System.”

We all praised the system, loudly and enthusiastically.  Especially enthusiastically if there was a nearby SoldierCopTM trolling the ranks.

“Eat, and bask in the fruits of the System,” the President commanded (rather than invited).

We shuffled neatly to our places at the table and praised the System again before we sat.

The meal was simple bread, water and our special Hero Day treat, a small bowl of oatmeal.  I checked around to make sure no one was paying special attention to me and then allowed my mind to wander a little as I mechanically shoveled the food into my mouth.  I wondered who at the top had given up on their own humanity so badly as to allow the construction of this social ghetto.

The man sitting next to me had the ingenious idea of whispering his own, similar manifesto to me.  I was horrified.  I looked around and furiously whispered for him to please shut up.  But he continued on.  I caught a glimpse of a floating SoldierCopTM eyeing us curiously and I looked straight ahead and pretended to be deaf as he sidled up to us.  He stood behind and looked sharply at us both.  Thankfully my witless and entirely unwanted co-conspirator had shut up and I was relieved when the eyes of the System seemed willing to walk on.  My relief was short lived and turned to terror quickly when the man sitting next to us spoke up.

“These two’ve been sewing rebellion over here.  I heard them whispering to each other,” he said and my heart sank.

Though I was not and am not proud of it, I did the only thing I could think to do.

“It wasn’t me,” I said quietly and shamefully, “It was him, he was talking about rebellion, not me.”

It was the would-be conspirator’s turn to look terrified now.

“No I wasn’t, I swear it.”

He was dragged away from the table nevertheless and brought before the appointed JJ&ETM , an acronym whose origin I do not know, but which defines the term deathbringer to the People.

The SoldierCopTM gave him a quick description of the events that led to this man kneeling before him and pointed to me before saying, “This brave citizen gave him up for justice.”  My head dipped toward the ground with the weight of my shame, but I lifted it back up immediately to give the appearance of taking pride in my betrayal.

The JJ&ETM said nothing, he merely waved his hand, and the man was shot dead before us all to a single voiced chant of “SYSTEM!, SYSTEM!, SYSTEM!”.  I watched with a straight face. 

He looked at me then and spoke, “You did the right thing, citizen.  Keep us one, keep us whole.  There was no room for him here.  Today, you are a hero, too.”

My face betrayed no emotion as I nodded acceptance of his praise.  He brought out his own personal handgun and offered it to me.  “You will be remembered.”

“Hero,” I said, as I pressed the gun to my temple, “Sure.”

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

You Damned Kids by Steve Ormosi


I've always been fascinated with dark carnival stories.  Thought I'd try my hand at a short one.  Turns out I like being able to come up with a few characters and just be able to plop them in some sort of situation that just makes no sense... and then giving them a really shitty guide through it.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

We drank black wine and mumbled obscenities to each other as the day slunk away and the night blossomed.  Darius smoked a clove cigarette while we stood, the wisps of smoke curling away over our heads like escaping spirits.  Anka and Obsidia tittered amongst themselves, black makeup coating their faces.  And I.  I smiled the whole time.  Knowing what I knew, I couldn’t help it.  It was the carnival of sin, the carnival of souls, of death, of destruction.  It was darkness made real.  And though I did not know which of my friends might emerge whole, I could be sure we’d all understand each other better by the end.

The night began in earnest as we rushed through the gates, skillfully decorated to ward off the pure.  A midget dressed in a deep purple vest and top hat greeted us with vigor.

“Step right through, you lost, you damned,” he said, “The carnival begins tonight, and who knows how long it will be in town?”

We all but ignored the small man’s screeching and headed straight for the fun house.  Of all my friends, I was the only one who had been to the last carnival and they knew that I would be there to guide them.  What they could not know was that one cannot be guided through the carnival any more than one can be guided through their own soul.  I had tried to warn them, but I knew that they would not understand.  I didn’t begrudge them for their ignorance.  I’d been the same as them once.

Anka drew close to me as we neared the fun house, “What’s in there?” she asked with some trepidation.

I pointed to her chest and replied, “What’s in there?”

She withdrew coldly and linked arms with Darius, whispering to him, as they followed me through the inner threshold.

Obsidia was at the rear and I looked back at her, “Don’t stay there.  The back is always the worst.”

She quietly moved up next to me and slid her arm around mine.  That was not what I’d intended by the comment but I could not say that I didn’t enjoy the sensation of feeling her warmth on my side.  She looked up at me innocently and I returned the gesture, though I knew it was empty.

As we got to the mirrors, the world seemed to shift.  Things became gray and hazy, as though we had entered a fog.  Obsidia and I looked into the mirror before us as one, I can only imagine what she saw.  As for me, that image of us swallowing each other, Ouroboros-like, scrawled itself into my brain.  I tried to turn away, but the mirror would not let me.  Not until I heard the scream. 

At first I thought, it must be Anka, but I looked behind me and it was Darius on the ground clawing his way backwards, away from the mirror, eyes fixed on the place his reflection had been.  He was still letting out a glass-shattering scream, “TAKE HER, NOT ME!  NEVER AGAIN!” He was pointing at Anka.  Tears began to roll down her cheeks as she stared at him.

“What’s wrong with him?” Anka asked, “What did he see?”

“I don’t know,” I replied honestly.  “And I don’t think he’s going to tell us.”

Darius had finally scratched his way to the back wall and had gone fetal.  Anka walked up to me, “I don’t like this place,” she said, “We need to leave.”

“You’re being tested,” I told her, “We’re all being tested.”

I expected Obsidia to back Anka up, but she was conspicuously quiet.  She had let go of my arm and was simply staring into our mirror.  Her slack jawed expression reminded me of a mental patient in the grips of her medication.  I reached up to hold her, but her hand snatched mine from the air.

“Don’t touch me.”  She said quietly.  “Don’t ever touch me.”

I snatched my hand back, alarmed at first, but that swiftly turned into knowing acceptance.  Then I turned back to Anka, “See?  Obsidia understands.”  I put my arm around Anka’s shoulder’s gently, “Come on, let’s look together.”  I heard Darius softly weeping in the corner, but I ignored it.  He would be ok or he would not.  There was nothing I could do for him now.

Anka allowed me to guide her back to the mirror, but as soon as she pulled her chin up to look, she turned away.

“Look at it,” I whispered in her ear, “How will you see who you are if you don’t look?”

“I don’t want to know who I am anymore.” She protested.  “I want to go home.  Obsidia, let’s get out of here.”

“No,” Obsidia said, “I’m not going anywhere.  It’s my test.”

“Jenn,” Anka said, reverting to Obsidia’s mundane given name, “I’m scared.  Please.”

“No,” Obsidia said again.

“Well I’m leaving,” said Anka tearing herself out of my arms.  With that she ran out.  I never saw her again.  She wasn’t worthy of me.  Of us.

Obsidia remained glued to her mirror and I picked a new one to stare into for the rest of the night.

By the next morning we sprawled on the ground stone faced and exhausted from the previous night’s visions.  We picked ourselves up and walked out of the fun house with Darius in tow, mumbling obscenities only to himself now, barely audible and completely unintelligible.  The carnival workers were packing up, as though this whole production had been only for us and now that we had seen what we’d come to see, there was no reason for them to stay.

They took Darius to an asylum a few days later, when it was clear he’d had a breakdown.  Obsidia and I have spoken every day since, but never of what we saw in those mirrors.  Life has become increasingly boring.  These days all I can do is brood and wait for the next carnival.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Road Tripper by Steve Ormosi



This was a story I wrote shortly after watching Natural Born Killers.  Obviously I'm not Tarantino, but I liked this story and it throws a twist on the classic two people running from the law formula.  I think I named the characters the way I did for the one joke in the 4th paragraph.  If the story was a little bit longer and I'd had more time to think about it, I might have changed that, but on a fresh read through, I don't think I mind it much.  It's important to have some fun with your characters, right?

------------------------------------------------------------------

We’d left three days previous with no idea where to go, but a burning need to get there.  Jill, Jack and me, Johnny, we were quite a threesome.  In those first days we stopped everywhere we could, taking pictures like mad while we hopped, hummingbird-like, from place to place.  It was an adventure that was admittedly grim in origin, but we were determined to have fun.

Road trip “largests” from the first three days:
Ball of rubber bands
Fork
Pizza (twice, in two different spots)
Dog (Jack said he’s seen bigger)
Stretch of road between bathrooms (unofficial, but I’m calling Guinness)

Eventually we broke down and coughed up the money for a hotel room.  That was last night, now we’re picking up and getting ready to get on the road again.

Jack and Jill go up the hill to fetch a pack of cigarettes while I wait in the car with the window down staring into the sun, daring it to blind me.  Eventually, I relent and throw my sunglasses on and light a joint.  Through the large, blue amoeba in my vision, I see a man approaching me.

“Howdy,” he says as he nears.

“’Lo,” I shoot back, “Nice day, huh?”

“Always a nice day when you’re making money.” He says as the image of him resolves a bit more.  Then I notice he is pulling a gun from his waistband. 

I become hyper-aware of every detail around me.  How had I let my guard down so horrendously?  I bite down on the jay and reach for my own gun but it’s a bit too far and he says, “Hey, hey, hey.  Slow it down there, Dirty Harry.  Just pass me your wallet and we won’t have any brains on the dash.”  Wisps of smoke tickle my nostrils as I reach for my pocket, slowly, and try not to audibly breathe my sigh of relief.  Only a hold up, I think to myself.  Thank god.

As I’m handing the would-be-robber my wallet, there is a bang.  Time slows down in situations like this.  One has time to take in all of the details of one’s environment.  Brain is on my lips.  I taste the blood and gray matter of the man robbing me.  His hand remains for a moment, comically outstretched, to receive my wallet, though a glance at his face shows, with no question, that his lights are out.  By the time he starts to slump, I’ve ducked and kicked myself to the other side of the car, desperately reaching for my gun.  I know it is under the seat, but it’s strapped in.  After what seems like eternity but is probably in the range of three to four seconds, the strap relents and the gun falls into my hand.  I pull it out and whirl to the window where I see…

…Jill with her gun pointed back at me.  I put my arms down at my side and laugh.  She winks at me and says, “We better get going, Daytripper.  I’m sure someone heard that one and we can’t be long for the fuzz.”

“Who says ‘fuzz’ anymore?”  Jack asks, climbing into the driver’s seat, “Get in, slowpoke.”

“Shut up, Jackie.”  Jill spits back as she opens the door and enters the car.

I’m still laying on the ground giggling to myself, almost out of breath, “Took you long enough,” I manage to get out between spasms.

“They didn’t have my brand,” Jill says as Jack puts the car into reverse.  We pull out of the parking lot and set back out on the highway.

I wipe the insides of my attacker off of my face and pull myself up onto the seat, picking the joint up from where it has fallen on the floor as I go.  We’re on our way again, back into the great beyond.

Days pass and we avoid hotels from then on.  The stick up was a wakeup call to us.  We need to be more careful.  Sleeping in the car is uncomfortable, but it definitely beats a double tap to the temple.  We keep up our site seeing though.

Road trip “Bests” eaten along the way:
Pie
Waffles (This might’ve even been true)
Hot Dogs
Egg Salad
Pizza (Not even close)

This is the sixth night of our little road trip and I'm on the lookout.

I stare off into the darkness from my perch on the hood of the car.  I hear Jack snoring away inside and grimace.  It is about an hour until his shift and I am counting every minute.  The passenger side door opens and Jill steps out.

“Hey, Johnny, how’s it going out here?”

I turn to her, “Slow.  What are you doing up?”

“Can’t sleep,” Jill says, “You figure out where we’re going yet?  You know we have to find a way across the border.”

“Yeah, I know.  That border is Swiss cheese, it won’t be a problem.”

She nods, “Think they’ll stop looking for us when we get there?”

“No idea,” I say, “Let’s just get there first.”

Something stops me.  “Did you hear that?” I ask.

“Hear wha…” Jill twists left and yells out in pain.

I jump behind the car and pound on the door, “Jack, wake the hell up.  We’re in it.  Get down and grab your gun.”  I grip my own gun and slowly peek my head out.  A bullet ricochets off the ground feet from my head and I jump back behind cover.

“Jill, you alright, girl?” I ask.

“Pretty fuckin far from alright, Johnny,” she moans.

Then we hear a yell, “Johnny!  I know you’re out there.  Might as well give yourselves up.  You’re surrounded.”

So this is how it ends, me and the gang going out blasting.  Well, we’re sure as hell gonna take as many of these bastards with us as we can.

Road trip scenic landmarks:
Mount Rushmore
Grand Canyon
Four Corners
Pueblo Ruins
Site of the famous last stand of Johnny, Jack and Jill.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My Christmas Toast

I wanted to have this readily available, if I ever need to reference it again.  This seems like as good a place as any.

A Christmas Toast by Steven Ormosi


A toast! A toast!
To Christmas time cheer
A toast to the world!
A toast to the here!

A toast to the hostess
And hostees, and host!
A toast to the one who
Eats fastest and most!

A toast to the hors d’oeuvres!
A toast to the booze!
A toast to the dinner!
And post dinner snooze!

A toast to us cousins!
And the rest of you too,
Who raised us and taught us
Not to toast without you!

A toast to the wall!
A toast to the floor!
A toast to the fire!
A toast to the door!

A toast to the Earth!
And the sun and the stars in the sky!
A toast to the present, the past and the pie!

And the future too!

A toast to the jetpacks!
A toast to the wormholes!
A toast to the unwritten beauty
This life holds!

Yes!  Raise up your glass!
Raise up your chalice!
And toast to my
Lexicographical prowess!

I may be getting off topic here…You see
When I combine
In real and slant rhyme
I tend to regress
To an incomprehensible mess
Half-poet at best
I’ve found that I’ve always been better at Chess
…I digress

A toast!

A toast to our love!
A toast to our lives!
A toast to this toast
Not seeming contrived!

A toast for all those
No longer here
Remembering you
Always keeps you near.

A toast to this day!
With family and friends!
A toast to tradition!
Beginnings and ends!

A toast to us braving
The miles and the weather!
It’s always worth toasting
When we toast together!