2018 in Resentments – A year in writing

‘Tis the time for authors to make #amwriting year end summaries and/or lists of accomplishments. Some post submission/rejection statistics, others make best-of’s, and there are those who write look-back or look-forward type posts. I’ve decided to join the fray and make a ‘2018 in resentments’ blog.

“The man who lies to himself can be more easily offended than anyone else. You know it is sometimes very pleasant to take offense, isn’t it? A man may know that nobody has insulted him, but that he has invented the insult for himself, has lied and exaggerated to make it picturesque, has caught at a word and made a mountain out of a molehill–he knows that himself, yet he will be the first to take offense, and will revel in his resentment till he feels great pleasure in it.” – Dostoevsky, “The Brothers Karamazov”

I wrote a similar ‘resentments’ post last year, so might as well make it an annual occurrence. Of course holding onto resentment isn’t a good thing, but the harm isn’t the things we actually resent, but in the resentment itself—the deleterious effect of cortisol and the self-destructive behavior it can trigger. However, if we can avoid reacting with anger or denial, resentment can be helpful, much like pain. No one wants to feel pain, it’s terrible by definition, but it’s our greatest tool in positively modifying behaviors. Your hand hurts? Don’t try to be noble stoically dening that it hurts, see what may be causing the pain and, hey, take it off the stove. And maybe never put your hand on the stove again, okay?

Time was the resentment of 2018 that I couldn’t escape. It got particularly difficult to balance my writing goals with everything else this year. I constantly felt that I had no time and whenever I did anything it was at the expense of the five other things that I could have done. I felt like I was rationing aspirations and holding my dreams hostage. But time is a universal constraint. Everyone has the same amount—24 hours in every day—so it’s a mirage resentment. Resentments generally stem from unfairness, that someone next door is getting a free ride or being arbitrarily favored (re: Cain and Abel). So my frustration isn’t really with time, but in my choices of how I am using it. I admit that there is a lack of organization and planning on my part. I am a master of procrastination and allow myself too much leisure time as well.

One of the casualties of my time resentment was that I ended up only reading just two books all year (not counting short stories, but still). I feel especially guilty for all the writing friends whose books I promised to read, but ended piling up in my TBR pile one on top of the other. What’s worse, in last year’s post I vowed to read more. This misfire is especially damaging as reading is one of the best ways to improve writing. It’s a definite help for me to read professional authors to learn by osmosis. But it didn’t happen. It got to the point where I began to resent those book bloggers or Goodreads reviewers who read fifty books a year. I’m obviously projecting. I need to find the time to read, to make it a necessity, and not feel like I am sacrificing my writing time by doing it.

My reluctance to read also stems from my own inability to finish a book I wanted to self-publish. I stumbled on a writing blog a few months ago which introduced me to a new writing term of ‘Anthology Author’. Supposedly, this is a pejorative dig describing a writer who appears in many short story anthologies and magazines, but doesn’t have any novels or collections published under their own name, the negative implication that this is being something less than a ‘real writer’. This got to me a little bit I’ll admit. While I really wanted to get something out on Amazon/Smashwords that I am proud of, I found myself deferring all year to work on submission calls. However, the more I thought about it, falling into the category of ‘Anthology Author’ isn’t a bad thing. I love the challenge of writing for open calls and being a part of a group project. Writing for me needs to be fun and meaningful. Getting a regular dose of success and being active in the writing community helps keeps me engaged and motivated.

Some of the anthologies/magazines/websites I did get published in 2018 include Hinnom Magazine, The Sirens Call, Molotov Cocktail, Silent Motorist Media, Aphotic Realm (issues #4 and #5), Weird Christmas, Grinning Skull Press, and Trembling With Fear (Horrortree.com!). Of course, there are countless more which I got rejected from. But there is no resentment there; I am genuinely grateful to have the opportunity to submit. Also, here and there I get some feedback which is invaluable.

So I am grateful that there are markets dedicated to publishing stories and promoting relatively unknown authors like me. My only resentment is the lack of reader feedback that they get as I am always proud of my work and awed by the effort that goes into it. Whether I’m in a anthology/magazine or not, I wish more people would buy, read, review, and otherwise support these publications. But I am just as much to blame. While I have donated to some Patreon/Indiegogo projects during the year and bought a bunch of indie books, my reading and review writing is lacking. I need to step up my game in those areas.

What is the cost of not supporting indie authors/publications? During the year there were a few publishing houses that closed down (Hindered Souls Press for example) which means less opportunity for everyone. It’s a tough business and is important to support these places as they are important resources for authors, especially those of us who are starting out. Most of these markets aren’t run by entrepreneurs or business people, but genre fanatics doing it because books are a passion. Two magazines that I have stories in are from Aphotic Realm (‘Dystopia’ and ‘Eldritch’). Aphotic Realm don’t offer ebook versions deciding to publish in full-color glossy paperback. Yes, the magazines are relatively expensive to purchase, but part of the charm is the artwork and comics that wouldn’t translate well to digital, hence the physical only policy. Part of the price are the visual aesthetics and feel which are a throwback to enjoyment I got out of the graphic novels of my youth. I can be as penny wise and pound foolish as anyone, however, buying decisions shouldn’t only consider the actual product, but the support you are giving to the publisher for the viability of their future. Most people lose money in publishing, or at the very least put in a lot of effort (and time!) with zero compensation.

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Animal Control” illustration courtesy of Molotov Cocktail.

And then there’s this guy. My story Animal Control, published by Molotov Cocktail Lit Zine (3rd place finish in the 2018 #KillerFlash contest) is my favorite piece that I wrote in 2018. I got a great response from this story, easily my most commented on work. So what is there to be resentful about? Nothing, except perhaps the story itself is about resentfulness. Resentment is destructive, annoying, and toxic, much like my fictional animal control officer. You wish it away, out of your life forever, but when it’s forced out everything goes to hell, the counterbalance of the world thrown off. For example, most people end up worse off after winning the lottery. Yep, not an exaggeration. Maybe it’s best to learn to live with my irksome metaphoric animal control officer, endure his boorish behavior and obnoxious idiosyncrasies because the alternative may be worse. And when his negativity impinges on your conscious, use it to benefit by using it as a sign to check your life choices and your gratitude of everything you have accomplished.

I’ll wrap up on that positive note. Hopefully, I learn from 2018 and read more, write more, and post more reviews in 2019. Thanks to everyone who has read, commented, interacted with, published, and/or tolerated me over the last year.

S.E. Casey

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O Unholy Night in Deathlehem – a holiday horrors charity anthology available now

My doom laden Christmas story, TRADITIONS AND ROTTEN DELICACIES, is included in the latest edition of the Grinning Skull Press annual Deathlehem charity anthology series available here. Its for a good cause as proceeds go to The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

This was a story I wrote a long time ago which was to be included in a Christmas/winter weird horror anthology by me. Due due to some heroic procrastination techniques I diligently employed throughout 2018, it hasn’t yet gotten off the ground, so it gave me an excuse to work on polishing one of the stories. Plus, it’s going to a good cause.

Thanks to Harrison Graves (editor) and Grinning Skull Press for publishing. Other authors include fellow flash fiction writers I often get published with Wiebo Grobler and Christopher Stanley (#teamdarkness).

Happy holidays and good reading!

S.E. Casey

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Dreams of the Undersea – story in Eldritch from Aphotic Realm Magazine

My latest story, Dreams of the Undersea, [click for link] is available in Eldritch, a full color glossy 8.5 X 11” magazine published by Aphotic Realm.

Some notes on the story. There probably will be no ebook for this issue. Ebooks are great as they are a cost effective way to publish and distribute the written word, especially useful if you have a short story you want published. However, in this case a large part of Eldritch’s aesthetic (and other past Aphotic Realm releases in fact) is in the art and layout. The vibrant colors, illustrations, and background designs contribute to the theme and atmosphere that this issue demands. Therefore, the physical copy, despite the higher price point is the way this magazine was meant to be consumed; much would be lost in stripping out the mere words from the color-filled page.

 

atlantis-2My story idea for Dreams from the Undersea begins innocently enough. An entirely ordinary man has broken down on the side of the road and has to walk to the next town. Of course, a storm is on the way and it’s getting dark. Also, it’s set in the Midwest, everything a flat field. Not too original, right? Where’s the conflict going to show up? As a writer’s challenge, things devolve getting weirder and weirder step by step, until…well, no spoilers here, you’ll have to read to find out.

The end of a story must be stronger rather than weaker than the beginning, since it is the end which contains the denouement or culmination and which will leave the strongest impression upon the reader.
H.P. Lovecraft

I started what ended up being this story a while back and put it away. What I had written in that first draft was satisfying in its succession of weird turns stemming from an ordinary beginning, but it had no real direction or consistent theme. So when the submission call from Aphotic Realm for an Eldritch-Lovecraft issue came up, I thought it could be a possible match. Since the story was sufficiently cosmic (and colorful), I re-purposed it as a Lovecraftian tale, adding a certain phantasmagoric aquatic…er, element. (again no spoilers)

Thanks to Dustin, Adrian, Chris, and all the others at Aphotic Realm. This is my third Aphotic Realm appearance. They are a new market who really love their weird, horror, and Sci-fi. Follow them on Facebook/Twitter. I hope everyone can find some way to support them!

S.E. Casey

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Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time.

H.P. Lovecraft

 

 

Who is the Night Animal Control Officer? Flash Fiction story 3rd Place Winner- Molotov Cocktail Lit. #KillerFlash

Happy to have my story entry “Animal Control” (click for link) finish in third place in the Molotov Cocktail Literary Zine’s May #KillerFlash contest. The themed contest asked for stories dealing in some way with death. Of course, death is often feared and certainly hated, but is also omnipresent and unfortunately necessary. Avoidance is not an option, denial is foolish, struggle is futile. It controls everything, but best we not let it control us until it is time. Like a bad, but frustratingly competent co-worker, can we work with it side by side, deal with its inconveniences, obscenities, and poor manners? Can we ignore the throbbing thing in the oozing black paper bag in the office refrigerator, or, when noontime suddenly turns to night?

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Click to read story

Thanks to the Molotov Cocktail (Josh, Mary, and all the other fine folks at MC) for hosting these contests (there’s one every quarter and a dark poetry contest once a year for those who want in on the fun). Love the illustration they made of the hate-’em-but-can’t-live-without-’em main character. Also, thanks to Sylvia Mann for reading an early draft and providing some necessary insight instrumental in focusing my chaos!

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Click to see the entire Killer Flash issue!

The Hunger House – Story in The Sirens Call Magazine #38

My story “The Hunger House” has been published in The Sirens Call Ezine #38 (free to download). My story is part of my “Red Girls” mythos that I am slowly releasing across various publications. This issue is 184 pages(!), stories, drabbles, poems etc by some familiar names, Christopher Stanley, Maura Yzmore, David B. Harrington, Brian Bogart, Kevin Holton, and Myk Pilgrim to name a few.

2018_april_ezine_coverThe seeds of this story came last summer when I was trying to come up with a 500 word maximum horror submission call. One of my ideas sprung from a house that I pass most everyday at sunset. In wring the first draft, I went way past the 500 word limit and knew it would be impossible to chop down without making it incoherent. Hating to leave any story half-finished, recently I filled in the missing details, edited, and polished it. Seeing a submission call for general horror stories by The Siren’s Call, I decided to kick it out of the house and put it to work.

 

See below for a picture of the actual house. It sits on the shores of Buzzard’s Bay and has a catwalk that rings a dual white chimney. Of course, the house in my story is larger, more historic, with a shorter chimney, etc. Basic writer trickery to fit around the story. Its not a historic house, but, as a side note, a famous person did live there for a number of years.

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The Hunger House

 

Here is the original drabble I wrote introducing the Red Girls mythos:

THE RED GIRLS

He left the door unlocked.

All doors were locked the nights the Red Girls visited.

Colonel Emerick Aldrich sipped his cognac. However, he couldn’t taste it. There wasn’t much he could enjoy anymore. Even the heat from the roaring fire felt dull.

He heard the door handle rattle behind him, a pattering of little feet on the hardwood.

They stood him up like a marionette. The old man smiled, he would get to see the Red Girls, a fitting finale to his life. But they didn’t turn him around, forcing him to take one step after another toward the fire.

Also, see the link for a follow-up Red Girls 300 word story, “Courtship of the Sewer King”.

Thanks to The Sirens Call: Julianne, Nina, and Lee for publication. Check out the other projects/magazine issues/submission calls from The Sirens Call here ⇒ (click for link).

S.E. Casey

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The Importance of Theme in Horror… and Zombies… and Dogshit

 

“…it’s what happens in the United States when a truly radical ideology takes over.”

This is George Romero’s answer to the question of what his film Night of the Living Dead is about.  To me, this is a most thoughtful and complete assessment, and perhaps what explains the movie’s enduring success.  Of course, on the surface the movie is about the dead coming back to life, and a layer underneath that survivalism, and another layer below that the complexity (and necessity) of social alliances.  However, the foundation on top of where everything is built is the pathology and consequence of socio-political ideology.

zombie1I won’t lie and say that after watching Night of the Living Dead when I was sixteen (or when I re-watched it years later for that matter) that I had any inkling that this was its ultimate theme.  I only knew the movie was about something, its mood too earnest to be about nothing.  The overriding theme with which Romero directed all the action around is what elevates it above a mindless zombie flick, an unquantifiable hook in which the viewer can identify despite the fantastic plot elements.

Horror (as well as its cousins Sci-fi and Fantasy) especially depend on theme in this way. After all, horror stories are not ones that from which there are any useful applications to real life. There will never be a zombie uprising, nor will there be some needy devil granting us a wish, and never we will find ourselves inexplicably locked in a haunted hotel room with our own corpse hanging in the bathroom.  These situations will never occur in our lives, and so there is no value in preparing for them.  Okay sure, while serial killers do exist, let’s face it, is any one of us interesting enough to attract their specialized gaze?  Is anyone so deluded to think if there were a Hannibal Lector out there that he would be so impressed with their intellect that he would be compelled to devise some elaborate, personalized death ritual just for them?

It’s not in the plot that horror illuminates, teaches, or scares us.  It’s in the metaphor.

Fortunately, inserting meaning into horror has little cost.  Whether the horror is literary, comic, bizarre, or an extreme gore-fest, the room to interject theme is equally afforded and fairly easy.

Take the example of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  I have never read this book, never will, and I think there’s a movie too which I have no interest in watching, but it helps explain a point. Jane Austen’s version (which I haven’t read either) is classic literature dealing with the themes of love, social reputations, and3edit02 class.  None of these topics need to be sacrificed by the infusion of zombies.  The rewriting author can simply inject the presence of the undead into the background and plot.  In theory, the book can have the same characters, the same dialogue, the prose can be the stylistically the same, etc.  In the parts of the book when the characters travel, they would simply have to do so while avoiding/killing some zombies.  Or, a little more cleverly, the discussions over the undead threat between those occupying different socio-economic strati could have been used to further the subject matter of class and social identity.  No theme needs to be sacrificed in a change to a z-horror style.

So can serious themes be incorporated into most any conceived plot or technique.  Even The Walking Dead need not to sacrifice theme in order to entertain (and maximize) its wide PG-13 audience.  While George Romero hates the show for its soap-opera aesthetic, TWD does have its moments of depth.  In the previous season (6th?), there was a compelling story arc where Morgan (‘I Clear’) meets up with pacifist and former prison psychologist Eastman (played by the character actor John Carroll Lynch).  The Eastman character recounts a pre-apocalypse moral dilemma about his wife being killed by one of his unredeemable patients, which leads to discussions of man’s capacity for evil and the psychology of vengeance.  I was glad they delved into this Crime and Punishment-esque narrative in detail over several episodes.  Okay, the part about Morgan being kept prisoner in a cell which wasn’t locked the entire time was overly trite symbolism, but generally everything worked and was philosophically fulfilling.  Way better than spending an entire segment watching Glen and Maggie moon over each other again (we get it… they’re in love, yawn).

We’ve all read or watched horror that doesn’t work past the point where it is not only boring, but depressing.  Some attribute this failure on the subject matter being too violent (first half of season 7 of TWD), or the author punching down on helpless characters, or nihilism—horror without a point.  However, while horror’s sub-genres aren’t for everyone, they all have their legitimate place, appeal, and audience.  It’s in the lack of meaningfulness that these stories most often fail.  A torture scene when done in a context that makes sense in advancing a storyline or character arc reads profoundly differently than one where there is little point besides the documenting of an inhumane act.

marquisIn the Marquis de Sade biopic Quills, there is a scene where the imprisoned Sade argues his writings are grand literature of high truths to which the prison’s priest rebuts, “It’s not even a proper novel.  It’s nothing but an encyclopedia of perversions…”  For anyone who has read 120 Days of Sodom, the priest is technically correct; however, there is such eagerness and enthusiasm in Sade’s listings of sexual deviancy that that in itself gives the work some context in which both Freud and Jung would have feasted.  Indeed, Sade’s writings have persisted,  been studied, referenced, and even spawned an academic treatise from twentieth century feminist and existentialist Simone de Beauvior.

There are many other examples of stories or movies that despite their apparent nihilism or base crudeness are able to achieve cult or even mainstream success.  Pink Flamingos put director John Waters on the map.  It’s cinematically terrible (even according to Mr. Waters) and doesn’t really have any particular high concept or metaphor.  It’s a gross out film featuring as many perversities as could be jammed into an hour.  To wit, in the final scene famed drag queen actor Divine eats dog shit.  Literally.  Really.  For the benefit of any millennial readers unfamiliar with the film, this isn’t Will Farrell licking some FX plasticized prop in Step Brothers, but real dog shit, no camera tricks.  Really. Pic 3 Dog

Despite its filth, Pink Flamingos still maintains an enthusiastic fan base and begrudging critical respect.  Water’s admits it wasn’t much more than a pothead movie with a motive to gross out his friends.  But that in itself is its meaning: to be transgressive for transgressive sake, Waters wallowing in the perverse and profane spaces where he finds his own brand of spirituality.

Whether exploring political ideologies, existential philosophy, or attempting to repulse and offend, there should be meaning in fiction more than to sell a book or pander to an editor to get a story published.  Without offering some perception of humanity, writing is only an exercise in craft, toiling over an encyclopedia entry for ‘coprophagia’.  It should be obvious, but the author should know why they are writing and what the story is about.  The audience will always sense when they have no answer to this question.

Stories are written to connect a reader with their own reality.  Share something as a writer and it can make a world of difference.  Who knows, maybe you can be the next George Romero.

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Self-Editing Tips for Writers and the Doorway to Enlightenment

1edit03So you’ve made the leap and are now a writer. Congratulations!  Surely, you have made the right choice. I hope that these tips will save much frustration in the editing process as well as making you a better writer. And, dare I say, a better person as well.

The decision to write doesn’t come with an editor. Unfortunately, we writers quickly learn that writing is editing, the single most important and time consuming step in the process. Regrettably, it is one where we can be our own worst enemy.

1edit04Conscripting friends or relatives to do our editing is an ineffective workaround. There’s a big difference between a kindhearted (and patient) beta reader and a proper editor. And even if you decide to spring for a pro, this is not a magic bullet. Writers still need to edit our work sufficiently to develop ideas and language in advance for anyone to consider them critically. There is no avoiding it: we must be our own editors to some extent. However, don’t fret, this necessary step in the process will help deepen your writing, and maybe the understanding of yourself too.

The main obstacle in editing one’s own work is skim and block reading. The brain strives to make things easier for us by sorting through the sensory chaos of life immediately discarding what is superfluous and unnecessary. It endeavors to make reading easier by skimming over recognizable blocks of text, therefore bypassing words and phrases it believes it already knows. And because you wrote it, the brain is especially susceptible to this anticipatory skipping when in edit mode. Obvious word or grammar errors are easily missed because we assume what we are reading without actually doing so!

This #amwriting post will focus on five editing tips. There are many more, of course, but I will stick to the wider, holistic stratagems that tackle our well-intentioned, but betraying mind’s congenital ineptitude to self-edit.

Put the manuscript aside. Time away will allow the mind to forget the specifics of what it wrote. I would suggest six to eight weeks away, if possible. Let your short-term memory purge the finite details. Editing is easiest when you are reading something new and have little expectation of what is coming next. In forgetting what was intended in each paragraph, sentence, and phrase, the brain is forced to read precisely. As will be a recurring theme, the mind needs to be tricked to be able to see things as they really are.

1edit01Edit with a different device where you don’t write. Another way to reset the brain is by changing the look and feel of a work-in-progress. We assume a certain mindset when sitting at a desk in front of a computer than we do in our kitchen nook cradling a steaming cup of coffee and an e-reader. We have different past experiences in these places each with an unconscious set of expectations. When I am at my desk, I am a writer. When reclining on the sofa, I am a reader. It is the same when looking at a story in a word processor versus a creased paperback.

Use a text-to-audio reader. Some writers read their work aloud to catch errors, but I find this a half measure as you will narrate in the cadence of what was intended, not necessarily as the words actually sit on the page. The subconscious will stubbornly help us by inserting words and changing tenses that aren’t there. A text-to-audio reader will read exactly what is on the page, making none of the mind’s unconscious adjustments. Also, find a voice that works for you. For example, I have found that I am more attentive to a stern woman with a slight British accent.

Use a pseudonym.  This doesn’t mean you necessarily publish with one, but rather write in a temporary name on all drafts. Writing a pseudonym into a manuscript’s byline, and inserting it into a header, will subtly fool the mind into thinking it’s reading something from another author. Again, the brain works its critical best when it believes it is reading words from someone else.

2edit03To enhance this last tip, look at yourself in the mirror before you write. Address the reflection by your chosen pseudonym. Start talking. Say anything. There’s no one to offend or trigger. Forget who you are. Believe that mirror self is a different person. Let your mind drift when confronting this separate identity and carry it over into your writing sessions.

It is best to make this other you a whirlwind of ego. Suppress your dreamless id and prudish superego. Have your pseudo-self be confrontational, aggressive, and abrasive. Make them different from you, a polar opposite if possible. The editing process works best if your alter-ego is intimidating and loathsome. This will motivate you as an editor by fearing to miss an error thus incurring the ire of this mirror psychopath. It will also incentivize you to catch mistakes to keep their repugnant arrogance in check.

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When you have mastered giving a unique voice to your pseudonym (and only after you have mastered this), it’s time to make this other self three-dimensional, flushing out their flaws, talents, and desires. This is complex character building—the same as you should be doing in your writing. Look in the mirror. This should be a daily ritual at this point, but now look deeper. Much deeper. It is no longer another person. It is you. Crawl into its skin, occupy its head. Forget your real self—deny there is such a thing as a real self—there is only that mirror person.

Set up some dates for your pseudonym. It’s easy with the plethora of dating apps. It should go without saying, but please be discreet if you have a significant other. Arrange these rendezvous in faraway cities where your pseudonistic self can act without the risk of running into the crushing expectations of anyone you know. And always stay in character! Use this time efficiently to evolve that impulsive secret self. Insult your date at the end of the night to make sure you break any chance for a second date no matter how well you may have hit it off. Remember—this is research, be professional! Besides, stirring up some drama will have an ancillary benefit when crafting such scenes in future writings.

After a few successful dates, spend an entire Sunday in the house as that other self. Doesn’t everything look weird. Who is this other person who lives in such banal squalor? Call in sick a few days to be alone only as your pseudonym. Don’t break character. When you’re ready, take a vacation. Stay inside your constructed second self the entire trip.

Lose the mirror. Its a crutch, you don’t need it. Walk the streets at night. Say your name again and again. It’s no longer a pseudonym now, is it? No, it’s you: the writer. Find a deserted alley and in the darkness be that impetuous dark soul. Frolic in the desperate shadows where the outcasts reside; there is much you’ve always wanted to do there.

Evocation_du_Diable_(Wirth)Think profoundly of the repressed desires and fears buried inside, those monstrous ideas that your defense mechanisms would never allow you to access, but the other, detached self can. Steel yourself for the last step of becoming a truly superior self-editor.

Don’t think. Act. Be.

Maybe it’s that lying ex-girl/boyfriend which there was no closure. Maybe the former boss who always took credit for your hard work. That degenerate bully in grade school. The professor who told you that you would never be a writer; that you were incapable of ever understanding the difference between an author and a writer. But you are a writer now aren’t you? And you are powerful.

I don’t need to tell you what to do, because you already know. Don’t you?

Do it!

2edit06Go and drink in the night. Don’t overanalyze. Don’t self-edit! And always at night. There is too much light in the day for you to see your old self, and for others to see. Remember the lessons of tricking the mind. The foolish need for consistency under the expectation and judgments will edit your spirit to a nub.

It is life as it is in books!  The nightmares of Puck, the vengeance of Macbeth, and the madness of Lear. It’s all yours in the darkness.

And remember—it’s all a first draft. Writing is the proactive process, the raw emotional release. Leave the consequences of revising to the dispassionate editor, that tragic husk of a person, that phenomenally ungrateful piano-key whose spirit withers in the light of day! Let them do their menial job and clean up your wonderful mess.

Look at those words left for you on the page each morning. Those maniac thrills and vulgar enchantments. Despair in the words that are not your own, rather the person you could have been. No, who you should have been! It’s so easy now isn’t it?

Congratulations! You have completed the fifth tip. You are now a master editor.

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