Saturday, June 24, 2017

Have You Met the Purple Prosenator?

I know what you're thinking. What is a purple prosenator and why would anyone want one? Well my friends, the Purple Prosenator is a special vintage typewriter that I created for those times when I must resort to the use of purple prose to enhance the commercial success of certain writing projects.

First of all, you might be asking, what is purple prose? Well, I'm glad you asked. the term purple prose is believed to come from the poet Horace. He coined the term to reference a writing style that was, to say the least, verbose and over the top.

In those times, as it seems now, the color purple represented royalty, high societal standing, and maybe even a little bit of pompousness in ones character.  Of course not everyone was of such caliber so many desiring to be seen as such would sew patches of purple cloth into their clothing in an attempt to appear so.

Nowadays, the term has taken on a slightly different meaning specifically referencing some writing in the romance genre. Hey, don't knock it, many careers have been catapulted to lofty heights in this genre.

Most would admit that the picture above conjures up visions of lovers embracing; a strong alpha male sweeping up a fine damsel (usually in distress) as the sheer fabric of her blouse falls gently across her shoulder exposing her heaving bosom. Breathlessly she mewls, "take me." He gives no response but understands the full weight of her murmurings as he gazes intently upon her alabaster globes heaving to as if begging for his touch. She feels the heat of his labored breath upon her exposed fleshmounds, and her body responds intuitively with a shiver that penetrates to her nether core... 

You get the picture. Most readers in modern times associate purple prose with over-the-top explanations of feelings and flowery euphemisms for body parts. Believe it or not, there is evidence that readers like this purple prose as long as its use is very VERY limited. 

Okay, with details of the word out of the way, let's get back to the post. Yes, it is about my purple prose writing typewriter.

She started out as a Royal Senior Companion, serial number RS-3053420. born in 1955 and marketed for students. It was inexpensive but still very functional. Although the Royal Typewriter company left out many of the features commonly found on higher-priced models, they did not waiver on quality. I know she may seem rather long in the tooth by today's standards but she still functions nearly as well as she would've in her prime.

For the next fifty years, I remain unaware of her travels. I do not know of her trials and tribulations; what kind of people cared for her, or what kind of things she was responsible for instantly enacting into printed form.

I purchased her from the Goodwill store of Orange County, California in September of 2016 for $8.99. She was sent in a padded box and arrived at my home about two weeks later where she began her transformation.

The picture above shows what she looked like on the day of her arrival. She was in reasonably good shape for her age with just a few keys sticking and a couple of her type hammers bent. I removed the case from her frame sanded her down to bare metal before applying a base coat of purple and black. I will spare you the details of what she looked like with no coverings or paint. I mean, unless you're into typewriter porn.

Once this was complete, it was time for some flourishes and some bling! I gave her a nice lace pattern around her sides and then two coats of glitter with a couple layers of clear in between for that deep multilayered sparkle.

After what seemed endless applications of clear with wet sanding between each coat, she was ready to be put back together . 

If one wants to appear "royal" and over-the-top, then attention to detail is in order. This is why the Purple Prosenator also uses a purple ribbon. So, the prose created by this machine will truly be purple.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Fidget Spinner: Fact or Fallacy

How much would you pay to possess the newest fad? Fidget Spinners can cost as little as a couple dollars (US) to upwards of eighty dollars for one with all the bells and whistles. Although none of these actually have bells or whistles. Some fidget spinners do light up though.

Fidget Spinners also come in different shapes and sizes. Some are two-bladed but most are three-bladed. Some have pictures on them or are shaped like the Batman symbol.

I wonder if the fidget spinner will be around for a long time like the yo-yo or slinky? Manufactures of fidget spinners often claim that fidget spinners are must-have for those suffering from ADHD, autism, depression, just about any other ailments, although very little empirical proof exists to support these claims. Most teachers claim that if they see that thing again, it will be taken away and is going into their desk.

Funny how the claims can be so grand and proof so limited but I suppose that the rapid rise in popularity can surely be attributed to a genius marketing campaign.

Oddly enough, something very similar is the fidget cube. This little thing can be quietly played with and has actually been proven to help those specifically with autism. Sad though that one cannot perform "tricks" with it, so it will probably never gain the popularity of the fidget spinner.

I remember the dark days before the fidget spinner. desperate souls would suffer and nash their teeth in their attempt to replace something they didn't even know they needed.

I remember chewing on my pencil eraser during tests, and then realizing I needed my eraser. Remember pencil fights? It was like a right-of-passage for a junior high boy and I believe this act was the single reason one can now buy high-quality gourmet pencils-because they make stronger pencil-fighting apparatuses.

 Remember this? (depicted in picture below) One of the original fidget spinners.

I recently read a story of a man who found his wife's fidget spinner in a drawer and immediately posted a picture of his find on social media only to find out that it was not a fidget spinner but something else entirely. Not a Fidget Spinner

I know what you're thinking. "Where can I get one of THOSE fidget spinners?"

Of course, there is a dark side to the fidget spinner. Apparently, there are parts on the fidget spinner that present a choking hazard. Okay, so maybe you're thinking one would certainly know that already but we are talking about people in the modern era where it's okay to be stupid or not watch your children because, no matter what happens, you'll get to sue someone for not warning you of dangers you should have had the foresight to be aware of. Yes, a number of these toys have been recalled because they did not have labeling to specify that it is a choking hazard for children under three. Recall

Will this toy survive the historical rise of fall in popularity suffered by so many other toys, or will it be just another passing fad, lost to obscurity like the pet rock. One thing is certain-somebody's making a lot of money off this fad, passing or not.

Now, sorry to cut this short but I have to get to the store. They open in ten minutes and rumor has it that they got a new shipment of fidget spinners in.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Writer's Folly

Before dawn.
I sit in the darkness, my fingers poised over the keys
waiting for inspiration, like lightning, to bring the thoughts forth
from the deepest regions of my soul,
bringing my fingers to life until words appear
on the blank white abyss of screen before me.

All my life I've found pleasure in occasionally jotting thoughts and stories down on paper, or lately, a computer. A few years ago, I embarked upon a writing adventure where I had to write every day and I was motivated to produce something of value every couple of months. I'd reached a relatively comfortable place, selling my stories online and bringing in a very modest return. Nonetheless, it was a return, and it was enough to foster continued motivation to write in the genre that was producing said return.

Trouble is, over time I grew tired of simply creating differing angles on a similar plot so I decided to let that facet of my writing ride while I worked on other, longer projects. When this longer project was completed and published, I concentrated on marketing and developing social relationships with other authors and potential readers. Things were going great and, with a cover change for the book (a 76,000 word novel) I was seeing a slight rise in sales.

These sales quickly peaked and then started a very long slow descent in sales. It was then that the true descent began. The story received a less-than-desirable review. The reviewer didn't say much but the lack of stars was the cause of a deep secret heartbreak.

I suppose what bothered me most was that my shorter, more adult stories sold much better than something I poured my heart and soul into creating. It didn't take long for doubts of my own talent to make their way into my brain and squeeze the will to create out of me. Well, the will never really went away. I was still writing. I just wasn't finishing anything. I found myself rethinking every plot and story idea I previously acted upon and shelving them in hopes of coming up with something better.

Yes my friends, I had fallen into the same trap--succumbed to the very thing in which I had seen in others--the very thing I gave advice to others about.

I have identified the problem and am preparing to dig my way out of the hole I created but it is a long road. The problem I face is self-doubt. This is like alcoholism for writers because it is so easily found by writers and even perpetuated by those who think they know/understand writers.

Well, here I am now. Admitting this as a problem that hinders my creative productiveness. I intend to overcome this and invite other writers with the same ailment to join me, or simply follow along as I chronicle my progress. I will post on some regular schedule to my blog and offer suggestions of things I have tried. I will participate in my local writer's group (or an online writer's group) as a means to garner support.

I guess this post is long overdue. but it's gotta start somewhere.