Tuesday, January 24, 2012



What if we're born with 
a predetermined number
of heartbeats 
and, when they're gone, 
we're gone? 

Just in case it's true,
I'm not going to waste mine 
running down some road 
in silly spandex pants
and a jog bra.

I'm going to make my 
thumping little tickets last
as many years as I can, 

especially since
at my age, 
I've already used up 
a hell of a lot them
just getting here. 

I'll spread the rest out. 
I'll save them 
for what's important, 
like running away from 
something (or someone) bad. 

I also intend to use a lot of them 
for making love. 

If life really is a journey 
and not a destination, 
I might as well enjoy myself 
along the way ... 

CJ Heck

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

One Summer Day ...

Fresh Lemonade
With my coffee this morning, I was thinking about one day when I still lived in Pennsylvania.  It was summer and I was driving home from Walmart. 

A few blocks from home, I noticed a small homemade lemonade stand in the grass along the sidewalk with two kids sitting in folding chairs.

I don't know if you're old enough to remember, but it was built the same way everyone used to make bookcases, back in the 60's to hold a stereo system.  

You took two cinder blocks and piled one on top of the other at each end, and then you put a wide board across the top.  You could make a second layer on top of that, too, if you wanted it higher.

Anyway, the kids had hand-printed a sign and it was taped to the front of the board. It was perfect for the little stand, printed in crooked capital letters with crayon -- the 'N' and 'E's' in the word LEMONADE were printed backwards and it was adorable.  I couldn't resist. I pulled over and bought a glass.  

They took their business seriously.  The girl held the plastic cup, her brother poured the lemonade, and I played my part as a satisfied customer. I drank ALL of my lemonade, even though there wasn't nearly enough sugar in it ...

I couldn't stop thinking about the little lemonade stand and its entrepreneurs. There was a poem in there somewhere, and here is what I came up with.  Oh, and there's a little twist at the end ...

The Lemonade Stand

by CJ Heck

Get your ice cold glass of lemonade!
Hurry, 'fore it's gone.
We made it just this morning.
See the table that it's on?

We promise that you'll like it
and there's sugar in it, too --
not like it was the other day
when mom and dad said "Ewwwww."

Get your ice cold glass of lemonade!
Boy, grownups sure are funny --
they smile a lot at little kids
who are trying to make money.

Thank you, ma'am, and thank you, sir,
you've helped us out a bunch.
(Sissy, let's go make some more.
It's almost time for lunch).

Get your ice cold glass of lemonade!
Twenty-five cents a glass!
(We've got to make more money
and we've got to make it fast).

Daddy said it wouldn't work,
that people wouldn't stop,
they'd hurry right on past us
and then they'd laugh a lot.

One last glass of lemonade!
This was so much fun!
Let's get this table put away
and then we've got to run.

Sissy look, it's snowing!
But that will be all right.
Now we have money for presents
and Santa Claus comes tonight ...

Just thinking about that day, makes my cheeks ache from the lemon-sour pucker.

"A writer soon learns that easy to read is hard to write." ~CJ Heck

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chuck Wendig on Writing

I came across this article today and I want to share it with every writer out there.  It's a bit graphic, at times, but I guarantee that it'll bring a smile, an outright laugh, make you think, and it will make you look at the craft of writing in new ways.  It did for me.

I've only cited five here, but I guarantee, the rest are worth your time, as well!  To read the entire article, please visit Chuck Wendig's Blog.


About the Author:

Chuck Wendig is equal parts novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. He is the author of the novels DOUBLE DEAD, BLACKBIRDS, and MOCKINGBIRD. In addition, he's got a metric boatload of writing-related e-books available, including the popular 500 WAYS TO BE A BETTER WRITER. He currently lives in the wilds of Pennsyltucky with wife, dog, and newborn progeny.

25 Things Writers Should Start Doing (ASAFP):

1. Start Taking Yourself Seriously
This is a real thing, this writing thing, if you let it be. It’s not just about money or publication — it’s about telling the kind of stories only you can tell. Few others are going to take you seriously, so give them a 21-middle-finger-salute and do for yourself what they won’t: demonstrate some self-respect.

2. Start Taking the Time
Said it before, will say it again: we all get 24 hours in our day. Nobody has extra time. You must claim time for yourself and your writing. Time is a beast stampeding ever forward and we’re all on its back. Don’t get taken for a ride. Grab the reins. Whip that nag to go where you want her to go. Take control. Hell, pull out a big ol’ electric knife and carve off a quivering lardon of fatty Time Bacon all for yourself. (As a sidenote, the Germans had a name for that phenomenon: Zeitspeck. True story I just made up!)

3. Start Trying New Stuff
Branch out. Get brave. Look at all the ways you write now — “I write in the morning, sipping from my 64-ounce 7-11 Thirst Aborter of Mountain Dew, and I pen my second-person POV erotic spy novels and it earns me a comfortable living.” Good for you. Now punch that shit right in the ear. Okay, I’m not saying you need to change directions entirely — what kind of advice is that? “Hey, that thing that works for you? Quit doing it.” I’m just saying, mix it up. Make some occasional adjustments. Just as I exhort people to try new foods or travel destinations or ancient Sumerian sexual positions, I suggest writers try new things to see if they can add them to their repertoire. Write 1000 words a day? Try to double that. Don’t use an outline? Write with one, just once. Single POV character? Play with an ensemble. Mix it the fuck up. Don’t have just One True Way of doing things. Get crazy. Don’t merely think outside of the box. Set the box adrift on a river and shoot it with fire arrows. Give the box a motherfucking Viking funeral.

4. Start Telling Stories in New Ways
Another entry from the “Set The Box On Fire” Department — with the almost obscene advances in personal technology (the smartphone alone has become more versatile than most home computers), it’s time to start thinking about how we can tell stories in new ways. A story needn’t be contained to a book or a screen. A story can be broken apart. A story can travel. Your tale can live across Twitter and Foursquare and Tumblr and an Android app and Flickr and HTML5 and then it can take the leap away from technology and move to handwritten journals and art installations and bathroom walls and — well, you get the idea. Let this be the year that the individual author need no longer be constrained by a single medium. Transmedia is now in the hands of individuals. So give it a little squeeze, and find new ways to tell old stories.

5. Start Reading Poetry
Poetry? Yes, poetry. I know. I see that look you’re giving me. “What’s next, Wendig?” you ask. “We all hold hands and dance around the maypole in our frilly blouses and Wonder Woman underoos?” YES EXACTLY. I mean — uhh, what? No. Ahem. All I’m saying is, all writing deserves a touch — just a tickle — of poetry. And do not conflate “poetry” with “purple prose” — such bloated artifice has no room in your work.

Now, do yourself a favor and go to Chuck's blog and read the rest!

"A writer soon learns that easy to read is hard to write." ~CJ Heck