Monthly Archives: February 2015

A Call to Arms

While I’m going public with my dreams and plans for my next steps in life, I’ll also come out and say that I love collaboration and playing with others. I’m an extrovert, you know? It’s one of the big reasons why I love playing tabletop RPGs, the act of playing Let’s Pretend with other people. One of the things I don’t like about writing poetry and fiction is how solitary an activity it is most of the time. (This is why I write better in public spaces than when I’m home alone.) Of course, when you’re performing poetry and prose (or anything, really), you don’t have to do it solo. Considering my performance inspirations, it makes more sense to collaborate than to go it alone. But even beyond performance, I want to push my own boundaries of writing and not crawl up my own artistic ass. I want to team up with other superheroes and fight crime boredom and stagnation.

So I’m putting a call out to poets, writers of the weird and fantastic, musicians, singers, dancers, comedians, painters, comics artists, filmmakers, collagists, Nerdists, Surrealists. Want to work together? Play together? Craft together? Create together? I’m not exactly sure what I want to do, but I’m game to try things out and see what sticks. Like one of those rubbery, sticky things you’d get in a box of cereal and throw at the wall. Or spaghetti when it’s ready. (Does anyone really throw spaghetti at the wall? Or is that just an urban legend? The box of pasta tells you how long to boil it, so why would you even need to throw it against a wall? That’s just a waste of good spaghetti.) (And now I’m craving spaghetti and meatballs. Great.)

If this sounds groovy to you, drop me an email (joshuamneff at the ol’ gmail), tweet me a tweet, pass me a note in 4th period Algebra. Let’s play!

Jumping at the Call

My daughter is graduating this spring, going off to college at the end of the summer. This presents me with the opportunity to make some big changes to my life. I want to talk about these changes, even though it involves sharing some very personal dreams with complete strangers, which makes me more than a wee bit uncomfortable. (more…)

Excused Absence

I haven’t posted anything in a couple of weeks. Because I’ve been sick. Very sick. It started with what I thought was a cold, but quickly turned into what felt like the flu. I went to see my doctor and tested negative for strep throat and the flu, and my lungs sounded clear enough to not suspect pneumonia, so despite the tests, my doctor put her money on the flu and sent me home with instructions to rest, drink lots of fluids, and stay home until I was fever-free for 24 hours. A week after that visit, I was still congested, tired, and running a low-grade fever. I called my doctor’s office and was given a prescription for antibiotics. It wasn’t until this past Saturday that my fever finally started to vanish. I spent yesterday recuperating some more and went back to work today. (But while I feel much better, I’m still coughing quite a bit and my voice is froggy like a cursed prince, so I don’t seem to be better. I swear I am, though!)

While I was out sick, I realized some things:

  • When I’m running a fever, even a fairly low-grade one, I have a very difficult time focusing on reading and writing, so I spent most of the past two weeks watching Netflix in between naps.
  • I love watching TV shows and movies at home alone, but when it comes to reading and writing, it’s very difficult for me to do it in solitude, much easier to do it at a coffee shop or other public place. Another reason why I watched more Netflix and read less.
  • When I was an undergraduate English major, I was (I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit) not very good at analyzing what I read with a critical eye. (My academic papers were not very academic, but high on whimsy and rambling poetics.)(In fact, I wrote a short paper arguing that one shouldn’t analyze works too much because it was like taking apart a watch: you could see all the inner workings, but the watch–or story–stopped functioning as it was intended to. Which is a romantic way of looking at fiction but ultimately kind of bullshit.) But when I read fiction and watch movies and TV shows now, I find myself paying very close attention to plot, characterization, description and scene setting, word use and sentence structure, info dumping and world-building, etc. I don’t pull things apart like a car thief in a chop shop, but I am more mindful of how it is all being done and I compare and contrast it to how I might do it (differently or similarly). I’m not simply swallowing stories, I’m chewing on them, letting them move over my more-sensitive-than-it-used-to-be palate.
  • While reading and writing may be difficult while I’m stuck at home, isolated and ill, it’s prime time for brainstorming on big ideas regarding stories I’m working on or planning on working on. However, I can’t say that particularly wild, trippy ideas come to me when I’m sleepy and feverish. Mostly I just cried over how miserable I felt. Fevers suuuuuuuuuck!

I got into a good routine in January of posting some content every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. So far, February has been a wash for that, and I think the rest of the month will also see little to no content being posted here. Instead, I want to use the rest of the month to do more writing so I can get caught up and start posting regularly again starting in March.

And now it’s time for a wee nap.