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01/16/13 | Idiot Mode, My Writings, Procrastination | 0 Comments
Hey there. Remember me? Yeah, I know. Believe me, I know.
So, I haven’t written a blog post since April. Oh, you’ve noticed? Well, I’m not making any promises--I’ve made them all before--but HOPEFULLY that’s all about to change.
I’m a bad writer. I’m not saying I lack talent… I’m saying I have no discipline.
How long has it been since I’ve written? Well, before last night, probably about four months. No, you didn’t misread that, and I didn’t mistype it, either. It’s legit been four months.
I’ve always written in waves. The wind brushes over the surface of the water, gathering momentum, pushing the little H2O molecules against one another until they finally come crashing down on the shore with a thunderous roar. But then gravity and the tide pull them back in, swallowing them into the inky depths of the ocean, and they must wait for their chance to rise once more.
That’s basically how I write. For several months I’m highly productive, and then for the next several months I, well, suck. I did some great writing in 2012, but most of the time was spent in the “suck”.
I’m not going to make a resolution to write more. I’ve never been able to trick myself into that. Or make myself feel obligated somehow. At the moment, I only have myself to answer to, and I’m really not the disciplinarian I should be (considering it’s been eight months since I updated this blog, I don’t think I have to convince anyone of this).
What I’m resoluting (real word?) to instead is to write More OFTEN. An hour a day of sitting in front of my computer with a Word document open in front of me. I’m not obligating myself to a word count (I’ll leave that to my friend Dawn, who has pledged 500,000 words in 2013! Eek!) because I’ll never adhere to it. What I really need is to give myself the TIME to BE CREATIVE. To glue my ass to a chair and see what happens.
Wish me luck.
I’ve also joined Goodreads’ 2013 Reading Challenge. I read 30 books last year with an initial goal of 20, so whoopah to me! This year I’m aiming for at least 25, with hopes that I shoot past it again. Follow my progress:
I also saw 39 movies last year IN THEATERS. My additional goal is to make that 50 this year. I know that sounds crazy, but I love movies and think all need to be seen in theaters, so I’m up for the challenge (AND I LOVE MOVIE THEATER POPCORN).
Pray for me. Make a virginal sacrifice on my behalf. Or just wish me luck.
Either way, 2013 will be the year of NO MORE EXCUSES.
Kyle W. Kerr
09/12/08 | Genius Mode, Idiot Mode, Maui, My Writings, Procrastination | 3 Comments
[Please note that there is ANOTHER new post under this one as well!]
I suck. Honestly, I’m not kidding. I don’t know how I’m supposed to get published if I don’t write, and I haven’t been. Not for months now. I could talk about all of the stresses I’ve been having in my life lately, but they’d all sound oddly like excuses, which is exactly what they’d be. There have been many writers before who have kept going through tough times (*cough*Jo Rowling*cough*), so what do I have to say for myself? I suck.
Three weeks ago I made the 12 hour trip from Philadelphia to Honolulu for the Maui Writers Conference and Retreat (which was obviously on hiatus from Maui!). It was my second time attending the conference and retreat, and I just have to say… it was weird. I didn’t like having it in Honolulu. It’s hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t experienced the retreat in Maui, but there’s this sort of spiritual ambiance about that island, not to mention the fact that you are so secluded and are almost forced to interact with all of the other retreaters (which is a DEFINITE plus!). But that didn’t happen this year. Yes, I walked away with new friends (hi Edna, Kim, Ryan, Tracy and Linda!), but I don’t think we were around each other enough. Last year, I ate with someone new almost every meal, and had drinks every night. This year (as much as I love them!), I spent most of my time with my roommates, who I’d met last year. It was just off…
Besides that, the retreat itself was amazing. I studied alongside five other hand-picked students in a Masters Class with NYT bestselling author Steve Berry, who is a master craftsman himself. I had heard horror stories about him teaching a previous retreat in Fiji—something about half the class winding up in tears?—but I have to say that I welcomed the criticism. As he likes to put it, you don’t become a better writer by people telling you how amazing you are all the time. And Steve was nothing but honest, definitely giving compliments when necessary, but always keeping it real. Surprisingly, there were no tears (at least not IN class, anyway!), and I believe that we have all walked away better writers.
I was sort of shocked that Steve was fairly complimentary of my work. Keep in mind my abovementioned statement of him being a hard-ass when I say… I was the only writer in the class that he complimented TO THE CLASS. We were sitting there, going over my writing sample, when he actually said “This boy can write.” (I almost added an exclamation mark there, but Steve doesn’t really talk in exclamation marks and he would probably die if I ever used one in my writing, anyway… and yes, I can see the four I’ve already used! Five… Damn.) His biggest criticism of my writing was that I need to work on structure, something I wholeheartedly agree with. He even wrote a special dedication in the book of his I had him sign: “You’re going to make it.”
I hope so!
The thing is, I need to get back into the swing of things. I still need to rewrite the entire second half of my book (about 40 pages worth… it’s a short second half), and add three or four new chapters to the first half, which will help with pacing and character development. Plus, the general editing that needs to be done for tightening and strengthening my prose. I’ve got a bit of work to do, obviously, and it needs to be done soon. I’ve even given myself a deadline to finish all rewrites and edits by the end of October, which is 49 days from now. Now, I’ve just got to sit down and DO IT!
It was nice being able to see so many amazing writers. Not only did I get to sit in the presence of Steve Berry for hours a day, but I got to be around David Morrell (the father of RAMBO), John Lescroart, William Broadbent, William Martin, Ann Hood, and my retreat teacher from last year and personal friend, Gary Braver. I was hoping to get to see James Rollins again, who I met last year in Maui and actually had drinks with at ThrillerFest in July, but he had to pull out at the last minute because of an unfortunate family emergency. He and his family are on my mind every day.
Now, for any of you who know me, this next bit may come as a shock: I WENT SURFING. Yes, me, in the ocean, on a little board. I’ll let you get the laughs out before we proceed.
Not only did I go surfing, but I went surfing with THREE BESTSELLING AUTHORS! Steve, John Lescroart and Bill Broadbent joined me with Steve’s wife, Liz, a friend of hers and the woman’s husband, and another member of my retreat class, Kim, who organized our little expedition. That’s a pretty cool story to be able to tell, right?
(I’ll save the embarrassing pictures for myself!
From far left: Liz, her friend, me, Liz’s friend’s husband, Bill, John, Steve, and Kim… muscle guy with no shirt is our instructor, obviously)
Okay, let’s just say that having long hair does not help in the slightest. And, being a rather bigger boy (*sigh*), I got tired REAL fast. I didn’t realize how much energy it would take just to paddle out to the surfing point! I don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much in such a short period of time. Did it help that I was in cold water? Not really. While all of the skinny people were having a blast, I was ready to just die. I fell off the board a couple of times (five), and it’s very hard to get back onto it when you’re not allowed to put your feet on the ocean floor. Why weren’t we, you ask? Because it was covered with such wonderful things as coral, broken shells, sea urchins, and all manner of lovely things that you can cut your feet on and attract our little friends, the sharks. There was one instance when I was having a particularly difficult time getting back on the board, when the instructor pulled up beside me for encouragement. I had my arms stretched across the board and the top of my chest on, but couldn’t manage more than that. “One chest at a time!” was his helpful tip. I could only look at him with an expression I’m sure would have killed puppies. Then he said, “One tit at a time!” Ah, now I got you, thanks.
By the time we were heading into shore, I was so exhausted that I could hardly move, let alone paddle. So, our instructor pulled up next to me, put his foot on my board, and literally “toe’d” me into shore.
Let’s just say that it will be a while until I get back on a surfboard again. Maybe next year, if I’ve lost 100 pounds and can bench-press a small whale.
Kyle W. Kerr
01/28/08 | General, Idiot Mode, The Industry, TV Shows | 5 Comments
(This post is a prime example of why “Rambling” is in my Journal’s title… so be prepared for a little rant!)
I just read this article. It talks about the FCC fining ABC $1.43 MILLION for airing a “woman’s naked backside.” Oh, did I mention that this was from an episode of NYPD Blue… from 2003?
The episode in question depicts “a nude woman [who] is surprised by a young boy as she prepares to shower.”
FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate had this to say about the fine:
“Our action today should serve as a reminder to all broadcasters that Congress and American families continue to be concerned about protecting children from harmful material and that the FCC will enforce the laws of the land vigilantly.”
The “indecent” video is below:
(If ABC can get sued for this, I’m guessing you shouldn’t watch it at work… just saying!)
I don’t know about you, but there is nothing sexual in nature about this clip. It’s an embarrassing situation that happens all the time, and they were just using it for comedic effect. Besides, NYPD Blue had been on the air for ten years prior to this episode airing, and the show was known for its racy scenes… scenes that depicted naked people (women AND men) either having sex or in some sort of erotic scenario. This was tame compared to other scenes they’ve aired.
Am I the only one who thinks this is completely ridiculous? What’s with the “save the children” routine? Why do we even care if our kids see a little skin now and again? The kid didn’t walk in on two people having sex (which, I can assure you, happens all the time, too). Go to France and you see naked billboards and soap commercials. It’s not harmful for children to see these things, but the media and ultra-conservative parents make is seem that way.
Has the American culture become overly sexualized?
(I felt like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City as I wrote that line just now.)
How have we somehow become more prudish? I just watched the original 1963 adaptation of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, and couldn’t help thinking that the same movie would never be made the same way today. Not only are there scenes depicting the usually angelic creatures that are little boys as pure demons, but they run around naked for half of the movie as well (and you see everything).
(I hope this picture doesn’t offend anyone… I was just posting it to prove a point! Me having to add this disclaimer is sort of a point maker on its own, if you think about it...)
Back then, the boys being naked would have been out of innocence and a need to free themselves in a world where adults couldn’t rule over their existance. The saying “Boys will be boys” didn’t come from nowhere, you know. Today, this would be seen as gay or indecent… but you tell me of a little boy who likes having his clothes on. I know I didn’t when I was younger, and I have seen more little boys pull down their pants in front of a crowd than I can count (and little girls pulling up their skirts, for that matter). It’s what kids do.
The 1963 rating of this movie was:
Now, it wouldn’t get anything less than PG-13, or even R, for extreme violence and nudity. The boys kill animals, they kill two of the boys (one in a way that still gives me shivers as an adult), they chant and dance in a ritualistic fashion (as shown in the first image above), they are volitile, they are dangerous, and they have a taste for blood. What parent would take their child to see such a movie today?
In the first season of the ABC Family hit Kyle XY, Kyle gets an erection at the public swimming pool and doesn’t understand what it is, or how to get rid of it. He later talks to Josh, the younger child in the family (who I’d put at 15-years-old during that season), who explains masturbation to Kyle and even proffers a porno magazine for Kyle to use. Why wasn’t the FCC all over that? Was it because they only talk about sex and didn’t show it, or is it because you never actually saw any skin?
I really don’t know, but I think some people are taking this a little too far. Seeing a couple seconds of a naked woman is not going to scar America’s children for life. They know what nudity is, they have seen people naked before. As long as you’re not exposing them to actual sex, I think they’ll be just fine.
Kyle W. Kerr
01/10/08 | Idiot Mode, Movies, Making Of | 2 Comments
This picture has been making the internet rounds, and I just HAD to share it with you guys.
It appears to be a production sketch of the monster from the upcoming movie Cloverfield, showing a scale measurement of the “beasts” as compared to the Statue of Liberty and a person.
This is almost as “scary” as the “alien” from Signs.
A mutated humpback whale? Really?
Do you guys find this scary at all? I mean, if it were real, yeah, but as a movie monster?
I think that the parasites (also shown) are way scarier than the whale.
Tell me what you think!
Kyle W. Kerr
10/21/07 | Books, Idiot Mode, Movies, Trailers, Procrastination | 0 Comments
My personal deadline for finishing revisions on my book is fast approaching. When I got back from Maui, I told myself that I would write a page-a-day (or whatever the revision equivalent is), and that it would all be done by the end of October at the latest! It is now October 21st, and I have only worked on four chapters… So, I’m no where near done, no where near where I should be at this point (considering my deadline), and have no possibility of finishing on time (unless I forego everything else in my life, including going to class, sleeping, and possibly even eating). There are ten days left. It’s not going to happen, and I’m disappointed in myself.
Since making certain decisions about the book, I have come to love it again. Yes, there was a time when I thought it was the worst thing ever and hardly considered showing it the light of day, let alone to friends, family or, god forbid, literary agents. I would have died of embarrassment. Now, I think it’s a story worthy of being read. I just have to finish it, and therein lies the problem. I can’t seem to motivate myself to finish, and it’s exceedingly frustrating. What I wouldn’t give to just go away, away from the world, from school, from interruptions like TV and movies, out of contact with everyone, no internet, nothing; just me, my computer, and possibly some books (show me a writer who doesn’t read, and I’ll punch them in the nose).
So, as I wallow in my reverie, here are some things that have kept me from writing…
This is a memoir about a boy who grew up with Asperger’s Syndrome and didn’t know it. Asperger’s is a type of autism, but generally mild—considering most autistics live in their heads. Aspergians, as JER calls himself and others like him, seem outwardly rude and misfit-like, while generally being very smart (savants). Yet it is their incomprehension of certain social rules and guidelines that is their true downfall. JER talks about his struggles to make friends and socialize, about his abusive and sometimes downright terrifying childhood, and about learning to live with his condition and making the best of a life that seemed set to fail right from the off. JER is the older brother of National and Internationally acclaimed memoirist Augusten Burroughs, who wrote the incredible memoir Running with Scissors. Here is a short clip of Augusten interviewing his brother (notice how very different the two are):
And, yes, John Elder Robison DOES in fact “Woof!” at the camera! This is one of his mechanisms for awkward silence (which he explains in the book).
If you remember, I have been waiting to see this movie since I first heard about it a year and a half ago. Besides a problem the theater was having with the sound (which isn’t a reflection of the movie), it was absolutely AMAZING. I am thrilled that I liked it so much, that it was able to live up to the epic movie I had been building it up to be in my head. Cate Blanchett is in her element, and Clive Owen lives up to his name, and Jordi Mollà (as King Philip II of Spain) is almost terrifying. Geoffrey Rush, unfortunately, wasn’t in the movie as much as I would have liked. Excellent movie, with some definite twists and turns that will keep you guessing right until the end of the movie. Sadly, it has had a poor box office run these past two weekends, only grossing $11.2M in 10 days. Not good! Go see this movie!
This is a documentary about how the MPAA rates movies. For those of you who haven’t heard of this, the board that rates movies is consisted of 8 “normal parents” who rate movies based on what they think is appropriate for children to see (which is why the ratings are all age based… G – General Audiences, PG – Parental Guidance suggested, PG-13 – Suggests parents should accompany any children under 13-years-old, R – Children under the age of 17 must be accompanied by an adult, and NC-17 – No Child under the age of 17 under ANY circumstances). However, this board is secret, just like the CIA. No one knows who they are… until now. Director Kirby Dick hires a personal investigator to find out the identities of these mysterious and all powerful 8, and they do, and they tell you exactly who they are. Kirby also delves into the biases these people show towards studio made movies versus independents, scenes with violence versus scenes with sex, and straight sex versus gay sex. Very eye opening view into the inner workings of the MPAA. Worth a watch!
Oh, and for anyone as excited as I am by the upcoming The Golden Compass movie, here’s an extended 5 MINUTE preview of the movie!
Now, back to writing (hopefully).
Kyle W. Kerr
09/5/07 | General, Idiot Mode, Maui | 0 Comments
This was my Monday:
Woke up around 7AM Maui-time, took a shower, and packed up my hotel room. This included going through a weeks’ worth of retreat papers (copies of my chapters and synopsis with notes on them), and attempting to stuff all of my clothes into the suitcase without it dying. Then I met a few friends who were doing last minute agent/editor consultations to show some moral support (what can I say, I’m a good guy that way!)… From 11-12 we attend the closing ceremonies for the Maui Writers Conference, where my friend Dawn won third place in the Rupert Hughes Writing Competition (which is a big deal, because it is judged by some very big name authors, agents and editors, not to mention the $500 prize money [add another 0 to that for first place!]).
Noon rolls around and it’s time to check out of the hotel. I’m supposed to get a 1:45PM shuttle to the airport for a 4:30PM flight.
As I’m checking out, the girl behind the counter says, “Are you sure you’re checking out today? We have you scheduled until tomorrow.”
To which I reply, “Of course I’m leaving today. I have a 4:30 flight!”
She nods to placate me, though was surely inwardly scoffing (it’s all in the eyes!)… She checks me out anyway, being sure to radio someone to say something about an “unexpected departure.”
I go to lunch with my friends Dawn, Jamie and Rocky, where we end up inviting big wig St. Martin’s Press editor Charles Spicer to eat with us, since he was going to eat alone. The conversation was really great (I wasn’t nervous to be around him because he doesn’t represent my genre… I didn’t have to worry about impressing him), and the food was good (though expensive! $18 for a cheeseburger, fries and can of Coke!).
Finally, we realize it’s 1:30 and almost time for me to leave. No one’s really talking because we’re so sad that we’re not going to be together anymore.
The shuttle comes at 1:45 on the dot, but the driver says he doesn’t have my name on his list. “What do you mean, you don’t have my name on your list?!” I say. “I have the voucher right here… It’s already paid for!”
He calls his dispatcher, asking about my reservation. I hear her voice come over the cell’s speakerphone.
“Pick-up for Kerr is scheduled for the 4th.”
“Today’s the 4th,” I exclaim.
“They’re saying it’s the 4th,” the guy says into the phone.
I really hope you’re laughing, because I still wasn’t getting it at that point.
Thinking quick, I look at my phone. It’s September 3rd. Guys, I checked out of my hotel a day early! I packed up my room, defied the girl behind the counter, and was close to yelling at the driver for losing my reservation. Can anyone say dumbass…?
As I shuffled back up to the front counter with my best impression of a puppy dog grin on my face, I could see the I-told-you-so smile the girl behind the counter was wearing. I try and laugh it off, and in the process learn that I am the first person to EVER do that at the Wailea Marriot Resort in Maui. Go me. Oy vey.
(For those who care, Wailea is pronounced Why-Uh-Lay-Uh.)
This is what I make of the situation, though: Had I not been a complete moron, then we would never have had such a great lunch with über-editor Charlie. So, I’m not that miffed about it. (Who am I kidding? I was mortified when it happened! Charles is just the nice spin I like to put on the situation to make me feel better.)
Oh, and here’s a taste of what I saw in Maui…
And, yes, I did take them myself!
Kyle W. Kerr