Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Once More Round the Sun

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on January 1, 2013 by bradellison

2012 may have been the single worst year of my life.  I lost a lot, I endured a lot of pain, and I’ve come out the other end with scars that’ll last me the rest of my life.

The important thing is that I’ve come out the other end.  I’ve lost friends, lost family, maybe came close to losing my job a time or two, experienced about the most excruciating and inexplicable pain I’ve ever felt, and failed to achieve most of what I meant to achieve but I’m still in the game, and I’m staying in it.

Meant to write a novel.  Damn thing’s still not done.  Meant to sell some stories.  Got a pile of messy unfinished drafts topped with a rejection or two.  Meant to get promoted.  I guess I’m lucky I still have my job.  Meant to put a little money away.  Got the front end of my car busted up some instead.  Meant to start selling some of my work on the Kindle store.  Not quite there yet.  Meant to have a kid.  Fuck you for asking about that.  I spent most of the time from March to around October or so depressed as hell and barely even realizing it because being ground down by life had gotten to be my new normal.

In 2012 I lost.  But I’m not finished yet, and the last year hasn’t all been on one end of the scale.

I’ve made some friends, and gotten to know some friends better.  I wrote a comic book that got published, and you can buy it now.  I met seasoned veteran writers and scholars and talked with them as equals.  I have a cat, and a tattoo, and a library.  I failed in the attempt, but I’ve got most of a novel, and that’s more than I had before.  I’m a better writer now than I was last year, and I’m closer to being a pro.

I’ve got family, I’ve got friends, I’ve got faith, and I know who I am.

Tonight I’m licking my wounds.  Tomorrow I roll up my sleeves.

2013, I will sell fiction.  I will see comics published.  I will finish a novel. I will continue to be a minister, in my own way.  I will tell stories.  I’ll remember who I am, and I won’t be beaten.

I’m going to take this year by the throat.

Hellhound On My Trail

Posted in Uncategorized on May 2, 2012 by bradellison

I figure everyone has at least one abiding demon in their nature, at least one thing they’re going to have to wrestle with until the end.  Julius Caesar had his ambition, Patton had his pride, Sid Vicious had his addiction, Newt Gingrich has his need to be the biggest dick in the room at all times, and so on.

My demon’s my lack of discipline.  This is plain.  The way I have to fight sometimes to force myself to do the work I love is downright perverse.  My chronic inability to finish what I start has been with me for years, choking me.  It’ll keep on doing so, I imagine, until I’m in the ground (I’m operating under the assumption that my wife won’t tolerate my having either a viking funeral or a sky burial).  That’s how it goes.

So here I am trying to wrestle with it.  It’s a killer, but it’s become clear that I’m the thing that’s most in my way.  Only thing to really do about that, I guess, is to try and muscle through it.

On the Fortunes of Fictional Folk

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on May 1, 2012 by bradellison

Of the various tools I’ve accumulated for creating characters and crafting plots, one of the more interesting is the Tarot. Interesting to me at any rate, and this is my blood so I get to say what is and isn’t interesting. The cards have all manner of mystical flimflammery and nonsense wrapped around them, and I’ll believe in fortune-telling when I see a fortune teller do something other than cold reading and intentional vagueness, but I do believe in a world of underlying patterns, and any system of codified interpretation of such patterns is interesting to me. The Tarot deck in particular is compelling due to the elaborate framework and the depth of its symbolism. At best, a Tarot reading can help you recontextualize, give you a new framework for understanding and problem, look at it from a fresh angle.

Now, with the writing of fiction, we know with absolute certainty that there is an underlying order because we’re the ones putting it there. We have a protagonist who has a background, surroundings, obstacles, goals, hopes and fears, and so forth. Cool thing is, your typical Tarot layout will have a card representing all of these things. So, you think of your character’s story, shuffle the deck, and deal the cards. Lay out the hand, then interpret it, just as if you were doing a reading for a real person. From that you can learn who your protagonist is, what they want, and what they’re up against.

Or you might get a bunch of crap that doesn’t serve your needs at all. That’s fine. You’re still thinking about your story in a different way, and you’re hitting a plot element randomizer that just might shake loose a fresh ideas, just one, that sparks in your brain like Doc Frankenstein’s own lightning. And that can be just what you need when you’re not sure where to begin, or to banish the imaginary bogey that is writer’s block.

Simple fact: the only magic that really works, works on the mind.

Look At All This Crap

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on April 26, 2012 by bradellison

The grammatical rule about never splitting an infinitive is, of course, total and complete bullshit, foisted upon us by old dead men who decided English needed to be classed up with Latin rules.  But this is the language of Chaucer, Wycliffe, Shakespeare, Milton, Jefferson, Twain, Hemingway and Steinbeck, and it does not need classing up.  Here’s the 20th century’s greatest crime novelist laying down the law on the subject.

Mastodon drummer Brann Dailor has an awesome job, clearly, but he’s also got an awesome hobby, and a collection that defies description.

I love monsters, and I love the alphabet, so this Tumblr is right up my alley.

I’m not going to try explaining to anyone why this bootleg Batman musical exists, but it’s amazing enough to explain itself, and it’s on Youtube.

And if you haven’t yet seen it, the Village Voice has laid down an excellent and well-documented chronicle of Mitt Romney’s history of being a job-destroying company-plundering robber baron in exactly the mold of the dickheads who drove this country over a cliff back in ’29.

And now here’s 24 straight hours of the noise the Enterprise-D‘s engines make:

An Open Letter To the, Like, Five People Who Might Still Be Following This Blog

Posted in Uncategorized on April 12, 2012 by bradellison

Among my many bad habits (ranking somewhere in between cussing in church and watching Power Rangers: Ninja Storm in awfulness) is my proclivity for abandoning every attempt I ever make at a diary, journal, blog or personal calendar.  That changes now.

For reasons ranging from laziness to work to getting married to laziness to getting Red Dead Redemption to basic laziness, I have blown off updating this blog, and beyond that, I’ve blown off writing in general too long, too often, even though the thing I allegedly want to do with my life is write for a living.  That changes now.

I’ve got a folder full of unfinished drafts and outlines dating back to 2004, and I can count the legitimately finished stories, plays and comic scripts I’ve written on my fingers.  That changes now.

That changes now because it’s time to nut up or shut up.  Get busy living or get busy dying.  Shake off the dust, arise.  I’m not letting another year, month or day of crap pass by me.  I’ve figured out how to use my fancy phone as a proper calendar, I’ve vowed to put in a bare minimum of an hour a day at wordslinging, I am on a schedule, and this time I will do what I need to do to make sure I’m not stuck talking to idiots on the phone for a living the rest of my life.

So this blog’s coming back, for three reasons.

One, I need the practice.  Practice writing, practice rewriting, and practice putting myself in front of a keyboard and getting things done.

Two, I need the outlet.  Turns out people who want to be writers want to tell people what they think, and I am keen to broadcast my opinions on books, movies, religion, video games, booze, otters and whatever else.

Three, I need the audience.  I gots to get paid for putting words on a page, real talk.  I figure to start by dabbling in self-publishing first off, and that means self-marketing, and that means word of mouth.  I want you reading this blog so a few months down the line you’ll be prepared to pay a dollar to read my ebook.  I  want you to tell your friends to tell their friends to get in on this, so I guess it’s time to produce some content for your friends’ friends to enjoy.  By the end of this year, I’ll have two titles listed on the Kindle store if it kills me to do it, and I want everyone who reads this words right here to shell out cash money for them.  Or Paypal, or whatever.  Point is, gots to get paid.

So welcome back to the Oneiric Rantatorium, and stay tuned next week for my thoughts on terrible TV shows, great books, inexplicable movies and also probably some talk about Jesus and such.  As an added bonus, best believe there will be links to delightful or terrifying things I find on the internet.  Boogie!

The story so far

Posted in Uncategorized on May 29, 2010 by bradellison

A genetically perfected scientific genius from the future, a magic-wielding princess from the Moon, and a short-tempered fist-fighting archeologist are the only people with a shot at saving the world from the fascists trying to enslave the human race for its own good.  They’ve thwarted vampire gangsters, ninja assassins, serpent-worshipping cultists, time-traveling terrorists, flying snake-headed gorillas, and a bluesman who sold his soul for music that can rip the fabric of reality, but now they know their greatest challenge is still ahead.

Because they’ve learned that the man behind everything they’ve faced, the shadowy figure pulling the strings, working inexorably to bring the world under his benevolent but absolute dominion, is the greatest mind on earth.  Their enemy is the pinnacle of human achievement, Doctor Clark Savage Jr., the Man of Bronze.

Unfortunately for our heroes, this revelation came shortly before they were thrown back in time to an age undreamed of, a prehistoric Hyborian Age of swords and sorcery, where their only allies are two of Doc Savage’s most trusted aides, the cold-blooded electrical genius Long Tom, and the slightly unhinged archeologist and Miskatonic University alumnus Johnny Littlejohn.  To get back home to 1928, this uneasy alliance must navigate the treacherous alleyways and ancient temples of Shadizar the Wicked, a city where life is cheap, help is expensive, and every shadow harbors peril.

I’ve given a lot of thought, lately, to the importance of escapism, in my own life and in general.  Fantasy’s the trap door to life, the means of slipping out at taking a break from reality, and I’ve come to realize that this is absolutely essential for me.  And the best escape is the one made with friends, around a table with dice and character sheets.

Frank Frazetta, 1928-2010

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on May 12, 2010 by bradellison

I am eight years old.  In the science fiction section of the public library, I have found a book written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who created Tarzan.   The book is called A Princess Of Mars, and it will change my life forever.  This is the cover illustration:

A landscape like nothing I’ve ever seen before, strange monsters, the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, and standing over it all the triumphant hero, powerful and free, sword held aloft before the twin moons of an alien world.  I didn’t know much at eight years old, but I recognized adventure, fantasy, and pure wish-fulfillment when I saw it.

Frank Frazetta was one of the greatest fantasy artists of all time.  Many, many people tried to imitate his barbarians, princesses, monsters and scenery.  No one ever came close.  His paintings live. Energy, motion, fury, strength, made manifest on canvas.  You can talk about his lighting, his composition, or his grasp of anatomy and how to effectively exaggerate it.  You can talk about his impossibly beautiful women, his superhumanly powerful bloody-handed warriors, the incredible menace of his beasts and monsters.  About the richness of the worlds he created.

For me, what it comes down to is this: Frank Frazetta believed in what he painted, and that made it come to life.  Robert E. Howard’s prose has that quality, and I believe that’s why Frazetta is the definitive Conan artist.

It’s why he is the definitive Tarzan artist.

It’s why Frazetta is in a class by himself as a fantasy illustrator.  Without peer.

Looking at his art is the only connection I have to the man.  But it’s enough of a connection to make me feel like I’ve been punched in the gut, knowing he’s dead.