Celebrating Writers and Artists

Something as arbitrary as—this—my 100th post, is an innocuous reason for celebration; albeit, I do have ten fingers and toes, so am able to recognize the peculiar, ingrained, some would say gravitational, pull of round numbers. And, celebrating arbitrary notions is more acceptable (to me) than the reasons many hold as sufficient to give them pause or to raise their glass. Celebrating births or deaths (90% of all national/federal/bank holidays) feels akin to complimenting someone on their overall appearance or their selection of vehicle — ridiculous (unless, of course, they had a hand in design or construction; Frankenstein and Ford: nice work). Consequently, I have very few things on my calendar worthy of a party. So, recognizing the rollover of my blog’s odometer is as good a reason as any for a small *hurrah*.

Today's hurrah is directed at you — who write and create — for us, who read and view. Please understand, I've walked this rocky trail before and stirred up more controversy with complements than one might expect from derision. Controversy is good. So, this time I replaced my 'labels' with my 'editorial eye and pen'. This is also intended to stir-the-pot, provide insight on what really constitues copyright violations and acceptable creative commmons license usages, and entertain my frequent (if merely lurking) readers.

If you are one of the following 20 Applaudable or Standing Ovational bloggers, and take umbrage with my editing (no matter if it was for length, content, clarity, spelling or grammar) rather than thinking of my rendition as demeaning, consider this a humble tribute. (If it bothers you so, so, so very much: hire a different editor to sing your praises.) And now for something catagorically less-is-more:

  • Pick Yin at Life is Great is almost a Malaysian mirror of snapperhead (except not), with her photos in place of my Digital Renderings, and little speculative fiction, her film reviews and book opinions are interspersed with blog and helpful technical advice. Here is an (edited) excerpt:
    I was driving home from the gym last night. It was almost eleven and raining quite heavily. I grumbled to myself about the possibility of getting wet after reaching home as my house has an uncovered porch, till I saw a bread man pedalling carefully on his bike in front of me.

    Just as I thanked God, ‘at least I have a roof on four wheels compared to him and his rotis all soaking wet’ (and then thought: I really should not complain at all), one of his High Five Wheat breads turned loose and fell rolling onto the wet road.

    “Alah... kesiannya!” I thought. It may have been just a loaf of very affordable bread to me, but to the bread man it was his bread and butter, literally. I followed behind him slowly in my car and then not one minute later, another loaf fell off! By the time both of us parted at a road junction, he'd lost five loaves of High Five Wheats. Worst of all I couldn’t do anything about it. It was raining and if I honked him (my mother’s suggestion, later), he would’ve thought I wanted him to go faster.

    I prayed for the bread man when I got home and reminded myself to think of the poor guy the next time I fuss about getting wet in the rain.

  • 'Irishwind' at odium generis humani has amazing drive and zeal for a young writer, can overuse fuck as an adjective (a little more fucking adjectivial-imagination would be fucking adverbial-helpful), and comes close to not being included as an applaudable blogger because of her “alter-ego’s” membership in a weblog which is, arguably, candidate for worst blog in the blogosphere — nonetheless, here is an (edited) excerpt of her good-angry, blog:
    Sometimes it scares you when you think you're something else, when you have a feeling something's wrong with you. You feel it happening — like a disease you can never be cured of — eating you from inside. Every time you look at everyone else's perfect life you're one step closer to being consumed by your greed; to succumbing to the impulse of stripping them of what they possess, until they are blind, wasted, and helpless.

    Yes, stealing what was never yours. Ahh, the covetous monster you are.

  • 'Spoonleg' at Spelunk in the Trunk prolifically writes a diary-opinion blog containing creative non-fiction stories centering around her family, work, and life-lessons. With a humorous wink-and-nudge, these stories never fail to entertain. Here is an (edited) excerpt:
    I recently decided I needed to do something to get my fat ass into motion, which did not involve traversing the oft-tread path from bed to fridge. Since I figured exercise — in pretty much any form — is nothing more than high-priced torture, I decided to just go all the way and find the most unbearable, insufferable, incredibly horrific, kill-me-now-because-Hell-can't-be-THIS-bad, form of exercise known to man. Compared to this, the carnage in Full Metal Jacket is like an episode of the Smurfs. Lasik surgery performed by a chainsaw-wielding Stevie Wonder is less painful. Walking in on your parents having wild, viagra-assisted, butt sex in your bed is less traumatizing. Yes, my friends, I speak of Birkram Yoga.

  • 'Davecat' at shouting to hear the echoes has uncanny insight into very interesting design (no matter the epoch), revels in his agoraphobia with his sacrosanct other and is a Standing Ovational blogger I’d willingly meet in the meat (if my tan and his lighter-shade-of-pale wouldn’t, like matter and anti-matter, cause universe implosion. . .maybe that’s the best reason). Here is an (edited) excerpt of his wonderful, acerbically humorous, blog:
    How many five year olds could I personally take on at once? If thrown in a gym with only the clothes on my back and a protective cup, I could take out probably fifty of them before I became too exhausted. If allowed the use of an offensive article, I'd go for a seven-foot length of chain. Not a heavy chain, but something like a dog lead, with that clip thing at the end — light, but damaging. Even if I couldn't take them all out on the first attack, it'd be more than enough to immobilize, whereupon I'd just go back and finish them off later.

    Do feel free to give your own personal estimations of how many five-year olds you could take out!

    Anyone responding with anything disparaging will be openly mocked, by the way, just so you know.

  • 'French Maid Character' at the uglier house writes a diary-type blog in which she vents her frustrations, provides lessons based on life experiences and — sometimes with an overdose of dark, anger — an insightful glimpse which her readers can learn from. Here is an (edited) excerpt:

    I feel a little bad regarding the bitchy comment I made yesterday about: '…my roommate probably wanted to fuck his houseguests'. In this particular instance it was doubtful (I hope), since he was on suicide watch for the young man and working with other agencies trying to provide support for the young man's partner. Neither of them are here anymore (and I really hope they're going to be OK). I talked to my roommate about it because I wanted to know why he needed to keep his shotgun at our neighbor's house for safekeeping. I expressed my concern about his capacity for taking on the responsibility of another person's will to live. Although we ended up having a fairly positive exchange, I stand by my assertion: it’s generally a safe assumption — my roommate wants to fuck his houseguests.

  • 'Breadmaker' at unreasonable scenarios is almost a twisty-bun-combination of the two bloggers above Davecat and French Maid Character (not in a twin-goldfish-from-different-ponds way, but in a ‘koi versus carp’ way) and his applaudable diary and opinion-observation blog is riddled with wry insights and outsights. Here is an (edited) excerpt:
    Maybe I should just let this play itself out. I imagine most of my recent health problems are due to this wretched house I live in, with it's dusty vents, leaky pipes, and roommates who smoke and cough everywhere — and of course the cat who leaves a thick trail of hair in his wake. The only reason I've stayed here so long is because the cat is adorable, the roommates are funny and lovable and my bedroom is really quite amazingly large. Plus, I really hate moving more than anything. But now that I've started to "fall apart" I think it's time for a change. I'm also going to try acupuncture, or Reiki (I can't decide.)

  • 'Rezzee' and many others (like 'Raven' and 'Shamantic! The Wise') at rezzee's blog and unfounded shamanic shifting and powerful foolish wondering are docent questioners, anxious to listen and more willing to understand, who can be — occasionally — overly mellifluous, bordering on obfuscation, but who troll through the effluvium (each in their own applaudable way) only to return with sharable bounty which will enhance their reader’s knowledge (and maybe, awareness). These are (edited and paraphrased) excerpts from their insightfully interesting, blogs:
    We do our best to keep up with the latest and greatest in as many fields as possible, while all the time recognizing our personal insights can never oppose higher reason and scientifically tested findings, but must complement science and reason whenever the bigger picture is revealed (no matter what temporary contradiction now seems to appear). Yet, the main reason we study the external sciences is for the sheer wonder of it!

    Fear signals that something needs to shift (lest something in reality becomes a danger, rather than merely instructive — closer to a nightmare than a creative dream). When considering: global warming, what I fear is the attitude in which our society is mired, combined with all the heartless arguing and line-drawing. The global warming fuss, as I perceive it, is arguing for the sake of arguing and has more to do with attention-seeking and political strategizing than the actual expression of fear caused by an impending doom.

  • 'Aibee' (Anna) at aibiffity writes (mostly, now) about her fecundity. Albeit focused in scope, she writes very lucidly about her thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions which have placed her on the road to becoming a mother. Here is an (edited) excerpt:
    I wanted a child who was better than me, so I chose a donor who was. He was the student I've never been, a musician and a thinker. That donor is lost to me now. The donor I got is someone who, while lovely, won't give this child the pieces missing in me.

    I fear for my child, I fear it being the sum of our deficits.

    From my donor’s perspective though, he said when we discussed this (and I use the term loosely, because, what do you call a conversation that starts and ends with his sentiments: if only it had happened differently?...Oh, I'm stuck on the if-only’s also, but I'm an introverted, rational, problem solver, so use my angst as a platform for solutions. He's, well, he's just stuck.) that he got someone who, if he could have chosen, had the attributes he'd want in the mother of his child.

    I got someone who's good at soccer.

  • 'Bucky Four-Eyes' at The Bucky Four-Eyes Cotillion is the US of A’s northern-bookend to Spoonleg’s southern one. They are similar in prose, prolificacy and pragmaticism (or lack thereof) while the writers are wildly different in almost every way. Here is an (edited) excerpt:
    Apes, chimps, baboons, they're all monkeys to me. I am not a zoologist, and I may not even be continent, so allow me my sloppy species identification.

    In any case, eventually we found ourselves in front of the chimpanzee exhibit, where some chimps napped and a few pranced and cavorted for our amusement. We were standing in the middle of a decent-sized group of strangers when one of the female chimps flopped down on her back and flung her legs as wide open as they would go. We were lookin' right into the heart of her monkey allure. A few people politely suppressed giggles.

    Not my husband. He laughed heartily, and then said — loud enough to be heard in the fucking butterfly house, "Hey! She looks just like YOU, honey!"

    I just stood completely still and prayed for the monkeyhouse people to disperse and stop staring at me like...well, like the chimp with her ankles behind her ears.

    The whole thing just makes me paranoid about my shaving habits.

  • 'FIST' at The Sagas of a Fist in a City, a relative newcomer in my Standing Ovationables, contains stark, stolid, yet tensile prose authored by a rhetorician now fisting the big-city whom I greatly admire (regardless of his contemporary author disdain). Here is an (edited) excerpt from his fantastically descriptive and poetic blog:
    Glowing from window to floor — then on towels, back of the door: orange streetlight streams in a dense diagonal. As splinter-glints from splashes wave along, off, from, white enamel, Fist gives a finger to the sky of night and city light, outside, as he drops deeper down in the width of warmth. The demands of the day almost past — silent, still, alone at last…only for a moment. Until the arrival of…the corner of a cherry tomato; slipped out from the well of anus, circling the tree of the leg, dragged by the sloshing current to the land's-end-of-toe — before dawdling along to settle on the plain-like expanse of gut. Beautiful thing!

  • Catherine Thatch at laughingsky is a prolific and talented writer of period (periodical? — sorry, you’ll have to read her to understand this inside joke) speculative fiction; her commentary-type Standing Ovational blog is optimistically focused on life and — mostly — celebrates the glass containing a half-glimpse of full-ocean breeze. Here’s an (edited) excerpt:
    I never planned my off-the-face-of-the-Earth drop, before. But I'm glad I did, because of what I learned: planning-time is wasted-time. I now know, by experience, that I had it right all along: I just needed to step off the damn flight deck, right then, without contemplation. And not heed the words of the well intentioned (who wanted me to live life by their example). Abandoning my instinct-guided impulse — my Zen way — was a mistake.

    Planning is not for me. When people take the time to plan their large life changes, they fear the change! During the time spent planning they come to realize all the opportunities for chaos to reign and things to 'go wrong', they suffer anticipation stress, and they experience disappointment when their plan unravels (as it always does). I like my way, and now that I’ve tried it their way, I know that for sure.

    Although my mind will never be closed to doing things differently, I’ll never tell my gut to shut up and listen to the real adults ever again.

  • Miram Jones, at scribblingwoman, seems to voraciously comb thru, troll the depths of, and poach from the web of internets — providing incalculable (in both quantity and quality) amounts of links. This, combined with her applaudable book and art recommendations, is a place for every one-stop-blog-hopper. Here is an (edited) excerpt:
    I went to bed with a migraine. This means that I took some meds then ensconced myself in a complicated apparatus of pillows, ice packs, eye-shades and ear plugs. The Jinker Boy hovered, solicitous.

    When I woke up a few hours later, after he had gone to bed, I found myself surrounded by a number of very small toys tucked into the crook of my shoulder and leaning up against my head. There was one in my hand.

    And my headache was gone.


  • 'Scoots' and his friends over at Yes But Still ... study human nature and provide their unique brand of slant on routine Gen-Y nothingness (not Seinfeldesque exactly, but forked from the same Big Salad) even though none of the YBS contributors should fear the 'wordy' brand, Scoots can shine a humorous glow-stick with his prolific insights. Here are (edited) excerpts:
    Never try to enter an ongoing conversation, which you've had no part in, by throwing out a witty rejoinder that will cement you in legend forever: it never works. However, remarkably similar arsenals of cultural references can allow for a synergistic effect to take conversations on completely bizarre paths.

    "The next time I speak to a girl who isn't sleeping with three other guys, I'll be sure not to involve Bob Saget," is one such statement.

    But, all appearances to the contrary, I have yet to reach the true gist of my post, which is this, and by "this" I mean the bit of this sentence preceding "which is this."

  • 'Kirihargie' (Kirstin) who can be seen at noncestralite, among other places, is an artist extraordinaire with wonderfully attuned — innate — eye-sense, which she relates into intimate images and words (which, at times, may include intricately personal thoughts and shots, which others may be unable to fathom or find relevant). Here is one selection of many:

  • Laurie at divinities has an uncanny awareness of a story’s pacing and an extremely engaging tone, making her one of the most entertaining writers in the daily-diary niche (it’s amazing she isn’t writing romance novels for a living) although I can’t relate to her on any level other than that of 'loyal reader,' I consistently enjoy her finely-tuned life vignette’s. Here is an (edited) excerpt:
    “He's in love with me," she offered, taking a sip of her Malibu Rum and pineapple juice drink.

    "Oh, is he?" I asked.

    "Yeah. Which kind of works out for me, because when I was asked to be in this wedding, I said 'Well, only if I can find someone to sleep with in the wedding party.' And, as it turns out, Jason's not half bad. Besides, I don't have anyone else, so, you know..."

    She laughed, but I couldn't figure out if she was joking. I took another look at Jason, spinning furiously now around the other dancers on the floor, making himself dizzy and laughing out loud. I looked back at Amy, perfectly put together in her bridesmaid ensemble. Not a hair out of place. The makeup she wore on her delicate features was flawless. Her teeth were impossibly white. I looked back at Jason. He was doubled over near the stage, trying to catch his breath and reclaim his ability to see straight.

    "Are you kidding me?" I asked.

  • John Bailey's writing and art, at journal of a writing man, comes from the mind of a calm but exceptionally creative non-fiction writer and painter. Although his palette is conservative in it's structure and tone, relative to most elderly British gentlemen, he’s positively flamboyant. Here's an (edited) excerpt:
    "Right. People have been getting wonky legs and stuff since time began. Nothing new in it."

    And there isn't, of course, unless I care to take a sour note and point out that it's new for me. I'm not inclined to be sour about it, though, even if I do need, and seek, a good kick up the backside now and then when the miseries come a'calling.

    So, I did the big sigh thing, pulled out my paint box and brushes, taped a postcard onto my small drawing board, closed my eyes and... out popped the below rural cottage scene. Triggered by an isolated house I saw by a small inland loch on Skye, if I have it right. Doesn't matter, of course. I'm still enjoying doing the postcards, and I confess that my head is filled with similar scenes just now. It'd be rather nice to be out in the fresh air sketching them from life. But for the moment, I'm not inclined to wander far from home. I need to be on hand to make tea.

  • Dana at Sepia-Tone Dreams matches her ability to analyze and become self-aware with her ability to write, albeit with a distinctly candid voice in her diary-type blog, (which misses being Standing Ovational only because of infrequent posts, even though when she does write it can be novella-length). Here is an (edited) excerpt:
    Why am I going across the entire country to a hospital, at no small expense? Because it's a specialty facility, which deals with women with dissociative disorders like I have. One of the difficulties of dealing with this kind of mental illness is there aren't many psychologists who specialize in it. So, years of therapy are often wasted in trying to address symptoms (anger issues, bipolar or borderline issues, post traumatic stress, alcohol and drug abuse, sexual and intimacy issues) and not with the disorder causing them. Often because (like with me) it goes undiagnosed for so long. So I'll be going through some fairly intensive therapy designed to help integrate the "various alts" I've created to deal with past trauma, and—to a lesser degree—my everyday life. Which makes me think of a scene in my favorite movie where Wesley (as Dread Pirate Roberts) tells Princess Buttercup: "Life is pain, Highness. Anyone telling you different is selling something".

    And, while life isn't all pain, in the past I've focused so much on that aspect, I sometimes forget about the joys.

  • 'Penda' (MontiLee) can be found at The Diner at Penda’s Relm, (among others places) but her diner is a great place to read about interestingly morbid world-happenings couched in pointed, witty, commentary (not exactly Daily Show commentary, but not more than a few cushions away), and also some extremely superior fiction and creative non-fiction-with-a-smirk (the best flavor). Here is an (edited) excerpt:
    The women knocked on my door and asked if I had anything to kill wasps which had taken up residence in two old cars they'd just sold. They are sweet, these women, and older — and once you get past the gruff exterior, they have amazing wit. They are women who have lived life fighting and getting fought, and they are fun to talk to. I set out to help.

    Once the new owner of the vehicles arrived, a brother-in-law of one of the women, I decided to hang around because this guy didn’t look like the quickest cat on the freeway. She’d been making jokes about his mental capacity since before he arrived. He looked like a dirty Homer and smelled like old oily rags. He hooked up cables between his car and one of the dewasped cars, started his, and then told my neighbor, "okay, start her up."

    I said, "It’s a dead battery. You need to let it charge about ten minutes before you can try to start it." But I, apparently, had phased into a space-time parallel where all he could hear from me is what sounds like the buzzing of insects. I sighed audibly and watched as one of the well-meaning women tried to start the car. Nothing happened. What a surprise. Dirty Homer fiddled with the cables (because that must be the problem) and told her to try again. The car cranked but didn’t turn over.

    "You can try to jump it, but it’s a dead cell and may need a complete recharge," I said. It must have came out as white noise. I then said, "For ten bucks, the guy at the corner station will put it on his charger for an hour."

    He—and I’m not kidding—swatted at his ear.

  • Danielle Thorburn at Fluffmuppet takes on NYC is a keen-eyed artist with a unique and playful flair in her digital renderings, opinion pieces, and creative non-fiction stories, although her blog’s productivity is prone to tide-like fluctuations, it remains Standing Ovationable. Here is an (edited) excerpt:
    I did some hardcore thinking on those concrete steps, taking in the vibe of my new house and settling into singledom (sometimes wondering if what mum told me about sitting on concrete and hemorrhoids were true). I was never alone out there, though; somewhere in my sight would be a neighborhood cat, skulking around a rose bush or walking like a supermodel on the chain link fence. I wooed those kitties with bodega cat food and scraps from the fish shop. I made them my furry new mates. Soon enough a mama cat brought her kittens over to meet me, I would hand feed them, imagining that I was like a urban Diane Fossy taming the wild beasts of the Brooklyn Jungle. And it wasn't long before I made mental notes of what boy cat shagged what girl cat and whose babies came from whom. I concentrated mainly on the cats which hung-out in neighbor’s yards and mine. I came up with this:

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