Tag: writing

Creative Mondays #001 – An Introduction


To me, being creative is something that has become second nature.  It is now like breathing or blinking to me.  I just have to create.  I’m not saying all of it is good, but I just have this, almost instinctive, desire to constantly create things.

It has actually been that way for a very long time.  As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to ‘put on a show.’  I can remember recording the audio from cartoons off of television and then rounding up neighborhood kids and putting them through rehearsals to act out the cartoons in front of our parents.  When mom and dad would have friends over I would organize the kids to do a lip sync number or something and then drag all the parents to watch it at some point in the evening.  As a kid I also loved to draw, though I was never any good at it.  I’m still not but I continue to do so anyway.  I also loved to sing along with records and strum on plastic guitar (though I didn’t know any chords).  I was just always trying to think of someway to entertain people.

I was very lucky.  My parents encouraged all this.  Sure, they would have liked me to focus a little more on my studies and less on drawing or writing, but they never told me I couldn’t pursue these passions.  As I reached high school and started getting involved in theatre and band, they became very involved.  Mom in the Drama Boosters and dad building sets for the shows.  Again, I know exactly how lucky I am to have had that support and that is largely responsible for why creating is so important to me now.

At the beginning of 2012, for some odd reason, I just started posting daily Facebook posts and Tweets on Twitter that shared a short thought on some aspect of creating.  I would sometimes sit down and think of them for the week or sometimes I would just go day after day coming up with one for each day.  These daily postings seemed to catch on with people resulting in a lot of ‘Likes’ and ‘ReTweets.’  People would message me privately and let me know the little quotes were inspiring them to be creative in their daily lives and one person even wrote that because of these daily postings, they had left their full time job, partially, to pursue a creative career.  Whoa, that’s heavy.

After a couple of weeks of these daily postings, I started to run dry.  I had been keeping good track of them, but all the new thoughts I was coming up with were either duplicates of or very similar too ones I had put out earlier, so I stopped.  But, as I said, I was keeping good track of them and the thought hit me to take each little thought and then write a three hundred to five hundred word piece on each of them and release them on this blog every Monday.  My goal is to do this for a whole year so that by the end of 2014 I’ll have 52 short pieces on different aspects of creativity.  I already have fifteen written, not including this intro post, so it’ll continue for fifteen weeks at least.

I would really love this to become something interactive as well.  I’d love to hear your feedback on this “Creative Mondays” project as a whole and the weekly posts when they come out.  Also, if you feel so inclined, I welcome you to share these posts with anyone you feel would enjoy them.  Also, at the end of each piece I will post a question or prompt and I’d love for you to post your response in the comments below.  Feel free to interact with other readers as well.  Though creativity is not a decisive tops, I ask you please keep discussion civil and supportive.  Comments will be moderated.  Let’s get a really good creative discussion going!

See you next week for Creative Mondays #001!

This week’s prompt….

Introduce yourself and tell us what your main creative passion is.  (Writing?  Drawing?  Painting?  Sculpting?  Woodworking?  Digital art? Etc.)  Tell us in the comments below!

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Wednesday Words – Good Dog

Good Dog
By Grant Baciocco

“Don’t go in the field.” Timmy’s mother had told him before he and Maisy had left the house.

“I should have listened.” his brain now said to himself as he held onto the root for dear life.  He had been chasing a rabbit with Maisy and had not seen the sinkhole that had recently appeared next to the giant oak that stood in the middle of the large field behind the farm where he lived with his family.  Luckily, he had been able to get a good grip on a root as he’d fallen and it had stopped his fall.  He hung on for dear life as he looked below him.

The drop was about twenty feet down.  He realized if he did fall he’d probably hit the sides of the wall before the bottom so at least the drop wouldn’t kill him.  It hadn’t killed the rabbit who was down at the bottom of the hole, now starting to hop around and sniff for a way out of the pit herself.  He looked up and he could see the blue sky through the bare branches of the oak.  He was about five feet from the lip of the hole.  His eyes searched frantically for something he could climb up to the edge, as the root he now clung to would only raise him about a foot or two.

Below him, the rabbit started screaming.  Startled, Timmy looked down and saw it was frantically trying to scramble up the slick walls of the sinkhole but kept tumbling back down.  Looking closer he saw something move in the shadows below him.  Seconds later, his mind snapped into focus that there was nothing in the shadows that was moving, the shadows themselves were moving.  A buzzing grew louder in his ears.  Squinting harder he saw at least twenty rattlesnakes squirming all over themselves to cross the expanse at the bottom to the terrified rabbit.  There was a nest at the bottom of the hole.  This is why his mother had warned him against playing in the field.

His grip on the root tightened even more.  Sweat began to form all over his body.  Again he looked up for some way to boost himself to the lip, but there was nothing but slick muddy walls.  The frantic screaming below him grew louder as the snakes attacked the rabbit.  Though he’d told himself not to, he looked down as the snake’s venom finally paralyzed the rabbit, silencing her cries, and they began fighting each other for the right to devour the poor creature.  “At least Maisy didn’t fall in.” he found himself thinking.

“Maisy!”  he said out loud, remembering his dog.  “Maisy!  Maisy!” he called loudly, partially to drown out the sounds of the disgusting feast happening below him.  “Maisy!”

Seconds later the familiar, soft face of his golden retriever appeared over the edge.  She sniffed the air and then caught his eye.

“Good girl Maisy!” Timmy breathed, his body weakening from the grip he was applying to the root above him.  “Maisy, go home girl!  G0 home and get mom!”

Maisy cocked her head as if trying to understand.  Timmy repeated, “Go home girl.  Get Mom!  Bring her back!  Hurry!  Hurry girl!  Go home!”

Maisy couldn’t understand most of the words her friend Timmy was now yelling up at her.  She was a dog and, unlike dogs seen following a multitude of commands on television, she was not too bright.  She leaned he head closer to Timmy to try and understand.  As she did, the smell of a fresh kill filled her nostrils and, for the first time, she saw the carnage happening below Timmy.

“Maisy!” Timmy yelled again, regaining Maisy’s focus, “Go home and get mom!”

Maisy listened intently to him again.

“Go home?” she thought, letting the words circle around in her brain.  She knew these words.  She new where ‘home’ was.  She knew what ‘go’ meant.  “Go home.”  She understood this.  Even though Maisy was not the sharpest knife in the drawer, she was obedient.  So, she went home.

An hour later, Maisy sat on the back porch of the farmhouse and looked out across the field waiting for her friend Timmy to emerge and praise her for being so good.

She had gone home.

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Wednesday Words – The Laugh

The Laugh
by Grant Baciocco

Christopher checked in and made his way up to his hotel room. He hung up his shirts, moved things around in his hotel room to just the way he liked them and decided to see if he could strike out and get some dinner before it got too much later. His flight had arrived at 9:34PM and by the time the taxi had pulled up to the hotel, it was already closing in on an hour later.

He made sure his hotel key card was in his back right pocket, where he always kept it when he traveled, and he made sure the TV was on and to Do Not Disturb sign was hung on the door. He slipped out into the hallway.

Six floors later he was in the lobby. Barry, the night concierge, regretfully informed Christopher that as far as food went, it was only fast food places that were open nearby. Barry then suggested the hotel bar that would be serving a small selection of appetizers, but the kitchen was due to close in nine minutes at 11PM.

Christopher hated hotel bars. There was just something depressing about them. In big cities, they were sparsely populated by zombie-like business travelers like himself or, as in a small town like this, they were filled with noisy locals who thought the local hotel bar was the perfect setting for retirement parties, promotion celebrations or after work gossip sessions. Not having the stomach for fast food, he decided to take his chances with the bar.

The disheveled hostess, who was too busy erasing the Daily Special board to even look up at Christopher, told him he had to sit at the bar and order directly from the bartender, but he had to hurry. They were closing. Her disdain for his late arrival dripping from every utterance.

Christopher stepped down the three steps into the restaurant and crossed to the bar. The bartender was talking to the only other patron in the place, a man in his late twenties. Christopher figured he’d get faster service if he pulled up within a stool or two of the bartender, just to the left of the young man. The two were in deep conversation, but the bartender acknowledged Christopher and put a laminated menu and a cocktail napkin down in front of him.

Christopher quickly scanned the menu. It was the usual bar appetizer fare: mozzarella sticks, calamari, nachos. When a break in the conversation between the bartender and the young man arose, Christopher ordered a fruit and cheese plate and a water. He didn’t feel like eating fried food so close to bed and though fruit was not his favorite, it was the best he was going to do until morning.

The bartender nodded and punched his order into the computer, the bar was so small Christopher could hear the printer in the kitchen printing it out. The bartender placed the water down in front of Christopher and turned back to the young man.

“What’s her name?” the bartender asked.

“Jennifer.” the young man replied. A big smile crossing his lips.

They continued to talk. Christopher quickly deduced that Jennifer was this young man’s wife. Business had taken him from her for over a week now and he was a little maudlin to be far from her for so long.

Christopher pretended to busy himself with his phone while he listened as the young man spoke about how he had met her. They’d gone to college together and the young man’s best friend had initially pursued her, but a few months after their dates had fizzled out, the two met at a lecture about the art of Salvador Dali. They wound up going out a few nights later and the rest, as they say, was history.

He spoke about how their interests and desires lined up perfectly. She was beautiful, smart, sexy and she made him laugh.

“Laugh?” the bartender said.

“Yeah,” the kid smiled. Then, as if a light bulb had gone on over his head, he snapped his fingers and dug into his pants pocket. He pulled out his iPhone. He slid his thumb across it to unlock it and tapped in his passcode. He excitedly spoke as he thumbed through the apps on his phone.

“About a month or so ago, we’d gone out for dinner on a Saturday night with some friends. We got home about 11:30 or so and Saturday Night Live was on.” His giddiness was growing as his story progressed. “You know that guy Macklemore who sings Thrift Shop?”

The bartender nodded. Christopher didn’t know the name but he’d heard the song a time or two.

“Well he was the musical guest and, of course he plays Thrift Shop.” By this point the young guy could barely complete a sentence without a deep chuckle erupting from within him. He turned his phone to landscape mode and spun it so the bartender and Christopher, who was no longer hiding his interest in the story, could both see the screen. He hit the play arrow and the video began.

“The song comes on and she just starts dancing around the living room. She didn’t know I was recording her.”

There, on the tiny screen was Jennifer, in their living room, still dressed from the evening out and she is dancing carefree as can be around the living room, Thrift Shop blaring from the TV and into the bar via the phone’s tiny speaker. The three men watched the video closely and the young man just starts laughing loudly. He’s watching the screen as if it’s the first time he’s seen this woman. The first time he’s seen her be goofy. His whole face is lit up as he watched her dance about their tiny apartment, her long black hair swaying in front of her face, arms flailing. Lost in the music.

The bartender found it amusing. Christopher even cracked a smile. The young man was riveted, watching her every move, mimicking each move slightly, indicating he’d watched this video many times. Yet, each laugh was a new laugh as if he discovered something new and hilarious in every frame.

Christopher realized that the young man was no longer in the bar anymore. The young man was so in love with this woman, so amused by her every move, he was back at home on the couch watching her dance. Watching her dance and laughing. Laughing the deep laugh of true love.

Less than a minute later the video was over and, still snickering the young man slipped the phone back into his pocket. He then stood, paid his tab, said his good evenings to the bartender and turning, nodded at Christopher and left the bar leaving Christopher alone with his fruit plate and the bartender with his closing duties.

Christopher worked his way through the slices of melon, pineapple and the handful of grapes. He left the cheese. As he finished his water he stood and dug a ten dollar bill out of his wallet. He put it on the counter and with a nod to the bartender he walked up and out of the bar.

Six floors later he was at his door and once inside, he slipped off his shoes, hung his pants and shirt and put on his sweats. He brushed his teeth and his stomach gurgled. He’d have to get something more substantial food wise in the morning.

He lay down on the bed and clicked on the television, he flipped through the 30 channels of nothing and settled on an old black and white movie on TCM. He set the timer on the TV for 30 minutes and leaned back against the stack of pillows he’d piled up for himself.

As the black and white hues flickered in the room, he found himself not watching the movie, but thinking about the young man in the hotel bar. The young man and his laugh. The, incredibly beautiful, laugh of deep love he had for his Jennifer.

As Christopher drifted off to sleep, he wondered if he’d ever laugh that laugh.

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2013 Goals Part 1

“Announcing your plans is a good way to hear God laugh.” – Al Swearengen, HBO’s Deadwood.

I’m dragging my hinder getting my 2013 goals written down because the job search is sucking the very life out of every fiber of my being.  I have, however, had the goals I’d like to get accomplished in 2013 rattling around my in my head and have a few moments to get at least some of them down.

– Get a job –

Self explanatory.  I’m on this one.  Been on it for months.  Hoping something comes through soon.  Very, very soon.  In the meantime: www.HireGrant.com

– See the Grand Canyon –

Grand Canyon
Copyright by Moyan Brenn

I don’t have the finances to plan a big fancy trip this year.  Luckily I’ll have a job taking me to Austin in May so that’ll be some travel.  But I wanted to get some sort of ‘no business’ travel on the books that I can look forward to.  I have only seen the Grand Canyon from the cabin of an airplane and I’ve always wanted to see it so that’s my travel goal for 2013.  See the Grand Canyon.

It’s only about 8 hours away by car, so I figure this is pretty doable. Perhaps I can even book a few gigs on the way to make it all a write off.  But even if I can’t, I want to see the Grand Canyon in 2013.   Not sure is I’ll go rafting (never done that) or ride a burro down to the bottom, but I’m excited to make this happen.

Will I walk out on the Skywalk?  I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.  (Sometimes afraid of heights.)

– Time Skippers –

In February 2011, I finished writing my first ‘young adult’ novella.  It’s a 20,000 plus word story called Time Skippers.  I wrote the first draft out by hand.  Then I did a rewrite as I typed it into Scrivener.  Once that was done I had it proofread from spelling/grammar and then printed out two copies.  One I gave to my mother (a voracious reader) and one to a good friend who is a published author and very graciously offered to read it.  My mom, of course, said she loved it and said she can give a more detailed critique, but we’ve yet to do so.  My author friend read it and, to be polite, gave me a major (and appreciated) ass kicking.  The ass kicking though made me shy away from getting back to doing another rewrite.  Recently, I’ve been thinking more and more I should drag it out and, you know, do something with it.  So towards the end of 2013 I printed out three more copies.  Two went to friends and the third went to an English teacher from high school.  I’m expecting critiques back from them very soon

So, for 2013, my goal is to do another rewrite of Time Skippers once those critiques are in.  Then, if I can find a good editor (and afford it) get it professionally edited and then…get it out into the world.  The plan, I’m thinking right now, will be to get it professionally read and recored and put it out piece and piece as a podcast much like Scott Sigler or Mur Lafferty do.  If there’s enough interest, I’ll explore self publishing.  But who knows, maybe the podcast will become so WILDLY popular I’ll get a book deal (Ha!).  I’ll never know till I out it out though, right?  So coming in 2013…Time Skippers.

The other main reason behind wanting to get it out is because I actually have two other books half written, but I’m forcing myself to get Time Skippers ‘done’ before I work on working on those two.

That’s it for goals right now.  Much more on the way.  But I’ll wrap up this post by giving you the synopsis of Time Skippers.

Temp logo for the book.

“When thirteen year old Maureen Kell is forced to stay with her recently widowed Grandmother, she prepares for the most boring Spring Break in recorded history.  Little does Maureen know she’ll soon become PART of recorded history after a group of mysterious strangers attack her Grandmother’s house and her Grandmother saves her from capture by sending her back in time to 1775 with the mystical practice of Time Skipping!  Now Maureen has to find her way back to the present and figure out a way to rescue her Grandmother, all before her parents return to pick her up at the end of the week!”

And without giving too much away, The Grand Canyon makes a cameo in the book.  Hmmm, maybe that trip can be a write off after all.  Research!

Have a great week!

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