Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Creativity with a Deadline

I know I have no excuse for not keep this blog updated regularly, and the guilt weighs heavy on my shoulders because I have failed to keep my end of the blog a week goal I proposed at the beginning of the year. Over the next few weeks I hope to rectify my failures of the past by pumping out a number of high quality blogs at the rate of Ford factories in the 30’s.

During my hiatus I’ve learned a few lessons about creativity; one: the only way a person isn’t creative is if they don’t try and two: it doesn’t have to come natural to be quality.

On consecutive weekends around the beginning of the month I tested myself in feats of creativity with a hard deadline. I realized as much as I just want to sit around a wait for the muse to put me in a trance where I have the ability to shit out golden nuggets, it seems I have an uncanny knack to put of making something until my back is up against the wall with the demon-like creature, in the shape of a deadline, breathing steaming timelines in my face.

The fact is that I’ve known this for a long time, but I tricked myself into believing otherwise. When I was in high school, I never started a paper until the night before it was due. There was one time that I actually sat down, planned out the paper and finished it with enough time to be edited by more than my parents the morning before it was due. The week prior to the deadline I beamed with pseudo-confidence, not from writing a quality paper, but from following the said rules for getting an “A” on a paper. There was no doubt I’d get an “A,” and when the day arrived to have the papers handed back, I sat tall knowing the golden fleece of proper writing technique would shield me from a poor grade. Then the teacher started to talk about all the mishaps students made. As he spoke, I realized I committed every one of the writing blunders he shunned. The golden fleece evaporated leaving a residue of guilt that couldn’t be covered up with the knowledge that I’d followed procedure. He ended the speech by saying “this was the shittiest batch of papers I’ve ever read.” Needless to say I wasn’t surprised when the giant red “D” stared back at me.

From that day on, I swore to stick with what I knew worked; put off the paper to the last possible moment and then crank out the gems. This process reached the peak of efficiency during one of my last semesters of college when I had a ten-page term paper due for my five o’clock class. I didn’t even write my name on the page until noon the day it was due. I cranked out an “A” product with the professors comments of; “This is an extremely interesting paper on an extremely interesting topic. Nice Work.”

Then I graduated and all deadlines vanished from my life. Now, I sit at my computer and painstakingly write draft after draft of short stories I’ll never send out. Even if I did finish one, I would go through six drafts before I would consider it near the realm of a started work worth pursuing. Yet, my sub-conscious was catching up with me. Most nights when I went to bed I had elaborate dreams that involved me running from some sort of demonic presence. I reasoned that it was nothing more than the result of playing too much Mrs. Pac-Man before I went to sleep, but, in reality, it was the only available outlet to simulate my need for a deadline. I need that ominous time stalking my every move to get me moving in the direction of creativity. In the next two blogs under this title, I will be sharing the fruits of my creative endeavors, whose sole existence is directly related to the fact they were held to the standard of deadlines.

Creativity with a Deadline 2

Towards the beginning of the month I was giving a link to a 24-hour short story contest. My days were filled with reading, watching movies and too much drinking, so, I reasoned I could take one day out of my schedule of nothing to write a short story. I had paid for six years of tuition to learn how to write, and thus figured the five-dollar entry fee was appropriate despite not having any type of job. I realized when I signed up for the contest that 24 hours was not a long time, but that didn’t stop me from procrastinating. I didn’t even type my first word on the story until the deadline was less than twelve hours away. I figured it was just as important to keep the routine of closing the bars on Friday night as it was to get this story completed. I got home, made myself some coffee and a bowl of Mac ‘n Cheese and then finally began writing. I finished the story with three hours to spare. I’m not saying that I have a semi-colon’s chance in an encyclopedia to be picked as the winner, (I’m betting the contest is ran more like a raffle than an actual contest) but I am really proud of the work I pumped out. Here is the topic and word count followed by my contribution to the contest. (fyi- during the time of the contest I was reading a lot of Jorge Luis Borges and was obsessed with magic-realism)

Mosquitoes buzzed, but kept their distance as the aroma of
insect repellent overpowered the smoke coming from the dying campfire. The counselor was getting to the good part of the ghost story and the campers were all quiet, straining to hear the raspy whispers of the protagonist. The sudden sound of footsteps approaching on the pine needle carpet silenced the group. All heads turned simultaneously and the little girls screamed when a man emerged from the tree line, dressed in torn clothing and carrying a pack. The pack started to move as an infant's startled cry joined the panicked chorus...


WORD COUNT Stories for today's topic must not exceed 1050

Age of Accountability

Christopher C. Gilmore

The evening’s chapel concluded with a Q and A session with the preacher. As the children sat in an unorganized mass of innocence, Art and the other counselors snuck out the back door to verify the night’s plans.

While the campers asked questions about original sin and the age of accountability, the adults debated the acceptableness of telling ghost stories around the campfire. One leader suggested the message of terror would be counteractive to the message of hope that the camp was founded on, and to spread nothing less than that message would be an injustice to the parents and the children. While Art listened to both sides of the argument, he could feel the tension in the room begin to mount. He quickly decided the plans would proceed with the justification that a summer camp with out ghost stories was like a prom without dancing.

Meanwhile, little Matty was given the privilege of asking the last question of the night. He asked pastor Mark, “When do you know when you’ve reached the age of accountability?”

Mark’s reply was simple; “Before you reach the age of accountability you won’t fear death. In fact, you’ll embrace it and look forward to returning home. On the other hand, after you’ve reached the age of accountability there will be nothing more that you want to do than go back to the time when you were right with God. (beat) Once again children, thank you for your attention tonight, and if you’ll bow your heads with me I’ll ask our Lord to bless your spooky evening in the woods.”

After the prayer, the children rushed from the rustic stone chapel to gather their jackets and canteens and be the first to meet back at iron bell in the center of camp. When the last of the children arrived, Art pointed the legion of campers towards the mountain, and watched as the counselors lead the children to the fire pit at the brink of the forest. He patted his back pocket to confirm he brought the book of scary stories, as he took up the rear of the group.

By the time the group reached the fire pit there was already a giant fire blazing. Art had suggested that his counselors tell the children that the fire lit itself on the nights when there was the most evil in the forest. The lie worked on the majority of the children except for cabins three and nine, who were a little suspicious about their counselor’s sudden arrival at the bonfire after being absent the entire hike.

Art handed the book to Jerry, the theatre major of the staff, and found a seat in the last row of circular pine benches. As soon as the story began, Art felt a tug on his shirtsleeve. It’s little Matty.

“What is it, Matt?”

“I have to go to the bathroom.”

“If you want, you can just go out in the woods. It’ll be okay this time.”

“No, I can’t”

Art stood and made eye contact with one of the other counselors. He pointed to Matty and mouthed the word bathroom. The leader of cabin seven nodded and turned back to the story.

“Alright, buddy, lets head back down the mountain.”

When they got far enough from the light of the bonfire and the exaggerated story, Art flipped on his flashlight. At that moment Matty asked, “What time is it?”

Art looked at his watch curiously and replied, “That’s strange. My watched stopped. But I’m betting it’s about nine twenty.” If Art had kept looking at his watch he would have noticed that his watch stopped only for that exact moment. The very next moment the clock would resume. However, it would resume progress backwards, and with each step forward the time would exponentially move backwards. Now, if little Matty had had a watch of his own, not only would he have not had to ask the time, but he would also notice his clock was moving forward at the same rate that Art’s was moving backwards.

Halfway down the mountain Art realized his eyes were directly even with Matt’s eyes, but he gave it only a second’s thought before he was distracted by the bouncing circle of light being projected onto the trail ahead. Matt also noticed, but the pressure on his bladder forbid him to give too much credence to it.

In nearly no time at all, Matt could see the lights of the camp in the valley. He looked back at Art, who was now nearly a full foot shorter than him, and said, “I gotta go. Wait for me outside the bathrooms.”

Matt took off running. Art couldn’t yell fast enough to tell him to wait for him, and could only listen as he heard the pounding of feet on the trail and the tearing of fabric. He just picked up a rock and threw it in the direction Matt had run.

After Matt had relieved himself, he left the bathroom, but didn’t see Art anywhere. He called out for the head counselor, but his calls were answered with silence. Thinking Art may not have arrived yet, he began to walk back up the trail. Not even twenty yards from the bathroom he found the flashlight Art was carrying. As he bent down to pick it up, he saw a pile of clothes only an arm’s length from the flashlight. He knelt over the sprawled out flannel shirt and saw something wiggling inside. He pulled back the collar of the shirt and saw a tiny infant. When he reached down to pick he child up, he felt a wiry tingle of a beard on his bare chest and noticed that his clothes where in shreds. Ignoring the impulse to worry about what mother would say, he simply picked up the baby and ran towards the bonfire.

When he heard the pronounced voice of Jerry, he knew he was close. When he saw the light, he jumped back into the circle where a chorus of shrill screams met him. Matt froze as he felt a vice-like squeeze on his heart. He clutched the small child and fell back to the ground. He stared at the sky and said, “Lord, your child is coming.”

Creativity with a Deadline 3

The very next weekend after the short story contest, I, along with an amazing production company, entered the 48 hour film competition. This was the same premise as the short story contest, only with celluloid, or in our case high-definition digital images. The team got the genre, character, prop and line on Friday night and racked out brains to the wee hours of Saturday morning to come up with a worthy script to shoot. The next two days we shot and edited a short I am really proud of. It didn’t hurt our team had the Mike Jordan of cinemaphotography and editing. Its like if Jordan was also as good at baseball as he was basketball, but instead of those two sports it was shooting and editing films. We didn’t win that contest, but that is because of outside circumstances that are still too tender to discuss. Following is the requirements for the film and the film. Enjoy!

Genre: Spy movie
Character: Tattoo artist named Kenny or Kendra Coulter
Prop: A pie
Line of Dialogue: “So, you think you’re pretty clever, huh?”

Friday, July 13, 2007

Stream of Consciousness to fill a Bathtub

The day was hardly over for most people, and for William the day had barely begun. Yet, the stress of nearly burning himself on the smooth side of the toasted bagel and almost using a dirty knife, that was mistakenly placed back into the silverware drawer, to spread his cream cheese, was enough to justify taking a bath with a couple of Coors Originals. The tub filled as William set the two beers on the edge of rug next to the tub.

- that water looks a little dirtier than last time, when did I clean my bathroom last? Oh, yeah, but I didn’t wash the tub, It didn’t need it, every other time is good enough, I just have to make sure the water doesn’t get too dirty, Every time I take a bath is the time when I wipe my ass the best, That is a given, the artistic element comes from the simplicity of that statement.

William flushes the toilet and submerges his right foot first.

- that is warm, you’ll get used to it, better than being cold, oh shit, reading material

William grabs the first magazine on top of the toilet and drops it next to the beers. He proceeds to fully enter the tub.

- bubbles are for girls, I’ve locked the door, it doesn’t have one, but it’s closed at least, only a crack would be needed, they’d see, I’d tell, beer in the bathtub, nothing better, reading or drinking first, drinking, that wasn’t as hard as I though it would be, it might have been harder if I had bubbles or soapy hands, but it came right off just like it was dry, that is cold beer, I bet the difference in temperature will get me fucked up faster, there is a lot of condensation on this bottle, next to the rug is still good, I need to dry my hands to read, I don’t want a water damaged magazine, every college dorm has a water damaged one, table of contents, SHIT!

The magazine fell right out of William’s dry hands and into the tub. He quickly slides back and grabs the soaked pages.

- it doesn’t look that bad, it is, I can’t even turn the pages, fuck, oh well, I’ll just drink and bathe, where will it dry? I guess the floor will have to do, I wish I had a bigger tub, entirely under water, the chills even in a warm bath, what do the chills mean, I can gage how great an episode of Twin Peaks is by how many times I get chills during the episode, I used to just ignore them, and when people said “it gave, there might be something to the chills, the sound of the water leaking through the excess drain is ten times louder, I hate that, it kills the mood.

William again sits up in the tube. He leans towards his feet and grabs a washcloth. He dips it under water, until it is thoroughly soaked through. He takes the wet rag and tries to plug the excess drain. He leans back down into the water and places his left foot on the blue washcloth.

- I need to fix that, it would be easy, flip it upside down (umop episdn), I might have a screw driver, before my next bath, more, this is still cold, so great, I’ll try to read again, its already wet, better still dry hands, is there a fiction piece in this magazine, that is good tub reading, that book was read in the tub, I’d do it to with a library book too, not my own, I don’t even crease the covers or bend the pages, finding a bookmark is half the fun, only use it for one book and then it gets retired to the last page of the book, when they look through my stuff they’ll find all my receipts and to-do lists, no fiction, this pages are ruined, the middle ones are ok in the middle, the edges are soaked, I’ll toss this one, but I like the pictures, I’ll let it dry.

William once again returns the magazine to the floor. He gently spreads the pages in the middle of the magazine. He grabs his half empty beer and lies back with just his head above the water.

- look at the condensation, if it tilt it it drips, I bet that condensation is cold, I can’t feel it though, if I put my hand, nothing, there is a ton of, can I get one more drop, not without spilling, I’m like michael bay before making the island, but I knew when to stop, blaming Scarlett Johansson, no wonder he said it was hell to work with him, that has to be hard, blamed for a box office flop, I’d drink, or I’d drink more, she’s in that magazine, another reason to keep it, tub is the last place you want to do that, worse than not wiping.

William places the empty beer bottle next to the full one, and then brings the unopened beer into the tub.

- could I use the bar of soap as a bottle opener, I mean if I jammed it into it the top, nope, I can’t get it deep enough, I’ll rinse it before I try again, now its all soapy, I don’t want it to get too warm under water, THE TOWEL, so so so so cold, half the bottle in one gulp, I should have brought three, would it float, maybe another drink, there, remember for the future that the bottle floats when it is a quarter inch past the label, but they have different ones, I won’t drink different ones, straight up (dn thgiarts), like a buoy in a lake, ding-splash-splash-ding, no condensation on that one, is the beer warm, still cold, but not as.

William picks up the beer and studies the label. He picks at one edge and easily peels the whole label off the beer.

- that was cake, never has it been easier, it was the water, not the tension, the top little label, what is that called, neck lable, this bottle is empty, will it float empty, for a second, and then bubbles, I’ll stick this on the wall tile, every time I’ll remember this time, if I kept doing it until the whole wall, the other bottle, isn’t that ironic, ironic? maybe, I began the bath with accidentally having paper in the water, now I’m purposely putting paper under water, that would be nice book ends if this was a story, one of those happy accidents they talk about, those make geniuses, or make them look better, they look smart when they’re just lucky, do people think I’m, naw, I’m not smart enough to act smart.

William sits up and pulls the chain on the drain cover with his toe. His sits still until the empty beer bottle clanks and spills out on the empty tub. William gets up and dries himself off.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Christopher C. Gilmore has entered a Mental Institution

I regret to inform you that my dear brother has gone on to a better place, a safe place where he will no longer be able to hurt himself or those around him. Due to the incidents last Thursday (the 28th), my brother is now abiding in the Sunny Fields Mental Center, in Spring Falls, Virginia. I knew how much Chris enjoyed writing blogs and all of his virtual friends, so, I as his sister feel obligated to inform everyone of the ill-fated tale surrounding my brother’s mysterious mental demise.

The tragic events began on the evening of the 26th. It was this evening that I curse with every once of my existence. As you know my brother was a sucker for movies, so much so that he rarely minded seeing the same movie twice. And with the lack of original and creative content being produced by Hollywood, he is now more able than ever to view the same premise/film over and over again. This was very much true of the last lucent moments he had. The evening began with his attending a free screening of “Live Free or Die Hard.” The number of sequels or remakes that he had seen this year alone was near twenty, with nearly half being sequels to sequels, or three-quels. And after watching a sequel to a sequel of a sequel, his friends that attended the screener with him said he was, “acting a little strange” and “kept saying the same thing over and over again, then saying if Hollywood can do it so can I.”

When he finally returned to his home, he checked this very myspace account. And according to his History he read a bulletin posted by his friend Taylor. I do not have the courage, nor want to take the responsibility of sharing the exact contents of the bulletin, I will say the post was concerning the very real threat of insanity or death for not reposting the bulletin. Apparently, my brother found the entire charade to be humorous at best and sent this message to his friend:

I just read your bulletin, and I don't believe in the "curse" and I'm not going to repost the silliness, but just in case I end up dead, You'll know why. But we really do need to hang out in the near future, that is if I don't accidentally fall down a sewer and break my neck after hearing laughter in the shower. whaaa ha haa! whaaa ha haa! whaaa ha haa!

The threat for not continuing the chain of the bulletin was an individual would lose there sanity after hearing a laughing voice in the shower or being attacked while in the sewer. From the nearly incoherent ramblings Chris spouted in the short time I saw him before we shipped him away, I can only gather that the reason for his not reposting the bulletin were that he was never in the sewers and that he had just become particularly fond of taking relaxing baths over having the stress of standing on two feet while showering.

The story of the next twenty-four hours may be a lost chapter of the life of Christopher. All we know is that at noon the next day he was found by the police after multiple reports from a strip mall in North Denver of hearing screams and imitation explosions coming from pipe of there stores. Chris was found running through the sewer system yelling and covered in blood. The officer’s report claims that he was yelling “Style with out substance” and “Why repost when it will be remade?”

Our family and our doctors have been asking, did Christopher go insane because of the lack of creativity in American movies or is it related to a curse place on a myspace bulletin? Either way, the Gilmore family is asking everyone to please be careful this summer and hopefully avoiding further mental danger.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Mrs. Pac-Man and the Male Libido (excerpt from a short story)

Bella and myself make our way to the Mrs. Pac-Man/Galaga machine. After asking a hipster cliché to move, we realize the game costs a buck to play. Mrs. Pac-man would be rolling in her grave if she knew this establishment was charging a dollar to play her namesake game.

We agree that we’ll play lives and levels, just like I used to do with my brother on our SNES. I am excited for Mrs. Pac-Man. I had just found a website that I could play Mrs. Pac-Man on for free. I set a couple personal records and vowed I’d never follow Paul’s footsteps of playing Mrs. Pac-Man for eight hours in one day. But this would be my first arcade experience with the lovely lady Pac.

Since it was Bella’s dollar I allow her to go first, which I realize was a mistake when I see how fast this Mrs. Pac-Man moves and watch her get eaten by a ghost after three dots. I take over hoping the beers will make me extremely confident mode and not effect my hand-eye coordination. I take the stick and begin guiding the yellow pie chart with a pink ribbon around the screen.


I take a sense of pride getting to the next level, I hope girls find that an attractive quality. I hand the joystick back to her, I remember reading somewhere that girls that play video games get laid more than girls that don’t. After reading that I thought of course, because girls that like video games only like video games because their boyfriends like video games. And sleeping with a gamer is about as challenging as level one of Tetris. Anyone can do it. These guys are sexually stimulated and socially crippled. If the game isn’t sold on sex and violence it had better be a pretty fun game. The video game industry is built on providing extreme and unobtainable sexual conquests only a button away from the guy who still receives fashion advice from his mother.

Even Mrs. Pac-Man feeds the male fantasies. Pac-Man find the perfect mate, some one just like himself only sexy and a little bit smaller. That is a gamers dream, those selfish fucks only thinking about themselves, the girls have to be the most selfless people to sleep with them, that or they are just as selfish and are using sex to keep the guys around. Which doesn’t sound like a bad deal, I might sign up for a girl like that.

Bella’s second turn was a lot better than her first, but I was still needed to get us to the next level. I decide that it might be a nice thing on my part to let her finish the level. We have one life left. I eat all but three dots before I let Blinky eat me. She steps up to the plate, but strikes out before the three dots can be eaten. I check my pockets as “Game Over” flashes on the screen. Bella hands me a dollar and tells me to get change. I rush to the bar hoping that I the count down won’t expire before I can feed the machine four more quarters.

The bar was still busy, but the bartenders weren’t and I was able to get change in a flash. I raced back to the machine and entered enough coins to go another round. I let Bella take the first turn, and she is a quick learner and nearly completes the level on her first try, but by this time we are both a little bored with the a game that already cost as much as a quarter of a pitcher and are intimidated by the seven digit high score that stairs at us from the upper corner of the screen. She was looking away when the final Mrs. Pac-man came and went.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

There is no bigger pube magnet than Jell-O

This morning I was eating my breakfast, a pre-made cup of Strawberry Jell-O and a cup of coffee, and as I dug into the Jell-O cup the buoyant solid fell off the spoon, bounced off my lower thigh over the arm of the dinning table chair and landed on the generic beige carpet.

Jell-O cups are usually only good for about 4-5 actual bits of Jell-o, so I thought that I should pick it up and put it back in my mouth. I picked up the red chunk of gelatin and gave it a quick look over. And thank gawd I did. There were three pubes on my bit of Jell-o. I have no idea how the pubes could have come to rest underneath my kitchen table. If I were eating my breakfast while taking a shit I would understand the appearance of truant pubic hairs on the food. But the kitchen?

I take pride in knowing that my apartment isn’t home to orgy after orgy. One of the main reasons I don’t subscribe to the orgy style of life is because I don’t want to have pubic hair floating around everywhere. Have you ever thought about why shag carpet was popular in the seventies? It was because during all the orgies the pubes would be engulfed by the long threads and never seen again. Yet, here in 2007, I sat with a piece of furry Jell-o in my hand.

There are only a few explanations on how the pubes got on to my breakfast gelatin via the carpet under the kitchen table. 1) There could have been a moment in my life when I subconsciously felt it necessary to sleep walk around my apartment completely nude, and while in this nude-wakeless state I could have decided to start dancing in the kitchen, and that must have jostled a few pubic hairs loose.

The second explanation is that the creators of Jell-O were originally trying to design a product that would attract women to them. While there calculations were off, they accidentally created a product that attracted loose pubic hair, which happened to also be a delightful snack. With the original roots of Jell-O established the chunk of food that fell to the floor attracted all of the loose pubes in the entire apartment complex to it.

The third reason could just be that I haven’t vacuumed more than twice the entire two years I’ve been living in this apartment.

I personally think that is was the second of the three explanations thus proving that it wasn’t that my apartment was dirty, but rather it was the extraordinary origins of Jell-O that resulted in my loss of my third bite of Strawberry Jell-O. I will be forwarding this blog to Kraft Foods, Bill Cosby, and the Gelatin Manufactures of America, I hopes that they will remedy the problem and offer me sufficient compensation for my troubles with their product.