Don’t Give Up.

Bill Jones, Jr.:

And the moral of this story is …

Originally posted on Just Me:

This was an ordinary day, at an ordinary time, in an ordinary place.

There once was a man, who needed to reach the sea. For years, he’d been tormented by the People. They bullied him in school; they never understood when he spoke, for he wasn’t from wherever it was he’d drifted to when he found the People. So, on an ordinary day, one full of ordinary heartache, he decided that he must leave. He had naught but a very small boat, made from the old tire of an enormous tractor. To reach the sea, and freedom, he had to cross miles of scorched earth, with nothing to protect him from the sun. He had no shoes, no shirt, no hope.

But he did have his boat.

After pondering his predicament, he decided that the boat would make a Very Nice Hat. So he wore the boat, reaching the sea…

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Monroe Park, Richmond, Virginia, 1978

Bill Jones, Jr.:

Ya’ll don’t hear me.

Originally posted on Firewing Photography:

1-PICT0291a-001

This piece is dedicated to these men, living in the still Old South, in Richmond, Virginia, USA in the 70s. The steely-red-eyed gentleman in the back is watching my two good friends playing African congas in the park. His friend sits and listens. We are the “cultural” youth, embracing our “Africanism” for the first time. I have hope.

Nearly forty years later, my hope is fading, just like the colours in this photo. The “featured” shot was scanned in years ago from the only remaining print. The shot above I restored from the wounded, faded negative. I wonder if my hope can be renewed so easily.

For Tupac and Threepac and all you other niggrandizing Littlepacs. May you rest, in or out of peace. Y’all don’t hear me.

Poet Trees

Devalued by pretense and greed
our brown fruit bears a bitter seed.
It grows in sons, untended crop.
It festers…

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Seclusion

Originally posted on Firewing Photography:

1-10 April 2010 -No 051a

Seclusion smells of grapes suffused with loss.
Its sweetened undertones seduce post-sunset.
Alone’s an acquired taste, like strong cigars.
She’s Pinot Noir once fruited, sugared in August
with hints of currant and cherry or raspberry.
Her sweet appeal first dances on the tongue
like Maduro smoke, swirled with brandy, refined,
but left to dry, ferment, until
acerbic, soured. Bitter wine is she,
Alone, to drink; and lord, is she a hard
damn mistress. Slips inside a paper bed
and slides herself betwixt your loins and licks
of cold. She sings of barriers from winter winds.

She lies, you know. Alone’s a whore who sleeps
with those naïve enough to call her name.
We feel her wet, cold breath, the bitter tongue
of her. She’s sexing us, keeping memories near
and friends at bay; attention hound is she.
She likes her drink, Alone, and so do I.
And in the winter…

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More Bad Poetry from my Yout’

The things we do as yoots.

Yoots!

But He Don’t Take American Express

Word.
Met this cat name Luce
other night
on The Corner
hunnet twenny-fif’ street an’ Lennox.
He was just hangin
with the fellas.
Dem neggas ain’t no good
but
Luce, he cool.
We was checkin out da honeys
and selling rock
by the tens.
Good night, you know?

He took a liking to me
right off.
Gone set me up
some heavy connections
you know, some serious weight
an’ not everybody
gets the good stuff.
Gotta make the most
when opportunity knock.
Dat’s what Mama
use to say.
Like I said,
bruh Luce an’ me
was down.

He even told me
I could pay him
his cut
later.

Said I was going
places.

6/12/1987

First Lines

"It was a dark and stormy night."

“It was a dark and stormy night.”

On impulse, I decided to take a fresh look at the opening lines of my books as a means to see if my writing has improved. Here’s what I came up with.

Book 1. “Charlie hated mornings, due, in no small part, to his having the sleep habits of a caffeine-addicted owl.” (Okay.)

Book 2. “Charlie sat in a long boat on a calm lagoon, wishing Robin would sit still for once.” (Yawn.)

Book 3. Charlie lay in the thick brush, trying not to breathe. (That’s turrible.)

Book 4.  “A bloody Rembrandt, this guy, God.” (Okay, now we’re getting there.)

Book 5. “The People have been walking for weeks.” (That’s not bad.)

Book 6. “I’d been driving all day, sucking in western Oklahoma road dust, and I wasn’t in the mood for any more damned mysteries. ” (Suddenly, I’m learning to write.)

Book 7. ” It was February before I realized she had begun to unravel the stitching from my life.” (Mucho likeo.)

The moral of this story is that weak beginnings lead to weak middles and endings. My first three books improved as they progressed, but they needed to start stronger. I’m in the process of rewriting the entire trilogy, mainly for that reason. They will not start with the word “Charlie.”

I’m happy with the last two. I guess that’s a sign that I’ve progressed or at least changed.

Gojira! A Review from a lifelong fan

Bill Jones, Jr.:

Because, Godzilla.

Originally posted on Just Me:

1903020_10152141182213867_3286775883259623335_n-an-opening-night-review-of-godzillaThere are two kinds of Godzilla movies (ignoring the previous US fiasco wherein the big G-man was some kind of T-Rex mutant). The first kind is where Godzilla is a beast who (whether on purpose or by accident) ravages a city (usually Tokyo) and leaves thousands dead. In the second kind, Godzilla is a friendly beast who finds himself on the side of humanity (whom he barely notices) while establishing that he is the only King of Monsters.

The 2014 version of Godzilla is the second type, although the trailers would lead one to believe otherwise. Why, you may ask, should movie producers make the Big G Unit a hero? Simple: merchandising. If he’s a big, fluffy, ass-chewing toy, kids all over the world will want a Godzilla playset (plush toy, action figure, video game?) for their next birthday. Now, I’m not a cynic … scratch that. I’m as cynical…

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Lies Writers Tell

Bill Jones, Jr.:

I figured I would reblog this since a couple of people discovered it this week. Comments are turned off because it’s so old, but whatever.

Originally posted on This Blog Intentionally Blank:

“Don’t ask a writer what he’s working on.  It’s like asking someone with cancer on the progress of his disease.” – Luke Angel

I often read quotes by writers, hoping to glean a bit of what they think of the process, and more importantly, its place in society. All too often, I come across a quote like the one above. I’ve become convinced that writers say stupid shit like this in order to make non-writers think what we have is a noble cause.

Like an easy button, but cooler

So, allow me to ring the bullshit alarm. It’s not that hard. Contrary to what you may have been told, there is no blood on the forehead. In fact, let me go so far as to say, if getting the words out is painful … you’re probably doing it wrong.

Or, worse yet, maybe you’ve got the wrong hobby. (God forbid…

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Grammar Minute: With I or With Me?

Bill Jones, Jr.:

For some reason, this post has quite a few hits this week. I thought it would be a good time to revisit one of the common grammar mistakes that always drove my mom bonkers … Soap Opera Speak.

She's here only because grammar is boring...

She’s here only because grammar is boring…

Originally posted on This Blog Intentionally Blank:

All too often you have you probably heard someone say, for example, “He agreed to go to the game with you and I.” I call this Soap Opera speak because daytime dramas seem to be where this incorrect usage became popular. (Yep, it’s writers’ fault.)

“With” in the example above is a preposition. Prepositions call for objective forms of pronouns. What is the objective form? Simple. A “subject” of a sentence does something. An “object” has something done to it.

Subject Pronouns: I, we, he, she, they, who

Object Pronouns: me, us, him, her, them, whom

Let’s look at another example. “Joe gave the pizza to Bob and I.” Uh, no he did not. Joe is the subject (giving the pizza) to “Bob and me” whom are the objects of Joe’s generous giving.

There are a couple of quick rules to remember. If the pronoun follows a preposition (to, with…

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Struggling Through It, Part 2

Featured Image -- 5969

Originally posted on Just Me:

One thing that hasn’t changed in my writing process is how I inject new minor characters, whether human or some dim, imagined part of my consciousness. (My process for major characters is substantially different and involved. I’ve written about it here, here, and here.) Being largely visual (though Maria argues that I am as auditory as I am visual) my imagination is stimulated by visual input. In my last bit of writing, I’d reached an minor impasse in how to end one scene and begin the next. As I often do, I looked through my library of collected potential character images, and picked one, this time at random. It was this woman. Lovely, is she not?

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Not my Image–photographer unknown

This was enough to stimulate the process. My two characters were already in a pub, and now, I had their waitress. The rest of the scene flowed…

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Struggling Through It, Part 1

Originally posted on Just Me:

Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 12.33.39 AM

I’ve been struggling with my latest work-in-progress, the suspense novel Jeanne Dark, despite the fact that I know and like the characters and have plotted the entire book. Indeed, as I told Maria tonight, I feel like my characters have become impatient with me, egging me on to write the damned book already. So, I’m writing. It’s an interesting dilemma, as writing is only as fluid as the process, and my current process isn’t fluid at all. Despite that, and due mostly to how much I’ve written in recent years, I’m managing to write with a modicum of lyricism. The book isn’t yet the jazz song I hope it to be when I’m done, but at least I’m laying out the basic chords of the thing. The music will flow in editing.

What I realized, after much rumination and endless whinging at my too-patient partner, is that my reason…

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