Thursday, August 21, 2008

Maybe that's just the way I read it*

Jesus, I missed this place, with it's blood red walls and grim reaper hovering in a corner, and you lot just slavering away, dripping wit and sarcasm and vitriol like the beasts from hell you are. Group hug?

Sorry I had to leave you for a while. The first week of my absence I can blame on hitting the mother fucking wall. The second week was entirely my mother's fault -- she whisked me way out west and we gallivanted around like Thelma and Louise without the sexy hitchhikers or suicide or vigilantism. And now I'm back from outer space and ready to roll up my sleeves and get back into the nitty gritty of reviewing those festering boils on the butt of humanity known as our submitters.

Love'n These Times. I don't get it. What's with the 'n? Is it "Love In These Times"? "Love And These Times"? "Loving These Times"? Whichever, that apostrophe makes me want to drill holes in this blog with a jackhammer and then spit in the cavities. And I'm the "nice one."

The design is innocuous and bland, but not eye-gouging. It is terribly, cloyingly sweet, though, and I like fairies. The archives button doesn't work. Helpful. Crystal is not a frequent blogger. It looks like she moved from a different blog, although there are no archives before May and there are only around 50 posts. Each one more empty than the last.

Look, before I get into the reaming, I just have to preface this with the fact that it seems like Crystal is a nice girl with a nice rack and good intentions. I get where she's coming from, curvy, hopeless romantic that I am. She even kinda looks like me. So, Crystal, just a little pep talk from your pal Calamity: don't stop, don't cave, don't take it personally, and DO listen carefully. Here goes...

First, privacy, people! Take your names off your blog. If you're published or famous or getting paid for it, fine: leave your name. But otherwise? Asking for trouble.

Poetry. Ah fuck. Rhyming poetry. It's amateurish, Hallmark card-y, and without grace. Poetry, to me, is about a love of words and how they twist and tumble together, it's nuance and meter and voice and soul and motion. These are just limp words on a screen, struggling off the page like lepers, leaving noses and bits of skin in their wake, flaccid and empty. Check out Anne Sexton, Dylan Thomas, W.H. Auden, Mary Karr, May Swenson. Step away from the country music lyrics, and start reading the good stuff.

Fiction. "She had many male admirers who admired her for her buttocks and curved breasts." Did they really? Fascinating. And what do admirers do? They admire. Awesome. "Having no family or relatives had made her homeless and being homeless had made her strong." Hi, logic? Have we met? Didn't think so. It's plodding, nonsensical, presumptive, stilted, and scattered. You tell, tell, tell, and don't show a darn thing: "Residents lived in tiny houses and cleanliness was not of the utmost importance." Well, thanks for the info, but I can't picture it at all. Not of the utmost importance? Can you vague that up for me a little bit?

Listen. I know. Truly, I do. I've read my share of Anne Rice (and her alter ego, A. N. Roquelaure), Alice Borchardt, Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Kelley Armstrong, and the rest of the dark/goth/werewolf/vampire/occult/witch/mystery/erotica/shapeshifter/horror bunch and loved it. Really. I can admit it. I also suspect you've delved into that magical, wonderful world of the trashy romance novel, and I'm here to tell you there's nothing wrong with that. Not a goddamn thing. Give me harems and pirates and blue stockings and half-Comanche outlaws and heaving bosoms and moist folds and turgid members and I'm all yours.

But your writing? It's just not there yet. I don't know your background, and I don't know how much experience you've had, and maybe it doesn't matter. Thing is, I don't want to discourage you from writing because it's obvious you enjoy it and you're cranking out the words and there's something to be said for that. It's just that you need some fire, some focus, some flavor. It's bland, there's no heat, no lyricism, no gotcha! Keep reading, join a writing group, workshop, edit, edit, edit.

Crystal and her blog seem sappy, mushy, young, earnest, hopeful, and sweet. But she doesn't have a lot to say about anything other than her boyfriend, her work, and her poetry/writing. She admits she doesn't put a lot into the blog, and it shows. There's not a lot here, and I think I heard an echo. To me, this stands firmly on the side of personal diary rather than blog. There doesn't seem to be any interaction in the comments, there's no blogroll so I don't know who she reads, and most of the time it seems like she's just scribbling away in a journal, regardless of whether anyone is watching. There's a place for that, and it's a pink fuzzy notebook with pictures of unicorns. At least mine is.

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up: get personal, delve more, get involved, commit to the blog or leave it behind. With your writing, do the exact same thing.

*"Workshop," Billy Collins

I don't know how I managed to work Thelma and Louise, Gloria Gaynor, and The Princess Bride references into one post.


  1. Christ, I'm a wordy fuck.

  2. Yeah, you are, but we love you for it! I went to this blog and got to the point where she said she was on myspace and apologized for not blogging. And really? I don't care. Don't apologize for not blogging. Blog. There's you ma'fuckin' apology.

    *Random apostrophe thrown in just for Calamity.

  3. ***More apostrophes for you.***

    I have to say that I love the blog design, the beige and the childish fairies are very nice on the eyes.

    I love a blog which has a dieting focus because I am deep in the battle myself. She needs to keep at it, she's pretty new, but needs to grow into her own style.

    I want to see where she's going to be eventually. I think she should check back in a year or so once she's got more content under her belt.

    Overall, not a lot of beginner "I have to throw EVERYTHING onto my blog" mistakes, though. I can deal with it. Glad I didn't have to review it though, because I would have had to take on the poetry and I hate doing that.

    Nice to see you back, Calamity. Curvy girls must unite.

  4. Words of wisdom Wednesday, song lyric Sunday...

    No, no, no, no, no.

    You've gone easy on her cuz she's nice, this is shit.

  5. damn. I wish I could have delved in deeper but couldn´t get beyond the about me section and the first post. I hope she takes it well and works to improve her writing, because clearly she loves it. great review.

  6. What am I going to do with all these random apostrophes?

    Also, nice matters to me. Perhaps more than it should. If she were a dill hole she might have gotten the flaming finger. Maybe.

  7. This is why I love you, Cal.

  8. I'm really, really, REALLY glad I don't have your job!

    I don't think I could be mean to her either, she's so young, but writing about not writing twice in a row isn't real gripping stuff.
    Having said that, I'm now acutely aware of the shite value of my early run-on posts.

    I think you were honest and constructive, without going for the jugular. It certainly doesn't open up the floor for the usual take-it-to-the-toilet commentary I've seen in here, but she might actually listen and make improvements. Isn't that the point?

    Slinking away now...!

  9. Take-it-to-the-toilet? What the fuck are you talking about? Look, the floor is always open for elephant rimjobs. Tell me something, WBT, the stick, you know the one lodged in your ass? Is it hooked up to electricity? Take it to the toilet? I can't fucking believe I just read that. You're a grandmother, aren't you? In your 90's, right?

  10. I myself, as a frequent participant, loooooove the 'take it to the toilet' quid pro quo.

    Since she's not a self-important ass who is writing shite or some emo entitled kid writing shite or the likes, I don't think Calamity needed to eviscerate her. We can still have fun can't we?

    Yes, she's boring, yes, her writing is what comes before amateurish but it's good to offer something constructive otherwise her mom and boyfriend will have to continue to read words of wisdom and song lyrics.

    She's nice and she'll put any one of us on her blogroll which would count for more if she had readers but it's nice no?

    I loved Calamity's suggestion of joining a writing clinic because some people come out of the chute knowing how to communicate with words but everyone can at least learn to write better.

    She needs to get her ass off Facebook and start reading people who write if she wants to write. And hey, don't diss taking it to the toilet, sometimes the shit flung around here is the highlight of my day.

  11. Ps. Wow, I am one wordy fuck, how about someone telling me to edit.

  12. WBT, 'round here people don't need an opening to take it to the toilet. We just naturally end up there, like some sort of wounded beast going home to die, or junkies to alleys, or Keywork to the free clinic for rabies shots, or me to Krispy Kreme, or Nutjobber to the asylum. You know, natural. Effortless. Autopilot.

  13. Sometimes the shit flung around here is weak and watery, like I ate too much lettuce.

    I hate myself a little now for writing that.

  14. Jesus, Key, relax.

    (Can I call you Key? Are we tight?)

    I appreciate you having my back (what, too 70s?), but if WBT wants to take it to me, she can. We in the shitter are all about the love, but nobody gets that because of all the... shit. We're so stereotyped.

    I certainly didn't take what she said as an insult, and I'm not sure why you did. I guess if you can't pick your fight with the blogger, you need to find another way, huh? Can't we all just get along down here?

    Relax, bitch.



  15. Toilet, we're not tight. I take my shits in the backyard. Sometimes in the front if there's a lot of traffic. 70's, no, I'm pretty sure they cussed in the 70's. I'm not picking a fight, I'm just keeping this part of my gutter dirty. That's why they call it a gutter, remember. It's disgusting. And if you've seen my comments, you surely know that calling me a bitch will bring you nothing but more obscenities. Besides, this is me calm. Go fuck yourself, toilet. By the way, check your buddy Seat, I left him a gift for you. Hint: it's semen. Enjoy.

  16. Raccoons aren't really known for their house training, are they?

  17. Raccoons are also not known for being pleasant in any way, shape, or form.

  18. It bothers me that I followed along and said that the little stars are apostrophes. They are stars, what the hell are we all on, anyway?

    ''''''''''' There's some damned apostrophes for y'all.

    Watch out with those coon remarks or we are going to get slammed.

  19. Yeah, I've been through that shit before. Hence, the 'ra' on my comments. I really find racism pathetic.

  20. Hello, people. I missed the toilet. Who the hell are these people commenting who don't appreciate the shitty overly sexual toilet we've created here?

  21. This is one of my favorite 'overly sexual toilets'.

  22. Buttercup is marry Humperdinck in little lessa half a hour.

    Oh, and I don't think there's anything to say about her other than "Meh." She stirs up little or no feeling other than yawnage.


Grow a pair.