I must admit that I have been feeling incredibly uninspired as of late. Not only have I utterly and completely fallen off the wagon as it pertains to dieting and exercising, but I have not written anything creative in quite some time. My journal is filled with entries in which I complain about my shortcomings and nothing more. It is a disappointment and again, I berate myself for having nothing to write about because I have not done anything worth writing about. There has been no chance encounter, no startling image, no overheard turn of phrase to fire up my neurons and facilitate some kind of epic brainstorming session.
Then again, that might not be entirely true. The other day, as Dad and I were getting ready to watch “The Following,” (which is an excellent show on FOX starring Kevin Bacon that I am thoroughly obsessed with now) he was making himself a sandwich. As he reached for the loaf of bread in its plastic bag in a drawer beneath the meat slicer, I noticed an unpleasant look of disgust smear itself across his face. He picked up the bag with what seemed like intolerable reluctance and hurried to place it on the kitchen table, looking at his hands in disbelief. Naturally, I asked him what was the matter, and he told me the bag was wet. Intrigued, I removed myself from reclining upon the couch in the living room to investigate. None of the other bags bread, bagels, and rolls was wet. As a matter of fact, I did not notice anything peculiar or out of place about the bread drawer. I looked at Dad and shrugged before moving to examine the bag in question. The top of the bag, near the tie that closed it back up, was wet and there were tiny, red dots of moisture both on the inside and the outside. I was completely baffled and asked Dad what he thought it was. He brought a hand to his face and sniffed. His face went pale and he told me plainly and simply that it was blood. Then, betraying his flair for the dramatic, he told me it smelled like “dead blood.” While it took both my father and I all of ten seconds to figure out that while Mom had been slicing roast beef in her brand new meat slicer, some blood had dripped onto this particular bag of bread and that nothing sinister nor truly creepy had occurred, regardless of how gross it was, I thought it was a great scene to manipulate, twist and dramatize and use.
Similarly, I had a totally bizarre dream the other night. The details have faded and in all honestly, the dream was more like a few weeks ago than “just the other night,” but the main image has resonated and stayed put. It was a royal blue beetle of large proportions, and with legs made of pink, plastic straws, crawling across the face of a female. The beetle began small, walking in meandering lines across the face and out of view. But when the female stranger turned to face me once more, the bug had suddenly become huge and covered a quarter of her face. It seemed so genuine and real, that I wondered if I wasn’t hallucinating more than dreaming. Thinking of hallucinations had me thinking of one of my ideas for my next novel, one involving a man on lithium and I wondered if I couldn’t somehow forge a connection between the two. I suppose it would be fairer for me to say that there has been inspiration, but I have been too lazy to utilize it. I need to be motivated and I promise to you that I am working on it.
I am reading two novels currently (one I kind of hate but have to finish now that I’ve started, but the other is absolutely fabulous) and cannot stop listening to the soundtrack for the upcoming movie “The Great Gatsby.” My obsession has reached new heights, actually, and is not restricted to the compulsive, repetitive playing of the soundtrack. When I visited BookTowne in Manasquan to try and set up an event, I ended up dropping off contact information and buying a t-shirt.
I cannot remember which author it was, but rumor has it that a contemporary novelist would type out The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald whenever he had writer’s block to cure himself of it. I am curious as to whether or not I shouldn’t give it a shot.
I recently ordered a photography book by Eric Meola which features Bruce Springsteen from the year 1977 to the year 1979. Perusing the photographs and reading the lyrics and essays which accompany them, I did feel a creative sort of tingle and briefly pondered returning to the idea for my next novel which was entirely inspired by the Boss.
I am going up to Bloomfield this afternoon for drinks with some friends from college. I am going to catch up with some of the most wonderful and beautiful women I have had the privilege and pleasure of knowing, but also, selfishly, to perhaps be inspired. Perhaps something will happen along the way; why knows? I suppose the point is that no one knows, and that therein lays the point. A very wise colleague of mine, who is unfortunately retiring at the end of the academic year, encouraged me to take risks and I am proud to say I have taken that advice to heart.
I attended mass at 11:00AM with my mother at St. John’s Roman Catholic Church in Lakehurst. Father Bernie, the pastor, spoke for a few minutes before mass began and described how the church had been employed as a makeshift shelter and had accepted donations of clothing, food, and other needed items. The church is still accepting donations which workers from the Red Cross are delivering to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Father Bernie’s message was quite appropriate as the Gospel reading explained that essentially, there are two rules one must follow to enter the Kingdom of Heaven: 1) love God with one’s entire being and 2) to love one’s neighbor as one loves one’s self. While not everyone shares similar religious beliefs, the latter half is pretty much universally accepted as a golden rule. Everyone can agree it is important to care for neighbors because everyone is a member of the brotherhood of man and this life is a remarkably long trip to make alone.
The message weighed on my mind as I met my friend Kalie for a brainstorming session at a local restaurant. Kalie went to school for marketing and is vivacious, intelligent, and loyal. Naturally, I enlisted her in assisting me to get the word out about my debut novel Her Beautiful Monster and to drive sales. We both agreed that word of mouth is the greatest tool currently at our disposal and that generating a local fan base is crucial. We swapped names of local, friendly musicians and I spoke of Melanie Wagner.
I have known Melanie since the fifth grade, but we did not become close until high school and into college when we decided to live together. One night during our freshman year, Melanie was secretly playing guitar and singing while I was in the shower. She was not expecting me to emerge from the bathroom when I did and I caught her and her incredible talent. We find ourselves three years later and Melanie is a part of a duo that plays out regularly at various, local venues. She has released an album and a music video. I am truly in awe of her because she is living out her dreams. She inspires me on a daily basis and I am honored to be able to call her a dear friend. I would be remiss if I did not encourage anyone reading this to give her music a listen and support her passion, as she has done for me.
Local artists NEED to support local artists, just as local citizens need to support local citizens. That being said, below is a link and brief explanation to an organization doing its best to restore the Jersey Shore through supporting local businesses. Every little bit helps. Please do what you can for New Jersey, the Garden State, my home.
This is a page dedicated to bringing Jersey together. Buy locally while you recover from Sandy. Let’s turn tragedy into success!
Our goal is for everyone affected by the hurricane to use local businesses for replacement purchases in order to put some money back into our town’s economy. We all need to come together during this time of need and support those around us.