Writing Tip: Use Active Verbs

Active verbs DO something. Inactive verbs ARE something.

Bad: The grandfather clock was in one corner, and three books were on top of it.

Better: The grandfather clock towered in one corner, and three books lay on top of it.

Taken from “100 Ways To Improve Your Writing” by Gary Provost ISBN 978-0-451-62721-6

Romantic Comedy

Recently my Fiance’, whom I had been with for the past five years, dumped me. Not only did the initial sting intensify with the settling in of separate lives, but the endless string of payments on a pricey engagement ring are little monthly reminders all screaming, “You giant tool.”

Truth is, I was miserable, too. She wanted me to be someone I’m not (Jake Gyllenhaal I think). And I wanted her to be someone she isn’t (A wife and the mother of my unborn children). I’m still looking for a wife and want children more and more each day. Really, I think I want a reason to wake up everyday that involves more than just me doing “X” (read: work, reading, writing, viewing virus riddled videos filled with poor acting and great lighting, etc). So, in my desperate attempt at uncovering the hidden qualities that make men desirable mates for suitable wives and future mothers I turned to the Dalai Lama of modern romantics, Matthew McConaughey.

Why him? Because he’s been in more of those types of movies than Bradley Cooper. Because, in his worst day, he is everything that men strive to be (to women), and because, if given the opportunity, I would sleep with Matthew McConaughey–just kidding. But all kidding aside, he’s been in plenty of movie depicting the “sail away into the sunset” endings we have all been fed since birth. Problem is–it’s bullsh**!

Okay, in all fairness, I should offer myself for rebuke from the masses (which, btw, is who I hope finds this blog). So, if you have a “sailed into the sunset” type of relationship, now is your chance to rebut me. I’ll be back momentarily.

Okay, looking here while swallowing the last bite of a turkey on rye and–damn. Just as I thought. No rebuts. Why? Because as human beings we are all wired to have flaws and see the flaws in everyone else and everything else. But we are all secretly hopeless romantics who filter our world views through Matthew McConaughey’s eyes. We weigh our realities against the illusion that everything will eventually work out in the end, and you know what–sometimes it does.

So, because this isn’t a therapy session or the sequel to “Eat, Pray, Love” I will make my point and conclude. In addition to being hopeless romantics, we are also a species that believes in fairy tales to the point that we judge reality against a weighted scale of fantasy endings. It sounds sad, but in truth, these stories exemplify that which is at the depth of our cores: The desire to love and to be loved; the need for companionship; to care for someone and be cared for in return. Or, in my case, to not die alone, wallowing in a pool of self loathing, Bourbon soaked depression believing that the only suitable mate was there and I lost her. She was beautiful, funny, thin, shallow, and unwilling to put anyone else (especially children) before her own desires. In short, the wrong one who I still desperately miss.

In the end, it’s time. Time to start fresh and let the painful lessons that life throws our way sink in. It’s time to move on. So, here’s to moving on, and the start of a new adventure. I believe it’s called, “Failure To Launch” or “Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past”. Not sure. ‘Til next time.

Why I Hate Pop Culture

This morning, while enjoying the popular pass-time of internet exploration, I found that the number one trending article on Yahoo was “Beyonce’s Daring Dress”. Now, I hate Beyonce’. Not on a personal level or because she is currently trending above politics and economics and certainly not because her dress is, so called, daring. No, I hate Beyonce’ because, in addition to being responsible for the lyrics: “Boy I’m just playing, come here baby. Hope you still like me, If you hate me. My persuasion can build a nation. Endless power, our love we can devour. You’ll do anything for me” —Beyonce’ epitomizes the same narcissism that  IS pop culture.

But Beyonce’ is not alone. Nicki Minaj, for instance, sang, “It’s my empire, I get what I desire.” Which is what? Money? Fame? The expectation of being featured on celebrity rehab? They have everything they could want; yet, pop culture produces some of the shallowest, most ego centric, narcissistic waste of all of the influences featured in the media today. People who truly believe the world revolves around them and sing and dance about it while the rest of America loses their homes and struggle to find jobs. Everywhere you go; featured in storefronts, record stores, clothing ads, TV commercials and on billboards. Some celebrity spraying themselves down with forty dollar perfume that smells like a used car delivering floral arrangements to a Justin Bieber concert on Valentine’s Day. As if watching J Lo dancing on the hood of a Fiat is going to make that clown car any less impractical. We all know she doesn’t drive a Fiat. She drives (or uses) the newest free thing her agent pimps her out for.  These infamous court jesters are even featured on popular opinion shows for their input into things that actually matter. “Well, he played lawyer in a movie a couple times, let’s see what Matthew McConaughey thinks about the incident at Penn State.”

So what is the point? The point is this: Who cares? Why even try to “keep up” with a couple rich snobs being exploited by their delusional mother? Maybe if people spent that same amount of energy taking an interest in their own lives rather than being glued to whatever pointless argument the Kardashian’s are having, or witnessing the hazards of brain damage as it relates to spray tanning on the Jersey shore, than maybe the rest of the world would have some reason to respect us that doesn’t involve fearing our arsenal of nuclear warheads. And maybe, just maybe, if we focused a little of the time and money we spend trying to model our lives after the income and image of some of the shallowest people on the planet, many of whom are @twitter for your following pleasure, and spent a little of both helping our neighbors and focusing our attention outward, our communities wouldn’t be such depressing, dog-eat-dog places.

Just a thought. Now back to MTV cribs.