Archive | February, 2013

Is anybody else as paranoid as me?

19 Feb

A guide to surviving unfortunate events such as chloroform attacks and attempted murder

Paranoid

I blame America’s Most Wanted and similar crime shows for my incessant fear that someone will either snipe me while I’m washing my dishes or ambush me and bludgeon me to death while I’m out for a walk. Not only am I afraid of the ex-military serial killer who will strike when I am most vulnerable, but I am also afraid of encountering the Paul Bernardo-type psychopaths who seem so very normal on the outside but will trap you in their killing dungeon by tricking you into checking out their postage collection that they suspiciously keep in their basement. It happens, people.

So after years of reenacting these scenarios in my head I’ve compiled a list of simple measures you can take to protect yourself.* The first two are easy.

Number one: get blinds. Number two: never walk.

3. Always be aware of the make, model, and year of the cars that are behind and beside you in the event that you are being followed by the mob. Document these somewhere conspicuous in case you ever go missing and the authorities need to piece together your disappearance and save you right before your whacking. And always have your insurance papers ready because you’re going to end up rear-ending a lot of people with this method.

4. Avoid mounds of snow. For those of you living in parts of the world that don’t have snow and minus 40 weather, a ‘snow job’ is the cruel act of pushing someone into a pile of snow and then repeatedly kicking it at them until they are defeated and are nothing more than a white speed bump. I had the misfortune of being snow-jobbed in Grade 9 by 4 guys (they so were in love with me). To this day, when I see snow banks my fingers go numb.

5. Stay as far away from subway tracks as possible. You may have to stand on the trip because you didn’t get on the train fast enough, but at least you weren’t thrown in front of the oncoming train by a psycho. Besides, sitting people are more vulnerable than standing people.

6. Never date someone you can’t physically take on in a fight, and when you do date someone, keep a mental note of their weak spots in case they ever go Ike Turner on you. And don’t forget about the universal weak spots: solar plexus, instep, nose and groin or S.I.N.G.

7. Don’t get sloppy and don’t get lazy, even if that means taking a different mixed martial arts class every week.

8. Take a different way home everyway but try not to get lost. Or maybe I meant to get lost… *shifty eyes*

9. Everything is a weapon. That menu: a weapon. His necklace: a weapon. Your lipstick: a weapon. And of course, actual weapons are also weapons. My custom-made, rhinestone encrusted brass knuckles are being shipped right now.

10. In line with the above, hide weapons everywhere. I’m talking scissors in your bun, switchblade in your boots, nun-chucks in your toilet tank, and ninja stars in your umbrella. A little bit of thread and creativity goes a long way.

11. Keep pens on you. They are important for documenting license plates and descriptions of suspect people. And they make great make-shift weapons (have you noticed the theme yet?).

12. Practice holding your breath in case you ever get chloroformed and you need to pretend like you’ve inhaled it and have fainted. And then BAM! Pen to jugular.

13. Learn where the jugular vein is.

14. Be weary of cats. They may be hilarious, but they are plotting to kill you.

*I feel it’s important to note that this is not an exhaustive list and I have a lot more tricks up my sleeve. I’m watching you…

A Foolproof Guide to Stellar Writing

11 Feb

1. Get nasty and own it

I once asked my friend to help me stage a picture for my LinkedIn profile that screamed “I’m a writer, hire me!” but wasn’t too cliché. She asked me what I look like when I write to help give her an idea of the essence of my writing.

I thought about it. My answer: gross.

I strive for nasty writing. Not “I’m not wearing any underwear” writing, but rather “I’m pretty physically repulsive right now” writing. The kind where you are so into your creativity and brilliance that you don’t care to brush your hair or put on deodorant, and the only time you practice any form of hygiene is when you get up to relieve your bladder of the venti coffee you just drank. Or you need to wash your hands because the sebum from your fingertips is making it hard to accurately type.

I’m a strong believer that showering will wash away creativity and promote social distractions when your friends can bear you enough to talk to you. Inspiration is an elusive creature so it’s important that you hold onto it as long as you can. Who knows when this rogue lover will find you again? Make passionate love to that dirty beast while you can!

That B key doesn't look very sanitary

That B key doesn’t look very sanitary

2. Sleep with a pen and paper nearby

In line with the above advice, it’s important to keep a pen and paper nearby when the beast rouses you awake from the verge of sleep. It’s also a good idea to practice writing in the dark, or if you’re more daring, to practice writing under the glaring light of your iPhone with one eye strained shut in pain.

This method can be tricky when you try to recall a dream that made a lot of sense to you in la-la land but loses it’s Harry Potter-esque fantasy and intrigue when you wake up. For example, I have a sticky note written in blue highlighter that reads “Geisha garden gnomes that hop backyard fences to steal amethyst to save the world.” That’s as far as I got on that pitch.

Geisha

The unsung hero and likeable protagonist

3. When you get stuck, move

When I find myself lost for words or unable to work out a plot or character inconsistency, I like to take a break that doesn’t involve sitting in front of the boob tube, because let’s face it, once I’m there I’m committed to at least 30% of whatever reality show marathon is on.

Instead, I go for a walk (pen and paper in hand), run up and down the stairs, or even do some ninja* kicks and punches. It gets the blood moving away from the feet and ass (where it has likely pooled due to hours of sitting) and into the brain! A personal favorite counter writer’s-block activity of mine is Hip Hop yoga. Something about listening to street poetry upside down really gets me out of ruts!

*OMG, ninjas would work perfectly in my Geisha Garden Gnome story! I could probably get at least three series out of the GGG franchise (trademark pending).

Downward Snoop Doggy Dog

Downward Snoop Doggy Dog

4. Never revise a rough draft of a section of writing until it’s done

Just go with what comes into your head, and finish off that paragraph or chapter. I’m sure it will be awesome.

5. Have a respected peer edit your revised draft and be prepared to become fully and irrationally invested in your work and respond emotionally and dramatically to all major suggestions

I’m not referring here to the occasional typo or poor word choice, but rather major changes to the core of your work.

Because writing is such a personal and emotional process, it’s important to protect it like a mother duck would protect her duckling: with a big mouth and violence. It is your work, after all. And you are a genius, aren’t you? So aren’t you’re ideas golden? Yes. Yes they are.

It’s important to have that mentality enveloping you so that you stay true to yourself and listen to your gut. Only allocate reason to a small portion of your brain and only let it speak to you when you’re done acting like a prima donna. You owe at least that much to yourself.

This is my favourite part of writing.

Be a diva

Be a diva, Dah-ling