Porch

Ask any blogger and they’ll tell you the reason they take time out of each day to deliver hundreds of words for people to read is because there’s stuff inside their head that has to come out so they can achieve something that resembles sanity. Before posting on the internets started happening somewhere around 1995 (2005 for me) people picked up ink pens or pencils and wrote in diaries. In between diaries and blogs, was Eddie Vedder and his left arm. Pay attention to the 2:30 mark of this 6:20 YouTube video.

What was that? It was Ed proclaiming his support for women’s choice over their own bodies during an instrumental break of Porch, the 8th track off their legendary “Ten” album during a 1992 MTV Unplugged Performance. Since the lead singer of Pearl Jam didn’t have a blog, he spent thirty seconds doing something some us would take an thirty minutes or more to type on a computer. The message was powerful. Elvis Presley,  Jim Morrison or Diamond David Lee Roth never supported women’s rights while rockin’ out.

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If you pay close attention to social media, talk show hosts (specifically right wing ones), and “traditional” news outlets, bloggers get a very bad rap. To be fair, President Barack Obama even took a shot at us recently, although I think he was referring to people who post things with a political point of view opposite of his. I find it interesting that as I write this piece, he’s blogging for Huffington Post about gay rights legislation http://news.yahoo.com/obama-turns-blogger-to-make-pitch-for-gay-rights-bill-063547333.html , I think his bill is major league important and I’m pleased he decided to go to writing on the internet to stress it’s need for passage. See, Mr. President posting stuff on the web isn’t so bad is it?

Bloggers are important. We matter.

There is a lot of misinformed people in the world. If you want to call them stupid, go ahead. I prefer “dumb”. Dumb can be corrected. Dumb just means they haven’t been provided smart. Stupid people can be handed smart then reject it and thus be more than dumb. This is what makes what Eddie Vedder’s arm so impactful. Twenty-one years ago we learned that rock stars, formerly thought to be mindless hedonists with nothing more to say than “sex, drugs and rock and roll”, had meaningful voices. Some of them in the early 1990s - Vedder, Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell, Zack De la Rocha, and others- had great things to add to the culture. They just needed a way.

If you google “blogging” or “bloggers” there are dozens of entries about how this forum is dead and we should all go get real lives, whatever those are. Instead of paying attention to the message and or the messenger, anti-bloggers (I refuse to use the word “haters”) always point to how it’s rendered. Because it comes from someone’s computer and not filtered through a new agency or pulpit or government, then it must be wrong. I’ve personally never posted anything on My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog or my other blogs, the defunct Sprocket Ink, or the current Raised On The Radio ( www.raisedontheradio.com) without hours of research, reading, planning, and editing. Can I say the same for some other corners of the innerwebz? Of course not.

From 1988 till 1994 I worked in the news business. I found employment and training through five different radio stations, one newspaper, and one television station. By the end of my six and a half years I learned one basic thing that I use now.

Never lie.

This means don’t:

reveal sources who request anonymity

fill in blanks with stuff that doesn’t exist

present yourself as something or someone you are not

worry about what other people think as long as you’re telling the truth and or what’s in your heart.

With the demise of Sprocket Ink, my outlet for political and pop culture opinion is stunted, but I’m going to try to quench that thirst for the next couple of months until my new opportunity becomes a reality.

What I do here, every day, whether fiction or non-fiction, is climb up on my stool and draw on my arm with a magic marker.

Porch isn’t a song about issues or the news. It was originally written by Eddie Vedder as a tune of regret for not having a relationship with his birth father. Most people use it as a break-up song. But when I play that video, I always think about walking out on my porch and watching my daughters, aged 17, 10, and 9, playing in the front yard or arriving home after being out in the world. Suddenly Porch is about protecting them and showing them an example of someone who isn’t afraid to express their opinion.

This is what makes blogging bad ass and I’m proud to do it.

eddievedderband22222

I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Are you looking for something interesting and music driven to read? I have two for you. My books, The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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Here Comes A Regular

One of the things I learned from 2 1/2 years of therapy, besides an hour means 50 minutes, is to never hide who you really are because people will figure you out anyway. I don’t know if this is true all the time. Writing online for three years straight and on and off for another three years prior, I’ve revealed a lot about myself, good and bad, but I don’t think people have figured me out. They probably never will. Because in my offline life, or what some people would call “real life”, few people have any idea the whack job they deal with on a daily basis. This is certainly true with my family and my day job has no clue who and what I am. I write a lot about my anxiety and depression. I call myself “regular crazy” to make people feel more comfortable about it all.

When I met my wife a friend asked me “Has she shown you her crazy?ore importantly, has she seen yours? Because if she’s with you, she has to have a little, because you have a lot!” I laughed it off then found a corner to curl up in the fetal position because I knew that this would have to happen soon since my wife, then my girlfriend, had children and I did too. So I showed her my crazy. Like tweets, Facebook stati, blog posts, and book chapters, my  crazy came at her in pieces. By the time we married she was ready for the full on whackadoo me. And she got it. Why we’re still together is a volatile mix of modern medicine and blind, dumb luck, I mean love.

My good situation at home and my writing experience have made me more transparent at work. On a conference call, during a brief intermission while we waited for someone to join, I was talking about a previous project that everyone on the call had worked with me. It was infamous because of problems so when I said “yeah, that project was as much fun as a Kafka novel” I thought someone might chuckle. When silence happened, I realized what normal people were like and I waited for someone to drag me from the freezing cold ocean of dumb I’d fallen into.

I’m reading a lot of people who talk about cutting back on blogging and social media to “spend more time with real life” and I always say aloud “well, what will they do with their crazy?” This is why we blog and tweet, right? Eventually that crazy, or different or alternative thinking, however you wish to label, has to come out. Sure, you get off the computer for a while, but when you’re in line at the grocery store and the person in front of you shows every racist, homophobic, annoying coupon hoarding personality tick where do you express your frustration? Those books you download, those websites you visit, that music that none of your friends or family like; where do you talk about that stuff?

Therapy, whether it’s clinical or something as artistically tangible as writing, is supposed to teach you that what’s inside of you can be harnessed into fuel to make your engines – the mind and body – run better over time. Facebook shows me, and it should show everyone who reads this post, that while normal and conventional is good for those who possess those traits, those who feel outside of the white picket fence life need their outlets of expression. This is why My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog, @TLanceB, and my columns for SprocketInk.com exist.

Being different, offbeat, or my own label – regular crazy- is okay so don’t be afraid to reveal it. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

Paul Westerberg is one of my heroes and he knows what I’m talking about. He writes about ir perfectly in this song from his Replacements days. Here’s Here Comes A Regular. It’s brilliant.

Bad Habits

After two and a half years of authoring My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog, I think my greatest writing accomplishment is self-awareness. Later this month I’ll publish a novel and a short story, but recognizing that bad habits are hurting my writing is where I gather the most pride.

When I started this blog, I didn’t envision it becoming a writer’s hamlet of prompts, memes, and serialized fiction. I thought I’d pontificate on things I liked or didn’t, and then share some of my art every once in a while.

With my commitment to Sprocket Ink http://sprocketink.com/ of three posts a week on topics ranging from politics to Ke$ha, I get to share my opinions and journalism skills. Through Twitter and Facebook – @TLanceB and Lance Burson – I can drop random thoughts, jokes, quick opinions, sports rambles, and thoughts on music. This leaves My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog as the one stop shop for my flash fiction, poetry, and novel ideas. The problem is, and I do consider it a problem, I write too much.

My novel, The Ballad of Helene Troy, should have been out in September or October. Granted, I’m remarkably neurotic, so the fine tuning of seventy-five thousand plus words has taken longer than advertised because I’m bat crap crazy.

The short story contest, America’s Next Author, from which I’ll publish a ten thousand word short story called Italian Radio, took me by surprise. I didn’t expect to last over two months and finish in a tie for fourth of a field of over three-hundred writers. The response to the story was better than expected, so that’s taken on another life.

Certain quirks have developed with my writing, as a result. I’ve become that guy with ideas for new stuff that are never finished. My friend and writing partner, Tara aka @Tara_R http://thinspiralnotebook.wordpress.com/ and I decided to run a summer blog series combining our female killer characters, Millicent aka Vivian and Pauley. The reception was so great and we had so much fun writing it, a sequel was spawned, tentatively called The Brazilian Job. It resumes this week.

The bad habits I’ve picked up along the way – overcommitment to prompts, saying yes to every guest post (even though I’m honored), and not finishing stories I’ve started have made me mad at myself and not enjoying writing as much as I should.

So, some things are going to change.

For now, 100 word song remains on Tuesday nights. I’ll combine it with whatever word my friend Velvet http://www.velvetverbosity.com/ comes up with for the week. The only other prompt I’ll be hanging with will be Trifecta Writing Challenge http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/ . I will do at least one of them a week, since they’re only 333 words and 33 words, but they’ll be used in the stories I’ve already started – Soul To Body, Trever Hoyt, and anything Helene oriented. Of course, Tara and I write so well together, any sequels or subsequent fiction adds to our story about Millicent and Pauley will continue. I’ll also provide personal tales of being the only man in a house full of women, as well as fighting mental illness. But for the most part, this will be a writer’s hamlet and Hamlet for my fiction.

I don’t want to say I’ll making My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog save money, lose weight, stop drinking or travel more. But, in a metaphorical sense, that’s what will be happening.

I love writing. It’s part of who and what I am. I just want to keep on loving writing. Breaking some bad habits will, hopefully, ensure that affair stays strong in 2013.

Thank you for clicking on this site, reading, and commenting. It’s a pleasure to read your stuff, too.

Here’s some Thin Lizzy.

Anyone Can Play Guitar

I wake and slumber to the same anxiety.

“Anyone can write a book, except for me.”

I write till the pencils are nubs and my calluses kindle. Closing the deal on my novel shows my neuroses.

“Anyone can write a book, but few create literature. “

Then, listening to a song by a band I love, I realize where I get my narrow opinion.

A musician sat with me on the hood of a blue Pontiac Firebird sharing Southern Comfort, warm. He strummed a six-string and muttered drunken truth.

“Anyone can play guitar, but it takes a hero to make music.”

***blogger’s note****

I’m up late working on The Ballad of Helene Troy and llistening to Radiohead’s first album, Pablo Honey. I clicked on my friend Velvet’s 100 word challenge http://www.velvetverbosity.com/ for “KINDLE” and shared some of my crazy with you.

Here’s a great, underrated, brilliant rock song called Anyone Can Play Guitar from my second favorite band, Radiohead. The lyrics are perfect.

Heart In A Blender

Finger numbness and hand twitches signaled Tom, that the pills hadn’t taken effect. He used his left elbow to press the elevator button. The polished steel showed beads of sweat around his graying temples. The door opened and four women recognized him. Tom’s only response was a superfluous smile that showed his entire mouth. They returned in kind. The one to the far left of the elevator, almost six-feet-tall, with tangled black hair and alabaster skin, spoke first.

“The mysterious Agent Tom Smith from FirstAvailableAgent.com!”

He closed his eyes and hoped the ride to the first meeting didn’t kill him, inside.

“Yeah, that’s me, just Tom. Hi Kale, I mean, The Waitress….”

Kale smiles and touched his right arm. A shorter, stockier woman leaned over and pressed the L button. They started their descent. She gestured to herself and the other three women.

“I’m Glenda the Mom Witch, that’s Nora aka Bloggerina, and Shannen aka I Reek Of Geek. I guess you’re going to the How To Be A Dude In Chick World seminar?”

The door opened. They turned away from his response. Tom muttered something about catching up with them later. They giggled and gossiped about him as though he weren’t standing inches away. He followed them into the hotel lobby. The women scampered like loose puppies, laughing and talking.

“That means they like you. In a place with five-thousand female bloggers and, like, nine guy ones, anytime someone speaks to you, its affection.”

The sarcasm oozed like motor oil from a wrecked sports car. Tom knew he’d run into the person he came to see. He eyed a short-haired brunette carrying a tumbler of amber liquid in her right hand and her wife’s arm in her left. Tom answered.

“Justine, they’re clever little birds, they darted away every time I came near, tittering their amusement at my discomfiture.”

She smiled, moved away from her companion, then pulled him in for a hug.

“I love the heart in your words, Tom.”

****blogger’s note****

This is my response to Trifecta Writing’s “heart” http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/ and another prompt.

For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Jester Queen gave me this prompt: Clever little birds, they darted away every time I came near, tittering their amusement at my discomfiture..

I gave FlamingNyx this prompt: Her fingers gripped the only jagged rock available when an arm appeared….

Jester Queen’s Twitter is @jesterqueen and FlamingNyx’s Twitter is @FlamingNyx. When you tweet about your post, please include their information.

Today’s song is something I use for my anxiety moments and with how I write. I can’t believe I’ve never used it over the two plus years of blogging. I thought it fit Tom’s mindset and trifecta’s prompt. Here’s Eve 6′s Inside Out which has the great line “heart in a blender”.

Every Day I Write The Book

Robots, rockstars, a grieving parent, 100 Word Songs and my personal adventures as a man surrounded by women prompt a daily spectacle that over a hundred and fifty of you choose to click. Breaks at work, laying by the pool, watching sports, and stretched out on my bed on a saturday morning are how I provide something worth your internet surf. Four hundred and eighty five posts covering two years and three days later, blogging has made me a better writer and person . As Helene rocks her way into your hands and kindles, I’ll keep showing you my soul.

****blogger’s note****

May 23, 2010 I took my wife’s advice and staretd My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog. I decided to recognize it in 100 words through my friend Velvet’s 100 Word challenge. http://www.velvetverbosity.com/  Her word this week was “SPECTACLE” .Thanks for reading, commenting, tweeting, the facebooking, and allowing me into your consciousness. Happy 2, My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog.

Here’s the great Elvis Costello.

The Way It Is

Blogging is therapy. If you don’t think so or you don’t realize it, then you’re doing it wrong. There is no difference in typing out your words, hitting publish and getting response versus sitting in a comfortable chair in front of someone who doesn’t really know you and talking.

I don’t understand people who write under pseudonyms, have multiple online identities, or play characters on Al Gore’s internets. I’ve done it before. I was wrong and I felt stupid. I don’t blame any of you or have ill feelings. There are people who are abused and write to escape their horror. There are others with judgemental jobs or family members and they type under a shield to experience the freedom they need to survive. Good on all of you.

If My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog is about anything, other than serialized fiction, then it’s about me and my changing perspective as I grow up. Twenty years ago, Wall Street was my favorite movie. I idolized Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas. His speech to Teldar Paper, where he drops “Greed is good”, was something I mimicked and spoke verbatim in exuberance. Now, it makes me ill. I still like the film, but, currently, my favorite line comes from Martin Sheen’s character Carl Fox. When his son, Bud, played by Charlie Sheen, lectures Carl for not being more greedy and savvy about the real, cruel world around them, Carl says this:

“I don’t go to bed with no whore, and I don’t wake up with no whore. That’s how I live with myself. I don’t know how you do it.”

There’s no scandal inside My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog. The title is ironic, unless you’re a whore. If you are, then, yeah, my blog can slap you around.

I love writing. It makes me feel alive. I’m more proud that this place is authentic to who I am and what I value, the way it is.

***blogger’s note***

Although personal, the word scandal is used so this is my response, a weak one they’ll think, I’m sure, to my friends at Trifecta Challenge http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/

scan·dal noun \ˈskan-dəl\

3 a: a circumstance or action that offends propriety or established moral conceptions or disgraces those associated with it

I’m an unashamed fan of Tesla. Today’s song says a lot about where my head’s at, right now. Here’s The Way It Is. Blow a speaker.