Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"A Bedtime Story for Weary Princesses and Confused Frogs" by Will Conley

Once upon a time there was a little frog swimming. This princess came up and kissed him. Got right down in the mud and fucked up her dress to kiss the handsome little frog. He was a charming frog. She kissed him right on the head. He was like, "Wrong species, lady, men are in aisle six." She was offended. "Ungrateful..." she muttered as she walked off.

The frog didn't change. He stayed the same. That's redundant, but so was the frog, for he had a twin. But the twin was not a frog. He was a man. I don't remember what their mom and dad were. Probably a devil's food cake and a red velvet cake, I don't know, it's fucked up.

The princess walked over to aisle six, for in those days nature was organized into neat rows. Sure enough, aisle six was lousy with men. Men all sitting on shelves, playing cards and cursing and doing whatever it is men do when they're stacked six high on both sides. Just passing the time, waiting for a princess. The princess walked down the aisle, thinking, "What a stupid story, Christ I hate my job," et cetera, when she stumbled upon a man who was not sitting on a shelf like he was supposed to. The man was actually standing there in the middle of the aisle, spouting shitty old pick-up lines.

"Nice shoes. Do you have a quarter? Did it hurt?" the man babbled, grabbing on his nuts.

That didn't last. "Cleanup on aisle six," shouted the clouds, and washed the man into the ocean. Oceans were in the back of the planet stuffed in cardboard boxes labeled "vast," "treacherous," "more like a lake," et cetera.

The princess walked on. "So far, no plot," she mused, brushing the weeping willows out of her eyes. She had on some really nice makeup, so the producers were pretty happy about that.

The frog, however, realizing he needed to make a second appearance at some point before the end of the decidedly avante-garde story, jumped off Mount Rushmore (aisle 3, "Mountains/Morning Dew/Laughter") and said to the princess, "Princess. That goth look is beautiful. Really, I love it. But can't you do something softer? Maybe go more brown tones? I'm not asking you to do it all at once, just tone it down."

"But the producers..." the princess protested.

"Fuck 'em. You're not some character in a story, you're a human being. Just because some asshole thought you up, that don't make you his."

The princess, awed by this quasi-intellectualism on the part of the frog, listened, for she had nothing better to do, for she was lost among the organized wilderness of trees and stars (aisle 14); passion, the Saguaro National Forest, and peanut butter M&Ms (aisle pi); and various teenaged stock boys.

"That's all I got," the frog said.

"Pretty anti-climactic," the princess said, a disappointed smirk on her face. Her eyes nonetheless shone like moons and warmed the frog to his edible frog legs.

"Pretty non-sensical," the princess continued, merciless in her literary skills testing skills.

The frog wept, and wept. He hopped over a demi-god and sat in the corner by the children. The children were all badly behaved and $11.99 a pair.

The end.

Posted via email from Will Conley's Random Things

Anatomy of Azusa

It is commonly held that the founders of Azusa, California named it such because they envisioned it having "everything from A to Z in the USA", but one Los Angeles Times writer had another theory (via Wikipedia.)

Azusa has enough for me. I moved here from North Hollywood for more frugal living arrangements on March 10th, 2010. This small city (pop. 45,000) is cinched right up to the foothills of the Angeles National Forest, which is contiguous with the San Bernardino National Forest. The main drag in Azusa is Foothill Drive. I am writing this at a Starbucks situated on that road.

These photos are a slice of my life here in Azusa. My first weekend in town, I took a walk towards the mountains, intending to touch them. But they were farther than they looked, so after two miles I ended up sitting in a little concrete seating area among flowers.

There are plenty of palms here, and plenty of March sunshine.

Been exploring. My typical day involves laptop time at Starbucks, the library, and another coffee shop called Kelly's Coffee and Fudge (co-operated with a Greek bakery.) Sometimes I hit up a McDonald's for their free WiFi too, though the atmosphere is not "me". At all. Starbucks isn't me, either, for that matter, but they open early. I have been getting up at 5:00 a.m. every day and going to bed before midnight. That schedule works for me. I get plenty done. I write.

People are friendly here. People open doors for disabled people. Drivers stop at crosswalks.

There are things to do. I wouldn't call it everything A to Z though.

I did take a trip out to Venice Beach. A pilgrimage of sorts, an odyssey, even. I visited the small garage my dad rented out a block from the beach in the beatnik 1950s. Got on the phone with him and he was able to describe my surroundings in acute detail. Those were some formative years for my dad. Poetry, art. I paid homage. More on that in another post.

Yesterday my friends Tony and Victor and I piled in Victor's truck and drove around downtown L.A. Victor played the tour guide, describing everything as we wove through town. We didn't bother paying $3.00 per 15 minutes to park anywhere and walk around. Instead we drove to Pasadena and took a drive in the foothills where the rich and famous live. We identified one famous person's house: Delta Burke's. It's pink. It's gated. It's in the hills with all the other elite. Beautiful houses. I'd like one, please.

Back to Azusa. It's not exciting, but it's pretty, and I have new friends here. Friends who listen, friends who speak, friends who laugh.

See you next time.

Posted via email from Will Conley's Random Things

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Music, Writing, and You (and Me)

True writing is indistinguishable from the spontaneous emotion that inspires it. The word and the deed are one.

The writer's first job is to listen. And to see with his eyes closed. Already you can see that writing is a black art. How can you see with your eyes closed? The experience is much the same as with your eyes open. This is a mystery.

I know when I have written something good when my chest rings like a bell. Words contain music. So do emotions, so does experience itself. What is music? Rhythm, tones, wavelengths, harmonies, dissonance. What is the solar system? A waltz, a bolero. Planets repeating their revolutions around the sun in an eternally evolving rhythmic relationship to each other. What is a heartbeat? It is a drum that fills you with life. What are colors? Differing wavelengths of light, similar in shape to sound waves.

My science could be off, but I believe in music. Call it a deity if you must. To me, writing is music. I found my writing voice only after listening to, playing, studying and composing music for years.

So I recommend you listen to, play, study, and even compose some music of your own. For years. Pick an instrument and get to know it. Learn about some basic music theory.

Words were, first and foremost, sounds. Those sounds arise from emotion. Emotion arises from instinct and "religious feeling" and whatnot. Our ancient yelps and cries and sighs and laughter were indistinguishable from the emotion that caused them. Word and deed were one.

Let word and deed be one in your writing. Immerse yourself in music.

Posted via email from Will Conley's Random Things