|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
A moment for the HAPPY DANCE...I'm one third of the way through this 365 day challenge...YAY!
And, of course, the perpetual reminders
1. I am a believer in the never ending process of learning. In that cause I would like to put out an invitation to poets living in the Ventura, California area. Wednesday nights, for the next eight weeks, at 7 PM in Ventura at the Vita Art Center, 432 North Ventura Avenue, there will be an ongoing poetry workshop. This is a great opportunity to sharpen your craft and gather with other writers in the pursuit of excellence.
2. I have never done this before so I'm still figuring out my proverbial butt from a hole in the ground. What I am proposing is a poetry contest. Before you get to crazy, I am initially aiming this at the Southern California area. Perhaps later I can expand my reach but I'm still trying to get the ins and outs figured and would appreciate suggestions from anyone who has done this, or anything remotely similar, before.
Feel free to contact me about either of these announcements at the e-mail address listed at the bottom of the post.
AS WEDNESDAY IS 'SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA VOICES' DAY...AND I HAPPEN TO BE IN SO-CAL
You can change the channel if you want, this is going to be something of a shameless plug.
Yesterday I harangued everyone with the 'Why Writing Should Be Difficult' rap. I am a very deep believer in this. As has been pointed out in the past, I have a 40+ hour per week day job, am presently involved with three separate writer's groups and a large writer's club. I do open mic's and featured readings, maintain this blog and my personal writing schedule.
That writing schedule is EVERY DAY! The only variation is how long every day. Last week I was a little off stride in new work but that's because I put the finishing touches on four short stories ranging from just under one thousand words to just over six thousand words. All four of them are now in the hands of four different publishers. I usually write between one and five new poems a day...(No, they're not finished but all the bones are there and they just need revising from here forward). I am also compiling poetry submissions for two publishers and have a completed manuscript out to competition.
I know, "So what's my damned point?" Simply, I talk all the time about writing, so I thought as a break I'd throw some of it up. The following is an excerpt of the first draft of a brand new short story. I'm posting it for your enjoyment and comment...(Yes, I actually welcome outside critique...It's another way I stretch myself...Though at times it feels like the gallows and not the keyboard.) So, without further ado, as the saying goes:
Dane F. Baylis
Frank Grillo stood there, staring at Jimmy, the dispatcher, as if he had two heads. He really didn’t believe he’d heard him right. Sure, everyone had their hustle, but this one seemed a little far fetched, even for a bottom feeder like Jimmy.
“Jesus Christ, Grillo. I’m always trying to give the benefit of the doubt, but you really ain’t the brightest penny in the roll, are you.”
“Maybe not, Jimmy, but I know screwed when I feel it.”
“Screwed? How do you figure you’re getting screwed?”
“You’re asking me to take on supervising a crew, for which I get twenty bucks extra, right?”
“That’s right. It’s easy money, Francis.”
“Except I’ve got to kick back ten of that to you for the privilege.”
Jimmy checked to make sure there was no one in the waiting area besides Frank. “That’s right. Just like everyone else I bump up. You get out of the shit work and make more money. Less work and more money is worth a taste for me putting you to it.”
“How many crews you got out today?”
“Not that it’s any of your business, Francis, but I got eight out and maybe a ninth if the afternoon shift at the box factory opens up.”
“Are all those leads kicking back to you?”
“Every one of them.”
“So that’s eighty, maybe ninety, bucks today? Pretty tasty if you ask me.”
“I didn’t. You want it or not, Grillo? If you don’t take it, someone else will.”
Frank kept his best poker face on. He’d admit in a second to liking Jimmy’s ‘no bullshit’ approach to graft. He just didn’t want to come off looking too hungry. A guy like this dispatcher had the instincts of a coyote. Show him the slightest sign of weakness and he’d go right for your balls.
“Tell you what, Grillo. You take the fish plant crew for a few days. You still feel I’m bending you over, I’ll put you back on the line and give Doreen the lead.”
“Doreen? Are you shitting me?”
“Hey, that greedy old bag will jump at the chance. Hell, she’ll probably offer me head for the opportunity.”
“Good luck with that one, Pal.” Frank knew he was being pressured. The fish plant was one of those jobs not very many wanted. It was cold, wet and so far out on the docks that it was a ten minute walk to the nearest dive where you might get a drink. By the end of a shift you stunk so bad of halibut and white fish that every blind alley cat in a four block radius could follow you home. But the idea of that lard bucket Doreen pulling down an extra double sawbuck for lording it over him was too much.
“Tell you what, Jim. I’ll do it for a couple of days. If it ain’t too big a pain in the ass, then, okay. If not, I’ll go back to the line, just not working for Doreen.”
Jimmy noted the change in Frank’s status in his ledger, all the time shaking his head. “Why, if you know all along you’re going to take the deal, do you insist on busting my chops, Francis?”
“I just look at it as getting my licks in.”
Frank reached around the counter and pressed the button that buzzed the back office door open. Inside he headed for the coffee pot in the back. Day laborers weren’t supposed to be in there, but Frank new damn well that the coffee out front had been in the pot for over an hour now. After a long, wet night over at Tommy O’s his stomach wouldn’t tolerate that mud. Anyway, he had a steady throb growing behind his eyes and needed something for it. Digging around in a drawer, he fished out a bottle of aspirin. Chewing four, he washed down the bitter paste with sips of hot, black coffee...(to be continued)
So like I said, I'm open for comments. You can either put them up publicly in the window below or send them directly to me at email@example.com . Thanks.
Meanwhile...live, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis