Thursday, February 28, 2013

Day 53 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

All Right! Back To The Syllabus.

If I Could Have/Be Any Character In Any Book I've Read...Who Would It Be, From What Book And Why Did I Choose That Person?

So let's climb in the Way Back Machine as Peabody used to say to Sherman on the "Rocky and Bullwinkle" show. We'll set the dial for the years 1957 or 1958 and zero in on the coordinates for San Francisco. The city was fully in the grip of the Beat Generation. Those post World War Two seekers after truth and freedom. Into this mix comes a couple of books that would define the image of this subculture for the American People. First there was On The Road and hot on its heels was The Dharma Bums, both by that chronicler of the scene, Jean-Louis Lebris De Kerouac (Jack Kerouac).
 
His trip to the west coast in the late 1940's gave birth to both of these works and a pantheon of thinly veiled characters that would go on to typify everything hip in that period. In both of these early works we meet  Gary Snyder, Buddhist, Pulitzer Prize winner, and ecologist/outdoors man In the character of Jaffy/Jaffe Ryder. He takes the citified Jack Duluoz (Kerouac) under his wing and introduces him to Zen and the mountains of Big Sur and the search to connect to the natural world and free one's self from duality.
 
It was Snyder (in the character of Jaffe), more than anyone else, who eventually led me to the west coast and the natural splendor of mountain ranges from Washington State to Baja and the diversity of the western environments and people. It was tales of Jaffe bounding up and down rugged slopes and sleeping rough in the forests that sent me to Sur, Yosemite, Shasta, The Mojave and Anza-Borrego. It was the talk of meditating among the redwoods that interested me first in Alan Watts and led me to where I am now in an intensive study of Jodo Shinshu.
 
It was the manic force of Kerouac and Burroughs and Cassady and Kesey and their stream of consciousness rants that truly lit a fire under my young ass and made me wonder if I might be able to follow where they'd led. All that time ago and I am still traipsing up and down the coast and off into the mountains, camping in tents, fishing incredible water and writing my heart out. It is there I go when I need to remember my scale in all this. It is there I hear Jaffe whooping in the hills.
 
Accepting short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. Nope, still no pay, just glorious exposure! You can send your work to me via e-mail at dbaylis805@gmail.com. Authors retain all rights. You can also follow or subscribe to this blog. There are gadgets for that on the right side of this page. I love the company and it helps with the search engine ranking. Comments, critiques, and questions are always answered in as timely a manner as I can manage between my day job, writing, studies, blah, blah, blah. There's a form at the bottom of the page for your use.
 
In the meantime, remember...live, love, write.
 
 
Dane F. Baylis

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Day 52 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane . Baylis

Call This An Observation

As With Any Observation You Can Take It Or Leave It

Granted, I've stayed away from actively seeking publication for quite some time so I find the trend to self-publishing interesting and, in some ways, disturbing. Interesting because the medium of the Internet makes it so accessible, and disturbing due to the unbridled sloppiness and decline to the lowest common denominator it seems to foster. I understand that we all feel we have something to say...Why the hell else would I be here...and we feel that our words are so precious that we should be able to personally reap the greatest profit from their publication. However, there have been several times in the last few months when I have downloaded materials (fiction, non-fiction, and once I wasn't quite sure what) which were so shoddily edited that I couldn't bring myself to finish the reading.
 
Honestly, if you've boxed yourself into a position where you've slashed your production costs to the bare bones in order to maximize your profit, then you need to do the work you would have paid someone else to do. This will save you from someone like me! Someone who hasn't the least reservation about providing brutally honest feedback in an Amazon or Kindle review for your utter disregard for your reader. If you're going to expect people to actually pay you for your little gem then you need to deliver it clean, faceted, and polished. It should be a joy to behold, not something your audience feels they need to red pencil their way through. Granted, I am by no way perfect in this regard, but if you're not one hundred and ten percent confident in your proofreading and grammatical skills then you either need a good friend who is or you need to dig out the check book and hire the heavy lifting out. PLEASE!
 
Next, and don't get too close because this is really chapping my ass, if you have chosen a language to communicate in then at least try for something approaching proficiency in it. Damn it all, the English language is a difficult but beautiful thing to behold when it is used to its truest extent. Unfortunately, I keep running into any number of instances when I wonder which secondary school composition class the author DIDN'T sleep through. I will toss out one of those silly little truisms that seems to have been forgotten by far too large a number of self-publishers. If you want to write great books you have to read great books. Not just read them but analyze and dissect them. Keep an extensive dictionary at hand, along with a thesaurus and any number of grammar references. To quote from one of my blues playing heroes, Buddy Guy, "If you stop learning you might as well roll it up and go home." Remember that, first and most important, you are a writer before you are a publisher. Otherwise, you might want to think about getting out of one of those two professions.
 
As always, I'm looking for short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. Submit these to me at dbaylis805@gmail.com. You can follow or subscribe to this page by using the gadgets that are on the right side of this page. I really love the company and it helps with the search engine rankings. Comments, critiques, and questions are welcome and may be submitted through the form at the bottom of the page.
 
In the meanwhile...live, love, write.
 
 
Dane F. Baylis


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Day 51 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Tonight, I'm Going Off The Reservation

Or

Why Do I Do Those Things I Do?

The topic provided for the 365 Days of Blogging just did not apply tonight! So, why don't we really take a side road? A little meander through the landscape that influenced how and why I write what I do the way I do. It's okay to come along, the attendants made sure the jacket was good and snug and they liberally increased the med's, just in case.
 
I come from the Boston area, born to Irish working class stock. If you've ever been there then you know that the city values the breadth of a persons experience. If you are no more than a generation or two removed from traditional Celtic blood you understand that this is a people that values your ability to communicate and argue. (No, not every discussion in an Irish neighborhood ends up in a donnybrook!) So there you have the crucible in which I was forged.
 
I obtained my first library card at seven and six months later had my mother come with me to the library to sign a permission form to free me from the kid's section. At first it was all books on space exploration, which at the time involved hurling cats, dogs, and primates beyond the atmosphere and hoping they came back sort of alive. Then came geography and history, in the household I grew up in this was the opening for various uncle's, aunts and cousins to grill you on what you read and what you thought. There was no escaping it, at any holiday gathering or family dinner you would be led beyond the safety of names and dates and forced to stand your ground on the the rocky plains of opinion.
 
One day I picked up a copy of David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens. This was followed by The Tale of Two Cities. In quick succession came Hawthorne, Poe, Crane, and Hugo. I was bathed in ocean salt by Melville and Coleridge. Going into my teens I discovered Tobacco  Rode  and Catcher in the Rye . There were the transcendentalists, the lost generation, the expatriates, the existentialists. Works on Nihilism and Nazism, Buddhism and the Bhagavad Gita.
 
By the time I was fifteen I was standing beside highways with my thumb out every chance I got. I've hopped freights and bummed rides from long haul truckers. If someone asked where I was headed I usually just pointed straight ahead and said, "There."
 
I have served in the military in various places and circumstances. I have been a paratrooper, recon scout, Special Forces Operative and counter-insurgency/counter-terrorism instructor. I will still pick up a magazine or paper in a couple of foreign languages just to see what someone else's perspective is.
 
I've worked as a bartender with a side job as a drunk. I've run my own independent production services unit in LA, Hollywood, and the San Fernando Valley. I'm a professionally trained photographer with several awards for my work. I am a painter who has had galleried exhibits, a published poet, and occasional author of short fiction. Somedays I'm a musician but it's not a pretty thing.
 
All of this has taught me there is no greater story than that of Joe Everyday making his way through from one moment to the next. That each and every person has a tale and that the best stories are the simplest. That the hardest bastard cries and the most incompetent buffoon will eventually have his or her day. It is as essential to listen as to speak and to try to hear the voice that communicates from beyond words in the language of the heart. There have never been any one hundred percent villains or heroes and, if you want to go beyond the mundane, that is the only way to REALLY portray a character. Everything else is unadulterated bullshit!
 
And that was the short version.
 
Accepting your short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. They can be sent via e-mail to dbaylis805@gmail.com.
No payment there, just the glory of your words and name in print. Authors retain ALL rights. You're welcome to follow or subscribe to this blog. There are gadgets for those operations on the right side of this page. Really love the company and it helps with the search engine rankings. Comments, critique, and questions are always welcome (use the form at the bottom of this page, please). I answer as quickly as I can.
 
Remember...live, love, write.
 
 
Dane F. Baylis
 


Monday, February 25, 2013

Day 50 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

If I Could Vacation Anywhere In The World Where Would It Be And What Draws Me There?

Place? As in singular? As in make a choice? Aaaahhh c'mon!

This is going to be so damned limiting and I say that because I have been all over the world as it is and I still have so much left to see. Granted, some of this travel was done under the auspices of Uncle Green and his Army Machine but, even then, when I signed on for a tour of duty that's exactly what I expected...A TOUR! Unlike the hapless Private Judy Benjamin, I'd been a child of the streets and knew how to wrangle that kind of outcome.
 
However, this October I will be cruising the Mediterranean with my one and only, from Rome to Barcelona for about two weeks. That is a trip that will be part encore and largely new. We are building a few extra days into the Rome segment to hit the high points (and I can tell from experience that the high points there are so numerous that, if you want to truly appreciate them, you better find a way to just damned do it). I mean, pack up your laptop, camera, a significant other, or the damned cat, and move there tonight!  I cannot emphasize enough my belief in travel as a way of expanding your horizons! There is nothing like being immersed in another culture to either a) Send your chauvinistic ass screaming for your native shore, or, b) Make you wonder what took you so friggin' long to smarten up!
 
So, where would my ideal vacation place be...Any Place I Haven't Been Yet! Argentina, Sri Lanka, Japan, Peru, Nepal, Tibet, China...Why? The mountains, the deserts, the seas and oceans, the culture past and present, the people, the languages, OH DEAR LORD!!!!!! THE FOOD! If you are one of these people who has always said, "One of these days.", get off your ass because these days are gone before you know it! Yes the world is an immense place and it is filled with strange shit. People eat the weirdest stuff and even when you think you've got the local lingo down, the dialect shifts and they're all speaking the equivalent of martian...and bathing and toilet facilities can take some figuring out....SO WHAT! That's what makes traveling an adventure!
 
I'm still accepting submissions of short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays (What? You think this stuff just springs from my finger tips?) for the Your Work/Your Love page. You can forward it to me by e-mail at dbaylis805@gmail.com.
You can also follow or subscribe to this blog. There are gadgets on the right side of the page for that. I love the company and it helps with the search engine ranking. Always welcome comments, critiques, or questions. Please use the form at the bottom of this page. I answer everything as quickly as possible.
 
In the meantime, remember...live, love, write.
 
 
Dane F. Baylis




Sunday, February 24, 2013

Day 49 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Tell You About One Device I Just Can't Live Without

 
This is definitely going to run to the obvious. What do I do everyday? Write...and write about writing...and communicate with people from all over Hell's half acre about writing (mine, their's and the art and craft in general). So what device might I not be able to live without? Hmmmm, my cell phone? Perhaps my Kindle? Maybe my I-Pod?
 
It would be NO to all of the above! It's this infernal machine that dominates my desk, my world, and my return to the literary life...If you can call spending every moment possible in front of this thing writing, revising, submitting and networking somehow distantly related to what any sane son-of-a-bitch would actually call a life. Don't get me wrong though, I really find no device indispensable! No, that's not entirely true. IF I were stranded on a desert island...Don't you just hate that premise? You do? Tough, you'll have to go with it for a moment...IF I were in the aforementioned situation, as long as I could fashion an implement to write with and something to write on I might retain my already tenuous grip on sanity...All right, so at least I'd be able to continue recording my lunatic ravings...until I found a way out of that dilemna. Oh, and a supply of bottles to get those ravings into circulation would be a definite plus. If you tied an empty one to the first would it qualify as an SASE? See, it is all about creativity after all!
 
Face it, I started in this craft long before the personal computer and I would find a way to keep going without it. But for the sake of argument and as a bow to evolution in art, my collection of black boxes and an Internet connection are the ones whose disappearance would cause a prolonged period of teeth gnashing, furniture demolition, and a serious consideration of taking up home distillation as a lifestyle!
 
I am accepting short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. E-mail them to dbaylis805@gmail.com. Nope, still no payment, just the glory of seeing your name up in the glow of a couple of more monitors. Authors retain ALL rights. Follow or subscribe to this blog (Because you can't help yourself and it will help with my search engine rankings) by using the gadgets found on the right side of this page. Comments, critiques, and questions are always welcome. Please submit them through the window at the bottom of this page. I answer everything as quickly as humanly possible.
 
Remember...live, love, write.
 
 
Dane F. Baylis

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Day 48 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Tell You About What's Around Me And My Work Area

Okay, this is where you all are supposed to get a glimpse into my inner being by translating the things in my environment into meaningful representations of my darkest thoughts. Good damned luck with that! If anything you'll walk away from this going, "That was it?" As time has gone by I have become more firmly convinced that a creative space needs to be just that. NOT a distracting space, but one in which the surroundings contribute as much as possible to the endeavors that will occur within the space.
 
So, as you can probably surmise, as I type this I am seated in my office/studio. The title tells you that this is a room with more than one purpose. Physically it is ten foot by twelve foot,. The walls are a very soft yellow, the trim a richer more vibrant yellow and the closet and office doors are a yellowish green called "Bamboo". The ceiling is flat white and the carpet is a soft beige. I have a desk with shelves, a file cabinet, a small storage cabinet a bookcase and a futon.
 
As I sit typing this on a standard desktop I can look straight ahead to a print out of motivational sayings that I take note of frequently. On the desk top shelving are a large collection of Cd's (mostly blues) and a small library of references covering writing, spelling, grammar. music, music theory, Buddhism, photography and social networking.
 
Held in various nooks and crannies around the room are are several sketchpads, watercolor pads, tracing and graph paper, canvases and drawing boards. There are three guitars hanging on the wall to my right, two electric and one acoustic. Below these are two amplifiers. I have a CD player on the cabinet along with my reading light. In the cabinet are a wide selection pencils, charcoals, pastels, water colors, etc. Above the desk shelving is an analog clock shaped like the top of a concert grand piano. Next to this to the right is an arrangement of musical symbol wall art. Next to those, moving right, is a triptych of my granddaughter and I when she was just short of her first birthday.
 
The bookcase and every other available surface holds fiction, poetry, philosophy, social science, physical science, atlases and copies of most everything my own writing, art and photography ever appeared in. In front of the bookcase is my electric bass. As we proceed along the left side of the room there is one of my portfolios with various sketches, pen and ink drawings and watercolors in it and above that a calendar of Japanese woodblock prints by several masters. Scattered amongst all the rest is a collection of percussion instruments and several of the projects I am presently nurturing through one stage or another. Among all that you would take note of several black and white, wide ruled notebooks and yellow pads. I know I've mentioned it before...I long hand everything and I keep several projects alive simultaneously.
 
On my desk there are a few small treasures. The most precious of these being a professional portrait of my wife and I that was taken a couple of years ago on a cruise to the Canadian Maritime Provinces. It reminds me who the most important person in this room is even when she's somewhere else.
 
So there you have it. My world in a nutshell. I have no real idea what it might tell you but I leave that to your kind discretion.
 
I am always looking for submissions for the Your Work/Your Love page. Short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays. Send them via email to dbaylis805@gmail.com. No pay, just high praise and exposure. Authors retain all rights. You can follow or subscribe to this blog, there are gadgets on the right side of the page for this purpose. I love the company and it helps with the search engine rankings. I am forever grateful for those who send me their comments, critiques, and questions. That, after all, is what this blog is REALLY about. Please use the form at the bottom of the page for that.
 
Remember...live, love, write.
 
 
Dane F. Baylis

Friday, February 22, 2013

Day 47 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Tell About A TV Show That Is No Longer On But I Wish Was

If you've followed this blog for any amount of time then you have probably picked up on the fact that I'm not a big TV guy. There are a couple of talking heads I tune in to once in a while to get my 'frustration with government' level topped off. I have the news on at five a.m. but it's mostly just background noise while I'm dragging my ass around the kitchen getting ready for my day job and to make sure we haven't blown up the entire frigging planet while I've been sleeping. I'm un-American enough to admit that I don't even watch televised sports (No, not even NASCAR or the Super Bowl)!
 
I'M A WRITER. This means I spend an inordinately unhealthy amount of time doing...Well, this. Writing! It's cheaper than psychotherapy although it doesn't have the pharmaceutical privileges associated with that hobby. However, there have been those periods when something caught my attention and, like someone with ADD, my attention was snagged and I was a prisoner of the glowing cube!
 
One of these times was during the run of a program simply titled, TAXI . The show originally ran from 1978 to 1982 on ABC and starred Judd Hirsch, Danny Devito, Marilu Henner, Tony Danza, Christopher Lloyd and Andy Kaufman to name just a few of the cast members. The sets were simple, usually the interior of the fleet garage they worked out of and the characters were quirky to the point of neurotically deranged and at any given moment could be so easily related to a number of wayward mentalities that inhabited my own real world life.
 
Despite being written as a comedy there were several episodes with very serious topics handled and varying levels of tragedy represented. The saving grace was a writing staff that knew when to pull out of that emotional nose dive and send the characters arcing back into the deep reaches of space where you sometimes swore they originated. Yes it was minimalist but not in the nothing happened humor of SEINFELD or FRIENDS. Taxi always took you somewhere and made you a very real part of the journey and, at the risk of sounding nostalgic...is the kind of writing and acting that we could probably use a hell of a lot more of (So! Have me taken out in the morning and beaten with a soggy TV Guide - Oh yeah, that's another bygone bit of memorabilia). On that note...
 
I'm accepting short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays (Come on I know there's a closet case Ed Murrow out there) for the Your Work/Your Love page. You can send them to me via email at dbaylis805@gmail.com. No pay involved, just the glory of exposure (Someone told me they could arrest you for that too). Authors retain all rights. You can follow or subscribe to this Blog. There are gadgets for that on the right side of this page. Love the company and it helps with the search engine ranking. Yup, that was kind of a plug. Comments, critiques, and questions are always welcome. Use the form at the bottom of the page, please. I respond as fast as I can.
 
As always... live, love, write.
 
 
Dane F. Baylis

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Day 46 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Talk About A Celebrity That Drives Me Nuts

Or

Wow, You Better Get A Cup Of Coffee And Pull Up A Chair!

I mean, REALLY? The whole cult of personality thing just sends me over the edge. It's almost impossible to know where to start. How about all the pantie-less airheads punching out paparazzi? Or what about the manly men making it into the tabloids for knocking their significant others on their bony asses for being more successful than his lordship? Anyone connected with a very popular right leaning News channel (Believe me, the use of the noun News is total sarcasm)! If I recall they were caught making up their 'facts' about forty-five percent of the time by actual count.
 
Then there's the former star of a network comedy who loved to rant about his warlock persona, more like a  perennial advertisement for NA and let's not leave out Scientology's poster boy and couch hopping dingbat. Oh yes, let's hear it for really boring erotica...anybody? I tried it, really, the only time something connected with S and M put me to sleep. They should read that stuff to perverts who don't respond to medication and therapy! Or any number of Alt Rock bands. Guys, take lessons, please.
 
I love Sylvia Plath, but to the rest of the confessional crowd...It only works if you've actually done something. No, yelling at your sister that time in seventh grade does not count! And speaking of yelling, why do so many young poets think screaming their lines into the mic is effective?
 
Crap, I think I just sprung my intolerant valve. I'm going to get a cup of coffee. You want to join me?
 
I'm accepting short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays (No you don't have to be Bertrand Russell, just make a point) for the Your Work/Your Love page. Submissions can be sent by email to dbaylis805@gmail.com . You can follow or subscribe to this blog, there are gadgets on the right side of the page for that. Love the company and it helps with the search engine rankings. I actually welcome any comments, critiques, or questions. There's a form at the bottom of this page for you to use. I answer as quickly as possible.
 
In the meanwhile...live, love, write.
 
 
Dane F. Baylis

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Day 45 of the 365 Days Of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis
 

Talk About A Celebrity That I Just Love

 

Okay, the qualifier was a bit much...LOVE?

First, the one I'm going to mention isn't what we would normally quantify as a 'celebrity'. Statesman, scholar, world leader...yes...but I'm not sure that even he would call himself a celebrity. However, his willingness to take a stand and the eloquence with which he does so earns him my deepest admiration. I am speaking of the former Vice President of the United States, Al Gore.

The depth of research he presents can sometimes be daunting but the facts presented and the conclusions drawn are irrefutable. From An Inconvenient Truth, to The Assault On Reason, and now with The Future, he has shown himself to be an indefatigable crusader for the environment, the world, and generations of children yet unborn. His understanding of geopolitics shows that he has drawn some pretty stark but realistic conclusions based on the evolution of global economics and the growing competition for resources. His ability to look at the present and extrapolate the not too distant future is commendable.

I have to say though, he does not adopt the doom and gloom finality too often heard from those who express the same concerns. His balanced, but dire, approach to a planet growing daily more over crowded is a sane and realistic warning of the things we should be paying attention to. The forces of consumerism would have us all plunge right over the cliff like so many lemmings dressed in the latest fashions and driving SUV's loaded with flat screens, deeds to our McMansions and the latest in mood-elevating, anti-depressant, sleep aids while we clutch desperately to semi-automatic assault rifles with hundred round magazines in the hope we can hold off our neighbors. Mr. Gore in the meantime seems to be asking, why not do something about tomorrow before it arrives?

I am accepting submissions of short fiction to 1200 word, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. No pay, just the glory. Authors retain all rights. You can follow or subscribe to this blog by using the gadgets on the right side of this page. I love the company and it helps with the search engine ratings. Comments. critiques , and questions are always welcome. You can use the form at the bottom of the page for that. I reply a quickly as I am able.

Meanwhile, as always...live, love, write.


Dane F. Baylis

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Day 44 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Link To A Previous Article In This Blog And Tell Why It Deserves More Attention

 

Revisiting The Muse-less Muse

 
On day 27 of this challenge I was asked to talk about my muse, check it out at Talk About My Muse . At that time I said I didn't believe in muses. At least not the variety that we run into in mythology or incredibly bad cinema. I have never had a muse, though I've bullshitted a couple of young ladies from time to time into believing they were filling that and other rolls. (Come on...if you're a guy you know you have too!)
 
I have had several mentors. These came in the form of teachers, instructors, other writers, artists of various disciplines, editors, and publishers who were kind enough not to tell me where to catch the next bus. What I learned from every one of these people was that the only voice that would be whispering in my ear was my own. The trick was to fill my subconscious with the right ammunition so that when I needed to hunt up a reason to keep sitting my ass in this chair (the immutable 1st Rule for Writers) I wouldn't have to look far.
 
All I have to do in those moments of doubt and frustration is begin to swivel my chair around and there it all is. Cd's of incredibly creative music and my guitars and amps. Percussion instruments and harmonicas. Sketch pads, canvases, pens, ink, charcoals, pastels. Books of poetry - modern and not - atlases of places I've been and places I can only imagine. Notebooks full of finished stories, projects in progress, and an intimidating collection of 'what the hell was that supposed to be'?. Files full of references and those quiche little bits of motivation and inspiration. Need I continue? Why not!
 
Worse comes to worse I will sit down and make lists of nouns, or verbs, or just write over and over, "I am a writer, God Dammit!" But, and here's the cute part. Were you paying attention? I SIT DOWN AND WRITE. It doesn't have to be brilliant, or even coherent. So long as it's my ass in the driver's seat I don't have to count on the muse for a ride. Like Hemingway said, "I write one page of masterpiece for every ninety one pages of shit. I try to make sure the shit goes in the wastebasket." The secret - shhhhh - is f***in' write!
 
I'm soliciting short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. No payment there, just the glory! Submit by email to dbaylis805@gmail.com . There are gadgets to follow or subscribe to this blog on the right side of the page. Love the company and it helps with the search engine placement. If you want to comment, critique, or have questions you can use the form at the bottom of the page.
 
As always...live, love, write.
 
 
Dane F. Baylis 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Day 43 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

What Genre Would I Love To Try Writing In?

Well, I actually love writing in the genre I'm in now which is a gritty slice of life with hints of mystery/crime. I am, however, also working on a techno-thriller that is coming along slowly but steadily. The theme of governmental subversion and repression of freedoms is one I have a passion for and feel is relevant with the geo-political climate in the United States and the world today. The driver behind my writing is almost always taken first from something that effects me strongly and there are definite trends and agendas I see in current events on all sides that make me wary.
 
One other area I have considered is historical fiction. I am fascinated by the period of westward expansion from about 1800 through the late 1840's. The fur trappers and traders who led the way into the plains and mountains beyond the Mississippi and Missouri rivers were a rare and colorful breed who left behind real life legends and bigger than life stories. Much of my own life experience has given me a great appreciation of these characters and the world they lived in and the hardship they faced. I feel I might be able to use my insights to create a window into a world that few today can even imagine. Done right it would rival a lot of the fantasy fiction we see on the market today.
 
So, there you have a sort of bucket list for my ambitions.
 
In the meantime I am accepting submissions of short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Love page on this blog. You may send them to me via email at dbaylis805@gmail.com . You may also follow or subscribe to this blog using gadgets that can be found on the right side of the page by resting your cursor there. I truly love your company and it does help with the search engine ratings. Comments, critiques, and questions can be submitted using the form at the bottom of the page. I always welcome your input and will reply as quickly as possible.
 
As always, remember...live, love, write.
 
 
Dane F. Baylis

Sunday, February 17, 2013

There it is!

The author, Dane F. Baylis

An Honest Profession

 
There was a time in history when being associated with writing for anything outside of academia (fiction, the theater, etc.) was deemed as one step below making a living as a streetwalker. Then came the golden age of the novel and suddenly writers were the voice of the downtrodden or the visionaries of the human heart. Of course, there were still any number of copycats willing to change names of characters, locations and times of settings, and a subplot or two to ride in on the coattails of those who were the headline items of their day. There were also some who started out in an intense blaze of creativity only to fizzle into the obscurity of the pulp magazines and dime novels of their time and others who made the exact opposite journey.
 
With the creation of the Internet and the popularity of of e-publishing we are seeing the return of the literary red light districts. There are still those in the field who are signing lucrative deals with the traditional publishing houses and some who are finding fair success with on-line publishers. There are even those who so strongly believe in themselves that they risk it all on self-publishing. Not all of these are brilliant and some that are will fall prey to the fickleness of reviewers or the market. Unfortunately there is an ever increasing field of writers who are of the, "I could have written that!" school. These are the ones churning out reams of verbiage so formulaic that, were it not for cover art (and even then not always), they would be totally indistinguishable from one another.
 
I am not suggesting that everyone is incapable, nor capable, of turning out a "Dracula", "The Raven", "Tropic of Cancer", or "Delta of Venus". What I am asking is that, if this has already been done, why do you want to fall in lock step? Why not read something like that and, instead of thinking, I could have written that, say to yourself, my god, he or she totally neglected this or that and it would make such an incredible tale on its own?
 
Better than that, look at something inside yourself and say, I really don't think that's the way that would happen or the way that character would have acted, I have felt that and it was more like this. Then take the honest YOU, add a dash of courage,and put that in a story. That is where the truly memorable tales lie. That is where developing a writer's sensibility when reading another's work is essential.
 
Even for creators of elaborate fantasy worlds, it is the interaction of the characters with themselves and each other that illustrate the human emotion and struggles that draw us in and make us a part of the story instead of just a passive reader. It was Frodo's and Bilbo's battle with their internal demons that made you root for them. It was Kerouac's ability to make you feel the music and smell the sweat that put you in a dim lit jazz club in San Francisco. It was Hannibal's ability to crawl inside of Agent Starling's skull that was truly frightening. It is your ability to dissect these things and learn how to make them your own and not just a clone of the original that counts.
 
These were stories written in genre, in fields that weren't virgin territory for any of these writers or many others who preceded them. What made them stand above was their willingness to dare to take the reader into their feelings and trust that they would believe the truth when they read it. The basis for the success of the writers in any of these cases is that they wrote honestly of their own fears, and hopes, and wonder. Anything else is as cheap as a peepshow.
 
I am accepting submissions of short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. No pay, just exposure. Authors retain all rights. Submit them by email to dbaylis805@gmail.com . You can follow or subscribe to this blog. There are gadgets on the right side of the page for this. Love to read your comments, critiques, or questions. There is a window for those below. I respond as fast as I am capable.
 
In the meantime...live, love, write.
 
 
Dane F. Baylis 

Day 42 of the 365 Days of Blogging


The author, Dane F. Baylis

Select An Image And Write At Least One Hundred Words Of Flash Fiction

Importance

He stood looking at the house. He couldn't tell you why it was so important. But it was. So he'd located the owner through the rental agency and made an offer. His wife kept telling him he shouldn't bother people with his wild daydreams.  
 
Almost as quickly as he'd made his proposal they came back with an acceptance. The next step was, well, the next step. So now it was his and there was nothing for him to go back to. Everything to the north was behind him. He could file his retirement papers from here, have his computer and a few essentials shipped in air freight, call the lawyer and have him handle the division of the property.
 
She came out of the door on to the patio and raised her hand to shield her eyes. He raised a hand, thinking to wave, then changed his mind and let it drop back to his side. He could see her draw a deep breath, shake her head, wipe at her eyes and turn to walk to the waiting cab. He kicked off his shoes and turned away, walking up the beach. There was soft music coming from the cantina ahead.
 
He looked back at the house. The cab was gone. He couldn't tell you why all this seemed so important. It just was.
 
 
 
 
Looking for submissions of short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. No pay. Just exposure and glory. Authors retain all rights. You can send submissions via email to dbaylis805@gmail.com . There are gadgets to follow or subscribe to this blog on the right side of the page. Love the company and it helps with the search engine ratings. Comments, critique, and questions are always welcome. Please use the window at the bottom of the page for those. I respond as quickly as possible.
 
As always, remember...live, love, write.
 
 
Dane F. Baylis
 


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Day 41 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Share A Favorite Memory

There was a night in the tenderloin in San Francisco when I came across this transsexual stripper and her pet one legged...Bet you really thought I was going to finish that thought! No, at least not on this page but it might make a great lead in for a fictional something or other, n'est-ce pas? However, one of my favorite memories does come from a bit of time in the city by the bay in 1970-71 when I passed a little time in an establishment we'll leave unnamed. The reason we'll leave it unnamed is I had not reached my twenty-first birthday. The State of California's legal drinking age at that time was twenty-one which, naturally, means you have to have attained that milestone in order to even be in a barroom.
 
Well, a friend of mine had opened a joint in early nineteen seventy in the above mentioned burg and was having a hard time making a go of it. He asked if I would mind coming out and seeing if I had any ideas. Being about as stable as river rock at the time, I hopped on my motorcycle and rolled on out. (The trip itself is a whole different saga.)
 
I arrived with a driver's license from a state that hadn't yet adopted photo ID that stated I was twenty-two. Standing six foot plus with a full beard and a pair of brass balls I took up position in front of the bar. It didn't take any time at all to figure out that the two night bartenders were robbing the place blind. They were offered the opportunity to resign with a full set of teeth and I took up my new position behind the taps.
 
The job was all damned right! The crowd that frequented the place was young and alive and for the most part out for a good time for everyone. Sure, there were the occasional disturbances, but these could usually be handled with a little admonition and the rare casting of the offending parties into the foggy night.
 
Perhaps the most fun was one night in late December when it actually snowed about two inches in the bay area. There I was, standing behind the bar, not making a nickel. All my customers were out in the middle of Haight Street involved in one hell of a snowball fight! All I could do was stand looking through the front window and wait for the need for anti-freeze to over power cold tolerance. What a rare sight it was and a great memory of my wasted youth.
 
Looking for contributions of short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. No pay, just the glory of exposure and authorship. Contributors retain all rights. You can send them to me at dbaylis805@gmail.com . There are gadgets on the right side of the page to follow or subscribe to this blog. Please feel free, love the company and it helps with the search engine ratings. Comments, critiques, and questions are always welcome. Please use the form below and I will get back to you in as timely a manner as possible.
 
As always...live, love, write.
 
 
Dane F. Baylis


Friday, February 15, 2013

Day 40 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

What One Wild Animal Do I Wish I Could Have For A Pet

 
This is going to be counter to the theme. There are no wild animals I wish I could have for a pet. It's really a rather simple thing. Wild animals do best in the wild. Owning them inflicts unnatural environments where their habits, diets and social tendencies are all subverted to the human need to dominate something.
 
I have owned non-domestic creatures in the past. The unfortunate ones died in my care. Others fared better in when I eventually learned they would be more likely to thrive in their own habitats caring for themselves. I have nursed the occasional creature to health after some type of trauma, but they were always turned back to their own surroundings.
 
I was confined for  a short time by my own species and didn't find it enjoyable in the least. Why should I expect another creature to find my attentions any less claustrophobic? I know, I'm probably supposed to be doing some kind of 'what if' exercise with this but it is just completely outside of my nature and something I feel strongly about. Which is probably one of those emotion packed subjects I should explore for a story.
 
Accepting short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. No pay for this, just the glory of exposure. You can email these to me at dbaylis805@gmail.com. There are gadgets on the right side of the page for following or subscribing to this blog. I really enjoy the thought you might find what happens here that interesting (It also helps tremendously with the search engine ratings). Comments, critiques, and questions are always welcome and may be submitted in the form at the bottom of the page.
 
As always...live, love, write.
 
 
Dane F. Baylis
 


Helpful hints from your Uncle Dane

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Get Out Of The House

Working for a school district has its advantages (No, I'm not a teacher and I don't want to hear about everything you find wrong with modern education). One of the biggest ones is that you find yourself with a good deal of time off. This works out in a number of ways.
 
I've been a geographical bachelor this week, which means I've had full responsibility for meals, laundry, pets, work, shopping, blah, blah, and blah. This has cut in to my writing time a bit which tends to leave me a little testy at times (I know...Flaky artists!). But I am sitting here writing this in the late morning on Friday because, I'VE GOT THE DAMNED DAY OFF! Complaints? Write your congress-person.
 
Anyway, having caught up with the laundry, tended to the cats, responded to some of the mundane things of life like paying bills, I'm packing my notebooks into my musette bag and heading out for breakfast. I'll take my place at the counter and order whatever and while I wait I'll work on a short story, or poem, or make notes about the sounds and life around me.
 
After breakfast I'll head for a local coffee house and sit around there doing more of the same. All of this amidst the clatter and noise and bustle associated with such places. Why there and not in the snug confines of my office/studio? Because that's where the people are and I write about people.
 
Let's face it. No matter how good you are, you need to recharge the reservoir of image and subject matter from time to time. Painters and sculptors do it. Photographers live in it. Play writes and screen writers wouldn't have anything to do without it. So, every now and then, get your ass out of the chair, get a handle on your agoraphobia long enough to go outside. Because, although we like to think we create worlds, they already exist and the best we do is capture and translate them. Even Charles Dickens, one of the all time great recluses, knew he had to experience life to write about it.
 
As always, looking for short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. You can email them to me at dbaylis805@gmail.com. There are gadgets on the right side of the page for following and subscribing...love to have you join in (It helps with search engine ratings). I welcome all comments, critique, and questions. There's a box at the bottom of the page for that. I respond as quickly as I can.
 
In the meantime...live, love, write.
 
 
Dane F. Baylis
 


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Day 39 of the 365 Days of Blogging.

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Looking Outside My Window Write Something About What I See

 
What I see? What I don't see is the blank brick wall of another building just three feet from my office/studio window. What I don't see is another rundown rooming house like the one I might be looking out of. What I don't see is a porch so dilapidated the landlord has nailed the door leading to it shut instead of repairing it. What I don't see is the hooker across the way making a real quick buck in the doorway of the building opposite. What I don't see is a street where the older residents in the neighborhood no longer venture and I do because I've got some kind of Doc Holiday death wish.
 
Those were all things I saw from a lot of different places where I sat and looked out windows. I also saw the small garage out back where I twisted a wrench to make a buck and shot the shit with pundits and ponces. One window offered a view of a phenomenally good looking young woman who spent most of that summer on a chaise lounge in the sun. Another window offered a view of the Golden Gate bridge, if you stood on the kitchen counter and crammed your head in the upper right hand corner of the frame. Too many of them let me watch people who had given up, on me or themselves, walk out of my life
 
The window I spend most of my time near these days is behind me. I situate my desk this way because it is too easy for me to stare at nothing when I should be tracking the cursor across this screen. Outside this one is my yard. I never thought I'd be able to look out at a piece of ground and call it mine. But this is, although the bank has dibs on an ever decreasing share of it. Out there are my gardens. Two raised beds for vegetables ( Southern California is kind in its climate and I can grow things year round). Right outside the window is a fern garden. This comes complete with a dragon lantern, my nod to the Taoist tradition. Across a small lawn is a flower bed where I also keep my Bonsai trees. Hidden among the perennials is Godfrey, my gargoyle. There's a healthy avocado tree that produces well most years. In the farthest corner from this window is a plot dominated by potted bamboo, red grass and a blade leafed acacia. There are several other plants but those are the really notable features. Hidden among them is my favorite kami, Hotai. He raises his hands and smiles across to another bulb garden where the Buddha sits serene. Through a gate there is an herb garden. No, the culinary type, thank you.
 
Among all this are scattered small pieces of nondescript yard art. Fence reliefs and lanterns, bird feeders and baths. All of it provides a place to contemplate....Well sometimes just nap. Most of the year the gold finches are with us along with house finches, wrens, and sparrows. This time of year the Oregon Juncos are wintering over and a Flycatcher is busy diving and swooping and trying to attract a mate. Spring and fall the Orioles pass through and the hummingbirds are constantly arguing over territory. As with anything natural we have our predators. There is the occasional cat who leaves a pile of feathers under the edge of the red grass and an assortment of hawks who have an uncanny knack for knowing which songbird isn't paying attention. That is life in its essence.
 
So I keep my back to the window and my eyes on the screen, otherwise the temptation to grab a cup of coffee or a cold bottle of Pelligrino can be too tempting. If I should turn around I might not be satisfied with describing. I putter and often talk over themes and ideas with my tomatoes.
 
As always I'm looking for contributions of short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, or carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. There's no compensation other than exposure and glory. Author's retain all rights.. You may email them to me at dbaylis805@gmail.com  There are also gadgets on the right side of the page for following or subscribing. I love the company. You're welcome to comment, critique,  or send questions. A form for that is at the bottom of the page. I answer as quickly as possible.
 
In the meantime...live, love, write.
 
 
Dane F. Baylis

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Day 38 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

What Genre Do You Write In The Most And Why?

 
The bulk of my writing, whether short or long prose, poetry, or a good deal of whatever else, is done in a slice of life grittiness. A lot of my early reading was in the serials, Sherlock Holmes, Conan, John Carter On Mars, James Bond. Good fantasy but not something you really sink your teeth into. In my mid-teens I discovered the French Existentialists and the American Beats. This led me to explore different character styles and how to express the mundane world in ways that were real and true to mood and intent. The late sixties brought on Thomas Wolfe, Terry Southern, Hunter S. Thompson. These opened up the world of social commentary and the use of the characters to make bigger statements about the changing landscape of literary communication. William Kennedy and Charles Bukowski brought it all to a head.
 
As I explored my own emotions through my writing I found that my background as a loner on the streets and my own real life battles with drugs, alcohol, and other human beings informed my style and voice. There are any number of flowery, articulate ways to say things, but when you're talking about the gut level fears and struggles of people living hand to mouth pretty is not what it's about. I've loved, lost, been used as a surrogate and used right back and found that, even in matters of the heart, we tend to flinch and run for the cover of metaphors that are applied like band-aids to the cuts and scrapes we accumulate. Then we can wander around whining and displaying our little ouchies and have a hypocrite world nod and cluck its collective tongue. Why?For me, if your going to talk about the dregs of a romance or the screwing you took in some relationship, you might as well let the wound scab over in the fresh air as acknowledgement that you had the balls to wager whatever it took to play the game.
 
The Marquis of Queensbury Rules don't apply in a street fight Boy-o and scars are the only true currency!  When you're walking around in a downpour with holes in your shoes, a half a pack of soggy cigarettes, and the latest rejection slip in your pocket and you haven't the price of a beer...The world just plain SUCKS!...and living on beans and rice or macaroni salad for a couple of weeks will have you fantasizing about a rib-eye steak but a god damned chili dog would be heaven. So why not write it like that?
 
Yes, I've come a ways since then, but the lessons still apply. The one that kept me going was learning that some days the only thing you have left is style, but if you've got real heart, the only two things that can knock you down and keep you there are death and yourself. The bastard I am never learned to take a dive, and when the final chapter comes around I hope I've got the wherewith all to smile and spit in its eye.
 
As usual, I'm looking for short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. Submit them to dbaylis805@gmail.com. There are gadgets on the right side of the page to follow or subscribe. Would love to have the company. Comments, critiques, or questions can be submitted in the box below. I answer pretty much anything in as quick a manner as I can.
 
Remember...live, love, write.
 
 
Dane F. Baylis  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Day 37 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

Create a Top Ten List on a Theme of My Choice

I feel kind of like Letterman.
 
Let's make this the top ten experiences in my life.
 
1. At the top of this list is the one event that has always meant the most to me and it may come off as a bit sappy, but let the chips fall where they may. That event was the day my best friend decided to become my wife. This in itself was no mean feat in that I had to ask her three times and have her change her mind twice. To say I was an intimidating marriage prospect would put it in its best light. She finally agreed and we have made our way through thirty three years together. Baby, you still knock my socks off!
 
2. The birth of my daughter. This was the final stabilizing influence. I am probably still alive because of her entry into my life. Love you Tracey!
 
3. The day Col. Ola L. Myes handed me a diploma and a Green Beret. Only another member of Special Forces can really understand that.
 
4.The first time I saw my work in print with my byline.
 
5. The first time I had a one man show of my art.
 
6. Hitchhiking across the United States. You cannot appreciate what an incredibly diverse and wonderful people we are until you have place yourself in the good graces of so many strangers. I was given rides, advice, money, food and the knowledge that, yes we can be terribly schizophrenic at times in the way we view our fellow man but we can also exhibit the biggest hearts in the universe given the chance.
 
7. The day I stepped from an aircraft at fourteen thousand feet and realized what it must feel like to be a bird! (Except, of course, no matter how hard you flap you're not going back up!)
 
8. The day I earned my pilot's license and took care of that discrepancy in number 7.
 
9.The day we released the first edition of Goliath, an "underground" newspaper produced by high school students. This was my introduction to interviews with such people as Eugene McCarthy, Benjamin Spock, Gore Vidal and the knowledge that anyone can make a difference and we all put our pants on the same way, one leg at a time.
 
10. The day I stopped thinking of myself as someone who writes and began to believe in myself as a writer. If you do nothing else in this world, do that. It is larger than you can imagine!
 
As always, looking for short fiction to 1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Love page. You can find gadgets to follow or subscribe to this blog on the right side (Just point your mouse there). Comments, critiques, and questions are always welcomed and answered with as much speed as I can muster.
 
Remember to...live, love, write.
 
 
Dane F. Baylis
 
  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Day 36 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis

But I Digress!

 
No, that's not the prompt for the day. That one has to do with your new releases since January or if you haven't...So on and so on and I have things out for consideration and I'm not into self-publication (I beat my ego into a corner ages ago and any time it looks like it might move I show it the club), I'm not a publisher or agent or any myriad of other persons involved in "releases". What I am is a WRITER.
 
The capitalization isn't meant to be the Internet equivalent of yelling, it is simply a statement of who I am and what I'm doing. I believe being a writer is large and bold. I don't chase genres nor do I concern myself with which one the stories I concoct may fall into. I don't write with my audience in mind or a market demographic either. Well, truth be told that last assertion wasn't entirely truthful, I write for a very limited audience. Me!
 
I believe that if you really give your soul to this craft and practice it with a mind toward constant improvement then an audience will eventually find you, not the other way around. I know what makes for good writing because I know good reading when I'm enjoying it. This has nothing to do with any particularly popular subject or style. It might be slice of life vignette, techno-thriller, horror, crime/mystery, literary fiction, salacious erotica (Let's not discuss what constitutes bad erotica, just look at any listing of new "releases" - there's that word again - and you'll be bombarded with all the saccarhin plain vanilla you can stand!). It could pay passing acknowledgement to a particular formula, or style, or philosophy but what it really has that the others lack is that ability to bring you inside the world on the page and communicate to YOU! Not just your mind or even your imagination, but your gut feelings, your emotions.
 
That is WRITING and what I hope, in some small way, I am gaining an iota of skill at. How will I, or you, know if I've done it? Well, the truth is we may never know. We may be long gone to dust an decay and someone will wrap fish with these pages they find squirreled away in that place they bought through an estate sale. Or, just maybe, on a back shelf in a library somewhere (or more likely in some obscure data base) there will be a tome with my byline and the imprint of a publisher who took a chance. And that friends, will be enough.
 
Always looking for short fiction to1200 words, poetry to 25 lines, and carefully crafted essays for the Your Work/Your Page. E-mail then to dbaylis805@gmail.com or submit then through comment window below. I haven't had anything submitted that way yet so I'm not real sure how it might look when it arrives. Good luck! Follow or subscribe using gadgets for those functions on the far right of the page. The more the merrier (It helps with the search engine ratings too). Comments, critiques, or questions are always welcome and I respond in as timely a manner as I'm capable of.
 
As always...live, love, write.
 
 
Dane F. Baylis