Controversial blog posts

Every now and then, I think I should do a blog post discussing the role of minority characters, closeted homosexual characters, and class-conscious/class-aspirational characters in my book, "Verbosity's Vengeance".

Then I remember that, because it's primarily a geeky superhero novel, I never should have put all that complex, multi-layered literary stuff in there in the first place. It was especially ill-advised to interweave it and rely on the reader to pick up on it, instead of simply bludgeoning the reader over the head with it.

So that blog post goes unwritten.

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#FridayFlash: Waiting for Inspiration

The therapist's pen stopped, mid-sentence. She looked up from her pad, her face set in a well-practiced expression of calm concern mixed with caring support and professional interest. It was an expression she'd worked on in front of a mirror.

"You've mentioned thoughts of suicide before," she said, "but this is the first time I've heard you say that you've already written a note."

"No," the patient said, "I guess I haven't really talked about it."

"And what can you tell me about the note?"

"Just that it's not good enough. Like everything else in my life, it's terrible. It's probably the worst suicide note anybody ever wrote. It's an embarrassment, really."

"I see."

"Honestly, that's the only thing that's kept me from throwing myself off the roof of my apartment building. I'm still revising it, trying to get it to sound right. I can't bear the thought that I'll finally work up the courage to kill myself, only to leave behind a trite, stupid-sounding suicide note."

"What I'm hearing is that you aren't satisfied with the note you've written. Is that right?"

The patient sighed. "It's not that I'm not satisfied with it. It's that it sucks. I want to write something that will MOVE people, that will really encapsulate the pain and black emptiness that consumes me. I want them all to understand just what a bitter joke my life has become, and why the world would be a better place without me."

"This is something you want 'people' to understand? Who, specifically? Who do you want to communicate this to?"

"I don't know. Everybody. Nobody."

"Do you feel that you're going to attempt suicide soon? When you leave here today, what do you see yourself doing?"

"Soon? Not likely. I can't get the damned words right. I just don't know what to do, doctor."

The therapist set down the pen and pad, then rose to move to her desk. She picked up the phone and started dialing.

"Here's what we're going to do. I don't want you to go home. I'm going to admit you to St. Anthony's for a couple of days of observation. There are some tests I want to run before we take a fresh look at your medication schedule."

"Can I bring my note? Work on it while I'm in the hospital?"

"I'd like to see it, yes. We can go over it together." She turned and spoke quietly into the phone, better at keeping urgency out of her expression than she was at keeping it out of her voice.

The patient lay on the couch, staring at the ceiling.

"You know," he said to himself, barely above a whisper, "maybe a writing retreat IS just what I need."

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You did something wrong

Comment Of The Day Award goes to Paul Anderson:
You did something wrong. Accept it. Learn from it. Grow up. Stop blaming everyone else for your screw ups. Part of being an adult is accepting your faults, owning them, and moving on. But the longer you spew insults at people, the less inclined they will be to forgive you.
Words to live by, people.

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Terribly tired

Terribly tired after a long, complicated, difficult day.

Terribly tired but don't want to go to bed, don't want to go to sleep.

Terribly tired means I don't want to interact with anyone, yet I don't really want to be alone, either.

Terribly tired is justification enough for a wandering blog post, but not enough fuel for Twitter or Facebook.

Terribly tired and wondering who I am, exactly, and why I never finished that one thing that was going really well and which lots of people liked.

Terribly tired so making this brief, and yet, perhaps, not nearly brief enough.

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Don't steal my work, Kiko

It's not really important how I came to discover that Kiko E. Coyona plagiarized one of my blog posts.

It's not really important that what he/she used my funny blog post for is to give his/her fanfiction about Sonic the Hedgehog (or some such thing) a literary boost that it wouldn't have if he/she had actually written it him/herself.

It's not even important that, just now, when I tried to copy and paste the offending passages in order to show how blatantly my 12 Things Successful Assassins Do Differently blog post was ripped off, I was thwarted by, which, apparently, does not allow copy and paste. I guess they're worried about plagiarists. (I put a screen capture of it down below, in the TL/DR part of this post.)

What's important is that the specific arrangement of these specific words belongs to me. It's mine. Sticking in a few clumsy dialogue tags doesn't change that. Maybe you never noticed the Copyright Notice that appears at the bottom of every page on this blog, Kiko, but let me repost it here:

Copyright Notice
I retain ownership and copyright on this blog and everything it contains, perpetually, on any and all media, and throughout this and every other universe. Feel free to link to this blog, but please get my permission to reproduce or make extensive quotations of the material you see here.

See that? I said "please". That's me being polite. I didn't have to do that. I could have said, "... or else I will use whatever eldritch magiks I can lay hands on so as to bind your plagiarist sins to your soul with bands of thorn and fire for the rest of all eternity."

I was polite. Please be so kind as to return the favor.

- Tony Noland

What's important, Kiko, is that you apparently fancy yourself something of a writer. Plagiarizing someone else's work makes you a writer in the same way that being a crack whore makes you a movie star.

I am angry with you, Kiko, but mostly I pity you. You've surrendered the chance to become an actual writer, preferring instead to sleep in the gutter of a bleak, dead-end street. There was a small sapling taking root in you, but you ripped it out and replaced it with a branch you broke off of my tree, the splintered end jammed artlessly into the thin soil of your fanfic.

Do you really think that makes you a writer, Kiko? Do you? For your sake, I hope not. It's no shortcut to leech off someone else's work that way. Learn from this experience, Kiko, and do your own work, or a long life of inchoate, unfulfilled bitterness awaits you.

Take down your post, apologize to me and your readers, go forth and sin no more.

Maybe you can be a writer, maybe you can't. But at least you will be able to hold your head high and know that, whether they earn you bruises or baubles, the words will be YOURS.

Here's the TL/DR (click the images to enlarge to readable size):

What I wrote on January 24, 2012...

... and what Kiko E. Coyona "wrote" on May 17, 2013.
UPDATE: Under pressure from me and my knife-edge crew (including @introvertedwife, @girl_onthego, @panderson1979, among others), the offending passages (i.e. my entire blog post) have been stripped out. This line was added to the bottom of the blog post:

So there you go. I would have preferred, "I'm sorry for stealing your work, Tony Noland" to an all-caps "FUCK YOU TONY NOLAND AND BLABLOVERS", but I'll take what I can get.

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My Almost-Winning #GrammarDay Haiku

The haiku I submitted for the #GrammarDay Haiku Contest finished in the Top 10! Go over and read the post with the winning entry, the runners-up, and the rest of the Top 10.

Behold the power of poetry!

Also, buy my book. Because if you like my poetry, you'll love the Grammarian! (Or you could get this book of stories for free. Your call.)

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Free book

Blood Picnic and other stories, my collection of flash fiction and short stories, is free this week at Smashwords. Just use the coupon code EL92F when you check out.

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