Study From A Famous Stud (Old Photo)

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Sketch of a beautiful horse built on a very rough quick impression of a photo for you to bask in. I’m experiencing a lot of panic surrounding art, still, but it’s a different kind of emotion than it used to be. In the past, I was feeling a kind of dead, numb terror, and now, with all the gradual effort I’ve been putting in to change my approach, the panic is a kind of ‘Oh no! I’m late!’ feeling, which is much more manageable, I find.

Have you ever had a seemingly insurmountable emotional reaction that you navigated over time? I am starting to enjoy sketching now, which is a huge relief. (Yay!)

Good/Bad Writing Example

Good Writing

The song-fest was a magical event occurring once every thirty-two years. During the festival, the group would link hands and sing the duplicating song, and each soul would divide and become an echo of the original person. Each member of the singing festival had a chain of these shadow-souls, parts of themselves they could send on errands or set simple tasks. Extra copies of the original served a useful purpose, and one person’s hands could be at work on many projects.

Harkel had the most souls at fifteen, and he was growing very near death. Nemass, who was just under him with thirteen shadow-selves, was very excited for Harkel to die, as his passing would elevate her to leader of the song-fest. As Harkel sensed himself growing towards the end, his original soul warped and he grew greedy, and he called Nemass into his rooms for a private meeting.

“I must teach you the ways of our people so that you may lead our souls with sobriety and wisdom,” Harkel told Nemass, and then he led her into a dark and disharmonic song that jumbled three of her souls and made her original self shiver for a moment into disparate parts. “Ha!” Harkel murmured, sending six of his fifteen echoes into the spaces made by this brief disharmony. Harkel’s extra selves settled into Nemass’ original soul, and with a crack of her voice, she broke the song.

“What have you done?” Nemass asked, her tone shuddering with the hint of Harkel’s graveled baritone.

“I have made you my echo, stupid one. Now you are my sixteenth soul, and when my body dies my original will flock into your heart. Go and tell what I’ve done, if you dare. They will beat and curse you as a heretic. Your body is mine,” Harkel said, looking rather like a snake, and Nemass, who could feel the twining of his life within her form, ran from his rooms with cold fear in her heart and disgust in her mouth from the ugly song.

Bad Writing

Oh, the singing people who sing. How pretty and sensible they are, to sing and sing and sing among the trees. La la la. The people who sing have so many good songs. They have songs about weather and ditties about the coming of winter, and then when enough of them are in a really good mood, they sing about fruitful harvests and the kind of really excellent cider that the old man under the apple tree makes when he starts talking about the days when there were more goats and the mountains had snow on their tops all year round. Oh, the snow on the mountains, he says, it used to stay on the slopes of the mountains all year.

And then when it is time to sing, they join hands and stand together anywhere if they can get a little moonlight, or a shadow from some really near planets, and they try to do magic with their songs but the magic wasn’t the way it had been far away and long ago. That magic was excellent and made the grass greener, and the flowers bloom in the middle of the song, even when it was night, but this music only made shadows of the singers appear behind them, like echoes of their bodies, and when the whole group makes a strong harmony, then there will be more souls chaining out from behind the first and they can run errands or be useful messengers between the song-makers and their distant relatives.

The songs are beautiful and feel like wind in the pretty night, and there are other harmonies about flowers that they mix in sometimes. Flowers, weather, and snow on the mountains. That’s really all there is to say about the snow-singing harmonic people, because they always get along and never have any conflict with each other at all. The end.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current novel, Evie the kidnapped woman has experienced an interpersonal breakthrough with her captor and is very excited (and planning her escape).


Mark Kistler Says This Will Be Great Practice (And I Hope He Is Right; Also, I Feel Completely Worn Out)


What you’re seeing here is a pencil tracing of the David to study the human form. Tracing old masters is a suggested exercise in a drawing book I got.

Good/Bad Writing Example

Good Writing

I really didn’t expect Leora to turn out so badly when I built her. I mean, she was only going to be a kind of permanent housekeeper and moving statuary, and I thought I might use her to hand round the tea from time to time when I had guests. You know, a sort of robot maid who looked pretty.

I worked really hard on her exterior, and didn’t skimp at all for materials. I expected her to last forever, or at any rate for a good three thousand years or so, and I wanted her to be a sort of family heirloom to pass down. I had no intention of the future Mrs. Drefán objecting to the machine on the grounds of it being poorly built or anything like that, so once I’d perfected the insides and finished obsessing over the outsides, I turned on Leora for the first time.

Boy, did that ever go badly for the human race.

Bad Writing

[I wrote a bad example of this passage, guys, but it’s so bad that I won’t share it with you. It was abhorrent. Shudder-worthy. Yicky.]

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current novel, the former military man has waxed poetic about his currently long-distance girlfriend (and is telling the others about her financial genius). : ) (I’m having fun writing this part!)

So Far January Is *Phenomenal* (And I Feel Excited!)

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Pencil sketch of a Saroyan merchant’s wastrel son for you to enjoy. My excitement is about some long-awaited developments in my personal life that are sort of thrilling. Have you ever worked on a relationship for ages and then finally turned the corner and reaped the rewards? That’s what I’m excited about right now. Boo-yah!

Good/Bad Writing Example

Good Writing About A Fantasy Murder Mystery:

My dad was scheduled for his renewal shot last week, but he didn’t take it. His housekeeper went in early in the morning and he’d taken the charm off and was lying like a piece of waxwork in his bed. She said it looked like he’d pretty much killed himself the night before, sometime in the evening, and had been gradually sinking back towards his start-age since then. I say ‘killed himself’ because it was very clear from the way the room was set up, according to the municipal investigation, that no one had taken his Lyfe4Ever charm off, and that he’d pulled it away and set it aside himself. Which sucks.

I mean, not only is my dad—was—not only was my dad my daycare replacement—and thanks for leaving me in the lurch without any warning like that, dad—but the Lyfekeepers instigated an evaluation on our entire family, to see if anyone else was in danger of—in their words—”Wasting our investment.”

So, thanks to my dad, I not only now have to pay triple rates to a last-minute nanny for two weeks until the nearest daycare slot opens up, but I have a really obnoxious gnome following me around at work, taking my emotional temperature and applying mood-evaluations every three hours. This sucks.

And—and, he didn’t even leave a note. I haven’t started crying or exhibiting grief yet, which is making my Lyfe gnome really suspicious. I’m too angry to feel sad. Maybe after things calm down, I guess, but—yeah. Right now I’m just really, really angry.

TERRIBLE, Bad Writing (Don’t read this; it’s sooo bad!)

Seriously, this is awful.

My poor, dear, wandering-minded father, in his absence of acuity, laid aside the magical charm keeping him alive past his natural due-date with the Grim reaper. I’m, like, upset about it. It’s only really a bad thing, since I assume he’s in a better place now, because, well, my kids miss dear old grandpa. It is really inconvenient that my father didn’t let me know he was likely to get absent-minded and die of lack of magic last week, because he was scheduled to babysit my little boys for two different double-shifts, but I just can’t get over how sad the whole thing is.

I had a mom, too, but she’s across the world having an adventure and she will certainly come home in time for the funeral, poor guy, there isn’t much to bury.

The guys at the Lyfe plant say his original death day was scheduled, before intervention, sometime about a couple hundred years ago, and he shouldn’t have expired for another three thousand. They’re pretty mad about the way the magic dissipated, since he left the charm unfastened after he had taken it off and let the magic dribble out on his bedstand, which also made the housekeeper really angry, too. She was mad, too, and the furniture dealer who said he’d auction the house contents for us this month, because they were all mad that the magic basically melted a big yellow hole in the bedstand, which would have been worth some money otherwise.

It was a good funeral. Everyone said nice things about him, and several among the viewing party cried tears down their faces and wore black, but not everybody because Cousin Tammy is really tacky and wore a loud sundress.

(Blerg, that was the worst bit of writing I’ve done for months or years and now I feel like I need to wash my hands or something. Yech.)

Not That You Want My Excuses, But I’ve Had Poor-to-no Internet The Last Four Days

Ergo, the temporary lack of posting.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current novel, the banker is set to meet a very old friend from high school. He feels about ready to throw up with nerves.

A Mnemonic Chart for the Fresh Year (Today I Feel . . . Bubbly)


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This is a mnemonic sketch I made to help me remember the punctation of that super famous Hamlet speech. You might like looking at it, because it’s like a busy map of scrawls. I’m bubbly because I’m taking risks in my personal life, and according to one of my latest fortune cookies, they will pay off. You’ve gotten great prognostications from fortune cookies before, right? : )

Good/Bad Writing Example

Good Writing

Seth was obsessed with himself, Georgia reflected with a sour and jealous heart. She’d set up a high-powered telescope in her parents’ attic and had been spying on Seth for nigh on three months now. She knew everything about him that a person could know from a view of one-fifth of Seth’s bedroom, and Georgia was determined to break through his wall of isolation and pure loneliness and get into the excellent boyfriend material she suspected hid within the pleasing exterior of Seth Mumbano.

I’m going to get you, Georgia told herself for the fifteenth time that week, peering through her telescope at Seth, who was making muscular poses at himself in the mirror.

Two weeks later, Georgia made her first move. Having commissioned the local artsy guy to compose several odes to masculine beauty and fineness of character, Georgia signed one of these pieces with her own name and dropped it inside Seth’s locker. She repeated this treatment over the course of five days, and on the sixth day, which was a Saturday, she presented herself at Seth’s front door.

“Oh, that was you?” Seth demanded, his face glowing with the positive effects five days’ worth of poetic admiration had wrought in him.

“Yes, and now I want to ask you on a date,” Georgia said, the eager glint of the entrepreneur in her eyes.

“Oh, I haven’t time for a girlfriend, Miss Eupan. I have to go on being—um, ‘as earnest in self-worship as God’s gentle lily, springing with perfections from the field.’ That’s one of my favorite lines, Miss Eupan. Keep up the excellent work. I’m sure you’ll be published someday, and I’ll come and sign all your books with you, since I’m your—ah, ‘muse of every hour, and angelic dream through every night.’ Brilliant writing, Miss Eupan. I look forward to next week’s efforts,” Seth said, and he shut the door in her face.

Georgia glowered at the door and told herself that Seth was a shallow, irritating turd.

“Phooey,” she muttered, kicking at a loose pebble on the front walk, and she went home and restored the telescope to its original home in the study before going out to the public pool to scan for a worthier target of her romantic ambitions.

Bad Writing

Georgia Eupan, who had grown up in the regular way and suffered two broken arms, though at different times, was occupied for a long time with butterflies. She collected them and pinned them to little pieces of cardboard, and when the science fair came and went, she had a blue ribbon for ‘Best Improved in Science’ for her efforts.

Georgia often went to a local roller skating rink and circled the big wooden oval with her friends, Margery and Celeste, who loved horses more than anything. Georgie also liked to go to the library. Sometimes she would spend a whole two hours sitting in the library and reading a book. She was a regular bookworm, and kept up with all the new arrivals in the young adult section of the library. She even made friends with Agatha Morise, the part-time librarian who repaired torn children’s books with that special tape for the library-edition picture books. Georgia would try to check out in Agatha’s line whenever she was able. They were good friends. Sometimes they talked about books.

When Georgia got older, her father got a new job and they moved houses. Georgia did not like her new room. It looked out on the backyard and there was a tree that cast shade in the summer and looked bare and cold in the window. Georgie did not enjoy her new bedroom one bit. It seemed less to her than her first bedroom had been in the house she’d grown up in until the point when she moved. They were still in the neighborhood, so she did not have to make new friends.

Georgia developed a crush on a boy, but he didn’t notice her at all, and when she tried to get his attention with some poetry, he was just flattered and blew her off as she tried to get his attention. Georgia didn’t like the boy at all after that, and she went swimming and looked around at the boys there. Celeste had found a boyfriend and Georgia wanted one too. She’d wanted her poetry boy, but he didn’t have time for her. Georgia didn’t want to be the kind of girl who pined after a boy who didn’t care about her at all in return, so she decided to forget him and have new adventures.

Wow, That Bad One Was Wandering All Over The Place!

That was intense!

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current book, the hunting group is going through a nuanced exercise to prepare for the last great pursuit on a distant world.

A 2019 Doodle (And I Feel Cheerful!)

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Airbrush doodle complete with labels just for you to look at this morning. The cheeriness going about just now is because I finished some daunting tasks. You know that pleasant sensation of having won out against chaos? Have you had that feeling before? I have it now. Hopefully it lasts for a while, ’cause it feels good. Yay!

Good/Bad Writing Example

Good Writing

The magic mirror seemed like a really good investment at the time, until I unwrapped it. Man, right away it was ‘Hang me over there,’ and ‘The light is too much in this corner,’ and ‘Boy, someone needs to shave.’ It was like owning a really talkative parrot who thought I was a loser.

The brochure talked about pleasant companionship, and this was not it. I called the customer service line and they told me to do a factory reset.

“How do I do that?” I asked. Well, the lady talked me through this really complicated spell, and I hung up and tried it. Yeah, it didn’t work. Well, it did give my magic mirror what I think is an Armenian accent and a little bit of a lisp, but it certainly didn’t cut down on the chatter or the personal remarks, and let me tell you, until you’ve heard a large oval of glass tell you in an Armenian lisp that you need to do your laundry and throw out your favorite sweater because it makes you look like a pile of fuzz a caterpillar vomited, you have not experienced truly personal remarks.

I called customer service again, and they told me the same rigamarole about a factory reset spell, which I wasn’t interested in. I’d dropped a load of money on the mirror, and the company strongly discouraged refunds, so I was dogged and loud and I worked my way up the call-center food chain until I got a manager on the phone.

“Let me hear a sample,” the manager directed. I, accordingly, took my cell phone over to the mirror, which launched into a long diatribe about my awkward way of breathing too loudly. “Is that an Armenian accent?” the manager asked, sounding somewhat awestruck.

“Yes, and there’s a lisp. This thing’s been telling me for the last two days that ‘my breath thmells like thauerkraut,’ which is ridiculous. I don’t eat sauerkraut, you see,” I told her.

“No, yes, I can see how that would be irritating. Walk away from the mirror, would you?” the manager asked.

“Yeah, gladly,” I said, beating a retreat in the face of yet another lecture from the mirror on the unsatisfactory state of my eyebrows. The magic mirror had strong opinions about personal grooming, and wanted me to pluck mine. No thank you! When I was out of earshot, I told the manager to go ahead.

“Well, have you tried threatening it?” the manager asked in a soft voice.

“Pardon?” I asked, frowning across my workshop at the mirror, which, deprived of my immediate company, had taken up a lisping Armenian folk song that sounded like a tipsy lullaby.

“You know, pick up a cleaver or a really impressive hammer and wave it about near the mirror, exclaiming about your superiority as a conscious being,” the manager explained. I blinked several times, for this sounded both savage and undignified.

“That sounds very odd,” I said.

“Well, try it, and if it doesn’t solve your problem, feel free to call the help line at any time,” the manager said, and she hung up before I could protest further.

I held out for another two days until the mirror broke me. It began to make the most uncalled-for remarks about my dear mother, and in desperation I snatched up a heavy chopping knife I kept on hand for slicing toadstools and brandished it near the surface of the mirror. I thought I looked pretty silly, but the mirror, which had been describing what it theorized my mother had gotten up to the previous evening, broke suddenly off.

The silence was so welcome that I paused in my knife shaking and looked at myself in the mirror.

“Are you finished?” I asked. To my total surprise, the mirror replied in a most clear, civil tone, without a hint of an accent or a lisp.

“I’m so sorry, sir. How can I help you?” the mirror asked.

We’ve since had a fairly productive relationship. Every once in a while, my mirror starts to develop an uppity Canadian accent—I’ve no idea why—and I casually heft a large pot or a mallet near the mirror in a vaguely threatening way. That clears up the problem, and back my mirror goes to reliable, civil behavior.

Bad Writing
(This one is really, really bad!)

Theopold is the name I have given my mirror. He’s an excellent, helpful mirror, always at hand when I require a distant look at some far off party of adventurers in the wild or if I am looking up some criminal to send a creature following in the night, which is very dark. Ah, but I recall in the olden days, last year sometime, or perhaps seven months ago, when Lucy, my magic mirror, first came to live in my magical, magic den where I work magic. It’s such a magical place. I do magic there. Did I mention that it’s like a laboratory for magic? And Lucy, my magic mirror, hangs upon the wall and looks magical.

Then, about eight months ago when I first acquired Lucy—I bought Theopold at a bazaar for clever wizard-types, and they had some awesome pocket protectors there, too.

My magical pocket protector keeps all the ink away from my shirt. Oh, I am going to mention, though—and this is a really funny story, I think—but my magical pocket protector is actually just a regular plain old piece of plastic. It isn’t magical except in the way that it keeps ink out of my shirt, so that’s hilarious. Oftentimes I’ll be introducing myself at parties and I’ll say, here is my magical pocket protector, and all the admiring people wil shout, in a chorus, ‘What does it do?’

Because of course they expect that it’s magic, right? And I string them along for a little while, saying things like, ‘Look at this,’ and ‘Wait until you see!’ and then after ten minutes I reveal that it’s actually just a piece of plastic. That always goes over well.

I’m pretty much the funniest person you’ll ever meet. Ha ha. But Lucy, my mirror, I got her at a bazaar and she was hanging up in the back, behind a whole lot of other pictures and mirrors, and I dug through every one because I hate buying anything that’s at the front of the shelf—you know, one time, I purchased milk that was at the front of the refrigerated shelf in the coffee shop that’s just by my house, and—but that’s another story that I’ll have to tell some other time.

“Ah, heck, I’ll let you know now!”

The milk was expired, and when I went back to complain at the coffee shop, the person who had put the milk in in the first place had put the freshest containers all the way at the back of the line, almost like they were trying to pawn off the older stuff on guys like me. I always choose my milk from the back of whatever stack is there, and everything else, pretty much.

I got Lucy at the bazaar and she’s the best mirror. I use her all the time to find criminals or look up distant scenes for adventure groups I’m supposed to be helping from afar in my magic, magic workshop.

And Now!

The good example was a lot of fun, but wow, that mess with Lucy/Theopold made me tired. Did the inconsistency bother you?

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current book, the unhatched man is nearing the moment of crisis (meaning he’s about to come to life).

A New Year’s Thrilling Lateral Study of Leg Muscles (I’m Very Tired Right Now)

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Pencil study for your delight and visual consumption. My tiredness is from doing a whole lot of interpersonal management at my day job. Do you ever feel like you’re running around and cleaning up after other people’s feelings? Yeesh! I feel that way just now, and I’m worn out! (yawn, stretch, etc.)

Good/Bad Writing Example

Good Writing

Uncle Rick got on my case after I turned twenty-seven. Get married, uncle Rick said. Leave me alone, I told uncle Rick, but he wouldn’t lay off. Every Thanksgiving and every Easter, there he was lowering at me like a vulture from an octogenarian nightmare, letting quips about my unrealized heirs float about the dinner table. When the little kids ran around during the egg hunt, uncle Rick would sidle over to me and drop intimations about the sorrow of an unfulfilled and lonely old age that awaited me if I didn’t get busy and find a partner to start with producing a baby. The whole thing got really tiresome, particularly when my mother started flipping her eyebrows around and making ‘Hm!’ noises to indicate that she endorsed these messages, so I got my old pal from high school, Janet, to put some temporary blue dye through her hair and get some of those joke cigarettes from a gimmick shop.

Well, Janet came with me to one Thanksgiving and one Easter, talking loudly about her plans to start a marijuana dispensary and drive a weed van over state lines to deal to desperate people where it wasn’t legal yet, along with her elaborate designs for matching full-body wedding tattoos when we eventually got married, and when I saw that uncle Rick consistently turned a faint shade of green at the very sight of Janet and her excessively loud yellow plastic purse bursting with expired bottles of milk and fake cigarettes, I held a war council with Janet and announced to my mother that we were thinking of trying for a baby.

Well, the end of the story is that uncle Rick went behind my back to pay Janet off with a bribe to go away, and she split the money with me and gleefully broke off our engagement, and now uncle Rick looks at me with actual relief when he sees that I have appeared at yet another family holiday without a partner on my arm. Score one for me, and also, my mother no longer flips her eyebrows at me in a meaningful manner. Score two for me, really.

Bad Writing

“Oh, my nephew,” Rick intoned, puffing at his favorite stinky pipe as we watched the toddlers jog over the lawn in search of brightly hued plastic eggs during the same festival egg hunt family party extravaganza shindig party we had every year, “you will, I promise, regret not getting a little family started on your own account when you’re an old man like me.”

He sighed, settling his forty-two-year-old shoulders with importance near my weedy and barely twenty-seven frame.

“Yes, yes, you’ll regret not using these early years of your life to find a woman, settle down. How many dates have you been on. My nephew, I tell you, in all my time on this green Earth I have observed by one thing, in the end, and that one thing is taht when you’re young and youth has not yet passed you completely, that springtime of your early period is the time to spring into action and look for a mate to your life, to solace you in your soon old age and weathered years, and here I see you yet again, without a date. Perfect first date, dear nephew. She could look on these fair little ones and imagine her own kids running around on this very lawn. Ah, youth,” uncle Rick said with an impressive finish.

He puffed at his pipe. The children yelled and ran, looking delightful. Time passed and uncle Rick didn’t say anything else.

I wandered away to help little Lucy find the egg that was up in a tree.

Whew, That Bad Example Stank!

Writing bad prose on purpose is highly educational, and sharpens your natural style. Have you ever tried to write badly on purpose? Try a sentence or two; it’s both fun and somewhat relieving to write slosh intentionally.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current book, Mitch is terrified of the group of guys his best friend is with, but has a game attitude in the interests of sticking by his buddy.

Working Sketch of Regina (And Right Now I’m Intensely Relieved)

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Another pencil sketch for your viewing pleasure. My relief is from some personal items I was afraid I was imagining, but which turned out to be substantiated by irrefutable outside circumstances. Do you ever feel slightly crazy and then validated? Because that just happened to me today. Whew!

Good/Bad Writing Example

Good Writing

Anthony was late leaving the rec center. He’d gotten pulled into an involved double game of squash with two middle-aged guys, and he’d walloped both geezers with ease. Anthony whistled as he strode along the filthy sidewalk of midtown Hallyven, his hands in his pockets and his pristine sneakers flashing white as he dodged around tar-colored puddles and the sheen of fresh vomit.

Hallyven, at least from midtown to sixty-fourth street where the businesses started, was not a stellar place to live when it came to health and safety, but it was pretty colorful in terms of a vibrant and noisy nightlife, and Anthony liked it. He felt that he fit in there, more than anywhere else he could have been, and his particular nightmare was the idea of living in some rural pastureland, with grass and empty skies, and who knows how many fields of peaceful plant life between every house. Anthony liked things hopping, and people shouting or laughing without any space to live peaceably. He found the interconnectedness of the city to be a satisfying emotional jungle gym, which he was, in his own estimation, adept at navigating.

Bad Writing *with TYPOS*
(I swear, this will make your eyes bleed)

Cities! Lights! Our young protagonist heads into the scene from a really fun time he’s been having but he hadn’t realized before the end of the evening that his late existence would change into something else. He dind’ twant to do ti. His aunt was somewhere in the country. They had pigs. There were marks on the sideewalk and he was inging as he came down the street that he would rather do anything than

With his shioes of being white and his face covered up with a smile about how good it was going to be when he got that promotion and had the girl of his dreams, then he would show them, particularly his mom, who didn’t express the kind of pride and devotion in his personhood that he felt, really, would have propelled himinto the relative success circle of store clerks at the shoe store who were for selling shoes to the customers, Which is what Anthony was when he was not in high school.

Following Which…

Did you hate that? I hated that! The bad one, I mean. Did you enjoy the good one? I had a lot of fun writing it for you.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current novel, a young ne’er-do-well has joined the main group and suspects them all of being unnatural monsters and pestilent termites to the metaphorical tree of good society.