Archives for July 2014

The GANG Minute: Choice Chamber, Early HorsePLAY!, Kickstarter Projects Ending Soon… And Stuff

We have some time-sensitive and last-minute updates in this installment of TGM. For more deets, be sure to watch the video and visit us on the official GeekyAntics channel on YouTube and Twitch.

 

Choice Chamber & Twitch Interaction

We did our first Choice Chamber stream and it was AWESOME.  This got us thinking that we need to identify more games that involved the Twitch chat fully.  Choice Chamber engages the Twitch chat by allowing everyone to vote on what happens in the game.  The current prototype is nowhere near complete but it provides tons of replay and interaction..  We can’t wait for the full product!

http://ChoiceChamber.com

If you missed the Kickstarter project, you can gain early access to the beta by using the above link.  I believe the $15 and $30 both feature beta access but the latter deal is much sweeter.  I’ve been talking to Michael and we’ll likely have him join us on a few of our podcasts to talk shop.  He’s a really awesome dude!

Other ways we have been involving the Twitch community more include the Cards Against Humanity clone, Pretend You’re Xyzzy, and Dawngate.  The issue with MOBAs is that, while they are free, you can only involve so many people at once.  Games like Choice Chamber and CAH are far more fully-involved, so that’s the sort of thing we’ll be exploring further.

http://twitch.tv/Yogizilla

Join me for future Choice Chamber streams.   The upcoming beta will likely have multi-channel support, which will be EPIC!  Word on the street is that there are other games featuring Twitch integration on the horizon.  Even the consoles are starting to jump onto this trend.  If you know of any of these, let us know in the comments!

 

Early HorsePLAY! LIVE & Possible Rescheduling

We’ll be starting early tonight, Thursday July 31st 2014.  Expect us to start around 10:45pm Eastern (3:45am GMT) and running a little shorter than usual.  As such, we’re skipping the obligatory news and featured discussion of the evening.  HorsePLAY! LIVE is evolving to be more of an interactive show and THE official radio show for the Geeky Antics network so we’ll be experimenting a lot more with the format.  Tonight, expect more Twitch interaction and call-ins, too!

Join Us LIVEhttp://twitch.tv/GeekyAntics

We’ll be announcing the winner of Magic 2014 and Gun Monkeys on Steam tonight on the show.  We were hoping to break 400-500 entries but no worries – more giveaways will be coming.  For future giveaways, we really need some hype.  The whole reason we give stuff away is to help draw in a greater audience.  We love giving you guys free stuff but we need to get something in return..  After all, we’re starving artists!  LOL

With the earlier start tonight, there’s a good chance we might play with the schedule.  I think we’ll stay on Thursdays but we may shoot for an earlier time.  Heck, maybe we will start at 5:00pm LIVE on AllGames.com – that’d be neat, eh?  Hmmm..  That may be TOO early though. *wink*

 

fire-with-fire-online-tower-attack-and-defense-game

Kickstarter Projects Ending VERY Soon!

First up we have Fire With Fire, which is being developed and produced by some of our friends in the All Games Network community.  This is a TD (Tower Defense) that should make Warcraft III mod fans and mobile gamers super happy in the pants.  The funding period ends Sunday, August 10th 2014 so please share this with everyone you know and tag friends that like this sort of game.  Even if you are not a TD fan, everyone knows people that love em!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/660810230/fire-with-fire-online-tower-attack-and-defense-0?ref=nav_search

Fire With Fire - Tower Defense & Attack Game

Note how this game takes a very streamlined approach to TD PvP action. I am hopeful that this will be the game that Tower Wars should have been.  Keep in mind this screenshot reflects and alpha/prototype version so there will likely be much more polish in the final release version.

factions-box-kickstarter-factions-customizable-strategy-war-game

For tabletop gamers, Factions looks REALLY good.  It is a tile-based, fully-customizable strategy war game.  The game designer reached out to me personally and must have known I am totally into this sort of thing.  Chip Cella a.k.a. CaptinChaos would love this too.  Let’s spread the word because this Kickstarter project also ends on August 10th!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/699966849/factions-a-customizable-strategy-wargame?ref=nav_search

 

 

Goodies Coming To Geeky Antics.. FINALLY!

We’re still working on getting Doctor Who content out to you guys.  Most recently, it was announced that Peter Capaldi will be playing a non-flirty Doctor.  How do you feel about the sexual tension on the series?  Is it a trademark or just pointless pandering/fanfare?

http://insidetv.ew.com/2014/07/30/doctor-who-peter-capaldi-2/

Doctor Who returns on August 23rd but for us in the states, we may have to wait a little longer.  We will keep you posetd!

There are tons of topics we’d love to discuss.  Here are a few of the proposed topics and rough drafts we have in the pipelines:

  • 10 MOBA Myths Debunked
  • Booth Babes Banned – Hypocrisy Or Justice?
  • The PC Police – Are People Too Uptight These Days?
  • SEO Basics For Geeky Journalists & Podcasters
  • Does Doctor Who Need A Strong Female Lead?
  • A Non-Flirty, Serious Doctor: Good Or Bad?
  • And MORE!

The first topic is the funniest to me because, sadly, for a web site to thrive you have to write lists and sometimes paginate..  People have ADD these days soooo..  Yeah.  Please forgive us if we cheat a little bit.  LOL

As always, please share your feedback in the comments…  And remember: WE LOVE YOU!!

The Existential Triad in BioShock Infinite by @Miksimum

 

Afraid of You: The Existential Triad in BioShock Infinite

 

 


Meditations

by Jesse Miksic

@Miksimum

jesse miksics

 

“One of the strengths of BioShock Infinite, acknowledged less often than
its expansive and detailed historical-revisionist steampunk setting, is
the way its narrative is punctuated. The extended forays down cobblestone
streets – and the intermittent murderous rampages – are connective tissue,
linking a series of scenes that are genuinely, jarringly emotional. The
relationship between Booker, Elizabeth and Zachary Comstock sets the stage
for some truly evocative dramatic turns, perhaps more of them – and
handled with a more dynamic sensibility – than in any other game in
memory, including narrative-heavy games like Japanese role-playing games
(JRPGs).

These moments are thematically woven together, and many of them are linked
to the original BioShock, albeit loosely. Before I dive into the
psychological and existential dimensions of BioShock Infinite, I want to
acknowledge some of these scenes, and unpack their significance.

bioshock-infinite-booker-elizabeth

[Read more…]

Flash Fiction: Old Testament, Nevada by @StartYourNovel

Old Testament, Nevada


FlasFiction


by John Magnet Bell
@startyournovel

John Magnet Bell


There’s something about the desert at night that keeps the dog listening. She’s black against the silver sand of a clear night and sits on her haunches and sometimes essays a bark that dies in her throat.

“Toffee,” I whisper to my dog. I sit beside her. Be midnight soon.

Fila Brasileiro

Fila Brasileiro

###

More awesome by mad geniuses here on the GANG!

YOHTAI Issue No. 4 #Hearthstone
One Red Shoe
With Music by @RussellBennetts & @Klassnik0
What can Monty Python teach you about writing?



More flash fiction by John Magnet Bell:

A Prayer to the Coastal Winds
Stratospheric Beast
The Angels of Provenance
Parable of the Hungry Dark

About John Magnet Bell

John is a professional translator, writer and photographer. He writes about writing and he writes unconventional flashes of fiction at his website, Start Your Novel. Why? John explains his passion here.

Twitter: @StartYourNovel
Google+: JMBell
Tumblr: http://johnmagnetbell.tumblr.com/
Website: Start Your Novel

Please support John so that he can keep writing epic prompts! You can buy his shocking art at society6: http://society6.com/johnmagnetbell

Typhon by John Magnet Bell

Typhon by John Magnet Bell

Flash Fiction: What is Love? by @Faryna

The Unspoken Problems of True Love by @Faryna

FlasFiction

by Stan Faryna
@Faryna

Stan Faryna & The Blue Sky - Stan The Marketing Man!

 

 

Mother Washington laughed as she watched John and Cristina run – they ran with joy. Cristina threw her arms high into the air as she bounced on John’s shoulders. She squealed in delight. Cristina had never felt more free, more lucky and more happy in her life.

Mother Washington

Mother Washington

“You hang on to that young man, Cristina,” Mother Washington said to herself.

“You hold on to that young woman, John.”

Mother Washington sighed and a tear came to her eye.

“You hold on to each other real tight. Because ain’t no one ever been more meant for anyone than you were meant for each other.

You gotta know that the Devil, he ain’t going to stand for any nonsense like that. He gonna tear you apart – first chance he gets. And if’n he can’t tear you apart, he’s gonna tear you each up. With his bare hands.”

###

More awesome by mad geniuses here on the GANG!

YOHTAI Issue No. 4 #Hearthstone

One Red Shoe

With Music by @RussellBennetts & @Klassnik

What can Monty Python teach you about writing?

 

 

Other posts by Stan that you will find illuminating, uplifting or both:

You Can Do Amazing Things

A Tribute to Maya Angelou

A Letter from Osama bin Laden

A Short Story of the Antichrist

 

About Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna is writing an epic novel. All of the world is crumbling like unrepaired, ancient walls but 18 year old gamer, PVP champion, zombie killer, blogger and serial entrepreneur John Dionysius finds the woman who he’s been dreaming about all of his life – a dream in which she is murdered as he watches helplessly from the eyes of a child.

Twitter: @Faryna
Facebook: Faryna.FanPage
Google+: +StanFaryna
Website: The Unofficial Blog of Stan Faryna

You can support Stan by helping his friend, Nisha Varghese (click on Nisha’s pic to make a donation).

Nisha Varghese

Nisha Varghese is an inspiration to Stan because she lives out the truth that she is bigger than her challenges. Among them, Cerebral Palsy. She too can save the world. Make it a better place for all of us. Nisha is a light and a gift unto the world.

Nisha’s website is here.

The GANG Minute: @Spydersvenom, Twitch Raids, Doctor Who, Gaming Trivia, And Reward UNLOCKED!

We took a break last week with TGM so, this week, you get a double dose of vlogging goodness!

YAY!  So on with it..  We’re gonna keep this TGM pseudo-newsletter pretty quick and dirty – w00t!

 

Spydersvenom, Heffe, & Pixelated Pints Are HERE!

Fred Rojas and Heffe are now officially part of the GANG.  Pixelated Pints joins the Geeky Antics network to bring us a deeper look at the business and marketing driving the gaming industry..  Plus plenty of examples of what happens when you are intoxicated and talk/play games.

http://geekyantics.net/forums/topic/welcome-pixelated-pints-spydersvenom-hefe-are-here/

Join us to welcome the latest members of the GANG.  It’s great having friends, new and old, join our family – officially!   Fred will also be writing for us too.  w00tash!!

 

Geeky Antics Twitch Raids

We’ve been raiding Twitch channels and helping smaller streamers grow their audience.  If you have lesser-known streamers you’d like us to rally behind, join us on the forums.  We’ll get a thread going for the Twitch raids and collaborate..  Cross promotion PWNZ!

If YOU are a Twitch streamer, feel free to introduce yourself on the forums and in the comments below.  We’d love to help you grow your audience.  Let’s build some hype together!

 

Doctor Who - Eleventh Doctor & Amy Pond - Matt Smith & Karen Gillan

Let’s Talk Doctor Who

Our Doctor Who fancast has been several months in the making and we need your help to figure out some topics to discuss.  Here’s a quick look at some of the topics we’ve been bouncing around:

  • Should K-9 come back as a companion?
  • Does Doctor Who need a strong female lead?
  • Should a future Doctor be a woman?
  • How do you introduce/ease friends and family into Doctor Who?
  • What is the appeal of the show?
  • What are the opportunities and things we are wishing they’d fix?
  • Biggest plot holes during the Matt Smith era.
  • Our favorite Doctors and companions.

Some of our guests include Matt Bradford, Alistar Kennedy, Chris Gannon, and Andy Fewtrell.  If you follow us at AllGames.com and the GANG, you’ll know just who we are talking about!

 

Gaming Trivia Power Hour

Check out the Gaming Death Podcast Episode 106 for Gaming Trivia Power Hour.   I went completely derp and suddenly forgot all my years of gaming, reminding me why I suck at trivia.  Man, I choked like the New York Knicks.  LOL…  It was fun and we should be doing more of that in the future so stay tuned!

 

Fundraising And Streaming Ramp-Up

We’ll be ramping up our streaming and video production efforts.  On a personal note, I will be doing more fundraising.  Many of you have encouraged me to make a push for fundraising so it will happen.  Expect some Twitch marathons and special streams soon.  For now, you can donate here:

http://GeekyAntics.net/donate

The Gaming Death Podcast crew will also be doing Extra Life soon.  No date set as of yet but we should be doing some marathon streaming in October 2014.  For charity!

 

Gun Monkeys Steam Community Banner

Reward UNLOCKED!  Gun Monkeys!!

Gun Monkeys has been added to the pot for our latest giveaway.  Now one lucky winner will get Magic 2014 and Gun Monkeys for Steam.  w00t!

NOTE:  We *were* gonna add more prizes and winners but there just haven’t been enough shares..  Maybe next time!

Sooo, WTF is Gun Monkeys about?

Gorillas - QBASIC Gaming Bliss!

Remember Gorillas back in the [Q]BASIC days?  I equate Gun Monkeys to that but obviously with a more stylized, updated look and feel.  Anyone who loves Worms, Warheads, or anything of the sort should really dig Gun Monkeys.  It’s simple multiplayer action – with plenty of gun play.. and monkeys (Obezianka you should play this)!

Gun Monkeys - Gorillas For The New Age!

Get up in this giveaway action, y0.  You can win Gun Monkeys for Steam – WHEEEEEEEEEE!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Poetry: With Music by @RussellBennetts & @Klassnik

Poetry: With Music by @RussellBennetts & @Klassnik

 

Poetry

by Russell Bennetts & Rauan Klassnik

@RussellBennetts and @Klassnik

  Lost London Photos 06

With Music

The ice cream hut

Ate all the children,

Winston Churchill harrumphed

Turned tail and sang

Seidel’s Song to the Moon

The Battle of Stepney

Childhood dreams of an opera,

Peter the Painter harrumphed

Chased tail and sang

Continued:

http://thebohemyth.com/2014/07/06/russell-bennetts-rauan-klassnik

More awesome by mad geniuses here on the GANG!

What can Monty Python teach you about writing?

One Red Shoe

A Public Alert on Epsom Salt by @Faryna

YOHTAI Issue No. 4 #Hearthstone

 

 

 

More mad loots, mental feats and hardboiled questions by Russell Bennetts & Rauan Klassnik:

Hamlet’s Nothing: Berfrois Interviews Simon Critchley

On Modernism: Berfrois Interviews Gabriel Josipovici

The Red Bird: A Reading by Rauan Klassnik (Audio)

Rauan Klassnik: The Continental Review (Video)

About Russell Bennetts

Russell Bennetts is the founder and editor of BerfroisBerfrois is a literary-intellectual online magazine.

Twitter: @RussellBennetts

Website: Berfrois

About Rauan Klassnik

Rauan Klassnik is a poet and artist. He is author of the Moon’s Jaw, a collection of poetry that paints a portrait of rotting decadence: wastelands of body and soul radioactive with death, cruelty, and a dark gleaming perverse sexuality.

Twitter: @Klassnik

Website: RauanKlassnik

Feed your hunger at Russell Bennetts’ Berfrois. Berfrois

Ye Olde #Hearthstone Tavern and Inn #YOHTAI Issue No. 4

Welcome to my parlor!

Naxxramas Intro Screen

Handshakes, Nods and Shout Outs

Welcome (and welcome back) to Ye Olde Hearthstone Tavern and Inn. Our friend’s lists are growing, our kung fu getting funky and our murloc sammiches be mighty.

We’re a community that’s about Hearthstone. Hearthstone is an Online Collectible Card Game (CCG) that is easy to learn, yet challenging to master.

Connect and participate on Facebook, Steam and Horseplay Live!

Facebook Group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/hearthstone.heroes/

Steam

http://steamcommunity.com/groups/_hearthstone

You must check out the following awesome podcasts:

A Worthy Opponent Podcast

http://holosuitemedia.com/review/a-worthy-opponent-turn-30-the-magical-mystery-tour/

 Horseplay!

http://allgames.com/podcasts/horseplay

 
Yogizilla Rocking the Arachnid Quarter

Yogizilla Rocking the Arachnid Quarter

Curse of Naxxramas is Live!

The Naxxramas patch downloaded for several of us at GANG and the adventure began. Some breezed through the Arachnid Quarter in an hour but most do not. The Naxxramas AI seems to be cunning and smart. Pay attention to the cards – the new ones are surprising. If you have never ranked better than 20, Naxx may be tough on Normal mode.
Naxx Intro 2
Lag has been a little fierce in the first hours of Naxxramas, but we’re hoping it gets better soon. During lag, it takes a little longer for actions to execute. A day or two, however, is expected as everyone digs into the Naxx.
Bugs:Hogger doesn’t spawn taunting gnolls at the end of turn. This was fixed by 7:30 EDT.
Report your bugs to Stan (see email addy below) and he’ll add them here.
Below is a look at what you’re up against.

Anub’Rekhan

Anub'Rekhan

Anub’Rekhan

Anub’Rekhan’s hero power: (Skitter) Summon a 3/1 Nerubian (Normal)
Anub’Rekhan throws out a whole lotta low-life minions if given half the chance. Don’t let that happen.
Irrelevant?

Irrelevant?

The reward for defeating Anub’Rekhan is a cute little number: the Haunted Creeper.
Anub'Rekhan Reward

Grand Widow Faerlina

Faerlina’s Hero Power: (Rain of Fire) Fire a missile for each card in your opponent’s hand. (Normal)
Faerlina's Defeat

Faerlina’s Defeat

The reward for defeating the Grand Widow Faerlina is a cute little number: the Nerub’ar Weblord.
Faerlina Reward

Faerlina Reward

Maexxna

Maexxna

Maexxna

Maexxna’s Hero Power: (Web Wrap) Return a random enemy to your opponent’s hand. (Normal)

 

The reward for defeating Maexxna: Nerubian Egg


Maexxna Defeated

Maexxna Defeated

Reward for the completion of all three Arachnid Quarter bosses: Maexxna

Arachnid Quarter Reward

Arachnid Quarter Reward

 

Hearthstone News

Ranked Play Season 3 Card Back: The Magical Mystery Tour 

@aworthyopponent is guilty for proclaiming the Season 3 card (Joyful Rainbow) as “The Magical Mystery Tour” card back. Contrary to @aworthyopponent’s suggestion, mind altering drugs are optional when you play this card back.

As I’ve said before, new seasonal card backs are lower hanging fruit for lesser murlocs. But until we come up with some OP suggestions, what’s a greater murloc to do?

We are thrilled, however, to have the A Worthy Opponent Podcast team join GANG! Welcome to the awesome, Autumnsbane and Blacklace.

Ranked Play Season 4 Card Back: The Dread

The Dread

Love it?

Me, no.

2014 Hearthstone World Championship

$250,000 in prizes for the epic plays! Do you have a shot at a cash prize? Be a top 16 Legend player. The official competition rules are still here:

https://bnetcmsus-a.akamaihd.net/cms/content_folder_media/ETLD1OPHY4D31400717954136.pdf

Thank you

Say anything. Share anything. Almost anything – let’s not go XXX, ok. [grin]

Open Pack Hearthstone Faryna 4

 

Drink with me, friend. Share with us. Words, dreams, fantasies or art. Send it to me (Stan) at stan.faryna@gmail.com

Good luck, Interloper!

Awesome stories by mad geniuses here on the GANG!

One Red Shoe

Everything You Do Is A Snowball

What can Monty Python teach you about writing?

Curse Of #Naxxramas July 22nd 2014 Release Date – Surprise, It’s Today!

We’ve been teasing (and teased by) the release details for Hearthstone Curse Of Naxxramas for months here on Geeky Antics and on HorsePLAY! LIVE.  Even on Episode 31 (seen below), we talked Hearthstone and started to speculate around Blizzard’s usual vague reports.  Note the Hearthstone-themed overlay..  Yeah, we LOVE this game!

The wait is over guys – Curse Of Naxxramas releases TODAY!

Blizzard pulled another sneaky update here, just like they did with the Hearthstone iPad app release.  Yesterday they tweeted that CoN would be released within a “few hours”.  That was roughly 13 hours ago as I bring this breaking news to you guys.  There’s no planned maintenance so I reckon this is a timed release we’ll see around noon on the West coast and 3pm for EST (GMT-5).

If you want to know some of the things to expect, check out our last The GANG Minute (leaked Curse Of Naxxramas photos inclusive).  You’ll want to hoard around 2400-2800 gold if you want to avoid paying out of pocket or are just budget-minded (translation: cheap bastards like many of us).  The first installment of the single-player Curse Of Naxxramas adventure will be free, Hearthstone fans – you still have time to raise gold!

On a similar note, there is still time to qualify for the first official Hearthstone World Championship.  Hit Legendary and stay on the grind.  Details on Curse Of Naxxramas and the Hearthstone World Championship can be found on the Battle.net game client front page/dashboard.

For my Twitch followers, I am taking this opportunity to catch up on my streaming.  I’ve been super busy tending to my family and working on projects but now we HAVE to get together and talk Hearthstone.  Tweet me @Yogizilla and we can set up Skype chats while we play some Curse Of Naxxramas.  Expect tons of Hearthstone streaming and #TheDustOff action too!

Semi-poetic: Progress and Prosperity by @Faryna

 

Semi-poetic: Progress and Prosperity by @Faryna

 

Poetry

by Stan Faryna @Faryna

Stan Faryna & The Blue Sky - Stan The Marketing Man!

Progress and Prosperity

I stretched out my hand to poetry

this early morning
and I felt the distance grow between words and
understanding.
Were those miles there before I had begun?
Like glass shattering, the shards scattering
across the kitchen floor like a people
fleeing, retreating
from a more perfect union – but they say
Lincoln’s a poet and poetry mends
hearts, ways, hopes, families, neighborhoods and a nation –
That would be progress!
Or prosperity by any other name.

Technology, commerce, innovation –

cannot tow a star-faring ship of state up a creek.

Lincoln Coin

The Lincoln Dollar


More awesome by mad geniuses here on the GANG!

One Red Shoe

Everything You Do Is A Snowball

What can Monty Python teach you about writing?

 

 

Other posts by Stan that you will find illuminating, uplifting or both:

You Can Do Amazing Things

A Tribute to Maya Angelou

A Short Story of the Antichrist

About Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna is writing an epic novel. All of the world is crumbling like unrepaired, ancient walls but 18 year old gamer, PVP champion, zombie killer, blogger and serial entrepreneur John Dionysius finds the woman who he’s been dreaming about all of his life – a dream in which she is murdered as he watches helplessly from the eyes of a child.

Twitter: @Faryna Facebook: Faryna.FanPage Google+: +StanFaryna Website: The Unofficial Blog of Stan Faryna

You can support Stan by helping his friend, Nisha Varghese (click on Nisha’s pic to make a donation). Nisha Varghese

Nisha Varghese is an inspiration to Stan because she lives out the truth that she is bigger than her challenges. Among them, Cerebral Palsy. She too can save the world. Make it a better place for all of us. Nisha is a light and a gift unto the world. Nisha’s website is here.

What can Vincent van Gogh teach you about writing?

What can Vincent van Gogh teach you about writing?

 

0…
On Writing


by John Magnet Bell
@startyournovel

John Magnet Bell

Van Gogh's TARDIS by BBC

Van Gogh’s TARDIS by BBC

 

Van Gogh’s bright images wither in sunlight.

So if your bucket list includes traveling to Amsterdam and acquainting yourself with van Gogh’ssunflowers, you’d better go soon.

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) was a Dutch post-impressionist painter, born in Groot-Zundert, home to the oldest licensed tavern in the Netherlands, “In Den Anker.” Zundert lies 10 meters above sea level, which in Holland is something like high ground. And that was my extremely lame joke for the day. Sorry.

Now there’s a Vincent van Gogh Museum in Zundert, and a monument to Vincent and his brother Theo.

Early van Gogh is depressing as hell. None of the bright colors he became famous for, none of that rippling energy that makes the wheat fields and night skies shimmer with a million elven strokes of the spatula. What magic they contain is bleak, dour and disciplined.

Two Peasant Women Digging by Van Gogh

Two Peasant Women Digging by Van Gogh

Two Peasant Women Digging Potatoes is the work of an attentive observer but, if Vincent had stopped there, you wouldn’t be reading about him now.

Compare Two Peasant Women with this 1887 selfie,

Van Gogh's Selfie

Van Gogh’s Selfie

or Country Road in Provence by Night.

Country Road...

Country Road…

At some point, van Gogh decided to stop following History. Instead, he would make it happen.What’s more amazing is, some people are uniquely positioned to reinvent art — they’ve got it all, time and money and an education — yet they become imitators, what I call ‘advocates for normalcy.’ Van Gogh wasn’t among them. His connection to the world was fraught with misunderstanding and pain. He felt like an outsider, but that didn’t stop him: along with a dozen others, he tore at the carcass of academic painting to deliver the phoenix inside of it. They invented the twentieth century. In a way, they invented us as we are now.

So, what can Vincent van Gogh teach you about writing a novel, story, or play?

 

“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”

 

Fight Club

I can’t conceive of a writer who isn’t intellectually voracious, perpetually dissatisfied with the gaps in their knowledge. Love is your window on the world, your starting point. People who hate shut themselves in. Why is it that ignorance and hatred go hand in hand?

Chuck Palahniuk had his character in Fight Club, Tyler Durden, say that we hold down jobs we hate to buy stuff we don’t need. Let’s not focus on the ‘stuff we don’t need’ right now. Instead, let’s think about what your work means to you. Does it make you think? Does it keep you growing and evolving as a person? Can you imagine what your life would be like if you held a different job? (Hint: if you answered yesyes, and no, you love what you do for a living.)

To be blunt about it, the kind of art that lasts demands commitment and more than commitment. It demands that you keep faith with the unspeakable weirdness inside of you. Popularity is no gauge for quality. Popular things lose their luster – how many huge hits from the 1930s are still around? I’m talking about 1930 and that wasn’t a century ago. Turn back the clock to the mid-1850s and you find that minstrel shows were the national art of their day. Do people still perform in blackface? No. Popular entertainment often expresses the worst[1] any culture has to offer, and that is why so many financially successful movies, books and songs fade from view after a while.

The crowd that feeds on the worst craves constant novelty and loathes History, Memory and Past.

Love entails vulnerability and openness. Also, that you be true to yourself. There’s no recipe for weird or unusual. It could be that you are entirely average or nondescript, but that too makes you a chimera of a human being. If you can love fiercely you have already separated yourself from the crowd.

Wheat Field with Crows

Wheat Field with Crows

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”

Maybe it was Samuel Johnson who said that you must go through an entire library in order to write a book. (Sounds like him, so let’s assume.)

Getting a body of work together takes time. Each little victory makes you stronger, makes you better. A painting is the result of ten thousand movements of the hand pointing in one direction. It’s no different than a novel, a TV show or a space program.

A little discipline goes a long way. If you force yourself to write that first line you’ll want to write a second, and who knows where that might lead. Beginnings are the hardest, because a mountain looks so much more imposing before you climb it. Why do you think people talk about ‘conquering’ the summit of a mountain? You’re not really going to war against a geological formation – it’s just a really big rock and it’s got nothing personal against you.[2]

When you get to the top, you see the landscape around you. Not the steps you took. Raw hands, scraped knees, llama poop… None of that matters anymore. You’ve reached the summit!

Look, your life’s work may take you a lifetime. (Such was the case with Marcel Proust.) I’m not going to tell you to focus on the future and screw the rest; you have bills to pay, your car needs parts, your children need wine[3], but take the long view. Only you know how long it takes to do work that matters.

Let your mind carry you to the deeps of your truest self. Vincent did:

 

“What am I in the eyes of most people — a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person — somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then — even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart. That is my ambition, based less on resentment than on love in spite of everything, based more on a feeling of serenity than on passion. Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me. I see paintings or drawings in the poorest cottages, in the dirtiest corners. And my mind is driven towards these things with an irresistible momentum.”

FOOTNOTES

[1] Michael Bay, Uwe Boll, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Britney Spears, among others; I can’t think of a single writer to include in that pantheon – or pandemonium, as the case may be.

[2] I’d like to read a story someday where a mountain pursues a grim vendetta, chasing some poor sap all over the world. Hey, if the Final Destination movies can substitute DEATH for an actual slasher/psycho killer, why not a mountain. Just imagine the protagonist waking up to a mysterious rumbling and a marked commotion in the streets. He looks out the window and sees the mountain bearing down on Galveston, Texas, traversing the sea. And it’s coming for him.

[3] If you’re French and happen to live in the Simpsons universe.

Flash fiction by John Magnet Bell that you will find perfectly woody:


My Girlfriend’s Iron Petticoat
The Toll Booth Inside You
The Angels of Provenance

About John Magnet Bell

John is a professional translator, writer and photographer. He writes about writing and he writes unconventional flashes of fiction at his website, Start Your Novel. Why? John explains his passion here.

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Salute The Morning, John Magnet Bell

Salute The Morning, John Magnet Bell