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“Someone in workshop slugs away for months or years writing mundane stuff, then — blam — they bring in something that seems written by a stranger….After that, the writer would never slide back into mediocrity.”

l’m going to keep this 👆in my pocket while I keep practicing. ✍️🙂

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That's real magic right there. Reminds me of: " If you wake up at a different time in a different place, could you wake up as a different person? "

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That’s going in my pocket alongside “Practice and failing. And then giving up, and then experimenting and more practice.”

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Even better, tattoo it on the back of your hand* so you'll always see it when you're typing.

*assuming your hand is big enough for the complete sentence

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Is there a cover at the bar, aside from on the books?

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Ba-dum-tsss 🥁

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I got you other-Karen.......

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You can call me OK for short 😁

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Love it!!!!!! It's actually a cute name for my book......Thanks!!!!!! It's getting to that part in my head. I figured, as with everything else in life, I would be shown the way. You mind? There's actually an Other-Karie already lololol

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Just when I was worried about an idea and was going to throw it away, you go and make it okay again.

You predicted that too.

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In Islamic cultures, Muslims believe in the القرين/translated as SPOUSE. An entity bit similar to the concept of the guardian angel but, this spouse only comes out and takes over when the person steers away from whats perceived as the right path. I always find this stuff fascinating.

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Takes over as in demonically possesses the person.

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Fascinating. And after the past ten weeks of intense writing, it is like a possession.

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I don’t want to read in the bar, but I’d love to go listen in a supportive way.

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Not to worry. I imagine the crowd would be writers and the like, meaning respectful.

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Or a bucket of pig blood.

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But then your latent psychic powers would kick in!

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That would make a good book...

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Well, we both know my powers aren’t latent. 😉

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Ha!

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You win!

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This blog sets the bar very high when it comes to writing tips. I hope everyone gets motivated.

Unlike a gypsy, I can't predict my future (as a fiction writer) but for now I seem to be a Woo-woo "reader. "

My joke about neck and necklace could have been inspired by the chapter of Greener Pastures I read 3 months after it was posted.

The "to be and not to be" quote could have originated in Damned (which I read after my retort to the Toby the dog post). I could give countless examples.

Now I'm living my Lullaby chapter.

My computer dings and I'm asked Are you the Karen who wrote "paradoxes in agriculture research". The next day I'm mistaken for the Karen who is asked to claim "Multiple behavioral intervention for weight loss." And so it goes. So many career roads not taken. So many hypothetical missed opportunities.

Now I'm sitting here waiting for side effects, or not. It's 4th vaccine day, and I'm still one shot behind where everyone else was last year (Thank you, AstraZeneca!). I certainly hope that woo-woo won't happen.

And time isn't linear anyway, right? ;)

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You got the fourth? Hats off.

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Thanks!! But if you do the "conversion" 2 Astra Zenecas = dubious protection (hence their not being doled out in the US) so they let us try again. Now i got my second piece of the Pfi (zer)...and I'm 0 for 4 when it comes to side effects!

Meanwhile I'm making all my elders jealous because in my province you have to be over 80 to get this honor (or be immunosuppressive etc.)

I might be able to travel again!!

First stop: Portland mystery bar!😁

(Just kidding...the rain forest comes first!)

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Have you guys in the US and Canada had 4 or 5 vaccines then? We've only had the original 2 and a booster shot (2 out of 3 gave me side effects). Here in the UK the government are (for the most part) back to pretending there's nothing wrong. 😑

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In Canada it varies by province. I'm in Quebec (2nd highest population). They're rolling back all the restrictions here but we still have over 1K cases a day (and they've mostly stopped testing and counting, never mind contact tracing).

I qualified for my 4th because my first 2 were "placebos" (AstraZeneca) that provide paltry protection from omicron. 4th for the rest of the population under 80 is being considered.

Sorry about your side effects. My worst was a slightly sore arm.

I look to Israel when I want a glimpse into the future. They have given large swaths of the general population 4 vaccines but they're still at a few thousand cases a day (same population as Quebec so it's a good comparison point).

We'll emerge from this some day soon :) Have a great rest of the day and keep well.

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And to close this "set," your friend does really great at Bar Mitzvahs*

*Mitzvah means good deed in Hebrew. Examples include Chuck's prizes, presents, advice...

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Years ago I started writing a novella mostly set in a hospital. One of the characters was a respiratory therapist that has a pug named Winston. I never finished the story. Then in 2020 I decided to try writing it again, this time starting from scratch, incorporating the pandemic into the story.

Then I read a news story that the first case of covid in a dog had been diagnosed. The patient, a pug named Winston.

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Paul Auster wrote a great essay about such meaningful coincidences. It's in a collection called "The Red Notebook." I read it in Paris, there in a hotel room where my publisher had stashed me. In the essay Auster described writing the essay in a French hotel room... It turned out to be the same room in which I was reading the book. We shared the same publisher, but what are the chances I'd be reading that essay during my short stay in that room?

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That's incredible. BTW the novella I mentioned, I showed you the first chapter in your class Litreactor back in 2015. What I had back then wasn't any good, but rewriting it in the age of covid seemed to give it fresh legs. Timing.

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Would do the bar reading if I were way farther northwest.

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So funny you mention the origins of the word daemon. Last night I watched a two hour documentary on Demonology where they talked about this and the fact that I should never ever summon the devil and then proceeded to tell me where to go to figure it out and how. I was thinking to myself "Shit. I'm not religious or anything but I gotta get some shit done lol. Apparently it worked well for Bette Davis." The Greek word for sorcery was pharmakeia. Its where we get the word Pharmacy. When I need to change states and mindsets let me see what I can get my grubby little hands on. I've been in such a funk lately lol...

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May your funk be short-lived.

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I like the idea of writers putting words to the things that slip just below the radar in the unconscious. This is a really cool topic!

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The catalyst you talked about that took you from mediocrity to WOW, was about that time you were mugged by a bunch of kids and sustained some injuries while on a bicycle. You and Joe Rogan talked about how brain trauma changes a person, makes them more bold. And in your case, from someone writing bad Stephen King stuff to someone who made your teacher, Tom, very surprised. But you said I can't bash my head to achieve this, so I will have to just keep writing.

And also I remember you talked about you writing about a someone's cat that stopped eating and eventually died. And not long after, your dog went through the same experience. (sorry to bring this up, it relates to what you posted.)

I love stories about your writer group with Suzy and Chelsea and Monica and Lidia and Cheryl.

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And Steven and Dr. Ellen and Officer Rick and Erin and Candy (who died, but not before she and I got wasted on the beach so late at night the locals called the police on us. i miss Candice Mulligan).

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Are those writers who were apart of your workshop too? I hope you shall never forget their stories.

Your getting wasted on the beach story sounds wonderful haha

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Have you guys read, “The Hike?” The writer suffered a severe head-trauma—- that book—- man! Just keeps giving to yah! The ending!!! Holy balls!!!

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I am interested in a bar-read and listen; Tuesday or any night. Thank you for putting it out there.

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Hey, are you THE Peter Shore?

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Yes, it's me. Sorry didn't have reliable internet connection.

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Is your mom Mitzi Shore?? I watched a mini series about the Comedy Store. She was so awesome!

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Mar 21, 2022·edited Mar 21, 2022

👍🏻 and thank you!

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I would be very interested in live reading at a bar. Unfortunately I’m in Kansas. That said, in the future I’d really be interested in traveling out to either attend a study hall or maybe participate in a bar reading and to say hi.

Regarding the daemon, I’ve really gotten into spirituality since COVID started. I mentioned in a comment a while back that I’ve gotten into listening to channelers as I find them fascinating. Love listening to Eckhart Tolle and and Alan Watts. In modern spirituality (hate the term itself as it sound pretentious, but it is what it is) there are so many variations and beliefs. Lots of far out woo-woo stuff, but I love all of it. I hear many people now call this daemon the Higher Self.

Chuck, in the Armchair Expert interview you mentioned your thought on insurance agents and how they must always be thinking of the worst scenario. I have a story for you. Here’s how it goes:

Right before Halloween one of my closest friends -- a college roommate who also happens to be my insurance broker told me that there had been an accident in his family and that it was a really terrible situation. His brother in-law and sister in-law had gone on a trip to Arizona with his (my friend/insurance agent’s) wife. In the mean time they left their daughter (his niece) with the grandparents (his in-laws) to look after her.

Grandma decided to mow the yard that afternoon. She set her granddaughter on her lap in the riding mower and began to putter along. At some point she hit a bump or an incline and the granddaughter fell off and under the mower. It ran her over and spit her out. The grandfather had to hold the baby’s intestines in while the grandmother called 911. The baby thankfully survived, but lost an arm and a leg on the left and right side of her body.

My friend is not only their son-in-law, but is also their insurance agent. He immediately called the insurer and filed a homeowner’s claim to get it pushed through as soon as possible. With such a major accident the cap on their homeowners only covers so much. There was no umbrella for them from what I understand. As a result, the daughter and son-in-law could (and may) sue the grandparents for all they’re worth to cover the child’s ongoing care for the rest of her life. All the while he is processing the claim and dealing with the family situation to boot.

I have no idea how things currently stand, but I can only imagine the awkwardness and mess of emotions going through everyone in that family. I can’t picture what future Christmases and birthday celebrations will be like for them. I haven’t asked beyond what he told me since it’s not my business, but it’s just one of those things where when you said that I thought you should hear this one.

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Dear god. Glad I read that one while sitting down. As soon as you said 'baby' and 'lawnmower' I had my guard up.

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A few years ago I went to Alton Towers which in the UK is the height of theme parks. They had recently added a major new ride called The Smiler. I was scared, but I rode that motherfucker hard. I got the seat on the in the front carriage, on the left. The ride was a whiplash inciting experience, with a record-breaking 14 inversions. That night I had a nightmare of incredible detail of an abandoned theme park with a record-breaking ride that had crashed. In the dream crash, teenagers died. One lost their left leg. I woke and wrote 6,000 words straight through. I tracked down the designer of the ride and called him on his home phone number to ask him questions about design ideas, safety testing. Safety tests rested with the park, he said quite clearly. Nothing to do with him.

Two weeks later The Smiler at Alton Towers crashed. An employee had overridden a safety protocol, thinking it was a false alarm. The carriage crashed into a stationary one on an inversion at 90mph. A teenager had to have their leg amputated. I waited anxiously for a phone call from the police. Random stranger purporting to be a writer rings the designer to question them specifically about ride safety? If I was him I definitely would have called the police.

A year later The Smiler was back running and I decided to ride it again, because I am largely foolish. The queuing system somehow aligned that I was again sitting in the front left seat. But the ride didn't set off. Employees walked up and down the mechanism, pressing buttons. Someone picked up a phone, a manual. I screamed at the park attendant to let me the fuck off now.

The Smiler didn't crash that day or since. But that was enough Final Destination woo-woo for me. The story I wrote is pretty poor, perhaps because I like this one so much more. And the first teenager who had her leg amputated, it was her left.

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Woo-woo spooky. Like goosebumps and I'll think about this tonight before I go to bed, spooky.

Have you ever thought about writing the story of the woman who writes the woo-woo story? It's a Russian doll of an idea, but I think it'd pretty effective. I was reading your comment and I was hooked after the first sentence.

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This did occur to me as I was typing out this comment. Quite meta, but I liked the idea a lot.

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Thank you! I heard about The Smiler on one of my favorite YouTube channels, Fascinating Horror.

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Mar 20, 2022·edited Mar 20, 2022

It's the only ride I finished and I felt both a lot of physical pain and a long-standing sense of unease, like humans are not designed for that type of experience.

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Trivial: A writer friend of mine named Justin Jorgensen wrote a hilarious book called 'Obscene Interiors.' His day job -- at the time -- was designing roller coasters... and sex club equipment. He said the same kinesiology that applies to thrill rides also applies to what the body can tolerate during rough sex.

https://www.amazon.com/OBSCENE-INTERIORS-Justin-Jorgensen/dp/097293880X

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Rough sex and rollercoasters, who would have thought they would connect like that? Explains that fear of dying painfully yet still chasing the euphoria of risk. Total dopamine gangbang. I'm loving all this synchronicity from one woo woo story by the way.

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That explains that time when I was at Disney. After the teapcup ride, I told the Cruella to choke me a little while saying, "I'll make a nice coat out of you."

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Chuck, speaking on amusement parks, I watched a great documentary the other day on Amazon (Closed for Storm) about a theme park that got abandoned during Katrina following the storm. It’s a wonderful example of an abandoned liminal space / limnal event. Very creepy and I’m planning on incorporating the idea into the big piece I’m working on. The park is called Jazzland.

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Google Camelot theme park, UK. Fantastic photos of it online since it's been abandoned. I think it's currently being used as an interactive space for a zombie experience.

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Ohhhhh awesome. I will check it out. Thanks!

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Interestingly enough, I’m here in Portugal visiting my mother and a couple minutes ago (literally) just before reading this substack entry, I awoke to my husband and my mother discussing the sewer gas stench that’s common in the area. I’m taking notes. I’m thinking a cozy mystery in the Algarve. An 80-yr-old crime solver (aka my mom) busting a murderer who hides their victims under the neighborhood toilets.

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There's definitely a market for that story 😊

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