“…just sayin’”

No you’re not. You’re not ‘just saying’ anything. If you were ‘just saying’ something, there would be no reason at all for you to say whatever it is that you’re just saying. It would just fall from your face, unbidden. But that’s not the case, is it? You’re not really ‘just saying’ anything, are you? You’re saying something purposefully and, in your mind, it has some sort of pertinence to a subject that you and your listener are/were probably just very recently discussing.

id est


Her: You want a pair of shoes?

Him: No.

Her: You sure? They’re Crocs. They’re just like the ones you used to have, the ones I got you but lost. And look, they’re green.


Her: And they’re 25% off. (shrug) Just sayin’.

Lies! You’re NOT just saying for the sake of ‘saying’! You’re saying because you want me, err…him, to A: feel guilty that he lost a perfectly good pair of Crocs (ones that he happened to like very much), and B: you want me, err..him, to understand that were he to be interested in a new pair of Crocs (although he probably shouldn’t get them because he always loses the gifts you get him), now’s a good time because they’re on sale.

So no, we all know now exactly what you’re really saying when you say that you’re ‘JUST SAYING.’

Few of us, I dare say, ‘just say.’ The one example of one such person who ‘just says’ at times is Steve Carell’s character, Brick (the meteorologist) from the Anchorman movie series. Nothing more than a walking spout of non sequiturs, Brick’s utterances make no sense and have no logical reasoning for their existence or conversational positioning.

So, do we get it now? Can we stop (at least lessen) our ‘just sayings’ so that those listening can make sense of our words when and where we use them? When you want to say something, fine – say it, state it, spew it forth and seal it with a full stop. But, for the gods, at least admit that you’re doing it on purpose, not simply because it was an overweight stone of blather which (despite your effort against it) forced its way through your lips and polluted the conversational air.

12:46 on a Chocolate Taipei Morning

At some point when I get back to the States, I intend to publish a rather full post of our travels here in East Asia –  the works (pictures, stories, facts, lessons learned, et cetera). But, as I’m still in the midst of those particular travels, that particular post will have to wait. 

But, in the mean time…

I have chocolate, and a sundry of other midnight-snack sorts. Here’s the rundown: 

1. Bubble Tea 珍珠奶茶 (refined and mastered here in Taiwan. No one does it better – fact)

2. Some cheesy bread 密歐克起司 item from the local Family Mart 

3. Chocolate miscellany (Kit Kat 買一送一, Some panda chocolate thingies, etc.)

4. Coffee (Glorious Japanese/Taiwanese Convenience-Store Coffee, mind you – not shitty Folgers, Maxwell House, gas station stop-your-heart-and-will-to-live black-death coffee) 貝納頌

5. Jagabee (加卡比) quasi-Potato-chip-like-things, which although I don’t know what they are, are good. Really good. 

       The convenience stores of this region of the world are magical. The geographical proximity between Taiwan and Japan has created a lovely commercial and mercantilistic offspring which they have raised up to present day, and this “covenience” product is one of the best representations of that. There is something about the Japanese way of running a convenience store that results in something gloriously…convenient. It’s not the crappy convenience store of the United States that you find just to buy a 84oz can of Monster, a pack of smokes, shitty coffee, and a lotto ticket. It’s a place to pay bills, send your laundry in, pick up cosmetics, fax, print, send stamps or packages, help with disability services, arrange bus pick-ups, and other sundry conveniently arranged services. Taiwan has done a wondrous job of continuing that service which began in Japan, and it brings a smile to my face every time I see a Family Mart or 7-Eleven. 

       Okay, I must get some sleep so that I can arise and use my convenience-store knife to carve into some deliciously fresh Taiwan mangos for breakfast. This before I jump again into the beauties of Formosa. 


A Year Now, A Blink Tomorrow


And the year ends.


It’s raining here and the world is full of potential. The kids are packing up all of their stuff, and there are boxes floating like buoys across the wooden square-footage of the house. They’re scampering around, packing, rushing, sweating. They know where they’re supposed to go, but have no idea how any of it is going to turn out. Our room too is a tapestry of transition.

Clothes, colognes, perfumes, packing tape, and everything else that can fill up all those lines on a blank page of college rule paper. You remember those.

It was swift and, for some, just. They lived it just as they wanted (Can a parent truly ask for any more?) – filling their free time with friends, homework, café meals and their own custom-designed slices of chosen boredom. They slept, and as Coleridge said, in their sleep, they dreamed, picturing themselves rewritten scenarios of the lives they already live.

And the language. Oh yes, the languages they spoke were many and active. They were a dazzling display of disparate tongues – their medium was their campus. Day in, Day out, and all day long, they connected, knowing of others, speaking to their own, allowing themselves to be overrun with the linguistic arts of those around them.

They climbed, the fell, they hid, they declared, the stood, sat, lay down, and to the degrees acceptable to them, rolled over – all to hear or see their names associated with one of several meaningless letters of the Latin alphabet. They care but they don’t. They’ll do the work, but they won’t. They played the game (some well, and vice versa. But they played it all the same).

Then came the end, speed like a bullet. They needed boxes and tape, organization, and space. No sleep, no coffee, no phone, no games. Pack and pack and pack. Now rest.

Say your good-byes, and don’t hold back. No one knows if they’ll ever be back. Soak it up. Enjoy every drop. In an hour or two, you’ll be out of your room, out of your house, out of your school. And there will be no more time to enjoy the “Now” when it has past.

Off you go, on a plane. Safe travels be with you; and I will see you next year. Maybe that day, like this one, it will be raining, but doubtless, full of potential.

Graveyard of Rough Drafts

 The motto is perfect, and it’s not mine. Hit your deadlines, finish your shit, try very hard not to suck. Wendig has talked over and again about the idea graveyard of first drafts. I have this idea and I like it, but recently I just haven’t been feeling into it. Rothfuss puts it succinctly enough: Sit your ass down and write; no one will write your story but you.

Yeah, well that’s what I believe myself to be facing – the rough draft graveyard. Sure, there’s this voice in my head that’s holding up signs and banners, proudly proclaiming that there is no need for me to worry because I will, one day, get to it, and when that one day comes, there will be no stopping me.

Yeah, I hear you – proud, obnoxious, voice of annoyance.

That’s a lie. It’s one I’d like to believe, but a lie all the same.

It’s not likely that I will come back to it. I know this because I keep a writing folder with all of the things that I’ve started – all of these “almost ideas” or “half-way nourished ideas” just sitting there. I wonder if anything would change within me if I renamed the folder ‘Graveyard’. There’s Mr. Proud again, telling me that it’s not a graveyard, because that word suggests that there is no bringing them back to life. This is true, and I’ve consulted with Mr. Honesty and we’ve come to an agreement. Once they go in there, they’re not coming out.

The realization for me is more about honesty. I mean, when I commit to something, I need to commit to it.

But Wendig has also said one other thing when talking about the Graveyard. That is – if you absolutely must bury something, at least use some of the parts. Use the ideas or concepts or scenes or something within a new work. Use all that energy. Don’t just put in all that energy and not get something out of it.

So that’s where I am now.

I’ve been playing quite a bit of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag of late and I have this idea of a pirate story…and it may just include some pieces from the graveyard.




** Thanks to 9x2english.blogspot.com for the image. 

The End of the Academic Tunnel

The end of school quickly draws near and oh, the adventures we’ll have then. I have been run ragged these past few weeks (no, no, I’m not making excuses. I’ll have you know that I did finally complete the first draft of my short story, which currently has a lengthy length of 9K+, but that should shimmy on down to at least 7.5…one can hope. So there’s that. 

     And then there’s China. Yes. Writing, reading, and going to China. 

I am in the middle of a book of poetry by none other than Garrison Keillor and, they’re okay. Here is, as the Writing Excuses Gang would say, a can of worms for later, but I would like to state here, publicly that I am opposed to spoiling things for others. Yes, movies, books, short stories, t.v. shows, all of the above, don’t want to spoil for others (probably because I don’t like them spoiled for me). 

BUT – 

    I do agree with a statute of limitations…at least with movies or television. I mean, c’mon, if someone hasn’t seen the original Star Wars (ESB) by now, it really doesn’t matter. It was made over 40 years ago; odds are you’re probably not going to watch it tonight.

With books, different game, I feel. I mean, if I haven’t ready Hamlet or Crime and Punishment, or The Shining….maybe I just haven’t gotten to it, but I’d like to. I know, that’s not a real solid basis for argument, but that’s how I feel. If I want to read The Alchemist, don’t ruin it for me. 

       Look, movies, those take a whopping two-hours. Books – much longer. Therefore, I want to still enjoy the book and I want others to enjoy the book and I realize it takes time. If you haven’t had two hours in the past 40 years to watch a movie, that’s you, but if you’re a slow reader, I guess I can justify that a bit. 


      Okay, ’nuff for now. Back to work.