Friday, December 28, 2012

Charlie Kelly says...

'I'm doing good in the game so I'm doing good in life!'

- Charlie Kelly (played by Charlie Day, 'Charlie Rules the World', written by David Hornsby, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, created by Rob McElhenney, 2012)

Dee Reynolds says...

'It's like when I'm doing good in the game, I'm doing good in life.'

- Dee Reynolds (played by Kaitlin Olson, 'Charlie Rules the World', written by David Hornsby, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, created by Rob McElhenney, 2012)

Daniel Plainview says...

'Are you an angry man, Henry?...Are you envious, do you get envious?...I have a competition in me, I want no one else to succeed. I hate most people...There are times when I look at people and I see nothing worth liking. I want to earn enough money I can get away from everyone...I see the worst in people, Henry, I don't need to look past seeing them to get all I need. I've built up my hatreds over the years, little by little. Having you here gives me a second breath in life. I can't keep doing this on my own, with these...people.'

- Daniel Plainview (played by Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood, written by Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007, inspired by the novel Oil! by Upton Sinclair, 1927)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Ewan Currie says...

'But can you really win when you must pick and choose?'

- Ewan Currie ('Who?', Five Easy Pieces, The Sheepdogs, 2011)

Photography: The Sheepdogs at Armoury Studios

Last night, thanks to randomly calling the CFox radio station at the exact right time, I had the awesome opportunity to see an intimate studio performance with The Sheepdogs, for free! With Guy Dudeman and about 50 other people, we sat right up close as the band was interviewed by radio personality Danger, and they played 6 songs, including 4 off their new self-titled album. And if all that isn't cool enough, I got to shake their hands too! I know, I know, we're all just people, right, there's no such thing as 'celebrity'. But touching the hands that were used to make songs that I listen to every day is pretty damn sweet. Thanks for keeping the spirit of classic rock alive, Sheepogs!







The Sheepdogs are Ewan Currie, Ryan Gullen, Leot Hanson, and Sam Corbett

Photographs taken by Chessterr Hollowberry, 2012

Grissom says...

'It's sad, isn't it, Doc? A couple of middle-aged guys like us, how we never really touch people unless we're wearing latex gloves. We wake up one morning and we realize that for 50 years, we haven't really lived at all. But then, one day, someone young and beautiful offers to share their life with you, someone you can care about. We have to give up everything we worked for to have them, I couldn't do it. But you did. And she took that back, didn't she? She gave you something precious, then she took it back. So you took her life instead. You couldn't stand the fact that she was giving it to someone else, so you took her life.'

- Gil Grissom (played by William Petersen, 'Butterflied', written by David Rambo, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, created by Anthony Zuiker, 2004)

Note: Although Ted Danson is doing a wonderful job as the newest lead man on CSI, nobody could ever deliver those put-you-in-your-damn-place speeches like the original bad-ass scientist, Gil Grissom. Thirteen seasons in, the show is going strong and still provides entertaining mysteries, but like many veteran shows, they've lost the initial charm that they had back in the early days. I'll likely watch the show through to the end (I mean really, how many people can die in Las Vegas, remind me never to go to a sex convention there), but it just hasn't been the same since Grissom left.

Shannon Koehler and Ari Vinocur say...

'On a Clarksdale night, humid and hot, when your bottle and your blues are all that you got, well I didn't wanna do it, but he gave me no choice, I poisoned the whiskey that coated his voice, guitar on the floor and my girl on his lap, so I topped off a bottle, with more than a cap..when you poison men with alcohol, oh, the liquor gets the blame, yeah, and I killed Robert Johnson, just the same..so I hired that coloured boy, to play his guitar blues, to entertain the white folks, and I'd pay him in booze, oh, but it turned sour quickly, when he went for my wife, even Sonny Boy Williamson couldn't save his life, but don't ever knock a bottle out of another man's hand, he got a slow, painful ending under Mississippi land, I ain't saying he deserved it, oh, for crossing the line, but I killed Robert Johnson, with strychnine...So I've kept my mouth shut, awaiting my fate, oh, it's trapped in the history of 1938, and as the men who knew Riobert, all died of old age, my secret grew lonlier, like his music on a stage, I may never tell the public the reason he's dead, yeah, but only the hellhounds can pull this truth from my head, I ain't saying I regret it, after all these years, yeah, but I killed Robert Johnson.'

- Shannon Koehler and Ari Vinocur ('I Killed Robert Johnson', Bears & Bulls, The Stone Foxes, 2010)

Note: Heart-broken drummer Shannon Koehler adapted a poem that (now former) bassist Ari Vinocur wrote about the legend of Robert Johnson. As the story goes, the classic blues guitarist made a pass at a bartender's wife, and the bartender poisoned him for it. Before you go arresting Shannon Koehler and Ari Vinocur for a 75-year-old murder, I believe this clever song is written from that bartender's perspective.

Eric Earley says...

'It was just a little while past the sunset strip, they found the girl's body in an open pit, her mouth was sewn shut, but her eyes were still wide, gazing through the fog to the other side..They booked me on a whim and threw me deep in jail, with no bail, sitting silent on a rusty pail, just gazing at the marks on the opposite wall, remembering the music of my lover's call..So you make no mistake I know just what it takes to pull a man's soul back from heaven's gates, I've been wandering in the dark about as long as sin, but they say it's never too late to start again, oh when, oh when, will the spirit come a calling for my soul to sin, oh when, oh when, will the keys to the kingdom be mine again..It was dark as a grave, it was just about three, when the warden with his key came to set me free, they gave me five dollars and a secondhand suit, a pistol and a hat and a worn out flute, so I took a bus down to the Rio Grande, and I shot a man down on the edge of town, then I stole me a horse and I rode it around, til the sheriff pulled me in and sat me down..He said, you make no mistake, I know just what it takes, to pull a man's soul back from heaven's gates, I've been wandering in the dark about as long as sin, but they say it's never too late to start again...Well, the sheriff let me go with a knife and a song, so I took the first train up to Oregon, and I killed the first man that I came upon, because the devil works quick, you know it don't take long, then I went to the river to take a swim, you know that black river water is as black as sin, and I washed myself clean as a newborn babe, and then I picked up a rock to sharpen my blade..Oh when, oh when, will the spirit come calling for my soul to sin, oh when, oh when, will the keys to the kingdom be mine again, oh when, oh when, will that black river water wash me clean again, oh when, oh when, will the keys to the kingdom be mine again.'

- Eric Earley ('Black River Killer', Furr, Blitzen Trapper, 2008)

Scott Stanton says...

'One o'clock in the morning, when you came knocking on my door a groaning, with no clothes on and looking like you were dead, you were covered in blood from head to toe, had no idea on where to go, and it took me a while to make out the words you said, you said a fight broke out in the car and your boyfriend left you to die on the river bed, so you followed the stars up in the sky, through the path to my back door they led..So now I think I got a job to do, you know you're covered in mud and cuts and bruises, well I hope he's ready for the shit I'm about the stir, I know I can't stand a man, to the woman he loves he would raise his hand, and take his frustrations out on her, and I ain't even gonna lie, well I killed him slow and I tortured him for sure, but you need to be my alibi and make up what we did and where we were..I know it's wrong to kill, but I don't do it no one else will, and I know it's wrong to lie, but a man like that don't deserve to live, that man deserves to die.'

- Scott Stanton ('Nail Em Up', Protect Your Own, Current Swell, 2009)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jeff Winger says...

'First entry in my stupid journal: Today I had to run and get two imaginary friendship hats from an office. I could have just walked around the corner and then come back, but, for some reason, I actually went all the way back to where they were supposed to be. One was crumpled up a bit, that was Troy's, the other was just a little dusty, that was Abed's. I fixed em up, even though I was the only one watching. Because I settled on a truth today, that's always going to be true: I would do anything for my friends. Which I think is how everyone in the world feels, which finally makes me understand war.'

- Jeff Winger (played by Joel McHale, 'Pillows and Blankets', written by Adam Bobrow, Community, created by Dan Harmon, 2012)

Note: Jeff to the documentary crew, 'Guys, I wasn't gonna show this to anyone, but, uh, it was pretty profound, I kinda nailed it. If you want, I can read it in the documentary, that is, unless you can get Tom Hanks.'

Double Note: There are literally a million jokes in this episode of Community. Count em!

Ben Harper says...

'Is this really living, sometimes it's hard to tell, or is this just a kinder, gentler hell?'

- Ben Harper ('Please Bleed', Burn to Shine, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, 1999)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Chessterr Hollowberry says...

'There's a version of you in my mind that I like, and there's a couple of things that I say when I'm silent, and I'm thinkin I'm wrong, but I'm wrong, cause I'm right, and if I swear I see somethin, I'm sorry, I'm lying.'

- Chessterr Hollowberry ('Silent', Kevin and the Clits, 2012)

Note: It is very rare that, other than posting my fiction writing, I'll ever quote myself on my own blog. However, in this case, these lyrics came into my brain and have been stuck there for weeks now. I'm currently building a song around them, with the help of my bandmates, and hopefully one day we'll have it complete and recorded. For now, these are my lyrics, and I'll go back to quoting people much more talented than myself.

Tom Petty says...

'She was hell on her mama, impossible to please, she wore out her daddy, got the best of me, and there's somethin about her, that only I can see, and that's good enough..You're barefoot in the grass, and you're chewin sugarcane, you got a little buzz on, you're kissin in the rain, and if a day like this don't ever come again, well that's good enough...God bless this land, God bless this whiskey, I can't trust love, it's far too risky, if she marries into money, she's still gonna miss me, and that's good enough, gonna have to be good enough.'

- Tom Petty ('Good Enough', Mojo, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, 2010)

Sheila also says...

'The religious school she went to, growing up, Ms. Wright said how all the girls had to wear a scarf tied to cover their ears at all times. Based on the biblical idea that the Virgin Mary became pregnant when the Holy Spirit whispered in her ear. The idea that ears were vaginas. That, hearing just one wrong idea, you lost your innocence. One detail too many and you'd be ruined. Overdosed on information. True fact. This wrong idea could take root and grow inside you.'

- Sheila (Snuff, Chuck Palahniuk, 2008)

Sheila says...

'I asked, Did she know Adolf Hitler invented the blow-up sex doll? And Ms. Wright's black sunglasses turned to look at me. During the First World War, I told her, Hitler had been a runner, delivering messages between the German trenches, and he was disgusted by seeing his fellow soldiers visit French brothels. To keep the Aryan bloodlines pure, and prevent the spread of venereal disease, he commissioned an inflatable doll that Nazi troops could take into battle. Hitler himself designed the dolls to have blond hair and large breasts. The Allied firebombing of Dresden destroyed the factory before the dolls could go into wide distribution. True fact.'

- Sheila (Snuff, Chuck Palahniuk, 2008)

Excerpt from 'Ensemble' (2): Mephis Mayfire in 'Trailer Park Pushers'

Okay, so now I'm going to let you in on an old Hollywood secret, a super hush-hush kind of deal. Heck, if I hadn't been a part of the whole scheme, I'd never believe it in a trillion years. This is how urban legends get spread around, like a bad STD, but this one is true, and I'm not just saying that. I do dirty things, but lying isn't one of them. So those in the know, the gossipers, they have names for us, they have a name for the whole process. We were called 'pushers', 'poppers', 'carriers', 'vessels', 'baby makers', 'ovens', 'warmers', 'stuffers', and on and on and on. We could do it because we were shadows, never in the public eye, our names never even known. Let's just say, if God's intended the meaning of life to be reproduction, these Hollywood types took it very literally. I'm sure someone up there in an office in the sky knows, but I've never been told exactly who was the brains behind the whole scheme. An agent? Someone at the studio? An actor, an actress? Director? Who the heck knows, but they made me rich.

Okay, enough foreplay, here goes: You've got these famous celebrity couples, right? Media darlings, with their cute mish-mash nicknames, all over the TV and magazines until the next even cuter couple steals the spotlight. At some point, inevitably, she gets pregnant, right? It's good for the storylines, good for the chatter, and great for photo ops. What do I know, maybe they're really in love and want themselves a real family, like in those sitcoms we grew up believing in. Yeah, right. Anyways, these teenie-weenie itty-bitty actress chicks, who don't even do their own nails, who are spoonfed day to night, these empty-headed starlets are expected to carry around a human life, right in their tightly toned tummies. We all take it for granted, when a headline tells us that a celebrity couple is now expecting a will-be childstar of their very own. Here's what I know, my favourite part, the money shot: In most of these cases, what you see on the red carpet, on the talk shows, in those photo spreads, is all Bullshit. Those 'pregnant' stars are doing what they do best, faking it. Their adorable baby bump is really just a prop, artificial, a trick.

So who's really carrying around these babies? I'll tell you. Miles away, in a town you've never heard of, in a sea of dirt and canned food and metal boxed called 'homes', there's a sixteen year old girl carrying around that celebrity child. You don't know she exists. It's simple, when a couple's agent is ready for them to have a child, he places a discreet phone call. The actor makes a deposit, the actress gets fitted for a fake preggo-stomach, and the 'pusher' takes a trip to a clinic you'll never be able to find on a map and gets herself a bundle of joy, more like a 9-month chore. This happens more than you'll ever guess and the benefits are many, for everyone involved.

The other part that nobody acknowledges, that you'll never read about in the tabloids, is how heart-breakingly terrible it is to have your newborn shipped off to Hollywood before you can even see it's face. The cheque that replaces it sure does help, but I've always wondered to myself if it's really worth it, if I did some good, or if I was just used up. To this day, I still flip through old magazines and study the facial features of those perfect little celebrity babies, hoping to find some resemblance, to be able to point at that tiny angel and say, 'that was mine, once'. At 16, getting plugged up with a baby just sounded like a weird way to make enough money to feed your family for a year. At 16 and 10 months, you're wondering what kind of mother you could have been. In my heart, I know how I could have loved that child as more than just an accessory to go with my fame.

(End of Excerpt)

This is original writing from a novel-in-progress titled Ensemble. Please credit this work to the creator, Chessterr Hollowberry. Thanks!

Chad Urmston says...

'The levees are full, but the river runs dry, and the desert grows into the grassland, the space that separates us grows ever wide, as the profiteer stokes the division, something's not right, something is wrong, with the news at eleven that no one has told them, if we don't come together, it won't be long, these are the wars that face our generation.'

- Chad Urmston ('Bohemian Grove', Let It Go, State Radio, 2009)

Sam Beam says...

'Mr. Henry and the muscle man gave her shoes on a night there was no room to stand, and like a letter in a stolen purse, she was bored of her weight, she was bored of her words, the daughter of a soldier told the fallen priest, it's a cold cold place in the arms of a thief, and reaching out to touch the steering wheel, she said, leave me alone but just don't leave me here, alright, alright...Mr. Henry and another guy gave her gold on a night that it fell from the sky, and like her body when the buzzard came, she was bored of her luck, she was bored of her name, the daughter of a lawyer told the fallen priest, it's a cold cold place in the arms of a thief, and dabbing at the arrow in heel, she said, leave me alone but just don't leave me here, alright, alright...Mr. Henry was a dying man, with advice in a tongue that she didn't understand, and like the water when the sea got rough, she was bored of the breeze, she was bored of her love, the winner and the loser told the fallen priest, it's a cold cold world in the arms of a thief, and holding everything he made her steal, she said, leave me alone but just don't leave me here, alright, alright.'

- Sam Beam ('Arms of a Thief', The Shepherd's Dog, Iron and Wine, 2007)

Forrest Bondurant says...

'Now listen here, mister. We got no way of understanding this world. We got about as much sense of it as a bird flying in the sky. Now there's a whole lot that bird don't know, but the world is happening around him just the same. What I'm trying to say is, the course of your life is changing right in front of you, and you don't even see it.'

- Forrest Bondurant (played by Tom Hardy, Lawless, written by Nick Cave, 2012, based on the novel The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant, 2008)

Tom Hardy says...

'I don't know what method acting is all about...I'm an addict, so I guess I have an addictive personality.'

- Tom Hardy (from an interview for Marie Claire, 2011)

Visual: Tom Hardy - 6 Transformations

Recently, I had the chance to see Lawless (written by Nick Cave, directed by John Hillcoat, and based on the novel by Matt Bondurant). I've been interested in this film since it came out in the summer, which is a little strange because I don't usually get excited about cowboy tales or Shia Lebeouf. That being said, I very much appreciated John Hillcoat's direction in The Road, and simple math tells me that one Gary Oldman, one Guy Pearce, and one Tom Hardy will always beat one Shia Lebeouf (who is actually pretty impressive in this, compared to the previous roles he's known for). While the movie was entertaining, well-acted, and scratched my itch for a good old fashioned 'guy movie', I did have some problems with some of the story choices and cinematography. There were some brilliantly crafted scenes and some memorable violence, so the positive aspects of the film are enough for me to recommend it.

The highlight of this film, as expected, is the round of great performances turned in by Hardy as a grumbling cowboy, Oldman as an ominous old-time gangster, and Pearce as one of the creepiest, most loathsome villains I've ever seen in film. And seeing how these 3 masters of character acting once again transformed completely for their roles in Lawless, I was inspired to put together a series of photosets celebrating the ability of each of these actors to transform into their character, sometimes to the point where they are entirely unrecognizable. Keep in mind that these photosets are in no way a complete representation of all of the outstanding performances by these three actors, just some of my favourite transformations they've each created.








Image #1: Shinzon, Star Trek: Nemesis, 2002

Image #2: Charles Bronson, Bronson, 2008

Image #3: Ricki Tarr, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, 2011

Image #4: Tommy Conlon, Warrior, 2011

Image #5: Bane, The Dark Knight Rises, 2012

Image #6: Forrest Bondurant, Lawless, 2012

Full credit to whoever is responsible for these screenshots, thanks!

Guy Pearce says...

'I certainly have an idea about what I like, and I just really enjoy going from one extreme to another. I don't understand the actor who plays the same role from movie to movie. Maybe it's because I worked on long-running television when I was in my teens, and so the idea of playing the same role just bores me intensely. I'd rather not do it at all.'

- Guy Pearce (from an interview with Gynne Watkins, www.vulture.com, 2011)

Visual: Guy Pearce - 6 Transformations

Recently, I had the chance to see Lawless (written by Nick Cave, directed by John Hillcoat, and based on the novel by Matt Bondurant). I've been interested in this film since it came out in the summer, which is a little strange because I don't usually get excited about cowboy tales or Shia Lebeouf. That being said, I very much appreciated John Hillcoat's direction in The Road, and simple math tells me that one Gary Oldman, one Guy Pearce, and one Tom Hardy will always beat one Shia Lebeouf (who is actually pretty impressive in this, compared to the previous roles he's known for). While the movie was entertaining, well-acted, and scratched my itch for a good old fashioned 'guy movie', I did have some problems with some of the story choices and cinematography. There were some brilliantly crafted scenes and some memorable violence, so the positive aspects of the film are enough for me to recommend it.

The highlight of this film, as expected, is the round of great performances turned in by Hardy as a grumbling cowboy, Oldman as an ominous old-time gangster, and Pearce as one of the creepiest, most loathsome villains I've ever seen in film. And seeing how these 3 masters of character acting once again transformed completely for their roles in Lawless, I was inspired to put together a series of photosets celebrating the ability of each of these actors to transform into their character, sometimes to the point where they are entirely unrecognizable. Keep in mind that these photosets are in no way a complete representation of all of the outstanding performances by these three actors, just some of my favourite transformations they've each created.








Image #1: Captain John Boyd, Ravenous, 1999

Image #2: Leonard Shelby, Memento, 2000

Image #3: Andy Warhol, Factory Girl, 2006

Image #4: The Veteran, The Road, 2009

Image #5: Peter Weyland, Prometheus, 2012

Image #6: Charlie Rakes, Lawless, 2012

Full credit to whoever is responsible for these screenshots, thanks!

Gary Oldman also says...

'I like this combination of menace and vulnerability. That's where the drama is for me...You have to embrace these characters and the predicament they're in. You can't patronize them.'

- Gary Oldman (featured in an article by Laura Barbato, movies.yahoo.com, 2012)

Gary Oldman says...

'It's all about becoming, not an illusion of becoming someone else...I've spent my entire career trying to get away from Gary.'

- Gary Oldman (featured in an article by Laura Barbato, movies.yahoo.com, 2012)

Visual: Gary Oldman - 6 Transformations

Recently, I had the chance to see Lawless (written by Nick Cave, directed by John Hillcoat, and based on the novel by Matt Bondurant). I've been interested in this film since it came out in the summer, which is a little strange because I don't usually get excited about cowboy tales or Shia Lebeouf. That being said, I very much appreciated John Hillcoat's direction in The Road, and simple math tells me that one Gary Oldman, one Guy Pearce, and one Tom Hardy will always beat one Shia Lebeouf (who is actually pretty impressive in this, compared to the previous roles he's known for). While the movie was entertaining, well-acted, and scratched my itch for a good old fashioned 'guy movie', I did have some problems with some of the story choices and cinematography. There were some brilliantly crafted scenes and some memorable violence, so the positive aspects of the film are enough for me to recommend it.

The highlight of this film, as expected, is the round of great performances turned in by Hardy as a grumbling cowboy, Oldman as an ominous old-time gangster, and Pearce as one of the creepiest, most loathsome villains I've ever seen in film. And seeing how these 3 masters of character acting once again transformed completely for their roles in Lawless, I was inspired to put together a series of photosets celebrating the ability of each of these actors to transform into their character, sometimes to the point where they are entirely unrecognizable. Keep in mind that these photosets are in no way a complete representation of all of the outstanding performances by these three actors, just some of my favourite transformations they've each created.








Image #1: Dracula, Bram Stoker's Dracula, 1992

Image #2: Drexl Spivey, True Romance, 1993

Image #3: Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg, The Fifth Element, 1997

Image #4: Mason Verger, Hannibal, 2001

Image #5: Jim Gordon, The Dark Knight Triology, 2005, 2008, 2012

Image #6: Floyd Banner, Lawless, 2012

Full credit to whoever is responsible for these screenshots, thanks!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Joss Whedon says...

'Take my love, take my land, take me where I cannot stand, I don't care, I'm still free, you can't take the sky from me. Take me out to the black, tell them I ain't coming back, burn the land, and boil the sea, you can't take the sky from me. Have no place I can be, since I found Serenity, but you can't take the sky from me.'

- Joss Whedon ('The Ballad of Serenity', performed by Sonny Rhodes, Firefly theme song, 2002)

Note: Encouraged by ChinaCat Sunflower, I'm finally getting into the insanely-praised and infamously-cancelled science fiction western series known as Firefly, created by Joss Whedon. With more wit and charm than you can fit on a spaceship, I can definitely see why this show is as beloved as it is. I still have a few more episodes to watch, along with the accompanying film Serenity, and then I'll make a proper post about the show. But for now, let's appreciate the theme song, written by Joss Whedon himself.

Fertility Hollis says...

'Do you have any idea how boring it is to be me? To know everything? To see everything coming from a million miles away? It's getting unbearable. And it's not just me...We're all bored...We all watch the same television programs...We all hear the same things on the radio, we all repeat the same talk to each other. There are no surprises left. There's just more of the same. Reruns...We all grew up with the same television shows. It's like we all have the same artificial memory implants. We remember almost none of our real childhoods, but we remember everything that happened to sitcom families. We have the same basic goals. We all have the same fears...The future is not bright. Pretty soon, we'll all have the same thoughts at the same time. We'll be in perfect unison. Synchronized. United. Equal. Exact. The way ants are. Insectile. Sheep...The big question people ask isn't, What's the nature of existence?...The big question people ask is, What's that from?'

- Fertility Hollis (Survivor, Chuck Palahniuk, 1999)

Excerpt from 'Ensemble': Georgia Nickels' First Flash

The first flash I ever had, the very first one that I can recall, by now I've just had so many, but the first real vision I ever had was Pastor Randall's head, popped right open. I'm sure you can think of a better way to say it, you could find a fitting analogy. If I had told anybody about it, I might have described it looking like what a firecracker might do to a pumpkin. I must have been thirteen, must have been. They'll tell you I was a beautiful girl, with the fiery red atop my head. I never saw in myself what they saw in me, but they would tell you I was one of the lucky ones, born looking the way I did back in those days. I must have been thirteen, because it was also the same exact day that my first period came to me.
By all means, you could make something of that, like you could see connections, pictures, and maps in the stars. But to this day, I'll call it a coincidence.

So there I was, Sunday morning, between Mom and Dad, eyes closed. It was never enough for me to just listen to all those bible stories, to just accept the lesson, learn the moral, process the meaning. There's some things that the ear just doesn't do justice. I had to see it there, on the theatre screen of my eyelids, see every detail. So I never studied Pastor Randall's face on that Sunday morning. From what I recall, I never saw if his eyes were lowered or wandering, joyful or sad. I never read his lips to know for sure if he even meant what he was saying, if he himself believed it all. I guess everyone else just took him for granted. Sure, that voice of his, God given to sell something, whether it be used cars or new houses or religion. It was deep and bouncy, smooth and sharp, he had that confidence. The voice of any practiced speaker.

I never saw any good reason for him to blow his own skull to bits. Where did he even get a gun like that, back in those days? I've seen too damn much with these eyes to be fool enough to speculate. Some events, actions, ideas, there's just no why to be found. The skull that held the brain that powered the mouth that inspired hundreds every week, was now pieces scattered on the windshield and the wheel, all over his white shirt, the seat, the floor. The whole essence of a man turned to gore, violence, a bloody mess. When I saw it, when it flashed before my eyes, I damn near wet myself. It meant nothing in that moment, how could it? To me, it was just a waking nightmare, a four second horror flick. Never told Mom, sure never told Dad, kept it contained. Pastor Randall didn't say goodbye at the end of the service, he just slammed the book shut and walked away.

Of course, there was always a gathering at the end, after party of sorts. My Mom and my Dad pulled me around, their little trophy girl, except now no longer innocent, having seen the bits of Pastor Randall's jaw sprayed across his lap. Brain, tongue, cheek, all looks the same to the coroner, all looks the same to the dry cleaner. Who can say for sure who exactly heard Mrs. Randall's scream first, but it tore through the lobby of the church, ripping voices out of throats, snacks away from fingertips, smiles away from faces. My Mom and my Dad kept me inside, they told me I didn't want to see what was out there in the parking lot. They thought I was the naive one, but they had no idea that I'd already seen it first. That's all I can remember about that particular day. Of course, the next Sunday, we had Pastor Fluke, and nobody said a damned word about the mess that Pastor Randall left.

With all I've seen, I don't get sensitive about too much these days. But, if you call this power I have a gift, if you try to tell me I'm special or tell me I have a talent, if you dare try to congratulate me for my ability, well, I just might tell you how your body looks when your life ends. I'd just have to glance at you once to know.

(End of Excerpt)

This is original writing from a novel-in-progress titled Ensemble. Please credit this work to the creator, Chessterr Hollowberry. Thanks!

BB King says...

'When I first got the blues, they brought me over on a ship, men were standing over me, and a lot with a whip...I've laid in a ghetto flat, cold and numb, I heard the rats tell the bedbugs to give the roaches some...I stood in line, down at the County Hall, I heard a man say, We're gonna build some new apartments for y'all...My kid's gonna grow up, gonna grow up to be a fool, cause they ain't got no more room, no more room for him in school...Yeah, you know the company told me, guess you're born to lose, everybody around me, people, it seems like everybody got the blues...I walk through the cities, people, on my bare feet, I had a fill of catfish and chitterlings up in Downbill Street...Now Father Time is catching up with me, gone is my youth, I look in the mirror every day and let it tell me the truth...Yeah, they told me everything would be better out in the country, everything was fine, I caught me a bus uptown, baby, and all the people got the same trouble as mine...Blind man on the corner, begging for a dime, the rollers come and caught him, and throw him in jail for a crime...Oh, I thought I'd go down to the welfare, to get myself some grits and stuff, but a lady stand up and she said, You haven't been around long enough, that's why I got the blues, the blues, I say I've been around a long time, I've really, really paid my dues.'

- BB King ('Why I Sing the Blues', Live and Well, 1969)

Visual: 10 Bluesmen










 
Today, I'm celebrating 10 of my favourite classic blues men. I've been listening to the blues for years now, and I'm currently practicing playing it myself on my piano. Some of these guys have passed on to Blues Heaven, others are still playing their souls out on stage. Either way, if I'm going to put on some blues, chances are one of these guys are playing it.

Image #1: Muddy Waters

Image #2: BB King

Image #3: Bo Diddley

Image #4: Howlin Wolf

Image #5: Freddie King

Image #6: Albert King

Image #7: Elmore James

Image #8: Taj Mahal

Image #9: John Lee Hooker

Image #10: Buddy Guy

Full credit to whoever is responsible for these photographs!

Tom Petty says...

'Had to find some higher ground, had some fear to get around, you can't say what you don't know, later on won't work no more..last time through I hid my tracks, so well I could not get back, yeah, my way was hard to find, can't sell your soul for peace of mind...Try so hard to stand alone, struggle to see past my nose, always had more dogs than bones, I could never wear those clothes..it's a dark victory, you won and you also lost, told that she was satisfied, but it never came across..Square one, my slate is clear, rest your head on me, my dear, it took a world of trouble, took a world of tears, it took a long time to get back here.'

- Tom Petty ('Square One', Highway Companion, Tom Petty, 2006)

Master Storyteller: 5 Stories from Tom Petty's 'Highway Companion'

'I'm passing sleeping cities, fading by degrees, not believing all I see to be so, I'm flying over backyards, country homes and ranches, watching life between the branches below...I'm moving on alone over ground that no one owns, past statues that atone for my sins, there's a guard on every door, and a drink on every floor, overflowing with a thousand amens...You're rolling up the carpet of your father's two-room mansion, no headroom for expansion no more, and there's a corner of the floor, they're telling you its yours, you're confident, but not really sure..And it's hard to say, who you are these days, but you run on anyway, don't you baby? You keep running for another place, to find that saving grace, don't you baby?' - 'Saving Grace'

'Headed back down south, gonna see my daddy's mistress, gonna buy back her forgiveness, pay off every witness, one more time down south, sell the family headstones, drag a bag of dry bones, make good on my back loans...Sleep late down south, look up my former mentors, live off Yankee winters, be a landlord and a renter..create myself down south, impress all the women, pretend I'm Samuel Clemens, wear seersucker and white linens...Spanish moss down south, find the heroes of my childhood, who now can do me no good, carve their names in dogwood..chase a ghost down south, spirits cross the dead fields, mosquitoes hit the windshield, all documents remain sealed..So if I come to your door, let me sleep on your floor, I'll give you all I have, and a little more.' - 'Down South'

'There's a shadow on the moon tonight, I swear I see your face, up there with the satellites, looking down from outerspace, me, I'm drifting home again, headlights in my eyes, fighting sleep with windows down, worn out from long goodbyes...You offered up no history when you blew into town, you remain a mystery, no information found..I speed dial the judgment call, the near miss hit the ground, the new king hides behind the stone, refusing to be crowned...High tide rumbles, PCH, my tire's losing track, helicopter circling, wiping overhead, now I sit and count the days, and try to fill my time, there's a shadow on the moon tonight, the dollar gets a dime..Night driver, drifting home again, night driver, drifting home again.' - 'Night Driver'

'Save a dream for me, the words hang in the air, her demons take the dare, above the lonely feather circles to the ground, the house don't make a sound...Green and gray and auburn, sliding down the sky, the devil winks an eye, a figure in the doorway, shouldering the blame, a saint without a name...The king and queen are loaded, falling off to sleep, the ground begins to creep, rockets in the tail lights, red burns into night, rolling out of sight...Turn this car around, turn this car around, I'm goin back.' - 'Turn This Car Around'

Well, they raised that horse to be a jumper, he was owned by a mid-west bible thumper, his preacher was a Louisiana drummer, took all winter to get through the summer, the fieldhand hit the swtich and stumbled, outside the big engine roared and rumbled, the stolen horse spooked and tumbled, she didn't speak for a week, just kinda mumbled...He was caught up in a lie he half-believed, found her hiding high in the family tree, washed his hands and put across his knee, she said, Daddy you been a mother to me...ankle deep in love, ankle deep in love.' - 'Ankle Deep'

(All songs written by Tom Petty, from Highway Companion, Tom Petty, 2006)

Joseph Gilgun says...

'Yeah, I think I'm allowed to say that I'm doing Series 4 and I'm looking forward to that cause there's going to be some new characters and I think that's a really good thing, and a fresh outlook. I'm really looking forward to it, and I'm also mildly terrified of it, cause there's a lot of work involved, but such a good laugh when you're doing it. And I'm getting to the point now where I'm sick of sitting on my arse, cause you know when you're out of work as an actor you like to say that you're resting, but we're not, we're out of work. Every now and again you'll get a foreign journalist who'll say, What do you want to do next?, like we get the fucking choice. You know, you get what you're given and just hope that you're right for it.'

- Joseph Gilgun (plays Rudy on Misfits, from an interview with Rob Smedley, www.cultbox.co.uk, 2012)

Visual: The New Misfits

Today, I'd like to feature the new generation of Misfits from Season 4. One of my favourite things about this series is probably an aspect that turns a lot of viewers off, and that's how the show constantly reinvents itself. Both the genre and cast seem to change on the whim of the writers, depending on what's necessary for a particular episode or story arc. It's one of the most difficult shows to describe to new viewers, but it's also one of the most refreshing and addictive shows on television. I have a feeling that, if this show gets another season, I'll be making a new photoset of the even newer cast sometime soon. Like one of my other favourite shows, The Walking Dead, no one is safe on Misfits.







Image #1: Joseph Gilgun as Rudy

Image #2: Karla Crome as Jess

Image #3: Nathan McMullen as Finn

Image #4: Natasha O'Keeffe as Abbey

Image #5: Matt Stokoe as Alex

Image #6: Lucy Gaskell as Lola

Misfits was created by Howard Overman.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Peter Pan says...

'I'll teach you how to jump on the wind's back and then away we go. Wendy, when you are sleeping in your silly bed you might be flying about with me, saying funny things to the stars.'

- Peter Pan (Peter Pan; or, The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up by J.M. Barrie, 1928, featured in The Norton's Anthology of Children's Literature, edited by Julia Reidhead, 2005)

Note: The play debuted in 1904, and Barrie rewrote and revised the story for the next two decades, until a definitive text was published in 1928.

Eddie Vedder says...

'Don't see some men as half empty, see them half full of shit, thinking that we're all but slaves.'

- Ed Vedder ('Half Full', Riot Act, Pearl Jam, 2003)

Louie CK says...

'This is a sizeable crowd, this is a big place, there's about 2500 people here. And that's, thats a lot of people, that's enough people to be like a sample of the population, 2500 people is enough people that you're all gonna experience a lot of, there's enough people here to say that within 2 months, at least one of you will die. I'm just saying, I think it's probably accurate to say that out of any random group of 2500 people, not all of ya are gonna make it til Christmas, unfortunately. There's going to be at least..one of you here tonight is going to ruin your family's Christmas, by dying a shitty death, and I don't know who it is, I'm sorry.'

- Louie CK (Live at the Beacon Theatre, Louis CK, 2011)

Louie CK says...

'If you have, don't yell out during the show, if you have something you wanna say to me, here's what we do. You write it down, and then you go outside in the lobby, and then you go home and you kill yourself. Because that's selfish, this is a rhetorical performance, it's got nothing to do with you. Don't text or twitter during the show, just live your life, don't keep telling people what you're doing, just, cause also, also, it lights up your big dumb face, it lights it up. I see this beautiful sea of darkness, then this one guy. Uh, what else...'

- Louie CK (Live at the Beacon Theatre, Louis CK, 2011)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Hugh Dillon says...

'She said, she'd give me some kind of sign, I guess she did, I'm happy she's still alive, Mother said, respect that decision, I guess I do, I don't, well I'm still here and I'm still itchin, they lined em up, then they lined up just to see him, I just don't see the point if he ain't here and he ain't breathing, can't stand up, well hell you know I could, they lost it all, but to me what good is hindsight...If you say you will, how can I know you won't, I just can't wait around til everything I know is gone, let em up, get myself out of storage, that fire's burning blue but singing orange, clocking time, slim chance is all you need, in living, dying trying to find a life with guarantees, to know what it's like to stand up and walk away, to know what it's like to see someone else lose everything.'

- Hugh Dillon ('Hindsight',Teeth and Tissue, The Headstones, 1995)

The Narrator of 'Haunted' says...

'The rest of the disaster wasn't our fault. We had no reason, none whatsoever, to bring a chainsaw. Or a sledgehammer or a stick of dynamite. Or a gun. No, on this desert island, we'd be completely, completely safe. Before sunrise, on this sweet new day we won't ever see happen. So we'd been led to believe. Maybe too safe. It's because of all this, we brought nothing that could save us.'

- The Narrator (Haunted, Chuck Palahniuk, 2005)

'Ensemble': Character Voices

When I originally conceived the voices of the main 6 narrators in my novel-in-progress Ensemble, I thought it would be helpful to do a character sheet for each, along with a quick monologue to establish the voice of each character. This way, no matter how long I let this damn idea sit, I could always return and get their voice back in my head. Today, I thought I'd share these character quotes, leading into larger excerpts to come.

Oliver Saint: 'A girlfriend? I beg your pardon. I can just see myself now, sitting out in my car, waiting for hours while she gets herself all pretty. I'd stay up all night like a softy, all paranoid that she's sharing a bed with another. Dealing with all the unpredictability, all those emotions. Listen to me, a puzzle is never late. A calculator is physically incapable of cheating. A equation does not sporadically cry all over the place. A girlfriend? Please.'

Sullivan Hyde: 'Don't keep no pictures. Only one i need's stapled to the backa my eyelids so i'll never never never forget. They don't make Pure like her no more. Hair like starshine, eyes like wonder, freckles like...her lips little pink gummy worms, a brain bigger than mine. Smile that could put evil to rest. Hands like...fingers like angel feathers. Don't make Love like her no more.'

Walter Blank: 'Fixed four today. All broken all the same way. Had a turkey sandwich for lunch. Dry bread, wilted lettuce. Almost rear-ended someone in traffic, again. Fell asleep at the wheel for just a moment. Should have stayed there, no dreams where I was. Of course I love you, my dear. Let's say grace.'

Georgia Nickels: 'Oh, I try to avoid the spotlight, I do, but they always seem to find me. This poor man, waiting outside the office. He says his wife is up and gone, gone since yesterday, gone. He says she never does this, it's all fishy, he says he's scared. He says the cops won't help, she's just gone. What I don't say, what I've known spot on since I saw this poor man six days ago at a coffee shack, is that his poor wife is facedown in a marsh. There isn't any good reason for it neither. What I know is that I could have told this man at the coffee shack, or I could have told him at the office, but he'll find out just like everyone else does: when the paper hits his porch tomorrow morning. She'll be a Jane Doe, and he'll read about her like anyone else. I owe him his peace of mind just as much as I owe anybody else, it doesn't change the rules though. What I know is that nobody really wants to know.'

KC Kotton: 'So, of course, I'm attending this whatever party in some lame-ass house that I'll probably, like, buy and tear down one day, and I'm sitting right on Mickie's lap, moving just right as to get his 'attention', and obviously money for liquor, when this little cereal bitch who's like a day over 7 comes bippity-bopping up to us like Mickie's actually going to notice, and this little doll-faced bitch really, truly, compliments Mickie's, my boyfriend's, watch, which of course I bought for him, with his credit card, and the dense fucking moron says, 'Thank you,' so I'm like, 'Micks baby, get me another drink,' and I pour my daiquiri right down this little lip-gloss princess's dress, and I'm all like, 'Bitch, this gold's already got a minor,' swear to God, bitch'll be sucking balls for toilet paper by the time she's 10.'

Memphis Mayfire: 'This business, what it all comes down to is the do's, is the don'ts, and it really all just depends on how much cock came your way in high school. These loose-topless-table-dancing-footvall-team-hot-potato-daddy-never-loved-me-just-my-cute-little-ass-cum-dumpsters, they've heard of 'don't' like they've heard of spitting. Yeah, never. My first date was after I moved away from home. I'll tell you what I don't do: Don't do vag, don't do chicks who are better looking than me, don't do bodily fluids other than the white stuff, and never ass to mouth. Do slap me, do bite me and choke me, do try to rip me apart up the middle, but don't ever call me a 'whore'. Or anything other than 'Princess'. Why hire me? I've had a cucumber up my ass this whole time we've been sitting here and neither you or I have noticed. You find a vag-sex gal that can fuck a vegetable or cock with even half the enthusiasm I show. But hey, takes all kinds, right?'

This is original writing from a novel-in-progress titled Ensemble. Please credit this work to the creator, Chessterr Hollowberry. Thanks!

Stan Marsh says...

'You see, I learned something today. At first I thought you were all stupid, listening to this douche's advice, but now I understand that you're all here because you're scared. You're scared of death and he offers you some kind of understanding. You all want to believe in it so much, I know you do. You find comfort in the thought that your loved ones are floating around trying to talk to you, but think about it. Is that really what you want? To just be floating around after you die, having to talk to this asshole? We need to recognize this stuff for what it is. Magic tricks. Because whatever's really going on in life and death is much more amazing than this douche.'

- Stan Marsh (voiced by Trey Parker, 'The Biggest Douche in the Universe', written by Trey Parker, South Park, created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, 2002)

Randy Marsh says...

'Stan, as you get older, boobs, these 'ahta', will start becoming a major part of your life. But Stanley, you can't let them get in the way of your friends. There are a lot of boobs out there, son. But they're just boobs. Your friends are forever. I know you think this set of boobs is important now, but those boobs will be replaced by another set of boobs. Boobs will come and go, and then someday, you'll meet a pair of boobs that you want to marry. And those become the boobs that matter the most. If you can just understand that, Stanley, you'll see that boobs hold no real power at all.'

- Randy Marsh (voiced by Trey Parker, 'BeBe's Boobs Destroy Society', written by Trey Parker, South Park, created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, 2002)

Reverend Lovejoy says...

'This so-called new religion is nothing but a pack of weird rituals and chants, designed to take away the money of fools. Now let's say the Lord's Prayer 40 times, but first, let's pass the collection plate.'

- Reverend Lovejoy (voiced by Harry Shearer, 'The Joy of the Sect', written by Steve O'Donnell, The Simpsons, created by Matt Groening, 1998)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Linus Van Pelt says...

'I need my blanket! I admit it! Look at all of you, who among you doesn't have an insecurity? Who among you doesn't depend on someone, or something, to help you get through the day? Who among you can cast the first stone? How about you, Sally? You with your endless sweet babboos. Or you, Schroeder, you with your Beethoven, Beethoven, Beethoven! And you, Lucy, never leaving Schroeder alone, obsessing over someone who doesn't care if he ever sees you again. What do you want! Do you want to see me unhappy? Do you want to see me insecure? Do you want to see me end up like Charlie Brown? Even your crazy dog, Charlie Brown, suppertime, suppertime, suppertime, nothing but suppertime, 24 hours a day! Are any of you secure!'

- Linus Van Pelt (voiced by Austin Lux, Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown, written by Craig Schulz and Stephan Pastis, 2011. Charlie Brown was created by Charles M. Schulz)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Anthony Bourdain says...

'It's a gaze of wonder: the same look you see on small children's faces when their fathers take them into deep water at the beach, and it's always a beautiful thing. For a moment, or a second, the pinched expressions of the cynical, world-weary, throat-cutting, miserable bastards we've all had to become disappears, when we're confronted with something as simple as a plate of food. When we remember what it was that moved us down this road in the first place.'

- Anthony Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain, 2000)

Photography: Food!


 
 





There are a few obvious benefits of having a brother who has dedicated his life to the culinary arts. First, he loves to feed people, and I'm a person. Second, in the spirit of about a million cooking competition shows, he loves a good challenge. And third, while cooking with him, I learn tons of new flavour combinations and techniques.

Late October and November is a busy time for my family, with my birthday, my sister's birthday, her husband's birthday, and their wedding anniversary all landing within a couple of weeks of each other. So, for the past 4 years, we've come together for a family celebration in which me (entree), my sister (appetizer), and her husband (dessert) come up with a food-based challenge for my infinitely talented and creative brother to execute for the birthday/anniversary dinner.

Three years ago, the challenge was to make a bite-sized dish for each of the Seven Deadly Sins. Two years ago, he turned kids birthday party favourite into gourmet dishes that adults would love. Last year, he randomly chose from a chart of Region/Feeling/Protein (for example, Lazy Indian Lamb) for his inspiration. And this year, I decided that I'd keep it super simple, what do I most want to eat? The answer was Meditterenean, a challenge that was more about the flavours than the tricky gimmicks. My sister chose root vegetables for the appetizer, and her husband went with maple for the dessert.

Although I'm one of the ones being celebrated, part of the gift for me is the chance to play sous-chef and prepare the meal with my brother. Yesterday, I joined him in his kitchen to throw together one of the best meals I've ever tasted in my life. Along the way, I took pictures of the process and the results. Fellow food-lovers unite and enjoy this delicious imagery.

These dishes were conceptualized and cooked by Jeffy Fantastico, photographs taken by Chessterr Hollowberry

Maddy Spencer also says...

'To be honest, I keep wishing we could all talk. Chew the fat. And, yes, I know that wishing is another symptom of hope, but I can't help it. As we amble along, trudging over steaming brimstone beds of sulfur and coal, I want to ask if anyone else feels an intense sense of shame. By dying, do they feel as if they've disappointed everyone who ever bothered to love them? After all the effort that so many people made to raise them, to feed and teach them, do Archer or Leonard or Babette feel a crushing sense of having failed their loved ones? Do they worry that dying constitutes the biggest sin they could possibly commit? Have they considered the possibility that, by dying, each of us has generated pain and sorrow which our survivors must suffer for the remainder of their lives? In dying - worse than flunking a grade in school, or getting arrested, or knocking up some prom date - perhaps we've majorly, irreversibly fucked up. But nobody brings up the subject, so I don't either.'

- Maddy Spencer (Damned, Chuck Palahniuk, 2011)

Maddy Spencer says...

'My point is, I've made my entire identity about being smart. Other girls, mostly Miss Slutty Vandersluts, they chose to be pretty; that's an easy enough decision when you're young. As my mom would say 'Every garden looks beautiful in May.' Meaning: Everyone is somewhat attractive when she's young. Among young ladies, it's a default choice, to compete on the level of physical attractiveness. Other girls, those doomed by hooked noses or ravaged skin, settle on being wildly funny. Other girls turn athletic or anorexic or hypochondriac. Lots of girls choose the bitter, lonely, lifetime path of being Miss Snarky Von Snarkskis, armored within their sharp-tongued anger. Another life choice is to become the peppy and upbeat student body politician. Or possibly invent myself as the perennial morose poetess, poring over my private verse, channeling the dreary weltschmerz of Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf. But, despite so many options, I chose to be smart - the intelligent fat girl who possessed the shining brain, the straight-A student who'd wear sensible, durable shoes and eschew volleyball and manicures and giggling. Suffice it to say that, until recently, I had felt quite satisfied and successful with my own invention. Each of us chooses our personal route - to be sporty or snarky or smart - with the lifelong confidence that one can possess only as a small child.'

- Maddy Spencer (Damned, Chuck Palahniuk, 2011)

Note: This passage is an example of a male writing in the voice of a female. Although I've seen some great examples of a gender-swap narrative, it's never an easy task for a man to be able to accurately write a convincing female voice. There's how we think girls think and act, then there's how girls think that they think and act, and those are usually two very different things. I really like this passage because, although it is pretty obvious that it's a 40something male writing as a teen girl, I think Chuck proves that he has a good understanding of female insecurities and the difficult challenge of a teen girl finding her own identity. But then again, I'm just a male myself, so what do I know!

Ewan Currie says...

'Okay now, let's try to be cool, cause I'm fading fast as day turns into night, if I could walk one minute with you, then I'd be alright, everything's so clear I see through, I see wrong making way for the right, but I can't see the colours of you, I see in black and white...Trip across the floor back to you, might as well pack it in for the night, you can't find me when you're needing help, you know I'm out of sight, let's let our evil hang through, pitch black even under the light, you know I'd never do ya harm, but then again I might...I got a feeling that I can't understand, I go numb at the touch of your hand, you got me looking for something new, but tonight, I fade along with the light.'

- Ewan Currie ('Tonight', Trying to Grow, The Sheepdogs, 2007)

Neil Gaiman says...

'The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you're allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it's definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it, honestly, and tell it as best you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.'

- Neil Gaiman (Rule #8, 'Ten Rules for Writing Fiction', The Guardian, 2010)

Introduction to 'Ensemble'

A story like this, where would you begin? What about the mood, the tone? How would you even tell a story like...this? There's no audience, no way is there an audience. You've have to be as lonely, psychotic, sad, wise, greedy, and dead as these characters to even begin to understand. It could have happened to anybody, it's already happening to everybody, it hasn't happened at all. So where do I begin?

Does the story begin with Georgia Nickels staring at the stars, figuring out the future, seeing all that's coming? How about with that ferocious little devil, KC Kotton, at one of her auditions? They say eight years old is the perfect age for a proper childstar, seems she's been eight forever now. I might start with poor poor Sully Hyde, dead on the carpet. There's a punchline to this story, without one I wouldn't be wasting your time with it.

I could begin by telling you about the first time Walter Blank's eyes met Memphis Mayfire's glory, albeit through a television screen. But he could never tell the difference anyway. All of this, the whole of it, really, came from Memphis, flat on her back, legs pointing toward the sun, staring at those all too neutral creme coloured walls of a clinic you'll never hear about. But how could I overlook the hero of heroes, Oliver Saint? Alone, because he has to be, a survival tactic. He molds history and controls the future. So maybe, it all starts with the moment that his plans fail. Back on day one, there's no way he could have known, not any one of them could have known.

And how did I come to know all this? Well, a story like this, it exists anywhere you look. This is a true story, and I imagined it. I imagined this, and it's a true story.

(End of Excerpt)

This is original writing from a novel-in-progress titled Ensemble. Please credit this work to the creator, Chessterr Hollowberry. Thanks!

'Ensemble': A Brief Explanation

For most of my life as a Writer, I've been most comfortable writing short fiction. Think of the narrator's voice, think of the other characters, think of a plot arc, a series of scenes, some dialogue, an ending, and you've got yourself a nice self-contained narrative that you can lose yourself in for a little while. The idea of writing a novel is much more...intimidating. I'm not just creating characters and stories for a few dozen pages, there needs to be enough meat and potatoes to warrant hundreds of pages. Now, over the years, I've had a lot of inspiration for all kinds of stories, but only one that I've felt was a 'golden ticket' novel idea. That idea is a novel-in-progress titled Ensemble.

Of course, I won't give away too much about the specific plot. Number one, to protect my novel idea, and number two, so that my would-be audience doesn't already know exactly how the story plays out before it's even written. I will, however, give you a mock back-of-the-book version, the quick write-up, a teaser summary:

Oliver Saint is a by-the-numbers control freak. Sullivan Hyde has lost his family and spends his days acting like a child. Walter Blank is a middle-aged married man who has let one tragedy from his past dictate his entire life. When these three men have a chance meeting, it becomes clear that they all have one thing in common: an obsession with a female who they believe is the key to their happiness. When a psychic, a porn-star, and a children's TV sensation become the targets of a ridiculous kidnapping scheme, 6 lives will never, ever, ever, be the same.

With 7 narrators (the 6 main characters and an omniscient overall narrator), this is easily my most ambitious idea, which is probably why I've taken so long to actually commit to writing the damn thing. However, I feel like the novel's themes, about pop culture obsession and how cruel we can be to each other in order to get what we want, are becoming more and more relevant as time goes by. And yeah, my writing idol Chuck Palahniuk (especially his novel Haunted) was a huge inspiration for this story, but I do my best to find my own narrative voice rather than just rip off the writers I love.

Over the next while, I'll be posting excerpts from Ensemble, with the hopes of motivating myself to keep working on it, and obviously, to spread my words across this internet landscape. I know, I know, every aspiring writer has his or her one big amazing novel idea, but I feel like if I can write this thing the way it sounds in my head, it'll be a success, and likely the best thing I've written. No pressure, though.

Boaz says...

'Just because something feels better than anything else, that don't mean it's good for you.'

- Boaz (The Sirens of Titan, Kurt Vonnegut, 1959)

Brendan Benson and Jack White say...

'Yellow sun is shining in the afternoon, I'd really like to tell you but I feel it's too soon, my actions are dictated by the phase of the moon, the phase of the moon, the sun it isn't hiding when it sets on you, it's not a coward like me, and I know that it's true, waiting for the darkness now is all I can do, it's all I can do...And if the sun should follow us into your room, the courage will be robbed from me to tell you the truth, the setting sun is the only thing that's shining on you...And when I finally told you when the sun has gone, you're laughing cause I thought I was the only one, and the only thing that's left for me is the rising sun, the rising sun.'

- Brendan Benson and Jack White ('Yellow Sun', Broken Boy Soldiers, The Raconteurs, 2006)

Photography: Mother Sun

In these dark, cold, rainy days of autumn (and soon to be winter), who doesn't crave a little sunshine? If you stare at these long enough, you'll feel warm, trust me.









These photographs were taken by Chessterr Hollowberry at various locations in Maple Ridge, Deer Lake, and Abbotsford, British Columbia