Category Archives: surrealism

People in My Head at the Moment

Anita Jones

As a writer seriously immersed in a particular work in progress, I find myself talking more and more to certain people who exist only in my head. They are the characters in my novel, The Boy… Forever.

The novel is itself an epistolary novel. That means, like Bram Stoker’s Dracula, it is made up of letters, notes, diary and journal entries, and other personal writing of the central characters. It also means that I have to become the different people who write these things. At least while I create each individual artifact that goes into the mosaic of first-person narratives.

Anita Jones, pictured here, is the letter-writer who starts the plot in motion when she gets a very disturbing letter from her cousin, Icarus Jones.

Icarus writes about his problem with becoming a midget, and his response to it being a plan to kill himself. It seems that he simply stopped growing at the age of ten. Now, being a fifteen-year-old in the body of a ten-year-old, he writes a suicide note in the form of a letter, and then goes to jump off a bridge into the Mississippi River. But when he does, he survives. Or, rather, he succeeds, but cannot remain dead. He doesn’t know it, yet, but he has become a human mutation known in the secret world of unknown things as an Immortal.

Tian Long, the Celestial Dragon

Icky’s problem becomes worse when it is discovered he is being pursued by another immortal, a sort of vampiric immortal who needs to consume the essence of other immortals to stay alive. He is a three-thousand-year-old Chinese Celestial Dragon who is able to assume a human form.

Neither Icky Jones nor Tian Long the dragon, though, really needs to be in my head. Icarus himself only writes the first and last letters of the book. Tian Long, the villain, does not have a say at all in telling the story. The only part of it he writes are the wizard spells he uses to confound everyone, and most of those are in Chinese.

Milton John Morgan, the Wizard of the Norwall Pirates

Besides the letters that Anita Jones writes to her cousin in Dallas, Dot Jones, the story is also advanced in the journal entries of Milt Morgan, one of the leaders of the boys’ gang in rural Iowa known as the Norwall Pirates. He has been asked by the Freshman English teacher to keep a daily journal and write every day in 1976. This he struggles to do, but gains writing and typing skills as he goes along, especially when he befriends Icarus and learns about the dragon pursuing Icky.

Milt is full of imagination and a sense of adventure, a thing that makes him an unreliable narrator, not above embellishing the truth as he writes his not-so-much- daily-as-infrequent journal entries.

Brent “the Cat” Clarke

The story is also taken up by Brent Clarke, the leader of the Norwall Pirates. Brent wants to be a policeman or a detective or something like that when he grows up. He takes careful investigation notes on everything, and he is the first one to become suspicious of the Chinese man and his step-daughter who pick a house in the town of Norwall that they want to live in right before the actual owner and occupant of the house mysteriously dies in a falling accident. Brent befriends the local Sheriff’s Deputy and sets out on a serious possible murder investigation that yields some very disturbing results. His notes are very detail-oriented and generally fact-based. He carefully records his own eye-witness accounts of everything.

Sherry Cobble, the nudist, calls herself the smarter and more beautiful twin.

Sherry Cobble, the more outgoing of the identical twins known as the Cobble Sisters, is a happy nudist with a very positive body image for herself and her twin sister. She is a very positive person over-all. She and her sister Shelly had started out keeping a “Lovely Nudist’s Diary” between them, but Shelly is not nearly as interested in writing and storytelling as her sister. So, Sherry takes over the diarist duties with the same sort of glee and enthusiasm she has for promoting nudism to her friends, especially the Norwall Pirates. It is her goal to eventually see all of the kids in Norwall naked and happy just as she and her sister Shelly always are.

Those four different character voices are the main voices I have to work with in telling this fantasy adventure story in much the same way as Stoker tells the story of Dracula.

So, if I begin to seem like I have a disordered mind full of multiple personalities, it’s because I am a novelist, not a mental patient or a vampire or even a Chinese dragon in human form. I am simply trying to tell a story by allowing four distinctly different characters to live inside my head.

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Filed under characters, humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, surrealism, work in progress, writing humor

Mickian Fantasy Art

There is a reason why anything in my artwork starting with a rabbit is assumed to be autobiographical. I raised rabbits as a 4-H project from about the age of 10 and we kept rabbits in pens until I was finishing my undergraduate degree. (Rabbit chores fell to my little brother when I was away from home.) In many ways, I was a rabbit-man. My personal avatar as a school teacher was Reluctant Rabbit.

The panda known as Mandy in my cartoon world is an avatar of my wife, an immigrant from the Pandalore Islands.

There is often an exaggerated sense of adventure in my cartoonally weird Paffoonies, the very name of which is a fantasy word.

I have been known to actually believe gingerbread can be magical enough for gingerbread men to come to life once baked. It is the reason I bite the legs off first, so they can’t run away.

I have been known to see elves, fairies, and numerous other things that aren’t really there. In fact, a whole secret hidden kingdom of them inhabited the schoolyard in Iowa where I attended grades K through 6. They were all mostly three inches tall. The biggest ones, like dragons reaching only about six inches tall at their largest.

Of course I am afraid of death, evil, and… (shudder) mummies.
I think of art and story-telling as a form of music. I am a troubadour whose songs (like this one) are often completely silent.
My fantasy art tends to be more “comic book” than “art gallery”.

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, cartoons, cartoony Paffooney, colored pencil, humor, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, surrealism

Tricks With Lazy Goals in Mind

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As a writer, my goal is to create wisdom and new ideas and stuff that makes a reader feel happy, or sad, or angry, or even slightly insane.  But thinking is hard when your head hurts and your body aches and your sixty-sixth birthday is just around the corner.  (Yes, this Mickey is nearly 66, but can you believe that that other Mickey is going to be 94 on the day after I turn 66?)  Sometimes you just want to say, “Never mind that I wanted to post every single day for the past two years.  Just curl up in a ball and go to sleep.”  But there are ways to get something done even if your mind is full of the Sandman’s leavings and old, rotted dreams.

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You can always get by with posting somebody else’s wisdom… somebody else’s thinking.  You don’t have to work too hard to paste things together.  After all, why else did you have to look at so many cut-and-paste essays over the years in middle school and high school?

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And you can rely on the work you have already done collecting computer files full of colorful crap and stuff you like enough to steal to complete your cut-and-paste scrapbook post.  You don’t have to feel like you erred and are about to have your head cut off by an angry Groo.

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And you know you can get a lot of cheap likes on Facebook with some of the stuff you have available to put in this post.  You have been working at the “Be funny!” thing for a long time and have gotten almost good enough at it to be funny on the fly.  And when you’ve gotten more than halfway to the goal, you can rest a bit.  Take a nap.  Regenerate the crazy things in your head so you can do this all again another day.

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And if you can have a laugh before you are finished, even if no one else in the world gets the joke… well, at least you will feel a little bit better yourself.

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Filed under battling depression, blog posting, empathy, feeling sorry for myself, healing, humor, illness, self pity, strange and wonderful ideas about life, surrealism

Really Odd Things are in the “Wrong File”

On my computer I keep a lot of picture files for inspiration both as an artist and a writer.  One of those files is labeled simply the “Wrong File”.  Everything in that picture file is in there for the wrong reason.  Or does a wrong file need to be filled with the wrong stuff for the right reason?  I don’t know.  There is a lot wrong with this world.  The fact that I am going to post stuff from the “Wrong File” is merely proof of that.

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Liking Grumpy Cat posts on Facebook is an oxymoron of the lowest order.  It is an example of what is wrong in the “Wrong File”.

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Certain puns are just so wrong in a fundamental way.  That’s right.  They are both fun and mental.  So that’s wrong.

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As an educator I am aware that this thing we thought was true is now an untrue fact.  That’s wrong also.  My left brain tells me so.  But my right brain tells me it feels right.

Yes, these things are wrong.  Just wrong.

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Why did I put this in here?  This is not wrong.  This is right.  So I must’ve put it in the wrong file.  So that’s all right, then.

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Putting this in a file my wife could find on my laptop… Yes, that was wrong.

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Saddle shoes have been wrong for many years now.  I still draw them on the feet of kids, especially girls, especially school-age girls, and that is especially especially wrong because it means I am just too old and out of fashion.’

Boy!  Is that wrong!

These things are all older than me, but I remember two of them.  Is that wrong?

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I’m not sure I believe this is wrong.  So is that wrong?  To believe that it is right, I mean?  I’m probably wrong.

988289_10201821431282097_1326790710_nMy wife constantly tells me I am wrong… about everything.  And I probably am.  So that is not right.  And if you think that’s my wife in the picture, you would be wrong.  She’s much larger than that in real life.

And many people find surrealism is wrong.  Surreal is when you put wrong things together on purpose to make something that almost seems right.

So that’s what is odd about the “Wrong File”,  It is so wrong that it is right.

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Filed under artwork, collage, collecting, goofiness, humor, irony, strange and wonderful ideas about life, surrealism, wordplay

Mickey Plays with Pictures and Paint

Once I was finally able to scan pictures again, I did some scanning of old pictures that only got the camera treatment before on my blog.

But why stop a drawing at just the pen and ink, when there is potential for so much more?

So, I took the Microsoft generic paint program and my generic photo editor to not only this pen and ink of the Jungle Princess, but a few other pictures as well.

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This is what she looks like after being attacked with color by my arthritic old hands. (There was a day when I could have handled intricate details more cleverly, but that was many, many days ago.

Anyway, I have added new dimensions to Leopard Girrrl with color.

Now I need to add more complications to the basic story of the picture.

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Here is an older pen and ink.

This is Dorin Dobbs, one of the dueling plotlines’ protagonists from the novel Catch a Falling Star.

But, of course, Dorin is a more complex character than this old black and white.

So, color needs to be added.

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I had this one actually already painted in…

But in order to use it in this project, I needed to enlarge it to make it fit into the other picture.

Making this unlikely pair work together in a story is one of the challenges of doing surrealist stories. They have to be grounded in realism, but also bring jarringly different things together. Like the Jungle Princess going on an adventure with Norwall’s Lying King.

But, putting these two together is still not enough. Let’s try some other things.

The Jungle Princess together with Tomboy Dilsey Murphy is an unusual pairing.

Or what about the blue faun from Laughing Blue?

Or even Annette Funicello?

Ridiculous, I know. But don’t they look like satin sofa paintings?

And how surreal is that?

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Filed under artwork, coloring, drawing, goofiness, humor, Paffooney, surrealism

How NOT to Tell a Story

If you have come to my blog in hopes of gleaning some key advice about how to write novels or tell a story, then the wisest advice I can give you is, “Do not take any advice Mickey gives seriously.” He used to be a writing teacher in public schools. That is true. But he is also the writer of weird surrealistic novels full of purple paisley prose. And he is not a successful novelist like Steven King or J.K. Rowling. His writing advice is probably only worth ca-ca poo-poo.

So, let me tell you how NOT to write a novel.

Each of the novels I have written and displayed here took me more than twenty years from the moment I conceived of the idea, through plotting, rough drafts, revisions, re-plotting, expanding the story, to finally publishing them in 2017, 2018, and 2019. I developed the stories from real people, real events, and real themes that were a part of my life and added to each of the stories as time passed. So, obviously, you should never take too long a time writing a story. It is true that Snow Babies is the best novel I have ever written, and I count Sing Sad Songs, The Baby Werewolf, and When the Captain Came Calling among my best work. And I only spent one year in the writing of Aeroquest, which is, ironically, the worst thing I have ever written. So, you can see that following any advice Mickey might give you about taking your time with writing is obviously worthless. I took too long writing and publishing my best books, and that is why I will die a penniless, unknown writer.

But I admit to having even more bad advice to warn you not to take. More, I think, than I can put into this one post. So, I will Part-Two this particular essay and take up the topic again in the very near future. Or forget all about it completely. It has to be one of those.

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Filed under feeling sorry for myself, humor, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, surrealism, writing teacher

Dreams of the Mastiff

As a comic cartoonist sort of artist named Mickey, I was as a teenager obsessed with making artsy goofy books. One of those was unaccountably called Dreams of the Mastiff. These surrealistic picturations are examples from that silly Donald-Duck thing.

This page is supposed to explain the title. So I guess all of the following pages are somehow supposed to be from the nighttime brain of the dog in the nursery.

And what is this supposed to be about? My old-man memory has not a single clue.

It occurred to me long ago that both Fantasy and Science Fiction were surreal by nature. What is the story behind Black Peter? Ich weiss nicht! I do not know! Old-man memory again.

Inexplicable Sci-Fi from this little surrealist art-book-thing.

And more of the same…

Now back to cockroaches from doggy dreams…

…And mice, monkeys, and tea-drinking ladybird beetles…

…And what…? The whole world in a nutshell?

To a thing I used in two novels, Catch a Falling Star and The Baby Werewolf.

I offer no explanations or excuses for these nonsensical and unaccountable things. I am not sorry I once did them, if you want to know the truth… but I probably should be.

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, cartoons, humor, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, surrealism

Call of Cthulhu

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I feel the need to take up the subject of a role playing game that I planned for and played to a limited degree, but explored to the point of insanity.


But I am recovering now from the double-danged downers of taking care of my bankruptcy case and paying off a surprise new tax penalty that nearly sank my little boat. Therefore, I can’t go into this in depth until my mind is more fortified against the depredations of Yog Sothoth.
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So, next week I will begin talking endlessly and listlessly about the infinite insanity of Call of Cthulhu, the role-playing game. In a gibbering, half-insane manner, I will describe the playing of a game where you confront the depths of human darkness in an indifferent and terrifying world. And I will attempt to explain why a school teacher in his right mind (as much as a middle school teacher can be in his right mind) would ever take up such a game. So, stay tuned to Mickey the Dungeon Master’s silly little Saturday D&D blog.

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Filed under Dungeons and Dragons, horror writing, humor, illustrations, surrealism

Soft and Subtle Surrealism

Surrealism is basically the putting together of things that don’t go together to realistically portray what is not real. And sometimes it can be done in ways that you don’t realize are, in fact, examples of surrealism, unless you look at it and think about it more carefully. So, can you tell me why “The Wizard of Edo” above is surrealism?

This one is obvious even though I used photographs to draw every single element.

Cartoons, especially bizarre cartoons, are all surrealistic, though not all of them lack subtlety as much as this one does.

Some surrealism is highly horrific unless you think of this as merely a portrait of Boris Karloff in make-up.

It is inherent in surrealism that the images are going to make you stop and think about what it means.

Surrealism is very much realized through the realistic details.

There was a time when relatives might have told me that this was a realistic picture of my two sons. However, they didn’t tell me that since I drew it sixteen years before my eldest son was born.

So, is there anything at all surreal about this picture? Besides the fact that Sherry Cobble couldn’t arrive at school naked, I mean?

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Filed under artwork, humor, Paffooney, surrealism

Monster Movies

I am fascinated by the darker alleyways in the city of human thought.  I love monster movies, those love-story tragedies where the monster is us with one or more of our basic flaws pumped up to the absolute maximum.  We are all capable of becoming a monster.  There are consequences to every hurtful thing we have ever thought or ever said to other people, especially the people we love.

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The monster movies I love most are the old black and whites from Universal Studios.  But I can also seriously enjoy the monsters of Hammer Films, and even the more recent remakes of Frankenstein, The Mummy, and their silly sequels.  I am fascinated by the Creature from the Black Lagoon because it is the story of a total outsider who is so different he can’t really communicate with the others he meets.  All he can do is grab the one that attracts him and strike out at those who cause him pain.  It occurs to me that I am him when having an argument with my wife.  Sometimes I am too intelligent and culturally different to talk to her and be understood.  She gets mad at me and lashes out at me because when I am trying to make peace she thinks I am somehow making fun of her.  How do you convince someone of anything if they always think your heartfelt apology is actually sarcasm?  How do you share what’s in your heart if they are always looking for double meaning in everything you say?

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But other people can change into monsters too.  I am not the only one.  People who are bitter about how their life seems to have turned out can strike out at others like the Mummy.  Wrapped in restrictive wrappings of what they think should have been, and denied the eternal rest of satisfaction  over the way the past treated them, they attack with intent to injure, even just with hurtful words, because their past sins have animated them with a need to change the past, though the time is long past when they should’ve let their bitterness simply die away.

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And we might all of us fall into the trap of Victor Frankenstein’s monster, who never asked to be made.  He finds life to be an unmanageable nightmare with others constantly assaulting him with the pitchforks and torches of their fear and rejection.

13076_998843660144998_6984648371609353495_n But the thing about monster movies… at least the good ones, is that you can watch it to the end and see the monster defeated.  We realize in the end that the monster never really wins.  He can defeat the monstrous qualities within himself and stop himself.  Or the antidote to what ails him is discovered (as Luke did with Darth Vader).  Or we can see him put to his justifiable end and remember that if we should see those qualities within ourselves, we should do something about it so that we do not suffer the same fate.  Or, better yet, we can learn to laugh at the monstrosity that is every-day life.  Humor is a panacea for most of life’s ills.

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A bust of Herman Munster

 

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Filed under autobiography, humor, monsters, satire, surrealism, Uncategorized