Category Archives: writing humor

Why Mickey Writes

Fools

If you are wondering, “How in the Heck can Mickey write nonsense like that essay he wrote yesterday?”, then please be aware that Mickey is pondering that same question.

Seriously, why would a writer publish personal thoughts and allude to personal tragedies?  Especially when they are about things that once upon a time nearly killed him?  (Please note that when Mickey starts a sentence with “Seriously” it is probably about to lead to a joke, the same way as when Trump says, “Believe me” we should  assume he is telling a lie and knows it.)

The answer is simply, writers write stuff.  They have to.  If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be writers.

It is really not something to do to earn fame and fortune.  Fame and fortune happen to rare individuals like J. K. Rowling and Steven King… and even Stephanie Meyer, to prove that it is totally random and not based on actual writing talent… except for sometimes.

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You write to get your head right about bad things that happen in life.  You find that factor in Mark Twain whose infant son died, as well as most of the rest of his family, before him, forcing him to face survivor’s guilt and the notion that life is random and death does not come for you based on any kind of merit system.  Charles Dickens wrote about the foibles of his father, on whom he based the David Copperfield character Wilkins Micawber, a man who was overly optimistic and constantly landing in debtor’s prison because of it.  He also wrote in his stories about the women he truly loved (who were not, it seems, his wife) one of whom died in his arms while yet a teenager.  Dickens’ amused take on the innate foolishness of mankind gave him a chance to powerfully depict great tragedies both large (as in a Tale of Two Cities) and small (as in Oliver Twist).  I wrote yesterday’s post based on the connection between the nudity I write about in novels and my own traumatic assault when I was only ten.

You write because you have wisdom, an inner personal truth, that you are convinced needs to be crystallized in words and written down on paper.  It isn’t necessarily real truth.  Lots of idiots write things and post them in newspapers, blogs, and even books.  And it is often true that their inner personal truth is complete hogwash.  (But, hey, at least the hogs are cleaner that way.)  Still, your wisdom is your own, and it is true for you even if some idiot like Mickey reads it and thinks it is only fit for cleaning hogs.

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And you truly do have to write.  If I did not write my stupid, worthless novels, all the hundreds of characters in my head would get mad and start kicking the pillars that hold up the structures in my head.  I do have structures in my head.  My mind is organized in boxes that contain specifically sorted ideas and stories and notions.  It is not a festering stew pot where everything is mixed together and either bubbling or boiling with hot places or coagulating in the cold corners.  (That is how I picture Donald Trump’s mind.  It is certainly not an empty desert like many people think, because deserts don’t explode all over Twitter early in the morning like the stew pot metaphor obviously would.)

And so, I have done it again.  I have set down my 500+ words for today and made a complete fool of myself.  And why do I do it?  Because Mickey is a writer, and so, Mickey writes stuff.

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, commentary, humor, insight, irony, Mark Twain, Mickey, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, wisdom, writing humor

Silly Sunday Stuff

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I made a choice, long about 1980 or so.  And I have not regretted that choice.  I became a teacher instead of the writer/artist I thought I wanted to be.  And the more I look back on it now, if I had gone the writer route back then, I could’ve eventually become an author like Terry Brooks who wrote the Shannara books.  I might’ve even been as good as R.A. Salvatore whose fantasy adventure stories have reached the best seller list.  Back then, in the 1980’s I could’ve eventually broke into the business and been successful.  Even as late as when Frank McCourt broke onto the literary scene with his memoir, Angela’s Ashes in 1996, I might’ve been able to transition from teacher to writer the way he did.  But I chose to keep going with a teaching career that enthralled me.

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Publishing and the literary scene is changing now.  And it is no longer possible for someone like me to break into the big time.  I am an author who has come aboard a sinking ship.

But I have stories to tell.  They have lived inside me for more than thirty years.  And I am scrambling now to get them told before my crappy old body completely betrays me and makes the chance go away.  I will get them told… even if no one ever listens.

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And there are some advantages to doing it the way I have done it.  It is, and always has been, about the people in my life.  My wife, my children, my students, my co-workers, my cousins by the dozens, my little town in Iowa…  they are the people in my stories.  My stories are true to life, even if they have werewolves and fairies and living gingerbread men and nudists in them.  I live in a cartoon world of metaphor and surrealism, after all.  I would not have had the depth of character-understanding in my stories without my experiences as a teacher.  And I really don’t have to worry about the whole marketing thing any more.  I am not on that treadmill.  I do not have to be aware of what the market is looking for.  If my writing ever turns a profit, I won’t live long enough to see it anyway.  And that has never been what it is all about.

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I can do anything I please with my stories.  They belong to me.  I do not owe the world anything.  What I give you now in this blog and in my books, is given for love, not profit.  I can even write a pointless blog post about Sunday blather and illustrate it with Tintin drawings by Herge. And you can’t stop me.  And, hopefully… you don’t even want to.

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Filed under autobiography, feeling sorry for myself, humor, NOVEL WRITING, publishing, strange and wonderful ideas about life, writing, writing humor

Updates and Transitions

I still can’t believe my hockey team, the St. Louis Blues, lost to that upstart Nashville team whose logo is a cross between a cat and a beaver with really bad teeth problems.  But that was the other post for today.

I am probably going to kick the bucket soon.  I hate that bucket.  I just don’t like it. But in spite of impending doom for me and the world in general, I am making some changes.  After all, life is change.  We can either change or be dead.  And I am definitely not going to kick that bucket today, no matter how grumpy its existence makes me.

One change I have made is in Toonerville.  I finished snowing all over Al’s General Store.  I added two kids and their cat on the bench outside (in short pants during a winter scene… stupid kids) and fat old Huckleberry Wortle on the front steps looking for someone to play checkers with and tell lies to.  But don’t offer to be the one playing checkers with Huck.  He’s a conservative Republican with Tea Party leanings, and he will tell you things about Obama, government, and people in general that will make you so mad that you will want to go to the bench and kick the kids’ cat.

Toonerville is undergoing a winter renovation.  If I ever get to rebuild the layout, it will now have snow where grass used to be the plan.  It is still temporarily in storage on streets that are really book shelves.  And the Trolley goes nowhere.

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I have also been experimenting with shifting focus, as you can tell by the blurry trolley and track light in the foreground.

In addition to photography, I am making changes to my publishing directions.  I recently bought a subscription to a video-editing program and now intend to inflict Mickey-made videos to my blog.  To be completely honest, I made the purchase at the begging of my daughter who was using the free trial for a school project and ran out of free before she ran out of ideas.  Sound genetic to you, does it?

I have been forced to make publishing changes.  I am almost done paying the huge penance for publishing Magical Miss Morgan with Page Publishing.  That is a mistake that won’t be repeated.  I will self-publish from here on out.  After MMM, I will attempt to publish Snow Babies via Amazon.

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My current manuscript, The Baby Werewolf, is undergoing forced changes as well.  The primary factor here is my unique ability to lose things all together.  Two of the three parts of the original hand-written manuscript are now missing, and have been since we moved to Dallas in 2004.  Bummer.  Coatimundies from South Texas are probably reading it, laughing up a storm, and cursing me for not having lost part three along with the rest of it.  They surely can’t wait to find out what happens.  But since I have to do it all from memory, it will be different from what they read.

And even though writing a blog post every day is hard, I have decided it is worth it to continue.  After posting every day for thirty consecutive months, I have learned that the practice not only sharpens my basic writing skills, but also generates more ideas than it consumes.  I am a writer because I write.  And continuing to write makes me even more of a writer.  So the madness will continue.

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Filed under autobiography, feeling sorry for myself, goofy thoughts, humor, Paffooney, photo paffoonies, sharing from YouTube, Snow Babies, Toonerville, Trains, work in progress, writing, writing humor

Hurtful Words

Yesterday’s post got me thinking about how words and the power behind words can actually hurt people.  They can you know.  Words like “brainiac”, “bookworm”, “nerd”, “spaz”, “geek”, and “absent-minded professor” were used as weapons against me to make me cry and warp my self-image when I was a mere unformed boy.  I do not deny that I was smarter than the average kid.  I also recognize that my lot in life was probably better than that of people assaulted with words like “fatty”, “moron”, “loser”, and “queer”.  Being skinny as a child, there was actually only one of those deadly words that was never flung my direction.  Words like that have the power, not only to hurt, but even to cripple and kill.

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We all stand naked at times before a jury of our peers, and often they decide to throw stones.

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I try to commit acts of humor in this blog.  Or, at least, acts of verbal nit-witted goofiness that make at least me laugh.  I have been told by readers and students and those forced to listen that I only think I am funny, and I am a hopelessly silly and pointless old man (a special thank you to Miss Angela for that last example, used to tell me off in front of a science class I was substitute teaching years ago.)  But those words do not hurt me.  I am immune to their power because I know what the words mean and I am wizard enough to shape, direct, and control their power.

I have stated before that I don’t approve of insult humor (usually right before calling Trump a pumpkin-head, or otherwise insulting other members of the ruling Empire of Evil Idiots).   And I don’t mean to shame others or make them feel belittled by my writing.  But sometimes it happens and can’t be helped.

This blog isn’t about entertainment.  I am not a stand-up comedian working on joke material.  I use this blog as a laboratory for creating words and ideas.  It is mostly raw material that I mean to shape into gemstones that can be used to decorate or structurally support my crown jewel novels.  I use it to piece ideas together… stitch metaphors and bake gooseberry pies of unusual thinking. I use it to reflect on what I have written and what I have been working on.  And sometimes, like today, I use it to reflect on how readers take what I have written and respond or use it for ideas of their own.  That’s why I never reject or delete comments.  They are useful, even when they are barbed and stinging.  I made an entire post out of them yesterday.

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I try hard myself to be tough in the face of hurtful words.  You have to learn that essential Superman skill to be a middle school and high school teacher.  It is there in those foundries for word-bullets that the most hurtful words are regularly wielded.  The skill is useful for when you need the word bullets to bounce off you, especially if you are standing between the shooter and someone else.  But I can never feel completely safe.  Some words are kryptonite and will harm me no matter what I do.  Some words you simply must avoid.

Anyway, there is my essay on hurtful words.  If you want to consider all of that being my two cents on the matter… well, I probably owe you a dollar fifty-five.

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Filed under angry rant, blog posting, commentary, humor, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, William Shakespeare, wisdom, word games, wordplay, writing humor

Mickey Notes

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This is the purple-furred Mickey Icon done Don Martin-style.

If you are one of those readers who has taken to regularly reading Mickey posts on Catch a Falling Star ( a habit that is probably bad for you, but certainly not fatal), there are some things and random recent developments that you should probably be made aware of.

  • Mickey recently finished a rough-draft novel.  After giving birth to a massive 12-month-long-gestating thought artifact like that, there is bound to be some necessary recovery time involved.  He may be difficult to understand for a while as he puts the pieces of his psyche back together again.  Using mental duct tape for such things takes time and patience.
  • The novel is called Recipes for Gingerbread Children.  If that arouses curiosity in you (a condition that I also hope is not fatal… You are not a cat, are you?), there are instances of rants and delusional spoutings about this story to be found in recent posts on this blog.  Unfortunately, it will not be published immediately.  You will have to wait to actually read it until I or my heirs eventually get it published… by whatever means necessary (though I have my doubts about the plan involving kidnapped alien slaves and mimeograph machines.)
  • The novel I do have nearing publication is Magical Miss Morgan.  I recently submitted approval for final edits to my project manager for Page Publishing.  Since I am investing my own money in this publication project, I am expecting that it will get published before 2017 is done.  I will continue to relentlessly plug the thing here.
  • Page Publishing is a less expensive and less professional publisher than I-Universe that did Catch a Falling Star for me.  If you are reading this for ideas about pursuing publication yourself, I would recommend the more expensive publisher first, due to the quality of their professional editors, though I intend to continue publishing my books with less expensive self-publishing options like Amazon from here on.  As I finish the publishing process I am now involved in, I promise to complain about publishers and throw Mark-Twain-like insult fits in future blog posts.  No one should have to repeat the egregious mistakes that Mickey has made.
  • Catch a Falling Star, the blog, will continue to be a blog about my artwork, my story-telling, my teacher memories, and my generally confusing and bombastic opinions about life, the universe, and everything… including pies.  Mmm!  Pies are good.  You might even want to look at my essay on Gooseberry Pie.

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In case you were not aware of it, this purple mouse-man is Mickey, and Mickey is the writer-spirit within me.  Mickey is not actually me.  You know how Mark Twain is not really a real person?  The real person was Samuel Langhorn Clemens.  Mickey is not a really real person either.  Michael Beyer, cartoonist, writer, and former middle school teacher is the real person… if any former middle school teacher can ever be considered a real person.

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Filed under feeling sorry for myself, humor, Mickey, novel, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, publishing, strange and wonderful ideas about life, work in progress, writing, writing humor

Illustrating in Novel Ways

I have just finished a novel project that I worked on for a year, from Spring of 2016 to Spring of 2017.  And part of my personal project procedure involves using drawings to help me visualize the characters in the story and begin to view them as real people, even when they most certainly aren’t real.  I even have this derfy Mickian idea that Paffoonies (those picture ideas that are inseparably fused to words) are essential to Mickian fiction.  (Mickian fiction= another frighteningly goofy idea that needs to go unexplained.)

Gingerbread Children

The book, Recipes for Gingerbread Children is about an old woman, a German immigrant and Holocaust survivor, who comes to a small Iowa town with a gift for story-telling and a gift for baking things, especially gingerbread cookies.

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Grandma Gretel Stein, seen in the Paffooney on the left, is the main character of the story.  She tells stories, mostly fairy tales, that have lessons about being true and faithful even in the face of great evil.  The fairy in her hand is General Tuffaney Swift, an immortal Storybook fairy who leads the army of the local fairy kingdom called Tellosia.    Gretel believes he is real  Honestly, she gets so into story-telling that her fairy friends seem absolutely real to her.  And who is to say that there aren’t little magical people living in a hidden kingdom among the cornfields in Iowa?  Gretel convinced me that they were real.  She even has a hand in making new fairies by the baking of gingerbread.  She gets a magical recipe from the fairy Erlking, a wise and magical being, and uses it to create living gingerbread boys and gingerbread girls.

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The gingerbread girl on the right is Anneliese, named after Gretel’s own daughter and decorated with frosting, food coloring, and gumdrops by the favorite story listener who constantly listens to Gretel’s stories and helps bake Gretel’s gingerbread, Sherry Cobble.

Sherry is a beautiful young eighth grade girl who reminds Gretel of her long-lost daughter.  Sherry has a twin sister named Shelly and they are identical twins, but Sherry not only looks like Anneliese once did, she acts like her with the same confidence and enthusiasm for life that Anneliese once had before the war.

Sherry and Shelly are both part of the Cobble family, who have a reputation locally as wacky-pants loonies because they believe firmly in being nudists and engaging in nature completely naked while not actually wearing any wacky pants.  I haven’t done any actual pictures of Sherry  in the nude, but if you look carefully at the first picture of her above and see clothing, then you are seeing things that are not there.  Yep, the girl bakes and decorates gingerbread men in the buff, wearing her pale pink birthday suit, even when the weather outside in Iowa makes that nonsensical.

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So by now you can probably draw several conclusions about me as both a novelist and an illustrator.  #1, There is definitely something a little bit off about me.  #2, I haven’t said anything yet about this book having dead Nazis and a werewolf in it, even though I rarely talk about this book without throwing those things in somewhere.  #3, Number 2 is actually taken care of in a backhanded way if you are reading this whole list carefully.  #4,  This story is probably about things that really aren’t just gingerbread recipes.  #5, You should congratulate yourself if you read this far in this post.  You have unusual amounts of patience and curiosity, and an extremely high tolerance for levels of goofy that put actual Goofy to shame.

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Filed under goofy thoughts, humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING, nudes, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, writing, writing humor

Olfactory Story Telling

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My dog Jade

While walking the dog yesterday, we struck up a conversation about writing and being a writer that proved once and for all that DOGS REALLY DON’T KNOW HOW TO WRITE!

She turned around on the end of her leash and looked at me with that woeful you-don’t-feed-me-enough look on her little well-fed face.  “You know, I was reading your blog today, and I think I know how to make you a well-known writer and best-selling author.”

“Oh, really?” I said.  “Since when do you know anything about being a writer or marketing fiction?”

“Well, you do remember that I wrote a couple of blog posts for you already.”

“True.  But I can’t afford to do that again.   You type with your tongue and it leaves the keyboard all sticky.  I haven’t gotten it truly clean and working properly again since that last time.  If you are asking to write another post, you can forget it.”

“Well, sorry about that.  But I do think I know how to make your writing more popular with a bigger audience.”.

“Oh?  How could you possibly know that?”

“Hey, talking dog here!  That has to count for something, doesn’t it?  Don’t you think people would be amazed to learn about things from a dog’s perspective?”

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“Nobody’s going to believe I have a talking dog.  That isn’t something within the realm of what is normal.  They are all going to think I am just a crazy old man.”

“Well, you are a crazy old man.  I can’t help that.  But what if you told stories from a dog’s perspective?  You know, things that only a dog could’ve come up with?”

“Oh, like what, for instance?”

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Why does the neighbor’s dog always smell like burritos?

“Well, you know that more than half of what a dog perceives about the world she gets through her sense of smell?”

“Okay…”

“Like that spot on the grass over there.  Boy dog.  Handsome border collie… ate three hotdogs about four days ago.  Ooh!  He smells perfect!”

“You’re talking about poop smells again, aren’t you?”

“Well, yes.  But I can also tell you about the pigeons that were in that live oak tree there yesterday.”

“Oh?  What color were they?”

“I don’t know… gray maybe?”

“Bird doo.  You are smelling old bird poop!  You want me to write about poop more?”

“Well, no… not exactly.  But if you could tell your stories through the sense of smell more…  that would be unique and different.  People would like that a lot because it’s never really been done before.”

“You do understand that I can’t use my laptop to write smells?  There are no words I could use that will automatically put smells into the reader’s nose.”

“Well, but if you could invent one…”

“According to you, it would be mostly poop smells anyway.  Who wants to sniff that?”

“It would make your blog more popular with dogs.”

“But dogs don’t read!”

“How do you know for sure?  You believed me when I said I read your blog today.”

“Well, you certainly got me there.  Now, don’t we have some important business to take care of?”

“Yes, but…  You see that squirrel over there?”

“Yes, so?”

“So one day soon, I’m gonna eat him!”

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