Poem of the Week: Work in Progress

Work in Progress
October 29, 2017

We all strive for perfection. On that you can rely.
One thing remains, however, that none of us can deny:
Reality ain’t perfect, right down to humanity.
Knowing that, too, it can be a pain to be the best one can be.
Impossible is it for anyone to live and not make mistakes.
No matter one’s competence or intentions, life rarely gives us breaks.
Perseverance and wisdom, then, are paramount to success—
Resilience in adversity’s face when we’ve obstacles to address
On our own or with someone in our corner to help us along the way,
Growing with each step we take as we do each night and day,
Recording our successes and missteps, learning from what we do wrong,
Each time performing better at each task as we march along.
Such is the way we achieve our goals from the cradle to the grave.
Success, after all, befalls upon those who see forth that effort’s made.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

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Poem of the Week: Another Day for Writer’s Block

Another Day for Writer’s Block
October 10, 2017

Another day, week, month, year…
Another year flushed, I fear.
What am I doing?
Why am I screwing
Myself out of what I hold dear?

So many years put to waste
All ‘cause I failed to make haste
In following my dreams.
Now here I scream
As my brain melts into a paste.

It certainly helps me not,
For nary a rhyme I’ve got
For this rant of mine
At this very time.
Oy vey! What a time for brain rot!

Only mid-aged, and already I
Can feel my brain cells die.
What a drag and a joke
To be mentally broke
At this moment ‘neath Heaven’s blue sky.

Then again, that’s why I write.
It’s how I carry on my own fight
Against mental decay
During these dark days
When we’re all searching for the light.

I’ve always loved to create.
That’s one thing not up for debate.
Be it fiction or prose,
Writing cures my woes
In this world of despair and hate.

Writing gives me a holiday
From the crap of this age and day.
It gives me an escape
From the fools, creeps, and flakes
And all the crap they do and say.

When I write, I’m in control,
Creating characters with soul
To which one can relate
And appreciate
In my story throughout its whole.

It’s the thing I’ve got control of,
Hence why it’s the one thing I love,
And one can’t take away
How it makes my day
And fits like a custom-made glove.

Such is why others like to write,
For writing shows us the light
And allows us to be
All that we can be
And in turn make their cases right.

Such is what writing for us brings,
And I hope to make it the thing
One of these days
In one or another way
For me so tat I can sing

Happily ever after,
My voice ringing through the rafters,
Not only to claim
Fortune and fame,
But something else that I’m after:

The honor of leaving a mark
And a chance to lead folks from the dark
And into the light
To make things right.
That’s the prize for which this dog barks.

Alas, though, it comes without shock
That even I face writer’s block.
It’s a pain to work through,
I’m telling you,
But it’s a case I can’t help but mock,

For the one thing want most of all
Has led me smack into a wall.
I don’t mean to complain,
Either, ‘bout this pain,
For I know I must work through it all,

And work through it I shall,
For I ‘lone hold myself back, pal,
‘Til I fire myself up.
Then, all will know “what’s up,”
And prove my true worth I shall,

Be it one way or another.
There’ll be no stopping me, brother,
Once I get back on track
And clean up my act.
Once I do, I’ll take off like no other.

Just you wait and see there, jack,
For while you may see me as a hack,
I’ll get back on my feet
And scoff at defeat
For daring to give me and slack,

And my detractors, for their flack,
Will, too, understand I’m not whack
No matter how bizarre
My works to them are,
And their respect I’ll have, too, mack.

‘Tl then, here I am, brain in head
Rotting ‘way ‘til I end up dead,
‘Lest I get my rear
Finally in gear
And at last pout this block to bed,

For I alone hold the key
To seek what’s in store for me,
And once I start,
I know I’ll be a part
Of the system. Just you wait and see.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

Poem of the Week: Frustration of an Undiscovered Author

Frustration of an Undiscovered Author
September 26, 2017

Month after wasted month, year after wasted year,
I reach my hands up high for something more,
Yet no matter how far I reach, nothing ever comes near,
And I wonder if anything really is in store,

So I try hopping up and down, bounding higher with each jump,
Flailing my arms frantically all the while,
Yet no matter how feverishly my furious fists I pump,
I always fall back down in a frustrated pile.

I even cry out to the heavens, hoping someone will hear
That I’m alive and around and worth the time,
Yet all my screaming and shouting only brings me to tears
As I likewise lose this desperate voice of mine,

And once again, I’m left all alone, just as I was before,
Asking why no one sees any worth in me.
Why am I so unwanted? Why’s dealing with me such a chore?
I’m actually worth something, dammit! Can’t you see?

I’m not some braindead peasant. I’m not some clueless schmuck.
I’m more worth investing in than you think,
But ho! You keep you blowing me off and wishing me “Best of luck!”
Not telling me directly why I stink.

It’s either that, or it’s one excuse or another that I’ve already
Heard before from others just like you.
Sooner or later, though, you know one day, you’ll need to be ready
To take on somebody promising, fresh, and new,

Unless those whom you serve already are somehow immortal
Beyond their work, but I doubt that’s the case,
So come on already! Stop casting me away from your portal
As if I’m some kind of talentless disgrace.

Anyone can pick me up, after all, and make something of me
In the instance you refuse to do so, friend,
And when they do and my name becomes immortalized, you’ll see
That success for you had always been ‘round the bend.

Better things have happened for blatant schlock that’s polluted the mainstream,
Bob-bob-bobbing in it like buoyant turds,
And even if I don’t become a legend once I fulfilled my dream,
At least I’ll at last chance to be seen and heard,

And who knows? People just might like me. Wouldn’t that be a treat
After all these years I’ve spent trying to break free?
I’ll finally start a brand new life, too, living on Easy Street
Rather than carrying on through that which’s fallen on me.

All I need is someone on my side to see I’ve got what it takes
To at long last make my dream a reality,
For apparently, I’m forbidden to do so on my own, for Heaven’s sake,
But will somebody help me? I guess we’ll see.

I’ll just keep on doing what I’ve been doing this whole bloody while,
Albeit with a new approach to my crusade
In hopes that someone will hear me and greet me with a smile
And see to my success finally being made.

I’ll show you, then, that I am worth something and prove you the fool,
And the last laugh will be mine at your baseless doubts,
And I’ll throw your “Best of lucks” back at you as you wallow in a pool
Of shame towards the flippancy you used to spout.

Better days are around the corner. They just have to be.
Things can’t get that much worse from this point on.
I just have to keep trying, though, if success I want to see
And all my naysayers I want to prove wrong.

***** 

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

Poem of the Week: Empty

Empty
July 28, 2017

Empty.
Nothing there.
Puzzling, pondering, stalling.
I’ve got jack squat.
Irritating, frustrating, embarrassing…
Forget this!
Bedtime.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

Poem of the Week: Visions of a Working Class Writer

Visions of a Working Class Writer
July 16, 2017

Born and raised on pizza, burgers and fries,
And other simple stuff that my folks could buy
As they slaved away to keep a roof over my head
And clothes on my back as well as our daily bread.

We never had cable programming on our TV.
Heck, we couldn’t even tune in to Fox to see
The kind of shows they had on any given night—
Just roaring, flickering noise set to screens of black and white.

Any luxury we had, we clung onto like it was gold,
For only Heaven knew the kind of future we’d behold,
Had any of us progressed beyond our working class ways,
And even now, I’m dreaming of what I hope are better days—

Days where I no longer have to break my back or my feet
Hauling heavy boxes while traversing winding streets,
Where I no longer sweat through my clothes within the first hour
And the first thing I do when I get home is take a shower,

Days where my head doesn’t throbs to where I must take a nap
To sleep away my pain like a cat in its owner’s lap,
Where going on adventures actually means something
And being paid for my creativity at last becomes a thing.

Alas, I haven’t hit that point, though I can already see
The kind of lowlifes with which I’d have to cope that await me:
Purists who sneer at that which doesn’t flow a certain way,
Money grubbers who just care ‘bout how much one’s work will pay,

Egotists who scold those who don’t “get” things right away,
Artsy farts who praise style over substance any day,
Snarky twerps who mock others’ works behind their backs,
Soulless attention gluttons and other mindless hacks,

Mindless, trend-following drones who don’t know their history
And fail to remember how things once upon a time used to be.
Such and more are the scumbags who await those who, like me,
Dare to dream big and make it, and yet I still aim to be

One of the greatest in my field, my name forever ringing
Throughout history for my contributions, the masses forever singing,
And I know I can’t stop until that dream at last becomes real,
No matter whom I cross paths with. Such is my present deal.

There is another thing, though, that I aim to keep in mind:
The humble, happy boy I once was shan’t be left behind,
For no matter how big I get, I’ll remember always
Exactly whom I used to be prior to seeing brighter days,

The upbringing I had, and the things I’ve lived without,
And no matter how much longer it takes, I shan’t pout
On the day my dream comes true, for should I spit in the face
Of success when it falls upon me, I’ll be put back in my place.

Such is a fate I can’t afford to face anymore.
It’s now or never with me to see just what’s in store
For me in my journey to finally realize my dream.
Who knows? Even with the fools, things might be better than they seem.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

Short Story of the Week: The Conviction of Charles Donovan Gregory

The Conviction of Charles Donovan Gregory
by Dustin M. Weber
April 7, 2017

March 25, 2017

Dear Vices:

It’s over.

At long last, I’ve decided to move on from you all and focus on that which I should have kept at the forefront of my mind this whole entire time. In fact, I’m actually pretty disgusted at the notion that I’ve succumbed to you for as long as I have—disgusted, that is, but not surprised. After all, with my will having been so weak for so long, why would I be surprised that I’ve leaned on you all the way I have? It wasn’t as if I’d had a broken leg, you know. I could have easily stood on my own two feet at the time, and quite frankly, I would have been much better off for doing so. In fact, if I was suffering from anything, it was from a slow, dull mind and a poor sense of self, and looking back nowadays, I’ve come to realize that the more I tuned to you, the worse each of these things got. Well, no more! I’m putting my foot down against it all. Starting today, I’m stepping away from each and every one of you so that I can put my life back together, get myself back on track, and finally earn for myself that which I should have earned years ago.

First off…video games. Now, don’t get me wrong. There have been plenty of times when I’ve drawn inspiration from you. Heck, the idea for this one book I’m working on right now came to me in part after I’d played one of you, and even in recent months, I’ve been laying the groundwork for whole entire franchises based on what I’ve made using whatever character creation mode some of you have offered your players. That being said, don’t expect me to be as into you as I used to be back in the day. Sure, you were a great diversion for me when I was a kid, and even when I was working my way through college, you were one of the best ways I could think of to blow off steam. Sadly, that was then, and now that I’ve got more pressing matters to attend to, I have to set you off to the side from here on out. You’re a hobby, after all—a diversion—and a very expensive one to keep up with as well. Take it from a guy who hasn’t bought a new console since college, save for when I replaced my PlayStation One once upon a time, which I rarely even play these days. Besides, being a full-grown adult who’s long been eager to accept the responsibilities expected of someone my age, I don’t have nearly as much time to spend on you as I did during my younger days. Then again, there have been times when I’ve felt that I should have focused more on my writing even back then, especially considering how much help I needed in that department. I don’t care if I was just a kid at the time, either. The fact remains that I loved to write then, too, and honestly, had I the mind to put more of my focus on my writing and less time piloting some person made of pixels or polygons across my TV screen and making him beat other people up, I could have very well made a prodigy of myself…or, at the very least, something more than what I am now. Ah, but who am I kidding? I am what I am, and I have only myself to blame for letting myself get as wrapped up into you as I have. See you later, then, video games, when I need a break…and only when I need a break.

Oh…and all you flash games? Don’t even get me started with you and all your mindlessly repetitive yet ironically charming and addictive glory. No disrespect, but seriously, consider yourselves dead to me from this point forward.

You’re next, pro wrestling…and no, that wasn’t meant to be a pun on Bill Goldberg’s catchphrase. All unintentional wordplay aside, I’ll be brutally honest with you: I’ve actually been done with you for quite a while. Yes, I still respect you as an art form, no matter how stupid you can be at times in your execution. Sure, there are still morons out there who love to crap all over you for being sports theater as opposed to a full-fledged sport, and as far as I’m concerned, they can all take their infantile, narrow-minded, condescending ignorance and shove it right back down their throats until they choke on it. Truth be told, though, their moronic mentality isn’t why I’ve turned away from you. Rather, it’s your own idiocy as an industry, as you just haven’t been that great since the spring of 2001 when Extreme Championship Wrestling went bankrupt and good ol’ Vinny Mac bought out World Championship Wrestling. Ever since then, the World Wrestling Federation has become World Wrestling Entertainment and hasn’t faced any major competition for the past sixteen-plus years—not even from Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, which was once the closest thing WWE had to a serious rival since WCW. Trust me, too, when I say that even I can’t begin to tell you the number of fans who’ve been predicting TNA’s ultimate demise to the point of placing bets on when it’ll at long last go out of business. Then again, my doing so would distract me from telling you about just how many other promotions have risen and fallen over the century as we all have known it so far as well as about those that had promised to launch, yet either a) have failed to do so or b) actually have, yet have turned out to be little more than independent promotions. All this in mind, I hope you can see part of the reason why WWE’s long been struggling to put on a consistently good product, even with the talent they have now and have had over the years on their roster and even when they try to give the fans what they want. Of course, I don’t envy the bookers—or writers, whichever they’d rather be called—one bit, seeing as no matter how many honest-to-goodness fans you as a business still have as a whole since your decline, there’s always going to be that one portion of your fanbase that’s full of nothing but screaming, cursing, fickle malcontents who are never satisfied with what they see from any wrestling show, yet are far too stupid to walk away, no matter how bitter they’ve become towards you. Then there are the mindless fanboys, fangirls, and trolls who constantly cause drama amongst the community for whatever excuse might come to mind who are no doubt making others’ enjoyment of you every bit as much a chore for your fans as the soreheads are. Hell, they’re probably just plain assholes, pure and simple, and nothing more. Whatever the case, pro wrestling, I’m glad I’ve stopped caring about you as a business before I ended up becoming one of these schmucks, as I know well enough at my age that it’s better for a person to leave what he or she loves when it doesn’t love him or her back rather than stick around and let it burn him or her. Come to think of it, I’m even gladder that I never became a pro wrestler myself. Otherwise, I’d have had to put up with a lot of the terrible mismanagement and general ignorance with which today’s wrestlers must cope—not that they’re wholly innocent when it comes to your overall product’s current lackluster state, but really, when even the wrestlers who have been stepping up their game are still struggling to get over with the masses, then honestly, you’ve got a serious problem on your hands.

Good luck, then, pro wrestling, for I may never come back to you as an industry, even though I still appreciate you as an art form and still hope you survive so that the next generation will get something out of you as I had back in the day when you were arguably much easier for me and so many other people to enjoy.

Finally, there’s you, YouTube, and all the videos I’ve seen on you, which have long been by and far the biggest distraction I’ve ever given myself throughout the course of my writing career. Now, I’ll admit that just like I’ve said about video games, having become familiar with you hasn’t been the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. After all, how else would I’ve ever found out about some of the things that have inspired some of my work? I can only begin to tell you, for instance, how nice it’s been listening to some of the videos on your website that have music that I either remember from my younger days or hadn’t heard before but have come to love—both of which have made for some okay background music for when I’ve been working on my writing. I’ve also learned to enjoy some of the old movies and television shows that I’ve managed to watch on your website, thanks to the users who’ve uploaded them. I’ve even seen video game footage that has brightened my day on one occasion or another, both with and without commentary from the person who was recording it. Unfortunately, even with all this in mind, you’re not exactly all peaches and cream, if you know what I mean. For one thing, just looking at some of the videos you’ve hosted since your inception in 2005 has reminded me in the worst way that it “takes all kinds,” as the saying goes, as a good handful of your videos have shown me some of the most discouraging archetypes of humanity I’ve ever seen: fried-brained conspiracy theorists, small-minded political loudmouths, embarrassingly macho e-toughs, perverted dark humor aficionados, oversensitive drama queens and other blatant pot-stirrers, screaming lunatics, narcissistic brats, potty-mouthed troglodytes, droning deadheads, over-the-top “comedy” acts and other desperate wannabe celebrities…you know…the pride and joy of the Internet (sarcasm). Sure, I know better than to stupidly click on these videos myself and give these waking examples of humanity’s grotesque imperfection the benefit of a view, but there have been times when I came across a video that I was hoping to like, only to discover that the person who posted it was more of a fool and/or scumbag than I’d previously assumed. I’m not even talking the blatant click-baiters who use false titles and thumbnail pics to draw in unwitting audience members, either, but rather simple guys and gals who make videos similar to the ones I’ve come to like over the years, only to prove themselves inferior in comparison to the examples with which I’d become familiar. This is especially true when the narrator of a given video happens to present his or her opinion on a given matter in a decidedly snobbish or ill-tempered tone or with information that he or she clearly pulled out of his or her derriere. Seriously, am I really that unreasonable to expect reviews and rants on the Internet to be honest, straightforward, unbiased, and sensible as possible, regardless of the presenter’s disdain towards the topic he or she is discussing? Don’t even get me started, either, with these reviews in which the presenter is attempting to portray himself or herself as a “character” of sorts. I’m sorry, but I listen to reviews to be informed on a given item rather than entertained, and the steeper the precedent that entertainment takes over information, the less worth the review in question has to me.

Needless to say, YouTube, I’ve learned the necessity of being picky when it comes to listening to and watching videos on your website. From now on, then, I’ll be using your music videos as background accompaniment for my writing sessions and saving the TV, film, gameplay, and similarly themed videos for after I’ve completed my daily writing objectives. Not only that, but I’ve promised myself to be especially selective when it comes to videos from the later category, as I’m more or less done with all the negativity that I’ve absorbed from those that I’ve watched already. Trust me…my work will benefit in the end when I adopt a more positive attitude and cut out all the nastiness I’ve taken on in my life at this point.

So that’s the scoop, vices: I’m moving on, and I’m doing so for my own good. Please don’t take it personally, either, for even though I keep calling you my “vices,” I’m the one who’s really at fault here, as I’ve said before. All this time, I should have squared my shoulders, put my nose to the grindstone, and taken care of business like a man rather than bury myself in each of you whenever I would so much as have the slightest bit of writer’s block. Alas, such was not the case, and it wasn’t until recently that I’ve finally come to terms with the problems I’ve been causing for myself by wallowing in each you, falling behind in my own deadlines and all. It’ll take me a nice long while before I’ll be able to forgive myself, too, but hey, if Roy Knable can come to terms with his TV addiction in Stay Tuned, then I, too, can come to terms with my overreliance on you three things. Better sooner than later, yes, but better later than never, and from now on, as was the case for me during my schooling days, it’s going to be work before pleasure and not vice-versa. Otherwise, I’ll never get anything done to save my soul, and I’ll only further drown in my own stagnation.

Thank you all for your understanding, and for now…goodbye.

Regards,
Charles Donovan Gregory

*****

PS: All credit for the pics used in the above article goes to as follows:

MoveMeQuotes.com
PlayStation History Collection 1 – Takara Tomy 1/6 Scale Gashapon Video Game Systems! by INVISIGOTH
10 Things Pro Wrestling Fans Hate about Pro Wrestling by Ben Flanagan (AL.com)
YouTube.com
Success.com/Shutterstock.com

The short story above, however, is the author’s own.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

Bonus Poem of the Week: Screwing in My Heels

Screwing in My Heels
April 5, 2017

Depression
Bitter, jaded
Fretting, lamenting, panicking
Gotta change my luck
Studying, orchestrating, toiling
Work complete!
Hope…

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

Poem of the Week: Villanelle of Courage

Villanelle of Courage
March 19, 2017

I’m quite done feeling sorry for myself.
I’ve moaned enough groans and cried enough tears.
Time to store my self-pity on the shelf.

For too long, I’ve felt like a hapless whelp,
Always at the mercy of my own fear.
I’m quite done feeling sorry for myself.

Facing things alone, few folks ‘round to help,
Nagging doubts always raging in my ears…
Time to store my self-pity on the shelf.

‘Tis the cruelest thing in my life I’ve felt.
Nowadays, though, I’ve grown sick of the jeers.
I’m quite done feeling sorry for myself.

It’s about time I stood up for myself,
Took life by the horns, and conquered my fears.
Time to store my self-pity on the shelf.

After all, I alone can teach myself
To attain and keep that which I hold dear.
I’m quite done feeling sorry for myself.
Time to store my self-pity on myself.

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

Poem of the Week: Stupid Media, Stupid People

Stupid Media, Stupid People
March 10, 2017

Stupid media
Stupid people
People without standards
People with dead morals
Morals gone down the toilet
Morals and values
Values we all should have
Values we’ve all given up on
On TV
On movie screens
Screens filled with bleakness
Screens filled with gratuitous crap
Crap like brazen sex
Crap like excessive violence
Violence already rampant
Violence without levity
Levity from toxic stimuli
Levity that we all need
Need and want
Need but don’t have
Have we no spine
Have we no mind
Mind to reject this filth
Mind to demand better
Better for tomorrow’s generation
Better from media creators
Creators with more cash than credibility
Creators with more praise than talent
Talent elsewhere being ignored
Talent elsewhere being rejected
Rejected for little to no reason
Rejected at the gate
Gate locked tightly
Gate locked shut
Shut on new ideas
Shut on fresh ideas
Ideas that could reinvigorate
Ideas that could revitalize
Revitalize a scene so stale
Revitalize a scene so deprived
Deprived of vitality
Deprived of human interest
Interest from a new generation
Interest in something different
Different times
Different measures
Measures to be taken seriously
Measures to be taken now
Seriously!
Now!

*****

Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk

Poem of the Week: Frustration with Critics

Frustration with Critics
January 26, 2017

Not helpful
Not respectful
Respectful of my work
Respectful of the art
Art proven difficult
Art of promotion
Promotion of the future
Promotion of labor
Labor you on with your words
Labor you on with your points
Points poorly worded
Points that are often wrong
Wrong according to the experts
Wrong according to common knowledge
Knowledge you act like you have
Knowledge you actually lack
Lack basic manners
Lack tact
Tact and maturity
Tact and grace
Grace traded in for condescension
Grace traded in for blatant repetition
Repetition out of laziness
Repetition out of ignorance
Ignorance concerning word usage
Ignorance concerning encouragement
Encouragement pointing out perks
Encouragement showing things done right
Right way of critiquing
Right way to advise
Advise you to wise up
Advise you to change
Change for the better
Change to become more helpful
Helpful to those with the backbone
Helpful to those with the ambition
Ambition to seek fortune
Ambition to seek fame
Fame for my work
Fame held by others
Others from long ago
Others from years recent
Recent room for the next big thing
Recent room for improvement
Improvement I know I need
Improvement you’re not helping me with
With that said, goodbye
With that said, see you in Hell
Goodbye
Hell

*****

 
Author Pages: Smashwords.com
                         Amazon.com
                         Amazon.co.uk