Be Happy


happy

I came into work the day after finishing 50,000 words (hail to my nanos!) in HUNT!, my screenplay turned novel, in one of the best moods I’d been in in many weeks. I was elated, and everything seemed to be going right.

I started off on register but very shortly switched over to bar, and was soon thereafter approached by a woman in her mid-fifties. She smiled at me in a very motherly way and said “I wanted to thank you for your great attitude.”

I thanked her for her compliment and then told her I was so happy because of my novel. I made drinks and we chatted for a while, and then she glances over to my friends working on the register.

“I come in here every day,” she said to me, “and you are always over here, loud and happy, telling jokes and laughing. You make the drinks. These people, though…” Here she gestured at my coworkers. “They always have the sour faces. It’s rude. I’m a customer! I’m buying things from you! Be happy!”

She laughed and I, exactly like every time in my life where I don’t have a stored response for what someone just said, laughed as well.

I made her latte (decaf, nonfat, extra hot, no foam) and handed it to her. She left with a wave, and I waved back.

My mood wasn’t spoiled, but had shifted to more pensive territory.

‘Be happy.’

Much uttered, I’ve always thought this phrase was idiotic. Telling an unhappy person to be happy is like telling a frog to not be a frog. The only thing that will happen is that both the frog and the person telling the frog to be happy will both be less happy.

It’s a silly comparison, but ‘be happy’ is a silly statement.

Happy is western culture. People strive to be happy. You ask someone why they’re doing anything they’re doing, and, when you finally dig through all the lairs, it’s because, in some way or another, they think it will make them happy.

If i get this boat, I’ll be happy. If I fix this tooth, I’ll be happy. If I get a dog, I’ll be happy. If I get a girlfriend, I’ll be happy. If I get this job, I’ll be happy. If I pay my bills, I won’t be as stressed as I was, which, in a small way, will raise my current happiness level from whatever it was to whatever it will be, though most assuredly more happy than now.

It sounds silly, but that’s how people think. Hell, that’s how I think. But it’s pointless, though… isn’t it?

I mean, come on. What even is happy?

According to google, happy is “feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.” Pleasure is easy. It’s a neurochemical reaction in the brain, but contentment is harder to pin down, so I dug a little deeper. Contentment is a state of “happiness or satisfaction.” Unsatisfactory. Content was not much better, but satisfaction, “fulfillment of one’s wishes, expectations or needs, or pleasure derived from this,” was very fertile ground.

And that made sense to me. Happiness is contentment which is fulfillment of something you wanted to do. It’s why men build monuments. It’s how sports work. It’s why bored housewives shop with no other goal than to find something nice. It’s how the economy works… hell, it’s how capitalism works… hell, it’s how life works..

It’s why I write. It’s for contentment, not only for completing something I worked on, but for showing it to somebody, who then says “this thing, this thing right here, this thing you spent hours on, this thing you cried over, this thing that is you, more than you can over know. This thing is good.”

But that doesn’t work if that’s all you ever hear. Happiness is a state that only exists because of all the work it takes to get there. It is the light to toil’s shadow. One cannot be happy without first being sad, which makes a baby’s first smile somewhat of a depressing event, considering what it must have gone through to realize things are now better.

You can’t have happy without sad, and you can’t first be happy without first being sad. That’s life. That’s why rich people aren’t in a state of bliss. That’s why people in heaven probably aren’t in a state of bliss. They’re probably just bored, because, and trust me, as a writer I know this to be true: good things are boring. Who wants to watch a movie about a guy who won the lotto, and then everything turned out alright? No? Now who wants to watch a movie about a guy who won the lotto, who is then kidnapped by evil aliens who want his winnings? Probably more people.

Happiness is sadness is happiness is sadness is happiness is sadness. When you’re on top, you can only come down, and when you’re at the bottom, you can only go up. One’s just a set up to the other.

So now I know what to say the next time a mid-fifties woman comes up to me while I’m on bar and says “you’re happy, and you know what? I like that. But that group of people over there. They aren’t happy. Why can’t they be like you?”

I’ll turn to her and I’ll say. “They’re just getting ready to be happy. Give them some time.”

And you know what? It’s such an odd thing to say that I fully expect her to have no saved response.

She’ll probably just laugh.

Beachbody-Blog-Pumpkin-Spice-Latte

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I’m Back


terminator

I’d hit a rough patch about four weeks ago. Hit it so hard I think the wheel came off.

It wasn’t writer’s block. I don’t believe in writer’s block. Writer’s block is simply you not having fun with whatever you’re writing. It’s a blanket explanation, I know, but not having fun could come from dozens of hard to pen down causes. Things like: lack of research, wrong direction, stinkin’ thinkin’, and getting bored with a project.

I didn’t have any of those. I was working on WARLOCK COP, my TV PILOT about a guy who is a COP and a WARLOCK. WARLOCK COP is awesome. I was having fun writing it but…

I just couldn’t focus. I’d find myself drifting away, checking reddit, watching videos on woodcarving and guitar fabrication. Hell, I’d watch videos of other people playing video games.

I’d go on facebook and just scroll around. I’d write blog post around blog post. I’d fiddle with my fantasy football lineup without end.

I’d do all these things and then sit back and go “huh. I should finish warlock cop.”

I never did, though.

Then the internet went down.

I was outside, smoking my pipe and writing down ideas in a notebook when it happened.  There was a truck working on the power lines outside.  I heard screwdrivers and electric sizzles as the worked the pole next to my apartment building.

They finished after some time. My notepad was on the floor. The only markings on the page were pipe ash.

I was busy reading movie reviews on my phone.

Then, suddenly, the next page wouldn’t load. The WiFi wasn’t working. I switched to the LTE network and finished reading the movie review, and then checked the router.

It was working fine, just no signal. I unplugged it and plugged it back in.

It didn’t work.

The first tinglings of fear began to creep up the hairs on my back.

“It’s not supposed to happen like this,” I told the router, “this isn’t supposed to be possible.”

No internet. A millenial’s worst nightmare.

My life is spent on the internet. I pay my bills online. I get paid electronically. I find jobs, send queries, submit stories to magazines, and even write blog posts entirely on the internet. Hell, I get my television, movies, and entertainment form the internet.

The internet turns me into a sappy Nicholas Sparks story. I want to cuddle the internet, stoke its face and tell it “I’m nothing without you. Nothing.”

It was gone.

What was I going to do? What was I going to read? What was I going to WATCH?

Here’s out movie collection:

IMG_1217

The thought of putting any of them in the blu-ray player disgusted me.

I had nothing to do.

So I wrote.

The first day, I figured out the ending to WARLOCK COP.

Unplug, plug, the router still flashed red.

The second day, I wrote fourteen pages.

I fell to my knees and prayed in front of the router, extolling it with livestock sacrifice. It remained silent, and blinked its wicked red eye at me.

The third day, I wrote fourteen pages.

I itched all over. I had trouble sleeping without being able to doze off with south park on my TV.

While I was downstairs getting coffee, I ran into Adrienne, who is staying at my place until the end of the month. I told her how productive I’ve been.

“I guess it was all the internet,” I said, slurping on some hot-brown-bean water, “I kind of hope it stays down so I can finish my script.

Adrienne agreed.

The fourth day, I woke up to a text message from Jared. It just said “Internets up!”

Shit.

The next thing I knew, I found myself in my computer chair, about to hit enter and blast my monitor off to REDDIT land.

My finger hovered over the key.

I went downstairs to get some bean water. Adrienne and Jared were watching the Real World and Road Rules MTC Challenge.

“So the internet’s back up.” I told them.

Adrienne spun to face me. There was fire in her eyes. “No,” she said, “get back upstairs right now and finish WARLOCK COP.” I turned to get coffee. “No,” Adrienne commanded, “write.”

So I went back upstairs and finished it.

The internet’s an amazing thing. I don’t need to tell you guys why, because you’re on it right now, you already know.

Sometimes, though, it makes writing impossible.

So I guess I need to find a place to write that doesn’t have internet.

Either that, or find someone to yell at me every time I start to dither online.

Maybe this guy.

batman write

 

WeWriWa #2: A ghost Story


Here’s the beginning to a new short story I’m working on.  I’ve decided to post the first 8 lines for Weekend Writing Warriors  What do you guys think?

* * * * *

I saw her.

She was there, a brief moment, ah!  But too brief.  There, on the stage, smiling, her perfect teeth glistening in their perfect rows, the dimples and freckles, her wide eyes and perfect skin and oh!  Be still my hear, but I saw her.

And then it was there was a blackout, a lowered curtain; the interval, and she was gone.

I decided to complete the ritual and purchase a gin and tonic from the third ring bar.  London’s National Theatre has expensive drinks, but it had become part of the pattern, and I daren’t break with tradition.

* * * * *

On a side note I’ve finished my screenplay (finally).  101 pages of glory.  Look for it in theaters in the next two years (he said hopefully).  It’s called “A Stellar Holiday” and it’s about aliens.

-Corngoblin

Job and the Burger


Here’s a scene that I wrote for my screenwriting class.  The prompt was that we needed to write a scene that reveals the flaw in the main character.  It could be no longer than 3 pages and had to have dialogue.  Can you guess who my protagonist is and what is his flaw?

(Note: the formatting is less than desirable here.  The first two caps (A BURGER and A MAN) are scene introductions.  The rest are dialogue, which i have painstakingly formated in the center.)

JOB AND THE BURGER

———————————-

A BURGER
…Sits on a food tray. There are some fries and a drink next to it.

A MAN
…Glares at the burger on the counter of the fast food restaurant, incredulous. The fools! 34 years old, JOB is a nuclear bomb, anger barely contained by the paper thin veil of society, ready to go of at any moment.

JOB
What’s this?

BRITTANY, 19, looks up from filing her nails. For Brittany, life is perpetually dull, and each day always proves more boring than the last.

BRITTANY
You’re food, sir.

Job continues to glare at the burger, like it had just slapped him. He lifts up the bun. Lettuce. Lettuce.

JOB
This isn’t what I ordered.

BRITTANY
You asked for lettuce.

Job screws up his face, and forces the red back down.

JOB
No, I didn’t. I hate lettuce. I asked for a burger without lettuce.

Brittany rolls her eyes and dramatically punches some keys on her computer like she was playing whack-a-mole. She turns her screen around so Job can see.

BRITTANY
One burger. Ketchup, tomato, cheese. With lettuce.

Brittany goes back to filing her nails. Job stares at the screen.

JOB
Can you just make me another one?

Brittany pauses her filing.

BRITTANY
No.

Job’s hands begin to shake visibly. He breathes deeply. It isn’t working. A man behind Job taps him on the shoulder. Job turns to see fat, middle aged man with his equally fat family standing behind him.

MAN
Sir, just take your damn burger. We’re hungry too.

Job roars like a lion. He grabs the food tray and smashes it on the counter, fries flying like shrapnel from an IED.
He lifts the tray up and smashes the man in the side of his face. The man goes down among the raining fries.

The man’s family cries in fright and his wife tries to tend to him.

Job throws the tray like a frisbee and pegs the man at the drive-through window in the back of the head.

JOB
BULLSHIT! I DIDN’T WANT LETTUCE!

Job pulls a revolver from a pocket inside his jacket and fires a round into the air. The bullet strikes the ceiling and chalky dust covers Job’s face, making him even more terrifying.

The other patrons make a mad dash for the exits. Job hears them running and spins around. He does his best to point his gun at all of the dozen patrons.

JOB (CONT’D)
NOBODY’S LEAVING. IM GONNA GET MY BURGER, AND WE’RE ALL GONNA SIT DOWN AND HAVE A NICE FUCKING MEAL. YOU GOT THAT

Job points his gun at a frightened, college aged woman by the door.  Not so fast!

JOB (CONT’D)
YOU GOT THAT?

WOMAN
Y-y-y-yes?

JOB
GOOD!

Job spins back around to Brittany, who has dropped her nail file and is staring at Job like a deer in headlights. This is the best day of her life.

BRITTANY
Ok. Ok! Here!

She reaches behind her and grabs a new burger. She opens it up and removes the lettuce, and then hands it to Job.
Job puts it back on the tray.

JOB
SOME FRIES TOO!

Brittany gives him some fries. Job glances quickly between his food and Brittany, and then nods.
He holds the food to his chest like a bag of money from a bank heist, and slowly backs away, randomly pointing his gun at people behind the counter.

JOB (CONT’D)
Good, thank you. Good.

Job sits down at a table and places his food in front of him. Everyone is eyeing him nervously.

JOB (CONT’D)
It’s ok. We’ll all be alright. Sit down and eat. I got my burger.

Everyone hesitantly sits down and eats. Job smiles happily at his food and takes a bite. We can hear sirens in the distance, steadily approaching, like a distant storm.

The Wizard -or- I haven’t posted in a while. Deal with it.


Read the title.  It’s difficult to find time during college to write things on the blog, especially with me working on several screenplays and a novel.  So in the effort of posting something, here’s a short scene i wrote for one of my film school applications.  I couldn’t figure out how to get it to keep it’s proper format, so I just copy and pasted the whole damn thing.  Enjoy, or else!

The Wizard 

By 

William Charles Brock

————————-

INT. MAGIC SHOP

The shop has many old wooden tables and bookcases, crammed

full of all sorts of magical ledgers, tomes and instruments.

A man sits behind a counter, reading a People magazine. He

is dressed in some tattered old wizard robes and has a

damaged wizard hat on his head. The hat has large, faded

silver stars clumsily patched on.

The door opens, ringing an antique bell placed over it as a

man walks in. He is holding a wand and looks very

angry. He approaches the counter purposefully, as if he has

been there before. The wizard continues to read his

magazine.

MAN

Ahem.

The wizard continues reading his magazine, oblivious to the

man standing in front of him. The man glares at the wizard

for a moment, and then furiously rings a bell on the

counter. The wizard jumps in terror, throwing his magazine

into the air.

WIZARD

Yes?

MAN

I would like to return this magic

wand. It doesn’t work.

The wizard takes the wand in his hand and looks it over. Be

bends it a few times.

WIZARD

Seems fine to me

MAN

You said I could use it to turn my

boss into a toad.

WIZARD

Yes. Thats right.

MAN

Well it doesn’t work.

WIZARD

Did you use it as instructed?

MAN

Yes!

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: 2.

WIZARD

Did you wait until the moon was

full?

MAN

Yes!

WIZARD

Did you get close to the spell

recipient? You have to be very

close, you know.

MAN

Yes! I was practically right up

against him! I’m telling you, the

wand doesn’t work!

WIZARD

You do know you have to aim for the

head, yes?

MAN

Of course! You told me so

yourself! I aimed at his head and

swung the wand furiously, shouting

the magic words…

WIZARD

Which are?

MAN

Take that you bastard!

The wizard nods sagely at this as the man continues.

MAN

All that I managed to do was

savagely beat him to death with

this ordinary bit of wood!

The man angrily brandishes the wand.

WIZARD

Well that settles it then. The wand

is working fine

MAN

Fine? Fine? I killed a man! He’s

dead!

WIZARD

Yes, but didnt you want your boss

turned into the toad because you

wanted his job?

(CONTINUED)

CONTINUED: 3.

MAN

Yes… but

WIZARD

And are you not now the new head of

the research department?

MAN

Well, yes…

The wizard smiles and his eyes twinkle knowingly as he

slowly nods.

MAN

Dear God…

The wizard sits back down and returns to his magazine.

MAN

Well I’d still like my money

back. The wand didn’t work as

advertised.

WIZARD

(not looking up)

I would think that a man who had just commited murder and

had hitherto escaped the authorities has far more pressing

matters to deal with than a silly malfuntioning wand…

The man pulls on his collar nerviously.

MAN

Ah…I see. Well then… Good day,

sir.

The wizard clears his throat and points at a jar labeled

“tips.” The man grudgingly deposits the entire contents of

his wallet into the jar.

WIZARD

Quite kind of you. Good day.

MAN

Yes, good day.

MAN exits

FADE OUT

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