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My mind is a whirlwind of thoughts and imagination. A simple raindrop, the smell of a trash heap, or the touch of a bee's stinger is enough to immerse me into a new story idea. My passion is writing and my inspiration is everywhere. So far, my focus has been in short stories, however I have many novels floating around in my brain. Recently I have also been handed the opportunity to review the works of others and share them with everyone that reads my blog. Feel free to find me on facebook (facebook.com/esselprattwriting) the web (EsselPratt.com)or follow me on twitter (@EsselPratt).

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Have Our Reading Habits Acquired ADD?

I feel as though, In these days of TwitterTumblr, Facebook, and the likes, we have lost our sense of passion towards reading.  So many seem to ignore the comfort of a good book, substituting it for the gossip of the internet.

I would argue that many of the younger generation are reading more today than those of yesteryear, however they are reading quick quips of other people's daily lives.  Sure, reading the latest argument between an internet troll and a sheltered fanboy on Facebook can be exciting, but it won't stick with you forever.  In fact, I would call it literary masturbation.  It is great at the time, but will never be memorable.  However, reading an enthralling novel is more like your first time.  It can be scary, exciting, clumsy, or even mind blowing.  However, it is never forgettable.

Much like my little dog in the upper left corner, we have become lazy, and that scares me.  Will the future writers shy away from the art, hiding in the anonymity of the internet?  Don't get me wrong, there is some fantastic literary compositions on the web, many are fan fictions, but they do not reach the masses like a good book does.

I can remember, when I was young, going to the library every Saturday and picking out a few books.  I never really followed one genre specifically, and actually read at a higher level than most my age, so my selection was pretty broad.

I remember finding the Boxcar Children on a shelf and thought I would give it a read.  When I got home, I laid on my bed reading.  Before I knew it, I had finished the book and it was already bedtime.  From there, I moved on to The Chronicles of Narnia, Choose Your Own Adventures, and eventually up to To Kill a Mockingbird, then the fantastic writings of Clive Barker.

In reading, I have always immersed myself into the story, becoming the character.  I take time to visualize the environment, sense the emotions, fell the pains.  It saddens me to see that many of today's youth will not experience anything beyond forced School reading, and twitter quips.

I hope that someday I can publish a book with as much influence as Harry Potter), Twilight, or even 50 Shades of Gray.  Whether you love them or hate them, they inspired reading upon the masses and found their places in the hearts of the world.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

DNA Data Storage: Have We Been Wrong?

I read an article today that says a single gram of DNA can hold about 2.2 Million Gigabytes of information, the equivalent of about 468,000 DVDs.  What is more amazing is that converting the binary code of existing data to trinary code consisting of 1s and 0s and 2s is not all that difficult.

Okay, I admit that the whole process is way over my head.  However, my curiosity took over at the findings.  What if we have been thinking about how our minds work in the wrong way?  What if our DNA is where our memories are stored, and our brain is the mechanism that processes that data?

If our DNA does hold the data that we have accumulated since birth, who is to say that the information is not passed on to our offspring?  Think about it, a baby cat knows instinctively to find its way to its mother's nipple to survive.  As it grows, it knows that it must hunt and eat.  Many would say that those are just instincts and that every living organism must rely on those instincts to survive.  I can agree, but those instincts must have been coded into our memories somehow.

Compare it to a new computer, when you boot it up for the first time, how does it know to boot?  Somewhere down the line, the operating system was installed.  That operating system told the computer to boot.  Could our operating system be installed in our DNA?

obviously, I am not a scientist.  However, if I am correct, it would possible explain past life phenomenons and Deja Vu.  It is very possible that our ancestor's memories were passed on to us via DNA, and those that experience past life memories are actually accessing that data that had been hidden for so long.  Deja Vu could be experienced when you encounter a similar scenario that an ancestor played out in their days.

Could this be taken a step further to those with psychiatric disorders?  Maybe those with multiple personalities have a brain malfunction in which their mind cannot distinguish between their own life and the memories if their ancestors?  If this is true, how were they able to access so much information within their DNA when a "normal" human cannot?

Keep in mind, these are just quick thoughts that have come to mind while reading the article.  Stories like this one always get my imagination stirring and consummate the beginnings of new book ideas.  I think I will store this one away in the depths of my DNA in hopes of recalling a spectacular horror/sci-fi novel out of it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Music of the Pen

An integral part of my writing ritual is music.  Music sets the mood which allows the visuals to write themselves on the page.  Without music, I honestly do not know if writing would be that easy.

Usually I rely on Pandora or Spotify to satisfy my musical needs, but tend to lean more towards Spotify.  My current playlist consist of mostly piano variations of music.  I find it much more soothing and less likely to get caught up in the words of the song.  Here is my current Spotify piano playlist:

http://open.spotify.com/user/sdpratt12/playlist/4AjzQdp40nEb04OYzxXs5i

As you will notice, I have quite a few pieces from video games.  Music from the Final Fantasy Series, especially Final Fantasy X, is quite possibly some of the most beautifully inspiring music I have ever experienced in my life.  The visuals that the songs create are vivid and magical.  Combining them with Piano renditions of My Chemical Romance, Phantom of the Opera, and other hit music, provides enough variety to cater to any situation my writing might enthrall me in.

When I listen to music, I am not necessarily listening to the beat, the rhythm, the chorus, etc...  Instead, I listen to the story the song tells.  I am an avid fan of my area's local music scene, and am always excited at the chance to sit back and listen to their sounds.  I also have a few friends that do not live near me, but are fantastic musicians.  Two, for example, have inspired me more than they know.

One of them has taken his musical obsession and made a teaching career out of it.  I have a few of his cover songs recorded, and listen to them often while driving through town.  His love for the art has inspired various ideas for future stories.

The other, I feel does not realize his true potential or how inspiring his original piano compositions are.  He writes from the heart and embeds his life's soul into his compositions.  The feelings that he inserts tug at your heart and essence.  It is a fantastic feeling.

For me, music is emotion.  Music is feeling.  Music is all of the senses molded into one true form.  That is why I immerse myself into the melodic sounds while writing, and use those feelings to blur into my writing.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Expansions, Not Limitations

This past weekend, I found an Open Anthology.  What I love about Anthologies is that they give you guidelines, and you create your vision from those guidelines.  The end result is a collection of short stories that are all so beautifully different, despite following the same guidelines.

This anthology is a bit different than any I have contributed to.  Each submission can only be 100 words.  No more, no less.  That is the only rule, other than having a horror theme.  Many would be discouraged by the 100 word limitation.  I was excited.

To me, 100 words is not a limitation.  In fact, it is more of an expansion of my mind.  creating a short story out of 100 words is not an easy task.  You have to be creative, descriptive, and yet hold back enough detail to stay within the limit.  What could be a better writing exercise?

As I was writing my submission, I started thinking about limitations.  Pictured above is on of my dogs.  She is a Chihuahau/Rat Terrier Mix and she is small.  You would think that her size would limit her.  It doesn't.  Despite her size, she give the biggest dog hugs and kisses, she has the biggest bark, and is the biggest bitch.  Her size has not limited her, in fact it has inspired her to be the biggest dog in the house.  Did I mention the other two dogs are Huskies?  She is their queen and they her court.

Many times, we face limitations in our lives and we hide in their boundaries where we feel safe and protected.  Unfortunately, that gets us nowhere.  When faced with limitations, I feel that we should take the opportunity to expand upon them.

When I was faced with the 100 word limit, I took the challenge and went with it.  I followed the guidelines, wrote my story and submitted it.  I will admit that I am not real happy with my submission, but I will not let that limit me.  I have a couple of other ideas that I plan on typing out and submitting.  Whether I am accepted for the publication, or not, I am satisfied knowing that I did not let a limitation cage me in.

Have you ever been faced with a limitation, that you expanded into something fantastic?


Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Musing

After yesterday's correspondence with the publisher that has allowed me to add one of my short stories to their upcoming anthology, I was obviously excited.  Last night while laying in bed, I thought about what I will do in my future writings.

I have quite a few ideas for novels in my head and unlimited numbers of short stories.  I will, without a doubt, continue to write and submit for multiple anthologies as I continue to write my novels.  However, I couldn't do it without the support of others.

Obviously, my wife and kids are a huge source of inspiration to my writing.  However, there is a Facebook page that is administrated by an author that I consider a source of inspiration.  Charles Day was welcoming from the first day I joined his group, and always finds the time to let me, and his other fans, know how much we mean to him.

With constant support from seasoned writers like Mr. Day, and all of the other members of his group, I will continue to put blood, sweat, and tears in my writing and create the masterpieces I have locked in my head.

So far, this year has began with one accepted short story, and a couple submissions.  I will do my best to keep you up to date on my future endeavors.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Lazy Sunday News

Today has been fairly eventful, overall.  I woke from my slumber with a slightly sore throat, ingested an adequate amount of coffee, ran some quick errands, and have lounged on the couch for the remainder of the day.  Stopping only to eat some of my wife's amazing Cheesy potato soup and a home made panini. 

I did meet up with Bowser in Super Mario Bros. Wii U and was met with defeat.  So, me and my little lazy buddy, pictured to the left, decided to switch on some football to pass the time. 

As I sat there, my phone vibrated in my pocket.  Normally, this would be nothing out of the ordinary.  I noticed the email received was in a mailbox I only use for my writing.  I had a feeling I knew who it was from, and I was correct.  Expecting a rejection letter, I opened it and read it slowly.  I was elated to see that I was accepted for their Anthology publication! 

What makes this acceptance more exciting is that I stepped out of my comfort zone.  I would not normally submit to this type of horror anthology, but decided to go for it anyway.  Waiting since early October for a response was a bit nerve racking, but it was worth the wait. 

To some it may only be the third time I have been published.  To me, I am ecstatic for my third chance to showcase my writing to the masses. 



Friday, January 18, 2013

Submission Regret


Have you ever had submission regret?

Recently, I had debated writing and submitting a story for an open submission.  I basically blew it off until a notice was posted that only five days remained.  I decided, at that point, to conjure something up and submit.  I wrote about 200 words, then put it off again.  With only one day left, I picked it up and finished.

The next day, I quickly read through it and emailed it in.  After I hit send, a wave of regret overcame me.  I had only proofread quickly, completed no edits and submitted.  I am proud of the subject matter and concept, but feel that I have let myself down.  Worse though, I feel like I let the publisher down.

Sure it was an open call, and I did not have to submit, but I did.  Now, I feel that I wasted the publishers time by submitting to them.  The only plus side is that I have an idea for a collection of stories that I can hopefully publish after revisiting my rejected submissions.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Inspiration



Inspiration for my writing can come from anywhere.  Usually, random thoughts spur a deluge of imaginative ideas that plant the seeds of future trees.  As the tree grows, the branches form the characters, the setting, the plot twists, and the chapters.

To build my profile, I tend to submit short stories to as many anthologies as possible.  Currently, I have been published twice.  My short stories can be found in, "The Undead That Saved Christmas, Vol. 3: Monster Bash" and "31 More Nights Of Halloween", and have spurred more inspiration.  In fact, the short stories that I write tend to build into full novels in my head.  They tend to lay the groundwork for much bigger ideas.

One issue that I need to resolve is that I tend to write my short stories at the spur of the moment.  I sit down, and write the 1500 to 3000 word story all at once.  I then proofread and submit.  I guess I am impatient, in a way.  However, After I submit and think about the story, I come up with something much bigger.  I need to learn patience and let the story grow before putting pen to paper.

Sorry about the boring post, I just had some thoughts and wanted to share.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Southington Plans Video Game Burning

I wrote the following article for Nerdzy.com.  Please be sure to visit Nerdzy regularly for my daily articles.


http://www.nerdzy.com/2013/01/04/conneticut-town-to-burn-violent-video-games/

In 1692 and 1693 we saw Witches burned at the stake in Salem, MA.  Throughout the 20th century we saw many book burnings to protest risque or misunderstood content.  In 1966, there was even a record burnings as a result of a comment John Lennon made.

Looking back, it seems pretty silly to burn something because we do not understand it.  Our lack of comprehension on the subjects seem to translate to evil, so we must burn it to rid it from our presence.  I would assume that most people, looking back, would have reacted differently knowing what we know now.
However, to a group in the town of Southington, Conneticut, burning violent video games seems like the solution to America’s violence problem.

Before I continue, please advise that I am saddened by the Sandy Hook Tragedy.  That day will forever be in our American history, and we must now live with that.  The event should not have happened and could have been prevented.  However, I refuse to believe that video games are the cause of the perpetrators unspeakable acts.  His issues reside much deeper in his soul.  However, much like the burnings of the past, we focus on one element of his lifestyle and condemn it to burn into ashes, rather than focus on the true issue because it is too hard to fathom.

The group, named SouthingtonSOS, has organized the “Violent Video Games Return Program”, which will take place on January 12, 2013.  In a press release, they stated the following:

“As people arrive in their cars to turn in their games of violence, they will be offered a gift certificate donated by a member of the Greater Southington Chamber of Commerce as a token of appreciation for their action of responsible citizenship. Violent games turned in will be destroyed and placed in the town dumpster for appropriate permanent disposal.”
 
Now, SouthingtonSOS is not blaming video games for the tragedy, at least not outright.  They are leaning heavily on evidence that video games lead to violence:

“The publication of the first press story today has attracted a significant response which was no surprise to SouthingtonSOS. The group’s action is not intended to be construed as statement declaring that violent video games were the cause of the shocking violence in Newtown on December 14th.
Rather, SouthingtonSOS is saying is that there is ample evidence that violent video games, along with violent media of all kinds, including TV and Movies portraying story after story showing a continuous stream of violence and killing, has contributed to increasing aggressiveness, fear, anxiety and is desensitizing our children to acts of violence including bullying. Social and political commentators, as well as elected officials including the president,are attributing violent crime to many factors including inadequate gun control laws, a culture of violence and a recreational culture of violence.”

Honestly, I am almost at a loss for words.  They state that they are not blaming violent video games, yet go on to say that video games have given evidence to violent behavior, such as bullying, increased aggressiveness, fear, etc.  I have to say that I am very disturbed that our nation has moved on from taking responsibility for our actions, and passed blame onto scapegoats.

As a child, I can remember being bullied.  I was not rich, I never had the latest clothes, or swatch watch.  When not around my friends I was a loner, and I was okay with that.

Before Sophmore year of High School, I had to attend a two week band camp for marching band.  While waiting my turn to march in a line, I sat on the sidelines with all the other band students.  We had a band of about 200 students, and only twenty were marching at a time.  As I sat there, in the grass, awaiting my turn, I just daydreamed.  Finally, it was my turn.  As I stood up, some of the juniors were laughing.  Apparently, there was a small amount of dog poop right where I was sitting.  Just enough to make it look like I had soiled myself.  I was immediately embarrassed, and could not wait for the next hour to pass.  Although I had hoped they would forget about it, I was known as “Mr. Poopy Pants” for the next two years by that small group of bullies. Of course, they took every opportunity to bully me in the class.

That was only one example, however there are many more.  For me, video games were an escape from all of that.  I could go home and be Link or Samus, or Raiden.  I could escape in the other worlds and be the hero.  Not once did I ever feel the need to take it to the next level and become violent.

Today, I am grown up with children of my own.  They play video games as much as I used to.  One of my 15 year old daughter’s favorite games is Call of Duty: Black Ops.  I am okay with that.  Why, you ask?  Because I am involved in her life.  I do not use the XboxMicrosoft Xbox 360 Slim 4GB Kinect Holiday Bundle Video Game System - S4G16P (Google Affiliate Ad), PlayStation, Nintendo, or any of the 40 plus gaming consoles as a babysitter.  Her Mother and I make it our business to know what is happening in her life.  It is not always easy, and we are not always the “good guys”, but parents are supposed to be the bad guys sometimes.

I do not condone the burning of the violent video games.  However, I hope that by coming together for the event, a dialogue opens about what can be done to prevent future atrocities from happening.  I hope that, in that dialogue, people realize that the best way to prevent violence is to be there for those you love.  Be involved, know what they are doing, who they are hanging out with, who is picking on them.  Whether a Parent, relative, or friend, you must step into the lives of those you care about.  If there is an underlying issue that you cannot solve, then seek out professional help.  Remember, if you are aware of the potential for violent behavior, and you do not step in to help, you could be contributing to the outcome.

Violence is preventable.  As a society, we can prevent future tragedies, as long as we step in and take responsibility.  Burning/banning inanimate objects is not the answer.  It just draws attention away from the true issue at hand.  From witches to books, to records, to video games, when do we learn that we cannot continue to pass the blame?