Just Shut Up

What do you do when you get notes on a piece of writing for which you do not agree?

Here’s the short answer:

Say thank you and move forward.

And here’s the long answer:

After your immediate “They don’t know what the hell they’re talking about” reaction to notes, you still say thank you. We all have that reaction. After all, we’re the ones who’ve spent hours, days, months, even years bleeding over a piece. How dare some NUG (new ugly guy or gal) come in and suggest we change anything! We’re the creatives! The artists! The literary geniuses! They shuffle papers and drop names during martini lunches. But trust me, bite that tongue and smile. You might even go so far as to say you found their thoughts and notes helpful.

Taking notes is more than just working out a piece of writing. It’s about building relationships. Despite how big we think the film and television industry is, it is really a small community where everyone is six degrees separated. Just look at your LinkedIn network. Everyone knows someone that knows someone. Build those relationships, people! You never know when you’ll cross paths with that knucklehead who gave you bad notes. It’ll be sooner than you think.

Then after a few days or weeks, go back and read those notes again. After you made the changes suggested, you’ll thank your lucky stars for not knee-jerking yourself in the no-nos because your feelings were hurt.

Write on!

This is what happened when I received the Moderna vaccine shot.

Yesterday I received my second and final vaccine shot. This is a short article on what happened after the shots and how my body reacted. I’m not saying this is how you’ll react to the vaccine, but I’ve seen a lot of videos out there from so-called influencers hyping lies, jumping to conclusions, or just making shit up. I won’t do that. As Joe Friday says, “Just the facts.” But first, a little about myself.

I’m 49 years old, 6’2″, and 220 lbs (almost 100 kg). I normally eat one meal a day and snack at night. Every morning, I drink two 8 oz. glasses of water, take 2000IU of vitamin D and 250mg of magnesium. I drink alcohol throughout the week, 2-3 drinks a night and plenty on the weekend. I play golf once a week, other than that, I rarely exercise. And up until the Tuesday prior to my final vaccination shot, I smoked filtered cigarillos (5-6 a day). Tuesday I quit cold turkey and I’m still not happy about it.

I don’t have any health conditions other than slightly elevated cholesterol, of which my doctor isn’t terribly concerned, but we’re keeping an eye on it anyway. I don’t generally get sick, rarely have the sniffles, and can’t remember the last time I had a fever. All in all, considering some questionable lifestyle choices, I’m healthy.

When I was finally able to receive the vaccination, I didn’t choose one over the other. It just happened that Moderna was the luck of the draw. According to the CDC, the Moderna vaccination has a 94.1% effectiveness at preventing COVID-19. It’s a two shot vaccine. Possible side effects include pain in the muscle where the shot is received, redness and swelling, as well. Additionally, tiredness, nausea, muscle aches, chills, fever, and headaches are possible. These side effects may be more intense after the second shot.

Finally, this is from the CDC website:

CDC has received increased reports of myocarditis and pericarditis in adolescents and young adults after COVID-19 vaccination. The known and potential benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks, including the possible risk of myocarditis or pericarditis. We continue to recommend COVID-19 vaccination for individuals 12 years of age and older.

After the first shot, I had a little soreness in my arm, but nothing else. I played golf the next day and had the best round of my life. But I was a little worried about the second shot. Everyone I know who has received the second shot had reactions. Most were extremely tired. Some had fevers. Also, everyone they know who received the second shot had the same reactions. I wouldn’t really say I was worried, but I was concerned. I have a love hate relationship with sleep. I love when I get to sleep, but I hate that I feel like I’m missing out on something. I didn’t want to sleep an entire day away. Also, not a big fan of fevers and chills. And, of course, sympathy is light in the Allison household. Although I’m perfectly capable of fending for myself, a little nursing is appreciated now and then. No such luck if you live in my house, though.

I received the second shot, yesterday, at 10:30 AM. Throughout the day, I felt fine. Shoulder was a little tender later in the day, but I was good to go. I ate my usual one meal, snacked on some macadamia nuts, a yogurt cup, and a few mini peanut butter cups. I avoided alcohol, though, and only drank water. I went to bed at midnight.

This morning, I awoke and prepared for the day. My shoulder is sore. That’s it. Nothing else. I feel great. Not a single side effect. I’m one of those people. Hopefully, it bodes well for longevity. I’d like to see 100 years, maybe 120, just so I can lie to everyone about the secret to a long life. I eat two pounds of bologna every morning, drink a six-pack of beer a day, and smoke one crack rock at night. Fit as a fiddle!

But more importantly, I am protected from COVID-19. Sure it’s not 100%, but nothing is when it comes to medicine. Millions have already received their vaccines under what the CDC says was/is the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history. A 94.1% effectiveness rate is pretty good. If you had cancer and the doc said she had a treatment that was 94.1% effective, you’d leap at the opportunity. Hell, if the doc said she had a treatment that was 50% effective, you’d jump right in for a dose or two. Point is, I’ve known COVID-19 patients. It ain’t good. Whatever I needed to improve my odds of not getting the virus, I was in like Flynn.

That’s all I have to say about that. This isn’t to say you won’t have any side effects. Most do. But I thought it important to share an easy experience to offset the hype from people hunting social networking likes. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Oh, hell, there’s everything wrong with that. After you finish reading this article, I recommend turning off your phone or computer and going outside. Experience life and forget about the influencers for a while. Now I have to go and recharge my microchip before the man comes knocking on my door.

Cajun Mutt Press Featured Writer 03/29/21

My latest poem featured on Cajun Mutt.

Cajun Mutt Press

A Bitter Root

He was good ‘til he wasn’t
youthful foolishness
wide-eyed; toothy grin
a lion’s mane
skin like steel
bones like dust

He was carried by his dreams
fame and fortune
stars in his eyes
carved in the night
a slave to lust
a slave to life

He was salvaged from intent
fine tailored suits
a house on a hill
grass clipped weekends
drive time radio
drive time rage

He was hopelessly hopeful
youthful recollection
nostalgic daydreams
a grave robber’s score
misplaced gold
misplaced gain

He was good
a desert son
a bitter root
bloodshot red
sunspot skin
chafed soul

©2021 G.W. Allison All rights reserved.

G.W. Allison was born in Michigan, raised wherever the pursuit of happiness took his family, was a USN swabbie for four years, worked on a shrimp boat, quit college, slaved away in corporate America, was a rock-n-roll roadie, traveled the world with a…

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Procrastination Number 5

I should be writing

But I’m not

I’m here on my website,

fooling myself

Create content

That’s the name of the game

A quick article, essay, blog,

whatever we deem content

I should be writing

But I’m not

How I Got An Agent & Other Nonsense

I recently acquired literary representation and have had several writers I know ask how I did it. Frankly, I’m tired of answering the same question, and that was enough for me to sit down and post something on this website. So, here it goes. This is how I got an agent and other nonsense.

I’ve been writing since 1997. Started hitting it hard in 2001. Turned up the heat in 2011. You can say I’ve been at this for 23 years, but really I’ve been putting serious time to my writing for 9 years. Still that’s a long time. I’ve had some screenwriting successes over the last 23 years, but never had an agent. In 2011, I began focusing on prose, that is I started writing novels, short stories, and dabbling in poetry. I sent some queries out back then, but no one cared. I wasn’t ready.

Publishing seemed impossible. So, I self-published. Had some minor sales, enough for dinner and a movie now and then, but nothing to brag about. Eventually, I sold the film rights for one of my self-published novels. That was nice. Still, no agent. No one cared.

Fast forward to 2020. What did I do differently? To put it plainly, I wrote a really good novel. I not only wrote a really good novel, I wrote two really good novels in the same year. Then I sent out queries.

How did I know which agents to query?

I looked up novels in the genre I write. From there I searched for the authors’ agents. I compiled a list of ten agents and their agencies. Then I searched top agents for the genre I write. I took the top 25, compared them to my list of ten, and consolidated the list. Then I checked their submission guidelines and if they were still looking for my genre. I ended up with a list of 19 agencies.

The agent I’m with now was the first to respond to my query. He simply wrote:

I like the opening.

Send me the entire ms.

My query to him included a synopsis (two short paragraphs) of the book and the first three chapters. I happily sent him the manuscript.

After I signed with the agency, I followed up with the other agents I queried to inform them of the news. There was no reason for them to read the material submitted if I was off the market, so to speak. I hate having my time wasted, and don’t like to waste the time of others, either. Common courtesy goes a long way, too.

So, what advice do I have for writers trying to catch the attention of an agent?

First, write something really good. You’ll know it when you do. I’ve written many novels. Most are in the bottom of my desk drawer. I like them, but I also know they’re shit. Never even bothered to shop those books around.

Second, be patient. Go over your manuscript like a miser counts pennies before you consider shopping it around. Hire an editor. An editor will cost you anywhere from $10 a page to $45 a page. Don’t want to hire a stranger, find someone in your writer’s workshop group who is a good editor and pay them. Don’t belong to a writer’s workshop group? Well, then good luck with your echo chamber.

Third, do your research when it comes to agents. Know what they read, check out their personal websites (many have one), and not just their agency page. If they have Twitter, look at what books they’re recommending. Same with other social media sites. Don’t query an agent who primarily sells romance novels with you’re sci-fi book. That’s stupid. Don’t be stupid. You’re a writer, for crying out loud.

Ultimately, I believe the reason I acquired representation was because my book had an intriguing opening that blossomed into a fine story with a satisfying ending. The opening only gets a foot in the door. Still have to sell them on the whole book.

That’s it. No real secret. Write well, edit well, do your homework. I didn’t bother going into writing a query letter. If you can’t write a letter to sell someone on a book you wrote, then you probably need to put in more time with your writing. That is to say, you’re not ready. But you will be if you do the work.

Cajun Mutt Press Featured Writer 10/18/19

A little poem I wrote one night after a trip.

Cajun Mutt Press

157141455082588880Big Girls Cry

She steals the souls of babies
cooing cherry blossom bouquets

“Thick as thieves” she shouts
an observation from an orbited loon
beamed back to her one-eyed mind

Molehill to molehill
she’s an eighteen-wheeler on a
convoy coast to coast
hauling iPads and iPhones

See her when she smiles?
That’s when she’s happy
See her when she frowns?
That’s when she’s sad
Every emotion oozes from
cracks of broken nostalgia

She melts in your mouth, baby

Beam her up, Scotty

Her pride is a force too big for this world
Daddy never loved her
Momma sniffs the green
grass on the other side
Now she can’t follow through
on a slow ball pitch

What’s that in your teeth, sister?
I chipped my piano keys on a D flat
No more music for me

I should’ve never gone to Vegas
Those marriages never last
No point of return
That’s…

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