Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I Like It When Pigs Fly

I'm in yet another blog slump. But on the good side of that I have been doing much better with my fiction writing.

I'm also in a blog reading slump. I apologize for that, but there simply never seems enough time to make the rounds these days.

I've recently read and critiqued a couple of manuscripts and short stories for writing friends. All good stuff which reminds me just how stiff the competition is for the few meager opportunities out there for we unknown writers.

I did survive the NFC conference game, but just barely. Several of you emailed to ask and as my beloved New Orleans Saints battle the Vikings I nearly had two strokes, one heart attack, and a brain aneurysm.

I, as a lifelong Saints fan have had lots of people tell me the Saints would NEVER make it to the big game. Apparently the play by play man for the Saints Radio has heard the same. I love the end of his call of the game wining kick. Give it a listen if you haven't heard it.

I admit it, that clip brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.

I, the guy who only a few short years ago swore of all organized religion, am in the process to become Catholic. It has been a long slow and reluctant religious journey for me, and one day I might share some of my thoughts over the years in regards to religion, but I feel with all of my heart that I have arrived where I need to be. Some who know me might suggest that along with the Saints going to the Super Bowl me finding religion is proof that the pigs have flown and that Satan is wrapped up in a Snuggie demanding Hitler to toss another log on the fire.

I feel optimistic about my writing career this year. More so than I probably have a right to given the fact I basically threw in the towel last year and wrote next to no new material. Nevertheless something, a hunch I suppose, tells me that my current project, a coming of age memoir of my days working at a feedstore for the world's most morally bankrupt man, will be the one to finally see publication. Why you ask? One I think it plays into my strengths as a story teller and two it is the one thing I've written that I'm almost afraid to let others read. I was but a naive and ignorant 16yo kid when I went to work at the feedstore and like most teenage boys I did lots of stupid stuff, had many an idiotic idea and thought and in order to tell the story right I will have to expose my own stupidity and confess things that I've previously shared with only a select few.
But as an agent once told me ... If you're writing is not strong enough to piss at least a few people off, then it's not strong enough to truly reach any one.

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Muse Is a French Prostitute

We writers spend a lot of time searching for our muse. Most muses are fickle, flighty, and fairyesque. By fairyesque I mean more myth than reality. Rare is the writer who has any tangible evidence his muse even exists though some us like to imagine what the creature might be like.

But I was fortunate to have a brush with mine last night even if I was too dense to recognize it as such at the time. Let me set the scene for you.

There I was up stairs in my writing office. I'd been happily writing away for several hours when suddenly an aroma began to tickle my nose. No not the aroma associated with consuming far too many Shiners the night before while celebrating the Saints victory. This aroma was decidedly sweet. Decidedly flowery. And decidedly feminine.

Yep, it smelled like cheap perfume.

The only female in the house was my wife and she was downstairs happily watching her collection of DVR'd Snapped episodes. And yes it is a bit disconcerting to have a wife who loves to watch a show about women that off their men in strange and horrific ways, but I've already blogged on that subject here if you missed it.

So back to me and the mysterious cheap perfume smell. As I said my wife was downstairs and besides that this assault on my olfactory senses smelled nothing like anything my wife has ever worn.

Finding it strange I typed up the following Facebook message before shrugging off the aroma and getting back to work writing.

I'm sitting in my office, happily writing away with the door shut and suddenly I smell women's perfume -- Cheap women's perfume. Is my office haunted by some deceased tart with poor olfactory taste?

Then this morning, I smelled the exact same smell again while Jennifer was getting ready for work.

I asked her what perfume she'd put and she replied with, "I haven't put any perfume on."
"Well do you smell that?"

Jennifer looked at me like I was crazy and said, "No, I smell nothing. Maybe you're muse wears flowery perfume."

Then lo and behold I check my email and see that Betsy Dornbusch AKA Sex Scenes at Starbucks has made the same comment on my original Facebook message.

I believe they are correct. It is my muse. I'm flattered that suddenly my muse think I am perfume-worthy and I can only hope that since she came around again this morning that my calling her a dead t art with poor taste did not offend her. Also I hope she looks something like Holly Madison does in this outfit.

Friday, January 15, 2010

If Only They Included The Fried Taters

Until recently this blog attracted one or two spam comments a week. Now all of a sudden I'm getting fifteen or twenty a day. I might could live with the influx of spam if we were actually talking about the ever-so-salty taste of the famed canned meat, but I'm sick of the Viagra peddlers and porn site operators targeting me and my readers. Don't they realize we are a virile bunch and do not need such unnatural stimulation? Anyway, for my sanity I am adding word verification. Hope this isn't too big of a pain for y'all.

I like the ingredient list: Pork, with Ham ... Isn't Ham pork?

Speaking of pains, let me share one of my biggest as a writer. I've had this same basic conversation somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 times in the last nine years. YES, that is how long I've been actively writing in the hopes of finding a home for one of my novels.

"Hey Travis, How's the writing going?" "It's going, Still plugging away. Selling a few short stories but still no takers for any of my novels." "How long you been at it now?"

Of course when I answer the inquisitive mind will shake their head and try to be supportive with something like this "Wow. That's a while but in this economy everyone is tight with their


"You know, my sister-in-law/aunt/cousin/stepdad's first wife/ whoever the hell they can come up with, wrote a book last year and the first place she sent it to published it."

How the hell do I answer that when 99.99% of the time these people self-published? Now I'm not writing this as a diatribe against self -publishing. If you have the money to pay for your book to be printed and the means to sell and market said book got for it. There are a handful of stories about people achieving their goals that way.

However, there are far more who realized self publishing did not help their writing career one iota. But people not in the book business do not realize their is a huge difference between having a reputable, royalty paying publisher actually invest their time and money to buy your book, and you forking over cash to a printer to turn your computer file into a book.

And yes, it makes my skin crawl when some well-meaning but ill-intention person says, "Maybe you should send your book to my
sister-in-law/aunt/cousin/stepdad's first wife's publishing company.

So tell me, What is you biggest pet peeve? Writing related or otherwise.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Cop Out

I am a huge fan of the famed, fables, and highly talented Erica Orloff. I loved her novel romance Freudian Slip, as well her YA series Magickeepers, but I first got to know Erica via the blogosphere and it was her daily blog that made me a fan. No one does as a good a job of tying in the events of everyday life and applying them to writing the way she does. Her blog never fails to make me stop and think.

Today I'm going to try and emulate her by comparing two of my passions -- Writing and football.

Most people who know me would describe me as a mild-mannered guy and truly I'm not all that excitable except perhaps when I open my burger at the fast food window to discover lettuce and tomatoes on my meal, or, while watching my favorite teams play football.

Yes, I confess I am a television screamer. I have been known to leap a coffee table in a single bound in order to be inches away from the television screen. I feel certain the players, coaches, and refs can hear me better of I am close enough for my angry spittle to land on their faces.

And given my 4 years of experience as a high school ref here in Texas I feel certain that my expertise is sufficient to criticize these people who have spent a lifetime reaching the pinnacle of their profession.

In other words I become an irrational idiot while watching my teams play.

And who are my teams? The Nebraska Cornhuskers when it comes to college football and the New Orleans Saints in the world of NFL ball. Who Dat!

Today I'm going to focus on the latter the New Orleans Saints.

I have been a Saints fan for years. Since the early eighties when I was old enough to start rooting for a particular team. I chose them because of family I had that once called New Orleans home. I have nothing but fond memories of visiting them and my great uncle Jack took great care of me when we visited and once I even got to see the Fonz inside the Superdome as part of a Mardi Gras celebration.Trust me to a seven year old kid in the late 70's that was the epitome of cool.

So I became a devoted Saints fan. A member of the Who Dat nation.

But sadly the Saints have never been an NFL power. Until this year.

More often than not, the boys in black and gold have broken my heart dashed my hopes. But root for them I did anyway. And here is an example of my fervor.

October of 1997 I am weeks away from my wedding and the Saints are playing a Sunday night game against the Bears. My soon to be wife and I have already purchased a home together but I'm the only one living there as out nuptials are still a few weeks away. It is a warm Indian Summer kind of evening. Friends are over to watch the game with me and I attempt to cook them burgers on my miniature George Foreman grill, but I end up burning the meat and filing the house with smoke which means we have to open ALL the windows to breathe.

The game is somewhat boring but the Saints carry a lead late into the 4th quarter thanks to their defense. Then Chicago scores a long touchdown to go ahead with less than a minute to go. To add insult to my anger and disappointed the TV cameras focus in on the Bear player who scored while he dances, shows off and mugs for the home crowd.

The Saints offense has done nothing all night and now they have very little time to move the ball downfield and no timeouts. So I have no hope.

Pinned deep after the kickoff it looks bleak, but then the unthinkable happens. On almost the last play of the game the Saints complete an 80+ yard play to score. I jump up and screamed at the top of my lungs (cover your eyes if you want to maintain your image of me as a pure and virtuous gentleman) "Take that you dancing showboating son of a bitch! You can dance your happy house right back to the locker room cause WE (yeah I used we as if I had been blocking downfield for the receiver) just broke it off in your effin ass!"

I did my own little happy dance as the last ticks on the clock slipped away.

All but one of my friends got in their car and drove away as I set about finding a snack for my now ravenous gut. After all I'd burned the burgers so there hadn't been much to eat.

I never gave a thought to what my screams and shouts must have sounded like to my new neighbors. I was caught up in the euphoria of the Saints victory as well as my hunger. I found a loaf of banana nut bread my grandmother had made, cut of a few slices for my friend, poured us two glasses of milk to wash it down and returned to the living room.

But then I heard my dog growling from outside. I sat my snack down and opened the front door. Only to find a county sheriff's deputy with a can of pepper spray poised at the ready to squirt my Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Rosie.

"Can I help you?" I asked.
"Can you call your dog off?" The officer asked never taking his eyes of her exposed teeth.

"Rosie come." I patted my leg and she trotted to my side.
"You mind locking her up?" The deputy asked.

I opened the front door and let Rosie in.

The deputy then proceeded to tell me that a neighbor had called dispatch and reported a domestic disturbance in progress. They claimed I was new in the neighborhood and I was in the act of beating my wife. Being a bit slow I still had not connected the dots that my earlier screaming had prompted the visit.

I explained that I was not even married, but was to be in a few weeks. However my fiance was at work and had not been to the house all day. The deputy asked if he could take a look around and with nothing to hide I invited him in. He checked the rooms and even opened a few closets before asking if my and my lone friend that had stayed had been fighting. We both answered no, but then it hit me so I said, "We were watching football and I got excited when the Saints came back and won. I did yell pretty loud."

"What did you yell?" the officer asked.

I explained and he grinned. "Yeah that would sound kind of bad to someone down the road." Still grinning he pointed at the banana nut bread and glass of milk I had yet had a chance to eat. "You guys enjoy your snack but do me a favor, next time the Saints play close your windows."

So what in the world does this have to do with writing you ask?

Not much. Oh I could draw some kind of weak analogy between the disappointment of being a lifelong Saints fan and a writer trying to sell a manuscript, but I couldn't do half the job Erica does on a daily basis. Her comparisons actually make sense and are always timely and well thought out. Besides having rambled on long enough already, I just wanted to give Erica a shout out and a plug for her books because she really is that talented.

Go check her out now.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Buckets, Hobos, Lesbians, and Nosepicker Boots ... Oh My

Time for another random spilling of the the flotsam and jetsam littering the surf of my brain. Here are the things that floated to the top.

Bucket List

This term has been used a lot since the movie and like everyone else I have my list of things I'd like to experience before I kick the bucket, but you might be surprised to hear having one of my novels published is not one of them. Don't get me wrong, I want to be a published novelist so bad I'd eat my weight in lettuce to make it happen, but way I see it a bucket list is something you want to do once. I want to write for the rest of my life and I will do so even if no one ever decides my stories are worth paying for. No being an author is one of my major life goals. it is not something to scratch off of a list.

Would you rather ...

My 7 year old son, Z, has become enamored with the game Would you rather. If you are not familiar you ask a question of two scary, gross or otherwise horrifying scenarios to see which they would choose in a matter of life or death. It's funny to hear the things that he thinks are horrible.
Z's ultimate horror seems to be going shopping to TJ Maxx with his mother which has supplanted licking peanut butter from a hobo's foot as the worse thing that can happen to a kid.


I understand having an undeniable attraction to women. Really I do, but what confuses me are lesbians that are attracted to women that for all the world look exactly like men. Granted I realize that beneath the trucker hat, she-mullet, or wallet chain laden jeans the object of their affection is equipped differently than a man but I still don't get it. Especially when the world is full of beautiful, feminine lesbians.

Google Keywords

By percentage of people that come to my blog via a google search in the last week, here was what they were looking for

drill down
19.05%travis erwin
drill down
7.14%travis erwin blog
drill down
4.76%making maggots
drill down
4.76%meaty christmas
drill down
2.38%pissing on his
drill down
drill down
2.38%you haters say saint nick ain't real. so tonight i'm going to take photographs of santa while he's havin his midnight meal.
drill down
2.38%do you think pink underwear is hot on guys
drill down
2.38%travis you blog
drill down
2.38%one word a day
drill down
2.38%have a very meaty christmas
drill down
2.38%ken goddard .lit
drill down
2.38%cessie nobody owens
drill down
2.38%my girlfriend knows everything
drill down
2.38%high heel nosepicker boots for women
drill down
2.38%one word a day blog
drill down
2.38%mallrats handshake butt
drill down
2.38%i am the fattest girl in our office and the boss loves fat girls so he said to me one day can i give you a lift home so i went and he
drill down
2.38%travis post
drill down
2.38%one word of appreciation
drill down
2.38%man vs food burger from hell
drill down
2.38%travis victory or death letter
drill down
2.38%travis irwin one rung at a time
drill down
2.38%calvin and hobbs rednecks
drill down
2.38%pink underwear blogspot
drill down
2.38%why william barret travis went to war with santa anna
drill down
2.38%quote by cynthia ann parker
drill down
2.38%travis irwin blog
drill down
2.38%meaning of stink palm

I don't know about y'all but now I'm curious exactly what happened to that fat girl, as well as the age old question, Do you think pink underwear is hot on guys?