I miss Kung Fu

I’ve had knee surgery recently, if you’re not in the loop, and I really can’t do anything for a few months — I miss my martial arts BADLY, especially Xingyiquan (Form of the Mind Fist), probably my favorite martial art.

Here is my kung fu big-brother David doing one of my favorite Xingyiquan forms, Ba Zi Gong Lian Huan (8 Word Skills Linking Form — a combination of all of the “Word Skills”, each skill being based on one word/theory/character in Chinese)

He’s a little too relaxed here in my opinion, just cruising. He is missing the INTENTION that must be present in Xingyiquan — literally “the eye of the tiger”: when you look at your target, you think you must kill this person, that your fist must go through him.



Did Robert Johnson Really Sell His Soul to the Devil?

Straight from BoingBoing and PBS, a new RadioLab Episode discussing the truth or fiction behind the famous legend that blues great Robert Johnson got so good by selling his soul to the devil.


BTW, per Robert Lockwood, Jr. (essentially Robert Johnson’s stepson) and Honeyboy Edwards (who was at the party the night Robert Johnson was poisoned through to the day he died), Johnson never mentioned selling his soul to the devil.

FYI, I have an autographed 10-string signed by both of these guys; that’s as close as I can ever get to having an autograph by Robert Johnson himself.

Teddy Bears and Tea Parties Review

Just ran into this one:
http://soireb.blogspot.com/2012/01/teddy-bears-and-tea-parties-spoilers.html (spoilers in the review, warning!)

My favorite (non spoilery) quote from the review is this:
“I’m hoping that the author publishes a sequel or at least another book set in the same universe to try to get a better sense of world itself.”

Well, if they want to read another story in that universe, they must have liked it a little, right? That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

ON WRITING: Killing Your Cousin Darrell – A How-To Manual

I am currently in the process of making some revisions to the East Texas novel. The changes that were suggested to me are all pretty good, and I think I can handle them, but I’m doing one other major edit that wasn’t asked for:

I’m killing Cousin Darrell.

Okay, so I’m not killing him, really — he’s already dead by the end of the novel.

One of the edits I know is a problem, but I don’t know how to fix it. A couple of them I’m not sure really are problems The other’s are fair enough, but will require some hard work. And then there is an edit that I want to make that she never mentioned — removing “Cousin Darrell” from the novel. Instead, I am causing him to cease-to-be. I am 7-up, the Unmaker.

For background, Cousin Darrell is a relatively minor secondary character that somehow manages to appear in or affect almost every scene in the book. He is so annoying, and such a fifth wheel that I killed him in the novel — and, even in dying, he managed to stomp all over the death scene of a much more important character.

He is so extraneous and such a pain that he is even causing me headaches in the sequel, AND HE’S ALREADY DEAD.

For my own sanity, I have chosen to do the only thing that makes sense to me. But this is not easy — as I said, he is in or mentioned in almost every scene.

Currently I am on page 160 of 450 in removing Cousin Darrell from existence.

Please, if you have any Cousin Darrells in your own book, destroy them now! Don’t wait until after the book is sitting at agents!