Kyou Oso

So I wrote something... again.

The human mind is an interesting thing.  I'm really into it, as far as breaking it down and understanding what makes it tick.  I love knowing how all the little gears spin, and what opens and closes the doors inside my head.  For instance, one of the tricks I learned a long time ago, is that on most occasions the brain balks at complete freedom of choice.  See, the brain is ultimately a problem solving tool and a decision maker, thus it requires a problem or decision before it can slip into gear.  To illustrate that point, if you handed someone paper and pencil and tell them to draw, they stall. 

"Draw what?" they'll ask.

The engine is running, the pistons are pumping, but the clutch is engaged, so they're not going anywhere.  Facing a  blank slate of possibility, there is no decision to be made, no problem to be solved, the brain cries out for input and waits.  Few people can put the pencil to paper with the only instruction being to draw.  But if you want someone to draw a house, or a cat, or a bowl of fruit, the clutch releases and now the brain has a problem to solve, decisions to make.  How big is the house, what color is the cat, how many bananas in a bunch?  Questions are instantly asked and answered by the brain as it begins cogitating around the idea of what it is supposed to draw, and then attempts to bring those answers to bear on the paper.

I often get the feeling that the brain functioning like this is something like an internal wikipedia.  See, when I think house, it doesn't just mean house.  There's a link to walls, there's a link to a roof, there's a link to basements and second stories, to windows and curtains, to fireplaces and chimneys, yards and gates, driveways and streets, suburbs and cities, addresses and zip codes, and on and on.  There's the idea of the house, but you can't fully understand what that represents, without understanding everything that's collectively associated with that thing, and associated with those things as well, and on and on.  The cognitive functions of the brain are like massive spider webs of neuron connections, tracing routes that are unique to your experiences, constantly flowing down these pathways, making new links all the time.  The brain abhors a blank slate as it were.  It wants to connect things, like electricity, it wants to flow down a path of least resistance, and put ideas into pre-established channels. 

It can easily forge new pathways if it has to, but predominantly, it simply wants to use the ones already established if it can.  Many optical illusions and tricks of the mind play on this fact.  They prey on the fact that your brain will most often follow a preset path when presented with a certain set of circumstances, and amaze you by simply altering a small but insignificant detail that changes the entire experience.  That newness, and sense of amazement is your brain trying to run down its same pathways, and finding them lacking a significant connection to explain what it is attempting to comprehend.  But the brain is stimulated, it's excited, it has a problem to solve, and connections to establish to explain away this enigma that it has been presented.

But when you have no illusion, no trick, just an empty piece of paper to fill.  The brain is frustrated.  It has no synapses to fire, no neuron pathways to follow.  It waits patiently for input.

"Draw what?" it asks.

Complete freedom of choice in the thought process above is like looking at a blank web page, with only a search box sitting there in the middle, cursor blinking steadily in your face.  There are no ideas there.  No explanations of things with associated links to click.  Just an empty space, waiting for you.  Blink.  Blink.  Blink.

One of the most frustrating experiences a writer can have, is staring at that blank page, with only the intention to write.  No idea what to write, just that writing needs to be done, and it isn't getting done.  The trick you hear about is to just start writing, about anything, and sooner or later you'll get passed it. Honestly, I've had a hard time doing that, so the trick I've learned, is about restrictions.  If you stare at the page, with no idea what you want to put down, clutch engaged.  But if I say, "I'm going to write about cars", we're off, and I'm thinking about makes, models, colors, tires, body kits, engines, transmissions, et al.

I remember in one of my old college creative writing classes, we had a freeform assignment due, and my partner could not get past the first sentence.  Complete writer's block.  After a day of this he told me what he was going through.

I asked him if he could write me a couple of paragraphs, and picking ideas randomly, I said it should be about a man in a park, coping with the loss of his wife, while feeding birds.  He looked at me weird, and asked why he would write something like that.  But I asked him if he could see the story, the details, and he said he could probably come up with some.  So I started to ask more questions.

I asked how old the man was.  He said older, 60 something.

I asked what kind of trees were in the park, and he said giant maple trees, with lots of shade around them, but bright and sunny outside of the reach of their branches.

I asked him where he was sitting, and he said on a bench, under a one of those trees, in the shade, with pigeons around him, but the pigeons were in the sunlight.

I told my friend he didn't have writer's block.  He just needed an idea.  An idea that his brain could latch onto and begin questioning itself about the details.  That what was stopping him was simply that he had so many choices on what to write for his project, that he couldn't cope with that complete freedom, and he was simply stuck in nowhere trying to find a way out.  To fix it, he just needed to settle down on an idea, an object, something, and then once his brain had latched on to it, extrapolate.  Explore the connected pathways that are associated with that idea, and from there you can begin. Those connections are really the key towards building a story, towards painting a picture, towards writing a poem.

The key to creating something... from nothing.

If you find yourself having trouble coming up with something to write, or draw, or create.  Do what I do, and find a random word generator, and get six words, and start thinking of what they mean, and how they could relate to each other, and go from there.  Words like:

Kyou Oso

I wrote a short story

A friend of mine hangs out with a gathering of aspiring local writers, and every month they put on a show called So Say We All, where they select a topic, and each of them comes up with a short story relating to that topic, and they go in turns getting 5 minutes to tell their story to the audience. There's judges and stuff and at the end of the night they crown a winner. Additionally, there's a hat. And you can put your name in the hat if you want, and if you're picked, you get the opportunity to come up and use the mic and tell an on topic story for five minutes just like them. Basically there's five rules.

5 - You get five minutes to tell your story.
4 - They got to be FOR Real. The stories have to have happened in real life. Doesn't have to have happened to you, could be someone you know etc, but they have to be non-fiction.
3 - There are 3 judges, they score each story 1-10, based on theme - presentation - and time.
2 - You have to tell the story TO the audience. You can't stare at the microphone, or off into space, etc.
1 - There is only one winner.

Anyways, I've been wanting to actually go to the show, but stuff keeps getting in the way. This month's topic was 'Caught in the Act' - Stories about pants-down, red-handed, nailed to the wall, dead-to-rights guilt or some such. And unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to make it to the next So Say We All again. I wanted to watch my friend Schmidty turn out another amazing performance, he's a reigning champ 2 months in a row now. Even more sad for me though, is that I was going to put my name in the hat if I did get a chance to go. And now I can't, but here's the story I would've planned to tell if I did get chosen this month.


Now, I'm not what you would call, a natural story teller. I have a hard time just telling a story in a manner that flows like a book. Where you're walking down a literature lined path that has a beginning, a middle, and an end, all laid out in good fashion. No, when I tell my stories, they are eclectic, full of divergences and analogies. You might say that the stories you've heard from these other people, could be like guided missiles, where they launch, follow a set path, and explode in a dramatic conclusion. Well if you could say that, then I would say that my stories are the equivalent of carpet bombing. Just clusters of ideas flung out everywhere, obliterating entire sections of your mind, blowing your capacity for reasoning and understanding back to the stone age.

You see, I tend meander from point to point, in a rapidfire succession sort of way. I mean, there's always a logical link or series of links to follow, but often times my listeners are just passengers on my bullet train of thought. Whizzing so fast through the landscape of my mind, that you can't really pay attention to the scenery, you can only focus on the embarkation point, and the final destination, and wonder how the hell you got from one place to the other. For instance, the time I was telling my friends that I love york peppermint patties, and in the next breath I'm saying 'You know, I like drinking coffee, because it makes my pee smell like Columbia."

For those of you who missed the stops along the way there, and I see most of you have, it goes like this: York Peppermint Patties, Yum! -> They're like mint chocolate chip icecream in a convenient package -> mint chocolate chip ice cream is awesome -> but my favorite flavor of Ice Cream is Coffee -> But Coffee flavored Ice Cream is nothing like real Coffee -> I can't stand real coffee without a ton of sugar and cream to sweeten it -> But I can't drink too much coffee cause it'll makes my pee smell like coffee -> Actually, I like the smell of coffee -> Coffee comes from Columbia -> Columbia must smell like Coffee -> I like drinking coffee cause it makes my pee smell like Columbia.

And for the record, I don't actually know if the entire country of Columbia smells like coffee. But in my mind it does, and as we've just established, my mind is a terrifyingly strange place.

But I digress, like I was saying, I'm a random fellow, and I'm hard to follow. I'm like a boxer of story telling. I bob and weave from here and there, and you try to follow along, having a time doing so, and you just when you think you've got my rhythym and can see where I'm headed, BAM! Punchline. You're floored. The ref's counting you out, and you have no idea what happened, and you're just trying to get your brain off the mat and make sense of everything.

If you haven't noticed by now, I'm pretty fond of evocative imagery and concepts. Missile explosions and carpet bombings. Bullet trains and scenery whizzing around the mountains of Columbia. The sweet smell of coffee, the crisp taste of mint... the pungent aroma of urine. From the looks on your faces, I can see some of you just suddenly imagined the taste of urine. See, the brain's kind of weird like that. If you hear something, with images, smells, and tastes, your brain gets into it. It starts bringing up your memories from the past, and linking them, forming neuron connections, putting everything into perspective to better understand and remember what you're hearing. If you start going through a list of smells and tastes, the brain follows along, and then you slide in an unpleasant idea, and it's too late to stop it, your brains in association mode, and Bam... Emeril's taking it up a notch and you're stuck with urine in your mouth. Now, the really funny thing is that sooner or later in the future, someone's going to quote an Emeril Bam for some reason, and you're going to be standing there with a bad taste in your mouth and not know why. It's just your subconscious... screwing with you. Tracing back these neuron connections that I'm making for you right now.

But it's these connections that make story telling possible really. It's shared or similar experiences that allow me to relate to you a string of words and sounds, and allow you to put them together and come to a shared understanding of an idea or a concept that I'm illustrating for you.

For instance, Ernest Hemingway once had a challenge to write a complete story in just six words. Six words. That's a pretty impressive feat, you gotta admit. Those have got to be some pretty big and impressive words to convey an entire story, right?

Not really. The story he wrote was six very simple words. "For sale: Baby Shoes. Never worn."

To me, that's some powerful stuff. But I've been around for a while, and I've read, seen, and heard a lot of things in my life. The images and associations I can come up with for those words, bring up a vast and varied array of contexts. I can see a hundred different stories in those words. I can see that simple story as a comedy. As a drama. As a mystery. I can see it as a tale of suspense, or even a Horror story. All from six simple words, and a huge web of associated ideas and experiences in my head. But if you tell that story to a child, they won't even get a fraction of the same meanings and depths that I do. The kid's just like 'Were they Nikes?'

But that's what story telling is I guess, it's the ability to put together a series of words, words that you can use to paint evocative pictures in your audience's head. But as a story teller, you have to hope that your audience has the color of paint that matches the brush that your using. And so, as my time nears an end, I can only hope that your minds have the right mental paint needed for the picture I'm about to show you. I present, to you my six word story:

Jesus Mom! Don't you ever knock!
Kyou Oso [Neg]

The Awesome Life

Awesome's tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.

Awesome built a time machine and went back in time to stop the JFK assassination. As Oswald shot, Awesome met all three bullets with his fist, deflecting them. JFK's head exploded out of sheer amazement.

Awesome recently had the idea to sell his urine as a canned beverage. You know this beverage as Red Bull.

Rather than being birthed like a normal child, Awesome instead decided to punch his way out of his mother's womb. Shortly thereafter, he then named himself Awesome.

Awesome lives by only one rule: He rules.

Takeru Kobayashi ate 50 and a half hotdogs in 12 minutes. Awesome ate 12 asian babies in 50 and a half minutes. Awesome won.

The original theme song to the Transformers was actually "Awesome--more than meets the eye, Awesome--robot in disguise," and starred Awesome as a Texas Ranger who defended the earth from drug-dealing Decepticons and could turn into a pick-up. This was far too much Awesome for a single show, however, so it was divided, and Chuck Norris was hired to play Awesome.

Awesome was the fourth Wiseman. He brought baby Jesus the halo of "Awesome". Jesus wore it proudly to his dying day. The other Wisemen, jealous of Jesus's obvious gift favoritism, used their combined influence to have Awesome omitted from the Bible. Shortly after all three died of roundhouse kicks to the face related deaths.

A stranger once asked Awesome "How much wood a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" Awesome then shouted, "HOW DARE YOU RHYME IN THE PRESENCE OF AWESOME!" and ripped out the stranger's throat. Holding the bloody throat in his hand Awesome bellowed, "You suck you #$%@!" Two years and five months later he realized the irony of this statement and laughed so hard that anyone within a hundred mile radius of the blast went deaf.

To prove it isn't that big of a deal to beat cancer. Awesome once smoked 15 cartons of cigarettes a day for 2 years and aquired 7 different kinds of cancer only to rid them from his body by flexing for 30 minutes. Beat that, Lance Armstrong.

Awesome once shot a German plane down with his finger, by yelling, "Bang!"

Awesome frequently signs up for beginner karate classes, just so he can "accidentally" beat the $!@% out of little kids.

When Awesome's mom burned the turkey one Thanksgiving, Chuck said, "Don't worry about it mom," and went into the backyard. He came back five minutes later with a live turkey, ate it whole, and when he threw it up a few seconds later it was fully cooked and came with cranberry sauce. When his mom asked him how he had done it, he gave her a roundhouse kick to the face and said, "Never question Awesome."

Awesome takes everyone's virginity, and he will sure as hell take yours. If you're thinking to yourself, "That's impossible, I already lost my virginity.", then you are dead wrong.

Awesome can make a woman climax by simply pointing at her and saying "booya".

When Awesome plays Oregon Trail his family does not die from cholera or dysentery, but rather roundhouse kicks to the face. He also requires no wagon, since he carries the oxen, axels, and buffalo meat on his back. He always makes it to Oregon before you.

Awesome sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and unparalleled martial arts ability. Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Awesome roundhouse kicked the devil in the face and took his soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony, couldn't stay mad and admitted he should have seen it coming. They now play poker every second Wednesday of the month.

In one episode of Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Awesome replaced Carlton for one scene and nobody noticed.

Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet, until Awesome roundhouse kicked her into a glacier.

Awesome does not sleep. He waits.

Awesome punched a woman in the !@!@!@ when she didn't give him exact change.

Awesome found out about Conan O'Brien's lever that shows clips from "Awesome's Life" and is working on a way to make it show clips of Awesome having sex with Conan's wife.

Awesome once tried to sue Burger King after they refused to put razor wire in his Whopper Jr., insisting that that actually is "his" way.

Awesome has every copy of National Geographic in his basement. He also has the ability to lift every single one of them at once.

Awesome once went to a frat party, and proceeded to roundhouse every popped collar in sight. He then drank three kegs and $!@% on their floor, just because he's Awesome.

Awesome ruins the endings of Harry Potter books for children who just bought one for the hell of it. When they start crying Awesome calmly says, "I'll give you something to cry about," and roundhouse kicks them in the face.

If you can see Awesome, he can see you. If you can't see Awesome you may be only seconds away from death.

The chief export of Awesome is pain.

Those aren't credits that roll after the end of movies, they are actually lists of people that Awesome round house kicked in the face that day.

If you unscramble the letters in "Awesome" you get "Same Woe" That is why every fall, Awesome travels to Nebraska and burns the entire state down.

It takes three licks to get to the center of Awesome.

Awesome once became a herald of Galactus to save his home world

When Awesome finds a coin on the ground, he punches a nun. Awesome rarely finds coins, and yet has punched more nuns than can easily be counted. Go figure.

The seventh and last Harry Potter book will be called Awesome and Harry Potter. JK Rowlings at first tried to convince him not to break the continuity and call it Harry Potter and Awesome, or perhaps Harry Potter and the Awesome, but Awesome said he "didnt want none of that shit". Hermione dies at the hands of Awesome at the beginning of the book, and much of the rest is spent celebrating at Hogwarts with him.

I don't know what all those Indians were bitching was Awesome's land anyway.

Awesome once walked down the street with a massive erection. There were no survivors.

There is no theory of evolution, just a list of creatures Awesome allows to live.

When Awesome goes to donate blood, he declines the syringe, and instead requests a hand gun and a bucket

In an average living room there are 1,242 objects Awesome could use to kill you, including the room itself.

Awesome is the only man to ever defeat a brick wall in a game of tennis

Awesome once beat Super Mario Bros 3 without even touching his Nintendo controller. He just yelled at his TV in between bites of his "Filet of Child" sandwich, and the game beat itself out of fear

Awesome is the reason why Waldo is hiding.

Awesome has two speeds: walk and kill.

When Awesome jumps into a body of water, he doesn't get wet. The water gets Awesome instead.

Awesome can set ants on fire with a magnifying glass. AT NIGHT!

Awesome was the hunter who shot Bambi's Mother. He then wore her carcass like it was a coat while he made his rounds at the local children's hospital.

Awesome played Russian Roulete with a fully loaded gun and won.

It takes 14 puppeteers to make Awesome smile, but only 2 to make him destroy an orphanage.

Awesome is not lactose intolerant, he just refuses to put up with lactose's shit.

On his birthday, Awesome randomly selects one lucky child to be thrown into the sun.

When Awesome runs with scissors, other people get hurt.

Awesome can divide by zero.

Awesome is to powerful to be cut by an LJ-Cut tag.