Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Why I Don't Write Daily

They say:

In almost every interview with an author I've read they’re asked, “How many words do you write per day?” 

Stephen King claims to write somewhere around 6,000 words a day. 

Dedication is a great attribute. 

The problem with writing each day, however, is newer wordsmiths’ forgot about the world around them. They want to be like top earners, so they act as such, sitting at the keyboard all the time. People are forgetting to live without a screen or pen. 

Before Stephen King made it big he worked a normal job, and went out into the world discovering life. If you have an hour to kill, here's him talking about it with George RR Martin.

Today, authors use Google to see what trees look like. I'd rather touch the leaves and smell the maple sap for myself.

Writing is sincere when the author lived part of the story.

Ernest Hemingway, for example, wrote conversations he'd hear in public. Then he’d mold a story from the experience.

I'm not suggesting you murder someone to research serial killers. Probably. It's just counterproductive to write a letter to an inmate rather than trek over and meet the person behind the mayhem. Truman Capote, In Cold Blood. Anyone?

This idea is nothing new. Going outside is how Ralph Waldo Emerson came up with “Song of Nature” and many other masterpieces.  

Before I started writing Diaries of Karma, I talked to military personnel who had taken lives and read dozens of books on professional killers to understand my assassin. I minored in psychology to create my psychologist. I worked as a temp at a marketing agency for a year and went to business school for two years to mold out my ad agent. My narrator is a dead poet who lived by karma, so I met with people who believed in spirits and listened to their stories with an open mind. Plus, I researched all topics above for years before writing chapter one. The book isn’t published yet. But when people read it, they’ll definitely feel like my characters are real.

During my researching days, I didn't write much at all.

Why turn my passion into some mundane daily habit? People get bored of and quit habits. Habit writing may even cause writer's block, which could be why I've never struggled with it.

Say you forced yourself to write 600 words a day, but didn't leave the house except to go to work. 


You can't remember anything that happened, except while you ate a peanut butter and jelly on rye you saw pigeons surround what appeared to be a rat carcass. 

You wrote what you witnessed, but the result of your work felt flat. This is the point where I recommend stop writing and take up a hobby. 

Play tennis. After a few months, write a screenplay about a tennis player who falls in love with his coach. Add the pigeon/rat prompt and you'll be a writing machine.

I wrote a 52k word romance novel in two weeks using life lessons, outlines, and scribbled prompts. For those two weeks, I didn't leave the house, but I spent six months doing stuff.

Currently, I'm in Japan. A main character from a five-part fantasy saga I've got outlined happens to be Japanese. It's no coincidence.
(From the shrine in Kobe)

So, before you write your next sentence, I hope you will go outside and experience something new.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bald is Bold

For almost nine years, I've lived in Japan. And, yeah, there's a nationwide consensus in Japan that you call bald people skinhead because in katakana their word for bald is スキンヘッド pronounced su kin he do. They actually adopted the term from the Brits, who are the only English speaking individuals, to my knowledge, who continue to use the derogatory word to describe a bald person. That said, Prince William and Jason Statham probably call themselves skinheads.


Katakana is a version of English Japanese use to avoid actually speaking English, and someone decided for all of them that bald people are called skinheads regardless of how horrible and offensive the term is. So, Japanese people believe all English speakers, rather than just Brits, call bald people skinheads. 

They have other terms, but this is the agreed upon one everyone uses.

A few times, I've told Japanese friends, "Just say bald."

"That's offensive," for some reason, they believe. 

"No," I would argue as someone bald and Jewish. "Calling someone a nazi white supremacist is offensive." 

It's so difficult to explain 
this is a skinhead:


This is a bald guy:


These are thirty-minute conversations that often still go misunderstood. The listener's mind is blown, and they still say "su kin he do," in Japanese like it's not offensive. 

Plus, there’s a stigma that comes with bald men: We all have low self-esteems about it.


Last Friday I was drinking with some bar buds, and they made cracks, "You're bald," "You’d be better with women if you had hair," et cetera.

Gave 'em this kind of gaze:

My friends cackled as if they had me there or something. 
No worries. It’s what guys do in groups for good fun. 

Point is, however, to make jabs at me my pals decided to go after something I genuinely don’t care about; because they have this misconception that all bald guys hate not having hair. For me, it’s quite the opposite.

My journey started when I was twenty-six years old. I had complained to my brother about character defects of mine and added, “What’s next, I start losing my hair?”

I laughed. My brother didn’t join. Instead, he dramatically touched my shoulder, “Actually your hair is thinning in the back.”

Big bro acted as if he’d just told me I had a fatal disease.

First, I denied it was happening at all. Then more people made comments about my hair loss. For example, I saw a guy with a Mohawk and said to a friend, “I could grow one of those. Give myself a cool new image.”

“Not with what you’ve got going in the back,” he replied. “You should shave it off,” was his unsolicited advice.

I ignored him, thought he was just picking on me. No way I was losing my sacred hair. 


When I was seventeen, my hair touched my shoulder blades and still would if I wanted it to do so. 

(Late '90s)

I got it cut short at twenty to look more professional. 

(early 2000s)

But I wore newsboy caps all the time and walked around in the rain without an umbrella. Plus, I smoked for fifteen years.

To my knowledge, there’s no scientific proof that any of the factors cause baldness, but there's far and wide speculation. Anyway, I took my hair for granted and started to pay the price without realizing what was going on.


When I noticed, perhaps a little . . . tiny . . . minor . . . miniscule bit of thinning, I tried to save my hair, pleading for tips from family and friends on how to keep my precious where it was. 


My hair was so rad, others would ask for treatment tips. 

Reflecting, it was actually too pretty for a guy as manly as myself.


Nonetheless, I tried to save my waves in demanding from my doctor hair treatment prescriptions.

Then, I spent hundreds of dollars for two years on baldness prevention products. 

Still, I denied that my hair was actually thinning.

(Early 2013: smoking a Cuban in Costa Rica)

At 30, I got a terrible haircut and yelled at the stylist who mutilated me because he went shorter than I'd ever had it. But I still paid and tipped out of guilt for my attitude. I was truly upset because that was the first time I saw for myself what was happening to me.

(Late 2013)

January 19, 2014, I turned 31 and went clothes shopping. There I was, in the changing room, with mirrors on all three walls, and finally got a good look at the back of my head. Indeed, I had begun to form what’s known as a balding crown. And I was much like the Naked King, because it was obvious to everyone except me.

So I went to the nearest clipper joint. 

My intention was to get my hair short enough so to make the thinning appear unnoticeable. 

Only, no matter how short the poor lady trimmed my dead cells, it was clear I was still losing stuff up top. 

Told her, “Shave it all off.”
Never seen someone so terrified. “Are you sure, sir?”
“It’ll grow back if I don’t like bald, right?”
“Um, I think so,” she replied not so reassuringly.
“It’s only hair. Do it.”

You know what, my head’s never looked so good. I was meant to be bald. It’s now difficult to wear newsboy caps, for which I once never went without, because I enjoy showing off what I’ve got.



Yet, for some reason people think it’s negative that I don’t have a head of flourishing hair. If I wear a hat, friends of mine assume it’s because I want to hide the fact that I’m bald. Most notably, someone asked, “Did you wear that cap the other day because you’re embarrassed about, you know, being bald?”

“No, it’s because I’m freaking cold up there sometimes.”

My brother made a wish—he’d trade hairstyles if it were possible because he views baldness as a problem.

“But, I love being bald.”

Shaving's also fun now. I went all out and bought a special badger brush and a Heavy Duty Double Bladed Safety Razor for guys like me who are serious about what they use to shave.

These days, instead of people asking me how I got my hair to look so good, they say, “Bald looks amazing on you.”

Plus, there are studies that say men lose their hair because they have tons of testosterone, which leads to longevity during intercourse. Meaning statistically, as a bald man, I last longer in the sack than your average guy with radiant hair. 

Sorry, folks, but what’s there to have a low self-esteem about in this case?

Want to talk about how women feel about bald men, as my friends did the other day? 

Survey says women generally find bald guys attractive. 


Talking the Mister Clean style shave, not Crown and Glory. 

Word on the street is a lack of confidence is a turnoff, not a cleanly shaven head.

There’s a lot about my looks I’d change if possible. 

Being bald isn’t one of them. 

Personally, I’m stoked to be in the same club as bros like 
Patrick Stewart

Vin Diesel
Bruce Willis
Jason Statham , and basically the entire male cast of Breaking Bad

 To top it off, one of my greatest mentors happens to be bald. For this reason, I correlate baldness as a positive trait.

Future reference to my bar buds, et al., if you’re going to tease me about something, bald-bashing is only confusing—as there’s nothing wrong with having a shaved style. 

Just don't call me a freaking skinhead.

Remember to remember,
BAM's Readers

Saturday, July 2, 2016


Here's a list of authors who have inspired me. Which ones draw your attention?

Maya Angelou

Her memoirs

Richard Bach

Illusions: Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Elizabeth Cary The Lady Falkland

The Tragedy of Mariam

Bryce Courtenay

The Power of One

Emily Dickinson


William Golding

Lord of the Flies

Joseph Heller


Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird

George RR Martin

A Song of Ice and Fire series

Edgar Allan Poe

All of his works and we share the same birthday.

William Freakin’ Shakespeare

Need I repeat, William Freakin’ Shakespeare? Side note, Elizabeth Cary inspired him.

R.L. Stine

Goosebumps were the first books I read.

Jonathan Swift

A Modest Proposal

J. R. R. Tolkien

The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings

Sun Tzu

The Art of War

Unknown Author (Beowulf)

Although seeing the films, I’d never read the books. Then I stumbled upon it when my English professor at the University of Houston, John McNamara, who translated the novel made the book a required reading. Now it’s one of my favorite tales.

John Updike

The Lottery

Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse-Five. Honestly, I only kind of liked the book. The main character’s craziness is what appeals to me. There’s no narrator like him.

Alice Walker

The Color Purple

Edward Lewis Wallant

The Pawnbroker

Margery Williams

The Velveteen Rabbit. Inspired my first story: The Golden Bunny.