Friday, October 21, 2011

Caleb J. Ross Wants to Write with the Intellectual Charm of a Mid-90s Family Sitcom.

This is a guest post by Caleb J Ross (also known as Caleb Ross, to people who hate Js) as part of his Stranger Will Tour for Strange blog tour. He will be guest-posting beginning with the release of his novel Stranger Will in March 2011 to the release of his second novel, I Didn’t Mean to Be Kevin and novella, As a Machine and Parts, in November 2011. If you have connections to a lit blog of any type, professional journal or personal site, please contact him. To be a groupie and follow this tour, subscribe to the Caleb J Ross blog RSS feed. Follow him on Twitter: Friend him on Facebook:

Does anyone else remember Steve Urkel’s personality changing machine? For those who don’t, here’s the ridiculously brilliant premise:

TV nerd poster child, Steve Urkel, is madly in love with neighbor girl named Laura. Despite, or perhaps because of, the strange absence of his own family (strange only to the audience; I don’t believe the show ever addressed the missing family directly) the neighbor family treated Steve as a pariah, often going out of their way to express hatred for the poor kid. Quite often, episode story-lines hinged on the family’s eventual, yet always temporary, acceptance of the outcasted child. But, when Steve steps into his personality changing machine, shifting from hunched geek to smooth chic (with an equally sexified name: Stefan Urquelle) the world suddenly makes time for him. Laura loves him. The family loves him. The simple lesson: looks are everything.

Does anyone else wonder why the government didn’t seize that machine immediately? No, you don’t. The machine integrated into the Family Matters world as a perfect figurative and literal storytelling device.

That’s the fiction I strive to write. Conceptually heavy, yet contextually believable. The entire show’s premise during those episodes depended on how this single awkward element transformed the entire Family Matters world. There is a magical realism feel to this situation, in that the weird element is weird only to the audience; the characters don’t consider anything strange at all (or they are willfully ignorant to the strangeness).

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Unrelated True Thoughts.

1) Salmon is a great food. If kittens were food, they would be salmon.

2) One of my favorite books of poetry is "Rose" by Li-Young Lee:

Out of the grave
my father's hair
bursts. A strand
pierces my left sole, shoots
up bone, past ribs,
to the broken heart it stiches,
then down,
swirling in the stomach, in the groin, and down,
through the right foot.

--Dreaming of Hair

3) Back to salmon-- this salmon is like falling apart on my fork.

4) I was riding my bike at the park. I was wearing a hood against the cold and thus my vision was restricted. A girl was walking too close to a goose that had its beak buried into its feathers, and it snapped at her. She danced away screaming. I witnessed this, and as I rode past, I was forced to turn my entire head to continue to monitor the amusing scene. Having turned my head so obviously in her direction, I felt compelled to speak. Laughing, I said, "Be careful." I said it in a way that I meant to sound fatherly but, in my own head, sounded somehow creepy and unwelcome. Though I could not see my own eyes I perceived them as being teary and slit. Possibly reddened. Was it creepy? No, No. I rode away. I don't speak to strangers often. I don't know why I did today. Perhaps I felt safe inside my hood.