Friday, May 30, 2014

Why Writing ?

A lot of people know me as a biologist, but not as a writer. I'm going to tell a little history about me and my writing.

  1. I've got a vivid imagination and anyone who knows me well, knows I talk to myself.
  2. I can create stories and stuff for multiple persona's pretty easily.
  3. I wanted to get my PhD in Plant Physiology and teach at the college level.
  4. My first acclaimed story was in the eighth grade using Get Smart characters in a Roman setting.
Let me go on and talk about number 3 above and this will give an insight into my writing. Before I graduated college, I took the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), which is put out by the same people that do the SAT, only this compares your knowledge to other college graduates, not high school graduates. I signed up to take the standard test and the specialty test for biologists. You need to have the test results to apply to graduate school. I also had five letters of recommendation from five of my biology professors, including my plant phys. prof that wrote a 6 page typed letter of recommendation that was just awesome. 

GRE results: I considered myself a pretty darn good student of biology, and I still do, but...my results of the GRE were just average, which isn't really bad since I was being compared to other college graduates, but for graduate school, perhaps not enough. But another score from the GRE shocked me:



I scored within the top 4% in Reading Comprehension and in the top 6% in Verbal Reasoning. WOW. This is comparing all college graduates that took the test on that day, including those, I assume, in literary majors. I should have been a lawyer, except stealing and being a general troll is not my style. I was dumbfounded. Here I thought my skills were highest in science, and all along, I was an literary guy.

So what have I done with those skills? At some employers, I was the person to review laws and regulations and give interpretations. Reasoning has it's value in deriving something new and I've invented a number of new tests, methods and other stuff. I've done ad copy for places I've worked as well as for my own business. I've written scripts for radio commercials, product descriptions with fictional characterizations, stories about dolts I've worked with for amusement among employees. Yes, lots of things. 

The science still plays a part in my life though. My books usually have some sort of scientific tidbit or slant to them that the average person has no idea about. Of course since I write fiction, many may not believe it anyway.

That's enough about me for today.

Stanislaus County Library Community Novel

I signed up, I wrote and we'll see what happens. I did chapter 2. Check it out:

Ashes in a Teardrop

Monday, January 13, 2014

I Dreamt of the NJ Govenor

Chris Christie in the Meadowlands: Notice the Party of No brand on his flank.
Early this morning just before I woke, I had a dream. There were about 20 grizzly bears milling about a clearing, growling and looking menacing at each other. All at once, a huge grizzly bounded for a tree and with a powerful leap, jumped at least twenty feet into the air and grabbed a buffalo from the tree and brought it to the ground. It began to tear at the hide of the beast and the buffalo kicked and squirmed as it fought to escape.

The other bears jumped into the fray, and eventually the buffalo trotted off although most of its skin had been torn from its body so just muscle showed. A group of bears followed...

AND THEN IT HIT ME. What the F_ck is a buffalo doing in a tree? I woke up.

I went to the track later this morning to work out, and still thought of this dream. That's when it came to me: It must be an allegory to the problems Chris Christy is having after the bridge fiasco. It's been on the news constantly for the last few days.

The bears have that buffalo treed, and as he slips closer to the ground, they'll tear him apart. That's my dream analysis. I'm just glad the press didn't break the story about his affair with Cory Booker. Oh Sh_t, was I suppose to mention that.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Flash Fiction by Me: Moving Regrets

I wrote this piece and submitted it to Three Minute Fiction on NPR. It didn't make it on the air, but it was a fun write. Theme: Finders Keepers--Write a story in which a character finds an object that he or she has no intention of returning. 600 words maximum.  Here is my submission:



Moving Regrets

By Kent L Johnson

I hated moving. I'm supposed to be packing, but the lure of my momento box was too strong. Eighth grade report card entered into my grip and I felt the smoothness of the card stock, as I remembered him. His eyes were copper, not brown, and his face light olive. Ricky had a broad smile and eyes shaped like almonds. He was my first kiss. He offered me my first alcohol drink, a rum and Hawaiian Punch. I smiled, remembering how he was the first boy that tried to put his hand down my shirt and he wound up with a chest full of rum puke. I was a curious young lady, but I wasn't going to be a pushover for a high school freshman. We girls all talked about the big deed, but so and so's reputation really suffered for it. She's probably going to wind up a prostitute, we'd say. Not until after marriage for us.

I wasn't married in my junior year, but it happened. Spence was linebacker for the football team. He was tall, broad shouldered, hair the texture of straw and a perpetually goofy look on his face. But God, his stomach had hard ripples of muscle just under the skin, plus you noticed the manly outline under his swim trunks. I couldn't resist.

There were a series of boyfriends and I tended to go with bad boys- tough, good looking jocks used to getting their way. Most of them treated me like dirt. I was kind of bitchy too, so maybe I gave as good as I got. I looked at Walter's driver's license in my hand. He was my last serious boyfriend. We split about two months ago and I almost had him out of my mind when I found the license tucked between the couch pillows.

The license hadn't expired and I should give it back. Walter was a genuinely nice guy, with a sense of humor so dry sometimes I started laughing hours later when I finally got it. I dumped him after a year and hooked up with a bodybuilder that smacked me across the face on our second date--a real jerk.

I dialed Walter's number.

"Hello."

"How are you Jen?"

"Good, Walter. I just wanted to call and..." I wanted to tell him what a bitch I was and he was better off without me, and how I really wanted him back in my life and how good he was. "...tell you that I'm moving to Arizona."

"Arizona? What's up there?"

"Promotion to a better job, but the real reason I was calling..." He looked comfortable and happy in his license picture. I remembered him giving me a massage on a Friday night after a tough week at work. We'd sit and have a glass of wine, finger food and snuggle. He was the best I'd ever been with. Why the hell did I dump him? "...was to say I'm going to miss you and I want to stay in touch, that is, if you don't mind?"

"No, that's fine."

His voice sounded happy, it always did. I looked at the address on his license as I asked him, "What's your address? So I know where to write."

I silently read the address off the license as he spoke it. We said good-bye. I placed the license in the box of keepsakes. He's worth remembering.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

My last post was July 3!!!!!! That's crazy. Okay, it's summer, things are slowing and I've got lots of other things going on, rather than writing blog posts. I've had Brewmaster of Arabia, my fictional tome about how the Arab Spring might have happened, critiqued on a couple different levels and....and...I lost a lot of my babies. The book has gone from roughly 110,000 words to 48,700 words. Now I need to figure out how to insert another 1500 into the mix so I can be listed on the premier stuff on Smashwords. I'll admit, it's a lot cleaner than it was, but that's torture to see all my hard story line hacked out like like an appendectomy with a machete. Until next time. Check out the surgeon that did the hacking.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Egypt Again

On February 1, 2011, I made up a story about changing leadership in Egypt. It was called, Egypt's New Leader, Cleopatra's Great, Great, Great, Great... It was meant to be funny, but here we are, roughly two years later and another leadership change is on the horizon. I still say it's not to late to proxy some of Cleopatra's kin into the mix. Go back and read it again. Just as pertinent to day as it was then.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

P & J Sandwiches at Red Fez

What a month. I got a cold or allergies or whatever the hell you want to call them and it knocked me down for a week. I get better and start my routine all over again and BAM!!!! my Achilles tendon strains and I'm hobbled. I got a chance to read quite a bit more, but.... Then, I'm helping someone I know resolve a problem with their computer hardware and I screw up my own computer. I've removed the hard drive that has my website on it, KentLJohnson, and I can't update the site until I reinstall it. I'm scared because when I screwed it up, I was without computer for about five hours while I tried to fix it. NOoooooo. In better news, two things this month, I submitted to National Public Radio's, Three Minute Fiction contest. I never did flash fiction before, and, we'll see. They will start judging soon. Also, got my story, P & J Sandwiches, published at Red Fez. Enjoy.