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Prevent (Self) Defense(iveness)

Categories: This Writer's Life.
This week is, of course, Halloween– our tribute to the old Celtic festival Samhain, and the appropriate time for the professions of nurse/doctor/army chick/hobbit to suddenly become intensely “sexy.” A lot of you may be asking, “Kev, what particularly hilarious costume have you come up with for the festivities on ol’ Hallow’s Eve?” and I would reply, “Oh God, I still have no idea, why do you keep bringing this up at such inappropriate times?” Then I would Facebook message you later bc I felt guilty about the way I spoke to you.

Writing is important, friendz, and indeed the lifeline that separates this blog from, say, a blog dedicated to LOLCATZ, but the book re-writes are moving in slow and mysterious ways. Would you believe I still haven’t printed out a copy of my book to read through for the re-writes? Would you consider that I thought about saying that I had, because I felt so guilty that I was letting you down? Do you see what our relationship is doing to me?

I want to say it’s not my fault, but that’s obviously not true– it’s quite obviously my fault, but I caught a particularly busy week at work last week, my boss was in to– blah, blah, excuses, excuses, etc. That is the issue. It is so easy to make excuses. See? I just did it earlier, but the issue is, nobody but yourself cares, or notices… the only thing that’ll change when I don’t get my own writing in is my likely my mood, which’ll go from light and fantastically high-spirited to dark, and close-mindedly eager to consume six packets of Swiss Miss hot chocolate (w marshmallows!) using milk instead of water. This will have to improve if I have any hope of being able to make one sided small talk with Jodi Picoult (when I inevitably run into her in the dried fruit section of Trader Joes) beyond:

“Remember when we had a column next to each other for six months or so? Crazy right??”
“Ummm… you don’t by any chance want to purchase four million copies of my book? Ha! No, I mean, of course I was kidding…”
“Oh, well, that depends on what you mean by ‘published’…”
“Yeah, that does make it kind of difficult. I mean, I could send it to you in PDF…”
“Oh, no, totally, I know, this has been quite an economic downturn. Maybe we should just exchange emails and I’ll shoot it over to you…”
“Ok… so you’re saying I just send it to: jodip@TheInternet? No dot com or dot org or anything? And that synchs up with your iPhone?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t even realize my body was blocking the exit! Anyway, it was so good to see you again! And not to be annoying but can you get it published and sold before Friday– I’ve got to go to this Halloween thing, and I want to casually slip that into conversation…”
“No, Jodi. I have no idea what I’m dressing up as.”

Wow. That really went much longer than expected. Jodi is quite the talker. Comments should include costume ideaz, deep thoughtz, and your honest opinion of Seven Layer “Magic” Barz. Feel free to make me feel tiny if it makes you feel tall.

There’s Always Someone,
Cooler Than You

Ben Folds

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27 Responses to Prevent (Self) Defense(iveness)

  1. Erin says:

    I dressed up as Marie Antionette. I bought a costume wig and hot glued feathers and silk flowers in it to dress it up, and wore a ball gown I bought on ebay a few years ago. I spent Halloween wandering around Greenwich village, where Halloween had clearly taken control! I definitely recommend everyone to spend at least one Halloween in NYC at some point in their lives.

    I didn’t reach my goal of finishing editing my novel by Halloween, but I’m close enough that the extension goal is Nov. 22- just so my novel will be finished before Chinese Democracy hits stores! (It’s definitely happening! There was a TV commercial for it on during last night’s SNL!)

  2. Tom says:

    Okay, thanks to Olivia’s prodding, I’ve done the blog on the pumpkin lighting.

    http://www.thatstom.com/?p=175 It was ultra-fab, powered by the glow of 61 tea lights!

    Now, to returning to Kev’s subject, I did not get dressed up this year. I figured all that other work made up for it. I also didn’t go to any parties, because I was just standing in my front yard freaking out over the orangey awesomeness I had brought to life. Jodi Picoult did ask me to send her pics of it, though. Well, not really, but I’ll bet she’d like it anyway.

    I did write 2,682 words of my NaNo novel yesterday. I need to get going, as I have more to write today, and I have construction to do on my basement workshop for the next sculpture I’m building.

    I hope you got your costuming issues worked out, Kev. Maybe a photo posted for us?

  3. Erin K. says:

    Olivia, well said!!!

    I’ve also been checking Tom’s blog to see updated photos! I’m so curious to see the outcome.

  4. Olivia says:

    The weekend is here
    Which can only mean
    The comments are sheer
    They start to get lean

    Still imagining how
    The pumpkins were all lit
    Still wondering now
    Which costume was a hit

    Get back on the blog
    You writers of life
    Get back to the blog
    And tell of your strife

    Seriously, guys, it’s cruel to leave me hanging like that. How did Friday night/Saturday morning go for everyone? Or are you all still in recovery from it?

    Do tell.

    Olivia

  5. Tom says:

    All right, kids, at the risk of kinda/sorta hijacking Kev’s comments for a moment (although you were invited to this shindig earlier in the comments, Kev, geographic problems notwithstanding), here’s the post on carving sixty jack o’ lanterns: http://www.thatstom.com/?p=165

    Tonight, we light!!!!!

  6. Tom says:

    Olivia,

    There was nothing so grand about the disposal of the innards, but there is some hoping of pick-upery by my local garbage crew. Today I put out one rather heavy trash can with some of the goo in it. The other one was so heavy I couldn’t even move it unless I did a lot of dragging. They won’t pick up cans that are too heavy, and I had not another receptacle in which to shift some of the weight, so it stayed until next week. Good thing single guys don’t make much trash on a weekly basis. I should be able to dispose of it all next week…I hope. Actually, I hope today’s offering wasn’t too heavy for them. I’d hate to come home and see it still sitting there at the curb, lid not lying in the middle of the driveway, blocking my entry.

    Genevieve,

    As a last-ditch effort, there is an alley behind my house. Pumpkins themselves are a lot harder to get ride of than innards, mainly because they take up more physical space. Plus, you gotta cut ‘em up if you want to throw them away. I don’t doubt that some of them will just go right into the trasch can. However, that alley, it’s kind of overgrown out back. T’would be easy to set a bunch of those bad boys out there in the weeds and just let them go to seed. Hey, if I get some vines out there next year I won’t have to pay for as many pumpkins myself!

    And, yes, I will be putting pics up on the blog (clickey below) of the carving and the lighting. Thirty last year were pretty impressive. Sixty? Gonna be outstanding!

  7. Genevieve says:

    Kevin – if you want to go Charlie Brown Halloween Special-ghost then you should cut several different eyes and mouth holes. Say "rats" a lot and try for footballs but miss them. Then again, I like Erin’s idea.

    Candy. Caffeine. Mini Snickers and magical layers of stuff (insert image of Homer Simpson drooling with his tongue hanging out of the side of his mouth, and making that hungry noise that there is no word for). You guys are too much.

    Tom-what indeed are you doing with the pumpkin innards? And will you please post a picture on your blog showing what a lawn looks like with 60 pumpkins on it?

  8. Olivia says:

    christine,
    it’s always a good idea to write while hyped up on something. sugar is just one of the many choices. for instance, i put mint choco in my coffee this morning and it’s preventing me from using capitalization and proper grammar.

    Tom,
    let’s put the chip dip plans on hold until the next party. just wondering what you’re planning on doing with the innards of 60 pumpkins. here’s a thought (maybe this classifies as a deep thought, kevin):
    when kevin decides to give up on his sheet-ghost making, we take all the sheets he ruined, lay them down the driveway/street/whatever might work, and dump all the pumpkiny goodness onto it. there you go – pumpkin slip n slide.

    now that would definitely make a good (white!)iphone pic.

    Olivia

  9. Tom says:

    Olivia,

    While I would be there in a heartbeat (and I can actually make REAL chip dips that far exceed the skills required for Rice Krispie Treats), I’ll have to pass on this one. I have sixty jack o’ lanterns to light up on my front lawn this Friday. If you’re in the neighborhood, though, feel free to cruise by and snap a pic with your (white!) iPhone.

  10. Christine says:

    Go, Olivia! Go, Olivia! Go! An all-dessert party! Then we should all try to write something while we’re hyped up on sugar. I’ll bet it would be VERY interesting…

  11. Erin says:

    I’m late to the commenting party here, but I’d just like to offer one more costume idea: Don Draper from Mad Men! Here’s how to pull it off:

    1.Wear your finest suit and matching fedora
    2. Smolder
    3. Be stoic and mysterious. When you do talk, either lie or wax poetic about everyday products like popsicles and ciagerettes.
    4. Drink lots of scotch.

    I think this is a perfect costume for you, Kev. Being stoic will give you an excuse to keep from talking about your lack of rewriting progress (in case Jodi shows up…)

  12. Olivia says:

    seven layer magic bars? white choco-cran biscotti? rice crispy treats? twinkies and fruit pies? choco covered strawberries?

    screw the candy corn and mini-snickers. you’re all coming to my place friday night.

  13. Christine says:

    Tom–totally agree with you on the stupid Rice Krispies treats. Here’s another one people go bonkers over for no good reason–Chocolate Covered Strawberries. Like, what is the big freakin’ deal? Did you GROW the strawberries yourself? Did you PICK cocoa beans, grind them into a fine powder, liquify the chocolate dust and then dip? Ummmm…no. You bought strawberries, probably didn’t even wash the suckers off, and dipped them chocolate you microwaved for 30 seconds. Not impressed.

    Kevin–I’ll be sure to set aside an extra tray of Christmas cookies for you when the season is upon us, but honestly, if you’re digging seven layer magic bars, I don’t know if you can be helped at this point. It’s going to take some hard work and determination on your part to break away from the cheesy desserts and realize that you’re worth more than seven layers mashed together and sliced into sloppy bars.

  14. Julie says:

    Wear a cardboard box. Put a lamp on one corner and draw drawers on the front. Wah-lah, a one nightstand.

    We all procrastinate on books. It’s such a big, scary, self-examining process with no external pressure or deadlines except our own. In a way, it’s a lot like making yourself exercise or diet or meditate. It’s rewarding once you do it, but so easy to … not.

    Good luck, man. We’re pullin’ for you.

  15. Tom says:

    Kev, you’re so not going to believe this, but Kim never showed last night. She did have her limo driver call me, like, ten minutes before everything was over to say she wasn’t going to make it, like that wasn’t obvious already??? And the limo driver called? Like she can’t speed dial me herself these days? Bit of a bummer. Oh, Jodi Picoult says hi, though.

    We got nineteen of them done last night. There are only three to go. If I get nobody else to volunteer, I can carve those bad boys myself in well under two hours.

    You know what other lazy dessert that people the world over seeem fascinated with? Those stupid Rice Krispie treats! How hard is it to melt some marshmallows, stir in cereal, and spread it in a pan?! I wanted Twinkies and Fruit Pies for lunch, and when I went to school with those things kids would go nuts. To this day I cannot figure that one out. Wanna really wow ‘em? Sprinkle some orange and chocolate sprinkles on ‘em. Really, they’ll think you’re Anthony Bourdain.

  16. Kevin Alexander says:

    Genevieve– at first, I laughed at your idea and then i realized that it is the perfect costume. A ghost!!! So retro’d, so simple, so damn hard to see… Hmmm… do I have to cut a mouthhole as well? I forget…

    I’m watching really old hip hop videos on MTV Jams right now from an era when dudes had lopsided hi-top fades and wore multi-colored leather coats with no shirts underneath, which I just figured out was about the same time I was wearing meticulously matched Umbro shortz and tees. Oh man. Umbros were really comfortable.

    Christine– yes, yes, they are the lazy man’s dessert, but one could argue that lazy men are the top connoisseurs of dessert… and these have so many things going on…7 at last count! But if you want to make me biscotti, I’m not not going to say yes.

    Tom– If Kim comes to the party, tell her I said "Sup" and do it in a casual, off-the-cuff way, like you just remembered: "Oh yeah… Kim, Kev says sup," And then walk away. That way we’ll both look super chill and she’ll be like, "Hmmm… Tom and Kevin are so mysteriously laid back about the fact that I traveled all the way out here for this Halloween party dressed like a cereal killing unicorn. Their lack of aggression makes me want to give them money, tax-free."

    Ok, I need my shut eye. I have several silk sheets to test-cut holes in tomorrow.

  17. Genevieve says:

    You should go as Alexander the Great. What do you think? It works, ’cause see, your last name is Alexander. Plus you get to dress like an ancient Greek warrior king. That’s always cool. Or (and I’m serious) you could go retro and wear a sheet. This is something I’m considering doing. It’s cheap AND classic!

    I’m with Tim and Tom. Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s not like you’ve got nothing going on. You are working seriously, focusly hard on cutting out two eye holes in a white sheet so that you can be a ghost this Friday. That takes time and dedication. Be kind to yourself, and also don’t run with those sissors.

  18. Christine says:

    Let me start with Seven Layer Magic Bars–not so magic, Kevin. They are the lazy person’s idea of homemade dessert, for the folks that can’t be bothered rolling out individual gobs of dough to make REAL cookies. Amateur. Now, white chocolate cranberry biscotti–that’s a slice of Italian magic right there.

    Halloween costumes–Get some green paint and be the Hulk. At least you’ll have an excuse to fly off the handle and smash some high-priced government vehicles if you want to.

    Deep thoughts–I write, therefore I delete and rewrite.

  19. Tim S. says:

    It seems procrastination is a character trait among writers. Kevin, you shouldn’t feel terrible about not starting the editing process yet. I agree with Tom that the first step is printing it off.

    As to costume ideas, I like doing things that are simple but turn out amazing. Last year, I went as Wayne Cambell from Wayne’s World and I got my friend to go as Garth.

    And I would also love to be your friend on Facebook. If you get the time could you add me. :D
    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507316390&ref=name

    Oh and your column in Writer’s Digest was my favorite.

    Tim S.

  20. Tom says:

    Kev,

    Why indeed I do live in Indiana. This is a problem? Hmmm…I thought you lived on the east side, or was that the east coast? I always get the two confused. Anyways, you should still come. I invited Kim Kardashian.

    Costume: Tie an empty box of Cheerios to your belt. Smear with red paint. Tie butter knife to belt. A bit more paint.
    Cereal killer.

    Thank you! I’ll be here all night! Enjoy the veal!

  21. Olivia says:

    Costume ideas…hmmmm…

    You can go as a writer. All you have to do is get out of bed the morning of Halloween and do absolutely nothing – just like most people think that writers do every day anyway. Keep your hair messed up, pj’s on (or off), cup of coffee in hand and fuzzy bunny slippers. Remember to stamp the word "rejected" across your forehead and haul around a laptop case over your shoulder because it will make you feel like you have a normal job that pays.

    Deep thoughts…I’ll have to get back to you on that one. Those are few and far between and usually involve unicorns and time machines. Although if the writer idea doesn’t work, those are two more costume ideas for you.

    As far as wanting to feel tall…never had that desire. Being average is good enough for me. How’s that for inspiration/motivation/anything else that it’s really the complete opposite of.

    Olivia

  22. Kevin Alexander says:

    Tom– I’d love to, ‘cept for the whole geographic gap. Don’t you live in Indiana– or did I just presuppose that you live wherever Axl Rose was born?

    Nathalie- totally.

    Rams– Your team is terrible and, as for the picture, I am just trying to rekindle a flame that you and I both know will never go out…

  23. Erin K. says:

    Ahem…I meant my BILL is in the mail…

  24. Erin K. says:

    I’ve been under the weather this week and will probably not make it out to the Halloween party I was headed to.

    SO….I’ll give you my idea for a costume. You can get most of what you need at a dollar store.

    Get yourself a grass skirt (you heard me!), a Hawaiian shirt, a lay (the flowers that go around your neck! I’m not that kind of girl…) and poke a flower in your hair. Then slide your hands into a pair of boxing gloves.

    There you have it…Hawaiian Punch!

    My check is in the mail,
    Erin K.

  25. nathalie says:

    hiya kevin,

    i’ve just spent the last 2 hours (procratinator) reading your blog; it was like spending the morning talking with you over 5 cups of cafe au lait. now, of course, i’d like to ‘friend’ you on facebook, but i can’t find you among the myriad of kevin alexanders which occupy a space on the world’s most popular social community. when you get a mo, would you add me? facebook.com/profile.php?id=624730048&ref=name

    all the best,
    nathalie

  26. Ramsey says:

    I am going to SMOKE you in fantasy this week, by the way your profile picture of Julia and I as the mascot for your team is absolutely inappropriate. You know I am not over her…

  27. Tom says:

    Kev, I’m not worried about a costume, but I am having trouble getting the last 22 of 60 pumpkins carved for this weekend. I’m having friends over tonight to try and get these bad boyz knocked out. Care to join us?

    Step one: print out new copy of manuscript. Worry about the rest later.

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