Thought Catalog


The Brutal Truth Behind 5 ‘Fictional’ Horror Movies About Hauntings And Demonic Possession

Posted: 08 Oct 2015 08:10 AM PDT

1. The Exorcist

via YouTube
via YouTube

Starting with this classic that everyone’s seen, the common story you may have heard is that the movie The Exorcist was based on a book by William Peter Blattly. However, the backstory of this one has gotten mixed and mashed up to the point that many people seem to think the book was a first-hand account. In truth, Blattly’s book by the same name was a novel, not an account of real events. Where the ‘true events’ come in is that Blattly based his 1971 novel on a series of stories he’d read in the newspaper while attending Georgetown University in the 1940s.

The original story that Blattly heard was about a boy named Roland Doe. Roland (real name Robert Manheim), an only child, had no playmates growing up and spent much of his time with his aunt who was a spiritualist. She even introduced him to Ouija boards. When the aunt died, a number of unexplained phenomena reportedly began to occur including strange noises and objects being moved around without explanation. When Roland was removed from the house and observed by a parapsychologist in another home, the same phenomena was reported to have occurred. It was then that the family sought out a Catholic priest and Roland underwent several exorcisms at Georgetown University Hospital.

During one the exorcisms, Roland was said to have broken out of his restraints and used a broken bedspring to cut the arm of one of the priests. In another instance, multiple priests observed objects levitating in the room around Roland and supposedly heard him speaking in a guttural voice and that the words “hell” and “evil” as well as other marks began to appear on Roland’s body. Roland is even said to have broken one of the priest’s noses.

Historians who looked at the case years later now tend to believe that Roland was actually just a little shit who tormented his family with pranks for attention and to get out of going to school. They also believed he carved the words and scratches into his own skin with his fingernails which the priests involved in the exorcisms reportedly never checked for skin or blood.

An entire documentary was created about Roland and the exorcisms. It can be seen here.

2. The Conjuring

via YouTube
via YouTube

The Conjuring is based on the research of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren who visited the home of the Perron Family in Harrisville, Rhode Island in 1971. According to the Warren’s, the Perron family home was cursed by a woman named Bathsheba Sherman (among other spirits) who lived in the home during the 19th century. The home itself was built in 1736 and sits on a 200 acre property. Locally the home and land are known as the Old Arnold Estate. The families that lived on the estate allegedly endured multiple horrors over the generations they owned it including several suicides, possible murders, two drownings, four people that froze to death on the land, and the rape and murder of an eleven-year-old girl as well as multiple hauntings. The only family that allegedly did not experience these things were a minister and his family.

Keeping in mind this is over eight generations it’s still an incredible number of deaths (and wholly unsubstantiated by history). This lead families, including the Perrons, to believe the land was cursed. It’s also where the Warrens enter the picture. The Perron’s claim to have repeated experience with spirits, some nice, some terrifying, over the nine years they lived in the Old Arnold Estate. After the Warrens spent some time in the home they determined that the primary malevolent spirit dwelling there was Bathsheba Sherman who, according to legend, was accused of murdering a child she was taking care of by sticking a knitting needle in the back of its head. The Perrons had reported being awoken at night by sharp stinging pains and then finding small bloody holes like that created by a knitting needle in the morning. This, the Warrens claim, was the work of Bathsheba.

Of course the answer to this nine year ordeal would have been to simply move. However the Perron family believes they were meant to experience these horrors year after year.

“I hear that question most every day. I think we were supposed to have this experience and share it with the world.”

The Perron’s also claim to have experienced a possession during a seance although no exorcisms were ever conducted as it’s portrayed in the movie.

The Warrens attribute also attribute a lot of things to Bathsheba Sherman based on folk legends of dubious origin that simply don’t appear to be true. There was a Bathsheba named Bathsheba Thayer and she was born in 1812 lived on the property. She was apparently tried for killing a child and was found not guilty of the crime. The community wasn’t convinced though and stories about her being a witch and sacrificing the child to the Devil began to be repeated. Bathsheba also allegedly wasn’t very nice to the domestic help and this most certainly didn’t do her any favors in regards to the rumor mill.

Folklore also claims that Bathsheba had four children, all of whom died. Records do seem to show that she had four children but she had a son who lived to adulthood and married. People also seem to forget that the early to late 1800s were a time when Tuberculosis was the leading cause of death. Twenty percent of the people who died during these years died of Tuberculosis. Indeed, other sites discussing legend of a “witch Bathsheba” note this and unwittingly endorse the idea that her children very well may have died of the disease rather than because of “cursed land” or some pact with the Devil.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 3.50.12 PM
Screenshot via historyvshollywood.com

Despite what the Warrens and Perrons claim, there’s really no evidence that any of the myths about Bathsheba are true and all the evidence that does exist seems to characterize her as a woman who may have been demonized after a tragic event while living with possibly several tragic deaths in her own family because of disease.

What’s more, the current owners of the Old Arnold Estate say that everything in The Conjuring is nonsense and they’ve been badgered by movie fans ever since the film came out because it basically doxxed them. In 2014, they even made a fascinating hour-long YouTube video explaining why it was all completely made up by the Warrens and the Perrons.

3. The Rite

via YouTube
via YouTube

As a movie, while the film itself was pretty derivative, the story behind the movie is particularly interesting. The Rite was based on a book called The Making of a Modern Exorcist and was written by Matt Baglio. To do research for the book, Baglio participated in a Vatican-sponsored seminar on exorcism. There he met a priest named Father Gary Thomas of California, one of only fourteen Vatican certified exorcists in the United States. Baglio got permission from Thomas to then go on and observe him perform twenty exorcisms.

According to Father Gary, The Rite actually depicts exorcisms very realistically and while he says most people seeking exorcisms are actually suffering from mental illness, demonic possession is very real. Here’s one account from an L.A. Times interview he gave in 2011.

Thomas recalled an occasion when he was visited by a young Venezuelan woman who had been involved in palm readings for several years. “I was beginning to do some deliverance prayers. Within a few minutes she began to tremor and her facial countenance began to change. You saw a snake. She began sticking her tongue out like a snake and hissing and rolling her eyes. She coiled herself up.

“Her mother and father began to restrain her a bit. I went to get the Eucharist. The woman almost jumped out the window [at the sight of the Eucharist]. Her parents held her down. One minute you could see the demon, the next minute it was her. She kind of came back. I said, ‘Can you take the Eucharist?’ She said, ‘I’m not sure, but I’ll try.’ As I offered it to her, she resisted. I said, ‘Just open your mouth.’ All I had to wash it down was holy water.”

4. The Haunting in Connecticut

via YouTube
via YouTube

Based on the book In A Dark Place by Ed and Lorraine Warren, the book was actually ghost-written by horror author Ray Garton. The book recounts the two-year ordeal of the Snedeker family as they lived in a rented house that had once been a mortuary. The Snedeker’s have recounted a series of hauntings including spirits attempting to take things out of the family’s hands, pulling blankets off their bed, unexplained music playing at night, voices of older men talking, and actual physical manifestations of spirits including visible hands sexually molesting male and female family members.

All that sounds awful, however the family lived in the house for two years despite ghost sodomy and the author of the book that the movie is based on basically says the Snedeker family and the Warrens made the whole thing up and that the Snedeker’s son who claimed to be seeing and hearing things got better after beginning to take psychiatric meds. Here’s what he told “Horror Bound” back in 2009.

As I gathered all the necessary information for the book, I found that the accounts of the individual Snedekers didn't quite mesh. They just couldn't keep their stories straight.

I went to Ed with this problem. “Oh, they're crazy,” he said. “Everybody who comes to us is crazy. Otherwise why would they come to us? You've got some of the story – just use what works and make the rest up. And make it scary. You write scary books, right? That's why we hired you. So just make it up and make it scary.” I didn't like that one bit. But by then, I'd signed the contract and there was no going back. I did as Ed instructed – I used what I could, made up the rest, and tried to make it as scary as I could. The book was called In A Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting.

As soon as it was published, I started telling my story, knowing full well that it would not be too popular with the Snedekers or the Warrens. I was right. Carmen Snedeker, now Carmen Reed, has denounced the book. She claims they had little involvement in it, which is a lie.

5. The Exorcism of Emily Rose

via YouTube
via YouTube

Based on the real life case of Anneliese Michel, the truth behind this movie’s story is actually more horrible than anything in the film.

Anneliese was a German girl who underwent the rite of exorcism in 1975. At the age of 16 she had been diagnosed with epilepsy and depression and was eventually prescribed the anti-psychotic Aolept, similar to Thorazine.

She soon began to complain of hearing demonic voices and both her and her family became convinced she was the subject of demonic possession because of her inability to be near religious objects and her seeming hallucinations. After initially denying her family's request for an exorcism, the Catholic Church went on to perform 67 separate exorcisms but none of them improved her condition or alleviated the supposed devils living inside her.

She died a year later in 1976 with the cause of death listed as starvation. However, a court found both her parents and two of the priests involved in the exorcisms guilty of negligent homicide finding that Anneliese had been in a state of near starvation for a year before finally succumbing.

Below is a recording of six of the demons exorcists claim she was possessed by. They include Hitler, Cain, Nero, a former priest named Father Fleischmann, Judas, and Lucifer. TC mark

17 Borderline Creepy Things Girls Do When Their Best Friend Starts Seeing Someone

Posted: 07 Oct 2015 06:09 PM PDT

Twenty20 / tiffanythere
Twenty20 / tiffanythere

1. You insist on meeting this stranger. And SOON. You need eyeballs on them ASAP in order to determine if they’re good enough for your best friend.

2. You get steadily more annoying the longer your friend puts off introducing you to their special friend. UHHHHH EXCUSE ME, IT’S BEEN A MONTH. EITHER YOU INTRODUCE ME OR I’LL JUST HAPPEN TO RUN INTO YOU TWO WHEN YOU’RE OUT TOMORROW NIGHT. (It’s really not a huge surprise that your best friend is hesitant to introduce you.)

3. You’re always down to social media stalk this stranger with your friend, because you really want to love this person and will absolutely need to judge their social media in order to know if love is possible. But the reality is, do you know this person at all in real life? No. Is it a little creepy? Yeah. Is it absolutely necessary? YEP.

4. (You might even check in on this person when your friend isn’t around too, tbh. But they don’t need to know that.)

5. You start exhibiting signs that you’re turning into your mother by spreading the guilt on REAL THICK when your friend still hasn’t introduced you. It’s fine. I get it. You don’t want to introduce me to them because you’re EMBARRASSED by me. I’m just a BURDEN on you. DON’T BOTHER, I’LL BE FINE.

6. Whenever you friend’s texting while around you, you spring to attention and NEED ALL THE INFORMATION. Is that Jordan?? What are they saying? How’s their spelling?? Emoji choice??? TELL ME NOW.

7. When your friend finally decides that you can meet this mysterious suitor, you meticulously plan out the type of first impression you’re going to make. Silent and intimidating? Cool and laid back? Fun and exciting? There are so many options, you need to make sure you get it just right so they know where they stand.

8. …And of course when the day comes, you end up just being yourself with a side of nerves because there is so much riding on this meet-up! If the two of you don’t click on some level, everything is going to be so awkward.

9. If the person is nice and gets along with the two of you together (because let’s be honest, your friend is great, but when the two of you are around each other it can get kind of intimidating to an outsider), then you LOVE them. They’re one of the gang!

10. …HOWEVER. If there is any doubt in your mind about this person, you pretty much hate them. They’re like that can of olives that’s been in your cabinet for as long as you can remember. They’re probably okay, but you don’t trust them. Nope. You’ve got a bad feeling, and it’s going to take a whole hell of a lot to change your mind.

11. If the person’s great, your mood matches your friend’s elation. It gets to the point where people would probably think that you’re the one dating this new person, because you’re always going on about how great this person is and you’re just sooo happy for your friend.

12. When your friend goes off on a date, you’re waiting by the door or phone for her to come back and tell you EVERYTHING.

13. …In fact, you’re not above peeking out the window and watching them bid adieu to your friend.

14. You get weirdly territorial when all three of you are together, because obviously the number one relationship should be you and your BFF and WHAT IS THIS INSIDE JOKE AND WHY AM I NOT IN ON IT.

15. Basically, you start to embrace the jealousy, because it’s pretty natural for you to be peeved that you have to share your best friend now. Even if the other person is cool. You found her first. You have dibs, dammit.

16. When you see that things might be heading in a serious direction, you don’t care if the person is the Devil Incarnate or Gandhi. You will threaten to maim all body parts that they hold dear to them if they hurt your best friend.

17. Ultimately you just want to make sure that your best friend is happy, but you need to make sure that the person that they choose is perfect for them. After all, this new person may be your best friend’s romantic partner, but you’re her life partner, and that comes with a lot of responsibility. TC mark

Being Single Doesn’t Mean I’m Missing Out

Posted: 08 Oct 2015 02:42 PM PDT

Twenty 20 / jullymalynovska
Twenty 20 / jullymalynovska

My best friend from 7th grade is getting married in two weeks and I couldn't be happier – not only because I'm the maid of honor (holla!), but because it gives me joy to see the people I care about find the people with whom they will share their lives.

Marriage is a beautiful promise, and it also means cementing an activity partner for life. For any movies, road trips, family outings, concerts, etc., having a significant other means always having someone to invite. It means knowing that when you pick up your ticket at will call, you'll often be handing it to them. I haven't had a boyfriend for two years now, and being single has allowed me to do a lot on my own.

Initially, I tried buying two tickets to events and simply giving them away to friends in an effort to be inclusive. Though at the core this was a good idea, it started adding up. Two tickets to Hayes Carll: $50. Two tickets to the Lakers vs. Nets: $180. Two tickets to Holler If You Hear Me on Broadway: $100.

The other disappointment of buying two tickets is when there is nobody to give it to.

Having a friend with me to experience these events: costly (no, not priceless, MasterCard. Interest rates are real.). The other disappointment of buying two tickets is when there is nobody to give it to. So if all of my friends are busy that night, now not only am I stuck paying for two tickets, but I feel guilty for taking up the space.

What if there was someone else who sincerely wanted to meet Kacey Musgraves, but I took up the ticket with my potential, busy friend? I'll never know. This is also, again, where if I had a boyfriend/husband, he'd probably have gone with me either as a fan of hers too or so I'd have company. Still, I went alone because Kacey Musgraves is awesome, and I now have a signed copy of Pageant Material as a result (whaddup!).

Since most of my friends are coupled up or have kids or are flat out busy, I go to practically everything alone and I'm stoked to do it. This really freaks a lot of them out, especially the ones who are single.

Wait, you're going to see Miranda Lambert alone? Yes. Wait, who'd you see Straight Outta Compton with? Myself. Who'd you go to the Newport Folk Festival with? Just me. Would it be amazing to have someone to share these experiences with? Of course! And of course, sometimes my friends tag along if they're free (in scheduling and in cost). Though, having friends and having a significant other as accompaniment are completely different.

When I want to see the New York Knicks play the Lakers and none of my friends are Lakers fans (Lakeshow!), it's very easy for them to say, hey, thanks for the invite but a) I don't have $90 plus expendable bucks right now, and b) I have no personal ties nor fan gear for those teams. That's legit. I'm sure if I had a boyfriend (or my dream guy perhaps) he'd be like, duh, I'll totally go to the game with you because a) that's something you love, b) I know it means a lot to you, and c) basketball is the best game of all time!

Since I didn't have any friends who wanted to see Kobe (and our several other injured players) sit on the sidelines at the time, I went by myself, and it was AMAZING. Spike Lee and Kobe met at half-time, they gave each other a hug, they exchanged some chummy, notable words that I couldn't discern from my seats because they were incredibly far away from the court, and I turned to the guy next to me – a total stranger – and exclaimed, "Kobe and Spike are hanging out!" To which he responded, "Oh, word!" It was incredible! If I had been too scared to go alone, I might've missed this magical moment between two legends.

You know what else is kind of great about being alone? Once people realize that I'm semi-normal, they find it less intimidating to talk to me, and I meet all sorts of interesting folks who include me in their group.

At the Miranda Lambert show, the couple sitting in front of me realized that I was the only one in my row of three seats and couldn't believe that I was by myself. She called me brave! He gave me a high five! She offered to buy me a beer! I told her I didn't drink! He gave me another high five! We sang along to "Gunpowder and Lead"! We chatted about the struggle of being country fans in New York City! It was great!

Why are single people so scared to go out and attend events simply because they'll be alone?

Similarly, at The Newport Folk Festival, I talked to a really sweet older couple that realized I was alone and began treating me like their long lost daughter during The Barr Brothers' set. I met a couple of chill surfers who held my spot at the front for Jason Isbell when I went to grab a juice. I even had someone ask me if I'd take their group photo because I looked so trustworthy (maybe)! All pretty awesome in my book!

I would've missed these experiences – Hozier, James FREAKING Taylor, The Lone Bellow, Fiona Apple, and more if I'd been too scared to go to Rhode Island and venture to the festival because I didn't have somebody to accompany me.

Why are single people so scared to go out and attend events simply because they'll be alone? What's wrong with being alone? Isn't it more powerful to say, “I'm alone because I won't settle for anything less than what I deserve,” than to say, “I'm with this person I'm not really interested in because I can't be alone,” or than saying, “I can't go to that alone because I'm not comfortable being alone.”

I've had someone ask me, what do you do if you run into someone you know and they see that you're alone? What's the big deal anyways? What's the worst that could come out of that conversation? Yeah, I came to see Amy alone. Just like how I cook alone and then sit at home and watch Friends re-runs on Netflix alone. What's the difference between our private solitude and our public solitude?

All I'm doing is living my life on my own terms. There's nothing brave about that, it's pretty dang ordinary, and the fear of doing so alone shouldn't keep anyone from living their life either.

There's nothing shameful about being alone; it's only bizarre that as a society we've secretly bestowed partaking in activities solo as social suicide or as unthinkable, and it's not. That girl at the Miranda concert who called me "brave" was being sweet, but it's not brave to go out on your own and do what you want to do. I'm not some feminist hero going out and slaying art exhibits and stabbing my stake into the sand with a flag inscribed, "Julia the brave came here on this day, solo! Yolo!"

No, bravery does not look like me going to the grocery store and grabbing lacinato kale alone. It's not brave for me to sit at a bar and sip seltzer water alone; I simply don't have cable and this game was blocked out on my NBA pass. All I'm doing is living my life on my own terms. There's nothing brave about that, it's pretty dang ordinary, and the fear of doing so alone shouldn't keep anyone from living their life either.

So if you're a single woman or man, ask yourself, what do you want to do but haven't because you have nobody to go with? It can be as simple as seeing that band that none of your friends like and buying a ticket to see that band on your own. Or maybe you've always wanted to sit in that seedy café your friends refuse to step into. Tomorrow, grab a book and get a cup of coffee there alone.

Eventually, you'll be going to concerts, basketball games, coffee shops, poetry readings, lectures, etc., alone and not even realize the difference. Or at least that's how I came to be so comfortable attending events on my own. That doesn't mean I'm giving up on finding a relationship either; I hope when I find someone to share my life with, they'll accompany me on these adventures, but I'm not going to put my life on pause until they materialize.

So, what do you want? Whatever it is, it's worth pursing. Even if that means going it alone.

So, in two weeks, when I have to walk down the aisle for my best friend's wedding with some dude I don't know and have to explain that, yes, I was offered a plus one but I don't have a plus one, I'll be okay. See, before I attend this wedding, I'm going to a lecture about guitar picking on my lunch break alone. I'm also going to see Delta Rae in Williamsburg alone. Did I mention I'm stopping over in San Francisco to see the Amy Winehouse exhibit alone? Bonus: it's stupendously easy to get a plane ticket and a concert ticket for one person.

This life is filled with endless opportunities to explore and learn and have all of these intricately woven, fleeting experiences. Earlier this year, I woke up and said, I want to run a half marathon and I DID IT ALONE. You deserve to allow yourself to chase after whatever lights you up and be open to these infinite chances. So, what do you want? Whatever it is, it's worth pursing. Even if that means going it alone. TC mark

15 Signs Your Best Male Friend Is The Harry To Your Sally (And You Belong Together Forever)

Posted: 08 Oct 2015 04:30 AM PDT

When Harry Met Sally
When Harry Met Sally

1. You sometimes forget that you’re attracted to each other because there’s so much more to your relationship. Since you spend most of your time laughing and reminiscing together and enjoying each other for reasons that have nothing to do with physical appearance, you actually forget that you’re both good looking people. You overlook each other’s hotness inadvertently. And yet, it’s never been a purely platonic connection. Maybe you haven’t thought about dating, but you don’t think of your relationship as the brother-sister type, either.

2. He's your go-to plus one for social events. He's often your first choice to bring as a guest to a wedding, cocktail party, or any other special occasion. Even if you’re dating someone else, there are certain events you choose to bring your best male friend to because you’re guaranteed to have a blast together. No awkward conversations, no wondering what the other person is thinking—it's a win-win situation every time you bring your favorite partner in crime along for the ride.

3. You secretly hate everyone he dates (and he’s probably tried to sabotage a couple of your relationships). You find yourself constantly criticizing his girlfriends and comparing them to yourself. You wonder how he could date someone so tall, skinny, opinionated, annoying, obnoxious, short, selfish, etc. You keep your thoughts to yourself, or vent to other friends. And when your friends suggest that you might just be jealous, you become very defensive.

4. You rely on him for input when considering big purchases. He'll sit on a dozen couches with you until you find the perfect balance between supportive and cushiony. He'll research every flat screen television feature and view the display models at several different stores until he's convinced you've got the best deal on the latest technology. He'll help you test out mattresses, making repeated jokes about all the future people you'll be sharing it with. For a few seconds, you wonder what it would be like to share that mattress with him, but quickly shelve the idea.

5. He makes you laugh like no one else can. His humor is unfiltered because he’s not trying to get you into bed. Through honest, well-intentioned joking, he also gives you insights into the mind of the average guy—what he’s thinking at every stage of the dating process, from the initial exchange of info to the first date and the first time you sleep together.

6. You’ve dated at least one of his friends, at his suggestion. It was a complete bust, mostly because you had absolutely nothing in common except for your male best friend. You spent most of the date talking about your male best friend, half hoping he’d show up. When you make the mistake of setting him up with one of your girlfriends, you half hope it won't work out from the outset. At least one of your friends ends up dating one of his friends.

7. You find his annoying quirks remarkably charming. Maybe it’s the way he hums James Bond music while navigating crowded city streets to avoid bumping into pedestrians. Or how he likes to hold his baseball bat while pacing around his apartment, trying to resolve a frustrating situation. You realize that if one of your ex-boyfriends did these very same things, you'd find them completely childish and annoying. But in him, these habits are impossibly endearing.

8. You can always be the truest version of yourself around him. You can say and do anything around him without having to worry that your statements or actions might be misinterpreted. Spending time with him is so easy and fun because you never have to edit yourself. When the time comes to part ways, you’re always sad about it (though you might not be ready to admit it quite yet).

9. When he upsets you, it hurts—a lot. When he messes up by canceling at the last minute or forgetting your birthday, it hurts way more than if a girlfriend or family member made a similar mistake. When your male best friend breaks plans to go on a date with someone else, you're beyond pissed. You can't quite put your finger on what upsets you more—the flakiness, or his decision to spend time with someone he barely knows over you—but you'll make him jump through hoops to make it up to you.

10. You love spending the entire weekend together. Your weekends involve browsing stores, testing out the massage chairs at Brookstone, and walking through art galleries you’d never enter solo. As long as you’re together, you know you’ll find endless ways to entertain yourselves. You know exactly how he takes his coffee, and what candy he binges on at the movies. You keep up with his favorite sports teams just to know what kind of mood he’ll be in.

11. He doesn’t compliment you all that often, but when he does, he really means it. He tells you when your ass looks particularly good in a pair of jeans, or when your v-neck t-shirt exposes just the right amount of cleavage. He does this offhandedly, as if in passing, but sometimes you sense that there’s something more to his compliments—that he genuinely thinks you’re beautiful. And you find yourself more flattered by these remarks than you thought possible.

12. Your nights generally end with a long conversation via phone or texting. You check in with each other constantly, discussing every intimate detail of your lives and sometimes getting a bit philosophical. For instance, you defer to him about how long you should lie in bed with someone you've just had sex with. You've also had multiple conversations about what happens after you die. When something important happens, he's the first person you want to tell. You can't wait to share good news with him because you know he'll want to celebrate with you. Your good news is his good news.

13. One night you hook up “accidentally.” At this point, he'll most likely freak out, act completely weird, and disappear temporarily. You panic, terrified that you’ve ruined your friendship—or, worse yet, that the hook-up meant absolutely nothing to him.

14. You finally realize that you kinda sorta maybe have feelings for him. Post hook-up, you figure out that you might just have real feelings for him, and you’re shocked that he doesn’t experience the same epiphany at the exact same moment. Suddenly, you want to fast-forward into an actual relationship. He feels pressured, cornered, and confused—he can't just casually date YOU.

15. Everyone tells you that you should just be with this person, but you’re too invested in the friendship to risk losing it. You want to keep proving everyone wrong: Guys and girls can definitely be friends, even if they’re attracted to each other (and “accidentally” hook up one night)! Until you finally recognize that everyone else was right all along. He's the Harry to your Sally and you're head over heels in love with him. TC mark

Stacey was dumped right before her wedding. Find out why it was the best thing that ever happened to her here.

KNOTTHEONE-final-revised

This Is What It’s Really Like To Work In Customer Service

Posted: 08 Oct 2015 05:00 AM PDT

Daria Nepriakhina
Daria Nepriakhina

I worked at a bookstore once upon a time. It was an enormous, even intimidating place, but I soon learned my way around the labyrinth. I had a really sweet coworker. I recall when she was still fresh out of the gate, barely three weeks on the job. A customer walked up to her and asked her if we carry dinosaur erotica.

That's right, dear friends and neighbors. Dinosaur erotica. And lo and behold, after doing a little bit of poking around in our database, we did! The look on my coworker's face was priceless. I didn't even blink once; I simply pointed him in the direction of where he needed to go and thought that would be the end of that.

This same customer returned the following day. "I'd really like to return this book," he told me. "Certainly, sir," I replied. "I must ask: Was there anything wrong with the book? It appears to be in good condition."

"Oh,” he said. “There's nothing wrong with it. I've just used it already."

The holiday season is pretty much upon us and stores are even beginning to bring out the Thanksgiving and Christmas stuff—if this fact has somehow managed to evade you, you are one of two things: You are either A) a hermit with a penchant for whittling down rocks with his teeth or B) a master in the art of disassociation who is taking a rather successful stand against holiday commercialism and rampant consumerism. More often than not, the customers, who come out in droves, are far more entertaining than they themselves realize.

The customer is not merely always right; the customer is the exalted emperor of coherence. The following recollections are just a tiny sampling of what I've experienced in my time in customer service. I've since graduated from customer service to working for a software developer (but don't think those skills I took away from dealing with the public on an endless basis don't come in handy here, because they absolutely do). Sadly, I cannot look forward to more episodes of dinosaur erotica.

Remember Rule 34 of the internet, children: If it exists, there is porn of it (and if there isn't any, there is now).

Once upon a time, I worked at a supermarket because I was super depressed. KIDDING. Not really. Sort of. Everyone I worked with hated to be there and the policies were this side of Draconian. I had just finished running a very long stream of customers through my register when I was greeted by a considerably older gay man who commented on my "nice" lips and asked me if I could meet him in the parking lot at the end of my work shift.

"I see what you're implying," I said. "But if you'd really like to comment on my services, you should take part in our customer satisfaction survey, which is at the bottom of your receipt. Put in a good word for me and I can keep my job. Then you can come in again and comment on something else, which I will kindly deflect." He thanked me and you know what? He did just that. He was a regular afterwards, though the sexual harassment was noticeably absent (for the most part).

I worked, temporarily, as an enumerator for the United States Census Bureau. I was that guy from the evil government who wanted to walk into your home and harness all of your information.

A quick aside: Those are LIES, my friends.

I don't know where people get this idea that census workers are like the Gestapo to the immigrant population either, but I certainly dealt with my fair share of terrified individuals who shrieked obscenities at me in broken English while reaching for objects with serrated edges. Anyway, one of the nicer people I dealt with was a middle aged woman who answered the door entirely in the nude. 'Oh, my!' she said. 'I am so sorry…I was waiting for my husband.'

I was busing tables at a restaurant. I was tired all the time. Of course I was. I suffered each and every day through a nearly three hour commute to suburban hell where kids ate free on Tuesdays and where I had to take out the trash (restaurant trash is the worst). In the eyes of management, I'm pretty sure insects are higher up on the food chain than a busboy (insects have exoskeletons!).

Morale at this place was at an all time low. I didn't make enough to afford a decent meal off the menu, but I was regularly bitched at for going to the Five Guys next door, which isn't exactly cheap either. At the end of each work day, I'd cry because Five Guys would be the closest I'd get to five guys in months. (I'm sort of kidding; I was pretty wild and loose during my time there; you had to be; it was so STRESSFUL.)

One day, a customer asked me if I had dreams of being somewhere else. "All the damn time," I replied. "The market sucks right now. By the way, I think you should be somewhere else." "Does this place blow?" the customer asked. "This is the BEST PLACE EVER." I answered. "I get your point," he said. He handed me a $20 bill, told me to take care of myself and went off to parts unknown (hopefully to Five Guys next door).

I waited tables at a seedy little diner owned by a man whose idea of bathing was buying soap, letting it sit in his office and occasionally rubbing a bar quickly up the sides of his neck with the same proportional force which results in car tires burning rubber on hard asphalt.

He had dried flakes of soap on his collar. He was also Greek. He was hairy. He shed flakes and hair like the feathers off a molting duck's ass. Some of these hair feathers fell into the Manhattan Clam Chowder. I spent the day recommending New England Clam Chowder instead. "I know you have Manhattan Clam on the menu today and I want some NOW!" bleated one irate customer. "The recipe's a bit off today," I said. "The soup is…um…flaky.' 'FLAKY?' he tells me. 'Did you get that shit out of a BOX?"

Susan Sarandon came into the bookstore one month. She was at the registers and I, at least at first, did not recognize her. Her mane of fiery red hair threatened to destroy my homosexuality in one fell swoop. She was wearing thick sunglasses at 9:30 PM.

"I haven't read much Raymond Carver," she said. "What do you recommend? Do you like Raymond Carver?" "I do like Raymond Carver," I said, "and you can't go wrong with Short Cuts." She peered at me over the rims of her sunglasses. "I'll make a note to get it next time! There aren't enough hours in the day, I fucking tell you!" We had a good laugh, then she went on her merry way. "Holy shit,' said one of my coworkers. "I knew that was Susan Sarandon! That was Susan Sarandon!"

"HOLY FUCKING SHIT!" I cried.

"Paparazzi, ya'll better take note. If Susan Sarandon is photographed on a beach in some awesome tropical locale reading Short Cuts in the future, it was I who gave her the recommendation!" I smiled the rest of the way through my shift and wondered if she'd bring Geena Davis with her next time; my fandom would have killed me if she did.

(Would you be surprised if Susan Sarandon kept a collection of dinosaur erotica in her home? I can totally see her cutting some pictures out and pasting them in the bathroom stalls on the set of her next movie. She seems mischievous enough…)

If there's anything my time in customer service has taught me, it's to quell my annoyance and avenge my family name by drowning myself in the pleasures of my outrageous employee discount. And to go to Five Guys. And to be nice to every poor sap who has to put up with my shit this holiday season, or any day of the week.

We've all been THAT customer, whether we meant to be or not. TC mark

I Had The Worst Paranormal Experience Of My Life At The Geiser Grand Hotel

Posted: 07 Oct 2015 11:35 AM PDT

Provided by the author.
Provided by the author.

I’m not going to mince words here or hold back on my experience at this hotel.  To do so would only lessen the intensity of my experience and also misrepresent the influence it had on me and still has on me.

Geiser Grand Hotel, hands down, takes the cake for the top worst paranormal experience of my life.

In my life, I have always felt my guides and my protection. Our connection is strong and because of this, I get lazy. I don’t always call in for extra light or extra guidance or even protection before going into a place. That’s mostly because I am always connecting with them and that sometimes ends up with me not remembering to ask for protection once I arrive at a place. I will never make that mistake again.

When I go to a location that is rumored to be haunted, I take the time to record video or audio during my stay. I usually come back and have at least 10 hours of recordings I go through. This time, with this hotel, I stopped at just under two hours of going through over 10 hours of recordings. This is the first time I have ever stopped listening and made the decision to not continue listening to the recordings to hear what evidence may have been left of my encounters with the spirits at a location. I can’t bring myself to go on. It is not in my best interest for my own spirit and therefore, it’s something I chose not to go further into. I was, however, able to capture quite a few EVPs in the two hours I did listen to….

beetlejuice

Our drive to the Geiser Grand was a pretty one. Pretty, snowy, and long. When we arrived, I went to check-in as my boyfriend stayed with the car at the curb out front. I walked into the front double doors and did my usual scan of my surroundings. Nothing unusual…well, for me at least. Did I feel the presence of beings on the other side? Yes. Did I feel anything out of the ordinary? No, at least, not yet.

Provided by the author.
Provided by the author.

After checking in and getting our bags, we made our way to the elevator. We got to the third floor and made our way to our room. Once there, I put the cardkey in only to receive a red light — no entry. I tried, over and over again, but with the same results. My boyfriend and I both looked at each other and decided to trek back down to the lobby where we explained to the receptionist that the key didn’t work. We noticed her give us a look, which we took as “mysterious.” She mumbled under her breath about how odd it was that the key didn’t work. Instead of making a new key, she accompanied us back up to the third floor to open the door herself using her master key. It wasn’t until later, we heard that this was one of the ways the spirits mess around with guests, by not allowing entry into their rooms.

It was Christmas Eve. It was 6 PM and we already felt like we could go to bed. I felt agitated — to an extent. I suggested we take a power nap so we’d get our energy back on track. My boyfriend agreed and down to bed we went.

I was lucidly asleep when I felt a presence. I opened my eyes and saw this dark mass floating above me and just as I am to call in Archangel Michael as I always do when this happens, I experienced the most excruciating pain I have ever felt in my head. I mean, it felt like someone took an electrical prod and stuck it in my right temple. I can only describe it as an electrical pulse moving through my right temple like a lightning bolt. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t wake my boyfriend up to ask for help. The pain seemed to last forever…until I was finally able to concentrate past it and tell this…thing to get the fuck off of me.

I called in everything possible for protection as I went in and out of consciousness. Eventually, I was able to open my eyes, only to see the mass still hanging above me. It had the weirdest shape — it reminded me of a coffin of Dracula. The “coffin” was really wide at the shoulders and a narrow lower body. After that, all I remember (and this is going to sound ridiculous) is saying something along the lines of, “You want to mess with me?” and conjuring up all I could to take my right hand and gestured a throwing motion. Sounds stupid, but it’s what I did.

I woke up and shared what had happened to me. We decided we needed to get out of the room, so I turned off the Zoom H1 I had recording while we took the nap and we headed down to the bar. My head still hurt and it was difficult for me to not allow my mind to drift to the disturbance I felt at the experience. It bothered me, a lot.

We had a drink and went back upstairs where we ordered room service. As I waited for it to arrive, I tried over and over to walk around the third floor and video with my camera. Every time I tried, the camera would freeze or turn itself off. I tried over and over again, but I wasn’t able to record anything on video. There was a brief moment where I was actually able to keep the camera on and it said it was recording, only to get back to the room and find nothing recorded.

Despite “Mr. Darkness”…it was a beautiful room and a beautiful night. It was snowing and the town looked like a ghost town. Not one car could be seen driving down any of the downtown streets. It was around 12 AM when we decided to call it a night.

I fell asleep only to wake up about 10 minutes later to “Mr. Darkness” literally floating along side me in the air beside the bed. Again, he was shaped like a coffin…broad, square shoulders with the body really narrowing down to the feet. I, again, am recording the night on the Zoom H1. You can hear me wake my boyfriend up and groggily say, “I think I know who is hanging out with us.” I know because in a flash, I saw two different faces. I described them to my boyfriend. Both are males. One man is in his late 20s or early 30s and the other has graying hair and is older. I gave distinct features…like the unusual mustache of the younger one. I even said he reminded me of a character on Hell On Wheels.

I described the older man to my boyfriend that his eyes, his haircut, his mustache made him resemble Hitler…not exactly, but Hitler-ish. My boyfriend went on to tell me he had the worst nightmare of his life. He never has nightmares. This one was so bad, he couldn’t even repeat it. He was very disturbed and told the entity a few choice words to get lost. It seemed to work, as the rest of the night was undisturbed.

The next day I researched people involved with Baker City and the hotel back when it first opened. To my shock, I found a picture of the man in his 30s that I saw in my flashback. I was shocked at the photo…there was — and is — no doubt in my mind that’s the man I saw. Even more shocking and what made me cry like a baby in front of my boyfriend was a picture I found of the same man in his older years. It was the older man I saw. I saw two faces — one of this man when he was younger and one when he was older. I was exhausted, drained of my energy, and bothered…and finding these pictures was the last straw. I bawled as I sat in complete humility at the things I can’t explain. The things I can’t control. The questions I have. The abilities I find within me.

Here are the two photos, young and old, of the man I saw. He was the mayor of Baker City. He was the partner in the most successful law firm in the area. He was also a high ranking Freemason and would go on to be a judge in the Supreme Court. A very powerful man.

The younger face I saw.

Photo provided by the author.
Photo provided by the author.

The older face I saw. Both the young and old pictured are the same man.

Photo provided by the author.
Photo provided by the author.

As we left the hotel, I told my boyfriend as much as the entity brought me pain, I felt that he didn’t know any better. I felt he was doing what he was used to doing to people: manipulating and controlling. Showing people who is boss by taking energy from people for himself. I wonder if this powerful man has anything to do with this entity? What kind of man would you have to be to be that powerful in those times? To be mayor of a city that was known for miners and where downtown was basically a red-light district? They used to shoot the brass lion on the top of the Geiser Grand with their pistols when they all got drunk on the town. I don’t know…all I know is what happened to me and what I saw in flashes of information.

We went into the library. It was a place where I felt extreme presence and I spoke out loud to them. I told them what it did to me was not very nice and that it needed to stop doing it to people. I explained that I didn’t appreciate it at all and that there are better ways to maintain and better planes of existence to go to where he will not feel the need to feed on people. A long shot, I know. I had to say it anyway.

Provided by the author.
Provided by the author.

Here are the EVPs I captured during the time I took the nap and had the horrific experience. To me, it is profound evidence that backs my experience in exact timing (the hour-long nap). You be the judge at what you think.  You must wear HEADPHONES to hear these! It is already difficult to hear and pick up voices that are not human. In one of the EVPs, you will hear the monks humming that always show up everywhere I go…that was pretty cool to hear again. On another you will hear something actually say my name — Amy. That is the one I never, ever want to listen to again.

In this EVP it sounds like someone says “Tell Em!”

This next one at first sounded like someone was reprimanding…kind of like a tisk, tisk, tisk tone…but as I listen to it more…it sounds more like someone who is eating a juicy BBQ rib and enjoying it! Either way, creeps me out. Listen at the 2 second mark. 

In case you are not familiar, there are a set of monks that always show up in every recording from every haunted place I have visited and recorded at. It is amazing and very creepy at the same time. I don’t know if they are guides or if they are with me or my boyfriend. Here they are humming at the five second mark. 

Here is the EVP that sounds like my name being spoken, at the eight second mark. 

beetlejuice

Is the Geiser Grand Hotel haunted? Absolutely, no doubt about it. Does everyone have the kind of experience I did? Something tells me, no. Even ones who have, I am not sure they would even know what is happening to them and chock it up to a migraine or some random pain happening to them…or energy being drained.

I continue to have to call in extra light and my guides even now, weeks later. I feel I have finally driven this thing away. It’s part of why I don’t want to keep listening to it on the recordings and also why it has taken me this long to be able to write about it. TC mark

Photo provided by the author.
Photo provided by the author.
This post originally appeared at The Closet Clairvoyant.

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10 Things A Guy Will Do That Show He’s Boyfriend Material

Posted: 07 Oct 2015 11:00 AM PDT

Twenty20 / freemanlafleur
Twenty20 / freemanlafleur

Finding the right guy is never easy. I see so many girls in relationships that are unhealthy and bring them down. Many girls try to justify why they stay in bad relationships. With a culture that has become accustomed to hooking up, I know many girls who truly don't understand what it means to be treated "right" by a guy. However, when a guy likes a girl, it is obvious. There will be no doubt in your head that this guy is going to make the best boyfriend. If he does these 10 things, I think you've got a keeper.

1. He tells you how beautiful you are all the time.

I don't mean you should dress up and throw on a ton of makeup every time you see your boyfriend with the hopes he will call you beautiful. A girl should feel comfortable being without makeup, hair natural, wearing a T-shirt and still feel as if her boyfriend finds her beautiful. A guy should make a girl feel sexy all the time, whether that means you are going out for the night or just relaxing at home in your pajamas.

2. He never leaves a doubt in your mind that you are the girl for him.

If a guy doesn't make you feel as if you are the only one for him, it is time to move on. There is no point in dating someone who leaves you questioning whether he is committed or not.

3. A good boyfriend lets his girl have her space.

A trusting, understanding boyfriend isn't possessive over his girl. He knows that she has a life and friends of her own. Girls don't want to feel as if their boyfriend is constantly trying to control what she does without him. The more space a guy gives a girl, the more time the girl will want to spend with the guy.

4. He takes you on dates.

A guy doesn't have to spend a ton of money on a girl by taking her out to fancy dinners and buying her a ton of stuff. All a good boyfriend has to do is put a little bit of thought into a fun way to spend time with his girlfriend. Picnic in a park, relaxing at the beach and going outside of town to watch the stars in the middle of the night are all perfect "dates." Having a girl come over at midnight once he has already gone out drinking with his friends doesn't count as a date.

5. He supports your decisions.

A guy who is really into you won't make you feel bad about the decisions you make in your life. If he doesn't agree with something, he will tell you in a nice way. However, if something is important to you, he will support you 100% of the way.

6. He constantly tries to "be better."

Once you are in a relationship, it doesn't mean he will stop caring. A good boyfriend will constantly try to win you over even after he has "won you over."

7. He touches you.

Guys like to touch girls and girls like to be touched. Small gestures like putting his hand on your leg or wrapping his arms around you makes a big difference. You should feel as if he wants you, all you time.

8. He is open and honest with you.

The perfect boyfriend will always be open and honest with you. You should never have to question how he is feeling. That is what makes a good relationship.

9. He admires you.

You should always feel as if your boyfriend looks up to you and respects you. He is attracted to your mind and he cherishes you for who you are as a person.

10. He considers you his best friend.

At the end of the day, your boyfriend should want to spend time with you over anyone else. You are his best friend. And you should feel the same way about him. TC mark

12 Women Share Little Comments Their Boyfriends Make That They Find Extremely Insulting

Posted: 07 Oct 2015 07:00 AM PDT

Twenty20 / stefiakti
Twenty20 / stefiakti

1. “He told me I look better with makeup. Even if you think it’s true, why say it? That just makes me self conscious and now I feel like I have to have a full face on every time I’m around him.” —Erin, 24

beetlejuice

2. “When he makes fun of every fat actress on TV, and actually can’t watch movies Melissa McCarthy is in. I get so insulted.” —Danielle, 25

beetlejuice

3. “I tried to learn to play violin and when I’d practice while he was in the room, or apartment, he’d ask me to stop. It wasn’t a huge deal, but he didn’t support me. I want encouragement, not to feel embarrassed for trying something new.” —Leanne, 23

beetlejuice

4. “When he told me to shave my lady parts, I just felt like saying ‘You should be glad you’re having sex with me at all!’ I hate it when a guy tells me how to groom.” —Kat, 28

beetlejuice

5. “I gained a little bit of weight about 6 months into the relationship, and I noticed he’d make little hints about what I was eating. It wasn’t like I gained 60 pounds, it was probably 5 or 10, but when he’d say things like, ‘Are you really going to eat all that?’ or ‘What did you have for lunch today?’ even if he’s joking, I’m definitely not laughing. Yes, I’m going to eat this entire burger, and yes I’m going to enjoy every minute of it.” —Chelsea, 27

beetlejuice

6. “He once told me I have a really deep voice. He immediately saw my displeased reaction and tried to make up for it, telling me he thought it was super sexy, bla bla bla. I felt really manly after that, but in the worst way possible.” —Ella, 24

beetlejuice

7. “We went for a jog and he said I run like I have a stick up my ass. Like, really? That made me want to never run again.” —Brittany, 22

beetlejuice

8. “One time he called me ditzy. I am not a ditz. I graduated in the top 10 percent of our class, he wasn’t even in the top 40. That relationship lasted about a month. Don’t call me dumb.” —Chrissy, 23

beetlejuice

9. “I love dressing up, and my friends would definitely describe me as trendy, but when I’d wear something a bit out of the ordinary, he’d make me feel stupid for doing it. Little things like ‘Are you going to a skate park?’ (while wearing jeans with holes) EVERYONE wears destroyed denim! Men have it so easy, button downs and pants. So when I try to look cute and he makes me feel anything but, yes, it’s insulting.” —Sierra, 27

beetlejuice

10. “I tried giving him a lap dance and he was laughing the entire time. I have yet to give him another.” —Meredith, 24

beetlejuice

11. “My best friend is a guy, and when I hangout with him my boyfriend ALWAYS has something to say about it. He implies that I’m cheating on him without explicitly saying it, and I have never and would never cheat on him. When he makes those comments he’s questioning my integrity. Insulting? Yes.” —Tina, 29

beetlejuice

12. “He really doesn’t like my mom. I understand that they don’t have to be best friends, but when he says things like, ‘You’re mom really embarrassed herself tonight.” She’s my MOM! Sometimes she can be crazy, but I love her, and when you insult her you’re insulting me.” —Morgan, 26 TC mark

17 Crucial Screenwriting Tips Stephen King Wants You To Know

Posted: 07 Oct 2015 06:55 AM PDT

Featureflash / Shutterstock.com Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

Stephen King's On Writing is one of the best writing resources that any writer can get their hands on — even screenwriters. Yes, King's wise words are written primarily in reference to writing literature, however, many of his now famous quotes from the book can be easily applied to screenwriting.

From a screenwriter and former studio script reader/story analyst's perspective, here's how the master's words can help any and all screenwriters.

1. "Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It's about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink."

If a screenwriter's eyes are set on the prize of seven-figure paychecks, Oscars, and fame (Quentin Tarantino, Aaron Sorkin, etc.), it's going to be a very difficult and frustrating journey. It should be about engaging an audience and getting those stories bouncing around in your head onto the page, fully realized. It's a magical experience to take what you see in your mind's eye and apply it in a way that others can see what you've seen.

2. "If you do need to do research because parts of your story deal with things about which you know little or nothing, remember that word back. That's where research belongs: as far in the background and the back story as you can get it. You may be entranced with what you're learning about the flesh-eating bacteria, the sewer system of New York, or the I.Q. potential of collie pups, but your readers are probably going to care a lot more about your characters and your story."

It's great if you've done your research. It's even wonderful if you have a pre-existing knowledge base as a doctor as you write that medical drama. That research or knowledge base, however, needs to be kept in the background. It needs to pepper the story, not over-salt it. Nobody is going to care if your script showcases excellent research or the fact that you may know exactly what happens in a certain medical situation. Just tell an interesting and engaging story. Use that research or knowledge base to simply enhance your story and characters.

3. "If you've never done it before, you'll find reading your book over after a six-week layoff to be a strange, often exhilarating experience. It's yours, you'll recognize it as yours, even be able to remember what tune was on the stereo when you wrote certain lines, and yet it will also be like reading the work of someone else, a soul-twin, perhaps. This is the way it should be, the reason you waited. It's always easier to kill someone else's darlings that it is to kill your own."

When you've finished that first draft, what should you do? The first thing is celebrate. It's a major accomplishment. Too many screenwriters jump the gun however, by trying to take their script out right away or jumping right into the next rewrite.

The best thing to do is to step away. Not for just a few days, either. Take four to six weeks away from it. Don't think about it. Don't look at it. Don't have anyone read it. Take a vacation. Then come back to it. It's an often exhilarating experience. It really is. It will be like reading someone else's script while at the same time seeing your own toddler taking their first steps.

All too often, you'll be able to look at your script more objectively as well. You'll see what doesn't work, what needs to be cut, what needs to be enhanced, etc. It's an amazing experience. And a necessary one.

4. "One cannot imitate a writer's approach to a particular genre, no matter how simple what the writer is doing may seem. You can't aim a book like a cruise missile, in other words. People who decide to make a fortune writing like John Grisham or Tom Clancy produce nothing but pale imitations, by and large, because vocabulary is not the same thing as feeling and plot is light years from the truth as it is understood by the mind and the heart."

It's great to have heroes. It's great to have writers that you look up to. It's great to be inspired by them. But know that you'll never be them. Stop trying. Don't work to be the next Quentin Tarantino, Aaron Sorkin, Shane Black, Paul Thomas Anderson, etc. Instead, work to be the first you.

5. "A radio talk-show host asked me how I wrote. My reply—'One word at a time'—seemingly left him without a reply. I think he was trying to decide whether or not I was joking. I wasn't. In the end, it's always that simple. Whether it's a vignette of a single page or an epic trilogy like The Lord of the Rings, the work is always accomplished one word at a time."

Greatness isn't something that comes in one 110-page writing session for screenplays. It happens one word, one line, one scene, one sequence, one character, and one moment at a time. Some writing sessions will give you 10 pages. Some will give you 5. All too often, you may only get a single page. There's nothing wrong with this. It all happens one word at a time.

6. "The first draft of a book—even a long one—should take no more than three months, the length of a season."

No matter what most will say, taking a year to write a single script is too long. If a screenwriter wants to eventually become a professional, they need to learn to write like one. With most assignment contracts, the writer is given 10 weeks to finish the first draft of a script, and then 2 weeks for each additional draft. That's it.

If screenwriters can master the idea of finishing a script in three months, they'll be ahead of most and will ready themselves for the storm to come.

7. "Reading at meals is considered rude in polite society, but if you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second to least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway."

In the end, screenwriters need to focus on telling their story. While it is necessary to follow the general guidelines and expectations of the film industry, in the end, you need to tell the story the way you feel it should be told. Sure, changes will likely come with studio notes and what not, but creating an original voice is key. You can't make everyone happy, and you have no control over how others feel, so the best you can do is stay true to yourself.

8. "The adverb is not your friend. Consider the sentence "He closed the door firmly." It's by no means a terrible sentence, but ask yourself if 'firmly' really has to be there. What about context? What about all the enlightening (not to say emotionally moving) prose which came before 'He closed the door firmly'? Shouldn't this tell us how he closed the door? And if the foregoing prose does tell us, then isn't 'firmly' an extra word? Isn't it redundant?"

'Nuff said.

9. "I'm convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing. Dumbo got airborne with the help of a magic feather; you may feel the urge to grasp a passive verb or one of those nasty adverbs for the same reason. Just remember before you do that Dumbo didn't need the feather; the magic was in him."

For screenwriters, this goes above and beyond mere adverbs and passive verbs. Screenwriters often utilize the crutch of flashbacks, voiceover, and bad exposition. You don't need it. Trust your concept, story, and characters. Trust yourself. Sure, sometimes those things work, but use them few and far between, if at all. Better yet, explore each and every way possible to avoid them.

10. "Timid writers like passive verbs for the same reason that timid lovers like passive partners. The passive voice is safe. The timid fellow writes "The meeting will be held at seven o'clock" because that somehow says to him, 'Put it this way and people will believe you really know. 'Purge this quisling thought! Don't be a muggle! Throw back your shoulders, stick out your chin, and put that meeting in charge! Write 'The meeting's at seven.' There, by God! Don't you feel better?"

In screenwriting, this can be best applied when talking about writing dialogue. Too many scripts suffer from too much dialogue that relies too much on passive voice. Each line has to be strong. Each line has to matter. Each line has to not necessarily sound real, but at least an entertaining version of real.

11. "You have to read widely, constantly refining (and redefining) your own work as you do so. If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write."

Screenwriters need to read. The best education in screenwriting that I've ever had was as a studio script reader and later as a judge for major screenplay competitions. You learn more so what not to do, and why. And reading excellent produced scripts gives you a benchmark for what is possible and how you can apply it to your own writing.

Furthermore, since screenwriting is a visual medium, screenwriters need to watch movies. They will teach you, inspire you, and make you want to be a better writer. They will give you that feeling that you want others to feel when they read your scripts or watch movies that you wrote.

12. "Most exercise facilities are now equipped with TVs, but TV—while working out or anywhere else—really is about the last thing an aspiring writer needs. If you feel you must have the news analyst blowhard on CNN while you exercise, or the stock market blowhards on MSNBC, or the sports blowhards on ESPN, it's time for you to question how serious you really are about becoming a writer. You must be prepared to do some serious turning inward toward the life of the imagination, and that means, I'm afraid, that Geraldo, Keigh Obermann, and Jay Leno must go. Reading takes time, and the glass teat takes too much of it."

What Stephen is saying here is simple. It's all about the fact that writing isn't always typing. Most of the time it is not. You should be constantly writing during long drives to work, while mowing the lawn, while taking a walk, while going for a run, etc. Don't let television or the radio get in the way. Look inward.

13. "When I'm asked for 'the secret of my success' (an absurd idea, that, but impossible to get away from), I sometimes say there are two: I stayed physically healthy, and I stayed married. It's a good answer because it makes the question go away, and because there is an element of truth in it. The combination of a healthy body and a stable relationship with a self-reliant woman who takes zero shit from me or anyone else has made the continuity of my working life possible. And I believe the converse is also true: that my writing and the pleasure I take in it has contributed to the stability of my health and my home life."

Screenwriters need to take care of themselves, physically and emotionally. It serves your writing and your writing serves your life.

14. "There should be no telephone in your writing room, certainly no TV or videogames for you to fool around with. If there's a window, draw the curtains or pull down the shades unless it looks out at a blank wall."

No distractions. It'll always be tempting to check that email, check those texts, watch those shows waiting on your DVR, etc. Don't. Just write, baby.

15. "When, during the course of an interview for The New Yorker, I told the interviewer (Mark Singer) that I believed stories are found things, like fossils in the ground, he said that he didn't believe me. I replied that that was fine, as long as he believed that I believe it. And I do. Stories aren't souvenir tee-shirts or Game Boys. Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world. The writer's job is to use the tools in his or her toolbox to get as much of each one out of the ground intact as possible. Sometimes the fossil you uncover is small; a seashell. Sometimes it's enormous, a Tyrannosaurus Rex with all the gigantic ribs and grinning teeth. Either way, short story or thousand page whopper of a novel, the techniques of excavation remain basically the same."

The stories are already there. It's just about digging deep and finding them.

16. "Mostly when I think of pacing, I go back to Elmore Leonard, who explained it so perfectly by saying he just left out the boring parts. This suggests cutting to speed the pace, and that's what most of us end up having to do (kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler's heart, kill your darlings.)"

'Nuff said.

17. "You don't need writing classes or seminars any more than you need this or any other book on writing. Faulkner learned his trade while working in the Oxford, Mississippi post office. Other writers have learned the basics while serving in the Navy, working in steel mills or doing time in America's finer crossbar hotels. I learned the most valuable (and commercial) part of my life's work while washing motel sheets and restaurant tablecloths at the New Franklin Laundry in Bangor. You learn best by reading a lot and writing a lot, and the most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself."

Look, knowledge is power. There's nothing wrong with feeding the brain something great to chew on. But the fact is, no seminar, workshop, class, or guru book is going to teach you how to be a great screenwriter. Only you can decide that by reading, watching movies, and writing scripts. Plain and simple.

These are but a few of the lessons learned for all writers in Stephen King's amazing book On Writing. Read it. Apply it to your own writing. I'll take this book over any screenwriting guru book seven days a week and twice on Sunday. TC mark

This post originally appeared on the ScreenCraft blog. ScreenCraft is dedicated to helping screenwriters and filmmakers succeed through educational events, screenwriting competitions.

16 Things People Who Grew Up In Hawaii Know To Be True

Posted: 07 Oct 2015 06:14 AM PDT

Flickr / Keoni Cabral
Flickr / Keoni Cabral
  1. Students do not make volcanoes for their science project. Volcanoes are considered sacred and taken seriously.
  2. Slippers (NOT flip-flops) are the normal footwear.
  3. Aloha wear is what is used in place of "semi-casual/semi-formal."
  4. There's a clear distinction between "local" and "Hawaiian." Just because we are from Hawaii, that does not automatically make us Hawaiian.
  5. Cruising means to just lay back and chill — not to go see what's happening out on the town.
  6. Your Instagram is overloaded with sunset pictures on the daily – the pictures are uploaded around the same time and every picture looks the same.
  7. The word "Aunty" and "Uncle" is used as a term of endearment/respect. It shows the hierarchy within a household and clarifies that they are the ones obeyed.
  8. 75-degrees Fahrenheit is very cold and much appreciated.
  9. Geckos are our best friends. They eat all the insects for us and they do not make any noise or mess. Also, they're super cute and cool – they can regenerate their tail if it gets cut off. It's a cardinal sin to kill a gecko in Hawaii.
  10. You know what people are talking about when "ice" is mentioned – it's the drug, not the frozen substance that makes/keeps things cold.
  11. Speaking "pidgin" is not referring to being able to speak like a bird. It is a spoken dialect amongst Hawaii locals, especially the older generation.
  12. Ewoks have nothing to do with Star Wars. Instead, it is slang for "easy women of Kailua".
  13. Waikiki will forever be a challenge to navigate for locals since we never go there unless absolutely necessary.
  14. Zippy's is the late night hot spot – it's a local diner chain and there's about three in every neighborhood and the BEST. Everyone has their favorite location and know who’s working. A friendship is developed between the drunkards and the servers.
  15. Local food – spam, mahi mahi, rice, shoyu chicken, oxtail soup, spicy ahi, lau lau, malasada, haupia, pipi kaula, kulolo, saimin, and poi are sold everywhere. Although, only the locals know where the best and cheapest are and yes, the long drive is worth it.
  16. When every single song about marijuana hits number one in Hawaii. TC mark