Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Reflections on an old piece

At some point I must return to complete this meditation I started a few years ago. I kind of like where this was going, but never got around to completing the whole. But then again, I let the writing slide a bit and have now forced myself to review old work as a sort of prep to jumping back into the writing again. Generally, it has been my view to only write when I have something worthwhile saying.

Instructions for Dismantling the Beast,
Part I: Bulimia

With both hands, fingers hooked, reach down the rabbit hole
beyond oesophageal history, slippery and wet
where playground scenes act out their own death:

A cat, a dog, a woman who swallowed a fly
a rusted bike caught on a crook of light on a crooked lawn
blue children choking back laughter.

Heave it up, chain by chain.

Remember clarity? The aura of invulnerability?
Pure night skies limitless as youth, rain bowed promises
lifting Crayola wings, caught and freed on hot summer nights.

Cough up the stones each greying year
until you are weightless, unbounded by the gravity of living
until you are free, as light as whiskers and as empty as youth.

-- from The World According to Goldfish, Vol II (Goldfish Press, Florida, 2009)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

At the Royal Tyrrell Museum

Something made me remember this old piece. At the Royal Tyrrell Museum from the Rose & Thorn, Summer, 2007:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Forgot about this blog

I haven't used this in so long, I'd simply forgotten that I ever set this account up in the first place. Such is life. I'll take this as a sign that I ought to do something about that. So, in the spirit of nostalgia I'll post some work from the former edifice WRECKED ezine. These were published in May, 2007. I find them weak pieces written when I just started playing around with words again, but they have their own weird charm. Nostalgia, no doubt. Well, enjoy.

Gliese 581 c

we found your cold gem
wrapped around a ruby,
maroon splashes virgin earth,

we point and dream
make Magellan plans, while
Sleeping Beauty slumbers, waiting
for her prince.

we'll take you one day
strip your gold
plunder your diamonds
in self-satisfaction,
to keep young couples


Red Riding Hood

Where are you going little red
with your electric smile
and bright sapphire eyes, glinting
like a sharp pick that pricks the frost walls of
my heart? Didn't grandmother warn you
not to stray from the path,
into the dark woods of men, overgrown
with thorny vines that'll ensnare and bleed
sweet girls like you?

I'm trapped and enwrapped,
tied in fate to a story
I already know the ending to. I've crushed
the petals of past promises, the words dust
against palm lines that scar me;
I'll break you, too, girl, just
like fairytale lies of us --
but you'll believe them, bend,

I'll nibble a bit at your ears, play
the harp of your soul, my nimble fingers
teasing the gold strings of your hair,
to make melancholy music,
until I consume you,
and you make a new coat of me.


Little Girl Lost

She courts the dead, her beak buried
under page 21, massaging
the split spine with deft finger play,
and razor eyes cutting imaginary suitors
formed from farcical words
a hundred years old.

Love them and leave them,
she tosses another lie left,
upon the heap she's been collecting
all her life. No Mister to the right
to sweep her feet, just the janitor
pushing at the dust of a dry life
(he can't rant in English, but smiles anyways).
She doesn't even notice that.

Self-contained bubble, she floats
to the train station, mistaking
mercury for silver-linings, and
Metamorphosis for a map, lost
in a laconic life. But the distances
she travels each day never change,
no matter how often she measures it.

She dreams of freedom.

At night she weeps on her vanity,
unbuttoning her armour, revealing
a perfect portrait of loneliness and
counting the rings around her eyes
(one for each year of decline),
before leafing through her diary,
rustling in her sheets, and tossing
her comforter to the dead end of the bed.

All she's ever needed was with her all along;
a pin to prick the bubble.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Digitalis' First Paragraph Project

Much is made about that all important first paragraph, and sometimes first sentence, as the hook. I have heard this harped on time and again. The reasoning seems to be that you must catch the reader's attention immediately to get them engaged in the story. The longer you take to catch the reader, the less likely they will stick it out. Some say it is the first 5 pages that are critical. I suppose it is both.

I've always believed that you must let the reader know what this story is about immediately. Why should be be engaged. Flashy openings are not enough. You have to give the reader something of substance. Something that makes them interested. It should be the link that will eventually connect the whole of the story (though how it all links together is unknown).

Digitalis, an editor of a magazine, was kind enough to offer to review the first paragraph to a novel and to give his opinion. I thought it might be an interesting experiment and send him the first paragraph to one of my WIPs to look at. I thought what harm can come from getting a free commentary on how that all important first paragraph reads. It would be fun, maybe. What harm could there be? You can find digitalis' commentary on that paragraph here:

Thanks Digitalis for your comments.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I have been fixated lately by writing in three POV, being first person, second person, and third person omniscient. Well, to be perfectly honest this is not a new fixation as I've previously attempted this in a WIP novel that explores POV in first person (On Memory), second person (On Forgetting), and third person omniscient (On Truth). I am currently working sporadically on a short story following this same pattern again but now floating between three different characters to tell the same story for different perspectives. I'm probably being influenced to some degree by Tash Aw's "The Harmony Silk Factory," in which Aw uses three different characters to tell the story of one person through different eyes. I found that fascinating because no one perspective catches the essence of the main character, but rather interprets him through their own bias. It is this essence of "being" that I find fascinating as a subject of study. It folds nicely into this attempt to use POV shifts to examine the same event from different characters.

It's funny but I find second person POV to be nearly the most perfect perspective. There's something about the claustrophobic narrowness of the perspective that gives a work a hemmed-in feel. It makes one realize that a perspective is just that -- one point of view on a person or event. The best work I've seen so far in this light is Carlos Fuentes' "Aura." I thoroughly enjoyed what Fuentes managed to do with second person. Aura is highly readable. For an example of my experiments in second person POV, see "What if You Had Flown?" at Boston Literary in 2008 here: A piece of flash fiction originally written as a postcard fiction piece.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Welcome to the World of Blogging

While I am an old blogger from the days of MySpace, an account I still hold but do little with, I have not had much to blog about in quite some time. Most of those MySpace blogs have long vanished and now reside as random electrons scattered in cyberspace. Indeed, I have had nothing much to say that I would feel inclined to bore you good people with; so, instead of following along with all the millions of other bloggers, I have chosen instead to lurk and observe, enjoy the beautiful countryside I live in, and occasionally write a few words of prose or poetry. I'm sure the world sighs a breath or two of relief knowing one less blogger is foisted upon them. I'm sure glad. I love my mountains. Yet, even as I slowly developed my writing bio I knew this day would come. This is the day I would begin keeping a blog to keep the world informed about what I'm up to with my writing. I apologize profusely ahead of time. I also thank you for now following the journey I take with these first, unsteady words into the abyss.

Let me tell you to begin with something about myself. I hadn't written a word of prose or poetry for many years, but suddenly in 2006 found myself encouraged to take up the pen. The world of writing had changed substantially since that time. The world of SASE and no simultaneous submissions had crumbled, much as the Berlin Wall, and in that period it seemed possible, once again, to look toward getting a few words published in a small press somewhere in the backwoods. Something to indicate that I had something worthwhile to say and an audience willing to listen. So, in 2006 I began writing again and in 2007 I published my first piece. Over the course of 2007 and 2008 I submitted and published a number of poems and short stories in various publications. In 2009 I took a bit of a break, returning in earnest to it again only in the past few months. I was nominated for a Pushcart for 2009 for a poem I wrote in 2008.

In the meantime, I struggle with my longer works of fiction. I have a half dozen manuscripts in various stages of disarray and hope to get back to them soon to complete them. It has, however, been my view that I need to develop up a certain level of competence and readership before exploring the uncertain seas of novel publication. Yet, I do get the occasional inquiry about those novels from prior readers. I promise you I will get back to them and finalize them.

So, here I am charting this course into the unknown. Exciting, exasperating. It's all good.