…Like a Patient Etherized Upon a Table

Source: http://gboskovich.wordpress.com/
Source: http://gboskovich.wordpress.com/

Let’s get something straight. I write fiction. Fiction is what I do. Novels, short stories, flash fiction, non-fiction (it made me crazy, but I did it). But every now and then, when the moon is at its apex in the eastern sky and the crickets are singing and there’s beer in my belly and the radio’s up . . . I like to pretend I can write poetry.

It’s funny, because I had poetry published over the summer, but I have yet to place any short prose (and my novel, though the first draft is sooooo close to being finished, is nowhere near ready to take agent-shopping). Most of my poetry seems (to me) like complete drivel, but every once in a while, something comes out that I can’t ignore, and it sticks with me for days or weeks. The poem “Swallowing sounds like boiling water” was actually the fruit of a year’s worth of ruminating. “Farmland” was written and edited in probably a couple days. It’s different for each poem, and there are varying degrees of how much I like the poems I produce, just as with my other writing.

Reading poetry, on the other hand, is a wonderful thing. For one, I didn’t write it. For another, I wish I had. If you can find a poem you love, you will love it forever and it will speak to your soul in ways I can’t begin to describe.

My friend Katie‘s sister tweeted me the other day asking what poems I would suggest to someone who doesn’t necessarily like poetry. That started me thinking on what was really the starting point of my relationship with poetry. I wrote crappy love poetry in middle school (who doesn’t?). Of course I read the popular Shakespeare sonnets in high school and the occasional contemporary poem thrown in my AP English study books, but I was always of the opinion that poetry was stupid and duh fiction is better and what the hell are these people saying anyway. Which I’m sure a lot of folks can relate to.

I didn’t really get exposed to any good poetry until my sophomore year of college, when I read “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot.  Yes, groan, modernism, but hear me out. The class I took was required — Survey of American Literature. My professor was a lovely, happy woman that I have the distinct pleasure of calling my friend now. She influenced a lot of the way I think nowadays: there is always a positive to every issue, and you can’t let things get you down. She is an amazing instructor and a great woman.

I read “Love Song” and I liked it, but I wasn’t immediately in love. It was only when my professor explained some of the finer details that I realized how much genius is in this piece. Take, for example, the first stanza.

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table

The image he sets up is beautiful — a sunset spread across the sky, two people traveling hand-in-hand enjoying the evening. But then he brings this to a crash with the image of a sedated human being laying helpless on a hospital table. Already, in three short lines, he has set up the tone of this piece: dark, bitter, melancholic. (Also, who doesn’t love the word “etherized”??) He continues for a while in this vein, setting up imagery of streets then marring it with giant yellow dog-like fog (“The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes / The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes”). Then he launches into what I consider his main theme of the poem: time. 

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions
And for a hundred visions and revisions
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

This poem is really just about a man getting old and wondering where all the time has gone — an extremely relatable subject. But the words. The movement. Blech. I don’t have the skill to talk about poetry as well as other people can, but suffice it to say that when I read this a second, third, fourth time, I realized I was in love with the love song (no, gross, stop thinking about that Selena Gomez song).  There is so much nostalgia here. “There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet…”

It’s just fantastic. I don’t care if I’ve got it all wrong. These words touched me, helped me break out of my poetry-is-stupid stupor and realize that when words are put in certain orders and structures, the product can be beautiful and moving. I’ve never looked back. I even named my tumblr after my love of both this poem and the infinitely wondrous works of J.R.R. Tolkien. (It’s just a jumble of cat pictures and writing advice. Feel free to browse, but don’t get lost in the addictive madness that is tumblr.)

I think that everyone needs to find their Prufrock. There is a poem out there that will make you shiver — you’ll know it when you read it. And maybe, when the moon rises in the house of [insert planet here] and there’s nothing good on TV and the snow outside is still beautiful and you have a cup of hot chocolate and a blanket, you will want to write a poem. Or read one!

Here are some good resources for beginning poetry lovers:
Poetry Foundation
Poetry Daily

Reading List #2 — Things Fall Apart

Hello hello I’m back again with your weekly installment of What is Liz Reading and Why Should I Care, with the book Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Before you ask, yes, I have been reading Hero With A Thousand Faces as well, but it will require more time than anticipated and thus I am going to break up the reading with other books.

Things Fall Apart was published in the UK in 1958. According to Wikipedia, it is seen as the archetypal modern African novel and is one of the first of its kind to receive any sort of critical acclaim. It chronicles the life of a native man named Okonkwo, who plays the role of the overly masculine and traditional character. As far as I can see, this novel is “about” the clash of the traditional and the new — or, as Wikipedia points out, the native and the colonial (thanks, Wikipedia!). The tale is told in moderately episodic chapters, each detailing a story that fits into the grand scheme of Okonkwo’s life and relationships with his family and tribe.

Some prevailing themes/things I found interesting:

  • colonization and the problems it causes — This appears mostly toward the end of the novel, as Okonkwo’s tribe is infiltrated by white missionaries doing the Good Work and telling the Africans that their gods are useless or nonexistent. This obviously doesn’t end well for either party.
  • colonial vs. traditional — A lot of attention is spent in this novel on the traditional roles of religion and gender in these African villages.
  • guilt — At one point, Okonkwo becomes the caretaker of a 13-year-old boy, the son of a man who killed one of the women of Okonkwo’s village. The boy, Ikemefuna, is brought to the village as part of the price for the murder, and he soon becomes part of the family and like a brother to Okonkwo’s other children (especially his oldest son, Nwoye). Three years pass, and then the elders of the village come to tell Okonkwo that they have decided to kill Ikemefuna in order to complete the price for the woman’s murder. Okonkwo is saddened by this, but he knows it is the will of the gods, so he goes along with the elders and accidentally ends up killing Ikemefuna himself. Despite guilt and sadness being “womanly” traits, Okonkwo experiences both for days after this deed.
  • masculine vs. feminine — This is nothing surprising. Everything “woman” is weak, and a man is supposed to be strong and unyielding. However, at one point in the novel, Okonkwo’s uncle gives a nice speech about why women, and more specifically the Earth Mother, are important.
  • societal placement and mobility — In Okonkwo’s tribe it is possible to gain “titles,” which you wear as anklets. These titles are worth much in the eyes of the tribesmen; there are only a possible four total, and no one has gotten all four in living memory. It is Okonkwo’s passion to move upward in the tribe and look good in the eyes of his fellow tribesmen.
  • distant/removed narrator, which creates an equally distant tone

That last part is especially interesting to me. Okonkwo is always concerned with how he needs to look in the eyes of the other men: he can’t appear weak, and he has to do traditionally masculine things. But in the end, he hangs himself because of his inability to accept the weaker position that his fellows are inevitably going to take with the white men. Hanging is the worst offense known to these people; they won’t even touch his dead body. So Okonkwo worked his whole life to gain face only to throw it all away for the higher, more traditional ideal — he wanted to fight the white men, to take the battle to them for pretty much destroying the villagers’ lifestyle. Is this pride? Inability to adapt? Or loyalty to the ideals that he grew up with and meant nothing without? I’m going to go with the last.

How does reading this affect my current project?

Things Fall Apart is a lesson in tradition and its importance in a group of people, which I think is important to study when dealing with any kind of “othered” people, as are the people of Ien in my book. Ien, the Navigator or magic-user and main secondary character, was born into a tribe of magic-users like himself that have been ostracized and used by society to fulfill a semi-slave function. When he was around ten years old, Ien was ripped from his family and forced into servitude in the world outside their village. Even though Ien retains little to no memory of his time with his people, perhaps a deeper look into the culture and traditions of these people is in order.

Things Fall Apart also deals well with the emotions of guilt and blame, both of which I am attempting to tackle. The main character of my novel, Ree, becomes so engrossed in her own self-loathing and guilt at one point that she nearly destroys herself and the people around her.

All in all, I enjoyed this book. It took me next to no time to read, and once I sat down to start these notes, it made me think pretty hard about some things.

More Reading List updates to come! Stay tuned!

“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going.”

This quote really hit home tonight.

“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings,  the winds will carry you.”

-C. Joybell C.

Reminds me that no matter how much I worry about the future and what’s going to happen — with my book, with school, with my career, with life — it will come to pass and I just have to roll with the punches. What a great way to end a fantastic day of writing and reading.

Source.

Writing Day Success!

Well, Saturday was my big day to sit at home, lock myself in a room, and write all day. The goal was to finish two chapters of my novel and write as much as possible, hopefully bringing me closer to finishing my novel. I snuggled up in bed with two blankets, two kitties, my computer, some chocolate, and some homemade hard cider — and got to work. I wrote for a solid two hours, took a lunch break, came back and wrote for three hours, took another break, and then wrote some more. It was glorious.

I didn’t quite finish both chapters, but I did finish one of them and then the second one on Sunday! All told on Saturday my word count was 2300 for the day! It was awesome and exhausting. I know it might sound sad, but I have never written that much in one day before. I feel accomplished and proud of myself — while I didn’t get to 12k like my friend Jessica McHugh, it felt good enough that I want to keep doing it. So Sunday I wrote another 800 words, and today I’m already well on my way to a similar number. Next time I do a day like this (and I will definitely be doing more of these), I will try to take less breaks and have a greater output. The good news is, though, that doing this put me in the right mindset to continue this novel — I thought hard about where I’m taking the plot, what I want to accomplish, and what’s left for me to achieve my goal.

The novel itself is now more than 70k words long. For fantasy, that’s not exactly a great amount of words, but my story is winding down. I think it will probably top out around 80 or 85k. Whew. It’s so close!

At the end of the day, I would say that this was a great success. Can’t wait to do it again. I think I will as soon as Husband goes back to work (he took the week off so we could have a “stay-cation,” which is as awesome as it sounds).

This helped me! What about you? What are some techniques that you use to keep yourself writing? How do you cope with distractions? Let me know in the comments!

Arguably NOT a picture of my writing space . . . But still a good one.
Arguably NOT a picture of my writing space . . . But still a good one.

From Narnia, With Love: Thoughts for the New Year

It’s a winter wonderland outside my house right now.

Winter in Ohio
Welcome to Narnia, folks.

Winter is my favorite season for numerous reasons, beginning and ending with my love of hot chocolate and warmth. That probably sounds a bit confusing — if I love being warm, why would I pick winter? Easy. The kind of warmth that summer shoves down our throats is sticky — gross, hot, sweaty. But winter’s warmth is cozy. Fireplace, hot cocoa, kitty cuddles, thick socks, warm blankets — these things all provide a level of comfort that is unparalleled by any other. Sure, I use blankets and drink hot cocoa and cuddle with kitties at other times of the year, too (read: ALL YEAR), but the maximum level of comfort can be achieved from these things in the winter. Because, you know, science.

Along with the beauty of the snow outside, the new year is starting out wonderfully. I got to spend New Year’s Eve with some of my favorite people (and, of course, Husband); I finished a chapter of my novel yesterday, effectively closing out the second section of three; and today the sky is blanketing the world in fluffy white goodness. Not to mention all the kitty cuddling I’ve been doing.

Kitty Cuddles
I have a hard life.

One of my good friends has started a new blog today for the new year as well, a daily journal project wherein she hopes to learn more about herself and learn how to not worry so much about things she can’t change — a lesson I think we all could benefit from (me especially). Check her out here and let her know that we’re all in this journey together.

I’m going to try something new this week, too. My friend Jessica McHugh, a horror writer who is incredibly productive and whom I admire fiercely, does a thing sometimes called the “24-hour Writing Challenge,” which is basically NaNoWriMo in a day. She is going to do another one next week, but I’m thinking this weekend, I am going to make an effort and lock myself in a room with some booze and see how many words I can crank out. Probably nowhere near the amounts she gets (I think last time she had 12k or something ridiculous), but anything will help where my WIP is concerned. Wish me luck!

I started reading The Hero With A Thousand Faces, too. And took a hipster photo to prove it.

Hero With A Thousand Faces

On a related note: this year will also be the year I receive my master’s degree in creative writing from Miami University of Ohio, which will mark a new era in my life. The current plan is to job search anywhere and everywhere — with the eventual goal of getting a job in editing or public relations or something that I can use my writing skills for. I can’t wait to get started.

All in all, this year is off to a great start! Not to mention that NEAT. seems to be barreling along at a nice clip, gaining followers and exposure from every which way. Sometime this week our call for submissions will be up on the website of The Review Review, and Poets&Writers put us in their database a couple weeks ago — which has already yielded fruit. If you haven’t already checked our call out for this Winter 2013-2014 issue, please do so! I’m trying not to gush all over the place about how great this project makes me feel, but as you can tell, it’s a real challenge.

What about you, dear Reader? How has your year gotten off on the right foot?

Reading List #1 — DUNE

All right. The semester is over (has been for a while, actually) and I survived. Now it’s time to get reading. Thus begins studying in earnest to acquire my degree. Are you, avid Readers, ready? Because I’m not.

Here we go anyway.

The first book I’m focusing on from my reading list is one that I’ve wanted to read for a long time — Dune, by Frank Herbert. I’ve wanted to read it for a long time, and, coincidentally, it took me a long time to read it. The draft of this blog post has been sitting here since October. There are probably a few reasons for that, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Here’s a list of things I liked and found intriguing about this book, along with some notes that occurred to me as I read. I didn’t mean for this to be so long, but since the goal is to use these blog posts as study material in a few months, I figured writing as much as I can will help me in the long run.

Things to note about Dune

1. The world is so damn intricate. At first I had a hard time getting immersed into the world of Dune, because there are so many things to learn and re-learn in just the first few pages. Let’s see, just on the first two pages, we get introduced to these terms: Bene Gesserit; Muad’Dib; Arrakis; Caladan; Dune; Atreides; suspensor lamp; baliset; Kwisatz Haderach; gom jabbar; CHOAM; Great Houses of the Landsraad. We’re also introduced to these characters: Princess Irulan;  Padishah Emperor, Shaddam IV; Paul; the Reverend Mother; Thufir Hawat; Jessica; Duke Leto. And that is just the first two pages. This is part of the reason it took me so long to get into the book. I had no idea what was going on! But the world of Dune is fascinatingly huge — Herbert created a fully-contained universe with planets and races and species and all kinds of intricacies. I admire the immensity of this project.

2. The language used, more often than not, is astounding. For instance, when Duke Leto realizes that his son Paul has almost been assassinated: “He breathed a sigh of relief when the lift swallowed him and he could turn and face the impersonal doors. They have tried to take the life of my son!

3. Frank writes political intrigue like a fucking boss. The main plot of Dune revolves around the planet Arrakis (the planet of dunes) and its main export: spice. Spice is a drug that can give its users some sort of future-sense or “prescience” as they call it, a connection of minds to other people who use the drug. So of course that’s going to be popular among the upper classes — and damn expensive. Control of Arrakis is the main thing contested in Dune, because whoever controls the spice controls the universe and the throne, it seems. There are so many ins and outs of the politics in this book that even though I just finished the book yesterday, I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around it.

4. I could definitely see today’s science fiction in this book. Since Dune was published in 1965, it was more than likely a trailblazer when it comes to the kinds of structures we see today. He uses the “chosen one” structure that I’ll be reading about this week when I finally tackle The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Paul is the chosen one of a thousand different things, it seems: he’s the Fremen Lisan al’Gaib; he’s the Bene Gesserit Kwisatz Haderach; he’s the Duke Atreides (I know none of those things make sense to those of you who haven’t read it). So he’s the chosen one/Christ figure, and man is he a badass. He’s got all kinds of strengths no one else has; there never is really a question that he can’t overcome whatever is in front of him.

There’s also the use of prophecy where it concerns the chosen one. This is where it gets interesting, because instead of prophecy being something divine and magical like in other fantasy stories, this prophecy is one that has been planted in the pliable minds of the Fremen people (the natives of Arrakis whom Paul leads into battle) over hundreds of years. The way it worked was that the Bene Gesserit (a league of powerful, mind-controlling women) planted the seed of this prophecy in their minds, saying that a man will come who will do this, this, and this, and he’ll be like the chosen one and stuff; the seed was planted as a safety valve in case the man in question (who the BG had other plans for) made it to the Fremen stronghold, he would be treated as a leader/king/Jesus (and the Fremen wouldn’t kill him). Kind of like a religious flotation device.

5. Something I noticed while reading (and this factors into why it took me forever to finish it) is that I never felt real tension in the main character’s comings and goings. There was never really any doubt that he was going to defeat the Huns and reclaim his rightful place on the throne (or something . . . spoilers?). There was one time where his future-sense told him that he may end up dead, and that was tense for a couple pages, and then he didn’t die and everything was just peachy again.

How does reading this affect my current project?

Well, I learned a few things. One: tension is so so so so important. I don’t want my readers to feel like they have to read my book (in a boring, ugh-gotta-read-this-for-class way) — I want them to want to read my book. So I’ve got to keep things interesting. Nothing I didn’t already know, but it’s good to see the rule in action.

Another thing that was reaffirmed for me is that a lot of fantasy and science fiction books borrow from one another. There are plenty of tropes and conventions to go around. For one, the chosen one and prophecy bit. For another, it seems like it’s popular to have a group of magic-wielding “witch” women to pit the characters against. In any case, my favorite series, The Wheel of Time, uses this idea, so maybe it was borrowed from Dune.

Well I think that’s it for now. Next up: The Hero With a Thousand Faces. I will probably read that one concurrently with several others, but I think it’s important to familiarize myself with Campbell’s hero and the cloaks he wears.

Onward!

Novel Excerpt — The Greatstorm

Here’s another excerpt from my steampunk/dark fantasy novel, BLOOD OF THE WINDMAKER. The story revolves around a woman named Katrya Millor, who owns a flying ship called the Arienna, the only way to get around — or make money — in a mountainous world. She aspires to become the captain of a government-commissioned carrier ship, the most technologically advanced piece of machinery this side of the mountain range. This scene shows Katrya coming face-to-face with a danger that most ship captains try to avoid at all costs: a greatstorm.

Her feet carried her all the way to the marketplace before the storm hit.

It rolled in out of the southwest like some kind of dark omen. Giant black clouds encased the city, smothering it. Devouring it. The streets of Praan, previously filled to bursting with happy, festive citizens, emptied within minutes. Women ushered their children indoors, and even the alley dogs found places to hide from the strengthening winds. Everyone knew the power of this kind of storm. Katrya, heart pounding in her chest, ran and tried not to panic. The last time a greatstorm had hit Praan, half the market had been destroyed. That had been months ago. Usually these things swirled harmlessly in the void between the mountains, but every now and again they threatened the great cities themselves.

Now is not the best time for a greatstorm. Not at all. Her frantic mind immediately went to the worst possible outcome. She could see the city crumbling off the mountainside like so many tiny rocks, the ships smashed to splinters, except for the carriers, which rode the high winds somberly toward the cities across the void . . .

Ien grabbed her arm in a rough grip, pulling her up short. “You need to stop panicking,” he said softly. The anger of mere minutes before had evaporated at the knowledge of the coming storm. Navigators could sense when storms were coming; after all, it was their fault storms happened. Katrya could see that the three of them were already halfway through the market to the dock. Ree broke Ien’s gaze and glanced down the street. She could just see the stone archway.

Ien still waited for an answer, gaze boring into her. He knew her better than anyone. His ice-blue eyes demanded that she calm down, but were still filled with understanding. Ree felt her shoulders relax; the tightness in her gut unclenched a bit. He’s right. She opened her mouth to respond, and it hit.

The dark cloud over Praan exploded. A scream ripped from her throat as what seemed like a wall of solid rain slammed into her body. It felt like chunks of ice piercing her skin, tugging at her clothes, her hair. The empty street became a battleground of whirlwinds and flying objects. “Katrya we need to get inside,” she heard Nola shout over the deafening torrent. Her mind flashed to Mack and the Arienna. No, no, no.

“Ien, can’t you do something?” she screamed back at him. Overhead, the clouds only darknened, and using the crook of her arm, she tried to hide her face from the near-scalding pain of the freezing rain. From behind her arm, she peeked out and tried to see through the tempest, all the while taking one step forward, then another. She couldn’t see beyond a few feet; the dock and the stone archway were hidden by sheets and sheets of pounding, unforgiving rain, and the wind lanced her skin. She closed her eyes again. She felt Nola’s hands on her shoulders, dragging her back, towards a more sheltered alley. Before she squeezed her eyes shut and let Nola pull her to relative safety, she barely saw swirling darkness begin to descend on the harbor.

A whirlwind.

Let me know what you think. I’m always open to suggestions/constructive criticism. Thanks!

NEAT. Issue 2 is LIVE!

Exciting news! Issue 2 is NOW LIVE over at the website for NEAT. TM Keesling and I are pumped about this one. Check it out and read, comment, review! Our theme this time around was beginnings, endings, and beginnings that come from endings. That resulted in stories across the board that encompass sentiments of loss, hope, and many things in between. I am in love with this project and with what it means for both of us professionally and personally.

The next Call for Submissions is also up on the NEAT. site. Appropriately, we’re focusing on Winter and all it means. Warmth, hot chocolate, good books, fireplaces — but also the biting cold, the drowning snow, cold actions that are born from warm intentions. Into the endless winter we go.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
                               — R0bert Frost, “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening”
Winter is my favorite season, so I’m extremely excited to start reading for Issue 3. It’s going to be awesome.

“I Feel Weird This Week,” or, “I Figured Out Why Writers Drink So Much” — A Story by Liz

I’ve been working this week on a story I started about a month ago (exactly a month ago, actually), the first draft of which is here. After I wrote that draft for the Trifecta Challenge, I realized there is something more here to explore, something I’ve been trying to write about for years and years: my grandmother’s cancer.

Okay, okay. The world is full of cancer narratives. I’m not saying it’s something that the market is lacking. But it’s something I’ve needed to get out of me ever since she passed away when I was eleven. And that’s the great thing about writing. I can do whatever I want. I tried to write about her passing twice before: once, as an obligatory (and mandatory) personal narrative in my seventh grade communications class; the other, when Husband’s cat passed away and I was angsty so I compared the death of a cat to the death of my grandmother in a not-very-good poem that will never see the light of day again (not the most ready comparison, I know, but I’m not sorry about it). So my track record of trying to write about this (and, for that matter, all other personal subjects) was not good.

But immediately after I posted that Trifecta draft, I knew there was something missing, and I’ve been rolling it around in my head for a month, trying to figure out how to pull this off without sounding like a whiny baby. This past Wednesday, I was slated to give a public reading as part of a graduate reading series at Miami, and because of the looming deadline and having nothing else, really, to share, I set my sights on finishing this story.

What that required me to do was to put myself into this sort of head space that shut out rational thought. I had to capture the rawness of the emotion, the details of my own experience that I had never shared with anyone. And that was brutal on my psyche. There are things that I haven’t told anyone about that experience, not even Husband, and there must be a reason for that. So what did I do? I wrote them down. And then I read them to a room full of people.

The result of this attempted catharsis was interesting, and not at all what a catharsis should be. All week, I’ve felt like an elephant is sitting on my chest — and some idiot keeps feeding the elephant, so it keeps getting heavier and denser. And it hasn’t gotten better yet. Still trying to push it off.

I even ranted out a tumblr post before realizing that it was way too angsty to actually publish, so I think it will stay in my “drafts” box for a while until I delete it. You’re welcome, Internet. But here’s a snippet from that:

I really am going to make a fool out of myself at this public reading tonight. I’m reading a piece that I wrote about my grandmother’s fight with cancer, and it’s pretty raw (to me at least). Maybe the truest thing I’ve ever written. If I cry in public I don’t exactly know what I’m going to do.

My main question: Is sadness a learned thing? Is it a socially acceptable response and so that’s why we feel this way?

I think I finally understand why writers drink the way they do. To write this kind of stuff is to put yourself in a head space that mentally fucks with you. Time for a glass of hard cider.

Yeah, asking the big questions. You see my angst. Be glad I didn’t copypasta the whole thing on here.

So yeah. That was my week. I’m going to try to find someplace that will take that story, so I won’t put the whole thing up here, but believe me, if it gets published I will be crowing from rafters and all that proverbial nonsense.

How about you, dear Readers? Have you ever written a story or a poem that put you in a weird place for a while? I would love to talk about it — there’s power in solidarity.

Checking In . . .

. . . from the perpetual place of not-deadness. So you still have to keep reading my stuff for just a little longer anyway.

Just wanted to update you on a few things that have been going on lately. I’ve been exceptionally busy, which may or may not be an excuse for not having posted regularly in a couple of weeks. Let’s get started.

1) The second issue of NEAT. is shaping up quite nicely! TM and I had a crazy amount of REALLY GOOD submissions, so much so that halfway through our editorial meeting we looked at each other and said, “We can’t accept everything” and then had a good panic about it. I expect the magazine to be out relatively soon, maybe even by the first of December. I can’t wait to share it with the world.

2) MY THESIS PROPOSAL WAS APPROVED THIS WEEK! Pardon my impromptu dance party in my office chair. Now I get to bug the Internet with more ramblings of plot, characters, reading lists, and general complaints about all things novel writing. I can hear your groans now. It will be fun! I promise!

3) I have an 8-page paper due next week that I’m procrastinating RIGHT NOW by typing these words.

So there you have it. My life this week in three bullet points. How is everyone else? Hanging in there?

PS. Check out TM Keesling’s Writing Experiments blog. It’s pretty cool and stuff.