It’s Official

I’m a writer. Not just in the sense of “this is who and what I am” but also in the sense that I HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED. There is a career trajectory, now.

Which. Exciting! But also scary. I haven’t heard back on the book, but I’ve had a piece of poetry published in ImageOutWrite Vol. 5, and a piece of my short fiction was just published by Torquere. The short story is part of the Harvest Moon anthology.

Getting here wasn’t easy. There were a lot of speed-bumps and obstacles along the way, and I know that this is just the beginning. I have to hope that my writing catches people’s attention, and that I can build a readership. I have to keep writing, even when my insecurities whisper that I can’t do this, that the publications I have only happened through luck, that I’m not actually that good. I have to keep telling the stories that make my heart sing, even when it would be easier to follow trends and convention.

But you know what? For right now, I’m just going to celebrate a little.

~

I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.

 

Commentary on “Writing Advice”

Most of the writing advice I see coming from the so-called experts or prolific writers makes me so mad I could breathe fire. It’s things like, “a writer writes”, “you have to write every day”, “there’s no such thing as writer’s block”, “it’s all about butt-in-chair dedication”, “don’t ever look back on the earlier stages of what you’ve written, just keep moving forward” etc. And what all of these pieces of advice have in common is that they are trying to tell other people what their creative process should look like.

Newsflash: it doesn’t work that way.

I’ve talked to a lot of writers about their processes. And what I have found is that no two of them are alike, because no two people are exactly alike. One writer I know is able to produce two thousand words per day, every day, which is tremendously productive and also highly intimidating. Another writer I know writes long-hand, in a notebook, and types her stories out afterward. Another writer I know is able to write in coffee shops, secluded corners, libraries, you name it. One writer lets the story run away with them, while another has to plot everything out carefully, in another document. The method and process that produces a particular writer’s best work will vary by the person, which makes trying to give generalized advice to aspiring authors useless. More than that, it can be incredibly discouraging.

Because you know what else a lot of this advice doesn’t take into account? That not everyone is perfectly healthy in mind and body. One writer I know has bouts of crippling anxiety over words—and not just in fiction, but in emails and informal communication. Another writer lives in chronic pain, and sometimes that pain is so bad that they cannot write, or go to work, or even get out of bed. And then there’s me. If I have a PTSD event, it can take a couple of days for my brain to settle and go back to functioning as close to normal as it’s capable of, and I don’t have the focus or emotional resources to write during that time.

And that isn’t my fault, or something I should be shamed for. Writing is individual, like every other art. Sure, you can go to school for it—but that doesn’t automatically make you good. Just like practising and self-teaching doesn’t automatically make you bad or inferior to someone who got the formal education. Every writer will have a unique method or combination of them for getting their best stories out—because it’s not really about how fast you write or how many words you get out in a day. It’s about the quality of the story you’re telling.
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I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.

More Brainwaves

“One at a time, I watch them all forget
One at a time, I’m lost in little deaths
It’s the place that I, I forget my life
But tonight . . .”

“Will the flood behind me put out the fire inside me?”
–AFI’s The Missing Frame

. . . So yeah. I’m just over here, looking like the poster-child for “This is your brain on drugs.” Only, not drugs. Better than drugs.

MUSIC.
~

I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.

Brainwaves

The semester officially ended on Friday. And what is left of my brain has become rabidly attached to AFI’s Prelude 12/21. Specifically this verse:

“This is what I thought: I thought you need me
This is what I thought, so think me naïve
I’d promise you a heart you’d promise to keep
Kiss my eyes and lay me to sleep”

I mean. Evanescence’s Lost in Paradise, My Chemical Romance’s Heaven Help Us, Closer by Nine Inch Nails, and Underneath the Ground by The Gaslight Anthem have also snaked through my skull today. But the dominant theme has been Prelude 12/21.

So I’m gonna listen to that on repeat until I sleep.
~

I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.

A Punch in the Feelings

So . . . I am hardwired to music. (Anyone who knows me at all is probably snorting and/or rolling their eyes at the level of understatement there.) But, not all music is equal in my brain. I mean, I don’t like all music, or even all genres — but my tastes are pretty wide, and a very eclectic mix has found its way onto my mp3 player. That’s because I need the music to speak to me on some level — and if it speaks to me on more than one, that’s even better.

Right now, I have some lyrics rolling around in my head, specifically because they are the emotional equivalent of a gut-punch. Or, as I tend to call them: a punch in the feelings. And I thought I’d share.

“Not gonna let this day go by/I’m gonna save this wasted life/ And nothing can stand in my way” from Erase This by Evanescence.

“I met my love before I was born . . . he bit my lip and drank my war/ From years before” from Love Like Winter by AFI

  • Just . . . the notion that someone can love and accept every part of you, consensually taking your trauma into themselves, is so, so powerful.

“As he waits again alone/ Still a prisoner in his home/ Ready to allow the dark to/ Penetrate his broken heart” from The Infection, by Disturbed

  • It turns the notion of “home” on its head: it becomes not a place of safety and refuge, but a self-created prison. Which it absolutely can be.

And then there’s AFI’s 37mm: “Just give me your hands and I’ll let you feel the wounds they put in me/ If you believe in me how can I be dissolving?/ If you’d believe me, I’d tell you everything”

  • There is something supremely visceral about the image of taking someone’s hand, and pressing it to the wounds/scars that others left in you. It’s not possible with the emotional wounds being discussed here, but if it was? If you could actually reach out and touch the emotional scars left behind? *whistles*
  • In the second two lines, it’s the concept of belief that gets me — because it’s implied that, if someone would just believe him, in what he’s saying and who he is, that everything would be okay. There’s also this weird relationship with belief and selfhood; he’s “dissolving”, and is sure that if someone believed in him, he could stabilize his identity.

“If you keep killing me how can I keep absolving your sins into me?” also from 37mm by AFI.

  • Honestly, this whole song speaks of one or more abusive relationships to me, and this line cinches it: that is the cry of a victim. That is someone asking how they can stay, how they can help, when the person they are trying to stay with and help is killing them by degrees. It is pretzel logic and desperation and dawning awareness, all wrapped up together.

“I’ll take your bad days with your good/ Walk through the storm, I would/ I’d do it all because I love you” from Unconditionally by Katy Perry

  • There is no love truer or more powerful than that of the person who will walk through the proverbial “storms” with and for you. That’s what family means; it’s a refusal to abandon someone just because the going gets tough.

“If I told you what I was/ Would you turn your back on me?/ And if I seemed dangerous/ Would you be scared?” from Monster, by Imagine Dragons

“If I thought it would help, I’d drive this car into the sea/ If the fire and smoke and explosions could speak for me/ If the words that I used to try to explain/ How something inside of me started to break/ Ah, but one by one my words just got in the way” from Dark Places by The Gaslight Anthem.

“What good’s religion/ When it’s each other we despise?” from Sleeping with Ghosts by Placebo.

“It’s a harder way/ And it’s come to claim her . . . And if you are gone/ I will not belong here” from Breath of Life, by Florence + the Machine.

” And my heart is a hollow plain/For the devil to dance again” also from Breath of Life by F+tM.

“It would break your heart, if you knew me well . . . There are things I have seen/ That I never will tell/That drove me out of my mind/ And inside myself” from Break Your Heart by The Gaslight Anthem.

“As much as I’d like the past not to exist/ It still does/ And as much as I’d like to feel like I belong here/ I’m just as scared as you” from Lost in Paradise, by Evanescence.

“Once, I could tell/ All the hurt apart from myself/ Now all I can see is the need, the need/ That I came here to get hurt/Might as well do your worst to me” from Get Hurt by The Gaslight Anthem.

“We only spun a web to catch ourselves/ So we weren’t left for dead” and “Underneath the ink of my tattoo/ I’ve tried to hide my scars from you” from I’m Not Dead by P!nk.

  • The second bit there, oh man. There’s some ambiguity as to whether or not she’s hiding scars from someone so that they won’t see them, or if she’s hiding the scars they left behind. Either way, that tattoo is an act of reclaiming.

“I was disappearing in plain sight/ Heaven help me/ I need to make it right . . . No light, no light in your bright blue eyes/ I never knew daylight could be so violent” from No Light, No Light by Florence + the Machine

“Make me everything you need me to be/ So the judgement seems fair/ It’s never enough for you, baby/ Don’t want to play your game anymore” from Made of Stone, by Evanescence

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I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.

Crossing My Fingers

So, clearly, I am a wordy thing. And I’ve written a few pieces about how I’m hoping to do this writing thing professionally, even if I have to keep a day job. To that end, I’m entering a couple of different competitions. Winning entries get published, and that would take me one step closer to the dream.

And, well . . . I realize that it’s kind of presumptuous to think that, just because I’ve entered, or want to, I’ll win. I know that. I know that the odds are stacked against me because competitions like this are open to a wide range of contestants, and the judges aren’t impartial, because they are people and not robots, and there will always be someone out there who’s better than me.

But, yeah, I’m going to enter. I’m not going to expect to win, because that’s unrealistic. But not entering at all? Well, in that case, winning and getting published is impossible. I have to try, no matter how nerve-wracking and potentially-disappointing it might be. Trying might end in failure — might even be likely in this case — but not trying at all definitely ends that way.

So cross your fingers with me, and let’s hope I manage to dazzle the judges.
~

I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.

Poem: Breathing Holy

If this is the place
Where nothing is holy,
Then let’s make a space
To change that, utterly
Where sighs and love, and
Half-whispered words
Are all that’s required
To make the world turn;
Where the light behind eyelids
Is not nervous sensation,
But instead is known
As religious exclamation;
Where clasped hands
And a head on my breast
Can hear and feel more
Than the heart in my chest;
Where, in moments of silence,
(The breathing of breaths)
We can feel down to our souls
There’s more than we sense.
~

I think this goes without saying, but as we live in a world of rampant asshattery, please allow me to state for the record: this is my intellectual property. As such, please do not copy, circulate, edit, alter, take credit for, or otherwise appropriate this material without my express permission. Thank you.