February 14, 2017 § Leave a comment
Words like these must be written in careful lines,
To keep the truth of my feeling ensnared,
Every letter caressed with slow and conscious care,
Every part behaved, contained, confined,
My meaning is bound in strokes of ink
Laid quietly across the smooth, calm page;
It’s caught in the folds of a paper cage,
Barred from release and held back from the brink.
February 10, 2017 § 1 Comment
I wanted wings, but for more than to fly:
To feel the growing of their folded weight
Close-pressed against my body while I lie
Enchambered in a still, suspended state
Spinning deep dreams like a cocoon silk thread;
Then when I wake, to stretch their wonderous span
With caution as I crawl out of my bed
And, drying, flutter like a painted fan
My colors with a slow, sensual sweep;
To bask under the sun’s lingering kiss,
To let the air caress away my sleep;
Beyond the wish to fly, I wanted this;
To show someone the breadth of my feelings
Given their freedom in the form of wings.
January 10, 2017 § Leave a comment
In the roar of the Twelfth Man she hears the sound of the distant, deep ocean
of her sisters, in the crashing waves, singing from the foam
crying, calling: come home, come home
the Siren peeks over the top of her tower; she whispers as rain mists over Elliott Bay,
I have emeralds to watch over.
In the shriek of jet planes descending, she recalls amorous pleas
of sailors as she pulled them into the embrace of gray death
gasping, gurgling: a breath, a breath
the Siren’s crown is a compass rose; she surveys from Leschi to Harbor Island,
I have a map to treasures.
In her clock tower, high above the streets, the Siren watches scenes
of bicycle couriers dispatched by smartphone, meal desires to fulfill
huffing, heaving: a hill, a hill
the Siren looks over the lights of Magnolia; she sighs as dusk settles,
I have a bejeweled city.
December 20, 2016 § Leave a comment
Everlasting, or so they claim
these short lengths of fiber optic glass
soaked in oil that never pours, only spills,
sitting cold, in dirty lamps.
When nothing is forever
Why would I believe the name?
Still I try
as the match flame runs to meet my skin
as the blue races to the cardboard’s end
a brief attempt at the frayed and blackened wicks
that are surely plugged with soot, and besides
all but one of the lamps are dry.
Nothing… nothing. Nothing
is forever, except maybe the blackness up the flue
which looks like it goes on eternally
Even the black stain of a year of candleflames
comes out of my nailbeds with enough soap
and thorough scrubbing
A crèche, of a kind
a home for foundlings, candles in motley, mismatched
I put my spirit to the task at hand
On knees that willingly kneel, I sweep
the tailings of a spent year
the broken pieces in hearth and heart and mind
On this longest of nights
on this shortest day, I bring out small stars
match flame to candlewick, candle flame to candle
On a whim, I touch the one glass lamp with oil,
that so called everlasting wick,
and as if to prove me wrong
August 11, 2016 § Leave a comment
Day 30 → Best source of inspiration?
A huge source of inspiration for me is bad storytelling. By bad, I mean stories that don’t quite work for me in some way, not ones that are an affront to my taste. A good story may fill me with delight, and full, I won’t feel a need to add to it. A bad story will incite me to figure out what went wrong and how it would be more satisfying to me.
It’s a challenge, and challenges spark an urge to answer them. In life, I’m a fixer, something of an unhelpful trait in interpersonal relationships, but great for creativity.
It’s more than merely changing the ending. I’ve certainly done that to get over an excellent novel: after reading the final page of M. J. Hyland’s How the Light Gets In, I wrote for about an hour to create a hopeful future for the angsty protagonist of whom I had grown protective. I’ll plot out retellings of favorite fairytales in modern settings. I’ll find that a news article starts a story spinning out in my mind. Yet by far, it’s the stories that snag on my interest but don’t fulfill their promise that make my hands itch to write.
Creating a fix usually means taking a story down to its elements, then drawing all sorts of other things in to recombine and build up the elements I liked.
My best example of this is the epic fantasy quest adventure inspired while I was watching the first installment of The Hobbit movie trilogy. About halfway in, I had the realization that there were a lot of dudes in the movie, and wasn’t that kind of dated and odd? Sometimes, fiction from a past generation carries forward elements that seem strange from a modern perspective. A fantasy story with only one female character feels imbalanced.
Many fantasy novels (and tabletop role play games) draw on tropes taken from Tolkien. It started me thinking, what if there was an epic with the same tropes, but the characters were female? Just because? That seed of an idea has been planted into world elements I have been toying with for a while. I filled out the setting with the mythology of The 13th Chime, and placed it in the same geography, though centuries before Ciel and Jewel. It inspired me create backstory for the dragon Haxe from one of my short stories. Thus, I have the project Nine Warriors, in which farm girl Lirin gets pulled into a Canterbury Tales kind of pilgrimage with the mysterious old sorceress, Moss, and her fierce associates, on a journey fraught with peril and dragons.
August 9, 2016 § Leave a comment
Day 29 → How often do you think about writing?
Stories are a constant narration in my mind. Bloggers know this phenomenon, how it can be as if everything becomes a blog post, even while the time is being lived. But, as far as writing, the actual act of writing, I think about it about as often as I think about food. My friends can attest to how "this nom reminds me of another nom." During meals together, we often talk about other food while enjoying the food we have.
Writing is like that. I can be so fulfilled when I am poking away at a story, putting something down outside of my head. As I’ve been writing regularly, the actual work has increased in appeal. Writing time is a priority for me. I’ve needed it to take my mind away from "lifey stuff" and as an emotional balm. It’s escapism with a tangible product, and it engages me more deeply than a good movie can do.
If I could write anywhere, I would have more writing time, but I feel self-conscious when writing in a place with other people around, even other writers. I can only do some kinds of writing in a park or coffee shop. Mostly I need to be somewhere where I don’t feel exposed to being watched. I’m sure I make faces as I write! I know I can make myself cry.
Maybe I should take up wearing an obscuring black veil… (My inner goth teen loves that idea.)
August 8, 2016 § Leave a comment
Day 28 → Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities?
Not as yet. I’ve started to feel out Farha as a low-vision character. That feels to me like an element of her story that I was missing. Farha, a preadolescent girl, is one of my brave heroes who can be mistaken for helpless. Her story is about an important event in that world’s history, and it carries my recurring theme of transformation. Farha’s transformation is about the death of her twin sister, not about growing up or "fixing" her, and all that seems to me like something important to say.
I’m not completely comfortable with taking a character and saying, "poof! now you have this characteristic!" So I might ask, "What if he was born without a right arm and hand?" or "What if she lost her hearing from childhood illness?" If that creates an interesting addition to their story, I’ll test it out.
The degree to which I haven’t written characters with disabilities is proportional to the number of people I know with those traits. I’ve noticed that fact a lot, lately. It makes me feel like I’m missing out on the perspective and experience of people I would find interesting. Unfortunately, I’m not very social to begin with.