Elegy for a Dead World / Hearts Made for Questions

Wow.

I read about the video game Elegy for a Dead World in the latest issue of Poets & Writers (adjusts monocle), and thought it looked pretty cool. I had this confirmed by Rachel (seriously, go read her blog), and went and downloaded Steam (which is some sort of video game portal thing) just so I could buy it.

I am glad I did.

There are three worlds you can explore as a little astronaut with a jet pack: Keats, Shelley, and Byron (the college-age Romanticist in me is cheering). Each world is beautifully rendered and complex and deep, and you could wander around for hours just gawking at things. Instead, what you should be doing is writing.

That’s right, this is a writer’s video game.

You can choose prompts (fill in the blanks, with options for extended writing), or just free-write. After goofing around a little, I came up with a couple that I thought were okay. I didn’t know about publishing them here, though, since an integral part of the poem is the landscape in which the poem is composed (and shown when you read the work of others).

Turns out they thought of that.

So here it is. I hope this works.

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Download this. Quickly.

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Hiatus: Over

It’s been a long time since I published, so here’s some thoughts (not very creative ones) on what has been going on recently and what will be going on soon.

-AWP 2015 (a big conference of writers, writing programs, publishers, book presses, and various other nerds) was a great couple of days up in Minneapolis. I’d flown through MSP multiple times (going all the way back to my journey from Baltimore to Bangkok), but this was the first time I’d set foot outside the airport. I’m glad I did. Several of us from school went up, which made it even more fun. I participated in the Jack Kerouac School’s 40th Anniversary Reading (and then had to dart back to the Naropa table to answer questions about if we were a real school or not) (spoiler alert: we are), went to several amazing panels and readings, and had a great time talking with my cohort outside of class and school and Boulder. It gave me simultaneous hope and devastation – there were so many presses and publishers present I thought “Hey, chances are I could get my work published” and so many amazing and talented writers that I thought “Hey, maybe I should learn how to install solar panels as a fall back option.” I’m leaning more towards the former thought, as I…

-Break 81,000 words in my novel. A lot of it will probably have to go, but a lot of it is working pretty well. I can give a brief overview here and see how dumb/clever/interesting it sounds “out loud.”

So a college dropout and Army soldier goes to Iraq. During his mid-deployment leave he meets a woman who challenges his conceptions of duty and service. When he returns he is confronted with unknown evils stirred up by the actions of American soldiers.

That’s the three-cent tour. It’s been almost two years since I started the novel, and for a long time it wasn’t going anywhere, at least not in a way that I’d show anyone. I’ve cut out huge sections, re-imagined plot points, and discovered things about the characters along the way that I didn’t know before.

I hope to have the novel ready to send out by the end of summer at the earliest, or the end of 2015 at the latest. I’ve already got ideas of who to ask to read it, looking for particular things, and a few ideas of publishers.

-Meanwhile, the school year is wrapping up. First year of a two-year program means that we’re basically at the halfway point. Sure, we’ve got Summer Writing Program to occupy our time and thoughts, but by this time next year I hope to have a good idea of what I’ll be doing in August 2016, when I’ll need a job. I’m looking in to the Navy College Program for Afloat Continuing Education (NCPACE, ugh, c’mon with the acronyms already), wherein college instructors are sent to deployed Navy ships to teach core courses, like Composition or Intro to Creative Writing. I enjoyed my time at sea, especially when I didn’t have to qualify as Officer of the Deck anymore, and the idea of being paid to teach student-sailors about writing while visiting foreign ports seems pretty awesome.

-That is all to say, I don’t want to rush the end of the year, or rush through next year. We’ve got a great cohort – not just a group of talented and smart individuals, but a group that looks out for each other, spends time with each other outside of class, and a group that is invested in each other as people. That’s one of the things I miss from my time in the Navy, and one of the things I wasn’t sure I’d find here at Naropa. I’m glad to be proven wrong.

*I should have some creative stuff going up in the next few weeks, but with my upcoming schedule (final papers, trip to Aspen, trip to Oklahoma, et cetera) it may be awhile. In the meantime, go read a book.