Been a long time…

Hello!

It’s been some time since I updated the blog, but I am going to get right back into it. (Update: I had to restart and go find a coffee shop from which to post this, because Comcast is garbage.)

Summer Writing Program 2015 was…too much for one blog post. Let me just say it was everything I thought it’d be and a lot of things I had no idea it would be.

I met an amazing ton of great people, and so in hopes of connecting SWP and my own blog maybe I’ll do something I’ve been meaning to do for awhile.

Listed below are all the pieces I’ve had picked up, along with a brief explanation and background. I hesitate to say “published” because they’re only online (though one piece is slated to be anthologized in an upcoming book…I hope), but they are out there and you can read them and someone else thought they were good enough to put out on their own sites so that’s got something going for it, right?

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Colors,” O-Dark Thirty, February 2014 – this was my first piece and I’m proud that it was the Veterans Writing Project who picked it up. I used a version of this as my writing sample when I applied to JKS, so it’s got great sentimental value to me.

“My Own Private Boombox,Line of Advance, May 2014 – this was my first interaction with LOA, who’ve been great supporters of some non-NYC based veteran writing. They’ve also expanded from an online presence to digital downloads (basically $5 for a pdf full of good contemporary veteran writing). In fact, my short story “The Donkey Whisperer” (an adaptation of a chapter from my novel-in-progress) was picked up (available here in Volume 2) and this is the piece slated to appear in Alive Day, forthcoming this year. My poem “Christmas in Bamyan” appears in Volume 4 (here) and was a finalist for their Spring 2015 poetry contest (the first time I’ve ever received money for writing poetry).

My review of Julie Doxsee’s Little Monsters was an assignment for Small Press Publishing, a course I took last fall. We not only wrote reviews but also submitted them; mine was picked up by Atticus Review and can be seen here. Book reviews are evidently a great way to get some publishing credibility, and it shows that you read the work of other authors.

Ash & Bones has also been reliably good to and for me. I found out about them via Red Bull Rising, a blog run by Randy “Charlie Sherpa” Brown, who I met at the Military Experience & the Arts Symposium II in Lawton, Oklahoma, this past May. Back to A&B, they published my short story “Commit to the Deep” and my poem “Famous” – they’ve been very supportive of not just military voices, but many others as well.

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It’s weird to think about self-promotion; I like to think of myself as a pretty low-key guy, someone who doesn’t trumpet a lot of his own noise (as I type this on my own blog, haha), but I’ve heard that part of the job of a writer who wants to be read is to self-promote. Thoughts?

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I’ll try to organize my thoughts about SWP a little more for an upcoming blog post. In the meantime, if you’re a reader, thank you. If you’re a writer, thank you – and if you write you almost certainly read, and we need a little more of that in this world. Also kindness. Also iced tea when it’s hot. Also…

We could always use more also.

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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.

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.

If / Then…

Well I had a draft of this but cannot find it saved anywhere, so here goes again…

Last week my classmate Sara and I took a little time after Project Outreach to do some additional work. We did back-and-forth poems using the framework of “If / then…” One person wrote a statement beginning “If [something]” and then passed it to the other, who finished the phrase with “then [something else].” I delineated different voices with bold text below, but it makes more sense seeing it. Sara may eventually post hers on her excellent co-curated blog here but you should really follow her blog regardless.

I think later tonight or tomorrow I may post some of the work from today’s class but I may also just goof off for awhile. Spring Break is next week and I may use the time to keep writing my novel…though now I have a second novel officially in the works. (The first still has no title but the second is called [for now] Children of Goddard.)

Thanks again for reading!

~T

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“If / Then…”

If time stood still, then minutes and seconds and hourdayweekyears would all wriggle into string theory space soup.

If mattresses were made of bumblebees, then we would have to invent new bedtime stories and learn new ways to whisper them.

If trees grew even after they fell, then we’d live in a great web of roots and lumber, the fern gully matrix, no stars to be seen.

If candles dripped honey instead of wax, then the target of the Revolution would be lightbulbs and we’d illuminate our paths at the same time we sweetened our tongues.

If the ocean had a drain and someone unclogged it, it wouldn’t take long for a wayward blue whale to swirl on down and stop it up again.

If we could live in eggshells and lost left shoes, then the marketplace of sandals would be people by agents and chickens would be our protectors.

If our voices came out of our mouths in torrents of water, then we would speak in careful hurricanes, all the wet volumes, the currents and floods.

If we were inflatable like balloons or air mattresses, then we would learn to walk shoeless, for our windpipes would be on our big toes and we’d have to ask for help more often.

If we took risks and were rewarded with flags, then blue would mean wet and alive and the stockpile of red flags would be taped to headstones.

If nocturnal meant dissolving around all the dotted lines, then we’d lay siege to the sun to keep us in perpetual darkness, no more night just nocturne.

If we used animals as diplomats and wilderness was a peace conference, then presidents would study by watching creeks meet the sea and offices would all be membranethin glass.

If flowers and vegetables screamed when we cut them, then our chefs would be deaf until we learned to eat words.

Gender is a Genre

The weather is warming, which means the icicles are actually getting more dangerous. There’s one right outside my apartment I’m sure would kill someone if / when it falls. I tried throwing rocks at it to dislodge the menace but to no avail.

The following post is from an assignment for Queer Lit. We discussed “Gender is a Genre” last week, did some in-class writing, and the rest as a take-home assignment. Engaging with my gender and considering the “shoulds” and “musts” of men and women was eye-opening and challenging, and something I continue to strive to recognize in myself and in my writing.

Hopefully the format and structure transfers over to the blog format. There are three short pieces that kind of go together.

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“Boys / Men Should & Girls / Women Must

Boys should get gross. Girls must stay clean.

Boys should be tough. Girls must be soft.

A boy should wrestle. Once he is old enough he says “No homo” when he does it, even if he is.

Girls must not fight. If they do fight they should limit themselves to hair-pulling and scratching.

               Leave the fists to the boys, girls.

A man should defend his honor.

              If he has no honor he should defend someone else’s honor.

Women must let men stand up for them —

              in bars, on the street, in courts of law and public opinion —

                            It gets tough being a man, doing all this defending.

A man should always know when to say something. This is often.

A woman must speak when she has something important to say, which is not often.

Only a man should tell another man what to do. A woman must listen when a man tells her something. A woman must not tell a man what to do. She can tell another woman what to do but only if she outranks the other woman.

                     There is no chart for this; women must learn their relative positions.

A boy who cries is acting like a girl.

Until he stops crying the rules of

boy / manhood do not apply. Until he

stops crying the rules of

girl / womanhood do apply.

Women can cry when they want to —

that’s one of the things they can do.

Boys and men should do what they want and get to do what they want just so long as they conform to the rules and don’t try to rewrite the rules rewriting things is for girls and women and change is scary and women are agents of change and men are forces for stability and women confuse and men speak from the heart and off the cuff and women say one thing and do another and mean something entirely else and men can’t be expected to keep up with all the changes.

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“Men Should Be Hairy”

My dad has a father, three brothers, and two sons, and all their genes for hairiness. My mom and dad have been married for forty years and she’s never seen his chin. He jokes that he was born with more of a beard than I can grow after six weeks. This is probably in some way true.

My last day in the military I decided not to shave — one ineffectual act of protest. Six months later I had a decent set of chin whiskers but decided to shave it off when it started to interfere with my sandwich-eating. I shaved it off with a hotel razor in the countryside just outside Stratford-upon-Avon.

(This is in no way symbolic.)

I hadn’t been attached to my beard but my beard was attached to me.

When considering men and women and should and must and body hair, of all things, I realize there’s a privilege in being able to grow a beard, chop it off, stay clean shaven, or let my hair go. A woman who shaves her legs or doesn’t shave her legs or lops off all her hair or does not conform to societal grooming standards is an outlier, a challenge to the system, though I’m on her side.

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“I Remember [X]”

I remember in first grade thinking I could join a gang by demonstrating my ability to kick. I remember falling down when I did a high-kick on loose gravel and was not, of course, admitted to the gang. The gang broke up by the end of lunchtime.

I remember crying a lot as a child. I remember crying over things I had no control over or things I had control over and I remember crying over unfair things and fair things. I remember crying less as an adult, though I can still remember what makes me cry now.

I remember thinking how awesome it was to a kiss a girl for the first time. I remember my dad asking what I thought about kissing someone with braces. I remember replying that I had nothing to compare it to, so had to admit it was pretty awesome.

I remember the closest I got to being in an actual fight. It was middle school so the reasons were dumb but I tackled a friend and hit him a couple of times and neither of us felt better afterwards.

I remember having my nose nearly broken. Boxing was a required class in college and I was boxing outside my weight class and the other guy’s glove connected with my nose (“Keep your hands p!” is good advice inside a boxing ring) and my nostrils turned on like faucets. I remember my friends thinking the shirt looked like a tie-dye with only one color.

I remember putting away my uniforms in a storage locker. I remember wondering if I’d have uses for them. I remember not wanting to use them as Halloween costumes or anything so obvious. I remember thinking that after a few months they wouldn’t fit anymore anyway. I remember not wanting to throw them out, and seeing them again a few weeks ago and wondering again what to do with them.

I remember being asked if I ever killed anyone. I had expected this question eventually so I wasn’t surprised, though the person asking the question surprised me. I remember giving my spiel, my rehearsed answer I’d come up with in case anyone asked me that question, and I remember the shock and embarrassment and the something else in her eyes when she realized the question she’d asked me. I remember thinking I needed to change my canned answer.

I remember reading over these episodes and instances in my mind’s eye I see the thread of violence throughout. I remember years ago when I wanted to put violence behind me but maybe that’s not a thing. Maybe it’s just a part of me, not the man-part or woman-part but the me-part. I am me and these are my things and this is who I am right now but not who I’ll always be.

Poetic Manifesto For My Times (Which Are Your Times, Too)

Hello! I’m back at Flatiron Coffee, which I’ve found to be fairly conducive to my writing process. I think part of it is not wanting other people (no matter how much they ignore me or pay me no heed) to think I’m goofing off, so I’d better write something. Little do they know, right now I’m typing about THEM!

Last semester I took Activist Writing Workshop, taught by Dr. Andrea Rexilius. It was the first class I had on the first day of my first semester of grad school, and for the first few weeks I was fairly nervous, unsure as to what I was doing in the midst of so many brilliant people. Eventually I relaxed, acknowledging that either I deserved to be there (as evidenced by the admissions process) or I snuck in and should make the most of it. I’ve come down now on the side of deserving to be at Naropa, and though I may not be as well-read as some people I’ve got something to contribute. (I also love my cohort and the second-years I’ve worked with, as well as the undergrads I’m slowly discovering…they’re everywhere!)

One piece of our final portfolio for Activist Writing was a poetic manifesto, a statement of our purposes and principles as writers and poets. I’ve included it below, with some light editing, as an explanation of some of my thought processes while writing.

Enjoy!

~T

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Poetic Manifesto For My Times (Which Are Your Times, Too)

Poetry can and should be an event that causes a feeling or sensation. As popularly understood, poetry is something lyrical or rhythmic, holding some sort of connotation of song or whimsy. Poetry has been and can be again less of a static object and more of an occurrence, an event, a repeated happening that offers new life each time it is read or heard or performed or encountered.

We should think perhaps less in terms of poetry and more in terms of poets, for though something poetic may exist on its own merits (birdsong, sunset, inhalation) the poet can be the one to translate or interpret for others, to act as a sort of ambassador or messenger between the poetic occurrence and the poetic audience. So let us begin with the poet.

Before the poet, in fact, let us begin with this proposition: above all else, listen before speaking. Listening provides an opportunity to collect (input from the surroundings, thoughts before expression, et cetera) but more importantly listening before speaking allows the poet to acknowledge the other person or persons or the environment as less of an Other and more of a fellow or friend. The act of listening declares softly “I wish to hear you, first.” (Of course, the possibility exists that two practitioners of this proposition will, upon meeting, sit in prolonged silence and may never begin the next step, but in this event a naturally occurring word or prhase will suffice to end the silence; may I suggest “Thank you” as a possible silence-breaker?)

The poet, once the respect for the other has been established, then persists in challenging the other, though not always harshly. (Harshness of course has its place, and softness should never be confused with weakness, but begin from a place of unagitation before engaging in critiques or questions. [This rule, of course, does not govern interactions with others who wish to be treated as Others, or those who treat others as Others, or any who wish harm to an other. In that case, though, poetry may not be the best tool for interaction.]) The challenge at its most basic consists of upending what is considered “right,” or “normal,” or “that’s how we’ve always done it.” This can be through new grammar, provocative method, or disregarding what many consider to be poetic standards (rhyme, meter, form, et cetera). The boundaries of the page are just as confining as boundaries of language, so the poet should consider how his or her or its work can exist outside the page. How big are the margins of a megaphone? What does the word “magment” mean? Who spellchecks sobbing?

These questions were quickly formulated, but the power of the question mark should exist over the entirety of the poet’s work. At the risk of contradicting the words of the manifesto itself, the only certain thing is to be uncertain. Allow for possibility. Leave space for the audience to exist, though not without some sort of price exacted. We return to the audience through questions.

When probing (either in poetic structures or in personal communication) the most powerful question is, perhaps, “Why?” Repeated use of the word “why” in response to a stated position can drive to the center of something more directly than a lengthy inquisition, and the tone of “why” (confrontational in and of itself but also with the possibility of true curiosity) is its greatest strength. Leave the “why” present in your work, and as long as possible avoid answering your own questions. This may seem counter-intuitive or even unproductive if you think of your poetry as having an undeviating purpose, some sort of mission (“My poem will challenge the way people think about violence in this country!”) but if you allow your poetry to exist by its own rights, to engage itself with the audience with the poet as a participant but not a director, then the poem’s absolution of conclusion strengthens its arguments.

The creative process itself is worth investigating. Much of what drives my work are short phrases, misheard song lyrics, misread billboards, words appearing in my psyche like spontaneous creation (“twisted black fingers rake across the sky” – a series of chimney stacks at sunset). This is not new or unique, but I am also interested in what doesn’t make it to the page (what is lost to the moment, what can’t be remembered without a pen in hand). What does make it to the page does not always remain, and what remains is not always best. But it remains.

The concept of the audience has arisen before, and so perhaps now is the time to speak more of it. Size and composition and temporality of an audience are traits we should consider, but ultimately the defining characteristic of an audience is this: anyone who is touched / grazed / impacted / implicated in your poetry. Those being influenced by the poetry may not always know it; poetry that exists anew each time it is read will have consequences long after it is transmitted into the world.

My poetry will not erect walls, nor will it smash them down, but rather tunnel through them, or remove bricks, or write graffiti on the walls that already exist. I do not wish to burn bridges, nor build them, but rather teach people how to build boats and how to swim. I will not undam the rivers unless the life downstream has a chance to survive the flood. Action is needed, yes; passion is necessary, of course; and the conversation has begun but it started much later than it should have. None of this grants me license to destroy, or harm, or battle. I stand non-violently with those who wish to engage in this conversation and will do what is in my power to lessen their blows, to speak to those who traffic in power and pain, and change what few minds I can in what little time we have left.

Project Outreach

Hello! This will be a combination of exposition and something creative – in this case, the creative pieces need the background, plus it gives me a chance to talk about Project Outreach. Project Outreach is a class offered at Naropa, taught by the indomitable Jack Collom, wherein students (undergrad and graduate) seek out, engage with, and support local groups, schools, and organizations by leading creative writing and poetry workshops. (That’s not the official definition, just my own interpretation of it.) My friend / cohort-mate / classmate Rachel (check out her blog at https://rprkr.wordpress.com ) and I have led a pair of workshops with Monarch High School, and are holding a series of after-school workshops with kindergarteners and first graders at Emerald Elementary School. FUN but exhausting and challenging but EYE-OPENING.

We usually open with a writing exercise led by Jack. This week we did a Question-and-Answer back-and-forth, and I partnered with Sara (follow HER blog at https://operationorchid.wordpress.com ). I only have half the exercise (she has the other half), and I’ll put the different writers in different forms, but who said what is less important than we wrote this:

Where do you come from? I come from a town to the east and a nation of oceans.

What did you have for lunch? Reheated lamb and soft red peppers, the texture of tongues.

Can we build a mountain? We can build entire mountain ranges out of our sweat and calloused hands.

How deep does the ocean go? All the way through to the other side, air pockets, salty crevices, right through the round into space.

When does a child become fully grown? The child is no longer a child when she knows enough to ask this kind of question – “fully grown” is a subjective statement.

How far from home are you? Arriving back, in every moment, a leg, a liver, two breaths per bone.

Where will you go from here? I’ve always been where I am, so I’ll stay with me by going.

How well can you swim? As well as an otter, but not as well as a whale.

What are you in between? Located between desires and dreams and what comes next or came before – Time & Space.

What is your spirit animal? If an animal can be my spirit, then it would be oceanbodied and batwinged, with great white teeth.

What is a nest? Building your home with your own beaded sweat and dreams, most often somewhere safe.

How long can you hold your breath? Almost as long as I wish I could, definitely longer than a mile.

How much does regret weigh? Heavy as a feather, light as a mountaintop.

We also take turns conducting workshops and exercises with each other. This week, Sofia brought in a series of objects and had us write three pieces: a history, a present interaction, and a futurity (again, these are my words and don’t sufficiently engage how she led us in class). I chose a stick and wrote the following:

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“A Tale For Trees” (history) Rain fell for the first time when the clouds broke open. Evaporated and condensed and rained again. Imagine events multiplied by the lifespan of the Earth and you’ve got a start. Eventually the rain soaked into ground into roots and up the xylem and phloem of a particular tree of a particular age in a particular place. A man – who doesn’t matter who – approached the tree, apologized, and sent it to the ground. From the ribcage of the tree he fashioned boards and planks. A team of oxen or donkeys or llamas burdened with the man’s commands and his wooden harvest brought the tree’s echoes to a seaport. There, a shipwright of no meager skill and no modest temper transformed the boards and planks into the pelt of a new creature, one destined to ride the waves that give birth to storms. This ship carried cargo, laden with commerce and history as she broke ground in a new world. Years of journeying west then east and sometimes north but never south left the ship stranded, broken apart by the birth of a new ice floe. People came to salvage her metal and timbers. One plank was shaved down to fit snowshoes, strapped to the feet of the youngest son of the last man of his tribe. He fled south, seeking the sun so he could reignite the yellow fire and save his people. The snowshoes were traded at the treeline, where tundra blossoms into forest, traded for food and navigation. The snowshoes themselves were broken apart for kindling, a few scraps escaping the lifesaving campfire. One piece in particular survived, though she snapped at last and came to rest at my feet.

“Sing, wood!” (current) Splintered and fibrous. Run my fingers along its edge, but beware the splinters! (Or even the threat of splinters is enough to dissuade me.) Looked at from a side : layers of root and history, a canyon’s bitter walls, telling stories of drought and flood, years under sun or shadow. What stories did the wood tell? Crack like a crocodile’s mouth, no eyes to cry crocodile tears, no crocodile teeth therefore no need for crocodile birds who act like little feathered dentists to antediluvian monsters. (They couldn’t fit anyway.) Smell a song of forests, ballad of kings and queens of vegetation, laid low by the century of conflict and betrayed by their own subjects. Taste is possible, but again, beware the opportunity presented by splinters! A shadow cast is no longer than its maker.

“Futurewood” Discarded as junk – No chance to tell her stories – Silenced soon.

“Wander In”

Hello! This is my second creative post. (If you haven’t read “Twelve Year Growth” please do so!)

I also realize that this may be the first time some of you have read this, since I’m going to include links on Facebook and Twitter, so welcome!

This piece comes from my creative manuscript for the Writers in Community class we took last semester. I haven’t really touched it since December but may clean it up for later submissions.

At dinner tonight some of us from the cohort were talking about how more of an emphasis on submission might be helpful. It would help build our C.V.s, it would get us to write sharper (at least it would help me write with more of a focus), and we could get more confidence. Confidence is something I feel is elusive, and I know sometimes as a writer I lack it. That’s why I enjoy hearing from other people – bad writing is not worth talking about, so I’ve at least got that.

Thanks again for visiting! I will try to keep this updated more regularly (with a combination of previous work, current work, and general thoughts on writing). Have a good night!

-Travis

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“Wander In”

What do we learn when we wander? Beyond the photographs and memories and mementos and souvenirs what is it that sticks in our mind in our craw in our gut, buried in the deepest recesses of our primitive brain, the brain that speaks to us when we sleep and shouts at us for fire and beasts and lust – what sticks?

In this day and age and what use is a colossus, even one you can sail a tanker under? Our gardens aren’t hanging so much as hanging around hanging about and getting captured instantly and let go for the next novelty. What use a library when you haven’t got eyes to read? Sure, we can circumnavigate the globe but when was the last time we really saw something?

We sit across from people all the time but we don’t know any better. If we did we might not sit at all, or choose others to sit across from, and why do we stare we can’t help but stare we’re sorry we stare but the idea of opening up the mind and letting someone else in is a scary proposition, everyone should admit that if only to themselves. What were they eating that day?

We don’t know and don’t care or maybe we don’t care and haven’t found out yet the words to the new songs. Someone other than us keeps singing these songs and using words we forgot or we don’t know yet like indigenous and fortification and cavalry, the words don’t always fit together but they stream together and it’s in the watery-ness of their being that we live.

Haven’t we ever wondered why we were the ones left behind? Surely it occurred to us but unless we take the time to examine the proposition from a new angle {any angle other than the one that dominates our nearsightedness} we’ll be left here, waiting for the next bus the next train the next motorbike or outrigger or dammit maybe we should just carve a canoe and call it something else.

We thought we knew how to love but we forgot that, too.

So It’s Been A While!

I think the important thing about a blog is being consistent. And the important thing about being a writer is being consistent. So to that end, here we go – a fresh Wednesday post!

Yesterday I ran some errands and then sequestered myself in full public view at a coffee shop (Flatiron Coffee on Arapahoe in Boulder, great place). There were a series of scenes in my novel-in-progress that have been giving me trouble. To me it’s the emotional crux of the story, why we care about these people, and I couldn’t make it work. So yesterday I just said “Write it out, edit later.”

Twenty or so pages later I had the scenes. I came home and did some light editing, and then plunged ahead on a scene that had been scaring me. It’s supposed to be scary (the scene) but I was scared that it wouldn’t be scary enough on the page. I listened to “Seraphim” by Dead Can Dance on repeat while I wrote it, and finally got something that worked.

I think the consistency will be key, though – I can’t and shouldn’t just wait for the urge to write, I need to be writing every day, and maybe once a week have a blazing session like I did yesterday. It’s hard to balance writing and school sometimes, but what I’m learning in school (and from my classmates) is absolutely helping my novel-in-progress (from here on out, my NIP!).

I guess this is a ramble, and as the blog develops I’ll post more. I’ve got to go back and rework the pieces I already posted, as well as increase my blog readership (thanks for following me, Rachel!), maybe via social media…

Anyway – please stay tuned! More to follow.

-T