roses and violets

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Hearts are black
And lungs are bruised
Legs are weary
Head aches
I’ve gone too far
Before I wake
The road behind
Is trampled waste
Lessons learned
And lost in haste
Roses red
And dipped in black
Falling slowly
Down my back
Burning muscles
Acid lungs
I’ve come to know
My race is run
And if I die before I wake
May someone find
What I meant to make

huh, again

Well, this is exciting. I broke down my writing career into a little more than three dozen book ideas, plus another dozen or so comic ideas, and like a lot of writers, a few hundred short story ideas. All in all, by the time I was done brainstorming, I had almost two thousand ideas.

Anyway, for the first part, while I was writing The Mungk, I thought I’d take a crack at a half-dozen other smaller things while I was at it, and you know what? As of today, three of the four things I’ve sent out have been published (or will be shortly, which is cool). The fourth is a comic book whose artist is yet to be found (well, technically, he was found – a friend of mine whose style was perfect for it, but we’ve been out of touch for while. I miss him, to be honest. I meant it to be a one-off, a showcase issue to show I can write and he can draw, by giving lots of different looks to create, intended as a one-and-done, intentionally light and self-contained. It was more punchline than plot, which was fine. It had an internal logic.)

Anyway, someday on the comic, I hope, even if I have to do it myself, like so many of my indie heroes. (Unlike my indie heroes, I don’t draw often, so let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that, since you know. Not great.)

There’s another “super-secret” project that’s really just freewriting around a very loose idea, to be published for free online, more of an audience builder/test subject type thing, but we’ll see. It won’t be officially published anywhere save as a self-published, online deal.

But still. Exciting. And kudos to the editors, particularly Tom Ball at Fleas On The Dog and Matthew Sorrento at Retreats From Oblivion. Great editing means addition from subtraction and they’ve both done a hell of a job with my short little pieces. Good on them for being better able to see what I could not. We get so close to these things that we lose perspective sometimes. Having someone who can see through it and strip the fat from it, even in a piece of flash fiction like The Ineffable Hat, is much appreciated.

I’ve read enough articles about writers railing against bad editors to wonder what it was really like. Not being from the publishing world, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but these guys have proven how valuable a good editor is. I suspect there might be more than a little ego at play in those articles I read; some loss of perspective or inability to step outside oneself and see the bigger picture. While I’m sure bad editors do exist, from what I’ve been exposed to, the feedback has been more liberating than off-putting.

I continuously push myself to open up my world, no matter how miserable that can be at times, so anything that forces me to set ego aside and look at something with fresh eyes is invaluable.

I look forward to sharing the new thing, when it comes out.

myopia

Nothing tears us down quite like the things we don’t acknowledge in our lives.

The subjects we ignore – like weight or the effects of smoking or a toxic relationship. The need to move on from a soul crushing job. That was the impetus behind the Birds Fall haiku; the idea that what ultimately defeats us is not the thing we saw clearly, but the thing we never saw at all, or tried desperately not to think about.

We let it slide until it’s too late, until it’s too big of a problem to fix without suffering some serious collateral damage.

I know I have these blind spots. Depression. Shyness. Alcohol. Weight. The aforementioned soul crushing work. On any given day, there’s probably a half-dozen to a dozen of these types of things I’m actively trying to avoid thinking about, and probably twice that when you factor in the stuff I’m so oblivious to that I won’t see it coming until it punches me full in the face.

Life ain’t easy. Presence and awareness are wonderful watchwords, but most of us could never do it so consistently that we actually manage to have most of our shit under control. Control is an illusion. We do our best to avoid suffering and increase pleasure in the moment (more often opting for less suffering than actual pleasure), because that’s the best we can do.

We haven’t been raised to pay attention to these things. I suspect our world would be a very different place if we were. Capitalism, fascism, Trumpers, conspiracy theorists – all gone, because we’d be able to face our greed, our lust for power and control, our willingness to smother our brains in delusion and the false promises and outrage of others.

We’d look straight in the mirror and say:

This is bullshit. We are bullshit. We need to do better.

And then do better. Or not. Who could ever tell?

The world will end one day and it won’t be because we opened our eyes and called ourselves out on our poor behaviour. It will be because we squeezed them tightly shut and pretended there was no such thing as consequences.