Observations on a June afternoon

The fence that was damaged from last year’s snowstorm is still sitting in the garden in rusted pieces. A couple trees still mark the boundary between our yard and theirs, but the damage from the felled pines lingers. Fortunately, the hammock trees are still up. Perfect for a breezy afternoon.

Cars whiz past in a rush to go from one light to the next. Each car has a unique story to it, I can only imagine. The blue van is running late for Grandma’s birthday. The gray sedan is picking her date up for a picnic in the park. A whole slew of cars are rushing past to get to an important business meeting…on a Sunday. The gears of capitalism never stop, I suppose.

A dog barks on the other side of the school, but only for a few moments. Perhaps he scared the people off. Or she.

The gentle breeze tickles my nose and my eyelashes. The hairs on my legs stand up as it picks up for an instant. My hammock rocks oh so slightly, enough to lull a peaceful writer into an afternoon nap…

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And he’s back in the game!

I took a long, long break from writing. I wrote here and there, but it was never anything substantial. Between joining a more traditional 9 to 5 job and working on my mental health, writing took a backseat.

During this time, I learned a few things about myself:

  • Therapy does wonders for me.
  • I need writing in my life at the end of the day.
  • In order to write, I need to read.
  • I may have a lot of interests, but they help make me a more well-rounded person.

Getting back into writing more regularly will be challenging, but I know I’m up for it. Expect two posts per week; some combination of a blog post, new story, or a review.

It’s good to be back.

January

It’s been a while, I know. There’s lots to write about, but not just yet. As I start to get back into actively using this site, I’m planning on writing an update blog post and a review. For now, however, I thought I’d share this.  I looked back through some of my previous work, and this attempt at poetry stood out to me. Enjoy!

The air bites my skin and fills my ears with every gust

As I carry groceries from the car,

The sign from the store still lingering

‘Now hiring, inquire inside.’

It’s been nearly a week since I got the call.

Their loss, I’m supposed to think.

You got their attention, didn’t you?

Three whole interviews!

This was supposed to be my new start.

The red door squeaks open, louder than usual.

There’s a deafening quiet to the cramped foyer.

I drop my keys into my bag.

Mail’s here. None for me. Up the steps I go.

3+ years of experience. New beginnings.

That practice isn’t covered under your plan.

New member discounts through the 15th.

Tell me how you handle feedback.

There’s nothing new about this. I’ve heard it all before.

Stray dead leaves flutter on the branches

outside my window, toughing out the winter.

If you can call this winter. It’s barely snowed.

When did winters lose their longevity?

I could start tomorrow with them doing…something.

What’s a good song to learn first?

3+ years of experience. Again.

My room is a mess. Some tea sounds nice.

I suppose it’s all too new to judge, but still…

On Poetry: Happy Monday!

Reviewing old projects can be useful to see how far you’ve come as a writer.Last week I was reviewing some of my high school writings just to see what I had written when I was younger.

Turns out we ended up focusing a lot on poetry. I mean, a ton of poetry. Besides a couple short stories, a 5-minute script, and some descriptive exercises, it was all poetry. Some of it was halfway decent, too.

Why is poetry such a heavy focus in English classes? It’s not a rhetorical question. I’m genuinely curious. Is it because of the precise nature of every single word, line break, and punctuation that loads every stanza with meaning? Maybe becase it’s been around for centuries? Does it have to do with the diversity of the genre? Haikus, limericks, pantoums, and epics. Okay, I haven’t tried writing an epic poem, but my teachers introduced me to a bunch of diferent styles over the years. I’ll have to look it up this week.

Personally, the deliberate nature of poetry always intimidated me. I can write a short story fairly easily and then edit it later, but something about the significance of cadence, rhyme scheme, alliteration, and a plethora of ther things add more pressure to write the perfect words in the perfect order. That weight makes each work more difficult edit, so I always hesitate to give feedback when I see poetry in my writing group.

Then again, people grow when they try new things. Even though I don’t enjoy writing poetry, I’ve written some excellent poems in the past, meaning I have the potential to write more good poems. I’ll be trying to write some original poetry going forward while I edit Elements and develop my next book.

The rest of the week awaits. Happy Monday!

What’s Next?

“2016 was the worst.”

If you haven’t seen or heard that expression at some point during the year, I would be beyond impressed. Between dramatic shifts in the political climate, worsening of humanitarian crises across the globe, and a slew of celebrity deaths, it’s been a tough year for humanity and the planet.

Not everything was terrible about 2016, however. Renewable energy sources have grown more affordable than every, there were notable moments of compassion amidst the chaos of mass shootings and civil wars, and despite an overwhelming number of dissappointing blockbusters, surpising gems such as Zootopia, Doctor Strange, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them delighted audiences (review pending on the latter, since I may need to see it a second time).

Personally, 2016 was rough. I waded through tricky employment situations all year long, which in turn led to some serious effects on my writing productivity. Hence, my absence since early November.

I also realized I’m not nearly as well as I thought I was, mentally. Someday soon I’d like to write it all down and share those revelations to people, but not just yet. I’m still figuring it all out.

It wasn’t an awful year, though. I took several road trips to visit people and meet some new ones, connected with a bunch of incredible writers and learned a whole bunch about how the world worked.

As a writer, I took ninth place in a writing contest, finished both the first and second drafts of Elements, and started my second novel, Uncommon Eyes. Not too shabby, and there’s definitely room to grow.

Writing all this down certainly helps me look at everything anew. Yes, this past year was a challenge, but there was a lot that came out of it that I’ll be able to build on moving forward this year. A positive attitude goes a long way, right?

Since it’s the time of making goals, here’s what I plan on doing for my writing this year:

  • Send Draft 3 of Elements to an editor, possibly an agent, by March 1st
  • Submit five short stories to magazines (only one of which is written and polished)
  • Write the first draft of Uncommon Eyes
  • Publish here at least twice a week: one blog post on Monday, one review every Wednesday, and (if possible) one story or writing exercise every Friday

That’s all I can think of for right now, as far as getting things started for the new year goes. For better or worse, 2017 will be an exciting year for everyone out there. Here’s hoping it’s more positive than 2016 overall!

The Day Before: Happy Monday!

Life beat me down last week, so I didn’t get very much written. That’s why I was absent all last week. There was a scare with my car which ended up resolving itself, although it threw me into a panic. Despite living in a big city, when your needs depend on owning a car, it definitely puts a hold on your life.

On top of all that, work is work and it’s now November. That means NaNoWriMo, which means a new book to start! It’s called Uncommon Eyes. It takes place in the last weeks of a high schooler’s senior year and follows his ruminations and life as he nears the end of this chapter of his life. There’s a good cast of characters that I’m having a blast fleshing out, and it’s shaping up to be a good story.

However, I’m already behind. I need to write around 2,000 words a day to reach my 50,000 word goal by November 30th. Doable, but difficult. I’m excited for everything to come together, and it should be one hell of a November.

Tomorrow, however, I have one item that absolutely has to get done: voting!

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Yeah, the President is on the ballot this year, and no matter your beliefs, odds are you find at least one of the candidates terrible, so why bother? But the President can only do so much. Congress and the Senate all have substantial power, and tons of Congressmen and Senators are up for reelection. There are also plenty of local positons and laws, as well. That’s why I’m heading to the polls. There are too many important choices to be made on all levels of government, and it’s up to us to make it.

Voting talk over. I can’t wait for this election to be over. For now, I’m done writing for the day.

Last Week Tonight (sort of): Happy Monday!

Last week caught me out of nowhere. I couldn’t write or do much of anything. That’s why I didn’t share any reviews or blog posts. I guess something like this has happened before, but I never really recognized it. Not sure what it is, but I’m working on that.

This weekend, however, I managed to bounce back. I stayed off social media and took stock of where I’m at, personally and professionally. I’m not doing too bad, to be honest, but I’ve got a long way to go.

That’s why this week’s update is pretty short. There wasn’t much that happened the past week or two, but I know if I write, even just a little bit, I’ll make one more step towards ramping up for NaNoWriMo and finishing edit 3 of Elements. Maybe then I can start searching for a professional editor or maybe even an agent. Who knows?

As I let my mind wander, I gravatated back to my travels. This is one of the less impressive, but more historical photos.

 

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Petroglyphs in Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. It’s not the most well known park out there, but you can walk through geologic and Native American history. I highly recommend visiting it when you get a chance.

I’ll have to write more about my travels at some point.