Category Archives: Writing

Sound and Rhythm: A Writing Exercise

In this second of two posts sharing the writing I did during a writing class this past weekend, I experiment with poetic techniques of sound and rhythm. The prompt involved completing the scenario of a couple having a fight then going for a drive, happening upon a deer in the middle of the street.

Jasper drove his usual 10 miles above the speed limit and Nancy kept her usual silence even though it was a particularly winding road. This time, her silence was punishment—punishment for the things he had said. If he had an accident and damaged his precious car, it served him right. She look out the passenger side window, watching the forest blur past, green streaks punctuated with streams of light from the setting sun.

She felt him accelerate, bait for a trap, a trap she was not going to fall for. She kept her mouth shut tight. They rounded a corner, and she noticed he didn’t let up. She turned her gaze to the road—silent, but ready to sound a warning.

As they rounded the turn and the grocery store came into view, she saw it. Brown. Standing there. She opened her mouth, but there was no noise. Jasper said, “Shit” and turned the wheel hard to the right. The deer stayed in its place as they drove onto the shoulder of the road. Gravel, like bullets, hitting the underside of the carriage. Ptt, pttt, ptt.

Clear of the deer, Jasper turned back onto the road. Nancy kept her mouth shut, trying to calm her breath and heart. He said, “Sorry.” She nodded and put her hand on his khakied thigh.

Ekphrasis: Van Gogh’s “Two Figures in the Undergrowth”

I took a writing class this weekend focused on incorporating poetic techniques in writing that isn’t poetry. This is the first of two posts sharing the writing I did during the workshop—it is an ekphrastic work inspired by Van Gogh’s Two Figures in the Undergrowth, pictured below.

Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Undergrowth_with_Two_Figures_(F773)Here, on this side, the familiar looked fragmented. These woods, all green and brown on the other side but changed here, were recognizable to her. She had played there with her little sister, bounding through the wildflowers that somehow managed to grow under the canopy of green filtered light, floating down upon the yellow, white, and pink flowers.

Here, though, the quality of the air was thicker, heavier. She could feel the air molecules, as big as grapes, brushing against her skin. They refracted the light, revealing the blue and red within the brown tree trunks and turning globular flowers into colorful streaks.

And, all around, on this side, stood apparitions, figures, glimpses of people. The enlarged molecules revealed the ghosts that haunted this wood, the people she and her sister must have entertained, or annoyed, or disturbed when they were bounding children.

Now, here, she was herself a figure—forgotten and brushed past. She exhaled, expelling the smaller molecules of the other side, the thin air escaping her lungs. She breathed in the larger molecules, becoming a glimpse among the apparitions.

 

Screenshot 2014-06-30 11.06.41

“Adventures in Droneland” is up at Inkshares

I’m working with Inkshares.com to crowdfund my short story collection Adventures in Droneland. If I make the minimum funding goal, Inkshares will publish my book by pairing me with a leading editor and book designer and print, distribute, and market the book. Please visit the Adventures in Droneland page on Inkshares to read more about the book and support me by pre-ordering your copy (for as little as $10!).

My story, “A Tale of Five Thousand Erections,” is out

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 10.31.56 PMCheck it out by purchasing the third issue of Wilde Magazine.

An excerpt:

Your first erection comes as a surprise, age 12.  You wake up from a deep slumber to find a tightness and slight pain in your pajama bottoms.  Looking down, you see the cotton pants stretching where your crotch is, and you pull the waistband tight in order to see exactly what is going on down there.  You see it.  It no longer looks like your penis.  It’s bigger—sure—and stiff, but it is also slightly elevated, pointing to just above your headboard.  You’re used to it limply laying there, a dead snake or maybe just a really tired one.  Now, it pounces in time with your beating heart.  You’ve heard of these before and expected it to happen at some point, but you thought you’d have to be a teenager for it to happen.  Further, you didn’t expect the head of the erection to be so . . . red.  You also didn’t expect the ache that would go along with it.  Nothing is like you expect it; this is a lesson you don’t really learn until later.

 

Nature of the Muse: Inspiration Achieved!

Tonight, I took part in the Nature of the Muse reading and writing event at LIC Bar in Queens, NY.  The unique aspect of this event is that the writers (e.g., me), in addition to reading work they have written before, are given prompts from the audience.  Below is the prompt I received:

IMG_0371And this is what I wrote in response:

That man and that woman are not pleased with each other you can tell because his face is all red like really red like that time I stared at this drop of blood on my arm for twenty minutes that kind of red and she’s different not red not any color she’s just quiet and not just in that she doesn’t say anything but that her whole body is quiet she doesn’t move a muscle except maybe to blink yeah she blinks every so often but not as much as normal people do how often do normal people blink now I’m blinking a lot that feels crazy and he’s talking and she’s just sitting there not blinking and Susie the bartender is like totally afraid of them and she won’t even go over there whoa the guy just did that thing where you get so upset that spittle comes out your mouth and I’m pretty fucking sure that it landed on the woman’s cheek but she didn’t bat an eye and I mean that she didn’t even blink its like she’s used to that no wonder they’re having problems I’d be all scary quiet if my spouse was pretty much fucking spitting on me I wonder if he meant to do it I wonder if he meant to just spit on her that’s crazy Harry the bar owner is whispering in Susie the bartenders ear and they are both looking at the couple and Susie shakes her head no I bet he asked her if she thought he should call the cops because it’s getting mad loud now and you know he fucking spit on her but she’s sitting there taking it all in and I bet she’s just planning how she’s going to kill him and I bet she imagines doing it and then spitting on him that would be cool why doesn’t Harry ask me what I think about if we should call the cops cause I totally think we should the guys crazy and spitting and the woman’s just sitting there planning his murder I can see it I can see what she’s thinking but Harry would never ask me because he thinks I’m a piece of shit he told me that when I got here a little late I was like an hour late and he’s all fucking crazy and oh my god I think he was all crazy with spittle too.