The crayonist’s lament

Bruised

crayon colors smudged, 

grudgingly upon the page, carousel thumbprints blurred,

swirled hocus pocus, unfocused,

honey locust picked and faded and shaded nonsense,

within these blessed messes and indiscretions. Lurid

colors smudged like neon bulbs upon a pencil world.

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Drop or release

VerytallNEWtrucover2

I’m still planning on a January 5 release for A Very Tall Summer. All that’s left is for for my beta reader to finish, and then give me her comments/suggestions. That would be my wife Angela. I completely trust and value her opinion.

Baring any oversights or plot threads I’ve failed to connect (entirely possible), it should be good to go. Ange is a careful reader, and she catches all my glaring errors and mishandled sentences. She intentionally did not read any of the excerpts I’ve posted because she wanted to approach it fresh, without any preconceptions. She’s also an amazing writer, so she knows what’s what.

She knew about Ordinary Handsome, of course, because it was such an important project for me… twenty-plus years in the making. This one, though, came out of nowhere and I grabbed it before it could  escape.

Speaking of which….

I am releasing this book, not dropping it. That’s a word I’ve come to dislike in that context. An artist should not drop their work, whether they be novelists, poets, singers, actors, etc. The use of that word, to me, sounds lazy and irreverent. Releasing one’s work is a monumental thing. It’s both frightening and amazing. If the work was done with passion and curiosity, then it’s best to let it fly. Dropping it? Whatev.

And so I am not dropping this like a pad of butter on the floor. I’m releasing this caged animal of mine into an unsuspecting world. It might be a rabid skunk, or it may be something that will fly, I don’t know. But I did my best, and I’m proud of it.

Pardon the rant. I guess I’m slowly turning into a get-off-my-lawn-you-whippersnappers kind of  guy.

Thanks to all who have patiently — and dare I say, enthusiastically — read the excerpts, liked them, and commented. Positive feedback for a writer is pure gold. So thanks so much.

As Tom Petty said, “The waiting is the hardest part.” 🙂

But seriously (or not)

I’m a serious writer. I watch, I listen, I write. I take it all seriously because I love it. So sometimes it comes as a surprise to people that I have a sense of humor. It’s not all about marching words to the edge of a cliff. The very first thing I wrote was a humour piece for school. I was extremely shy, 10 years old, and made to read my little story in front of the class. I almost died. But in a trembling little voice, I read it. And almost died again. And then the damnedest thing happened. My classmates stood up and applauded. I wasn’t even sure they knew my name. And at that moment, a writer was born. Continue reading “But seriously (or not)”

Waiting for Mr. Coffee

Morning. Before everything remembers what it is. This perfect solitude, when the soul is naked, the flesh is asleep, and the dreams start to wither. The sky, that perfect grey pastel, dingy but lovely. It is its own naked shadow. The undressed trees, waiting for rain, thirsty for refreshment. You can smell it, breathing beyond the hills, exhaling its wet breath. Continue reading “Waiting for Mr. Coffee”

November 1, 1975

Note: In a recent conversation with a friend, I told her that I still had most of my writing stored away, back to when I was 15-years-old. I was pretty damned intense for someone that age. I dug around and found my very first journal. I’ve kept this old journal — a compilation of poetry and diary entries — and it’s travelled with me to innumerable different apartments, houses, beaten-down hotels, the back of my car, a couple of provinces, and two countries. I don’t know why I hold onto it, other than they’re entries from a naive, intense and, dare I say it, sweet little kid who had no idea what the future held. I promised her I’d post an entry from back then, and I’m a man of my word. Cringing is allowed and acceptable, but please, don’t outright laugh. He was 15-years-old and his heart was honest.

Alone (Part II)

The bitter cold

consumes my

soul like

a fire consumes

ice.

The quiet road

ahead of me

is dark

and I fear

darkness.

The velvet clouds

above me

drift silently

and move

freely.

The beating of

my heart

is hushed

against the

wind.

— Written November 1, 1975

A river runs under it

Sometimes writing comes naturally, a stream of ideas flowing unimpeded over the rocks. And sometimes it feels like pushing a boulder upstream with your nose. Stuff gets cluttered and jammed in the currents, the water evaporates and you’re trying to swim in the mud.

Okay, enough with the analogy. Right now it’s rough going. The ideas are swampy and stagnant. I’m listening for the language, the voices, and everyone’s talking over each other like a bad episode of “The West Wing”. Slow down, I can’t hear wtf you’re saying, one at a time, please.

Every writer goes through it, I guess. Digging for gold without a shovel, scraping at the clay bare-knuckled, in the wrong spot. It’s not a bad thing, but not productive. I wouldn’t call it writer’s block because I’m still digging, still trying to find a small chunk of gold. Scrape together a word or two, and then three, and then a trickle, a bubble of undercurrent, and there he goes back to the river analogy.

I could blame the weather (cold; winter; uggh), and I could blame my job (cold; demanding; uggh), or I could just blame the minutia of details in a day, the step-by-step procedural. Or it could just be — go ahead and say it — a logjam: too many ideas, or not enough ideas but too many words climbing over each other. The rhythm of the dance is out of whack, trying to do the tango with a bullfrog. Something.

Maybe it’s trying to find a follow-up to Ordinary Handsome. That one filled my belly. Good or bad (and I think it’s good), it’s hard act to follow. I’m still digging for that next chunk of gold.

As the Boss says,

“Now those memories come back to haunt me
they haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true
Or is it something worse
that sends me down to the river
though I know the river is dry
That sends me down to the river tonight.”*

Analogy over.

*”The River” by Bruce Springsteen