Friday, October 2, 2015

A Single Taste

The tongue is a silken key to the cosmos.
Carrying with it the taste of three thousand yesterdays,
And secrets gasped only seconds before being screamed.
But sound doesn’t carry here.
It remains frozen as the sweat..
Crystallized; suspended diamonds lifting up from a heaving spine.

In unison, cells dilate and pulse in time with fervid, animal instinct.
The steps memorized only to be destroyed once again when the fever breaks,
Leaving the lungs and mouth lurching forward, grasping still for that fleeting flavor.
Caramelized desire lingering in the back of the throat before fading entirely..
And blending itself back into the still, frigid waters of separation.
A place where the streaks of filthy snow remain eternal on the bank.

There on those dead, frozen grasses, the rapid deprivation ferments.
Ashen, blue veins scrawl across skin too pale to be real,
Lying in wait for fingertips, blood red from the ice, to leave thin trails of flame.
Burning away every last inhibition.
Searing the soul until all that remains is an empty, aching space,
Crying out in a hoarse moan to be filled again and again..

Though the unbearable frailty of it all is represented in the sudden upheaval.
The terrible gushing upward of that water as it douses to the bone,
And reduces the body to a shivering mass of fear and uncertainty.  
In place of a savage thrust of heat, there is only a single, icy tear.
In place of a gaping sense of invincibility, there is only a quivering question..
How frail is this heart?

Frail enough to contemplate the inevitable.
Frail enough to give everything there ever was to the impermanent.
Frail enough to weep at sunrise, as another day has come and gone..
Yet out of that frailty blooms a strength too beautiful to comprehend.
A strength that whispers, A single taste will have been worth all the pain.

{ Metaphorical poem about the potency of love and loss. Written October 2nd, 2015. } 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Wisdom of a Tainted Heart

There was a time for us all when the heart beat only with the thrills of youth,
The splendor of a future only just laid bare before our eyes,
And the constant, prickling sense that the world was beckoning us forward..
Inviting us to bask in what we could only recognize as pure, blinding light.

We were not always so heavy-laden with the knowledge of a broken world..
Though the relentless rain of reality pelts upon any glistening surface,
Eventually tarnishing it beyond easy recognition or repair.
Eventually reducing a precious metal to a mass of rust and rot.  

I recall a time when the sensation of bare feet sinking into creek sand was commonplace.
A time when the possibilities of open fields were limitless;
And the warmth of the summer sun was never a nuisance..
But rather the life-giving force we needed to thrive.

The mind functioned as a daunting, unaltered generator of wonder.
A dulcet sanctuary which made everything our eyes touched appear enchanted;
Enveloped in the magic and emotion we effortlessly projected into the world.
The very magic and emotion which ultimately leads us to the inevitable..

The loss of innocence.

In the wake of it we struggle against the sensation of countless atoms shifting position,
The searing heat of merciless flames melting away everything we believed,
The sound of every window in our souls shattering into millions of pieces..
Pieces we then spend the rest of our adult lives trying to put back together.

We then flounder in what feels like a gaping void of our former selves;
A nightmarish spiral into the cavities we had always been too afraid to slip into..
Stunned and bare, we realize those skeletons are no longer buried.
No longer shrouded by the incessant, instinctual joy of childhood..

They wrap bony, cold fingers around everything we desperately held onto,
Before slowly, painfully crushing the life from it all..
And we can only watch with stinging, tear-filled eyes as the wounds form.
As they seep, ache, and bleed before eventually becoming the scars we carry forever.    

As the scars create road maps of our transgressions, time fulfills its grave purpose.
Allowing us to accept what we have lost, and that we will never acquire any of it again.
We finally lie motionless, stop reaching into the mist for shadows of our pasts..
And when the strength reaches us, we stand up..

We force our trembling legs to carry us onward..

Onward into the terrible realization that wisdom cannot grace the oblivious,
Empathy cannot erupt from the coddled,
Light cannot exist without the constant brush of darkness..
And as a dove, softly closing its eyes as it passes from existence,
We are made aware that even the purest of things must die.

Today, I came home to find the sweetest, most beautiful dove dead in my garden. He looked so pure, so peaceful in his passing that it broke my heart and inspired me to write this poem. He was given a proper burial after this photo was taken, and is now immortalized in a poem as sad as his death was. Thank you for reading..

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Author I'm Going To Be

I’m struggling to untangle the jumbled mess of cords that has become my mind after completing the novel I devoted myself to for four years.. But I’ve written enough about that in the post where I announced the completion of the book (which will be released this year). What I wanted to write about, in the hope that my mind will finally come full circle on this, is my future as an author, and the almost terrifying epiphany I had the other night that told me I nearly made a grave mistake with where I intended to take my writing.

After completing the novel, I took a break to edit it, and also mourn the end of the relationship with my protagonist.. But during that time I thought a lot about what the next book would be about, and I’ve had the same thoughts on that matter since before I even began the novel I recently completed. I knew what I wanted to do afterwards, and I felt it wasn’t even in question what the next subject would be. It was going to be an epic fantasy series, since that is what I’ve believed I was going to write since I was ten years old. That was the age I was when this world first came to me.. It isn’t a world filled with magic or dragons. It’s a world filled with unique creatures I created long ago, and humans who struggle to coexist in a decaying world. This world is vast, rich, and complex, as it has been fermenting in my mind for over half my life. I know all the characters. I know the plot. I know the breadth and message this story would have, and yet I’ve spent my entire life failing to write it. The reason why is what makes this all so painfully bizarre to me..

The reason why I can’t write it isn’t because I’m afraid I can’t do it justice. It isn’t that I’m unsure of the plot or any of its characters. It isn’t because it holds so much weight and significance after all these years that I’m afraid to let it go.. It’s none of that. I’ve even begun the first book in the series, and I was happy with the way it was progressing. But what I’m starting to contemplate as either a blessing or a curse has happened once again. This was one of many attempts at writing this series, and what happened in 2011 has now happened again in 2015. I call it “the seven page itch”. Every time I’ve tried to write this book, I’ve written seven solid pages I’m elated with, and then I’m sucker-punched in the jaw by a character that I never even wanted or felt like I created at all. A character that hijacks my mind and derails me until I’ve written hundreds upon hundreds of pages about them..

That is precisely what happened in 2010 when the protagonist of my recent novel came to me, and a part of me both feared that it would, or would not happen again. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be left alone to write my fantasy work, or if I wanted to fall so horrifically in love again with a stranger. A character I feel I discover as I write about them.. A character that shatters my heart in ways that leave me wishing I wasn't a writer. I was foolish enough to believe it wouldn’t happen again, and I’m still trying not to be afraid that it actually hasn’t..

The other night, on some bizarre whim, I watched an obscure film from the 80's. A three hour long film I’m going to keep private for the sake of feeling like its still “pure” in my mind. This film left me rapt and heartbroken, and filled me once again with the adoration and compassion I have for suffering people. Suffering people in THIS world. Not in some faraway land that doesn’t exist anywhere but in the confines of my own mind. This film, combined with documentaries I’ve seen over the years, has imbued me once again with a drive to do what I’m starting to believe is my purpose..

I lied awake in bed that night, thinking about the film, but also about so many other examples of real human suffering. Especially the suffering no one takes the time to notice. The people who are the “throwaways” of society. These people, more than any other, enrapture this corner of my soul that demands I write. Demands I write stories I’m often uncomfortable exploring. Stories that extract all of the “fun” out of writing a novel, because they leave me so intense and melancholy at times, that I feel trapped inside the mind of the character until their story is completed.. Now that the first story is over, I’m horrified to discover there might be a new one.

After brooding over that film, I woke up the following morning with a new character in my mind. One that came with a name, a face, and a story. As though presented to me as some strange gift in my sleep, and I know that it was. When I think about this character I have this fluttery, fearful feeling in my stomach that makes me spontaneously smile, while furrowing my brows in doubt at the same time. Like this character is one I’ve recently gone on a first date with, and now I’m chewing my fingernails off wondering, “Could this be the one?”

When this new character came to me, I knew what I was doing wrong. I was failing to understand that my recent novel was not just some fluke I felt compelled to write.. I finally understood that I’m learning what type of author I’m going to be, and that I can’t decide that for myself. All my life, I believed I was going to be a fantasy author.. I believed I was going to breathe life into some incredible world that people could get lost in and come to love. That was what I believed I wanted... But what I’ve come to understand about myself couldn’t be any further from the truth. I now know that I want to write books that devastate people. I want to write books that leave me trembling and crying as I write them. I want to write books that I’m afraid to write.. But most of all, I want to write books that inspire empathy in a world where empathy is dying every day.

I’m not saying fantasy doesn’t do this. What I’m saying is that the light I personally want to shed on human suffering cannot be done in a world other than our own. I want that light to pierce the soul. Leave people questioning themselves and humanity as a whole. More than anything though, I want the books I write to help people. To lift them out of immeasurably dark places not as an escape, but as an invitation to search every corner of their souls, and heal the damage buried within.. I know this is my purpose, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't afraid to delve once again into what my last novel did to me..

I know this story will effect me even more harshly, yet I know I have no choice but to write it.
Because this is what I'm being called to do. This is the reason I'm a writer.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Neurosis - The Best Concert of My Life

On August 4th, I experienced something I've wanted to for many years now.. I finally had the privilege of seeing the most incredible band I've ever heard live, and it wasn't so much of a concert as an out of body experience. I expected nothing less from Neurosis, but being able to be directly up front, with Steve Von Till only a few feet from me, was something I wasn't completely prepared for. This is my favorite song, and while this video is not from the concert I went to, it still somewhat captures the experience. I admit I cried a little at 4:40.. The set was extremely long, and while they closed with "Through Silver in Blood", I've truly never seen Steve Von Till so utterly into the music. It was one of the best nights of my life, and I'll never forget it.. This show fully solidified Steve Von Till (guitarist on the left), as one of my favorite musicians of all time, and unfortunately, this video doesn't really scratch the surface of the experience at all. I could post fifty live videos and it would not compare to seeing and hearing them in person.

Neurosis' are so much more to me than just an incredible and talented band. Their music symbolizes the moment in my life when I chose to break away from everything I've known, and become my own person. To carve a new path despite fear, hardship, and complete uncertainty.. This is why it means so much to me, and why I wanted to elaborate a bit further here than I did on Facebook. So many people don't "get" Neurosis, and I think the main reason is because they're intimidated or turned off by the sheer power of not only the sound and vocals, but of the strength and potency of the lyrics. Neurosis bring new meaning to concepts like "depth", "heaviness", and "emotion" in music. This music is art. An expression of the true potency and resilience of the human spirit, and I will love it forever. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Venom of the Soul" - New Artwork

Recently, I was imbued with inspiration to start drawing people again after nearly ten years. I felt my art stagnating, as I've only drawn animals in profile for most of my life. I wanted to start pushing my limits and trying new things, so this piece was the first step I took to do that. In hindsight, I wish I'd gone for a realistic portrait, rather than a high contrast, graphic one, but I think for the next one I'll do something a little more lifelike. I may even draw the same character again, but a more realistic version of him.

This character is not one I ever have or ever will write a book about, so he was a good test subject to improve my skills. I'll only attempt drawing my real characters once I've settled into a comfortable style, and that may take a while! I wanted to combine high contrast people with textures and tones applied in photoshop, and my first attempt wasn't a complete and utter failure. Close, but not quite! I'm pretty excited about the way my art and writing are progressing and evolving at this stage in my life, and I'm glad the inspiration is only increasing..

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Moment I've Yearned For - My Novel Is Done

I thought for a long time about how I could start this post, and I came to the reluctant conclusion that there simply is no perfect way to start a post about one of the most amazing moments of my entire life. Perhaps not everyone will understand, but a few will.. A few may even understand quite well if they’ve experienced this very thing..

Yesterday at around 1:30 in the afternoon, I officially completed the novel that has been a pivotal part of my life since early 2011. The end came more suddenly that I thought it would when I finally mustered up the courage to sit down and complete it. I knew the end was drawing near for a long time now, at least a few months, and there was this massive part of me that was wanting to leave it unfinished. To still be able to slip into the safety and familiarity of that world whenever I wanted as I have for the last four years. I knew once I finished it, the door to this character’s world would close, and I would finally say Goodbye to him forever (because no, there will never, ever be a sequel). I’ve been afraid of that moment now for years, and as those last few pages were typed - I shook and sobbed with the sheer weight of everything this story has meant to me. I wept not only for the story, but for the weight of all the experiences in my life that were required to create something of this magnitude. The last thing this novel is about is myself, but I know the pain I had to live through to even begin to understand the scope of this story, and hopefully do it justice.

It feels like a painfully long time ago that this character first came to me. He appeared to me as this ragged, mysterious little trace of thought in 2010, and I never could have imagined he would become something I adore so powerfully that my heart is now shattered at the idea of never being able to touch him again through writing. As frightening and bizarre as it is to admit to the world, I wept mostly for him as I finished this book. For the knowledge that I will miss him for the rest of my life. This character was there for me through the most difficult year of my life. He was birthed from my anguish and sorrow in 2010 and 2011, and now I have to set him free. Our time together is done, and the shuddering sobs I experienced as I ended his story was the very act of me severing my tie to this book. To this character. To that time in my life..

Now, I prepare it to be released to the world. In the pure and earnest hope that this story can be to someone else what it was to me.. A comfort in dire times. An escape from a dismal reality. A guiding light that can hopefully shine just bright enough to lead the soul out of darkness, and into a new, beautiful chapter..

My target release date is October 1st, 2015. There is still a lot of work to be done to ready it for release, including editing, illustrations, and preparing it to be printed - but the hard part is over. Right now I just feel like I’m grieving, but once this incredible ache in my heart fades I can finally come to terms with the thought of truly letting this massive piece of me go..

I don't want to end this on a sad note though.. I'll leave it with the gif that explains my feelings more flawlessly than words ever could!