Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

While I’m working on something more meaty, here’s a bit of fun.

Like most people my age, I learned to type on a manual typewriter, an old Smith-Corona, to be precise. It was heavy — damned heavy — and came in its own nearly-as-heavy hard-sided case. It had a black-and-red ribbon that always got twisted, the keys continually got hooked onto one another, and after typing up an evening’s homework, my forearms ached from the physical exertion of pressing down the keys. That’s no exaggeration; it took some oomph to make those levers thwack with enough force to register through to the carbon copy.

What’s a carbon copy, you ask? Well, it’s a … nope, I don’t have time or space to explain it all. (more…)

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I see a silver-lit night, full moon struggling to pierce slate-colored clouds. I see a ghostly crag, pale rocks rising above a dark, heathered moor. I see a woman in blue standing at its summit, bare feet on bare stone, hair loose, arms wide, waiting.

The clouds marshal their forces, focus their power. Winds rise, rumbling forward, and rain comes down in icy sheets. The storm builds, advancing on the crag.

She stands tall and closes her eyes, her nostrils scenting the moss and granite beneath her feet, and the wind-swept tang of a miles-off sea.

Glassy whips lash the sky. The storm clenches its fist. Heather bows beneath its blasted screams.

The woman turns, facing the storm as it thunders toward her on lightning limbs. She tilts back her head, bares her throat.

The wind belches a roaring laugh, sprinting toward its prey.

With a smile and fulsome intent she grabs the wind, bends its trajectory, twisting its path, coiling it around her summit. She reels it in, pulling it to her. She breathes it in, breathes in its power. Her eyes flash open and she sees the swirling clouds above, the vortex of her control. The wind is within her now, part of her. The wind’s laugh is now her laugh.

This is not a victory, the wind not a vanquished enemy. This is a joining, a strengthening, a fusion.

She and the storm are one.

Now, she is power. Now, she is strength.

Now, she is the storm.

La Push


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Le crayon rougeI’ll update you on my cable-cutting process soon, but for this week, here’s a look into the things that keep me up at night. Literally. This is the type of shite that makes my brain whirl like a dervish when it wakes me up at 4AM.

There’s a language construct that has bothered me for a long time. It’s the “negative question.” It’s like the question in the title of this post or, as found in the large portion of my viewing and reading intake that includes British and “period” drama, it’s often tacked on to the end of a sentence, as in, “She is a handsome woman, wouldn’t you say?”

In general, I don’t have a problem with negative inquiries.

Unless, of course, I have to answer them. (more…)

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Beneath a Wounded SkyFour years ago my ninth novel, Beneath a Wounded Sky, hit the shelves. It was the final volume in my Fallen Cloud Saga, and it was a hard book to write for several reasons. The years since then haven’t been kind, and my writing was relegated not to the back seat, but to the way back (those of you who remember tumbling around in the back half of an old-style station wagon will understand).

My writing output for those years was, primarily, this blog and the poems, vignettes, essays, and short stories it contains. Larger projects have consistently fought my control and eluded my grasp. I’ve started one novel several times. I’ve outlined a screenplay. I did a full proposal for a sitcom, worked with the creative team on an indie film, and spent a month or so researching and outlining a biographical novel of a regional sculptor.

None of these attempts got any traction, though. Rather, they just sat in the muddy ditch and spun their wheels.


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Godfather G

Thanks to those who’ve taken the time to follow these posts. It’s been a bittersweet journey, but a valuable one for me.

This week, I went down to help my close up shop on my father’s life. For a poor kid from the backwoods of western Marin, grandson of an Italian immigrant, a high-school dropout who left home at thirteen and slept above the lanes when he worked as a pin-setter at the local bowling alley, he did pretty well.

His life was filled with love and grief. He had four talented children, but saw one of them succumb to addiction. He loved two wives, but saw them both die before him. He did not have a great number of friends, but those he had he treasured deeply.

I will miss him. I already do.

But all his troubles are now become as smoke, leaving him once more free of pain and worry.

Ciao, Papa. And thanks.


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It was not until my high school years that my father talked to me of love. By that time, of course, I had succumbed to my fair share of crushes, passions, and fascinations (including one young girl who treated me so ill that I carved “LD” into the sole of my boot, that I might grind her initials into the dust with every step I took.)

By my sixteenth winter, though, the tenor of my heart had grown beyond such childish attitudes and sought more meaningful relations. One girl in particular had affected me deeply, and though my feelings were built of fragile glass, it was my first true adult love and I felt it as deeply and soberly as I was able. The day it all crashed down, the day that I at last admitted to myself the futility of my unrequited suit, I retreated to the blue shadows of my downstairs room, threw myself upon my bed, and wept.

Hours later, after I’d grown quiet, my father came downstairs and knocked upon my door. He came in, sat on the edge of the bed and, unexpectedly, he asked me about the girl: who was she? how did I feel about her?

I told him all.

When I was done, he did not try to cheer me up. He did not say I would “get over it” or that there were other fish in the sea. He did not tell me that the pain I felt was just a phase or that it was anything less than love. What he told me was:

“When your heart gets broken, it’s bigger when it heals, and the next time you fall in love, it will be deeper and stronger than the time before.”

This has proven true. Each time that I have loved it’s been the deepest, strongest, greatest thing I’ve known. Each time, the newer love puts former passions all to shame for pallid renderings of true adoration. And each time, I wonder if before I ever loved at all. The dark side of this lesson, though, is that with deeper love comes the risk of greater pain, but if not for love, what else is worth the risk?


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As a skinny, myopic boy with a bookish nature and a talent with the violin, I was an easy — if not an obligatory — target for the stronger boys. I was punched and teased and bullied and beaten on the school tarmac. Several times I was “called out” to fight in the churchyard: appointments I never kept but instead walked past, shamefacedly heading home while the gathered boys jeered. I kept these trials to myself — to admit them was to admit my weakness — but one evening after one such “missed” appointment I could contain it no longer. I complained to my father, bemoaning the fact that I would never be as strong as those other boys. My father did not teach me to box nor puff me up with empty promises. Instead, he told me truly:

“There will always be someone smarter or richer or stronger than you. Do your best, and you can be happy with who you are and what you have.”

At first I rejected those words and their unflinching precision, but they haunted me through the months that followed. I refused to accept, at the age of nine, that I would never achieve what I perceived to be the only purpose in life: to be the best at something. As I wrestled with the concept, though, I realized that logically there could only be one person who was the richest in all the world, one who was smartest, one who was strongest; the vast majority of us could never be the best. To be the best, I saw, was a not a reasonable goal, whereas working to do one’s best could bring satisfaction in many ways.

It’s a lesson I must still relearn periodically.


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