Monday, March 31, 2014

Green Eyes

Whenever I see a new writer stretching their wings, or a veteran author soaring to new heights, a thought pops into my head.

"You son of a bitch!"

I'm afraid the green-eyed monster inside of us all rears his ugly little head. Sometimes he creeps up with a "I wish I was at that point" or "Man, if only I had written something that great." Other times, he's out and obvious, throwing around phrases like, "I'm better than that talentless bastard! How did he even get to that point?!" I'm sure any writer has often felt that way. It's understandable, and normal, and all-too-human.

But it's a beast we have to reign inside of ourselves. No matter our dissatisfaction with our place, progression, or future, we shouldn't let those thoughts dominate us. Our lives are our own, not to be dictated by the successes or failures of others. To do otherwise is to lead ourselves down a path best left forgotten. Down it lays bitterness and regret, the rock we dash ourselves over again and again. Who cares if someone's zooming ahead of us? Who cares if someone is deservedly in the spotlight? We'll get where we're going in due time, and even if we don't?

Well, at least we had the experience. For that, we're better than when we started.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Wall Street

Just been doing some research on the 1920s. I happened upon the Wall Street Bombing of 1920. Holy hell, the nation was in a bit of a pickle back then. You had Bolsheviks versus arch-conservatives, locked in a struggle for the nation's soul. In most cases, the socialist threat was overstated.

Except, of course, at Wall Street. This is a fictional take on those proceedings. They happen a little before the start of my story, but I feel like it was too interesting a time to be ignored.

It was a 500,000 share kinda day on Wall Street, to the delight of capitalists everywhere. Their eyes pored over investments, selling here, buying there, trying to keep just a step ahead of a market that could make them kings or paupers. Some made wild speculations while others took educated guesses, but the result was always the same: They gambled everything for just a little more. The rich grew richer by inches and miles, while the poor retained the inheritance of the meek, a promise of otherworldly comeuppance that never came. All the while a statue of President Washington looked down on all the commerce, lamenting what his America had become. Had he not fought for a land where all men were created equal? Had he not striven for an American where the boots of the big were not planted on the backs of the small?

What happened to his dream?

At 12:01 PM, the Second American Revolution began. It wasn't fought by minutemen or rifles, by violence or declarations, but a minute timer that moved far too quickly for Bradal Kir'Feidlimid's tastes. As the seconds ticked by, Bradal looked back sadly at his Lori. She was still strapped to the wagon, still blissfully unaware. It was for the best. She was a beautiful specimen, a chestnut mare who never gave him a day's trouble rain or shine. He was loathe to give her up, but he had sworn life and limb for the revolution.

He could give up part of his heart for it.

When he turned the corner, the fuse lit, and everything went to hell. The street filled with a terrible roar, a flash of fire and the smoke that almost always follows. One hundred pounds of dynamite propelled five hundred pounds of sash weights into flesh, bone, metal and stone. Wagons were splintered, Model-Ts were tossed, and disarray became the order of the day. Lori never stood a chance.

Neither did the seventeen others killed outright. They were runners and stenographers, secretaries and clerks, men and women who had only served prestige, but never supped of it. They were on the periphery of power, but that was their value. They lay in the streets with torn limbs and unseeing eyes, given up for a greater purpose. Their bosses looked down from ten stories above in terror. Those responsible for strike-breaking, for wage-lowering, for every crime of modern America were safe and snug in their offices, protected by the best security money could buy. 

The sight below was the only thing the American dollar couldn't protect them from. They had received their message loud and clear, planted deep in the heart of commerce. Capitalism wouldn't be allowed to stand, no matter the price. Entrepreneurs might be able to call down the Army, but their opponents weren't defenseless. They were faceless, they were legion, and they could strike without warning. The dead and dying were only promises of things to come, the first volley fired in a coming war. 

Capitalists rushed to their telephones with unseemly haste.

It was a 500,000 share kinda day, to the delight of Bolsheviks everywhere. Their eyes pored over the carnage, and they knew the revolution had started on American soil. No longer would men bow to capitalist kings, those who hoarded oil and wheat as they conducted backroom deals. Mankind, human and inhuman would rise up, joining the brotherhood of workers and strive for an age of equality. The future was bright.

Maybe that's why Bradal Kir'Feidlimid tugged the black cap over his eyes. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


This is short and sweet. It's something that just started bouncing around in my head.

"How would a god view a man?" It took me back to my childhood, discussions I had with a friend named Rose.

I decided to build off of that, into something chilling. Oh, also!

I've finished the second draft of my book. I have a few editors lined up, and I suppose I'll be choosing from one soon. Hopefully I can find the person who can make a good story great. It's hard to be patient, though!

"The sentence is death."

A hush fell over the room. Adam's heart clenched and his throat tightened. It couldn't be the end, but it was, and every fiber of his being rebelled against it.

"Why would you do this to us?" he screamed, rising to his feet.

Joss smiled. "Why do you pour hot water down anthills? For what purpose do you swat a spider? Sometimes it's for amusement, others out of disgust, but always because there is that sense of superiority. It is different, lesser, so far down the foodchain that it might as well be imperceptible. Crushing, swatting, killing, it comes so easily because they are nothing to you.

"You are nothing to me, staring incomprehensively with your beady eyes, cursing at me from  revolting mandibles, trying as you might to protect yourself when you're confined to such a small web. It would all be laughable if it weren't so ghastly, but it is, and you are, and so I lift my hand."

The god raised it for all to see, above Adam's head and before Adam's eyes. His hand eased down, slowly, surely, before gingerly tapping against the man's forehead.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014


I don't even know where the hell this came from.

I wanted to write, and I started once again with "he" when I stopped myself. Too often, I feel as if I should write of men. Maybe it's because I'm used to the perspective of anything with a penis. I forced myself to instead write a woman as one of the main characters as an exercise, but also as an understanding. Throughout our lives, we meet many interesting, strong women who are unsung. Should we do the same in fiction?

It felt pretty good to write her. I hope that there's a future for the Parchen de Alsber. 

Maybe there's a universe waiting to be told.

"It's time."

Parchen de Alsber closed her book, a soft sigh leaving her lips.

"Already? How long has passed? A day? Two days?" Her wrinkled eyes crinkled with amusement, daring to be infectious. As always, her companion was innoculated by world weariness.

"Six years."

"Six years, already." She let out a low whistle, leaning back in her chair. Her worn scarf draped down, grazing the floor as she rocked on the seat's back legs. "Time flies while you're having fun."

"You have an odd idea of 'fun'," murmured the jailer. His eyes swept across the spartan cell, comprised entirely of damp stone that never dried, worn wood that was more a collection of splinters than any real furniture , and a sliver of light that was generously labeled a window. During the day, the room was positively sticky and unpleasant. At night, it froze. It was not an environment fit for a monk, besides the Parchden de Alsber.

As always, the jailer held his tongue.

"Why so grumpy, Alstair? Has my departure finally sunk in? Are those the first rumblings of loneliness in your eyes?" Her smile widened. It was the jailer's turn to sigh.

"How are you so jovial?" he shot back. "Your title, your wealth, your lineage, everything has been taken from you. Your life will soon be on that last!  Yet here you are, laughing and smiling as if nothing could be wrong."

"Have they been taken? Really? Then who do you consider me to be, Alstair? Am I merely some silly old woman to you? Have I fallen so far and lost so much that I am merely Myrlla, someone without history?"

His features softened. "No. You are, and always will be, Parchen de Alsber in my eyes."

"Yes. And in the eyes of many more. What is an edict if none recognize it? What is law if it's unheeded? They've stolen my name, but in name only." Parchen's eyes sparkled. Alstair groaned. Her notorious worldplay was atrocious as ever.

"I start to understand why they locked you up in here."

"Come now! Surely it's not that bad."

"It's worse, Parchen." He smiled despite himself. Perhaps he owed her something as simple as a little smile after all these years. At the rare appearance, the prisoner's own smile faltered and her eyes touched the ground. If Alstair was smiling, the circumstances were dire indeed.

"I'm terrified, Alstair. What if I start crying? Pleading? What if I give up what I took years to accomplish in order to gain a few fleeting moments? My existence has been poor, but it is at least an existence."

"Ash'tun will guide you. He will lead you through fallow fields and to grand harvests. He will be your strength when your legs fail you. He will be your courage when your heart fails you. If you will trust in no one else, trust in him." The words felt wrong on the jailer's lips. An assurance of eternity rang hollow placed beside an executioner's axe.

"P'ah!" Some of Parchen's old fire lit up in her eyes. "Ash'tun can kiss my pink rump! I'll trust in what I can see and hear. I'll trust in what has never let me down." Her voice softened and her hand extended, drapping over Alstair's. "I'll trust in you."

He jerked away as if burned. "Me? The man who imprisoned you? The man who watched you suffer? No. No, if you trust in anyone, don't let it be me. I--"

"Was just following orders. ... Was just protecting me. How many would have treated me as well in your place? They would have bowed to pressure. You risked your family and livelihood for me. You took everything on your shoulders, the threats, the violence, and still you shielded me from the Rising Star." Her hand reached out again, wrapping tightly around his. 

"You suffered for me."

"It wasn't enough," he whispered.  Still, he squeezed her hand. It had been so long since he felt her warmth. Six years, and he had held on to his inability every day. He couldn't save her from their crimson lances. He couldn't save her from their dark prisons. So he saved the only thing he could: her life. He didn't want Parchen to die, but death was inevitable if she tried to escape. So he played the jailer, and she the prisoner, and they watched each day tick by. They had lived as if the next six years would never end.

Tomorrow it would. She would die, and he would join her not long after, and perhaps it was fitting. They were getting old, and the world was no longer their's to seize. It was a place for young men and women to take, the Rising Star that had eclipsed them long ago. He believed all of this, but when Alstair looked into Parchen's eyes, he didn't care. Damn the young, and damn the world, and damn anything else that might get in their way. Alstair had spent too long being a scared old man. Alstair's fingers tightened around Parchen's hand.

"It wasn't enough, but maybe this will be."

They marched to the door.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


It seems unreal. I'm nearly at the end of a story that is mostly coherent, and that I feel proud of. Sometimes I'll look through my old stuff and be frustrated. "Why did I ever think that was acceptable," I'll ask myself. The answer's simple enough, of course:

With use, we improve. I don't claim to be the best writer. Hell, I might be an exceptionally poor study. An old teacher of mine used to say that I was too flowery, dropping adjectives like they were going out of style. I only got better because I obsessively pursued writing. It's the same with anything we're passionate about. You may suck terribly at first, but if you have the bravery to fail a few times, then you'll grow into someone formidable.

Follow your dreams, guys, and don't be afraid. You have the ability to be more than what you are right now.

So what's stopping you?

Hopefully next week we'll have a real update. I'm working on the second draft hot and heavy, and I hope (fingers crossed) that it'll be finished within a month. If so, it's off to an editor. After that, well...

We'll see if that baby'll sink or swim.