Uncategorized, writing.



L.P. Stribling

       Her face was no longer something she could feel; the wind, the ice had made sure of that. Carla still pushed through the biting slices of nature’s army toward the wooden structure on the hilltop, one high step at a time. The snow reached well past her knees, and beyond that with the ground dipped. On the inside, her legs began to ache.

Almost there, Carla. Push through.

She tried putting her mind elsewhere again. That seemed to work at the bottom of the hill, at least for the first half mile, until the frost winds began to howl. One of the thoughts she found was more of a memory – one from when she was six. It was the first time she recalled hearing the howl of the wind. Her sister, Dari, had run back to the bedroom after the power had gone out to jump under the covers with her.

“What’s that?” she remembered her sister saying. The pause lasted for seconds, until the low curling of the wind’s howl came through the windows. Dari disappeared under the blanket and gripped on to her sister, preferring clearly to be inside her twin’s body.


“Chill out, girl. It’s just the wind,” she had told her.

“Yeah, you’re right,” Dari said. “Just the wind.”


The words ran through her mind with each slow step up the hillside. “Yeah,” she echoed her sister’s voice. “Just the wind.”

The snow depth shortened and the steps became easier. The last few she pushed into a stride of three as she tried to make hasty cover behind the walls of the wooden building.

“Dari!” she screamed at the door as she pounded on the cheap wood. “Let me in!”

Sounds came from beyond the wood. Tapping and shifting. The door fell open and Dari’s hand reached out and pulled her sister in. “I thought you said one o’clock?” Dari said. Her short frame was covered in a parka and ski pants over heavy green socks. “ I’ve been waiting for two hours!” She pulled Carla inside and shook the snow from her back. “Sit,” she said. “I have tea.”

Carla walked to the table in the living room where two steaming mugs of tea sat waiting. A small dish of cookies was at the table’s center, and a fire burned in the gated fireplace. Carla sat.

“Now,” Dari said, sitting and raising a tea mug. “Why don’t we talk about how badly they want you, and how much we stand to gain with the right decisions.”

Carla held the mug between her freezing palms and inhaled the scent deeply. She clinked her mug against Dari’s and took a small sip. Jasmine. It went down warm. She cleared her throat and reached inside her pant pocket, removing a thin vile of neon orange fluid. A solitary air bubble dipped back and forth as she tilted it. “Here’s to making our first decision right.”


Star Wars VII – Kill ’em all

I don’t even know where to start with Star Wars.

<sigh> Deep breath.

No, no, I do know where to start. I started in the 80s when it was the best time to start. Let’s just say this; I saw the newest Star Wars trailer and…<shakes head> No.

I have nothing good to say, really. I’m just sad.

Okay, let’s get it all on the table. I’ve never seen Episodes 1, 2, or 3. I loved 4, 5, and 6, and think that Disney (**of all f*cking companies) making a 7th is absolutely the most ludicrous of ideas.

…and they’re bringing the old crew back?? Han Solo…at 72?


Can it get any worse?


Let’s face it. It’s over.

Close the story.

Shut the script down.

Let’s just remember Star Wars the way it was before…..before George Lucas actually started writing.


Spock’s Farewell


Star Trek, only a few know, is that one series for me that I’d like to watch from beginning to end just to see how long it takes me.

It’s not like I can in good faith call myself a Trekkie or anything. Star Wars just happened to always be my thing; it affects us all differently, I guess. But, looking back on the experiences I did have with ST growing up, and the role it played in my formative years, there was something I clearly enjoyed about it – something that grabbed me, struck me, or pulled me into it.

I didn’t watch it religiously. I didn’t have any ST posters hanging from the ceiling of my bedroom – the one halfway down the hall from the kitchen in which I lay upon four mattresses so I could look upon what my ceiling did have more clearly. But I did like it. All of it. I liked the concept, the journey, the characters, the conflicts, the personal stories. I liked it all.

But, in the original series (TOS), you really have to admit that Spock had the perfect allure for both Sci-Fi enthusiasts and sci-fi laity. It wasn’t just that he was an alien – something foreign from us, but he held a wisdom that we as humans both respected and saw as not unattainable.

Spock was, in most emergency situations, unshaken, able to retain his equanimity. Many of us remember him on screen giving Captain Kirk advice, calm and candid, in the most tempestuous of military situations. That’s just the guy Spock was.

And off screen, Leonard was a writer, a poet, a photographer, and well, as well all know, he was just a hell of a guy. He and Shatner had a friendship that began early and blossomed throughout life. What a treasure that must have been?

Nimoy and Spock began their career and blew up in the Sci-Fi community, and as well all know, it didn’t all blow away with the wind with TOS. Spock was there throughout the series and the world. He was there in body, and voice. And now, as always in our world, Leonard and Spock spend the rest of this time with us in spirit.

So, I write this now to him, from wherever he’s watching. Leonard/Spock, thank you for your time with us on this station. You’re off to a new station, and you’ll no doubt make your new world exceedingly brave and happy. Thank you for your lessons, your words, and the model you gave in yourself to our world. You are family, and you will be missed.

spock (1)

May you prosper now and always.


Faërun’s Journal – Day III: The Castle


Day 54

Memory after that came to me in a strange way. The first two things I remembered upon waking were a hearth fire at the base of my bed, warming the room with a slow and welcoming burn, and a realization that I was in a bed – something culturally human and to which I was quite unaccustomed. Yet, those two things were not as surprising as the third thing. A man’s form was before me.

He stood in the quiet flitting shadow of the fire’s glow and at the time I was somewhere in between being able to make out his face and seeing only a greyed lack of detail.

“You really should be more prudent when facing orcs alone,” he said. His words were Elvish and he spoke them quite well. They were the first words out of his mouth and they made cringe. All instincts in me made me want to jump out of the bed. But, the reaction I made was a wince, accompanied by a quick yip of pain.

“You don’t have to believe me, of course,” he said. “You’re welcome to make the same mistake. Though I doubt you’d wake up in as hospitable a situation as this.”

“Where am I?” I said, dismissing the comment. Though I recognized some of his features as Elvish, he was not my teacher, and there was no other I would have as such.

“You’re safe for now,” he said.

“What is this place?”
“My house,” he said. “It’s humble enough. I hope you find it suitable.”

“It’s fine, but I’ll be on my way,” I said, and made again to move, thinking that the wince that had caught me just moments before was something minimal, something I really could work through. But, the wince that tore through me this time was a solid reminder that I was not to move.

“That will require time to heal,” the man said as he pulled a small stool to the foot of my bed and crossed his forearms to rest them upon the end of the bed. He saw from the expression on my face that Iwas still in somem degree of painan dnot happy about it. “I’m Okies,” he said.

“Faëryn,” I returned. “You speak Elvish, but you don’t look a full Elf.”

Okies smiled. “Perhaps another time we can go into our backgrounds. For now let’s begin with ‘you’re still alive’.”

“Why did you save me?”

“Because you’re needed,” he said.

“Why me?”

“There are several rather skillful wanderers I have come to know of late who are willing to aid me in a particular group assignment, but we’re lacking your particular skills.”

“And what are those?”

“Knowledge of the land, the plants, animals – natural magic and understanding.”

I sat there for a bit, pausing to look at him. “What would I get out of it?”

“There must be something you seek, something you wish to attain.”

I considered his words and as in other parts of our conversation, took his words to heart when he told me not to use such a hostile tongue. I told him in as much detail as I saw fit about my beginnings, my home, and the murder of my family. I told him of my plans to avenge my father, to grow to be a full druid, and to rid the surface of this world of orcs.

Okeis listened and understood. He assured me there would be plenty of opportunities to pursue and achieve my goals only if I am willing. He said there would be risk, great risk, both to myself and the others in the group, but that if I was willing to pursue this, I would have the opportunity.

There have been many times I have been told that just because I value my own life and life blessings brought to me from the Nature Queen, it does not mean that I am to threaten others not to invade. “There is great value in kindness.” My father’s words sometimes come to my recall much later than they are appreciated. I made some thoughtless, juvenile remarks about how I would think about it and I appreciated the hospitality. All the while my back ached. I would wince in pain, still not wishing to believe what I knew – that the orcan blade almost cut directly through my back and that the man in front of me had offered great hospility and kindness to provide shelter and warmth for me. I wondered if it was in some Elvish part of him or if he truly needed help.

“Thank you. I’ll consider your –“

“There is a short test you’ll have to pass first, of course,” he said, cutting my gratitude off.

“A test?”

“Just to make sure you are the one my party needs. I have been known to be wrong. It’s not that often these days, but it has happened. This is simply a little requirement I have to have,” he said, and he proceeded to give me a riddle.

Seek the Shadow on the Dale

To find the bear gems,

Beware the Harbringer,

Into the cave make your way,

To the wizard in the sky,

To the castle upon high

     The riddles of man and those of the Elf differ vastly, and this, to my ears meant nothing.

“You have four days. Solve the riddle in that time, and you can join.” The strange Elvin man in front of me then changed his form in a puff of smoke, and a graceful black bat flew from there out of an open window, and I was again alone.

Day 55

It was several hours before I could walk, but with some strain and patience, I made it out of the bed. My clothes had been laid out before me and dried by the cooling (but still warm) hearth fire. I was out the door and, by the end of the day, walking with some semblance of normalcy.

I headed south as the riddle suggested, keeping my eyes open for any strange castle in the sky. At night, during periods of trance, I would hear the beauties of Mother Forest pass me by. One night a pack of rats, another day a large beautiful bird. It was so big, its head peaked out from above the trees. It looked hungry and others fled from its path and I therefore only followed and observed.


One night a bear approached. It was a lovely beast and I sensed its gentle nature, though as I was unsure of the personality of those particular woods, I remained on the defensive, alert, and quiet in the long branch of an old oak. Southward I continued, sneaking out of the tree and making sure not to disturb the gentle beast which had approached and fallen asleep at the base of my tree.

A few more hours and still I followed only the words of Okies, knowing not the nature of the woods I was walking. The grass, the leaves, the beautiful still wooden beasts, the wild forest air – all of these things are my family blood. It is where the Sylvan find their most integral of energies.

At a certain point in the day, I saw a clearing ahead through the brush – a small field of grass in front of an even smaller mound of rock, into which I saw a small black hole. From out of the top of the mound of jagged rock drifted a narrow column of smoke, mostly light with dark puffs every few seconds. I saw the little man’s faded green hat emerge first from the cave, his squat but sturdy frame following it with what seemed to be a strain that had long before found custom in the little man’s life.

“You’ll find many times in life where you’ll want to be the reactor as opposed to the actor.” My father’s words flashed into my mind then, and I heeded them almost as soon as they appeared. I made quiet steps across the wild leaf-ridden forest ground to a point at the back of the small natural cottage so as to observe the little man. He did not appear dwarfish. Not that I’ve seen many dwarves growing up in the High Forest, but I’ve heard enough stories. But, I couldn’t say for sure.

I was quiet in my approach. I didn’t want to put myself in danger, but I had four days. The truth was I in the mood for a bit of adventure, a bit of purpose. I introduced myself hesitantly. By that time the bear I had seen earlier had returned and the man gave his name as Harbringer.

Beware the Harbringer.

I ran the words of Okies over in my head. Something was wrong, but what was I going to do? Where was I to go? I excused myself, saying I would return in a moment. That I had to do something and I would be back. Harbringer was calm and let me go easily, returning to the tasks he was intending on taking up upon exiting his cave in the first place.

In the trees I waited. I waited for answers. The daylight was fading. I wasn’t completely out of time, but I was running low. The man outside the cave stacked and organized small piles of finely cut firewood, seemingly not to notice or care whether I returned or not. I convinced myself that it would be no problem to stay there the rest of the night, but the inner self was not convinced. I did not know what abnormalities I would find in this forest when the sun set, no matter which of my gods was looking upon me. There was also the strong scent of a hearty lamb stew wafting to me from the darkened cave dwelling of the Harbringer.


My head snapped to the front of the grassy field, from where I approached. I saw a large man walking toward me slowly, his tall travel boots scraping and stomping across the dirt path toward the mound of rocks and the hollow within. His skin was a silvery dull natural tone. He shimmered, somehow. Yet it wasn’t a color I feared, but one that allowed me to take comfort in.

“Okies,” voiced the small man, turning from his outside chores. “what kept you?”

“Yes, yes, I know,” said the tall man, “I’m later than expected. Well, the world outside the comfort of one’s home is, as you know, a tad bit unpredictable.”

     Okies? It couldn’t be. Okies was a different man altogether. Okies spoke Elvish. Okies gave advice, saved people, and changed shape. Okies hid himself. I shook my head and stared harder. If it was true that this man was Okies, I would be safe with him.

I dropped from the hidden branch in the silent way a tree drops after getting blown its home in a storm. I stepped onto the path in clear view of both the tall silver man and the dwarfish man. I expected the bear to at least growl, and with that in mind, placed one hand softly on the hilt of one of my recently cleaned shortswords.

They both looked at me and continued looking as I approached.

“Okies?” I asked.


My head tilted when he responded that way. “But you, you ‘re different.”

He looked down at himself in his own sort of curious perplexing manner. “Oh this. Yeah, this happens every now and again.” It was a demeanor filled with calmness and comfort which he offered, though it was evident that he was capable of becoming something much more unpleasant should he be pushed. In this knowing, I dropped my palm off my sword.

“Come inside,” the dwarfish man said. I felt then the soft plushy skin of the bear at my side, nuzzling my hand away from my body, making it entirely his own. The head of the beast was double that of mine and it smelled as though it had never known the beauties of a river bath. But it was a kind creature and I was blessed for its gesture of welcome.

“C’mon Gems, come on inside.”

“Gems?” I asked, thinking back to the words of the riddle Okies left me in the first place. “This is Gems?”

Okies smiled at me as we entered the small hut of the short man.

The heat of Harbringer’s cave dwelling was a gift. Although I am not used to many confined spaces, the warmth of the fire felt good against my skin, but the space was small and Okies’s body seemed hindered by its restrictions. Yet he didn’t seem to mind; he merely sat there on his own sitting stool at one end of the table in the open space that was Harbringer’s living room and for the longest time sat quiet, sipping gently his tea.

Opposite the entrance there was a solid wooden door beautifully carved – the oaken craftsmanship was impressive enough to further doubt the heritage of Harbringer. It carried the dark lines and smooth gloss of a master’s hand, and the intricacies with which the creator had employed her patience on both the door itself and the large wooden handle was admirable.

“You’ll be going through that,” Okies said.

I tilted my head seeking further explanation.

“You’ve completed your task and you’ll need to join the others.”

“Yes,” echoed Harbringer. “And you’ll be needing this.” He patted various areas of his body before removing his hat with a grin. I saw at first only the glimmer of the object’s shiny surface and the rest came when he handed it to me. “Here,” he said. “Keep this with you.”

In my hand he placed a cloak clasp of gold – a long dragon eating its own tail.

“What is it?” I asked looking at the lovely golden

“It will help you recognize others in the group,” said Harbringer.

“And it will serve another purpose at a later time. For now you’ll need to cross through the door beyond.”

I wished I had something to clasp it to, something with which I could employ the use of the object. Instead I reached up and clasped it to the high collar of my green tunic instead. Looking down I found an empty bowl and a clean wooden spoon. I set the bowl on an oaken table in front of me, bowing my head to both Harbringer and Okies. I gathered my bow and satchel and turned from my seat. I stopped at the door.

“What’s beyond the door?” I asked, turning around.

Harbringer was quiet.

“You’ll find what’s waiting for you,” Okies said. His silver skin flickered back at me with the help of two large candles, which sat on a small walled shelf next to him. His eyes upon me were calm, yet I remember clearly that I placed a guarded hand upon the hilt of one of the swords at my waist. Back to the door, I turned the knob and walked through.

Mist, white and cool, inspected me and behind me could no longer feel the door or the presence of the Harbringer’s cave. When I turned, in fact, curious, it was as though it was never there.

Turning back, I found the castle swaying beyond several leagues of white cloudy vapor. There was nothing else. No trees, no water, no animals, no other creatures. No mountains, rock, brush, or soil. This was a place far outside my comfort. There was only a white misty clouded mass, upon which I could not feel my feet, but stood all the same. I needed answers.

I made for the castle.


Star Wars Dreams Broken Again

Loved it as a kid, but alas, it’s over. Never to return. There’s no climbing out of the corporate money pit into which this dream and childhood love has fallen, ‘Han shot first,’ and all that. <<shakes head>>

It’s gone. We know that.

But why do they have to keep adding salt to the wound by bringing more of it up. Now it’s becoming more and more like a James Bond series – one every two years or so. The bastards.

     Can’t even leave the lightsaber alone.

If Dante were here, he’d tell ’em just how special the place in Hell is for them.


The Slow Regard of Silent Things – a review


Pat has to be one of my favorite fantasy authors. I was introduced to fantasy literature at a young age, but relatively late compared to the others who were already in the community. But, once I was in, I was in to stay. Pat’s opus, The Name of the Wind, is one of my favorites of all time. His prose lulled me deep into his story, and the way he wrote character, setting, and plot, were all very much magically spiced within that sapid fantasy stew. It was a book I didn’t want to end.
But it did, and I was sad, but I went on with life. Slowly. The first thing I did was look for the sequel. It wasn’t out. It wouldn’t come out for a while – a long tear-jerking while. But it finally did, and I couldn’t read it. Why? Because the series wasn’t done. It’s still not done. The one thing about Pat is that he takes a long time to write a book. But I don’t see this as so much a bad thing as something I need to have more patience with. Let’s face, he writes good books, and for that I’ll gladly wait. Now we have to be honest. There does come a point at which the time is taking a bit too long, and maybe Pat pushes that. But, who am I to criticize. He’s the one writing the books and were I in his shoes I’d tell my appreciative readers that they can wait. Well, maybe it’s not that black-and-white. But you get the idea.
The point is I thoroughly enjoy the series so much that I cannot bear to read two-thirds of the way through it and then wait for years for the final installment. Nope. Yep. I’m that guy. Some people think I’m crazy. But I’m not about to read seven books in a ten-book series and find out that the last two books aren’t projected to hit the market for three to five years. Sorry. I don’t want to risk forgetting the story. It’s that simple.
But let’s get to The Slow Regard of Silent Things. I was intrigued, not just because Pat released another book, but because it was a book that he himself doubted, a book for which he was tossing piles of preliminary apologies to his fans. I didn’t get it. He’s the writer. He can do whatever the (INSERT EXPLETIVE HERE) he wants. But that was what he was doing. He was unsure how his fans, his public would receive it, and it seemed that he was almost afraid, anxious, as to what their opinion of him would be.
When I cracked open the book, he did the same thing I had been hearing, almost apologizing for the book. “Some of you will like this, some of you won’t,” was how it started. He said it wasn’t all the things that most traditional fantasy books (or books in general) had in them. There was no plot, conflict, arc, etc. It was just, as my friend explained, the thoughts of the little girl.
The little girl – Auri. I have been so intrigued by this girl and I was very excited to learn more about her. So, I read it.
And I thought it was great.
You’re right, Pat, it wasn’t the same book that many fantasy fans, your fans, expected. You’re also right that it didn’t have all the ingredients many books in this genre have. But I agree with what your friend said to you over several (okay, more than several) beers that night. “Fuck those people.” This was written because you wanted to listen to Auri’s voice, and Auri wanted to speak…and this is what came out. And that’s all we need to know, right?

For those of you thinking about reading SR, I must say that I agree with Pat. You will find yourself amid a world of words without a lot of direction. This particular piece of art was not painted or wrought with the same tools as many in the community tend to use.
It’s like watching someone across a crowded room for hours. You hear her voice, see her interact with a few people, but that’s it. Then, you’re invited into a day in her life, just to see how she lives. She shows you. It may be what you expected, or completely against that. Either way, we get what we asked for.
Slow Regard is a look into the truthful and honest mind of Auri in the Underthing. It’s the girl we wanted to learn about, and when the book closes, we get what we asked for. Nothing more, nothing less.
If you’d like a closer glimpse at Auri and her mind, please open this book. If you are comfortable where you are and don’t want to take chances, stay where you are. Either way, thanks Pat. I, for one (and I know, many more) enjoyed this.


Shut up and Write

Again, a message from Chuck






*waggles accusing finger*

Shut up and write.

No, no, I know. You just wrote me an email and in this email — like in so many other emails by so many other ‘aspiring’ writers — you informed me that you really want to be a writer, but. No, it doesn’t matter what follows after the but. Something about time. Or family. Or fear. Or lack of knowledge. Or lack of practice. Or bees. Or facebees. Or how your hands were gnawed off by winged, mutated piranha leaving you with those lumpy fish-chewed stumps.

I don’t care.

I’m writing.

You’re not.

End of story.

Shut up.

Shut up shut up shut up.

And write.

Sure, yeah, some days it is fucking hard. Some days it feels like performing rectal surgery on a cantankerous bridge troll. Some days writing is running blindfolded through a maze made of pricker bushes. Writing is an act of creation, and creation is hard. It’s volcanic. Tumultuous. These creative atoms smash together clumsily, violently, destructively. You give something to get something with writing.

But also, it’s not that fucking hard.

C’mon, son. Really? Really? I mean, nobody’s asking you to send a man to Mars. You’re not tasked with desalinating an ocean or training a komodo dragon to cure ebola. Shit, I’m not even asking you to mop up some kid’s puke or wait tables at a five-star restaurant. Or a three-star. Or a fucking Hardee’s off the turnpike.

I’m saying, sludge yourself into the ass receptacle and peck keyboard keys like a hungry chicken until it makes words. Tap tap tap. Click click click. Or pick up one of the tools used by ourdistant ancestors — it is a tube filled with the liquid black souls of all the animals we’ve made extinct — and use this “pen” as a scribe would to etch scribbly heretical word-shapes onto dead tree pulp.

In other words: shut up and write.

Don’t talk about writing. Stop reading about writing. Don’t even come here. This place will be here later. When you’ve done the work. This blog isn’t meant to be your distraction — a warm pool in which to wade so you never have to swim out to the big bad scary ocean. It’s not here so you can feel productive and seem like a writer. Fuck that. No no no no no. You go write. Then you come back here. You gotta start first. Everything else is just masturbation. It’s fuck or walktime, hondo.

Shut up and write.

I really want to be a writer, but…


But what?

But nothing.

It’s on you. You wanna be a writer?

Easy! Write.

Ta-da! Zing! Bing! Bang! Boom.

The writer writes. The writer writes! THE WRITER WRITES.

Hell with aspiring.

To aspire is to expire.

But it’s scaaaaary, you say. Sure, sure, yes, it can be. That sacrificial component can be terrifying. It feels like exposing yourself — some kind of intellectual, creative nudity, like running through somebody else’s mind, naked. Stripped bare. To the skin. Maybe to the bone. What might you say? What might you reveal? Who are you? Who will read you?

I know! I do! And I still don’t jolly well fucking care! Shut up! It’s not like I’m shaking a box of wasps at you. The act of writing isn’t a bedroom closet stuffed full of eyeless clowns — the stink of greasepaint, the honking noses. We can slap whatever metaphors we want on the act: writing feels like jumping out of a plane, oh my oh my, and while that metaphor holds water, it still isn’t actually you jumping out of a plane, is it?

Nobody’s jumping out at you.

No sharks or animated scarecrows with pointy knives.


Write now, right now.

Shut up.

What’s that? You don’t have time?

Well, who fucking does? Everybody thinks writing is some happy horseshit anyway, and life does not automagically provide you with an allotment of hours in which to creatively dick around, so — welcome to the club. We’re all snatching minutes from the mouth of the beast.

Oh, oh, you’re afraid of rejection. Of course you are. I am too. I hate rejection. Who wants that? Who wants to be told no, this isn’t right, this isn’t good, this isn’t all there. But rejection is how you know you’re doing the work. Rejection means you’re putting words to paper and you’re throwing them out there for all the world to see. Rejection is your battle scars: proof of your fight in the arena. Nobody wants to fall down and go boom but falling down and going boom is how you learn not to fall next time. Or at least fall differently.

Or, is it that nobody respects that you wanna be a writer? Yeah, get used to that. You’d get more respect as a juggler hired out for children’s birthday parties. Who cares? Get shut of it. You’re not doing this for the glory. If this is just some fantasy, pinch off that artery right now. The fantasy of writing isn’t that glamorous, trust me. (If I turned on my webcam, you’d flinch and ask yourself, WHAT KIND OF MONSTER IS THAT HUNCHED OVER IN THE SICKLY GLOW OF A COMPUTER MONITOR OH MY GOD IT’S LIKE A FURRY BAG OF TRASH CAME ALIVE AND DECIDED TO BLOG — JESUS, GOD, THE EYES ARE HAUNTING, THE MOUTH IS HANGING OPEN, I CAN IMAGINE THE SMELL OF DEATH AND COFFEE.)

I want to be a writer, but.


Stop there.

And start writing.

You’re either writing, or you’re not. Stop obsessing over all the things that come later. Fuck publishing, marketing, audience, writing advice, writing blogs, tweets, reviews, book covers. This is a pure, untainted time between you and the manuscript. This is unfucked snow. So go, fuck that snow up. Write! Write. Create! Tell stories. Put it down. Carve something out of nothing — you’re given a wide and briny sea of pure imagination, so draw upon it.

I can do nothing for you if you’re not writing.

I can’t make you write.

I can’t puppet your indolent, inactive hands.

I can yell and kick and flail and flounce.

But all this is on you.

Shut up and write. Right now. Literally. Leave this page, go and open a notebook or a word processing program or grab a Sharpie and turn the pale flesh of your left arm skyward and start writing. Write 100 words, bare fucking minimum. No, I don’t care what, though it’s probably better if you aim for something, if you have a purpose in mind — but even if you don’t? Who cares. Pluck those words out of the dark like catching fireflies — fling them into your jar and admire their glow. And then, if you can manage it, write 100 more. And 100 more after that. As many as you can write today and then some. Push! Bite the belt. Swig the whiskey. Grit your teeth so hard you can feel the enamel crack. You’re not lifting a car off somebody.

Point your fingers downward and fling words into reality.


Then: stop and be proud.

Crush doubt beneath your boot-heel because you’re doing it. You’re writing.

Cackle. Go ahead: cackle. Like a supervillain.


And then tomorrow?

Do the same thing.

Don’t tweet about writing. Don’t read this blog. Don’t opine about writing or give writing advice or worry about who will publish your book or oh god will you self-publish or will you find an agent and how will you weather all that rejection and will your book cover just be some girl in leather pants with half-a-buttock turned toward the reader no — stop, quit that shit, stomp that roach, cut those thoughts and those actions right off at the knees.

Tomorrow, write more words until you can write words no more.

Then the next day.

Then the day after that.

Until you’ve finished something. Until you’ve completed the first pass. It’ll be an ugly baby, probably. It’ll be some squalling thing full of slugs and grease, moaning in the mulch. That’s okay. No mad scientist creates the perfect monster on the first go-round.

You’re doing it.

And once you do it long enough, you can say that you did it.

Shut up.


Shuuuuuut uuuuuuup.

Halt den mund.



And write.

Then you can email me.

Then we can talk.


Jay Lake – You Inspire Me

JayLake-artI must admit, I was pretty bummed to hear of the passing of Jay Lake. He was one of the writers I have followed for some time and a true inspiration. He had cancer. Everyone knew it. We knew it, but we couldn’t really experience what he was going through. We just wanted to encourage him to get through it, get healthy, and keep writing.

Well, he did keep writing, and he did get through it, though not necessarily in the fashion we have wanted him to.

I was first turned on to Jay back in the day when I subscribed to a fantasy magazine called Realms of Fantasy. It has since gone extinct, but hey, that’s the way it goes sometimes. Anyway, it was full of all kinds of cool stories and other fantasy geek shit that I got off on.

One of those stories happened to be one about a family of superheroes, much like The Incredibles,, or I don’t know, do Superman and Supergirl have kids at all? It was comedic and dramatic all at the same time. It was a quick read and completely worth it. Damn, I thought. Who wrote this stuff? I had no idea who the author was, but I had to go and look him up.

Meeting Jay at Norwescon 35
Meeting Jay at Norwescon 35

In the months that followed, I read some more of his fiction, and even met him at Norwescon in Seattle one year. I hadn’t heard of any of his books, but I decided to purchase one to have him sign. It was entitled “Green” and he graciously autographed it for me. He seemed in good spirits and I thanked him and wished him well. It was my first convention, and I thought that’s pretty much what you did at conventions – say ‘thank you,’ and wish people well? I didn’t know that he wouldn’t be around in the next coming year.

Time played out the way it always does, catching us off guard and whatnot, and before I knew it, I had left one job, gone back to school, and been employed in a different area of the country before I found myself surfing online one day coming across the bad news. Jay was gone. No papers, no press, no really big deals (he just wasn’t big enough); just gone.

You look at his situation and you think, Here’s a guy who’s got it the worst. He didn’t have all the fame (which subsequently probably leads to him not having all the money in the world), didn’t have his health, and didn’t really have much (according to the writings of his blog and his cancer) other than his writing. And what he did have, he sailed with it. He wrote and wrote almost every day about what he needed to write about. He wrote a lot about his cancer, his health, but also did some writing on writing. This is all, of course, outside his job and his passion – writing the stuff he loved to write about.

That’s the kind of stuff that really gave me inspiration. I would read other authors commenting on Jay’s stuff and talk about how much they loved him. They talked about his style and how it was all his own, and from the stuff you heard and found about him, you knew that all of his stuff that he had produced had, grain-by-grain, led to him being the person the fans knew him to be.

He worked through it.

And that’s the inspirational part. The rest of us claim to want to write, and we don’t, and we’re healthy. Why is that? Then, you got the guys who don’t ask to get hit with the body bombs and they just shut up and do it. He was young. It makes me look at myself again and ask myself if I’m anywhere ready to die. Am I? I don’t think any one of us would answer yes. Well, few, if any. We all have the same old story to some degree. We all have something we claim we want to do. But then the years go by, and when the question comes around, “How’s it comin’ with that thing?”

“Yeah, I’m still working on it. I’ll get to it one day.”

Jay died at 49. I’m 37 and I’m asking myself, “How close am I to that ‘one day’?”

You’re missed, Jay.


Hyperion – gotta go

Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #1)Hyperion by Dan Simmons
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I usually give a book a max of 100 pages to get me hooked. This one I gave ~150 pages to and it just wasn’t doing it. I had just finished Simmons’s Song of Kali, and that was great. His prose is very strong and I respect him very highly as an author. This just wasn’t something I was overly fond of. I’m not disregarding him as an author and I’m sure I will go to some of his other books, but this particular one has to go down now.

1. Plot wasn’t strong enough up front. The story was alluring. It did have appeal, but it just didn’t grab me. I know this book has a huge following and lots of people love it. I can only speak to myself.

2. Terrific prose, but no real direction: It was sort of like the way I felt about Snow Crash. The writing was a brick to the face – that good. But I just didn’t know where it was going.

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