Creative Writing 101

Still not dead. Still writing sometimes. Either this is the first real evidence of my insanity or a somewhat decent take on the philosophy behind creative writing. 

To work in creative writing, in storytelling, you have to be able to access lives. Not just be capable of crafting a character, but a whole life. Building fictional spaces can’t be where your work stops, you need to experience those fictional spaces in every possible way.

Characters can’t know they exist to fill archetypes, can’t be handed plot armor, they have to take those mantles, by force, from the author and audience. Characters exist in physical realms for those who consume the medium, and they (the audience) can compartmentalize them however they see fit. Those who write them well must be connected to their life and be able to enter their notion of reality. They need to look at everything in the very fashion the character, not the author, would. There is a fallacy in this notion, certainly.

Bear with me as I wax philosophical for a minute. Every person living is experiencing a different life. My understanding of everything is different from yours. Literally everything. We cannot actually share a true reality. Even our agreed upon truths and safeguards for civilization and emotive creatures aren’t the same for any of us. Sometimes those differences are massive and noticeable, but what I’m talking about is more simplistic and broad than that. My understanding of, experiences with, and value of anything cannot match anyone else’s. The details of humanity are too beautifully complex and violently chaotic for that. The methods by which we store information and use that to interact with the world is a deeply personal thing. One alteration to our experience would vastly render us different. If we ventured into an alternate reality that only differentiated from ours in one way, whether it is the name of butterflies or the hand you use as dominant, you would find yourself alienated from your alternate reality self. You wouldn’t be able to think the same as the other version of yourself. It can be fun to consider this, to give reality this much elasticity. It is also alienating and puts humans on a path of solipsism. I think this is unfortunately true.

Now, there are methods by which one can get a sort of look behind the veil of other peoples lives. A glance at the network that connects us. Methods to get “online” a sort of spiritual and psychic internet. Meditation, drugs, shared experiences, sexy maybe. But being able to see the others, or talk to them even, aren’t the same as being them. You are still connected via your understanding, experiences with, and values regarding these cosmic treats. You’re still using “software” you designed yourself and you happen to own the search engine. I’m not against fostering these connections. I’ve dabbled in all the methods above and love all my time spent “online”. It’s only on those grounds I’m comfortable in my conclusions. We haven’t mastered self-awareness as entities. We haven’t escaped the reality of human consciousness. I think it is unfortunately true.

See my fallacy? I’ve made creative writing essentially impossible. If to write is to express lives and you can’t ever truly escape your own, how the fuck can you write?

The answer is you can’t. Writing is like conducting an experiment. You can’t ever actually prove anything, but you can disprove dumb shit and elevate certain theory’s credibility. A writer’s job is trying to create places where others live. Good writers make those places seem like a place you’d want to visit on your own consciousness internet excursions. Good writers elevate the good places and populate them with characters that don’t have to prove anything. Their characters spread out, touching the surfaces and melding with the place. The good writer sets out to birth creatures and lets them roam freely and develop into what they need to be, not what the author wants them to be.

 

Get off my chest (Bullshit Please Don’t Read)

Since I’ve turned 25 there has been a girl of the month. A tinder girl I visited in a Eastern Washington town in August, a girl I knew from college who sends me random nudes in September, a girl from my hometown I spent a whole evening with in October, a chubby gal who left during November, a fuck buddy reconnect in December, a Co-Ed in January. Part of coping with losing a 3 year Relationship (I wanted it over, she wanted it over, but it was still a big change) probably. Some of them have been friends with benefits. That was fun usually. Not always. Sometimes meaningless sex is just that. Some I’ve been really excited about. Those have been more interesting, since I’ve consistently found a way to make it not happen. Not self sabotage style, but via actual revealing of myself. Once through drinking, once after a month and a half of texting and even a actual date. The last one was the girl of January. It’s a fresh wound. I’m still hurt, and confused, and conflicted by the fact of that pain since it was good before.

This model is what I missed in college, during the span of that three year relationship. It’s undeniably harder to live this way now. Post early twenties. Post long term relationship. All the other elements of my life scream complete in some capacity, I’ve found adulthood. It’s boring and better all at once, but my relationship status fails to have grown up with the rest of me. I don’t really know what to do about that. Like, how do you find someone compatible, with the right amount of common and different? How do you even make friends at this age? How do you turn your crippling anxieties and depressions into anything that someone else is willing to help you deal with? Where do you find the fucking girl that also grew up with Jurassic Park and the Matthew Broderick Godzilla movie and she’s also the same amount of hot as you? What if the answer is you don’t?

To the girls of the month, thank you for everything. To the girl who is everything, where are you? To the notion of true love, why did you go corporate? To myelf, you need to be happy with yourself more than anything. Also to myself, I fucking love myself, so redact that last sentence. Also to myself, you’re selfish. And once more, to myself, don’t give up.

Hands 1-3

1.

In search of brutal hands

that can bash in skulls and eyes and tongue,

hands that turn the person to primordial

and leave visceral poetry across

the crime scenes, hands that pour

goat milk and raw honey from Grecian vases

and waterboard this temple until

it cries out cosmic truth,

hands made of serpent flesh

that pull hearts and lungs from cages

and examines them in the fresh mountain sun

looking for potential jewels,

hands that do the work of Revalations,

that drum and trumpet the beat of four riders

pulling apart this husk

in those cardinal directions

leaving a mandala of all one was

for scavengers to fight over,

hands that won’t let go till our

fervorous pleas of OH-PLEASE-KILL-ME

aren’t speaking from a place of fear

but from the roots,

in search of those hands

that show us all that remains

good in a man.

 

2.

If I rub my hands together, with enough force

I can turn the dust into sparks,

a handful of lightning thoughts and thunder beliefs,

and if I do it long enough,

there will be plenty for you and for me.

 

And if we rub our hands together, with enough force,

we can turn all fear into a seedling,

a tree with roots tangled in and out our

skin, blossoms bursting through our chests

and fruit shall fall from our eyes

as we age.

 

I rub my hands across the petals of your lips,

I can turn them into ash, with enough force,

and then I can hold more of you

in my hands.

 

If I rub my hands together

I can turn your dust into sparks

all lightning struck tree,

planted in the palm of me.

 

3.

Those who can read

Know her as a star map, already fading

 

those who can touch

Know her sympathy can, in fact, vanish

 

Those who can hold

End up knowing she doesn’t really want them

 

Those who are offered, though,

Know she is handing them a second chance.

Again, Maybe

He was wine drunk and in love, again.

Maybe.

The wine hadn’t taken charge just yet.

The girl was still just an idea.

But, in the December downpour,

With its wind-powered organs and drizzling flutes,

He felt wine drunk and in love, again.

Maybe.

He’d been wrong before and sometimes

Being wrong was alright, and

These days gave in too easy to the night,

So he hid and read and wrote in his

Room’s soft light, and

He got wine drunk and fell, again,

Maybe.

The Bull (Short Story)

“Its been a very long time since we had any visitors.”

 

A palpable silence drifted in the open door, riding on the winter wind, and lingered between the two men. Behind the young one were the unsalted deck and a vast, expansive whiteness. The hills of the badlands lost definition when the snows came. Behind the old one was a well furnished, rustic farmhouse interior. True inspection of the decor dated it, and a fine layer of dust covered every unused inch of the space.

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Pantoums I Stole

I teach a creative writing course. I tasked my class with writing Pantoums or “found” poetry, where you lines from other people’s work to recompose a piece. I wrote two myself, using both prompts together. They suck, so they get to get posted here.

 

The Back Ups

 

When my mind is uncertain, my body decides

I laugh till I cry, I party all of the time

I’ve got them bad boy blues, baby

I need a spiritual cleansing.

 

I laugh till I cry, I party all of the time,

I don’t know what I’m gonna do

I need a spiritual cleansing

I like the in-betweens.

 

I don’t know what I’m gonna do

And there is someone out there just like me.

like the in-betweens,

I wanna contribute to the chaos.

 

There is someone out there just like me,

With them bad boy blues,

Wanting to contribute to the chaos.

 

And when my mind is uncertain, my body decides.

 

Shaky

 

Take a chance, roll them bones

Yeah, try to make a dollar from the grave

To fame and fire, to dame and dandy

I’ve got nothing on my mind but you

 

Try to make a dollar from the grave,

I know you can see it in my eyes

I’ve got nothing on my mind but you

One-track mind, one-way street

 

I know you can see it in my eyes

Who knew a man’s fate was such a hard thing to find

One-track mind, one-way street

Here I come, bored and lazy, here I come, no dignity

 

Who knew a man’s fate was such a hard thing to find

To fame and fire, to dame and dandy,

Here I come, bored and lazy, here I come, no dignity,

Yea, take a chance, roll them bones.

The Marriage of Samhain and Pomona (Old Poem)

A piece from this time last year. Little Halloween history poem for y’all…

 

The Marriage of Samhain and Pomona

 

I stumbled through all that fall foliage

To perform my duty as the last druid

And wed them before the full moon.

 

Ceremony aside, I aimed to find

A vampyre or witch to lie with

And send up magick sparks

Next to all those escaping bonfires.

 

Goal in mind, I was rather taken back

When asked to proceed to the bedding

And assist in some manner personal.

 

Samhain, brute he be

Wrapped me in his crimson arms

And asked this favor of me,

Bed Pomona in place of he.

 

She was too foreign a taste

A bitter little drink,

not what he wanted in a wife.

 

For her part, Samhain told me

This was her idea,

She did not want his stains on her robe

Nor the wild in her.

 

Thrice I declined, and thrice

They pushed and pulled,

Groping hands moving in waves

 

The moans of our lovemaking

Sent the beasts into a frenzy,

Such divinations I’ve never seen

As when Samhain forced Pomona on me.

 

They stuck an apple in my mouth

And a spit through my back,

Let a fire take the mattress

 

What a feast, at the midnight wedding

What beasts, my vampyre and witch

What release, this consumption of my flesh

What an end to the last druid priest.

Reveries (Fresh Poem)

Do you remember that summer

On the coast

When we walked on grey pebbles

And you didn’t ever wear shoes

Preferring to develop calluses and wounds

And leak blood into the Pacific

 

Do you remember that summer we spent

Washing whale bones

And you tried to teach me

Arabic phrases?

I know your secret now

All those stolen tongues

 

We stood in place                                                      We ran into each wave

Watching the sunrise                                               and I held you under

Watching the sunset                                                 The current for too long

And when it vanished we                                        cause I never learned to say no

Dug up the shoreline                                                 and you called it refreshing,

To see what it left behind                                        offered to do the same for me

 

Do you remember how the car

Choked and coughed

When we forced it up that hill

The one with overgrown firs

And all the turnouts

To catch a glimpse of bathing deities

 

Do you remember that look on your father’s face

When I brought you home late

Smelling of beer and raspberry stains

In your hair, our only excuse

Was that we were both Leos

 

Do you remember that summer

We stood in place

Smelling of beer and raspberry stained

And you didn’t wear shoes

And made me say things like

Ana Bahebak Ya Amar

Cause I never learned to say no.