Critic vs Writer: A Conversation of ReconciliationI am a book blogger.
Since not everyone is familiar with the term, I'll go ahead and lay it out for you. I read, analyze, and write about books. I give my opinion on characters, setting, genre, style, and sometimes even covers. I say what works, what doesn't, and what I'd like to see.
In short, I criticize.
Back - back foul demon! Burn the witch! Don't come anywhere near me!
Yeah, I know you're all thinking it. What gives me the right to rifle through someone's hard work and put its flaws on display? Who do I think I am, slandering authors with false interpretations and quotes made out of context?
I'm a writer.
Yeah, of nothing but muck and lies.
No, no, I mean I write my own fiction. Or at least I did.
What, couldn't take some of your own medicine?
Yes and no.
Like most writers, I crave exposure. I want my work out there, read by the masses and enjoyed. DeviantArt, my blog, they're both small outlets where my writing can be seen.
But, as most writers
The Order of Sublime SimulacraKamon woke to the sound of bells and saws. The ceremony must have started hours ago; there was invigorating yellow sunlight outside the gauzy curtains. Kamon's Self was intoning eight o'clock, eight o'clock with all the insistence of a song looping in his head.The Order of Sublime Simulacra4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Flesh brain, he thought, you should have caught that alarm. Sometimes the flesh was louder than the devices supposed to make it properly quiet. The flesh insisted on the persistence of the Real. This was exactly the type of lesson that the brothers were supposed to learn, and Kamon hoped that relaying to the abbot how thoroughly he had learned it might lighten the inevitable punishment that came from reminding himself of himself. (Of course, that punishment would still be severe. He was going to arrive at the ceremony so late--)
On the orders of his Self, Kamon moved blearily out of bed and into the shower. (Rules For The Sanctum Three and Four, said his Self. Wear a clean robe. Wear a clean body.) Li
Russian RouletteThey take her on her honeymoon.Russian Roulette3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The wedding was lovely, or as lovely as it could have been with a couple that were more polite acquaintances than anything else and two sets of in-laws as stuffy as a dusty pile of money. They grab her when she sneaks out for a walk one night, two men, beefy, not even bothered to arm themselves. Her last thought before the bag is shoved over her eyes is to wonder how much this would ruin her parents' plans.
She comes to in a small brick room on a sallow mattress, windowless and lit by a cool yellow lamp. There's a man there, standing just outside the barred door.
"Kelly Shale," he says, voice nasally, greasy greying hair half-covering his forehead. She's not sure if it's a question or a statement.
She counts the days by watching the guardsone on day shift, one on night. They're probably the same men who took her, but they stay too much out of her field of vision to really tell. It takes until the third day for the woman to come.
'Meil,' they call h
Queen of GeeksUnexpected end to kidnapping caseQueen of Geeks3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
[Sunnyvale Tribune 23 Feb 2007]
In an unexpected development, police have closed the case against the kidnapper of twenty year old Nicole Cantrip. 'The circumstances surrounding Miss Cantrip's alleged disappearance have become clearer,' Inspector Frank Jones told the Tribune, 'and it's come to light that the case was filed in error. There is no evidence whatsoever that a kidnapping took place.' Since Cantrip is over eighteen, the applicable missing person legislation is almost non-existent, much to the dismay of her mother.
'Something has gone horribly wrong when a girl can be forced away from her family by people she's never met and it's called normal,' said a tearful May Cantrip. 'Nix wouldn't have abandoned us, dropped out of all her classes and left everything behind unless
somebody was forcing her.' Mrs. Cantrip claims that her home was invaded by several men who demanded that her daughter accompany them to what she describes as 'a k
Forgiveness EconomicsGenesisForgiveness Economics3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
But for the small purple stain on its border, the banknote was non-descript.
It had a value but men value things in different ways and by different means. It had a value, but its value is not it's story.
It landed on the church plate face up, coming to rest softly on the flat silver base amongst the loose change like it was tossed to the cloth of a gambling table, soundless but with a small sense of resignation. A man paying for luck, a man asking his God for a favor.
It came from the wallet of a small sad man, who feared the Good Lord daily. The banknote was the weekly price of his penance, the bill of sale for those half-remembered crimes of a misspent youth and other things unmentionable.
The small sad man's hands were fat and white and callouses sat on his thumb and forefingers, the scars of a bank teller, a money counter, a man who knew about value. The hair on his head was grey and his eyes were blue below his wrinkled forehead and tonight would be the last time he
To Write of HorrorTo paint a scene of mythic horrorsTo Write of Horror3 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Take dim lit room and darkest corners
Find a child huddled there, cradled tight in his despair
Silent here for not his murmurs,
murmuring out a prayer
He asks the keeper keep to keeping
While all his guardians tucked in sleeping
Ignorant of the shadows creeping
Slow across the hallway floor, standing now outside his door
Somewhere near the sound of breathing,
breaths too heavy to ignore
Then just outside there raised a howl
A distant boom and monstrous growl
Envisions he a ghostly cowl
Afloat across the yard in prowl
Come to steal his soul away, curtains hold the fiend at bay
With scrapes across the window scowls,
scowling out in its dismay
The shutters joined the fray with flapping
Hard against the walls their rapping
While all around began a tapping
With no relent unceasing clapping
the pitter-patter's endless lapping
Solace to the boy then came, raptured from this fearful bane
Slowly drifts his mind towards napping,
napping through a night of rain
Deja vu. Again.I had moved here two weeks' ago, but had never visited this section of town so late at night. I had been invited to the pub by my neighbour, to make me feel welcome. An hour ago, she had phoned to say she had been asked to work overtime, and wouldn't be able to make it. Seeing as I was there, I drank a couple of cocktails. I was now walking back home.Deja vu. Again.4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Drunken people yelled out across the street. A couple of cars drove by, their horns blaring as the inebriated stumbled into the road. A bright yellow car stopped, flashing its headlights. A woman in a red dress banged on the window. The passenger door was opened, and a shouting match started between the woman and the driver. The woman slammed the door closed, and walked away. My stomach churned. I felt as though I had witnessed this before, and a weird protectiveness came over me. I had a strong urge to warn the woman about her actions, but warring partners were not unusual on a night out, and it wasn't my place to offer advic
the Chandler's Around the WayThe hose slipped out again. Chan cursed, and shoved it back into the incision he'd made, adjusted his mask, and bent over the pump. He yanked the cord, and the pump started to life with a cough of biodiesel. It bounced on the sand as it grumbled away. Chan kept one hand on it and held the hose in place with the other.the Chandler's Around the Way3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
If fucking Fathers would spend the bone on a new one, I wouldn't be all night at this, Chan grumbled. He ached for a smoke, but didn't have the hands to spare. Plenty of hands here, he thought as he glanced at the riverbank. Some of them even had a pulse.
"Hey," he said to whoever was closest.
It was a sunbather. A walker who drew enough bone to slot time on the beach without having to fight for it. She had each arm draped around a man, both of them tattooed in the same place with the same sigil. Chan was jealous. Someday he'd have his own numbers, but they'd be women. All of them. He was old-fashioned like that.
The walker answered without raising her sungl
Imitating NatureThe morning sun streamed through a series of large plate glass windows lining the library's east wall, its rays warming the room's wooden paneling and illuminating the cavernous space. Tall bookshelves stuffed with literature from across the world towered over polished oak reading tables, each furnished with a plain, green-shaded banker's lamp. On the far side, a massive painting gracing the west wall depicted the solemn face of Saint Patrick, whose protective presence could be felt watching over the library's sole visitor.Imitating Nature3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
All was perfectly quiet, save for a tap, tap, tapping that echoed in the otherwise silent room. Seated at a desk near the door, glued to the screen of his laptop, Eoghan quietly tapped his pen against the notepad in his lap as his eyes scanned through the different news reports.
Another roadside bomb outside of Kandahar, three dead, all soldiers. God frowns upon careless mistakes gentlemen. You should have noticed the dead dog along the side of the road.
The Waste WorldShe said create the world, so I did. I made it dark and dusty, coughed up from my own black lungs. I gave the trees an ashen hue and the ground a color to match the starless sky. The creatures were murmuring oozes, globs of drying acrylic that inked across the orb of my bubbling imagination.The Waste World3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Repulsing, it was in fact the product of an industrial mind. I was born from man's smog goddess and, if memory serves me, her breath was laced in exhaust which I inhaled nightly with her songs. She was soothing and complacent, her voice smokey like a hazy bar. No one could deny her features were hideous beyond belief. Her skin dripped pollution like morphine into veins, into deep red rivers to turn them ebony and clogged. Her eyes glistened obsidian, sharp and cold if you didn't know her at all. I knew she was lost and ashamed, as her mother, my grandmother, would often remind her of the destruction her presence caused. I loved her like grandmother nature never could.
Grandmother was ,indeed, a gra
The FountainThere were sixteen tall windows. She'd counted them over and over when she was small, her chubby finger outstretched as she spun in tiny circles. Eight walls, sixteen windows, thirty-two black curtainsthe arithmetic of her childhood.The Fountain3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"Eight window seats, Daddy. Eight buttons on eachsixty-four. I counted."
The fountain stood dry and dead-center in the middle of the black and white tiles. Eight sides, eight lion-mouth spouts. Sixteen limestone mermaids poised gracefully around the edge. Four thousand and ninety-six blue tiles. Five hundred and twelve white.
And two doors. Always the two doors, huge and solid and radiating a sense of looming disdain. The rough oak had bitten her hands and it bit them now, when she pressed her palms against it. The doors eased open like wings outstretching, coming to rest against stone doorstops.
Her boots clicked against the marble flooring as she advanced, each click reverberating through the silent room. A mute ghost of a man stood in
HeartmindWe lost electricity on the night you left meHeartmind3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and I spent the night curled up against the rain,
drinking in the slack of damp green winds
in our treasured driftwood home of mist.
I had to come to think of time
as a medium and my thoughts as
imperfect and cursive. It was a wrinkled medium,
a mediocrity of sunken breath: words condensing
into droplets that so contorted my teary lenses
that I couldn't tell that you were turning towards me
with a sound, the sound a book makes
when its leaves are rustled against the grain.
Tonight my body lingers on the edge of the ocean
like a gasp; New Jersey's throaty highways
bear my rosefelt thoughts and I can't miss them
like I miss the cradle of the river,
like I miss the firm grip of the circular,
like I miss the existential faith we had in nature
and her artistic lover to take us home.
The Solipsist's LotThere's something about yourself that you don't know. You probably don't remember the circumstances very well, but I do. If you enjoy things the way they are, if you revel in even the smallest speck of ignorance, you need not read ahead. I won't force you. But from what I know of you, you don't like secrets. Especially not when they are about you.The Solipsist's Lot3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
You see, when you were born, so at once was everyone else. Your mother, she sprang into existence, just like that, the instant your tiny infant brain achieved the smallest semblance of self-awareness. Woven out of the ether, she remembered everything that never happened, and she looked down at you, cradled and squirming in her loving arms.
"Oh," she said. "So here is life."
The doctor was there too, although a moment before if there ever was a moment before he was not. He just nodded, smiling assuredly, and said, "Here is the beginning."
Harvest MoonThree a.m. moonlightHarvest Moon3 years ago in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
across lazy dust motes; a
tree scrapes the window.
Your arm weighs on my hip like
whispered promises of love.
grassy field with rustgrassy field with rustgrassy field with rust3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I'd heard about the old car, three miles out of town and all alone. I just had to see it. It was time. School was over for the summer, my friends were at camp, and I was bored. I set out Thursday morning for a hike, following directions that Uncle Will had given me. As the heat was still growing with the climb of the sun, I found the field and wandered around looking, and looking some more, trying not to be distracted by bees buzzing in the flowers, and butterflies and baby mice. Then it was there, just a bit upslope from the bottom of a natural swale, and just below the sky at the top of the bank. A 1959 Cadillac convertible, but not like the old music videos showed.
This one was part buried in grass gone to seed and turned almost white golden with the dry heat. The tires were collapsed cracked pieces and there wasn't a trace of pink paint anywhere. Rust owned it, and it held on so tight that holes were showing in what used
Billy's PterodactylsBilly was in what his mother called 'his dinosaur phase'. He'd been firmly ensconced in this phase for the past six months, ever since his Dad had taken him to see the Natural History Museum in Oxford. The first thing he'd seen on entering was the huge bones of the Tyrannosaurus Rex glaring down at him, and that was it; he'd been hooked ever since.Billy's Pterodactyls3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
In the time since then his entire room had been re-decorated with a Jurassic theme. Dinosaurs were on the bedsheets, the curtains, the posters on the walls, and little plastic ones covered his floor to the point where it was dangerous to walk across it. Unless you were Billy, of course. No dinosaur would dare to harm Billy, who reigned supreme among them and controlled their every move. Billy was in his element and entirely at home within his dinosaur-infested room.
Every now and then the dinosaurs would venture outside of Billy's room, in an effort to invade and infest the rest of Billy's house. On one such occasion his mother inadvertently
Pausing By The WineMarriage isPausing By The Wine3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the frustration of reality
when the man who works the wine section
pauses in his tracks to make sure
you've found everything you "really need...are you sure?"
With a look that tells you
he finds you sort of beautiful
and you wonder how your life
might be different,
if any man other than this one
had ever looked at you like that.
The nature of inspirationWhen was the last timeThe nature of inspiration3 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
You heard the word 'erection' in poetry?
I think it was a while back
Between the pages
I mean "humans" don't even play
Or just rise to the thirteen year old tree-house
Inside us all
Where politeness is a foul facade
And we aren't afraid of our fingers.
We prioritise the silhouettes
The way pressing pen into paper
Made us so
And out of
Inspiration isn't a pretty, pristine river...
And it's about time we became
It's about time
We let up
And let it
Burn us up
Turn us on
Turn us up
Our wobbly bits
Into an aphrodisiac
So if there's any P.S.
Poetry can teach you
the word 'erection'.
Breakup SpeechIt's not you, it's me. I know it's the oldest excuse in the book, but hey, when it works, it works. Did you really see this lasting longer than a couple months? When does anything last longer than a couple months with me? I hope we can still be friends.Breakup Speech2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Yeah, 'cause everyone wants to be friends with the ex-lover. Like it ever works.
You know me. You know the type of person that I am. I've never been able to settle down. My heart wanders like a nomad. It seeks shelter where it's offered but only stays long enough to get warm. Attachment isn't an option for me. My mind is too warped. It's too dark to ever let someone in. Truly let someone in.
No, fuck! That's all wrong. It's too personal. Too emotional. Let me try again.
I don't want to do this, but I'm only going to hurt you if I don't. And that's the last thing I want to do. So I'm ending this before it goes too far. I completely understand if you never want to talk to me again.
Conscious Stream From The Chemical PlantThe following is a non-fictional account of a conscious stream that took place during my exploration of a water treatment plant.Conscious Stream From The Chemical Plant3 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
I was at the office, looking at the wall-sized whiteboard. Around 200 buildings stared back at me, numbered and color-coded. I've been to pretty much all of them, but one unfamiliar number stuck out to me. #41. What a boring number. MUD Platte West, that's a Metropolitain Utilities District. I look up the address and drive. Just to go see it. And by the way, this isn't even a slow day for me, this is mostly what I do.
I drive West for 35 minutes, which is forever in Omaha time. One road, Q St, hills, meadows, an elementary school, more hills. 41 is easy to spot, it's a huge concrete thing in the middle of nowhere. I take the access road to the guard shack, he smiles, lifts the arm and I'm in. the tile is obnoxiously clean. &
WhitewashWhen you're five years old you set a promise in the dark, your sister's ice-queen eyes witness. Millie is sitting straight-backed against the headboard, face wide and earnest, and it seems as if the world has heaped itself on her shoulders, or maybe it's the strangeness of midnight.Whitewash5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"We can't make our wills or anything like that until we're eighteen," she says fiercely. "But I might forget this by then."
In later years you will find time to reflect that you're not as whimsical as Millie; young, you only think then that you could never forget something this important. But you can't argue with the three-years-older she holds above your head (the wisest bestest elder sister in the world.)
Your love for her borders on hero-worship, and looking back, you sometimes wonder if that's healthy.
The door bangs shut. "Jodie!"
How strange, the way it works: your hand is frozen to the table in the way it should have been on the phone, but that was minutes ago and maybe it was delayed-reaction, becau
Reverse Culture ShockFlying home was not flying home. Flying home meant grabbing the homing pigeon inside of me and twisting its imaginary magnet one hundred and eighty degrees to the north instead of southwards to Australia. The magnet still twitched stubbornly north even as the plane droned over Darwin, five hours before I finally reached home. Except it wasn't home. Sydney now looked as foreign as the glossy travel leaflets I grabbed from Singapore, its shine not quite matching the missing substance of my once childhood home.Reverse Culture Shock4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Thank you for choosing Singapore Airlines I hope you will enjoy your stay in Sydney, or a warm welcome home."
Winter air slapped me like a bucket of ice water as I emerged, searching for my parents and my sister. For eight years, their voices were tinny and masked by static on the occasional phone calls home. Today, they sounded as brittle as ever, Australian accents barely sheathing the chill emanating from them.
"Welcome home, sis," said my sister with an unusually bright v
PressureSomething broke.Pressure3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
A hard CRACK while sitting in
a soft chair. No pain registered.
The absence of it
is like watching explosions in space.
You follow the curve of your skull. You remember
how skulls are formed like tectonic plates.
Your head wants to be a planet,
volcanic, living, in change.
You continue to your left shoulder,
the one with all the problems.
But today, it has nothing to say.
Your rib cage moves
like oceanic waves, expecting a storm
that hasn't come.
You stand up,
you consider your legs,
nothing feels wrong,
But you can break
more than your body.
Changing GearsMy morning oats taste particularly bland this morning. I look outside the clouded windows and see the city across every inch of my vision. Buildings of all shapes and sizes are formed from copper, brass, and iron. At all times of the day, the city's Gears are churning.Changing Gears3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
The Gears are the machines that run the city, the country, possibly even the entire world. Metals are formed together to form them, robotic men designed to replace our government. Their voices boom over the industrial noises of the factories and drown seem to drown out all individual conversations. We're free, I suppose, but they all say that there was once a time when freedom was all we had.
Across the street, I see Thayoden. He's a boy who works in the aircraft factory, constructing engines and attaching steering wheels and dials to bi-planes. I met him in Industry class when we were both eleven years old. Ever since then, we've grown apart, but I still see him and think of how much I miss being with him. But we're dif