Archive for May, 2011
Time is something I no longer have in any kind of quantity. Well, OK…that’s dumb—let me qualify that: free, spare time. We all have the same number of hours in a day. Most of mine are accounted for. Divorce, to date, has wrecked me as a writer. It’s devastated other parts of my life, too, but this is my writing blog, so, I’m grousing about writing.
As I look forward to better days and wait for the pinpoint of light off in the distance to slowly grow into a dime, then a mousehole, then, eventually, a man-sized escape hatch, I find myself thinking about old writing for inspiration. To that end, here’s the first and only poem I’ve had published…a scratchy, disjointed piece called The Woodsman’s Son, originally published in 2009 by New Myths.
The Woodsman’s Son
A long-forgotten, cast-off nut embedded just an inch below
the frozen ruin of terra crusta; the wind, the ash, the blackened snow
My sleep has lasted half an age
This barren ground will be the stage
The time will soon be here, I know; I feel the ground beneath me glow
Lightning crashes, frantic winds blow warming snow through valleys vast
with thunderclap and hoofbeat rain, the pounding showers–here, at last
I’ve waited since the autumn’s dusk
For warming rains to pierce my husk
“Please, give me strength to push up past! Thrust through the earth in leafless mast!”
Arching to the sky, I reach; with em’rald canopy I sail
With knot and thorn like shield and sword and bark as strong as iron mail
As hard a core as can be found
As deep a root within the ground
Behemoth from an ancient tale; a wooden beast of breathless scale
Artesian waters crack the earth; they buck and bray and thrust and run
Warm western winds bring seed and mulch; wan, threadbare clouds release the sun
Green carpet, grass of shining gold
Frail amulets of hues untold
This world, I thought, can’t be outdone; it must be master-planned by One
The complex pieces of the forest rose alone, yet fit so well
So to my oaken mind there is no other purpose I can tell:
“We rose to heed our Master’s call,”
“He put me here to herd you all”
“I’ll guide the good toward Heaven’s knell; the rest left to the din of Hell”
I watch them all: the beasts on land and fishes in the babbling brook
A shepherd’s life begets him naught, until the day he drops his crook
My Lord, He will not let me rest
My life, you see—it’s just a test
I’ll toil ’til he shuts my book; an idle limb: the Devil’s rook
The choices that we think are ours—of leisure, labor, laughter, love,
Are multi-colored threads that guide us through our faith; or lack thereof
But if you listened, you were told
Without a doubt which thread to hold:
A tether you’re unworthy of: the golden line from up above
But sometimes Father, in His grace, will twist the threads and blur the path
And make me want to put my faith in things like science, logic, math
I close my eyes and bite my lip
And curse the books that made me slip
Remember that his love is wrath; baptism in a sulfur bath
To further steel my heart, one year My Lord sent me a carnal dare
A shapely nymph of silken wood and slender roots…sweet pollen air
To love her, I would give a limb
But, prior, gave my heart to Him
Regret? I think I’ve earned my share; a fool thinks that his pain is rare
But pain for piety is fair.
A century or more I reigned in this domain of mostly good
My Master called me home one day; before His mighty chair I stood
“I’m grateful for the chance, O Lord”
“To stand in service as Your sword”
“I swear it on my life: that if I could, I’d give my trunk and wood”
With thunderous laugh and lightning clap, He raised His axe and held His side
“A virtuous speech, indeed, My son; but in My eyes you daren’t hide”
“I’ve watched you grow up from a seed”
“I’ve scrutinized your every deed”
“It’s time, I think, to test the tide, and show your Father what’s inside”
I tore my bark and turned my right-side out–and, so, my outside in
And showed my Lord, for once and all, my splintery hide was clean of sin
And let my sap, like amber tears
Pooled at my roots for faithful years
“Please, tell me, Lord, how good I’ve been; and when the seven horns begin”
“I pray You: take me home again”
And with that solemn line He stood, and bid me lay before His throne
He laughed and swung, and chopped, and hacked, and split my body to the bone
“You brambled fool,” He said with glee
“You’re stupid–even for a tree”
“Ignorance led you, fear of the unknown; you were tasked with two things: to be planted, and sown.”
“You had seasons to squander ’til the day you were hewn; but the life that you wasted–that life was your own”
I did my first IM-based interview last week, which was an interesting experience. The wonderful and talented Evelyn “Keyboard Hussy” Lafont held me down for an hour and remotely tickled me with digital feathers until I spit up all kinds of secrets about AMITY and the real identity of Timothy Berbee.
Check it out! And grab a copy of Ev’s Vampire Relationship Guide Volume I while you’re there.
As I mentioned in my last post, I haven’t been doing a lot of writing for the last 3-4 weeks. It’s been pretty damn-skippy important to keep busy and distracted despite that, and a big part of that has been a couple of writing and crit groups I hooked up with.
One of the groups I found is a crit group, although I’m the only novelist in the lot…the rest are screenwriters, except for one guy who does short stories. That’s been really fun. Those cats have a completely different language, and, although we’re all ultimately in the storytelling business, we don’t worship the same idols. For the most part, they are all just as serious about their craft as I am with mine, and almost all of them are working in TV or movies, albeit behind the scenes and not in writing capacities—art, technology, set design, lighting, etc. There are a couple of guys who are all set to start filming once we’re done collectively critiquing his screenplay, essentially as an indie producer cum director. Fun part: we meet on a working set dressed as a teenage girl’s bedroom. For real. Well, kind of surreal, but it’s fun.
Anyway, I told you that story to tell you this story: with their feedback, I have renewed confidence in my Big Book, an epic socio-political story that may take another year to finish at my current pace. Fuck it. If it was easy, everyone would do it.
The other group is fun, too…a local fantasy writer with a small press three book deal and a good following is hosting classes at a library across town, basically as a way to build an audience and establish speaker cred and increase his value as a marketable author. Smart, driven guy. His name is Maxwell Drake, and he has some great insights in the craft and business of writing. More on Max later.
So, that’s where my writing head is at. Pretty much trying hard to do no writing whatsoever. The cobwebs are slowly clearing, though, and I’ll start again soon. If memory serves, I was just about ready to reunite estranged lovers and start an oppressive, bloody war. And it ain’t gonna start itself.
I know it’s been a hell of a long time since I’ve last posted. I really, really meant to put something thoughtful and important up here on a regular basis. I really did.
Since my last post, my life has taken a spin that I could have never anticipated.
I’m not looking to air laundry in public, nor am I seeking sympathy. The only reason I am posting this after near a month of silence is that I feel some obligation to my very small group of readers/followers/online friends, and I am deathly afriad of being written off as permanently offline:
After 13 years, my wife and I are parting ways. I haven’t the heart or stomach to provide details at present. Perhaps later. If you need to know, you know where to find me.
Reading has been scant (pushing through Hunger Games, which I love), writing has not happened for close to three weeks.
I have, however, had a great time with a local group of screenwriters in a crit group that meets on a soundstage dressed to be a teenage girls bedroom. That has been a great experience, and I will share much, much more soon.
For now, I just wanted to say Hi. I’ll be back. There WILL be a sequel to Amity, and Presidius and the story of Sonny Bull will be told, in due time. I just need some time to put my life back on track and, most importantly, make sure my kids are OK (which they are…their mother and I both care a great deal about them, and they are doing just fine…no worries there).
Thanks to all of you..