Living in Frames, by meshing the lyrical moments of life with the captured images of experience. This is a reverie, a journey, the fork in the road, and the never-ending story....

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

an advent poem

What a fantastic way to close out the year! This is my first piece of poetry to be published, and I'm absolutely ecstatic. I am eager for 2014, with hopes that it will be a copious time filled with
happy tears.
Vol. 2 No. 5

Friday, December 27, 2013

fueling up for 2014

As writers and artists, we draft submission matrixes, we decipher variables, we obsess and pray, and try to remain patient and confident, all the while moving forward in our production and not letting rejection impede on our creativity. We haven’t chosen the most direct path or a straightforward line of work, and it’s dirty and can sometimes be detrimental to our egos and overall wellbeing. And it affects others, especially those who are innocent bystanders who don’t know what they are signing on to getting involved with us.

This is about as melodramatic as I get, but I apologize now to those who are hoping I will become more sensible as the years go on. The reality is: there’s no going back. The day I said “fuck it” and accepted that I would be happiest pursuing the passion I’ve had since childhood, I knew I was going to have to throw a little caution to the wind and wing it for awhile. I didn’t have it all figured out and I was still finding my voice. Hell, I didn’t even know what story to tackle first. But I felt as though I had been brimming like the boiling water beneath a pot lid—too much to hold inside any longer, willing to tell anyone who would listen.
“Just write,” was all the advice I needed. Even the false starts held a little promise. Dreams contained messages, and an interesting line that ever so often escaped a person’s lips, became the perfect fodder needed to jumpstart my eager mind. Before I knew it, I was in the thick of it and determined to make my mark.

I began by sending out short personal essays, mostly because I didn’t know what else to write about and thought I had a pretty good handle on who I was and what I believed. I also recognized that this would probably change too, because we are constantly evolving and nothing’s certain. So, I attempted to capture the moment as best I could—the reflection of what I had learned thus far and how it shaped me as an individual. And then when I received my first batch of rejections, it was hard not to take it personally. The essays were about me and therefore I was putting myself out there, and at what cost and risk? For art? To be recognized? To feel worthy?
It was brutal. I would get discouraged easily, especially witnessing the successes of others. I got more analytical. Craft became more important than “how the writing/story made me feel”. This was personal growth and my skin got a little thicker.

Then another slew of rejections, sometimes three in one week, two in one day, sometimes no response at all. I played the odds and developed a method for submitting, meanwhile devoting every morning to write and my days off to marathon sessions. I didn’t want to dwell on one piece and the accumulating rejection letters of that piece, so I’d move on to something else. And before I knew it, I had twenty five short stories, poems up the whazoo, experimental stuff, more essays than I knew what to do with, and the beginning of a new novel. I didn’t choose one style or genre, I played around to see what best expressed what I was attempting to say. I now had a stockpile of work, bits and pieces too, ready to take on anything that came my way.
I’m finally getting to see some of my work paying off. This month alone has been extremely fruitful in terms of acceptances, and I’m looking forward to what next year has in store for me. And for not one second do I regret saying “fuck it” and jumping all in.

Bring on 2014! I am ready.

If you haven’t already checked it out, my guest blog on Bill & Dave’s Cocktail Hour:

I also have another featured article up with The Good Men Project:

Thanks for reading and sharing folks!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

this is me when I'm open to the universe.
this is me....


Take that pen, the one on the nightside table,
used in the book you're reading on the Dalai Lama--as a placeholder,
or for underlining your favorite passages.

Take that pen, and draw upon my skin,
in a place I can't see but only feel,
as you connect the freckles along the backside of my thigh
and I quiver from the pressure of your traveling hand.

Is it as large as a house? I ask,
Or small enough to fit inside a suitcase?
Is it edible, or make noise, or have a distinguishable scent?
Could I pick it up and move it?
If I cast it off, would it come back?
Is it part of who you are?
Is it a part of us, and if so
must we stand still to behold it?

Give me a hint! I plea, as the lines you make
are more defined than my guesses.

We can sail away from here, tomorrow, if you like.

I then take that pen
and draw for you my heart and a parachute,
just in case our boat gets lost.

Monday, December 9, 2013

reasons I’ve started to bite my tongue about being a “writer”:

Oh you’re a writer? You must have a lot of time on your hands. Would you like to do some editing for me for FREE?
Oh, you’re a writer? Would you like to get some coffee sometime?
Oh, you’re a writer? I went to school for English too, but I felt a law degree was more practical.
Oh, you’re a writer? Do you want to hear my story? You might be able to use me as a character.
Oh, you’re a writer? I wish I had that luxury.
Oh, you’re a writer? Have you thought about self-publishing? I did it, and it was the best choice I made.

Oh, you’re a writer? Have you read 50 Shades of Grey?
Oh, you’re a writer? So, what do you write about?
Oh, you’re a writer? Like J.K. Rowling?
Oh, you’re a writer? I just wrote this poem for my girlfriend. [ I just happen to have the poem with me] Want to see it?
Oh, you’re a writer? Then why are you working here?
Oh, you’re a writer? And, you went to school for that?
Oh, you’re a writer? This isn’t going to end up in one of your books, is it?
Oh, you’re a writer? Everyone wants to be a writer these days.
Oh, you’re a writer? Have you had anything published?
Oh, you’re a writer? Like, you have a blog?
Oh, you’re a writer? Can you make money at that?
Oh, you’re a writer? Oh. Oh, I see.
Oh, you’re a writer? I’ve always hated reading.
Oh, you’re a writer? Have you written anything I would know?
Oh, you’re a writer? What’s your name? In case you ever make it.
"I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood." -Audre Lorde

 I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t read out loud enough. Of course when I’m drafting I do a few dry runs, going over the sentences before they are seen by others’ eyes. But in regards to the pastime of reading for pleasure, I feel silly reading to myself as the only person in the room.

However, in recent months, I’ve been more apt to ask my friends if I can read to them (material I have written, as well as short stories and poetry by various authors). This is very different than just sharing some quote I’ve stumbled upon—reading to an audience takes practice and adjustment, along with a genuine interest on the behalf of the listener. There’s nothing worse than reading to a single person or group that appears bored.
In primary school, I remember the round-robin activity of reading paragraphs from assigned text as the teacher seemed to pick-and-choose who went next. This filled me with a sense of dread, because I was a daydreamer and had trouble following along as my classmates muscled through the stories, or I would get so engrossed in the literature that I would skip ahead and often was the case that I would lose my place. This was embarrassing. And then there was my shyness—painfully shy, that sometimes I would get so nerved up being put on the spot that I would begin crying, or my voice would get terribly shaky.

Then in high school, I was forced to memorize poetry and recite it in front of my peers, making an already awkward kid feel even more awkward. I favored the poetic voice, yet I did not particularly enjoy sharing this openly, especially since I had gravitated away from the classics and was becoming curious about the modern, experimental side of things. My English teacher wanted me to join up with the school theatre program, thinking this would bring me out of my shell. But unfortunately, I had discovered other extracurricular activities, such as marijuana, which consumed my time almost as much as my nerdy interests of reading and writing and listening to music.
By college, I still hadn’t curbed my fear of reading aloud. I was writing a lot more in my spare time, but these notebooks remained private. And it wasn’t until graduate school that I participated in my first open mic. I consider the fact that it took me a long time to have some confidence in what I was writing, and this has been a motivator for me to want to read to an audience now.
The other night, I handed my close male friend an Audre Lorde collection (an Caribbean-American feminist poet), as I took up a copy of Chuck Bukowski (the self-deprecating misogynist disguised as a poet). We took turns picking the pages that we would read from and then compared themes, styles, and wisdom. What I wanted to see is if the words resonated any more or any less when read by the opposite sex. When my friend read, there was a strength to the poems that stayed powerfully embedded after they were spoken. But when I read, particularly over some of the parts where Chuck rants about his penis or drunkenness or the women he’s bagged, it just came off sounding humorous and not quite as striking.
Either way, it was a good audible exercise. And reading out loud is an excellent way to get comfortable and familiar with your own voice—spacing and pausing, enunciation and delivery of character— how it affects the selected words, and the message of the author.
Perhaps, some day in the near to distant future, you will catch me reading to you.

"she's ripping out the pages in your book..."