Monthly Archives: November 2011

Levis, Levitas – An Excerpt

A Note to My Readers – In lieu of my absence this month, I thought I would give you a sample of what I’ve been working on for this grand endeavor of NaNoWriMo. You deserve to see what has temporarily taken priority over these few short weeks. You also should know that this is an experiment in stream-of-consciousness writing and should be ventured into with an open mind. I have the advantage of remembering the visual media and music that influenced some of what you’ll see here. It’s something new and wonderful for both of us. Enjoy! 

Even when I am no longer immersed in this world, I am a part of it. I find it in my dreams and in my thoughts and in my ears and in my head constantly, inescapable, the plains dragon swooping his great shadow over my head and waiting for the strike, the burst of curling flames consuming my figure. But I can make him burn, I can use similar shouts to set him ablaze and my fire is lasting, it is forever, it creeps deep in his scales and chars his heart slowly, one lick at a time until he falls, a dangerous, poisonous bird ready to consume the world. The ones I find dead are reminders of the power that I can have and the hero I can become. I can become the hero or I can surrender to evil and destroy this land, make it my own, assassinate the powers that be and be one power with the world, myself and all. Summon the dragon, bring the torches, set fire to this motherland and watch her burn.

Sublime submission, that was always your rite. To go through this passage of time and age and finally meet some sort of standard for your class, your race. Struggling to survive in a society that does not take pleasantly to your heart or your aims, they continue to knock you lower until you know the taste of the earth better than your own name. And there is only so little power that you have to change any of it for anyone except yourself. You can’t control it until you take the power you were given, that you refused the believe was yours for the using, the way of the voice, the vice, the virtue. There was a chance for things to be better for you, someday for your children, but they struggled to stay alive and asked you how you ever put up with this hell for much longer than a day. But you remembered how you toiled to get here, and you knew, staring at your small blossom, all that it was worth.

There is so much to see in the dark if you let your eyes adjust. You begin to see the shapes of love and familiarity and corners that you’ve bumped into and toys you’ve stepped on and steps you’ve missed and switches you forgot were in that corner. You begin to realize how much light is in your house and how well you know your way around. You make your way towards the light, towards the things you know best, to the way that makes sense in wisdom and light. There is life in the night, but the still of the house is the death of the being and there is no return from this trek into the deep, but you walk on, you will get there. There is a night waiting to swallow the dark and the fight and there was once a sign that there was more but you overstepped and fell into the aching, yawing void and went tumbling into limbo where you were a shade of your former self and you say the glow of millions of other eyes looking you up and down and reading you and swearing that you did not know their face. And the black hands shot out from the crack in the Gate and seized your face and whispered into your heart that it was time to give up the fight, to surrender to this white blizzard of sacrifice and that you gave too much already to go back without cost. There will always be a way to pay the price, whether it be with limbs or organs or a first born child.

Don’t give yourself up to the sky too quickly, my dear. There is much left for you here but if you look up all the time, you’re bound to slip and fall on your face and lose sight of dry land. If you look down at your feet all the time, all you’ll ever see is ground and you’ll never rise beyond where you are now. And when the lowest of low is the burning of  hellish reminder of loss, you’ll want to look up but black clouds and dirt will cover your eyes and you will be blind and forget how to see. And if, ever again, you somehow find the light, you will not recognize it and will turn the other way. It will hurt, cutting into your brain and forcing you to cower away and cover your cloudy irises and try and find the comforting cool of the dark. Close the second eyelid and sit by the river of light and listen to the whispered mutterings of a million creatures flowing in one formation to the path to life. Listen to the one-eyed man across the river and don’t go to close, don’t burn out your eyes, don’t give up one of your greatest gifts for the sake of the unknown. The unknown cannot keep you alive, it cannot save you and the thrill only lasts for a short while before it is dead like your useless eyes, and years later you will sit by the river and think of the man whose eye sits borrowed in your head and connects you two for eternity.

You will never be severed, for you have this bond of everlasting friendship and devotion. He saved you with a piece of himself that he did not have to give. But he gave without doubt and knew you would do well with it. You could not be the fullest without one more eye, to see beyond the veil of this aging world to the future beyond, to the light beyond light, to the better. You awoke in a heavenly lush of green from the hanging moss and he gave you a hand and you were naked but you didn’t fill the chill or the shame, simply walked barefoot in the mossy green of the trees and listened to him tell you of a world beyond this world, a world you had touched and would always be native to despite your greater fighting to be a part of something different. You cannot deny what you are or what made you, you can only admit that you love it despite yourself and that it made your heart so there must be some good in it.

Self discovery is the first step to growth. As soon as we can tell ourselves who we really are, as soon as we can sign the contract saying that we are human and we allow ourselves to be judged by ourselves and others, we are golden, we are good. We may turn later on, but it was all foreseen and could we make an alternate decision anyway? Do we have the choice to make our choices or are they all foreseen, predestined, chosen, put in stone for us to stumble upon like jagged words in a cave, marked and worn and washed away by erosion of the river that swept through in a flood, flooding you with down and emptying you of all treasure and hope and a light to see the door. The cave is a round room without corners for reference and without a point of origin, a start, a birth, but you were born, screaming and bleeding and pulled from darkness to light, but you thrive in the cave blackness. You thrive with the rats and the moss and the bats because you are like them, blind and crawling on all fours and content with solitude, alone on the rocks where you can hear yourself think and forget about the sins and the stains on your past and be nothing, floating in this viscous silence as the legs forget to walk and the eyes forget to see and the hands feel nothing but the cut of cold rock. You slide into the glistening ice of the river and you feel the breath bubbling against your nostrils and you dive, smooth and slick through the floes and the eddies and the crags. You touch bottom and you feel the silt and muck, and you run your body through it and feel for the seaweed and the giant oysters and the cold currents seeping out from under the rocks that make the sea, the foundations, the deep.

You were forever in eternal sleep, heavy as a stone and quiet as one. But even stones make noise and moan and grit their teeth as they slide and shift and are pulled down by cruel gravity, faces to the soil and no power to lift themselves back upright. There would be no waking you until a proper time when you were meant to open your eyes and weep and see the faces of ones you loved who had been waiting for so long to hear your voice, even one last time. You would not be like the movies, you would not slump in their arms and close your eyes and whisper and splutter and choke. You would sit up and remember, and speak, and ask for a glass of water. You would not be one of the hopeless patients who are gradually unplugged until their heart is the only thing still attached to a wall, but eventually even that is disconnected so that it beats once, a last attempt to speak for itself, and then stops, a long drone, a sharp tone that means end, finality, nothing is left but the beyond, the other side of the bridge, the dark river, the future for you and all it beholds.

50,000 words and counting

Sorry Excuses

You would think, being a full-time college student and all, that I would be able to keep up one post a week.

Well, dear readers, it’s November. If this statement doesn’t result in sympathetic nods of understanding, it means one of two things:

1. You are not a full-time college student or have not been in an educational atmosphere for some time.

2. You are not a writer.

Even when we try our best to treat it like any other month, November just ends up being one of those months where everything happens at once and without warning. College midterms are finishing up, second-half projects have begun, snow is coming, Christmas is coming, the world seems to be coming to and end. Besides the pressures of school, it also tends to usher in a slump of energy as the weather gets worse and colder and darker. When you can see the moon rising above the trees at five o’clock in the evening, you start to feel like everything is just plain wrong. Until the 25th, we don’t feel like giving thanks for anything except for coffee and sleep and sometimes football (even though I don’t like it, it’s normal and familiar and a good time to nap.)

As for my second point, I have sold my soul to the English language for one month for my second year of NaNoWriMo – that’s National Novel Writing Month for the uninformed. I still remember when I set out last year, starting at midnight of Halloween and writing long into the morning of November 1st in an attempt to reach the Holy Grail of the event: 50,000 words by November’s end. Pumped up on tirimasu wafers and espresso, I leaped ahead in my word count in the first three weeks. Well, then… relationships ended, relationships began, I had minor emotional breakdowns and lost ten pounds and didn’t sleep and then scraped school back together and spent time with friends and was fed dark chocolate and gained weight and my novel sat, 9,000 words or so, lonely and sad until I blew the dust off of it this September.

Looking back, there was some GOOD stuff in those pages of Word. Well-written, engaging, dangerous, imaginative, strange, beautiful. I was (and am again this year) attempting a free-association experiment, writing whatever was on my mind and in my head and around me. It’s hard to write an entire novel on rambling, with no journey for characters or unfolding plot or aim. But it is a great way to train yourself to write about anything and everything without thinking and getting caught up in doubt. Again, good stuff in there. If you’re good, maybe I’ll even share some with you. One condition: read it with an open mind and open eyes. It’s the stuff the moldy parts of my brain are made of. Check out my page at NaNoWriMo’s site:

It’s a fantastic exercise for anyone who wants to hone their writing skills, practice setting up a plot or even just pushing on to be consistent and meet a goal. You can write about anything and you can start with your whole novel planned or from a blank page and a single idea. Mix it up, try something new, write your little heart out until your motherboard is smoking and there are dark circles around your eyes and the caffeine shudder in your hands has caused you to type the same three letters repeatedly for a page. It truly is thirty days and nights of literary abandon. Stop being afraid of your words, of your imagination – let them out to play. I’m at about 15,000 words so far this month, and with all the schoolwork and musical ensembles/concerts and friends and games (SKYRIM) I’ll be lucky to get close to my goal. It’s why I spend time with other writers – we all help each other along 🙂

November does hail in blessings as well… Matt, for example. It was this time last year that he really stepped into my life and changed it forever. He’s been an encourager from the start and as he’s come to love me, the good and the bad, he’s helped to remind me that no matter the darkness that comes my way, I will always have people here on earth to help me face that dark. He’s not leaving me. He refuses to give up on me. I guess we’re just stuck together for life 🙂

When the Write-In group for Allegany county met down in Java 101 last week, I received a NaNoWriMo sticker for my efforts:

Whatever You Think You Are, You Are More Than That.

The reason Matt comes into all of this is that he and I just had a conversation the night before about that exact subject. I was down on myself for being selfish, for being angry, for feeling like I was worthless and undeserving of anyone’s time. He took the time to lovingly remind me that he knows me, inside and out, the best and absolute worst of me and he still loves me. I am far more than the dark parts of myself that surface at the worst of times and attack the ones I love. I am not a bitter person, I am not an angry person; I’m not stuck. I am so much more than those things that pull me down. The people who surround me in my life build me up and encourage me and remind me of the good that I have, of the power I have to make the world a more beautiful place. I am God’s creation and I am part of his world.

Whatever we think we are, we are more than that. Far more than that indeed.

All of this boils down to say that I’m sorry to leave you hanging this month. If you notices my absence, I appreciate your diligence (send me an email/message/FB to prod me along, eh?) If you hadn’t happened to realize I’ve been gone, I’ll forgive you and hope you see this apology anyway.

So, to wrap this up, I’m grabbing a drink from Java and heading over to hang out with my favorite married couple and get some writing done. It’s been a thrilling, busy, emotional month so far and it’s not even half over. Already, however, I’m thankful for Matt, for good friends, for warm houses and tea and warm days and for words and for music and for tears and for lamb roasts. I’m thankful for so much, and it keeps me pressing on.

Until later, my friends – happy reading and happy November!

P.S Due to my digital imaging class, I may try to update every-other day or so. It’s a challenge our professor has given us, so I may spring for it. They’ll be much shorter and more concise, but we’ll see what happens. No promises, I don’t want to make more excuses for myself 😉

Lust and Pride

Lust and Pride

Digital Imaging work for a project on the Seven Deadly Sins. For each, I used the work of other artists (some classic, some modern) to inspire and shape the final piece. This idea came to me from Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”.