Friday, April 30, 2010

Octopus (again???), Haiku

Octopus and wine bottle, done for Periscope by JB Lowe. No nattering on this morning; I just love octopi, and I love wine. Really, isn't this too fabulous?


Haiku: Altitude

At high altitude
She breathes clouds and plants a flag
For her new nation.


I dreamed an awful dream, a giant black wasp, dead on the floor, with little flies feasting on it while it still wriggled. I was too afraid to pick it up and throw it out.

So much to do today, so little time, and I could go back to bed.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Colin Herd Poetry, And Etc

Read this last night, and I can't get it out of my mind:


by Colin Herd

william forgot his towel so he
used me instead, (i must have

been slung over a hot
radiator for hours because i was
rigid with fear and there were eight
hot creases on my stomach...)
meanwhile thumbs are tacked into my
armpits. how rubbish it would be
right now if i laughed. am i chafing

i'm sorry i will try to be more soft.

More phenomenal poetry at Velvet Mafia -- Dangerous Queer Fiction.


I was in a book drought for a few weeks -- nothing seemed appealing. Now I'm nearly finished with Metro 2033 (review to come), I've got two more waiting, and I just added two to my Amazon wishlist.

I've just finished a large editing project. I say "large," but it was four chapters. However, it consumed me for two weeks, and these last few days, as I saw the finish line in sight, I kept plowing on, even when I was tired. Recipe for disaster, but we'll see -- my beta reader will give it a yay or a hell fucking no, re-write this. But said politely.

And I've updated my submissions over at Duotrope. There were two things I'd completely forgotten about. I think that's good. I see a lot of aspiring writers hang their hopes on one project, and bullishly stick with it. I do think the old advice to keep writing, to not become too emotionally involved with your projects, is a good thing. Does this mean I don't hold them near and dear to my heart? No, I do, I do. But instead of one kid that I'm hoping grows up to be an astronaut, I've got a dozen, and if some of them don't do as well as the others, well, I love them too. But it's not all pinned on one kid. If you see what I mean. I don't even really like kids.


Poem: Lie Still

Shut your mouth, he says, lie
Some women wouldn't like this
Sex and feminism and power
games, mental games
Am I healthy if I like it like this on
the bottom
waiting for him to finish
not waiting, enjoying
the sweaty, sticky skin, his hot breath in
my face
Be quiet, he says, god you're
you're so fucking
I'm going to

When he rolls off it's
my turn
I don't mind, I can finish
myself, thinking
thinking about
him over me, rubbing, planing
Yes, that's it
I take his hand, put it on me, but he's too tired
and anyway
I can finish
God, it's so

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Paul Hunter, Story: Cords

Belong #Y by Paul Hunter.

Hunter says that "luminosity is the underlying theme of my work," but neither that statement nor seeing his work on the screen can bring that home like seeing his work in person. Recently, I came across two of his works at a show on Modernism, and I simply stopped in my tracks. Literally, stopped and went no further. I think my jaw might have very unattractively dropped open. I stared and stared.

Following the link, you'll get more information on his technique, but basically, he uses metal foils, along with some acrylics, occasionally acid, on a gessoed and prepared canvas. So, the effect is much like seeing a gold ring on the screen versus holding the ring in your hand. The craftmanship and eye for beauty is inherent in every piece.

As I went around a corner at this show, I found two more of his works. Again, I couldn't move forward. The gentleman who had the booth was very friendly and explained to me a bit of Hunter's technique, but it comes down, in the end, to what you feel in your heart and soul when you look at a piece of art. And for me, this was by far the most affecting art I have seen in a very long time. Even now, my eyes tear up as I write this.


Story: Cords

July's heat soaked into their skin. Reluctantly, the girls took to unbraiding their hair each morning. Practiced fingers worked like little white spiders, until they were parted once more, no bridge between them. To make up for this, they would frequently brush their hands against each other until sunset. Then, under the baleful moon, they would twist and twine their dark hair together again. Thus fastened, they would slip naked into bed, lying on the cool sheets, sharing the pillow.

"Goodnight, sister."

"Good night, sister."

A/N: Inspired by this drawing by Kiersten Essenpreis.

Monday, April 26, 2010

CC Askew; the Writer's Voice

Rabbit Moon by Christopher Conn Askew. Askew was a tattoo artist for 16 years before bringing his style to other mediums. There is nothing in his gallery that I don't love. Clean lines, attention to detail, Japanese-inspired style, compositions and colors that draw the eye and hold them. This isn't disposable art; this is simply amazing.


Another blogger was talking about the "writer's voice." She ended up being a bit vague about it, and I'm not going to fault her for it. This may be the most difficult thing to teach budding writers. I can talk to you about sentence structure (clunky vs. elegant, for instance), I can go into dialogue tags, editing, the amount and kind of detail a scene requires to put the reader in the scene without weighing them down with unnecessary information. But when it comes to the writer's voice, how to teach that?

When I had built a bit of a fanbase, I decided to try anonymous competitions. I wanted to see if I was getting attention based on name-recognition alone, or if my work really stood up compared to others. Readers had no problems picking mine out. In fact, sometimes it's the reviewers who point out things that make a piece "mine." Things that I didn't even realize, consciously, that I was doing. One of these is the voice. I don't think that a piece written by me would be mistaken for a piece written by someone else.

But how do I do this, and how do I know when others are not doing it? Some pieces lack so much in the execution that there are obvious flaws to point to. But other pieces are fine... Fine, sure, but they still lack something. What is it? A lot of the time, I think it's that voice, particular to them. It's not there. It's a piece with a generic voice that could've been written by anyone. And it falls flat.

So does voice = style? I don't think so, but they must be related. Unfortunately, I know I'm not being any more specific than the writer I referenced at the beginning of this, but she did state an intriguing bit of information: that, supposedly, your true voice doesn't cement itself until you've written 100,000 words. I'm not even sure this is an iron-clad statement. I know writers who have written far above that and still can't claim a specific voice. And as someone who's written well above that number (probably several times above it, at least), I think my voice changes depending on the piece, depending on the time of day, depending on my mood.

And that is the definitive answer to the "writer's voice." ;)


Rabbit moon -- to war.
Ask Owl to take the word,
A letter -- we charge.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Poetry and Octopus

Morning in a suburb outside of Detroit.

I am not someone who writes poems, but I want to be someone who writes poems. In my head, they are beautiful. Maybe even edgy (o how my heart flutters to think I might someday be edgy!). I have staccato thoughts, truncated phrases, all artfully dropping like tree sap -- until I put pen to paper, type, or write on the eraseable board.

This morning's thoughts were all about the mathematics of relationships, an evolution of numbers that means my heart has grown, but on the board is currently a black scribble:
"I think it's time I said
hello again"
and then more scribbling and it seems I have spelled balloons ballonss.

Poetry, started this morning, shall be done all day. But then the question is: if I work all day on a poem, is that a good use of the day? If someone asked me what I did today and I said, "Oh, I washed the bed sheets and took the dogs for a walk and wrote a poem," would they give more value to my clean sheets and exercised dogs than the poem? Does it depend on the quality of the poem? What if it's a tatty poem, no good at all? Who says it's tatty?

It's possible I'm just putting words on the board for the smell of marker.


I might also be putting words on the board to avoid editing the chapters of the story of doom. It's a massive project, and the amount of words cut is staggering. Those words must be replaced, somehow, and by words of equal value. Maybe not number, but quality, value. It's difficult work. I don't mind editing, and I think everything could use more editing, including the book I'm currently reading. But this is just... a lot. I may also be in a position of "can't see the forest for the trees."



Tentacles, eight, beak,
one. Mottled flesh, suction cups,
underwater Freud.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Fairy Tale Within Us

The fanciful work of Neko on DA or A Glass Poppy here fascinates me. Well-drawn, interesting compositions, and her best work comes directly from her imagination, though she does take commissions as well.

I think it's the fairy tale aspect of her art that I adore. I want to write a story for everything -- hey, maybe I will!


Speaking of fairy tales, The Librarian's Assistant has been nominated for a Daily Deviation on DA. Don't know if it'll make it, but I'm glad to have been nominated.

Ipod on shuffle, great playlist this morning:
Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah"
Will Young, "Light My Fire"
Coldplay, "The Scientist"
Bill Withers, "Use Me"
Another Bill Withers, "Lovely Day" (ze ipod has great tastes, no?)


I've loved writing the fairy tale-esque stories most, I have to be honest with myself. Sometimes, in trying to be "literary," I abandon the most truthful parts of myself. And now, I find I'm really drawn to those same fantastical elements within horror stories. I've only written two, one of which totally creeped me out and which even, upon editing a few days ago, still made me uncomfortable. Now I'm working on another one, and while it definitely has those fairy tale elements, it remains to be seen if I'm also tapping into the things that frighten me most. I think it might... (and that's a good thing)

A haiku

She sells seashells now
In Denver but they don't know
What to do with shells

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Fic: Rope Pulling

Well, I said, pull that river barge up. Let me come up. Up, up. Out of the city, off the cement docks, the wharfs. Let me up there, and I swear, I'll help you clean this river.

River barge captains are notorious bargainers. Sure, he said, sure. But first, you need some gloves, and then grab onto this rope. Now, pull.

So I pulled. I pulled all day on that rope, and the next one, ropes all over that barge. Thick gray ropes wider than my wrists. We skimmed the river, catching stuff that fell apart from the city. It got so all I could see was the disintegration of civilization, here in my river. Our river, our river.

Hauled aboard and manifested, piled high, and then I thought about the people in the disintegrating high-rises. How they looked out their windows and saw the barge going by, piled high with garbage, and so they'd look out another window. Windows onto brick walls. Windows onto alley ways with cans and paper. Anything other than to look at the barge going by.

Seagulls chuckled and laughed at me, still pulling my ropes, lines into black water and up cracking poles, and we sailed that barge right into the dump, which was its own island.

You've got to get off now, said the captain, and he meant it. I disembarked, afraid of dry land now, afraid. He threw me a line, said to keep it. I'd earned it. I climbed to the top of a mountain of garbage and watched him float away, light as styrofoam on top of that river now. We both waved. I was afraid.

But he was right. This was home. The garbage like waves under my feet, well, well. It felt like home. I took my rope and began building my own high-rise, right here in the dump, and maybe when the river barge comes back, I'll look out another window instead.


And that is what happens when you've had a bloody nose at bloody five a.m. and then been up ever since, washing sheets and pillowcases. Not enough tea, a banana (potassi-yum), and kids climbing the fence you put up to keep them out. Sunday morning is evil, on the eighteenth of April.

There's a book fair later, Bookstock. We're going to ride up and see what I can buy.

As for the above, I should also thank the Novel Design Blog. An out-of-head experience.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Webcomic of love, Six word blaaaah

Thank you, Art of Darkness. Without you, I never would've read this: Alien vs. Pooh.

Tiggers doing what Tiggers do best. Eeyore -- I say no more. This is good stuff.


Six word stories:

Pineapples do not make good dildos.

Horseradish chases dream of first condiment.

His zipper: the borderlands of lust.

Oh, that last isn't very good. I was going for a "final frontier" or something. But really, beyond the zipper, there are other frontiers. Although, as a teenager, you might not realize that immediately.


Damn Thieving Octopus.

I couldn't stop smiling. A scuba diver finds an octopus in the seaweed. Immediately, the octopus attacks -- or does it? This is fabulous, with incredible music and some subtitles to tell you what's going on. It ends brilliantly, and even though I'm terrified of the ocean, I almost wish this had happened to me.

Friday, April 16, 2010

I don't like saying, "the poet Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz," because you might think she's delicate and porcelain and chipped. Or maybe you think of a woman with a beanie. I don't know if she'd mind me saying, "that slut Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz;" maybe she'd mind, maybe she'd be upset. It should be noted that I know nothing about her sex life. I hope she has a lot of it with the partners of her choice. I also wish this for you, who are reading this and thinking about beanie-wearing loose women.

So, this chick, she writes. And here is some of her best known work; I suggest you read it out loud, preferably (definitely) when your mother-in-law is over. Don't say, "Hey, here's some kick-ass poetry," just reply to anything she says with stanzas or entire poems. My pussy is tired of being wet.


A Fiction:
When I was fourteen, my hair fell out and returned downy and gray. I had just graduated from a training bra and was a brand-new feminist, reading old copies of Ms. in the college library while waiting for my father to finish polishing floors. This was what I told myself as I lifted my chin and told my classmates that I was turning into an eagle, or maybe a hawk, as a result of an experimental gene splicing project. Some sort of raptor, anyway. I grew my nails long and filed them into points and called them talons. I practiced looking stern from high places. Eventually, I just took to wearing black all the time, and then I was that crazy Goth girl who thought she was a bird.

I finally admitted to the first boy who kissed me that my hair hadn't fallen out as a result of an experimental gene splicing project, but because I'd tried to bleach it. I'd put Clorox right on my head. I'd spent hours in the e.r., and my hair fell out and my scalp was damaged and now, my hair might never grow back right. And also, that I worried that something was weird about my nipples. He kissed me for a while and pressed his fingers into my breasts, then told me I was a lot more interesting when I was a parrot or whatever.

Years later, I had short pink nails and the knowledge that my nipples were only inverted, which is perfectly fine. I had a variety of synthetic wigs: purple bob with bangs, fuschia with a Dorothy Hamill wedge. And one day, when I walked into a store to get a smoothie, some kids from my old high school recognized me and started making squawking noises and flapping their arms. I wish there was a moral to this story, or something of value to take away, but all I can say is this: if there was actually some sort of experimental gene splicing, I'd sign up. I'd tell them to turn me into a half-human, because being all-the-way human is just too fucking hard.


Lu and Callie: picture test post

Lucy and Callie.

Callie, annoyed at being woken.

Sorry for the boring pics! I'm working out how to upload pics here.

Spring garden

Spring is here. Robins building nests. Earthworms multiplying in plain view.

The lilac's scenting the air already. It's actually quite a distance from the house and behind the garage, but I can smell it in the kitchen with the windows open.

The lavender was cut back. I see that next year, I can be far more brutal. Perhaps cut it back to four inches.

The white creeping phlox have not come back, but then, they didn't do well last year. The purple, as always, had to be cut back, because they're trying to overtake the entire lawn. Gorgeous plant, it just grows so fast.

Faux watermark, Six word stories

Over at Propnomicon, they've got instructions on how to make a faux watermark. I've got no idea what I'd use these for at the moment, but I've printed the instructions (quite easy) for future reference.


Six word stories to jog the brain, which is in a creative lull at the moment:

Slaughterous brown tusks -- boar'd to death.

Leap of faith ends in splat.

Broken ribs when my heart escaped.

Hmm.... I see a theme. I must be in a gory frame of mind today.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fragrance, Six Word Story Contest

Six Word Story Contest. Just what it says! One entry per person, open until May 13th.

I don't think I'll enter, unless I actually think of one. So far, I've come up with a grand total of one, several days ago, written for someone else. I think mine might be, Why can't I use more words?


I haven't worn fragrance in years, but I do enjoy it. Recently, I ordered four samples from Theme Fragrance on etsy. I know that BPAL is quite popular, but I do wonder if it isn't solely based on their poetic descriptions. Many of the ingredients seem heavy and musky, and going by other people's reactions, you've got an approximately 1-in-10 chance of liking one. What I liked about Theme is that their ingredient list is short, the ingredients themselves simple and clean, and their feedback page is wonderful (and now I've left mine, too). In addition, the shipping was wicked fast, and the conversation I had with Theme was quick and very friendly. As for the fragrances:

Sarong: their bestseller, and I can see why. Vanilla/coconut with a bit of soft floral on the drydown. The sort of fragrance I could totally see people wearing on vacation. While the vanilla and coconut were apparent, it was a very sophisticated, womanly perfume.

Seashell: Grapefruit/citrusy. The grapefruit is entirely apparent, and the fragrance is very bright and pure. My only complaint is that all day, I kept imagining a butler standing just behind me, ready if I turned around: "Orange, madam?" Unlike the others, this didn't make a big difference in the drydown. Still a crisp citrus.

Lilavati: Mangoes and floral. Very mango-y at first, but it dried to a sort of sweet floral that I just didn't care for. It seems very familiar, though, and I imagine that many women would love love love this. Just not me, although I can see why others would appreciate its sophisticated, floral scent.

Amuse: Easily my favorite. By a mile. Described as "gourmand vanilla," I would probably agree. Like Sarong, it's absolutely elegant, with a nice drydown. I couldn't stop smelling myself! Every inhale was wonderful. Mr. LB loved it as well. This isn't some cheap, imitation vanilla scent -- there's divine, gourmet vanilla in there, but something else, as well. Also like Sarong, feminine. Womanly. I adored this. And dare I say it -- this might make some people not want to buy it -- it slightly reminded me of opening a fresh can of Play-Doh. Ahhhh. WONDERFUL.

All of the fragrances lasted an entire day, until I showered. And that was with only one or two spritzes. Very important: I'm really sensitive to fragrances, and none of them gave me a headache, not in the slightest. And finally, bright, pure scents with that sophisticated edge. Not heavy or musky at all. I'd try other samples from Theme, but I think I just need a small bottle of Amuse. It's something I can see wearing every day.