Waiting for Autumn

the cat is still alive and we are together, still breathing.

i want to delete everything and start over

make something waterproof

and strong as guitar strings

(not too strong)

bonds need to break

to make energy, the season needs

to turn

i am not waiting, i am running towards it. i’m so

pre-emptive i rush right past it

i can’t breathe

i want to buy a new purse, new

sinus cavities, new

allergens

i want to spend all my money on sleep

*

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

August 2019 Stats

Word Count:

12,610

Days I Didn’t Write:

18

New Poems:

1…I wrote 1 new poem *YAY*

Submissions:

4 sent out!

Zero accepted or rejected.

Project Notes:

So again, I did not do as much writing as I wanted to do this month (I really hope this isn’t going to be a trend). But I have a very good reason: I have started school again. After earning a BA and an MFA I’m going back to school to earn a BS in Laboratory Science. Chemistry is WAY too intense for it’s own good but it’s going to be literally ALL of my future job so I need to know it inside out. *sigh*

I did, however, focus on more of my poetry this month so it wasn’t all a waste*.

Not an Exit vol. 1 is coming along, I’m finalizing the table of contents and adding and subtracting stories. Three of the stories I want to include have themes of unrequited love or doomed romance. The rest of the stories are dystopian/post-apocalyptic. I’m still deciding whether or not I want to include everything in vol. 1 or make vol. 1 just about dystopia and make vol. 2 just about romance.

I haven’t added to any of The Slaughter Chronicles or The Heart of the Forest Cycle Drafts but I have done lots of brainstorming and have some awesome new artwork from Robin E. Vuchnick in the works.

I’m also putting thoughts towards writing another poetry collection that I will self-publish in 2021 or 2022 depending on how many poems I want in it. Lupercalia has about 50 ( I think…is it terrible that I don’t know how many poems are in my own poetry collection? ) so I’d like to publish something with 75. For me, 75 is a magic number when it comes to poetry. But I also have a chapbook sized idea that I want to focus on as well and I haven’t decided if that should be a separate thing or part of a bigger collection.

I think the most important thing I can take away from August is to stop being so fucking indecisive and write my fucking books.

*

*Note: none of it is a waste. You do what you can WHEN you can. My goal is to write every day because I want to, not because someone else told me I needed to. Always go at your own pace and don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t met your goals yet.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

A Few Things I Know For Sure (Part 1)

I want a drink. I want to drink until I die. (Not for dying’s sake but because drinking is the only thing I want to do. The. Only. Thing.) 10 bottles of bourbon lined up in a neat little row, a hotel room with a balcony that overlooks the river. In another version of reality I jump. In this one I don’t. And I have to live with that. The wanting and the not having.

The sun is a giant ball of fire that will kill us all if we don’t destroy ourselves (or something else happens) first. I’m okay with the sun. The sun and I are friends but not in a weird way (I don’t want to marry the sun).

Something (you don’t have to believe in god) out there has a plan for you. See, you’re not dead yet.

I love the ocean. The ocean is also terrifying.

Gravity works. For now.

Every morning my cats demand to be fed. Every morning their demands are met.

I know for sure that it might rain.

I know for sure that there are people out there who love you (even if you haven’t met them yet).

Things go. Whether or not they go the way you want them to is debatable.

Telling stories is the best thing in the world.

*

This came out of watching Anne Lamott’s TED Talk, 12 truths I learned from life and writing, July 13, 2017.

Photo by Sime Basioli on Unsplash

Mirror Angels

My reflections and I

plot the points of our knees

like stars scratched in the floor,

we can’t hold summer

in our flimsy hands.

I lean my head against the point where two mirrors join together in a museum exhibit and suddenly I am one girl split into three. This is educational. This is sacred division. I whisper softly to us but they don’t answer my prayers for rescue, escape. I can only mimic their arms with my arms and I cannot decipher the secret within our bodies.

The rough stars

join constellations

Gaping-Mouth-of-Disbelief

with Grinning-Face-

That-is-Not-a-Face.

I look into the mirrors and there are girls who wear my face but not my memories. I look into the mirrors, I look at us and I am so happy that at least some of us are free. When I stand they turn their backs to me and greet their secret, intangible worlds. I cannot go with them when I walk away.

*

This poem was first published in Atlas Poetica in 2015 and republished in my collection Lupercalia.

Photo by Serrah Galos on Unsplash

Pretend You Don’t Know

When you’re editing your manuscript, read it though, at least once, as if you know NOTHING about your story.

It’s so easy to get caught up in our own heads when we write, especially during the first draft. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but if you want to catch errors and inconsistencies you have to not only get critical, you have to suspend your own imagination and forget–temporarily–everything you know about your own story.

Crazy talk, I know.

But doing that changes your perspective and can give you insights you might not otherwise have.

But one of the hardest lessons I learned in my college poetry classes was not to make internal references or “inside jokes.” I might get the reference but someone who doesn’t know me sure as shit won’t.

The same thing applies to fiction. Readers can’t read minds. You might write something that makes total sense to you either because you get the joke or you know what’s going to happen three chapters or three books down the road.

Your readers don’t know these things. They might get confused. They might stop reading.

It also shows you things that you might take for granted. For example: does everyone know werewolves are bothered by silver? Does everyone know what necromancy is?

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to spell out every little detail, dumb your writing down, or waste pages with info dumps but it is important to be mindful of what expectations you are putting on your reader and if those expectations help or hinder your story.

Looking at your manuscript this way doesn’t just help fill plot holes. It can show you ways to enhance your narrative structure.

Here’s an example from my own experiences:

I love prologues.

I know AuthorTubers and many a podcast host tell you to avoid prologues like the plague. But I’m one of those weird people who love reading prologues so I thought, “Fuck it, I’m gonna write a prologue and it’s going to be my MC, Regina, reporting on the death of another character. And it’s going to be awesome.”

Well, I gave the manuscript to one of my beta readers and she didn’t like it. She has no idea who was talking and no idea who these characters were. Because there was no context. I knew what was going on because I have the WHOLE STORY in my head. She didn’t. And it didn’t work for her.

Then another beta reader said the same thing. And I was sad…because I made the thing and would have to change the thing.

If one beta reader has an opinion you can take it with a pinch of salt. But if more than one person has the same problem, the problem doesn’t come from their interpretations or expectations, it comes from your writing.

And I thought, “Well, what if I make it an INTERLUDE instead?”

And that works so much better because by the time this character needs to die you, the reader, know a little bit more about the world and can follow along with the MC and learn the WHY and HOW without getting confused.

So now, whenever I’m editing I always make a plan to read through whatever I’m working on as if I have no idea what’s going on. This helps me get into the mind of a reader and I can think about what kinds of things I, as a reader, would want to know.

I recommend that at least once you read through your manuscript and pretend you have no idea what’s going on. See what happens.

*

Photo by Adrien Olichon on Unsplash

Drinking Music

guitar eyes

drunk on that

music

scream low

smug eyelashes

take bastards

into heaven

hot lights

red clay

a little piece of

that July highway

a little relief

from god

*

Found Poem: pages 45-72 of Trash by Dorothy Allison.

This poem was first published in my collection Lupercalia.

Photo by Mariana Vusiatytska on Unsplash

In the Voice of My Poetry

My poetry is about finding lost things.

If drinking makes you sick, don’t drink.

Find a clean puddle and dip your cup in that; drink the moon on the water.

My grandmother never wanted my grandfather to leave (he was an alcoholic). She had one sister who thought she was prettier than everyone else. Her grave has dead plants on it. And pink marble.

My poetry is about falling across the road as a bloody smear and making a new boundary, a new border.

My poetry is about an imaginary map.

I was born alone.

Wild roses are my favorite.

My poetry is about rotting and returning to the earth.

*

This post is inspired by Bhanu Kapil’s Blog

Photo by Felipe Santana on Unsplash