Character Consciousness

This is an example of one of the ways I think up characters:

Me: (recording poems for my audiobook)

Icharus: I want to be a character now.

Me: But you already are.

Icharus: In a book.

Me: …what?

Icharus: I want to be in a book. I didn’t die when I fell. And I love Orpheus.

Me: You do? Ok just hang on a–

Icharus: And I want my book to be like every James Baldwin novel but with more sex.

Me: I don’t know if I can be that brutal.

Icharus: And it’s going to be a trilogy.

Me: Really?

Icharus: Yep.

Me: Well you’ll have to get in line behind Regina, all the Echos, Helen, and everybody else.

Icharus: Did I mention I love Orpheus? And maybe one of the gods too. Apollo could be very metaphorical.

Me: Take a number and get in line!

Icharus: I really, really want a book-trilogy.

Me: You’ll get one just shut up and let me work!

Icharus: I don’t trust you.

Me: It’ll happen! You’re in the queue. I promise!

Icharus: You’re going to have to do a lot of research. Geography is really important.

Me: I know!

Icharus: …maybe Achilles…

Me: Don’t push it.

*

And on and on it went and that is how I made the decision to eventually write a gay romance. A character popped into my head that wouldn’t shut up. But really this character has been in my head since 2012 and didn’t find his voice until day before yesterday. Before that he was a shadowy idea floating around in my brain meat.

It happened during a writing exercise I did back in grad school (see how long ago). The exercise was to look at a book cover and write the synopsis on the back. No influence from the real synopsis or any other information from the book. Just write something based off the cover. You should try it, it’s super fun.

When I read my little blurb the girl sitting at the table directly across from me lit up with a smile and after class she told me I had to write that character, that his voice was so clear to her.

At the time I wasn’t writing fiction but I thought she was super nice to say so, so I put the suggestion away and now almost 7, count em, 7 years later here’s that voice again.

But this time I am writing fiction and I don’t want to tell him to go away. So I guess I’m adding another project to my publication schedule.

*

How do your characters come to you?

Or, if you’re a poet, how do poems happen?

Anniversary

So back in August 2014 I met my best friend. February 13, 2015 (Friday the 13th and the day before Valentine’s Day) we got married.

Shortly after my divorce and before I met Mr. J I made this list. I decided that if I was going to ever try to date again I needed to learn from my mistakes and do all the things better. And I wanted to find the exact opposite of my ex.

Funny thing: somehow we both forgot to ask each other what our political affiliations were until after we got married. Boy was that a surprise. I was all like: how did we go this long without having one political discussion? But it’s okay. Even though we disagree about some things, we still love each other, accept each other, and work together to make both of our lives better. That’s how respect works.

Henna for the civil ceremony.

It was a lovely, crisp, clear night when we got married.

In the morning it looked like this:

It’s was an awesome day! Today is awesome too! Here’s to this life and the next! Together forever! I love you Mr. J!

NaNoWriMo (2018): Book Synopsis(es)

Instead of working on 1 project I’m going to work on 3. Because 2 of them are small and near completion and the other NEEDS TO BE WORKED ON. So I’m trying to kill 3 birds with 1 stone this year.

Continue reading NaNoWriMo (2018): Book Synopsis(es)

In the Red Queen’s Garden

stem

un-turn

ravvle-rage

rage

e

n

d

the evening

rose

OctPoWriMo 2018

31 poems in 31 days

Prompt: surrender

When Alice and Rose Red wreck havoc in her garden.

The first letters of almost each line spell “surrender.”

How to Build an Altar

To build an altar you need the familiar territory of a dry riverbed and the shadow of a nuclear power plant. You need the roar of a siren on the air, the highway in the distance, the skull of a kingfisher and the footprints of someone you don’t love anymore. You need a stone from a hand that killed in a war far from home, knucklebones that know the fractals of a willow branch and all the sounds of breaking. You need the smells of honeysuckle, salt, and gunpowder, a piece of iron if you’re superstitious. You need the oil slick iridescence of a cockroach wing and a lock of your mother’s hair. You need the cornerstone of a place that makes you feel safe, even if that place isn’t really a place but a scrap of paper or the empty air. You need a poem written by someone you haven’t met yet.

*

This poem first appeared in Lupercalia.

Romance

We stepped outside the greenhouse and the lights went cold. He reached out; his palm froze against Saturn’s gelatinous ring and pulled away from his wrist like wet paper. I felt the romance leak out of our suicide as I saw the black hole. I punched him in the face.

Originally published in 50 to 1 (as Jessica Otto) 13Feb2010.