A Train of Thought
No Wordsworth, Eliot or Chaucer here,
Nor darkest thoughts swimming in my indigo ink.
As the tagged boxcars pass the flashing gates,
It carries amongst its treasured cargo the remembrances
Of a snall child.
Memories coupled together, being pulled by life's engine,
In its rhythmic beat.
Thomas, James and Gordon's lessons
Become the steam that drives the writer's pen,
Only to disappear and reinvent itself into a cloud
Of infinite design.
Your personal graffiti added along the way,
Has become the beauty of who you are today.
DO THE "WRITE" THING
Joseph Roza (XRIVO Co-founder) and I have many things in common. We both attended the University of Iowa and studied writing with the phenomenal undergraduate program there. We both fell in love with Iowa City, one of the most renowned literary communities in the world, and its ability to inspire someone’s best work. Of course, As compulsive writers, it was difficult not to fall in love with a town with quotations and passages engraved into the sidewalks, murals of literary allusions on the walls of buildings, and readings, lectures or artistic displays happening somewhere every night of the week. Then the academic side, and the workshops: that horrifying, rigorous process through which a panel of your peers and faculty picked through every pore and imperfection of your work to try and help you refine your vision. Anxiety-inducing, yes, but powerful, all because no one ever described anyone's work as "bad". The students were only ever interested in trying to improve themselves and offering whatever small bits of valuable input they could. Nothing, artistically, was off limits. As students, as two people who had a genuine, intense affection for language and writing, it was a wildly exciting place. Then, as students eventually must, we left the creative and academic bubble that college represents for most and entered the real world. Upon leaving, we discovered one other thing we had in common: We missed Iowa City. We were also both mutually terrified by the horror stories we heard from writers about dealing with publishers, stories about lack of creative control, astonishingly low royalties, or even a year of being told they were “interested” in using the work followed by an impersonal, boiler-plate rejection letter. The world for someone with an artistic streak is, as it turns out, not a friendly place. But something wonderful has been happening in the publishing industry over the past few months. Digital distribution methods and social networking tools allow for anyone to market their work and sell it on their own, on their terms, making self-publishing a more feasible method than ever before. The truth is, we don’t need publishers to reach people, and we certainly don’t need them to tell us what merits a chance at a wide base of readers. What the digital age hasn’t offered us yet is an open community site that’s specifically designed to help writers of every form, genre and experience level to connect with readers and build their own creative community. Writing is so often portrayed as a solitary craft, the product of one great intellect sitting alone in a room pounding out genius. In fact, writing is just one side of a conversation, the beginnings of a discussion between writer and reader. So many people are convinced that they can't write, or that they shouldn't, or that their perspective couldn’t possibly offer anything of worth to the world, even if they’ve been writing their whole lives. If they do manage to keep faith in the wo
I am bisexual, I am transgendered, in the sense that it is an umbrella term, the closest to describe me right now would be genderqueer. Anyway, I like to explore these themes in my writing. I am fascinated by the minimal impact sex and gender can have on love, I am fascinated by stories that transcend those barriers, so those are the stories I write. Even the simple story about gay boys that I have been writing since high school has an element of that. I think my character john is probably bisexual. Jamie is a pretty femmy guy, though clearly still a guy, not trans at all, and I think John falls in love with Jamie more than anything, and learns to love all the stuff that comes with it, even to the point of going overboard, being excessively gay proud, especially since being ashamed and closeted is what almost lost him his relationship in the first place. I love the fervor an outsider brings to the task of advocacy, someone with something to prove. And that goes both ways of course, it’s the closet gays and trannies that are the most zealous homophobes, the manliest of men, and when people say “I had no idea” well they have accomplished their goal, that’s what they were going for, though it screws them over in the long run, especially these later in life trannies. They have spent so much time and energy on their manliness on and convincing everyone that they are normal that when they finally come out it is an extreme shock to everyone in their lives, and that much harder to accept. The farther they dig their heels in the worse it is for them in the end. But anyway, back to Jamie and John for a second, I think John is Jamie sexual, but I love the idea of him starting off being attracted in spite of, and ending up super excited because of, because the people we fall for rewire us, make no mistake about that, we get acquired sex triggers based on experience. I am a sucker for acquired tastes and things that grow on me. Coffee, cigarettes, olives, sushi, cock…getting fucked in the ass. Its probably why I am still trying to make myself like pickles. I am my own grand experiment in social conditioning, I believe I have supreme power over my own senses. I guess that’s why I’m so fascinated with that intersection between nature and nurture, though I run screaming from it when it comes to religious douchebags trying to prove gays are sinners that can be reformed…It’s a big contradiction with me, just like everything else… the trick is to think about it just enough but not too much. I guess that’s where I’m trying to go in this new novel…its where I started with Jamie and john but that story deepened and went along another route entirely, Sam and Rylan are still new to me, I can do whatever I want with them, and this is what I want to do, a slow build that blossoms, test kisses, trial dates, and maybe the sex isn’t as important to sam as the love, it’s the way to keep him here, and like so many women he does it for the afterglow, the sweetness of holding and being held, the whispers and caresses of in bed intimacy, the coffee and breakfasts to
chorus: (don't sing until after v1, when marked)
* you've failed
# scream to the surface
() let it rise and let it drown
& see the shining light
@ let it hit your face
~ let these words fade away
$ and drown in sorrow
heads to the sky/as you wonder why/crashing down all around/line between good and evil/as the clock reaches zero/given all you have/no more left inside/short breaths of fear/you stare me in the eyes/the reason why/caught in between/what's right and wrong
lock your stare/with the eyes of death/scream to the surface/look to the sky/left at the feet/of your eternal judge/plead your case/don't lose your face/your life/you've failed/i have you/by the heart/torn from the chest/left to rot/in the dungeons below/follow my lead
your life already/worthless/die/let go/leave your world behind/you know they'll be better off/stricken down/by the forces of disappointment/and abuse/and it's all because of me/your master/you failed/became weak/lost the fight
chorus and instrumental
now all that's left/your worthless life/so let it go already
* - ~ (1time)
* - () (2times)
Today's writing prompt: Write two pages of being too tired to stand up.
That’s it; I’m done for, I thought as I gave a weary sigh. My work for the day was complete. It had all started a little before 6:00 in the morning and finally, at 7:00 PM, it was the end of the workday for me. As I pulled myself to into the car after locking the warehouse up, I allowed myself to just sit there for a moment. There seemed to no longer be higher brain functions. Mentally and physically I was a rag doll and perfectly content with that. As I stared dumbly at the steering wheel, I numbly considered how apt my thought of me being done for seemed.
A few moments passed. My limbs were completely limp and if not for the car seat supporting me, I would not be able to keep myself in a sitting position. Not that the cloth seat was comfortable, by any means. Right now that just did not matter. I was reveling in the fact I was no longer standing. There was no longer concrete under my feet, I did not have to walk anywhere, I did not have to pick anything up, there was nothing to stack or restack it. No one was calling my name or asking me questions. There were no other tasks that needed to be preformed. Now I only needed to get home.
Instead of lifting my arm to put the key into the ignition - the all-important first step to getting home - I moved from contemplating my steering wheel to staring, unblinkingly, at my steering wheel cover. Thoughts drifted across my mind in a sluggish, sad sort of way. One could almost pity the effort they took to be acknowledged by my conscious self. The most prominent one at the moment was that this was summer. Summer was supposed to mean a break from school, a job to try to get some cash stored up, time with friends, relaxation brought about by no homework. Not this. Not 10+ hour workdays. Not less sleep than what I got in the weeks leading up to exams. I was supposed to be in a position to enjoy the sunshine, to frolic and dance through the flowers. Instead, I was working two part-time jobs. My mornings began about the same time the sun decided to come up: the butt-crack of dawn. I got up this early to make breakfast for kids attending the local summer camp. Arriving early, I spent the 7-hour shift on my feet; first to make breakfast and then to get lunch started. For this, I was paid a combination of real money and what I had dubbed “Jesus Brownie Points.” Working for a Christian church camp means you are doing a service. So I served the food and got a little bit of money for my efforts.
I liked the job well enough. The people made it worthwhile. But slaving away in the middle of July over a hot stove or in front of a hot oven was far from relaxing. When 1:00 PM rolled around, it was time for me to leave. I had completed my mission of serving campers and counselors to the best of my ability and with the best ingredients the limited budget allowed me to purchase. Usually, it was an edible meal. From there it was off to the next job.
My second summer job was possibly hotter, stickier and more grueling than working in a kitchen. Where I could
and it's like a
laundry-list of acquaintances,
name-marked and chilled condiments;
squeeze-filled "hello!" embraces
or a clumsy slumberkiss.
impartial sandman relations and
impact to sway an axis;
care without condition,
unbiased opinions or
a scar-free appendage.
siblings. childhood friends.
a domesticated orca,
a drink void of caution,
a late night walk without keys in hand or
a beach in which to submerge my toes and
those scenarios premiering in dreamland;
a well-paid career [or
at least equal to that of a man's].
life without currencysocietyand
without the mundane, routine progression
of green, grey, gone;
singular sentiment, automated sleep,
parents capable of satiety and
a world lacking dishes and trash-taking.
winter white and frigid,
an early completion;
someone to wait on me
without an inevitable aberration.
the assuagement of afterlife, the
divine intervention of hands
the quiet murmur of ideals and desires within
the ear of some orphic entity
presumed to care.
a kiss clean of guilt,
solicitous reassurance, and
a sigh at the stars in the arms of a
it's like you:
something I can never have.
Whether you use the XRIVO.com workshop function to revise and get feedback privately or share with the entire community, you’re taking a very necessary, though terrifying step in the creative process. The XRIVO feedback process is modeled off those workshop courses to give you the ability to thoroughly respond to work. Now, through XRIVO, you can get and give line-by-line feedback on any piece. All you have to do is highlight what you’d like to comment on and type away in the “Comment” box. As the author, you can filter what feedback shows up by user to make the comments easier to peruse. All you have to do is run your mouse over the comment to see what they’re commenting on.
But there’s more to getting the most out of sharing your work than just detailed revisions and discerning readers. Sharing your writing can be daunting, yes, but here are some things to keep in mind to help everyone get everything they can out of XRIVO.com. Here’s a simple guide: 4 keys to giving and 4 keys to getting feedback on your written work.
if you've never worn my boot
don't judge the way it looks
it's been from here
to hell and back
and it still holds my foot.
it's tattered, torn, and shredded;
ripped from seam to seam,
but you'll never wear these boots
If you'd known what they have seen.
From broken hearts
to shattered dreams;
To all the times I'd hurt so badly
I'd only want to scream
To things I've said
and all I'd done wrong;
to all the places
I no longer belong.
To all the people that I had hurt;
I'd take back all that dirt!
But we're only given one pair
to last us through this walk ahead.
So wear 'em proud and do 'em right
or these boots will find you dead.
So, if you've never worn my boot
don't judge the way it looks
it's been from here
to hell and back
and it still holds my foot.
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i refuse to say
anything that matters
related to itself
amnesia traces motion:
how do you say
hello when the wind
like a distant friend
arboreal fingers reaching
the gusts of a body
passing into past
i deny to see
anything of meaning
absence fills up silence:
how do you see
the wind’s memories
when it only gives you
the creak of the seat
lulls memory to sleep
back and forth
the tranquil repetition
of an empty chair
a dying presence
i refuse to feel
anything of importance
the pain of knowing
you forgot something
i retold myself
with a new ending
an old beginning
in a few thoughts
i will remember
only the lost nuance
of a swaying chair
a rocking branch
fading in a photograph:
how do you say
see and feel
of the wind
now moves faste
An old poem revised about the Luddite's place in the digital world.