Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Indigofera Tinctoria Ascending

In June, I had a short story, "Janus," published in Indigo Rising Magazine. In July, I was informed by the editor-in-chief that "Janus" was included in the 19th print edition of the magazine. In this email, he asked if anyone knew of anyone was interested in being a part of the editorial staff. I, of course, jumped at the opportunity and am currently working as the fiction editor. I've included the link to my story on the magazine's site. Feel free to follow Indigo Rising, as it is a blogspot site, and maybe buy a couple of the print editions. I hope to write more here from now on and plan to shamelessly promote IRM lol.

Friday, July 29, 2011

"I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice."

I recently had an experience that was so unlikely, if I tried to put it in a story, it would be the last page the editor read because it would be too unbelievable to pass as fiction. I can't currently go into detail about it here [ask me if you're curious] but the chances of it happening seem something like hitting a standard bullseye with a dart thrown from an airplane.

The thing is, I was having a pretty difficult day when this blindsided me and, had these million specific positionings happened, or if I didn't recognize the significance, my day wouldn't have changed.

So what am I saying? Something to the extent of "Meeting an insurance agent the day your policy runs out is coincidence. Getting a letter from the Emperor saying he's visiting is plot. A wrecking ball [demolishing your apartment while you're trying to avoid action] is something else entirely." -Stranger Than Fiction.

So whether you want to call it kismet or providence, make sure you don't miss it.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Dante, Spectroscopy, and Ethnology

More and more, everything seems to come full circle. Stories classically follow certain cycles. Anyone who studies Shakespeare should recognize the tragic and comedic cycles. The comedic cycle begins with a celebration, gets chaotic, then declines to the point of characters trying to kill each other, then traditionally ends in marriage. The tragic cycle starts with an assassination or a other crime against another character, the system seems to stabilize except in the case of a few characters, then everything starts unraveling until blood starts flowing.

You know when you're watching a movie and in the last moment, there's a twist and you're like, "I barely remembered when that character said that insignificant line that should've reveled the entire plot"? I keep seeing this occurrence in culture, science, history, theology, literature, day-to-day life, everywhere. I spent the day with my cousin and every conversation seemed to pull up a few topics over and over.

This verse is from toward the end of the book of Revelation, written in the first century AD: (ESV) Revelation 19:13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. While this passage is from the book of Genesis while Jacob is addressing his sons: (ESV) Genesis 49:11 Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey's colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes. Here, Jacob is talking about a promised leader that would rule over the tribes of his brothers. These visions seem to book end the Bible.

So is the big story a comedic or tragic cycle? Well, I'd say the creation of the universe was something to celebrate, then a quick decline into murder and chaos, redemption, more chaos, more chaos, then the biggest wedding ever.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Contextual Healing

I was talking to this guy who has hated God and life and pretty much everything for years, since his wife killed their son while driving drunk. My mom has been ministering to him to him for almost a month now and he opened his bible for the first time in several years last week. I know this is a blog about writing and I'm getting to that, be patient, the pay off is worth it.
So last night, he opened his bible to a random page, put his finger on the page and read. The reference was Isaiah 49:7-19. This middle-aged construction worker was crying at what it said, saying that it was exactly what he was going through. I pulled out my phone to see what it said, opened my bible app that was already on Isaiah 49 (I had read it the night before because I was listening to a Misty Edwards song based on it).
Pretty much what 7-19 says is Israel is crying out, asking how God could have forsaken them and delivered them into the hands of their enemies etc. All that being said, I can make my point, context is all-powerful in understanding a text. In Revising Fiction, David Madden writes, "Context generates implications whether you like it or not..." In my example, the man was using the context of 7-19 and the implication was that God had forsaken his people and left them to the intentions of their enemies. The problem with this is the rest of the chapter (and even the rest of the book!)
If you read all of Isaiah 49 (or listen to the Misty Edwards song "I49") you realize that, even though Israel thinks that they have been forsaken by God like a "mother forget[ting] her nursing child," they are wrong. Isaiah is sent to proclaim to the people that God cares for them, will redeem them, and will deliver them out of their captivity.
In literature, we often make the same mistake of misreading the context. Since it has been written, people refer to Frankenstein's creation as "Frankenstein" but rightly use his name as the monster. Some one the other day called Casablanca one of the greatest love stories ever told. I asked them if they finished the movie, when Sam denies his love to defy the Nazis.
So I guess my point is, don't jump to conclusions when you see a disembodied piece of text, you have to look at it in its fullness to know what sort of creature it is.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

He who controls the present...

What is the draw of writing? Sure, there's the joy of creation, seeing a world come out of nothing, but there's something else, something more basic. It's control. The creation is the hook, but control is why the author keeps writing.
It's nice to escape into fiction sometimes, but imagine being able to decide the fates of entire worlds, to change history as you see fit, these are truly godlike powers. God is, after all, called the author of life but He has to be concerned with the good of all of creation, where mortal authors only have a small little scope where they can play around with any aspect they choose. Any consequences that come from their decisions are only in their minds and on the page, so in a separate reality from ours which can be, if nothing else, quite cathartic. In other words, I want to write pretty bad, right now.

Here's a poem about writing that I wrote last year:

Requiem, requiem
Sing me a song of requiem
To honor those struck down
By the mightiest

Sing of my children
Who, with torn, cracked
Skin, yellowed by age
Bled their last
At my hand

Lament the honored dead
Whose corpses
Bare the banners
Stained black with lies
And build my gleeming


Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Fall of Man

So there's this slight change in the air. It's somewhere between the feeling of the wind and the smell of browning leaves. It is finally Autumn after the coldest winter in memory and a summer that wouldn't be outdone.

I love the Fall as much as anything. I never got the hype about spring and summer but I guess Louisiana can ruin summers for you. So you're probably wondering at this point why I'm going on about what season it is. Well, if you recall my last post, you'll know what I mean by the muse.

Well, more than anything (more than music or movies or other writing) Autumn is my muse. There's an inexplicable electricity everywhere. All of nature seems to sigh and appreciate simply being. It's no wonder that there were so many pagan holidays during the Fall, the feeling of autumn is almost enough to make you believe in magic.

So what's my point in this? I'm not sure that I have one. I'm just sayin' lol.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

We are not, uh, mused?

One of my favorite quotes from any of my writing classes is, "The muse is a fickle b**** but God help us, every writer loves her." If you are unaware of the muse, she is said to be the one who brings inspiration inexplicably in the middle of the night (when you never have a pen). Most people who write casually wait on the muse and only write when she comes. This is an ancient tradition dating back to the Greeks. Before each epic poem, there is an "invocation of the muse," a prayer to a specific muse, believing she would guide their words. We still read their works after 4,000 years so did it work?

I'll be the first to tell you that the muse is amazing when she's around but as my teacher said, she's fickle. So what do we do about her? Well, Milton followed the classical poets' example but he called the Holy Spirit his muse. It surely work for him with Paradise Lost but what about Paradise Found?

Some people use other people as muses. Having these others around help them be more creative and further their work. An example of this would be something like Russell Crow with Ridley Scott or Johnny Depp with Tim Burton.

My opinion? Do whatever you can to get the muse working for you. I think it can be unique to everyone. Music, art, and other media often help me in my writing. But it's the writing (or whatever you do) that you do without the muse that really shapes your work and defines you as an artist.

This poem came from a musing after a long talk with a friend late at night at LSU.

Two Shadows

Two shadows walk under the star-bare dome
brushed by flames of trees rubbing on streetlights
and sing the nightsong, listen for the echo
yelled from empty buildings with windows whitened
by backlit blinds hiding secrets screamed
at muted walls

Venus dances wild in her open floor, twirling, leaping,
swirling until she sees the two shadows. She listens
while their idle words float like moths to her
light. They stare at her splendor with
exposed tongues stapled to useless lips
trimmed in fear of