halloweenness

The last time I had stories published was last Halloween. Three stories published the same week and nothing since. I guess I’m glad I decided to start submitting stories again.

I just put all the stories I’ve written than I want published in the same word document and it’s somehow over 500 pages. Probably time to start sending these things out. There’s probably another hundred pages of stories I’m hoping will never see the light of day, though.

I have potential plans for November. I think I’m going to try to post every day, and what I’ll be posting is whatever I write, fictionwise, but it’ll probably be some sort of novel[la], or whatever. We’ll see how it goes.

It’s Halloween but I don’t really care that much. Submitted two chapbooks in the last twelve hours, one poetry and one fiction. Made about twenty submissions late last night/early this morning to big famous magazines that pay you real live money for stories they accept.

I’ll probably just spend the night working. I don’t really like drinking that much, I don’t think. Or, I don’t mind it, but I hate not being able to work.

For someone accused of being lazy so often, I sure do work a lot.

Anyrate: fear !

people and emails

My interview with Ytasha L Womack at Monkeybicycle.

She’s amazing and be sure to check out her site.

Wrote about 20,000 words of short stories this last week and I’m working on getting them all in final form, which I think I completed this morning. Doing a bunch of submissions tonight, probably. Also got an email from China Mieville telling me he can’t blurb my book but he’ll be looking for it when it comes out, which is pretty cool news. Also got an email from a publisher interested in the poetry collection I wrote earlier this month, which is pretty nifty. Hopefully it works out.

Going to try to write a poetry chapbook right now, hopefully have it ready for tomorrow.

What else? Oh, some good stuff on the freelancing front, but I did a bunch of edits for this novel I’m working on, and for whatever reason they didn’t save properly in the file, so I need to restart. And editing something twice is the opposite of fun. But, that’s the job. Should work out fine, but now I’m on a quicker deadline than expected.

Also, digitally going to Blizzcon next weekend to write about Heroes of the Storm.

Anyrate, Chelsea’s birthday went well and I go to see her in a few hours.

 

a year in stories::forty six

Another story. Wrote this a few days ago, submitted it, and already got rejected! And since they didn’t want it, and it was meant for them, I’ve decided to make it for all of us.

Writing more wikipages for the freelancing gig. There’s something kind of pleasant about doing this kind of work. Oh, I also got another book editing job, and am always looking for more. So if you need a book edited, I’m your man. I’ll do it for a good price, too.

Anyrate, this is a story made of three sentences. It’s quite short, too.

I dreamt of homes for all of us

 

She opened her mouth and fell into the ocean where she fell into the house beneath the waves and in the house she found a bookcase full of books full of words slipping from the pages carried away by the current of the ocean by the schools of fish moving as one in symmetry and as the words slipped off the page to float amongst the sealife she swallowed hard and the ocean filled her lungs and when they were full she read aloud the words swimming away until she closed the book and with it her eyes.

Behind her eyes rose words she had not read colored red that did not swim but flew through sky catching birds catching clouds reaching higher to rest amongst stars where the red turned to bright and the words of ink transformed to constellations writ in galactic calligraphy for all to see so far below with her breathing water in the house beneath the waves of the ocean stretching wide.

Vibrations through the water reached her though the door of the house beneath the waves was closed and locked and made of unrotted wood and the windows of glass held strong and stayed closed but the molecules of water shivered and she along with them shivered being one with the ocean round her and so she opened the book to find the draft and she watched the words slip from the page and float away with the fishes swimming as one though they were many but she did not see where they exited or how but only saw them through the glass of the windows as they disappeared against the surface where fishermen or birds picked them up and made them whole by tying them to different pages with needles and thread and so when the next word slipped off the page she took it in her hand and held on as it tugged her away from where she sat in the house beneath the waves and in the journey she found the walls did not hold words captive but let them through and she too and when she met the surface she found that it was not a barrier but an invitation to the world beyond and in the sky floating high she looked down and thought of the mother she never knew as she entered a new home and wrote a name cursive in the stars

a year in stories::forty five

I’ve written seven or so short stories this week, most of them about robots, which I might make into a chapbook of robotness later. I’m trying to get a bunch of work done before these submission deadlines to some paying markets. I mean, there’s no problem if they don’t get accepted, but it would be nice to get paid money for some of these things.

Look at me, a horrible capitalist! But I figure it’s better than working for the Man.

Anyrate, if all the stories I’ve written get rejected, I’ll post them on here. This is a story I wrote today that I decided wasn’t right for the places I’m submitting to. It’s quite short and magical. Maybe it’s about acceptance?

Fire Fire Fire

 

When the fire woke and stepped from the chimney I knew it was going to be a strange day. The house caught fire and it was snowing outside, sizzling against the fire’s flames licking at night.

The sirens blared and flashing lights approached while people screamed at the sight of the fire standing beside me. It was a small fire, only reaching up to my waist, and it didn’t really look human, but it had limbs. Fiery limbs with flames reaching upward, when I stared I almost thought I saw a face but before I could really get a proper look, it walked away, leaving wet tracks in the snow.

Muddy tracks through the snow, it was quite easy to follow, even if it hadn’t been a walking fire.

Well, needless to say it was drawn to things that burnt. It seemed to shrink as we walked through the snow. So it burnt down the whole town.

Lots of families lost their homes, and some lost children or parents. I don’t think the fire was vindictive, it just wanted to survive. I don’t think it’s our fault either. I mean, we had to live somewhere, yeah? It’s just our houses were flammable and the fire was struggling through the wet.

I can’t really explain why, but I protected the fire. We hid for a long time and waited for the snow to pass, the police and searchers to go away. Screams filled the night and I fed the fire logs. I was hungry but I figured we’d find food somewhere, sometime.

The face in the flames was my sister’s but she wasn’t dead. I hadn’t seen her in a few years but I knew she still lived and I knew she wasn’t a fire wandering around ruining Christmas for the whole town.

We sat there for a long time and it kept me warm through the winter.

It died out a long time ago, while I slept. It didn’t cry out or make a fuss. It just went out. I can almost see the sad eyes of my sister watching me sleep, watching over my dreams and life.

 

today was a day

And we celebrated Chelsea and Viviana’s birthdays. Viviana’s my new sister in law and she’s amazing and I’ve never seen my brother so happy as the day they were married, and every day they have together. I could probably write about my brother a lot, though I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned him on here. I could write books about him.

Anyrate, the world sleeps and I dream alive listening to From the Art of Mirrors by Max Richter, which is the most perfect sound available to ears. Chelsea and I watched a documentary tonight that makes me want to write the philosophy book I’ve been thinking about writing for the last couple months. Or maybe it’s the opposite of philosophy, as if that means something.

Interview with Joe Hall is up at Monkeybicycle and he answers questions awesomely. I’m writing lots of stories about robots, but really they’re all about the same robot, though they stretch across time and genre. There are a bunch of magazines that have deadlines for the end of the month and I want to submit something to all of them. Little did I know they’d all be about robots. It’s fun though. Hopefully one or eight of them will pay me money.

What else? Oh, shadowdancing:

my body is a leaf

my body a leaf

yellowing & hanging loose

i’ll meet earth soon

Watching AdventureTime, working on different things. I need to write a bunch of stories before the end of the month in order to qualify for paying markets. Did I mention that? I decided only to submit to paying places, for the most part. There are loads of calls for submission every month for themed issues of things, and I figure I’ll just throw as many stories at as many different markets as I can until I start making money.

Also, looking for a part time job, which is going not the best, though I do have an interview on Monday for an Admin spot on a writing website, which will pay. I figure if I can get just 40 hours a month out of that, I’ll be able to cover my expenses, and any freelance work will only add on top of that.

But, yeah, gonna work on some writing this weekend. Still owe J David Osborne a novel, which I really really really need to finish.

So it goes.

Art!

a year in stories::forty four

My interview with the great Ocean Vuong went up yesterday at Monkeybicycle. He’s definitely become one of my favorites. Anyrate, this was rejected the other day, along with the previous story.

Dusted Deathly

 

When I was young we dreamt so large, so loud. There were nights I couldn’t sleep, what with the racket of us all dreaming at once. There’d be wolves howling, cats meowing, and mothers and fathers loving us. That’s what we dreamt mostly, and it’s what we dreamt loudest. Sometimes we dreamt so loud and so large that it spilt into the hallway and down the stairs to Madame’s room or wrapped round the orphanage to her window and she’d be accosted by the dreams of all us lonely kids drunk on hope.

She’d barrel in and wash us out, get us to stop dreaming of Dust and start cleaning it up. That’s what she called dreams: Dust. I never really got it but it gave me a complex. I guess that’s the best way to say it. I got a complex for Dust and while the other kids were all off cleaning it up and washing it away, I was sneaking off through the loudest nights to play with it in the halflight of the slivered moon fractured. That archipelago of moonDust catching light in the sky was one thing and it made me think of others, like maybe how this Dust in this orphanage I was accidentally trapped in was a distant cousin of that lit up far away Dust.

I’d make sure the light was catching just right and the shadows weren’t too thick and I’d set to whipping up the Dust. Like writing galaxies in the sky, I watched the Dust dance through night and halflight while those loud dreams kept everyone else busy.

In the Dust I saw things I can’t so much find the words for. Best way to say it, I guess, is that they were dreams comes real. But Dust is still just Dust, even when you arrange it so to sing like a symphony amongst the clamoring dreams of too many orphans.

That’s war for you, yeah? Some of us were probably left and unwanted but many more of us were just the unfortunate sons and daughters of people accidentally caught by bullets and bombs. Such is the world, I guess.

What I found after years of studying and collecting and playing with Dust is that the world’s malleable, just like a load of fragments cast about. If you rearrange them just so, you can make something new. Doesn’t matter if they’re Dust particles or stars or too loud dreams, or even people on the street. If you arrange it all right, you can make something real come of it. A composer turns wood and wind to sound and beauty, traffic lights turn mechanical contraptions into traffic and progress, and me with my Dust and dreams caught real built miniature realities unattached to what others perceive existence to be.

I stopped dreaming like the others. No one really knew because it was always so loud at night it was hard to tell whose dreams were shrieking loudest. But the decibels of my dreams got muffled ever since I caught Dust in my lungs and heard voices.

I made a new world with all those bits of Dust. I’d take them in my lungs, deep down, and try my best not to sneeze or cough or puke it all up. Sometimes I failed and I’d get this malformed monstrous blob that sent the rest of my tiny world into havoc, but, if I got it right, I had little Dust men and little dust women, and they made little Dust babies, even without me swallowing and bringing back Dust.

By the time I was fourteen and the orphanage was crumbling to pieces, I had built an entire world and watched as its civilisation grew and evolved. I had so many dreams for it, but the lives they made and developed for themselves were better than anything I ever could’ve made for them.

I was proud. You wouldn’t believe the kind of pride that comes with inventing a cosmos that you’re the accidental center of. After a while, I barely even had to do anything. Better than the best movie I ever saw, my little world of Dust grew big with life.

And then one day they turned to me and saw. They saw me and spoke to me. I could understand them because I saw this all come to being, but I couldn’t really speak it. Dust doesn’t talk the way we would. But I showed them my answers, drew it in their stars and skies.

It was the first time anything ever worshiped me and I wept watching my creation find their god.

And then the war returned home and the orphanage came crashing down. We all got outside, even Madame. Our dreaming may be loud, but bombs are louder and we set to fleeing the second we felt the ground shake and the earth break. But I couldn’t get to my little big world, and though I searched for them for weeks amongst the rubble, breaking my fingers and weeping smoke, I never found the reality I built from orphaned Dust and dreams that yelled.

Mostly us orphans stick together here in the military. We know we’ll die before this is all gone and our dreams are still loud, but the hope’s been lost. It’s more shrieking dreams these days, but we all keep something dear deep inside of us, for when we die.

When I die they’ll find my Dust, and then I’ll join them to say I’m sorry.

a year in stories::forty three

My stories I wrote the other day, so I’ll post them up today and tomorrow. Also, today marks the eighteenth month Chelsea and I have been together. Hard to believe we’ve been together so long, that love lasts this way. It’s something I’ve never really experienced before. I’m going to make her her favorite meal tonight: Juicy Lucy.

But, yes, a story today that’s pretty surreal and sort of crazy, but I dig it.

Oh, also, I finished that YA novella yesterday, which isn’t so much a novella as a long short story. Probably going to selfpublish it once some eyes that aren’t mine run over it and I can rustle up a blurb. From there I’ll probably turn it into a series.

Anyrate–

Afterbirth

When the storm came Hālig spread his arms before the last tree on earth, the sleeves of his robes falling to his elbows, the rain battering his face, but still the humans watched, rapt. When the lightning struck the gynoids captured it in their phosphorescent nets and redirected it to Hālig, striking him in the chest and creating a sustained low energy bolt between them. He spoke, his voice rasped and wavering, and before he finished one minute of electrelocution, the bolt bent him backwards, his hands clutching his chest. The rain whipped through the crowd and their robes hung heavy through the storm. The bold fizzled out and Hālig collapsed to one knee and hand, gasping. Heaving, nothing came and the crowd panicked, corralled by the gynoids. He pulled down his hood and his face began to tear at the seams of his mouth. His neck expanded and he opened his mouth as if to scream but an arm came out, glittering in blackness. Screams erupted from the humans and their bodies became the storm, battering against the automaton shore. The hand reached from his mouth and ripped at his face, tearing skin away and then his mouth split to his neck and a hairless head emerged, followed by another arm and then a female body blacker than night, but shimmering like distant stars. The body kicked away the husk of Hālig and spoke through the tumult of human bodies crashing through the biomechanical barrier.

Its voice was a roar and its words clanged against the raindrops, surrounding the humans, suffocating them with oppressive sonic entanglement. The body spoke and the humans shattered the gynoids at the foot of the millennia altar. The humans rushed the body, surrounding it, but the voice spoke on, ripping through spaceTime and skin, weaving in their bodies, their cells, their atoms and rewriting them subatomically until their violent hands turned to carresses, their bloodlust to adoration. The body opened itself to their hands and their lust and filled them with hope.

When the storm passed the tangled naked bodies of humans writhed round the body whose voice turned them to a swarm. When all their energy was spent, they slept, and the body with the voice like nothing and nowhere whispered into their dreams, placing a hand on each of the human bodies. It climbed the tree, its blackness terrifying and beautiful in the dawnlight. Squatting, it laid an egg, enormous and black as oil. Lifting the egg above its head, it called to the humans and they all woke to the sight of a new god rising black and glorious above them. It threw down the egg and it shattered in light, washing color from the humans and leaving them pale and white and nude.

The humans turned then to the enormous walls of the City. With each step they sewed a future of silence, a future to resemble the forgotten past. From the boughs of the tree, the new god watched the walls tumble down, the buildings corrode and crumble, the raining down of satellites and the world washed new with fire and dust. And then the storms that stretched for decades and centuries until the fallout deserts sprouted green and the last tree on earth found children again.

a year in stories::forty two

Another story, the fourth of the day, and also the shortest one. Maybe I’ll share the other ones later if they get rejected. That’s right! I submitted a few stories today, something I basically never do.

But, yeah, it’s Monday. I’m tired.

Ten more short stories after this and I’ll be done for the year with this strange writing experiment I began over ten months ago.

Rift

Snow falling, the river yet flows. I want to feel the taste of dirt in my mouth again. I walked between the snowflakes and filled my lungs with water just to see the bottom of the ocean. At the bottom of the ocean I find a new ocean that opened up and as I drank in that new ocean I made a desert. Belching the new ocean gone into the sky I watched the whale fly into the vast empty sky.

The desert now spread everywhere, I find the bones of humans and the bones of birds. When I look up I see nothing but when I look down I see their shadows. The shadows of humans with wings and they circle me. Only shadows. There are only shadows here.

Walking through the desert I find that the world here is made of glass. It’s made of glass and now that their ocean is lost to sky there’s only heat here. My feet scald against the glass of their world and the shadows hunt me, circling closer and closer.

There’s nothing here, only glass and hot and shadows. This world cracks open and I peer inside. Through the rift in worlds I see my homeworld, the sky above it. Then the shrieking howl of shadows. I feel their claws, their teeth, but I see nothing, and I see no damage done to my body.

When I close my eyes I see their horrible faces eating me alive, their bloody claws digging into my flesh, and I see my entire life ending in this world not mine.

I return to the rift and see my homeworld again but no way to get back there. I try to climb down but the space home is too small. I chew on the glass world and swallow it down but no matter how much I eat I’m still stuck in this foreign world.

Stuck, I wander the glass and sometimes I see the ocean I threw into sky swirling round like a hurricane.

It never rains here.

Through the rift I see my husband remarry, my child grow old calling another woman mother. I no longer wander, but live at the edge of the rift, watching the lie I made decay. The shadows continue to eat me but my body remains and they eat and they eat and I live forever in this all wrong world.

I miss the snow. I miss the rivers. I miss the taste of ocean and dirt in my mouth.

bounceback

Made a lot of contacts at the Twin Cities Book Festival, but, more than that, it was just a great time.  But, yeah, hopefully even a job’s going to come out of that. Met some organisations to make this freelancing thing really viable, learnt how to teach creative writing right here in Minneapolis, and how to be an adult education teacher right down the street.

One of the best parts of the Festival was Ytasha L Womack’s talk on afrofuturism. ‘Race is a technology.’ Man, hearing that, it was like my brain melted. So very interesting and an awesome way to contextualise that.

Completed a freelance job last night by writing this site for Warmachine: Tactics and also helped out on the Rimworld wikia site, which looks like an amazing game, one I may even buy. Got a few other things in the works, but if I could just focus on writing wikis I could make a living that ain’t so bad.

Anyrate, what else? Found some publishers who may be interested in some work, even one who may be interested in the Call to Artists stuff. I’m very excited today, and I had the great pleasure of reading For All These Wretched, Beautiful & Insignificant Things So Uselessly & Carelessly Destroyed by Hosho McCreesh this morning. What a perfect book to start the day. Probably perfect for any time of day, but it felt so good to have that in me right after I woke up.

Probably other things. Going to keep hustling for work, start looking for a local part time job, and get involved in all sorts of other thing. And, of course, write.