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.

things be brewing

First, I’ll start off with my interview with Lindsay Hunter at Monkeybicycle. It seems like those are the only updates I’ve been making lately. Hopefully I’ll get back into the swing of posting. Got some more exciting things to post here.

I wrote another poetry collection of tanka, ryuka, and haiku. 125 poems over three days to go with the poetry collection I wrote this spring which was about 120 poems. It’s weird for me to write poetry, and I think I’ll only ever write this kind of poetry, though I don’t know if I’ll ever take it that seriously. I mean, I take it seriously enough to write it all out, but I don’t know what to do with it now that it’s finished.

I’ll figure something out.

Been stalled super hard on the YA novella because of Time and stuff. Freelancing is going not so great as I can’t seem to find new jobs. If I don’t find something by the end of this week I’m going to start really looking for a part time job, just to make sure money continues to flow in and I don’t end up with a big mess on my hands.

What else? Chelsea’s birthday approaches, as does our 18 month anniversary. I have a surprise in mind, but she can’t know, so shut up your face. I need to finally write my nephews a book too, which I’ve owed them for almost two years! Being a bad uncle on that front.

Probably some other things too. I want to write a post about Breaking Bad now that it’s done, and I still need to write about the last two seasons of Lost, now that I’m done watching that weird show. Also, started watching a new show I want to talk about but that’s for later.

That’s all for now. Till next time, Starchild.

birthday and so on

It was my birthday on Monday and it was pretty nice. Chelsea bought me a bookshelf, which I desperately need, and she bought me, like, three dinners, and made me dinner–one big pile of chili. She’s really the greatest and she makes me a very lucky boy. I am a very lucky boy, and mostly because of her.

It’s been a strange year and so much has changed since meeting her, since being with her. But I’m excited about the years to come, knowing now what I want out of life, or at least having some semblance of a plan. We’ll see how the writing and editing goes, and hopefully I can really make it a career.

Anyrate, my interview with Jennifer Pelland went up yesterday at Monkeybicycle.

And, more than that, some of you know I went to St Louis the other day to see Sigur Ros. It was a long drive there, but it didn’t feel like it. We spent the whole time talking and it sort of flew by. Then we hungout in St Louis for a while, which is the first time I’ve been there, and then we went to the concert. It was in the Fox Theatre, which is a beautiful venue and sort of perfect for a Sigur Ros concert.

Scheduled for eight, everything began on time, which is unusual for a concert, I think. Julianna Barwick was the opener, and she was pretty great, playing her surreal multilayered songs for half an hour. Then half an hour in between, and then Sigur Ros.

Their performance was unreal. They played for about an hour and forty minutes, but it felt like no time at all. They played a few songs of the new album, Kveikur, which were so metal and energetic. It was phenomenal. They played a mix of older songs, too, but mostly they kept that high intensity going. Jonsi sawing on the guitar with his bow and I was so caught up in the moment I could barely think. When they played Glosoli, I cried a little near the end. Jonsi’s such an amazing person to watch. He puts so much into his singing and it was always perfect. The way he’d hit notes and the look on his face, and even when his voice faltered and failed, it was like sitting in an earthquake, my heart rattling, my breath short, and my mouth hanging open. During Festival he held one of those beautiful notes for what seemed like forever, but was probably at least a minute, if not more. I melted. I was so constantly overwhelmed that it was just insane. I was worn out but also incredibly energised. Also, something I didn’t ever imagine before is how menacing and sinister Jonsi could look. He’s so tiny and frail that he sort of looks like a scarecrow, and when he’s sawing on his guitar thrashing around stage, he looks like the demon he’s not, and then when he’s bringing the beauty, he appears like the god he is.

Then came the very long drive back, which I tried to stay up for, and mostly I did, but I also fell asleep many times, which is unfortunate. But, yeah, drove there in the morning, drove back through the night, and in between I saw maybe the best performance I’ve ever seen.

There’s more to say, as always, but I’ll leave it there. I have work to do.

making beer

Chelsea showed me that last night and I thought it was quite nice.

Anyrate, another interview went up this week. This one from Kij Johnson, who’s pretty famous and pretty awesome.

Interview here.

A few more interviews on there way in the coming weeks from Lindsay Hunter and Jennifer Pelland. A whole mess of books are meant to be arriving soon, so it should be easier to get the rest of the year’s interviews done. Get way ahead of schedule and so on, because sometimes Im really scrambling.

Anyrate, what else? Working on what I think is a YA novella, but it might be a level or so above that. It’s hard for me to judge. It’s called Girl with Ears and Demon with Limp. Hopefully it’ll be ready soon. I’m planning on selfpublishing it as a lead in to Twilight of the Wolves, which should be released early next year, depending on when I get notice back from Steven Erikson.

What else? It’s my birthday weekend. Going to Sigur Ros the day after my birthday. Going to spend the weekend with the beautiful Chelsea. The weekends are nice, spending every hour with her. It makes it impossible to get work done, but work is just work. Love is life.

And I love her. Speaking of, check out her website. You can read about her life and transition to Minnesota from Tennessee.

But, yeah, making beer in a few hours at my sister’s. Should be a good time. There’s also food and icecream cake and whathaveyou.

It’s going to be a good weekend, with lots of drinking and lots of humorous choices, I imagine.

Life’s less reckless these days, but it’s not so bad having a more normal life.

a year in stories::forty one

Okay, been a while since I put one of these stories up, but I thought I’d get one up today. Eleven more for the year still to come, and I guess I’m not counting stories from A Call to Artists. Anyrate, a little bit of other business to handle, too. Haven’t really made a proper post in a while. I still need to talk about the last two seasons of Lost, too.

But first, a few interviews have gone up in the last couple weeks:

Gears by Alex Pruteanu. Interview published 19/9/2013.

Piano Rats by Franki Elliot. Interview published 11/9/2013.

The freelancing’s going pretty well too. I’m ghostwriting a book right now, for which I should be making more than enough money for the month, which is amazing. It really is great doing work that feels good to do, rather than just doing work because you have to make money. I mean, I need to make money too, but this is definitely preferable.

Along with the freelancing, I’m moving into selfpublishing. You should see a few things before the end of the year, and then several things next year. I think I’m going to try to do what Carlton Mellick III does and generate things pretty frequently. Maybe even I can make money that way. But I’ll get to more about that as it gets closer.

Also, got some hopeful news from Ste Erikson about my novel coming out from Perfect Edge Books next year. Hopefully it turns out well.

But, eh, I guess that’s enough for now. Sort of bullet point update, yeah?

Pretty when you Cry

She was sad often. I made it that way. She was prettiest when devastated. It’s not a kindness, but I love this part of her. Her pain, the agony, those tears. There will be no absolution for me, and that’s not what I intend in telling you, but I need to tell someone, and you’re sworn to secrecy, yes?

No, save it, Father. I know the whole thing. I’m a proper Catholic girl, for the most part. I mean, like most, I’ve done drugs, enjoyed the bodies of other. I’m still a virgin, in a sense. I’ve never felt that way for men, if you get me, Father. No, I know what you’ll say, what the church says, but the Pope seems relaxed, yeah? But I don’t want to talk about sex, drugs, violence, and rap music. No, just, okay? Just hold on, Father. I need to speak this or I’ll never be able to live with myself. I just need to tell you.

I can’t tell her. I’ve tried. Lord, how I’ve tried. Every time I see her cry, after the sublime vision she becomes, after we curl together and fall apart, I trace her face in the dark, running my fingernails gently against her jaw, dreaming of the day I’ll make this end.

It’s not just that she’s becomes beautiful, it’s that when she cries, it’s like dreams come to life. No figuratively or metaphorically either, but actually. Whatever comes to me in sleep becomes a part of my life.

It started on accident. Of course it did. Couples fight, especially when still new and bright and lovely. She wasn’t ever really my type, not at first. She bit her nails and they were gnarled and short and barely there. She was tall and gawky with thick circular glasses. Her hair, bright and trimmed tight with a thin pointed nose. For some that’s heaven, the dream. But for me, her squared hips and and thin legs carried no appeal. This changed, obviously. We got to talking and things changed. I liked her awkwardness, her crooked smile, the complete lack of femininity in her. I didn’t know then if she was into me, because it’s always a bit awkward to bring up, yeah? But she was the aggressor and I was pliant in her hands, against her mouth.

We fought though. I don’t remember what about because the fights are never the important parts. It’s what happens next that matters. What happened is she cried and when she cried everything changed.

The way she looked didn’t exactly transform or anything like that. But the air around her shifted, or, like, it took on a sheen of the fantastic. She glowed. Again, that’s not a metaphor. She glowed in this blue light. She was the bluest light and she was there, crying for me. Because of me, really. It hurt me to see her sad. That should go without saying, but I’ll say it again. I hated seeing her sad, but I loved to see her cry. Knowing I caused her pain, it’s the moment I knew I loved her, that I had fallen deeply and accidentally in love with this awkward girl. But there was a sense of awe, too. Her tears filled this hole in me I didn’t know was there. A hole I had carried maybe forever, long before this life. A hole in my very soul. I know God doesn’t do that to people, but it feels that way sometimes. Like God’s light doesn’t shine on me or for me, and everything’s blackness and horrible.

But when I saw her crying, it was like being washed for the first time, like God’s light was for me and because of me.

When we made up and I slept, I dreamt of flowers spread over the sky, raining petals onto the earth, and in the morning the world felt new. I can’t explain it better than that. Every touch, every sight and sound, each smell was a new sensation, and when she touched me, I quivered. Electric from just her presence, as she wiped the sleep from her eyes and, well, Father, forgive me for getting carried away. I know those details aren’t for here. But you see, Father, her hold on me–I love her. When I talk about her, even, I just get caught up. But to put it short, when I was with her that morning, I had visions of that dream. Visions of a many flowered sky blooming across the air, raining petals to earth and the earth rose new and beautiful and serene.

That must sound crazy, and maybe it is, but that was only the first time.

She made a child with her tears. She’s real, the child. She’s two, and she’s beautiful. Ours. I never told her this, but it’s biologically ours, too. I can’t say how that’s possible, but you can meet her, if you don’t believe me.

But now she has to see her mothers fighting, crying. I know she won’t understand that I what I do is like a sickness. I’ve become addicted to her creative energy, to the life she can build for us. When she died, the dream brought her back.

So you see, it’s not just for me. It’s for us. It’s a way to improve life, not only for us, but for everyone.

But it tears me apart. You see this, Father. You can hear my voice crack and break. I love her, but I hurt her over and over, and I do it for us. Or, I tell myself I do. There’s certainly a benefit for us in doing this, but what’s the real cost? Is it just sorrow?

Father, I know the Bible’s no use for something like this, and the church has no teachings like this, unless you believe that she’s a miracle worker.

I do. We can show you. Maybe we should show the world, but I’m afraid I’ll lose her to the rest of humanity. She’s so good. Too good. And if everyone knew what she was, what she could do, then what would happen? Would we force her to suffer for all of us?

She’s not Jesus, Father. She’s not God, and she won’t be able to carry all our sins. She won’t be able to save us the way He did.

I don’t mean to ask for forgiveness, because I can’t promise that this will end, or even if I really want it to. I mean, I want the pain to end but I want to live in her light, that bluest light she washes me in.

Forgive me, Father. I’ve sinned. I’ve sinned against the woman I love, but I can’t promise I’ll ever make it right. I can only promise to try. To try to keep her happy and safe.

I’ll try, Father. I’ll try. But save your absolution. I’ll be back, and by then, I’ll hopefully have this all sorted.

Goodbye, Father. Be well, and please, keep this to yourself. I’m counting on your vows.

we lost time

So much to talk about but I’m going to keep it relatively short. First, business side of things, my interview with the awesome Kirsten Alene is now up at Monkeybicycle. She had such great answers to all my questions. I’m very pleased to see it up. Also, check out her book, Japan Conquers the Galaxy. It’s great.

Anyrate, finally moved in to my new house and we finally have internet. Some peculiar thing’s happening, though, that doesn’t allow my chromebook or ps3 to access the network, but we’ll sort that out. Tonight, hopefully.

The freelancing is going pretty well, too. Finished the first half of my two book edits I’m doing. Payment should come soon. What’s great about it is that I actually really enjoy the books I’m getting paid to edit. I’d say more about them, but I guess I’m not sure what etiquette is for freelancing and discussing unpublished work. Suffice it to say, I’m hoping these find publication and that my assistance helps them get to that next level. One is by a guy who’s had a long career, so the writing just needs touching up. The other is by a young guy who’s written his first novel. The sentence by sentence quality is sort of all over the place, but the narrative is great. He has the characters, the scenes, and the structural stuff that makes a novel succeed. Hopefully with my edits, he can get a proper rewrite that’ll prepare him for publication.

It feels so good to be doing work that feels rewarding. Like I’m helping people realise their dreams.

It’s awesome.

Those are the main jobs I’ve had so far, as I finish my second full week of freelancing. Some projects I’ve discussed with clients are less than awesome and some just end up not being a good fit for either of us. I was really hoping to get this job ghostwriting a novel companion to this videogame the client made, but, alas! When I finish these editing jobs, it should help my reputation a lot.

Oh, also, got contracted this morning to ghostwrite a short nonfiction book for what seems like a lot of money to me. Very excited about that. Might even be able to do the whole thing this weekend, if I get the time.

But, yes, life goes on, and it gets better as it goes.

Probably going to start posting in here more frequently as the freelancing continues, and then as my own writing frees up and I can get all these projects finished.

freelancing plans

My interview with Giannina Braschi went up today at Monkeybicycle. I’ve had a lot of great responses from the people I’ve interviewed, but I think this is my favorite. Giannina Braschi is an amazing writer and her novel United States of Banana is absolutely amazing. I urge you to buy this book today and read it immediately.

Anyrate, the interview is here. Buy her novel here. And her website is here.

In other news, I’m working on becoming a freelance writer. The thought’s been here for a while but I guess I never thought about pursuing it in any real way. That is, until this week. After researching it earlier this week, I began applying on Wednesday and have gotten about five jobs in the last twenty four hours. Most of these are pretty low paying, doing simple things, but this is sort of the beginnings of a foundation. I figure the most important thing is building a reputation, and the only way to do that is to take these smaller jobs that don’t pay so much. Though, even a two that I have taken, which are primarily writing short 500 word articles for different businesses, will gradually increase their pay amount. Sent in my test sample for one of them today, which, if accepted, pays me about six dollars. From there, the pay only increases, which is exciting.

I have a few potential jobs that could begin paying a real and usable amount of money. One is for editing a novel, which, if I get it, will pay me between $200 and $300. If I can get just a few jobs like that a month, I’ll be doing pretty well. My rent plus utilities will be under $500, and with an extra $100 for food, I just need to make about $600 per month to essentially break even. Anything over that is for me and all the enjoyable things I do with my time.

$600 seems like a reasonable starting point, but I plan and hope to make more than that each subsequent month. But, yeah, as my reputation grows and solidifies, I think this will all become much easier and I should be able to get by pretty well.

Anycase, I think I might sort of document this freelancing career. Or potential career.

Wish me luck, dummies.

some business things

Trying to find work as a freelance editor/writer is more difficult than I expected but I think I’ve found some pretty good resources to at least get my feet wet. Anyrate, this post isn’t really about business. It’s about recent publications.

My serialised novelette (  ) continues at Manarchy Magazine:

Part VII


Part IX

Part X

Part XI

Part XII


The great DB Cox had this to say about (  ):

I don’t think I’ve read such a pouring out of existential despair since Sartre’s “Nausea.”

“So long as a person’s identity depends on qualities that can crumble, he is considered to be in perpetual despair. And as there is, in Sartrean terms, no human essence found in conventional reality on which to constitute the individual’s sense of identity, despair is a universal human condition…”

Also, my interview with Merrill Joan Gerber about The Hysterectomy Waltz.

Also, for my yearly stories that I’ve been posting here on the site, I’ve added a page for finding them easier. It’s in a constant state of update, but just click here.

it’s been a while

I didn’t mean it to be but it’s difficult to update here lately. The last two months have been sort of completely crazy and I don’t really get time to myself anymore. Still waiting for life to balance out but it’s all right. Been doing a lot of interviews. I’ll post them in here and hopefully I’ll get everything updated. There’s always too much news to tell when I spend so much time away, so I’ll just say nothing, except that I’ve been doing terrifying things recently, like submitting blurb requests for a novel. You try writing to your heroes and see how you do.

The Cipher Sisters is finally available, which contains my creepy incestuous love story, The Sister is the Sister. I’m pretty excited about it.

Anycase, weekly interviews:

Peter Tieryas Liu

Christopher Barzak

Joyelle McSweeney

Craig Wallwork

Justin Lawrence Daugherty

Jac Jemc

Next week is xTx, so get ready.

Also, writing a novelette, which I’ll post about soon. It’s going to be serialised. Maybe even starting today.

things have changed

Almost everything. No, not really, but life’s a bit different now that Chelsea’s here. Lots of other news I’ve meant to talk about for these last however many weeks. I guess it’s only been about two, yeah? Seems like the days and weeks have slipped from me.

She’s here now, though. Working beside me. Doing her internet programmery and so on.

Maybe I’ll just leave this as a placeholder for now. Something to remind those who read here that I’m still alive, still thinking and working and creating. Wrote about 120 poems over a weekend a few weeks ago when I was feverish and ill. I guess that’s what happens when your brain boils and a wordprocessor’s nearby. Hoping to get back into a more normalised routine here soon.

Oh, I’ve also been doing interviews. Lots of them. Start reading them here:

Phil Jourdan

Brian Allen Carr

Curtis Smith

All of those were at Monkeybicycle where I’m taking over JA Tyler’s interview series. It’s pretty cool and I’ve some really great ones coming out soon.

Other things:

Interview with Matthew Salesses at Heavy Feather Review.

Review of Christopher Barzak’s new collection at The Lit Pub.

But, yeah. Hopefully getting back into a novel this week and maybe getting another short story done for the year. I’m well ahead right now, but I feel a few brewing in me.

Till next time.

Hopefully soon.

But Chelsea’s here, and sometimes there’s not much else a body needs but love.