So! This year, my writing project is to work on a new novel. But I wanted to go about it a little differently. I wanted to take a little more time. Usually I just have an idea, maybe write a little bit about it, and then I just jump in.
But this time around, I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to take some time on my characters, starting with my main character and writing about them with more depth instead of just hoping they’d take shape during the writing. I wanted to feel like whatever actions they’d take were based on themselves – because character is plot – and have some secret memories that wouldn’t necessarily make it into the book.
So January was all about writing the backstory of main character. It was a great way to get to know her before just starting to write stuff down and make it up was I went along.
February was a weird month. I went on a business trip and lost almost a week of writing time, and had some other stuff going on during the rest of the month. It actually turned out for the best because I wrote up on one of my secondary characters, and I have a little more idea of where to take things.
March, hopefully, will be more about fleshing out the rest of the characters – even if it’s a few surface aspects. Maybe I might just start outlining! (I know, so exciting.)
And welcome to year 5 of my yearly round up! I’m not really sure who reads this anymore, but for me, it’s a good way to get my head around my year, take a little stock of where my life’s at, and try and remember what happens in my life the older I get. Being that this blog is an archive of my old past lives, it makes sense to take a minute to look back at the end of each year – for me, at least. So even if a few people catch this on Facebook, you might go “Hey, she’s got a blog that she enters stuff in, like, 3 times a year!”
Last month I was in Charlotte, North Carolina for the 2012 National Poetry Slam. This was my 5th Nationals and my 4th being there on the Las Vegas Slam Team, and I was not disappointed by it. The poetry was breathtaking, the people were super nice, and I met so many new poet friends and connected with some old ones. It was probably my second-favorite Nats (after ’05 in Albuquerque, AKA “Half-A-Cookie”).
Dad was the one who found you on the floor.
Who knew how long you’d been dead,
but the hemorrhage
already stained the canary yellow carpet.
Mom, I swear
I heard your blood vessel break
as I tossed and turned
one state over,
miles away from your sadness.
the night you died
was the first time I had insomnia.
My college roommates must have hated me
for trying to chase your ghost
from one edge of the bed to the other.
you were never one to go loudly into any good night
or bad argument,
so I’m sure
a whisper from whatever god you’d chosen
must have been a curious invitation.
you must have died
in a dream so glorious
you knew I couldn’t write a poem about it.
Mom, you were always
just a human being, but with your death,
you became a goddess on my altar,
a terrible reminder
that I was a 19 year-old mortal
who’s never known the cold wind
from a hole in her heart.
We walked my childhood together
not quite friends and never close to enemies,
but I find
that the further away I get
from the sound of your voice
the more I remember
falling asleep on your lap,
giving me hugs,
or painting your tiny toenails.
I wear your nail polish now –
Cherries In The Snow,
so far away from our skeletons
bleached by the Las Vegas summers.
Mom, you goddess,
your ashes remind me
that my heart is a golem
made of your memory,
a terrible beast decorated
with the double-helix scars of your DNA,
caged in love and unending life lines
from parallel universes.
you did not die
just to leave a stain on the carpet.
Your blood only dried to darkness
to mark where you finally had
that flying dream,
that your spirit finally had enough
of this world you’d occupied.
I hope you never whisper in my ear.
I do not want to know your secrets.
You have taught me to fear insomnia
more than the darkness it inhabits,
that I shall not fear dust
because we’ve both eaten from the earth
while on our knees
and in love with smell of blood.
I never called you mother
because you taught me
that you have to earn your growth
and the earth wanted you
before the seed was planted in me,
they say hell is the absence of god
but when you lose god
hell is a broken blood vessel
spilling and seeping into the canary yellow carpet.
When you’re reminded
that your goddess is gone
you are on your knees,
so close to the clay,
the smell of memory all over your hands,
urging you to hold hearts
and stop chasing ghosts
from one poem to the other.
you are in these words,
it is not your fault
I have made my heart
into this terrible beast,
caged so closely
you would only know it by the beats at my wrist.
did you stand over your body
before you decided to fly?
Tell me what freedom feels like
because I have never been without scars.
Insomnia is my inheritance now,
your voice is the kick that rarely hits
and I wonder
if you spirit
rushed into outer space
like a wave of dust,
diffusing light among the familiar faces
of the stars,
miles away from my sadness.
some nights I am still chasing your ghost
from one side of the bed to the other,
trying to force the atoms
back into your shape,
and these dreams are as blank
as the space between stars.
did not go loudly.
But I’m going to try.
This might be the one…
I used to love the water, you know.
You think I loved fish before,
but let me tell you something
about how a face looks
as it stares at you from the lake bottom,
as if waiting for you to revive him.
My cousin’s face is perfect surprise;
his hands sway in the water
as the death kicks in.
Déagol, cherished cousin,
he has my mother’s eyes,
that pale fishscale blue.
We are River-folk,
so when we fished on my birthday,
I was expecting presents
that could fill mines, or mountains,
my treasures that would make dragons jealous.
But Déagol stole the present I wanted.
When something is shown to you,
that even the mighty Eagles flee from it,
the thing feels like a gift,
bound in a bow of fire, forever.
It feels like you could live forever,
it feels like the fish
swim right into your belly,
filling it and filling it,
it feels like
you could command the world
in the blink of an eye.
There is a flash of fire
down in that water –
and how the fish dart around it
like stars in the night sky,
never noticing the beautiful
that must be kept.
And it must be kept.
And love is what draws the stars
to the ground.
Love is what draws our fingers,
our hands, our thumbs
to press voices into -
and then he falls
silent in the water.
And now he’s in the way
of my bait and my fish –
and the fish will not bite
unless I grab them first.
You see, fish flesh
melts in your mouth like magma food.
They squish and squirm
like worms in the dirt.
The fish are slippery, and fast,
and they dart around in the darkness
quicker than shooting stars, or fireworks.
There is a shine down there somewhere,
brighter than fish eyes
staring at me from the deep.
He won’t get it. It’s mine.
I dive into cold Autumn water
as my fishing rod goes overboard.
I will love this shine
until it becomes a part of me.
I will cover myself in this shine
so that the world reflects back on itself
and I am invisible
except for my screams of pleasure
that sound like dying,
I will –
I almost drown in the shafted light of the stinging water,
and my present shines like a polished sword,
cutting through the muck and mud.
I surface, almost screaming in watery delight.
I feel my fist aflame.
Where is the shore?
Where can I take this thing, this ring,
catch a brace of conies
and look at the fire inside the fire?
I must find the earth,
I must find a place amongst
the drought and the dust and the shade.
the softest bank of grass against my cheek.
Who watches me now?
Whisper the power to the bugs if you must,
to the tiniest fingers grasping for
I don’t need the boat.
I don’t need the river.
I don’t need my cousin’s hand
waving at me from the deep.
I will disappear into a family
of ghostly shadows.
I will become more.
I will become.
I’ve been having some issues with WordPress lately for this blog, and I’m not sure why. But I’m trying out a new plugin that’s supposed to crosspost to Facebook, so… is this thing on?
Hey blog, how are you? I haven’t really written in you – like for really real – in so long. Let’s try and fix that, yeah? Read more