i lament my lack of letters.
i miss writing with pens
on watermarked paper
i could read intentions
more easily then
in the slant of hand-
perceptible weights
light words floating
inkier phrases pinned down
like thunderclouds
and, at the last,
an obsidian kiss.
economy of phrase
never measured those days
as it seems to now
when four words may be
considered a princely sum.

happiness and writing

I touched upon this subject very briefly some time back and I find that it is haunting me again now. I am (shhh, don’t let anyone know) happy, and I have been for some time.

I have a fulfilling job, a wonderful dog, a happy home, a healthy family and a variety of interests and creative outlets. I am comfortable in my own skin; I know what I want and have a very firm handle on what I will and will not accept for myself.

And yet I feel that in order to keep writing with any sort of regularity I must revisit ghosts from my past and dredge up issues that really no longer haunt me. I am able to recall what I felt then and am able to reflect upon it in order to put words on paper, but it’s just like watching a movie I’ve already seen – the impact of remembering those events lessens each time I call upon them.

It seems possible that there will come a day on which I will stop writing. All the remembered sadness will have been used up and I will be content and relaxed – but I don’t yet know whether I look forward to this day or I dread it. For writing is now part of the definition of who I am…yet it seems infinitely more difficult to write about happiness than it does to write about the ache of a broken heart.

Is this why there are more songs about breakups than there are about happy relationships? Or are we just too busy when we’re happy to sit down and write?

excerpt from second novel

I went back to the second novel today (because, frankly, it deserved some attention) and thought I’d share just a small piece from one of the initial chapters.

“Events are made for distracting us from the emptiness that we are incapable of facing. Whenever the vastness of solitude increases to the point of perceptibility, a major life event comes along as if to save us from ourselves. Birth and the entry into adolescence do not count among these events as we have yet to develop the natural sense of discontent that festers within the soul of man; everything afterward is a distractor. Loneliness is the one question on the multiple choice test that we can’t help but stare at – wondering if we’ve chosen the correct answer but never being absolutely sure.”

The Age of Knowing

I randomly wrote the story below today, while I was trying to compose an email. The email recipient sure got more than they bargained for….


The Age of Knowing

Some time ago, in the years between the necessity of vinyl records and their transition to an elevated medium, a disillusioned princess relocated from her castle to the forest’s most humble dwelling. When she left, she took only what she could carry: a duffel of her warmest clothes (to ward off the winter’s chill), her most favorite books (to keep her company on lonely nights), her loyal pet fox Volpina (to make her feel less alone when the books weren’t working) and the memory of a million songs. There were people who thought the princess was spoiled and left because she hadn’t gotten her way; she was an only child, after all, and if people couldn’t see her as selfish they didn’t know how to place her. Nobody knew the secrets that the princess held in her heart. Nobody had ever known them. The songs that she used to sing had closed their wings inside her chest and embedded themselves in her ribcage; they were stuck inside and she didn’t know how to free them.

She had tried, for some time, to liberate the songs. She’d stand under waterfalls in caves of the brightest acoustics and she would open her mouth only to choke on the words. She’d suck the water into her lungs and cough on the cave floor, drained and exhausted with her efforts. After a number of attempts, she had decided that the songs would just have to remain where they were, hidden and fluttering under the skin of her obedience. Every once in a great while, she would be reminded of their existence with a sharp pain in her left shoulder; the songs were kicking at her heart.

On the morning that she escaped from the castle, she had awoken to the palpitations of her songs flapping in rhythm. That which she had previously experienced as pain now manifested itself as strength of the highest magnitude. The beating of wings resuscitated her, pushed their energy windfall into her consciousness, and excoriated the layer of apathy that had accumulated inside her over the years. She threw socks into pockets and pages into socks and she ran, hard and fast.

The forest was quiet, and cool. She made her home in a glade that was ringed by birches and leaves of fire. She had no waterfall, no food, no bed – but as she crossed her legs and sat in the circle of papery white trunks she felt free. And the songs came out in a rush to populate the autumn sky with their brilliant crescendos; they hung, trembling, from the nearby branches. The princess curled up in a pile of orange and crimson, Volpina by her side for warmth, and she watched the songs perched in the trees and they in turn kept watch over her. Always.