Hibernate

I know the numb bliss
of ice gripping mountain tops
and wind licking lichened rocks.
I know the hairs that rise on skin
like spring on a cloak of snow — I’ve been
to spring before, you know.
But it was so very long ago.

I know the numb kiss
of sleep before a winter’s plight;
somehow I’ve made it all these nights
even as my veins turn to stone.
The chambers of my heart groan
as glaciers crashing in my chest,
but I don’t remember the rest.

I will surely miss
the scent of summer’s thighs
back when I sat in sunrise,
but she complained of my weight
and now I’m forced to hibernate.
Hush has fallen white and dumb;
and I am blissfully numb.

© 2016 Stellular Scribe

ugly meanings in beautiful things

in love
I begin by deceiving myself
in romance
I end by relieving myself
of scars that streak red
across waxen faces
of lines that sag cruelly
against youth’s graces

in love
I begin by deceiving myself
in romance
I end with perceiving myself
as sallow with
the age of my sins
but only upon
my painted on skin

in romance
I am older
than my friends
older than
any end
that in striving for
becomes what I am dying for —

but my face is clean
clean of the sin that boils
my heart
clean of the pride
that spoils each part of me

that could be redeemed

in love
with myself

© 2016 Stellular Scribe

Music Mondays: Part XV

From the moody to the broody to the downright angsty, writing can come with a lot of er…darker moments. So what better way to fuel your somber tragedies than to listen to some equally somber playlists?


Ah, the apocalypse. Ash. Dust. Wandering around wastelands. Trying to build a civilization from the ground up takes a good deal of sweat, blood, and wayward emotions, and this gem of a playlist will be your righthand man the day after the end of the world.


So you think the apocalypse is bad? Ha. Ha. Ahaha. Try hell. With this playlist, the most dire fates of your most devious characters will be made fiery, fierce, and undeniably excruciating.


Happy writing!:)

 

 

Highfeather — an excerpt from my novel

I’ve never actually shared an excerpt from my novel before. It’s a little baffling to think; two years of blogging and the most I’ve ever posted about my biggest work have been angsty poems and passing mentions in writing tips.

Ah, I love the stench of first drafts in the morning. Without further ado, I present to you, in all of its unedited glory and with absolutely no context whatsoever, an excerpt from my novel.


Aleron remembered Mage saying how Highfeather looked as if it passed judgement on each traveller who crossed in its shadow. As the tower loomed high and blazing over him, he sensed its stony stare, felt it threaten to topple over and crush him for all he was.

Still ablaze. Still burning, but never fallen.

The fire crackled from the peak of the keep tower, casting the stonework of the walls in pulsing, red heat.

And that is where I must go, he thought.

It must’ve been raw instinct that rolled his joints and moved his limbs. He was mechanical in his dismounting of Dusk, systematic as he secured her behind a boulder and hitched his satchel over his shoulder. One foot met its mark on the ground in front of the other, and he carried himself to the fort.

The cold spot he had rode through left his mind numb, but as he passed under the entrance of the curtain wall he could feel the heat of the tower radiating on his skin. He was tired, so very tired, and the warmth only kneaded the worries in his brain, only made him long for sleep and forgetfulness.

He crossed an empty and overgrown bailey. In the night, the shadows cast across the yard by the fire were made long and lanky, like great arms stretching across the earth. The effect was nothing short of mystifying, but he was struck from his contemplation when a fist of thunder pounded the sky.

Up the tower, relay the spell, gather and feast, he thought.

The door that led into the main keep must’ve burned up three years ago, because all that was left was a pile of warped iron. Aleron stepped over the heap to pass under the threshold, and then he was swallowed by darkness.



He became aware of each hitching breath in his chest, and in the still black of the keep, he felt like the only living thing in the world. At first, all was silent and obscured by shadows, but then he heard something soft and fragile, like wind singing through glass. He stumbled through the dark after the sound until he saw a warm glow emitting past a crumbling wall.

He ran for the light, because he didn’t like the restlessness that set into his legs when he stood still for too long. He felt that if he were to keep to one place, then the specters from the smoke would leak into the tower after him. It was like a thousand ghosts were watching him, and he had to keep moving lest they seep into his mind.

He turned around the wall and found himself looking up a spiraling stairwell. The stone trembled in firelight, the source of which lay beyond his line of sight. But the thin music still whistled in his ears, high and begging him to hear more.

He climbed.

He climbed after the light, the warmth, the song. He climbed wondering if he was doing the right thing. He scaled the uneven steps, and he could hear everyone he ever loved warning him, fearing for him, anticipating his movements.

Be watchful, Aleron. Even I forget it sometimes, but you are still a boy.

I’m afraid of what you mean to me, Aleron. Because you’re a bird. And I’m a worm. And birds pluck worms from the dirt.

You brought me to Ferric so that I could change things. But I am in here, and you, whether you like it or not, have more power than all of us.

I’m afraid that you’ll drop off the map altogether.

Your enemy is whatever’s out there twisting people into Wraiths, making people suffer.

Run!

And then he was sprinting, tearing up the stairs, his heart leaping into his throat. And the sound, that spindly song was growing louder and shriller, and he ran with his blood coursing under his skin, threatening to shatter his veins. And he ran with his world, his only chance, clattering against his back, and ghosts were chasing after him, and heat building around him. And he hurt.

He breached the stairs and staggered onto the roof. The grating music pinched off into silence, but the heat from the rising fire engulfed him. The surrounding pinnacles stood ablaze, and the smoke was so thick that he could not see the stars.

The Three can’t save me now, he thought.


© 2016 Stellular Scribe

An Uneventful Paradox

This is a question.
I am a liar.
Did you catch on yet?

‘This is a question’
is not a question.
‘I am a liar,’
but a liar never admits.
‘Did you catch on yet?’
is the only intention.
Even my own words
fail to commit.

Is this a statement?
I don’t tell the truth.
Aren’t you listening?
F*ck being uncouth.
Why do we censor?
There’s nothing to hide for.
Is this a paradox?
No, I’m just a liar.

© 2016 Stellular Scribe

Grown-Up — a quartet of haikus

A daubed memory:
a singular tin soldier
stands guard in the rain.

A stained memory:
battles wage with wooden swords
in an oak’s shadow.

A scrubbed memory:
a voice sings through lightning bugs,
it’s time for dinner!

A lost memory:
weapons resign in the grass;
the foe dissipates.

© 2016 Stellular Scribe

Should Great Writers Steal?

You’ve probably heard the famous quote “good artists borrow, great artists steal” (commonly attributed to Pablo Picasso, but most likely originating from T.S. Eliot).

Before you sound the alarms, there is a world of difference between creatively copying and blatantly plagiarizing. Plagiarism, at least in the context of writing, is the act of taking another person’s work, word-for-word, and passing it off as one’s own. It is never acceptable, excusable, or, in the simplest of terms, ok.

What I like to call “creatively copying” would probably make more sense if I used the analogy of walking down an art museum hallway. You’re surrounded on all sides by splendidly crafted paintings of every era, of every classical artist. Clearly, these are all masterpieces. Then, just as you think you’ve seen it all, something catches your eye, something that stands out from the rest. For you, it might be the extraordinary pointillism in Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte or that singular, swirling gold moon in Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night.

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You find an element that speaks to you, and from there are inspired to create your own pointillistic piece or painting themed around that luminous, eternal moon.

I believe that the same principle applies to writing.

For example, I first read George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones three years ago. As I read, I kept coming across small, striking descriptions that arrested me with how vividly they popped off the page into my mental image of the story. Every time I found one of these extraordinary wordings I would dog-ear the page, and by the time I got to the middle of the book I realized that there were just too many gems to continue damaging the paper. So I started to write them down.

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This is just a small sample from my collection of descriptions.

What did I do with these phrases? Many remained untouched, isolated from their original sentences in the crumpled pages of my notebook. But I always kept them in the back of my mind, and as I was writing my novel I would suddenly remember the perfect pair of words for the perfect situation. I wouldn’t copy them directly, of course. “A reptile stare” became “a reptilian glare.” “Pale moon face” became “sunken, moon-shaped cheeks.” “Frog-faced” became “frog-like lips.”

I used the same technique for the rest of The Song of Ice and Fire series, and for many other books that stuck with me: Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind, Nicola Griffith’s Hild. They were just bite-sized, beautiful phrases, but one by one, they helped me to learn to look for remarkable qualities in simple descriptions.

I’m a firm believer that great writers must be great readers. And, by nature, a writer who reads is a writer who steals.

© 2016 Stellular Scribe