A new light

So I’m streaming my writing sessions on twitch now. I couldn’t find a text editor that looked pretty enough, so I’m using Sonic Pi for now. That way, I can also make a little music for my sessions in addition to the visual bells and whistles.

It’s a pretty interesting experience, having folks watching me right poetry on the screen. My first two sessions were poetry writing based on prompts I came up before going live. I like that, but I think I prefer writing poetry in private, so I feel capable of being more honest, then sharing it. So, what I’m going to do is probably write and edit short stories in my live stream. Since I’m working on a collection of short stories for 2019, I think that will go well. I’ve already got a lot of them started, so I also won’t need writing prompts.

There’s another reason I changed the content for my stream, though. The little experiment I was doing with what I like to call “micro dreams” is kind of rough. I believe I wrote about my goal on this blog before, but I’ll recap, just to do it.

If you’ve read either of my poetry books, or some of the stuff I’ve posted here, you know my writing can get just about as honest as it gets. After my second collection, I felt kind of burnt on that style of writing. My source of inspiration felt tapped. I’d just finished watching Twin Peaks: The Return at the time, and was really inspired by the over-arching theme of dreams. I thought it would be neat to do a poetry collection each page would tell a brief story, or inspire a specific mood. Not super complex poems, but ones that could still be meditated on a bit.

For example, I’d write a poem about driving through the desert at night with a girl in the passenger seat. Her eyes light up the road, so you turn off the headlights. She closes her eyes tight right before a hard turn and you can’t see, sending the car flying off the road.

It’s is a fun exercise in something I didn’t normally do. I think a lot of the poetry that is going into my next collection is some of the best I’ve written. It’s definitely new territory, though, and it takes more thought. A lot more imagination, since my previous style of writing about myself didn’t really require much.

So, the stream. I’ve got the start do dozens of stories that I’ll be working on live. I’ve also got another novel that I may throw into the mix. Either way, I really think I’m going to enjoy this experience. A few other folks stream writing sessions on Twitch, but they’re fairly regular writing sessions. Since I tried to spice mine up a bit, I feel like I’ve got a tiny edge. It’s a late night session (for me), there’s chill music that I program and change throughout the session, and my pink, embedded cam feed fits well with the aesthetic of Sonic Pi. It’s good. I’m trying to make it very interactive, so people can participate in prompts and edits, or whatever. I feel good about it, and I think it’s a tiny bit of the future of writing. There’s much more to come as I stream more and more.

As of right now, I’ll be live at 9 pm MST, Tuesday through Thursday, for an hour or so. My channel, if you’re interested in checking it out, is https://twitch.tv/amlangston.


Thanks for reading. If you check out my stream, make sure to say “hi”!


Lessons Come

My first novel is in the hands of beta readers now. I edited it, handed it off to my editor, then fixed the millions of things she found. I learned so much from that process! Everything I’m doing now is so exciting. It’s all so new to me.

The first thing I learned is that my grammar was sub-par. Well, most of those mistakes are fixed now for my future work. I won’t mention specific mistakes, but they were pretty stupid. Next, having someone who really enjoys reading and talking about your art specifically is amazing. That’s the most priceless part of the entire editing process.

Ok, so lot’s of you probably know all this already, but this was my first novel. Poetry is different to me because I see it in the same way that I see improvised music. When I’m playing bass or guitar, I’m going with the flow. There’s no going back. That’s the same way I see poetry. Actually, I’m going to start streaming my poetry sessions on Twitch pretty soon. I want folks to see how magical it is. It didn’t hit me, how cool my poetry jams could be, until one of my youtube stream viewers made a comment like “Man, you’re just sitting there pumping out writing on the fly.”

To me, that’s what poetry writing has always been. Novel writing is brand new territory. Before 2017, I’d never written anything longer than ten thousand words. Last year, I wrote two novels, both over fifty thousand. I also started another that’s just under twenty thousand at the moment. Crazy!

I’m not trying to make this one of those posts where I’m talking about all the junk I’ve done and what’s coming up (Falderal will be out April 20!). What I’m saying is, to me, these projects were enormous! It’s all still super new to me.

The excitement is real. The learning is real. I’ll probably post something more specific about all this in the future, but right now I don’t know when. Now that my second novel is about to be i nthe hands of my editor, I’ve got to finish number three.

Thanks for reading!

It’s Been a While

Hey, folks. I’ve been quiet for a long time, but I’m back. It’s been a long, dry winter here in Albuquerque. It’s finally starting to warm up and it’s time for me to post another update on stuff. 2018! We made it!

First things first, I got the first edit of my novel back from my editor, Ruth. She was super helpful. “Falderal” is looking great. In fact, I’m just about done making all of the necessary changes. It’s getting close to time to publish, and I’m super stoked!

It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned this one, so I’ll write up a short refresher:

Bert is a construction worker from El Paso. After a hard hit to the head one day on the job, he’s left unable to understand anything anyone says, even himself. His friends, thinking he’s dying, decide to take Bert on one last road trip. It starts as a goofy adventure, but quickly becomes a string of one dark, surreal disaster after another all across the western U.S.

I’m also excited to announce that it will be available as an ebook and paperback on April 20th! Other than “Falderal”, I’m looking at publishing one more novel for 2018, and another poetry collection. It’s going to be a great year full of reading, writing, and everything in between. I really hope you enjoy my work as it comes out.

After those three books, there’s even more to come, so stay tuned!

More Progress!

I’ve been lucky enough so far this month to be able to keep up with my goal of 2,000 words a day. I’ll be hitting 36k tonight. In my opinion, the story’s going great. It’s still hard for me to believe I started this project with a single line in my head. Anyway, Chapter Eight is pretty short. Right now, it’s about six pages. I figure it’s a nice little tidbit that helps tie the room together, so here you go. Enjoy!


“What is that, bubble gum?” Carl asked.
“Coconut. Is your nose broken?” Bill replied.
“It smells like bubble gum. I can’t help it if none of the assholes in the air freshener factory have ever smelled a coconut before. I’d buy them all a trip to Hawaii if I could.”
“Florida has coconuts.”
“It’s closer. It’d be cheaper to send them there.”
“I don’t give a shit where it would be cheap to send them. That’s not the point.”
“No, I’m just saying Florida is still tropical, and it’s closer than Hawaii. It makes more sense.”
“Do you hear what you’re saying? Ah, fuck. Whatever. Bill, give me the diary.”
Bill pulled the writer’s diary out of the glove box and handed it to Carl. Carl picked out the loose-leaf pages and handed them back to Bill. When they stopped at a red light, Carl opened the diary and flipped to a random page.
“God, this guy whined. He was like a little kid, you know that?”
“I know. I read a little of it yesterday. He goes on and on every day about missing his daddy or his sister.”
“Yeah, it’s like, dude, go for a frickin drive. See um already.”
“Why did you say the old guy next door had this?”
“I don’t know. I bet stole it from the house. It was empty for the whole winter.” Carl said. He sneezed into a tissue, then blew his nose into it.
“Carl, if you’re that sick, I’m not sitting in this car for another three days with you. Screw that. I don’t want to be sick right at the start of the weekend.”
“It’s allergies, Bill.”
“How do you know?”
Carl threw the tissue into a plastic bag that he kept looped around his shift knob for trash. He wiped his nose again, this time with his sleeve. Bill opened his window and turned his head towards it, afraid Carl was wrong, and he would get sick breathing the air in the car. The pair were driving back to their office outside of Boston. A few days earlier, they’d received a call from someone saying Francisco had the writer’s diary. Whoever it was, knew they were working on the sequel to their book on Radwin Ali. They were doing their best to turn the house into legend. As they were rummaging through Francisco’s drawers, they saw his stone carving gear. Bill walked around to the back of the kitchen to take get a better look at the sculpture when he saw it through a window that was further away. He shouted to Carl, telling him what he’d found.
“Good. Maybe the bastard will buy the house next door to keep other folks from moving in. If we’re lucky, he’ll die in that house instead of his own. Imagine if that happened. We’d be famous for all this crazy ass non-fiction.”
“I guess we would. I don’t want anyone else dying, though.”
“Bill, he shot a gun into the air to scare us off last time we were here. You better bet at least one of us is dying if he finds us here now.”
“Got it!” Bill shouted. He’d found the diary in the drawer at the end of the kitchen counter.
Carl dashed over. He ripped the diary out of Bill’s hands and rifled through it.
“Shit. This is it. Everything we need to do the next book is right here.”
“Man, it’s going to be nice not to have to stay in this hell hole interviewing grumpy folks again.”
“That’s for sure.”
The two ran out towards their car, parked on the opposite side of the film students’ house. When they were about to pass the front steps of the porch, Bill stopped and ran up them. He put his hands up against the glass of the front door and peered in to see if he could see anything obviously useful. Carl continued to their car, hopping in and starting it. He starred at the wall of the house where Radwin Ali had crashed his car. It was incredible, a miracle that there was no damage. The first few feet of the house above the ground were concrete, but it wasn’t unusually thick. The turquoise paint on the siding above the concrete was chipping. Underneath was a nasty dark gray that must have been the old color of the whole house. How did that car not plow through the wall? Carl wondered.
Bill came running around the corner and slid into the passenger seat. He popped the glove box open and tossed the diary into it, then slammed it shut again. They drove off down the dirt road, going the opposite direction of the town. Neither of them wanted to run in to Francisco. Unfortunately, it meant adding another couple hours to their trip. Because it was early, they decided to stay in the town to the north instead of driving straight home. On the drive to the town, Bill noticed that the scent coming into the car from outside was stronger than the pine scented air freshener hanging from the rear-view mirror. When they put up the windows as it got colder, he noticed the pine scent left completely. That afternoon, as they were walking around town looking for food, Bill bought a new air freshener. It was a brown, two-dimensional tree that was supposed to smell like coconut.
“So, if this Christopher Lawson guy didn’t get shot by his ex-wife, you think he would have still killed himself?” Bill asked, watching Carl thumb through the book.
“It’s hard to say. I had a friend in college who committed suicide. That guy was normal as hell. You never know what’s going through people’s heads.”
“Oh, yeah. He could have moved out to this quiet little town with it on his mind. Maybe he was so nice because he was a little coo-coo.”
“You’re saying you’re not crazy, Bill?”
“I’m not crazy. Plus, if being nice makes you crazy, you’re not crazy.”
“Ha! Got me there.” Carl said. The light turned green and he dropped the diary between his seat and the center console.
Bill lit a cigarette. He rolled his window down a few inches. The smoke from the cigarette between his fingers was sucked right out of the car. Carl wanted a cigarette as soon as he smelled Bills. He lit one and rolled down his window.
Carl and Bill had been working together for five years when they started writing the book about Radwin Ali. They met on a collaboration project between two papers. When they finished the project, they talked about how well they worked together over a few beers. Then and there, a little drunk, they decided to go into business together. Coincidentally, they both dreamed of being non-fiction writers when they were young boys. It was something that always intrigued them. Their fathers encouraged them because, the way they understood it, they thought the boys were interested in becoming journalists. In reality, Bill and Carl dreamed of working on a project similar to Capote’s, “In Cold Blood” or Bugliosi’s, “Helter Skelter”. Four years of freelance writing later, Radwin Ali ran his oversized convertible into the side of his house. Carl and Bill’s days of eating rice and beans for every meal were over.
When wind of the writer’s death got to Massachusetts, they hit up all their sources for weeks trying to find out more. When the anonymous phone call came in, they’d given up trying to get enough information about the writer to put together a book about him. That call solidified their reputation as a non-fiction powerhouse. Years later, they’d go on to build one of the largest true-crime publishing companies of their time. The company, Secret Entrance, would go public fifteen years later. Bill would die of a heart attack before seeing any profit from the initial public offering. His first would weaken him, his second would finish the job. Carl was to ride the crest of the wave until the bitter end, when traditional publishing companies were slaughtered by their electronic counterparts. After that, when Carl finally died in his sleep, of natural causes, he wouldn’t be living in poverty, but he wouldn’t get the plot under the willow that he really wanted.

NaNoWriMo Progress

It’s been a long weekend of not getting as much work done as I should have, but that’s alright. I still got enough done to be on track for finishing my second novel this month. Enough talk about what may or may not be, though. Here’s a bit about some paintings:

The Russian writer wore a gorgeous purple robe. The feather on his pen came from a magnificent peacock, which had been owned by his king. His robe was a gift from a lady who believed he was the best writer that had ever lived. She’d only read half of his second book. It was the book everyone talked about when his work first became popular.
There were two scars on his face, one on his chin and one on his right cheek. His right eye had a squint to it, believed to be caused by the same injury as the scar on his cheek. He was balding, but not completely without hair. His teeth were yellow, except for a few at the front of his mouth.
The book he was writing in was thick. It was believed that he wrote about topics no man had contemplated prior to his writing. While his peers discussed Christianity and the Orthodox religion, he wrote about his love for a druid’s daughter. She lived in a far off, warmer land that he would only be able to visit once every decade. If he wanted to see her more often than that, he would have to abandon his wife and children. He loved his family, though, and chose to visit his druidic love as little as possible. It was his effort to keep them together.
The druid woman spoke no language his companions recognized. She chose to abide by the practices of her culture, and its religion. Once a decade, when he visited, she abandoned her family’s traditions to provide her body for the use of the Russian writer, as he saw fit.
“The shape of your body matches the rolling planes of your homeland.” he told her, knowing she wouldn’t understand.
It may have been that he loved her because the women in her community lived their lives unclothed, as the men did, and she had the most alluring physique. The writer speculated that it was a ray of sun shone down from the sky upon her by God himself, that highlighted her spiritual goodness. To truly save her from the hell she was destined to as a pagan, they were required to copulate.
She was caught in a field between her home land’s rolling planes by Radwin Ali’s mind. He saw her there, nude and hurting for her writer. Her ear held a small, beautiful flower, that had been given to her by a suitor. That is where he painted her. In a way, the druid was his mother. To him, she represented the ideal woman: strong and understanding, with unhindered sexualily.
“What is it you want with me?” she asked him when the painting was complete.
“Nothing now. You are done. I will leave you in a sleeve to be sold for a fantastic amount of money, then some drunk businessman will ejaculate starring into your eyes.”
Radwin Ali was a curious man, both in his interest in the world, and others’ interest in him. Before he was famous, he painted in a single bedroom apartment in Rochester, New York. He survived off the occasional garbage plate, ordered in the middle of the night while college students were recovering from their nights of partying. Radwin Ali was not much of a socialite at that time. His dream was to be seen as the world’s greatest living shut in painter. If he ever bought a house, he wanted to fill it with hundreds of painting that wouldn’t see the light of day for ten years. He planned to then flood the market with his work, once it was worth enough. After he accomplished that, he wanted a famous independent director to make a film about his life. These were all things he wanted before he died.
Instead of moving to the country, he’d originally planned on buying a loft in the center of New York City. A feud he started with a famous gallery owner left him unable to find either a loft to live in or a studio to work in. Radwin Ali quickly learned to be more pleasant to others, even though he didn’t appreciate them. He had an epiphany one night, while having sex with his girlfriend on the roof of their apartment building. The people who would first spread word of his work and those he met in the city at that point were the same. Cultivation of their support needed to happen as soon as he met them.
The strange thing about Radwin Ali was that no one remembers what happened between the time when he was a starving artist trying to make it in the big city, and when his paintings were appeared in galleries across the globe. It seemed to be an instantaneous transition. In interviews, his friends would say that they knew him when he and his girlfriend at the time were poor. They would say they loved her, and it was her fault that he became so well known. At the same time, no one could pinpoint the one event that sky-rocketed him to the top. Because his girlfriend eventually ended up hating even the mention of his name, she wouldn’t tell anyone what had happened to trigger his rise.
Even when he became rich and powerful in the art world, Radwin Ali still had trouble finding a good studio to work in. The feud from his younger years haunted him in one way or another for the rest of his life. Instead of trying to repair the damage he’d caused in the city, he decided to take his city out to the countryside. He bought a car, had a truck packed full of everything he owned, and moved to a small town in Wisconsin. It was a few short months before he moved out of the Midwest, back to the area he’d grown up in. Being too far from New York City was very difficult for him. Something was calling him back to the east coast.
Radwin Ali spent months travelling the north east in search of a new place to call home. During that time, he painted on smaller canvases that were easier to carry from place to place. He completed his most famous painting while on the road. The work was titled “Procession”. It was a picture of a dirt road, splitting a corn field. The road led to an enormous factory building that had been shut down. A handful of children were chasing tin cans that the wind was blowing down the road. The painting was a summary of the feelings Radwin Ali had and the sights that he’d seen exploring the Midwest. It became part of his series of smaller paintings, titled “Moving Still Images”. The series as a whole was labeled as mediocre by critics, save for the “Procession”. No one who was anyone wanted to see the representation of the bleak midwestern American states, they said. Art museums strewn about the midwest were quick to pick up a painting or two. They were the most affordable Radwin Ali’s, and boosted their number of visitors for a good amount of time.
It was while he was working on the last painting in the series that he found the house next to Thomas and Francisco. The entire town was tucked away in the back corners of a beautiful forest. That forest hid it so well, that Radwin Ali drove past the town a dozen times before noticing the road to it went somewhere. He became enchanted with the place at once. First, he’d realized that it was closer to an airport than any of the other towns he’d visited. That would make for an easy escape back to the city. Next, everything on the main street running through the town seemed like it belonged in a different part of the country. The New Orleans café, an exotic pet store next to the antique store, and cevicheria across the street, which was only open in the summer. Moving into that house lifted a massive weight from his shoulders. It gave him the space and solitude to paint non-stop.
Every Sunday in the early summer, Radwin Ali had a bottle of wine and ceviche. After his meal, he would walk to the café for a café au lait and a small plate of begniets. Once the number of guests attending his parties rose enough, he was not seen in town. Someone who’d stayed at his house the night before would come pick up his food for him. Usually, this person would arrive at the cevicheria with a headache and sour stomach. After the third time, the chef started including coconut water in the paper bag along with Radwin Ali’s choice of dishes.

NaNoWriMo Starts!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve been busy trying to get my first novel done before November so I can participate in NaNoWriMo. Yesterday, I completed the first draft of my first novel just in time. Now, I’m working on my second novel. It’s basically a story about a man who lives next to a house where lots of artists die. Anyway, I know it’s only day one, but I’m right on track to meet my goal of sixty-thousand words at 2k done today. I didn’t want to post everything, but here’s some of what I’ve written so far:

As often as he could, Francisco sat on the porch smoking a cigar. He found the most time to smoke in the early morning. Gurkhas and Liga Privadas were the only cigars he smoked. Francisco’s husband, Thomas, would sit with him at times, but only after noon. Francisco enjoyed the cool, East-coast breezes that swept through just after sunrise. Nine months out of the year, Thomas was uncomfortable. After so many decades of forcing himself to sit in the wind, he decided stopped. His opinion was that there were better ways for him to spend time with his husband.

                Francisco agreed with Thomas that there were better ways for the pair to enjoy their days together. For many long years, they worked together at the small grocery store that they owned in town. The only store around for miles, it was a very successful business venture. Now, they were old, though. A young man, Xavier, worked there for the majority of the time Thomas and Francisco did. Xavier ended up investing some of his pay in the store. He became part owner and took over the entire operation when Francisco retired. Thomas worked the counter for a handful of years after his husband lost interest in it. Eventually, he decided it would be best for his health if he didn’t stand still at the cash register all day.

                Thomas and Francisco both loved spending time in their home. It was a large plot of land. There were so many trees that their gardener, Maggie, always said the forest would swallow the whole property one day. Thomas designed the house himself, with a bit of aid from an architect he attended university with. The couple’s dinner guests would regularly get lost on their way from the living room to the dining room. After several complaints, Francisco hung cleverly placed paintings that helped to point out the path. One of them was of a Russian writer with a stern expression, holding a quill pen in his outstretched arm. Another, a ballet dancer dancing with a swan, both facing the direction of the dining room door.

                A massive porch wrapped around the entire house. Chairs sat around every corner. If Francisco wanted to sit in the sun in the winter, there was a chair. When he felt like overlooking the small pond next to the house, he could. Thomas preferred the front of the house, but rarely sat outside alone. In the early days, men would come to their house to threaten them. Many a pick-up truck sped by, tossing road kill at the couple as Thomas drank tea and Francisco smoked. The tranquility of the New England air was always interrupted by those frightening memories. Not long after the third Racoon landed on their steps, Thomas bought a shotgun.

                Neither of them ever had to shoot the shotgun at anyone. They each took it out once, behind their house. Thomas shot a pumpkin and Francisco didn’t hit anything. Word must have got out about their purchase, according to Francisco, because once they had the gun, the taunts only came from teenage boys. The boys would end up coming into their store a few days later to apologize. Xavier often remarked on how funny it was that the grown men, who likely owned guns as well, were so afraid of the cheap, wooden twelve-gauge. Francisco would argue, saying it was intimidating. He would say that grown men know the difference between a toy and a gun, but boys do not. There were a few good years, after purchasing the gun, that neither Thomas, nor Francisco, had anything to worry about. Then, all of the sudden, their quiet life became full of hissing static.

                Their neighbor, known to them only as Joe, lived in his house since the end of World War Two. His wife died the year before Thomas and Francisco moved to town. For the entire time that they lived next to one another, Joe neither caused nor reported any problems. Not a sound came from his windows. After a while, he could be heard yelping in pain while working on some project in his garage. That phase only lasted a few months. He’d lost the hearing in one ear while fighting the Germans. Had a nasty scar all the way across his back. His wife, Ethel, was pampered for the rest of her life after they wed. After she died, Joe was only seen outside working in his yard. There was a beautiful garden that grew thanks to his efforts. Thomas and Francisco regularly found baskets of vegetables outside their front door. Anything that would grow, including things that weren’t supposed to grow that far north, Joe would share with them.

                Eight years after Ethel died, Joe joined her in the afterlife. There was a large estate sale, where Francisco found an Italian tobacco pipe and a box of beautiful cigars. Shortly after Joe’s death, a new neighbor moved in. This man was an artist. He painted large pictures that people liked looking at. Thomas and Francisco spoke with Maggie in depth about how they didn’t understand why people liked looking at his paintings so much. They didn’t understand why he was driving an expensive convertible, having never worked a regular job. The first time they met, he introduced himself as Radwin Ali. He gifted the couple the painting of the Russian writer. Francisco hung it outside of the living room because it was the place that bothered Thomas the most.

                “Do you really have to hang that ugly man on the most looked at wall in our house? This isn’t what I pictured seeing every time I lead our guests to the back of the house.”

                “Thomas, it looks perfect in this light. There’s nowhere else in the whole house that this would look good. I know it’s dreadful, but it belongs right here.”

                Francisco didn’t believe at all that the painting belonged on the wall where he hung it. He thought it was a good way to tease Thomas for years to come.

                Radwin Ali invited the two of them to his house warming party, but they declined. He’d left the note in the same spot that Joe would leave his baskets of vegetables. Seeing the paint smeared envelope on the porch brought back a group of emotions that Francisco, who found it, didn’t want to feel.

                The party was loud. In one form or another, it seemed to go on for a month. After it ended, another party took its place. Whether it was day or night, Radwin Ali kept a constant stream of visitors. The guests were all enamored by the isolation and colorful nature of the area. None of them failed to express their awe. A car would pull up next to one of the dozen others in Radwin Ali’s driveway, then someone would let out a horrible shriek. Overnight guests of Thomas and Francisco were regularly awakened at odd hours by the screams. Their shock would subside when Radwin Ali shouted back.

                “I know. Isn’t it extravagant?”

                Things got to the point where if Thomas didn’t warn their guests of the disturbing activity, Francisco would. it became a strange habit that neither of them enjoyed forming. Many of their guests would announce that they’d changed their minds about staying the night upon hearing the warning. The couple became jealous that Radwin Ali could have all the guests in the world, and they could have none.

When he died, a torturous social weight was lifted from their shoulders. Thomas said he felt bad about how he reacted afterwards. Francisco called him a liar. Truthfully, they were both relieved that they were able to resume normal life. They began having their own guests over again. Those guests would stay the night. For years, no one asked about Radwin Ali’s death. It was a summer night, while the group was drinking a variety of Malbecs, that someone finally asked about it. Francisco was reluctant at first, but told the story as his friend persisted.

“Radwin Ali drove a fast car. It was a convertible. It was blue, with a tan top. He never took it to a mechanic. Obviously, he didn’t know how to work on it himself. The thing had a simple problem. Looked to me like the connector between the alternator and the headlights, or something of that nature. Every so often, his headlights would go dark.

When he drank at those infernal celebrations, he liked to take girls out for a drive. He’d go up and down the dirt road here to the east. I don’t think he lived here long enough to learn them well, because he’d ran his car into a ditch once before.

He took two girls out in his car one night and sped up and down the road, through the fields out there. I saw his headlights go out when they were still far away. Thomas says he thinks Radwin Ali lost track of where he was. I feel bad saying it, but it is kind of ironic, in a way. The man was famous for his paintings. That one you saw of the man with the pen in the hall on your way back here, he gave that to us. Anyway, he had the house painted white when he moved in. When he crashed that convertible into it, he and those poor girls were splattered all over the wall. We still can’t figure out how he didn’t go through the whole damn house, going that fast.”

“He had a lead foot, that’s for sure.” Thomas commented.

The dinner guests were so amazed by the story that they brought others to the house hear it. They’d tell Thomas and Francisco that they tried telling it, but didn’t do the tale justice. Neither of the men told anyone about the frantic pandemonium that had gone on.

The Invisible Flame

I’m standing at an alter in a dank, shadow filled church. The alter is off to the side, in an especially tucked away corner. There are a few candles sitting on the dusty white cloth draped across it. Only about half of the candles are lit and it seems like they’re going out one by one. Those candles are my goals and dreams. The alter is hidden away, far off to the side where no one walks anymore, that’s my spirit. As time goes on, my adult mind picks out certain flames to suffocate. There is a candle near the back that burns low and dim, but hasn’t been put out, yet. It’s my dream of being accepted as an artist. Not becoming famous or rich as one, but being able to really call myself a writer. To have regular readers, have people enjoy my work, and to be able to dedicate as much time and effort as I need to in order to feel justified in calling myself one.

I’ve made what I consider to be a lot of progress in a very short time as a self-published author. A handful of folks have bought and read my poetry, which I wasn’t expecting. Someone once recited a line from a specific poem back to me. That was like being taken briefly into another dimension. Everything’s been moving so fast that I need to remind myself once in a while that I haven’t even been working on this for a year, yet. When I really started writing again, almost, but not quite a year ago, I hadn’t even considered publishing my work. The thought was something I’d always toyed with, but it always seemed so out of reach. One of the things that I learned about art while making music in a past life was that it is a participatory sport. It requires interaction from other people for it to matter. When we’re younger, we suffer delusions of grandeur. Some of us still do, obviously, but not to the extent we do while inexperienced. This isn’t something that I want to write about, though. It is hard to walk the line of writing your unique perspective on an aspect of life and parroting what’s already been said. I’m trying my best not to do the latter, so I am working to avoid the first.

People sometimes put artists on a pedestal. Some artists try to convince others that the urge to create is somehow painful. They want you to think that, because you don’t quite understand the feeling completely, it hurst them. It’s a bunch of bull shit. It’s a sham. I struggle. You struggle. We all struggle. A lot of people suffer a lot more than I do. I’m not going to try to pull a shade over anyone’s eyes saying I’m more in touch with my emotions than someone else just because I feel the need to create. That little candle of mine, it’s totally, utterly self indulgent. Releasing art into the world to be (justifiably) ignored by the masses, that’s not suffering. It’s the absence of feeling. Emptiness. It’s as though there is a flame, but it emits
no heat or light.

Anyway, I felt like I had to express this, but I also feel like I haven’t thought about it enough to organize my ideas well. When I put out my works, there’s the satisfaction of completion. Hand in hand with that satisfaction is the feeling of letting something go to fly off into the sunset, only to have it plop right down on the ground in front of you. I’ll be lying to myself if I ever start to believe the bird is going to take flight. Definitely not a bad feeling, not a defeat, just something different than I’ve experienced elsewhere in life. Maybe I have and I’m just not aware of the paralel, yet. I do know that the alter where my dreams stand, it gets confusing. Sometimes I can’t tell the candles apart, and there’s no way to guess which ones I should keep lit.