A List of Words I Can’t Use in my Writing Class

Regular
Standard
Normal
Common
Traditional
Expected
Minority” as defined “I was among the minority” (as a white man in a class of non-white women)
Soul” as defined “it has soul,” i.e. It has character, depth, spirit. I am the wrong skin color to use this word.
Native American (even though we are referring to tribes that identify themselves as such)
Indian (even though we were referring to one of Indiana’s Native cultures that explicitly identifies as such), but can use Native Indian
Generalized as defined “I feel generalized” – because I can’t.
Marginalized as defined “I feel marginalized” – because I can’t.

I feel trapped and oddly policed. lol As if I’m being shoved into a blanket statement narration of who I am and what I’ve been through in my life. Continue reading

Advertisements

Personal Life Update: Graduation, Grad School, and Humor (but not mine)

img_2180

Cthulhu Flower needs a hug.

I’m going to try and continue writing in this, consistently, until I finish my studies at UIS.

I have four research projects, 10+ pages each. I have been running crazy for over a month. In many ways, time moves so slow. So very slow: only a month? In many other ways, my life passes me by. Thirty three years old. I won’t go down the list my mother has engrained in my head since I was a child. The shadow CV, as Bella calls it. The things I should have done. The things I could have done. The things I didn’t do. Couldn’t, under circumstances. I’m in a place of processing, revisiting old experiences, old lessons in my large book of life.
Continue reading

Focusing Through Distraction

img_3581

Missing it.

I’ve definitely written about this before. Yet I’ve seen Denzel Washington talk about the exact same discussion points on technology that’re being discussed in my classes, and I find solace in knowing this isn’t some College-level talking point. He says, on at least two interviews, what do you do with too much information?

I am a writer. I write. This semester has been intense and leaves me little time to breathe deep, so as per how I live my life, my writing priority is fourth under schoolwork, making food, and staving off insanity by staring at political insanity. Apologies for not being around much. I’m learning about rhetoric, learning about sociolinguistics, and online publishing. Continue reading

Snapshot: Day in the Life

Woke in dusty-nosed haze, wondering why some days I wake with energy and grace, others with a pile of sticks for bones and a cord of low burning wood in my chest: heavy and can’t remove without trailer. Browsed Facebook for a moment with Kickstart my guide, found too much Trump, and too much fake, and not enough real. Thought about my (fake) book, book of fiction, literary but real enough.

Continue reading

The Ugly Curse of Empathy

False Baldcypress

False Baldcypress

Hello. My name is Chris. I’m highly empathetic. I’ve been this way all my life. While it’s been a benefit in my social life, and a great way to connect with my characters while writing, it’s also a damaging, distancing, disconnecting thing.

It seems like a strange thing to write: empathy can be a distancing, disconnecting perspective.

Let me elaborate.

Continue reading

Real Life, Spun Fantasy.

My fiancee is an incredible person. She’s dynamic, dangerous, badass. She’s powerful. Sometimes scary.

I’ve never traveled the world. Never saw the towers of London or Pisa or India. Never drank the natives’ water. She has. Seven years of it, and before, a life of complex not-quite-reality. Hers is a story that would put Peter Pan to shame, that would decimate any horror movie you’ve ever watched, and threaten to tear the very seams of your understanding of the world.

Out of respect for her, I won’t divulge details. Out of respect for her, I put my work under Fantasy, because otherwise people would heckle, hate, and disbelieve.

I write fantasy because it isn’t. Turn on the TV, watch the presidential race, and look me in the eye and tell me people don’t believe in magic. Follow the brilliance of a disassociative personality that has constructed worlds with autistic-like dedication to detail. Follow any scientific discourse to its roots–any single one–and you’ll find the breath of the unknown. Study psychology to any degree: everyone has elaborate, constructed realities that are wholly different from each other.

We traverse worlds entirely our own, in this bubble of the senses, sharing with others only in limited quantities: sights, smells, sounds, tastes. But the things that come from behind the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands, inner ear are entirely our own.

From a psychological standpoint, her story is definable. Anyone dedicated to the debunk will find precedent elsewhere, play it up to her elaborate ability to follow non-verbal communication, spatially understand emotions in a way most haven’t honed, understand nuances in tone, pitch, word choice. From a psychological standpoint, my fiancee is a body-reader. From the standpoint of almost anyone meeting her, she’s a mind-reader.

She dreams of apartments before we visit them, drawing layouts and dimensions that match perfectly. She follows unseen things. She’s a walking Tarot deck. She’s the most spiritual person I’ve ever met. She is, sometimes, a conduit to God. Other cultures were absorbed by her: when she walked around in India, people would stop and thank her for helping them. She had followers without even speaking a word.

She puts fortune-tellers to shame. She sees ghosts but does not speak to them, becaues they aren’t welcome. She grounds and calms and heals from across thousands of miles. She knows when a friend is pregnant and waits for her call. She understands people on a subliminal level.

From a scientific standpoint, she’s just lucky. She feels storms as headaches, is incredibly sensitive to food, vibrations, electricity–she’s developed, created, endorsed, reinforced a complex, complicated reality through false positives that retroactively verify her notions.

She grew up in a family of salt-of-the-earth republicans: father middle management in UPS, mother a stay-at-home, both Catholic. She had two older brothers that saw the same things she did, but never spoke about it. She lived a story any person would label as urban fantasy. Anyone.

I’ve had experiences in my life. I know, without question, everyone has. Everyone. She is my inspiration. She is my verification.

She is a normal person, working a normal job, in the armpit of the United States. She does all the things other people do. She’s quiet about what she’s seen. Respectful, even, because nobody in this culture shares her religion, her spirituality.

If Jesus returned to this earth, walked into your hometown, would you celebrate him? Or would you do the same thing the Romans did two thousand years ago and martyr him a heretic, a blasphemer, a liar? The whole world knows this answer. We’d kill him, either the masses or the vigilante Christians. I’m not saying she’s Jesus, or even close. She’s prophetic, at times, and she spent a lot of time hating America–even though she’s born and bred–because of how they ostracized her. Why?

Fear, perhaps. Her life has been one long struggle; sometimes blissful, sometimes agonizing. She’s a violently passionate, incredible person. She’s met psychics and knows who truly understands and who’s playing. She touches a person, true to Stephen King’s Dead Zone, and sometimes sees their past, or their future.

She’s sometimes wrong. She’s human. She usually isn’t. I feel blessed to share her life. I feel blessed to have such a fountain of inspiration, of truth, and depth of character.

Forgive me if my books don’t fit, or if their themes are too controversial, for their cores don’t come out of another book. I’ll be returning to the unique reality, from time to time, my fiancee has. It’s too big, too fulfilling, too credible to ignore. I spent a lot of time considering whether I wanted to write this entry. I debated for a long time whether I should take ownership of the elements in my books, and I realized that if I am to respect myself, I must declare that, at least at the core, nothing I write is fantasy.

It is dreamed, it is lived, it is experienced; not in some belief system of a faraway God, but as a way of life, as a way of interacting, daily, with the world around her. In the world around me. In the world around you.

Hope I didn’t scare anyone off…

~x

 

My Heart is a Canary…

I made a dreamcatcher over the weekend. Well, over the past two weekends. And it’s not finished yet, so I guess I shouldn’t leave it past tense. Cygnus and I are hitting a pretty solid rhythm. Money woes are compounded, but we’re rolling with punches. That’s generally how it goes with stressful situations: melding them with me gets them dealt with. Usually.

My book’s going along well. I won’t talk about it much because I’ve got a lot of work. It’ll be around 100k when I’m done, I hope, if a little more. My brother’s reading it but he hasn’t said what he thinks about it yet. I hope it’s good news. Those who’ve read it on the CC site have given very high marks, and some of them can be bru-tal. It’s probably the most accessible story to date, with Mr. Roadkill coming in a close second. I’m seriously considering self-publishing, but that would require a professional editor. I’m also applying to be a professional editor, so hopefully it’ll work itself out.

No matter how good a writer you are, you will overlook so much that another can easily find. Easily. My brother found a misuse of you’re. I mean, come on. I’m a grammar nazi, and I messed that up? Yeah. Wow.

We’re going to a great (apparently?) barbecue place in town for Valentine’s Day dinner. I’m looking for a burnt end sandwich. No joke. I want one. I’ve never had one.

This has been the mildest winter I’ve ever (that I can remember) endured. Seriously. 60 degree weather in January? It’s colder now–9 degrees last night–but the rest of the week’s highs are supposed to be in the 40’s.

Going to mom and dad’s for my birthday. Cygnus opted to stay home and enjoy some solitude for the weekend. I understand–Christmas wasn’t the best to her, given my family’s bickering, sometimes even childish ways. Mom being drunk the night before and throwing poker chips at me–lovingly, I might add–also didn’t help any.

Cygnus and I went to Danville recently and took photographs of a dilapidated old bridge. In the mud beneath one of the arches was a scattering of river-rounded glass, from really really old bottles to modern Budweiser. I really regret not grabbing some up for the dreamcatcher.

I’ve spent a chunk of time lately playing League of Legends on the computer. It’s such a simple game that it doesn’t drag on the internet, and I can play it while Cygnus is on the bigscreen watching whatever she wants to watch. She loves the game, too, except with her laptop, the video settings freeze her more than not, so she plays pretty rough. Sucks.

Figured it was nearly a month since I last updated this place, so I might as well say something. Bills are being paid, quality of life is being slowly raised. I can’t complain. I really, really can’t.

Except for this stupid bruise on the palm of my hand. Gotta stop slappin bitches so hard…

I’ve been switching off reading several books: Goblet of Fire, Atlantis Found by Clive Cussler, and Tibetan Book of the Dead. The last I haven’t touched. I’ve been reading a few other things, too, mostly cowriters for CC and elsewhere. I’m so swamped. Plus my other after-work activities, and making time to spend with Cygnus. It’s pretty full-time.

I can’t get into the Goblet of Fire to save my life. It is so, so basic, with the most rudimentary storyline, that I’m constantly forcing myself to get to the end of the chapter before I put it down. Cussler’s the same way. I prefer watching Sahara, an adaptation to one of his books, to reading it. Golly.