Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Where Have I Been?

It's a good question, right? This blog has been down since the end of Imaginary Friends, and even before that, it had turned into more of a one-system creative writing journal and less of a narrative of my days. There are good reasons for that. For starters, The US Book, my fifth novel/first book of poetry, required a lot of attention. That attention happened to be of the "shattering my life and confronting my own cowardice" variety. There was simply no way to outline what I knew in the disciplined structures I was committed to while lying to myself.


The Puzzlebox Collective is still somewhat new to me, and I don't want to write a tortured literary essay attempting to put something into words that I have always sensed but never had the chance to know until recently. Opening up to myself and allowing the Collective to function in its strongest form means releasing control over things that most people don't realize they consciously control. I wrote a lot about that.

The process also forced transition on me. As I already said, there was no way to lie to myself while executing The US Book. The cognitive processes that built it and that allowed me to think directly into those words also prevented me from spinning bullshit or making excuses. I will be the first to admit that they also made me intolerant of other people doing so, because those clouds of useless word vapor were cognitively inaccessible to me when I tried to decode them and painful to sit through because of it. I am pretty sure that I will never be able to go back to the old conditioning, but my ability to communicate when I can't understand someone has expanded to the point where I can usually avoid calling their words vapor to their faces. It was touch and go for a while there, though.

While I was working through the finishing touches on that project, I also wound up in a declining health situation that eventually led to my confirmed diagnosis for EDS, hypermobility, as well as for fibromyalgia. I'm doing better now, but there were a couple months where just working enough to keep the lights on was hard, and if I had not just had the best year of my life income-wise, I would probably not be recovering now, I would probably still be spiralling. Economic access saved me, and in any other year it would not have. That, too, has changed my ability to listen to word vapor.

I'm not looking to get Shaping Clay on its feet again. In fact, the blog network I announced just before my crash is still on the radar. Once I have my new blog set up on it, I will announce the title and begin blogging there, where I will be able to have ad support and where eventually, other writers will join me to build the first all ND-written ND-centered news hub. In the meantime, I have decided that I'm going to start getting back into the practice of this kind of communication. My head will no longer flow when I ask it to because Athena and Lynn have stopped cooperating with one another in the way they need to for that to be possible. What tendrils of rhythm persist find their ways into the prose you read here.

I write everything in a single flow now. That makes a difference.

We'll talk again when I'm ready to tell you about some of the new projects I will be doing. Until then, just know that I didn't disappear. I cocooned. Pic description: A timeline of my transition, with a minimum of two shots of each front. I leave decoding them as an exercise to the audience, but when you think you know, please fill out better image descriptions in the comments.

The US Book is available at Amazon or at the Autonomous Press Direct Store.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Imaginary Friends in Paperback and Defiant in the Lammys

Those of you who have been reading Imaginary Friends as a blog serial might be starting to wonder why it is that the book has mostly disappeared today (3/10). This has always been part of the plan, and the reason is simple: My publisher owns the rights now. If you want to read the complete and fully polished Imaginary Friends, you'll have to order a copy, either here or through another major retailer.

In the meantime, there are some sample chapters that are staying up so that people can preview the book. If you'd like to read them as you decide whether or not to grab a copy, they are listed below:

This might seem like a lot of samples, but keep in mind that the book is over 50 chapters and 100,000 words in its final cut. Also, keep in mind that I like Marvel movies a lot, so there's bound to be something special at the end, just like there was at the end of my last novel, Defiant.

Speaking of Defiant, it is now a finalist in the Lambda Literary Awards, and I couldn't be happier about that. It's also on sale at AutPress until 3/17, after which it will still be a great deal, just not a discounted one.

Thank you for all your support.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

You've got to be better

This is a letter to when I was ten.

You've got to be better. You've got to.
You've got to be better than flipping on another sitcom from Chuck Lorre.
You've got to be better than getting lost inside the poetic mind of this generation's hottest MC.
You've got to be more interesting than anything happening inside style pages,
You've got to do better than Goop. You've got to be relevant,
You've got to avoid doing the unselfconsciously horrible stunts from ignorance.
You've got to know what it looks like when you are about to do those things.
You've got to know what it looks like when you are inside other viewpoints.
You've got to challenge yourself. You've got to be better you've got to.
If someone else was going to do it, it would have already happened.

You've got to understand your environment.
You've got to know what other people want, and you've got to give some of it to them.
You've got to show them what they get when they believe you are relevant.
You've got to understand that they aren't going to be interested in anything blaming them.
You've got to show what you mean by responsibility.
You've got to perceive that words mean different things depending on who's speaking.
You've got to be helpless, then you've got to decide that isn't happening again, but
You've got to understand that you don't control everything.
You've got to compete against everything, while participating in it.
If you want to be relevant, that is. You can't afford to be apart from your culture and claim relevance.

You've got to seek connections, and you've got to let yourself hurt when you make them.
You've got to see the way people are speaking about each other, and hear the real things.
You've got to understand what it means when people speak their dark fantasies.
You've got to understand why rhetorical flourishes flourish, and what powers them.
You've got to speak even if it's through fingertips. You've got to teach them.
You've got to compete against your own influences, to teach better than they did.
You've got to give up on being perfect because you were shaped by them.
You've got to be better than infinite regression and the grand return.
You've got to stop tolerating the same behavior you found intolerable as a kid.
This time you have to face the fact that you're the one who is doing it. No blame shifting.

You've got to be the reason people come together. You can't afford not to.
You've got to know what the responsibility for this means.
You've got to understand being mean, to avert it and to see when it is not the same as being angry.
You've got to master being angry if you want to be better, or even to accomplish anything.
You've got to master being angry, and reading it again will ensure you think about every meaning.
You've got to be better than to think authors write for single interpretations. Think in systems.
You've got to offer the audience a thing worth interacting with, and you have to present artifice.
You've got to contract for art and deliver, it's a role, you can't take over from a sub position.
You've got to empty the vessel of the self. You've got to be a reflection.
When you know the mirror project's essence you'll root the system for multitasking.

You've got to be willing to do the things to write them. You've got to accept this is terrifying.
You've got to wipe the tears from your eyes and assume the position.
You've got to admit you knew it would happen when you contracted for this.
You've got to be better. You've got to prove relevance. You've got to understand the secret.
You've got to prove that radical demonstrations of extreme competence are the most defiant thing.
You've got to be brighter than the best CCFL 4K HD LED tech upgrades.
You've got to bump louder than the best speakers. You've got to compete with all of them.
You've got to design artifacts for your artifice that reflect and interact with everything you've been.
You've got to embrace that language is a technology, and see it interacting with those other things.
No one can teach you to navigate wonders that no one has ever seen.

You've got to be better. You don't have a choice. You've got to.
You've got to reign in the excesses of the people you were born knowing were irrelevant.
You've got to take control from them without breaking the sub position.
You've got to understand power without wanting it to do any of these things.
You've got to understand that's impossible without being hurt so badly you can't handle touching.
You've got to come to terms with already being all these things. When they sing together listen.
You've got to be the lead and the chorus. You have to feel pride and degradation in both positions.
You've got to remember to maintain the integrity of each sub system.
You've got to give people something tantalizing but still puzzling to keep them interested.
It's exhibitionistic as hell to challenge them. You might lose out by doing it.

That's why you've got to be better. You've got to deliver.
You've got to find the discipline to take patterns seriously.
You've got to feel when there's better effect in letting a pattern sit there unraveling.

- Athena the Architect