Sunday, January 29, 2012

Weak End

When I make a plan and stick to it I feel like an unstoppable force. I'm moving faster than ever before and picking up speed. I'm eager to see out this year because I know what it entails- improving what I do and reaching out further into the world. People will hear what I say and know who I am, and that part of me that wants it will feed and grow and grow. That part of me that doesn't will be rejected like a transplant that didn't take.

Nicholas Cage had a cameo as himself in my dream last night. It wasn't a stretch for him, but it's good to see him taking on some smaller roles.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My Dead Night

Had nothing but zombie dreams last night. Debriefing follows.

Someone in the street has the flu and is stumbling around. They try to get into the house. More people in the street, sick, getting worse, traffic accidents, try to get something from my car but a runaway truck takes off the door. Realization of zombie apocalypse. Mild excitement but also panic, sense of real danger. Yelling at family to grab any bag they can find and fill it with food and medicine. Filling my bag with apples and water bottles. Outside, crowds of dead.

About to leave, government responds. Dropping concrete dividers from helicopters in the street to slow them down. It's working. Some of them are crushed under the dividers. Then a rumbling in the ground. House is suddenly raised. All houses on street coming up on metal platforms like giant car garage lifts. Feels like house will fall apart but holds together. Sense of sunlight coming through the windows, making the room bright.

Some time later. Rickety structures fifty feet above flood water. Zombies in the dirty water below. When anyone falls in they're bitten or dragged down. Have to jump from one structure to the other or use ladders and ropes. The structure I'm on begins to topple and I have to lean it toward the next to reach it, but the impact causes that to topple and I have to lean it toward the next. Fall into the water. Claw my way out and onto a rock with the feeling of hands on my ankles.

Some time later. Living with other people on a resort or hotel property of some kind. Structures are built all over to climb up and use for escape in case of attacks. Inside the main building is a spinning vault preserving artifacts of humanity.

Some time later. Towns are abandoned, not even zombies for some years. On a garbage detail with a group of men trying to clean it out. Out of the corner of my vision I spot slow movement. A single zombie. Need to deal with the situation, but then there's another coming out the window of an old building. Then a group from around a corner ahead. We start to run. Another group from behind. We try to snake through the buildings to duck away but more and more zombies surge from every corner and every building until we're trapped in an alley. One of the men starts to sing a song as the zombies close in, but I can't remember the song.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Read my 2nd Book Free

Today marks one year since I published my second book, a book I never planned to write until about two weeks prior, when I learned of National Novel Writing Month. The idea was simple: write a complete novel from start to finish in November. It came at just the right moment for me since I was at somewhat of a crossroads in my writing. I had just seen my first attempt at a new project fizzle, a science-fiction story not quite ready to exist, yet the other project I had in mind was too lengthy and involving to jump into just yet. With that in mind, pushing myself to write faster than ever before seemed like a good exercise. So I signed on. I went in with a skeleton of an outline, half a page at most, and even that was partly scrapped. What came of it was as unexpected to me as it is to anyone reading it, a surreal, twisting story involving experimental drugs, robots and sword swallowing. It was never intended to be read by the public, only passed among my inner circle, but these things have a tendency to find their way out. And once they do, they're out for good.

A year later, Kissing You is like Trying to Punch a Ghost is my least read book by such a large margin it essentially doesn't exist, yet the reaction I get from the title alone makes the whole thing worth it. You can almost think of it as my Snakes on a Plane; everyone talked about it, no one saw it. But I still like the book. Occasionally I open it to a random page, read a line and struggle to remember writing it, similar to thinking back to a dream from last night, or even last week. The details are there, but the frame has all but collapsed.

This book is my freak in the basement, the one everyone hears but no one acknowledges, and I want to celebrate it. So today until the 19th, you can read it totally free. If you have a Kindle you'll find it that way, if you don't just find it on Amazon and make sure to download one of the free reading apps covering everything from PC to iPhone to Android. If you do read it, take a minute to write a few words about it on Amazon, seeing as it's my only book with zero reviews.

You hear the chains rattling down there. It's time to make eye contact.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


The woman told him he was doing it wrong. You don't lean back. That just makes you sick, gives you the runs. You lean forward and let it clot. Keep the nose above the heart. Pinch the bridge and apply ice to the forehead or to the back of the neck. That's fine, he said, but tasting all these pennies was making him feel loose in the jaw.

After the flow stopped she told him to avoid anything that might make it start again, like blowing his nose or rubbing it too hard. All he could think was: if he was the kind of person who knew how to avoid a nosebleed in the first place, he never would have come here.

He was happy he'd worn a red shirt that day.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Take the Hand from the Picture

Nulla dies sine linea. This has been my motto for some time, without my realizing it. It's attributed to a fourth century Greek painter by the name of Apelles, and it means "No day without a line". Apelles believed that art was a daily discipline. Like a true artist he boiled that idea down to its simplest form- four words in Latin, five in English, and in the process he invented a simple rule to follow, one that I believe yields results. I have certain word counts that I keep myself accountable for. One is optimal. Half that is minimal. And if I don't reach at least one of those numbers on any given day, I label myself a failure for that day. It's harsh. And it needs to be. And this year I'm raising my numbers.

I don't fancy myself an artist, though I do find myself entrenched in one of the arts. A practitioner, maybe. Calling oneself an artist is the first step toward complete uselessness. Maybe it's my particular personality but I almost view fiction from a more scientific viewpoint than I do a creative one. The technical aspects, the chemistry between the various elements. It's like a form of math which has to be reinvented midway through every equation for it to work. That's why it can be so challenging at times, why the chase eludes. The toughest game draws the most fools, and I number among the crowd.

A lot of people talk, some of them write, but only a few of them write every day. Nulla dies sine linea. No day without a line.