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Stream of consciousness for the day

June 26, 2014

Dennis gazed out the window at the putrid field of rotting earth. He felt his heart trembling and heard his breath escaping his lips, so he knew he was still breathing, but in the seconds of awe that slipped by, he wasn’t conscious of it. All his mind could fathom were the leagues of steel flowers spreading across the black soil: tiny, fragile creatures that weren’t alive, but somehow living. A small child, shaved of all his hair, waddled outside with a gasmask consuming his face. He held a flower of brushed metal in his hand, and with the help of his mother, proceeded to dig. Dirt flew away in small puffs until a hole just large enough for the boy’s fist stared back at him. The child brushed the dirt off of his creation and slid the steel stem into the void. After he filled the hole, Dennis could no longer detect which flower was the boy’s and which had been there. Angelica caressed his arm and tugged on his sleeve. It was time to go. Dennis moved autonomously, but his eyes never left the boy staring down at his dream until a beam severed his view. Words brewed in his mind, words he wanted to speak but didn’t know how. Angelica looked back as she lead him through the complex, and in her eyes he saw the deepest of understanding. It wasn’t a question of steel or iron. Dennis wanted to know how such a frail child could create something so strong. He didn’t need an answer; he already knew. The child had to or else he wouldn’t have the strength to dream.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Addiction

Sitting at his desk typing away

nothing to think, nothing to say

his wife is worried – the dog is, too

he won’t go to sleep

it’s already two.

Morning fades to a blistering blue

not a hello or how are you.

He sits at his desk and types away

he doesn’t think, he doesn’t say.

 

Days decay and months bloom

all alone in an empty room

darkness sleeps with dust and gloom:

linens in a living tomb.

 

His love died a soundless sigh

too quick to say goodbye or why.

If he cried as he turned away

he doesn’t think, he doesn’t say.

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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What Makes an Opening Sentence Memorable?

“Fifty years and I finally murdered my wife.” 

What? 

That’s what the first sentence of your prose should do. It doesn’t have to grab you by the collar and shake you around or slap you in the face, but it needs to make your reader stop and pay attention. Hey, are you listening?

Unfortunately, a lot of us aspiring writers look at this and seriously contemplate taking the trash out instead.

Image

Scary, isn’t it?

 

Today my girlfriend called me because her student wanted to know how to grab his reader’s attention. It’s simple, but it’s not. It’s one of those “well you should do this, but you don’t have to if it works, but then other people have done that…” kind of moments. I didn’t know what to tell him. 

That’s the thing about art. There are no rules, but there are guidelines to help you out.

An opening sentence should be dynamic, it should be active, and ideally, it should provide the first glimpse into your character or setting. Also, a good rule of thumb is to never start the sentence with a weak word, i.e. I, the, a, we, ect. The first word should be strong to make the rest of your sentence strong.

Thomas Pynchon wrote one of my favorite: “A screaming comes across the sky.”

Where did the scream come from? Who’s screaming? Why isn’t Lassie here to save the day? I’m kidding. Regardless, it poses questions that the reader wants to know, and the only way they’ll find out is by reading more. That’s why it’s good.

Notice it doesn’t have anything to do with the character or setting. The first is “A.” No rules, remember? 

The only thing matters is that it works. 

How about this?

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.”

Poetic, no? This is what follows.

“She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.”

UGH! I love it!

Of course, it turns out that the narrator is talking about a fourteen year old girl in the novel Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, but it grabs you like a woman’s perfume grabs you as she passes. 

It makes you wonder. It makes you question. Who is Lolita and why is he so infatuated with her? Then it evolves. Why is he in love with a little girl? 

That’s what makes a first sentence good: it makes your reader want more.

 

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Quote

“The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and hiss tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.”

This is the place where I come to share my writing for no other reason than to share my writing. It’s a freedom to me just as it was to Mrs. Angelou and for many other people in the world. 

“The caged bird…

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2013 in Uncategorized