Tag Archives: Inspiration

Stream of WTF

When I find myself particularly burdened and unable to continue on a work in progress, I find it useful to drag out a technique that my 4th grade teacher exposed me to when I was still young enough to care what people told me. Stream of Consciousness. Rather than attempting a story or a plot or a character design, I just start writing the first thing that comes to mind and finish when I’m finished. Far more often than not, these bits and pieces end up in the desktop waste bin, but I figured I’d share one for anyone that hasn’t given this a go. Me, being me, means that the gibberish product is usually weird or dark or stupid, but that hasn’t got too entirely much to do with the exercise. If you picture a writing block as an actual build-up of something, a clog behind which all of your creativity and expression is building up under considerable pressure, then this is a sort of stent designed to relieve the pressure and get your words flowing again. The stent itself isn’t what you’re looking for – the words that flow through it are. That being said, here is my weirdness:

I used to believe that, were I to split myself from sternum to sack, I would reveal a bioluminescent inside that shone bright and gold. It would be all of the usual sorts of inside things, but lit with my own magnificence – a corpulent and roiling mass of my own shining worth. As a child, I used to run staccato patterns down the center of my gut, imagining where I would make the split, where I would rupture myself to reveal all that I truly was inside. Most often it was a center cut. Straight and unwavering because I have some struggles with obsession and compulsion that require things be straight and unwavering. Other times, however, when my fancy rode high and mighty like plumage gone mad with its own pomp, it would be a jagged thing of wicked turns and curlicues that took their time crossing my flesh.

The purpose was never to spill myself into dirt and rubbish and die a gutted thing.

When I did finally cut, with ragged and broken glass no less, it was because I was certain that my worthy insides would make everything on the outside shine as it should. The stark and grey bits of reality that had been hammering away at the surreal landscape of my imagination were growing, multiplying, breeding with unnatural speed. What had, once, been a slow and mounting oppression became a tumultuous landslide of tedium that threatened to suffocate my most valuable parts before I could split asunder and revel in the worth that I had kept hidden.

Every day I heard the simpering moans of mates who had given over their own shining insides to fit more neatly with the doldrums. Fellows with razor tongues traded them for stenotype fingers and an unlikely fraction of offspring. Raucous girls made of tattoos and bourbon-soaked thighs gave themselves up to baby buggies and grocery carts loaded down with their own rotting former selves. Slowly and with rasping grey tongues, they would whisper to me that nothing inside could shine. Nothing inside made the outside a better place. Take the tie. Take the shoes. Hang yourself in mediocrity.

Each time, I sang to myself in an awful but joyous voice that only sounded inside of me: I am something golden inside. Just wait, you’ll see. And then you’ll hang yourself in envy.

When the last and greatest of my co-conspirators took to the punch card with unwavering loyalty, casting off his drug-induced stupors and illicit affairs, I thought my time was too near to risk waiting or wilting or washing away. I pushed my fist through a pane of self-imposed delusion and took up the largest, most hateful shard. My plumage was bereft by loss, hidden among my ears and hairs and knotted brow, so I made the cut straight and unwavering. I cut deep and fast and exulted in pains that lit my life afire, driving across my nerve ends with bladed tires and spewing out caltrop exhaust.

I couldn’t have expected to find so much pale and red-stained rubber. Thronging yards of efficient engines, bleeding and shitting and chewing along at a pace unset by my desires. No light lit the gloom and no wonder of exceptionalism spilled out to suffuse my life with previously unknown wonder. Instead, sucking drop by spilling plop, organs and ashen deception poured from inside of me to lay dead and increasingly underrated at my feet.

Dreams, it seems, are not meant to be realized.


Posted by on September 26, 2012 in Uncategorized


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The Idea Seed

“Prior to the Godkilling, man and animal were left helpless in the face of a petty deity that wielded tools of making and unmaking on whim alone. His anger brought flood and famine and his favor gave tremendous power to those corrupt ecclesiastic orders that rose up to worship him. His power was the power to supersede the will of man.”
An excerpt from The Godkilling by Yrdwar Senelane, Collegium Historian.

This is the flavor text that opens the first chapter of my fantasy manuscript. The entirety of the story began with one idea: What if people could kill their God when they got tired of everything attributed to him. Believing that hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes are ‘acts of God’ or that one sports team wins by the grace of God and the other loses, presumably, because they’ve curried less favor with God is the sort of logic that allows a person to run the course of their life without taking much responsibility for anything. Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma believes that climate change is false because the bible states that ‘as long as the earth remains there will be seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night’. Blind faith in the face of science. So what if people could kill their God to end not only the natural events attributed to him, but also the fervor that his followers use to do damage to the society?

When I started writing Blood of a Godkiller, I wanted to create a society that existed not just godlessly, but in spite of God. Random and occasional attempts within the population to recreate a deity-based belief system are met with the harshest of punishments: death. Speaking of the dead has finite social acceptability to avoid reconnecting with the antiquated notion of an afterlife. Cursing revolves around creative use of the dead God’s anatomy and reinforces irreverence as a means of social control.

Oddly, though I expected to find this mythical place exciting and liberating, it evolved quite a bit differently. With no preternatural being to dictate the laws of society to them, the people within my fictional society took his place and were no better off for it. A vacuum of power was created in his displacement and, as might be expected, various human entities fought to take over. Despite my inclinations and as imaginary friends tend to do, the people of the realm developed almost independently of me. Because their God had been a physical manifestation that existed on the same plane as them, they were not only able to kill him, but they were also able to witness his manipulation of the world in real and actual terms. Unfortunately, despite their abhorrence for their God, they fell easily into replicating his manipulative form of governance once he was gone.

Nevertheless, this was the idea that gave birth to my first completed manuscript and the evolution of it gave me pause to consider our own reality quite a bit.


Posted by on April 2, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Yesterday was the beginning of something we call Wormfall in our house.

Best as we can tell, the neighbor’s enormous old tree is infested with thrips. Whether they’re actually thrips or not is still up for debate, but our best Googling suggests that this is what the little beasties are. Every year near the earliest part of spring, when the tree is budding, a shower of wee little worms begins and lasts for nearly two weeks. You don’t know it’s started until you’ve spent a minute outside and suddenly find your clothes and hair dusted with tiny squirming things much smaller than a maggot, but no less repulsive. By time Wormfall has ended and someone (not me, oh no, not me) has taken a broom to the back patio, easily thousands of the things have died on the concrete. Even the birds eventually give up on trying to make a meal of the minuscule monsters.

I took the horrifying event as inspiration for an encounter in Heart of the Realm, the sequel manuscript to my first fantasy tale. Following is the passage that first introduces Wormfall:

“Wormfall,” he said in awe. He felt both Eloise and Lira take opposite hands and drag themselves up from the ground. The girls clung to him with a desperate strength as the trio took in the awful sight before them.

Jutting from a gaping hole in the earth, a giant mass quivered and shook, knocking back trees and crushing men with its astounding weight. As big around as a covered wagon, the worm was a sickly yellow-white stained by dirt and raw ore. Rather more fat than segmented, its body bulged and roiled as it flailed about blindly. The surfaced end of the weirding beast tapered off into a puckered hole the size of a melon, the only sign that the monster had a head at all. No eyes or nose or feelers, just a mouth like an enormous ass. As they watched, the beast recoiled in on itself then stretched upward, vomiting up a virulent green mass that flew through the air and caught a frantic stallion in the chest.

The wet globule stuck to the horse’s flesh, igniting the poor beast with caustic acids. Even as its hide caught fire and it reared backward in terror, the projectile uncoiled, revealing a puppy-sized replica of the adult burnworm. The newborn spawn writhed against the dying horse’s burned skin, burrowing its way into the poor beast’s body even as it screamed in agony and collapsed to the ground.

“That was Sunny Day. I rode him when we left Canon.” Lira’s tiny voice was flat and hollow. Rane felt her grip loosen before she crumpled to the ground in a dead faint.

“Wormfall,” Eloise repeated Rane’s word, awestruck. “The burnworms rarely come this far north to birth their clutch.”


Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Uncategorized


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