Don’t judge someone at their worst
Everyone is going through something
Write a circular story. A story that ends by circling back to the beginning
How wonderful life is, when you’re in the world.
ties of lies
words like swords
truth that hurts
Out of Reach
Oh, how I miss the joy
You brought to me
Only days ago.
And how stupid I was
That it’ll last.
That I’ll survive,
To be loved
And to love, eventually.
“There is no greater sorrow then to recall our times of joy in wretchedness”
Dante Alighieri, Inferno
i’m currently trying to write a script, and i’m really bad at remembering to do things, but two weeks ago i decided i was going to start a routine.
“every thursday; 4pm, write 3 lines in script; continue until finished.”
today, i was laying on the couch, playing animal crossing and thinking about nothing, when my brain suddenly went “hEY GET UP ITS THURSDAY BITC-”
and i immediately got up and opened my computer, i checked the time and..
exactly 4:00 pm.
22MAY20 You write your own future.
This is a ghost story.
This is a story about how nothing ever dies,
a story in which I only know I bleed because my body makes sure to remind me.
This is a story about the disintegration of self,
and the transformation that comes with it.
This is a story that never ends,
a story in which a war is fought and blood is spilled everyday,
and yet, the sun never stops rising.
And the rain comes again and again,
cleansing what’s left of the loss of you,
revitalizing what’s new of you.
I borrow a heartbeat from you and hide it under my pillow.
When I go to sleep I hold it close to my chest.
I say, This story belongs to me.
And so does that kiss,
and this one here.
I am no thief. You said, Take it!
Take all of them, take them to safety,
sleep with the sleep arounds but come home and please, love me.
And I let myself break apart into a million pieces,
like I am made of glass,
and once I am shards of glass,
I will melt myself into one.
You will see yourself in me,
because that’s all I am.
Whisper to me,
say you will stay till the end.
Till the end of the story,
where the trees catch fire
and the birds turn one with the sky.
Till the end of the story,
where the colors fade,
where I’m stuck with that bitter color, that lifeless gray.
Till the end of the story,
where we are nothing but soldiers fighting a secret war.
Till the end of the story.
Where there isn’t any blood left,
where we finally come home,
and you become my ghost
as I become yours.
And you will know only then
what all this fighting meant,
remember how that rage felt?
Well, only then will you finally understand.
Enough death and heartbreak.
We’ve won the war.
We’ve won again.
Are you ready to rest?
Let’s not haunt this place,
let’s just sail away,
we’ve got a rainbow to catch.
For a Memorable Legacy
Sometimes I stand over the remains of an extinguishing cigarette
and stay still until the fire dies out.
Sometimes I feel like I’m sitting at the edge of the world
just pacing myself to a dying beat,
and watching everything as it dies out.
Sometimes I feel like a poor analogy.
And it’s not sad.
You see I have little time,
I’m nothing but a faint whisper,
nothing but a frail speck of dust.
without a trail, without a trace.
I’m a shortened breath,
the one one makes before a pause,
or when one is interrupted.
What if life is meant to resonate in the way Whitman said?
To make my part and to contribute a verse to an endless cycle of life and death,
to leave a worthy mark in my short stay.
Who am I to try to leave anything as a memoir?
A little something to remember me by.
As if that would make the world inside my head spin again
or simply stay once I depart.
Should I play my part in this bitter display of thoughts on end?
Aim for the remembrance of a lost consciousness?
For a memorable legacy,
a meaningful say in this meaningless place.
Something that will open a door for it take precedence
over everything else,
to grant my death that guarantee of a purpose,
if that makes sense.
I know I’m saying something that has been already said.
Many times, I bet.
But I bide my time writing about death and heartbreak.
And this composition is purely a mess,
there’s no metrical intent, no math,
no pattern at sight to try to understand.
Yet I know I will be judged for my poetry, not for my math
because my poetry resembles my way of life,
and chaotic behaviour just takes the prize
every damn time.
Now I hear people calling my name,
echoing in the awake parts of my brain.
But now it’s 6:21am,
so I sing a bit for the sake of the restless and the wicked who roam this town today.
to sleep I’m not a simple friend.
To sleep I am the poor analogy that stands tall,
the dynamo that keeps the sky’s framework spinning
and setting it alight when the morning comes around.
Ra, the god of the sun,
the sun of the god.
Yet I’m not a false god, I’m just a falsely accused sun.
The eye of heaven,
craving the black and blue kiss of death,
half in love with a goodbye.
An extinguishing fire;
Who will beat for me when it finally dies out?
while it’s useful to authors if their betas know what they’re doing going into the beta process, and having betas who are only there to “learn how the whole process works” isn’t exactly helpful, that doesn’t mean that you’re not going to learn anything while you beta. I sure did, both about the writing process, and about beta-ing.
note: I was beta-ing for a novel. I imagine the things listed below apply to other writing styles, but that’s where my perspective came from.
1) It’s totally natural to rearange several chapter’s worth of scenes, even if you’re pretty close to the end of self-edits.
2) Engaging with beta’s comments directly can be really gratifying for the betas, meaning they’ll stay engaged
3) Positive feedback and negative feedback are equally important, as long as you’re being constructive.
4) It’s helpful to explain what attributes you like and don’t like about something, and in as much detail as you can; authors need input about what isn’t working, but also what is working/what they should keep.
5) Communication between author and beta is important
6) It’s important to include a list of triggers in the pitch. It really can’t hurt to go on the safe side and list more than not. It’s not fair to a beta to come across a scene that’s triggering, especially if it’s something common enough that it could be thought of as a trigger.
7) have fun with it. Beta-ing can be gratifying, but it’s one of those things that you get out what you put into it.
he lies there, prostrate
at the mercy of the protectors.
how small he looks, how helpless and fearful
how he pleads
his black skin turns darker as it chafes against the asphalt
a white knee cloaked behind a police uniform sentences him to his final whimpers
that which is attached to an equally unresponsive body
that which turns a deaf ear to the pleading passerby -
the equally powerless advocates for their fallen friend.
and now how lifeless and silent he lies,
at the mercy of demons plucked straight from hell
their crimson red skin dunked hastily in bleach before gnawing their way out of the underworld
ravenous for blood and the thinning breath of dying black men.
Telling a guy to gain some weight, is same as telling a woman to lose some weight.
When you tell either of them to lose or gain some weight. You’re not just walking on fragile egg shells of their personality, but you break every ounce of confidence, all the progress they’ve made so far in trying to love their body.
No one is perfect. Stop telling everyone to get into perfect shape! Stop making people feel insecure about themselves. It mentally destroys them. Instead, try telling them they look nice. “That shirt looks so pretty on you!” It doesn’t cost anything to make anyone feel happy about themselves.
I still remember a compliment someone gave me in 5th grade of our eid festival, because now that i look back, i rarely got any; people are rarely nice to each other. People are so harsh on each other. That the love we crave so much, the healing we need, the kindness that can actually mend our soul, just gets lost in the way..
I keep trying to decide if I want to edit the first draft of a story I wrote a year ago or outline the next chapter for my current wip so obviously I end up doing neither
Photo by @zacharykeimig
The woods that had seemed so deep and scary, actually ended just a few yards in, where they opened up on a subdivision; people’s backyards.
Judah and his half-brother hide in those woods now, having watched their family shot by Mr. Jackson just a few moments earlier. Judah weeps and shudders, but David finds clarity in his job to help his little brother. He shushes him, because they are hiding close to the truck. Close to the place where Mr. Jackson and Graham are now returning.
“Why did we just shoot that family?” Graham asks, his Adam’s apple bouncing thoughtfully.
Mr. Jackson puts his musket in the back of his truck, burying it up a pile of empty Coke cans. “I told you, you Yankee bastard,” he says, spirits high. “With the Danielson family gone, the entire town will lose hope for the future. They will turn even more to drugs and to their televisions. I will become even more powerful than I already am.” He opens the door to his little Toyota truck, accidentally yanking the plastic handle clean off. “See? Already don’t know my own strength.”
Graham mouth breathes for a moment. “Remind me how that helps me?” He opens the passenger door, and he looks disappointed when he doesn’t rip the plastic handle off. “I don’t feel stronger….”
“I will use my power to take over the town, then the state, then we will gather a coalition of other Civil War ghost leaders from all over the country, you being one of them, and we will destroy the present and future for everyone. We will become Gods and Generals…”
“I seen that movie,” Graham says. “What about the boys? Don’t you need them dead to get all the power out of the family?”
Judah and David look at one another, laying the moist leaves. They both have silent tears.
Mr. Jackson turns the key and the engine whines but doesn’t crank. “Oh, they will turn up. I’m sure they are at a step-parents house or something… Sinful divorcing types, this family.
“Anyway, I will find them the minute they go to the police. I’m already too powerful to be taken down very easily, as you know, Graham.” The truck whines again, no crank.
Graham puts a finger to his sunken chin. “You could take on the whole police force?”
Mr. Jackson laughs, and the truck seems to join him as it starts. “I could, but let’s see if we can avoid that for now…” The gravely pavement grumbles as they pull away, and drive down the road, eastward.
The boys stare at the road, long after the trucks red-coal taillights turned the corner. “This isn’t real…” David says.
“It feels real…” Judah says. David pulls Judah to his feet and dusts the wet leaves from him. They walk out of the woods, careful to see that the truck isn’t coming back. They stand at the road, and they both take in Sampson’s body, lifeless and totally still in the front yard. “It looks real, David…” Judah says.
“We should call the police,” David says.
“You heard him! He said he would kill us once we called the police…”
“You think that’s true?” David says, genuinely asking more than he expected.
Judah nods quietly. Movement catches his eye, and he turns to see a man approaching them from the parking lot of Honey’s, which is their family’s store, just a door down from their house. There is also blue-lights flashing in the sky just over the hills behind it. Police.
“Stay away!” David says to the man. “Who are you?”
“Buddy Red!” says the man. He’s worked at Honey’s since the boys can remember. He wakes up at 4 am to clean the parking lot every morning. His dark, nearly black skin has a reddish under-hue, hence the nickname. “I saw what happened, y’all need to follow me to hide before the police get here!” He walks with a powerful gait, but it is slowed by a mild limp, which is mostly unseen unless he is hurried, as he currently is.
“Wait!” David says.
Buddy Red does not take this advice, and pulls them both by the arm into the woods from which they just came. He’s as stable as stone, and the boy’s struggle does nothing. “If the police find y’all, he will find y’all. He’ll finish the job, no doubt,” Buddy Red says.
“How do you know that?” Judah asks.
“I’ve known Mr. Jackson for a long time…” he extends the ‘o’ in long. “I was afraid he would try this.”
“Try what?” David says, still struggling impotently against Buddy Red’s steel cable arm.
“He gonna try to take over.”
Judah pauses, gazing at Buddy Red. “Are you a ghost, too?”
Buddy Red doesn’t answer, which is all the answer Judah and David need. They look at one another, like, woah.
Buddy Red pulls them through the woods and into the subdivision. They walk more peacefully together now. The blue lights and sirens of the police are at their house now. David and Judah look over their shoulders. “Y’all got a long road ahead,” Buddy Red says. “It’ll be best if you try not to look back.”
They arrive at what must be Buddy Red’s home. There is a red door on a trailer. Plants are growing all around, lovingly tended. He opens the door, and an old woman is watching TV. “What you doing up, Momma?”
“I heard some gun shots that scared me, baby,” she says. “Who we got visiting?”
“These are Honey and Darissa’s kids,” Buddy Red says. “They were killed tonight.”
“Lord have mercy…” she mutters. “Can I get y’all some food?” She looks at Buddy Red. “They alive, right?”
“Yes ma’am,” he says.
“Well, I’m sure I can make some food…” she gets up with a struggle. “We hadn’t had visitors in a while, now…”
“Excuse me,” David says. “But what the hell is going on?”
“You boys are the only people who can stop old Mr. Jackson now,” Buddy Red says, not looking at them. “Before we get into all that, y’all rest.”