Month: May 2014

“When I am writing, I am trying to find out who I am.”

The Daily Post

Maya Angelou by Spanglej, CC BY-SA 2.0.Maya Angelou by Spanglej, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.

Find a beautiful piece of art. If you fall in love with Van Gogh or Matisse or John Oliver Killens, or if you fall love with the music of Coltrane, the music of Aretha Franklin, or the music of Chopin — find some beautiful art and admire it, and realize that it was created by human beings just like you, no more human, no less.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.

When I am writing, I am trying to find out who I am, who we are, what we’re capable of, how…

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Recommended Reading: Montaigne’s Essays

I’m diving head-first into this!

The Daily Post

In case you thought you were hallucinating — yes, my blogging-related recommended reading for today is, indeed, from the 16th century. It’s the Essays by French writer Michel de Montaigne, who singlehandedly invented the genre (and the term!).

By Anonymous (Unknown) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Anonymous portrait of Montaigne, via Wikimedia CommonsMontaigne‘s not your average Dead Classical Author, though. Before you fling your iPad out the window, take a look at the following quote. If you’re a blogger, odds are you’ll recognize yourself in this:

I have no other end in this writing, but only to discover myself […].

(Of the Education of Children)

Montaigne was an extraordinary man for any number of reasons. He’s still loved and admired by writers everywhere, though, for being the first to understand that writing, no matter what the topic might be, is first and foremost an expression of our innermost selves.

With every sentence in his Essays (available for free in a number of formats

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The Martian Chronicles

“Raw, gentle, and easy, it mizzled out of the high air, a special elixir, tasting of spells and stars and air, carrying a peppery dust in it, and moving like a rare, light sherry on his tongue.”
-Ray Bradbury

Note: If you have not read any of Ray Bradbury’s masterpieces of lyrical beauty, then you have been living your life in a dank, subterranean cave, only hearing stories of the sun and all it’s glory, and not experiencing it for yourself. My writing and the lens in which I examine the world have been enhanced a million times over, thanks to Mr. Bradbury.

Stepping down from the soapbox, I get back to my purpose…

I recently read “The Martian Chronicles,” by Ray Bradbury. A few months ago I read “Fahrenheit 451,” and my mind has been drooling ever since. His artisan grasp of words leaves every sentence a stroke in the masterpieces that are Bradbury’s The quote given above is just one of the jewels from “The Martian Chronicles” that I pulled out for my personal enjoyment.

Aside from his colorful descriptions, the format of the story was brilliantly orchestrated. The story is set up as a recounting of the history of the settling of Mars by the citizens of Earth. Rather than having chapters, the book is broken into journal entries detailing the general settling of Mars, much like an anthology of American pioneers’ diaries. Thus, there is no single storyline about a person and their life, but a snapshot of individuals throughout the history of Earth’s settlement of Mars.

All that aside, the story was filled with thought-provoking incidents. The topics Bradbury weaves through his tale range from love to obsessive serial-killing, madness to revenge, joy to tranquility, and enough to fill the space between Earth and the Red Planet!

My favorite “entry” happened to be a rather macabre tale of revenge, surprising me as I’m not usually a fan of the macabre. The tale was about a wealthy heir who moved to Mars and hired a host architects and home designers to recreate “The House of Usher,” a renowned Edgar Allan Poe’s. With all of its dreary, ghoulish splendor he planned to ensnare venerable leaders of Earth who had banned literature and the creative arts, killing them with creations and machinations from those famous works, using dragons, the pendulum from “The Pit and the Pendulum,” and various other gruesome methods.

After reading it I wondered why I had enjoyed it so much: it was a grim story of unrelenting slaughter, anyway. Then I realized that the artistry of words, the cleverness of the revenge, and my indignation at the burning of beautiful literature all put this story into perspective for me, and it is now a classic in my mind.

[prepare yourself for your over-used, shameless plug]

So, if you’re ever looking for a delightful, thought-provoking, imaginatively beautiful tale, read the The Martian Chronicles, it shall not disappoint. Trust me.

Peace out homies! ✌️
Findrail

[yes, that name is not real, but it’s a cool, fantasy name I made up as a pseudonym, so violah!]

Thanks, Pink Floyd

So, a couple of months ago I was feeling rather pessimistic about life. I’m usually a very optimistic guy, with a lot of dreams clouding my mind. But this was time was like an irregular beat. All my relationships were shot and I was pretty mad at the world-I guess I was feeling disillusioned, thinking my whole life had been one, unending drunken stupor( which it may have been, but that’s for another post-) and I was finally experiencing the hangover. Any-who, I write poems rather often and it has morphed into an exploration of my emotional life (which they say adds quality…) However, I hit a dry spell in my “emotion-bleeding” and thought I was no longer creative and couldn’t scrap around for anything to write about. Then I listened to this one song by Pink Floyd. It happened to be, “Shine On, You Crazy Diamond.” If you’ve never heard this song, it’s a must, at least once. I was so inspired by the intro of the song that I spat this little sweetheart out before they actually started singing! It was that fast. Thus, this poem represents the fact that I can becreative. Bon appetite!

The hero’s not done yet.
Dusty, he strides up the knoll as strength returns to his limbs,
His enemies’ faces a horrible blend of fear and wonder and disbelief-
He should be dead.
But he’s not…and that scares the hell out of them.
His hat, or what’s left of that wide-brimmed hero-marker,
Was cocked to one side with that air of unspoken business-
Something was about to go down.
Clouds of dust swarmed about him as his enemies fled in fear, their haste not making
Waste of the few seconds left of their ground-squirming, dust-munching existence.
The low-life’s-who do they think they are?
As he reaches the top of the small knoll, his hands find themselves at their sides
With the precise motion of an automaton;
They knew what they were doing.
Slowly, with grim-garbed death at his side begging him to speed up, he un-holstered his pistols,
Relishing every second of his revenge.
With the calculation of a mathematician he aimed his Colts at the small band of fleeing cowards,
About as far as one goal post to another down at a football stadium.
Lips curving up in mischievous delight, clothed in his five o’clock shadow, he chuckled with devilish pleasure.

Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam!
That day, the weight of the world was a little lighter, and Atlas shrugged, enjoying the lightening of his load.

Creativity was not dead. It was. alive.

Phosphine

It’s nothing like it used to be,
Nothing like I’d hoped-
All the things I’ve dreaded to happen have sent me down a slippery
Slope- a hope seeming to be, lurking in the shadows of my heart,
A hope for change, from all that’s deranged-
now a blackness in my heart.
Like Venom, the creature, the beast, the brute,
It rises, overshadowing me, therein lies the root.
The root of all my pain and loss,
And all I wish to see again,
The Light to burn up the Frost.
It’s tendrils writhe, and its coils squirm,
Till in an instant I am entombed.
A deathless horror now inhabits me,
And there’s no hidden dagger to use,
To slay my foe,
Who wouldn’t you know,
Feeds off the darkness in me!

O! For a breathe of Freedom, nay, for life
outside the cold, sable door, my prison door,
A universe parallel to mine,
There, there that’s my hope!
To taste living waters, and climb Joyous Heights!
Through amber days, and twinkle diamond nights,
Where the trust runs free, like the children I see,
As they play, make merry, and …

Lost in Gazing

Every time I gaze into your eyes-
Red roses bloom, fireworks explode,
And Love consumes my heart.
Every time i gaze into your eyes-
I melt like a strawberry popsicle on
A hot midsummer’s day.
Every time i gaze into your eyes,
I lose the map to my world
And get lost in your Beauty.
Every time I gaze into your eyes
I feel my heart melting through my chest
And leaping towards your heart.
Every time I look into your eyes,
I know I’m in Paradise.

[This is by far my favorite poem, written at a time when I was really in love with Her, but not any more…]

The Hapless Sun-worshiper

The Sun does not shine for me,
With Her cruel rays overwhelming the trees,
She bears down upon my shoulders.
As everything around me rejoices in the heat-
The Sun taxes me till I have nothing left
But a worn-out husk reminiscent of a devout worshipper.
Gone are the days of sunbasking,
Soaking up every last drop of that golden balm
Fondly called “Sunshine.”
And as I peer out from under my dark cloud
Hoping to fill my glass with the draught of the gods-
The tap runs dry, leaving me with nothing.

The Sun doesn’t shine for me,
O where, o where can I find nepenthe!
This lack of life racks my soul
And ushers in the somber, grey clouds of rain,
Clouds like morphine, killing my pain,
But too many of them drives me insane!
How does everyone keep themselves full,
Why are they always so drunk on the sun,
Is there naught left for me?!
Have I missed my last big break?
Oh, oh, You’re the source of my heartache!
I can remember a time when you made me drunk beyond compare,
I never minded if the people stared
-Ah, I found happiness there.
But alas, You left me in the void,
I envy the others as they get wasted,
For the Sun does not shine for me.

What I am

Who needs the moon when I have you?
Who needs the stars when I can gaze into your eyes?
With you I can do everything,
Without you I am lost.
Without you I’m the noble maple chained up in frost.
With you, I’m a Hero,
Performing the deeds of yore,
Without you I’m the poor cobbler,
Plagued by flies in his shoe-store.
Together, we can travel the stars,
An endless mystery to explore-
Without you, I’m directionless, heartless,
And sore.