A Man Upstairs: Thoughts on Poetry

Thumbnail__0001_ManUpstairs_fullcoverI have a grave secret—one that has bothered me for several months now.

I’m not a poet… Not the last time I checked, anyway.

So why on God’s green earth did I publish a full book of poetry?

The short version of this story, is that I was frustrated at the time. I was looking up different spoken word artists, and stumbled upon the work of Steven Jesse Bernstein. Prior to that, I loved the work of Tom Waits and Ken Nordine, who both experimented with music and poetry in their own ways. Their work gave me a taste for punchy storytelling, but Bernstein’s work was the tipping point. I was feeling dry on writing standard prose, so I took this as an opportunity to experiment.

After hearing the collected tracks of his album “Prison,” I was overwhelmed with a desire to write something in the same vein. The gears turned for awhile, and around September 2016, I began writing the poems. One after the other. Line after line. It was some of the most fun I’d ever had writing in years, which was due in part to the challenge.

100 pages later, I had a comprehensive journey into humor, horror, depression, and insomnia. It’s probably one of the strangest works I’ve written (though stranger ones are still in the pipeline,) and I struggle to describe what it even is. I suppose you could call it horror, some of it is dark humor, and some could be classified as slices of life.

I wrote when I was angry, when I was depressed, when I was anxious, and perhaps the spectrum of emotion is embedded in there. Some of them are more elusive. “Cornflakes” for example, was written on a night where I couldn’t sleep–too frantic and anxious for an exam I was due for the next day. The poem flew out of me, and despite what I was feeling, it’s probably one of the most colorful and humorous pieces in the book. “The Red Letters” is another one of my favorites–especially to read aloud. Despite how grim and upsetting both scenarios are, they happen to have a contrasting sense of humor and timing. It’s not something I planned going in, and I’m not sure how effective it is, but I’m pleased with what came out of it.

The lesson to be taken from this?

No matter what your interests are, it’s always good to experiment. Try new things, and make discoveries. Out of all the things I was excited for in writing, I never expected to be so pleased with poetry.

“A Man Upstairs” is available on Amazon in kindle and paperback. The audiobook version is soon to come, and will be read by yours truly.

Ebook: https://www.amazon.com/Man-Upstairs-Unsettling-Verse-ebook/dp/B0716898ZN/

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Man-Upstairs-Unsettling-Verse/dp/1545355088/

Check it out, and by all means, leave a review!

All the best.

Let’s Talk About Words.

words

The time is 9:16 PM. I started my day at around 5:00 PM – the life of a nighthawk in play. I have less than fifteen minutes before I must begin work. But for your sake, so you’re not wondering of my absence, I’ll tell you about words.

Sometimes they have a hard time coming out. One moment you could be sitting at the desk, the pad, your weapon of choice, and you feel yourself channeling Shakespeare – or maybe just imitating – but either way, the moment is exhilarating. But then, sometimes, you feel yourself falling off the top of the world, and your progress seems nothing more than a snail’s tangent. (more…)

A Brief Glance at Scrivener (Software Review)

December is finally upon us, huzzah!

This time of year is always a little stressful for everyone, mostly due to the dreaded 25th, where many are expected to book flights, buy gifts, and hopefully break even come next month. I’m lucky to not have many of those stressors this year, but there’s a trade-off:

The due-date for my upcoming books is looming overhead, and until then, I’ve got to be a word-cranking machine if I hope to have the best final drafts possible.

I’ve used plenty of text editors. From the default Notepad and TextEdit, to Microsoft Word and LibreOffice. There’s loads more in between, all focusing on different preferences and aspects of writing. Some are feature-heavy with lots of settings and formatting capabilities, and some are for writing in a simple, distraction-free environment.

But, having tested most of the available options, I think I’ve found the one that works best for me. That option, being Scrivener. Now, just to be clear, this isn’t a paid promotion or any of the sort. This is my honest-to-god opinion based on using the software for my latest projects. So let’s get into this:

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Winchester Street

Tick… Tock…

Its voice is the tempo of a slow waltz in his mind. He taps the back beat with the heel of his worn down shoe.

Tick… Tap Tap… Tock… Tap Tap…

Just like when he was a young man again, and he would dance with a beautiful lass who happened to meet his gaze. Only now, he is older. The house is empty aside from the grandfather clock. All close family is long dead. The only thing he has is the tempo, and when he loses what little hearing he has left, he will have lost everything. This includes his mind.

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Rest Stop

“Kirby… where are we?”

“Hell if I know. I think we’re still in Nebraska”

“Well don’t stop.”

“Wasn’t going to.”

“Did you see that?”

Kirby fell silent. He had seen it. It dashed right by the passenger window. All he could make out was a shape which could only be compared to legs. Not human ones though. That was for sure.

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Gone Fishing

He’d gone fishing, at least, that’s what the sign said. What’s a business owner to do? It was always calming, and the pastime had inched its way closer to becoming a serious ritual. It’d only taken a couple years, after obtaining his new job in street cleaning. The water rippled at the motion of the electric stilts, the waves disappearing long before they reached the scattered horizon of the lakeside town. There was no wind, no voices to be heard, not even the movement of water. It was merely the hushed whiffling of the machine’s movement, and Vander’s own relaxed breaths.

He withdrew the fishing rod with the slip of a lever, and it slid out of the waist compartment. The click of a button, and it let its line drop into water, making more little ripples. It plonked as it did so, and somehow that was the most relaxing thing. He leaned back in his seat, and the electric legs supported this movement as sturdy as if it were stone. His eyes closed almost without thought. He wondered if he would catch anything today. There was hope, but little effort to actively think it over. He couldn’t concern himself. It had been difficult back at home. Surely, this was his time to unwind, even though this was double-duty in a sense.

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Singapore

In Singapore, the skies are clear. Everybody makes their way around the busy interstates, ensuring that they keep to themselves. Something is askew. Birds silently fly overhead. Smoke from a cargo ship paints dripping streaks onto the sky. Someone nearby coughs. Life continues on.

The janitorial office is but a hazy repetition of the previous morning. It smells vaguely of burning hair and soap. Today, you will be cleaning the restrooms. They escort you to a nearby office, with the guarantee of a good month’s check if management is pleased. You shut yourself in there, and begin to work on the stalls. You are aware of the chill which surrounds this place.

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