Blue Eyes Open and Wild

 

Thrilled to announce that my story Blue Eyes Open and Wild was published in the first issue of Moonchild Magazine. This journal is edited by the kind and talented Nadia Gerassimenko. A big thank you to her for giving my tale a charming home.

You can read my story here

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll Have What He’s Having

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I’m delighted to make a second appearance at Spelk Fiction with my story I’ll Have What He’s Having. A big thanks to Gary Duncan for giving it a lovely home. Spelk is the rare journal that publishes a wide array of stories. Gritty crime, dark thrillers, emotional gut punches, and poetic tales, they offer something for every type of reader. Check their archives out, you won’t be disappointed.

You can read my story here

I’m Still Here

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An early morning vape and a cup of coffee. The world is asleep; the shadowy, crisp air is guileless and placid. There is comfort in routine. There is harmony in solitude. Well, to me at least. Those of us who don’t fare well in crowds; those of us who readily choose soothing silence over the grating drone of human noise. We are judged to an extent. We are not normal, they say. We don’t make eye contact therefore we are weird and flawed. We are outcasts because we find solace in books, music, stillness, and the hum of quiet skin. We don’t require an audience to clap at every witticism and stray comment. Such is life as an introvert. Artificial smiles and faux compliments aren’t our thing. We choose authenticity over people-pleasing. We choose introspection over self-serving kindness. We stare longingly at walls. Okay, maybe we’re a bit strange.

I don’t really have much to say with this post, words are difficult to conjure at the moment. My mind is a freshly dug trench. I have withdrawn from social media and sunshine. But that’s how I heal, by using solitary actions as a tranquil prescription. When I struggle with an issue, like a frayed relationship/friendship or the never-ending saga/drama of child visitation problems, I assume the fetal position inside my head. I turn off all emotions. (As best I can) I calm my soul. I look for the good in the bad. I seek the beauty hiding in the ugly. I drink solitude for breakfast. I grow stronger. I fall apart and then rebuild. I survive. An acquaintance of mine taught me techniques that help me breathe when my throat is clogged with anger and self-doubt. Life hurts at times, life has the ability to annihilate you. If you let it, if you choose to be defeated. We control our reactions and our responses. We control our attitude in times of thunderous sorrow. You can’t avoid pain, criticism, and trampled feelings. They will find you at some point, they are hungry for your surrender. But we all have a choice in how we carry ourselves, the manner in which we stand resolute against a swarm of barbed thoughts. Give no one the mental blade that rips you apart. Give no one ownership of your emotions. Overcoming pain is an arduous process, but it is achievable. We can be whole again. We can choose to be humans of character and integrity instead of humans of hopelessness and antipathy.

There will be people who enter our lives then depart abruptly. We will not want them to go. We will miss them terribly. We will have many questions that will never be answered. And, like a Spring storm, the ache will rain down upon us with a malevolent fervor. But, once again, we have a choice. Do we wallow in pain, fill our souls with rage and misery and focus solely on the negative aspects of estrangement? Or should we remember how that person brought joy to our world, how they impacted our lives in a profoundly positive way? Yes, choose the latter and rejoice in the brief but wondrous time you had together. Their winsome face will eventually fade away, but their essence will curl around your fingers and mind like a wisp of enchanting smoke. There is comfort in allowing ourselves to smile genuinely and without regret. It’s only then that we suture our wounds, rise from the couch, and soak ourselves in the warm light of a time that will soon disappear but will never be forgotten. Goodbye is a beginning as much as it’s also an ending. And we can find salvation in solitude and morning coffee and a delicious vape! [Or disregard every word of this post and just sleep all day. Being comatose is a balm of sorts. Or something.]

I haven’t been writing much lately, but I just thought I’d do a quick post with some quotes I love and a couple of songs. Get some, yo.

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Strong lyrics throughout. “You are relentless in the way that you love me.” Indeed.


“Will I ever be the hero in your song?” Damn you, Jurado!


I’m a bit obsessed with this band as of late. Takes a minute to get to the lyrics, but it’s worth the wait.


Modest Mouse stays in heavy rotation.


The lead singer of the Black Keys doing his thing.


I think I posted this before, but I heard it again recently and still dig it.

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No big deal, just my new vaping device. Probably the sexiest thing I’ve ever held in my hands, sadly.

Bodies in the Snow

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I’m so very pleased to have my story Bodies in the Snow finish 9th in the Molotov Cocktail Flash Monster 2 contest. This is an international competition that draws some ridiculously talented writers from various points on the map. The Top 10 are rewarded with publication in their mega-issue of winners. This magazine has always been one of my favorites, and they publish the type of stories I prefer to read. Whether it be dark and weird or twisted and diabolical, they never fail to impress. And they never publish overly pretentious stories. A huge thanks to Josh Goller and Mary Bond for giving us weirdos a place to play.

You can read my story here

Hands of a Charlatan

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After participating in the National Flash Fiction Day FlashFlood last year, I knew I couldn’t resist submitting again this year. Luckily, the editors accepted my story for publication. Hands of a Charlatan first appeared on the Luminous Creatures Press site. Thankfully, FlashFlood is fine with previously published stories. Stop on by and read a plethora of sublime flash fiction when you have the time. You can read my story here

Wireless Echoes

My latest entry in the Flash! Friday contest. Same drill as always: base your story on the prompt below with a word count max of 160. I’m overjoyed to announce that I was named the winner this week, my second win in this popular contest. So many wonderful stories this week and a difficult task for the judges Image Ronin and Joidianne. Their comments about my story can be found at the end of this post.

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We were birthed from machines. Armed with digital missives and vacant bones, we found one another behind a blinking cursor and gigabytes of ache. No skin. No voice. We yearned and soothed with prose typed from plastic keys.

Faith wasn’t only her name. She believed in soul mates and the fairy tale of true romance. She worshipped at the altar of sonnets and serendipity. Men had derailed those notions repeatedly.

Her poetry spoke of loss. Of fading heartbeats, like a wisp of crimson smoke dissolving in the night air. Her messages, her electrified ink, told stories of fractured encounters.

She lounged on my synthetic lap. I asked for her sorrow and a purging of the loneliness. Her analog heart spilled throbbing blood across my screen. I cleansed it with a sympathetic text.

I was the therapist. She was the savior. Her melancholy ruminations suffocated my own pain. Faith reached through the machine like a replicated angel and healed me.

Judge’s comments: “: J: If there was ever an award to be given for wordplay, this tale would deserve it. Just like the computer system, we’re presented with varying levels of processes designed to portray an almost visceral need for companionship and understanding. Beneath it all there is this throbbing ache for the character Faith that really hit me; even as her purpose to heal the narrator fills me with warmth, the question of her own fate is one that lingers.

IR: The opening line hooked me in deep, setting up what felt like a descent into a William Gibson neuromancer inspired maze. The subsequent unravelling didn’t disappoint. With each binary twist we delved deeper into this relationship that the writer captured with lyrical prose. “Vacant bones” that led to “gigabytes of ache,” the intersection of flesh and date wonderfully dissected. Yet the surface of information was peeled back to reveal the pain and despair that lingered at the core of this tale. A majestic ode to pain that left me reeling in a digital realm.

 

Born to Burn

My entry in the Flash Friday! Flashversary contest. This is an annual competetion that drew well-over a hundred entries. It was huge! The story needed to be inspired by the photo below and the word count was to be exactly 150. This was the first round of a three round contest.

I’m quite pleased that my story made the Top 25 and moved on to the semifinals. (More on the next round in my next post) I had a lot of fun writing this tale. Hope you enjoy it.

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My name is Benjamin. This is a goodbye of sorts. You may have seen my work on the news over the years. You won’t grieve for me.

Fire was my morning coffee, my lady in lingerie. It sparked the blood. I thought about infernos in the shower. I forged an alliance with gasoline, an incendiary relationship. And when I ached, I struck a match.

I derived no pleasure from carnage. I felt vacant when a church became embers of charred salvation. When the molotov cocktails splashed on the grinning do-gooders, their terror didn’t captivate me, it was the machinations of the blaze; the manner in which it pursued its quarry. There was beauty in the way fire slithered, a deceptive gyration, like a supple ballerina contorting her body.

My mind is incurable and hell awaits. Tonight, I seek a combustible untethering. The flame will taste the skin of its lover.