In Regards to Flash Fiction (and other things)

Over the last week or so I’ve made several attempts to write up a flash fiction, and while some ideas have come along, nothing has made it through my normal process entirely. I have a couple drafts done, but when I read them, I dislike them. They seem flat. Typical. A bit mundane.

I normally wouldn’t care about this, or bother mentioning it, but my postings have withered away to almost nothing, and that’s something I’m attempting to remedy (with no success). I’d like people to have a reason to swing by now and then, but I’ve not given them that reason, and no one else can. It obviously falls to me.

I’ll keep trying. Effort eventually leads to results.

As far as writing in general, I continue making progress on my book. I’m closing in on the final chapters now. Exciting stuff. Last week was a bit rough for progress, but this week has made up for it. It’s been interesting to see the story become more difficult from a writing point of view as I come closer to the end. As more things lock in and become permanent, I have less freedom. Fewer options. It’s been interesting struggling with that.

I’ve also been going through a bit of personal revelation. I’m starting to understand why I’m bothering with any of this at all. I’m beginning to see what I would like to become and the reasons behind it all. The more I think on it, the more I realize I want to write words that eventually reach people and help them, comfort them. I want to touch people’s lives (as pompous as that may sound), give them reason to believe in themselves, and inspire them to follow their dreams, whatever they may be.

How ironic that I’ve come to realize this at the tail end of my first book, a horror story. Oh well.

Also a little ironic that I’ve already decided on writing a second book to go with this first one in order to explore some of the characters further. Although, as of now, the path I’m on makes sense to me. I can see where it goes from here, where I am and where I want to be. Let these two horror novels be what they will. Let them teach me more about my processes, what I shouldn’t do and what I can do better. Maybe by the time I start moving into the literature I feel I’m supposed to write, would really like to write, my ability will be enough to find others.

And if not, I’m no worse for the wear.

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To Shine (Flash Fiction)

There are times when I wonder if the sun feels alone. Suspended in so much dark and cold, does it burn with tremendous fury only to feel its light is cast for no one? Does it look across an empty reach of galaxy to see billions of stars clustered together like cities, like families, and wonder, Why must I burn alone?

Imprisoned by nothingness, does it ever consider:

I’ll stop then. I’ll quit. My energy is wasted, for I am beyond reach. I’m alone and lost and only glow toward destructive end. I shine without reason, for my warmth surely freezes before reaching those distant bodies. What use is there in projecting such energy? For what purpose do I exist?

What horrific tragedy.

While suffering in so much dark and cold, I hope our light reflecting back is enough for it to see the smiles and tears and joyous memories its tremendous fury brings. It pours onto friendships and families. It smothers young lovers with warmth while they stroll along sandy beaches, and as it fades into the sea, those lovers kiss it goodnight.

There are times I’ll search for the faintest star my eye can find and marvel at the distance between. Time suspends itself like a breath only held for so long, a wondrous moment that is soon gone. As I stare in astonishment, struggling to fathom a place in this monumental existence, I’ll often wonder, For what purpose?

As if sent from those distant lights, an answer will crawl into my mind.

To shine.

So burn brightly, dearest sun and furthest stars. Burn for those you cannot see or ever know. Send your warmth and love and fear not where it goes. Shine and send your brightness though you may never know why. Shine so your light may stretch through the ages, pierce the darkness, and bring life to worlds unimaginable.

Still Alive

A quick check in. Oh how the time slips by…

Still writing, still chipping away at the ol’ book. I’ve attempted a couple Flash Fictions as well, but they didn’t quite turn out. They’re ‘shelved’ for now, which is where material goes to eventually be forgotten forever.

I’ve been having a harder to writing lately. I work nights, and I try to keep my sleep schedule as intact as possible during my nights off, but life gets in the way and makes that tricky. That gives writing the double-whammy of both interfering with my time and my sleep. Writing material I’m satisfied with is difficult enough, doing so while tired is another level entirely.

I’m keeping to my goal (mostly) of 3k words a week. Just keep pushing.

That goes for you as well, whoever you are and whatever you pursue. Just keep pushing.

Beside the River (Flash Fiction)

We strolled together beside the river with our fingers in a loose tangle. Our arms swung with lackadaisical steps, and the midday breeze seemed to sigh at our casualness. We found a place to sit beneath the birch trees, white trucks scarred with the initials of couples come and gone. The trees seemed none the worse from the mild mutilation, but I wondered if the love had endured.

We shared a delightfully pastry, two spoons for one treat. I saw your eyes and watched you smile as you looked out over the river. I saw the wind caress your cheeks and stir your hair and I could tell by your demeanor you were at peace.

And so was I.

It was interesting to me that we could feel so comfortable there, a continent and ocean away from the place we call home. An ease settled around us, and you sighed and mentioned how nice it felt. I agreed then, but for reasons I think different from your own. You were relaxed and enjoying the moment, but I was somewhere else.

I was wondering how it came to be that I could ever be so lucky to have you there with me. My closest friend, my life support, the foundation of all my existence. You asked if I wanted the last bite, and I said, no, go ahead and take it. After all, why should it be me to enjoy it when I already have everything? At the time, it felt a bit like gluttony.

And so we sat beside the river, with calm in our hearts and peace rippling along our banks. The sun played hide and seek behind the clouds, and the birch trees whispered with the breeze. We sat in silence, you and I, friends forever side by side. Together, we tangled our fingers and marveled at the beauty that had become our lives.

The Last Harvest (Image Prompt)

It happened under whirring servos and gray clouds, and it happened without ceremony or celebration. Together, hydraulic fluid and blood spilled onto the snow, fresh and white and clean, like the passing of a torch. And that was that. One screamed in terror while another executed lines of code in silence.

Lifeform extinct.
Program complete.

It’s curious how polarizing remorse can be in a given instance. So often, it comes down to perspective. On one side, the last of living men only felt the crushing weight of regret, of mistakes made and consequences now permanent. Remorse consumed him. On the other, barely a hit of mechanical satisfaction. Nothing more than a troublesome checklist where the last box was finally ticked. Remorse was impossible.

And with the falling snow, evolution continued.

Link to artist: http://cobaltplasma.deviantart.com/art/Last-Harvest-693682243

Last Harvest by cobaltplasma

Paris

I’m home again after spending eight days in Paris. It was a wonderful trip, one that I could write about for hours upon hours. If you’ve ever been on the fence about visiting, please consider my opinion of Paris to be a violent shove toward the side of going. It’s an amazing city with an unbelievable amount of things to see, and delicious food to boot. I typically hate cities as I feel too compressed, but Paris maintains a low skyline by law, so it’s a bit like being in a mini-Cooper with the top off and the windows down. It’s tight, but you can still breathe and feel the wind in your hair (or across your scalp in my case).

I don’t have photos of this particularly, but one of my favorite aspects of Paris was how many people seem to get out and enjoy the city, and that the city allows them to do so. My wife and I went to the River Seine multiple times to sit and watch the boats go by, each time doing so with wine or snacks (or both). We were among many. There are sections of the riverbank where visitors setup PA systems for live bands and dance the night away. Others bring full course meals and sit with their friends for hours. It was fantastic to see and a wonderful change of pace from what you typically experience in the parks and beaches around the US (no glass bottles, no alcohol, no loitering, no entrance after sundown, no talking, no fun, etc).

Go to Paris, please.

Now for a few photos.

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Our trip was a guided tour through Trafalgar (our second time using the company with zero regrets, and this trip particularly had an excellent tour director), and one of the many places we visited was Monet’s Gardens. It was serene in its beauty and very easy to understand Monet’s inspiration.

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The path leading to his home.

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We spent a full day walking among various sites of the Normandy invasion, but Omaha beach (above) stuck with me the most. There are two reasons. One, it’s nothing but a shooting alley, and the Germans took full advantage of that. Standing on that beach, one that is now populated with families and playing children (something our fallen soldiers can surely appreciate), it was impossible to not feel the weight of death that was so easily wrought there. The second reason is that all along this beach, several homes openly display the American flag beside their own French colors. 70 years later, and the people still remember and respect what happened there. It was moving to see such honor.

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The Palace of Versailles is amazing in its own right, but what impressed my wife and I even more were the grounds the palace sits upon, over 215,000 acres. This one photo is barely a glimpse of what they hold, but it does give you the general idea of the size.

I’ll stop here, as I don’t want to turn this into a travel blog, but I did want to share. I loved my trip, and I have every intention of going back, and hopefully soon. Expect some Flash Fiction that will obviously draw inspiration from this visit.

I Can’t (Flash Fiction)

I can’t save you, but I can try.

I can give you encouragement, and I can show you love. I can help you understand your rage, where it’s born, where it hides, and how to escape its awful clutch.

—But only if you spit that bitter anger from your mouth.

I can’t carry your pains, but I can cry.

I can see your sufferings, and I can weep with you by your side. I can share the sorrows I’ve felt, the mistakes I’ve made, and how to realize the utter uselessness of regret.

—But only if you refuse that bitter-sweet melancholy.

I can’t endure your trials, but I can guide.

I can tell you of the twisting, winding paths, and I can whisper of the infinite places they’ll lead. I can warn you of pitfalls to avoid, the struggles worth enduring, and the pure freedom that comes from accepting yourself.

—But only if you understand that all paths are one and the same.

I can’t be here forever, but I can die.

I can hold your hand, and I can see your streaking tears. I can do my best to offer solace, to see the way of things, and to accept the beauty of it all.

—But only if you’ll believe me.

 

56k

June has come and gone, and my total word count now sits at just over 56k. I’m pretty happy about it. Per the timeline I created back in January, something to give myself both goals and deadlines, I should be at a total of 60k. I’ve never been so happy to come up short in reaching a goal. This steady, continuous progress has been so tremendous. Considering my primary goal with this book is to finish, I’m more than satisfied to see myself still on the path after five months of writing.

In other news, I’d like to produce more Flash Fiction as the end of the year approaches and my book nears completion. I’ve mentioned that desire before, but now there’s a bit more purpose behind it. To keep it simple, I hate advertising. I’d rather write stories than pump bullshit onto social media, so maybe I’ll get lucky by finding traction with some flash fiction and writing prompts off Reddit (though my expectations are not high).

If you enjoy something you see here, kindly pass the word (if you think of it). I’d much rather travel via word of mouth. And if you don’t, I’ll take that as a cue to write a little better 🙂

Shopping (Writing Prompt)

The prompt from Reddit:

In a daze, she pulls a cart from the tangled lot, and metal crashes down as it breaks free. Slowly walking into the store, she leans on her elbows, and the empty cart wheelies under her weight. She wonders why she bothered grabbing one at all. There’s no need for it. Maybe it’s habit.

Maybe it’s the weight of the moment.

With a spinning front wheel as her guide, she passes down the aisles. The search is a charade. Though no one watches, she feels as though the whole world fixates on her movement. In her pocket, her phone buzzes with the arrival of another text. The message is left unread. She knows it’s from her best friend. She knows what it probably says.

omg when? or Do you know who the father is?

She turns the cart down the only aisle that holds what she came for. The selection is overwhelming, and she wonders, does it even matter which one? She makes three indiscriminate choices, and the pregnancy tests fall into the empty cart. Inside their metal cage, they look just as she feels: trapped.

She leaves the aisle and heads toward checkout. She sees the lines, the people waiting. The reality of it all freezes her in place. An overwhelming urge comes to her, one of filling her cart with random items in attempt to cover her fate.

In her pocket, her phone buzzes with another message. She doesn’t reach for it. Like the waiting pregnancy tests, she already knows what it’s going to say.

I’ve Committed My First Murder

In all honesty, it went better than I expected even though I didn’t know what to expect. I built him up. I followed his footsteps and learned about his life, his love, his loss. I found his strengths. I exposed his weaknesses.

Then, while his friends slept mere feet away, I took his life. I turned his own ego against him and snatched all that was left of his life, the pieces he’d managed to reassemble, in one immediate stroke. His friends saw the last of remnants of life leave his body. They clung to him and begged him to stay and wept, and I took his life away all the same.

I could have stopped it all, but I didn’t.

No, this isn’t Flash Fiction.

But it is the first character I’ve killed in my book 😉

I hope others come to enjoy it as much as I did. At the very least, they had better learn to enjoy it. Though first to fall, he won’t be the last. Something more powerful than fate has deemed it necessary—my outline!