All posts by virginiaseastark

Virginia Carraway Stark has a diverse portfolio and has been writing professionally for nearly a decade. Getting an early start on writing, Virginia has had a gift for communication, oration and storytelling from an early age. Over the years she has developed this into a wide range of products from screenplays to novels to articles to blogging to travel journalism. She works with other writers, artists and poets to hone her talents and to offer encouragement and insight to others. She has been screened at Cannes Film Festival for her screenplay, “Blind Eye” which was followed by The Mystical Adventures of Billy Owens and two sequels after that. She was nominated for an Aurora Award for her creative writing in 2013. Most of all, Virginia is an explorer. The world of writing and the research that goes with each new project is what keeps her excited about each new project. She approaches everything she does with enthusiasm, dedication and a love for the task at hand. This has also lead to her keen interest in the field of the paranormal. She has been a diligent student of all the mysteries this has lead to her becoming a Director at The National Paranormal Society. She and her husband also publish a paranormal journal called 'Outermost'. Her publications are numerous and include poetry anthologies, online poetry journals, short story anthologies as well as her novel, 'Dalton's Daughter' and the collective novel, 'The Concierge'. To be released later this year are, 'Carnival Fun', 'Decay of Man, and 'Charism'. Early next year her novels 'Detached Daughter' and 'Gendler's Landing' as well as 'Bit', and 'The Irregulars' two novels written collectively with as many as eight other authors. For a list of her entire body of work you can visit her at: www.virginiastark.wordpress.com You can also find her memoirs at: www.ihavememory.wordpress.com Latest announcements on Facebook and to contact her: https://www.facebook.com/Virginiacarrawaystark/?fref=ts or by email: virginiaseastark@gmail.com Find out the latest news from where she is editor in chief at Starklightpress www.starklightpress.com www.outermostjournal.wordpress.com

Gossip, shame and power.

“Shame is the lie someone told you about yourself.”

Anais Nin (attributed)

poetry.jpeg

I’d like to talk about gas lighting and shaming, in particular about victim shaming. Gas lighting is defined as rewriting someone else’s reality. The phrase is from a movie about a man who plays tricks with the lighting to make his wife think she’s going crazy so that he can take her money from her (my rough understanding, I’ve never seen the movie but I probably should). The lights in the movie are gas lights and so the phrase, ‘gas lighting’ was born.

Gas lighting is a technique usually used by abusers to keep their victims on the defensive, to keep them worried and off their footing so that the victim can’t regroup and come up with an escape plan. It makes the victim question every last thing in their reality right down to the tiniest of things like: did I leave the door unlocked? Did I leave the window closed? Did I put the cap on the juice?

It’s enough to drive you mad, and that’s the point of it. The abuser wants to drive you mad. They want to have complete power over you. It’s the true mark of a sociopath to take this route with a victim. If you suspect you’re a victim of gas lighting you need to seek help immediately. You need to call a helpline if you don’t have friends or family that will support you because along with gas lighting comes isolating you from everyone else.

This isolation can be done in such an insidious manner that it seems impossible, paranoid even to trace it back to your abuser. And yet, when you look at where all the roads lead: they all lead right back to the person who has you in their sights.

Usually this sort of thing occurs in an intimate and usually sexual relationship. Usually one party has considerable power over the other either financially or physically etc. These sorts of tells make victims of gas lighting hyper aware of new gas lighting efforts and most victims will run away when they see the first signs of the same cycle repeating once more.

 

I’m someone who was raised by a violent sociopath. He was intelligent and calculating and not the sort of man who threw me into a wall and punched me, he was manipulative. He was scheming. He made me feel like everything I did was of my own volition and not doing it was weak. He made me want to protect him and to feel like I was doing a good thing to protect his secrets.

It took a massive amount of will to come forward about the sexual aspects of abuse and how deeply I’d been manipulated. It was deeply shameful to admit how badly I had been taken in. But it was okay because I had a good support network.

I had my husband, I had my friends online, I had my online friends, I had my local community, I had my therapist and perhaps one of the most valued anchor points of all was my childhood best friend who was one of the very few who I told the most intimate of my details to.

gossip 3

But it wasn’t okay. It wasn’t okay because someone in my system was gas lighting me. Normally it would be most likely to have been one of my therapists or my husband since authority and/or sexual behavior are the two big things that allow someone to be in the position to gas light another person. It wasn’t them. My husband has never kept me in a position of subservience in any way and my therapists have been carefully weeded through to find ones who listen to me and who don’t ever push me outside of my comfort zone.

false alarm

There was something wrong with someone who I least suspected: my best friend.

They say that you should always trust your dog. Well, my dogs hated her. The longer they knew her the more they hated her. They started acting out around her in ways that I had only seen them act around people who had admitted to having violent thoughts towards me or who had acted aggressively. That’s weird.

Then one day around Christmas, out of nowhere, she just called me and my husband stupid. She just said, ‘I was looking at getting a new game but I didn’t think you guys were smart enough to get them so I have to look for games for stupid people.’ Then she laughed. Hahahahah. That’s funny?

It’s not the way I talk to my friends and I’m not used to my friends talking to me that way. In fact, the only ones that have ever really talked to me like that are my abusive family. I started to have success in the local community and my friend C got mad. I could see it made her mad. I didn’t let it bother me because I could see that it was the sort of anger that comes with jealousy. I understand jealousy and I started the typical victim cycle of making excuses for an abuser.

But I had no idea that my friend would do this to me! Why would she? Was it all jealousy all along?

Then it got worse. Little bits of private information started to surface around town. At first it was little things that I keep to myself because I had to change so much to get away from my abusive family. They aren’t exactly secrets; but they aren’t things that I want told far and wide either.

The details that were getting out got more and more detailed and personal. People started to turn on me and my husband. And then, people started to let me know where the source of the rumors was: C.

I couldn’t believe it! With my typical loyalty I stood up for C while she smugly dispersed vivid images of my dad raping me around the small community where I live. All the while, not saying a word to me about it.

gossip 2

She would come by almost every weekend and sometimes she seemed exceedingly eager to hear about any misfortunes that my husband or I had had that week and seemed disappointed when I was happy and upbeat. My suspicions grew. My dogs continued to growl at her.

Every Sunday we’d play games with her and my husband and we’d either make dinner or order pizza, most often our treat. There was something else that was weird too. While to my face she would say that she liked my husband, as soon as I left the room she would treat him like he didn’t even exist. As soon as I walked back in she turned back on like a light switch. She was gas lighting us. She wanted me to think Tony was crazy or for me to say something to her and then to accuse us both of being oversensitive and crazy. It became rude to the point of insanity. How could I have her in my home if she was going to treat my husband this way? And what was she playing at by acting this way anyhow?

I wondered for awhile if she knew what she was doing. I wondered if it was just because she was awkward. Maybe she didn’t know what to say? But no, it was too extreme for that! And the escalation convinced me that she knew damn well what she was doing.

Meanwhile she was pumping us for information. One week she was elated. She told me that her mother had spent an hour and a half talking to her on the phone and was so happy for her mother’s attention. But she had been talking all about me and the pottery guild and how they had treated me. I felt sick to my stomach. Why was she talking to her mom for so long on the phone about me? Why did it make her so happy?

I realized with growing sorrow that she was trading in my struggles and tragedies as little gossip tokens to make herself the center of attention at her coffee shop. I realized that she was not my friend at all. This was affirmed when she told me that she wouldn’t stand up for me because she wouldn’t put her business at risk for me. She would, however, be more than happy to tell people about my childhood rapes it turned out!

Thanks, friend!

I told her I didn’t want to have our Sundays anymore. Having her leak everything we  said to her friends who hate me wasn’t cool. Having her be friends with people against whom I have a Human Rights Tribunal case made it too conflicted to have her over any more. Her response was to inform me that I was unappreciative of her efforts to ‘stand up’ for me by telling people about my abuse.

WHAAAAAAAT????

So, C, now you’re going to write my story for me? You who barely noticed my broken arms throughout childhood? You, who said you didn’t remember the times I broke down and said I had to do better, lose more weight (at 90 lb) so daddy would be happy with me? You who turned your back on me? You and your mother both. Your mother who was a goddamn school teacher and should have been on the phone with social services when this emaciated kid with broken bones was at her house… but was happy to let me come and stay for a few days but never to really help?

I would have been happy to let the betrayal go. To let it go that when people who know my name look at me and imagine my dad raping me when they see me. I was okay with you getting the facts wrong, C. I could have walked away without setting the record straight. But I’m  not okay with you telling me that I should be grateful to you for gossiping about my life and my pain. For making it impossible to know if the person next to me in public will say something about your version of the abuse I’ve suffered.  I’m not okay with you using my story as your currency. I’m not okay at all.

A lot of the comments you made and the friends of yours and your mother’s made make a lot more sense now. I wondered about them, like how I wondered about the things my family said before I found out my dad had told them all that I was crazy and that’s why I ran away from home. The two groups’ reactions were SO similar.

Congratulations. You’re almost as good as Leonard and Frank. One day maybe you’ll get smug enough and deluded enough and evil enough to rank right up there with them. But for now you can pat yourself on your back and tell yourself how much better you are than me because you have such a normal family, and how you ‘helped’ support me by taking my voice and telling your version of my stories to the world. Behind my back.

And maybe, just maybe, I won’t tell everyone all the horrible things you had to say about them. I can’t think of very many people that you had anything nice to say about. You listen in on your customers and judge them for what they read, what they eat, how they raise their children. You spill their private lives, rebirths and changes of name. You gossip about it to everyone else. You are a big pitcher with very big ears and a mouth meaner than nearly anyone I know.

You’re quick to talk about how important it is to be liberal but you won’t even admit openly that you’re bisexual. You’ll brag about it and talk about how proud you are of it, but only in front of the ‘right’ people. When it comes to time to put up or shut up, you shut up. You’d rather delete your FB page than put that up (and no one but you prompted you to insist on doing that, I wouldn’t mention it but you’ve assured me many times that you’re incredibly open about how liberal and bisexual you are that I don’t see why you’d mind me talking about it)… and deal with having to be connected to the real me. Not the little structure of me that you made up to use to put yourself in the spotlight, but the bag of pus you extracted to spread like poison over the city of Dawson Creek.

You aren’t just Faking Sanity. You’re faking everything. You’re lying. I know how you REALLY feel about a lot of people, maybe you’d like me to repay the favor you’ve done for me? ‘Warn’ people about what you’ve been through having to work serving them while hating them so very much? Despising them and their beliefs, their children, their ‘fruity’ or ‘nutty’ ways? Or maybe it wasn’t a favor at all and some things aren’t meant to leave a room. Maybe you wouldn’t want those people to hear the cruel things you had to say about them at all. Just a thought: you might value your privacy a bit higher than you value my privacy or in fact the privacy of anyone else around you including your business partner/roommate and your family… not to mention your much maligned customers.

Tell your own damn story and quit talking about my story. Quit talking about everyone else’s story. You don’t own any of that. You don’t do anything except sit in bed eating dollar store junk food and watching Will Wheaton play role playing games. You haven’t earned any of the stories you smear all over yourself and you don’t have a right to steal them. You’re worse than Gollum- at least he only wanted one ‘Precious’, you want anything dramatic, shiny or sordid to claim for your own and you don’t care who you hurt.

Speaking of hurt, I have one final thing to say on the subject. My dad hurt me, a lot. But I never trusted him, and I trusted you. I let my guard down around you and I thought you were safe. You were abusive in a way that stung more than what my dad did to me because there were good times with my dad. They were separate from the bad times but with you… everything I respected and treasured about you turned out to be a vicious and manipulative lie. You hurt me so much and for so little return, just a moment of attention and of being in the spotlight, a moment of putting a bit of tarnish on someone else. I should have known when I saw how cruel you had become to everyone in our past and in your present. The way you talked about your roommate and your family should have told me what to expect from you. The cruel lines around your mouth and the way people remarked that they had never seen you laugh before… the signs were there. I should have seen, but I loved you and so I didn’t let myself see.

I know that I’m not the only one you’ve done this to because I’ve heard the things you’ve said about other people. I’ve seen your cruelty in action. I wondered what they had done to you to make you so bitter and hurtful but now I see that you ARE bitter and hurtful. What people do in your radius is independent of how you treat them.

You need help. You know that. I’ve decided to post my response to you in public because I’ve learned that anything I say to you in private you’ll just twist. At least this way I get to keep my own words. You don’t get to steal those from me anymore. I’m reclaiming them and I hope all the people who listened to you realize that you committed a crime against my person, against my very soul by trying to steal my story for your own petty purposes. Go to the doctor, talk to a therapist, but whatever you decide, for once talk about yourself and not about everyone else. Get yourself sorted out and stop stealing from everyone and cutting everyone down to make yourself feel taller.

I hope that one day I can clear the debris of scum that you’ve covered our entire relationship in. Maybe I can enshrine what I thought of as our relationship in a hallowed place in my heart and mind then. That day is not today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Marathon 2017

In 24 hours poets are challenged to write one poem every hour for a total of 24 poems. I’ve been ‘running’ these marathons for four years now, sometimes taking part in as many as four marathons in a single year!

I had never thought of writing a poem an hour before the idea came up on my Facebook feed as an offer to join a poetry marathon. The idea was spawned by Caitlin Jans and her husband who have been evolving and changing their approach every year. After discovering this technique to poetry I soon found other venues to utilize it in. Writing a poem an hour is different from anything else I’ve ever taken part in. It sounds so simple and easy, and yet it isn’t. You wouldn’t believe the number of things that happen in a single 24 hour period. Our mood changes, minor or major disasters strike, life gets busy, the phone rings, company drops by, a friend has a crisis… all of these things affect the poetry that is written in that hour.

A lot of times a snippet of a sentence overheard can spin out into an entire unplanned poem, reading the poem over after the marathon I can’t help but wonder at the human mind (or at least my own mind) and the story it weaves out of the mundane into fanciful worlds of prose.

I’ve written these marathons after finding out in hour 4 that my grandmother died. I’ve written them with internet outages and all manner of ‘events’ that you would swear wouldn’t happen in the average day. It’s an adventure that highlights every minute of the day in question. It’s like the introverts version of Kiefer Sutherland in 24!

I could talk a lot more about this process and the feeling of the alarm going off each hour but I think I’ll write a second blog about that. This post is more about the poems. Below, starting with hour 1 you can find, unedited as they came from me moment by moment the complete list of my poems from the 2017 marathon.

poetry quotes

The End of Dreamland

VCS

 

The End of Dreamland

Faded

A roller coaster plunging

Into the mists of oblivion

Placed by a cruel prankster

Collecting tickets

Laughing at the joke

See the rubes pay the toll

The tolls set to the price

It’s only your soul!

That Dreamland is more nightmare

Than laughter and love

Emaciated skeletons

Dancing through a distorted utopia

A world that never  was

Never would be

Never could be

Thank all the gods above

That soap bubbles irridescent sheens

are

As fragile as the egos gathered

Around the casting couch

of ghouls and gangsters

the denizens of dreamland

the nightmare curse

 

I woke up one day

The dream was over

The sun played off the motes

The broken hopes left behind

The splintered edifices

Made of plaster of paris

Left to rot in the desert

Giant sphinxes

Violet eyed Cleopatras

 

It was all a dream

A lost city

Less real than silicon

More dubious than Atlantis

Or Lemuria

It was all a dream

Now we’re back from dreamland

Reality

Such as it is

Is better than the rotten shrouds

We tried to cover ourselves in

 

Soap bubbles pop

Roller coasters plunge

Dreams finish

Nightmares die

 

Awaken to

Reality

Such as it is

 

Emerald Cut

VCS

 

The pool was was made of turquoise wind

the edges sculpted

an emerald cut tapered up

of perfect teal

Hidden in its high setting

protective mountains

coated in diamond dust

glaciers

that dripped

merciless cold

from the dawn of time

with endless purity

into the vast jewel

leaping high with strange inclusions

jumping fish

living waters

pouring out into the evermore

 

6h Pencils

VCS

 

Hard etched lines

Sketched cruelly by a clan

of reckless hands

Caring about each cut millimeter

tearing through the fleshy layers

of pressed pulp page

and the work of art under the

6h pencils razor lead blades

Threatening to tear the page with each

Jagged

Irregular line

 

Reclaimed page

Futile to think the scribbles

Could ever be removed

The true picture revealed

Happy endings

Are meant to be believed in

Even for what looks like a

Piece of paper that could be tossed

crumpled

into the garbage can

 

No different than the thousands of other pages

lost under similar circumstance

 

No different until it is picked up

By the wind

By hands

But most of all the submission of self

To not resist the reclaiming process

To not tear

As each unkind imprint in alleviated

Understood

Erased

And integrated into the picture

That had been obscured underneath

It is now uncovered

 

Richer in shading

Deeper in layers

Dimensions that defy the eye

No mind conceived this art

The imperfections integrated into the picture

Seamlessly

So naturally

You’d never know

As it is carefully placed into

A complimentary matte

A protected now behind glass

In a place of honor on the wall

That this masterpiece

Hung beside other classic pieces of art

Throughout the ages

Was intended by cruel grown up children

For nothing more

Than violent scribbles

And the refuse bin

Asmodeus

VCS

 

He sat alone

Under the heat of a thousand suns

Under the desert

Where he had been thrown

Hunched with his arms

Hugging his warty, broken legs

He had turned to stone

Buried under dunes of sand

from the long, long ago

 

There had been a mighty king

Who had had a mighty ring

Given to him by the angels themselves

To make a temple to rule the world

And to rule the self

 

Asmodeus had come

He of the stone

Walking like a man

He couldn’t hide his limp

he could only give it to another

For a time and time

To give him the semblance

Of one who was what he liked to call

A hell of a ‘Smooth Operator’

 

‘Let me help you build your temple,’

He said to the King with the furrowed brow

The stones had ceased to fit together

The beams were broken

The edifice falling around him

What was mighty was now dying

 

‘Leave me be, I need no help unless you are a magician!’

The man with the hidden limp

Didn’t bother to answer; because he was no magician

He was a creature of fell magic himself

He did not want the shrewd King to scent his deception

 

With the stolen nimbleness of a hind

He leapt onto cypress pillars

‘Ah ha!’ Asmodeus exclaimed, his eyes twinkling

 

The King thought to himself,

‘His eyes are as bright as the sky over an oasis,

He’s a magician, there is no doubt and my problems are ended!’

 

Asmodeus, his black hair, shining in the sun

Produced a copper wedge

All carbuncled in green barnacles

‘Here’s the problem, a curse was laid on your temple.’

 

He tossed the wedge to the King who dropped it when it burned his hands

and scored a sigil into his index finger.

 

‘Let the building re-commence!’ Ordered the demon Asmodeus

 

And so it was that the demon won the confidence of the king

whose angelic ring could control the world of any spirit

and the canny king didn’t suspect a thing!

 

Asmodeus gave his name as a lie and became the confidant of the king

Who believed him sent from God

Rather than the devil’s plaything

Until one day the king had to go away

And his most prized possession he gave to the one he trusted most

The King of Demons: Asmodeus

 

When the canny king returned to his throne he found it occupied

By the demon man with hair of black and eyes of blue

His ring on his hand, His robes on his shoulders

His wives attending him like he was their beloved

And Asmodeus used his hellish powers to throw the king

a thousand leagues

laughing in glee

and eating the king’s own figs

 

A thousand leagues was not far enough to throw the canny king

Who walked over the blazing sand and through the wastelands

Until he returned to the lands

That had once been under his command

His eyes blazed with glints of red

From the alembic flames he had been tortured in

He walked into his throne room in begger’s rags

But no one stopped him, one look froze them in place

 

Asmodeus had grown fat on the king’s throne

He drooled wine and his eyes drooped with sleepy disconcern

He did not recognize the man before him as the rightful king

Until the man in rags walked to him and sliced off his finger

The only way to get it off the now bloated member

The canny king stamped Asmodeus between the eyes

With the Pentalpha sigil and his demise

 

Now the demon was no longer lord

He was subject and bound as the other hoards

To obey the will of the king

The true son of the true king before him

 

‘Go forth into the desert and dig a tomb in the sand.

Dig until you can dig no more

Then never move again.’

 

The demon staggered from the hall and his

Shroud of glamour fell from the eyes of all

And they shook their heads and rubbed their eyes

As they watched Asmodeus’s tail leave the hall,

his legs limping, his bulk bursting his scaly skin

He walked far into the desert

To dig his own grave

With his taloned hands

At the King’s command

 

And sat and listened to the winds howling above him

until his ears filled with sand

And his lungs along with them

Then he ceased to think or move

And turned to stone

Under the dunes

 

And that was how he was found

more than a thousand years later

By an alchemist who would quickly become greater

Thanks to the power

Of the stone demon

Who whispered wisdom in his ear

Exactly as much as he needed to hear

Until Asmodeus was free once more

 

Plodding and evil

The canny king was gone

His temple long since with him

But between the demons eyes

The burned sigil

And frozen stone joints

Still bite into him.

Tap Dancing on Puddles

VCS

 

He went out the door at noon

He arrived at the pub at two

By three or four he was playing billiards

After seven in the evening

He couldn’t recall

If he’d told his wife

Where he’d been off to

(She tended to get mad at his leaving)

With his blood pumping heat

from his head to his feet

He walked home in the snow

Northern lights overhead casting

Their spelling, singing like crackling glass

Lighting his gaunt face in their green and pink glow

Like a tap dancer he skipped across a puddle of ice

With the grace of Gene Kelley

And now one to see

The voice of a pipe organ

He serenaded the moon

Until he came to the front door

Of his own little home and remembered

That Marjorie hadn’t been told

That he’d been gone since noon

(Or more importantly she hadn’t told him

that she was okay with him coming home

by the light of the north and the moon)

 

The door creaked on its hinges

The house looked deceptively at peace

But he knew that Marjorie would not likely

Have gone to bed so soon

Peering with wide eyes

He took off his crushed fedora from his

Creased working man’s brow

and tossed it into the dark by the couch

 

His breath blew out of him in clouds in the cold

He rubbed his arms for warmth

And cursed in a whisper

As his hat

Like a miracle

Flew back to his hand

 

Marjorie was awake and her message was plain:

He was not welcome here until the ‘morrow

Sweet bottles of sorrow

He closed the door with a prayer

To the God of his fathers

(That he said he didn’t believe in but

he prayed to all the same)

And tap dancing over

The frozen puddles

He went to find a couch

To sleep what was left of the night away

 

Spitballs and Evergreens

VCS

 

Wrapped in torn remnants

Of papers

With names and places

Most of which mean nothing to me

They have stuck to me

Like spitballs

Cast by naughty children

Sitting bored

At the back of math class

Immobilizing me

Pumping me full of immortal resin

My soul pushed and pulled

In a stream of paperwork

I didn’t start

With a zip code written

On my DNA that branded me

Before I was made to order

Like a homunculus with no purpose of my own

Full of amber sap dripping from evergreen trees

Buried under the earth

I ring my bell

I’m still not dead

I’m still not dead

I ring my bell

From my tomb

Encased in my mummy suit

made from ancient scrolls

I never read

I’m still not dead

I ring my bell

My soul is my own

I did not choose to speak

Yet I must

I will not be an Immortal Buddha

And once more I rip off these

scabs of paper and emerge newborn

from the grave you’ve already dug for me

Because I’m still not dead

I walk the earth

I ring my bell

I sing my song

I will not drink the poison

The evergreen is ever dead

But I am not

I’m still not dead

I’m still only just a new born

Ringing my bell

As my cry to the universe.

Perching

VCS

 

I sat on a pole

Held aloft

Under the sweltering sun

Of the rotting waste

Of the battlefield below me

 

I looked out of a telescope

Harangued by flies

Gnawed at by hunger

Smacked in the chest with despair

 

I scan the horizon

Looking for anything that moves

Hoping for rescue

Fearing more attack

From my lofty perch

I can avoid most of the perils

Of the decay of war

But I make a handy target for arrows

Or any muck someone might want to throw

 

There is something coming, I see it moving

Slowly and steadily it comes towards me

I take out my scroll

And my precious bottle of ink

There are plenty of buzzard and crow feathers

With which to make a new quill

 

I sit down

upon my perch

Listening to the sounds of death

and write about the battle

I am the only one to have survived

The trust is mine to tell their story

Survivors guilt makes the ink

Thick with survivors guilt

As I form each letter with great care

On the only scroll I still have

Waiting

The form grows larger

My fate no more sure

Than any other mortal

On my pole overlooking

The charnal pit that holds my family and friends

The Words are Marching

VCS

 

I wrote a hundred thousand words

I tossed them in the air

I wrote them in a coma

I wrote them on the stare

I tried to keep the words down

With chicken soup and ginger ale

But gypsy curses and wandering street light people

Threw my words like cookies

Back out of me and I brayed them

From the steeples

I thought that eventually

They would be picked clean

When I hung around at rookeries

But it was not to be

A million words came marching

And jumped right out of my cerebellum

Not caring a dash about what happened to me

 

Words are thoughtless creatures

Even when used thoughtfully

Marauding little beasts

They have complete control over me

Sometimes they pick my hands up

Even when I’m sleeping

And ghostlike pluck the keyboard

Into unknown symphonies

The words are coming from the rafters

They live in the crannies in the walls

They live in desperate lovers

They make the weak tremble and fall

They make the strong the same if they’re not careful

 

The words are marching out of me

Brazen creatures they! Coming out of my hands, my mouth my eyes

And yet you  make them say to you as you would have them speak

That’s the way they like it

Twisting

Making wind

Tornadoes swooping down on landscapes

Leaving ruin

Or bringing us to brand new worlds

The choice is theirs

It isn’t up to me or you

He Ain’t No Nice Guy

VCS

 

They called him insane, the man of pain

They called him lame

Some just said, ‘You ain’t no nice guy’

But none of that was true,

it was just an angle of the sun

beaming off a diamond

He didn’t ask for accolades

He said, ‘I’m the boy in the box’

They made him the holy ghost

They said he moved through them

They said he spread death on the air

He said, ‘leave me alone’

They said, ‘You ain’t no nice guy’.

 

He didn’t ask to be put in the center ring

He didn’t ever want to have it be a whole big thing

They copied him in every way

They stole his hair and his poetry

They called him a saint and took away his privacy

They called him insane, the man of pain

They called him lame

 

They cut hairs into splinters to make each accusation true

Until they drove him into the arms of madness

That’s where I met him

And I could see why they did what they did to him

With his nose broken

His long hair hanging in his face

I found him on the mens room on the floor

A needle in his arm

He whispered to me, ‘get back, I ain’t no nice guy’

 

I sat beside him on the floor

the tiles were cold, his body radiated heat

the toiled smelled like shit and vomit

‘this ain’t no nice place to be,’ I replied as I sunk down

So our eyes could lock

 

I wondered if I was his hallucination or if I was his

Either way, he stroked my hair away from my eyes

And I felt his fingertips, as soft and real as a spring breeze

 

‘They’re always going to do this to you, you’ll always end up where I am’

I nodded in understanding

Looking at him all I saw the preying mantis from the classroom

And he was the bug caught in her grip

‘So what do we do?’ I asked

He laughed, his laugh echoed and then he stopped because

We both knew how it was

He was mad

 

‘We pray.’

 

He took my hands in his and started to pray

Yay, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

I shall fear no evil

He opened his eyes and I opened mine,

We had each dug half moons with our fingertips

Into the other’s hands

His eyes were the only thing in the room that wasn’t

the color of bile or other exudate.

 

When we had prayed and I was still there

He said to me, ‘I shall fear no evil; but it still

smells like shit and I still ain’t no nice guy.’

 

I saw the syringe had fallen from his arm and rolled behind the toilet.

A drop of his blood brightened the room on his forearm.

 

He saw where my gaze had gone and pulled my gaze back to his and said,

‘Ain’t anyone got to be nice to know this ain’t real and we’re both

being eaten by the world. What’s a few painkillers between me and the Lord?’

 

That was the first time I met him, when I fell asleep in class

But it wouldn’t be the last

Call him the Holy Ghost

Call him the Angel of Death

Call him a Poet

Call him a Priest

He doesn’t owe it to anyone to be a nice guy but I rather think that he is.

 

Something New

VCS

 

Darkened hallways

Turn darker still

The last lights of what was

Are dimmed and gone

The wind has stopped

Rustling the leaves

Only evil beasts still caper

Through the bowers of the trees

What is

What was

It is no more

I can’t recall ever working so hard

To get rid of something

That I loved so much

The bitter pain

Gnaws at me of losing the potential

Of the life that was never had

But holding on hurts exponentially in score

And now there is time for something more

Something better

We deserve to have something good

Not poisoned by the ghosts that lived here

Before we were ever born

and the angry spirits that came after

Yet here we linger

On the edge

Of a new adventure

Where it goes

The path that shimmers

Into reality before me

Is all still shrouded in mystery

But what I know

Is that those old halls

are darker and smaller

than ever before

Life has fled these paths

And it is time for something

Entirely new

Just me and you

Butterscotch Sunbeam

VCS

 

In the afternoon

When things get still and slow

I watch a little sunbeam

That escaped into my room

All is quiet and dim

Except for the roar of that

Little drip of sun

And the scent of butterscotch

Running off it’s light

And puddling onto hardwood floors

I don’t know how it got here

Or where its friends are at play

But this little sunbeam

Has fallen my way

It’s as loud as a freight train

In the otherwise dark room

Dimmed for an afternoon nap

After the rising of noon

It shines its spotlight on every spot of dust

And lets me know its noticed

Every bit of muss

Even though it woke me up

With its demand to play

dripping with sweetness

To remind me of the summer day

It’s impossible to do anything

But smile in a wistful way

The sunbeam’s found her friends

And vanished in her play

 

Flip flop

VCS

 

Flip flop

On the table top

This won’t take a minute

You won’t feel a thing

Except for this

It might be hit or miss

 

Flip flop

Lying on the table top

It’s a bit of a miracle

A dash of science

Maybe a placebo

Any way I like it

 

Flip flop

Do the drop

On the table top

It’s magic and a secret

But something says yes

 

Flip flop

Flip flop

A little dab will do you

At least it’s a start

 

Fragrantly

VCS

 

Fragrantly

Wafting through the air

Rosemary cuts an acrid trail

For pungent sage on his way with

Parsley on his arm in her feathered finery

And crisp bouquet

 

Olives pressed

To make sweet oil

That sizzles softly

Around pink salt that came

From the tallest mountains

To my pallet

 

My mouth fills

In anticipation of the

Mingled essences in the air

I am grateful to each living thing

From the beasts who walked

The plants that grew

The herbs that sprung

The olives that clung

And the salts the flew

From the mountain tops

 

Fragrantly and Thankfully

You fill the air

And my tummy

Powering my body

For another day of living

 

Dear Mr. Whippy

VCS

 

Mr. Whippy is ganging up on me

With his gang of thugs

And his alphabets

He hems and hrumphs and I know

He knows how to rap knuckles

With that stick

He keeps telling me

That Diacritacal marks come later

First learn to make the lines

‘But,’ I protest, ‘I fear that

My pronunciation is quite off.’

He sucks in his mustache and his lips disappear

Underneath his disapproving

But very discerning over-lip hair

And when John Dee

Makes his foot notes

In another tongue

I know that Mr. Whippy will translate for me

But with many a disapproving air

At kids these days

Who aren’t taught ancient Greek

And barely read Latin at all

How remiss my classical education

He will groan between making marks in shorthand

(Another dying art! Ah, why don’t they teach

the children shorthand?)

Dear Mr. Whippy, I fear of opening

The door of every room of learning

My brain is only so big

And I haven’t read all the classics

My education is appalling

Why bother to read them at all

If not in their native tongues?

It’s with dragging feet that I carry my notebooks

And my tomes

To Mr. Whippy’s door

And hope he won’t berate me

I fear my head will explode

If I try to learn any more!

Draw Nearer

VCS

 

Sirens wailing, fires blazing

Draw nearer

Evacuation center

Smokey skies are burning

The sun’s on fire

The moon immersed in

A tidal pool of blood

 

Province burning, ‘copters whirling

Draw nearer

Breathe deep and try not to think

Of what could or could not be

It’s just about time

For the hot point in the year

Think carefully

 

Lakes are flooding, so many dying

Water and Air

Fire and Earth

All trade places

Nothing could be done about that perhaps

Not but you or me

But the rest!

We’re all caught up in it

Trees explode like roman candles

What started this?

One cigarette

 

Still too cool to put the flicker out

Instead of flash it out the window

Onto the tinder and broken land

You’re not above it all

No one is safe from any of this

Don’t think anyone is too good to

Be caught in the hell of flames

To lose your home or family

It happens every day

 

Sirens wailing, fires blazing,

Province burning, ‘copters whirling

Lakes are flooding, so many dying

Draw nearer

To a piece of sanity

Authentic

Posted on August 6, 2017 12:09am EDT by Virginia

Authentic
VCS

Authentic in my pain
Authentic in my joy
Authentic in my love
It scares the evil away
When you pour your heart out
Every word

The anguish in your voice
Your love in your eyes
The delight of a birch bud
Glowing on your skin
It’s not the same
For frauds
When each lie accumulates in the
Blocks of caution
In their eyes
And being authentic
Hurts the world of betrayals

Authentic in my pain
Authentic in my joy
Authentic in my love
It scares the evil away
When you pour your heart out
Every word

I can’t be any other way
I can’t ever change
I can say my truth more kind
I can walk away
I don’t have to be cruel to be true
But I have to be true to each little cell
That pumps life into my body and soul
Because that is my spirit

Authentic in my pain
Authentic in my joy
Authentic in my love
It scares the evil away
When you pour your heart out
Every word

And that is me
Authentic in my pain
Watch my tears flow
My heart break and pour out
onto the floor
A thousand times the joy
Of the little things
And the big things too
That overwhelm and make me silent
In appreciation of all the beauty in the world
This is authentic

Authentic in my pain
Authentic in my joy
Authentic in my love
It scares the evil away
When you pour your heart out
Every word

Lots of times it hurts
It isn’t always pretty
It is always beautiful
Even when it’s hideous too
The blights are so much darker
The days are brighter too
My passion won’t let me
When my heart screams no no no

Authentic in my pain
Authentic in my joy
Authentic in my love
It scares the evil away
When you pour your heart out
Every word
Authentic in my pain
Authentic in my joy
Authentic in my love
It scares the evil away
When you pour your heart out
Every word

Blood and Diamonds

VCS

 

From the heart of our mother’s pain

They speak to us

Of all that’s been and all that is to come

Diamonds

Those bits of carbon

Crushed in the fist of pain

The agony that makes life

The agony that frees

Diamonds sparkling

They say it’s all a scam

The value of the diamond

They say that it’s bad because…

Blood diamonds

 

All diamonds are made of blood

The blood of the earth as she

Is contorted into new forms

 

How funny that we ignore the bloodstains

On the things we use every day

But feel self righteous for avoiding

Sullying our hands

 

Eat the meat but spare the fur

Shun the diamonds but burn the oil seeped in bloody war

Self righteous is a fun horse to ride so high!

 

They say a lot of things about diamonds

Somme I believe to be true

One is that it’s bad luck

To buy your own diamond

Unless it’s to claim the bad luck you’ve already had

And own your pain

 

Diamonds

The gift of a mission accomplished

A new life, things never to be the same

For some a Medal of Honor is bestowed

But for others a diamond better fits

to describe

the hardness of life

that’s given the razor sharp acumen

and strength of those who survive

 

It’s the rainbow of understanding

All the colors embraced in one

Fire in a Carat

Blood diamonds

 

 

Immune to all but the most delicate and skilled touch

Nothing touches the diamonds heart

Or can put out her fire

Sparkle sparkle

I used to say

As we shone the brass away

In a Cinderella life

Now I sparkle another way

Now I’ve earned my medals from lessons learned

Badges of honor

From the only mother

Who loved me most

 

I will wear my diamonds

As I wear my scars

Each a badge of honor

As my mother taught me

 

Hovering There

VCS

 

Before you said I had

To leave this place

I had hoped it would be home

Even though I always knew

That would never be the way

It was meant to be

 

Because I was a foreigner

But you were out of this world

You were hovering there

In the dead of the night

And I was watching you

Thinking

 

This wasn’t at all right

I wished I was a kite

Because you sat below me

I could have caught the breeze

Drifted away through the park

Gotten out of your rank wind

 

But it didn’t happen that way

And you can’t change history

You told me I had to leave

And at first I said, ‘Okay’

But then I thought you’d gone

I came back

 

I shouldn’t have done that

The coming back I mean

The warning turned out to be a doozie

One of them there dooms

They’re all the rage

When the rage is on

And the rage is always on

 

You gotta heed those warnings

Even then it’s not always enough

Even then they still catch you out

Even then they’ll gun for you in the night

 

They tell you to get out

And shine lights in your face

Hovering in the night

Better listen to them

Boys and girls

There’s nothing else to do

 

They’re the ones who own this world

Even though they say they’re foreigners here

We’re just taking up space

While we’re waiting to say goodbye

When they say, ‘byebye’

It’s time to run and hide

Drag you to the velvet underground

They’ll take you for a ride

 

Hovering in the night

And you can’t change history

You told me I had to leave

But I came back

When I knew you were gunning for me

 

I had a cocky grin

I thought this was my world

Turns out it’s just the porch

to the velvet underground

And all the rest is hell

Wouda

VCS

 

Do you know the Wouda’s?

They live most any place

They can be both good or evil

A pleasure or a disgrace

Under the sea they creep like starfish

On land they hide

A secretive race

 

Do you know the Wouda?

You may have mistaken them for

Someone’s hand or a toy

But I assure you they are alive and well

They adapt to any situation

With alacrity and joy

 

Do you know the Wouda?

Not the Coulda, Shoulda or even Buddha?

But in fact the Wouda

Who creeps up in disguise

It is the helping hand you need

When all else seems lost

 

It isn’t a pixie, a gnome or a dwarf

It is the noble Wouda

And if you don’t know about them

I think its time you shoulda

because they’re the helpers we all need

The very special Wouda

I don’t recall

VCS

 

You don’t come to mind much anymore

I don’t recall your face

Your voice

That world has been exorcised

Excised

I am at peace with the clarity of my heart

And with how you vanished along with my own

Reserection

 

You tried to steal everything from me

You didn’t leave me even scraps

I was never angry about that

But I was confused and hurt

Now I have found gratitude

Because I don’t have to thank you

You have nothing to do with the good places

I’ve been at

 

This is a farewell

And it isn’t to only one

There are many of you

Living and dead who tried to take my life

With many justifications

Objectifications

Gratifications of yourselves

 

But now

I’ve forgotten your faces

And your voices

And even the feel of your skin

I don’t remember the way you smelled

Or the exact color of your hair

Or your eyes

I am happy to let those things

Like the rest of my pain

Float away

One the river of life

Turn my face into the new dawn

And feel only love once more

Gimmee
VCS

Copy of a copy of a copy
Spinning into a lack of cogent
Reality
There is no definition
Making out the lines
Has become foggy
More of a guessing game
Than anything advertised

None of us signed on for this
And there is more every day
We need space
We need originality
Instead of tightening ligatures
Of conformity

As the boundaries get tighter and tighter
The lyrics of the songs
Blur into one long litany
Of Gimmee Gimmee Gimmmee
There isn’t enough for everyone
To have everything they want

Not when they don’t want it really
Not anyhow
Once their fingers are on it
It’s tossed to the side
The next illusion chased

All to the litany of gimmee gimmee gimmee
It never gets
It only takes
The dance of the copy machine
All running around
Trying to look, act and talk the same
shaming anyone who dares to stand

gimmee gimmee gimmee
copy copy copy
you won’t ever get what you’re wanting
Not this way
this isn’t what we’re here for
None of us really want this anyway

The dance of nihilism continues
Every single day
Killing the pain with whatever comes
Up the nose, with a pill, in a vein on a VISA card
Gimmee gimmee gimmee
The copies fade more each day

 

 

Three

VCS

 

The hour has come

When it is darkest

And eyelids close

and all grows weary

Each hour is exponential to the last

only two more to go

one, two, three

Three in the morning

and three poems in a row

 

Cordial crushed berries

Fresh off the vine

bright bits of summer

tang like pure wine

your leaves blow in the wind

revealing bounty under each bough

startling glimpses of red

faded to pink

through to

unripe

white

the future harvest that’s waiting

for its day in the sunlight

but for now their are plenty of ripe

handfuls of wine berries

my fingers stain red

thistles sting over eager

grasps

as the plants protect themselves

from the ravages of grazers like myself

gathering leaves to dry

for the panacea of summer health

they will bring to cold winter months

a praise for the berry

an early friend to humanity

and lifelong companion to one and all

 

Bleary eyed I sit a-typing

plagued as every writer before me

has been with the writing

sitting up when sleep beckons

in her ghostly form

her sweet smile curves upward

and I am reminded of the cool

relief of her embrace and how

it feels to sink into

the mistiness of her fragrant form

to refill the need

of the mind

to seek the land

where stories are born

deep in our dreams

we swim the ether and course the waves

to wake in the warm sand of morning

the sun shining in our eyes

the keyboard at hand once again

the stories

the words

pouring forth

fresh baked from that special place

I need to go

As lady sleep is calling calling

I find myself faling falling

In the morning the words will come again

The words sitting in my head

All waiting to pour themselves out

As though they write themselves

Hold me now, sweet lady

I am ready for slumber

no more will I linger in the world

of the real

sweet lady calls me

willing I go

Able-Bodied People Speaking ABOUT Disabled People

Dis(abled) Embodiment

By Derek Newman-Stille

Far too frequently, able-bodied people feel that they have a place to talk about disabled people. They use different justifications for this act of narrating our bodies to us, but the bottom line is always the same. There is an assumption that our bodies are open to public debate, that we are resigned to expertiseism about our bodies not only by medical practitioners, but anyone who feels that they have a stake in narrating us.
I see this most commonly when it comes to medical practitioners, whose power to narrate our bodies is so strong that we have to depend on their assessment of our bodies to get access to basic accommodations. Our own narration of our bodies is never considered enough to guarantee that we will acquire everything we need. In university I observed this with the accommodation letters that I was forced to bring to…

View original post 739 more words

Watt I’ve Learned About Wattpad

I have a lot of writer friends and I like to read and give feedback to them because… well, that’s what you do if you’re a writer and have writer friends!

i am a writer

It’s the ‘polite’ thing to do, but I enjoy reading what my friends have been writing as well as thinking it’s an important part of writerly etiquette to contribute to the writing community. Most of my friends have books on GoodReads or Amazon etc. but some of my friends live in the realm of Wattpad.

For people who use Wattpad as a tool you’re probably already going over the many good things that Wattpad has done for you and your friends.
Let me start by saying: I am not opposed to Wattpad, I simply don’t completely understand it. I think I’m starting to get it now, but I have my reasons for feeling like a fish out of water on Wattpad.

Let me go over some of the good points I’ve noticed and heard about Wattpad before I talk about my own take on this increasingly vibrant platform for writers.

The first good thing is that it attracts young authors. Teenagers are encouraged to write and by getting feedback they’re encouraged to keep writing. The same point is true for new writers or writers who for various reasons need extra feedback to build their confidence and/or writing stamina.

It’s not a pointless endeavor to post on Wattpad either. I sort of thought it was. This one has an upside and a downside. The upside is that more and more people including large publishers are farming Wattpad for talent. Margaret Atwood has been involved in an award called the ‘Watty’ since 2012. There are poetry contests and all sorts of things that people can get involved in.

writing love

I only found out those things after doing some research into Wattpad. Before I looked into it the last word I’d heard on Wattpad was that publishers considered anything put on Wattpad as ‘previously published’. A stigma that once attached to a story/poem/novel is very difficult to remove. Yes, most publishers only want fresh and virgin stories!

That part is still true and something that I don’t think a lot of people who post on Wattpad know about. That isn’t why I’m still a little anxious about getting into the waters of Wattpad, my reasons are my own uncertainties and my style of writing and reading.

When someone asks me to read their story on Wattpad or chapter by chapter it has the same affect on me: I don’t know how to give feedback.

From my limited exposure to Wattpad I’ve found most of the stories are in progress, this causes me to regard reading them as seeking ‘alpha feedback’. Alpha feedback is pretty basic because of the very obvious reason that the writer isn’t finished writing yet. Concepts and characters may be undeveloped because again… the writer isn’t finished yet.

writing 2

I’ve noticed that a lot of alpha feedback consists of nit-picky grammar edits that are, in my opinion, undermining and discouraging when you’re just getting going on a story.  This also negates the benefits of bolstering and encouraging writers to write more!

So, I’m not the only one who has a hard time giving alpha feedback. What is alpha feedback? Alpha feedback is feedback is, as stated previously, feedback given on works in progress (WIPS) and is usually done a bit at a time as the writer progresses through their story. Beta feedback is given on a finished work that may or may not have been edited.

writing tips

One of the best tips for beta reading your own work or the work of someone else. Beta reading can be where much needed texture is added to the entire story. 

Beta feedback is something that I’m good at and that I value deeply in the excellent beta readers who read for me. Beta feedback focuses on things like: umm, did you just teleport out of the shower into the living room? Or: I can’t understand this sentence at all, did you mean to say that they ‘ate China’? I’m thinking maybe you meant ‘chicken’??

Writing is rarely done all at one sitting and it’s also rare that there are no interruptions or distractions. If your writing environment is like that you are a lucky writer indeed! For the rest of us we have phone calls, knocks on the door, family and friends that talk just at the minute you were writing a key sentence… and you write down what they said instead of what you were intending to write.

writing process

When you read your own writing over you’ll likely catch a lot of these errors. If you read your story out loud you’ll catch even more of them. The mind is an amazing machine capable of glossing over the same thing even on multiple reads. This is especially true when we read our own work but I’ve seen as many as five readers miss the same mistake in a story! This is why beta readers are like gold because the sixth beta reader who catches the mistake is the one who saves it.

This isn’t exactly the same as editing although they are closely related. Beta readers aren’t there to catch grammar mistakes, spelling mistakes, formatting errors etc. If they see something obvious they might make a note of it to save the writer some time but it isn’t their mission. That’s what final edits are for and that’s a whole different blog!

writing editor

Anyway, in case you didn’t know, now you’re caught up on the different stages of readings and writing. This brings us back to our original topic: Alpha reading and Wattpad.

I don’t know what sort of feedback any one author is looking for when they ask for alpha reading of a story. It’s hard to go into detail because we don’t know if the writer is keeping the suspense tight or if they’ve missed an important aspect of the story. When you’re asked to read a story some sort of response is required or the writer will likely assume that you hated the whole thing and don’t want to tell them how much they suck. So, you’ve got to say SOMETHING or you run the risk of your efforts to be helpful hurting the writer.

How can you do that when you don’t know anything about where the writer is going? The writer may be highly organized and know where they are going for their plot, or they might be like me, someone who is a ‘pantser’ (flies by the seat of my pants rather than outlining). If they are a pantser, then they probably don’t know where they are going anymore than the alpha reader does.

Feedback is like fuel for writers. They NEED it to know if they’re doing their job and their job is effective communication. If no one replies to what they have to say it is the writer’s natural inclination to determine that they are doing something wrong. If they know they’re reaching their audience it gives them more fuel to keep on.

Which brings us to the conundrum of Wattpad. Giving someone grammar tips is one of those gray zones if you aren’t their editor. It’s especially bad if it’s all someone has to say about your writing. First of all, it’s a negative observation and second of all it isn’t about what you said, it’s about how you said it in a strictly modern context of what is stylistically ‘correct’. Notice that nothing in grammar/spelling/formatting is going to help someone to understand how well they are communicating their story. Not encouraging.

Understanding that alpha and beta reading are the writer seeking feedback on how well they’re communicating gave me some insights into how to be a better alpha reader. First of all, I’m going on the assumption that anything that seems like a hole in the plot or that I don’t understand is likely going to be cleaned up in the beta reading. Unless it’s a continuity error (Bob is wearing blue pants and five minutes later spills coffee on his red pants), it’s better to ignore those things.

Someone in who is alpha reading for you is really only their for the most part as a positive influence. Unlike a beta reader who looks around for structural integrity, holes in the plot etc, the alpha reader is there to feed into the story.

How can an alpha reader do this?

First of all, I’ve learned to underline and comment on particularly striking turns of phrase or patterns of style that the writer uses. For example, I recently did some alpha reading on a story where the writer used vivid colors to effectively key in important aspects of their story.

Alpha reading is also disrupted reading. It’s hard to come back into a story and try to recall everything that happened in detail especially if you’re reading multiple alpha stories. Here’s where my personal, stylistic issue with Wattpad comes into play.

I am not a fan of chapter plays. I like to read deeply and intensely. I want to sink into the world. I don’t want to be just driving through yet another landscape. I want to know characters and places and experience them. I can’t do that if the sections are doled out a little at a time.

Another very personal issue I have with Wattpad is obvious: It’s all digital.

I don’t enjoy reading books electronically nearly as much as I enjoy reading a bound book. I enjoy the tactile sense of the fibers that make the paper, the sensation of physically turning pages… I like to read in the bathtub and my laptop doesn’t share my love of the water!

So, to all my friends on Wattpad who I haven’t had a chance to give feedback to… I’m sorry. I have started a Wattpad account (although I’m not sure if I finalized it, there may be some hanging step I neglected) and I have intentions to read your work. Intentions aren’t the feedback you’re looking for but I can assure you that it isn’t your writing that has driven me away.

The final thing I will say about Wattpad, again it is both positive and negative, is that it is a community. That means that it should be reciprocal. If I’m going to comment there, I should also be posting my own writing and getting to know people. The intricacies of the communal aspects of Wattpad are still mysteries to me.

writing at work

I don’t usually get anyone to alpha read for me unless I know and trust them very much. I don’t want to get the feedback of, ‘yeah, it was interesting… you had a run on sentence in the second paragraph… but otherwise, yeah, it was interesting.’

I will continue to contemplate the world of Wattpad and try to take the plunge. I hear that there is a vibrant poetry community as well as other writing and that may be a good place to start.

I think Wattpad fills a valiant function in the writing world. Alpha reading is important and I know that people do move on to beta reading and final editing. People have even started to have television shows made of their Wattpad stories!

That’s pretty much it: Watt I’ve Learned About Wattpad 🙂

 

Liane Carter Writes: The Land of Virginia

Written and Illustrated by Liane Carter,

A tiny tale of a little of the land of Virginia

The path is red like her hair. Beware.

image

She has a heart so big it makes her beauty – and she is a sculpture made by angels – seem small in comparison. You may feel overwhelmed in the wonder of the wildness and wilderness of all she is. Her depth, anguish, pain and intelligence swim on the river surface of her eyes. There is no disguise. She has allowed herself free to be and opens her hand to ask you to too. If you are willing to. Take another step into the unknown back to the birth of all that is known.

liane carter virginia pic 1

A goddess who guides you and hides you if you need a retreat because she has been there, and even if she hasn’t, her empathy nourishes your lands to live in. A lover of the living, animals flock to feed on her love so you may meet a few chickens, dogs and a gorgeous bird on the way.

picture by Liane Carter

You can stop. You can stay. I promise you a beautiful journey on the way.

liane carter virginia pic 3

http://www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/a-haunting-of-words

haunting of words final cover

 

My short story, Widower’s Choice was selected from over 300 submissions for this wonderful anthology bursting with talented authors! I was further honored to make the cut for the cover but most of all I am so happy that Widower’s Choice will be available to be read soon!
Click on the link to pre-order and get your copy soon!

Black Heart Magazine is presenting ‘Disarm, A Gun Sense Anthology’. It has my short story in it along with many others. Please keep reading before reacting 🙂

 

I am sensitive to the fact that not all guns are created equally and that this is a hot button issue that is something that makes people on both sides of the fence bristle up with emotion almost instantly.

I recently had a conversation about gun control in a post I made that was a quote from Eisenhower. I have a wide range of friends from right to left and I enjoy them all, so long as we can keep dialogue open I’m happy to talk about nearly anything. I don’t make a lot of political posts or statements, not because I don’t have beliefs, but because I respect that everyone has beliefs. Sometimes, especially on social media anything even vaguely controversial can blow up out of all proportion and I think there’s enough in the world without me adding to that powder keg without good reason.

It was with good reason that I posted this quote by Eisenhower: I wanted to point out the cost of weaponry. This quote comes from the man who made it his mission to arm America and then realized the price it cost to buy and maintain the unnecessarily huge amounts of munitions that he had acquired.

eisenhower quote

There are so many better things we could be focused on than weapons. We could do so many things as a species. We’ve come far in our understanding and knowledge in a short period of time. Instead of our learning bringing us peace, it’s brought it more fear and a need to buy and create more and more weapons.

When I posted this quote a friend of mine said, ‘now, Virginia, remember your pioneering roots. You wouldn’t have had food in the freezer if it hadn’t been for your parents and grandparents having guns’.

I agreed wholeheartedly with my friend and I continue to agree with him. I’ve shot a rifle before, I’ve hunted before. I’m not afraid of guns and I grew up eating venison and moose more than I ate beef or pork. I’m from Northern Canada and up here, it’s still pretty wild. We have long, cold winters and a short growing season. Lets say, it’s not an easy place for aspiring vegetarians (although I’m sure people manage it somehow now).

But my parents, grandparents and great grandparents settled the land here and it was a dangerous job. There were big, scary animals out there. In fact one time when my dad went out he got treed by a moose! One of the only times he left the house without a gun and he spent the whole night up a tree with the moose trying to knock him down from his perch in the branches.

But even though the guns in my house were necessary they still ended a life. One of my best friends was killed by one of my Dad’s shotguns.

After Philip died, my dad couldn’t fire a gun again.

Not too long ago half of a family was murdered, a woman and her thirteen year old daughter by a man they had invited into their house who then shot himself. Again, they had guns in their house for all the right reasons but it still ended in tragedy. I spoke to one of the relatives who said, ‘at 9 his wife and daughter were just fine and by 9:30 he got a call that they were both dead’. The other daughter found out about it when she saw an RIP for her own mother on social media.

I don’t think guns are inherently evil or bad. I’m not afraid of them, I know how to use them.

The problem with guns is that it’s only a split second of the evil side of human nature to make a gun a fatal weapon. To a person who is in a pit of despair, a gun is a way out that is quick and easy. Too quick and too easy. It doesn’t allow the human mind time to repair, time to make better choices and time to move on.

In a moment of rage someone who could never bring themselves to attack someone in a way that would put actual blood on their actual hands can pull the trigger from across the room without looking their victim in the eye. The danger of guns is that they are split second evil machines and once the trigger has been pulled there is no undoing of that crime.

They are such simple devices. So clean, so easy to use. Even a child can learn how to safely use a gun and even a child who knows gun safety can make a mistake. Bravado and guns often go hand in hand. I’ve seen people who’ve rested their rifles on their foot while out hunting and shot their own foot off. It happens.

In Canada, gun control keeps anything but rifles as a difficult commodity to acquire. Everyone who operates a rifle must take an exam and course that stringently explain gun laws. Guns and ammunition must never be stored together and both must be kept under lock and key. Even with these precautions stupid accidents happen and public shootings happen as well.

Guns aren’t nearly as common here as they are in America, but they still take a toll. The planet is getting more crowded and tempers and differences in race, religion and creed augment our differences in a way that makes some people lose all restraint. In a case like that it’s too easy for the snick of a trigger to make the difference in the lives of the person pulling the trigger as well as the victims.

We’ve all heard the mantra a thousand times, Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Yes. That’s true, but guns make it possible for cowards to kill without fear. Guns let people hide their humanity behind a scope and without so much as a splatter of blood end a human’s life at their whim. Rage is out of control. We need to give people more time to consider their actions, not less time as a gun gives.

People aren’t nearly as easy to kill if you have to struggle with them physically. It gives people a chance to fight back and guns don’t. That is why I contributed to this anthology and suggest that you give it a read. Whatever your stance is on guns know this, for however well armed you are, there’s always someone who can sneak up on you from behind. There is no way to make yourself completely safe from other people with guns by the use of guns. The folk who collect entire arsenals of guns are the ones who particularly alarm me.

Each gun must be maintained and cared for or it will be useless in a crisis. How many guns can you shoot at once? How much of these needs are driven by fear rather than a sense of empowerment?

I’m not asking you to agree with me on all these points, but I am asking that you take a moment to think about it.

Thank you,

Virginia Carraway Stark