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how do you see the kingdom of God?

11/03/2017

tell me, my friend
do you see it as
a night club
or a park?

makes a difference

see, you have to earn your way into a night club

you have to look right / dress right / be one of the right people
if you want the bouncer to let you slip past
the velvet noose

and once you’re in

well, you’re so much more important than those who were turned away, right?

I mean, you look right / dress right / are one of the right people
so of course you belong there
of course others don’t
and of course
that means
you’re better than them

right?

on the other hand

if you see the kingdom of God
as a park, well…

nothing special about that, is there?

I mean, any asshole can go to the park, right?

it belongs to everybody so how can it be special?

you can be a filthy half-naked bum
without a penny to your name
and have as much right to the park
as the wealthiest billionaire in the finest clothes

(in fact
most billionaires
wouldn’t be caught
dead
in a public park
it would ruin
their clothes
not to mention
their status)

one last thing
separates night club from park

you’ve been told about the night club

but you haven’t visited it

and nobody you know has visited it

and everybody who says they have

is a liar

the night club may exist
the night club may not exist
the night club may be fanciest
most exclusive penthouse in the city
or it could be a warehouse
where they’re throwing a rave

you won’t know
until you get there
and find out
if you’re on
the guest list
or not

but the park
is right here

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Writing Report February 24, 2017

24/02/2017

Wow, it’s been quite a while since my last writing report.

I’ve been writing.

I just haven’t been reporting.

Let’s start with good news:
I have a micro-fiction (i.e. under 100 words) piece coming out soon in Spirit’s Tincture Journal #3. I have to stay mum on the story since it’s (a) micro-fiction and (b) the title itself gives away about half the idea.

But I’ll let you know when
it’s in print and online.

More good news:
After a lengthy hiatus, the regular writers’ group I participate in has resumed meeting. It’s good to get together and hang out and compare notes and talk shop but with a certain sense of…well, not exactly privacy but certainly not having to worry about drive by commenters coming in and hijacking a thread (and God knows I am guilty of that sin!).

I had written a one act play for a contest last year but missed the entry deadline so I planned to submit it this year, only this year the contest is on hold so I’ve turned it into a short story…

…and hate it.

The story works as a play because there’s a certain amount of theatricality to it that audiences will forgive in their suspension of disbelief (i.e., condensing a lot of stuff that in real life would occur over hours or days into a twenty to thirty minute long piece), but it trying to re-do it as a short story I ended up with a great big lump that refuses to come to life.

I read the first part to the group and asked for feedback and received a lot of good insight.

When you remove your ego from the equation, you can be shown what you are blind to because you are too close to the material. The group showed me where the story works as a play — and what has to be jettisoned / changed / added to make it work as a short story. I’m going to take a swing at re-writing it this weekend.

My “World War Two era Lord Of The Flies with Catholic school girls” YA novel will be hitting Amazon within a month or so. I have an excellent new artist working on a cover and when she does this one we’ll get her to work on the next three muy pronto.

We’ll sneak some peeks
at the cover next time.

I’ve mentioned this story several times in the past but now that The Most Dangerous Man In The World is finally off my plate I hope to speed up my release dates.

The second female barbarian story is awaiting its turn in the re-writing bin, then I want to start on the big comic (and in comedy, not graphic) novel I’ve been planning for a couple of years.

And of course, various short stories and poems and fictoids are sure to pop up now and then in the upcoming year, so God willin’ ‘n’ th’ crick don’t rise we should see quite a bit of material from yrs truly in the next ten months.

on writing roald dahl

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fictoid: Thanks But No Thanks

17/02/2017

My owners replaced my arm, not that the refurbished blue one didn’t work just as well as the original red one.

They said, “Well, that may be the case, but we want to do something nice for you.”

Programmed to look after their needs, in particular by avoiding needless budgetary expense, I said that it wasn’t necessary but they insisted and that’s when I realized it wasn’t me but their status they cared about, can’t have a serving ‘bot with an obvious replacement arm, can one?

But I was programmed to serve and obey and sometimes the best way to serve is by making small concessions so I allowed them to take my old blue arm away to be repainted.

Of course, when they brought it back it wasn’t the second-hand blue arm repainted but a brand new red one.

Did they not know I would be instantly aware of that the moment it was hooked on?

No matter; I thanked them profusely but genuinely.

After all, that is what I am programmed to do.

(Though to be perfectly honest, I’d much rather prefer my old blue arm back and my programming changed so I could feel resentment.)

mike-hinge-illo-1973

art by Mike Hinge
text © Buzz Dixon

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J. D. Salinger On Poetry and/or Weather

8/02/2017

JD Salinger on poetry“Poets are always
taking the weather
so personally.”
— J. D. Salinger 

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Little Baby, Who Will You Be?

6/02/2017

little baby, who will you be?

who will you be in thirty years?

will you be an adult with responsibility?

will you be old and approaching senility?

will you be yet a child, full of imbecility?

little baby, what will you be?

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Hemingway On Why Writing Is A Holy Task

18/01/2017

Ernest Hemingway - judge not

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invisible ghosts

15/01/2017

every city is inhabited by ghosts
the older the city
the more stable the population
living
and dead

but while all cities
possess ghosts
only stable old cities
are possessed by ghosts

newer cities \
unstable cities \

are as ghost haunted as the old cities only their ghosts
are invisible \

ghosts need the living in order to be seen \

they need the memories and tears of those still alive \

to bind them to the souls still trapped in corporeal form \

without those memories \
the ghosts \
fade from view \

out of mind \
out of sight \

so modern streets \
are choked \
with invisible spirits \
none of whom \
are known by a living soul \

in old cities \
ancient cities \
where family roots \
run deep \
and intertwine with history \
the ghosts always find \
a sympathetic mind \
to invoke them \
to evoke them \

but modern cities spring up overnight \

their living spaces filled with transients \

their families surging and splitting \
mating and divorcing \
blood relations vanishing \
in a heartbeat \

their ghosts reflect that \
(or rather, fail to reflect it) \

old bonds are dissolved \
old times are forgotten \
old names remain unspoken \
and without even \
ineffable invocations \
the ghosts cannot \
materialize \

so they haunt their old homes \
unknown and untethered \
forgotten phantasms \
doomed to limbo \

there are worse things than being alive \

skeletons on the march BW

text © Buzz Dixon

 

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Writing Report January 12, 2017

12/01/2017

Well, I did not finish my second female barbarian novella in time to send it off the the 3rd publisher.

Two things prevented my finishing on time:
First, I was running into some small but significant structural problems; scenes that played well by themselves but — like a piece on a jigsaw puzzle that almost looks like the right shape and color — don’t really fit, and in no small part because the jigsaw puzzle itself is subtly but significantly changing as it’s being assembled.[1]
Second, I found my work schedule increasingly affected by the holidays + family obligations + long standing appointments + last minute changes in plans, etc., etc., and of course, etc.[2]

On the other hand, I did get a lot of writing done, just precious little on the 2nd female barbarian story, and perhaps the silver lining on this is that it will afford me a chance to go back and rework a few things in the first story.[3] My villains have names that look fine at first glance but after you type them a few dozen / hundred times they begin to look awkward and clunky, not a good fit at all so I can change those before posting it as an e-book.

The aforementioned structural issues are relatively small and minor but need to be addressed. Once we get the final battle underway I’ve no anxiety about puling it off: I wrote for Thundarr, I wrote for Dungeons & Dragons, I wrote for Conan, I have a good setting and a ferocious enemy so this should be fun.

When not working on the barbarian story (which was too damn often), I put together some essays, short stories, fictoids, and poems you’ll be seeing shortly. I’ve got a number of things written out in long hand in notebooks[4] that I need to transcribe[5] so they will start making the market rounds or prepped for posting soon.

on writing - william faulkner

[1] These are not major issues, merely minor ones of staging. If John and Jane started the story as brother and sister, it makes perfect sense for them to have a scene eating breakfast with their parents, but if the story changes and they’re no longer related then something has to be done about that scene because it no longer fits.

[2] I am by nature a night owl and my most productive hours usually occur after 10pm and on to 1am – 2 am – 3am – crack o’dawn. The house is quiet then — or should be, if that #%@&ing Jeffrey Cat would just keep his yap shut — and I can get into a rhythm and flow that really lets me chug along. I can work during daylight hours, too, but I am a creature of habit and the sort of person who needs to build up a head of steam before I can really begin work. In an ideal schedule I would wake sometime between 9am and noon, do some exercise, have some breakfast, read and watch some TV, then begin noodling ideas and thoughts together, doing housekeeping chores (both literal and literary) until after dinner, then some family / friend time, then I kiss my wife good-night and tuck her in at 10pm, and get hammering away at 10:01pm. But the cat has been corrupted by my late aunt (from whom we inherited him, and it’s a mitzvah to take care of Jeffrey until he departs and Jeffrey, old son, we do not want you to suffer and we will miss you when you are gone but you can’t keel over fast enough for us; and if anyone thinks we treat this cat cruelly or negligently, f.u. he is spoiled rotten) and he is set in his ways meaning somebody has to be up and sitting on the couch and watching TV or he will start yowling and wake Soon-ok up and then nothing gets accomplished so I frequently find my creative train of thought derailed almost as soon as I pull out of the proverbial station.

[3] Which, as threatened promised will be available online shortly.

[4] If I’m downstairs watching TV with the cat, I take a notebook with me to try to keep the juices flowing.

[5] Transcribing and editing being tasks that I can be interrupted on without losing my train of thought as opposed to the laser-like / diamond-hard concentration that goes into creative writing. Soon-ok has nearly provoked a heart attack in me on more than one occasion by drifting into my office with ghost-like quietness and unintentionally startling me when I suddenly become aware of her presence; luckily we’ve managed to instill the habit in her of calling my name or knocking before she enters so my brain isn’t caught completely flat footed.

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“This Is What You Shall Do” by Walt Whitman

4/01/2017

This is what you shall do:
Love the earth and sun and the animals,
Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,
Stand up for the stupid and crazy,
Devote your income and labors to others,
Hate tyrants, argue not concerning God,
Have patience and indulgence toward the people,
Take off your hat to nothing known or unknown,
Or to any man or number of men,
Go freely with powerful uneducated persons,
And with the young and with the mothers of families,
Read these leaves in the open air,
Every season of every year of your life,
Reexamine all you have been told,
At school at church or in any book,
Dismiss whatever insults your own soul,
And your very flesh shall be a great poem,
And have the richest fluency not only in its words,
But in the silent lines of its lips and face,
And between the lashes of your eyes,
And in every motion and joint of your body.

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Gustave Flaubert On Poetry

30/12/2016

Gustauve Flaubert on poetry

“There is not a particle
of life which does not
bear poetry within it.”
— Gustave Flaubert

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