The Mothers of Yernus–Short Story

Standard

What if I told you there was a world where mothers were honored by feasting on a child of their choosing. The savage race of almost humanoid beings on the planet of Yernus, have developed such a tradition. It might seem horrific to advanced and civilized societies like ours. But these beings haven’t, and may never, reach our level of evolution. The toxic environment of the planet has mutated their bodies and minds. Their misshapen bodies appear to be a grotesque mix of apeish humanoid and reptile. They display very little intelligence and are very hostile, even among the small tribes they’ve formed.

Tribes tend to include few males, those not killed in battle for dominance are driven away.  Female numbers vary greatly, averaging about five times the adult males. They mate as you would expect of wild animals, polyamorously and bearing offspring in litters. Each pregnancy produces no less than three and up to six babies. The women of the tribe care for the children communally, many women die in childbirth or for any number of other reasons. Survival on the planet is not easy, many are born with life threatening illnesses, resources and food are hard to find, and their nomadic life can quickly wear down the body. Only half of the babies will survive past five years of age, and only one in five will make it to adulthood.

At some unknown point in time it appears that rather than waiting for nature to take it’s course they began sacrificing the weakest born. Though savage and primitive in its nature it does show some progress towards a cultured society, with customs dictated by a belief system. In fact, to watch as they choose the child and prepare it for the evening feast, it mimics sacred religious ceremonies. The chosen children and the mothers bathe together before the tribe gathers to form a sacrificial circle. One at a time the children are led to the middle where the dominant male slits their throat. The males, as usual, build a large fire, butcher the bodies and cook the meat. While the males attend to preparation of the feast the women perform ritual dances around the fire shrieking, while banging sticks and rocks. It’s not clear if they’ve fully developed a language yet, they communicate in mostly undecipherable grunts and screams. However, there does appear to be a recognizable word among those high pitched female screams, Car Rar. Those that study these beings are in utter disagreement about its significance. Some theorize it’s the name of some god, they are calling out for forgiveness for their beastly acts of the day. Others believe it is either the word for mother or child, as they seem to be the beings of significance on the day. And yet others believe its the designated word for the day or the ritual itself.

We may never know the meaning of anything these creature do, but we can conclude they may not be as unintelligent as we first assumed. Even if this is merely a survival tactic for the women of the world, it’s clearly evolved into a ceremonial practice. It’s hard to imagine, but somewhere in this horrific act is an honorable place for those responsible for bearing and caring for the races young.

****************************

Feel free to leave some feedback in the comments. I welcome any helpful suggestions or critiques.

This piece was originally written specifically for my monthly newsletter. Join my mailing list today to get more exclusive sneak peaks at my latest writing, updates and more.

signupbutton

Television, Distraction or Inspiration?

Standard

As a writer there’s a lot I can justify in the name of writing. Almost any experience or activity can be seen as a necessary part of the writing process. For years it fueled my already voracious reading habits. I’ve always believe the advice to become a better writer you have to read, and read widely. As if I needed a excuse to excessively shop for books. Even with my often visits to the library, my book collection has grown considerably the past couple of years.

But thanks to a good friend and her Netflix account, my new favorite medium is television shows. In the past I’ve been critical of myself watching too much TV, it felt too much like a waste of time. It’s likely because of the lack of choices, hundreds of channels and still nothing good is ever on. But after thoroughly browsing the horror and sci-fi/fantasy categories I realized the potential for inspiration it provided. So I’ve been pretty much binging on all shows having to do with witches, monsters, space travel, fae, etc.

I have to admit if it wasn’t for the content I’d probably be saying this was a real problem. At my worst I’ve spent almost entire days watching at least half a season. And more than a few times I was up until at least 4am because I just couldn’t walk away. So I’m starting to wonder if I really am lying to myself. Is this binging really just a distraction from the things I should be doing, or is it a part of the process? Some days I feel like I’m really benefiting, inspiring new creative work. Other’s I feel like I’m wasting too much time. I do have a bad habit of become a little obsessive.

I’m sure plenty of other people have lost time getting sucked into a TV watching binge. How do you know when it’s really a problem? I’d love to hear from my readers, especially other writers. Do you think TV can really be a productive use of time in terms of finding inspiration, or is it a big time suck?

The Tower’s Coming

Standard

I’m pretty excited about The Dark Tower movie. I realize it’s not an adaptation of the books, that would pretty much be impossible. Unlike most people I’m saving my criticism until after I see the movie. But judging from the trailer, released this past week, it looks pretty good. It’s been over a decade since the final book of the series was published and more years than I’d rather say since I read the first book. Needless to say my memory of the story was a little fuzzy. So I thought it’d be fun to reread the entire series before seeing the movie.  In addition, I was basically a kid when I first read it. (Seriously, I started reading adult books at an early age, and Stephen King’s were among the first.) I thought it would be a different experience reading it as an adult, and also back to back. While the first three were already published when I started and the fourth came out about a year later, I still had to endure the tortuously long wait for the last three.

I wasn’t much surprised by the first book. While I may have forgotten details, I knew most of the basic plot. The biggest difference this time around was the “Hey Jude” reference. I only had a vague idea of the song when I was a kid. This time around I could not get it out of my head. Moving on to the later books, I was surprised by how much of the story I didn’t remember. I really can’t believe how much of the books I forgot, like the cliffhanger with Blaine, the entire Susan Delgado story line, main character deaths, and the actual ending to the entire series.

While my memory of reading it the first time was fuzzy I do think reading it all back to back was a very different experience. For one I really was so immersed in the world of the books I had moments where I caught myself thinking in Mid-World speak. I was also able to catch a lot more of the minor connections. I likely didn’t catch the references to other stories he wrote because I hadn’t actually read them yet. But the time between books in the series kept me from catching connections within the story. I’m sure there’s lots of things I missed the first time around. Some were minor and I’m already having trouble remembering them. One that stayed with me was the changes in the way time moved in Mid-World. I realized the changes reflect the character Stephen King’s progress writing. The first few books were written over a span of many years, that’s when time in Mid-World had slowed down. Later in the series time speeds up. Those books were all published much closer together and the journal entries of King’s character discusses the freakish speed of his writing pace for at least one of these later novels.

The last thing that struck me in a different way was King inserting himself into the story. When I first read it, I thought it was very strange and kind of narcissistic. But also it seemed almost like he just ran out of other ideas. I realized now that it really couldn’t have gone any other way. In fact, I started thinking that it was set up from the beginning to go that way. I felt like through out the books there were hints that the characters and worlds were a creation of someone’s mind. For example, Eddie Dean’s Co-Op city being in Brooklyn. (Another detail I didn’t catch as a kid, this time around I kept thinking that couldn’t be right.) The books specifically point out he’s not actually their creator or Gan itself, simply writing the story he hears in the song. But it is possible that because he writes them they exist, a power similar to Patrick’s, instead of drawing things into existence he writes them.

I’d love to hear what you other Stephen King and Dark Tower fans think. Comment to let me know if you’re looking forward to the movie, when you last read the books or any other thoughts you have.

 

 

The Road So Far: Pennsylvania 2017

Standard

Today makes it’s exactly five months since my move. I like it so far but it’s a big adjustment. I’m still not even used to the idea of not living in New York City. I’m glad to be out but do miss it, mainly because there isn’t much to do up here. The week of Thanksgiving I visited for a couple of days, hadn’t been gone long and it felt like I’d never left. With the chaos of the move followed by the holidays I’m finding real hard get back on track. Most of my time’s been spent getting to know the area, looking for a job and just getting settled in.

I let myself take it easy, trying to get my office together and working out new plans for my blogs, newsletter and Etsy shop. I’ve been slowly forcing myself to get back to writing, but my lack of concentration has made it very difficult. I did manage to write and publish a few new blog posts,  in addition to the last two months newsletters. I’ve been stuck editing (actually rewriting) my novel for a couple of months now, barely making it to chapter five. Between the frustration and lack of structure to my days, I feel like I wasted a lot of time watching TV, playing games online and basically sulking around trying to figure out what to do with myself.

I’ve been working on different strategies and practices to boost my motivation and creativity.  I have small library of books on writing with prompts and exercises I’ve tried working with. Also started reading The Artist’s Way again, before the move I got about half way through. I wasn’t really putting much effort into the exercises and tasks. I really like the advice and approach of letting yourself explore your creativity without judgement. That’s not something that comes easy to me and often beat myself up or give up when I can’t meet my standards. It’s been helpful as I start experimenting with other creative art forms.

I just hope that soon things will start falling into place. It’s no surprise that the move would cause so much disruption. I just didn’t think I’d be working at a snails pace to get back on track. At this point all I can do is keep pushing myself.

What is the Kafka myth? 

Standard

Before I even moved in September, I located the nearest public library. Luckily, it is within walking distance. It was one of my the places I visited after the move. Since I’ve gotten a card I’ve tried to visit every couple of weeks. On one of my first visits I found the book, Why You Should Read Kafka Before You Waste Your Life by James Hawes. I actually haven’t read much of Kafka’s writing, but Metamorphosis is one of favorite books. I found it in my high school library and loved it so much it became the topic of an English paper. For which I read The Trial and compared the two stories. I didn’t know much about Kafka or even his significance in literature at that time. It seems my ignorance might have been a blessing.

According to Hawes, much of what we think we know about Kafka is not actually true. Much of what people think they know about him is actually part of a constructed image he refers to as the K-myth. Mainly this mythology promotes the idea of a poor, lonely, writer who suffered working a bureaucratic job. It goes into greater detail about so called facts about the writer and his work. Thankfully, most of which I had never heard. Hawes alleges, the less you know the greater chance you’ll enjoy reading Kafka. Below I’ve listed a few of the ones I found most interesting.

  • Kafka was poor. Okay so he did work a bureaucratic job that he wanted to leave. But being poor was not the reason. The author points out he made much more money than the average worker. Not only that he lived with his middle class family most of his life, owned a business with them, and was paid for his writing.
  • He was ignored by contemporaries and unknown in his lifetime. It’s hard to be unknown when you are publishing stories in prestigious journals. He was also in the same social circles as his contemporaries. In fact they arraigned for him to be  awarded the prize money for an award given to another writer. He may not have been world famous during his lifetime, but he was well known in his city’s cultural society.
  • His work is based on his experience as a Jew and Jewishness is vital to understanding his writing. I’m not sure something like this should be said of any writer ever. But the author also points out that Jewishness wasn’t actually a large part of his life. Why then would it take up so much in his writing.

2017 Goals

Standard

Every year I make a list of goals for the year. Usually I have a list a mile long, eventually I don’t even want to think about. Basically, I just overwhelm myself so it’s almost impossible to complete anything. This year I’m going to keep the list short hopefully it will help me focus and actually accomplish them. I’ll also try out the advice I’ve read to tape it somewhere you can see it. The past couple of years I’ve written in a journal or notebook and totally forgotten about it. I’ve just included the most important five, I’ll be working on a lot this next year but these, I absolutely must work on.

  1. Finish editing novel in progress
  2. Build newsletter to 100 subscribers
  3. Add two new products to Etsy shop
  4. Complete 5 sewing projects
  5. Complete first Draft of poetry chapbook

 

Here We Go Again

Standard

So after weeks of procrastinating and second guessing myself I got my Etsy store up and running. Clicking the image below will take you there. Only have three listing up and it needs a lot more work. But I’ve learned I can’t keep pushing things back waiting for them to be perfect. I hope you’ll check it out, let me know what you think, hey you could even buy a little something. No pressure, seriously, I’d actually love to hear what you think or even ideas for things you might like to see. (If link below doesn’t work click here)

In coordination with the opening of my online shop, I’m starting a mailing list. I promise not to abuse it, constantly nagging you to buy stuff or selling your information. I am actually in the process of planning a monthly newsletter. My plan is for it to be a way to keep you updated on my work, new projects and share some more random writings of mine. I hope you’ll sign up and keep reading as I continue along this crazy road I’m wandering. (Just hope it ends somewhere near a happy writing life.)

Click  here to sign up now.

To New Beginnings

Standard

The past couple of months have kind of been pure insanity in my life. Last post was a short recap of the Poetry Festival. I also posted some of the leftover inventory for sale online. I figured it was worth a shot to bundle some things up to see if I could make some quick extra sales. I started working on setting up a Etsy store but in the shuffle of life didn’t really follow through. As usual life got in the way and set me back a couple of steps.

It’s a long story I wont go into, but I had to leave my apartment by September and ended up moving to Pennsylvania. I’ve wanted to get out of the city for a while, though this was not the ideal situation or where I wanted to go, it’s what life dealt me. Compared to the option both myself and John working ourselves to death for a tiny studio apartment in Brooklyn, I think this was a good decision. Because everything was very short notice, I spent the rest of the summer packing and working as many hours I could at my part-time job.

It’s been a little over a month since the move. So far it’s not bad though I can actually walk to a grocery store and the other major things I need, but yeah I think it’s finally time for me to learn how to drive. But of all things it’s quiet and I just feel calmer here. That is when I’m not having major anxiety over what the hell I’m doing here. I’m not really sure the reality of it all has hit me yet. I’ve been trying to get myself into a routine and working on…like everything. I feel somewhat setback having to give up all my writing groups, volunteer work, and even my crappy part-time job. But I’m also hoping that this new start here might be a good thing. For now it kind of feels like a new adventure.

 

 

Post Festival Sale

Standard

So the poetry festival came and went, along with some stormy weather that’s sticking around. It wasn’t a complete waste though, I was able to make a few sales Saturday before the downpour that cleared out the festival. Even one after, my best customer. (Thanks again Gonzo) Sunday I waited out the rain and went late. There wasn’t much of a turnout but I enjoyed the day just hanging out, listening to performances and even won a free raffle. I just have one little issue, more left to sell than I expected. So in honor of my first poetry festival as a vendor and the opening of my online shop, coming soon, I’m having a Post Festival Sale. I threw together some packaged deals in themed bundles.

 

Post Poetry Festival Sale Bundles

Deluxe Festival Bundle-$40

20160801_212047.jpg

Includes one of every item I had on sale at the poetry festival.

  • Dante’s Tall tales, short fiction pieces from Devilish Dante’s Domain
  • One copy of both Pocket Poetry books, Drunken Poems and Life & Death
  • “Clouds” painting
  • One of each poetry postcard featuring “The Dream”, “Clouds”, “Enjoy the Ride”, and “Black rose”
  • A top, mirror and buttons featuring poem lines.

Buy Now Button

20160801_204859.jpg

Pocketbook Bundle-$15

  • One copy of Life & Death
  • One copy of Drunken Poems
  • 2-1.25″ Buttons
  • 1-3″ Button
  • 1- top
  • 1-mirror


Buy Now Button

20160801_204739.jpg

Drunken Poems Bundle-$10

  • One copy of Drunken Poems
  • 2-1.25″ Buttons
  • 1-3″ Button
  • 1- top
  • 1-mirror


Buy Now Button

20160801_204414.jpg

Postcard Bundle-$5

  • One of each of my poetry postcards featuring “The Dream”, “Clouds”, “Enjoy the Ride”, and Black rose
  • Button featuring a line from “Enjoy the Ride”


Buy Now Button

Prices do not include shipping & handling fees; additional $3 for Deluxe bundle, all others $2.

Bundle prices are discounted and there’s a limited supply of some items, get them while you can. If you are interested in individual items feel free to contact me by email at lexc13@live.com, individual photos are available in my previous post. I am in the process of setting up a full online store and should have it up and running soon.