Sacred Inside


There is a desert in the corner of a man’s soul

Where he keeps a thing too precious.

He walks through the hot sand and scrambles over jagged rocks

With a skin full of water, looking over his shoulder to ensure

That nothing else follows him.

It sits all alone, a belief or memory or silly thought too fragile,

Too vital to his being to let it near another part of him.

The visits are frequent enough to keep the thing alive,

And perhaps one day the grains of sands and chunks of stone

Will have no choice but to succumb to the will of the thing

And you will catch a glimpse of it on the other side of a stream.

Desert Stream

100 or Less: Plastic


Another 100 or Less to rub your eyes for a minute or two. This week’s theme is Plastic.

Share your own creation in the comments below, and remember: 100 words or less and not a letter more!

It’s okay, darling.

The only reason why the world chews you up is because you’re so sweet.

I know, I know.

It’s unfair when so many bitter and plastic people deserve to feel the crush and grind, but it’s okay. Because you’ll find them, darling, the ones who escaped and dribbled down the lips of the world, and you’ll scoop them up and push them deeper and deeper until the weight comes down.

And when the world tries to eat you again, it’ll taste only the Black Milk, and the pungency will cause a gulp and a heave and a—

Portrait of a boy with the map of the world painted on his face.

100 or Less: Blindfold

“Ready?” he whispered into my ear.

I shifted onto my other leg and heard gravel crackle under my shoes. Goosebumps spread like dominoes along my skin.

“Yeah,” I squealed, and Daryl laughed and crunched away. He hadn’t said a word the drive over, just let me wonder with the car’s engine massaging my body and the musky cologne he wore on special occasions like my graduation from beauty school.

Daryl yelled “okay . . . take it off,” and when I untied the knot under my ponytail and blinked a couple times, I read the message written in the sky.

Written in the Sky


Share your own 100 or less writing around the concept of “blindfold’! 🙂

What Came First: The Scene or The Word?

I read an interesting tweet written by an up-and-coming author named Ksenia Anske that went a little something like this:

“My problem is not in what to write. I see stories in my head like complete movies. My problem is in how to write it all down.”

And I couldn’t relate more.

Like many writers out there, I have an active imagination. The stories I want to tell live in my head: I can see, hear, smell, taste, and feel what’s happening to or around my characters.

For instance, a scene I’m working on right now in Dark Flesh takes place on a foggy bridge. Aaron and his daughter are tracking someone through the undead infested city, and they’re searching the bridge for clues on where he might’ve gone.

The details are so apparent to me; if I were a director, if I could build the sets and cast the actors, I would be able to get the feel just right. However, translating all of those little things that happen simultaneously into a linear writing form can frustrate me sometimes. If I choose sight and smell, then I may miss out on describing the sounds, or is it okay to describe all of the stimuli in a scene? Isn’t that too much detail?

I ask myself: how can I possibly distill everything that’s going on in my head, what seems like real life, into words on the page?

How We Construct Reality

Even the scripts for films and television shows are quite barebones. If you’ve never done so before, take a look at scripts for your favorite movies. Most detail is left out because ultimately the director chooses what everything will look like. It just seems like such an easier transition from mind to reality than mind to paper. You’re creating the thing itself in a film or television show whereas in writing you’re creating symbols, representations for whatever you’re talking about, be it a bridge or a zombie or a mysterious black trunk  . . .

But what do you think? Do you have difficulty describing your scenes and characters as they live in your head or is it easier to paint a picture using words?

As an exercise perhaps I’ll take one of my favorite movie scenes and describe it in prose as if it were a novel. What details would I choose to emphasize in my description? Hmmm . . .

100 or Less: Boxes

During one of my recent breaks from novel writing, I decided to challenge myself to write a scene using 100 words or less centered around a particular idea or theme.

Today’s theme is “boxes.”

Please feel free to share your own 100 or Less story. And no cheating, not even an extra “the” or “an”! 😛


The vodka’s terrible. A tiny plastic bottle he paid for with nickels and dimes. Slurping makes it last longer and keeps his mind off the boxes on the floor.

Banging. It hasn’t stopped since he woke up. He couldn’t give two shits where it’s coming from. It dies into just another background noise like the hissing radiator and the screeching dykes upstairs. Ugly ones.

Getting dark outside; the veiny walls turn blue streaked with piss yellow from the windows next door. They never bought shades or curtains like they were goddamn priests or something.

He wouldn’t miss any of them.

A Quick Guide to Surviving Snowstorm Nemo

Well, now, seems like the sky’s decided to barf out snow. This is actually my favorite kind of weather, when everything looks so pristine.

Snowstorm Nemo New York

Nemo chillin’ in Brooklyn.

However, it’s cold out there and will be in the Northeast for a bit longer, so I thought I’d share three tips for surviving Nemo (lame name for a snowstorm too; as threatening as snowstorm Percy).

1)     Tender Vittles

Unlike some folks who did their shopping in preparation for the storm, I went out during Nemo and bought all of the ingredients for garlic shrimp in coconut milk. Hey, if I turn into a Spanish tub of ice cream, I want the medical examiner to find something good frozen in my stomach. 🙂

Full disclosure: this is not what it would look like in my stomach.

Full disclosure: this is not what it would look like in my stomach.

So make sure you’ve got some good food to fill your belly with during the storm.

2)      Heating Brick

Soooo, the powers that be in my apartment building have decided not to give adequate heat (hence my fear of freezing to death, lawl). However, I was lucky enough to find a small heater that looks like it was designed during the Nixon administration.

I am not a crook . . . but I will steal a lot of electricity.

I am not a crook . . . but I will steal a lot of electricity.

Keep warm, my friends.

3)      Mind Lube

During the storm, which is still going on outside, I plan on watching The Walking Dead reruns until Season 3 starts up again tomorrow at 9. Gotta keep my mind occupied!

How would zombies deal with a snowstorm I wonder?

How would zombies deal with a snowstorm I wonder?

Don’t go all The Shining, friends. Guard your minds by keeping them occupied!

So what tips do you have to make the best of a snowstorm?

Cyber Schooling


So I’ve gone back to school. I’m taking classes at Yale, Oxford, and Stanford. Amazing, right?

Thankfully, it’s part of iTunes U’s free courses. I’ve dipped my toe into Apple’s pool of university course offerings before, but these days it seems to have expanded substantially.

That must be the "free online course that usually costs a few grand" button. Or FOCTUCAFG button for short.

That must be the “get a free online course that usually costs a few grand” button. Or GAFOCTUCAFG button for short.

And what, you might ask with feverish interest, am I studying? Well, I did a fair bit of philosophizin’ back in college (six years ago; wow, I’m getting old), so I’ve started two Yale philosophy courses–one on the concept of Death and whether we live on after it, and the other on the philosophy and science of human nature. I’m also studying iPhone development thanks to Stanford as well as business development course courtesy of Oxford.

Most offer videos of professors lecturing–which is about as close as I’ll ever get to seeing the inside of Yale–and course materials are sometimes included, but even if they’re not, it’s fairly easy to track down the texts on ye olde interwebs. I’m even spacing out my courses to mimic my old schedule: I attend each class twice a week on alternating days.

The best part? I don’t have to write any of the papers the professors assign, and every once in awhile I catch a glimpse of the poor students who do and laugh at their caffeine overloaded study nights. But I do get to learn.

A lot.

That these courses are offered free is mindblowingly awesome, and I get to develop in-demand skills that would normally cost thousands to learn. (iPhone development in particular. I’ve already made an app based on that old PBS show Ghostwriter. Word!)

So, dear readers, if you could take a free online course, what would you want to learn?