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Colourful stories

Photo by Image Editor at Flickr

Photo by Image Editor at Flickr

This is possibly only mildly interesting to some people but today I realised my stories have auras… Ok not really, but when I think of my finished / near-finished stories, they are invariably associated with a very specific colour. It’s like I actually see the story tinged with the colour (in my mind). I’ve not really been consciously aware of it, and I think today what happened was that I had a random thought “I want to write a golden story” with a very definite warm golden colour, then switched between thinking about two of my stories quite quickly and noticed the colour change in my mind.

(“Poppies” appears as a purplish red and a WIP as a dark greyish blue, enough of a contrast to “see”). Some of the colours seem to be linked to descriptions I’ve used in the story (like “Poppies”, but also “Banned Girl” and another WIP), and others seem to be more tied to the mood of the story, especially the horror stories which are markedly more dark.

I’m not sure if I would call it synaethesia, it’s only my stories, not my poems and not other people’s stories. It has got me wondering how it affects my drafting and editing process though, if it does.

Brains are awesome, no wonder zombies want to eat them.

The contents of my inbox held a lovely surprise after being woken at 4am on Tuesday by the Goo monster. “Banned Girl”, the story that made semi-finalist in the Writers of the Future contest, has been accepted for publication in Episode 4 of Fictionvale. The Episode is due out in August this year.

Social media blackout

© Dan Piraro bizarrocomics.com

So overwhelm. Such full. Very words. Wow.

On Tuesday this week my brain reached its holding capacity and I deactivated my Facebook and Twitter accounts. It wasn’t a flounce-out, it was the sudden dawning of understanding that my brain needed some quiet. Some Time Out.

Over the last few days, as the fog has cleared and the quiet inner spaces have returned, I’ve started to realise how much social media affects the workings of my brain. I love social media, I love how it affords me, as an introvert with (usually mild) social anxiety, a way to connect with people in a non-threatening way. Even better, I can WRITE my thoughts rather than trying to filter them through my vocal cords (a process that is rather more messy and incoherent and often involves a lot of tripping over my tongue). And you can edit! What’s not to love?

???

The endlessness of it. The inane chatter (of which I am guilty as well). The constant spikes of outrage, the invasion parade of other people’s shit into my rather overwhelmed mind. Until recently I haven’t had a “smartphone” capable of connecting efficiently to social media sites so I’ve been able to escape the temptation of connecting via phone, but now that my phone has that capability I have nowhere to hide. No corners left.

And clearly, this is a problem.

I never make the mistake of assuming my problems and solutions are universal, so I’m well aware there are plenty of people for whom this isn’t a problem. But it is for me. I need the dark time to shut down and process the world. I need mental space from other people, from negative news that spirals me into despair. I need time to let my brain recover from the onslaught of images and words that are disconnected fragments, instead of a coherent narrative.

So when I reactivate my accounts, I’m giving myself permission to protect myself. I will focus on sharing the good stuff, not the bad, even though I understand awareness is important. I will take a break every month to allow myself the dark quiet space free from shallow chatter. And hopefully, I’ll start to feel like a real person again, instead of an avatar with networks who writes words on a screen. I’d prefer it if the majority of words I write on the screen construct a story, not constitute a mad flailing of cyberlimbs.

OMG.

Issue Five of Tincture Journal is out and aside from my story “Diary of a Tree-Sitter” it also features work by my writing buddies: a story by Jodi Cleghorn and a poem by SB Wright. (Along with a plethora of fabulous stories and poems!) If you click on the image above you can get it from Tomely, or direct from the Tincture website, as  well as through the Kobo and Kindle stores.

Excerpt:

1/1/08

The first tree I ever saved was my dad.

3/1/08

Last night there was a storm so fierce I thought it would blow me out of the tree. In the dark I huddled on the platform, trusting in the ropes that secured me, drenched by rain flung sideways by the wind. I didn’t sleep until it blew itself out in the early morning. All night I thought about my first tree-sit, when I was fourteen. I think Dad would be proud of me.

To read more, support the Journal!

I’ve been dying to announce this one. Grey Matter Press is a fairly new publisher and their anthologies have been receiving excellent reviews, plus award nominations. The open call I submitted to was Ominous Realities, which was published late last year. In the email I received was the news that I didn’t get into Ominous Realities, but that they had received so many good stories that they were creating a different anthology, titled Equilibrium Overturned. And my story was going to be in that.

I’ve waited so very patiently and now I get to share the table of contents.

In alphabetical order:

Rose Blackthorn – “Through the Ghostlands”
Jay Caselberg – “Compartmental”
Geoffrey W. Cole – “The Collected Sylvia, Volumes 1 to 1388″
Sean Eads – “The Alamo Incident: From the Chronicles of Timaeus Shields”
John Everson – “Amnion”
JG Faherty – “Martial Law”
Jeff Hemenway – “The Final Testimony of Molly Ryder”
Roger Jackson – “No Man’s Land”
Tony Knighton – “Sunrise”
S.G. Larner – “Perfect Soldiers”
Martin Slag – “Wombie”
Stephen T. Vessels – “The Butcher of Gad Street”
Josh R. Vogt – “The Queen of Thermodynamic Equilibrium”
Tim Waggoner – “This is Not a Horror Story”

My story is science fiction horror, stay tuned for publication!

deepwater

Deep Water Literary Journal Issue 1 of 2014 is now out, themed “Loss”, and features two of my poems, “Whisper” and “Abyss”. “Abyss” was shortlisted for the theme challenge: suicide. “Whisper” is a villanelle although not strict to form, as I didn’t keep exactly to the rhyming convention.

I also see Tiggy Johnson has a poem in there called “Bittersweet”, check it out!

If you click on the pic above it will take you to the full table of contents, or click through the hyperlinks to see individual poems.

I successfully wrote 31 poems in 31 days over January. I did miss two days but made up for it by writing double the day after. It was an interesting exercise in persistence and the different wells of creativity you can draw on as a poet.

By far the most fun I had was learning how to do erasure poems. The fabulous thing about Month of Poetry is that it pushes you to experiment with form: I wrote several erasures, a villanelle, a pantoum, haiku, and lots of free verse. Some of my poems were tiny (3 lines) and some were quite long (I wrote a tragic after-ever-after to the Little Mermaid). Some of them are real gems I will polish and submit, others were fun or cathartic, and some were written because “aaargh must write a poem today!” I learned from some amazing and inspiring poets and am motivated to work as hard on my poetry as I do on my fiction now. The Brisbane poetry scene needs to gird itself for my presence!

So thank you, Tiggy, for pushing me to sign up, and thanks Kat for creating the space for Month of Poetry! I’m looking forward to next year :D.

Leaf litter hides
Decomposing matter
Fungus slowly unfurls

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