Showing posts from October, 2009

Poem for Today

Bowery Blues

by Jack Kerouac

The story of man
Makes me sick
Inside, outside,
I don't know why
Something so conditional
And all talk
Should hurt me so.

I am hurt
I am scared
I want to live
I want to die
I don't know
Where to turn
In the Void
And when
To cut

For no Church told me
No Guru holds me
No advice
Just stone
Of New York
And on the cafeteria
We hear
The saxophone
O dead Ruby
Died of Shot
In Thirty Two,
Sounding like old times
And de bombed
Empty decapitated
Murder by the clock.

And I see Shadows
Dancing into Doom
In love, holding
Tight the lovely asses
Of the little girls
In love with sex
Showing themselves
In white undergarments
At elevated windows
Hoping for the Worst.

I can't take it
If I can't hold
My little behind
To me in my room

Then it's goodbye
For me
Girls aren't as good
As they look
And Samadhi
Is better
Than you think
When it starts in
Hitting your head
In with Buzz
Of glittergold
Heaven's Angels


We've been waiting for you
Since Morning, Jack
Why were you s…

Regarding "Ark Ship"

I'm rewriting it from scratch (both because it needs it and because doing so will be good prep for Nano). Going back through it, it's pretty clear that much of the story suffers from a dry narrative structure and lack of descriptive language. Still, I think the concept of the story is solid, and I want to try to make it into something good. I wrote 6 pages of the rewrite this weekend, and I'm pretty happy with the end result. That said, I'm not posting the rewrite here until I'm absolutely satisfied with it.

The Nondescript Man - Part 1 of 2

This is a little something I wrote a few months ago. And yes, I know, I reuse character names, especially the name Mike. I have no idea why.

The Nondescript Man


Mike Harris was sitting in the coffee shop with an imposing stack of textbooks next to him. He had to study for his final exams in geophysics and astronomy, and he only had three hours before the first one began.
Julie Smith did not have any exams to study for. She was at the coffee shop reading a newspaper and enjoying a lovely cup of tea. She made a point of going to coffee shops and ordering tea. It was her own private little joke.
Eric Vaughn was wearing a dark suit and carrying a laptop bag. He ordered a double espresso and sat down, placing the laptop bag on the table. Out of it he took out a very expensive looking and very sleek laptop, opened it, and began to type. His novel was due at the publisher's in two weeks, and he had a few big threads he still needed to tie up.
Julie was the first of the three to …

Show, don't tell

Show, don't tell, is one of the cardinal rules of good writing. I've known that for years, kind of in the back of my mind, but somehow I'd kind of forgotten what it meant until I was reminded of it by a friend at a writing group last week. Instead of, for example, saying, "He walked into the room and sat down," it's better to describe the guy and the room using as many descriptive words as possible. This rule will help me immensely when I'm doing Nano, which is all about writing as many words as possible as quickly as possible.

Here's what I'd like to know. I've just finished posting Ark Ship here. Clearly it's not a finished product; it needs work, hell it needs a new title, but what I'm afraid of is that for a majority of the story, I "told." I'm considering doing a total rewrite, because I think the concept of the story is sound, but the execution may be weak.

If you've read Ark Ship, please tell me if you thin…

Ark Ship - Part 6 (The End)

A financial crisis at home had exacerbated the problem with the Russians. A major celebrity had been found in a compromising situation with a politician. Those two stories, along with a myriad of juicy gossip and chatter, were dominating the news. Sutton was exhausted. His team had been working diligently to try to get the tachyon communication system up and running, and they had just made a major breakthrough. A grainy picture of Susan Macintosh appeared on the screen in front of them. The audio was distorted, but audible. She said, “Hello, Earth. If you can hear this, and see me, then we've done it.” Sutton and his team cheered. With any luck, Susan would be getting a video message from them within a couple of days. Sutton instructed his press assistant to contact the news outlets. Sutton himself, after punching out a quick quantum message of congratulations to Susan, called Markey at the White House. He and Markey discussed the breakthrough excitedly and they were …

Ark Ship - Part Five

For the next several weeks, the colonists busied themselves with the task of putting together a viable, comfortable community. The ark ship was fully dismantled and brought down in cargo ships, all parts of it integrated into the building of communal structures. Greenhouses were built to grow the crops that the colonists had brought with them that weren't compatible with the planet's arid soil. A farming rotation was established, with all able-bodied colonists taking a shift tending the few crops that had been implantable directly onto the planet's surface. Exploratory teams continued to map the colony's borders and venture beyond them. There had been a few accidents, injuries, and mishaps, but, all things considered, Susan was pleased with the colony's progress. With all of the colony's activities, sometimes Susan forgot to check in with Communicator Sutton, even though he sent her a status request message every morning. After a time, George began to be…

Ark Ship - Part Four

President Gibson sat by the fireplace in the residence wing of the White House sipping a scotch on the rocks. When Liaison Markey had delivered the news of the ark ship's arrival, Gibson hadn't immediately understood what Markey was talking about. It took a few minutes for Markey to jog his memory of the ark ship mission, and only then did Gibson really understand the importance of what Markey was telling him. Even Secretary Thacker was suitably impressed, had finally stopped reciting statistics about Russian military maneuvers, and began asking questions about the ark ship mission. The President had summoned his press secretary, and they'd hammered out a quick statement to be distributed to the news media. It carried the appropriate tone to convey the gravity of the moment, but Gibson knew the media wouldn't spend too much time on it. Markey had mentioned that he had gotten the news from the Ark Ship Project, and mentioned a Communicator named Sutton. Gibson de…

Poem for today

To You
by Walt Whitman
Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of
I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your
feet and hands,
Even now your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners,
troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you,
Your true soul and body appear before me,
They stand forth out of affairs, out of commerce, shops,
work, farms, clothes, the house, buying, selling, eating,
drinking, suffering, dying.

Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you
be my poem,
I whisper with my lips close to your ear,
I have loved many women and men, but I love none better
than you.

O I have been dilatory and dumb,
I should have made my way straight to you long ago,
I should have blabb'd nothing but you, I should have chanted
nothing but you.

I will leave all and come and make the hymns of you,
None has understood you, but I understand you,
None has done justice to you, you have not done justice to
None but has found you imper…

Funny video

Since I'm not doing regular "happy Friday" videos anymore, here's this, because it's just a great song.

They Might Be Giants - Ana Ng from They Might Be Giants on Vimeo.

Ark Ship - Part Three

The media carried a brief mention of the ship's arrival, along with snippets of the President's prepared statement urging the world to “mark this historic moment and consider it in context with the petty problems of international politics.” In Houston, Communicator Sutton had been sending messages back and forth to the colony all day, and he was analyzing the data the colonists had transmitted. It looked like the primitive equipment that the space program had used to find the planet and determine that it was appropriate for colonization had gotten a few things wrong. The colonists had a challenge on their hands. George thought back to all of those ancient science fiction books he had read as a kid, and he wished that it had been possible to invent faster than light travel, teleportation, and all of those other ideas that, he was sure, had once filled the world with hope for a fantastical future of unfettered space exploration and global peace and harmony. Unfortunately, the…

Ark Ship - Part Two

The first part of the mission was to survey the landing site. The colonists fanned out across the rocky promontory and used their geological scanners to get a picture of the area. Mike Harris had been given the assignment to survey a small plateau to the southeast of the ship. His scanner's compass had found the magnetic north pole of this new planet, so he knew which direction to walk. He found that despite the low gravity, he was quickly out of breath, and as he examined his readings, he noticed that the oxygen level on this planet was somewhat lower than the oxygen on the ship, and his scanner also measured a lower air pressure than the ship's life support systems. Mike found the plateau and used his scanner to take pictures, samples, and readings of the surface and the air. It was a fairly uninteresting piece of scenery, but to Mike, it was a breathtaking new world. The ground was a dusky red color, and the low gravity meant that with every footstep, he kicked up a …

Poem for today

by Allen Ginsberg The air is dark, the night is sad,
I lie sleepless and I groan.
Nobody cares when a man goes mad:
He is sorry, God is glad.
Shadow changes into bone.

Every shadow has a name;
When I think of mine I moan,
I hear rumors of such fame.
Not for pride, but only shame,
Shadow changes into bone.

When I blush I weep for joy,
And laughter drops from me like a stone:
The aging laughter of the boy
To see the ageless dead so coy.
Shadow changes into bone.

Ark Ship - Part One

The landing pods were coming down from the orbiting ship. On one of the pods sat young Mike Harris, a descendant of those who had begun the journey to this new colony two hundred fifty years ago. It hadn't been easy to grow up on an interstellar ship, never having set foot on a planet, never breathing fresh air, never seeing the sun rise over the hills as he'd heard about in the stories that had been passed down. Now, setting foot on a strange planet, feeling dirt under his feet for the first time, rather than the reassuring clang of the metal walkways, not to mention getting used to the lower gravity, was going to be a real challenge for all of them.Mike's pod landed, and he opened the air lock, breathing real fresh air for the first time in his life. He was immediately overwhelmed by the scale of the planet. He knew this planet was slightly smaller than the Earth, but it still seemed huge to him.In front of him, the terrain was rocky, with tall, craggy mountains stretch…