Bleak Feminine – Rebooting Blood Ballet

Oh, Blood Ballet. You… I really don’t like you, Blood Ballet. But we’re going to remedy this. The anodyne for this chapbook being, well, kind of terrible, is completely redoing it in the way I should’ve done it initially.
The Blood Ballet that is available as part of Absolute Heaven is more what I wanted it to be, but still not exactly. I wanted it to portray a “feminine gruesomeness” with a horror-movie aesthetic. This go around with the full book, I want it to be somewhat more feminist. Not in an overbearing way, just through dealing with more women’s issues. That’s what it was supposed to be but ended up being like, gross-out junk and surrealist nonsense.

Without going into a tangent, and believe me it would be the god emperor of tangents, I think that just the female experience in general lends itself to a lot of horror – biological, psychological, you name it. Yet rather than mollify unpleasant experiences by discussing them openly, many would rather put up a very thin façade that all women are happy all the time, no matter the circumstance.
I actually received that message, more or less, with a rejection letter for a poem once that works revolving around the problems of women should only be more “empowering” or “inspirational”, that what I wanted to say was too dark for mainstream consumption. They could’ve just said “your writing straight-up sucks” and it would’ve been less offensive than that.

I don’t even care about the poem but I will never let that comment go, because that is not reality. You cannot keep only the good and snuff out the negative if you want someone’s real experiences in a book. Continue reading “Bleak Feminine – Rebooting Blood Ballet”

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Intergalactic Romantic – Rebooting Cosmic Love

Cosmic Love is the most popular book on my Goodreads page. It’s out of print! On purpose! I was originally going to keep it out of print and direct interested readers to Absolute Heaven, which still includes the original content, but I think the idea of Cosmic Love deserves a makeover as a real book instead of a half-assed freebie.
The cover was more work than the insides on the first run. The cover took around three weeks whereas the poems took about three to four days to write and revise. I’m painting the cover digitally or using stock photos this time, so the work will actually go towards the sustenance of the chapbook rather than solely the cover.

Besides the technicalities, though, the four upcoming chapbooks have individual themes that I feel reflect four different layers of darkness. Kind of like Dante’s Inferno but entertaining instead of you know, taking you through eternal torment. Hopefully.

Cosmic Love began with the idea of “romantic parasitism” and a lot of surrealist sci-fi imagery. Some was good and some read kind of drunkenly – I had to edit the second half much more heavily than the first. Out of the four, it’s the second-lightest in terms of content. The level of grotesque and dark themes is apparent but still pretty low and with a basis in fantastical, more delicate prose.

If you want a copy, it’ll probably be free in eBook. Don’t know if I’ll attempt a paperback or not, that’ll depend on how many pages it ends up being. If it’s under 50, then probably not.

Musings on Explicit Content

The term “explicit” in the context of something that is not suitable for younger or more sensitive audiences is an interesting, and extremely loose term. One individual may think that a picture of a woman in a bikini is explicit, while another may think that only the most heinous, taboo acts of violence and sexuality are explicit. Judgment of the term varies heavily across a spectrum from mild to graphic to “why would a human make this” levels when it comes to art and writing.

Personally, I consider “explicit” content to have material that may be extremely upsetting, somewhat tasteless but not promoting harm, or has enough nudity that you couldn’t look at it at work. I agree… somewhat begrudgingly… to websites mandating an explicit filter, such as DeviantArt. Anyone who doesn’t have an issue with possibly explicit content can just turn the filter off.
However, if the website is for adults and older teens, there is no purpose in being childish like Tumblr and outright banning anything that might be explicit, even if most people would not agree that it is. I have difficulty using Tumblr that often anymore because their new filtering system seems to have broken my tag system, and little that I write shows up on the search anymore. But that’s a rant I’ve already gone through.

When does someone consider a piece they’ve done explicit? It’s a pretty different experience between visual media and writing. Most writers are very aware that their content might be inappropriate for some, seeing as they usually have a clear audience in mind, but what about art?
Artists usually don’t think of their work, at least I don’t think of mine, as something that would bother somebody else, because it just kind of happens for us without there being much thought. Nudity is natural to art, and has been since cave drawings. The beloved classics of art can get quite raunchy for their day, as well, though this doesn’t keep photos of them out of textbooks, as it shouldn’t! Continue reading “Musings on Explicit Content”

Writing a Book in a Month

Some methods to write a book in a month without losing your mind. Maybe just a smidge of the prefrontal cortex, but not the whole brain. These are just some of my working habits and tips that I’ve been perfecting recently during my personal attempts to accomplish THE NOVEL. Of course you can alter them as needed, but hopefully these ideas may help to encourage you with your goals.
This type of self-challenge is best for novellas, average length novels, or compilations. Epics and doorstoppers, I would not attempt in a month unless you genuinely are some sort of linguistic masochist who never sleeps or eats at all.

The golden key to completing any piece of writing is persistence. A book written in a month will probably not be very great, honestly, but you will at least have a complete book, which there will be plenty of time afterward to revise. Worry more about getting from beginning to end, with anything you need to guide you – checklists and outlines to mark your progress, word counters, even reading your freshly written chapters to your friends as you go. You have to want that book to exist, and whatever helps to keep that emotion rolling, do it. Don’t get caught up in the chaos of details until the editing stage. You can also hire professional editors and proofreaders to do this for you, but it is best to at least redo your book once by yourself, with great carefulness. Continue reading “Writing a Book in a Month”

Censorship and the Modern Blog

Recently, Tumblr disappointed the blogging world by banning all adult content from their website, in a catastrophic combination of censorship, laziness and idealism.
It’s lazy censorship because it’s cutting out blogs which seriously deal with mature topics, as well as erotic art and book blogs, while completely ignoring the rampant bots and actual problematic material that the ban was supposed to get rid of.

I had developed an art blog several months ago in June that I’ve not used, I was meaning to have it take off next month but now I think I’ll just be deleting it. There’s no point, thanks to the childish ban most art’s out of the question. It doesn’t really matter if it’s explicit, apparently, as art has been getting flagged like mad.

I’ll still be updating my poetry blog, and I’ll instead be using DeviantArt and Twitter to post artwork in the new year. I’ll have to back up my poetry here though in case there’s any naughty prose, according to their automated censor, or whatever. I am very disappointed in Tumblr, to say the least. None of the problems were solved, but some fresh new ones were born and a lot of bloggers’ hard work was basically flushed down the toilet. Disastrous.

Transition to Fiction

I think there is nothing crueler than having the ambition and physical ability to do something but the arbitrary always seeming to eat away the time needed to perfect it. But fortunately, there are little ways to force change when it’s necessary, and mostly it’s careful planning. It is the hour of renovation and it will be half-hideous and half-beautiful.

I threw down a list of “official” books I wanted to create in the next few years, “official” meaning plots or poetry concepts developed and interesting enough to want to see through to the end. I’m going to condemn myself to a year-long NaNoWriMo-type experiment in 2019 and I will never want to write anything ever again by the end of it, but if I don’t this year, I won’t have the time later.

I want to get all of my poetry done and transition to fiction… eventually. Not crystal clear on the publisher or date of anything more, but I have at least seven by my own hand that need finalizing. Loverboy is already out in Kindle (and Unlimited for a time), if interested. I dread publishing Absolute Heaven near the end of month, but maybe you’ll enjoy it. The early reviewers seemed to love it, so that’s uplifitng. It’s… unusually large and weighty and artsy for a poem book, though, and that means a lot of tedious formatting fixes, I’m sure.
If nothing more at least I can say by the end of 2019 I will have held a book of my own in my hands, and I think that’s worth a lot.

If you want to join me in the horror and blood-curdling distress, my goal is 80 pages a month. Marginally less stressful than 100, that’s only 2 and a half pages a day. (Which, by the way, also translates to a slightly larger number of pages in print than on-screen but nevermind the page count. Just write like a madman who hasn’t seen a keyboard in years.)

Poetry Chapbooks Remixed

I’ve been dead sick for the past week, you know, the usual sabotage of my writing, so I haven’t got to post any updates or much of anything that I desired. But, a while back I had posted that I was taking my free haiku chapbooks out of print.
I want to thank everyone who read those, as haphazard as they were, as they all had over 230 downloads since April! How embarrassing! But I’m at least appreciative there was an interest in such an unconventional series! (I was going to insert a poor joke here that there wasn’t even a shirtless muscular man on the cover, but there actually was on MHz’s cover. Haha.)
I did leave the old edition of Infinite Summer up just so I would have a publication and keep my authorship on Smashwords.

What I’m digressing from, though, is that I’m re-releasing all four of them in early 2019 as full-length chapbooks. The haiku, title poems and original introductions will be included in a mega-compilation at the end of this year also, so they will be widely available in old and new form.

I don’t want to risk going on like a long-winded advertisement, so I’ll just say these have become rather personal to me. No, I really don’t like how they initially turned out, but I will like what they metamorphose into. I feel like you should make something you’re proud of, and it’s never too late to transform work to its full luster.

Visit Smashwords using this link and I’ll make a small commission. 🙂

Inspirations From the Void

Or at least it seems they come from a mystery universe somewhere out there where we can never reach. What is the strangest place you’ve been at the time inspiration hits? Some of the most unexpected things I’ve gleaned a poem from, that I can think of, are the novel Dune, a suspicious insect I didn’t know the name of struggling between two windowpanes, a historic photo of a cannibal, and a haunted house themed level in a video game.

Well, Dune isn’t so oddball. I’m willing to bet there’s more writing out there based on Dune than you’d reckon there was. I know that there is a concept album on it, anyway.

One of my favourites is a poem called “Lorenzo” that showed up in my recent book Loverboy. It’s an agonized, romantic piece that came out of the first time I heard Liszt’s “Liebestraume Notturno No. 3”. “Lorenzo” was a rare exception for me – I don’t normally love my poetry pieces as much as I love that one, and I have to wonder if Liszt was more fond of that particular song than usual?
Either way, I’ve never been able to write anything else with “Liebestraume” as a background, it just doesn’t work for me now like it did to begin. So strange how it all unfolds then diminishes, to never happen again.

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Ruminations on Rejection

I’m really grateful towards those who have been reading my work. As it turns out, if I waited for official print, I doubt my work would survive the process. It’s not that I haven’t tried.

For my birthday this year, I got to open about three different rejections for literary work. It never surprises me really, I’m only one of hundreds, but it’s always at the worst possible time, isn’t it? “What’s a bare punch when you can use brass knuckles?” fate is saying. You have to wonder, was it just bad? Or is there something wrong with it? I create only from what I feel, I’m not cleaning it up if it offends, if that’s what they’re hinting at. You never really know.

It seems rougher, I believe, because I’m not in a place where I have any outlets for my work. Just submissions and social media are all I have, and they’re often fruitless in all ways.

But, you know, I do consider what a blessing just those are. There are amazingly talented writers whose life’s work is screwed over by their environment and lack of amenities on a daily basis. It’s a great fortune to be able to type this and have anyone see it, really. It’s just the active blinding of my writing, whether by my own hand or just bad timing, it feels very fatalistic.

-S. M., 2018

Future News – May and June 2018

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I feel like late May and June are going to meld together into a big, swampish blob – it is already looking quite marshy and draining. I’m in the midst of professional writing work, so I really have no foresight for the next bit other than a handful of reviews and a renovation. I appreciate the people who have been reading my work – while still kind of in the budding process, being only five months old (technically six, but January was dead air so it doesn’t really count), I didn’t think it would do well at all. So, thanks! 🙂

My focus this month is horror books and poetry, pretty strictly as I don’t have a lot of time to read these days. Not as much as I would like, anyway. (Though, as any true reader will tell you, eternity is not as much time to read as they would like.) I’m sure other sorts of books will eke their way in as usual…

May and June bring some of the first intricate, traditional poetry I will publish publicly. As I’ve said before, I loved writing the haiku compilations, but they are sadly, aborted ideas that weren’t developed enough to form something better. I am a perfectionist of diabolical standard when it comes to these things, and they just didn’t have anything more to say to me. Two last haiku compilations are coming out in the next two-three months, and the remaining (there were I think twelve total) will be in a compilation, which you’ll be able to get on Amazon, Smashwords and all those other vendors.

-S. M., May 2018

The Spine of a Poem

The routes are innumerable – while themes all begin at the same boulevard, they branch off into thousands and thousands of directions with completely different destinations. The initial paths are easy, so have in mind which one you would like to take.

I generally use the same basic skeletons of a poem. This is not their format or rhyme scheme, mind you, but what they are at the heart. Just to consider, the five essential sorts I prefer to use are as such:

Artistic – It’s free game. Experimental and surrealist poetry tends to automatically fit here. You draw an image without art supplies, using only your words. Art for the mind rather than the eyes.

Emotional – Broad term, yes, but it’s a vital core to poetry (like it or not). It’s not exactly like artistic or personal poetry as it may be inspired by things you have no connection with or are not nourishing to the heart – it is raw thoughts completely naked from interpretation. My personal favourites are the worst emotions, which in my opinion form the best poems.

Story – It tells a story or could be interpreted as a story. I prefer the latter, as it lets the reader make what they will. A story conformed to a poem is a lot different from a story in a novel. It’s condensed into its own little globe, and in a way is a more concentrated power because it doesn’t have time to grow comfortably outward. It also has the ability to be more wild than a novel’s story because it’s not as limited by what makes strict, non-metaphorical sense.

Experience – Ones based strictly on memory and experience, siphoned out through the raw feelings and thoughts of that time, or altered into something stronger. These range from maudlin to psychotic to beloved, and every corner in-between. These are the most individual ones a poet can write, and they will become their signature even if they don’t intend that.

Nightmare – I haven’t a better word for this sort of poem. A subset of artistic / surreal poetry and personal poetry, a nightmarish poem is more psychological and resonates on a far more discomforting level with the reader. Probably the best example that would be familiar to most is Poe’s “The Raven” – which contains elements of fantastical horror but with a very primal and real sense of dread and death.

These examples are purposefully vague and broad bases, so literally anything can be built upon them. While “winging it” is actually not a bad idea for writing a poem, it’s also good to keep in mind what you want to make from a raw platform. One might be more fitting for an idea you want to convey than a different one would, so it doesn’t hurt to switch its skin around just to test it out.

Keep in mind though, that if you have poems in mind for a compilation, all types can be used but they should be relatively fitting together. Kind of like ornaments on a Christmas tree – completely different in looks and sizes but they compliment each other in purpose.

-S. M., May 2018

Flavours of an Artistic Phrase

Might be glaringly obvious, but I have a borderline-fetishistic obsession with poetry, as well as promoting it. I always try to encourage others to cross the unknowable shore that is painting through words, which is what I feel poetry accomplishes and encompasses. I am especially passionate about indie and budding debuts of poetry, and I honestly think it’s criminal that more don’t take the initiative to write and read them.

In the next few weeks I want to explore what makes a poem – what composes its genetics – in hopes maybe someone will find inspiration through this. The format is not what is important, as you can invent your own easily. The meat, flesh and soul of a poem is its meaning – even if its meaning is complete surrealist chaos, this makes it as significant as if it were a conventional romantic piece.

I want to dissect the building blocks of a compilation, what you can do to draw together a book of poetry into an entity that people will want to have engraved into their minds. Themes, genre, stylizing, production, and most importantly of all – not losing that sense of raw creation. The schedule’s not set, but a new piece on writing poetry will be here at least every other day for the remainder of May. It’s more of a complex rumination than it is advice, but perhaps it will inspire new directions of thought.

-S. M., May 2018

“Étude for a Ghost” – Haiku VI

[Originally published as the second half of Infinite Summer.]

51—
A rabbit’s lost tail
There waits a blood-toothed bear here
Hungers patiently

52—
Infidelity
Serpentine gourds hold for me
Dawning amnesia

53—
Somewhere a lung floats
Disembodied but laughing
Violet stains I hear

Continue reading ““Étude for a Ghost” – Haiku VI”

“Étude for a Ghost” – Haiku V

[Originally published as the second half of Infinite Summer.]

41—
Month of solitude
Warm blood, brittle meat of leaves
Drains down scrawny legs

42—
Hum of glass roaches
Uneternal drone of death
My organs slumber

43—
Teeth clatter like pearls
Radiant tendrils of oil
Dissolve my promise

Continue reading ““Étude for a Ghost” – Haiku V”

“Étude for a Ghost” – Haiku IV

[Originally published as the second half of Infinite Summer.]

31—
Braids of snow white hair
Serpent chains ride tundra wind
That lifts her higher

32—
Funnel of ivy
I fall into cursed garden
Eternal evening

33—
Phantom skull I hold
Listens to occult wavelength
Ponders black magic

Continue reading ““Étude for a Ghost” – Haiku IV”

“Infinite Summer” – Haiku III

21—
Wintergreen landscapes
Agoraphobe sees them pass
From between shutters

22—
Sapphire tentacles
Vine, thorn and leaf throttle me
In my prison swamp

23—
Ingrown deity
Sopping pustules reflect none
Of the love you preach

Continue reading ““Infinite Summer” – Haiku III”

“Infinite Summer” – Haiku II

11—
Rust-cracked dahlias
Circle sacrificial pit
God opens her eyes

12—
The lurid solstice
Dreams’ orgy alights the woods
Unfiltered heaven

13—
These industry towns
Harbor of black, steel sorrow
Mollified in glass

Continue reading ““Infinite Summer” – Haiku II”

“Infinite Summer” – Haiku I

1—
Smothered by sunbeams
A century spent scalded
Infinite summer

2—
Noteless songs released
Deflowered branches I break
To weave my death pyre

3—
Marsh bilge coats my heart
Ferns spiral, sea grass mildews
Mold moons orbit me

Continue reading ““Infinite Summer” – Haiku I”

💖Infinite Summer💖 – Free (or Name-Your-Price) Poetry eBook Release

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Sorry about the delay, but Infinite Summer is finally out today. Technically it was finished April 29th, but there was just a short delay in publication. Download or read a copy here, you can get it for free if you want (type in 0 when it asks you your price) or pay a small amount to support the author. 🙂 Recommended reasonable prices would be $0.50-$1.00 USD.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/823386

Or if you would prefer to wait, like the others I will be releasing it bit-by-bit to read here on my blog as well. Feel free to add it on here on Goodreads as well as a quick addition to your reading challenge.

I imagine some probably wonder why I publish singular collections of haiku like these. It’s namely for fun and for publication practice – also a bit of digital painting practice with the covers. I find creating digital art both frustrating and progressive, if that makes any sense. It’s the future, yet is counter-intuitive to the chaos of artistry – you really have to be aware of what you want to make beforehand. Mistakes are easier to correct in some ways with digital, yet if you realize them too late, patching them is actual hell.

I definitely want to publish more traditional and experimental poetry that has more depth to it in the future, but for now, these are free and especially for you.

All of my haiku are totally free, but if you want to help support my project, please consider donating or at least sharing my Patreon or Ko-fi pages. I don’t like to rely on very much social media to spread the word about my work, so any help is welcome and appreciated!

Seven Devils II – Designing Sloth

[Creation notes and ruminations I took while designing the ink piece “Apathy of an Idol”, part of a horror mini-series. Read the previous entry here.]

Sloth is simultaneously the most difficult to personify and the most personally incensing of the seven sins. It’s a broader term than the others, for one, encompassing apathy, laziness, ingratitude and wastefulness, all of which are equally “Sloth” but different acts entirely.

Arguably, Sloth could be the worst of the whole lot, as an immeasurable amount of evil has been gotten away with due only to apathy. The idea of evil and misfortune always being “someone else’s problem” is a corrupting one, indeed. I suppose it’s more than fitting, then, that Sloth be an aggravating and slow-going ink piece with little inspiration to run on, isn’t it?

Sloth has no natural expression – you can’t really sense an apathetic or lazy nature on a person’s face, nor does it have the sinister or obsessive shine of the eye that greed or does, or the definitive flame-red of wrath. I guess at best you might get a sense of emptiness from somebody, or a lack of humanity at Sloth’s strongest – a mechanism that functions like a human but just only.

Again, this is something you sense – it’s incredibly challenging to convey the same thing in an artwork. My initial but admittedly boring idea for Sloth was to give the central character and their surroundings an overwhelming sense of sleep and melt, something akin to the dripping clocks of Dali, but with a more grotesque unkemptness fitting with the mini-series’ theme. Strewn garbage and moldy residue would’ve oozed from the world, which sounds fittingly disturbing, but was too similar to the sketch I already had finished for “Gluttony of a Beast”. I feared that the point might be missed if it was as gross as that one, or else they might be confused for each other. Why should the Sloth piece necessarily be an unhygienic wasteland, when you can find apathy even in paradise?

So… after consideration and a full remix of the early sketch, the idea of melt and rot changed into a dystopian atmosphere of luxury – the focal character became an idol or figurehead of such overblown (and totally ambiguous) importance that they no longer are obligated to move their own limbs, as others stand by, ready to do it for them.

I chose a female figure for this piece, as she fit the “idol” tone more, and it evened out the gender disparity with the other pieces (most at the time had ended up being male or androgynous leaning towards male; the only other female one was Envy). I wanted this piece to convey abused privilege and really drive home the evil of such an atmosphere, as the central figure is surrounded by doll-like helpers who in reality may not be there by choice – handmaids in name only. As bad as Sloth is, its worst facet by far is turning a blind eye towards the oppression of others, if not outright condoning it for the sake of laziness. While probably the lightest piece in appearance (especially if it gets a colour version) “Apathy of an Idol” is the darkest in meaning.

See some of my current art on DeviantArt.

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