stories

Strange Things Are Afoot

For the last 12 years, I’ve been relying on public transportation to navigate the sprawling metropolis that is Los Angeles. Parking is at a premium, and maintaining a car is just something I can’t afford nor want to deal with. While the transportation system in LA isn’t up to snuff as some of its sister cities (i.e. New York, London, Paris), more buses and light rails have been added in the last decade to help ease the traffic jams. But as any Angelino can tell you, that doesn’t really address the other major problems, like why are parts of the 405 Freeway always slower than the line for Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland? It doesn’t matter what day it is or what time it is. There is always traffic on the 405 with no bawdy pirates to entertain you along the way. (more…)

We’ll Tak’ A Cup O’ Kindness Yet

2017 has come and gone, and for many people, it’s good riddance to a pretty rough year. While there were some wonderful and inspiring moments, 2017 felt mostly like a bad rash that just wouldn’t go away no matter how many oatmeal baths I decided to soak in. I won’t comment on the events that took place; I’ll leave that to the various news outlets that like to post “year in review” articles. Instead, I’m going to focus on my own personal writing goals from 2017 and what lies ahead for 2018. I refrained from making a blog post like this last year, but I think putting this out in the public sphere will help push me to make some major progress this year. (more…)

Chain The Muse To Your Desk

As a writer, there will be days when the words spill from my mind and gush all over my keyboard. Those are good days. It’s sunny outside, the birds are chirping a merry tune, and my neighbors’ toddler is either asleep or visiting the grandparents. Occasionally, however, I’ll have really awful stretches where the words are stymied and nothing pushes the blinking cursor forward. I’m not talking about regular writer’s block, which I’ve written about before. No, this is far worse. This isn’t just struggling to find the right direction for a story or wrestling with a difficult scene. It’s apocalyptic: thunder and lightning accompanied by merciless winds, dead birds plummeting from their perches, and the toddler next door wailing like an air raid siren (which, admittedly, often happens on good days, too). This is what I like to refer to as “the inspiration abyss.” No matter how hard I try, I can’t get any of my ideas off the ground. Even if I manage to write a thousand words, they ultimately lead to a dead end, forcing me to start over. While writer’s block can last for days, the inspiration abyss can last for weeks. Currently, I’m dealing with a stretch that has now lasted just over a month. It’s the most frustrating experience as writer. I don’t have any quick-fix solutions, but I’ve developed a few strategies to aid me in my attempts to claw my way out of these bleak situations: (more…)

Fantasy Is A Tool Of The Storyteller

A couple of weeks ago, I ran into someone I’ve known for several years (an acquaintance I’ll refer to as “Boba Fett”), who asked me how my writing was going. This being my fourth semester with Stonecoast, I talked about the collection of stories I’m working on for my master’s thesis. I gave a very brief overview of three stories, just to give a taste of the kind of stuff I like writing: there’s a tale with a talking dragon, another featuring a ghostly girl, and another one about hills made of chocolate. Boba Fett, with one eyebrow arced slightly (I could see through his shady helmet), asked me what the other stories were like. I responded by saying, “Well, most of the stuff I write I’d classify as fantasy, but I like messing about in other genres, too.” Then, with a very serious face, he asked if I had ever considered writing “real stories instead of this fantasy stuff.” (more…)

I Ain’t Afraid Of No Ghost (Maybe)

If there’s something strange in your neighborhood… who you gonna call?! In my case, the pizza guy because I’d be damned hungry after running away.  But I’ve been very fortunate thus far in my encounters with the paranormal.  Yes, I’m a believer.  Make fun of me if you wish, but I’m certain ghosts exist.  I mean, I’ve never experienced something so terrifying that I’ve felt compelled to call some real-life ghost hunters (though admittedly, I’d be exited to meet Jason and Grant).  No run-ins with statuesque hellhounds; androgynous, ancient gods; transparent librarians; or goopy, green ectoplasm. (more…)