My novel is going to be a best seller!

If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.

                                                         – John F. Kennedy

If your goal is to be the next JK Rowling… writing may not (there is a slight possibility) be right for you.

The Talent: It’s going to be a best seller

Voice of Reason: Now that I think about it, I’ve never even seen you read a book.

I’m not going to emphasize the importance or writing, I’ve done that in enough posts. Nor will I emphasize the importance of writing, because I’ve done that a few times as well, I think. You can check out my old posts in this series here if you want to.

There is something that I want to stress, and that’s the importance of money. As humans we need it, can’t live without it because it ensures life’s necessities: food, water, shelter, clothes and other great stuff. Money is important because it allows us to obtain these things, to continue doing the fun, stupid, pointless, amazing things we as writers do. All money does is mediate, acting as a means to something else. Money’s importance comes from a capitalistic interest in placing an arbitrary value on everything. There’s no reason, really, why a tomato should cost a dollar and a loaf of bread several. There’s no reason why essentials should be marketed to begin with, but that’s another post.

So what does being a millionaire, or a billionaire in Rowling’s case ensure? Even if you are a mildly successful author you’d be able to cover your necessities and guarantee that you continue doing what you love: writing.It’s easy to preach when the audience is a screen, but seriously , two for the money, ten for the art. Your skill as a writer has already been commodified, there’s no need to place added stress on yourself to be an international best seller. No disrespect to those who are of course, or those who desire success, but it shouldn’t be your sole goal.

Don’t compromise your novels, poems, paintings, films or essays solely for the fame or the money. You’ll regret it. At the end of that long, never ending day that is life, you owe authenticity not to your friends, family, job or self; you owe it to your work.

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Youth is a B—

Youth is many things, and in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge I’ve come up with this poem. Enjoy!

An unwanted burden

you carry or

a fruit unharvested,

unripened and rich?

Either way, it’s still a—

The girl running breathless in the snow

the wizened scholar at her oak desk

the nervous painter at his first art show

the determined boy standing at the pitch

Youth remains by your side, a loyal—

But now it eludes you, slips through your creased fingers

hides under pampered cheeks and stylish shoes,

hazarding appearances in soft smiles; never does it linger

leaving only laugh scars where once youth grew.

Hurry, gather what is left and preserve it in a ditch

Too late, it’s already gone, that sneaky—!

Some say youth is a blessing, a birth rite,

a bold stone, weathered not withered by the sea;

the beloved years, the black days, the winged bird in flight

but either way it’s still a B.

Here are some other Backwords thoughts on youth, age and other splendid things:

  1. Ilya Fostiy. Amnesia | Crazy Art
  2. Ilya Fostiy. Muse | The Bliss of Reality
  3. Youth Insults My Intelligence | Bumblepuppies
  4. The Illusive FEAR of Getting Old | Musings | WANGSGARD
  5. Weekly Writing Challenge: Golden Years | In my world
  6. Looking Back (and Traveling) | JGTravels
  7. Thoughts on Aging | melissuhhsmiles
  8. Yelp for help…… | Obsessive Compulsive Running…….
  9. Youth is a B— | The Backwords
  10. Riding Into The Sunrise
  11. Weekly writing challenge- golden years | A picture is worth 1000 words
  12. The Defining Number | Through The Eyes Productions
  13. I am not my mother | Twisting Suburbia
  14. Weekly Photo Challenge – Perspective | Joe’s Musings
  15. Artfully Aspiring
  16. Wisdom of a Toddler | Artfully Aspiring
  17. I Couldn’t Wait | Fish Of Gold
  18. Young or old? Here’s how to tell | The Crayon Files
  19. The Elders of Us | Wired With Words
  20. Aging with grace and acceptance | Ezhealthcents
  21. I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  22. Weekly Writing Challenge: Golden Years | imagination
  23. Thirsty thirties | Scent of Rina
  24. Weekly Writing Challenge: GOLDEN YEARS | Thinking Languages!
  25. Wholehearted living… One day at a time. | masknolonger
  26. You’re As Old As You Feel | A Day In The Life
  27. Social Media has changed me | The Bohemian Rock Star’s “Untitled Project”
  28. Golden Years | Icezine

They told me nothing

You took me to your favourite place

To see the tree they cut down ten years before your birth.

Our fingers traced its history

We brushed our hands back in time through centuries

Memories are mapped out by lines we’ll trace;

Ashen faces in cold breeze

Tell me a piece of your history.

Speak in words you’ve picked up

As you walked through life alone

Shrugging off the dust and memory,

You ran out into the night

To see what it means to be free

Of the shackles and the dreams.

Summer evening breeze blew –

They will come for you

Standing on the cliff face

We are the last people.

At the end of the night,

In the cold morning light

They will come

The birds are mocking me, calling out your name

They pull me back.

All of your flaws lie hand in hand deep beneath the ground

Dig them up, leave a path to trace

I see in the shapes of the morning we’ve cast out

I see them sinking in, it crept up on you, crawling underneath your skin.

Oh, I hear you calling, but what is there to gain?

I won’t show my face.

They licked the walls, all that we’ve amassed – stubs, tops, backs, diaries –

Shattered into ash.

Tenderly, they turned to dust all that I adore

Many days fell away with nothing to show,

It’s been cold for years.

Oh, I read the words you used.

They told me nothing.

I wrote this poem using someone else’s words. Not one word was thought up by me. What I did do was take the lyrics from Bastille‘s album Bad Blood and rearrange the words to make this poem. There is at least one line from every song on the album in this poem. I thought it would be cool to reconfigure Bastille’s songs into a poetic narrative poem. Really, I’m just highlighting the creativity and lyricism already present in the songs. I wonder what it would sound like played…

I’m thinking about making this a feature on my blog. You should check out the album. My favourites are:

Daniel In The Den

Oblivion

Things We Lost In The Fire

and Overjoyed (I prefer the a cappella version)

The Drowned

I saw you but you went away.

I pulled, stretched, reached for you but you slipped into the fuzzy, uncertainty of memory.

I called, and you faded, threatening.

You hint in the corners of my mind, suggesting your presence.

An image distorted in water, your form an inconsistency, I never really knew you.

Only a thought, not yet developed,

So I let you bathe in the water,

To swim and fleshen form.

Yet when I reached for your submerged body I found your remnants;

Washed away, into forgotten tides

I saw you when you died.

What Am I? We are The Fallen

This is a continuation to the poem What Am I? that I posted on Tuesday in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge. I had the idea for the short story a while back, and decided to try it out in a poem as well. Hope you enjoy. Comments and feedback are always welcome.

The Fallen

“Well then. I won’t be seeing you again” Hielo said, drifting through fragmented clouds towards Nieve.

Nieve looked out the fortress’s white window, towards the green ground and the crystal skies. In adjoining homes and distant forts, soldiers prepared for the first battle of the season. “I agree,” Nieve said through frozen lips. “We are the seekers. The seekers never make it back. We need to burn some holes so it is easier for you weaklings when you come. You know how it is, the mature ones first. It’s only fair. If you hurry up – that is if we even leave you anything – you may get some flesh.”

Hielo frowned, refusing to look out the window. “Of course you won’t be coming back. No one ever comes back from a mission, regardless of its success. This war is pointless. I might as well kill myself now and save them some trouble.”

“Wouldn’t you like to bite into some warm flesh?” Nieve goaded. They carried no weapons into war, only their cold, cutting teeth.

“I’d rather stay up here, nice and cold.”

Nieve ignored Hielo. “Things are changing at the front, I don’t know why but they are. I don’t think they even know why it’s happening,” Nieve said, looking at the distant ground below.

“How would you know? Have you been to a battle? Have you met anyone who has? None of us have and none likely will, for not long at least, meet anyone who has been to the front.”

“Yeah, I know I haven’t met anyone but something has changed. The winds are colder in the main fortresses—”

“You’re going to die Nieve. The weather may change and the winds may shift, but your death is a certainty, a certainty since the day you were made – written, signed and ensured by Sol.”

“The winds may shift in our favour.”

“Aye to that. May they bring us more swiftly than usual to our death.

Thousands of white soldiers fell from the sky, eager to make contact with the enemy, to solidify a front for those who would inevitably follow. There was no home territory, nor a place to regroup and collect the fallen. Not one soldier would be buried. The wind moved through their ranks, gently steering the paratroopers as they fell. The cold air cut across their exposed skin, but they were used to that. The cold reassured them.

Some clung to their neighbours hoping to mass a group attack. Bracing themselves for impact, the group stood a better chance of staying intact. Nieve tried to link to a comrade but a wall of air separated them. Teasing and testing, the current ripped them apart, then brought them together, but not close enough to touch. The wind directed their attack; the soldiers forfeited control of their bodies when they fell from the base. They moved in dizzying, spiralling flurries. Nieve looked towards the green ground, as it transformed into unfamiliar colours, obscure shapes and sounds popping sounds.

Nieve wept. Actually, Nieve’s body wept. Home is in the heavens. If we die where do we go? The snowflake melted in the winter air, the first in a succession of flakes to liquify in Earth’s atmosphere. The fallen became indistinguishable, lost faces in the grey slush; dead before they breached the front. How do you mourn a face you can’t remember, dissolved into a puddle of greyness?

Once sharp flakes, now shapeless droplets, cold rain exploded against hard, dry surfaces. Street lamps, glass windows, parked cars and green grass glistened in the rising sun, crystallized in blankets of ice. Drops of rain don’t burn, sting, hurt; but they clung, like kerosene on wood they clung and seeped in, waiting to be ignited.

“It’s snow Tommy. You’ve seen this before, every year this happens.” Dan dragged his feet in the snow, not waiting for his son to follow.

“Yeah daddy but it tickles when it melts in my mouth.” The boy traced down single flecks of snow as they fell from the sky. His mouth open and his tongue flailing, he rarely caught anything. They moved to quickly for him to catch. He couldn’t  focus on a single flake, for they merged together and danced quickly as they floated down the sky. Tommy’s toes tickled, planted in the pooling snow they began to burn. He frowned. The flakes seemed to dance around him, deliberately avoiding his tongue.

Dan called back, cautioning. “And they will sting like hell when they bite your tongue.”