“Alibis, angles and tales from the tropics
Come to my mind so easy and quick.”
-Jimmy Buffett, “That’s My Story and I’m Stickin’ To It”

I sent in my contract to Raven Magazine for my poem “Poe Goes to the Singles Bar.” I finished some other things, final straws, breaking the last, resisting camels’ backs (don’t tell PETA) and allowing me to enter into my Thesis crunch time. November sees me writing my prologue to my epic poem and researching. December will find me a hermit, typing away and suffering cabin fever (sans cabin).

So [gulp] here we go. This is the kind of moment where I start thinking about WRITING – pondering and meditating on the WHY’S – praying that I know the HOW’S. Writers often write about writing, and the clever ones work it into their fiction. I thought about a passage from Shakespeare’s, The Tempest. Shakespeare is really good at hiding essays in character speeches. Sometimes he comments on theatre or himself or his art…

“I have be-dimm’d
The noon-tide sun, call’d forth the mutinous winds,
And ‘twixt the green sea and the azur”d vault
Set roaring war; to the dread rattling thunder
Have I giv’n fire, and rifted Jove’s stout oak
With his own bolt; the strong-bas’d promontory
Have I made shake, and by the spurs pluck’d up
The pine and cedar: graves at my command
Have wak’d their sleepers; oped, and let ’em forth
By my so potent art. But this rough magic
I here abjure; and when I have requir’d
Some heavenly music, which even now I do,
(To work mine end upon their senses that
This airy charm is for) I’ll break my staff,
Bury it certain fadoms in the earth,
And deeper than did ever plummet sound,
I’ll drown my book.”
-Shakespeare, The Tempest

Here, the Bard not only announces his retiring from his “art,” but comments on the power a writer invokes, within his worlds. A writer becomes a goddess in her world. Or…maybe not quite. A writer can conjure storms, command physics, and raise historical figures from the dead…but sometimes a character or a plot moves at its own steam and the wise writer does not force it…but directs it, not like a god then, but perhaps like a sorcerer (like Prospero).

“We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams.
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world forever, it seems.”
-Arthur O’Shaughnessy

Attempting to bulster my confidence for the heavey writing ahead, I sat down and thought about what things I’ve done with my so potent art:

I have commanded Death deities both young and old;
Animated bulbous pumpkins into stalking horrors;
Found, then lost, the key to all boogey men;
Raised Greek gods from torpor;
Played the strings of a guitar that brings apocalypse;
Put Oedipus on a day time talk show;
Turned Oedipus into a teddy bear, cutting out his button eyes;
Grown a black tree that transmits Halloween;
Broadcasted the Sphinx’s riddles over pirated radio waves;
Collapsed reality around a weary house wife;
Let the Devil put her spin on her story in 666 words;
Discovered the mystical truth of what happens when one graduates Undecided;
Fried pesky vampires on a giant bug zapper;
Lost two enemy archetypes in time and space;
Found and freed a lost angel from a hidden passage of Dante’s dreams;
Sailed in a craft constructed by the dreams of desperate children;
Seen through the eyes of sacrificial crickets;
Gave requiem to a literary figure who got a raw deal;
Explained, to a phone sex girl, why Oprah is a Goth Queen of dark fate;
Cursed a poor soul with the power to “smell dead people;”
Forced the monsters under my bed to show respect;
Resurrected Poe for the sole purpose of picking up women at a night club;
Summoned, with voodoo prayers, a dark feathered muse who would not tell me the truth,
By my so potent art. But I shall never abjure.
My staff, with the voodoo-skull smile, I shall never break.
My book, with ever-empty pages, I shall never close.

“The next century’s task will be to rediscover its gods.
-Andre Malraux

“We have the right, and the obligation to tell old stories in our own ways, because they are our stories.”
-Neil Gaiman

Someone recently had a discussion with me about how “everything how every story has been told.” In answer I can only offer the ten thousand different ways one might say even the simplest thought (with different lenses of genre and style) or reusable, versatile nature of words like fuck. There are always new stories because there are always old stories that people forgot. And then, thinking about that and my potent art – I feel better, anxiety banished, and I have to smile at the fact that, though we are told not to lie as children, I aspire to enter a profession where I get paid to do so.

“That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it
That’s my life and all that I’ve got
Call me a liar, call me a writer
Believe me or not”
-Jimmy Buffett, “That’s My Story and I’m Stickin’ To It”

“Writers are liars my dear. Surely you have realized that by now?”
-Neil Gaiman, “Calliope,” The Sandman

“Everything goes by the board: honor, pride, decency…to get the book written. If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is worth any number of old ladies.”
-William Faulkner

Now…I don’t think that last one is entirely true…at least, I don’t think it is in my case. Then again, if the quote above it is correct, that is exactly what I’d say to you…

“Whenever I’m asked what kind of writing is the most lucrative, I have to say ransom notes.”
-Literary Agent H. N. Swanson

Well, fiendish thoughts concluded, I think I should get to bed. Sun’s coming up and potent arts (I just love typing that) need sleep. Time to end transmission kids…

“I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper.”
-Steve Marti