THE FLOWERS OF SUCCESS

Hello everyone,

 

First of all, for those of you who liked The Discovery of the Skyfish, I wanted to let you know that He will be returning next Monday. I have a few ideas I wanted to run with to put those poems together, but today is for some goal setting and schedule building. It’s been nearly a year since I began writing for this blog (in fact, we are just 23 days away from the anniversary, if I have counted right), which is strictly awesome, and I will talk about that more at a later date.

However, I realized that I, as a blogger, have only sort of kept to some of the ideas I have shared throughout my blogging experience this past year. Specifically, I wanted to discuss the schedule of this blog. Over the past year, I have been carefully tracking the data that WordPress keeps for me, and recognized that Fridays are my most popular days. Whether this is because I cemented love poetry pretty much exclusively for Fridays or not is up for debate, but what I realized is that I am not making this something I can track easily. I write somewhat randomly, which is great (I mean, in the sense that I can claim I am channeling “the Muse”), but it also leaves myself and others uncertain about what the next day entails. Do you have the vaguest idea of what I write about on Mondays? I don’t. Is Tuesday going to be something you want to read? Who knows?

One of the major inspirations for me, as a consistent, five day per week blogger, was YouTube. YouTube, you ask? But aren’t they, like, the enemy of written work? Well, yes and no. The visual medium, and the ease of access to it, has pacified many people, which may be why reading is less “popular” today than fifty years ago. Who knows? What YouTube (or rather, many famous YouTubers) did do right, however, was realize people like consistency. Take a look at the vast majority of popular channels. Consistent views, everyday, because they upload new, interesting content every day. Similarly, if any of you are aware of Twitch, the popular streaming service, then you probably have a knowledge of popular streamers. Those who are the most popular stream daily (excluding a few, who are typically members of the community in other ways).

So what does all this have to do with my writing? Well, everything and nothing really. Any expressive medium is a device that is unique to each individual in the same way that all petals are unique to a flower. Both are used to present ones self to a variety of pollinators. While on the surface they may all appear the same, the slightest detail is enough to distinguish between two different individuals. Video and literary art are simply two different species of flower—one with blue petals, one with red. Both still need water to grow. Put less artfully, I’ve taken the success of posting consistently on YouTube, and applied it to my own work. With this in mind, I’ve decided to solidify my schedule a bit more, in order to make it easier for you, the reader, to have an idea of what to expect. Here it is:

 

Monday – Poem/Short Story

Tuesday – “Serious” Topic Discussion

Wednesday – Poem/Short Story

Thursday – Short story

Friday – Love Poem

 

Look at that. Even in my scheduling I have some room for randomness. I have put serious in quotes, because it’s not really supposed to just be “serious” stuff. It could be the terror of the political spectrum, it could be the puppies I saw down the street the other day. Until next time!

– Cassady

——

 

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THE DISCOVERY OF THE SKYFISH

Once in a blue moon, the skyfish appears,

But only to those who go to wander—

And even the wanderers do not see

The glory that is in His great visage.

 

He first caught my eye after the Spring rain,

When the sweet showers of April sunk in

To combat the drought March brought to the roots.

He was hiding at the edge of my sight

Behind blinding rays of the newborn sun,

But because I chose to shield my gaze

He granted me the knowledge known only

To those who see both the Heavens and Earth.

 

It was knowledge that no words could describe,

For in all the words that fill my journals

I have chipped away but a small pebble

From a mountain that dwarfs King Everest.

And yet I have been given this sentence,

Which knows no beginning and has no end:

To make His word—that is, the word of God—

Into a word that humans understand.

 

But with the volumes of books I have writ

More and more people have turned to my cause.

They have found His glory; His clouded scales,

And for the first time, Man has found its peace.

No children cry for their long dead fathers;

No wives waiting for their husband’s return.

There’s no violence against those who are queer—

For to the skyfish we are all mere kelp.

We all live, and breath, and bleed the same way,

Even if not all of us appear green.

 

But the quiet that fell over the Earth

Is a silence that I have found eerie.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #28 – MOONLIGHT SONATA

I construct the notes of my piano

To a song that I composed just for you.

It’s about the trips I took through the snow

To see that smoke rose from your chimney flue.

Your dainty footsteps across the wood floor

Are like an angel walking in the clouds

And the white smile you flash at the door

Is like the moonlight peeking from the shrouds.

But as my hands dance on the iv’ry keys

I feel the tune slip to C minor,

Because last winter I felt the sharp breeze

Of your voice calling to someone finer.

I saw your smile in that nirvana,

And hence I wrote this Moonlight Sonata.

——

 

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DON’T LET THEM SERVE ME FIRST

“…and please, dear God, don’t let them serve me first” exclaimed Peter. Ann and Peter had been on the road for nearly three hours, on their way out to visit Ann’s parents in Minnesota. It was a frosty day, and nearly everything was covered in a layer of white snow.

“What? Why? Pete they’re going to love you,” said Ann.

“Well I hope they love me but what happens if I do something weird?”

“You’re not going to do anything THAT weird,” Ann rolled her eyes, “just do what we normally do back at home.” Ann was driving the car with her gaze on the empty road before her. It had been a quiet drive for the most part. There had been no traffic—in fact, had they not been in the heart of a city, one would have thought the roads to be completely abandoned.

“I can’t do what we do normally back home because normally back home I wear boxers to dinner,” Peter said, as he tried to contain a giggle behind his anxiousness.

“Ok, come on,” Ann chided, “you’re not a baby you know how to act appropriately at a table for dinner.”

“But what if your parents decide to say Grace?”

“They’re not going to decide to say Grace, they haven’t practiced any fo—“

“But what if they do this time!” Pete interrupted, “What if this time they decide they want to and I’d already started eating? I’d look like a savage idiot.”

“What do you care what you look like? Aren’t you always talking about how you’re the best businessman at meetings because you don’t care what people think about you?”

“Well, yeah, I mean, yes, you know, but it’s different,” Peter stuttered. He took a deep breath, then continued more fluently, “I care more about our relationship than some business meeting.” Ann looked at him with a playful sarcasm.

“Aw. Aren’t you sweet. But that’s all this is. My parents just want to see what you’re bringing to the table. And the bedroom.” A devilish grin crossed Ann’s face.

“The bedroom?” Peter’s eyes bulged, “what have they set up cameras? That’s a little creepy.”

“No you fuckin’ idiot!” Ann slapped Peter’s thigh jokingly, “like how you look. I know and you know that looks aren’t a huge deal or anything, but my parents care about the success of more than just their daughter. They also care about the family as a whole. If you were some feeble, cowardly guy, they’d want to give input.”

“Ok that’s fair, but I still don’t want to be served first.”

“Fine.” Ann paused, “you’re such a baby.” She reached over and pinched Peter’s cheek, then said in a babying voice “who’s my little baby? Hm? Petey’s my little baby.” Peter pried her fingers off his cheek and tossed her hand back at the steering wheel. He turned to pout at the window while Ann laughed. After that, they sat in silence for a little while.

“How much farther is it?” asked Peter.

“We’re actually just around the corner,” said Ann, “now I don’t want you making a bad first impression. So stand up straight, open the door for me, and carry the bags in.”

“Fine.” Peter slumped his shoulders. They turned a corner and drove up to see a couple standing out on the sidewalk.

“Look! There they are!” Ann pointed. She looked over at Peter with a glare, “Pete sit up. This is going to be a good time. Ok? Try to enjoy yourself. They gave us the guest room down the hall and everything so that we can enjoy ourselves. They realize we’ve been dating for a while.” Pete sat up and put a smile on his face.

“Yeah but they’ll love you no matter what,” he muttered to himself. The car came to a stop, and Pete smiled to Ann’s parents through the window, then hopped out of the car to get Ann’s door.

——

 

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A STROKE OF RED INK

Hier, I had a dream

Where I was writing in French.

I forgot the end.

 

But I can recall

So much of what transpired:

I spoke to a girl.

 

She was fiery

With red hair and charisma;

We had met in class.

 

I was not myself—

For I too had confidence;

Enough to tell jokes.

 

We strolled hand in hand

Through the green grass and great trees

To a lone meadow.

 

We talked for a time

Through the sunset and the night

On a bench we’d found.

 

But lo and behold

It morphed away, as dreams do,

And I was alone.

 

Scrawling at the page

With an ink quill of crimson,

I wrote frantically.

 

I tried to capture

The story of her and I

Against my dream’s tide.

 

And the tide pulled me,

Like the Somme river:

Quite unstoppably.

 

I was in a room

With a poor, crying black girl

Who I didn’t know.

 

I wrote her story.

She was raped today.

“C’etait mon oncle.”

 

She cried out in pain.

It was a man she had loved

Driven mad with lust.

 

I put my hand out

To try to comfort her cries

But she was too far.

 

A mile away;

Then two, then three. Yet her tears

Were still crystal clear.

 

I began to drown

Under the weight of my guilt.

The pages were damp.

 

A sea of red ink

Swallowed me in a vortex

And left me bloodied.

 

And in Erebus

I found myself at judgment.

With a tipped scale.

 

They were all golden:

The coins, the desks, and the chairs.

Save for his red pen.

 

MY red pen, rather.

The irony of writers:

Judged at their own hand.

 

And He said to me…

Alas, the dream cuts off there;

In a stroke of red ink.

——

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BAD GUY

I turned on the lights of the cell room. I like to think my cells are more humane than a prison’s, where in the place of bars and that dull gray there are windows and colorful walls. There are books, toys, various forms of entertainment—televisions, gaming systems, and so on…except in the unstable rooms, but that is for their own safety. This particular room was a favorite guest of mine. She’s a rough, robust girl with a fetish for pain, but she’s also classically beautiful. Take a Cinderella and add in a little Suicide Girl, and voila, c’est elle. Though her tattoos are only in places the public won’t see. It is quite fun, but also quite frustrating.

I am all for sexual expression, and having kinks, and what not. That’s all fine. But I do have a line. I do not much like when I walk in on a woman and she’s covered in blood and violent red marks because it “get’s her off.” Elle—you’ll forgive me, I must use a pseudonym for her own safety, relapse is so common, and easily caused by the lustful—but Elle is one of those people, who I stumbled upon completely by accident. Elle was a prostitute I had hired—I’d say escort but let’s not flirt around like I had other plans for her—whom I had asked to please engage in whatever would make her truly aroused, and while she did that I wanted a shower. You can imagine my surprise when, after my warm, relaxing shower, the first bed was covered in blood. She had opened her wrists with a pocketknife—she must have been carrying it. Logical. There are certainly some freaks (like myself, though in a different way) in the business, even for someone as expensive as she was. There was a thick ruler thrown to the side as well, no doubt the cause of her welts. Not a good time.

As you can imagine, dear reader, I was quite put out. I bandaged her up and we talked for a few hours. I convinced her to stay in my room until she was…treated. She is an interesting character. She is polite, well mannered, genuinely kind…but also extremely passionate. Her sex drive is off the charts (literally, I’ve spent years researching the sexuality of even the most driven people, and they pale), which is unfortunate, because it makes the process more difficult for me. I am only human. But enough backstory. Today was a me day…or rather night. I had woken her with the light. She had worn the silk nightgown I had provided her to bed. A good sign. She was standing up—one hand rubbing the sleep from her eyes, the other slumped off to her side. I entered the room, and dimmed the lights. I crossed the room meaningfully.

“Shh, why are you out of bed” I whispered in her ear. As she opened her mouth to speak, I cupped it. Her eyes appeared glazed over, but I could feel her smile behind my hand. She sank back onto the bed, and I knelt with her. I kissed her, once on the lips, then down in the space between her cheek and her chin, then more and more forcefully until I reached her neck. I bit it lightly, carefully running the skin between my teeth, but with enough force to cause her a little pain. She still liked that. I could feel her heart race. Her hands pulled at my shirt (a shame, it was an expensive material too), but just as she was getting it loose, I stood up and thrust her down onto her back. Like I said, today was a me day. I popped the belt buckle I wore, and tore the belt from around my waist. Her eyes flared open with excitement, but I discarded it. I motioned for her to turn around. She pouted. I felt a snarl creep to my nose for a moment, and in a wave of anger I gripped her wrist hard. She smiled wildly, and ragdolled as I spun her to her stomach. She put both arms forward, flat on the bed, and tucked her knees in against her stomach expectantly. I bit the bottom of my inner lip and gripped her torso, beneath the fabric, admiring her hip bones as a lion admires a recently slaughtered zebra. The rest, well, I’m sure you can imagine.

——

 

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THE HEAVEN OF EARTH

Why is it that humans look to heaven

When all ’round them they can find their brethren?

What’s more is what they can find down below

With a sickle, a shovel, and a hoe:

Nutrients that have more glory than God.

It’s something that I have always found odd.

To turn to the ever cancerous sky

Who’s one redemption is when the clouds cry.

And we could find fresh water in rivers-

Though one must look out for things that slither,

For while mother Gaea can be loving,

She cannot prevent our cousin’s hunting.

Still I’d first trust destiny in her hands

Than under the fist of a Christian man,

Who has crusaded with a zealous pride

And burned innocent crops while on his ride.

 

The irony is that with every win

He has indulged in the cardinal sin;

That in his search for greatness and glory

He lost the teachings that he held holy.

So stick to the land and I think you’ll find

This heaven of Earth is one of a kind.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #27 – FOR YOU

I could write a thousand poems

And yet none would compare to you.

You’re a sweet drop of summer dew

After the springs reign was stolen.

 

So then, why should I even try?

I could tell them of your red hair;

Your luscious lips; your lovely stare,

But such a rhyme would seem so dry.

 

How on Earth could I compare thee

To such a simple summer’s day,

When all of night’s stars cannot say

What this beauty is before me?

 

Though perhaps I say’t not for them—

Whose gossiping ears tend to pry.

Perhaps it’s ‘cause no other guy

Has seen you sparkle like a gem.

——

 

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GIVING CRITICISM

Hello everyone,

It’s been a little while since I took the time to be a “normal” blog and give those little updates on life that have literally no impact on the world whatsoever (don’t worry, more creative work will be back tomorrow). Which is why I am not going to talk about how I finished all my graduate school applications recently, how stressful it’s been, etc, etc, etc (wait but that’s what you just did Cassady…). Instead, I wanted to talk about something that has not happened to me before. Someone who had been reading my blog asked me for advice. Now, obviously I am a busy person—we all are. But I took the time to check out a bit of their work and give them constructive criticism. Which I like to think I am decent at giving, and I know a lot of people who are not very good at it. So I wanted to discuss it.

One of my good friends is a person who doesn’t know how to give criticism. He will  say things like “that’s bad” or “I don’t like how this looks at all.” And that’s fine if a person is secure with their work, but let’s be honest, how many of us really feel completely secure with our work? Especially when we are just starting off? Probably not that many of us. I know that I, personally, was exceptionally afraid to show people any of my writing when I first began doing it, and even before that, I was afraid to write because I felt like I myself would be doing a bad job. If someone had criticized me like my friend does right away, there’s a good chance I would not have gone forward with my writing.

Certainly, this is “my fault.” No individual should stop someone from achieving his or her dreams. But that’s not reality. Humans value other opinions—it’s the reason we ask people for advice on relationship, even if they have a terrible track record in them. It’s true that the only way to improve is to get criticism, but when we criticize it can be done in a better way. One way I like to do this is through a “compliment sandwich.” Going back to my original scenario, this blogger asked me to take a look at their work in the comments of one of my posts. That takes some guts, but they sounded rather shy about it. So I took a look, and I found a few things. First of all, they had a great basis for their work. Their concepts were really personal and relatable, which is a solid bedrock for writing. That said, they looked like they had rushed through their writing. Which we all do. I do it. Professionals do it. It’s not a big deal. That’s why people hire editors. But it did take away from their overall message, and they need to correct it to make their work as good as they envision it to be. So I pointed out the positives, then the negatives, to reinforce that they were doing good work but that it needed improvement, and then finished up with a reminder of those positives. Not excessively-if that is done, then the person isn’t going to take the criticism seriously. But this does allow for a friendly way to express the needed improvement. If someone, especially a stranger (or an acquaintance that isn’t very close), asks for advice, it means they value the opinion of the person they are asking, and to shoot them down will only cause self-doubt. It makes the matter more personal than it really is.

What do you think? This approach can vary in impact depending on the context of the discussion. Check out this article for some areas where this technique doesn’t work. Do you have any techniques you use to give constructive criticism? Let me know!

——

 

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THE JOURNAL OF GREGOR

Journal Entry #249

Hello again. Today’s been a lovely day. I spent the morning with flowers and some bees, then, at noon I was returned to my living space. At supper I was brought a book-a rare treasure in this place nowadays. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #250

Hello again. Today’s been a lovely day. I spent the morning walking on the moon, then took a trip through the stars till about half past three. By evening I was nearly to Jupiter. I was returned to my living space for supper, which was served on a cool metal tray. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #251

Hello again. I was kept inside all day today. It wasn’t especially fun. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #252

Hello again. They said they would be moving me shortly. Today I went to the hills to check out the view of the beach. I miss the warmth of the sun. The living space is small and lonesome, despite my exceptional ability to exist in it. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #253

Hello again. Today I am quite busy packing. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #260

Hello again. I’ve missed you so much. They left you at the other place. I’ve been writing on the walls in the meantime. And I’ve made a friend. His name is Pillow man. Pillow man is a lonely guy. I love to snuggle my head up against him. We got in a fight the other day though, and I torn a piece of his skin off. He’s not made like you or me either. He’s really soft inside. Did you make any friends? I saw a couple underlines in some of the early pages in you. No, you’re right, of course those were from me. How silly. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #261

Hello again. Today I felt the soothing water of the showers again. They said I smelled like a pig, but I’ve never really seen a pig so I don’t know what they meant. I do feel different now though. Like a snake after shedding it’s old skin. But I’m quite tired now. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #262

Stephen w@$ here.

 

Journal Entry #263

HOW DARE THEY TOUCH YOU. YOU WHORE. I NEVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN. THERE WILL BE NO NEXT TIME.

– Gregor

 

Journal Entry #264

Hello again. I’m sorry for yesterday. I know it wasn’t your fault. They took it by force from you. I should have been more careful. I’ll make it right though. Don’t worry. They’ll never think about touching you again. Until next time.

 

Journal Entry #265

Hello again. It’s been done. Don’t worry about him anymore. He won’t hurt you again. I’m afraid though, because they said this was the last straw. And warden said it. He’s usually so nice to me. I love you. Until next time.

– Gregor

 

Editor’s Note:

The journal ends here.

——

 

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