Friday, September 30, 2011

Taken

Taken, Brock Eastman, The Quest For Truth, P & R Publishing, Youth Science Fiction/Fantasy, July 1, 2011, 320 pages.


Synopsis: 'Five-Four-Three-Two-One!' 'We're out of here!' 

Suit up! Jump into hyper flight with the four Wikk kids! Forced into a high stakes hunt for their missing parents by the sinister Cpt. Vedrik, the siblings' only hope is their parents' Archeos e-journal. Can Tiffany decipher the clues within it? As time runs out, it's all up to Oliver and his Federation training to fly the Phoenix and protect his crew. But twins Mason and Austin endanger the mission when they unexpectedly meet . . . the blue boy!

The Quest for Truth series unfolds as the four Wikk kids are thrust into a desperate race to find the mysterious planet Ursprung and stop the Ubel renegades from misusing its long-lost secrets. Ancient cities, treacherous villains, high-tech gadgets, the Phoenix encounter all of these and more on this futuristic, interplanetary adventure!


My thoughts: This book was certainly intended for a younger audience. Even though it was science fiction, it was written in such a way for youth to easily understand it. Eastman did very well to that end. I do think that the writing was disappointing, though. It was more telling and less showing for quite a ways into the book. It got better near the end, but it was honestly making me yawn. The story also wasn't very intriguing until shortly after half-way, when we meet Obbin. The ending of the book made me interested, but was rather abrupt and inconclusive. It resembled a lunch break rather than signing off, if you get my meaning. You expect more to happen, but without any suspense.

My rating: 3 stars.

This book was provided free by P&R Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed here are my own.

Check out more Christian Futuristic books!

Upcoming reviews:

  • Why God Won't Go Away by Alister McGrath
  • Diviner by Bryan Davis
  • Thunder in the Morning Calm by Don Brown


Kindle Fire Giveaway!

Once again, it is not I hosting this giveaway (I don't have THAT much influence yet) but 'tis awesome nevertheless!! If you haven't heard, the new Kindle Fire is Amazon's new ereader edition, complete with touchscreen and COLOR!! http://curiosityquills.com/amazon-kindle-fire-giveaway/

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

150 Followers?? (or more?)

I'm almost at 150!! When the clock strikes 150, I will begin my next giveaway!! Yes, it IS a book. Yes, it IS a physical copy. Yes, it IS a book I've reviewed on this blog and enjoyed. Can you guess it? Better yet, can you get a simple 5 more people to follow?? If I reach 200 (5 new followers from 10 of you) by October 15th, I will give away a second book!! Who's going to go for it??

Your help needed!!

Many of you have heard of the renowned Nightwing Studios for their To Darkness Fled and Kestrel's Midnight Song book trailers, so this will be exciting news. They JUST FINISHED filming for their newest production, From Darkness Won, and they need your help!! They need as many donations as possible to fund their project. And you don't give for nothing, there are prizes!! Go check it out!! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2046662100/from-darkness-won-fan-book-trailer

Monday, September 26, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

First Endorsement!

I now have my very own endorsement in a "famous" author's book! And her first one, no less! XD It now resides in Amanda Davis' first work, Precisely Terminated. This is what it says:

Amanda Davis has delivered masterfully. Precisely Terminated’s authentic dystopian imagery lends itself well to the reader’s imagination. Had I not known better, I would not have considered this her first book. With a great storyline and deep characters, Amanda has won my confidence in her writing.

Please give this review a helpful rating on amazon! http://www.amazon.com/review/R1R7EZIVHRPZV2/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

Buy Precisely Terminated here!
Check out more Christian Futuristic books.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Birthday wishes

Quick update-thingy. It was my birthday yesterday, and I had a great time! I wasn't at home, though, so the party isn't until Sunday. For early gifts, I got a rainbow clown wig (:O) and The Mini Manual to One-Liners. :P As I start this new year off, I'm going to dedicate myself to getting things done this year, and stop procrastinating. That *might* be my wish when I blow out the candles. ;)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blog makeover?

I've been thinking about getting a change in the blog's look a lot lately. Something to make it more unique. I've seen this theme and image in many blogs, and wanted to make this blog distinct. So, I've come up with a few options from free template downloads. I have not looked into custom designers at all...so...if you know of any, feel free to tell me about them :)

If I don't get a custom template (which I'd really, really like to do) I need your help in deciding which of these to use: (you can always vote for not changing it at all...)

Elegant Grey: http://btemplates.com/2011/blogger-template-elegantgrey/demo/

Nautica: http://www.allblogtools.com/blogger-templates/2-columns/nautica/?theme=demo

Fusion: http://fusion-theblogtemplates.blogspot.com/

Artarius: http://www.demo.premiumbloggertemplates.com/2010/12/artarius-blogger-template-demo.html

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Concert

All you pro-lifers out there, check this out! It's for a good cause, and three of my friends and I are organizing it! Plus, you can help out!! http://wearefightingfor.blogspot.com/2011/09/benefit-concert.html

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Photo Challenge: Something Fresh

I am entering another photo challenge! I see them in many places, but usually can't decide which one to enter in time! Haha. Well, this time I've decided. What do you think?



{A Photo} Challenge

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Heelys

Recently I got a free pair of Heelys shoes to review. I know this is a book site, but Heelys are still cool! (After much indecision) I chose a pair with tan/brown features:





I haven't used the wheels too much, as I have never been skilled at skateboarding, roller-blading, or ice-skating, but I plan to ease my way into them soon! So, unfortunately, no videos of myself cruising... :( The simple design looks and feels really good! I find that I am a bit taller whenever I wear these shoes...

The ordering online was easy, with available sizes and picture styles ready to view, and the shoes didn't take too long to arrive. I was pretty impressed!

Now, as far as the shoes go for normal use, they work just as fine. You may have to get used to the step, though, as the heel is angled upward as a brake. A few days in these will get you over the feeling.

So if you ever get the chance to get a pair of Heelys, go for it! They are pretty cool.

This pair of shoes was provided to me free by Heelys. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.

Signed with dreams of flying,

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

BBAW Interview Swap

This year, during the Book Blogger Appreciation Week, I am trying something new. A book blogger interview swap for which Stacey, from Pretty Books, and I were paired up. So, here goes!





Noah: When you started blogging, was it about books? If so, how much has the blog changed since then?

Stacey: I first created a blog back in 2003 but it wasn't a book blog. It was very trendy then just to have a blog that was really quite random and full of personal facts, graphics and tutorials designed with splash pages and iFrames. 7 years later, I created my Pretty Books Tumblr blog (http://prettybooks.tumblr.com) which I still run and post book photography and quotations. In January 2011, I began posting my book reviews in addition to photographs (as I often wrote them for myself anyway) and this is when I began participating more in the book blogging community. During August 2011, I created my Pretty Books WordPress blog (http://theprettybooks.wordpress.com) as I wanted a place dedicated to book reviews. This further enabled me to interact more with other book bloggers and participate in things such as Book Blogger Appreciation Week!


Noah: Have you read any Christian books before?

Stacey: I’ve read The Shack, which I believe is a Christian book? I enjoyed it but I have to say that this was more down to the mystery/crime storyline rather than the Christian ideas and messages presented in the book. Nonetheless, it was an interesting read.  I’ve also read The Five People You Meet in Heaven and Tuesday With Morrie by Mitch Albom although I don’t think they’re quite considered to be Christian fiction. But they’re as close as I’ve been!

Noah: Good to know. What is your favorite genre?

Stacey: I find it really difficult to answer this question because running a book blog has meant that I’ve come across many genres that I normally wouldn’t have given the chance. At the moment, I’m open to almost any genre of young adult fiction. In the summer of 2010, I figured that I was ‘over’ young adult fiction but then I read The Hunger Games, 
which blew that notion out of the window. It showed me that I shouldn’t judge a book by its genre and so now I try and base my decision to read a book on the plot rather than its genre. Nonetheless, there are genres I read more than others, in particular dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction. I like a lot of realistic fiction too, but really I’ll give anything a go! This is the same for adult fiction too. There’s so many books to read, so little time!


Noah: I know the feeling! What is your favorite famous book series that was published at least ten years ago?

Stacey: The Wicca (or Sweep) series by Cate Tiernan just about makes it as the first book was published in 2001. Cate Tiernan was my favourite author as a young teen. I also loved Enid Blyton’s Girls at St. Clare’s and Mallory Towers series. Oh and of course, Goosebumps
. Does Harry Potter count seeing as the first book was released in 1997? There are not many full series’ that I enjoy(ed) that are that old!


Noah: I noticed that recently you have been posting many reviews of dystopian books. What about them appeals to you?
Stacey: For me personally, I find issues of social control fascinating (I was a Sociology student at University) and since it’s a central theme of dystopian novels, it’s automatically of interest to me especially as they present extreme methods of social control. I also consider it to be quite an intelligent genre. Not all books have moral lessons behind them but most dystopias do, which is why I’m thrilled that it’s such a popular young adult genre at the moment. There’s also so much variety. It educates people about control over ideas as well as control over individual freedom. It makes us realise it’s something we need to value highly. In many places, this type of control actually exists and so I think it enables people to reflect on their own lives and what could happen. It also offers up lots of ‘what would you do?’ situations.

I also find it fun thinking about what the world will be like in the future. There’s been a lot of press saying the YA genre is ‘too dark’ at the moment but I think it’s quite the opposite. In all the YA dystopia/post-apocalyptic novels I’ve read, there’s always been some sort of survival story, and the survivors are often teenagers. It’s empowering reading about teenagers that attempt to overcome their unjust society, or fight for their lives when the rest of the world is falling apart. It’s also an extremely exciting genre full of action, mystery, and technological and medical innovations.


Noah: Briefly, can you tell us about any pets, hobbies, or favorite things of yours?


Stacey: Music is my other major hobby. It has been a massive part of my life for so long and I cannot imagine life without it. I love to attend concerts and I get really involved in fandom, for example, I participate in forums and fan sites. I actually used to run a few fan sites for bands and artists that I loved. I even did my university dissertation on fandom and identity! I love to quote song lyrics and attempt to interpret their meanings. I also get really excited about upcoming singles and albums. My friends sometimes make fun of how passionate I get but someone has to be, right?



Noah: Haha, yes, I often get excited regarding music myself... Thanks for stopping by! May the Lord bless you.

Stacey: Thank you very much for interviewing me for Book Blogger Appreciation Week! I hope you enjoyed answering my questions as much as I enjoyed answering yours.





On Being A Rat

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Port Yonder Press (January 1, 2012)
***Special thanks to Chila Woychik for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Chila Woychik is a multi-published author and managing editor at Port Yonder Press. She lives with her husband of 30 years in the lovely state of Iowa.


Visit the author's website.


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:




ON BEING A RAT is a strange literary mix that's been called "lyrical, inspiring, gut-wrenchingly honest, special." It's a genre mashup of creative nonfiction with light doses of memoir and poetry sprinkled throughout. A definite crossover book; a definite book of the heart. Rated PG13 for language and adult themes. Illustrated by Glynda Francis.






Product Details:

List Price: $5.99
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Port Yonder Press (January 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 193560046X
ISBN-13: 978-1935600466

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~Sylvia Plath

INTRODUCTION

I write to pay the doctor

I write to pay the nurse,

I write to pay the funeral gig

and driver of the hearse.

I’ve often wondered what it’d be like to be a crosswalk attendant, herding busy little children and placid old ladies across an intersection while waving an officious octagonal red sign: STOP.

I’d see a driver I knew but didn’t like, or one who forgot to acknowledge me once years ago, then I’d run out into the middle of that car-less lane, spread my legs like a resurrected Colossus, and thrust that command into her curious face. The real or imagined group of children and old ladies would safely pass behind me, I’d continue eyeing the motorist—sternly of course—then finally signal her on. And if I were in an especially benevolent mood, I’d not take down her license number and report her for indecent exposure.

But no, not a crosswalk attendant—I don’t have the patience. A barricade snatcher. A roadblock remover: pulling down the weave-and-bobs—straightening paths.

I write like I feel—gritty sand lining my soles, the smooth hardness of pinewood flooring under each step, the long sharp splinters scraping through skin, flesh and bone to show up on the topside where I can see them stark draped in blood, feel it deep. Writers are the ultimate masochists, after all.

I lay my pen on the tiny porch outside my door and let the sun renew it with words. That’s me in the lawn chair beside it—a browning me. My leathered self will make good shoes one day for all those poor African children still running around barefoot on the hot soil outside their huts. Or maybe I’ll be a laced book cover filled with words from my very own sun-pen. I’d write a science fiction story with beautiful soylent green ink.

Much is metaphorical here—not as it seems. It’s written for writing’s sake, as if I were to say, “Let me tell you I’m dying.” Well of course I am. So are you. But I digress.

I am dying—a slow, utterly methodical death: a tractor beam once latched to my bones and won’t let go. It works from the feet up, and gravity assists.

You cry for me because your mother said it’s the thing to do; your preacher taught you how to bow your head. Don’t turn around—it’s got you too!

A mist rises from a nearby mound. It could be me—that mist—or simply the caretaker’s mower-dust. If the breeze blows just right, I’ll ghost your solid, entwine your hair. Promise me you won’t shampoo—but carry me along: tiny dust-particles of me.

The piece of protruding granite is what you recall best—that’s where you stood under an umbrella while the rain flattened the mound on top of me, there where the cold black dirt pressed on the box around my cold white frame. Take out your hanky; wipe the lawn clippings from my name; tell me you still care.

Tell me you’ll find my photo when you get home and magnet it to your fridge. Tell me you’ll visit my now-defunct Facebook page and click LIKE—my last status: CHOCOLATE—here today, gone tomorrow. Tell me you’ll look into those once blue eyes of mine, all grey and dusted now, and smirk. I saw that!

This isn’t a religious book though I mention God; not a medical advisory though I speak of pain. It’s a circus, a mortuary, a grade school, a limousine ride. Will it be worth the paper it’s printed on or the screen you hold in your hand? I just hope you remember it next week.

I call this a haimoir—a haiga-memoir—a sort of mashup of life writing trauma self-realization and the seas. It’s a drizzled-down me, but it’s you too; it’s us. Take life seriously, but not too seriously. Take this truth for what it’s worth.

The default prose form found within is the lyric essay: creative nonfiction’s choir. Can you say “vignette”?

You’ll also find moderate doses of poetry; I don’t claim to be a poet.

In THE OBSERVATIONS, I’ve laid open a few brief glimpses into my earlier years as well as a section on my bout with Post Traumatic Stress—darker than the rest— but the nice thing about tunnels is their finiteness: you’ll reach the end; watch for rats. Friendship is discussed, as well as the usual “why am I here?” of living.

THE WRITING part is all about, well, writing. This is, after all, a thinly disguised writing tract.

In NATURE I’ve glanced around, up, and surface deep—at the rural, the moon & the tides.

In the ADDENDUM, I’ve included a couple of letters to friends—letters, yes, on writing.

Essays and randomness and poems and hardness and love—a fever in the ice storm of life. Wear your coat. Bring a fan.

I started soft—

a tentative line

an untried word—

slowly grew

to run-on sentences

and strung-together paragraphs.

I’ve been read

straight through

bared and seen

between the lines

into the me.
Pull me down like the book I am—

read for all you’re worth …

but please don’t bend the pages.











PART 1 - THE OBSERVATIONS

Writing is finally a series of permissions you give yourself to be expressive in certain ways.

To leap. To fly. To fail. ~Susan Sontag









My head as a doorstop

I continue to live inside a dichotomy:

what was and what shall be.


It’s not a hammering so much as an extended pinch, inside, over my left eye today, right eye yesterday, right ear the day before that. Some days they join forces, the nerves, and pinch in sync, holding with varying degrees of intensity. If they pinched together with the same amount of pressure, at exactly the same time, my head might roll off my shoulders, cross the floor, pass the door, and plop into the watery ditch down the driveway. Someone would no doubt stop, pick it up, and use it for a doorstop or lawn decoration atop a metal pole near her sidewalk. My head. My beautiful, aching, bodyless head. Gawk at me, passersby; gawk and braid my hair …

I suspect my nerve endings balk at being subjected to the brightness of a computer screen hour after hour, day after day, week after week. I soothe them when I think about it, when the pinching stays too long, with copious amounts of vitamin B and sometimes Tylenol, but my liver rebels at the Tylenol, so I try to limit that.

Today I meet with a friend who likewise is dealing with a headache. We shall compare notes, not on pinched brain nerves, but life—how it’s treating us, how we’re responding to its circus of rides and carnie con-men. We’ll drink flavored coffee and pretend it hasn’t been six months since we last saw each other. We’ll pretend we’re still young and foolish, I in my leather and she in her jeans.

I continue to live inside a dichotomy: what was and what shall be. The pain in my skull is me trying to mesh the two.

A POST TRAUMATIC OBSERVATION

It wasn’t me you talked to

when we chatted over latte.
Hollowed out, I listened

and your voice was like an echo.

Somewhere in the midst of me

I lived, but shell-dropped empty

like a mine-field tripped and dripping.

Robots have been made to speak;

metal can be programmed.

How much more the living

can pretend to think and feel.

I can live remotely now,

I’ve done it for so long.

___
Now we sit with latte

and the sounds and touches sting;

it’s the hurt-exchange of life,

but damn, this hurting’s good.





Trauma’s the thing

Life is flinching in the midst of breathing,

gasping at the thought of dying.


Just visiting, the haunting hung

coiled cobras in the air,

then slithered out in statue-slow …

inch by week and year.

The light worked in between the blind

and air replaced the stale—

forever turned to yesterday

and numbness turned to feel.

I asked the wind to rearrange,

re-man the scattered blood of dust,

repaginate theology

and give me back as much.


Heavy prolonged stress squeezes the flimsy out of a person. Previously tolerated “maladjustments” can no longer be tolerated. Counseling becomes necessary.

Now I wake anew every single morning. Life’s small potatoes get skinned, boiled, and eaten (with a little butter and salt, please).

The number seven is magical, they say. Seven years ’til our cells completely regenerate. Seven years ’til Jacob possesses Rachel; no, Leah, and seven more for Rachel. Seven days in a week. Post traumatic stress often resolves itself in toto only after seven full years have passed; such is the case for some brain trauma patients too. Seven. It’s a number worth remembering.

In this big starred universe, pain rides on; even Pegasus isn’t safe. Who’s to say a falling star’s not weeping? “Life is pain, highness,” says Wesley to Buttercup. And it’s masks. And ships at sea, commandeered by dreaded pirates and rodents of unusual size.

Life is flinching in the midst of breathing, gasping at the thought of dying. It’s climbing ropeless up sheer rock faces, groping for the next finger hole of hope. Steady on! Only a thousand feet to go and after that a jungle, a minefield, a rapids. (Can I stop smiling now?)

Once, not long ago, I was flung off the cliff of the moment, thrust into an illicit relationship with destiny, an affair not of my making. Was I making love or being raped? The lines were fuzzy.

Let’s face it: suffering discredits goodness. I’m agnostic in practice though faith-based in theory. I pray but know he’ll do what he darn well pleases when he darn well pleases. Will he listen? Maybe. We have a book that says so, but how much happens beyond that book, I can’t say. That’s agnosticism in its bleakest and most honest form. Don’t judge me, yet believe me when I tell you that years of abuse tend to wring out every ounce of one’s ability to understand and adhere to faith in standard form.


It’s over.

Hell has sucked me dry

of worry and care

that crippled me cramped

like a fly

caught between

a window and screen.

Indigo flames

singed emoting

(of the female kind),

left me androgynous—

unable to cry

for the most part.

Ever been to hell?

Surely it’s preparation

for heaven,

that tearless realm

and life,

where everything

groans.
“Support our troops!” we cry, but I say, “Love our veterans!” And when he neglects church, take him cookies anyway. Sing him a song. Pet his cat.

The unrelenting grip of Soldier’s Syndrome slips finger by slow finger. The marrow’s been affected—emotional leukemia at the deepest level. Transplants of love and friendship aid healing, yet time is still key, and the clock never ticks fast enough. Eternity gains perspective when seconds feel like years. How long have I been gone? Six eternities and counting.

I sipped more than slugged the low-carb beer. “I hate medicine,” I told the doctor. Post Traumatic Stress was the diagnosis. A drunk driver had hit me. Now I sat sipping a beer. It seemed oxymoronic.

The no-booze rule is one of several shams perpetuated by certain religious groups, presumably to keep their flocks in line. After all, what’s a shepherd to do with drunk sheep?

So take your medicine, but leave the booze on the shelf. We have a label to keep, and it’s not Jack Daniels. Don’t mourn for me. Just tell me what to do rather than teach me what to be. Slam another pill, pop that one last sedative…you’ll find me in the kitchen, washing my glass.

Legalized comfort bypasses the need for a physician, yet begs for a strong moral compass. I have the compass.

Ever seen a diabetic cram down three pieces of cake and then have less mental control than someone who’s had a glass or two of wine? Yet we insist on justifying the one while condemning the other. In situations like that, it’s only fair to ask if someone’s passing gas or if that’s judgment we smell.

Regular pleasures bring healing and release. Life is hard and we’re not forbidden comfort. Lately I’ve been awash in raging rivers. I’ve dragged myself to shore more than once, spewed algae-water and finger-combed debris from my hair. Now I watch from the bank while the river does its thing, etching my future. In the lull of the day, I find a shady tree and groan. Sometimes I write.


Life shards feeling flesh

with splintered crossbeams

whittled, thrust

impaler-style

through cavities of me.

They scrape

along my spine

reducing life

to ground

and feeding death.

My heartbeat slows

but courses on …

skipping so, and faster now.

Oh God for a platform

and feet that dangle less.
Without the hard we stay too soft, and heaven is reduced to myths like life. Theology aside, it’s plain to see that God forbids we get too comfortable.

Hopelessness is bred in me; hope’s absent unless I find it, grab it, hang on ’til my knuckles whiten and flesh down to bone. Even then, ghost-like it vanishes with the slightest breeze. Why should I hope? Crying’s easier than groping for light. I’d rather fall off a cliff than assure someone they’ll never fall off a cliff; how can I promise them hope? I’m past the idealism of pure joy on earth; if hope survives me, I may yet find it on the other side.

I am Frustration. I am Memory-Lost. Sometimes I read a line a dozen times before it sticks. My creative force has slipped. I type slower, speak slower, think at a snail’s pace. I’m Life shapeshifted by Post Traumatic Stress, bastardized by Fate.


Stand at the edge with me;

stand where I’ve stood so long,

look where I look, where I’ve looked,

where I’ve wept, weeping still,

and as I turn to walk away, stay.

Stand at the edge with me—

now understand:
Joy if lost is pain

and healing slow.
Lewis wrote “The Problem of Pain” as a studied treatise, not a life observation, that is, until his beloved Joy died. Then the “problem” became a “grief.”1 In the midst of doubt, anger, and the profound numbness that followed, he was finally able to write with feeling, to know himself beyond himself. Pain deals in change. Will you understand if I’m never the same?

Share your heart, but not so plain;

give me less to wonder on.

We wrap our babes in swaddling clothes, with blinders on. Soon enough their fingers lift the veil, push away the hidden. It’s the way we do it, and no mistaking the big mistake when they grope to swallow every fresh cookie on the counter, drink in swill.

Grab your nerve and splash their canvas with blood and black and wrong. Hold them breast-bound but guide their face toward the easel of reality. Draw patches of hope and love and gentleness but don’t start over. Paint it true. Push the Dali.


Bloodless tales

wick my wounds,

cart me distant

whisper-soft

from Lucy Maud and PEI

to Little House and Laura.
Then Mars exploded

bloodied me

and Laura lost her innocence.
Nowadays I romp and weep

with Sylvia and Ginny Wolfe

and masochistic nihilists;

I’ve learned to lick

my own foul wounds

and prize the taste of ache.


Thick and thin, I’ve known it all, and it’s known me. Before anorexic, I was. Before the dream of perfect lines, I had them. It’s speed and fury, reckless limits, little white pills.

Some days I think I’d rather die than lie too fat; it’s pain and trauma at the base core level.


The thin thought, line, bone—

a part of me too long—

too long and tall and straight

like skinny standing strong.

Though twiggy yesterday—

today’s another face—

a line filled in with thick

and thinness not a trace.
On a recent trip north while on the outskirts of a small town, I hit a bird. It flew in front of me—black wings flapping—crashed into my windshield, then flipped onto the road. I looked back to see it struggling for its very existence.

Five years before, I flew in front of a driver who, unlike me, was in the wrong lane. Though I lived to tell about it, my wings had been clipped. I lay struggling in the road for the next five years, wondering if I’d ever regain what I lost in those ravaging few seconds.

Life does that. In times of random injustice—injustice undreamt of in my childhood and young adult years—I can say with the rest, with the best, it’s a bitch. Through no misdeed of mine, I got owned, ready or not.


Lying there, in dust-like grams—

it sloughed itself as dying goes

at life’s deep crap-holes stumbled on—

the flecks still flickered, shimmering

against a rising sun.
(In an open universe, some gathering

occurs, and God is not contained.)

Bit by dram the damned relives

in small-souled breaths;

I choke at ample oxygen.
My broken faith is broken still

but gains with time

what time misspent
but God the going’s slow ...


God, O God, where art thou? Thou art as distant to me as the lady combing rice in the Yunnan Province of China or a piece of floating space debris circling Pegasi. In this feeling-dead world of post traumatic stress, skepticism is king, queen, and court jester.


READJUSTING

Exploring the dark

like a honeymooned virgin

I grope, but slowly,

feign tension, stay sheeted

with a wait-turned-wonder

and feelings familiar

yet not this way …

as still unnamed.
A kiss and lightly, a touch just there

then sting and ache and ever-changed

but good like dying in a Cleopatra-way.

I lie in a bed another will make,

has made, had made,

and softly cry myself to sleep

from the sheer exhilaration.
I’m dead, mortally wounded, yes, dead to you and all but this never-ending anxiety. I’m learning my way around the dark; the stars help: a flash here, a fall there, a streak of lightning, a blinding pain.

Why is it I don’t want to leave? It’s a strange thrill—a clinging to the fog, a dampening on my arms ’til my elbows drip dew and my hair lies in tangles—but still it doesn’t feel like love to me.

(I’ll not call it “love” ’til I see it on your face …)

ON BEING A RAT And Other ObservationsOn Being A Rat, Chila Woychik, Port Yonder Press, Literary Nonfiction, January 1, 2012, 160 pages.


Synopsis: "On Being A Rat" is a mashup of topics and styles, with most falling into the lyric essay and poem formats. Writing, trauma, friendship, memoir excerpts, and a slew of other random subjects are addressed. About the lyric essay (from Wiki answers): The "Lyric Essay" is quite simply a title for an odd range of hybrids. If it's not entirely a poem, fiction, non-fiction, or an essay, but straddles those categories, it is most likely a lyric essay. This is just a very rudimentary description of what a lyric essay entails, however. Aesthetically there is usually some sort of rhythm or logic to the language. The diction is often as carefully chosen as with a poem. Its paragraphs are organized like an essay's, with a topic sentence, and its whole is organized like a piece of fiction or non-fiction -- leaping around is common if not encouraged between paragraphs, and no underlying structure is necessary. Lastly, the lyric essay is different -- it should not conform completely to any standards as it is an individual and fiercely so.


My thoughts: The synopsis of this book is very accurate. It most definitely is "an odd range of hybrids." The beginning really felt dark and cheerless to me, but this feeling only lasted through the first part. The second and third, with themes on writing and nature, gave me a better understanding of the point of the book. It's almost like a memoir, in that it shows how Mrs. Woychik viewed things in her life (thus the Observations theme in the first part). "...leaping around is common if not encouraged between paragraphs, and no underlying structure is necessary." I found this to be the case in On Being A Rat, and honestly it left me a bit confused sometimes. I do have to say, though, that her imagery and metaphor usage was effective (whether repugnant or mystical) never got old. The poetry scattered throughout was close to free verse, which I don't appreciate as much as structured poetry, but the ideas came across well.


So, what is the purpose of this book, you may ask? In her words, it is advice for writing. I can believe that. It is encouragement as well, telling you that you're not alone in your struggle to publish, and showing life through her experienced eyes.


My rating: 4 stars

This book was provided free by the author and FIRST Wild Card Blog Tours. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Aquasynthesis giveaway

I am holding another giveaway! (yes, I know, I'm already holding one) This one is going to be different! The winner will not be determined by a randomized means, but rather by being quick and clever. I will not answer any questions, give any hints. All you need is in this post, and where the clues take you. Yes, it is a clue hunt. You will follow the trail until you find the code words clearly labeled as such. As soon as you do, email me (I'll include my email where the code words are) with the code words and I will grant you the winner (if you were first). So, before start this giveaway, I obviously need to tell you the prize. The prize is a digital copy of Aquasynthesis, Splashdown Books' very first anthology of short stories!! (I'm sorry I couldn't offer a physical copy).

Here is a major rule. You MUST include links to each of the spots where you located even small pieces of the clue. If I have all of them, you win, if you were the first.

 Without further ado, the very first clue is located:

Where my bluebird sings.