The Engine

The engine chugs, sputters and dies.
an idea, an idea, my kingdom for an idea-
just one last ride, where the words
roar to life and spill out onto the page-
flows naturally like a rapid splashing river,
salmon leaping out the water, footsteps
dashing forward, freeing, pushing.

I want life to unfold one more time.
But maybe that’s my problem.
I remember something perfect,
but it was never that.

Push then, engine. Your belts may be frayed,
your pistons rusted, but
Throw me a draft that makes your bones ache
and let my words live.

Patch Notes: The Restoration

Hello! This is just a brief site update before we return to our regularly scheduled content.

In the months that have passed since my last post, I’ve been thinking and considering a lot about what to do regarding my writing in the future, and I think I’ve finally come to a decision.

Because I’d like to spread my work around and establish a presence that I lost when I stopped posting regularly, I’m going to be posting my works across all my socials for the next month or so. This is just so I can get a good sense of where I’d like to be, and once I’ve established that, I intend to pull back so I’m not spamming everywhere.

And finally, I’ve also decided to restore all my old Oddity Writer blog posts, simply to remember where I came from and what I’ve done with this blog thus far.

That’s all! Hope you all enjoy what’s coming next! (And please let me know how you’ve been in the midst of my hiatus in the comments)

-Daniel

Honest Poem – Moral Boy

(A/N: an attempt to compose a poem out of dialogue. Quotes are taken from an actual person that I know.)

“I want a girlfriend so badly.”
A void of loneliness will never fade.
“Is it worth talking to this girl if you’re not going to date them?”
It is not worth talking to them. Because you are not worth talking to.
“Don’t you look at every woman and just choose whether or not you’d date them?”
I do not dare to assume anything. I have my flaws, and I do not judge theirs.

“You shouldn’t disrespect the Bible. Every Adam has an Eve, and you shouldn’t be alone.”
If I had to choose between perpetual solitude and your company, I would be lonely.
“Ohhh shit! You need to sabotage their relationship, bro, you totally have a chance.”
Do Christians not believe in loyalty and trust? Or is that just you?

“You’re not thinking like a father.”
I pray you will never be a father.
“I’m not transphobic, but I do not want those people in the bathroom with my daughter.”
She’s in more danger with you than she is with one of them.
“That’s just my point of view, as a Christian.

Thoughts on Podcasting [VEDA #1]

Context: I got to write and host on a class podcast titled The Web We Weave in an episode centering around Tony Zhou’s Every Frame a Painting. This is a reflection on what I learned from this experience.

Preparing for this podcast was definitely one of the more nerve-wracking parts of my life. I felt as if I needed to prove to myself that I was capable of being in charge of such an episode, of being able to take the stage with my voice after hiding behind the written word for so long.

Photo credit to: https://singingmachine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/stage-fright.jpg

When looking for material to address Every Frame a Painting, I went through first some of the series entries before poking around Vimeo to find every episode of the series uploaded there, before turning to Tony Zhou’s Patreon for EFAP, which offers alternate versions of the episodes for educational use (at a price), and then to Twitter and Reddit, both forums that I used quite often. Showing these different resources to my partner, we both made our own observations. As I watched Zhou interact with his followers and advise them on how to critique the works that had impacted them, I saw how viewer-audience participation worked its way into Zhou’s new media and how it allowed him to continue participating himself despite how long it had been since the series had updated.

I was not initially exceedingly familiar with Every Frame a Painting, nor was my partner Kevin. However, I was familiar with the YouTube scene and personalities like the Nerdwriter, so when we sat down to plan out the episode, we each brought our own impressions on the series and our own contexts (Kevin had previous experience with the Soul Pancake episode of The Web We Weave). Kevin pitched questions to me while I did my best to answer them, and I would then in turn bring up different topics of conversation (such as the Reddit AMA mentioned in the episode and the idea of Tony Zhou perpetuating the participatory culture with his work). Collaboration was more than integral in making this episode what it was. It was also more than reassuring to have someone who was so confident on board and had faith in my work. We worked on applying Every Frame a Painting to the terminology we had covered in class and we put it all into one Google Doc entry.

The document was interesting because it was far more fragmentary and incomplete- when writing for another mode, because it relied much more on my voice and the natural chemistry I had with the co-producer, I found that it was both challenging to not fall back and write out whole monologues or answers to questions without stifling the conversation, and recording became difficult because I found myself worrying that my co-host would feel cramped or cut off. It was difficult to not be overwhelmingly self-aware of everything. This did help my rhetorical composition in the end and I think it’s made me more adaptable than I was before.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/24/Rubber_bands.jpg
Flexible like a rubber band!

The process also felt much faster and immediate than writing, say, this reflection or another blog post or article, which takes me a lot more time. It also felt natural to go faster than with my previous work. While structuring the argument and conversation was both very much the same, it also felt different because I had someone else to bounce off and interact with. In a way, it was like having another person alternating the argument paragraphs- similar arguments that still differed in subtle ways.

I’ve learned that I need to work on my timing- we went over by a lot and editing involved cutting out a lot of material and it was a struggle to finish the episode in time while balancing other obligations. I need to work on my self-confidence as I was exceedingly nervous during the episode, and I think that it is evident that while I eased up as time went along, I still have a long way to go.

But given the chance to work on a similar project? I’d jump at the opportunity.

Honest Poem – Retrospect

You remember a time
when the second hands moved too slowly
There was a time
when the bell could not have rung any later
And you loved the time
where you could run in the green grass
with a smile in your wind-tossed hair
and a song stuck on repeat.

She remembers a time
when she saw the most beautiful births
There was a time
when she saw your face dawn as the circuit clicked
And she loved the time
with the boat surfing the waves of your imagination
on the open sea, entirely free.

I remember the time
when this was all still real.
There was a time
when there were twenty different open doors
And I long for the time
when we could all choose one to walk through
Together.

A Pre-Midnight Update

Work on the paper continues apace. I’m officially at the halfway point of the paper (2 and a 1/2 pages out of 5).

Yes, I know, I’m a tortoise.

The few things that spur me forward are the plans I have for creative projects that I’m going to work on in the future. Not all of them will be shown to the public…

but goddamn, they’ll all be easier than this paper. 

As for specific blog updates- I might see if I can’t get an Honest Poem up tomorrow? If I can’t, I’ll probably talk about something that’s been on my mind recently that I’ve just been inwardly debating.

I really want to get a Flash Fiction written, but honestly, that’s going to have to wait until I’ve crashed after I finish this paper because cranking this out has been exhausting.

Have a lovely night, ladies and gents.

-D

Outlining vs. Going Unplanned (A Superhero Story)

The deadline for my second story is coming up and I haven’t written a lick of it yet. I’ve written plenty of ideas and basic premises and even character plans and world building….

And yet, I don’t know if I’m going to stick to any of it. I might just grab a vague notion of a protagonist and dive wildly off script.

It’s entirely unprecedented, as all of the fiction I’ve written since I restarted trying to master this genre has all been carefully planned out and everything has taken shape in my head. But not this time- this time I’ll be making it up as I go, jiving to the character’s beat, you know?

I know that recent, earlier attempts to write in this way have crashed and burned, but I think I have a voice to channel into a story, so we’ll see how well it goes.

The voice is also telling me something that I’m not sure is such a good idea.

This story? It’s going to be a superhero story.

Oh, joy. Personally, I think the entire genre’s getting a little tired but you know what? I’ll work with it. See if I can’t get anything fresh out of it- although I’m pretty sure the entire animals has been hollowed out and stuffed with a printer that makes money.

There are so many ways this could go wrong as all hell… but eh, what’s a life without a little bit of a risk.

I’m running late on a couple of things, so I’m afraid no flash fiction or honest poetry today unless inspiration strikes. Sorry about that!

(However, you can expect another post later today.)

Until then, folks!

-D

Honest Poem – Sunscreen

It smells like kindergarten.
warmth of a mother,
jubilant laughter as the sun
immerses but never burns.

It feels like melted butter
rubbed onto a frying pan before
hissing batter
snakes its way into a cake.

And you look at the child
reading about gingerbread boys
on that first day
tucked between two parents.

And you wish that they recognized you.

Promise Every Day

I will not be arrogant.

Everything that I am will go into supporting the people I love.

Everything that I am will go into every piece of work that I create.

I will be kind.

I will always put others before myself.

I will not look down on people or think them beneath me.

I will be brave.

I will starve my distractions.

I will feed my focus.