What’s there to say about me? Other than trying my hand at writing and being a bit of a tech geek, I’ve been known to dance like a white guy to house music, stumble over the brilliant lyrics of my favorite songwriters and rappers, and have a startling empathy for Reddit’s ‘forever alone’ meme. Beyond that, though, I guess the most pertinent thing about me is that, alongside Jeffry and Alexander Boston, I aided in the creation of my very own, personal home for writing: XRIVO. A home, a good home, is a place where you’re free to say and do what you want. You can be yourself with all your perfect flaws intact. In here, in XRIVO, you’re in a safe place to show off exactly who you are.
As for my writing? I can say that I’ve been writing as long as I can remember, but when I was younger it was really only a means of personal therapy. Ironically enough, I was rather late to the game of writing and reading. I had some sort of learning disability when it came to words, and I ended up a couple years behind my peers. After I learned how, though, I became the quiet kid in the back of the room reading ridiculous books as more a means to escape than anything. Fantasy books were always bulging from the pockets of my cargo pants, and more often than studying or doing homework, I could be found between the pages of some monstrous book about elves and dwarves and swords. It was fantasy in any form, really. Books, movies, video games, comics; anything that would help me put on the trousers of some young hero with a glowing sword and a knack for helping others was exactly what I needed to help me escape some tough, frustrating younger years.
This sounds like a pity party, but it most certainly is not meant to be. I won’t in any way exhume histories that are handled and buried, but I must be honest when I describe what I want XRIVO to accomplish. There are so many experiences in life that are difficult to talk about, and it’s even more difficult to find someone who will talk about them with you. Sometimes, if you’re like me, you go to the private pages of your journal or diary to get these thoughts out. Often, that’s all you have, but XRIVO is designed to be a safe place should you ever wish to step outside those walls. It may come out in the form of a story, maybe a poem, or a couple of Mitch Hedberg-like one-liners. It doesn’t matter. Anything you could possibly think to talk about, you can do it here. You’re a writer. You want to know why? Because you talk to people. Writing is simply the act of writing down what you would say if you had time to plan it. To put it plainly: don’t write. Don’t write at all. That’s a terrible word for it. ‘Talk’ is better. Speak your mind, and be honest about what you think and feel. This is your place to do exactly as you wish. I’ll be telling my story alongside you, and maybe, just maybe, there will be times when both of us can say “I’ve felt that way too”.
Welcome. Bonjour. Ciao. Vale.
There’s a young woman laying on a couch in her bathrobe, naked underneath, negotiating with molds of her teeth, trays filled with whitening solution, trying to set them evenly and leave them as her throat gurgles. When they’re in she lays back further, perching her computer on her lap and reaching for a red plastic cup, holding it at her chest. Saliva starts to gather at the sides of her mouth and she spits into the cup, quietly as possible so the young man on the adjacent loveseat doesn’t see, and he doesn’t, the television holding his attention. The young man looks down, shirtless, his left hand lying still on his stomach embracing the curve of a gut gone over the waistline. His hand moves up towards his neck, his fingernails catching in his chest hair with sharp friction, and he scratches at his beard, scraping the steel wool scruff on his face. He sighs and glances over at her, engrossed in reading, and clears his throat once, and then again, louder the second time. The television regains his attention, but only for a second or two. “Do you have to do that?” He asks “Whath?” He sighs, “Do you have to do that? Your teeth are fine.” The tray settled on her top jaw gets removed, “Yeah, I do.” He leans forward, “Why? Your teeth are plenty white.” “Are you kidding? They’re yellow!” “Ah, you’re crazy.” He turns back to the television, slouching back into the chair, his head leaning on his right hand. She exhales, and with heavy determination tries again to settle the mold on her jaw and let it rest, determined not to upset it, and, setting it successfully, relaxes again. And again, saliva gathers. She spits. As he sits, silent, his eyes narrow, mouth open only a sliver when she turns to see him. She stares for a second and then looks down, eyes to the floor, stirring up humid sighs through her lips coated in moisture. She hesitates, her hand resting on the cup that balances tentatively on her breasts. She can’t talk with the molds in, not without softening the sounds with the gurgling lisp of restricted consonants. She smiles in a demure, quiet way, hiding her amusement. She turns away, back to her computer, the screen reflecting a pale white off her face. She spits. This time he sees. His mouth changes, the television disappears. Suddenly his mouth shifts to a revolted grimace, his eyebrows angled inward and angry, eyes bursting wide. “Ugh, that’s disgusting!” “Whath?” Again, h
Our revelry was short lived that day. Bright and early on Monday morning the fleet we travelled with had cornered a lone pirate ship. Whether the ship was sailing blindly through the early morning hours or simply did not see the four British man-o-wars was a mystery, but sure enough, the lookouts spotted him sailing in our direction. The HMS Falcon and Spirit were slightly ahead of the pirates and so cut off their escape to the west and north. While the Countess of Scarborough, our escort ship, swung around and cut off the southern escape. Now only the Chelsea stood in the way. The pirates headed straight for us, we who were the smallest in the fleet.
Jim had already shown us how to beat to quarters and the five of us stood on the quarterdeck with Captain Anderson while the rest of our company headed to the tops with their weapons. Michael and Chris were sent up as well to do the reloading of rifles for the men, since there was really no need for flag bearers on one of His Majesty's ships.
I watched the ship crawl closer and closer, men scurried over the decks in total chaos, then, not two ship-lengths away it turned to the starboard and gave us a broadside. The crack of cannons was deafening, but we were still facing straight at them and so escaped serious injury. One or two cannon balls ripped through the foresail and the rest plummeted harmlessly into the water behind us. We were now only one ship-length from the pirates and I could see their individual faces. Captain Anderson ordered the helmsman to turn to starboard as well and told the men to prepare for our reply. Six cannons on either side lined the main deck of the Chelsea, 18-pounders, and six on the lower deck as well. Twelve guns on the port side now faced the enemy.
"port guns! Broadside them! Fire!" shouted the Captain. The kickback was tremendous and the ship rolled backwards farther than ever. Splinters flew from the pirates ship , three neat holes appeared in the side, one near the water line, and another three raked across the main deck. Screams of pain rose from the enemy. Our momentum brought us within fifty feet of the pirates, and it seemed as though they had been subdued, until one particularly large man stood up and aimed a fat musket at the quarterdeck.
"Blunderbuss!" Captain Anderson yelled and ducked the head of his first mate and his own. I tackled Jim and Matty just as the shot barked out and over our heads. Alex and Nicholas made it down themselves just in time as well. I noticed the first mate, Thomas Merry, had dropped a pistol. Reaching over I picked it up and swung my arm over the rail, the hammer cocked back and I aimed at the foolish pirate who stayed standing to reload the grapeshot into his gun. I pulled the trigger and the unfortunate man fell with the lead in his shoulder.
When I ducked back down the First Mate was staring at me and smiling. "Practising in your off hours, lad?"
"I was aiming for his head, Sir." I lied and tossed the pistol back. Jim looked at me and whispered a stunned thank you and I ruffled his hair and pulled him and Matty to their feet.
"Prepare to broadside again!&qu
“Well, don’t you look pretty.”
Marshall sat in the back of his limo with his friend Jerome and whatever new girlfriend he had with him; he didn’t know her name. He was quiet amidst their flirtatious banter, unable to focus enough to add to the conversation, just watching the buildings and their outlines blur as he sped past them. People went about their business along the streets, most uninterested in the parade of sleek, long black cars passing by.
He saw the glint of a wine glass, but declined, keeping his gaze directed to the darkly tinted windows, even darker through the shades of his sunglasses.
“You sure?” Jerome asked.
“Yeah, I’m good,” he said.
His suit was as comfortable as a suit could be, tailored, fitting his form well, though he still wished for some sweats, maybe some decent, dark jeans. He should have worn a tuxedo instead, but he couldn’t stand those stupid fucking bowties. His tie was a shinier, darker black than the rest of his suit, wrapped in a Windsor knot as thick as a fist.
“What’s wrong with him?” Jerome’s girl said.
“Nothing,” Jerome said to his girl, who was wrapped around his arm like a sleeve. He offered her his wine glass. “Drink up.”
“Talk about a downer,” she says.
“Girl, you need to stop talking and start drinking. You ain’t gonna go loose-lipped on me with some wine in you, are you?”
A couple blocks passed by as the two flirted, Marshall lost in a train of endless, unconnected thoughts.
“How much further is this place?” the girl said, slurring a little. Apparently, she had already enjoyed a couple glasses of wine.
“We’re in LA. It doesn’t matter how far it is, it’ll take a while,” he said, and the girl grimaced, downing the rest of her wine, barely holding back the burp that came up. She shook her head in disgust.
“We got any liquor?” she asked.
Jerome dug in some compartments, coming out with some shot glasses and a bottle of something expensive. He spun the glass
To remedy the Monday blues, I try and keep busy. For me, lethargy almost always manifests itself in the form of disinterest or dissatisfaction, in not wanting to do anything or try anything new. If I'm to counteract this in the best way I can, I try to keep busy, find things to do that break me out of my comfort zone. Sometimes this involves making plans to hang out with someone I haven't seen in a week or two, or getting out of my apartment for the first time in days for reasons other than class or school or work, or finding a new project to work on.
Some of these solutions are more temporary than others, as you might have noticed. Hanging out with someone can keep the blues at bay for a while; usually the length of time that I'm actually spending time with said person. Inevitably, when I'm forced to say good-bye, to go my separate way, I end up feeling a little down from missing whoever it was I was spending time with, or missing the fun we were having.
Getting out of my apartment helps on occasion, but only if I have somewhere to go or some purpose for being out. I like grocery shopping some days, just because it's an excuse to plan a new recipe or, hell, eat something I haven't had in a while. (I'm a broke college student; I can always appreciate good food.) That said, if I'm just wandering aimlessly, I only end up making myself unhappy again. Even if I'm just going to get coffee, or to the local indie bookstore to browse or use up the $84 of store credit I've managed to accrue, I have to have a destination.
New projects can usually draw me out of the blahs--either that or getting re-involved or newly excited about something I've been working on for a while. I end up with more projects--usually creative pursuits--than I know what to do with because there are some days when nothing works, when I try to write one of my old ideas and come up short. If I overload on projects, especially writing-related ones, I often end up abandoning or postponing things simply out of necessity because I can't keep up with all of them, homework, and real life all at once.
Still, nothing pulls me out of my own head faster than getting involved with something that transports me, takes me away from what I've been doing for awhile. If I'm playing my guitar, fussing around with a new song or simply trying to master an older tune, I can easily lose an hour or two. Provided my hands don't start hurting, or the instrument loses its tune, or I fail and screw up one too many times and lose interest. Same goes for writing. If I'm working on something--be it a short story, a novella, or a novel--and the plot's flowing, and the characters are talking, I can lose hours or days to dreaming about what's going to happen next, what's coming up on the outline, or how I'm going to handle these new situations.
Good books will do that for me too. I never used to be one of those people who reads more than book at a time, but I'm currently working on three. I always have multiple things checked out from the library, and the ones that are due first or soonest get my full attention. The second I renew those, I move on to other things.
personified by widened eyes
shutting slow & liquified;
hindsight an accompaniment to
lighten chest & shorten breath,
a calm perceived by susceptibility
and while surrender evolves into
an orchestrated act
(the motions predisposed,
the words set in stone)
memories of endings always remain
history repeating &
fatalistic reasoning, a suture pulled
drawing fro the curtains to reveal
an organ of mythological proportion
beating in&out& faster now
like a prodigal child shoved onto stage;
widened eyes, shutting not & petrified
he knows the lines, mouthing in
you don't see through my eyes...
I found a journal with a series of short pieces in it (some horribly pretentious attempts at being through-provoking, others just descriptive) and am working through editing them. This was written in the spring, possibly as an attempt to hurry summer along.
An old poem revised about the Luddite's place in the digital world.