What Writers Want

An incomplete list.

  1. More time.
  2. More words that are interesting but aren’t too iridescent or macabre.
  3. For the shape in here to be the shape in there. For somehow you to see what we see.
  4. Less names or better names.
  5. Temporal vortex to skip to when the thing is done.
  6. More minotaurs.
  7. For it to matter.
  8. You waking up in the middle of the night, the solution to our riddle hot in your brain.
  9. You waking up in the middle of the night, knowing our heroes are with you and feeling warded.
  10. You waking up in the middle of the night, knowing our monsters are in you and feeling alone.
  11. Characters that follow the script would be too much to ask, but perhaps characters that would at least be willing to explain WHY they just blew up half your novel.
  12. A writer you revere to look up from your pages with wonder.
  13. A writer you hate to look up from your pages with despair.
  14. Less gerunds.
  15. An owl that whispers punchy dialogue to you.
  16. To know – really know – that this sentence is good.
  17. Bad reviews to be punished by that reviewer receiving only their least favorite jelly bean flavor. Forever.
  18. To briefly escape the knowledge that it’s always getting away from us, that we’re never quite catching it, that the faster we type the more certain the end of the sentence will never, ever be true.
  19. Less words. (if there were less, we’d be better at picking the right ones)

Accountability

I want my art to do more for the people, causes, and country that I care about. And as much as I earnestly believe in the power of any art to shape the world – I also know that direct action is also required.  Protest, dialogue, education – and donation.  We’re 10 days in and a lot of righteous war chests are going to need our coin to battle all this goddamn evil.

Effective immediately, I pledge to donate all of my 2017 royalties from my novel Asteroid Made of Dragons to the following:

I believe in the rule of law, I believe in the duty of the Fourth Estate. I believe in organizations that shield the defenseless. I believe in women AND health care AND allowing them to easily be in the same room without oversight. I do not believe that His Excellency’s administration will serve or protect the common good, so all of us need to pick up the slack as best we can. And arm the defenders of decency and justice.

Whatever royalties I receive on AMOD this year I’m going to evenly divide between these four groups. Like most authors I receive royalties once every quarter, I’ll post here when I get the next one in April. Now, I ain’t no Stephen King – these aren’t going to be big numbers even as I start to really flog the book in the next few months. But ‘what a person can do, a person ought to do’ as Antigone said.

If you are a supporter of His Excellency and his administration and goals – and this means you won’t buy my book or anything else I ever write – that is perfectly acceptable to me.

It doesn’t matter where you buy the book, the royalties will still come to me and get funneled to these organizations I want to support. Paperback, ebook, doesn’t matter.

AsteroidMadeOfDragons-finalfront cover hi-res jpegPurchase direct from my publisher. (Paperback and all ebook formats, DRM free.)

Purchase from my favorite independent bookstore: Avid Bookshop. (Or YOUR favorite independent bookstore!!!)

Amazon / Barnes & NobleiBooks

Man in the Mirror

I’m not one for resolutions or revolutions or any plan of any sort. But this is a more perilous world we’re all living in and I think it behooves me to state with as much authority as I can muster what I have planned for 2017. I need to be more accountable, I need to fight with the weapons I have and learn more about the weapons I don’t. Also, maybe write a few less of these weird raps? You know, just talk about my problems – process things like an adult? (No promises on that one.)

So, here’s what is on the docket.

Political Thought/Fiction

  • City on Fire : I’m writing an allegory of sorts over on Medium, I’ll also be putting any political writing over there. I’m going to be putting up the next chapter of City on Fire in the next couple of days, it should be about 10 chapters total. In between chapters I also have some open letters to my Senators planned.

New Projects

  • Shadeaux Public Radio : I’ve been writing songs and making bizarre Christmas albums with my friend, Jonathan, for 8 years now. We decided to finally stop being babies and actually take a stab at a regular podcast. Weird songwriting, comedy, the dissolution of reality, and resistance against the Darkness. Here’s a taste of our science: https://soundcloud.com/g-derek-adams/sets/the-shadeaux-bros-vs-the-king

 

Writing

  • Finish Basilisk Gospel. (Yes, still.)
  • Start Rime Korvanus vs. the Council of Nine 
  • *PENDING* Asteroid Made of Dragons news, that I hope to share with you soon.

 

Theater

  • Directing Sarah Ruhl’s STAGE KISS, opens February. (Expect my brain to be a little overtaxed this next month.)

 

Resistance

  • Every day.
  • Even if it’s just a little.

 

I know many of you probably feel similar to me after this past year – weary. But I’ve also begun to feel different these past few weeks. Not better – but tempered, prepared. There’s work to be DONE. The battles are now. I don’t know if I’m the equal to it, but I believe that I must be. That we all must be. And there’s strength in that.

 

Plowshares

what am I getting at? what am I getting at?

repetition and iteration

will these save our nation?

can’t doubt, can’t stammer

got to put both hands on the hammer

what we are, we are – for One and Zero

in the rudiment parliament each of us can be the Hero

heat up the forge, I remember the way

coal still burns and metal bends when the words of Power stay

this summertime tune won’t hold up in winter’s tomb

got to reinvent the moment and rewire the golden loom

pull down your iron, the shovels and rakes

melt all the horseshoes, the copper and tin mistakes.

Want to know my mettle can hold an edge

want to be sure that this wizard is more than hedge

the battle is coming and dog-blood has its own stench

I can see the lightning but can I call it down in a trench?

Am I better on the sidelines, distracting with my bylines

pester like a jester, and checking real combatant’s tie-lines?

I can make toys and I can make shelves

and when the wind is right I can make Twelves

Elevens, Sixes, and Nines

Not all that’s gold is glittering but even the rudest ruby shines.

pull off the forge door, melt it down with the iron store

i’m burning up the shapes interlaced verbs to thee implore

sentences are sentinels that march on the beat,

can’t keep them straight enough to out-fox the darkened feat

when its all gone, and melted and gold

bring down the hammer and beat out the shape foretold

we need blades and blades and blades and the hammer

edges of light that won’t chip in the clamor

my words aren’t elf-made, Moria-born none

no gleaming Glamdring when this kid’s work is done.

but i’m hoping that the blood and lies in my cauldron

can make a bane to hold back a few of the Darkest-son.

Can’t even remember when I laid my words like cobblestones

now I rattle and tattle like a ghost moaning through ship-wreck bones.

Regardless and markless and the path grows darker still

no rhymes left but rubble, echo again like whippoorwill

don’t sleep at the forge, even dross can’t be ignored

these syllables will serve and beat every drop of ink into a sword.

Thief of August

 

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William Faulkner – Light in August

take a look, take a long look and come running back for summer

wrapping atoms of madams and bricks made of wonder

already i stumble i grumble and trundle and pray for the glass to be thinner and humble

because i am the thief , sacks full of stolen light, heart full of borrowed grief

and no matter the cage, no matter the masquerade,

I keep on checking windows for the latch that is broken

sometimes meter doesn’t matter when the clockwork king has spoken

as often I slide down in the slush and the mire

as often the city guards hound and holler around the cobalt spire

my fingers are sure, until they are only bones

lock up your words, this thief has been in all your homes

craven-heart wish made on a nine-day fish,

i let that wide-mouth go and now this kid’s come to dish

not for me the farm or the plow

not for me the milk and the cow

i’m stealing the patter of rain on the sedge grass

fast dealing the cards and hoping for a queen’s pass

some skill, some fire, but unwilling to retire

i’ll reach inside your heart and rip loose the golden lyre

so don’t show me the cash box, don’t show me the vault

others may kneel but this kid was born in a circle of salt

as long as i breathe I can undo the bolts

grease up the hinges and slip in revolts

olympus is grand but looking bare by the year

this thief will release every spin of thunder’s peal

can’t keep me out

can’t stop me now

i know it’s a lie but the thief in me can never bow

two daggers in the sharp night

black cloak on my shoulder right

pockets full of poems and sacks full of syntax

don’t let me inside because i’ll pull up the carpet tacks

no power but the moment, no wit that isn’t stolen

through grime and grease keep praying my lantern’s golden

i am nothing but Now unravelling Then

too scared to part the waters that hold back When

this is about me, the two button-bandit

it’s always about me, check the feet as you scan this

don’t know won’t learn, but the ember still burns

nose against the glass and waiting for the three moons to turn

then i’m out again and hands in your wallet

nowhere to land so perhaps time to call it

dance in the east, bleed in the west

sleep in the south, northern lights only by request.

 

Free Fall in 1000 Words

I have to start somewhere. Here is as good a place as any. This dot, this sentence, this word. What did Archimedes promise?

  • Give me a firm spot on which to stand, and I shall move the earth.

Yes, I know. Some versions of the quote he mentions the lever or the fulcrum too. And already the sand runs through my fingers.

I’m in free fall – I built myself specifically to ignore problems like these. I left the real world to its own devices. I have always believed, needed to believe, that we beat back the darkness with art. That making makes light, makes heat, makes a calm rhythm on the street. Everyone else can go to work, go to church, go to the store and buy milk. I do some of those things, but not really, not truly – I’m a phantom in this world, or I want to be. I make enough to live, I own very little. If my girlfriend threw me out I’d be gone without even a mattress to my name. I grew up in nowhere Georgia, which is to say a place dreaming itself. I grew up in books, flinging myself further and further away through any door, through every door. The most revolutionary act is Transformation – new eyes, new lives, new skin and bone. Every time I was ripped back here it was an insult, an umbrage, a soggy disappointment.

But I grew older. A four word opera. There were things I wanted here in this world, so I learned to Appear. To Seem. When you’re a ghost pulling levers it’s easy to pull together a pleasant machine. Take this laugh and that rhythm and those lines of words unspooling across his brow and cobble together an Almost Person. And I lumbered forward and I crammed a lot of this world into my gob. Take this part and that part and this smile and that heart and the machine is without chink.

Until one day. Three word tragedy. A bullet broke the machine, right over my heart, and I remembered I was a ghost after all. And I was here again and could feel again and I was falling. Like now. Like then I wanted out and the ghost that is me remembered the trick of opening the doors, always another door, always another Transformation. And I found, to my true surprise, that other people wanted to find the doors, needed help opening the doors, would follow me through if I sang just right.

This is it, I said. This is what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m addicted to narrative, and we always want to find out we are the Hero that Hides. All the time in the mines, running through the shadow, all the time wandering on the edge of things, it was all for this. The real world has enough people watching it – I have my own worlds to tend.

But it’s not true. It wasn’t true. It was lucky and privileged and ignorant and vain. I’ve had time and peace and food and roof to scrawl dragons in the dirt. I have white skin and hazel eyes and can walk where I please in This world or That. I have lived idly on the edge of a great battle my entire life and have barely even offered to wear the colors of justice.

In my stories, though it may not always be clear, I’m trying to give something, say something – something useful. The power of the bonds of love. The nobility of the fight against the inevitable. But what good is it?

I’m a ghost and I’m falling. I can open door after door but I’m only bringing forth more phantoms. I can sing you a story about a city on fire but I can’t get more tax allocations for the fire department.

Because here. Now. I don’t know what to do. I called my Senators, I called my Congressman. It helped, it was worthwhile. But it’s not enough. The amount of my relief far outweighs the amount of good I did. I’m reading up on my entire state federal legislature, desperately trying to cram knowledge that I should have already mastered. I voted, I’ll vote every time, I’m ready to throw myself behind any true-heart champion on any level. I have some money I can donate to the right side of the important fights. It doesn’t feel like enough.

I’m not looking for absolution, I’m just stammering out a resolution. I’m a ghost and a broken machine and there are so many doors – but here is where the fight is. With people. With blood and bone and fire and stone. I’m falling like before, but this time I don’t have the lightning bolt in my belly. I don’t have the secret gift. I have no elixir and it’s getting dark.

I’m looking for that firm place to stand. The spot, even a dot where I can rally. There isn’t one, this isn’t a song or a fable or a run across the jazzman’s table. Just falling and air and fear. And this is where I was content to leave the rest of the worldNo door, no light, no dancing in the twilight. 

I can’t stop being a ghost or a broken machine or a sad little boy on the edge of a forest. But I can do more. I can do my best. I can keep making, I can keep opening doors, but I have to find my way into the fray. The most revolutionary act is that of Transformation – I’ve changed to suit my own purposes, I can change to better suit the times, to better suit the defense of my fellow humans.

And here we are at the end. This was mostly about me, I don’t know if I can shed that. Help me get in the fight. Instruct me. Inform me. I come from a people that love means duty. I have not done mine.