The map of me

At seven, when I began writing, I wrote because it was fun. Bad poems about ax murders and dragons (don’t judge) and adventure tales that involved hot air balloons and evil people chasing me was the bread and butter of my portfolio.

None of it was “ready,” but like I said–it was a blast. (Even the time the principle called my mothers to rat on me about a mean spirited poem I wrote centering around a girl in my class. To clarify, she’s punched me–I only wrote about wanting to hit her. I’m the classy one.)

In my teens I wrote more poetry. Filled with teen-angst and “why is the world so cruel” themes. This was in my journal. Even the story about a frog that was the wrong color. Everyone made fun of her, until she finally left home. Then, she made a friend–an albino crocodile–and together they saved everyone in her pond. (No, the crock didn’t eat anyone. She was lonely too.)

In my twenties I started to take writing more serious. I wrote a futuristic fantasy novel that had elves and talking crows. Once finish, I promptly showed it to no one. That said, I did my research, all with the intent to publish–yet I never did.

My second attempt was a romance novel. For me romance has always been a palate cleanser. I read the genre when I need a break from the other genres I read. I actually love romance–for this reason. Sometimes a story only needs to be skin deep. Two people meet, they fall in love, life tears them apart–they find each other in the end. There is perfection in that formula.

This novel was rejected. I wasn’t as tenacious back than as I am now. After one rejection I quit–for a long, long time.

I still wrote. Poems. Songs. Long rants in my journal about how I felt, my love/hate relationship with the world. With life. A script about a girl in love with a guy in a band. Two scripts that were horror movies. (One I still love. The other, I love one scene from. Sadly it doesn’t translate to novel writing. It was a camera thing.) And another story (which I adore, but the premise wasn’t my idea, so I let it sit, dusty and untouched) was the story of a young boy–set in NYC in the late 70’s. Seriously, I sometimes think about this kid. If you know me, and have read some of my stuff–the kids name was Malcolm. I loved him so much, I moved him into a new world. I made him grow up. He became a wonderful man–I’m slightly in love with him.

Then I got pregnant. Lost my job. Went to yoga teacher training to help reinvent myself–and then it happened. At our graduation celebration, a yogi friend said, “What are you thinking about now, Aryn?” and before I could lock my brain down or keep my mouth shut, I said, “Writing. I wish I was writing.”

And so I did. I moved. Had a few poems published.

I wrote another book. Then I rewrote that book. And then I rewrote it five more times. Rejected. (a big whole bunch.) (YA Fantasy/Horror)

So I wrote another book. This one for someone. The first draft sits, because… I don’t know. I can’t seem to reconnect with the content. This, like the story with the boy, has some parts I adore–but there is a mind blockade. A wall of white noise. It wears me down. (Historic Fiction)

Wrote a novella. (Sci/fi YA)

Then the one I have out on query. Actually, this was written prior to the one for a friend. I sent it out–Rejected. So I reworked it. From first draft to fifth, I found a writing partner. She helped me fix it. Still rejected. (Speculative Science Fiction)

Rejected so many times I’ve learned to flinch when my email pings. I turn my ringer off now.

In October I finished the first draft of a new book. I have high hopes for this one. It’s early. I hoped to have the second draft down by now–but the hell death plague that devoured my house, and my health, made certain that wasn’t an option. (Urban Fantasy)

I haven’t been seven in a very long time, but I can tell you this with all honestly–writing is still fun. I no longer write about the mean girl, or how I wish something bad would happen to her. If there is one thing that writing has taught me is the importance of being selective–in what you write about, who you spend your time with, where you put your energy.

It shows.

I’m hoping this next book is my lucky charm. Or maybe there is an agent out there–right now–reading my query for my current piece on submission who wants more. I don’t know. All I’m sure of, flinching aside, all I’ve ever known is writing. It is my expression. My soul. It is all I want.

Words.

On this day… Happy Birthday, Hank.

6940-charles-bukowski-quotes-on-love

One of the hardest parts of growing up for me was realizing that I didn’t have anyone to look up to. As a child I brought my gaze to Amelia Earhart, and I wish I could sit here and hand you a list of famous (or infamous) people who have brought change into my life simply by existing–but that’s not the case.

As a child, Earhart was this glowing icon that out shined everyone else. My fan worship of her lasted all of elementary and part of middle school. By high school I donned the moniker of “realist” and stopped looking at other’s success to inspire me. There was no point. I could never find one.

Now, as an adult, it’s even harder to wrap my mind around the fantasy of an idol. I see people doing things people do. This lasted until I met Charles Bukowski on the pages of PULP. I could lie to you and say the first Bukowski novel I read was HAM ON RYE, but it wasn’t. It was PULP. His last book. It’s even from Black Sparrow Press. My one and only book (of his) from them.

On his grave stone it says, “Don’t Try.” I’ve seen it in person. Buried in San Pedro. Visiting his grave was one of the first things I did when I moved to LA. There was a 40 oz and lots of other crap sitting on his black polished surface.

Henry Charles Bukowski Jr. “Hank” 1920-1994 with two other little words–“Don’t Try.”

I read it and laughed as I thought, “Screw You, Hank. Screw. You.”

Today Charles Bukowski would have been 96 years old. He is one of the few people I wish I could have met before they died. No, I don’t want to drink with him. No, I don’t want to sleep with him. I just want to talk to him. To see the beauty he sees in so many things.

Maybe you don’t like him. Maybe you think Miller was the “better writer.” Or maybe you’re attached to all the beat writers and wish you were on the road with Kerouac. I wish I was walking through Pershing Square talking to  Charles Bukowski about how cruel the world is–knowing it’s okay.

So, Happy Birthday, Charles Bukowski. I still plan on trying, regardless of what your epitaph tells me to do–because we both know you don’t mean it.

xxoo–Aryn

unnamed

Perishing Square–Downtown Los Angeles 8/9/16 (c)

Once upon a time… a poem

once-upon-a-time

 

[Once upon a time

is over played

we shouldn’t say it

or use it

ever

yet still...]

 

Once upon a time

there was a girl

who thought

too much

she was sure

sometimes

but the doubt

over turned

the truth

so she hide

in the recesses

of her imaginary world

inside her head

shadows

choked the light

ominous music

misheard comments

 

lies

hate…

loathing…

 

fear

Fear

FEAR

that if she

did it

“IT”

the big I-T

the scary thing

if she did…

the world would judge

and she would

fall

 

 

Once upon a time

there was a young woman

who moved past

all that

she “helped” anyone

she “helped”everyone

near or far

close enough &out of reach

it distract her

and nothing

changed

shadows morphed

music swelled

voices clamor

growing so LOUD

sleep. never. comes

awake

 

lies

hate…

loathing…

 

fear

Fear

FEAR

It’s better to

not

be seen

ever, ever

never

ever, ever

ever

no

because…

 

Once upon a time

she grew older

a woman, I guess

she conquered it all

except…

for that thing

she refused to notice

feel

      see

               touch

                                    allow near her

until she was tired

unless she was drunk

depressed

alone

 

… alone …

 

the darkness

encompassing

the voices

butchery

she lay dead

because it is

it is..

it

 

the fear…

part of her…

lies…

hate…

loathing…

 

too late.

it is

what it

always was

how do you

change?

how do you

stop?

make it

stop.

Stop..

STOP…

 

Once upon a time

there was me

and I had to admit

to myself

what was wrong

and I had to

move out of the

shadows

stop listening to

the voices

and look myself

SQUARE

in the face.

 

I had to say:

 

SHUT UP!

 

Because the voice

is my own

and the shadows

I created

and the fear

is unfounded

UNFOUNDED

mendaciously

created by weakness

failure to see

me

as

me

 

and then I

realize

that

once upon a time

hasn’t even begun

…yet…

 

 

 

Beyond – poem

Les Alpilles, a mountain landscape near Saint-Remy by Van Gogh

Beyond

There is a life

beyond these walls

a world

a song

a light, so bright

it will blind us all

with one glace

but we hide

in the darkness

of mundane

hoping for change

wishing for it

but never wanting to

break the smallest sweat

There is a life beyond this one

& it waits in the city

& it waits in the pastures

& it waits in the gutter

on the side of the road

choices – all of them

even the ones

we pretend we never

really had to make

they cry out in the night

and in the day

all hours

if only we would

stop & listen

out there

& it is not defined

by the shadow we

refuse to release

or the melodies that

illuminate favorite moments

it is pure

it is true

it is the person you forgot

you were always meant

to be

harmoniously, you

in all the glitter

and gold

there is

peace

There is a life

beyond this one

waiting, patiently

like you never knew

someone could wait

because it wants you

it wants you there

so let go of the anchors

& swim into

the abyss

Always remember

that every moment is life

when you are grateful

you are free

Study of Marigolds

study-of-marigolds-1918
It’s all a bit of mayhem
Craziness wrapped in cellophane,
Crispy and see through
And we run around in circles, lost
Confused by what has happened
And what hasn’t happened at all
Then we wait for someone to guide us
What else it there to do?
The absurdity is just
We are just, aren’t we?
I am just, when I can be
And the world spins on
Befuddled, bemused, demoralized
Music swells
Everyone dances,
But the jagged coughs make my chest burn
How did we get here
Dizzied and confused
Fingers digging into the dirt
Grasping for the earth
As it spins us, like a rotor
Pasted to the wall,
The floor falls out from under our feet
We hang, groundless
Helplessly waiting for the something
The one thing, that should rescue us
From calamity and woes
Never realizing we have our own capes
We are our own heroes
Rise above the fraudulent imagery
Move past the intricately placed words
And we find, life
Spun into the duality of a cocoon
Warm and comforting
Hot and suffocating
Choices woven into the silken threads
We over look for we think should be
The something that never was
Rest, or panic
Meditate, or run
Stand alone, but stand strong
As you look to them, they look to you
The earth will spin, and they will dance
And the burning will fade with time
Is it real, or is it a dream?
It’s before you, for you to decide
What will become of what was
And what will never be at all?
Inside the mayhem are the marigolds
Puffs of beauty and color
And in their simplicity, the answers lie
But you  must sit and listen to the nothing
For as long as it my take
Minutes, hours, years
And then the answers will appear
Put on your blinders, then you will see