Archive for July, 2012

There have been some developments over at my flash-fiction website, scrapfiction. I have developed some things. Some might say the things I’ve developed are a tad underdeveloped. Scrapfiction will be going through some changes. They will be small changes that will, in time, lead to overall growth in the organism, the organism being a website, scrapfiction.

Anyway, here’s a video I made for a new scrapfiction story. It’s about cats.

You can read the story here.





Also, I’m writing scrapfiction stories on canvas now. And painting them. Developments.


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I like naturally lean meat – Limousin Cross (the cattle my parents raise) over Angus, and elk or venison over beef. I get plenty of fat from other sources. This summer, I’ve had elk almost every day, thanks to the hunters in my family. I usually marinate it with garlic, soy, vinegar, salt and pepper, sometimes oranges, but lately I’ve been eating the naked meat over brown rice.

This year, the Yellowstone Valley stays hot well after dark. I cook in the morning. If we don’t have anything prepared at dinnertime, Ryan and I have sandwiches.

I love elk filets with sweet potatoes and ginger, red lettuce with olive oil and vinegar. I rarely use more than five ingredients. I’m not much of a cook. I like food that makes me feel good. I also eat the cafeteria food at work, and a pastry here and there, but when I’m home, I eat the same meals I’ve been making for years, because they’ve been good to me, and because I don’t have much of an imagination for cooking.

I broke a good stretch of writing about a week ago and this is – and feels like – the first thing I’ve written in a long time.

I’d been writing in the mornings but found it hard to transition to my barista job, where I’ve been working mainly afternoon shifts. One day I scalded my fingers emptying a coffee pot. I was deep in a post-writing haze and touched the bottom of the pot after lifting it straight off the burner. It’s scary to be in another place when the place you’re actually in is full of things that can burn and cut you. I thought maybe I’d try writing after work instead.

But then I had a few projects to finish. Here’s one, based on my story, “We Are Thistles, We Are Wind,” published at the other room. The painting was a wedding gift for a friend who’s a fan of gothic lit and macabre imagery. The story’s about family (and other things).

Blackbird Boy

I don’t love painting, and I’m not a great painter, but I don’t regret spending time on it. I’m glad it’s done.

The second project is a video for my flash-fiction site, scrapfiction.com, which will replace the former video which Ryan and I both decided was slow and boring and a bit shoddy. Ryan just said it started off slow. I thought these other things. So I started over.

And then I went to my friend’s wedding. And worked a bunch of afternoon shifts. And it was unbearably hot everywhere I went.

And then Ryan and I took a trip.

Butte, MT

We just got back, and there’s a fantastic thunderstorm outside, and our house is cool enough to write. Ryan’s working in his garage. I’ve got elk steaks on the stove, cooking low, and there’s nothing I have to chop or handle with care, although normally I’m only dangerous when I’ve been writing fiction. I really don’t re-enter the world for a long time. When I try to speak, thoughts get tangled somewhere between my brain and my mouth. And I do stupid things, like cut a piece of fruit and stick it on the end of the knife and put the entire knife in my mouth, my mouth and hand treating the knife like food and my brain turning over a piece of dialogue. When I’m preparing for a stretch of all-day writing, I cook something that’s going to last, like a stew or a casserole, so that I don’t end up cooking (dangerous) or living off shit food and coffee.

I think most writers need to go to a different place when they write and find it difficult to leave that place, even if they want to.

I’ve decided I’m going to write when I can. I’ll try some exercises to help me return to the world faster. It seems like I’m always in the middle of something, but that’s kind of the nature of the beast. And that I resent whatever interrupts my work, even if it’s the opportunity to make money. And that I never feel like I’m spending enough time working. And that whatever I’m doing instead of working (even earning a living) is just empty calories. A waste of time.

I like living close to the meat. Dwelling too much among other tissues—gray seams of fat, shivery deposits of sugar—makes me restless, tired. I try to strike a balance.

I choose about five main projects at a time and work on those until they’re done. And wave the others goodbye. You’d think I’d return to them later if they were good enough, but I seldom return to anything. Even days later, the intention behind an idea—the feeling or emotion that created the idea—is gone. I can’t breathe life into it again. But there’s always new ideas. But I sometimes wonder.

I can only control my time as best as I can and compromise as carefully as I’m able. The worst thing would be to stop working. I can stand doing bad work as long as I have to, but not being able to work is not life — it’s a thing I have to get through, and not as myself. It’s hard to explain. It’s serious stuff. Eating’s not a hobby. And this isn’t. I can eat well or badly, or with joy or because I’m so hungry I’m sweating and I don’t care what it is, but I can’t not eat. I try to eat well. And often. There are so many other things that do little to nourish or restore. I’m lucky I have food, and love, and this. And want more.

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