Wednesday Y.A.W.c #8

(Young Adults Writing Creatively!)

What You Need:
Ask your students to bring in copies of the lyrics of songs they like which are school safe (Lyrics free of expletives, blatant sex/violence, etc. Wild and weird are okay. Music your parents would listen to or be okay with you listening to, etc is okay. Lead by example – provide your own examples.

The Activity:
In class, guide students with the process of “making meaning”, that is, show them how to take apart the lyrics of the song to create an interpretation. This should be pretty fast and pretty easy, as students are already familiar with the material. Encourage them to develop multiple interpretations if possible. Afterwards, ask for volunteers to share their work. Again, lead by example. Next, instruct your students to write a story which could be interpreted similarly.

ALIENS: The Flash

In all honesty, I have yet to see anything cooler than this. Homedrone brings you Aliens: The Board Game in flash format, true to the original that was released in 1989 by Leading Edge Games. This was one of the games I grew up on, and it's awesome to see it in such a well presented and accessible format.

aliens flash game board leading edgeCheck it out here.

Wednesday Y.A.W.c #7

(Young Adults Writing creatively!)

What you need:
The following framework of a poem based upon the sestina form. I recommend breaking it up into stanzas before presenting it to your students as part of this exercise.







The Set-Up:
Today we’re going to write a poetry epic together as a class, using lines which already have the first word in them.

The Activity:
Once you’ve explained to your students that this is going to be a thirty-six line poem, but constructed by the entire class, give examples of what epic poetry can be by talking about “epic” movies like 300, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, etc. Ask for volunteers initially (you might even start the first line) but try to engage students if there is no response. Tell them that it’s okay to use scratch paper to work out what they want to say before they say it.

11 Weird Tales

I’m proud to announce the release of my latest project– 11 Weird, short tales written and read by yours truly. It’s a gorgeous, 11 track audiobook weighing in at just under an hour in length and filled with tales so strange and horrible they’re sure to make your toes curl.

The complete track listing:

1. The Children of the Indigai
2. Not in the Military, Son
3. In His Image
4. Shadow Over Grainfield
5. Izanami
6. L’Thauun
7. Our Own Hell
8. Mandatory Volunteerism
9. Gender Revolution
10. Uncle Jimmy’s Shotgun
11. Night Before Zombiemas

You can listen to the first track for free here:

Children Of The Indigai by ESWynn

Want more?
You can get the entire CD in all its stygian glory for $8.99 here:

More audio lit

Lightbrigade by ESWynn

Windhover by ESWynn

Wednesday Y.A.W.c #6

(Young Adults Writing creatively!)
What you need:
A newspaper or a series of pages selected from several newspapers (over time - - specifically for this exercise)

The Activity:
Once you’ve explained to your students how numerous authors of the past (Tennyson, Hemingway, etc.) have used stories or bits of sentences within newspapers to get them started on a poem or a story, take a moment to explain how short stories can be “formatted” a certain way for effect– like writing a piece of short fiction in a journalistic style that looks like it came out of a newspaper. Next, put your newspaper pieces out where your students can get to them, and then ask them to find a piece (or pieces) that inspire them in some way or which they believe they can write in a whole new way.

Now, have them write their stories.

Sweet Audio

From Beyond by ESWynn

Still Working on the audiobook version of Pink Carbide, but I've already recorded rough drafts for everything up through chapter 39. So close!

For now, enjoy this piece that I recorded. It's "From Beyond", one of my favorite H.P. Lovecraft stories, and I'm especially proud of how it turned out. :)

Wednesday Y.A.W.c #5

(Young Adults Writing creatively!)

What you need:
A number of short stories in different genres which all have the same basic underlying theme (such as the theme we see shared across films like Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Eragon) OR other materials (perhaps even just lecture) to enlighten the students as to the commonalities between films like these.

The Set-Up:
Okay, now that you’ve been able to spot the differences in genre and the similarities of theme, lets discuss how, in each case, the genre in which the story is told directly effects the theme.

The Activity:
Once your students have a firm grasp on what is going on, have them work together to make a list of possible themes that they might be interested in writing about. Some to consider:

*One person against the world
*Out with the old, in with the new
*Its all in your mind
*Renewal of hope

Next, have them start naming off genres that they know (and/or provide your own). Some to consider:

*Science Fiction
*Present day/modern

Once you have a comprehensive list on the board, have your students take out pieces of paper. Let them volunteer to take certain genres as they feel inspired to, but try to guide them into as even a spread as possible. Now, give them some time to write a story. This can be run either as a quick, ten minute exercise or a long, fully formed short story construction assignment. After the stories are written, ask for students to volunteer to read their stories, but encourage different genres to contribute in order to get an even smattering of student responses. Once enough stories are read, revisit the original discussion of genre and theme.

New Audiobook Clips

Recently I had the privilege of being able to record a few new pieces of audio for those of you who want to get into literature but don't have the time. Both of these pieces are classic works and, in my opinion, beautiful pieces definitely worth listening to.

Azathoth by ESWynn

You can read the original piece in an HTML fulltext here [link]

Meeting at Night by ESWynn

You can read the original piece in an HTML fulltext here [link]

Wednesday Y.A.W.c #4

(Young Adults Writing creatively!)

What you need:
Selections from Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary [link]

The Set-Up:
“Today, we’re going to try something new. I want you to take a few minutes (or you can assign the work to your students overnight) to look over these “definitions” written by Bierce. Find a couple you think are especially funny.”

The Activity:
Once you feel that your students have had enough time to look over the definitions provided from The Devil’s Dictionary, have them volunteer the definitions that they like (or dislike) best and have them state why they like/dislike them. Encourage conversation and discussion about the definitions. What do some of them say about society? What do some of them say about Bierce?

Now, encourage your students to write their own definitions of words in the same format that Bierce does. This can be assigned as homework or done in class. Give examples to get them started, like:

Car: n. A plastic coffin which delivers a corpse to the daily grind
Coffee: n. The elixir of life

And after they’ve created their definitions, select volunteers to read their definitions and explain what they mean (if necessary.)

Audiobook Release

L'Thauun by ESWynn

Currently I'm working with a team of independent sound engineers who are back in my hometown on a couple of audiobook projects. Our first product is going to be a one disc audiobook album with a complete audiobook version of Pink Carbide following after that. Stay tuned for more!

For now, check out this sample of what we're working on and prepare to be thoroughly creeped out!

Want more weird fiction? Check out!

Wednesday Y.A.W.c #3

(Young Adults Writing creatively!)

What you need:
Selections of an original piece of Shakespearian literature
Selections of a piece of Shakespearian literature in a “modern translation.”

The Set-Up:
“Okay, so today we’re going to work with some Shakespeare in its original form and in a form that is much more familiar, language-wise."

The Activity:
Pick out matching sections of Shakespearian literature, but try to find two sections that have been drastically changed by the “translation” process. Have students volunteer for roles and then give them copies of the “script” that they can perform in front of the class. Assign one group to perform the “hard” version and one group to perform the “easy” version. Afterwards, ask your students to take out a piece of paper and write about what they’ve learned. Offer “Clarity in writing in order to get one’s point across better” as an example.

You're Not Invisible

One of the biggest problems I've run across as a writer is that sometimes you just feel invisible. You run, you scream, you fight, and you try endlessly to be heard but on a good, rare day the best you can do is convince someone to (grudgingly) read one of your short pieces.

I know what that's like. I've been there, and it can be incredibly frustrating. So frustrating, in fact, that somedays you just feel like throwing all your writing in the trash and never picking up a pen again.

Don't do it. You have the power to be a writer and to be heard right there inside of you, and I'm willing to help. Why? Because I believe that small and independent presses are the only good presses. The giant multinational media outlets are broken and corpulent. You don't want to be a part of something so disgusting and backward. Self-publish instead, blog, be your own boss, freelance, do whatever it takes to build your own foundation as a writer independent from corporate publishing. How do you start? Get a webpage. A free blog is a great start. Now, look for places to get samples of your work paired with a link to your webpage so people are inclined to check you out. I've built two sites with this in mind: WEIRDYEAR daily flash fiction and Yesteryear Fiction so submit well and submit often, but not just to these sites. Get out there and hit as many different ones as you can. For every story you get published online with your link attached to it, that's another link you can spread around which leads to your page. Put these links out there too. Search engines and link sites are your friends. Don't be afraid to email anybody. Run with your work like it was someone else's and you were getting paid $20 for every email you sent. Nobody is going to run as hard with your work as you are, so run as hard as you can with it.

And most importantly, don't give up. You are the future.

Classics that don't suck

Recently I opened a new site providing "classics that don't suck" as a resource for educators working in the middle and high school grades. The idea is to provide not only classics that are more engaging to teenagers, but also to reduce the cost of paper and the impact that printing tons of handouts and anthologies has on the environment, both in trees and in the disposal of hazardous chemical byproducts. With Revitalit, you can save trees by giving your students a link instead of a handout, or even just find a few new classical pieces to fall in love with.

Either way, it's free, so check it out!
Yesteryear Daily Fiction

Wednesday Y.A.W.c #2

(Young Adults Writing creatively!)

What you need:
A hat or a box to put a bunch of 3x5 cards in.
Enough 3x5 cards for your entire class.

The Set-Up:
“Now I’m going to give you a prompt, and then we’re all going to write for ten minutes. When the ten minutes is up, we’re going to put our cards into this box, but don’t put your names on them. Then, when we’re done, we’re going to draw cards out at random and read them out loud one by one anonymously, followed by a quick critique of things that might have been done better. I want all of you to listen and take notes as if each story were your own, because you’ll learn a lot more about how to write better if you do.”

The Activity:
Hand out 3x5 cards and remind your students not to put their names on them. If they want to claim their work after it has been drawn, read and critiqued, that’s okay, but the anonymity of the exercise will lead to better critiques because people won’t be afraid to say what needs to be said. After a ten minute period of writing from a prompt, (any prompt will do - - what is your dream vacation, write about the moon, etc.) have your students put the cards into a “hat” so they can be drawn out randomly. For each one, give the reader student time to read the story out loud, critique the piece, and then open the floor for an open critique of the piece. Do this with each story.

The Scratch Contest

Linda Sands, a friend of mine whose fiction is slated to appear on Weirdyear on December 1st of this year, has got a neat little writing contest you might want to check out. Here are the details:

submission criteria:

any subject short fiction
5000 words max*
please include name, address, phone,
title and word count
$10usd entry fee via paypal

Now accepting entries for the
Winter Quarterly Contest
December 23, 2009
Winners announced Jan 3, 2010
**For those students interested in the first scratch junior writing contest**
the deadline and entry fee is same
be sure to state your age group 9-12yrs or 13-18yrs
maximum word count is 2500
there will be winners in both categories with $75 prize

Check out the official page with submission information

Wednesday Y.A.W.c #1

(Young Adults Writing creatively!)

What you need:
A little time brushing up on your fairytales (if necessary.) Just skim some summaries, remind yourself of how all the Disney classics end, that kind of thing.

The Set-Up:
“Now I want you to take a moment or two to think back on different fairytale type stories that you’ve heard or watched in the past. Stories like Hansel and Gretel, Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, or anything else that Disney has remade into a movie. Pick one story you think you think you could write even a little bit about, and then rewrite it however you see fit.”

The Activity:
Your kids will be rewriting fairy tales and stories that have been reworked into Disney classics like Snow White, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and The Frog Prince. Encourage them to be creative and take the fairy tales in entirely new directions. Examples to consider:

Little Mermaid: A Science Fiction retelling in which either Ariel or the Prince is an alien lifeform who cannot breathe oxygen, though a dangerous procedure might allow them to finally meet face to face.
Paul Bunyan/Tom Thumb: What if they were best friends?
Snow White: Kicked out of the castle, she goes into the woods and raises up an army of Dwarves to retake the castle. Then, she finds Prince Charming in the dungeon, sets him free, and they all live happily ever after.
Peter Pan: A comedic take where instead adults fly off to Neverland to escape the “natural” process of aging backwards that might occur in an alternate universe.


I love America. Call it nationalistic pride if you want, but I think that this country still has potential to be great. I was born here, and even though the third world conditions all around me sometimes make me so disgusted I want to ditch this piece of dirt and start over in a country that actually cares about the health and happiness of its citizens, I’ve stayed. Why? Because I think that this place has the potential to be great. We have the potential to become a first world nation.

What’s the root of our problem? It’s not immigrants, it’s not pollution, it’s not money, it’s not any religious group or ethnicity– it’s greed, it’s unhappiness, it’s a lack of time, a lack of educational resources and a media-enhanced polarization of ideologies. We’re the richest nation on Earth, but there’s such a huge divide between the upper classes and the lower classes that it’s almost worse than feudalism. How do we fix it? By taking action. We have to buck the system. We have to stand up, call in sick, leave work in droves, turn off our televisions and stand outside on street corners with signs. We have to ask our leaders, our bosses and our politicians the kind of questions that are going to make them squirm. We have to change our daily habits virally, en masse, and send a message to the big corporations that rule this nation in the only voice we have left– the voice of the consumer.

I’m not advocating violence. I’m saying that we need to simply stop playing the game that the rich have written the rules for. We need to stand up and work together to change the rules or we are going to be trampled to death by the fortunate few as they swarm in like pigs at the feeding trough. We need to inform people, show them how their materialism selfishly hurts others. We need to educate people, make them think, and take action now before it is too late.

And if “the man” tries to put us down, if the system pushes on us, takes away our voice, our rights, our liberties or anything else we have, we must stand stronger and work harder toward a future where America will be a nation we can be proud of again, a nation where our children can grow up safe, where our children can always get the healthcare they need, and where our children won’t have to be afraid of speaking out against corruption wherever it may hide.

A Speech

I was talking with "Tril O'Bite", a friend of mine, about various sundry things relating to Weirdyear, and during the course of our conversation I received this awesome speech (written by the same friend) that I swear I'm going to deliver someday to a large audience.

"Why, Weirdyear has an enormous role in society, of course. It will be read by millions everyday, they will consult it for guidance much like going to the astrology column. The honor of having your story published on it will bring fame and glory to the fortunate few. Beautiful nerdy short-haired women will flock to my door and hardened criminals will turn themselves in. Flowers will bloom and cats will purr. The planets will be exquisitely aligned every day. My car will stop leaking and the chickens will poop away from the walkway. Nuns will fly again and the economy will recover. Pastoral farms will float around like giant lilypads in the sky, not making shade for too long in any one spot..."

Beautiful, simply beautiful. All true too! ;)

Wed. Writing Prompts XXX

1. Write a story about a maze. It could be a maze on paper, a magic maze, or even a maze that at first seems ordinary (like a corn maze) but turns out to be anything but your average romp in the fields. Be creative. See where your mind takes you.

2. Imagine getting a letter in the mail which says something to the degree of “the strange green liquid leaking from the classified storage facility at an undisclosed location within three miles of your home has been declared non-toxic” - - when you didn’t even know that this facility existed (until now.) Consider this idea for a few minutes, then write whatever comes to you.

3. Create a name that inspires you to write by combining two completely separate terms which mesh to create a new genre (like impressionist cyberpunk or classic rock fantasy.) Consider this new genre, play around with what the stereotypical piece bearing this label might be like, and then write your story.

4. Look at something random (like a bullet-riddled stop sign) and come up with an unusual, off-the-wall explanation for it. (Military bravely fights off invasion of evil, animated stopsigns bent on world domination, etc.) Now, make it into a story.

5. Write a love story where some grand, seemingly insurmountable obstacle rears its ugly head and threatens to destroy any chance at a relationship before it can even really start. What is this obstacle? What makes it so difficult to overcome? Is it eventually overcome, or does your story have a different ending?

6. Write about a sunrise. What does the sun dawn upon in your story? What does this say about society? About humanity? How meaningful is a sunrise?

7. Characterize your family. How would you label them? (A family of politicians? A family of black sheep? A family of moviestars? A family of TV commercial actors? A family of fixers?) Explain why you chose this generalizing metaphor to describe your family. Now, use that as the beginning of a story.

8. Create a story which is built around some bizarre metaphor (like a story about a long haul trucker which is ultimately a grand, complex metaphor for one man’s family life or the final moment that convinces a nun to leave the nunnery and go out into the world. Be creative, see where it takes you.

9. Consider a profound problem with the system, like the fact that those who break the law out of necessity because they are poor are penalized financially, the fact that one angry old professor has the power to utterly destroy your academic career and doom you to a life of poverty no matter how many A+’s you get in other courses, or the fact that schools which have poor scores on standardized tests because of their lack of funding receive less funding as their schools and scores deteriorate. Write about it, expose it, wake people up and make them think about it. Be the ripplemaker in the world.

10. Create your own writing prompt. Sit down for a moment and think about it, consider what you might tell someone to try writing about if they told you that they were all out of ideas about what to write about. Make it as simple or as complex as you like, feel free to encourage your writers to be creative or try weird or new things.

Note: This is the last one of these I'm going to do for now. From now on, Wednesdays will feature creative writing exercise resources for teachers of young adults. Make sure to come back and check out the new material! :)


Talk about an ingenious marketing technique! In today's highly visual culture, there's just about no better way than a kick-butt trailer like this to amp people up and get them interested. Heck, I'm thinking I might just have to give this series a try! Kudos to Sherrilyn Kenyon and anybody else involved with the project! I am impressed! 100%

Wed. Writing Prompts XXIX

1. Write a story about a person whose very life is defined by drastic change. Do you think this kind of life is something a person could get used to? Is it desirable? What would a life like that be like? What would it entail?

2. Spend some time brainstorming the weirdest situation you can. Play with your ideas, make them weirder, more into the depths of the bizarre. Now, use that situation as the basis for a story.

3. Write a story that meshes genres, like the tale of an old war hero who flew genuine fire-breathing dragons against psychic Roman centurions, or an account of the first elf to set foot on another planet. Be creative, mix things up, add new and random elements (like rainbow-spewing panda bears or plumbers who throw fireballs) to make the story even more unique.

4. Write a story about a person who refuses to have fun. Why would someone avoid fun? What would that person be like? What would they eat? What kind of clothes would they wear?

5. Write a story about a caravan and the people within it. It can be any kind of caravan – a caravan of cars, wagons, horses, spaceships, traders, circus people or anything else. What kind of problems do they face? What are the interpersonal dynamics of the people in the caravan?

6. Write your own piece of zombie horror fiction. Consider the hallmarks of the genre, the stereotypes and expected twists, then decide if you want to follow them or cast them aside and do a fresh take on the living dead.

7. Write a story about a doorway. What is special about it? Does it have some unusual trait, some memory or sentiment attached to it? What is on the other side?

8. Write a story that features a certain group of people in a “normal” environment (like monks in a monastery or truckers in a truck stop) and then replace what might be their “normal” dialog with something way out of left field (like complex theoretical equations). Be creative, play it rough and raw. Make no explanations or apologies.

9. Two people enter a room. One has the ultimate plan, and the other has the means to make it happen. Write a story that includes their conversation.

10. Write down your ultimate hope and your ultimate fear. Now, construct a scenario in which they both come true. Write your story.

Submissions are open!

Just another quick reminder that WEIRDYEAR daily flash fiction is open for submissions of less than 1000 words. Check us out on the web at and become a part of the action!

Wed. Writing Prompts XXVIII

1. Write a story about a person who knows the loopholes and procedures of the law so well that he or she can get away with virtually anything. Are his or her talents just the thing to save the day, or will your story ultimately document this line-walker’s downfall? Be creative, see where it takes you.

2. Write a story that is defined by the rain. Make rain ever-present, a metaphor and emphasis for everything that happens within the context of the story. Fill the reader’s sight and mind with rain. Make them feel it, truly experience it.

3. Make a list of “races” and stereotypes that come to mind when you think about them (however wrong, flawed or politically incorrect they may be.) Now, mix up these stereotypes, then rewrite these mixed list entries as characters. Make them into people who feature what you would consider to be atypical (but potentially more realistic) character traits.

4. Design a terrifying character. Take some time to develop what makes this character truly terrifying. Try new things, write sentences that give you the willies. Now, write a story featuring this character, but make him or her a person so kind and generous as to be practically a saint.

5. Write a story that showcases a pack of shallow, narrowminded socialites and the way in which they suddenly change, becoming deeper, more complex and less (if at all) concerned with pointless and trivial things.

6. Consider the phrase “the great, unwashed masses.” How does it sound? What does it make you think of? Is there a story there? Visualize what the phrase indicates in your mind, who might say it and why, and then use it to write your story.

7. It is said that history is written by the victor, and if anything, revisionist views of history would seem to prove that. Write your own story featuring a problem with revising history, something that crops up while others try to neatly sweep something profound (like a genocide) under the proverbial rug.

8. Write a story from a wholly alien perspective. Whatever you focus on, wherever the plot goes, follow it with an eye as far from human as possible. Expand your writing into a bizarre direction, change it here and there, and create something totally outside the norm.

9. Take a story you’ve already written (but aren’t sure what to do with yet) and deconstruct it by playing around with the derivational morphemes within it (affixes like “un”, “re” and “non”.) Swap some around, create new ones, craft whole new words– and if you feel really adventurous, try playing around with some of the morpheme stems or even rewriting the lingering inflectional morphemes used in the story. Be creative! Don’t be afraid to try new things.

10. Take a story that you’ve already written and then retell it– from a totally different perspective. Instead of focusing on one character and the way they perceive the situation, focus on another, and make their perceptions the focus of your story. If you’re really feeling adventurous, try combining the two stories together to create the ultimate hybrid story!


Based out of San Francisco, DJ Synn is the unquestioned master of the Tuolumne County techno/trance scene. Working together with rock musical talent Kevin Winnick, they form the core of the band known as “The Distant.” Check out DJ Synn’s totally kick ass beats here:


Wed. Writing Prompts XXVII

1. Consider a common problem that a lot or most people seem to have (like money troubles, being single, etc.) and then write an abnormal or non-standard solution to it. Don’t worry about social norms– be as irreverent as you like in your approach and your solution!

2. Write a story about a Bunburyist (someone who creates a totally fictional person which they use as an excuse for leaving an engagement or cancelling their attendance at an event suddenly.) Does this Bunburyist get caught eventually? How does this Bunburyist’s farce affect his or her relationship(s) with those around and/or close to them?

3. Write a story that tells about the entirety of your life in less than 100 words. Now, pick the most important parts and try to reduce it to as little as 50 words. Next, (and without using any of the material you’ve cut out) expand upon what’s left to make each individual point or “nugget” of information its own paragraph (or page, if you’re feeling ambitious.) The idea is to forcibly focus on what is most important within a story and truly make that the backbone of your piece.

4. Take a story with a strange, even oblique meaning (like Hemingway’s “hills like white elephants”) and give it to a child to read. Next, ask them what the story is about. Take notes, ask deep questions and follow up on the unusual things that the child says. Finally, take those notes and write your own story, one that an adult might describe in the same way that the child described the first.

5. Many supporters of Chomsky’s “Universal Grammar” idea are in agreement with Carl Sagan’s statement that “the brain has its own language.” Use this idea of an underlying universal brain language in a story. Be creative, brainstorm several ways of approaching this prompt before you settle on one (or more) to pursue. Now, write your story!

6. Write a story where a massive, unseeing public is maneuvered and controlled by some single, seemingly innocuous medium (like advertising.) The plot of the story could be anything from a rebellious uprising of the public to the gloating and scheming of the few on the “inside” as it were. Be creative, see where your ideas take you!

7. If Black Power and Black Pride movements are seen as socially good, then why are White Power and White Pride movements seen as socially bad? Why are Scottish Festivals, Irish Faires, Pan-Asian expositions and Latino Film Festivals not viewed as inherently racist? Consider your thoughts on the matter for a while, then put them into a story. Be creative, say what you mean, and make the story powerful in that it makes a point that people might not otherwise even consider or be exposed to.

8. Write a story that epitomizes what it means to be lost. Spend some time writing down ideas of how you might impart a true sense of being lost that surrounds and encompasses your reader in a way that he or she cannot shake. Focus wholly on the feeling as you write your story– don’t lose it and don’t let go of it. If you do, go back, cut out the extraneous bits, and try again.

9. Write a story where something small and innocuous is ignored and, as a result, becomes a very serious problem. What is this problem? Is the seriousness of it discovered too late to fix the problem, or is it still caught in time? What is the solution? Think about your possible avenues for creating a story like this, plan out a few on paper– it could be anything from a small cancerous bump that overnight turns into Cthulhu to a single bill that turns into a debt nightmare. Be creative, see where that creativity takes you, and write your story!

10. Consider the idea of difficulty. What do you think of difficulty? Do we need some things to be difficult? Is it better to have more or less difficulty? Does difficulty go hand in hand with value? What is the value of difficulty? Think about these questions, then apply them to a previous writing prompt and write a story that addresses the points of both prompts.

A Galaxyrise

Wed. Writing Prompts XXVI

1. If the way that society defines reality creates the binding cultural framework of the world in which we live, then what is to stop people from simply redefining that reality, thereby changing the world for the better? Take some time to really think about this, then write a story that revolves around this idea.

2. Fashion is an interesting facet of culture and an element wholly unique to humans as far as animals on Earth go. Take a moment to consider all the unusual fashion trends of the past (birdcages in beehive hairdos, Schpantz, Skorts, paisley, bloomers, clothing made out of trashbags, etc.) and then design a fashion trend of your own. Now, write a story either about that fashion trend or about the people who embrace it.

3. Combine the names of two historical figures to make a hybrid (Bobdole Picasso, Jeffersonbeard, etc.) What is this “fused” character’s story? Where are they from? What is their claim to fame? What are their idiosyncracies? Write your story.

4. Take a moment to consider some of the films that you’ve seen which have been adapted from stories or books. What do you think goes into such a process? At what point do parts of a story get cut or expanded? Are there corporate board meetings that determine the fate of the story, or are elements simply axed on the whim of the director? Now, create a story about another literary work going through just such a process.

5. Consider the idea of an “Image Broker,” someone whose job it is to create an image around a person, like a corporate executive or a presidential candidate. Write a story about this idea– focus on the tale of a particular broker, his or her work, or even on the person who’s image is being recast by that broker. Be creative, see where your ideas take you.

6. Write a story about a character who regularly has to vacillate between “worlds”. These worlds could be anything– social lines, physical worlds, intellectual worlds, philosophical worlds, etc. Be creative– try a few different ideas before you decide on which one to write about.

7. Construct a nonsense sentence like “colorless green ideas sleep furiously” or “a verb crumpled the milk.” Think about it, consider how it could actually in some way be possible, how you might work the sentence into a story in which it would make sense, and then build up that story around it.

8. Consider for a moment a machine. It could be any kind of machine, but preferably one that holds some memory or emotions for you that link you to it in some unshakable way. Now, write a story about that machine (or one similar) and a person who uses it. Write about the memories and emotions it evokes in them, the way it changes and effects their life.

9. Someone you know is on their deathbed, coughing and hacking, dying of something that came on suddenly and that the doctors believe is just too far beyond their skill to fix. It’s clear that this person doesn’t have long– and yet there is a secret they have to impart to you. What is the secret? How does it effect your life? Does it change you in some way? Write your story.

10. Write a story where the character dialog is replaced and represented entirely by symbols, concepts and abstract ideas. Tell your tale without any quoted dialog– make every exchange between the characters wordless, and yet full of meaning. It’s a lot easier than you think!

Hey, looking for some place to send your weird and/or shorter fiction pieces to? Check out and send them in!

New site for The Cygnus War

The Cygnus War now has its own site! You can view the latest episodes on the Cygnus War feed to the left or check out the new digs at The site is really gorgeous, and definitely worth a look see, if only for the Special Features! :)

Wed. Writing Prompts XXV

1. Write a story in which other, successive stories are told in reflection or flashback, each tale layered on inside another, but all interrelated somehow. Create meaning within their interactions, integrate their symbols and choice words in a way that creates its own story within this “onion” of a tale.

2. Imagine you are presented with an opportunity to travel into the past to any period in history. The only catch– you cannot leave. You must live out the rest of your days in that time. Would you walk away from the offer? Would you accept? What period would you consider going back to? Write your story.

3. Think about the phrase “behind enemy lines.” While most people are familiar with its literal meaning, what else could this line be applied to? A trip to the mother-in-law’s? A breakdown in a rich neighborhood/barrio? The inadvertent tread into intellectual ground in which you might have no footing? Be creative, see what you can come up with, then write your story!

4.Write a story that analyzes the idea of humanity as a resource. What does this concept of people as a consumable (like wood, livestock, etc.) say about our culture as a whole and especially the business world of corporate? Jot down some ideas, consider them, and then pick one (or more) to pursue. Use that as the premise or message for your story.

5. Spend a little time researching a person from history who has either disappeared or died suddenly. It could be as far back as Pyrrhus or as recent as Dave Williams or Michael Jackson. Study the record of their final few moments, the events leading up to their demise– and then start a story there. Where do you go from here? There are a thousand ways– consider perhaps what might be going through your chosen person’s mind in the slow, stretching seconds before death, or entertain the possibility that the whole thing might have been elaborately staged, the person in question making a life for themselves elsewhere, away from the limelight. Be creative, try different things and see where your ideas take you.

6. Consider some of the things that might crop up (or have cropped up) in the course of dating someone that might be deal-breakers. What might someone say, be, or do that would completely destroy any attraction you might have had for them? Make a list (if there’s more than one) and then use this list as a guide. Write a story about a person who is/has all these things and the person who can’t stand them– but for some crushing, inescapable reason, must.

7. Create an army. It could be any kind of army– anything from a line of determined children whose goal is the cookie jar or the big hairy kid to an interstellar armada poised on the brink of an alien frontier. Make it something you’re passionate about– detail it, think about individual “soldiers” and the roles they play in the struggle that is to come. Now, write that struggle. Put words to the battle they must wage, whether it’s for cookies or the fate of the galaxy.

8. Consider the effect a given occurrence of societal backlash has (or could have) on the fragment of society seen as the “oppressor” whose “shackles” must be violently tossed aside in an act as much about freedom as retribution. (Take Feminism for example– instead of fighting for equality, which was and still is the primary goal of the movement, some feminists actively seem to seek a vengeful dominance over men in order to “show them how bad it was.” Do you think this is right? Write about it.

9. Consider the impact it would have had upon society had public education never become a reality. What would the world be like if school had remained the domain of the wealthy and those who were born to parents of lower classes were never given a chance to even learn to read or write? Create a story that takes place in just such a world. Capture the struggles, the ambiance. Make it real.

10. One staple of horror fiction is the idea of being the subject of an unplanned surgical procedure– while still conscious and without anesthesia. It plays across our fears, the expectation of pain, the violent violation of self, as well as the terror of inescapable death. Write a story that incorporates this horrific element and takes it to a level that leaves your reader feeling truly terrified.

Weirdyear launches 10/5/09

My latest project!

Set to offer you a new bite of quality offbeat flash fiction every day, 365 days a year, Weirdyear is the brain child of author E.S. Wynn. His vision: to create a place where writers of flash fiction that falls outside the mainstream could get the exposure they need to get noticed within the mainstream of society, all while providing a constant dose of short fiction for those who need just a little weirdness in their year.

Come "weird" with us!
Submission Guidelines

Weirdyear/Thunderune Publishing

I love these people



In the sky, we breathe as one.

The rushing shift of speed, the fiery exhale of the engine, the endless depths of a sky as huge, as voluminous as the ocean. Out here I am a falcon, a windhover; my wings are composite carbon and nanomorphic steel. My skin is sleek and hard, cool to the touch. I see, and the machine that is me responds. I move, I think, and the machine that is we responds. Twitches and shivers translate to ripples, tightenings in metal, all movement in eager, responsive chrome.

In the sky, we are one, sexless and strong, an indistinguishable fusion of man and machine.

In the sky, we breathe as one, and we taste the wind with our wings.

Brita Wynn's Upcoming Classes!

FALL 2009

1. Please pre-register early.
2. Pay in full when registering (including materials fees). We accept checks, cash, Visa, Mastercard and American Express.
3. Payment can be made by mail, in person or by phone or FAX.
4. Provide your name, address, phone number, and title of class when registering.
5. A 48-hour cancellation notice is required to receive a refund.
6. A $5.00 non-refundable fee will be retained on all cancellations.
7. Confirmation will be by phone.
8. Class may be canceled if a minimum number of students is not met.

Send registration to:
Morningsun Herb Farm
Attn: Class Registration
6137 Pleasants Valley Road
Vacaville CA, 95688
Phone (707) 451-9406
FAX (707) 451-1190

Broommaking with Brita Wynn
Learn to make a magikal witches broom for Halloween from wild herbs and plants. A variety of woods will be provided for a handle and beads, leather, feathers, paint, etc will be provided as well. Class includes instruction on how to engrave your broom with a dremmel tool. If you have something special to attach, please bring it to class.
$25.00 + $10.00 materials fee. Saturday, October 10, 1:00 - 3:00pm.

Cinnamon, Spice, and Everything Nice with Brita Wynn
Learn to make all sorts of wonderful things from the warm spices of winter. Learn to mull wine, make spicy potpourri, cinnamon stick tree decorations, wreaths, and candles. Learn to make clove and citrus balls for scenting your home and more. Lots of recipes for making your holiday season all that is nice.
$35.00 + $10.00 materials fee. Sunday, October 11, 11:00am - 2:00pm.

Holiday Herbal Gift Intensive with Brita Wynn
In these times, the holidays can be very taxing both energetically and financially. So why not come and have a lovely day working with wonderful relaxing herbs, making gifts for friends and family. This class will include instructions and practical experience on creating aromatherapy bee's wax candles, Herbal body care items that make wonderful easy to make gifts, herbal glycerine soap, Sachets and natural herbal potpouri, even Vinigars and cooking herb mixes, and much much more. Handouts include recipes, how to, and ideas for putting things together into fabulous gift baskets. Specialty gift baskets are very expensive and much loved gifts!, After this class, you will have the skills to make them for a fraction of what you'd pay if you purchased them. Everyone also goes home with some of everything we make so bring any small containers you have, a bag to carry your herbal treasures home in, and a towel and wash cloth because you also get to try EVERYTHING. Come join us for this fun and relaxing holiday class.
$40.00 + $15.00 materials fee. Saturday, November 7, 12:00 noon - 5:00pm.
Herbal Medicine Making Weekend - Focus On Winter Health with Brita Wynn
This set of courses will instruct you in easy to create herbal remedies for lots of Winter health issues such and colds, coughs, pain, skin issues, etc. You will learn basic medicine making skills like how to make medicinal teas like the ones you buy for a fraction of the cost and even better quality. You will also learn how to make tinctures, liniments, salves, etc. Each class builds on the next so that when you finish the series you will not only have lots of great recipes and instructions but the practical experience to make many of the natural remedies you love yourself for less than half the cost!

Herbal Formulation and Medicinal Herbal Tea Making - Saturday, November 21, 10:00am - 12:30pm
Extracting Herbs, Tinctures, Liniments, and Elixirs - Saturday, November 21, 2:00pm - 4:30 pm
Making your own Salves, Balms, Creams, and infused Oils - Sunday, November 22, 11:00am -1:30pm

Classes may be taken separately or together as you wish. Overnight camping is available if you would like to stay over. Let us know and we'll send information. Each class is $35.00 + $10.00 materials fee. All three paid in advance is only $90.00 + $20.00 materials fee; a savings of $25.00 for all three classes!

Gaia Conscious Herbalist Apprenticeship Program 2010
Morningsun co-owner Rose Loveall-Sale and herbalist Brita Era are excited to announce they will once again be teaching their 9 month Gaia Conscious Herbalist Apprenticeship Program, beginning in February 2010. This course will be taught one weekend a month, in the beautiful garden setting at Morningsun. This is an opportunity to learn and deepen your knowledge of the ancient arts and sciences of herbalism and horticulture. Students will learn about the different body systems and the herbs used for each, as well as learn magical and shamanic herbal practices. In this course students will be able to follow the natural rhythms of the garden, learning how to propagate, grow, harvest and nurture their gardens.

Brita is an experienced herbalist with 25 years training and practice, teaching herbalism in the United States and the United Kingdom. Rose Loveall has owned Morningsun for 14 years and has taught numerous courses in growing and using herbs.

For more information or a class flyer, email Rose at roseloveall@morningsunherb or call the farm at 707-451-9406, or contact Brita at
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Wed. Writing Prompts XXIV

1. Imagine that, through some bizarre twist of fate or science, you were to cross paths with some future or past incarnation of yourself. What would the two of you talk about? Would you recognize each other? How would it effect your life, you decisions? Brainstorm a little, and then write your story.

2. You come home to a message on your phone that makes your heart stop for a moment. What is this message? Who left it? What emotions does it evoke within you? Happiness? Fear? Love? Anger? Something else?

3. Do something creative and fun with myth. Write an article meant for the Olympus newsletter, detail the secret life and/or obsessions of a god or goddess from any tradition. Have fun with it, even if it doesn’t go anywhere, use this as an opportunity to try something new and entertaining.

4. Create and detail a band of drifters. Each of them has a different past, a different history, and their own set of secrets tucked away where no one else can see them. Make each character unique and real– make them interesting, explain the bonds that hold them together. Now, throw them into the middle of a frantic situation where one or more of them come under the imminent threat of death. Write their story.

5. Tell the story of a man or woman who is the ultimate fake-artist. In every element of his or her life, something (if not everything) is faked. It’s a survival strategy, it’s how the character gets by– only now, something has gone horribly wrong. What is it? Is there a solution?

6. Write a story about someone who discovers a “crack” in the framework of reality. What is this crack? Is it physical, metaphorical, conceptual? Is it an abstract concept that slips obliquely in and out of view, or is it more concrete and tangible? How does the character in your story react to this fracture? What happens in response?

7. Think about a cultural stereotype that is invisible to most people (like the unspoken standard of what is a “man’s job” or the way in which “whiteness” stands as the default racial identity in mainstream movies and/or television. Now, blatantly expose this stereotype in a short story, either through dialog or by parodying it by overapplying it in your story. Show the world what it is afraid to see.

8. Family stories – we all have them, we all have relatives who like to talk and spin a yarn to rival any novelist. Reflect on one of these from your own experience, and then recast it as the tale of someone else living in some other place and time. Be creative, change elements as necessary, but don’t lose the overall flavor of the piece.

9. Write a story that revolves around a sexy look, a sensual, silent glance that imparts more excitement and meaning than words ever could. What happens now? What was the trigger for the event? Write your story.

10. Some tribal societies claim that the tales they tell as part of their oral mythologies come from patterns seen in fire or in the stars. Spend some time staring at the patterns in clouds, fire, the grain of wood or the wash of silt after a rainstorm. See what stories come to you– then write them.

Tarsis Arc-- Now In Print!

I am happy to announce that the first arc of The Cygnus War is now in print. You can pick it up here in paperback form for $7.95 or download it there for 99 cents. It's also free if you navigate through the links to the right, but this way you have the first 23 episodes all in one place, fully revised and easy to read. Get yours today!

E.S. Wynn on 365 Tomorrows!

A piece of my flash fiction was picked up by 365 Tomorrows today! Find it here:

Fans of Pink Carbide will love this one-- focusing in again on the main character of the Pink Carbide series, "Streetmodz" gives us a fun and interesting little glimpse into the dystopian underworld of Los Angeles in the twenty-second century. Enjoy!

Gender Revolution

The final sexual revolution came with the invention, social acceptance and subsequent widespread use of a system of perfect synthetic surrogates. Within a decade of the system’s integration into the everyday life and future of the middle class, a stigma rose within the elite that labeled natural birth as an unclean and backward system used only by those who were too poor to afford in-vitro. Sterilization parties became a part of popular culture, and as commerce responded in turn, producing “happy sterilization” cards and appropriately-themed party favors, the idea entrenched itself within society as a new tradition, a rite of passage that both boys and girls underwent at the onset of puberty. With reproduction increasingly more and more the business of machines and engineers, new social protest groups emerged, factions within society like the Daughters of Diana, a movement which encouraged complete hysterectomies as part of a means of combating the “fascist male regime” by removing the primary organs through which the leaders of the movement felt male dominance behavior was inadvertently encouraged and therefore perpetuated. Abhorring all surgeries and sterilization procedures that involved modifying the natural state of the human genitalia, the Daughters of Mary stood as both a rallying flag and a stereotypical example of those who stood against and protested (sometimes violently) the burgeoning practices of the mainstream sexual infrastructure. Other groups, such as the Gender Aesthetics, ultimately leaned toward a total erasure of sexual identity, encouraging a sort of asexual androgyny within society that involved a complete mastectomy for women and the surgical realignment inward of external genitalia for men.

As widespread implementation of bacteria-based pharmocological “Pharms” allowed for the synthesis of designer hormones to become increasingly more mainstream, advancements within the research cabals for these “Pharms” gave the revolution the fuel it needed to carry itself past the tumultuous early stages in which gender conflicts became increasingly more heated in regards to the steady erosion of sexual identity as a constant and defining factor of the individual. Delivered in capsule-form along with a cocktail of pre-programmed nanites, the designer hormone cultures that ultimately became a mark of haute couture and only later a mainstay of all but the lowest strata of society were keyed to provide gender transformations designed to take place while the consumer slept. This availability of complete, literally “overnight” and easily reversible changes in gender ultimately changed the way in which gender itself was viewed, reassigning it to the state of an impermanent persona, a “hat” which could be taken on or off at will.

Further advances in genetic engineering and mandates put forth by the state led to official legislation that required all children to be born gender neutral and insured that only upon reaching adulthood would such children legally be allowed to be gendered as they so pleased. This of course led to a “gender black market” where young, neutrally gendered teens could experiment with street-quality hormone/nanite tandem injections and experience being gendered in a sex-friendly environment. Campaigns were launched about the unsafe nature of such “street cocktails” and “sex-easies,” creating iconic figures of those who had died from “bad mixes” or superbug STDs and claiming that those who were illegally gendered before legal adulthood produced lower academic scores on average than those who remained gender neutral, regardless of the length of time spent gendered. Even as time passed and the restraints on minors were relaxed, gender remained primarily the plaything of the adult community, a commodity with all the social joys and stigmas of any legal recreational drug. Regularly engaging in gendered activities was eventually viewed as a sort of psychological illness or dependence similar to alcoholism, and as support groups for the overly-gendered found their place within society, many gender neutral individuals found less and less appeal in taking on any gender role for any length of time, except in the case of the occasional party or social event. Those who chose “living gendered” over an androgynous lifestyle were seen as traditionalists, backward individuals and “primitives” who had lost touch with reality. Eventually, the old sexual divisions of male and female were forgotten by the mainstream and only appeared in the occasional “Gender Party,” in which guests would adopt the physical traits, stereotypical dress and mannerisms of past genders in the spirit of fun, easily glossing over the memories of a past that had long since disappeared beneath a tide of romantic notions and the forgotten books written by historians who had been either unwilling or unable to change their own genders.

Wednesday Writing Prompts XXIII

1. Write a revolution. It doesn’t have to be a bloody, cut-off-their-heads kind of revolution (unless that’s your thing)– it could be any kind of revolution. It could be a peaceful, loving, John Lennon kind of revolution, it could be a revolution like the Industrial Revolution, or any other kind of revolutionary upheaval you can think of. Be creative, try new things, and try to inspire the spirit of change within your reader, force them to think and leave them pondering what they can do to make the world a better place.

2. Write a classroom romance. Start simple– two people meet in the classroom and eventually fall in love. Be creative– the people can be of any age, in any kind of school, and you might even consider using the setting of the classroom to frame the piece, making all the action, from the first “hello” to the first kiss and beyond bound within the classroom. Make it real, make it your own, and put the effort into it that it needs for your reader to truly feel the piece the way you do.

3. From the Ghibli museum to the De Young museum, there are a million different ways to bring different fragments of history and art into the public eye. Spend some time brainstorming up a unique and interesting museum of your own that has its own interesting allure to it. What’s on display? Describe the art/artifacts that passerby might stop and ponder. Now, write a story about this museum or a tale that occurs within it.

4. Jot down some notes about a dream you’ve had (or several) and then do the same with a dream you have (either for yourself, for a friend, the world, etc.) What aspects do they have in common (if any?) Even if they’re totally different, integrate them and see how different parts fit together to inspire you. Now, write your story.

5. Previous decades have shown instances of cross-cultural transference (like the appearance of “Black Bart” Simpson on T-shirts, or white rappers like Vanilla Ice) Try taking something you’re interested in or even that you choose to research and understand better, and then encroach upon it with another ethnicity altogether. (Ubangi Country/bluegrass? Mormon deathmetal? Bollywood’s take on Star Wars?) Be creative– the wilder the jump, the better. Next, turn it into a story.

6. Take a moment to consider the phenomenon of video dating. What do you think about it? Jot down some notes, brainstorm some ideas, and put yourself in the shoes of someone who either chooses video dating, makes a career out of making the videos, or anything else. Get inside the minds of the people involved with it and put it down on paper. Now, write your story.

7. Write a story about two people who fate keeps tossing together. Make it interesting, not just a story of two people who cross the same stretch of street on the way to work or meet every Tuesday in the grocery store– create the worlds in which each of them lives, the realities of which they are very much a part, and then add the bit of spice and fate that makes those two worlds come together suddenly and when least expected.

8. Write about a time when you were genuinely frightened, when you felt the icy talons of fear steal across your spine and seize your heart. What happened? Where were you? Fill your tale with imagery that brings the reader right into your shoes and forces them to feel the same fear that you did. Show them what it means to truly feel the fear that you experienced first hand.

9. Craft a story that holds some interesting and unique tribal religion at its core. Whatever the action, the plot or the theme, have it revolve and interact with this religion. Ask yourself– what kind of issues might crop up around the animistic beliefs of a people who believe in the spirits of the earth, the trees, the rocks, bright orange fungus and the stars. Be creative, make it fun and mystical, full of mystery and charm.

10. Write a story about the life of someone whose occupation is outside the “norm,” something that you would never normally think of, like a professional sound-effects maker, the person who crafts the firmware coding that makes your computer hard drives know how to function, or the person who does the janitorial work for a place like NORAD or CERN. Be creative, have fun and bring to your reader a world they might never normally see or even know exists.

Wednesday Writing Prompts XXII

1. Spend some time leafing through “women’s” magazines and see if you can find one that has no articles on weight loss. Now, consider your findings– what do they say about our society and how it views women? Put some thoughts on paper, then write a story that incorporates these thoughts.

2. Have fun playing around with revision drafts. Write several different versions of the same event (something from your life) and edit egregiously. Focus on nothing else– make revision and editing the primary tools through which you tell your story.

3. Write a bunch of interesting words on a piece of paper (i.e. Star, Field, Ancient, Azure, etc) and then cut them out in the form of little slips. Now, put the slips in a hat or a fishbowl (or other similar container) mix them up, and then draw three at random. Put the words together however you like, and then use that as your subject or main character. Write your story.

4. Design a car you’d like to see on the road and/or own yourself. What does it look like? What kind of features does it have? What makes it special and/or different? Be creative. Now, write a story that in some way incorporates this car, even if only as part of the background.

5. Try experimenting with atypical ways of showing character actions (like “he dug around in the pool” or “She swam through the readings”) try a number of them, play with them, and challenge yourself to create new ones. Now, pick at least one to build a story around.

6. Spend some time writing with a child. Ask them about their writing, help them construct a series of drafts, then have them do the same with you. Simplify, try to understand writing and storytelling through the eyes of a child again, and take the time to see where the process takes the two of you.

7. Have you ever been stereotyped? Did someone ever assume something about you based on your physical traits? (Like assuming that being black makes you athletic, being Jewish makes you thrifty, or being a man with long hair makes you a druggie?) Jot down some notes, then use these notes to start your story.

8. Go to work with someone and act as an observer. Watch how they move within that job environment. Take note of their style of interaction, how they solve and/or deal with the unique, daily problems of their profession. Now, write a story with what you’ve collected.

9. Write a sequel that has no precursor. Sit down with a basic idea of the course of events for a story (you can even use a previous writing prompt to help you come up with a quick sketch of probable events,) and then use it is a spring board for “the next installment.” What happens in this sequel? Does evil return? Does the hero retire? Does something else happen altogether? Be creative, and think about possible routes a sequel could take from the original springboard before deciding on any one in particular.

10. Write a story about a transgendered hero. While this task may be easy or difficult for you, take it seriously and try to remove any of the humor, fun poking, and/or loaded statements you might be tempted to make during the course of the story. Remember: your hero is human, (s)he has all the same dreams and aspirations as any other human being, and is only as different from you or me as someone of the opposite sex or a different race may be. Remember to be creative, think about possible courses your story could take before you write it, and remember to be even handed and fair in your writing.


“Hey,” She says, and I can see the smile in her eyes, the light in the depths of a gaze the color of cobalt glass. Her smile softens a little as she turns back to her work, concentration taking over, mind and soul mingling to guide hand and paintbrush across canvas. I smile reflexively, in love with her drive, her dedication. Fifteen minutes ago, she had stood where I stand now, tired from a day at work, but revitalized at the sight of her canvas, her paints, the cool touch of familiar home. A heap of discarded clothing crouches outside the door of the bedroom, the leavings of the day, hurriedly exchanged for the color-touched tanktop and shorts she wears when she paints.

“What are you working on?” I ask, and she looks up again, grins before she disappears back into the paint, the canvas.

“A family photograph for a client.” She says. “Come here, tell me what you think.”

Setting down my bag, I smile as I cross the floor between us and slide in behind her, hands meeting, arms sliding into place across her waist. “Looks great.” I say, and the words come naturally, a true reflection of the skill she puts into an arena of art I could never grasp or understand. She smiles, closes her eyes as I playfully nuzzle her neck, breathe in the sweet scent there. She sinks into me, whole body loose and soft in my arms. “Their kids are pretty cute.” I say, and she chuckles in response.

“Yeah.” She says, and the smile that slips across her lips is sharper, almost conspiratorial. Moving within my arms, she turns toward me, and the midnight edges of her wild, brutally short hair caress my cheek as she moves. Our eyes lock for a moment as her hands trace lines across my back, meet somewhere behind me, and then our lips touch, and I breathe in the sweet, cool air. To me, she tastes like rain, jasmine, and her scent reminds me of heavy clouds, of rainy breezes that tickle the skin between storms. When the kiss ends, she smiles again, and we breathe shivering, sensual exhales before we touch again, hold one another, connecting silently, gratefully. Moments later, we turn as one to look at her work again, and she says: “They are cute, aren’t they?”

Later, we’re singing opera in the shower, a little piece we’ve practiced and learned specifically for this moment, something from her childhood. We laugh as we forget parts, key sequences, picking up the lines that the other blurs through. Time passes as we move from song to song, old favorites, things and bits from movies and games and memory that linger on in our minds and hearts. Holding each other here, enshrined in the cool cascade of water, there is no fear, no inhibition– the outside world no longer exists for us, only a body and soul that blurs vaguely into two.

That night, as I stare at a half finished page, fingers tapping across well worn keys, I hear the soulful notes of an alto saxophone on the porch as it rises above the quiet, ambient strains tumbling from the radio. I pause, listening, lingering on the rise and fall of that more distant tune as my fingers find the knob and silence the radio, leave only the sound of the sax to hang softly in the night. I smile at the sound of her playing, the passion she has for her art, and as I stand and push aside the chair, she pushes into something gentler, something that reminds me of rain. The boards of the house creak beneath my feet as I cross to her, sit silently behind her and wrap my arms around her waist as she plays. The tempo rises, becomes stronger and more complex as she leans into me again, back against my chest, head coming to rest on my shoulder. I smile again, gently kiss her hair as she finishes.

“Hey,” She says, curling into me, smiling contentedly. “I’m not bothering you, am I?”

“Never.” I smile, and gently move an edge of hair out of her eyes. “Play on.”

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