A travel blog post about wanting one thing and getting another. Read it here: https://bkk-writing.blogspot.com/2019/11/delivery.html
A travel blog post about wanting one thing and getting another. Read it here: https://bkk-writing.blogspot.com/2019/11/delivery.html
Leave a comment | tags: Bangkok, communication, IKEA, Lost in translation., Thailand, travel blog, travel writing | posted in aesthetics, Asia, Bangkok, cultural contrast, Somehow It Will Work, Thailand, your author, zombie culture
A travel blog post about my first week returning to Bangkok. Read it here: https://bkk-writing.blogspot.com/2019/10/nexus-6-its-just-bangkok-man_12.html
Comments Off on Nexus 6? It’s just Bangkok, man. | tags: Bangkok, cyberpunk, pollution, survival, travel, urban sprawl | posted in Asia, Bangkok, Blade Runner, books, cultural contrast, cyberpunk, danger, diary, dystopia, first impression, immigration, inspiration, Japanese Fiction, pollution, reblog, science fiction, survival, Thailand, travel, urban sprawl, wellness, your author
A travel-blog post on my first impressions of Wales. Read it here: https://bkk-writing.blogspot.com/2019/08/impressions-of-wales.html
Comments Off on Impressions of Wales | tags: Barry, Celtic, England, first impressions, Swansea, travel, travel blog, travel writing, united kingdom, Wales | posted in Barry, Bristol, Celtic, Europe, first impression, politics, relaxation, Swansea, the writing life, travel, Wales, Writing Expedition, writing life, your author
Recently, I had a moment where I thought someone couldn’t possibly be for real and I was about to use his face to sharpen my claws . . . and then he responded with disarming sincerity. It’s wonderful when that happens.
Sincerity—not honesty but the good-faith attempt to be honest, which seems far more powerful and important—is like a force of nature. It’s a technique of relating to other people and to oneself that supersedes all the usual forms of vanity, deceit, coercion, and betrayal we regularly inflict on each other just to make it through the day.
It’s something I tend to forget, since the vast majority of people I deal with are usually cynical, conniving, lost souls. My economic survival often means, as a freelancer, staying one step ahead of them and being prepared for the worst they have to offer. I’ve been burned in most ways you might imagine and in some ways you might not. And, because it is necessary to be a student of human nature, I usually walk away, saying, “Fool me once . . . ”
But people can surprise you. When they do, it’s worth noting—not only because it’s rare, but because sincerity is like water in the desert. You don’t know when you’ll see it again but, for the moment, it’s a relief.
When you are over-committed, say it with me: “The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles. But, strangely enough, it will all come out well.” Repeat.
blue moon—n. 1. the second full moon occuring within a calendar month; 2. informal once in a blue moon: very rarely; almost never. “blue moon.” Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 31 Aug. 2012.
Writing counter-interpolative communiques on the night of a blue moon, the Speculator must observe the same ancient choreography that sorcerers, night soil men, two-headed doctors, literature professors, street hustlers, gypsy flower peddlers, and professional dog walkers have known since antiquity: one engages in a ritual dance to accomplish certain ends.
One appropriates symbols—the magic wand, the shit bucket, the mojo hand, the Norton Anthology of English Literature, the too-tight jeans, the bouquet of dyed roses, the dog leash—and invokes the primal forces of creation. One uses obscure terms and appellations and loads them with meaning. One waits for the hour of Mercury, drinking beer and burning incense on the roof, staring at the moon. One observes certain ancient footwork while brandishing symbols to speak truth to power.
Thus change is brought to bear on events and minds; existing chains of causality shift; and new paradigms are born. All from a dance, from preordained steps taken in darkness and solitude, from a Doctrine of Signatures old enough to justify itself (suggesting the monks who would recopy medieval grimoires and write Proven in the margins as a way to attest that the magic operations in question had worked for them, too). All from ostrich feathers and incense and words of barbarous invocation; from a mojo hand with van van rubbed on its seams; or a reinterpretation of Ozymandias in 310b, Humanities Hall, at noon; or a pair of cheap jeans, an imitation Stetson, and a lewd gesture at a passing car. One performs rituals on the roof at midnight, in the classroom, at an altar in the basement made from the door of a condemned house, or on Polk Street in full view of the headlights streaming past like lemon-white balloons.
Consider: when cornered or confronted or dragged into the light, evil thinks of weapons. When given no way out, a fool or an animal fights to the death. Consider also: there is nothing more evil or foolish than a human animal cornered by reason, by sincerity, or by common sense. Thus the Speculator, the peddler selling bouquets of symbolic meaning and tugging on the choke chains of relevance, speaks what passes for the truth of her individual experience while avoiding the retribution of the masses, for whom the bottom line has always been and always will be three hots, a cot, and unlimited cable.
Symbolism can cut more deeply than plain language. Well-honed symbols can be made to resonate like poison from a razor’s edge the way a good venom will echo through the body, taking organs like a general takes land. The Speculator says, let the venom be good. The Speculator says, you are more than your animal wants. Maybe the Speculator even goes so far as to say, think.
Think and avoid being interpolated into power structures that feed your animal wants at the expense of your rational and superarational mind, flooding you with stupid details, with the endless distractions of sitcoms and status updates and the antics of politicians. There are no politicians. There is only the precession of symbols moving along preordained grids, along schematic causal chains, designed to reinforce dominant paradigms that make money to perpetuate themselves. Cities like circuit boards. Telecomunications data streams like enfolded spiderwebs, matricies of obligation, of misdirection, of stasis and social expectation woven in layers.
If we could not telecommunicate, what could we become? The human potential movement says, nothing. The Speculator says, how did we get here in the first place? And maybe the Speculator adds, let the venom be good. Let there be curses, spite marriages, drunken train hopping, total network failure from perpetual IP configuration faults, the throwing of beer bottles from roofs, the dark whisper of rain over the junkyard, the junkyard that used to be the parking lot of a sports arena, the parking lot that housed a circus, the circus that got wet by the same rain that fell on Constantine before he converted and ruined half the world. Because all water cycles from ocean to sky to earth endlessly like the mistakes we don’t remember and are destined to repeat.
But the Speculator must remain mindful of the moon. When the moon enters Pisces, it obscures everything, occludes thinking like water running down glass. There are shapes one knows, certain forms, certain modes of acting, feeling, believing, assuming, receiving. The Speculator sees them as fish at the bottom of a pool, twisting, blurry, just out of reach. And so he writes this essay in the hour of Luna, saying let there be darkness and light and let them dance on the face of the blue moon—like ripples on water made by molten lead or flights of birds on the bowl of the sky or the shapes one sees coalesce in the clouds—and let the dance mean more than syllables in the animal screams of fools.
Comments Off on The Precession of Symbols: Nocturnal Dance Steps, Speculation, and a Fish in the Moon | tags: Academic Life, Blue moon, Earth, Full moon, Mercury, Moon, Norton Anthology of English Literature, Polk Street, Symbolism, your author, zombie culture | posted in your author, zombie culture
Rough Translation is a place where I can indulge my love of genre fiction, especially cyberpunk, Lovecraftian weird tales, and dystopian sci-fi. Think of this as a kind of self-propelled workshop and writing laboratory where the usual stylistic controls and themes might not always apply.
Read for free at: https://phantom-curator.tumblr.com/
Comments Off on Rough Translation | tags: adventure fiction, cyberpunk, Lovecraft, original fiction, pulp fiction, Robert E. Howard, science fiction | posted in Creative Writing, creativity, cultural contrast, cyberpunk, derivatives, fiction, Horror, HP Lovecraft, Inception, insomnia, midnight gladiolus, narrative, novel, novel in progress, productivity, publication, Publishing Industry, reading, science fiction, short story, short story collection, True Will, vampires, William Gibson, work, Writing, writing life, writing style, your author
I write fiction and nonfiction for magazines, work as a freelance writer / editor / journalist, and teach composition and fiction writing.
This blog is mostly dedicated to travel essays, creative non-fiction, discussions about books, the MFA experience, publishing, and short stories I’ve already placed in magazines. But I might write anything.
If you enjoy my free content, please consider supporting me on ko-fi.com: http://ko-fi.com/mdavis
Ko-fi allows me to receive income from fans of my writing. Anyone who clicks the link can support me with a with a ‘coffee’ (a small payment that is roughly equal to the price of a coffee).
“I have no politics. I observe. I have no sides except the side of the human spirit, which after all does sound rather shallow, like a pitchman, but which means mostly my spirit, which means yours too, for if I am not truly alive, how can I see you?”
—Charles Bukowski, Notes of a Dirty Old Man
“Trump Impeachment Syndrome and the Uses of Political Theater” – Splice Today – September 2019 (https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/trump-impeachment-syndrome-and-the-uses-of-political-theater)
“Jonathan Franzen Can’t Solve Climate Change for Anyone Who Matters” – Splice Today – September 2019 (https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/jonathan-franzen-can-t-solve-climate-change-for-anyone-who-matters)
“Jeffrey Epstein and the Usual Media Hate Porn” – Splice Today – August 2019 (https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/jeffrey-epstein-and-the-usual-media-hate-porn)
“Mob Justice for Jeffrey Epstein” – Splice Today – July 2019 (https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/mob-justice-for-jeffrey-epstein)
“Testify” – West Trade Review – Spring 2019 (http://www.westtradereview.com)
“Preponderance of the Small” – DecomP Magazine – July 2019 (http://www.decompmagazine.com/preponderanceofthesmall.htm)
“Letting Go of Game of Thrones” – Splice Today – June 2019 (https://www.splicetoday.com/writing/letting-go-of-game-of-thrones)
“William Barr and the Subversion of Justice” – Splice Today – April 2019 (https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/william-barr-and-the-subversion-of-justice)
“Into the Badlands Loses Its Way” – Splice Today – March 2019 (https://www.splicetoday.com/moving-pictures/into-the-badlands-loses-its-way)
“Trump is Interesting Again” – Splice Today – January 2019 (https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/trump-is-interesting-again)
“Outrage is Over” – Splice Today – December 2018 (https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/outrage-is-over)
“Fulfillment” – Terror House Magazine – December 2018 (https://terrorhousemag.com/fulfillment/)
“Attacked on the Street” – Splice Today – August 2018 (https://www.splicetoday.com/writing/attacked-on-the-street)
“You Are Somewhere Else” – Visitant – July 2018 (https://visitantlit.com/)
“More Than Just a Familiar Formula” – Splice Today – February 2018 (https://www.splicetoday.com/moving-pictures/more-than-just-a-familiar-formula)
“STEM, Scientism, and the Decline of the Humanities” – Splice Today – February 2018 (https://www.splicetoday.com/on-campus/stem-scientism-and-the-decline-of-the-humanities)
“The NRA Isn’t the Problem” – Splice Today – February 2018 (https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/the-nra-isn-t-the-problem)
“Altered Carbon’s Love Affair with Central Casting” – Splice Today – February 2018 (https://www.splicetoday.com/moving-pictures/altered-carbon-s-love-affair-with-central-casting)
“Cui Bono: the Latest Conspiracy Theory in the Ongoing Disintegration of the GOP” – Splice Today – January 2018 (https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/cui-bono-the-latest-conspiracy-theory-in-the-ongoing-disintegration-of-the-gop)
Cruel Stars – Thrown Free Books 2017.
“You Can Do Magic, Honey” – Splice Today – December 2017 (https://www.splicetoday.com/moving-pictures/you-can-do-magic-honey)
“As the Leopard, So the Coliseum” – Splice Today – November 2017 (https://www.splicetoday.com/politics-and-media/as-the-leopard-so-the-coliseum)
“One of the functions of art is to give people the words to know their own experience. There are always areas of vast silence in any culture, and part of an artist’s job is to go into those areas and come back from the silence with something to say. It’s one reason why we read poetry, because poets can give us the words we need. When we read good poetry, we often say, ‘Yeah, that’s it. That’s how I feel.’” — Ursula K. Le Guin
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“If I were talking to a young writer, I would recommend the cultivation of extreme indifference to both praise and blame because praise will lead you to vanity, and blame will lead you to self-pity, and both are bad for writers.”
— John Berryman, The Art of Poetry No. 16, The Paris Review
“Truffaut died, and we all felt awful about it, and there were the appropriate eulogies, and his wonderful films live on. But it’s not much help to Truffaut. So you think to yourself, My work will live on. As I’ve said many times, rather than live on in the hearts and minds of my fellow man, I would rather live on in my apartment.” — Woody Allen
“I make the road. I draw the map. Nothing just happens to me…I’m the one happening.”
—Denis Johnson, Already Dead
“At the age of 25 most people were finished. A whole god-damned nation of assholes driving automobiles, eating, having babies, doing everything in the worst way possible, like voting for the presidential candidate who reminded them most of themselves. I had no interests. I had no interest in anything. I had no idea how I was going to escape. At least the others had some taste for life. They seemed to understand something that I didn’t understand. Maybe I was lacking. It was possible. I often felt inferior. I just wanted to get away from them. But there was no place to go.” — Charles Bukowski
“You could lose it, your right big toe, leave it here, in this mud, your foot, your leg, and you wonder, how many pieces of yourself can you leave behind and still be called yourself?”
— Melanie Rae Thon, First, Body
“After you finish a book, you know, you’re dead. But no one knows you’re dead. All they see is the irresponsibility that comes in after the terrible responsibility of writing.” — Ernest Hemingway
“When one is too old for love, one finds great comfort in good dinners.” — Zora Neale Hurston