Strictly Prohibited

Inspired by my yearly responsibility of proctoring the ACT test.

Welcome to test room 3B.

Please note that the following actions are strictly prohibited:

Eating, drinking, or the use of tobacco are not permitted in the test room.
Neither is talking, smiling, thinking, or breathing.
If you are caught doing any of these things, your test materials will be confiscated and scored with the incorrect answer key.

You may not have a cell phone, media player, or other electronic, steam-powered, or psycho-kinetic device with you in the test room.
All such items will be confiscated, used by the test room proctor to keep them awake during testing, and then smashed to pieces in front of you after you have finished testing.

You may not fill in or alter ovals on a test section after time has been called.
Ovals are very sensitive and only like being touched at the specified times.

Do not look back at a previous test, forward to the next test, or into the pit of your soul.
It is dark there and full of repressed memories.

No giving or receiving assistance by any means, including but not limited to the following:
Passing notes, looking at another’s answer sheet, sending messages via carrier pigeon or smoke signal—smoking, as we have already discussed, is strictly prohibited—or via psychic or supernatural means.

You must not use your calculator on any test other than the mathematics or quantum physics test.
Doing so will cause your immortal soul to be trapped forever within the device.
Calculators are not a thing to be trifled with.

You will be provided a break between hours 12 and 13 of testing.
All testing materials must remain in the test room during this time.
Attempts to remove test materials, personal effects or your shell of a human form will result in becoming lost within the labyrinth of hallways outside Room 3B.

You may only leave when told to do so.
Testing facilitators and the test company itself are not responsible for loss of property, limbs, or sanity.

Please do not exhibit confrontational, threatening, or unruly behavior.
Save such behavior for the combat proficiency portion of today’s testing.

You may wear a wrist or neck watch.
However, be sure to turn off all alarms or carbon monoxide detection functions.
If an alarm sounds, you will be instantly encased in The Zone of Silence, where your carbon monoxide alarm will suit only as an annoyance during your final, peaceful moments of life.

Above all else, please follow the directions for each test very carefully.
Test booklets are known to provide directions in the form of riddles and sometimes include ancient summoning rituals.

If there are no questions, we wish you the best of luck during today’s tests!
Please turn your answer booklet to page 2 and fill out boxes 4-12.
Include all contact information of your loved ones and your preferred method of bodily disposal.

Fill in all corresponding ovals very carefully.

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32 Years (poem rough draft)

I recently turned 32 years,
an age at once young and old.
Enough time to look back upon
and celebrate and mourn days gone by,
yet search amongst an indefinite time ahead—
a number of days, months, years
set in place by whatever future to be.

Within the span of 32 years
(11,680 days—give or take a few leap days),
I have lived and loved, loved and lost,
lost love, lived loss, loved lost, lived love;
I have seen far too many sunrises with a frown
and far too few sunsets with a sense of accomplishment;
I have heard the cries of many I love
and feel the warm streaks on my own face
from the loss of those that mattered most;
I have worked until my body and brain ached;
I have thought things and done things
that I will forever regret
and some I will always cherish.

Whether 32 years from now I’m enjoying my days on Earth
or plotted beneath the busy feet of those living,
I know I will have loved more, lost more,
made more mistakes, shaped more lives,
and lived the life meant for me to its fullest.

Lonely Diver (poem rough draft)

Another poem written while on vacation in Rockport, MA.

Walking along the rocky shores of Back Beach,
a solitary diver decked in full diving gear
makes her way toward the open ocean.
From so far away, it’s hard to tell
whether it is a woman or a man
braving the cold morning waters.
What matters most is that they are alone,
and they are far braver than me.
My view of the sea suits me just fine:
sitting on a patio of a small beach cottage,
keyboard and a glass of Diet Pepsi at my fingers.
I’m content to sit and watch her deliberate movements,
and I wonder what her name is
or what she hopes to find in those depths.
Solitude is only solitude if you ignore your companion,
the companion all around us—Nature.
I see my good friend in the form of two butterflies
circling around one another over a patch of yellow flowers.
I observe my companion the seagull
swooping past the watery explorer in black.
She finds her friend amongst the cool morning waves,
the mysteries hidden beneath its silvery surface.
Afraid of those mysteries, I sit at a distance
and try to discover my own.

Chasing Distant Horizons now available on Amazon

It’s a big day!  My chapbook, Chasing Distant Horizons, is now available on Amazon.com’s Kindle Store!

To celebrate this day, I’ve lowered the price of the book to $1.99 on Amazon as well as on Gumroad.com.  I’ll provide links for both below.  I do get more money when you buy it at Gumroad, but if you are one of those “One-Click” on your iPad sort of people, you now have the option for some good poetry!

Go check it out and tell your friends!

Buy Chasing Distant Horizons for Kindle on Amazon

Buy Chasing Distant Horizons PDF on Gumroad.com

And as usual, I leave you with a quote:

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” -Henry David Thoreau

New Writing Project – Short Story Collection

Long time no write!  This comes to you during one of the most taxing times in any teacher’s life–the days leading up to spring break.  This semester has been surprisingly very difficult for me, and I’ve felt far too much stress and doubt in my abilities.

So my mind has been pretty absorbed into grading essays, planning lessons, editing yearbook and newspaper pages, and trying to get students interested in just about anything over the last few weeks.  So that’s left my free time and creative life floundering somewhat.

I would say that the release of my chapbook, Chasing Distant Horizons (only $2.49 for the pdf), was somewhat of a success.  If anything, it gave me the confidence to achieve something as grand as self-publishing, if only on a small scale.  Add to that my recent flattering comments on my submission for the Dark Crystal Author Quest, and I’ve found some positivity with regards to my writing.

So I need a new project.  I need something to breath more life under my creative sails.  That’s when I went back to something I spent a very long time on.

As some of you may know, I wrote a complete fantasy novel and have spent a lot of time off and on editing that sucker.  There are still substantial things to be done, and one day I really do hope to see it find the light of day.  That being said, I thought about the editing process and how I haven’t revisited the world in some time.

That’s when the idea hit me.  What if I wrote a series of short stories that fleshed out elements of the world and characters.  The thread that holds all the stories together would ultimately be the world that I’ve crafted in my fantasy novel.

So I’m working on a rough (very rough) draft of a short story, which will be hopefully the first of many.  This story centers around one of the main characters from the novel, a half-elven lazy drunkard by the name of Isac.  In the novel, Isac has little desire to do much else than wallow in his home, waste away at the tavern, and ignore the rest of the world around him.  The story I’m drafting tells how he discovered he has special powers and how he loathes everything about it.

Here’s a small bit of the rough draft.  I hope you enjoy. [Click below to read it.  I don’t want to take over people’s feed.]

Continue reading

Adventures in Book Making & Marketing

Image

It’s been a while since my last update.  I apologize for this, and I hope to remedy my quietude as we progress through the next several weeks.  Above are some of my physical chapbooks.  I still have a stack to finish and send out to backers, and I hope to use some time either today or during my impending “cold day” off from work to get ’em completed.

I suppose this post will focus a bit on the things I’ve learned from self-publishing:

  • There are some really awesome people out there.  Without them, my dream of becoming fully published in this capacity could never have come true.
  • It’s expensive to get things printed in color.  I can only imagine the cost of getting things done for more traditional binding.
  • Using a needle and thread is more difficult than I thought.
  • Promoting your work after finishing is proving to be the hardest part.  Been trying to get at open mic nights, but my attempts have failed thus far.

Any ideas from those that have gone the self-publishing route?

Anywho, I’m off!  If you haven’t checked it out, give a look to my chapbook:  https://gumroad.com/l/ChasingDistantHorizons

Recent Writing News: Chapbook PDF Now Available & Dark Crystal Contest

Before I get carried away, I want to start by wishing you all a Happy New Year!  Here’s to hoping it’s even better than the last!

A few months ago I launched my first Kickstarter campaign for a chapbook of poetry.  The campaign ended up raising a total of $700, which was far beyond what I had initially expected!  Today marked the release of the PDF version with the print and audio versions to follow in the near future.  If you missed out and wanted to consider buying a copy, it’s now available online!  Just head over to the following link and purchase it through Gumroad Publishing:

Chasing Distant Horizons:  A Poetry Chapbook

On top of that, I finalized my submission for the Dark Crystal Author Quest.  I started it back in November, but with holidays, final exams to grade, and general life getting in the way, I came to realize the deadline was right around the corner.  Two days of writing well over 5K words later, my submission is in.  I don’t consider it my best effort, but we’ll see if anything comes out of it.

I think that’s about it for now.  Don’t forget to check out my chapbook PDF and let me know what you think!