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The Aztec Story - A Process Analysis

"Her name is Alejandra Maria Yaotl, and she is desperate to squat here, in this ribbon of grass between armies, to defecate. But her knees do not permit squatting, and she knows the desperation is only a great, killing mass in her bowels making demands of the failing body it consumes from the inside out, a little more every day. So she walks; strands of white hair blowing about her eyes, bent spine unable to straighten, papery hand gripping the rough wooden knob of a cane. The punishing sun shines down on a spill of engine oil, a pool of chlorophyl, a gob of intestine crushed into the soil. Behind, there is a shuttle with a weeping grandson at the helm who begged her to stay home and die in peace. Ahead, there are the towering gates of a city-state that teaches its people how to perform it, a continental theatre of violence caked in the blood of its sacrificial victims, the place where she will die one way or another." - D is for Duel, forthcoming in D is for Dinosaur

About nine years ago, I read a problematic book entitled How Good People Make Tough Choices: Resolving the Dilemmas of Ethical Living by Rushworth M. Kidder. In it, Kidder presents simplistic ethical dilemmas wherein the answer to the problem is embedded in the question itself and uses these to argue that humanity shares a set of core values. He further argues that everything outside these core values is a right vs. wrong issue. In short, he uses trite ethical dilemmas to argue for metanorms and moral objectivism.

Hush, Monster

I'm seeing quite a bit of soldiering on among my writing colleagues and friends right now, and I thought I'd share this little poem with you all in solidarity. It isn't terribly polished or suitable for submission anywhere, but I wrote it in one of my own soldiering on moments this week.

Hang in there, friends.


Hush, monster. I am working.
And sit over there, if you please.
There is little enough space in this room,
and you sprawl unconscionably.

If I can sit in this corner, with my small lamp, and write
until night falls, at last, across my attic window -
and if there is music enough to drown the drone of your breath,
that might be enough, might just be enough.

I know you're hungry, and I know that you exist on one food alone,
but I've already fed you so much, and you are too fat now.
Can you not sit over there in the long shadows and lurk awhile?
I'm getting to the good part.

The Year in Writing (Among Other Things), and Awards Eligibility

It's New Years' Eve, and the most exciting thing I have planned for the day is a little work on the AF1 novel and an evening date with Scott Lynch's Republic of Thieves followed by John Twelve Hawk's essay Against Authority. It's been a good year on balance; we lost our beloved cat Winter in January, and we went through a dry spell late this year while Triskele Media navigated out of one tech contract into another, but we also went to England in June (a perfect time to see the country), and I had my best writing year yet.

Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia Regional Co-Coordinator for Cape Breton

Just a quick note here. I chatted with the folks at the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS) when I was a guest at Hal-Con, and they mentioned that Cape Breton needed a regional coordinator. Since then, another Cape Bretoner has volunteered, and I've thrown my name into the hat as well, so it looks like we'll probably be splitting the job.

All this by way of saying that if you have any ideas about the sorts of writing events you'd like to see or participate in here on the island, I hope you'll let me know. You can drop me a line via social networking or via the contact page on my web site.

State of the Writer on the Threshold of Winter

Last weekend, I attended a much-needed meditation retreat, received excellent meditation instruction from a kind and patient teacher, spent time with good people...and outlined a brand-new trilogy in my head. It's the most straightforward thing I've ever considered writing, and it's relatable to a lot of what's already in the market. As it happens, I think these two factors detract from the work, but I like the core idea quite a bit, so I'm going ahead with it.

Writing Through an Emotional Block

What writers do is hard. We weave stories out of our brains, our hearts and the bits of life we've gathered along our respective journeys. If we're doing it properly, we're also bleeding a little; showing you what we love, what we hate, who we are. And when we're done, we cast our creations out into the world, where they more often than not are rejected, over and over again, sometimes never finding a home outside our own self-publishing efforts.

It's enough to wreck you a bit.

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