Monday, December 16, 2013

On Writing More Frequently

Well, hmmn... I rarely post here. Nothing special about that. Most blogs are rarely updated, or fall by the wayside with the frequency that makes me look like a daily virtuoso. Life happens, and I've been busy.

I started a new bout of employment in my chosen field after a long stint of unemployment for school and then working a retail job I loathed (and I have no qualms about saying that Burlington Coat Factory is almost as bad as Wal Mart for the way it treats its serfs), have put schooling on hold (it got me the current career path, so thankfully the time spent trying to decide if a transistor was an NPN or PNP didn't go to waste), and have been a combination of busy and stressed out that I really don't care to elaborate one. Suffice it to say that I wish I could share some of the runway sightings I have had, but that would end everything pretty quickly.

I'm now firmly ensconced in aviation work, and have an excellent set of coworkers and bosses. My home company even is progressive (or maybe just writing on the wall) minded enough to offer full benefits to workers in same-sex relationships, the pay is pretty good considering what I do on a daily basis, and the wife and I are eyeing some more changes to our lifestyle in the vein of hoping to improve our foreign language skills.

That's all well and good, and I'll be glad to be able to afford making a concerted effort at paying down debts and living like a human being instead of a cave dwelling servile, but it leaves me asking 'when will Roy get to write more frequently?'

The answer is a resounding "sometime soon." At work, we have a short pre-Christmas push to get ahead of our orders as far as possible. It's a normal thing, but it involves overtime on the week where Misses Skull One and I would be trying to clean house, package gifts, and make final arrangements - and overtime in my job is a harrowing, mind-numbing run of sixty hour weeks as a general minimum. Once that overtime is over, we're on the road to cross a large percentage of the continental U.S. to visit family and friends literally within 36 hours. That's going to lead to a week of driving, visiting, eating, and trying not to drink and smoke myself into oblivion. After that, it's back to work, and maybe if I feel like it I won't take a semester off from finishing an A.S. in what fast becomes a ridiculous degree plan with no real bearing on making sure big tubes of metal can be certified to fly based on whether or not I followed a set of rules.

Speaking of those rules, I may spend some time in some training; that will necessitate a schedule change to accommodate the trainer. A minor annoyance, which may or may not show up in poetry. I find myself drawn lately not to narratives, fiction, or essays, but poetry. I swear it's the weather and the strong pull of the Shinto shrine north of Seattle. Alcohol may help, though.

I really would like to get back to writing more often. I greatly enjoyed the longstanding fiction project that Misses Skull One and an old friend (who we will incidentally be visiting for the first time this Christmas) have allowed me to collaborate on. I managed to get a submission accepted for a charity book of flash fiction which benefits an elementary school on the first attempt to submit something for publication. That's gotta amount for something.

I keep imagining that someday, I'll be writing flight fiction or science fiction, of a kind like H.G. Wells. Did you know he wrote fiction about powered flight before it was a thing? I have since the eighth grade, thanks to a cheap book from Borders my father bought me as a birthday present filler. I never really appreciated that book until way later in life, but I'm grateful for it - I think it subconsciously formed some of my notions on what and how to write that all the other writing and reading I've done didn't.

I've droned on randomly long enough, so as a last random piece, I'll leave a transcription of a poem I wrote Gods know when, sometime in the last two years. It's a common theme in my longer poetry, something about aircraft and warfare. I keep imagining B-29s over the Pacific Ocean when I read it, since rediscovering it earlier today in a forgotten pile of papers.


Clouds race by us
Engines hum in time
As guns roar ahead

Dots in the red sun
Cruising past smoke and fire
A maelstrom follows

Peals of laughter climb
As if sparrows fleeing hawks
The vulture laughs most

Webs of condensation
Cross between puffs of thunder
Shattered glass rains

Wind hides chirps

Buzzing drones flit above
Green turns to flowers

Monday, October 28, 2013

Christmas Writings

Yes, I know it is early for Christmas since Halloween and Thanksgiving aren't even here yet, but this was an inspired piece. It was prompted by a submission for a writing group on Facebook which my wife had asked me to preview. It got me off of my can and writing for the first time in months, so I don't think I'll question the urges too much tonight. It was written as a piece of flash fiction to be submitted to a free anthology; I can only hope it will meet the editors' standards.

The Christmas Gift
By Ryan B.
eBook: Yes
Dedicated to my wife, without whom I wouldn't have a reason to write!

The television was awash with pictures of snowy forests, gaily lit houses, roaring fire places, and everything else that could possibly turn Thomas’ stomach. He was certain that if he bothered to watch it any further he might see a happy family unwrapping presents between the various television advertisements for department stores and specialty shops.
     “You want another?” Christy asked from across the bar. She was leaning against the liquor shelf with a cigarette in her mouth, watching the rain blat away against the painted windows of her corner bar.
     “Yeah, why the hell not?” Thomas answered, as he leaned back on his stool and fished in his jacket pocket for his own pack of smokes.
     “I warned you once already tonight, Thom,” Christy chided sternly from behind the taps as she pulled a fresh mug of light beer for him. “You ain’t allowed to swear in here any more than I am, dammit.” She grinned as she slid the octagonal mug across the bar mat to him, and grabbed a foil packet of peanuts from behind the bar.
     “I didn’t order that crap,” Thomas groused as he watched her open the package of Beer Nuts and dump it into a shallow bowl.
     “Merry Christmas from one schlub to another,” Christy offered as she shoved the plastic container to her friend.
     “Now you’ve wounded me!” Thomas exclaimed with false modesty. He was unrepentant about accepting her gift, though, and crammed a handful of peanuts into his mouth before raising his glass in a mock toast. “To Jesus! May he envy that which you charge me a buck for!”
     “Hear, hear!” bellowed a voice from the doorway. The reply caught Thomas off his guard, and he nearly spilled his mug in his lap before he recovered and turned to face the intrusion on his quiet night nearly alone.
     “Eddy!” Christy exclaimed with genuine surprise, her matted, greying hair bouncing as she whipped her head towards the newcomer. “I thought you was gonna be in Cali with your wife?”
     “I was,” the grizzled man in threadbare denim and leather answered as he leaned over the elbow of the bar and delt a soft kiss to the bartender’s cheek. “Problem is, they ain’t my family and I’ve been disinvited. Pretty sure there’s a divorce in the works.” He sat down, his soggy boots squishing as he planted his feet on the rails down below.
     “What for?” Thomas asked, glad of the diversion from the achingly sappy Christmas special on the television. The bar was devoid of customers, save himself and his off-and-on drinking pal.
     “She says I drink too much,” Eddy replied as he received his customary boiler maker and an extra shot. Looking up from under his driving cap, he grimaced. “I didn’t ask for this, Christy.”
     “T’is the Season,” she offered, as she stubbed her ultra-light cigarette in the ash tray she and Thomas had been sharing. “Sorry for your loss, bud.”
     “No matter,” Eddy said, slapping a pair of worn bank notes down on the battered wood of the bar. “Tommy here-“
     “Don’t call me that!” Thomas replied, as per their ritual.
     “Tommy here,” Eddy resumed without missing a beat, “He and I are gonna have a few drinks and keep you in business, and for once, you’re going to join us. Call it a real Christmas present.”
     Christy stared at the pair of ten dollar bills on her counter, and then shrugged before fishing her pack of cigarettes out of her stained apron. Both men watched her apprehensively; they had seen her eject life-long patrons for less, and Thomas suspected that Eddy was just as unhappy with the idea of having to leave the warm bar as he was.

     “Oh, what the hell,” Christy said, as she grabbed a mug from the hidden shelves below the bar and went to the taps. “Call it a present to a dear friend.”

Oh crap! I am alive after all!

So much has changed from a year ago - I've switched jobs, failed classes due to inattentiveness, moved on with my life, continued my degree... oh, and gotten a new job which puts me squarely in the field I desire, but I'm not going to prattle on about that kind of stuff.

Just a quick note before I start posting some writings I've been creating off and on, and a hearty "sorry" to those three who seemed to check in with me regularly.