Tuesday, October 12, 2010

So I'm a bad blogger. Did we already establish that?

... I need to get back to my posting-every-Thursday routine. Or something like that. I'm not going to apologize for the prolonged silence (life happens), so have some original poetry instead.

"Northern Passage"

Silver boatman, sing to me
eyes on the horizon, wrapped
in a shroud of the morning wind.
Grey the sky and grim the rain,
trickle-down ice over
the wilderness of wounded water,
Russian frost that cracks the air.
Chains in a cloud-churned sky.

Sing to me, silver boatman.
As the sunlight turns to ashes, let
it touch my upturned face,
whisper from Cherubim burning.
Tracks like tears down a sallow cheek,
let me taste the homeward lifting,
shifting of numb fingers on the
side of my little vessel, storm-tossed, wanderer. Sing to me.

Silver boatman, let me be.
O moon of winter,
toss your stars over the moving water, your
shadowed cape drawing o’er sight; bury the dead.
The bells of Skellig over rock and wave.
Let the gulls cry, words for me, shriek my soul what
cannot be said. O God.

Silver boatman, take me there.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine Years.

I was one of the lucky ones.

Though the destruction was horrible, it didn't touch upon my life directly. After all was said and done, things went on as normal.

I wish it could be said that everyone could say this.


"Tuesday Morning"

Roaring sirens in America completed their living entombed
So our times are times long over now?
Close up the windows?
Darken the room?

You reviewed your whole lifetime in an instant from birth up to death: every day.
One morning the images took you to a little corner office in a city far away.

We went walking out in this Prairie night to watch fireflys dancing bright.
You can't explain the way you feel.
You'd said you'd had a vision and what could be more real?

Distant calling in the memory, fulfilling our fate in its turn.
But our hearts are hearts so parted as to be made to seperate and suitable to burn.
The morning that we didn't believe in Karma, in the summer we got stung by a bee
When you had a most singular, amazing vision.
We sat on a hillside, you gave it to me.

Well, we went walking out this Prairie night to watch the city breathe a new, clear light.
You can't explain the way you feel.
You'd said you'd had a vision.
We are living out the vision and what could be more real?

--Nathan Rogers

Monday, September 6, 2010

Waiting Game

The first draft of "So You Thought You Couldn't Cut It" is complete. Turned in, and I've yet to hear from my publisher about any revisions that need to be made. Have I achieved the mythical perfect first draft? Ha, somehow I doubt it. It's only a matter of time before some boo-boo is discovered, and I am sent back to the drawing board.

In the meantime, I wait. I wonder how long it will be, until the book gets published. Until I can say that I'm professionally a writer. It's no small thing, aye?

I've been writing like a mad thing these past two weeks or so--knocking off a new piece of flash fiction every day. I'm averaging 2.5-3 pages a day. It staggers me, but I love it all the same.

Perhaps it's a bit of affirmation that I'm meant to be a writer.

I'd love to boost my followers here, purely to develop a base of supporters to help me as I start this journey. Any of the current followers feel like helping me out? Spread the word, post on Facebook. Let's make this a team effort, because I know I can't do this alone.

Ah, but I'm in a sentimental mood after having written a short romance today. I feel like sharing this, I do. So be at peace, readers. Be well. Tell someone you love them today.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday Afternoon, 3:53 PM. Thoughts.

The water is cool and trickling over my fingertips, my wrist, and I hold the icy metal Sigg bottle still against the lip of the fountain. Tremors in my right hand make the push of the button unsteady--the water rises and falls in a graceful, dipping arc and I find myself doing a little dance with the bottle to catch it all.

The vessel is filled; I want to linger in the lobby. It's hot today, 91.3 degrees outside, and this foyer is the only spot in my building with AC. The tiles are cold beneath my bare feet, a blessing. I walk on my heels right now because I blistered my soles, walking without shoes on burning sidewalks under the sun. I shuffle like a bear to the doorway, and wave my card-carrying wallet before the sensor to gain access to the hall.

My dorm, right there. The roommate's gone, it's just me and there is quiet. Lights are off, shadowy the way I like it, and that is good. Fans running, also good. I'll get used to life here, somehow. I did it last year.

I sit here typing and I hear the blare of a TV from the next room. My roommate likes the TV running, too. I've never seen her watch it, it's just a background noise that fills the air with the subtle sounds of drama or cartoons that wiggle on plastic-bright backgrounds while I work.

I finished Saga of the Volsungs, at least, as far as I need to read it. It's full of brutal people doing dumb things. Why do people in stories always do dumb things? Violence and incest and revenge and beating each other to death... McTeague was full of that, too. When I write my books, I at least want them to be less incest-y.

Little McCoy figure is standing guard next to my fan, his plastic medical PADD held at the ready. I like that. He's keeping an eye on my health, you know. Mono can't stand up to Space Doctors.

Empty fishtank on the other side. I intend to fill it soon. If the fish is red, the name shall be Rasputin (everybody sing! Ra ra...). Purple, he'll go by Donald McGillavry. I don't look for color though. I alway choose the angriest one I see. The one with the most life in them. Those are the ones that live. That's what Leo was. A fighter to the end.

I want to write something. I'm not sure what. Aside from rambling (boring) blog posts, does anyone have a prompt for me? I'm taking requests.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Original Poetry


It’s like forgetting something
like your mind
stifled in a bare room somewhere-where
slips into

It’s like forgiving
something like your
self it’s like arranging a
room full of mirrors where
a single breath can
I will quiver into

It’s like redemption but
without the taste

It’s like rain pattering
garbage on an empty waste

It’s like a sad song reaching no
one’s ears

It’s like a poet that nobody hears.

Copyright 2010 J. Coate

Monday, August 16, 2010

One of my favorite poems...

The Writer

by Richard Wilbur

In her room at the prow of the house
Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden,
My daughter is writing a story.

I pause in the stairwell, hearing
From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys
Like a chain hauled over a gunwale.

Young as she is, the stuff
Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy:
I wish her a lucky passage.

But now it is she who pauses,
As if to reject my thought and its easy figure.
A stillness greatens, in which

The whole house seems to be thinking,
And then she is at it again with a bunched clamor
Of strokes, and again is silent.

I remember the dazed starling
Which was trapped in that very room, two years ago;
How we stole in, lifted a sash

And retreated, not to affright it;
And how for a helpless hour, through the crack of the door,
We watched the sleek, wild, dark

And iridescent creature
Batter against the brilliance, drop like a glove
To the hard floor, or the desk-top,

And wait then, humped and bloody,
For the wits to try it again; and how our spirits
Rose when, suddenly sure,

It lifted off from a chair-back,
Beating a smooth course for the right window
And clearing the sill of the world.

It is always a matter, my darling,
Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish
What I wished you before, but harder.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

"So You Thought You Couldn't Cut It: A Beginner's Guide to Carving"

That's it, ladies and gentlemen--the name of my latest project. It's a children's instructional book, detailing the basics of woodcarving, starting with using sweet potatoes, of all things, as a beginner's material for carving.

As an aside, I should point out that sweet potatoes actually do make an ideal material for carving, especially for young children. They're quite easy to move a knife through. You can use a regular kitchen knife or pocket knife to carve them. After a few weeks, they harden into a woody, clay-like substance that lasts forever and yet still retains its shape. Neat, eh?

I'm actually rather humbled to have been chosen to participate in this project, along with master carver Jim Calder and photographer D.W. Maiden. Both are extremely talented artists, and I can only hope that my words can measure up.

At the moment, however, I must confess that the project's also my biggest headache right now. I'm trying to write out the steps for the potato carving sans pictures, and it makes for difficult going considering that I don't yet have anything to aid me. Unlike Jim, I am by no means a carver of any level. I can't just remember what it is I'm supposed to write. It's a tad frustrating.

But whining aside, I'm sure that this book will turn out just fine. I just need to get what I need and get myself together. Once I figure out what I'm doing, I'll be just fine. In the meantime, I'll write what I can and hope for the best. That's all I need to do, right?

I console myself with listening to Owl City and writing some fiction. But I shan't put off this project for long.

Well, I'm off to write some of the bits and pieces that I can do. Cheers!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Writing Sample--Contest Entry

Early in June, I summited my entry to The Schizophrenic Writer's blog-sponsered writing contest, under the prompt of "unexpected voices". What do you know, I had the fortune of taking first place and winning a little cash for my efforts!

Here is my winning entry for the contest, an untitled piece clocking in around 320 words.


Four dollars and forty-six cents.

For all that these box cutters are going to alter things irreparably, it’s a surprisingly small price to pay. She wonders if it’s a sign.

Mallory crouches behind the dumpster soundlessly, sobbing through her teeth. She rips the package open with her nails. Slides and clicks the razor blade into position.

She’s alone, she’s messed up big time, and in a few moments, it won’t matter anymore. The scars from her cesarean still ache with raw freshness, and her parents, states away, aren’t even aware of anything other than her college bliss. Knowing nothing of David. Or the baby. Or the fact that she’s arranging the blade so delicately over the whiteness of her wrist, like the needle above a record.

It won’t matter. It won’t matter. So very soon, it just won’t matter when…

Her hand is shaking. Cursing, Mal takes a little breath to steady herself. Looks up.

City streets around her, damp asphalt beneath her knees and crumpled paper, neon signs that flicker in the twilight haze. She can see one now, for a restaurant, it says “DON’T GO HUNGRY”.

But the later bit is blinked out, you see. Mal squints at the flickering green.




A single voice. So meaningless. So empty. Nothing in the grand scheme of things, it’s a sign, a stupid sign, not the kind she wants, not the human contact she so desperately craves. It’s a coincidence. Nothing more.

But still. But still. Under its light, she can’t do more than scratch herself.

Choking, Mallory hurls the blade away. Lets her body heave with gasping, mewling cries. Draws her legs to her chest and rests her face there, until the knees of her jeans are soaked in tears. She can’t even commit suicide properly. How stupid, how utterly worthless, how…

The sign flickers above her. DON’T.


Monday, July 19, 2010


Hello, world.

It's been a quiet, rainy sort of day today. Worn, almost. Sunny spells and scattered showers. As I sit here typing by the warm glow of my lamplight, I hear the crickets chirping outside my window and the soft strains of the TV in the next room. It's an evening touched by something calm, some yawning sense of ease and a peace on the tips of my fingers.

I am thinking about how strange it is, to be blogging.

But I've been advised to do so. For various reasons, but I won't burden any soul with the nature of my wandering into this apparently magic world. It's not important.

I'm a young writer, poet sometimes, and romantic at heart. Above all else, it's my dream to "make it" in the world of publishing and be able to write fiction full-time. For now, however, there are other things in the works. I am currently working on a project with master carver Jim Calder and photographer D.W. Maiden to create a how-to book for children on the basics of carving. More to come on that later.

Fiction's been put on hold for the moment, but my other projects do include a police thriller, of sorts, and of course the epic fantasy that I dream of being a work of true art.

I like to think I'm different than other young writers, in that I have every intention to accomplish my dream, a drive that consumes me day after day. Writing is what I do. It gets under my skin, swims my veins. I can't sleep for it sometimes. I've been given a gift, a talent, and my gut tells me that it would be wrong to do anything but use it to its fullest.

Maybe I'm slightly crazy like that.

If you haven't picked up on it yet, I've a great propensity for scene-setting and ceasless rambling. My bad (or, as the Brother-Creature would say, "Oopsie Poopsie"). But if there's anything I do love, it's sharing my passion with the world and reaching out to others to hear their voice as well. Which means, of course, that you must stop in and say "Hello"! I'd love to hear from you. You've met me and you've heard my dreams--who are you and what are yours?