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?