Friday, March 18, 2022

tubular tuber, somehow soup

Alanna Artstew, fairy spud, whisks up words and serves them candied–a butterscotch forgotten under the table, bedazzled with dirt. Sticky treasure gravitates towards them, accumulates in speckled circles, pile files. Alanna's cast-offs congregation woos few, but those it enchants grow viscous, melting into each other + new versions of themselves; by embracing briars, they make room for hope.

Artstew boils queer temporality and self-mythology dyed by the ink of font books, mixes in slippery music with newsflash nightmare, and concocts rich soup, a constant spinning potion. Their aim is medicinal, their work incidental. Occasionally palatable. Alanna lives for the lyric.

Roll out the well-worn rug
Company's coming over
Discover treasure under tables
Trash dines on the floor

Alanna Artstew, all together tuber, hopes y'all liked the cake and wishes everybuddy everyday a happy new year -- what better time for revolutions!?



[[Write an eye-catching bio, aiming for fresh imagery and the language only you could assemble to describe you.]]

Saturday, March 12, 2022

spring beauty swoon song

March was starting to spring, the backyard was green and that was fine. Mama pointed at blobs in trees, that’s the downy woodpecker, that’s that old cardinal again would he just quit it, that’s that’s i’ll have to check my app. All their songs come down to “hey baby” in the end the birds radio mtv2 all align in constant cat call “do you want me or not?” i’ll tell you now i can’t tell the difference so dont be surprised cry outraged when i yawn at whatever cishet romance streams on some screen i’m telling you now i’m–

march spring green fine songs fade for the scrape of the door skipping in its track you slide smooth through eclipse the green damn the moon sun leo love shine spot light on you.
yeah you heard me flowers pale where my beauty blooms she slick sweet sidle all peach fuschia turquoise light’ll leave every corner block party to shine on her and see see sweet tea you step no shade pulse through me again run currents single file signal fire burn leo sun light shine your shine toward ripe black currants find hidden color purple petals ripe currants dew wet berry pulse pale me

you, electric, shine.

Nobody better bother yelling by now those songs of homogenous hope know better by now chatter simmer down. He’ll leave you by summer leaf green lost lover lonesome nest tattered under trees. Mama blessherheart collects wholest remains of homes forgotten when the chicks have flown.
Empty nest mantelpiece display. Romcom reboot every damn day.

Ours i’ve already told you, the humidity abysmal, 4 ceiling fans 1 floor and 2 window units, home stays hot april to october, we nested bodies heat it hotter dripping water dowsing divining spring green ground swell key hole of summer lover shiver sip her long days long tongue nights burn run on shine.



[[Wednesday's prompt -- We've spent a lot of time thinking and writing about hard stuff, haven't we? And though our trials are as individual as our tastes, there is one universal truth: we all want to love and be loved. Maybe we avoid the subject as writers because we don't want to risk sentimentality or greeting card poetry. But today, let's celebrate joy! Familial, romantic, plutonic, (and however we might describe love of nature, animals, and learning), let it be our subject today. Feel free to experiment with form and style--your only directive is to woo us.]]

Wednesday, March 09, 2022

patchwork

I've noticed I write about myself A LOT. I'd like to move beyond that, but maybe I need to purge some of these old stories before I can move forward...? I'm not sure how to deal with that. But my own experiences have been my main subject over these last 9 weeks.

Some themes I'm finding:
-- family (both biological and chosen), acceptance, connections and broken connections
--mental health, queer/trans identity, personal autonomy, dysphoria
--the constant quiet hum of everyday trauma in late stage capitalism, implications of privilege and oppression
--joy, performance, play, art, music, collaboration, looking toward a beautiful future built for/by everyone

Sometimes it gets pretty dark but I've attempted to include humor in various ways.

I guess pretty much I'm using my stories, micro experiences, to talk/think/feel/stumble through macro patterns of culture + society.... but that's kinda what creative nonfiction is all about isn't it?! stories let us see each other... okay so that's not really an insight.

Feels like I've moved through a lot of different tones and writing styles, which is making it hard for me to see how things could fit together. Unless it's just an oversized patchwork quilt.

I notice when I'm putting more thought/care into language, I write more for sound + rhythm. (maybe this is falling into old patterns tho-- too easy?) Lots of lyrical stuff happening. Other times, it seems more like rambling, a runaway train (or kite).

Of course y'all have different preferences so I'm not able to concretely say what has been "most effective." I often think of my self(s) in multiples so I never know whose voice is gonna show up. I wonder how important consistency is. A clown is infinite, anything is possible, so maybe I'm carrying that into writing too.... actually I think I hope I'm doing that!

The various prompts have been ridiculously helpful for thinking in new ways and finding stories hidden in places I wouldn't have expected. That has been such a learning experience and so much fun!

Any feedback or random thoughts about my random thoughts would be much appreciated! Thanks, buddies.



[[TUESDAY PROMPT: Spend some time thinking about the themes that have emerged in your work over the course of these ten weeks. Are there recurring images or topics? How might the snippets be woven together into a longer piece? It might be a good idea to print all of your responses to the prompts (including those that weren't related to the prompt but were part of your own projects). Can you see any connections? Please share your findings, so we can offer our insights as readers.]]

Tuesday, March 08, 2022

writing class wrap up

 hey future self! you are about to post all your prompts from this creative nonfiction class so far because guess what it's kind of what today's exercise is about! called look at everything we wrote and try to connect the dots. images, themes, etc. so WHAT BETTER TIME to carefully arrange these bread crumbs?! little lost loon. 

also i am telling you right now that you are NOT gonna be freakin ridiculous ocd about this like usual and put the exact time of day i wrote/posted these. no no no you are not. just get em in here, welcome welcome. 


also guess what, blogger fucking sucksssssss bc goog killed it dead and you have gotta get out of here. you know they fucked up the formatting on all your old posts. and now they have this nightmare box where you paste anything in from gmail or wherever and it automatically includes the background color???? what fresh hell is this! the old blogger would never be so stupid, as it would have known we all want our pink and tan boxes set up just right. please. cmon. goog. why. 

well you've looked at substack and patreon and ghost and blah blah blah 

no one wants to read any of this anyway

well maybe they do! what do you know about it! 

these little scrapples even? this stuff from class? it's just dribbles. blots. 

okay so they're blots. okay so what. you have been getting a lot of good feedback and maybe there's someone who wants to read this aka SOMEONE FOR EVERYONE as i keep trying to remind myself, yes yes yes there's certainly an audience for everything. because that is just the way the world works. i'm not so unique as to be unrelatable to every other person crawling round this rock. cmon. 

okay so shut up and post the posts and dont worry about the formatting like we said 

okay fine


p.s. you should also save the prompts you didn't write and maybe do those some time when you are stuck


just thought of another disclaimer (3:10pm) called i really am not bothering to post these on the days i actually wrote them. i'm just posting the prompts. sometimes i did 0 and sometimes i did 2 or 3. so dont go using this as an excuse of like ohh look when i wrote every day bc you fuckin diddnt


you couldn't take it anymore and you had to fix the formatting. and you thought no one (brett) would ever read the posts if they look so bad. so it's taking forever and you haven't done the homework! (4:19pm)

a sterilized send off

WEEK NINE - When Is It Finished?
In conjunction with "No Such Thing as a True Story", please write a scene from the point of view of someone with whom you've recently argued/disagreed. What does the 'truth' look like from his/her vantage point?


All the groups warned her this would happen.

"Sadly, this catches up with all us sufferers of environmental illness. First the establishment doctors, then our brainwashed friends and families. They just won't listen to the truth."

I never had to say "I don't believe you" for her to hear it. She stood at full attention waiting for the day I, too, would follow this unavoidable pattern. Just one more misery on top of all her other suffering.


The internet groups chorus, "Cut them out. You don't need more negativity in your life."

She's packing up her trailer with what few belongings she has left. Extreme mold avoidance protocols necessitated a "clean break," meaning she trashed everything she owned, as it could be either carrying or attracting toxins. Her bass. Her clown nose. The harddrive housing all our songs from 2019. Her phone, car, computer. Every few weeks, she buys new clothes, tents, sleeping bags for temporary use, then dumps them when they've absorbed the toxins escaping her body. To donate them would be irresponsible.

We used to call each other "creative soul mates" and now we can barely breathe the same air. Literally. She can't come inside my house, as most buildings in our humid town trigger her mold symptoms, which include debilitating physical reactions as well as anxiety, OCD, and self-harm. That's why she's moving into this trailer, planning to park somewhere with good air.

I struggle to find words that won't sting. Every interaction a mine field. If my concern crosses the border of total agreement, I turn enemy. My poisoned position sparks a flare up; she's compromised, unreachable. Her mind and body retaliate but she takes all the hits. I'm helpless. My truth can't not hurt her.

So just smile and step back. Feel complicit in your deference. Hope for the best.

"Good luck on your trip!"

Wednesday, March 02, 2022

not quite quotes

What is your favorite quote about writing or writers? Explain...


I reach, but recall fails me. A cavern holds the memory of treasure, as each tide swishes in and steals whatever's sat there. Not a damn thing stays where I put it, and that's a promise.

Say, “a scroll in the morning is death to a writer,” which I saw, would you believe it,
on social media, and though I’ve mangled the original words, I do believe it –
screens steal our sacred thoughts, which may be even eviler than their theft of our time.

“They took as they tasted the best of my wine; they took me down dancing the rape of the vine.”

In my own quote, I thought I was quoting another poem, but I can’t find it– whose words are they, then?

I’m nearly sure Adrienne Rich told us poetry might be the purest form of art, in that its very essence could never be commodified or captured by capitalism. I’ve hung my hat on this one for at least a decade, so deeply I want it to be true but meanwhile shrink and sniffle at even the idea I could wear that wondrous robe, “Poet,” and those that do, bless you, bless you. I think I need to trust that there’s a secret room, locked to merchandisers and advertisers, where Truth will bloom and not be plucked, where Beauty fruits and Ugly struts, without the compromise of commerce tying y’all in knots.

Where is diction’s temple? The sanctuary of verbiage?

“The rebellion of art is a daily rebellion against the state of living death routinely called real life.” And if that doesn’t rattle your bones, I don’t know what will. Jeannette Winterson peels back the curtain of certainty (the pinprick of history we cling to as canon), reveals the stage of flesh as the show itself–a play of finite bodies treading the boards of the infinite. We make to move beyond. We must.


(alt title= constructing a home for language)

Tuesday, March 01, 2022

digging or the hole story

[[Write a Q & A between you and your inner voice.]]


Q

What are you doing down there?


A

Huh? Oh I’m digging a hole. Don’t fall in.


Q

I don’t intend to. But why?


A

Because I don’t want you to get hurt!


Q

Thanks, but why the hole?


A

Well that’s a secret. Pah! I can’t believe you’d ask such a dingus question.


ALL titter.


A

I’ll just say, I hope everyone will fit. 


Q

In the hole?


ALL

It’s a secret secret! 
They have to fall in! Us too!


A

G D it y’all. 


ALL

It’s part of the show! 
What a show!


Q

What’s a show? 


sighs deeply and rests their forehead on the end of the shovel.


ALL

We fly the kite and you can’t help but be dragged along and you laugh and then you fall in the hole and then we all laugh together in the hole.


removes gloves and lets them drop to the dirt.


Q

Kite? 


ALL

YES we ride on the line like ribbons! 


A

You most certainly do not! Have you ever even seen a kite with ribbons?!


Q

Well, sure, a kite with ribbons!


A

Really?? Or are you just imagining a drawing?


Q is stumped. ALL shuffle their tiny feet and look at the ground from their various perches in and around the hole. At least one is sitting in a tree, gnawing on the same branch they’re sat on. Someone is drawing in the dirt, a picture of a kite with ribbons on the tail.


A

See?? I can’t fly the kite with ALL of you AND the whole audience! 


Q

Audience? 


scrunches up their face in frustration.


A

Crumbs, I've done it now! 

(to ALL) 

See what you made me do???


ALL

We’re sorry, we’re sorry. We love you, We love, We you, We did together, Sorry. 


A collapses with a thud and sighs even deeper than before. ALL cautiously approach. rubs their hands over their face, smearing dirt everywhere. It’s unclear whether this is an accident. Meanwhile ALL climb onto A’s lap, shoulders, and head. They sort of soften into each other.


A

It happens every time. I never get that far before they mess it up. (whispering) I know, I know, you don’t mean to.


Q

Can’t they all stay with you, like they are now?


A looks bewildered and miserable.


Q

Instead of on the kite’s tail, I mean. If that’s the trouble. 


A

Like, let them come along when I fly the kite? But the audience would see them.


Q

Nah, they’ll be looking at the kite– 


ALL TOGETHER 

And then they fall in the hole! 


ALL applaud and practice falling into the hole. 


A

Well! This ditch isn’t gonna dig itself you know! 


Q picks up the discarded shovel and gets to it. ALL gather sticks and stuff themselves into the work gloves to carry on with digging. gazes at them all bemusedly, knowing they’ll never be rid of each other.


A

Might as well let everyone play.

Monday, February 28, 2022

cut scene

For today's prompt, try writing something that elevates the absurd to the obscenely absurd (remember the infant on the chopping block from the lecture).



“So she's on the rope ladder, being lifted up into the spaceship by her crew, and remember this comes after she leaves the sinking clinic in the swamp and she’s walking around planet Chattanooga noticing all the little fuckin weird aliens and they’re singing along with her, yeah the one about cycles of life, yada yada yada. So she's hanging on the ladder, swaying in the wind, what if she actually DOES fulfill the prophecy of blood rains? Do you see what I'm getting at here? The captain’s just had a bortion.. she's in the air... what if we just have some, you know, some fetal tissue or whatever land on somebody's face, like the cult leader or whoever, whoever's watching her take off? Eh?”


I crack myself up sometimes. I convinced the team this was a great idea, real comedic genius this one. Unfortunately I already got rid of the stuff from last time. Well of course I did, I didn't think I needed it anymore! But that's the clown gods for ya. And they already got me good, considering how I'm directing a movie about a spaceship captain getting a bortion, and then I'm a space movie captain getting a bortion. What are the odds!


But to hell with it, if we need a fresh bucket-o-blood, lemme see, if I time it good, I get gut-bugged in a couple months and go in for round two, I mean let's be real, it's all about authenticity, am I right? Once we've finished the alien puppets and tinfoiled the cockpit set in Brett's garage, then I'll get serious about getting busy. Look we only get one shot, we better do it RIGHT!


“So the guts fall out of the sky, land on Jesse’s face, and what if, stick with me here, what if he eats it! Eh?”