Amy’s Song is Now Available!

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Hey everyone!  As promised, I’ve made my short novel, Amy’s Songavailable to purchase.  I decided, since the work is short and I just wanted people to be able to read it without my having to spend a ton of money, to make it available through Kindle.  I am not sure if I’ll publish it in a different way than this, but at this point, I doubt it.  I just wanted it to be available in an easy-to-read and purchase platform.  Since it’s a short story, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money that I don’t have, because I don’t care about making money off of it, so this was the best way for everyone, I think.  It is available to purchase for $0.99, or you can read for free if you have Kindle Unlimited.  Check it out HERE.  I’ll also have a page on this blog for the book, so check that out!

This may very well be the most terrifying post I’ve ever written, to be honest with everyone.  It’s super scary putting your work out there sometimes.  But hey, everyone has to start sometime, right?  Better to try and fail than not try at all!

I’m just happy to finally have a conclusion to this little project from last year.  Now, on to new things!

Until next time.

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The Dream

“The Dream”

Dr. Sorosky pushed up his glasses and stared through Caleb.  Caleb was facing away from him, but he could still feel his cold, blue eyes burning a hole into the back of his head.  How long had they been in this room?  Minutes?  Seconds?  Months?  Caleb couldn’t remember, because he couldn’t remember the last time he saw the sun.  All he could hear was the ticking of the clock on the wall.

“Let’s talk about your dreams, Caleb,” the doctor spoke with a soft, low tone.  “Are you still having the same dream?”

Caleb lost his breath, and turned the side of his face towards Dr. Sorosky.  He nodded his head.

“Tell me.”

He shook his head violently.  Tears welled up in Caleb’s eyes, and he picked at his fingers.

The doctor sighed, “You will never get out of here if you do not talk to me.  We can do this now or another time, but you will talk to me.”

He started to get up from his chair, when Caleb let out a quiet shriek.  “Does this mean you’re ready?”  Sorosky shot a cold glance at him when he spoke.

“Yes,” Caleb spoke in a quiet, defeated voice.  He hung his head, while Sorosky sat back in the chair and pulled out his notebook.

“Go on, when you’re ready.”

Caleb laid back into his chair, his eyes staring at the ceiling.  He focused his eyes and his mind into a small square of mold, and slowly, slowly, drifted.

He rose from the seat, and was alone in a dark hallway.  Blue lights flickered.  Even though the floor felt cold on his bare feet, the air was warm.  He moved forward until he saw a face.  It was a man, smiling.  He had seen this man countless times before, but he did not recognize him.  He was younger than Caleb.

The man walked over to him and gently grabbed his arm, wrapping his around it, and led Caleb down the hall.  They walked quietly together for a while, until Caleb asked, “Where are we going?”

The man let out a chuckle, and replied, “We’re going back home.”

Caleb nodded his head, but he didn’t understand.  He looked around as they walked, but he couldn’t see anything.  The hallway was darkly lit, and the walls looked like stone.  There was nothing.

“Who are you?”

The man laughed really hard at his question and stopped walking.  “I’m someone you should know really well.”

“But I don’t recognize you.”

“I looked a lot different when you last saw me.  But I’m surprised that you don’t remember me this way.”

Caleb tried really hard to remember.  He looked harder at the man, and touched his hair.  A huge clump came off when he did.

“Oh!  Oh, I’m sorry…” Caleb recoiled his hand.

“That’s okay,” said the man, “it’s supposed to do that right now.  Come on, let’s keep walking.”

After a while longer of walking, Caleb noticed that windows started to appear on either side of them, staggered.  He saw people inside the windows, and they seemed to not take any notice of them or the hallway.  He saw a woman with her baby, he saw children playing, and he saw a boy in a hospital bed.  He watched their lives play out, completely silently, and it felt eerie.

“Who are all these people?”  Caleb stopped to focus on a man kissing a woman.  When he looked back at the man, he had aged.  His hair was gone, and he looked frail.

The man smiled at the couple.  “Do you remember this night?”

Caleb squinted.  He thought he recognized the couple, but he couldn’t remember from where.  The woman, he thought, was beautiful.  He wanted to look at her forever, so he stayed at the window until they faded into darkness.

“What’s happening to you?”  Caleb asked the man as he held his hand tightly.

The man smiled, “You were always strong.  And happy.  You were always happy, even when you were sad.”

Caleb looked into the man’s eyes, and remembered.  He remembered everything.  The man smiled and walked back down the hall as the young man he first encountered.  Caleb turned and walked forward until he got to a door.  As he opened it, the sunlight hit his face.  He took a deep breath, and as he let out a sigh, he felt light and free.  He heard Dr. Sorosky’s voice:

“You may go now, Caleb.”

Caleb walked through the door.

 

Copyright 2014 Meg Swensen

Poe, Poetry, and Spookiness

Last night, we watched The Possession (streaming on Netflix), as part of our 31 movies for Halloween.  It wasn’t good.  It was boring, and really a very lame version of The Exorcist.  It had an interesting concept in theory (instead of the regular Catholic demon, we had a Jewish one!) but they focused WAY too much on the family drama, to the point it became redundant.

Anyway, moving on…

Today, I’d like to share a poem by Edgar Allan Poe.  No, it’s not “The Raven,” but you really should give that a nice read because it’s so classically spooky.  In fact, read with someone else.  I personally feel like poetry should be read aloud and with others.  There’s something intimate about it.  This one is called, “Spirits of the Dead” (1827).

Thy soul shall find itself alone
‘Mid dark thoughts of the grey tomb-stone;
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.

Be silent in that solitude,
Which is not loneliness-for then
The spirits of the dead, who stood
In life before thee, are again
In death around thee, and their will
Shall overshadow thee; be still.

The night, though clear, shall frown,
And the stars shall not look down
From their high thrones in the Heaven
With light like hope to mortals given,
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy weariness shall seem
As a burning and a fever
Which would cling to thee for ever.

Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish,
Now are visions ne’er to vanish;
From thy spirit shall they pass
No more, like dew-drop from the grass.

The breeze, the breath of God, is still,
And the mist upon the hill
Shadowy, shadowy, yet unbroken,
Is a symbol and a token.
How it hangs upon the trees,
A mystery of mysteries!

Don’t worry, you won’t get a literary interpretation from me.  I love this poem, that’s all I’ll say.  Take what you will from it, delve into the imagery, and just have fun.

Until next time.

Recommended Readings: Pedro Páramo

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I’m going to do something a little different this month in replacement of the normal creative writing posts (although I still might do one later on).  I’d like to recommend some readings to get everyone in the Halloween mood!  I won’t recommend long novels, like Dracula, though you should take your time at some point and delve into some of the horror classics if you are so bold.

My first recommendation is a book called Pedro Páramoby Juan Rulfo.  It’s a short novel, so you could probably get through it in a couple of sittings.  But seriously, it’s one of my favorite books OF ALL TIME.  It’s so eerie and beautiful and… oh you just need to read it.

I’d hate to dumb it down by calling it a Mexican ghost story, because it’s so much more than that.  When you read it, the entire story feels like you’re walking through a dream.  For such a short novel, the characters are incredibly well developed.  The town it takes place in, Comala, is also well developed, and I consider to be a character in its own right.

I don’t want to give away anything in the book, so here’s the quick recap.  A man, named Juan Preciado, promises his dying mother that he will visit his father, Pedro Páramo in his hometown of Comala.  When he gets there, he finds out that it is LITERALLY a ghost town.  All the people there are ghosts.  The story alternates narratives of when the town was alive, and when it “died.”

Upon doing a quick Google search, I’ve found that there is also a movie adaptation from Mexico, from 1967.  Read the book.  Seriously, a movie could not do this story justice (and no, I’m not one of those “the book is better” people).

And a final note:
This is my personal, and often controversial opinion about literature.  When it comes to highly allegorical/metaphorical pieces of work, like this novel, people tend to agree on one meaning of it, and it sticks through time.  However, even when the author comes out and states his/her meaning, it does not always need to be true.  This is the problem with the film.  It’ll spell it all out for you.  Somewhere in literary criticism, we decided that certain symbolic things equaled particular meanings (i.e., dove = peace/eagle = freedom, etc), and one could not deviate from that.  And we also tend to always read literature from a Christian lens (mainly because most of the authors have that background, so we assign it to all their works).  Is this wrong?  Of course not.  But do you need all of that to enjoy a story and get depth out of it?  Definitely not.

So go to the local bookstore, get this book.  Or go to the library.  It’s a “ghost lite” story, meaning, it’s a little spooky, but by no means scary.

Until next time.

Don’t Sit on It

Someone posted on Facebook that Flight of the Conchords is returning to HBO.  Now, I don’t get cable, let alone HBO, but I’ve never been more excited about a show coming back.  I’ve put it on a mental note to Netflix it.

So far, that’s the highlight of my morning.  I’m currently getting the windshield on my truck replaced, so I’m stuck for a little while.  Oh yes, my book will be done soon.  And by done, I mean it’ll be heading into the editing stage.  My goal is to have it out by the end of the year, which I think is totally possible.  I plan on e-publishing, and then I’ll consider print to order and other modes later (including a publishing deal, if I can get one).  I just want it out.  A lot of writer advice blogs will actually tell you to “sit on it” if you can’t get a publishing deal because “the world just might not be ready.”  I think that’s silly.  In fact, I think the entire writing world can get a little snobby about things.  If you’re proud of what you did – of this thing you created – why sit on it?  We live in a time where you can release it any way you want!  There’s no need for publishers, unless, of course, you want people to read it and to make money…

I’m being cheeky.  But in all seriousness, it would be really nice to make money off my book, but that’s not my goal with it.  I just needed to write it, and send it out into the world.  I think my mindset is a lot more like a poet (which is the kind of writing I mostly do) than of a story writer.  But I digress…

At the beginning of every month, I re-evaluate my goals to make sure I’m going where I want to go, and that it’s still the right thing for me.  This month, I’ve only done a few slight tweaks, which I consider to be a sign that I’m getting better at planning out my future.  Perhaps.  We shall see.  I still have a lot of Doctor Who to watch, so that may put me behind in my goals…

So there you have it.  My update.  Sorry for the short post, but I’m honestly so sleepy today and my mind is wandering.

Until next time.

 

 

“You Did Not See Me”

You Did Not See Me

When I walked into the room
You didn’t turn to look
You didn’t see my face
You didn’t see my eyes
You sat there staring into the wall.

I said, “I’m leaving now.”

Your fingers gripped the cup you were holding
But you did not look
You did not see the tears in my eyes
You did not see the tremble in my lip
You did not see me leave.

My footsteps echoed down the hall
The silence rang in my ears
My thoughts looked forward
My heart listened back
And it heard the creak of your chair.

You did not come
There was no ending
I just left, and you stayed there forever.

Copyright 2014 Meg Swensen

 

More CREATIVE WRITING

“Now and Tomorrow”

I don’t normally write love poetry, but I found this little one in my journal.  Enjoy.

“Now and Tomorrow”

When the scariest moment
Was telling you I loved you
When I just couldn’t find the words
But my heart spilled onto the page
And the music sang out in the sky
You made me free.
We have more than a song
We have a band, a lifetime
I have the world in your eyes
I want to live in it now, with you.

To say I’ll catch the stars
And put them in your eyes
Would not begin to do me justice
All I have is my heart
And the promise that it is yours to keep
I love you now
And I want this moment to last forever.

Copyright 2009 Meg Swensen

For more creative writing, click HERE.

“Do the Tears I Cry Fall to the Floor?”

Do the tears I cry fall to the floor?
No, they are buried inside
Burning, burning all hope of pain and sorrow
Until the keeper comes to make the bed
This cut doesn’t bleed, but laughs out loud
And I am left dead in the darkness
She touches my face and I hate her cold fingers
As they scratch little holes in my wall
She calls to him, and he walks with one eye on the side of his face
I reach to him but he is not there and neither is she
And the holes are actually my heart.

Copyright 2009 Meg Swensen

“Reflections on Light”

OK, this week I decided to do something different.  I’m going to share a poem I wrote, circa 2009.  I may do that occasionally.  Share old things.  Enjoy.

“Reflections on Light”

When will these winds stop blowing blue?
They’ve got me considering my own condition too
Old books, they batter my Muse
None of my pages are bare with you.

Shadows of the seen
Shadows of the green
Shadows of the dream
Shadows of light between the seams of the beam

To seek the syncing beat of time
I’ll find no inspiration in color this time
Not when nothing in my mind seems to rhyme
It gives me chills to know all these pieces are mine

Last night I dreamt that I lied
Shot in the head, but did not die
The light on the wall was my guide
But I just sat there with my hands full of knives.

Copyright 2009 Meg Swensen

Letters from Lily

Jake rested his hand on her coffin.  It was a dreary and rainy day, and he smiled to himself.  He thought how much she would have criticized how cliche it was that it rained on her funeral.

There were over a hundred people at the funeral.  Friends and family came and cried and left roses.  People were most sympathetic to Jake, even more so than her own parents.  Everyone knew what she meant to him.

He hadn’t really brought himself to mourn her death yet.  To him, Lily was playing a cruel joke and would pop up behind a bush at any moment.  He dreamed about her every night – about them laughing and her smile.  Jake couldn’t accept that he would never see his best friend again.

When the funeral was over he went back to their apartment and sat on her bed.  He took a deep breath, and let it out slowly.  Her room really was messy.  She hated cleaning.  He absentmindedly felt around her mattress, and pulled out a book.  He knew she kept a journal.  He rubbed it with his fingers while he decided if he wanted to open it and read it.  Again, he was afraid she’d catch him in her elaborate hoax.

He opened it.  Lily wrote about everything.  Not about the day to day things, but she wrote about all her feelings.  Jake’s face contorted to an ugly mess and tears ran down his cheeks.  He leaned back on her pillows and read and cried for hours.  When he finally got to the end, at a blank page, he sat up and rubbed his eyes.  But when he looked back down, there was writing.

“I can’t come back, Jake, but I love you.”

Jake tossed the book to the other end of the bed.  Clearly, he felt, he’d gone crazy and just missed something when he was reading.  He carefully picked up the book and looked at it again.  The page was fresh, but the writing remained.  He stared at it.  There was no more writing after that one.  He looked around the room.  Maybe she knew something beforehand?  Maybe she meant to leave the message?  Maybe it meant something else?  He shook his head.  He looked at the journal again.  There was more writing.

“I can’t see or hear you, but I know you miss me.  Don’t miss me too much.”

He didn’t know what to think, but he decided to go along with it.  Besides, even if he was going crazy, there was no one around to see it.  He grabbed a pen from Lily’s desk and wrote in the journal.

“I love you too.”

Then he waited.  After a while, he paced the room, but he waited for a long time.  He looked at the journal one last time.

Nothing.

Jake decided to put the journal under the bed and go to sleep.  He once again dreamed of Lily all night, and saw her once again.  When he awoke the next morning, he ran to her room and grabbed the journal and flipped through the pages.

All the writing from the night before was gone, including the things he wrote.  Not one mark.  He shut the book for the last time and smiled.  Lily did catch him after all.

Copyright 2014 Meg Swensen