My Next Book

So while I work on getting my first novel published I wanted to avoid procrastinating and put in a conscious effort to work on another one. For now I am just trying to stay consistent with one page a day. I thought I would share the first three pages of “The Visitor” with you all.

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Abel had seen his reflection enough to know that the man standing on his doorstep was almost an exact copy of him. Abel was planning to give his visitor an earful for incessantly banging on his door, but he found himself speechless. Despite the thick beard and the soiled clothes, Abel was still drawn solely to the identical facial features.

“It seems like you recognize me. Sorry for not being dressed to impress at the moment.” The visitor smiled, seemingly amused by Abel’s blank expression.

“Who are you?”

“I have a lot to explain, can I come in?”

Abel wasn’t normally keen on inviting unannounced strangers into his home, but this time he didn’t hesitate to step aside. His visitor entered the foyer, scanning his surroundings as if he was searching for something: making Abel realize he may have made a foolish decision.

“Who-,” Abel began as he closed the door behind him.

“It’s complicated, and if I tell you you’d probably think I’m insane.” The visitor redirected his attention to Abel, and Abel felt his skin crawl as he made eye contact.

“I don’t think it’s much of a stretch if you say we’re related.”

“Not quite. Anyone else home?” Abel shook his head, and his heart began to race as he realized he might have made a mistake letting this stranger into his home.

The visitor raised his hand, revealing a cylindrical object about a foot in length.

Instead of making a dash for the front door, Abel’s fear immobilized him, keeping him rooted in place.

“What is that?”

“You sound more curious than worried. Good.”

Without further hesitation the visitor pointed the cylinder toward Abel’s living room, and then pressed one of several buttons located on the left side. A stream of light issued from the opposite end of the cylinder, spiraling out from holes located on the right side.

Abel jumped as he witnessed the spectacle in front of him, not knowing what to expect. He could feel his hair standing on end as the spirals of light created a single solid wall of white light that enveloped the space in front of him, the light stretched from the floor to make a perimeter around the walls. The visitor was obviously used to this sight and looked back at Abel to gage his response.

“Now that I’ve shown you this, I think it’s a better time to tell you that I’m not related to you. I’m not from this planet. I am from a different earth in a different dimension. I am here because I need your help. Follow me.”

The visitor might not be insane, but there was still the possibility that he was dangerous. Abel knew it would still be wise just to head for the front door and leave. But where would that leave him, scared to return to his home. And how would he explain this visitor to the police?

Abel’s curiosity was now overpowering his fear. He wanted to know what was on the other end of the portal. Abel dashed to the closet and took a few seconds deciding what shoes to bring, as if inter-dimension travel was a regular occurrence. Abel figured that since he didn’t know where he was going, he wanted the most practical shoes and selected a pair of sneakers.

Abel hesitated as he reached the portal, feeling a sort of gravitational pull emanating from the portal’s center. The pull wasn’t strong enough to drag Abel in, but it was enough to make him realize what a sudden turn of events he’d been subjected to. The intensity of the light began to blind him as he stood in front and it led him to take another leap of faith.

The World We Live In

I remember hearing a spoken word poet say that he hates girls who think being pretty is an occupation,

That was about ten years ago,

He must hate the world we live in now,

Instagram and Facebook have given birth to a new horde of girls pining for attention from horny friends and strangers on the Internet,

It is truly a bold new era for “models” or cats,

While some girls seek adoration for their bodies,

There’s also a new generation that seeks love, without any idea of what the word really means,

I’d like to blame chick lit and YA crap like Twilight for conditioning teen girls to think a healthy relationship involves latching onto their boyfriend like a lamprey,

However, I think Twilight would just be a scapegoat,

 

In the great Western world, we either have less important issues to worry about,

Or we ignore them with sedatives like reality TV and social media,

Even if we use social media to acknowledge the issues around us,

We usually just give a like or a share to show how involved, intelligent and compassionate we are,

Then it’s back to our daily cycle of pointless, unfulfilling, mind-numbing media

I am one step closer to getting published…

400,000 books published in 2007,

A small percentage of those made a profit, an even smaller percentage became best-sellers,

This is what one of the speakers at the Writer’s Digest Conference tells me, and about 100 other people seated in front of her,

She is there to educate us, to support us,

But part of giving guidance is helping us manage expectations,

There are millions of people trying to get published every year,

Motivated by support from their family and friends, and by the success of those who became before them,

We all believe that it is our destiny to share our story with the world, and become a best-seller,

Yet that can’t happen for everyone trying to get published,

The sad truth is that some people will be destined to keep writing only as a hobby,

Or to try the self-publishing route, where they will assume the role of agent, editor and marketer,

I am hoping that I can become one of the people who gets to see his greatest goal achieved,

I now have agents interested in seeing my work, which I want to edit thoroughly before I send to them,

Even if they do ask for the full manuscript, then they may still not want to represent me,

Even if they choose to represent me, it will be difficult getting a publisher,

Even if I get a publisher, there is no guarantee book stores will want to stock it,

Even with all the aforementioned guarantees, there is never any guarantee of a book selling well,

Although there is a myth of agents taking care of all the marketing and promotion, the truth is that I will need to be very involved in the process in order for my book to have any chance of success,

Despite all the potential obstacles, I am grateful enough to realize that I am taking a step in the right direction by sending my work to these agents,

I can honestly say that while I know a lot of work is ahead, I am looking forward to it.

 

 

 

So my Mac is water damaged.

Note: I wrote this piece on my Aunt’s computer, mostly as a way to take my mind off my situation and stay somewhat productive. The tenses came out a bit weird in this, since it starts with past tense and transitions to present. My professors would hate that.

Anyway…

So for those of you who saw my tweet, you’ll know that my mac got water damaged n Wednesday morning. Just how I wanted to start my day.

How?

Like many times before I had a glass of water nearby while I was working. A shift of a table mat was all it took to fill me with regret. Like many online help forums told me, I was an idiot for having water near my computer in the first place. Thanks guys.

As my mom says, accidents happen when careful people slip up. While many forums pretty much said I was screwed, some offered more helpful advice that could possibly help me and save me the trouble of repairing my computer or buying a new one. All the advice was pretty much the same: disassemble(really tough with a mac), let it sit in a warm room positioned so that it can drain the water for a few days. The tips were helpful but I was worried I already fried the computer by trying to turn it on within a few minutes of the accident. At the time I was panicking and did not realize that could just cause it to short circuit.

Throughout most of wednesday and thursday I worried. Worried about the cost of a repair or new computer (which I couldn’t afford), recovering my book, recovering the work I did as a research assistant, falling behind on my job search etc.

I knew that worrying wouldn’t help, but taking my mind off my potentially fried computer was easier said than done. I’m trying to to take my mind of things. I caught up on video games, watched a Jays game and went for my first run in a few months. Yet the mac keeps coming back to my mind. Most of my to do list depends on it. I like being productive, and my relaxation is tainted knowing that I was only relaxing so much because my main work tool is out of commission.

Worrying doesn’t help but I have to face the possibility of my mac never turning on or working again. I can’t help but think of the best case scenario, that my Mac turns on again and keeps working. I know some people online say they have had luck but I don’t know if I am as lucky as they are. I know that life simply sucks sometimes. As I write this on thursday I can only that luck is on my side this time.

D-Day

The beach was swarming with tourists,

People who travelled from other countries and continents to walk along a once-great battlefield,

Some took pictures, and even more took selfies,

Making the moment all about them,

Showing that they weren’t truly there to commemorate other people’s sacrifices

 

I could not ignore the real reason I came here,

I saw it all around me,

My shoes were already stained with blood,

The sand was soaked with it,

Every step I took made it squelch beneath me,

While others took a leisurely stroll, trying to picture what happened,

I rushed through, wanting to free myself from all the images and sounds that were assaulting me,

 

Arms, legs, fingers,

Some were still moving, only a few seconds removed from their previous owners

The tourists all around me obscured my view of the entire beach, saving me from even more images,

But the tourists would also be witnesses if I succumbed to the uneasy feeling in stomach,

 

I was almost off the beach now,

Sidestepping, pushing, whatever it took to make clear path for myself,

I passed the bulk of the tourists, with only a few stragglers ahead of me,

As I prepared to sidestep someone ahead,

They turned towards me,

In my haste I never noticed the tattered uniform they wore,

But now I could see the face, torn apart by shrapnel,

Skin hanging loose from the cheeks, exposing flesh and nerves beneath,

Eyes reduced to red craters,

 

As I looked away, I saw another uniformed man making his way towards me,

His intestines were hanging from a gash in his stomach,

Reaching down and staining the sand as he walked towards me,

His face was intact, but I could see the shrapnel embedded in the top of his skull,

 

They said nothing as they approached,

I didn’t know what would happen if they reached their target,

I ran around them, making my way for freedom,

As I did, hands began to spring from the ground beneath me,

Bloodied, lacerated, dismembered,

All gripping me with immeasurable strength,

I fell, I screamed,

But my screams were quickly muffled,

The ground beneath me seemed to sink, and I was sinking with it,

Soon I no longer felt the sunlight above,

Only darkness.

 

 

Trust and Comfort

It is one of the most important, intangible things that we can have,

Like all intangible objects it can be hard to find, and even harder to keep,

 

We can all relate to either losing someone’s trust, or having someone else lose ours,

What drives us to break promises, lie, and deceive?

Not just for the people we hate, but those we love as well,

Is it truly in our nature?

Are we inherently selfish beings, retaining the need for survival from our ancestors?

 

Yet while they fought for food, water and shelter,

We fight for money, social status, the opposite sex,

This is not to say we have no right to want these things,

It is a cliché to say our desires corrupt, but it is also a timeless truth,

I don’t believe we should or need to cast our desires aside,

Like any resource, they need to be relegated,

But that is easier said than done,

 

I have always wandered what drives the truly selfish people,

Those who routinely steal and lie,

Do they ever feel guilty for what they do?

Ever reflect on the misfortune they caused someone else,

Maybe they do reflect on this, but derive their own twisted happiness from those thoughts

Happiness is subjective, different people measure success in different ways

What are bullies after all?

People who derive satisfaction from other’s suffering,

We might try to justify their actions,

Say that they are just lonely, hurting people on the inside,

But I think we tell ourselves, and each other to hide the truth about the world,

It is comforting to think that most people are innately caring,

Instead of admitting that it is quite the opposite.

 

Hazard

The grass that once covered the field was long gone,
Beaten earth and stones were the ground’s only occupants,
Hundreds of feet now made their mark on the soil,
Belonging to hundreds of people gathered for one purpose,

Stone walls surrounded the field and blocked the group in,
Forcing them to form rows of twenty that stretched back to the horizon,
The oldest were at the back, with the crowd generally getting younger towards the front,
There was only one elder at the front, flanked by four young women
Although the elder would oversee what happened next,
The women were the ones that were truly vital for what came next,

As the elder walked towards the center of the field, the women followed,
Everyone else stayed in place,
The elder stopped directly above the center, not due to instinct,
But due to the circular red marker in the soil,
The soil was stained over fifty years ago, but the mark was still as vivid as the day it was laid,
It almost seemed to glow under the night sky

The elder motioned for the woman to form a circle, so that their feet touched the outer rim of the red stain,
They did as instructed, but the elder could tell they were nervous, reluctant even,
He couldn’t blame them,
They barely fit around the circle, and their toes nearly touched,
That was a good thing, it ensured that only one strike would be needed,
The ritual wouldn’t work with two

The elder turned towards the crowd, feeling their eyes piercing him
They had all travelled days to see this, and their journey would be over in a few minutes,
Without further hesitation, the elder withdrew the sword from his coat,
Four feet long, bloodstained, relentlessly sharpened over the past few days,
He didn’t want the woman to feel any pain,

He raised the dagger above his head,
“He rises!” The crowd shouted,
As the crowd shouted the woman made sure to straighten their necks,
The elder stood behind one of the women, with his back facing the crowd,
“He rises!” They shouted again,
He raised the sword to his right, using both hands to steady it,
It lined up perfectly with the girl’s necks,
Same height, same blood,
Four siblings, who were bred for this sole purpose,

The woman to his right died first as the knife cleaved her head from her neck,
As his arm continued its arch, the two in the center fell next,
Then finally the one to the elder’s left,

Their was one distinctive impact as the four heads hit the ground, directly in the center of the red marker,
The women’s legs acted as a cage, keeping the heads in place for those crucial first seconds where they may have rolled out,
As the heads came to a standstill, the women’s bodies collapsed,

Fresh blood poured from the severed heads,
Dampening the red marker,
Soaking it,

The elder could hear the deprived soil taking in the moisture,
It wouldn’t be long,

The elder retreated to the crowd,
Reuniting with the first row,
As he fell in line, he felt the ground shaking beneath him,
Small fragments began to break off from the stone walls around them,
Too small to do any harm,
Yet serving as confirmation that the ritual was working,

The elder didn’t hear any breathing beside him,
Everyone was still,
Muscles tensed, waiting for the culmination of their journey,
Everyone’s eyes were on the red marker when the ground erupted,

While the group remained untouched,
The center of the field became a geyser of soil and stone,
Ascending upwards and showering the entire field,
The elder shielded his face and the rest of the group followed suit,
When the rain ended,
Many of them were bloodied, especially those at the front,
There were lacerations to arms, legs and clothing
But nothing serious,

No one paid attention to their injuries,
Their gaze stayed fixed on the center of the field,
Much of the soil returned to its home,
But the explosion turned the solid mass into a series of uneven patches,,
He would be able to break through easily,

The hand shot out of the grave,
It was barely able to clutch the soil on the grave’s edge,
That didn’t concern the crowd,
They knew his strength would return with time.

Their savior was reborn.

Family

This weekend I celebrated my first 4th of July,
Family, food and drinks were plentiful,
Yet I did not enjoy myself,

Maybe it is important to add that I wasn’t with my family,
So although I was willing to embrace the new people I was surrounded with,
They were not willing to embrace me, unless they needed help lifting something,

My whole life I have hated cliques and the people who comprise them,
Close-minded idiots whose lives revolve around isolation and familiarity,
Yet I never realized that a family is nothing more than a clique bonded by blood,
Therefore, it’s the hardest clique to break into,

How many of us pride ourselves on our supposedly unique family traditions,
The exclusive memories, inside jokes, all the things that make us feel united to the relatives around us,
Even if we only see those people a few times or a year or spend most of our time wishing that we had more time away from them,
Don’t we all know relatives who have treated us worse than any stranger or close friend?
Don’t we all have a relative that we would probably not get along with if it weren’t for a blood bond?
Why do we remain loyal to these people: outdated ideas of familial obligation.

I could have spent my 4th of July with friends that I would have had a better time with,
I turned them down,
Not because I enjoy this family’s company more, or because I know them better,
I turned it down for the simple fact that they were family, as if that is enough to erase all shortcomings,
It’s not, and the belief that the badge of family shields people from criticism or hate only perpetuates familial pride

The Devolution of Man

I heard a joke by a preacher today,
He said you never see a hearse followed by a U-Haul,
Meaning that all of the possessions we work so hard for in life don’t follow us when we die,

The lesson?
Yet another one attacking materialism,
Coming from a man who probably pockets a decent portion of the church offerings,
Maybe he has a point though?
It is true that when we are dead, our valued possessions can no longer bring us comfort,
It is also true that money does not bring happiness,
How many adored celebrities have committed suicide?

We all know these lessons,
We read books, we watch movies that criticize our materialistic lifestyle,
Yet we never internalize their messages and make attempts to truly change our outlook,
We may have evolved over time, but we are still a species driven by competition,
Many of us are fortunate enough not to have to fight or compete for food, water, shelter,
So what do we do?
We compete for more frivolous things,
The newest phone, the latest shoes, the latest console,
We compete for more attention, more likes, retweets,
This is our struggle, these are our resources

Misery Versus Success

There is no official count, but I wouldn’t be surprised if 90% of the employed people on this planet are stuck in jobs that they either hate, or would gladly trade for another,
Maybe I am doomed to become one of them,
If I end up like them,
Stressed out by kids, debt and the myth of a better life,
Then I will have two moments to look back on with regret
Both moments were caused by my own bitterness and anger preventing me from seeing the bigger picture

The first one, the opportunity to go to a communications conference,
Instead of an opportunity I saw another annoyance from a family member,
A disturbance in my carefully planned schedule,

The second one, the opportunity to meet a literary agent,
This might mean nothing to most people, but for someone who has been trying to get their work published for years, it could be a one in a lifetime opportunity.
What led me to turn the opportunity down?
Anger at my circumstances, being stuck at a position in my life where I didn’t know where I was headed,
Where every work day felt like a way to pass time till the next opportunity,
I was not appreciative, did not realize I should have cherished every day,
Seen every day as a new opportunity,

I don’t believe in blind optimism, but I do believe that sometimes we need to take a moment to be grateful for what we have so that we do not imprison ourselves in a cocoon of misery