Written Word

And then there were three…

In the darkness, they shivered, trapped, looking around wide-eyed and blind. Golden moonlight dripping down, down, down, until there was nothing left but his silver, skeletal remains.

They would not survive this. And yet, they couldn’t leave him. Huddling together, grabbing onto one another’s arms, hugging close, they awaited the gates to open.

The pool of savory sorrow grew, leaking toward them. Closer.

Closer.

Stream of Consciousness

The Secret to Stories

If I give it claws, we’ll talk about the monster in us.

If I give it fangs, we won’t look away from what society tells us is too uncomfortable to linger on.

If I make it a world we don’t live in, we can look at the things we don’t want to talk about. Perhaps we can find the strength to do something about it the next time we see it.

If I make its eyes glow, we’ll think about the pain we want to hide. Maybe we will find a way to deal with it too.

If we have to suspend disbelief, we can poke at our childhood programming, our insecurities, our secrets.

 

Stories don’t judge us. They open us up to the possibility of change, connection, hope, and purpose. They give us new perspectives on things society labels for us (as if we don’t have brains or hearts to decide for ourselves). Stories give us the option to define our own life, our own self, and realize we’re not that different after all.

A black grandpa can read the same story as a white single mom. They can both recognize love when it’s being denied, the pain of a child dying, the need for someone in this world to see us for who we truly are.

 

Stories show us what’s broken and what’s beautiful. They give us a safe place to peel back the layers of this life without anyone mocking us or telling us we’re wrong or bad.

Stories give us heroes with fantastic abilities, somehow making it easier for us to love them when they mess up, hurt, and prove they aren’t perfect. It gives us a little more leeway to be imperfect ourselves.

 

There’s a certain magic to a story, whether there’s anything fantastical or whimsical in it or not.

If we read a story about a monster with a heart, it doesn’t hurt so much to look at the monster within ourselves. Only then can we do something about it.

Stream of Consciousness

A Year of Learning

What have I learned?

I’ve never been one of those writers who stares at a blank page and doesn’t know what to write. Even if I didn’t have a plan, a plot, or so much as a character in mind to write about, I could go on and on, creating rampages and mysteries and banter until I fell asleep or someone waved a chocolate in front of my face.

Funny. I’ve been staring at this blank page for hours.

What have I learned this year?

Something I didn’t already know…

How do you take a year of life and ball it up and hand it to someone? Better yet, put it into words and splash them across paper?

Perhaps a few more hours shall pass before I know the answer to that one.

What have I learned? …

 

I’m worth it.

 

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Shadow Poetry

Marble Tongues

Maybe when it drops down

We’ll make sense of it

Maybe not

 

If the sun drips sapphire

It might burn to the bone

Maybe simply warm

The ashes

Until they catch fire

 

If we drown in our riches

Perhaps the earth will sorrow

Or perhaps she’ll sigh

And drink down the blood

An offering to the carrion

To restore balance

 

Maybe when it falls down

We’ll make a foundation of it

Maybe not

 

If the bones keep dry

I’ll sleep inside the carcass

No one will breathe my way

 

 

By Daphne Shadows

Shadow Poetry

Choose to See

I’m breathing like a zombie, sitting on an empty fee. I think its pretty funny how you don’t see me. Certainly giving me all your advice for free. Sitting there shaking your heads, judging me. Basing all your hate on things you don’t see.

This will pass, you see. Gotta make it what you want it to be. That’s what they keep saying to me.

But I’m empty, scarecrow wondering who I want to be. Things holding me down, rocks in my pockets, underwater struggle to break out of the sea.

Yup, that was a cockroach crawling on my skin. Yes, living room lights dying, going dim. Can’t pay my bills and my patience is growing thin.

Work harder and smarter. Keep pushing farther and farther. Halfway through with a little baby starter. Everybody telling me to hold on longer.

Easy for you to say when food doesn’t hurt you. You want me to believe accepting your table scraps is a virtue. But I bet you can sleep and receive successes for your hard work, too.

Some of just hurt and hurt no matter how healthy we choose to be. We have to learn to trust in what we can’t see. Cuz our elbow grease and overtime leaves our energy stolen and our souls empty. Our experience shows we’ll never get to where we need to be.

Telling me I need to believe better. Telling me I must need to try harder. If I’m still not in my right mind, if I’m still falling behind, if I’m still running blind, I’ll never have anything to offer.

Fact of the matter is you don’t have to try that hard to get what you need. I used to run until my demons started to bleed. But my body decided I couldn’t even have that and I had to concede.

You brag about your bootstraps and all your achievements. While I’m out here fighting to get out of bed, my own mind, and bereavements.

I’m sinking but keep swimming. You’re throwing insults and demeaning. Some of us out here fighting fire in our skin, ducking and swinging.

Gotta run a marathon before we can step to our dreams. Cuz the giants are in our blood, pulling us apart at the seems.

We have to play doctor for ourselves. Pick up the pieces of our own egg shells. Take a gun to our personal Hells.

All of this before we get out of our beds. Because our hangman lives inside each our heads. All the while people advising us to start popping meds.

This is where you want us to break. Crying about how there’s only so much we can take. Don’t mind my creepy smile but this is where you made your mistake.

Didn’t you hear what I said? We’re out here working to silence the voices in our head. And that’s before we’re working on paying for our bread.

Yeah I’m gonna have days where I complain. Hello – no matter what I do, I’m in pain! But all this extra work isn’t in vain.

But listen up, pull out a chair, be a good kid and sit there. You don’t have to tell me, I already know life isn’t fair. But if we go a few rounds I’ll forever be there!

Oh yeah you’ll knock me down and I guarantee you’ll mess me up. But if there’s one thing we’re pretty good at, it’s getting back up.

You can fight me all day long but I’m a beast in the ring. You don’t understand the kind of pain my own issues can bring. But if you’ll notice, every day I’m the one winning. So if you think I’m weak or easy, you haven’t been listening. I’ll keep falling down but I’ll get back up and swing.

I’m breathing like a zombie, sitting on an empty fee. I think its pretty funny how you don’t see me. Certainly giving me all your advice for free. Sitting there shaking your heads, judging me. Basing all your hate on things you don’t see.

I think I’m going to mix it up and stay out of bed. Ignore all the ugliness swarming in my head. Do something different just like my heart said.

If I had to give advice, I’d say be careful what you’re fed.

 

by Daphne Shadows

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Stream of Consciousness

Wish Me Luck

I have begun working on ANOTHER work in progress story. I really enjoy this one so far and I feel like it can blossom into a story I will continue to enjoy.

This is the 5th WIP I have begun since I realized I wasn’t writing for me or the stories I wanted to write. Since then I have decided that I am going to simply keep beginning stories until I find one that is truly MY STORY to tell, instead of something I know will be “acceptable”.

I don’t think the purpose of a writer is to tell the safe stories. I think we are meant to poke at what people don’t want to but know they need. To make a safe place to deal with emotions, fears, questions, doubts. To hold a mirror up to the reader, to community, to society as a whole. To create a home where we want to live with characters who treat us with respect, kindness, and dignity while being honest and candid. A story is an escape from all the ugliness this world can throw at us. It’s a way to recharge, reconnect with ourselves, our dreams, and with others.

A story can not be any of these things if I am playing it safe. If I am afraid to be who I am as a writer.

No, I won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. But no one is EVERYONES cup of tea and that’s kind of the point.

So wish me safe travels, will you?

I’m packing my bags, putting on sturdy shoes, and jumping off the cliff, into the unknown.

(A novel is 80,000 to 100,000 words.)

Stream of Consciousness

Soul Under Construction

I understood myself only after I destroyed myself. And only in the process of fixing myself, did I know who I really was.

– Sade Andria Zabala

I used to think I understood this quote. On some level my soul recognized its truth, and I knew it meant something for me. A blurry old friend I never remembered making but KNEW I was intimate with even if I didn’t recognize their face.

I get it now.