Prodigal Poetic Child

She returned to the dust-laden desk

   like a burdened sinner to the confessional,

   but the words refused to come freely.

They forsook her, her constant allies,

   for she turned not to them as often as

   unspoken obligation dictated. 

Now, she spins no word-web of gold,

   unaided by the agents of sophistication;

   the rich gold dust of her imagery is 

   a hundred removes from its erstwhile brilliance.

Post the better part of an hour spent     

   laboriously striking at desiccated rocks that 

   yielded no water, the prodigal child 

   turned to suppliance:

“Omnipotent Word, help me find the words again…”

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This is What it Feels Like to be Human

With hearts like diaphanous, broken wings,Pervious bodies on beds of rusted nails,

Minds like speared chrysalises, contents spilling,

We let go of, we lose our quintessence.
We are rocks that fragment under pressure,

Sere twigs that snap, void carapaces that

Crack under the clubfoot of distress. 
Creatures we are whose endurance has

The lifespan of a squirming fish out of water,

Whose vigor wears like watercolor on 

Parchment in the rain. 

Whose patience is as evaporable as dry ice

In a funeral house. 

Whose strength is an armor forged out of a base alloy,

Denting at the slightest touch, 

Puncturing at the hits of dull toy arrows.
Our walls of defense are built on sand,

Our wills are as precarious as a house of cards 

In a room with open windows,

Our unattainable wants, unfulfilled, are balls and chains 

We drag along with us. 
This is what we are:

Creation recreating, 

Uncreating ourselves. 

This is what it is,

This is what it feels like

To be human. 

A Different Kind of Dance

My legs, though functional, are to a dancer what tone deaf ears are to a crooner.
My feet, though sensitive, are a dance floor’s disgrace.
While my bones and joints cannot syncopate with metronome and rhythm,

Whirling dervishes – words – assemble in the hall of my mind.
I arrange them, I check them for rhythm,

I test how well they work together and apart,

I’m a choreographer of words. 
You cannot see them couple and group with each and one another.

It’s a dance so special to me and so mundane to you, as only I see it. 
What a dancer does with the pulsing rhythm in her limbs, 

I do with the living words in my mind. 

We’re both fine artists differing in our medium of expression. 

How to Evolve into a Full-Fledged Writer

If you’re at the pen to catch the attention of the masses that are super-saturated with the written word, there are some guidelines as well as thumb rules you should do well to adhere to. Writing is like a flower, it evolves from an inconspicuous, unremarkable bud to a widely admired blossomed delight.

  • The Habit of Reading

The first step to becoming a veteran writer is to be an avid reader. Exposure to ideas, worlds and characters- both real and unreal; living, dead, vampire or werewolf; Heaven, Earth and Mars- will constructively impact your perception of both fiction and fantasy.

  • Kicking it Off

When your confidence has reached its peak, seek your pen or your keyboard. Begin with either poems or short reflections of everyday life. Remember that expression creates an impression. After making the first draft, scout words that could be replaced with more powerful analogues, sentences that could be constructed in a more catching manner and ideas that could use better phrasing and expression.

  • The Power of Words

Just like the atom is the building block of all matter, words are the cornerstones, the foundation and the bricks of every language. They exude power, sentiment and expression. Words should be selected keeping the genre at hand in mind. When penning historical fiction, for instance, the words employed could very well be archaic and as long as your femur, but when composing a young-adult novel, excessive spillage of high vocabulary would be a major turn-off. In order to enhance one’s knowledge of words, the perusal of a thesaurus is recommended.

  • Language Tools

Figures of speech are the monarchs in the Kingdom of Expression. When reading acclaimed bestsellers, keep your eye out for those similes and metaphors interspersed within the text, but only reserve them as templates. Never be tentative to unleash the originality in you. Start looking at everyday things with the eyes of a writer. Make suitable comparisons and your figures of speech are ready to use.

Let us consider a trio of examples when dealing respectively with a simile, a metaphor and personification with a little elucidation.

So basically, a simile is a comparison between two similar things that may or may not be abstract. Instead of saying, “I looked into his blue eyes..” try instead, “I looked into his eyes that were as blue as the ocean on a sunny day.”

A metaphor is a condensed simile that proceeds as though the two things are a single entity. Rather than saying, “She is as meek as a lamb…”, say, “She is a meek lamb.”

Personification involves attributing living traits to inanimate objects or concepts such as love, death and time. Personification breathes life into a story and takes the level of expertise a notch higher. Examples include:

-The icy breath of the wind assaulted my pallid skin.

-The green field held me in its bosom.

-The eyes of the sky wept myriad tears.

-The ghost of Hope vanished without a trace.

-Fate has a savage heart.

  • What kind of a writer do you aspire to be?

Once you have discovered your talent, discover your niche and that can only be achieved when you explore the terrain of various genres. Aspiring novelists must possess adequate knowledge of the various categories and subcategories that are available to choose from and the best way to do this is to read an array of books and analyze which genre resonates with you more. On selecting your cup of tea, proceed onward.

  • Characters

Characters are the centers of gravity and the focal points of any story. The bestselling novels incontestably have characters that are so highly addicting that they don’t just feel like names printed on heavy paper. They ought to be magnetizing and riveting, making people hold their breath, choke back tears and explode with laughter.

When tailoring a character, one needs to adopt a character sketch. Note down the traits, the specialties and the eccentricities appertaining to him/her/it.

For instance, in my novel, Insanity, the protagonist, Juliana Steele was a latte lover with raw umber hair that she liked to do in a ponytail. She was a psychologist specializing in psychiatry with a soft edge. She was fond of solitude, owing to past circumstances of abrupt deprivation of vital people.

These character sketches could also include catchphrases, background stories, habits and mannerisms, likes and dislikes.

  • The Perspective

The most frequently adopted perspectives are those from the author point of view (third person) and the character(s)’ point of view (first person). The first person narrative is generally employed by authors who can metamorphose their minds and hearts into those of the characters concerned and the narrative is typically shared between two main characters. The third person is used when the story is better narrated from the author’s point of view. It sits well with mystery/thriller and historical fiction.

  • The Setting

Miami beaches, a KFC outlet, best friend’s house, Mars… and the possibilities stretch from here to infinity. When choosing a location, it should have some sentimental value to the characters and it should blend well with the series of events that will unravel there. Research on the trivial and non-trivial must-knows about a location is mandatory.

  • Reviewing

Once your material is closing in on the finish line, it must be proofread. This might embarrass you initially, but as your skills with the pen are honed, you might be more than impressed that something that boasts of such supreme quality came forth from you. Rectify any spelling/factual/punctuation errors you may come across. Delete portions that throw the story off balance and add in fresh replacements if it be necessary. Once this rigorous process is over, you can throw your hands in the air and give yourself a pat on the back and take yourself out on a solo date to KFC because you have just achieved a milestone as a budding writer.

So, gear up for an incredible journey that only words can take you on and evolve into a veteran!

Dedication: Faustina, my baby cousin, this one’s for you to glean from.)

Remedies for Healing a Hurt Heart

There is that one feeling that cuts deeper than a razor-sharp scalpel- hurt. Hurt is a consequence of love- love that you gave but never received in the way you hoped to. There are ways of coping with the pain inflicted by love. These are my self-discovered therapeutic remedies to refrain from imploding or exploding, or in extreme cases, both…

  • Let your mouth speak for your heart

If talking to someone aids you to express your love, it will also serve you well to express your hurt. No matter how deranged this may sound, talking to yourself or an inanimate object is also remedial. But if you’re bent on speaking to a mortal in the flesh, select that person with as much care and caution you would reinforce while selecting your wedding gown. Never seek sympathy, rather, seek counsel, warmth and understanding.

  • Let your eyes water and be your own comforter

Crying is a means of purging oneself of the debris of accumulated hurt. Doing it in solitude is most preferential to me because when I’m hurt, I feel like I am my own comforter and that my own heart understands the reason behind my tears better than anyone else would. Somewhere I read that “clouds burst when they can’t withhold their contents any longer, and so it is with us.”

  • Allow time to be your doctor

Just like a physical wound requires time and treatment to heal, so does an emotional one. Never pick at a scar that has closed after much ado. But remember that time doesn’t relieve you of the weight you are bearing. It just accustoms you to carrying it.

  • Learn to accept

Once Doctor Time has accomplished his job, you will be in the phase of accepting your altered state of emotional affairs. Never expect to be skyrocketed to Planet Euphoria in no time. Recovering from the sting of heartbreak is equable with recovering from a malady. Remember that your heart might still be fragile and vulnerable, so do not dive headfirst (or heart-first without using your head) into the pool of pleasure because you aren’t going to know whether it will suck you in and spit you out in a mortifying condition or cause you to hit the solid bottom. Accept what has been and hope in what is yet to be.

  • Move ahead and move on

Never let the past remind you that you were weak and broken. Rather, let it be a reminder that you fought that interior battle and have emerged triumphantly. The past is irreversible and unchangeable, so leave it be. Let the past follow you, but let the present live in you as you live in it, and let the future lead you. Move ahead and move on. Hurt can last only as long as you allow it to.

Some Passion Called “Writing”

“I realized that a pen in my hand sometimes serves me better than the tongue in my mouth.” — Me, Myself & I

When I was approximately three feet off the ground, I recall that I loved to flip through pages and inhale the musty aroma of disused books. It always left me in awe- how words could resonate so loudly in one’s head without even being physically spoken. There was something magical about the fluidity of the sentences, how one beautiful thought emerged from another, how people- though unreal- could be loved and hated. There was also this visualization thing. Books created the scenario in my head and the story would play out like I was in a theatre and the projector was my mind.

Well, that was it about reading. I spent an entire summer once reading around five-score books that spanned various genres. The power of the written word became more lucid to me with each page I turned. Then, one day I decided: I am going to be a writer.

It started off with me conjuring up a plot and characters. Wording the story was duck soup and my twelve-year-old mind considered it fine for a chapter to comprise of a meager 500 words. Later, when I re-read the story, I would go on to commend my efforts, but I knew that my penmanship was only in its embryonic stages.

Books like the Hush, Hush saga (Becca Fitzpatrick) and the Blue is for Nightmares series (Laurie Faria Stolarz) crossed my eyes and I devoted myself to reading these and oodles more just to delve into the world of fiction. But I was still discontented, because I wanted to be a part of a world of fictional characters that I could call my own.

After reading A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb, I realized that imagination had its limits beyond the dome of the firmament.

Like an ardent devotee of art, I sat myself down, pen in hand and began crafting a dark fantasy story about a clan of vampires. It was undoubtedly stereotypical, but I could at least clap myself on the back for trying to be productive after letting my creativity hibernate for what seemed like a whole era. My endeavor was to hatch a novel (40,000 words), but I wound up with 28,000 give or take.

But that was all I needed to begin a wonderful journey of creativity and exploration of untrodden territory in my mind. Writing books and short stories has since become more than just a divertissement. It has evolved into a passion. Time saw my skills hone just as it sees the world go from glory to glory.

According to me, there is nothing more fulfilling than knowing you can touch someone with written, unspoken words.

The Power of Music

“I was broken, I was choking, I was lost… this song saved my life…” — Simple Plan in “This Song Saved My Life”

When you’re down in the dumps and you need your thoughts to be put into words, but you just can’t seem to find the right ones, that’s one of the worst feelings- ever. But, what if you just huddle up in a corner, shut out the rest of the world awhile and turn up the music?

Sometimes, it’s just a marvel that there is someone else on the planet who doesn’t know of our existence, but is able to relate to you from his or her own experience.

There is no better expression of thoughts than in words, there is no better expression of words than in lyrics and there is no better expression of lyrics than in music.

Whether you’re feeling the pangs of a love that has been lost, the isolation from the world that you ironically have to call your own, the pulchritude of being in a lover’s arms or the ache of death, there is always a song- if not a person- that you turn to be solaced.

Music lacks not in expression and never fails to leave an impression. It can be the key to a person’s heart; it plays the strings of the soul and gives our life that required percussion.

It is the highest form of expression that can move one to cachinnation or tears. A song possesses the potential to mend a heart in smithereens, to foment the dying candle of hope, to provoke that incumbent release or to serve as a berceuse to beckon a restful slumber.

Forget the antidepressants and the painkillers, the melancholy and the moods. Why all that when you have music? It is a universal language that everyone understands.

In my own words,

“Music eases the heart when it is sore

And takes it to places it’s never been before.

If food’s for the body, then music’s for the heart.

It pulls you together when you feel broken apart.”