Manic Monday: Resumé

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.
_____________________
Dorothy Parker, “Resumé” from The Portable Dorothy Parker, edited by Brendan Gill. Copyright 1926, 1928 and renewed 1954, © 1956 by Dorothy Parker. Reprinted with the permission of Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Source: The Portable Dorothy Parker (Penguin Books, 2006)

Dot of Blood

Alanah Andrews is an English teacher in Australia, who dreams of one day traveling the world in a bus. If you like her writing, check out her website: www.alanahandrews.com

_______________________________________

fleur-treurniet-518576

The light is piercing, even through his tightly clenched eyelids.

Odd.

Slowly opening his eyes against the glare, he notices the metal bed he is lying on, bathed in the brightness. Invisible bonds adhere him to the bed like a vice.

Panicked, he notices a shadow beside him.  A dark form, a  sliver of metal descending towards him…

He jolts awake.

A dream, just a dream.

Stumbling to the bathroom he splashes his face with icy water, washing away the remnants of the nightmare.

And, unknowingly, washing away the tiny dot of blood glistening in the centre of his forehead.

A Voice from Nigeria: CLOAKED

This is a poem I wrote about Death. We may or may not have people close to us who are already dead but if we do have, it’s best to know all hope is not lost. They are gone but will never be forgotten.

volkan-olmez-523

CLOAKED

You’re the priest at the altar,

Where loved ones are brought to rest.

You rule the kingdom,

Where so many have called “Home”.

Possessor of a boundless vial

Stealing precious breaths.

With heavy hearts and helpless wails,

Cherished ones taken

Tears flow, hearts broken.

A mother and a father,

Little ones, future unknown,

Teens with brighter goals,

Lovers, journey unfinished.

Merciless Taker,

How I wish you turn your back

To see many who have wept,

Many who are shattered.

You’re the sailor, the captain,

You come to take,

Only to return, vessel empty.

Except you don’t know,

That those who left never left,

Those gone, never gone.

There is a land you can’t reach,

A place you’ll never touch

And there we have given them homes,

To keep and remember

In our bleeding hearts

__________________________________________

Photo by Volkan Olmez on Unsplash

Hannah Faleti I. has spent a lifetime in Nigeria. She is currently living in the cosmopolitan city of Ibadan, north of Lagos and the Gulf of Guinea.  She begins law school in March of 2018 at Obafemi Awolowo University where she hopes to become an advocate for civil rights. Her poetry and writing reflect the grand dynamics of her homeland of Nigeria. Hannah will curate a weekly series of postings from Nigeria for Introvert Press.

 

A Primer on World Building

This initial primer to World Building will be followed with weekly excerpts by published and emerging writers in our World Building Wednesday blog series. If you would like to contribute, please feel free to submit excerpts from your worlds. Please subscribe to our blog to make sure you get all the wonderful and weird things Introvert Press has to offer.

samuel-henry-497301

I wouldn’t say I’m an expert in worldbuilding. Many people build worlds for different reasons. The most common ones I’ve encountered are for tabletop RPGs or personal fantasy world. I find the ladder super interesting, but I won’t get into that. Personally, I’ve only encountered a few people who are building worlds for elongated, story-telling purposes.

Those people seem to know what they’re doing. I often feel like my own world is inferior to say, Middle-earth or Elder Scrolls. And that’s what I want to talk about it.

When you are first building your world, design so it pleases you and only you. Obviously, through the writing, editing, and publishing process you will have to tweak the setting, characters, and plot so it is coherent enough for your audience to read and enjoy. But I’m talking about when you are starting from scratch when you are endeavoring on the long, frustrating, and hugely rewarding process of building your very own world.

Don’t listen to what others are saying, or what they would say. Create only what you find beautiful, what you find stunning, what you find undeniably cool.

If you want to have unicorns and aliens in the same world, so be it. If you want your character to switch gender identity three separate times, go for it. This is the time where your imagination can explode into the infinite colors and creation of your own design. Nobody else is looking over your shoulder unless you let them. This is something you can build without any physical effort. It’s something you can create on your own without having to hammer down walls and cut up wood. It’s something expansive and beautiful made from the musings and daydreams of your mind. So treat it like you would be tending your own garden or decorating your own house. Fill it with things you love.

Take it from me, if you try to create your world with more consideration on what others think instead of you think, eventually the world you’ve built will feel dull. It will feel hollow. You could have a solid plot, a solid world, solid characters… but if you are designing it to please anyone else but yourself, eventually, that world can lose its colors. It can lose its life. You will look at all the stuff you built and something inside you will be whispering you don’t want to write what you have created.

That feeling is so heartbreaking.

It’s devastating, but it’s a strong learning experience. You kind of get a “screw it” attitude and you grant yourself the freedom to create what you want to create.

I like to think your audience can sense your passion through what you create. I like to think that’s why titles like Harry Potter and Game of Thrones do so well because the person who created them poured all of their creativity and all of the passion into their own paper-and-ink worlds. The transfer of passion from writer to reader is a really important and intimate experience. I think that’s a big reason why creators should start off with what makes them happiest.

A piece of worldbuilding that I’m proud of and I’m passionate about in my books is this clan of elves called the Solvaryn. Along with other elves in my verse, they are very protective of nature. The one thing these elves hold sacred to their heart is a special, isolated grove filled with an arboreal plant-life called the “Sun-Spilled Trees”. These trees collect sunlight in their dew early in the morning, reabsorb the light into their systems and at night, they glow with the light they absorb. They aren’t blinding, though, they glow like those calming, yellow lights you see around the holidays.

I’m really proud of them and so is the Solvaryn clan, because they protect those trees fiercely. They rarely ever allow any outsiders within the fold and when they do, those outsiders aren’t allowed to touch those trees. These trees are fragile and rare because people cut them down to mine the sunlight from their systems. But the other thing that is a big enemy to these trees, the only trees left in the world, is the season of winter.

Going off of this, next in line to lead the clan is a male half-elf named Ro, short for Rowan. He’s witty, charismatic, dutiful, and loyal to his clan. The clan, and Ro, only know that his father is an elf. Blood purity isn’t a big thing for these people and up until the day before his coronation, they had no problem with Ro leading the clan. However, that night, there was an assault on the grove and in a last act of desperation, Ro pulled out this surprise winter power that only he knew about. He managed to save everyone and everything in the grove.

Now, the Solvaryn clan is pretty progressive. Before Ro, there was a female elf leading the clan. They don’t care about blood purity or gender/racial superiority. But when it comes to those damn trees, everything goes. Even though it wasn’t his fault for having winter abilities, even though no one was more dedicated to the clan than him, even though not a single tree was harmed by his powers, within the hour of using his abilities he was banished from the tribe.

He has two brothers; Dillon who is a full elf and Morgan, who is half-elf, half-tree nymph. With Ro’s banishment, the crown is handed to his younger brother Dillon. Morgan, however, had always had an aloof attitude towards the clan and towards his brothers. So when he saw his oldest brother show a secret that got him banished, Morgan left with him because it humanized Ro for him.

Ro is different from my other characters in that even though he is suffering, he tries his best to be funny and positive. He tries to keep a smile on his face and bring light to the people around him. Morgan and he grow closer in exile and despite how much he misses his clan, Ro now has this great opportunity to explore a part of himself that he always knew about, but never gave himself permission to understand.

I am very proud of everything I just shared. However, I’d say the most important part in all of this is Ro, my character. Pretty trees and special names are great, but the characters are what catches the attention of the audience the most—at least that is what happens with me. I think the passion the writer feels is delivered to the audience through the characters and the more relatable they are, the more the audience will care about the world that was built.

So seriously, have fun with the project and the world you are building. You are doing a favor for yourself and a favor for your audience by choosing to focus on what inspires you because your audience will get the very best of you and what you can create.

* * *

Victoria Folch-Pi is a dreamer and has a tendency to pour her fantasies onto the page. She’s got a proclivity for the emotional and the fantastical, but she still explores different avenues of writing (and life), even if it’s scary. She has been everywhere from Boston to England in her studies of writing, receiving a B.A. in English from UMass Amherst for this very purpose. All in all, she ultimately hopes that what she writes—fiction or otherwise—will inspire others on their own life’s path, wherever that may lead.

Victoria’s YouTube Channel

Victoria’s blog

Victoria’s portfolio

 

Review: Unhappily Ever After – A Villain’s Tale

I love fairy tales, and this is a great take on the traditional stories. It gives you a different perspective of the heroes and villains. There are always more than one side to a story and this book gives us the so called bad guys side. Things are not always what they seem, and people can hide their true selves. What would you do when you found out that you have been lied to all this time? Our hero must decide what us right when he finally learns the truth about everything.

This story grabbed me right from the start. It is a fun and charming read. The author does a good job of bringing the characters and their world to life. I loved seeing the Prince figure out what he truly wanted and fight for it. I was quickly immersed in this story and would love to see more from this world and those that live in it.

See Amazon reviews here

 

A Voice from Nigeria

Hannah Faleti I. has spent a lifetime in Nigeria. She is currently living in the cosmopolitan city of Ibadan, north of Lagos and the Gulf of Guinea.  She begins law school in March of 2018 at Obafemi Awolowo University where she hopes to become an advocate for civil rights. Her poetry and writing reflect the grand dynamics of her homeland of Nigeria. Hannah will curate a weekly series of postings from Nigeria for Introvert Press.

(A letter to Corruption)

Corruption is slowly eating up Nigeria and sadly no one is ready to put an end to it.

Here is a poem I wrote about it.

 

RAVENOUS

Why have you come, you ravenous beast?

You feed on our flesh, you tear our guts

We are your prey, the monster we fear

You strip us of our pride

You snatch our dignity from us

We run to those who say they hunt you

Only to know they nurse you

You have made our mothers weep all day

Our fathers bite their fingers in dismay

Your howls have come to steal our sleep

Why have you come, you ravenous demon?

You ignore the dried tears on our cheeks

You turn deaf ears to the cries of young ones

Waylaying them on the way to the future

Our blood quenches your thirst

In those eyes, we see pure evil flames

Those claws have made marks unforgotten

Long fangs bringing along nightmares

Why have you come, you ravenous destroyer?

I wish we all live to see your end

But to face you, we all abscond

Endless fear pushes us against walls

With painful heart, we have embraced you to stay

SOMEONE SPRUNG A LEAK?

It wasn’t my fault. Not really. It was Sissy’s fault. Even if the 6-year-old wasn’t the one who did it, she’s to blame. But Ali’s not off the hook; the 8-year-old played a part in it, too. As did dear little James Mervin. Honestly, if I had to apportion blame, he’d get 55-percent. If he wasn’t only 3-years-old and autistic, I could easily dump 90-percent of the fault at his little feet. But of the four of us, I’m the only one who’s innocent. Technically.

This is what happened:

I spent last weekend at my granddaughter’s house, caring for my three great grandkids. We were having a grand time, organizing their new bedrooms, watching Harry Potter movies and eating high calorie foods laced with sugar, fats and nitrates when James Mervin forgot he was autistic. Then, things went all to hell, real fast.

James started signing up a storm, pointing at his Hot Wheels track, then back at me while patting the floor. I pretended I didn’t understand. So helpful little Ali interpreted for him. James began nodding “yes” as she explained what he wanted. Then he looked me straight in the eye and frosted the cake. “Please, gamma, please,” said the kid who rarely talks.

I rolled my eyeballs towards heaven and heard Morgan Freeman laughing as I squatted and dropped. I had to have both knees replaced a few years back and though I love my new bionic joints, I haven’t yet mastered getting up from the ground. I should have–I spent a lot of time there–tripping over my damn dog. The border collie from hell never leaves my side.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fragile creature. Once I’m on my feet, I can leap tall buildings in a single bound, climb ladders and fly up apple trees. I go shingle-walking every December, putting up Christmas lights. I haven’t gone bungee-jumping yet, but I’m not ruling it out.

That’s probably why I’m so vain about getting up off the floor. I don’t want any witnesses. It’s a long, time-consuming process that is undignified and ungraceful. It’s simply not a sight I want emblazoned in the young, impressionable minds of my great grandkids:

ALI, 25 YEARS FROM NOW: “I remember my great grandma Annie. Wasn’t she the one who had to scrabble across the floor–like a two-legged crab–to stand up? That’s all I remember about her.”

SISSY, 25 YEARS FROM NOW: “Yeah, I remember her. She looked really funny standing up. She could get her butt in the air but that’s as far as it went. That’s all I remember about her.

DEAR LITTLE JAMES MERVIN, 25 YEARS FROM NOW: Isn’t she the one who scarred me for life—made it so I’m terrified of Hot Wheels and crab legs, to this day? My psychiatrist says I shouldn’t try to remember her.”

CHELSEA, 25 YEARS FROM: My grandma, your great grandma, loved you kids very much. I’m sorry James; your sisters and I won’t ever talk about her again.

All this flashed through my mind as I “dropped” to the ground. Consequently, I resigned myself to remaining on the floor with Sophie and my great grandkids until Chelsea and Anthony returned home, and I could be hoisted, discretely, to my feet. So, for the next two days, the four of us would sit on the floor racing Hot Wheels.

We raced Hot Wheels and then raced Hot Wheels some more. We continued racing Hot Wheels until the girls started squawking about being hungry. I paused briefly, just to look at the clock. It wasn’t supper time. It was bedtime; we had Hot Wheeled straight through dinner. Little did the kids know that we would still be on the floor, racing Hot Wheels, when their parents got home. Unfed. Unbathed. And probably damn unhappy.

And that’s exactly what we would have done if I hadn’t had to pee. I looked around; saw nothing that would work as a urine receptacle, and knew I had to get up. When my knees refused to cooperate, the kids were eager to help.

Ali grabbed my right arm, James grabbed my left arm and then the dear little idiots crisscrossed, Ali pulling my right arm to the left while James pulled my left arm to the right. I will spend the rest of my life shaped like a pretzel. And while I was being shaped for life, dear little Sissy and Sophie crawled underneath me, and tried to . . . what . . . hoist me up? On their backs?

Truthfully, I don’t know what the fuck dear little Sissy and my dog were doing, but it got me to laughing so hard I started leaking. Then the kids began belly-laughing, Sophie started barking, and they all collapsed on the floor. You know where this is going, don’t you?

By the time I was on my feet, my bladder was empty and we were all wet. Ali blamed Sissy. Sissy blamed Sophie. Sophie glared at James Mervin and growled. My great grandson never said a word. He’s discrete, but he knew. I could tell.

Anyway, that’s how dear little James Mervin’s brand-new rug lost its “brand-new rug” smell. For me, it was just another day, and one more reminder that the need for *Depends was drawing nigh.

Annie Aronson: grandmother, writer & fabulous