A Fictional Playground

The fictional playground that I have created is the city-state Pentapolis of the Valley, a dark urban fantasy setting combination of: my reality of Upstate New York, and my fantasy life imagined in New York City, London, and San Francisco.

The world that Pentapolis exists in is a combination of my fears and aesthetics.  The social ills of Pentapolis are rooted in inequity and isolationism, dressed in Victorian and Gilded Age construction.

Pentapolis of the Valley is located on the eastern coast of the United States, in the Hudson River Valley.  Pentapolis is a conglomerate of five cities, whose combined varied economic and political resources to form a powerful city-state, after an ecological disaster: The Genesis Revolution.  During that time, a large monolith emerged from Uuru, disrupting the fragile electromagnetic s igniting a new apocalyptic religion

I populated Pentapolis with characters based upon friends, who were then mixed with celebrity and historical facts.  I constructed the aloof Dorian Iacchus, the person I pretended to be and dreamt I could present.

In Pentapolis of the Valley, I constructed a world where scenarios and ideas can become thought exercises, followed through to their conclusion.

Advertisements

Fiction is My Playground

Fiction is the playground where authenticity can be developed.  Reading and writing fiction pushes a participant to go through the world as experienced by another.  Fiction can legitimately present the inner-world of characters, letting outsiders experience the turmoil of daily interactions. Authenticity is rooted in a deep understanding of the world and the place that one holds in it, which fiction safely allows to occur.

Toni Morrison, Armistead Maupin, Carson McCullers, and Caitlin R. Kieran brought readers into their and their characters’ worlds.  Each author presented the inner-life of a marginalized group; Morrison revealed the psychological scars of slavery on African-Americans; Maupin showed the normalcy of LGBTQ+ community; McCullers and Kiernan gave representation to mental illness’ isolating ability.

Fiction explores these identities to form connections to understand an increasingly diverse world.  Stories expose radically different cultures, not Americanized variations, where presupposed rules can’t be applied, and are unable to change the culture. Authors create narratives that demonstrates blanket-solutions can’t be applied to every problem and expected to work.  Instead, fiction demonstrates that solutions must be unique to problem and culture, requiring imagination in examine the setting’s effect on characters and interactions.

Writing Towards Authenticity

The level of introspection needed in writing affords for occasions to forge new perspectives, by crystalizing events into formative moments to develop authenticity.  Celebrating humanity as foundation analyzes to create an increased quality of life.

Authenticity comes from an ability to empathize, and to begin developing empathy – start with themselves.  For everyone that route looks and will be different it won’t necessarily be the activity that translates into a career; unless you’re lucky.  What it should do is bring life into focus and help navigate the day-to-day big and small interactions.  It should deepen those back-and-forths, providing enriched social capital.

Writing arranges the experienced world in an analyzable narrative, exhuming and dissecting until authenticity becomes evident.  A writer digs deeper into the scene or memory, imagination is invoked to develop details – evidence – into a stranger’s profile.  As those around us become three-dimensional character’s in a narrative, the more appealing and relatable they become.  Since people create social networks based upon shared interests, backgrounds, and experiences, recognizing shared personal moments.  Recognizing shared details between people leads to connecting through mistakes and daily troubles that deep relationships with friends and family.

When the same shared details are identified in others outside the homogenous group empathy is extended, enlarging humanity.

Writing’s Joys

Writing is meditation, providing the sign-posts to authenticity, displaying baggage unedited on the page.  In un-arguable black and white words exist a story; words for which only context and definition exist, otherwise they have no other agenda than to communicate intent and emotion.  Words communicate clarity just as a painter’s brush strokes.

There is no higher participation than recording the human story.  Fiction, sculptor, journalist, painter, etc.  all the arts keep for the future, life experience as it is now.  Fiction, essays, and articles bring currents to depths, re-contextualizing the world and experiences.  A work’s message may not be presently obvious, but the future’s ability to decontextualize reframes evidence to speak.  Art carries a voice between generations, giving validity to future generations’ movements.

The writing process involves digging deeper into the root of a scenarios disagreements and complicities.  A writer’s imagination redevelops the world to a more agreeable inclusivity.   What is presented to the audience is the statement that cannot be tapped down.  As scenes are developed with details – evidence – around characters for complexity, makes them more relatable and appealing.  A character’s shared interests, experiences, and details with audiences extends empathy to the newly complex character, which is often Other to observer.

Writing is recording the present while creating the future – keeping the story going.

A Beginning Path to Balance

I have dawdled and diddled to put the new home together.  The furniture is in place, the dishes are away, and the closet is full of clothes.  My walls though seem extra-ordinarily empty and sparse.  I have yet to achieve a home that is centering.  Calming, yes.  Centering, no.

Centering requires balance, but that is still on the “Working On” list.  My mind is constantly five steps ahead of where I need to be, which is evident by my home – piles of “To Do” are everywhere; and each seems as though it never shrinks.

I am constantly bogged down in the planning and minute of life.  The big picture is in the plan, but the trees are too enticing.  It takes all my strength and energy to stay focused and not become distracted by gears in the clock.  As I focus on the patterns, designs, clashing, and mixing I lose the trail through the woods.

Goals center a being.  They keep everything in perspective, allowing balance to be the dictator of motivation.  The goals of my life morph but have always been rooted in the idea of creating equity.  The tool I have always wanted to use is writing.  Life is at times hacking away with the tools to see the path.

Over time I have learned that it is okay to feel lost and drift from day to day, ignorant of balance.  I began doing this by actively choosing to go through the two boxes of print outs and read, which allowed me to see how much of my fictional cosmology has been told.  I began reserving weekends to take inventory of what I have produced.  I learned that days do not need to be a constant rush towards the goal line, but can be relaxed and taking inventory.  It is on those days, taking stock of what has been accomplished, one can be humbled by the steps that have been taken; we can pat ourselves on our own back.

Sex & the City Dating Escape

Sex and the CityJodie Dallas of Soap had loomed over my concept of homosexuality until Stanford Blatch of Sex & the City.  The show populated New York city with playful high fashion, single-life experiences, and a found family that I seemed tailored to me as a glamorous adult.  Sex & the City made the goals I had longed for myself seem a greater possibility.

Stanford Blatch was the primary gay character on the series, riddled with insecurities about not being gay-perfect just as I was, but Carrie Bradshaw was who I had wanted to be.  It wasn’t having all the dates, but her love of style, being a writer, and out partying with literati.  Seeing Carrie’s brownstone apartment made me long for my own, where I could look out a window and watch the world, inspiring my writing.   She started as a columnist and grew into an New York Times Bestseller List author.  Her humor was self-deprecating and her friendship unconditional, while being self-absorbed.

The four women – Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha – were a glamorous and carefree version of the found family.  Where Tales of the City had been realistic working-class San Francisco, Sex & the City was a high-class Manhattan fantasy of friends, weeknight art shows, and weekend Broadway theatre.  The Sex & the City women found each other through shared dating experiences, creating a strong bond between one another that anchored them through hardships.

Behind my manic-pixie-boy mask older men seemed more worldly and attractive, I adventured beyond SUNY Purchase boys to older gay males, hoping to be a step closer to NYC escape.  Instead of a Sex & the City fantasy – theatre, dinners, and art galleries – I reversed my escape from ticky-tacky suburbia, to be behind the neighbors’ curtains.  And I didn’t like it.  Behind closed curtains, by men citing an appreciation for privacy, my perception grew to see “privacy” as a bent mirror to myself.    The growth of Carrie and Jodie only moved smoothly because they had the benefit of writers who ensured their progress.  This does not accurately reflect real-world journeys, which are filled with starts and stops.  When I left for college I believed I was leaving behind childhood for adulthood.  College to me was the floor of maturity and not another step towards growth.  The growth of Carrie and Jodie only moved smoothly because they had the benefit of writers who ensured their progress.  This does not accurately reflect real-world journeys, which are filled with starts and stops.  When I left for college I believed I was leaving behind childhood for adulthood.  College to me was the floor of maturity and not another step towards growth.

I had careened from one fantasy depiction of homosexuality to another, from Jodie Dallas to Sex & the City’s Carrie Bradshaw.  Both characters found their lives conflicted and dramatic as they learned who they were.  They both did deal with natural consequences and problems rooted in emotional authenticity, their journeys were routed in entertainment and fantasy.  Their experiences were heightened for viewership and broad appeal, a fantasy where internal and external hardwork are glossed by in favor of the end goal.  In Sex & the City Carrie is rarely seen actively writing (beyond the episode’s hook), skipping over the day-to-day difficulties and grit needed to reach the Bestseller List, just as Jodie Dallas’ emotional journey is truncated by emotional swings that skip closure.  The sweeping storytelling of television leaves daily details on the editing floor.

Why Writing

Today, I began a new journal.  A new journal is an opportunity to take stock and re-map goals.  I decided on calling the blog VERVE because I wanted to capture the energy and spirit of life, create a public journal of essays, reviews, and articles.  The reason that I began writing VERVE has been to give my life a narrative.  It has helped me to turn writing from fantasy to routine.   When I began VERVE, I saw writing as a laborious art to explore and explain myself to that world.  To make a living as a writer has always been a goal, but unrealistic; statistically or accessibly.  The number of writers able to make a living at fiction writing is small.  Accessibility because I prefer writing shorter fiction, and fiction magazines are no longer popular nor widely circulated; magazines rarely publish short fiction anymore.

What attracts me to writing is what attracts me to reading: changing perspective.  Now and growing up, I enjoy reading’s ability to expose me to life experiences I hadn’t known or would know.  Words affect the physical world, re-shaping personal experiences and perspective through investigation.  Essays and stories help make sense of an increasingly complex world through exposure to another’s personal moments and reactions to the same world.  Writing is a pure reaction to create and build upon the physical world, re-conceptualizing experiences.

Essays explain the world to me

Writing is a pure reaction to the world that produces something, new to create and build upon.  Fiction, essays, and articles bring currents to depths, re-contextualizing the world and experiences.  Writing affects the physical world, re-conceptualizing experiences.

The writing process involves searching to a root of what I would enhance or disagree with in life.  Writing allows me to edit and revise the world or myself into agreeably unique.  What is put down on paper – fiction or non-fiction – is the distilment of that act.  It is the statement of the me that cannot tap down.

Essay writing grants me the opportunity to talk about the world, and its effects.  Essays require stories from the writer’s life to provide wisdom for the reader.  The level of introspection on my past affords me occasion to forge new-ness, spurred by the peace brought from new perspectives on experiences.  Essay writing crystalizes life events into formative moments to create a sound foundation to move forward.  Sharing personal moments – connecting through failures, cultural touchstones, milestones, etc – that enlarge and unite everyone’s humanity provides foundation to deep relationships with friends and family.  Celebrating humanity as foundation analyzes to create an increased quality of life.

Dorian & Lorelei

Dorian Iacchus sat across from Lorelei Saunders, respective cups of Qi’s poppy java between them.  Both forwent breakfast for smoking own salvia cigarettes.

Dorian leaned forward on the wrought-iron coffee table, his ankles crossed beneath the wooden chair.  His red hair was pushed beneath a brown knit hat.  Brown round-rimmed sunglasses sat atop his head.  Dorian had on a white t-shirt and an unbuttoned white, red, and blue flannel.  His black jeans were rolled above the ankle revealing his blue socks.  Dorian had on camel ankle boots; a leather messenger bag hung from the back of the chair.

Lorelei sat cross-legged heavily smoking her salvia, as she leaned back.  She had her blonde, pink, and magenta hair in a messy-bun.  Aviator sunglasses were on her nose, and a black and gold clutch sat on the table.  Lorelei had on a black romper, which was accented by a large orange-trimmed brown belt.  There was a matching colored silk scarf around her neck.  Lorelei had on Grecian heels.

The two had met in journalism ethics while attending Aerynd University, and then numerous classes until graduation.  They were inseparable.  While Ian and Jared filled his nights, Lorelei filled his days and weekends.  Often, the other was a great deal more pleasurable to be around than who they were having sex with.

Lorelei was the type of friend completely accepted another person as they are.  She’s the rare person that shares what she has, and the even rarer person who gladly gives up what she must to improve another’s standing.  Lorelei allowed people to drop their masks and be themselves.  In the instance of Dorian, he had found a person with similar proclivities underground Blithedale.  Both Dorian and Lorelei were voracious readers and deeply empathic, making each an ideal conversationalist for the other; smart enough to grasp references & allusions without explanation.  They remained friends through their successful endeavors: she became an associate editor/writer for FETCH magazine; Dorian became a popular graphic fiction writer and curator.

It had been just over three years since Lorelei and Dorian had seen each other.  The fault in their disconnection laid with Dorian.  After Jared broke up with Dorian it was a dark time.  He could no longer deal with people around, so he pushed all his support systems away.  Dorian had been convinced everything had to be done alone.

Dorian flicked his salvia butt into a drainage canal, pulled a second from his pack of 21, and lit it.  Exhaling deeply Dorian asked, “Interested in going to Huxia?”

Verve (6/26-6/30)

Moving is a stressful time for anyone, especially nesters like myself.  I’ve been in the same apartment for seven years.  I am a person that enjoys having roots and growth.  The instability of my youth has deepened my desire to have a home, to abandon gypsy life.

The new apartment is in the same building but I’m moving without any assistance.  I have friends that say they will help, though so far, after the first day, they have not arrived to help; or had to cancel at the last minute to stay at work.  This is acceptable to me because I can move most of the small boxes and furniture on my own, but I do hope that friends are able to come through with their aide on the weekend, when I need to move the heavy furniture.

Friendships have always come difficultly for me.  I do not know why.  I have always envisioned myself as a nice person.  Conversely, I have been horrible I relationships.  My boyfriends were always good boyfriends, but they weren’t good boyfriends for me.  Being in relationships required greater socialization than I can handle in any given moment.  I would rather be home – writing, drawing, cooking – than to be out in the community.  My home is a cocoon to rest and recharge.  It is a place where I can fix-up and modify the next day’s necessary identity.  The nomadic and public life is draining, removing the necessary recuperation period.