My poem, “Boar Song” published in Ink & Voices, an online publication devoted to “unapologetic expression, unedited art.” The magazine seeks to provide a space for “humanness” and has a predilection for the “honest, raw, and original.” My poem, about how my wife turns goblinesque when I tickle her, was an attempt to express my adoration without convention or praise-filled language. I couldn’t have found a better venue to publish.
Half-a-year ago, I was contacted by Z Publishing about contributing to their “Emerging Writers” series. Having launched a successful run of “Emerging Poets,” the publishing house was seeking to publish new writers from every state in what they called a “sampler platter.”
I was ecstatic. I penned a flurry of fiction and plagued my critique groups for several months. There were no specifications on genre, so my pieces were strange and speculative with one flash about monks hunting a bear in an underworld library.
Finally, Z selected “House Divided” from my submission pile. The story is about a recent divorcee ruminating on her home, which, instead of being given to either her or her ex-husband, has been split interdimensionally between them. In essence, they’ve become ghosts to each other.
So here we are—with my plug. The publication date for Texas’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Fiction is just around the corner (September 4th, 2018), but you can pre-order now for $14.99. There are two anthologies from Texas. Mine’s the tree behind the bluebonnet, a hazy sun on the horizon, and pink-gray clouds smearing the sky.
Well didn’t I pick the perfect brand for my blog?
(Hint: sarcasm stirred with a dash of self-defeat and a weird smell, probably cheese coming off my beard.)
I chose Desmond, Write to be a call-to-the-craft, a personal reminder to “write already” or “go blog you dumb fart.” It helped that my slogan rhymed with my name: “Where Desmond White goes to Write.”
The problem? I’m not the only one to use desmondwrite.
Turns out, someone else has. Had? Did. Because today I found this on tumblr. Don’t want to click a mysterious link? Here’s a screenshot:Discovering my double has been an unsettling experience, a William Wilson of sorts, especially since this double is dedicated to a fandom I’ve evaded like ebola (averted like avian flu? bypassed like bronchitis? dodged like diphtheria? sidestepped like syphilis?). Which means for three years anyone curious as to whether I had a tumblr probably thought this was mine—this, a blog that begins its introduction with “Hello everypony.” If they were confused, if they thought I was joshing, they could check the bio where stands a blue pony in-miniature, a nag who’s probably named Crystalwit or Dusky Snufflebuns Jr.
Well. At least this writer has a better articulated demographic than my blog of blah, specifically that multitude of My Little Pony fans who enjoy a good read. The site is clear about its intention to “entertain everypony” but unclear as to how—whatever the blogger intended was going to “involve literature,” maybe even “random things. Unfortunately, the site skimps the content so we’ll never know. But what the tumblr lacks in prose, what it lacks in promise, it makes up for in permanence, because the thing has been sitting webside since 2015 without anything but an introduction—and yet it persists.
So. Just to be clear. There’s no affiliation between us. My site has been up longer than this guy’s. But who cares? I don’t want bad blood (sparkles?) between us. Des, good luck, bro(ny). After all, as the subtitle of a popular horse-related franchise goes, friendship is magic.
This piece won 2nd Place in Zeroflash’s June Contest. So, progress, I guess. The prompt was to write a fantasy adventure akin to a choose-your-own-adventure novel but under 300 words. I decided on fun over phenomenal and literary fathoms. Credit where credit’s due—my pal Jevin Goleman came up with the title (mine—”Ironfell”—not so good).
“Forge Your Own Adventure”
You are in the forge when barbarians ride into the village, shooting flaming arrows, cutting down peasants in the streets. What do you do?
A) Get cut down in the street.
B) Focus on the customer. Offer the invaders your services. Produce cheap chainmail until they’re slain by the King’s Men.
You are in the forge when a dragon attacks. Fire, death. The people seek a hero. What do you do?
A) Sneak into its lair. Become human barbecue.
B) Offer swords to ‘wyrm-slaying entrepreneurs’ with a 25% investment in the dragon’s horde. Finally get lucky. Use the smoke-singed diamonds to expand the business. Hire an accountant.
You are in the forge but the nobility prefers a business not run by a woman. They go to the Nuric Brothers. What do you do?
A) Watch your business crumble. Die a toothless crank.
B) Open a brewery and spa, call it “The Forge.” Switch from smith to artisan. Sell merch. Tiny statues of the gods, trophies that say, “World’s Greatest Hero.” Bring a wizard into the ‘family.’ Sell flaming swords, sentient shields, quivers that never empty. Acquire the Nuric Brothers.
You are in The Forge sipping mead in a steam-bath when the Darkhand resurrects an ancient horror. Ghouls break from their coffins. Vortexes split the city like a jigsaw puzzle. What do you do?
A) Scream as the wave of corruption converts you into a many-mouthed slime.
B) Don’t thwart the end of the world, accept it. Offer axes to circling gargoyles, chains and fetters to your devil-faced masters, and one ring to rule them all to the abomination that has enslaved reality (along with black crowns to fit its many, many heads).
As your hands turn to claws and eyes pour out, rest easy knowing you always chose wisely.
Rune Bear completed its launch with a series of flash fiction. Each of the editors published a 300-word piece in their respective domains. J. Motoki, our Strange Editor, wrote something creepy. Stuart, our Speculative Editor, an alt-future that plays around with humanity adapting to a new (radioactive) environment. Alyssa, Supernatural Editor, had some fun with the ‘princess turned into a cute forest critter’ trope. And I, acting as the judge of all things Surreal, made some kind of weird introduction to someone’s siblings. The intent was to showcase the kind of work we’re searching for, to present models and examples for future contributors.
Read, enjoy, submit something!
J. Motoki, Strange Editor, “Hydra“
Desmond White, Surreal Editor, “These were my Brothers“
Alyssa Warren, Supernatural Editor, “The Sparrow Queen“
Stuart Warren, Speculative Editor, “Helmets“
This isn’t my publication, but my wife’s. “Life Flies, Like Lights,” which published in Nowhere.Ink, is a dreamy spelunk into a maze of madness or what might be the halls of the dead. I have no idea, actually, but it’s still freaky, especially the line “All around me are sounds like suppressed laughter in mausoleums, like bouts of applause, like flies on a cat corpse in summer.”
Anyway, I’m so proud of J. Motoki and the products of her horrifying brain.
Nowhere.Ink is a digital collaborative devoted to dark minds and cooperation over competition. Its members have several outlets. Polished pieces go in their Library (like my wife’s) while anyone can post prose or poetry to the Facebook page. Then there’s other worlds like Twitter and their Red Light District.
Actually, my wife and I have a little history with the collab. We, along with its creators, used to post to a literature platform called Prose.
That site went south, forgetting its manners and indulging in toxic utilitarianism. Lost were Partners and $100 weekly contests; found were advertisements, random rules, and Prose Gold, a pay-to-be-a-partner subscription service. Suddenly good writing wasn’t based on its popularity but how much you could pay.
There was also a (now-infamous) Simon and Schuster challenge where fifty stories were picked from 500+ entries and submitted to S&S for review. Some of the entries “selected” were written by the Prose judges themselves, a little bit of unethical behavior that did not go unnoticed. (My piece, Iron Abbie, was also chosen, and I add that only to establish that I’m not bitter for losing.)
The first generation who’d given Prose its style split away. Luckily, Tony Cavanagh and Amanda Cary, two brilliant contributors to Prose, gave some direction to the Great Migration. They created an alternate platform, a place devoted to the exercise and excitement of writing. Funny enough, the “nowhere” in Nowhere.Ink comes from Tony’s old Prose handle—Miles Nowhere.