Let’s Talk Words, Shall We?

20180227_215541_HDR[1]I’m actually being serious here, or at least, marginally serious: Let’s talk words, shall we? This simple statement is actually a little layered: let’s talk in literal terms, using words instead of metaphors. Or, let’s talk, using our words, instead of in a textual format or replacing thoughts and concepts with entire images or simplified emojis. Or perhaps even let’s talk about the words we use, why we use them, what we hope it is to convey with these words.

But isn’t that kind of the fascinating aspect of language in and of itself? How delightfully varied intonation, intention, and concepts can be even though the words are so similar, if not entirely the same. As a writer, this sort of thing should be the puzzle box I spend hours poking and prodding at, finding new and exciting ways to string these abstract concepts and otherwise meaningless sounds and images together to form bright, new and terrifying ideas that our world has never seen before.

It’s the sort of thing people can spend an entire lifetime studying, thinking about, and playing with, only to end off their time on the mortal coil claiming they are no more an expert on the subject that the day they first started. For language changes, evolves, bends to the wills of the owners of those words. Each mouth is a particularly and peculiarly shaped tool in which to craft these new sensations that others cannot begin to fathom, let alone relay in words of their own. Word smiths, authors, artists, copyrights, patents, images; all these ways to create new thoughts and ideas that not only shape a conversation, but a person as well.

It’s horrifying, frankly; part of the reason why I hate language so much. It’s just a little too abstract; too much room for error. A misplaced inflection on the wrong word can utterly shatter the connected stream of what you intended and what was received. A derailed train, a catastrophic failure. Or some such similar metaphor that might intrigue the senses.

In many senses, it’s that precarious balance of intention that leads to so many break-downs in our own modern dialect. As mentioned, words change with the peoples, perhaps even mid-conversation, and it takes a truly savvy mind to pick up on those minor alterations nearly every occasion. Never mind the changes of intention of word between generations: look back some few decades and read some outdated literature and you can really grasp how things have changed.

I was listening to an unabridged Moby Dick audiobook, and the language seemed so poetic, so enthralling to me. I was enraptured by what I was hearing (also due to, in no small part, the calibre of the performer), but I know full well there are many who would not be able to take interest in such a writing style. This isn’t a shame upon them, rather a difference in dialect. Other people think and speak very differently than I do; where I tend to rely on a more outdated and somewhat “high England” based language structure (not a real thing, but the image is already in your mind), much of the younger generation relies on a more concise, information dense language to convey ideas.

Which is, in and of itself, much more beneficial than the way I convey language. My method is derived, I’m not going to lie, mostly to pad out the length of my thoughts and make my language reflect a persona I wish to portray in my written works. I like people to think I’m more educated or more intelligent than I typically am: the back pocket of the pants I’m presently wearing is literally ripping off and has been for several months now. Not nearly as high-brow, right?

This leads to additional issues. We present fake personalities to people we don’t know. To change who we are, we alter not only our physical characteristics, but our verbal and somatic ones as well. Think on the differences briefly of how you talk when meeting someone you highly respect and want to impress, as opposed to someone you’ve spent years around. The words change, the tone changes. In the few cases where I see someone who genuinely does not act any differently, it’s due to them having mastered the fine art of not caring what other people think of them.

And we all know what people whisper behind their backs: “He’s such a jerk,” or “She’s so conceited,” or “Who do they think they are?”

We speak differently, if only to portray ourselves in a desired light. When we speak differently, agitation can rise. This thought was very recently driven home to me when I read an article about the recent Black Panther movie. The article itself was very well written and, in many aspects, I largely agreed with the underlying message. So why, then, was something irritating me about the way it was written? Something that got my blood pressure to rise ever so little; not enough to induce a rage but just enough to make me realize that I was being bothered.

Toxic Masculinity. This is, literally, the phrase that was bothering me: nothing else. The message behind it was something I agree with, but the specific phrase, “Toxic Masculinity” bothered me to no end. More-over, it was the degree of repetition that agitated me, for reasons I still don’t fully understand myself (and I’m certain any number or reasons will either be provided or thrown at me, reader preference). Those two words are deliberately charged to incite an emotion, a particular idea, a very specific response from different demographics. To some, its two words of validation, to others: vindication. For some, it’s a cry for change, and for others it’s a war call to rally against.

Two words can incite heated and, occasionally, violent discussion or discourse. And I’m only talking about the words themselves: not the ideology behind them or what those words represent. The power of words to instill anger, grief, joy, ecstasy, whatever. Words as magic, words are magic. In a sick sort of way, a wild magic that has been gifted to each and every person in a cornucopia of different languages and incompatibilities; a magic that ebbs and flows with age and understanding, and even lack-thereof.

What, then, do we do to control such magic? Do we control it? Should we control it? I’ve seen arguments on all sides for all different ideologies: some who say conversation and discourse should be held in a mild, composed manner. Others who claim that speaking from pure emotion is the only way to have meaningful conversation. Still others who claim that speaking any words is a sure way to weaken the resolve of one’s position. We go to school to learn how to master language, we hone the craft on the streets, and we evaluate our own dialogue in our own minds.

For myself, my mastery of language (if it can even be called that) did not come from a classroom. It came from hours and hours of putting thoughts onto paper, trying to find better, more interesting ways of saying what I thought. Better: a weak way itself of phrasing that sentiment. In that case there, I chose better, but despite having put it down and continuing to write, I even now itch to go back and change the word. In my mind, the magic that the word “better” instills does not produce the desired result. In some cases, and for many, “better” would have been the perfect word to use. Beyond perfect, even.

With all this variation, with all these disagreements: how are we to have conversation? Can we even have conversation? Is it possible.

Optimists would say yes, cynics would say no, linguists would say verisimile.

At least, I assume that’s Latin; I used Google Translate because I don’t speak in dead languages; I barely speak the present one I frequently bastardize for my own selfish ends.

As you might have guessed, I have no answers on the subject at hand. After all, who am I to claim I know better than anyone else? My command of language is, honestly, no better than that of an English scholar, or that of a Russian store clerk, or that of a Hindi farmer. It’s kind of the terrifying point, really: we speak all these wildly different dialects with a vast array of different ideas behind them, and for wholly different reasons. So what, then, is the point of words?

Why do we even talk words?

To share. Perhaps the only thing all forms of language has in common: to share. Ideas, news, experiences. Language is a tool to unite minds to a cohesive experience; perhaps not a perfect tool, but one none the less. Language has evolved over millennia, centuries and even minutes: look back at this own article for proof. Three times I changed the way I wrote, twice bearing similarities but different inflection even. To share an experience I was having before I sat down to this empty word doc: a random little thought that trundled through my mind as I was pondering what to write and how.

I shared a portion of my own mind to you, reader. And in turn, you’ve now made it a part of your own. These words will now go on to shape who you become, in some small way, perhaps even an insignificant one; but you will be changed by it all the same. It’s not just the power of my words, either: everyone has this innate power and magic at our disposal. This odd little miracle of sharing parts of our minds with other isolated, but intimately connected, organisms.

So, let’s talk words, shall we?


The Conclusion of a Habit

20170816_150524November was an exceedingly busy month for me. I had finished a very taxing Chemistry class and had moved right along to a double-feature of English and Biology for the next term of my lessons. English wasn’t going to be terribly difficult for me, but I was anticipating it to be very heavy on homework and assignments (of which it ended up being), which Biology would be a class I could do rather well at, but it also turned out to be very much saturated with assignments and homework (most predominantly of that is memorizing terms and orders of operations).

On its own, these two things should have been more than enough to keep my brain fully occupied; coupled with pressure to get a paying part-time job since my writing habits earn me no income (perhaps one day that’ll change), as well as the desire to not live my life in a basement at a computer screen typing away for the remainder of the autumn season. And, to top it all off, my Minecraft cycle kicked in again, forcing me to reboot my village and begin the project once again from the ground up. And that goes without mentioning that I had every desire to get back into my weekly blogging and vlogging pastimes.

Understandably, some of these things don’t much seem like reasonable distractions, but fight me: I am very proud of how my new village is coming along. Now if only I could turn up some diamonds…

All in all, very busy month ahead of me. Then a friend of mine, my literary rival (though she frequently assures me that it’s a one-sided contest) informed me of a little ditty called NaNoWriMo. Some might have no idea what that is; while some, like myself, had only a vauge inkling as to what it was. I had heard it being mentioned once or twice in a Vlogbrothers video, but that was some years ago and I had fully forgotten about it. For those not in the know, a brief summary:

Shield-Nano-Side-Blue-Brown-RGB-HiResNaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month in full, is a month where authors and writers world-wide are challenged to concoct, write and complete a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. This pans out to an ambitious almost seventeen-hundred words per day of writing. This is a very ambitious undertaking for pretty much anyone I know, but when you’ve been saddled with an academic workload like I had been, the smart thing to do it not take on such a maddening extra task.

I’ve never been accused of being smart, though; you can probably assume what I did.

Now, the real humour comes from my starting time for this. Instead of starting on November first, like a sane person might, I came into the game late on November 4. So instead of having to write seventeen hundred words like everyone else per-day, I instead got to look forward to two-thousand words per day. This would be very easily achievable, were it not for the aforementioned mountain of homework I had before me.

When it came down to choose what to write about, I had initially intended to work on my current novel in progress to actual get some make some head-way on that. However, I was jokingly teased that a good writer would start something new and do that instead: I caved and pulled a pet-project idea out of the back of my mind to work on.

Years and years ago, I had concocted a small novel-worth of plot for my Dungeons and Dragons character, but I wasn’t sure if it would be a worthwhile story to put into formal print. Besides, I was just finishing writing what would become my first published novel, and I felt guilty about working on something else while that one was what I was most passionate about. In the end, I put the idea aside as a fun project I might work on when I finished with my current writing series.

Figuring this would be a good time to just have fun with writing, something that I had been struggling with since the publication of my first book and the crippling anxiety and stress of writing a better sequel (a whole blog topic all of its own), I decided that I was going to bring this pet project to light and just prod my way through it. It had no great ambitions, it had no great morals, or anything to that extent.

At first.

The introduction very nearly wrote itself, I found; moreover, the story had taken on this riveting and exciting life of its own. The focus changed from the very basic roots of what the foundationary material had been into something that I was earnestly excited to work on. I genuinely looked forward to when classes would finish so I could keep working on it; and in a way, it almost became a little obsession of mine.

As with any obsession, however, it started to become all consuming. Initially, I wrote off working on any blog or vlog material until the end of the month; people had been willing to wait this long (or had just moved on, either or), so it wouldn’t be too much of an issue if they waited a month longer. Then came my decrease in seeing friends as often as I should. I needed time to write, after all; I was plenty behind as things were. Then came the crowning achievement: writing my project during class while trying to multi-task learning the material.

Academics: begin your frustrated temple-rubbing.

In the end, though: I do not regret this decision. In fact, this amusing little pet-project had awakened a genuine pride in writing that I had long since lost. Excitement to see where a story took me and to what fantastical adventures lay in the next, blank page (digital page, though). By the end of the month, I had achieved the 50,000 word destination. But now I was met with a new problem.

shrunken-manuscript-1024x574At final count, my story was 50,026 words long, the last hundred or so words being hastily slammed together to meet the deadline more than much else. However, the story wasn’t finished. Like with most of my plans: my ambition outweighed the practicality of the situation. I had started working on what could only be called an epic, and I was very nearly at the half-way point with it.

“Screw it,” I thought to myself, “I’m just going to keep going on this.” But first, I had to finish the term of classes I was in. My marks had dipped a bit in Biology, English was a non-issue though. I determined to resume working on it after the term had ended, and aim to finish the story.

About a week ago, though: I caved and spent an hour clacking away at my keyboard to keep going on the tale. Should have been working on homework, but this was still forefront on my mind. Just needed to hammer off another page or two…

In the end, I finally acknowledge something my literary rival had mentioned in a blog that she wrote about NaNoWriMo. Roughly quoted: “It’s not about writing something good so much as it’s about writing something. Anything. Building that habit to write, even when you don’t feel like it.”

I had built that habit, and something else. I had built my next project; this silly little pet-project has grown into something I am both unreasonably excited for, and very proud of. With every intention of publication of this, I will continue writing this silly little novel that had taken me by surprise.

There’s a few morals to this tale, as it goes. Many different conclusions that can be drawn, and I’ll not beat your brow with how important these morals might be. Though they are very important to me and helped me reconcile something that had been an issue for a long time, these might be of little to no consequence to you, reader-type person.

But if nothing else, I wish to iterate this one point: I now consider myself a writer. For months, I had been writing, but never considered it to be a key aspect of my life. Now, however, I do declare myself a writer.

4051009161_8f543d2d90My pen is mighty indeed; though I’d still default to a sword if my life depended on it…

Project 29

It should come as virtually no surprise that I can have fairly vivid and incredulous dreams on a fairly regular basis. Sometimes, these are dreams of torment, where my mind has delicately picked only the most terrifying and debilitating images, sensations and concepts to give me a fitful and restless sleep. Others, I can be subjected to wondrous locations, amazing tales and astounding personalities to fill my mind with riveting tales.

Sometimes, these aforementioned dreams can become ideas that I find ways to work into my stories and writings. Indeed, a particularly memorable dream helped me reshape many of the concepts that I was secretly displeased with of my primary literature franchise, Galaxy 2,000,000,000 and form it into something I am much more proud of to this day.

And yes, I am still working on the sequel. It’s a very long process.

The other night, I had another incredible dream that, upon awaking and retaining a fraction of sentience, I began re-running through my mind in order to not lose it. Occasionally, I see fit to put it in writing: typically as a page-long summary with specific points to help my recollection of the images and sensations I experienced. Others, I rely on my atrocious memory to retain the important broad-strokes and symbols if the specifics of the dream are not overly important (again, see a paragraph prior for an example). This time, however, I wish to share the concepts of the dream I had to a larger audience.

Now, if you’re wondering about the title of this blog, it’s for a very simple reason: I always label all my writing projects in chronological order based on when the idea was conceptualized. Surprisingly, this method allows me to easily retain which story is which ‘project’, and can help me recall if I’ve already had an idea that is similar enough that the two can be rolled together. And as a general aside, I reserve project titles for only stories that will become full feature-length novels. Short stories and poetry do not get such luxury.

Because I’m an elitist, I suppose.

Now, allow me to set the premise for this particular work of fiction I have in mind. This one is more of a hard science-fiction genre, something I’ve never really dabbled in before (if for no other reason that the sheer amount of research required is staggering). Set in a time where technology has become exceedingly advanced and human cybernetics are, while perhaps not common, are prevalent enough that the common human is aware of such a thing.

Enter anonymously named main character (for hereafter called An, since I literally do not have a name for her). A recent hire to an investigations department that works separately from the police and similar law enforcement, An was brought in to investigate a series of serial robberies and abductions that take place near a university in the heart of the city. The robberies and abductions are bizarre in that, if there is more than one victim, the second is abducted, while the first is only robbed. The description of the perpetrator is always the same: a young-looking girl with haunting eyes and wearing a featureless mask.

This is where An meets one of the victims of a robbery, who I shall now give the arbitrary name of Gary since I, again, do not recall what his dream name was (or even if he had one). He was one of two young men, just about to graduate from the nearby university when he and a friend, let’s call them Bob, walked through the alleyway and were attacked. The details match and it becomes apparent that that same perpetrator is at play here.

An carries on with her work and then things get foggy. If for no other reason than to keep some of the better plot developments secret so that, if I do write this project someday, I’ve not spoiled all the good twists.

Now, fast forward a couple of years, where Gary also enlists to that same investigations department with An. Since she’s been pretty good at her job, she’s received a decent raise and promotion. Because that might be important?

Now the two of them are investigating a new case where a particular prominent cybernetics corporation has been subjected to a number of attempted hacks and break-ins. As things stand, the attempted hackers have been unsuccessful in breaking in, but the CEO fears its only a matter of time before these attackers find a way in. This is bad; why? Well, this particular corporation handles a number of commissions from the government, and if some of the files are leaked, it could lead to considerable civil disaster.

Y’know, serious bad.

Well, now An and Gary must work together to find these hackers and bring them to justice (or whatever). As they work, they stumble across a seemingly unrelated group that Gary is rather interested in. Now, in my dream, this group was actually entirely unrelated to the main story, and spiralled into a really bizarre game of rock-paper-scissors on top of a wooden tower that occasionally exploded. Oddly enough, nobody was every harmed in this game.

As the story goes on, An becomes involved in an accident and enters a brief coma. This then introduces a small series of flashbacks to her youth and what sort of events made her into who she is to this day. Pretty standard stuff. When she awakens, she discovers that Gary isn’t a waste of human space and has been actively investigating while she was out-of-commission. Getting back into the saddle, she meets up with him and finds out what he’s been up to in the past two weeks.

Like I said, short coma.

This is the part where my brain actually skipped several plot developments and just left me to fill in the blanks on my own. After an unspecified time skip, An and Gary are intimate (I know, not the most original plot-twist of all time), the investigation is rapidly heating up and our two heroes are hot on the heels of this mysterious hacking group.

The group is discovered, and here come a series of bomb-shells one after another after another. For starters, Gary was an informant for this hacker organization. Shocking, right? He wasn’t actually attacked in that alley all those years back, but was put out there to see how much the investigations departments actually knew (and yes, departments is deliberately plural as there are multiple unaffiliated investigations groups in this world. Because reasons).

The next big surprise is that An knew all along about the specifics of what the big corporation was actually dealing in. Remember that promotion I mentioned? Well, turns out she was promoted to a largely unknown organization called the MiD, the Ministry of Data. There, she received a series of cybernetic implants and modifications and was tasked with keeping tabs on what the various investigations departments knew about these nationally sensitive government contracts and to investigate these various hacking groups.

The next big twist comes from the fact that the mastermind behind this hacker organization is someone An doesn’t even know. Given modern fiction, that is actually a bit of a surprise. However; their secret weapon is, in fact, someone An used to know in her past. There was a friend that An used to have that largely faded into obscurity after they graduated highschool. Rumour had it this friend fell into drug addiction and faded between the cracks of society as a result. While largely true, this friend was abducted by this hacker organization and cybernetically enhanced to become the ultimate infiltration tool.

Then comes the big finale. This old friend attacks the corporation with the help of Gary, An must defeat them both and bring them to justice, all while sorting out her own morals on what it means to have a free will in a society otherwise controlled by standards and convention.

Well, the ending is pretty obvious, right? An wins, Gary and the friend are defeated, the hacker group is taken down. All’s well that ends well. And here comes the surprise twist: the story isn’t over yet. With her new knowledge of these events, the MiD is curious to see if they could have prevented these things in a logical manner that wouldn’t show their technological hand while minimizing the collateral damage. With this in mind, An is sent back in time to when the first abduction/robbery happened to see if their analysis was proven correct.

To start, An must assassinate her younger self and seamlessly assimilate into her old life. Luckily, due to her cybernetic enhancements and the MiD’s systems, this is fairly easily achieved. Turns out the MiD has been capable of time travel for an extensive period of time, so they have specific operating systems in place to contact and merge time-travelling agents smoothly.

This is about the point where I actually woke up and the dream ended; but as you can see, the stage is really interestingly set for further exploration of the themes and plot that this story has to offer. Of course, there are many elements that I had omitted from this summary, and as mentioned earlier, either to protect the story’s more interesting plot developments, or because my dream brain is terribly easily distracted and would go off on tangents about other, unrelated things.

All in all, it’d be a really interesting story to write. Ideally I’ll work on it in the future, but seeing as I have a small mountain of other stories to write first, it could be a couple of decades before then. Let me know if you find this proposal interesting and any thoughts on it you may have! I’d love to hear from you folks.

Without Buster

Hello folks, another short story I wrote a couple years back. I was playing around with some different narration techniques and a genre I’d never written in before. Read and enjoy, I received a lot of critic praise for this one.

It was a gloomier day than normal, it seemed; bleak and fat clouds lumbered their way across a pale sky in the early hours of the morning. The birds refused to sing: why should they? It was, in fact a sad day, an unfair day. Yesterday had been both these things too, but it seemed the world shared in Mark’s feelings this time.

Clinging Buster close to his chest, the small, stocky boy sat in the playroom and pondered glumly. Yesterday was an awful day at school, especially for Buster. And it was unfair, all of it! Buster had been there for Mark since forever, and it was not fair that Buster couldn’t continue to be so.

Why do I have to leave you at home? Mark inquired to the well-loved bunny, looking down over an extended lip at the soft fuzzy face of his bestest friend in the dim light. Buster said nothing in response, instead staring ahead and trying to put on a strong display for his friend. It was the same strong face Buster adopted every time Mark needed it, and there were many times. The time when Mark fell and really hurt his head, or the time that grandma was really very sick, or the time when dad wouldn’t stop crying.

It wasn’t fair! Buster was a big help at school; sometimes the lesson about numbers wouldn’t make much sense and Mark would start to fret. Buster was there to help calm him down and remind him that everything happens in little hops. And how was he going to remember the name of all those states without Buster to sing along with him?! IT’S NOT FAIR!

Again, Buster didn’t respond. But he didn’t need to. Buster knew that right now he just needed to listen. That’s what Mark needed most right now, someone to just listen. There was always so much talking happening all the time. On the TV, in the classroom, on the bus and in the grocery store. Talking and noise and noise and talking and noise! This room was just the way that Mark liked it. It was quiet. It needed to be quiet sometimes, why did everything have to make so much noise all the time?

Mark looked over at the worn wooden train tracks that circled him. Buster loved these colourful trains: maybe he could play with the trains while Mark went to school. Buster would like that, but the little boy did not. Why was it that he had to leave Buster behind, someone he needed and couldn’t live without, but some of the girls were allowed to bring their friends with them to school? None of the other boys made fun of the girls for that reason, and the teacher didn’t insist that Maggie and Flitter-Butter had to stay home. So why did Buster have to stay home?

Why does everyone hate you so much? Mark asked quite earnestly, incredibly puzzled at the notion that no-one else saw how important Buster was. He stretched his arms out and held his friend aloft before him, those small button eyes looking a little more sad than usual. I don’t want to leave you behind, Buster. Who else is going to help me read during recess?

Perhaps the answer was a little more simple than Mark had anticipated, or maybe it was because he didn’t like the answer. It was kind of a scary answer, actually. An answer that made the small blonde boy angrily push Buster away, a defiant “NO” echoing through the pink plaster room. Buster bounced and flopped across the floor, bopping his little black nose against the musty-smelling chair where dad used to bedtime stories.

There was a stir from up the stairs at the side the room, the scrape of a plate on a glass table. But Mark sat in silence, staring at Buster, just lying there on the floor. His tall ears wrapped around the chair leg, white fur gathering the brown dust that floated around from under the chair. He wasn’t looking at Mark, and Mark wasn’t looking at him. Instead, the little boy had folded his arms across his chest and stared down at his red and yellow striped shirt.

I don’t want to. Mark feebly tried to think up a good reason why, but the best he could fathom was it’s too hard and it’s scary. Buster listened, and probably quietly agreed, not that Mark could tell, what with his refusal to look at his friend. A memory flashed to the front of his mind, replaying the scenes of yesterday. The teacher taking Buster away, and James and Tyler throwing Buster into the dirt because Buster was just a girly toy.

Buster was not just a toy! Buster was his friend! His friend…

Scrambling over to his poorly discarded friend and hugged him tightly, Mark apologized while tears stung his eyes. But Buster understood. This was difficult, this was tough. Sometimes, though, things got tough. And that was what Buster was there for: the tough times.

The bus was very nearly here; Mark would have to leave soon. Clamber up the stairs and make his way out to the big yellow bus. But he was supposed to leave Buster behind this time. He didn’t want to, but Buster’s words rang in his mind:

It’s time for change.

Once more, Mark looked into Buster’s eyes. They seemed a little more hopeful now. Maybe it was time to be strong and brave, to leave Buster behind. Perhaps that was what Mark needed to do now. But, then again, who would he talk to? If not for Buster, Mark wasn’t sure he could even find the courage to go to school.

“Hey, Champ? The bus is just down the street,” dad called from up the stairs. Mark looked at Buster, Buster at Mark. He smiled a sad little smile: he knew what his choice had to be.

It was time for change.

The Whyte Gears Articles: A Project

I like to fancy myself a writer: indeed, I have been writing (mostly fiction) for the better part of my life. I can remember writing little stories with a friend of mine back when I was in grade 1, and it’s been something of a passion of mine for quite some time. Back in 2011, I published my first novel: Galaxy 2,000,000,000 Darkness Falls. While it wasn’t exactly the commercial miracle I had hoped it would be at the time, I don’t regret publishing it.

And while I have been hard(ly) at work on the sequel, ideas and concepts for new books keep popping into my mind like you wouldn’t believe. And so, I’ve concocted a plan to stem some of the flow of these ideas, as well as test out a potential business model that I’d like to pursue (in fact, this whole blog is a testing site for that; more on that another day).

And so, I shall be working on a little story series that’ll be published to this blog once a week, Thursdays at 5:30pm Eastern Time Zone. All the entries will be (ideally) located under a separate page titled The Whyte Gear Articles, and assuming I’ve set up the pages accordingly, should contain a series of sub-pages for each chapter of the story.

At present time, it’s looking to be a 10 chapter story. This will possibly change based on plot developments or demand. We’ll see.

The first story will be a steampunk mystery/horror, and if you want more details, be sure to check out the page later this afternoon when it publishes. It’s also worth noting that, while all the characters and content of this work will be original, I’m leaving it with a Creative Commons licence.

If you’re interested, I’d encourage you to check it out and read the story as it unfolds. Comments and critiques will be welcomed and, in fact encouraged; as well as feedback if these kinds of stories would be something you’d be interested in supporting in the future (preferably monetarily, but, again again, more on that later).

At the very least, it should be a fun little exercise for myself and an interesting distraction for you, dear reader. I’ll be putting somewhere on this blog a following option so that you can see when the next post updates (but pending unforeseen circumstances, it should be fairly regularly).

Thanks for tuning in; hope to see you again!


The Sacrifice

The following is a piece I wrote for a short-story writing contest I participated in. Incidentally, I largely consider this one a point of pride and a point of shame. Pride because I was able to pull together something riveting and thrilling in about an hour, shame because it was overly ambitious and I consider it the story that failed to get me to the third round.

Never the less, it’s a good piece that I felt inclined to share. I’m also leaving this open as a creative commons license, so yeah, that’s a thing. Enjoy. 

It was the only safe place she could find at this moment: the ramshackle, white-washed shed, half sunk in the mud. It’s ochre peak barely visible from the tall stalks of corn that surrounded it, a dilapidated, ghostly relic, forgotten by time. In the past, this had been her hideaway when the cultists’ ceremonies got to her too much, but now…

“Divine vassal: this game of hide and seek is something I grow weary of,” a shrill voice called from somewhere behind Sendra, followed by a throaty cackle over the sounds of a truck engine. Panic was gripping at her heart as she stumbled over the broken fence and through the mud. Sludge clung to her feet, the raw wear-patches around her ankles stinging viciously as blood mixed with dirt. The door was just ahead. Maybe in there she could find something to defend herself with. Charging towards the door through the rain, she did her best to keep her footing upon the slick ground. All the while, the engine grew louder and louder, and that horrid cackling more and more intense.

She reached the door very nearly at the same time the black pick-up truck broke through the fields. Like an unholy demon, its jet black paint seemingly swallowing the light. And staring at her from the driver’s window was Master Reevis, so gaunt he very well may have been a skeleton. He smiled a wicked toothy grin, “My my my,” and revved the engine.

He intended to ram her! Clutching the rusted door handle and pulling with all her might, Sendra screamed in defiance as the great black beast came barreling towards her with ungodly speed. The door screeched ever so slightly giving way. Inch by inch it seemed to creep as the truck sped at her. It wouldn’t work!

Glancing back just in time, Sendra threw herself aside as the truck plowed through the heavy wooden doors, a marvelous shower of splinters and nails peppering the area, snipping at the girls barely protected form while she listened to the spectacular crash. Peeking over her arms, she could see clearly inside the barn: Master Reevis had driven right into a cement wall, flattening the front of his truck. Yet his one leg poked out, a thin stick with oversized rubber boots, and it pawed its way towards the straw-covered ground.

“Refreshing,” Master Reevis mummered as he squirmed his way free of the wreckage. Yet something glinted in the light that trickled into the open building: a glint of metal lay upon the floor. Was that a gun? Yes! And it was well out of Master Reevis’ grasp!

With a grunt of pain, Sendra pulled herself to her feet and scrambled to it, clawing her way forward to the only means of saving herself at this point. A shotgun, partially rusted but very likely loaded, pointed her way. It had flown from the truck cab when Reevis hit the wall. And she was nearly there, very nearly—

A moan caught her attention. It didn’t come from the truck, rather the opposite direction. First Sendra’s eyes crept that way, then her whole head turned. Her normally dark skin went pale as she saw what her fate was to be. Her twin sister, Alii, was there. A macabre scarecrow, wooden beams forced through her arms and out of her mouth in sick crucifixion. The blood that the rough wood readily drank was fresh, and the young girl twitched. Good God, she was still alive: her eyes sobbed as she moaned helplessly and watched Sendra upon the ground. Her eyes screamed one thing: run!

“United at last, a heart wrenching reunion!” Reevis shrieked, finally working himself free from the truck. Something was clutched in his right hand as he stared unblinkedly at the girls, “Now the ceremony can be complete: the twins born under the blue moon shall send my soul unto the heavens, and I shall be a god!”

She could fathom no words, but instead gasped her way towards the shotgun once again. There was a blur of motion from the corner of her eye and a heavy spike imbedded itself into the back of her hand. Sendra shrieked and recoiled it, looking back at Master Reevis. He had thrown one of the broken door’s nails at her, and held another in his hand. In the other, he clutched a drawing. Half of a painting she had made from when she was six. Sendra was on the right, and Alii’s half was stapled to her chest.

“Come now, child: we musn’t keep the spirits waiting,” Reevis whispered, leaning in towards her. His pale white robe very nearly invisible from the rain earlier, his naked body beneath well beyond emaciated. He almost seemed to creak like an old oak in the wind as he reached forward.

But this would not be Sendra’s fate. She ripped the spike from her hand and stabbed it at Reevis, plunging the spike deep into his chest. He staggered back, a grimace of disappointment flashing across his cracked lips as the young girl bolted for the gun. Just as she was about to reach it, another blur of a thrown nail caught her eye, clipping the side of the gun and sending it spinning off and into the shadows.

It was no use. She’d never be able to find it before he reached her. Instead, Sendra grabbed a fist full of straw and threw it at his face; a slight distraction so that she could run for the door. Back out into the rain and into the corn fields she ran. She ran and ran, the sounds of his laughter trailing just behind the veil of stalks.

But as she ran, she saw something in the distance. An ochre peak, barely visible from the overgrown fields she was in. She had looped around somehow, and a shrill chill ran down her spine as she felt hot breath upon her nape.

“Now where were we?” Reevis asked…

Bordered at the Brink


The brink stands before me,

Relentless and foreboding, smacking of all the decisions I never made. Of all the choices I never reached of all the apathy I incurred.

The brink stands before me,

A jagged reminder of the lives that could have been: the destinies and of the destinations and of the desires and the discarded.

The brink stands before me,

All the faces and all the places and all the won races and all the traces of hope and value and accomplishment and triumph.

The brink stands before me,

A villainous blight on all my peers and acquaintances, of turned cheeks and of turned backs. To be shunned or worst yet acknowledged with pity.

The brink looms before me,

I made and bade this foul beast of shapeless forms and yet of unyielding recognition. Did I choose it or did it choose me the question asks.

The brink towers over me,

Fixation fascination frustration agitation aggression resignation retaliation broken.

The brinks swallows me,

What have I done?

Why did I choose this?

It did not choose me.

I chose it.

The brink stands behind me,

It wavers and wails, claws and cries, stamps and stares. Beyond it lies the road that must be taken; a one-way trail with no return.

The brink is no longer my interest,

This road leads to uncertainty. Mastery or misery, joy or jaded, fame or fatality, success or salvation, entrance or end.

I care not, so long as the brink is behind and the road beyond.



February 2, 2017 // 10:46pm