A Storied Recipe: Easy onion hummus with spicy Cajun chickpeas

chickpeasHow can he tell her he’s failed another interview? He leaves the manager’s office and fumbles back out into the mall. So much want – bright lights, everything shiny, everyone craving, buying, gorging themselves in the food court. Two cans of Dollar Store chickpeas wait at home, maybe a bedraggled onion and a bit of bread. His stomach aches, but not from hunger. Continue reading

Writing with your whole brain

IMG_5533You are risking everything reading this. And with these five words…even more. Because in these few seconds you have spread open the lobes of your brain and welcomed me in. How can I ever honour such a gift of time, of self, when the worlds I write could betray you so easily with a slip of continuity, a forced metaphor, a character left hollow by my impatience for your praise… Continue reading

Getting started

getting startedLook closer… is this a scrap of garbage or a profound revelation about process? Ironically, I found it while taking a shortcut. Words are alive, and I believe we owe them the dignity of an audience before they are ground down and pulled back into the belly of the Earth. Oh Xena Warrior Princess game manual technical writer, what wisdom doth ye have to bestow? Continue reading

Writing out of the box

IMG_5363We write ourselves into boxes all the time: check which box applies, keep your signature within the lines, what do you “do?”, etc. We wedge ourselves into these tight but cozy places and bend ourselves double to reach their reassuring absolutes. Every box is a story we’ve learned to believe. And there, fully contorted in the dark and stuffy air, we wait. For what? More closet space? Continue reading

Committing to the novel when your body knows the real story

writing a novelWhen you’ve exhausted all avenues of procrastination, when you’ve done the dishes, called your mother, cleared your inbox, and cum until your wrist aches… all that’s left is you and time, locked in a stalemate. This is the moment of courage, of faith. Why write a novel? Why put yourself through the torture of trying to communicate an intimate kaleidoscope reality, an entire world, through the blind stick figure middlemen of letters on a page? This cannot be a choice, because if it were, no novel would ever have been written. Story pushes up from somewhere deep, deep within our bodies – our words are only the tiny penis tip of our creation.

Words. Like icebergs, they hide the danger of their true momentum far beneath the surface of the screen. Words, such failingly inadequate tools of translation, trying desperately to bring two brains into harmony, two viable worlds into parallel, if only for a few hours. But this is enough. It has to be. Because it is all we have.

Our office I.T. man just caught me crying at the reception desk, a smile on my face, but tears rolling freely down my cheeks. He caught me playing with words. I can feel my story rising, but my bones won’t give it up so easily. I’m sweating in sheer liquid terror of commitment. This is National Novel Writing month and the pressure’s on. Time taunts me from my wrist, the corner of my computer screen, the phone display. Its old dare is full force in my ears…. Come on, come on Cymbria, take me, use me to hold your story away from your body long enough to share.

I am not a coward. But maybe I am. Maybe that’s why my story is so hard. My body knows the truth, that once I commit to the novel, there is no other way. Why write a novel when immortality is a lie? Trends tease, then take it all away. Computers crash and books burn. Why write a novel? Because it is not a choice. It is an act of desperation. One story standing brave before the Tiananmen onslaught of our oblivion. It is the physicality of our body’s deepest truth, and hope. We can try to mute it, tamp it down with drugs, drama, or alcohol. We can lie to ourselves and say it won’t mean anything. Or that nobody will care. Money? In this age of cheapened, transient words, money is a mockery of motivation.

If you’re already writing this November for NaNoWriMo, I am in awe of your bravery. My own novel is taking me on a far longer journey – damn it! We want to connect, to time, to ourselves, and to others – it is our most primal want. If words are your tool of connection, you have no choice. What do I want? I want magic, like the first hot breath of a BJ, I want to feel my readers wanting everything I have to give them, and then wanting more. Because in the end, want makes time real, and this is all we have.