An Announcement

Two years ago, around this time, I chose to commit to blogging. Even if I couldn’t post daily, I wanted to make sure I wrote something at least once a month. Since I was fourteen, I’ve started over a dozen blogs, only to abandon them either out of frustration or mere distraction. However, I always wrote poems in a notebook.

I initially started Crumpled Paper Cranes to document both ordinary and bizarre interactions that mostly occurred as I acclimated myself to the delays, sluggish turns, and eccentricities associated with public transportation. Eventually, I decided to shift the blog’s focus to poetry, visuals, and flash pieces. I didn’t quite anticipate the support and readership that followed, though I knew your feedback would be invaluable and conducive to my “staying faithful” to CPC.

I want to take this time to thank all of you, for your feedback, interesting conversation, and some of your own work that I’ve been privileged to discover and enjoy. Blogging not only helped to improve my writing, but it also gave me a sort of flashlight to illuminate my goals. It also prompted an interest in freelancing, which I thoroughly enjoy.

Don’t take this as a farewell letter. It certainly isn’t. Simply, it’s a thank you. Additionally, I wanted to announce that I recently signed a book contract. Scraped Knees, a collection of poetry and flash stories, will be released sometime in early 2017. I will keep you updated as the release date draws near.

Again, I cannot thank you enough for your encouragement. 2016 has truly been a turbulent and eventful year.

Shift

I never thought I would be the kind to tell my job to take a walk. After all, I’m the one with legs. It was somewhat on an impulse, and somewhat part of a plan I had written out repeatedly the past two weeks. I don’t believe I’ve ever discussed my job on the blog, and I don’t believe I’ve ever discussed my illnesses here. I’ve been attempting to channel negativity into stanzas and blocks of a thousand words or so, and I’ve done this since late 2014.

My ways of thinking are rigid, and some may deem them perverse. I didn’t think that aside from dry research papers, briefs, and informational pamphlets, I was capable of writing a poem, story, confessional essay, or anything close to a book. My original landing page began with something along the lines of wanting to run for miles, and wanting to write a novel. Absurdly, I thought that as I didn’t study English in college, and was just then acquainting myself with Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Charles Bukowski, Frank O’Hara, Bell Hooks, and others, I didn’t have a right to try. Yet I blogged as a way to cope with my issues and finally received a comment in reference to “I want to write a novel.”

Then do it. You already know you can.

The more I wrote, the more I realized how mean I was to myself, how achingly guilty I felt for no logical reason, how I held myself back. Years before, I was the one who preached about agency. It wasn’t long before glass shattered from shaky hands. I used to plan and couldn’t improvise for my life. Now, it seems that everything is an accident, and I’ve recently gotten better at adapting and acknowledging that sometimes, what you plan happens later than you’d like. It may not happen at all. Its never being birthed may not even be by fault.

For now, I want to write and submit. There is time for me to work out what’s to happen in the longterm. Leaving the 8am to 5pm is not the end of the world (really, I cherished that aspect of it, in spite of other things), and I’ve come to realize that staying at a job you were only pretending you were made for is not worth the damage the environment inflicts on your health. Walking away is fine. It does not make you weak. Neither does mental illness. I will confess for a time, I’ve grappled with whether mental illness is real, or just some sort of prolonged teen angst. For me, I have to see something to believe it. And after learning I have a physical illness that others can’t really see, though the sharp chest pains intensified to where the job wasn’t doable, I admitted I was pretending. Pretending to be infallible, pretending to be happy, pretending to be fine.

I’ve decided to attempt to write full time. I think that I can do it. I’ve also decided to focus on refining and submitting my work to literary journals and magazines. Crumpled Paper Cranes will stay, though its focus will shift to reviews of works by indie authors. There will also be a new section titled “Diary.” If some of my past entries disappear, it’s probably because I’ve decided to add more material and make some corrections. Most of the bits under “Flash Writing” will probably expand into larger pieces. I will remain in the Blogosphere, but as a more active reader.

Quitting doesn’t have to be bad. It’s just something I never thought I’d bring myself to do.

Dear Tabby

Dear Tabby: For three years, I’ve successfully sported a pixie cut. I could shower, dash for the closet, slip into something comfortable, and run to work fifteen minutes before eight. Now, I stumble into half-closed elevators, my hair looking like seaweed, coworkers looking concerned. What should I do to simplify?

Brush your damn hair. And invest in some Garnier Fructisse. It pains me to see you use dishwashing soap as you’ve got a way with procrastinating.

Dear Tabby: I sweep my apartment nightly. I also cook on the regular. How do I muster the self-assurance to invite a fellow over for tea?

Are you sure this concerns tea? Whatever your motives are, I’d advise you to first remove that bottle you keep as a centerpiece. You know, the one with all my whiskers I lost while losing weight. That, along with my presence, deters a man enough. However, I implore you to keep me.

Dear Tabby: The man in the elevator had a sizable shoebox. I asked if he went shoe shopping, and he told me that he was carrying around his divorce papers. Then he winked. What could this mean?

It means you should invite him for tea. Was it a shoebox from a past purchase? You know what they say about men with big feet.

Dear Tabby: Whomever should I vote for these upcoming weeks? My appetite for politics has withered.

The one with the good hair. You could always write me in.

Dear Tabby: How do you deal with anger?

Finally, it’s occurred to you that I don’t sleep back spread on your face in the absence of a justified reason. I hate salmon. Stop with your generalizations.

Dear Tabby: Are your whiskers magical? They quiver like a magic wand, like I’m Cinderella or something.

First of all, thanks to your reckless dancing, and running, and coffee table crashes, neither of your feet would perfectly fit any kind of slipper. Secondly, my whiskers are magical, but only in the sense that they ward off pesky hands that sneak up from behind to tickle me. My name isn’t Elmo.

Dear Tabby: Why do cats of your kind have an “M” on the forehead?

Why, because we’re majestic. What about the “K” on your coffee cup? Does it tell me you’re killable?

Dear Tabby: Whole milk, or skim milk? Which is healthier?

I’m not lactose intolerant. Both are good. As for nutritional value, I can’t provide an answer. I can say you’re pretty arrogant in the way you have to relish both in front of my face, petting me at the same time. Humans.

Dear Tabby: My migraines and joint pain are killing me. What are some good remedies?

All you need is me. Now, lay on your stomach and allow my claws to make music on your back. Be sure to moisturize. I hate dust.

Dear Tabby: You mean the world, so much that I’d quit my job to spend my days with you.

Don’t. Food ain’t free.

Join Tabby, and little Batman, on Instagram for weekly adventures.

Releasing the Unlucky Cricket

If it were another day, another month, another era. When mistakes were not made, or we could make them without shame. If there was nothing to lose. If everything didn’t seem so tentative and quick to evaporate. Maybe, it could work out.

If I didn’t scream so much. If I didn’t wreck my body, my mind, my life. If I believed in myself. If I even believed in you. Your realness. Maybe, it could work out.

If you could feel. If you were free. If you meant those things you whispered and wrote. Maybe, it could work out.

And it won’t, and I’m okay with this. I really, inarguably am. It’s nothing personal, and outsiders say it’s the right thing to do, but of course they don’t know that this is one of those things I can’t let go without feeling the opposite of apathy.

I feel we’re like mirror images of each other, but I’m not sure if this is an accurate comparison. If it is, it’s probably a good idea to let go. When you’re so much alike in the most unflattering ways, there’s so much at stake, so much risk. And there’s a risk that’s not too bad, you see. It’s like having a disease that, in actually, isn’t that bad. There are perks. You just have to work with yourself. Manage the upsides. The blooming remission. The talents, like pearls within muddied oyster shells. So, I guess that would mean I’d have to work with you, and you with myself. Quite a damn bit. Each day. And I failed at that. Do I want to try again?

I can’t. Again? No. I love you too much to put you through the horrors of entrapment.

I am not above bad poetry (and screenshots)

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 6.22.32 PM

I am twenty-five,
not twenty-four.

and I’ve always aspired
to be some kind of knockoff.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 6.22.54 PM

Chris Hansen with rouge,
but not that voice.

“a fifty-three-year-old boy…”
(see, I told you I’d fail.)

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 6.23.08 PM

Now, if you would,
have a seat over there.

chew on a burnt cookie
and forgotten chocolate chips.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 6.23.47 PM

The doctor,
the lawyer,
the accountant,
professor,
photographer,
artist,
these writers to be,
the Mormon,
a therapist,
cops on the run.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 6.24.01 PM

oh, the revolving door
that knows no national language.

aside from shallow breathing
and a sigh taken for granted.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 6.24.33 PM

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 6.25.01 PM

“He was an innocent joke.”

Today finishes a quote challenge I very much appreciated, especially since I haven’t been well for quite some time now. Currently, I’m settling into introspection, aiming for the quiet. There’s a lot of work to do, internally. 

Falsehoods, Shame, and Shaky Bravery allowed me to revisit someone I thought was lost. For a while, one could say my feelings were shallow, gray, and almost rehearsed. More recently, I’ve been overwhelmed. I’ve been falling flat on my face. Several times, I’ve been asked, “What’s going on here?” I haven’t issued an answer, as I can’t explain much myself. I think this quote will do: 

“The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides. Accept life, and you must accept regret.” – Henri Frederic Amiel.

I’m going to share what I consider my best piece of writing. I’ve submitted this story to dozens of journals, and it has been denied. Of course, I can’t let that bother me. But I keep revisiting this story, adjusting it to reflect whatever impact I’ve felt by a certain handful of people. I think, ten years after the first draft, I can take this further. 

(The story written has been removed as I have chosen to submit it for outside publication).

 

I’d arrange a bundle of three bloggers, but really, I want quotes from all of you. Any of you. Words in their sincerity. 

 

Banter and Audible Firecrackers – Adventures in Dialogue

As some may already know, I’m not the most social of people. Pancakes in mid-morning with more than two people are enough to make me squirm, and for the New Year, I’ve already set aside several paintings to hang on my door to convey my mood and whether one should knock. I’d rather sit on my bed, undisturbed, maintaining friendships and sharing ideas on pseudonymous websites. One of these is imgur.

I’m no partier, catching myself sadly justifying why I was spending my New Year’s Eve inside, painting, decoupaging, and rummaging through Youtube videos of the worst in standup comedy. For the first time in years, I’ve opened myself to sincere friendships, though home is what I prefer to Bonham Exchange, even on colorful nights. “You’re young.” I am. Twenty-five, if you ask. But always, I’m fifteen.

The featured image above is what I had uploaded to imgur, fully aware of the stigmatization and vilification so inconsistently, yet fervently awarded to uploads of one’s face. While I anticipated comments on the absence of decor, and questions about incarceration, I didn’t foresee an extensive comment thread that once again indicated that while I often fantasize about screenwriting, it’s just not going to happen. I credit Betrael for the banter and zest.

Originally, I wanted to present the conversation with a series of GIFs, but decided that the text does well in standing alone. Note that nothing here is to be taken seriously. I respect the elderly, and no, I do not believe their lives are solely validated by Earl Grey breakfast tea. Prepare yourself for several minutes of awkwardness and vulgarity. Or, if you regularly read Crumpled, you’ll know that oddness is my forte.

***

Betrael: 25 and you haven’t had alcohol? I was going to go out, but work offered a lot of pay to be here today, so I was in bed by 8pm.

Myself: I have had baby doses of alcohol. And I usually pick colorful drinks with decorative features, like spearmint leaves and limes.

Betrael: So… Mojitos? Well, happy new year.

Myself: They are my favorite. Particularly watermelon mojitos. I also like raspberry mojitos and blueberry ones.

Betrael: Let’s meet up for a drink, I’ll drive 1,300 miles that way and you drive 1,300 miles this way.

Myself: You don’t even know where I live! You do know that it lacks proper decor…

Betrael: Eh, I’ve got tons of art, sitting in my closet. 1,300 miles because it seemed vague enough to be feasible.

Myself: It was a number that was frighteningly accurate. I too paint, although my works are in a box. I try to sell them when I can.

Betrael: Seems like it’s the distance between West Coast and East Coast, or Canada to Mexico. unless your European, then I’d have to rethink in kilometers.

Myself: The second set of places you mentioned is pretty damn close.

Betrael: I’m on the west coast. Lots of cats and coffee and art and video games.

Myself: The West Coast seems like a better place than the Gulf Coast.

Betrael: Well, the Gulf Coast has lots of… stuff, and coast. AND it’s a gulf!! There aren’t many gulfs in the world, so it’s got that going for it.

Myself: But it’s not exactly golf. Not that I care for golf, but the word “gulf” just sounds gross and reminds me of oil and soda can rings and shit.

Betrael: Golf of Mexico would have a better ring, although it may lead to gentrification when rich people move there expecting a giant golf course.

Myself: I hear gentrification’s a real bitch in San Francisco. The phenomenon fascinates me.

Betrael: I hear that too. I live in a beach city that has “low” property value due to a breakwater, but the gentrification is strong now.

Myself: Initially, I did not know what the term meant. I thought it involved tuxedoed gentleman running about the city, greeting girls in monocles.

Betrael: I always thought it meant old people moving in, because it almost sounds like “geriatric.” Those damn seniors gonna take over your town.

Myself: The only thing good about their lifestyle is Earl Grey tea.

Betrael: I like Earl Grey, English Breakfast is decent too. Driving around town in a golf cart is probably fun too.

Myself: I think it’s illegal to do that on the highways here. I have always wanted to try it. You know what is also delicious? Kona Pop tea.

Betrael: When you’re old you can do things like that and feign ignorance. That tea looks interesting, I’m too tame for adventurous teas.

Myself: It’s okay. I’m too tame for Bourbon or any other drink that sounds like a brand for chilled semen.

Betrael: Think of it this way; all alcohol is ethyl alcohol, just diluted. It’s the barrel aging that imparts bourbon or rum and all that nonsense.

Myself: So you’re saying that the more obnoxiously a man brags about his member, the more petite it is in actuality, yes?

Betrael: Totally, that and the level of insecurity shines through almost immediately upon mention of measuring one’s own wingdangdoodle.

Myself: If I had a wingdangdoodle, I’d measure it in terms of the number of macaroni shells to cover it up.

Betrael: It’s actually convex and exists as a thought exercise like Schroedinger’s cat, but is also an illusion and a quantum state type thing.

Myself: Sounds like something I’m not smart enough to understand. Will write a scientifically inaccurate screenplay: Quantum of Phallus.

Betrael: The whole premise of the movie is James Bond going to physicists to find out if his wingdangdoodle actually exists or not.

Myself: I’m afraid we’re gonna spend an unordinary time casting the first transexual Bond love interest to play Pussy NoMore…

Betrael: Totally androgynous person of no sex pulls down Bond’s pants and it’s like the briefcase in Pulp Fiction; only that person can see the truth.

Myself: And like those petals in Beauty and the Beast, Bond has to find true love, void of sex’s follies, before his last pubic hair falls.

Betrael: After a montage of driving and stuff he reflects to finally realize that the one person he can truly love as Bond love only loves is Bond.

Myself: And after this epiphany, with the unsolicited aid of Michael Caine, Bond dives into the Gulf of Mexico, tears spilled on duct taped bondage.

Betrael: Totally needs Michael Caine. He totally says something profound and it plays over and over as JB magically swims to the bottom of the gulf.

Myself: “You know, I’d almost forgotten what your (golden) eyes looked like. They’re still the same. Pissholes in the snow.”

Betrael: “…pissholes in the snow…” “PISSHOLES IN THE SNOW, by god Jeeves. The secret code to unlocking my genitals is in a Siberian gold mine.”

Myself: After a good four hours, thirty-two minutes, and five seconds, Bond digs a hole to China. Underwater. Because China owns Siberia’s gold.

Betrael: The plot must make absolutely no logical sense with lots of jump cuts, just like the actual Bond movies. Only to realize he is the villain.

Myself: So after digging a hole to China with legs of incredible torque, Bond manages to have a restaurant owner’s daughter free him with scissors.

Betrael: Turns out she’s a spy and China is plotting to bury him in the gold mine before he can beckon the moon with his blood ritual transformation.

Myself: However, the spy has a weakness for moon cakes, even at times when moon cakes would not be appropriate. Caine writes a special recipe…

Betrael: Inappropriate moon cake shots? Ooh, I didn’t know we were going art film style for this. I smell an Oscar though, it’s pretty real.

Myself: But as Bond hands the spy the box containing the tainted moon cake, Oliver, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, sits on a street corner, glaring.

Betrael: Oliver, the scorned love of Bond, who was left at the altar when JB couldn’t break the news of his paradoxical wingus, now plots his revenge.

Myself: In scheming, Oliver poorly crafts an effigy of Bond, piercing a stick through its tush, frying it along with seahorses. Voodoo is global and real.

Betrael: Deep in his psychosis he decides to create an effigy of the world, to transfer the pain in his heart to everyone else. So they know he hurts.

Myself: As he returns to his street corner, rattled & convulsing, a European exchange student hands him a corn cob, introducing herself as Mallorie.

Betrael: The corn cob starts ringing; it’s a phone. Oliver answers and a familiar voice echoes through the theater. “To be continued.” DUN NUNT NA NUNT.

Myself: And the audience groans, an older gentleman louder than the rest. “I could have seen Star Wars, and you took me to see this shit?” EL FIN.

Betrael: College professors continue to debate the subtle meanings and intricacies of the film for over a hundred years. Never knowing the real truth…

Myself: …as college students, with their trenta Starbucks cups, continue to pull out their hair, writing another paper on its perpetual ambiguity.

Betrael: Two random (very senile) internet commenters are tracked down by a professor of movie-istics only to leave with an earful of rambling nothing.

Myself: Befuddled, the professor picks up the conch resting on his bathroom sink, listening for an answer that lurks in the dark Gulf of Mexico.

Betrael: Roll credits. Turns out people thought a hundred years passed, but it was actually the same movie, with pooped pants they leave the theater.

Myself: Life is nothing without a box of Pampers.

Betrael: It was a commercial the whole time, in disguise as an artsy think-piece.

***

The dialogue speaks for itself, and another window opens to reveal a piece of my mind. Not necessarily my soul, but an outlook somewhat freed by Pink Moscato. Thank you for your readership, interest, and time. Also, Happy 2016.