Book Release: Four Kinds of Wreckage (Savage Short Loves: Volume II)

Four Kinds of Wreckage (Savage Short Loves: Volume II)Announcing the release of my latest fiction offering (following my previous post and waiting for the KDP process to filter its way back to my inbox). Four Kinds of Wreckage (Savage Short Loves: Volume II) is available for purchase via the bookshop link on the left-hand side bar.

At the start of this particular writing process, I didn’t envisage a year long project in all honesty. The previous instalment of this series took the best part of three years to come to fruition, but Volume II was intended to be a quicker write. What we learn along the way is that words won’t be rushed.

As a taster of the contents of this second volume (and something I haven’t yet done in order to promote the contents of the first volume), there follows at the end of this post a very brief overview of the thirty pieces therein. I call them ‘pieces’ because I always have: they’re not stories in the conventional sense of the definition (by which I mean, the view that such writing has a ‘beginning, middle, end, plot, crucible/conflict’, and so forth); these pieces, in their intentional brevity, sometimes have a storyline to them, are sometimes a moment in the telling, sometimes they’re the middle of things that might expand out in the mind, etc.

How to write a synopsis of such brief affairs (being in the region of 60-1000 words per piece)? The succinct, below, shall describe the brief.

Prices have been reconsidered to reflect the individual work in question, but I’m open to the idea of a free copy coming your way if you drop me a line on my Joel Seath: Writer Facebook page, or send a message on this blog site. This free giveaway is for promotional purposes and therefore with a limited initial period (if it’s successful, I’ll do likewise again sometime). So, contact me by January 17 please.

As the independent writer/publisher’s promotional work is aided by honest reviews, you’ll know then — as a reader — that a review of the book is requested in return for a free copy. There is a reviews page set up on this site for readers’ comments. I thank you kindly in advance of your interest.
So, to the writing in Four Kinds of Wreckage (Savage Short Loves: Volume II):

being a story of love taken to its inevitable ends

in which we cannot escape

I, Revenant
exploring the unreliable

The Glass Girl
being a fractured moment of a fractured man

The Wasps’ Nest
in the midst of a garden tale

A Memory of a Love We Almost Shared
exploring what could have been

When We Never Were
in which we see peripherally

All is Far from Clear in War of Love
continuing battles fought in love

Written on the Streets
a window on the fearful follower

Cardboard Love
a small sliver on dimensions

Red Queen of Stones and Wings
being a fractured obsession

The Fragility of Sense Geographies
exploring an inner urban landscape

Our River’s Bones
in which one inner landscape is condensed and falls

exploring a city we don’t control

Composition in Water and Other Elements that Mark
being the self-portrait of a city

City of Trees
in which she murders

The Lure of the Threshold
an urban escape

Future Perfect
a simple tense construction of the world

in which we might see other than we usually see

Incorrigible Mr Yu
being the reflections of the eponymous maybe-misguided

Stained in the Republic of Amnesia
exploring a simple construct of love

following a twisted flame

Absence and Fondness
in consideration of misplaced loves

Orphans of the Wasteland
a small view of loss

Soldiers of the Hidden World
in which empathy and the sensory overcome the emptiness

To the Slippery Wordlessness of Us
in celebration of words and wordlessness

Paper Trees
a brief moment in dejection

She Salutes, and Waves
a true story told

The Thought of Disappearing
in contemplation of time

My Boy the Writer; My Father in Dementia
for my father, who is missed
Peace be to my readers (here on the blog and there in my books).

In Review 2013

Four Kinds of Wreckage (Savage Short Loves: Volume II)

Four Kinds of Wreckage (Savage Short Loves: Volume II)

It was always my intention to release my latest fiction offering before the end of 2013, and though the first ambitious self-set dates for this passed by, this aim is now all but achieved. The second in the Savage Short Loves series is currently in production (at what once would have been the printer’s, but what now manifests itself as the inner workings of KDP). Four Kinds of Wreckage (Savage Short Loves: Volume II) is almost ready, so this post serves to draw attention to this. Details of how to access the book will be made available once (all being well) the digital fruits of my love are blessed at KDP.

The other purpose of this post is to take stock of the writing year. Recent posts have shown the difficulties for my family in the past few weeks, but words are never far away. It was always my intention to dedicate this latest book to my father, ever since we came to realise the scale of the failing of his health. It is apt then that the processes of writing, reviewing, editing, production have come together at this time.

Is there ever a year in which a writer writes all that he or she sets out to? That said, the first two Savage Short Loves books have been released in 2013, and that is reason to be pleased. The final volume in the series should have a more realistic target publication date. To that end, I tell myself: no later than the end of 2014.

When we write, if we write for the possibility of publication, we must also write for ourselves. So I count these private writings as achievements too. Though there have not been as many as of previous years (for a variety of reasons), there have been some to keep me ticking over. Some are scribbled in notebooks, some straight to the screen; some are scraps or lines of poetry; some are the daily notes that grease and crease the creativity. We need our private words as much as we need our public words to be read.

Then there are the ghost formations of works that will be written, but not this year. These are the novellas and novels that sit and wait. Even words that have yet to be written, if formed in abstract shapes, if felt, left to stew, are our writerly achievements; though if they reach this stage and then fail to manifest, we may think in some way otherwise. Included here in possibilities are the various collaborations that have been mooted to me. Of these there are two exciting ideas in the offing: one, the possibility of writing loved/seen arrangements of beauty and subtlety (this is the way I think it at this stage); the other, more of a formation of a journal of depth and delicacy. Maybe neither will happen, but they both exist in the present in the liminal space of ‘maybe’.

In the scholarly field, there have been invites for collaborative writing and working. It is to this aspect of my writing practice that I also intend to focus more attention in 2014. It’s high time that I set about more papers to compliment and advance my thinking and writing (such as the ‘other’ blog) in the field of children’s play. There has already been much written here, and there continues to be plenty of scope for more. I’m fortunate to have contact with a circle of respected writer/peers in this field, and their honest appraisal of this writing will be invaluable.

In the world of fiction in 2013, I’ve also been blessed in having the support of people like Kirsty Fox at her Bees Make Honey Co-operative. Kirsty’s taken on some of my books for sale and, by the looks of things, is making great strides in promotion of independent artists of various flavours. I’m keen to get a local designer to create the cover of a future book (he said he would, and I’ll hold him to it). Sometimes local, crafted, loved, shines through. Online in 2013, amongst many, I would like to pay special thanks to the continued writerly support of people such as Sonam C. Gyamtsho (who is editor, reviewer, nagger, friend in a far land, all of these), Ty Roper, Exiled Prospero, and Val Cameron.

So, onwards and onwards. Words are love. Keep writing.

Of One December Day Unready

The fog hangs damp on this early December morning as we prepare to accompany my father’s final journey. The hearse is already here and I’m not ready: shoes, suit jacket, card for the flowers. I’m not sure we’re ever ready. Outside, as the black-suited driver and his fellow pall-bearer wait patiently, car door open, I pause on the pavement just to see: here is my father’s coffin; they’re arranging flowers and cards inside. There’s a heavy element of the unreal about all this: all those times and now this time.

We’re quiet in our various private thoughts as we slowly drive along the local roads. Then there are tears and realisations. Along the way, cars slow or stop on the opposite side of the road as we pass. Soon we’re heading north out of town. The fields are frosted over still, despite the lateness of the morning. The sun is a hazy possibility struggling behind the thickness of the cotton wool day: greyed over us. Slow motion folds over me as we enter the long, winding driveway to the crematorium. Here is the garden of remembrance, a pond for meditation, stones and flowers and ribbons on tiny trees. Where is everyone we know? The suited woman alights from the hearse in front and walks ahead. This symbolism of our modernity enwraps me. Slowly, slowly the rest of the family members and friends, those we know, trickle from the room where they’ve been waiting.

Here we are. The slow flow takes me. I take one of my mother’s hands and we walk behind my father’s raised coffin. I have been to funerals before but some particular ceremonies are impossible to fully assimilate: in the moment, after in the writing, and on. Is it this symbolic and ceremonial to define us, above even language? There are some beautiful words said, but there are beautiful words also felt, and beautiful sadness, without language itself, infusing this.

Dad catches us out, unawares, with words he asked Mum to promise she’d let us know. I will always hold these, just as I hope he heard my words to him, in that hospital room, and took them with him, some nights later, that night which already seems misplaced from reality. There is a gap in the calendar: it will be the yearly unreal in which to fall.

Words and symbolism and the felt-though-unspoken are breathless depths. When the curtain closes on my father’s coffin, despite assurances that it’ll remain intact whilst we’re all there in the chapel, I’m not ready. Maybe I’ll be ready, one day, when I least expect it.

After the quiet condolences of friends and family in the courtyard, and as we drive away, the fog lifts: the sun bleeds out over the white-frosted early afternoon fields, this early December day of continuing innocent unreadiness.

After Loss: Beyond the Start of Words

Where is there to go after loss? I always knew that words might, somehow, come for me. There has been such tremendous loss, such as we have never truly known: my father’s passing has left us, variously, heavy of spirit, dull of comprehension, yet relieved that all that he feared has now slipped thankfully away. Words fell away from me during days in which nothing was real, in which there was the surreal yellowness hung upon the world. Still we inhabit a gap where, for one at least, every so often when I think of him, quietly, I’m not sure where I am.

Time has always been a theme. Now this is compounded further. I always knew I would write in sad surreal times such as these: when they finally came. Yet, I didn’t know how words would slow to a trickle, condense to truths and memories, rarefied and as yet unformed. Words did not fully go: they flew in shapes and far above, in ways I had no ways of firmly catching. We sat for hours with him: we said love and we cried. We waited because he wasn’t ready. There were times when there were just wordlessnesses. Time folds in myriad ways.

So, in my vigil, our vigil, his fighting, written words were rare, as in pure, like oxygen. What unfolds beneath, in such time-focused days, though? When I opened my notebook to the possibility of memories, one day, travelling north when all those around me didn’t know such delicate trauma sat amongst them, when nothing else mattered to me, the sketches of my past tumbled end over end. These were the start of words. This I knew.

Perhaps we should take great care with words in such rice-paper days as these. The temptation is to grieve with great abandon, with the melodrama of unique experience. What we feel here and now, what I feel here and now, some days on, some days deeper in, is what half the world has felt, will feel, some day. The other half will be the grieved for. How the world can cope in such continuous flux, I wonder at. Yet we have the love of one another, the empathy of strangers, the company of words.

This is just beyond the start of words. My father once said, ‘Son, work with your brain not with your hands.’ This I repeat again and again, in written words and thought. It is a mantra for now. Though I need my fingers for words, I don’t build (except the construction of thought); though I pause with the press of my palms, I find them soft because I write. I find me soft because I write. There is a certain malleability to this point just beyond the start of words. Anything can be, if the words can be welcomed in.

So, after loss, where there is to go is further in. This is not a state of despair or an inability to move; this is a state of grace, of love unappreciated, of time. It may be time I have no understanding of, like the particular yellowness of the moon, one night, or like some metallic light beneath the imminence of a storm, but it is time nonetheless. It is a moment stretched in which the themes to have endured are folding over on one another: time, love, beauty, sadness.

Words can help. This I have always known.