Read in Denver

There are crazy kinds of love. The lava-hot kind of love that steals breath and rubberizes knees. The kind that rushes in like a bullet train and turns common sense into metaphors (just like this). It’s the kind of love that can start at the sight of a sign in the middle of the sidewalk at nearly four in the morning.

You know, Auburn and Gabby’s kind of love.

Read in Denver is the story of small-town, increasingly introverted Auburn Parks, a moderately successful romance novelist who desperately wants to publish science-fiction. It’s the story of Gabriella Baker, an energetic but private artist strick through with wanderlust, searching for her place in the world by taking life day by day. This is the story of two hearts colliding, two minds exciting, that crazy kind of love.

And everything that goes with it.”

About a year ago, I got the idea for Read in Denver while writing an emotional farewell letter to someone I cared deeply about. Around ten months ago, unable to shake it, I set aside the science fiction novel I was working on and set about trying my hand at my first-ever long form love story. I wouldn’t call it a romance, though there are romantic details. It’s more simply just a story about art and love and messiness.

I’ve said to people before that this the most honest piece of fiction I’ve ever put to paper, and so it was difficult for me to push through and finish it. I invested a lot of real things that were said or done, overheard and felt, injecting a fictional narrative with what I hope comes across as authenticity.

I messed with narrative structure. I inserted a couple odd touches and made sure to play with callbacks and mirrors. I put together a soundtrack with and few suggestions but no real directions on how and when to listen to it.

In the end, I’m not sure what I got. Less a book, perhaps, and more an experience. Hopefully a good one.

You can find it for the Nook here: Read in Denver

You can find it for the Kindle here: Read in Denver
Or you can order paperback copies here: Read in Denver
If you decide to take a chance on the book, I genuinely hope you enjoy it. If you enjoy it, I hope you share it with your loved ones. Cheers.

Advertisements

Muses

I fell in love with the voice of a photographer. While her talent behind a lens is without dispute, her voice is something altogether different. At times haunting and ethereal, at other times upbeat, crackling with the kind of energy that gets the foot tapping and the smile spreading, it’s the kind of voice that sucks the air out of the room and decides on its own the rate it will give it back.

It’s a voice that draws up every eye, a voice that quiets the chatter of a tipsy crowd. When she sings, the drab and poorly-lit world of mundanity peels back and away, and I’m left with explosions of color, fantastic concepts, and veins filled with ink ready to be spilled onto paper in thousands of words.

I fell in love with the soul of a painter. I don’t know where in the world she lives or even her real name, but that’s the funny thing about souls: they are elusive things, hard to grasp but filled with the purest content of a person.

In a world where millions of strangers can connect via a brightly lit screen and a few taps or swipes of letters on a digital keyboard, I found a kindred soul in a creative artist. She both creates and appreciates beautiful things, be they color on a canvas, the breath just after a kiss goodbye or the dance of prose in poetry. She finds beauty in love and in lust, the sculptures two bodies make when entwined with each other, the intimacy born in passionate submission to one’s id.

Sexuality and beauty, art and form, concept and creation. Through her understanding and elucidating the heart of these subjects, I found myself glimpsing a bit of her soul, and I found it was a soul that ignited a fiery love. A love for the love of lovely things.

I fell in love with the challenge of a thespian. Not that she was unwilling or abrasive. She was not a thing to “get”, not a goal to accomplish. She challenged me and my preconceived notions of myself. Through alcohol-infused bluster and arrogance, through oblivious ignorance, I spouted off about myself and my experiences with the fairer sex because…who the fuck knows? There are plenty stories in that chapter of my life filled with humor and circumstance, drama and ridiculousness, but the fact that those stories exist does not inherently mean they should be shared.

Instead of balking or scoffing or admonishing me, all of which would have been in her right, she called my bluff. I was unused to someone who would correct me grammatically or question my sensibility, someone who would match my barbs as one would parry and riposte. I was unused to find someone who paid attention to what I was saying, who saw through my walls and my distance, not because she wanted to use me or belittle me, not because she was blindly infatuated, but because she is alert and interested in the human condition and I had blundered my way onto her radar.

She was and is a strong woman, incredibly intelligent, immensely talented on, off, and in every direction of the stage. She is a woman who has a firm position on her interests and goals and accomplishes them from a humble position. She doesn’t bother with the bullshit. She likes to have her fingers on the pulse of the heart of the matter, and through the course of our friendship, she has forced me to do the same every time we’ve met.

She intimidates me, not because she is conceited or condescending, not because she is overtly threatening, but because she is honest, insightful, and supportive, and no matter how absurd or intimate our own connection has been, I have found myself in awe of her all the same. She intimidates me because she challenges me, effortlessly, subtly, and I am left constantly wishing I could impress her. I wish I were better at writing, better at life.

I fell in love with that challenge, because it is a constant pressure to keep my feet moving forward.

I fell in love with the lie of a love. I don’t know how big the lie was, or when it started, or if it was one or one of many, but I loved it. I loved that lie because I was vulnerable and scared and hopeful.

I had lost my mother figure and was stressed at my job. I had been lied to and cheated on, abandoned and abused, and nestled in the ribs of the Halloween skeleton that was my life, I found an old love, a connection that had casually faded into the years only to come back in the darkest time of my life. I picked up that old love and dusted it off and nurtured it, because I saw a flicker of light there.

She met me halfway and with enthusiasm. I fell in love with that, because she called me “my writer” and told me she loved me, because I could hold her in my arms at night, and when I felt broken down and weary, she would hold me. I fell for it because we would wake up in the middle of the night just to make love, and for once, I didn’t feel alone but truly cared for.

And it was a lie. And I loved that lie, even though it almost broke me all over again.

I wrote once about the times I fell in love. There is the faintest amount of overlap here, but where that previous article was about connections born from actual relationships, this is something much more abstract and subjective.

I have written of people who have affected me. I have written of the lives of others. I have written of love. These are things I have to write about. This post, though, this is about those who inspire me to write. I have created poetry and stories because of these people. I have been driven to work on my novels, to produce content simply because these people have spoken to me or shared their art with me or shared their lives with me. It’s something more, something that rails against definition by way of words.

Visual arts inspire me. Snippets of conversation, stories, scenery. But it is rare that I find inspiration – not content, mind you, but the desire to create and the metaphysical wind-filled sails to do so – because of a human being. These people are muses in truth, each for their own reasons, each with our own histories.

There is a beautiful thing in art, and there is art in love. In expression, there is vibrancy, and there is vibrancy is love. There are many types of freedom, and there is freedom in love. There are many ways to love, and many reasons for it, and I find more every day.

Stoke the Fire

They say a picture is worth a thousand words
But her portrait must be twenty
Twenty thousand words
Introspective and ethereal
Robust and sultry

Intricately chaotic words and
None find their way to my mouth
Nor through brushed lips
As brush tips kiss canvas
Life slips within colored lines
Once confined by four corners but
Liberated by the wings of an artistic mind
Crowned by hair that spills down like rubies in a waterfall
Eyes, glittering like city lights at midnight
Dance across the details of her work and
The dips where lips meet cheeks turn up a fraction
There is a ballroom where the sun dances with the moon
Along the edge of her satisfied smile

Elegant but unyielding
Supple but fierce
A silk tigress
When the day sleeps, she is what it dreams of
When the shadows slink out, she is the light they play by
Art given form giving art
An ourobouros of creative majesty
Stardust in her paints and
A universe with every stroke she makes