can you feel the ice

(“no jury? no witnesses?”)

slipping down your spine?

(“what kind of justice is this?”)

does it make you shiver?

(this is not a trial,)

you’re pushed forward

(this is merely a sentencing.)

tripping, slipping over your eloquent words

(how do you wish to have your sentence carried out?)

where is your vocabulary now?

(death…or exile?)

where is your bible? where is your god?

(“if you think we’re going to walk out on that ice willingly-”)

but i forgot, there is no god

(“you got another thing coming.”)

here, only heroes, and we all know

(so it’s death then?)

that heroes don’t

(“looks that way.”)





It’s foolish to think he didn’t know.

(We interrupt this program)

There’s no such thing as security.

(to bring you a special bulletin)

What’s that about being at the top?


(from ABC radio.)

There’s always a hell of a way to fall.

(Three shots were fired)

Good intentions loaded the gun

Shadowed legacy pulled the trigger.

(at President Kennedy’s motorcade)

He stays strong for their sake

But he worries about them. Always.

(today in downtown Dallas, Texas.)

All elegance is lost in death.

No dignity withstands a bullet.

(Ladies and gentlemen)

When it comes, it takes his breath.

His heart stutters


(the President of the United States)

He finds comfort in her eyes

One last time.

And then-

(is dead.)

Marcy Kennedy & Lisa Hall-Wilson

The test of any good fiction is that you should care something for the characters; the good to succeed, the bad to fail. The trouble with most fiction is that you want them all to land in hell, together, as quickly as possible – Mark Twain.

If your readers find your characters boring, flat, or stereotypical, a great plot won’t save you. Even plot-driven novels need three-dimensional characters.

Creating three-dimensional characters means making your characters as complex and unique as a real person. And to do that, you need to know them as well as you know yourself (maybe better).

Because I’m a planner, I use a character worksheet for at least my main character, love interest, and villain. If you’re a pantser and learn about your characters as you write, keep these points in mind and jot them down someplace as you go. Then if you finish your…

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there was a certain frenzy at the end
every carefully aid plan, ever meticulously worded letter discarded in the madness.
your writing is all you have left, but they’ve taken that too
left you empty
crying out against the silence.
the only way you’ve lived is on your own terms
and you’ll be damned if you can’t live as you see fit.
live or die- it doesn’t matter
you’d just like the choice.
and in the end you get it
you always do.

untitled 1

the sounds repeat themselves

and i listen

breathe along with them.

the television ebbs

as my fingers freeze in

the next room.

a shuffle as the door closes

a cough

the stirrings of an argument.

one sided, always


a steady breath as i wait for the heater to hum

but it does not.

sounds i cannot explain

as i listen.

“So long live the car crash hearts, cry on the couch, all the poets come to life, fix me in forty-five.”-Fall Out Boy

I’d  hoped that maybe, after these few years,  I’d finally moved on. I’d hoped that I could look at old pictures and watch old interviews and listen to old records without the sudden, heady rush of nostalgia knocking me senseless.

Fall Out Boy is quite possibly my favorite band, followed by The Beatles. I don’t remember when it was, exactly, but my two closest friends and I discovered that we were in love with Fall Out Boy, and from then on, everything moment that we shared was fueled by the band. To this day, I can listen to any album and become immediately overwhelmed with memories. Every amazing moment in my middle childhood, it seems, has a Fall Out Boy song playing in the background. Road trips to and from the Pocanoes in the backseat of someone’s car, screaming Take This To Your Grave. Annual treks to Ocean City blasting From Under The Cork Tree. Scrambling onto picnic tables in the middle of the night at a campground, dancing to Infinity On High. 

I didn’t know what it was about them then, and even now, I still don’t know. I think that, perhaps, it was the sense of family. Growing up with Fall Out Boy meant listening to My Chemical Romance, memorizing the lyrics to Panic! At The Disco, watching videos of Cobra Starship, discovering The Cab and Gym Class Heroes, and slowly falling in love with Paramore and Hey Monday. Everything just felt okay then, and I guess that’s all that I could have asked for. For a short time, everyone was making music and were too busy goofing off to fight. Panic! was still together, Paramore was still whole, and, most importantly, Fall Out Boy was still stealing golf carts and making stupid videos. Everything was right in the world.

It happened in stages. What A Catch, Donnie came out as a single, effectively summing up Fall Out Boy’s career. Rumors flickered in the mosh pit and caught fire on Twitter. Believers Never Die was released. I think we all knew then. They tried to reassure us; reminded us that a greatest hits album didn’t mean it was the end. And we believed them. We still believe them.

It’s been hard without the promise of new music at least once a year. But I have my memories; like the time my friends and I watched Live In Phoenix in its entirety twice a day for five days straight  on vacation, or the day we saw them in Philadelphia. It’s hard to let go. Every now and then I get swept up in a little wave of nostalgia, and I wait it out. Growing up with Fall Out Boy was incredible. The days and people and events that made me who I am are wrapped up in those records. Every now and then, you can hear them whisper.

Believers never die.

“But ‘Thou mayest’! Why, that makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice. He can choose his course and fight it through and win.”-John Steinbeck

Timshel. Thou mayest. Such a simple word, really. The above quote comes from Steinbeck’s East of Eden, which just so happens to be my favorite novel of all time. And it’s incredibly difficult for me to play favorites.

Perhaps you’ve come upon it by way of Mumford and Sons. Either way, you’ve stumbled upon it now, and I congratulate you.

Lee, a supporting character from Steinbeck’s novel, argues that timshel is easily the most important word in the English language. As he says, it makes man great. It gives man choice. Free will, even. Because even in your darkest, most jaded moments, you can choose to get up, brush yourself off, and try again. Even when you make the gravest of mistakes, you can forgive yourself. You can, and that’s what’s so important about timshel. Thou mayest. So will you or won’t you?