I feed on visual imagery, so Tumblr is a never-ending smorgasbord for me. The other night, I discovered a wildly talented photographer named Billy Kidd. He mostly does fashion work, so he shoots a lot of waifish young women, but it’s clear that Kidd is trying to do something different with familiar material.

The women he shoots — girls, really, judging by the apparent age of most of them — are not used like dolls. While their bodies may resemble Mapplethorpe-esque sculptures of form and negative space, their faces revolt. They grimace, sneer, roll their eyes and flip the bird. Some of his models let the camera in and photography becomes portraiture.

Either way, Kidd’s work gives the impression that the models are in control. He seems to  snap the pictures and let the women be who they are. For fashion photography, this is refreshing.

When I appreciate artwork, I try to remember to ask myself what I can learn from it as a writer. Often, there’s no direct lesson that can be put into words but, with Kidd, I’m reminded of the importance of letting the subject of your work talk to you, even if you think your mission is to tell the world what you think.

Billy Kidd has a Kickstarter project up right now. It’s the first Kickstarter project that I’ve ever contributed to and I’m rather excited to be involved.


what i’ve learned so far from writing a novel live on twitter. if anything.

“If there was a better way to go, then it would find me.” -Fiona Apple

I started writing a novel on Twitter because I have a young baby at home and it’s hard to find time to officially “write.” But I noticed that I have time to sit in the nursery and play with him and send text messages to my friends. So if I have time to text, I have time to tweet, and if I have time to tweet, I could be writing a novel on Twitter. Voila, The Place Below was born.

And like so many artistic works, The Place Below was born with problems. None of them are insurmountable, exactly, but each new story is a learning experience. (If viewed through the proper cardboard tube, everything is a potential learning experience.)

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twitter novel, continued: THE PLACE BELOW

(Get caught up from the beginning.)

Huddled under the building’s overhang, Irvin took a furtive drag from his cigarette. The wind was cold and, as usual, he’d forgotten his coat. “You look like a little urchin out here,” Clarice had said the last time she had bumped into him smoking, on her way back from Starbucks.

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short story: APOCALYPSE

“This word has a few interesting meanings. It connotes a leather covering that conceals or protects something. Esoterically, this refers to the human skin, or human body, that conceals the soul. In Greek the word apoko, means ‘peel away’ or ‘remove,’ as in apoko olemo, or ‘I peel a fruit.’” -Michael Tsarion

The wizard watched a black spot appear on the back of his hand. It spread as if someone had dropped ink. A wisp of smoke untangled itself from the blackened skin and rose toward the mildewed ceiling.

The wizard watched with detachment. Sometimes his magic scraped and sparked along the guardrails. That’s what happened when you pushed things harder, further. Or perhaps he had become imprecise. Either way, he had become more powerful.

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twitter novel, continued: THE PLACE BELOW

(Get caught up from the beginning.)

Hands clasped behind his back, Thom’s supervisor strolled around the room, looking over people’s shoulders.

The woman who sat next to Thom sighed and minimized an episode of Doctor Who. “When will this guy get a clue?” Clarice muttered, not seeming to look away from her monitor.

Thom rearranged the windows on his own screen. “He has a clue.”

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Kerouac’s Grave.


Kerouac's Grave.

Visited the poet today on what would have been his 90th birthday. As you can see, I wasn’t the only one to drop by.

It was a spontaneous trip, so I hadn’t brought anything as an offering. I did find a withered Cheerio in my pocket. My son had been sucking on it earlier.

I thought the symbolism of the Cheerio was pretty good. Sometimes spontaneous symbolism is the best kind. (I find this to be true in writing as well.)