Alex the Scribe

Exploring the craft of writing. Sharing resources for writers.

Not Quite Write

Writing should be fun

F*ck anything that doesn’t make you happy.

I’m a writer who doesn’t quite write, who isn’t quite right. I claim it’s my passion, but dread the white screen, the blinking cursor, my inner editor. I abhor the discrepancy between my vision and my skill. I understand what my writing needs to do to be engaging, but I can’t make it do what I need it to do.

Here is my problem. I’m impatient. I want the first draft to be perfect. But that doesn’t happen. I need to rewrite. But even then, I still see a difference between what I aim for and what my writing does. Yet I haven’t rewritten a piece more than once.

Go figure.

I’m so focused on the craft that I forget to have fun. I’m not writing stories because it’s daunting, and not amusing. I’m not smiling at the keyboard anymore.

It’s not quite right that I don’t write. Because I’m writing right now. But I’m not writing fiction anymore. Only journal entries. The only thing I can do with words right now, it seems, is to spill my guts  grind them across the keys for a while and lament the mess on the screen.


I reread some stories I never finished. That was some good stuff. It was engaging and vivid, the words and images popped right off the page.  And my first thought was, “Wow! I wrote that? How am I gonna pull this off ever again?”

But then, I remember how I did it in the first place.

I was having fun.

I was writing with no holds barred, just chomping away at the keyboard during NaNoWriMo, trying to nail that word count by the end of the day. And all I had was this vague beginning of a story and a couple of scenes, and all I wanted the story to do was to be ridiculous, funny, unexpected.

All I wanted was to have fun coming up with the randomest stuff happening to my protagonists.

No theme. No plot. No character arc. No problem.

Just fun.

For me.

Damn. *Lightbulb* That’s how I took the fun out of writing stories. I wasn’t writing for me anymore.

I was writing for the reader, the publisher, the editor.

And that’s why I was only able to write journal entries. Because that was the only time I was writing for myself.

And it goes right back to my theory of genius. Some of the best creations of humankind were either happy accidents (the genius was recognizing the applications of the discovery), or borne out of play, or of a childlike wonder at the universe.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to playing pretend with my imaginary friends.


Summer Daze the shade of an elm 
A lone daisy beside me 
Fireflies on the wavelets at my toes
Yellowing grass prickling my palms
The breeze cooling pearls on my forehead 
An ant tickling my ankle

Time flies

I am alone
Did you leave my side?
A cloud blots the sun
The clover remembers the curve of your hip
The sand, the arch or your foot
The perfume of you hair

Where? When?

I remember the future
See you then

My Life is not my Own

I sell my soul

My life is not my own:
I rent my hours for a living;
I whore my body to feed it;
I sell my mind to free my soul
(or is it the other way around?).
I spend my time building lies,
confabulations to appease
the growing unease,
the dissonance between my needs and my wants,
between expectations and commitments.
Past decisions have left me disowned,
owner of my cat’s life,
of garden-grown produce
and growing debt,
but my home, like my life,
is not my own.

What I say, what I see

An artist is someone having the courage to say, "Here is what I see."I want to write to share my worldview. I want to write to touch other minds and bleed a bit of myself in them through osmosis, an osmosis of the minds between the writer and the reader.

I want to have things to say. I’m just not sure what that might be.

I guess it has something to do with being heard. Let’s face it, it’s pretty lonely down here when you get a glimpse of the unimaginable scale of time and space.

Immeasurable only hints at the magnitudes involved. And infinity isn’t useful in this case. Given the infinitesimal blimp that is my existence in the universe, I wish to imbue it with meaning. I want to mean something in this unreasonable universe, even if only to me. That self-definition would be much more meaningful, much more valuable to me, than the futile products I create in my day job.

I want to create to define myself. To find myself, my voice, and my message. To gain clarity of thought, clarity of worldview.

Am I only writing for myself?

If so, is it a worthwhile pursuit? But I would only write for myself if I were my only reader. But I don’t want to be only a journaler (i.e. one who journals). I don’t want to keep it to myself. I want to share my writing.

But why?

Should writing be about what I want? Or should it be for the reader? If I write only for myself, my writing will be unsatisfactory. If I’m my only reader, I’m not a writer. To be a writer, one needs to write, and to share that writing.

Writing for the reader isn’t all bad. You get to create entertainment, food for thought, subversion, alleviation of suffering–if only for a few hundred words or a few hundred pages. But then you’re selling your artist’s soul, in a way. Writing to please isn’t authentic. Writing, as all art, should be about expressing oneself, not about pleasing the crowds. It should be about observing the world in all its brutish glory and showing it through my irregular colored lenses. It should be a duty of recording the world, like a scribe being a witness to existence, to our shared existence.

Would that be a higher purpose to art, to writing? To present a biased frame of reality? Or is it art for its own sake? No. Sharing art–and writing–alters the beholder’s reality. It touches her empathy, it’s a sharing of the soul. We partake in an osmosis of the minds miles and years apart. We defy thermodynamics. We twist space-time by entangling our minds for an instant. It’s another way to be connected. It’s a manifestation of the interconnectedness of everything, of everyone. While you read my words, our selves meld, along with all the other readers before you. We become a new amalgam stretched through space-time. We connect through the higher dimensions to share something ineffable, meaningless like ourselves yet pregnant with shared humanity in the moment.

And sometimes, I ramble aimlessly, go on a tangent, leave the path I had traced for myself and get lost in the wilds of my thoughts. Sometimes it’s dark. I can only guess at roving shapes in the void just beyond the mind’s eye. Nightmares on the tip of the tongue. Sometimes I find forgotten bits of me. Some are broken, shards of what I’ve been or might have become. Some are whole dreams that had faded to mist, veiled just beyond consciousness, like waking with the feeling of the dream but without the images. Some are wholesome, some vile, some corrosive.

Sometimes, I find a gem. Or the hint of a gem, like the glint of moonlight on a broken mirror.

So. What DO I have to say? Should I even have a message? No. I think I was going at it the wrong way. The ‘message’ of the artist isn’t a statement per se. It is an observation. It is a biased, deformed, colored snapshot of the world. Of a world. An artist is someone having the courage to say, “Here is what I see.”


Take the time to watch the video above. Thirty-two metronomes are set to the same beat-per-minute rhythm and started at random so that none of them click at the same time. They all sit on the same mobile platform. After a couple of minutes, all 32 metronomes click at the same time.
They synchronized.
Could it be an analogy to the creation of life? Molecules swim in a common medium and, given enough time, synchronize. And order comes out of chaos.
It could also be an analogy to the singularity that caused the big bang. Space-time is the mobile platform, energy and dark energy the metronomes. In time, it all synchronized into a singularity. A synchronicity. And kaboom. Universe, stars, supernova, star dust, planets, water, life. Roughly in that order.
It’s a self-organizing universe, organizing towards complexity. But in the end, entropy will win.
Because, given enough time, the metronomes stop.


to make
the uncomfortable
and to make
the comfortable
to bother,
to jar,
to rattle yourself
and the other.
your intimate self
with a perfect stranger.
in the nude.
what can’t be unseen.
your broken soul,
a mirror,
a mercurial calamity
all our own,
the gossamer reality
gone in a flash
of heat and
If the world
has spurned you,
its still-warm ashes
will soothe you.


Leur avarice fait pâlir Midas,
ils font l’envie de Crésus,
ces Gargantuas
rasant les récoltes,
razziant les troupeaux,
asséchant les sources.
L’océan n’est animé
que de remous épars.
Où sont les vagues scélérates?
Pourquoi l’écume
ne fouette-t-elle pas les rives?
Les côtes du Panama
sont pourtant
à leur merci.

Midas blanches at their greed,
they are the envy of Croesus,
these Gargantuas
razing fields
slaughtering herds,
drying up springs.
Scatterings of wavelets
mar the mirror of the ocean.
Where are the rogue waves?
Why isn’t the spray
lashing at the shore?
And yet
the coasts of Panama
are at their mercy.


Quantum Love

We did not look. Just leaped.

Threshold of my Mind

Cross the threshold of my mind
Abandon all control
Reality blurs my line
Novocaine for the soul

Pull the trigger shoot your gun
Whistle a happy tune
Fly across October sun
Fly me to the moon

Maybe I’m afraid to die
My red pen takes a life
Blood and ink were spilled tonight
Am I living a lie

What do I feel sorry for
Unwelcome accidents
Flying knives and slamming doors
Unforeseen consequence

Little kids and parasites
We live inside a wheel
Go to hell and fly a kite
Spittle ‘n hardened steel

Rot the system from inside
Goliath cannot stand
Take a stand and choose a side
Escape to Lalaland

Do You Dream of Them at Night

Do you dream of them at night
humming through the walls

Are they waiting there outside
waiting for your call
listening for the glittering
slicing through the bark

Expose the innards of your rings
exclamation mark