Do You Bleed Ink?

Hello and if you’re reading this then you’re either A) a follower of my blog (thank you!), B) you’re a writer interested in the “Inspirationist Experience”, or C) you clicked the wrong link. Whatever brings you here I welcome you, today is a special day.

In my previous post, I asked fellow writers to answer a very important question, “why do they write?”. I know that the answers are as diverse as the people participating in this event so I thank you for taking the time out to do some reflection before we dive into the “challenge.”

The Inspirationist

What is an inspirationist? It’s very different from inspiration, which is often multiple things. Inspiration could be the way the clouds look at dusk when laying on the wet grass, it could be the elementary school teacher  who battled testicular cancer while still enlightening the future, or it could be the Facebook video of goats screaming that a high school accomplice posted on their timeline. All these are fantastic forms of inspiration,, but how does that translate to this vague title? The inspirationist is the person who is capable of seeking, understanding, and then projecting the emotions and thoughts from a source of inspiration into a physical product; in this case words. We capture the essence of a subject and polymerize it with our own soul to generate a brand new creation, which in turn becomes a source of inspiration for another. We are both the first domino and the last in a chain reaction, our small actions tipping off something much greater than what we probably understand. Artists are not the only ones who can be inspired, the average person can experience this feeling and serve as a source of it as well; but the inspirationist is one who takes it and discovers why it was inspiring to them. I’m asking you all to participate in this project because I believe that each of you are inspirationist, or have the ability to becoming one, if you wanted. I’m not going to put that label or categorize you, but this phrase is the best way I can describe this group of deep thinking, soul searching, life discovering group of individuals. If you consider yourself to be such a thing then congrats, you are in the right place.

The Experience

This is a writing challenge. It’s meant to push you, to provide guidance, and to give you positive feedback when appropriate; but ultimately it is what you make it (cliche, I know). If you take it seriously then maybe you will be able to attain your goal that you set for yourself (if you have no idea what I’m talking about then click here). If you slack off or don’t put the effort into it, then your words will only dissipate out of your head and never land onto paper. There will be five topics to this experience, giving each of us roughly six days to tackle a subject. I will describe the topics in greater detail below. There isn’t an official deadline, but it would be nice if individuals could stick to that six day time table; you won’t be penalized by it in the slightest, but you may end up hurting yourself if you get behind (but who am I to say that?). I know that life gets busy and that things will always come up, but the truth is, if we care about something we make the time for it. Just for this month, make the time for something that you truly care about. On December first you can go back to your normal routine however I’d like for you to give this a shot and put forth an effort that rivals the way you work towards your financial goals, towards your relationship, and towards your future.

All forms of writing are accepted. I know that some of you are songwriters, many are poets, some are journalist and others have amazing blogs; so I will allow all forms to be used because words are words no matter how they are put together. I would encourage you all to try your hand at a new form of writing (at least once) and see how that works, this is a safe place for experimentation and error making. Another objective that I would like to implement is a goal/reward system. When the sixth day hits and you submit, post, or share your work, I want you to treat yourself to something. It can be as small as a candy bar, or a new car (which I’d recommend against). Learn to set goals and upon reaching them, relish in the moment, and after the moment is gone begin working towards the next. The other and most important objective is to create a community (at least for this month). I want for each of the participants to meet, interact, and share their stories with each other; this is more than just a solo event. When you watch birds migrate from north to south, we never notice the solitary flyer; it’s the arrow-shape that catches our eye, as we watch them move forward together to their goal. I’m tired of flying alone, and I hope you are too, so we can all learn to fly together. With this community I want us to practice, to some degree, accountability. On the sixth day, we will briefly discuss our topics, why we chose them and then express what we aim to seek in the upcoming week. This is more than a network; this is a body of unique cells, each with their own strengths and weaknesses (that can be improved upon).

The Topics

  1. The Self
    1. Write about the person who you catch staring at you in the mirror, who’s voice you constantly hear but never witness, who asks you questions that you can’t answer before bed. You can go deeply personal and fight your demons, or you can just write about how fat your cheeks get when you eat too much chocolate. We start with the self, because that is the most important person.
  2. The World
    1. It is the words of the writers that people will read when they want to know about this time period. Take something from this world and discuss it. It can be the election, current events, the canceling of vine or even the daily weather. This section is devoted to something that would be newsworthy.
  3. The Element
    1. Our world does not just consist of people, there are an infinite number of elements that affect our daily lives. Take one of them and describe it. Maybe you find yourself gazing at stars when the moon is absent, maybe it’s time and it’s tight grip on our lives, or maybe you enjoy chasing sunsets on your bicycle (lol me). Write about the thing that would never be able to write about you.
  4. The Other
    1. There is a me, which means there is a you. What is that you to you? Take one of these and discover them. Write about someone else. It could be your highschool ex who left you for college, a patient you once visited in the hospital, or it could be the homeless man you gave change to on the subway. Use this to share your raw feelings about another.
  5. The Unfamiliar
    1. What do you not know? What question plagues your head on the regular basis, why not tackle that here? Take this and dive into the unknown. Write about something that you have little to no knowledge about. What’s life like as a Syrian refugee, where did the legend of vampires come from or what was it like to be a chef in an Egyptian palace during the reign of Cleopatra? This is your chance to test your minds ability to compute something that it never would normally.

The Conclusion

Boy this is going to be exciting (if it all comes together).  We’re going to have a grand adventure with each other as we all embark on this writing journey. I hope your hand is currently itching to dive into this “assignments.” I am going to extend my blog, The Nuclear Cottage, to each and every one of you. A cottage is a place that travelers can come find comfort while away from their home without having to actually settle down, I want this page to be that for each of you. With your permission, I’d share your work and give you an opportunity to discuss a particular piece that you chose to broadcast. You can share all of them with me, or only one, but I hope that you share. I’d like to close this out with a quote from Ai Weiwei one of my favorite Artivists (another quirky word). He stated that “your actions create your world.” Take a second and think about this simple quote, what kind of world do you want to live in? Do you want it to be surrounded by materialistic trinkets that have no true value, or do you want it to full of thoughts that you turned into actions in the form of words. Whatever your answer to that may be, I want to at least help you create your world, which is why I am doing this. For me, I want my world to be one where my imagination and reality are one, and the word “impossible” is removed from my vocabulary. In order to create such a world, I must take the necessary actions that will inevitably create that world. In closing, let’s work together to help one another to create each other’s world, a world where words are never-ending and  dreams are eternal.

 

Advertisements

” The Inspirationists Experience”

“Had I been blessed with even limited access to my own mind there would be no reason to write.”  – Joan Didion

Why do we write? 

(All great things begin with an extremely vague question with an impossibly immense open ended response and I plan for this to be no different, but anyways welcome let’s get to it.) What does it mean to write anyways? What possessed the first cave dwellers to develop  inconsistent drawings into a legible form of communication. The origin of the word “write” is “writan” which is the Proto-Germanic word”to scratch or tear” (Online Etymology). If we take this concept of scratching, then what exactly are we ripping? There are some of us who use writing to peel back the layers of their conflicted souls, in hopes of seeking light or the void. Some write to steal moments of time and space in order to return to them later, and then there are others who write simply to uncover the unknown. Whatever that reason may be, the truth is that, you are a writer (despite your own self-doubt, if you have it). If you are one who picks up a pen, a notepad, a keyboard, a typewriter or even your own blood (which is kind of weird), and you scribble something down, then you have written. That is writing in the simplest state.

Back to the question, why do we write? Specifically, why do you write? If you are viewing this page that means you are a reader, but I bet that you also double as a writer. I would try not to call this a writing challenge, but that is the easiest way to identify what this will be. I am doing something different on this site for the month of November; instead of posting my works, I will open the door to allow others to share pieces of their soul on this screen. With this “challenge” (that sounds so cliche), there will be topics that participants will choose from and a variety of styles for them to try. The goal of this is simple, to improve and more importantly, to inspire the aspiring writer. Sounds great right? But I can’t just let you in for free, as much as I would like to. In order to participate you must offer payment, and you’re probably telling yourself, don’t let this be another gofundme gimmick. No, there is no money involved in this, instead your payment will be your answer to the question. What is your why? You must write out your answer to that. The response can be as long as you want, but mind you, I’m not reading dissertations.  You can write and send your answer to me (I’d totally love that), but you must write that answer for yourself. I’m going to utilize the honor system here. Then you must write down your goal for participating in this experience (a much better word than challenge). What do you aim to seek at the end of November? How do you wish to improve or try something different?

So you’re probably wondering about the title too, well that’s because you won’t be in this experience alone. I will be on the journey right next to you, (because I have no idea what I’m doing with this), but you will be joined by all the other aspiring writers who want to participate. There’s nothing like having someone to create with. Now, I’m not saying that we’re all going to be best friends after this, but I’m giving everybody the opportunity to meet a fellow writer, and also a chance to share their work with someone who understands the importance of the written product. I came up with the slightly unique, slightly lame title of the “Inspirationist” for this “community”. To inspire  means to be stimulated mentally or creatively, but it’s origin lies in the concept of “breathing life”. This is what I aim to do with this group, to surround myself with other “life breathers” (not like mouth breathers), and watch what happens when we all concentrate our efforts one one goal, and that is to inspire another.  You may be the only one who’s pen hits your page, but know that there are others out there, who are doing the exact same thing as you; they are tearing towards the truth.

 

If this still sounds like a good idea, then comment, message, or send a carrier pigeon my way. Basically just get in touch with me so we can move forward with the experience. It will begin on the first of November and I will have more details about the topics and what it will consist of then. Until then, continue to let your pen bleed. 

“Will I Ever Become an Artist?” 

When I travel (which is becoming more frequent), I spend majority of my time journaling and documenting my experiences. Once I’ve amassed enough trips and stories, I plan to publish them in some form or fashion. But here’s an idea of what goes on in my head while I’m in “nomad mode”.  This post is an excerpt from my trip to Atlanta this past September. 

Once again I’m on the road with a feeling burning in my soul. I have come to accept that this is what we call “passion”. It flares from the depths like a waking furnace ready to provide heat. This passion strikes me in the most unconventional ways, whether it’s in the subjects from my pictures, the words being inscribed in notebooks, or the phrases shared in conversations. This time it was words, certain targets that I seem to cling to when uttered. Authenticity, originality, creation, perseverance, determination, and most of all art. The elusive dream sought by all souls on this earth. We seek it, it seeks us as if we play a childhood game. We skirt around the idea, afraid that if we touch it or place the label upon ourself that it will disintegrate like the decaying leaf in fall. Why do we fear such a word?
Is it because we are incapable of understanding it’s meaning? Or do we believe that we are unable to call ourselves an artist without first creating art? Then the question expands, what shall we define as art! And most importantly, who’s definition of art is considered right? The concept and answer may lie in the individual. Some, as myself, will not take the title because they view art as a grand creation that required tireless hours and the handling of caustic emotions. Other believe that it is simply anything that is created by the hands of a man or woman who has passion in their heart? Although I am only a novice, adolescent at best, I have begun to ask the question that every aspiring artist must ask. Will I ever become an artist? I think if this question is asked and an answer cannot be found, then they must keep asking at each opportunity. The answer will come when the persistence of the producer matches up with the passion of the product. If your work has inside of it, a piece of you or your soul and another is capable of interpreting that at the most basic level, then you have created art. I do not need the viewer of my photographs to know why I took the picture, I must give the viewer the chance to ask that question and come up with their own answer. To be an artist means you must leave room for your viewer to create an idea in relation to the work you have created. It is a symbiotic relationship that must exist in order to reach the true purpose of art. If one is capable of doing such a thing, and consistently, then they have the right to call themselves an artist. As an Adolescent Artivist, I believe myself capable of producing such work; however I must improve upon the consistency. In an ideal scenario I’d want all of my works to entice a viewer, but now I am only able to have certain works fulfil that task. It takes persistence, an artist is not born overnight. He does not abide to the rules of time yet a single work does not denote an artist. The soul must toil, both internally and externally, hoping to find a balance between the order of their mind and the chaos of their heart. Our soul is the mediator between the two, and the spirit is God’s way of caring for the soul, because it is constantly drained trying to appease both elements. Once the soul has uncovered the secret to balance, and this is contingent upon the individual, it may now transmit its understandings into the body. The body will then utilize its power in relation to the physical world to create a work. This work is the sum total of the soul, spirit, heart, mind and body. If a work is able to withold all five qualities, in any degree, then surely it must have the power to generate an effect in someone else. The viewer will question the motives, the meaning, the concept and the technique; each will be answered by the different part of his existence. So to answer the universal question, will I ever be an artist, I smile gladly to the sky, with the soft raindrops kissing my eyelids and say “I am becoming one, everyday”.

A Psalm to David

David,

When you felt the oil and finger,

Did you shiver? Did you question,

When and why the meadows were traded for mattresses,

Flowers confined to pots and not fields,

Giving away restful sheep to lead man,

The same man that doesn’t believe.

David,

How did you sacrifice your peace for purposes?

The first step scares me,

How can I succeed when the world is suffering?

Because…

Those anointed must act,

They must,

And they do.

The Marked One.

There are a lot of things I’m afraid of
Being pulled over by the police
Watching the cataracts form in my parents eyes
Going on a cruise ship over spring break and contracting botulism only to spread it to all my friends
But to me there’s nothing more fearful than this
I’m terrified and you can’t even tell

What moment?
This, me, standing here, speaking into the microphone, repeating words I’ve memorized for countless days only to have them dance across my tongue at breakneck speed.
I mean who knows if I’ll say them right, maybe I’ll st-st-stutter and you will miss the message because of my tongue twisters or I could pull a Ricky Bobby and not know what to do with my hands because this taboo not charades
Yeah sure stage fright is real but I’m talking about being the only voice in the room
How I can stand under the spotlights and bright eyes only to expose a dark shadow of secrets
You see, poetry is painful.
It’s a personal open heart surgery done with no anesthesia
When you snap all I hear is the tap tapping of my fears knocking on my rib cage and
I can’t wait to get off this damn stage, sit back down and become a face in the crowd.
Because instead of seeing you all naked as told I’m the one who has to bare it all
Forced to find a way to entertain each and every one of you
to relate and connect with all of your struggles at the same time
And still sprinkle a rhyme scheme to make these bitter truths easier to swallow
Being a poet means you infect yourself with the worst of humanity and use your voice as a vaccine for others
Allowing your soul to be tainted with tales of injustice, rape and suicide
Just so others don’t have to discover it on their own
It’s hiding weaknesses only to have them put on display like a screenshot of deleted tweets
Our souls are a breeding ground for the questions you’re afraid to ask in prayer
It’s waking up alone and realizing that this feeling is all you’ll ever know, how words will never comfort but only cover you.

My grandfather once told me that the devil is beautiful
For he was the first poet
Lucifer, once light bearer of heaven
had the power to persuade others with his voice so it’s only natural that
Sometimes I think I’m out of the hands of God, left only with his fingerprints
Trying to absolve the case of the missing Father
Why do I subject myself to such torture?
Because…you listen to me
For a few minutes you turn off your phones and silence your minds to give me all of your attention
So I feel obligated, maybe even required to tell you things about myself
I’m here to let you know that sometimes poems can taste like the morning dew
That being nervous is the first step towards happiness
And love is so more than a four letter word
But…then I must show how my fears often get the best of me
To say that I am scared of dying but more afraid of living
To share with you that razorblades and tongues can cut flesh the same
To tell you how my grandfather’s alcoholism plus my dad’s cancer caused me to have anxiety beyond medical comprehension
And hiding behind seven syllable words and soliloquies is the easiest way to protect my soul
Once upon a time I thought I wanted to be a poet but… no
Now I just wanted to be a poem

~J. Varina

Christian Atheism.

The other day I was searching the internet and noticed that my forbes list didn’t have a thought of the day

There was no ancient wisdom or modern prophecies posted on my LCD screen

I felt a moment of loss and confusion as if I just was given bads news

And I know it may not seem like a big deal to you but

When did our life become so secondary to technology

Where errors messages and bad wifi can make you forget the sun is still shining or how our waking thoughts are to check inboxes instead of sending direct messages to God Continue reading Christian Atheism.

The Nature of Human

The wind has eroded the face,

my face

Eyes set ablaze by the gust,

formless yet physical

Like waking anxiety.

Sending unnecessary electricity,

Matter being turned from solid to liquid

As blood escapes. The sting

of cold steel on warm flesh like

The first drop of snow on a dying leaf

Melting; my nerves have sunken into the abyss of self.

Resolve slowly broken,

As calm waves can even make mountains crumble, if tested enough.

I broke, like the last branch in winter

Or the cream egg shell, just to find that it’s purpose

has been fulfilled. Nothing inside,

It was time to rot,

To succumb to the fungal emotions:

Neglect, Self-Doubt, and Loneliness.

 

They began to decompose my soul

Silently consuming the truth as my animated corpse

still tried to perform, moving within the fog without light.

How selfish I was to force this task upon it,

ready to break the texture of skin with the hawk’s talon

The gray tint being painted red like a fresh kill in the ocean.

Droplets of immortality leaking, being exposed to the sinner’s air.

Fading upon contact, even as the sun observed from his lonely cell.

Skin and metal combining, for man never knew how to love nature

All he could ever do was take from her, and I was no different.

Hoping to release this geyser into the eternal,

exiting through the last gasping cough of a weary vessel.

A collection of hanging moss, electrical impulses, and contaminated water.

 

I wanted the end, to embrace winter as I left spring.

The elements ringing in my ear as the blade fluttered,

never bringing pain, more like the strokes of an artist;

But it was hot, and viscous

Earth shattering memories coming from a dormant volcano

my life becoming a repeat of Pompeii

As I turned against nature in hopes of finding

What it took to enter the void.

 

I am tired of being human.