Tuesday, March 31, 2009

squirming worm

squirming worm
borings through sub-files
data mined

© 2009 Richard H. Fay

Monday, March 30, 2009

Azure Lion Productions Video



Azure Lion Productions Video
by Crystalwizard
Featuring poetry and art by Richard H. Fay

Friday, March 27, 2009

Two Poems Published in ABANDONED TOWERS

Hoping to get a mainstream literary poem or two (or three) alongside my speculative poetry already published in the on-line version of Abandoned Towers, I sent Crystalwizard three pieces for consideration. "Worrying" originally appeared in the Autumn 2007 issue of Skyline Magazine. My haiku "heaven's bright jewels" originally appeared in the July 7-8, 2007 issue of the Asahi Haikuist Network. Earlier versions of "Mother Earth's Children" appeared on various forums, but never in an actual zine-type publication.

Well, Crystalwizard accepted all three. It was decided that "Worrying" and "Mother Earth's Children" would appear in the on-line version of Abandoned Towers, while the haiku would be held for use in a forthcoming print issue.

Sometimes it pays to go through your older material, just to see what can be sent out as reprints or what can be revised, re-polished, and resurrected.

Time's Colours

kaleidoscope
swirling spectral vortex
future meets past

© 2009 Richard H. Fay

This is a recent revision of a piece I first composed back in August of 2007. I happened across it today, and realised it might do with a slight change to a word or two. I originally had "eternal" instead of "spectral", but it dawned on me that "spectral" can have a double meaning. It could refer either to something ghostly or phantasmal, or something resembling a spectrum. That link to the spectrum is exactly the effect I was looking for.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stirring Bracken

stirring bracken
lithe shadows dance
red caps flash

© 2009 Richard H. Fay

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Six Poems Accepted for Inclusion in SCATTERED VERSES, MOONLIT CURSES

The invite to submit to the inaugural issue of The New Bedlam Project wasn't the only fairly recent invite I received. I had also been invited by the editor of The Monsters Next Door to submit poetry for possible inclusion in one of her latest projects, a poetry anthology titled Scattered Verses, Moonlit Curses. Not being one to pass up an opportunity to get more of my poetry out there and read, I sent the editor four previously published pieces ("The Accursed Castle", "The Incubus", "Your Bloody Face", and "Life is the Life") as well as two unpublished works ("Howling on the Moor" and "Nightmares Fell my Fantasy").

Well, all six poems were accepted for publication in the forthcoming anthology. I believe that the book is slated to be released sometime in May. The exact date has yet to be determined.

It appears that the roll will yet roll on! (Into May, at least.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Poem accepted at THE NEW BEDLAM PROJECT

A while back, I received an invitation from Jodi Lee to submit a poem for the inaugural issue of the e-zine The New Bedlam Project. The gears turned frustratingly slowly, and it took me a few weeks to come up with something seemingly appropriate for this new venue. I eventually managed to get a poem sent off for Jodi's consideration, with the hope that it would indeed fit her vision of the e-zine. You never can tell.

Well, it seems that the poem does indeed fit. My dark speculative poem "The Damnation of Daniel Brewster" will be published in the inaugural issue of The New Bedlam Project. I'm not sure yet when the first issue will go on-line, but I'll be sure to post a link when it does.

River of Life

River of Life

by Richard H. Fay

Drift
- Down the river of life
Sail
- Its turbulent waters
Glide
- 'Round the rocks in its course
Birth
- Death
Love
- Hate
Lost
- Blind in the muddy swell
Ride
- The ship of dreams and hopes
Slide
- Souls dragged along the stream
Embrace them all
- For they're all
Part of the
- Flow

© 1993 Richard H. Fay


The above poem dates back at least sixteen years. It was written while I still bore my step-father's last name, and was published in the early nineties under that name in one of those questionable contest-related anthologies. Even though it may have had a rather shady publication history (I don't even count it as an "official" publication), I still think it a worthy work. I figured it was high time to resurrect this poem, dig it out of the "trunk", and let it once again see the light. At the very least, it is an interesting insight into my early attempts at poetry composition.

(Note: the original formatting had alternating indented lines. Computers don't always seem to like such formatting, so I used dashes to try and better represent my original format.)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Midgard Serpent


© 2009 Richard H. Fay

Midgard Serpent
by Richard H. Fay
Pitt artist's pens on bristol board, digitally coloured.

A piece from the first batch of divider art, I drew my inspiration for this drawing from a seventeenth century Icelandic illustration of the "World Serpent" of Scandinavian mythology. My version lacks the front legs of the Icelandic original, to give it a slightly more serpentine look. I also left out Thor's fishing line baited with an ox head, figuring it would just create confusion and clutter the image. However, the basic shape of the critter is based directly on the historic image. If one didn't know this was a beast from mythology, one might almost think it some sort of alien monstrosity.

Entwined Serpents


© 2009 Richard H. Fay

Entwined Serpents
by Richard H. Fay
Pitt artist's pens on bristol board, digitally coloured.

This piece, one of the first drawings I completed as part of my second batch of divider art for Abandoned Towers/Cyberwizard Productions, isn't based on any particular historical design. Since I needed to compose long and thin images, and wanted to do more than just knotwork, I opted for entwined snakes. There may be a slight Celtic feel to it, although it could just be wishful thinking on my part.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Celtic Shield and Spears


© 2009 Richard H. Fay

Celtic Shield and Spears
by Richard H. Fay
Pitt artist's pens on bristol board, digitally manipulated and coloured.

The shield in this image is based on ancient Celtic-style shields depicted on the Arc de Triomphe, Orange (Vaucluse, France). The spears are based on a couple different Celtic-style spears.

Poleaxes and Shield


© 2009 Richard H. Fay

Poleaxes and Shield
by Richard H. Fay
Pitt artist's pens on bristol board, digitally manipulated and coloured.

The above image is another one of the pieces I did for the Abandoned Towers/Cyberwizard Productions divider/clip art that I finally managed to get coloured in today. In this particular case, I had wanted to do something with a heraldic-type tower, as a nod to the title of Crystalwizard's zine. And since I was going for fairly narrow images that would work as divider art, I opted to show the shield with a pair of poleaxes.

Now, you may think that the "pole" in "poleaxe" refers to the haft, but instead it may actually refer to "poll", the top of the head. You see, the poll would be the part of the body commonly targetted by just such a weapon. And there are injuries to the skulls of some of those who died in late medieval battles bearing witness to that very same terrible truth!

War is always brutal, one way or another. For ancient and medieval warriors, war often meant face-to-face brutality.

Blobby the Alien


© 2009 Richard H. Fay

Blobby the Alien
by Richard H. Fay
Pitt artist's pens on bristol board, digitally manipulated and coloured.

When I was a high school kid twenty plus years ago, I used to draw stuff like Blobby all the time. Now I rarely find myself drawing aliens; most of my more recent art features fantastic and surreal scenes, knights and dragons, arms and armour, and creatures and critters from folklore. It was nice to draw wildly weird aliens again.

Blobby is meant to be a sort of "plantimal", a monstrous mixture of plant and animal. And his blobby appearance and name were inspired by the "get all blobby" card in Munchkin Cthulhu. The Munchkin card games may be quite silly, but they can be fun. And the art is a riot!

Of course, Blobby's intertwined tentacles and tendrils were meant to mix in a little medieval with the sci fi. I can't help myself; medieval art is in my blood!

Retrorocket


© 2009 Richard H. Fay

Retrorocket
by Richard H. Fay
Pitt artist's pens on bristol board, digitally coloured.

My "Retrorocket" is one of the two science-fiction (or perhaps sci-fi) themed drawings I composed for the Abandoned Towers/Cyberwizard Productions divider/clip art. After creating a bunch of historical and historically-inspired designs, I wanted to do one or two "futuristic" pieces.

I call this one "Retrorocket" because I feel is has a "retro" look to it (retro with a twist). To me, it looks like a rocket one would see illustrating classic science fiction. And yes, I did deliberately throw in a little "fighter jet" for good measure!

Although I had finished the line drawing a while back, I just got around to colouring it in today. I've been busy lately, which is a good thing.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Genre Writing and the Bigger Picture: Show, Don't Tell

Alright, I've tried to stay out of some of the most recent genre-writing brouhahas like "Racefail", in part because I've been burned by too many of these heated internet discussions. I don't really care to suffer more virtual scarring beyond what I've already had to bear. However, it just dawned on me that there may be a simple, elegant solution to many of these issues. And this solution involves a well-known writing mantra: show, don't tell.

What are genre writers supposed to be all about? They are supposed to be all about writing genre novels, genre short stories, and genre poems. If such writers are supposed to be all about genre writing, then perhaps they could use genre writing to make a point. It's certainly a valid technique; it's been done in the past. Think Gulliver's Travels or Animal Farm.

If you feel that genre fiction doesn't do enough to respectably represent people of different races and different ethnicities, then instead of telling people it's wrong and should change, show respectable representations of people of different races and ethnicities in your own writing. Instead of creating blogs and forum posts discussing how others have failed miserably, create works that succeed brilliantly.

If you feel that certain genre writing should be seen as a worthwhile literary endeavour, then instead of debating definitions and building more and more tiny restrictive boxes, simply write literary genre fiction. Instead of telling people certain genres should be seen as valid literary works, show it through your own body of work.

Constructive discussion can be useful, to a point. However, there does come a time when the telling should stop and the showing should begin. Put your money (or words) where your mouth is, as it were. To do otherwise borders on hypocrisy.

The AIG Mess: Thoughts

My thoughts on the matter of the brouhaha over the bonuses given to AIG big wigs are as follows.

Greed and incompetence got us into this mess. It is foolish beyond belief to give huge sums of money to the same incompetent, greedy men that caused the whole crisis to begin with. You can't expect a leopard to change its spots; you can't expect a greedy irresponsible incompetent to become a frugal, responsible, competent individual (or corporation) overnight. And you can't teach old dogs new tricks. In this case, these dogs will really and truly eat 'til they burst! They don't know when to stop.

Perhaps our government should have known better, but I tend to list most politicians among the ranks of the greedy irresponsible incompetents. They might just be a part of the problem. I wish President Obama luck in fixing this mess, but I think it's going to take a lot more than luck. There may not be a real solution.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Poems to be in "Best Of" Anthologies

I received some really good news today. Two of my poems, one originally published in the fantasy e-zine Sorcerous Signals, and the other published in its sister e-zine The Lorelei Signal, will both appear in the zines' respective yearly "best of" anthologies. "Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental" will appear in Arcane Whispers, Volume 2, while "Sorceress Devolution" will appear in A Time To...Volume 3.

I want to thank everyone who voted for "Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental" in the May-July 2008 Sorcerous Signals Reader's Poll. It simply blew away the competition (41 to 16). ("Sorceress Devolution" was the only poem in the October-December Issue of The Lorelei Signal, so it wasn't on that issue's Reader's Poll.)

Not that I'm bragging or anything, but this makes three for three in these particular publications edited by Carol Hightshoe. "Battle in the Dark Castle", published in the November 2007 - January 2008 issue of Sorcerous Signals, was chosen by the editor to appear in Arcane Whispers, Volume 1. It makes me think I may actually be doing something right! Sometimes I do wonder.

Wahoo!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"Drifting Flakes" in APHELION

My scifaiku "Drifting Flakes" now appears in the March 2009 issue of the web-zine Aphelion:

http://www.aphelion-webzine.com/poetry/2009/03/DriftingFlakes.html

Check it out!

This particular scifaiku represents a change in tactic from many of my previous speculative haiku. After receiving a recent rejection from Scifaikuest with personal comments from the editor stating that the submitted scifaiku were wordier than she currently likes, I decided to go with a severely minimalistic approach. Instead of following the 5-7-5 format advocated by some as being the proper structure for haiku in English, I pared this piece (and subsequent pieces) down to pretty much the barest minimum.

Originally, "Drifting Flakes" consisted of eight words. Now it's only seven, and some of the words themselves are shorter. Instead of the seventeen syllables of the original draft, this revised version contains only ten. And yet, I think it still works.

Up until now, I've gone back-and-forth regarding the use of the 5-7-5 format versus fewer syllables and less words. Even though the general trend may lean toward haiku of less than seventeen syllables, at least one editor told me that she felt that haiku had to have the 5-7-5 format to be haiku. With this in mind, I often tried to adhere to the 5-7-5 format in my haiku/scifaiku/horrorku for publication, although sometimes I did stray from the pattern. However, I will probably stick to the extreme minimalistic road (regarding my haiku, anyway) from this point on. Bye bye 5-7-5! (Unless the words used are very long, of course!)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"Winter Crows" In EVERY DAY POETS

My poem "Winter Crows" has been published in the e-zine Every Day Poets.

This region has a huge number of ebon avian residents, and I've drawn inspiration from the sight of the flocks streaming overhead at least once before, in a horror poem. This time around, I composed a fairly straight-forward mainstream poetic description of the crows flying about in the winter. And considering that just yesterday it snowed here yet again, I think it's still seasonally appropriate even into early to mid March!

Right in the first line, the poem uses the villainous group term for crows, murder. I've always considered that term be an especially evocative one. It also happened to be one that fit with this particular poem's theme of coldness and death. Bitter winds, barren boughs, frost-crisped leaves, morbid hush, cold fields, refuse and death, all try to capture that deathly winter chill. Besides, crows do actually feed on the dead. I've seen plenty of crows chowing down on roadkill to know they aren't overly picky about where the next meal comes from!

Another thing about my language choice in this particular piece; I used some poetic archaisms like o'er and 'gainst. In some ways, it was a deliberate decision. I used what seemed to work, and didn't concern myself with whether or not such words would be proper in a poem written in the twenty-first century. I also like my poetry to have an old feel, although I wouldn't say that I necessarily tried to set this piece in a different era. The old sounding words just sounded right to me, so I went with them. Besides, I feel that the whole richness of the English language, including the occasional archaic or obscure word, should be open to use by all poets.

Enough of this! Go read my poem! (And please rate it, too.)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Science Fiction or Sc-Fi: Why Should I Even Care?

Apparently, there is a stink being raised in certain corners over the proper usage of the term science fiction versus the diminutive sci-fi. According to this argument (in very simplified form), science fiction is the proper term for the literary genre that makes intelligent use of science in a speculative fashion, while sci-fi is an insult reserved for dumbed-down trash. SF may be an appropriate shorthand for science fiction. Sci-fi is not.

Good grief!

I seem to recall a time when sci-fi was indeed a shorthand of science fiction, a time when it didn't necessarily have insulting implications. Perhaps my views came out of mere naivete, but that's the way I remember it. These arguments regarding literary definitions have really and truly gotten out of hand, and the splitting of hairs over what is proper and what is not is utterly mind-boggling, not to mention ridiculous to the extreme.

I've lived far too much of a life (and not just in chronological years), often having nothing whatsoever to do with writing or the literary world, to get all bent out of shape over what label certain people use for a particular literary form. It ain't worth it. There are FAR more insulting things out there than that.

The above view might not be popular among some current "science fiction" writers, but I don't really give a damn. Some people might think less of me for saying what I've just said, but I don't care anymore. In the recent past, I've already been insulted more than once by a few fellow writers and poets. I've been called a walking cliche and a poetaster, among other things. I've given up being disgusted by such behaviour. I'm better than that.

For those that would act that way, let me suggest you look in the mirror prior to passing judgment on others. Do you really like what you see? Do you really want to be such miserable wretches? Are definitions and labels truly that absolutely important in the greater scheme of things? (Asks the poet who DOES INDEED understand the power of words!)

Yes, there are more important things out there to worry about than what terms we use for certain literary genres. In terms of personal importance, my family and the general quality of our lives ranks higher than my writing. Things that effect my family and our lives worry me a hell of a lot more than what someone may call my writing, or what I myself may label certain works. If that makes me less of a true artiste, then so be it.

And don't expect me to agree with a point just because it's the popular view of the moment. I've never been a follower; I've never run with the pack. I've always gone my own way, meandering wherever my heart and mind lead me. I've lost friends and made enemies over voicing my opinions, beliefs, and personal perspectives, but I don't know any other way.

My Personal Perspective

My Personal Perspective

Resident of this turning planet
I'm merely a fellow earthling
Traveller in my own time
A liver of life

One small dreaming thing
I dwell in a wide world
Full of possibility
Full of hope

A few of my thoughts may last
After I've long turned to dust
Or they may simply pass
Like the wind

Opinions and preferences
Annoyances and peeves
In the end mean
Very little

Labelled father and husband
Keeper of dreams
Writer of words
Friend

I'm but a slight passing ripple
In a vast churning ocean
Of humanity
After all

© 2009 Richard H. Fay

The above is, perhaps, a bit rough around the edges, but it is a perfect exploration of my feelings at this very moment.

A recent discussion I ran across made me think that some people are making too much of a stink over the little stuff. I think certain people in certain creative fields and literary endeavours should take a few steps back, look at the wider world for a moment, and gain a bit more perspective.

Some things are truly important. Other things are simply too ridiculous to bother with. There are plenty of genuine problems in this world; there is no need to go making problems out of stupid literary definitions and the like.

Sorry if this is a bit blunt, but get a perspective, folks!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Scifaiku in February Scifaikuest

Today, I received my contributor's copy of the February 2009 print issue of Scifaikuest. It contains my scifaiku "clash of tempered steel", which describes a futuristic robotic return to the gladiatorial games of old. Hear the motors whine, the servos turn, and armour clash. Clang!!!

The Jehovas Cometh

With spring finally in the air comes robins, geese, crocuses, tulips, and - Jehova's Witnesses. Yep, at least two different pairs of well-dressed older persons carrying bibles and pamphlets descended upon our neighbourhood, disturbing this rather pleasantly quiet and refreshingly Spring-like Saturday morn.

Well, I happened to spy them before they saw me, so I put my standard "Jehova's Procedures" into effect. I stuck a cd containing Duran Duran's "Wild Boys" into the cd player, skipped right to that particular song, cranked the volume up to twenty-four, and sang like an injured alley cat (I've had a cold recently, so my voice is more of a wreck than usual). I figured the loud music and dreadful singing (on my part, not Simon's) would annoy them almost as much as they annoy me. Still, they did come to the door and ring the bell once. However, our dog never even heard the doorbell, so she didn't go into her usual "strangers at the door" tizzy, and the Jehova's left quicker than is normal for those types.

In terms of religion, I don't really care what others believe. I don't care what god or gods you worship, I don't care what activities you take part in (as long as those activities aren't blatantly criminal). I'm fine with diversity. However, I do ask one thing: leave me the Hell alone! You won't change my personal beliefs (loosely Episcopalian) by coming to my door. Pushiness like that is more likely to drive me away than to bring me into the fold. And Jehova's are pushier than most, with their door-to-door evangelising. And of course, they still left their pamphlets, which went immediately into the circular file.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Poem/Art in ABANDONED TOWERS 2

Gosh, I almost forgot, my poem "Book of Dimensions" and a black and white version of it's accompanying illustration now appear in print (or pdf)in Abandoned Towers Issue 2. This marks the second zine publication of both poem and art; they originally appeared in the December, 2007 issue of the e-zine Niteblade. However, they have been featured on a t-shirt in the Abandoned Towers Zazzle Store for a while now.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Two Poems in THE MONSTERS NEXT DOOR

Two of my monstrously dark poems, "Serpent of Storms" and "When Hunger Takes Me" (scroll down the page a bit for this one), now appear in the Issue 6 of The Monsters Next Door. Both were entries in The Monsters Next Door "Through My Eyes" Writing Contest, and while they didn't win (my other poem "Life is the Life" won in the poetry category), the editor of the zine agreed to publish the poems in one of her forthcoming issues.

Inspired by the South African tales of the brain-eating Mamlambo, as well as the New York accounts of the storm-loving Black River Monster, "Serpent of Storms" suffered through several rejections and many revisions (including a change of perspective) before finally finding a home at The Monsters Next Door. The cinquain "When Hunger Takes Me", written from a lycanthropic perspective, was composed specifically for the contest.

Check 'em out!