Sunday, December 8, 2013

New Blog, New Location.

Hi everyone. I've started a new project and seeing as how I have not abandoned this one forever, I've decided to make a new blog and shelf this one for a bit. I'd love for any and all of you to follow my new blog. Thanks!
Here's the link:

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Journal of Angel Acevedo

Hello everyone. Fresh off my first couple weeks of substitute teaching, I found myself with a short period of time to write. In a week or so, I will be working only one job and attempting to write every weekend, thus making this whole blog posting thing a regular occurrence.

I have decided to change the narrative structure of the project I am woking on, mainly by changing one characters POV from third person (close psychic distance) to journal entries (first person). As stated before, this whole thing will be written from multiple POV's.

As far as the journal entries go, there is no plot or agenda (at least not apparent and easily identifiable points), it is just one person's explanation of life to his self. I hope the mind of the person writing the journal is interesting enough to generate a form of emotional connection with the reader, and in making that connection, the fate and outcome of his situations become important as well.

Feel free to tell me if my spanish is grammatically wrong :)

Here is entry number one:

From the Journal of Angel Acevedo. 13 March 2013

            I had a terrible nightmare last night. The details are kind of fuzzy, but I remember the important parts, at least the parts that have kept me thinking. I really need to get a dream journal, or at least leave this one by the nightstand when I fall asleep.
            In my dream, I was walking up a large staircase made of stone. There were clouds everywhere; silver and dark grey bluffs obscuring everything but the steps. At the top was a man, but as soon as I saw him, he began to blur before me. Then the stairs began to blur too, and the clouds with them. Everything had tracers, moving, masking and rhythmically breathing in repetition. It echoed visually, a sensation I could only describe adequately the first time I smoked pot. Then, through the blur and smears a yellow orb ascended behind the man. It was bright like the sun, but shone dull through the clouds. The yellow became orange the further the beam shot from its center, and at the edges, orange turned to red and yet even more minutely, in a sliver at the end of the waving spectrum, before the clouds reclaimed the light, red turned to purple in a contour that held the light like a dark halo, its perimeter ephemeral and permeable.
‘I am God’ the man said.
            “No,” I responded. “You’re not.”
            As soon as the words left my mouth, he was gone. No vanishing act, no walking away. He was simply there one moment, and gone the next. I didn’t know if he had heard me. I didn’t know if he left because of what I’d said. It could have been because of what I hadn’t said. But, there wasn’t any time to let the event resonate in my mind.
I don’t exactly remember what happened next, I eventually found myself in a different place, in a park, somewhere in San Francisco, but somehow it was different. I can’t make sense of the fact that I am putting some level of importance on the lack of connection between the two places. The stone steps and the park were certainly separated by events, and time and certainly space. But I don’t remember. There was the man, then there was not. There were the steps, then there were not. Then, segue way…the park was lush and green and free of the usual occupants.  No hippies, hipsters, drum circles, bums, vagrants, druggies, avid Frisbee enthusiasts, dogs walkers, loud crazies, quiet crazies, hoola hoopers, assholes who play catch with hard baseballs in crowds of relaxing sun bathers, sun bathers, popsicle vendors, cookie vendors, pot cookie vendors, beer vendors, coffee vendors, undercover cops ignoring the green stuff and looking for the white stuff, the straight side, the gay side, the joggers, the runners, the yogis, bicyclists, rollerbladers, sk8ers, seniors doing geriatrics, seniors looking at birds, seniors perving on girls, people on benches reading, people on benches having existential crisis’s, people. Empty.
I always notice the voids. I want to remember.
It was also quiet, almost as if it was night but the sun forgot to go down. I was lying on a blanket, a multicolored rough picnic mat made of tweed and of a color set that looked as if it could have been made from one or more of Papa’s old ponchos. I could hear his voice in the back of my head, “Aye Dios, Angel!” I could hear him smile through the words the way he always did when he made a big deal about something he didn’t understand but didn’t necessarily disagree with.  “What did you do with Papa’s ponchos? Y Que estas haciendo ahora, mijito? Porque estas al parque en la noche? Y es la noche?” But then he, like the man at the top of the stone steps, was gone. Then, and I wish I could have asked for a bit of transition, even in a dream, everything around me was suddenly on fire. The ground blazed and the flames reached into the air rhythmically, like fingers dancing on the soft strings of an invisible harp. It was beautiful and destructive, but not hot. I don’t know if it was the nightmare’s intent or the just the limit of a dream’s ability to invoke the senses that made the fire cool to the touch, but the thought, which must have been forming in my subconscious, scared me and I tried to run, but of course I could not. I’ve never been able to run in dreams, and I suppose I knew at that point that I was in fact dreaming. And, if dreaming is a playground for the subconscious, then is the subconscious while I dream in fact the conscious? 
Well, nightmares have a way of trumping a person’s realizations, especially when they are introspective and as I began to contemplate the idea of joining my waking senses, a giant hand came from behind the hill? The horizon? Shit, the far end of the planet? And it grabbed the sun like a tennis ball and pulled it down with the force and ease of a granjero plucking an overripe orange from a low hanging branch. The sky went dark, and as if a vacuum came out of the darkness, the flames went out in an instant, leaving behind charred glowing embers in the grass. It appeared to make signs, or letters or something. I began to walk towards the closest hill to see if I could reach a vantage point from which I could read the words. Apparently there wasn’t time to do this before I woke, and my impatient dream gave me a helping hand in understanding its message as the ground erupted in violent bursts. Sheets of grass and char shot to the sky and swirled, covering the moon at first and eventually most of the San Francisco skyline. The embers continued to rearrange themselves until a message became clear. I read it and woke: God is the son. God is the sun.
            I should have written this all down right when I sat up in bed. I know I am forgetting some things and whether or not they are important, I guess I’ll never know. But I suppose my reason for journaling late is worth it in its own right: Mason was next to me when I awoke. This is the third time he’s slept over. I grabbed his warm body and put one leg over his hip, thinking about his smile until I fell back to sleep. If my dream was a nightmare, then upon waking, Mason became my dream.  My conscious desire. What could the nightmare mean to me anyway? I have lived happily without this ‘God’ and without the son and sun's symbolism for so long already. How can I explain it? I am a man of the moon? Maricon reyna?  I am my father's son, but I guess I’ve found my own light. I’ve learned to shine it my own way. “God,” he said his name was, as he stood obscured in silhouette on the steps.  Such theatrics. But then again, God was always a drama queen. 
         Why can’t I see you now, Mr. God? Pienso que esta solo suenos del Diablo. “Aye dios!” Papa says.
I wonder what Mason dreams about. Soon he will tell me. Soon we will share it all. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

First Few Pages.....

Here's the first few pages of the book. The story takes place in the bay area and the plot revolves around a hate crime that occurs in the middle of the night in Dolores Park. Also, I'll be posting a different story soon, well, a link to a different story when it gets published. Enjoy!

Shame At the Wheel

Introduction: 473
The van sped down I-580 carrying the boys and their equipment. On either side of the eight-lane highway, brown and yellow brush slowly began to turn lush and green as they moved west towards Oakland, towards the coast. Above, the sky was grey and pockmarked with holes, as if God was a rat and the clouds were made of Swiss cheese. Rays of light circumnavigated the shadows, which danced like peaceful ghosts, while homes on the hills behind them glowed with the hot white heat of the early morning sun. The wind picked up and the light shifted. The color palette of the landscape became its own inverse; broken down and rusted cars gleamed on overgrown grass lawns while the gloom spread across the hedges and driveways of the gated home communities. Spencer, who was in the front passenger seat, observed and made comment.
            “This bay area weather reminds me of my ex-girlfriend.”
            There were a few ruffled sounds and a yawn from the back seat, but no one responded.  Todd, the man at the wheel, was rocking his head up and down and tapping his fingers on the steering wheel. Spence could hear the beats of a six piece drum kit coming out of Todd’s headphones, the hi-hat sloshing in 4/4 as the kick drum dialed in the beat on the 1.
            “It’s bi-polar,” Spence said to no one. He didn’t mind being ignored. Though they had only been on the road for eight hours, the boys came to an organic consensus (organic consensus meaning no one had actually said it) regarding their intra-friend social interactions. The credo read:  personal space is more important in the beginning of a journey than in the end. After all, when they made it big, there was no doubt that they would be sharing women—sometimes in the same night—as well as hotel beds, sinks, showers, toilets, bottles of water (and whiskey), drugs (though not needles) and the small thing that time and experience amount to: their lives. Spencer chuckled to himself. Bi-polar!  He couldn’t wait to get sick of these motherfuckers in the wake of their obscenely hedonistic success.
            The van hit a small bump in the road causing the snare drum to rattle. Another yawn came from the backseat followed by a painfully-slow-leaked fart. Spencer rolled his window down an inch and breathed in the fresh air of…he looked down the freeway at the next sign…Livermore. What a name for a city, not that Temecula was any better. But why live in Livermore when it was so close to Oakland, the new artistic mecca of California, and Berkeley, where the cops light your joints for you and, of course, San Francisco: heaven or hell on Earth depending on whether or not you voted for the black guy. They were getting closer. Twenty miles to the bridge? Twenty-five tops?
Todd changed lanes and the equipment in the back shuffled again. The guitar cases were bungee-corded together and slid around like one giant, expensive-in-terms-of-saved-up-allowance package. While the whole lot, consisting of guitars, bases, drums, microphones, effects pedals, drum sticks and amplifiers, was about as organized as an open-mic punk show, everything seemed to meld together among blankets, pillows and bundles of clothing. The band’s worldly possessions were forged by the availability of space and tempered by the polyester fabric and cotton stuffing. They could fly off the freeway, barrel roll into a ditch and all die in an ironic, pre-fame pit of poetic cliché, but the equipment would still be playable at a show that evening, barring a few tuning adjustments and broken string repairs.
            Spencer tapped Todd on the shoulder and pointed down the stretch of freeway that would soon deliver them to their new home and their big chance: San Francisco. In the way that youthful souls always envision the future, the feeling of grand hope in Spencer’s mind was not accompanied by the questions of attainment: how and why. It was instead preoccupied with that first grasp of greatness, the existential springboard that answers who am I, what am I worth, and what will I be remembered for? The question was never how or why, it was always: how soon?
The road ahead stretched far and the miles driven, metaphorically—and  Spencer was just plain tickled by metaphor—paled in comparison to the miles to come.  Todd looked back at Spencer, smiling and nodding in agreement. Todd lifted his fist and extended it. Spencer pounded his fist against Todd’s and pulled back in mock explosion. In the back seat someone farted again and then again. The van began to stink. It was 7:05 a.m.
            Spencer closed his eyes and pictured the first half of the Bay Bridge, the suspension half. He pictured himself entering the tunnel next to Yerba Buena Island and emerging as a citizen of San Francisco. It was surreal. Just last night they had been four college drop-outs. Now they were a band. They had residence in a co-op in the famous Mission District and in a matter of days they would be playing their first gig. Maybe it would be in a park or outside a BART station for free, but it would be step one to getting the word out. It was official: Assorted Olives had arrived.
            “Yo,” came a gravelly lurch, “We almost there?” Billy had slept seven of the eight hours on the road and Spence guessed that one of two things were about to happen: either Billy was going to sit up, comb out his Raven black, bird’s nest of a hairdo and make the final leg of the trip as a conscious member of the band, or he would take out the bottle of Black Cherry whiskey he had used as a sleep aid while they were still on the first surge of caffeine on the 91, still seventy–five miles from interstate 5 (the big blue vein that comprised most of the journey according to a map bought at a gas station), and re-enter the realm of the dead.
            “Fifteen minutes, twenty tops until the bridge,” Spence said, smiling and growing more excited by the moment. Through his grin he added, “You look like Trent Reznor after a three way with Kourtney Love and Melissa Etheridge.”
            “Rock n’ roll, bitch,” Billy croaked and grabbed the whiskey, lying down and nursing it like a bottle of milk. Party hard and party early, Spence could hear Billy saying almost every Friday and Saturday afternoon during college, hours before their plans for the night had begun, there’s no reason to be drunk when everyone else is. Though he didn’t know exactly what Billy had meant by that, Spence saw no harm in it. But still, a small voice in the back of his skull, the voice behind reason and caution made a peep. It whispered: this is your roommate, now. Isn’t that…neat?
            Todd interrupted Spencer mid-thought, “Have you heard from Blake yet? We might be a little early.”
            “I’ll text him right now,” Spencer said, beginning to grin again without realizing he had even stopped. “He said either he or Sage would be there in the morning for sure.”
            “You should just text him right now and tell him we’re coming,” Todd said, still bobbing his head up and down to the beat in his headphones. “San Franciscans don’t like surprises. If we arrive to early and ring the doorbell, we’ll cause a house full of guys to flush their weed down the toilet…”
            “…yeah, and unplug their liberal pirate satellite feeds and burn their underground healthcare facilities. Fuck needle exchange and morning after pills, sinners!”
            Todd, looked over at Spencer and gave a look that said: I didn’t hear what you said, but the tone came through just fine. Sarcasm after nine a.m. please.
            “Why don’t I jus text him now then and let him know we’re coming,” Spence said.
            “Just give him a text now, and let him know we’re coming, okay?” Todd said, keeping his eyes on the road. Spence was about to respond, but his incredulous look caught Todd’s attention in his peripherals. Todd turned to him again with a knowing grin and punched him in the shoulder. As he smiled the smile of that didn’t hurt even though it really fucking hurt, Spencer was reminded of the fact that up until a year and a half ago, Todd had been a fat kid. Diet, drugs, exercise and the tail end of puberty had slimmed him, but he had a fat kid’s strength and a fat kid’s chip on the shoulder. The sign on the side of the freeway said San Leandro next three exits; Oakland—three miles and the East Bay Bridge—Eight miles. Spencer got his phone out of his pocket and texted Blake. Somewhere in the back, somebody farted. Four hundred and seventy three miles into the trip and the air was beginning to go stale. Spence plugged his nose and hummed a chord progression while editing the lyrics to a song he had been working on:
If he were a real Napoleon, he would have killed Porfiry
 for even suspecting him.
for even accusing him
It’s not about being right, it’s about murder.
It’s not about being right, it’s about winning
            It’s about being the most important and absolving the sin with fame!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Good Reads . com

Hey all,
This is a short blog. I just wanted to spread the word about a website called because it's a great way to network book likes, dislikes, reviews and just basically chat to like minded literary nerds like
Here's an example of a book review I wrote:

Hope to talk shop with everyone soon.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Why I Write

In the way only a former Professor can do, I have been challenged to answer a very fundamental question, one that, when it was posed, seemed to require no more thought than any reactionary query. For example, why do I like steak? It tastes good. Why do I like music? It sounds good. Why do I like kittens? They purr. The deceptively simple question is this: Why do I write? Short answer...because I have to.
Sometime around 2006 I was taking one of my first ever creative writing courses at Mt. San Antonio College with Professor Holly Cannon. While discussing some aspect of craft or another, Holly posed the same question but answered it herself as if it were rhetorical. She said, "If you asked all writer's why they write, I imagine it would be because they feel they have to." At the time my answer to the question was much simpler. I wanted to scare the shit out of people. I wanted to write bad ass horror novels with bad ass villains and bad ass heroes who could overcome badass conflicts with unchecked feats of badassery. Could I not have gone one step further and asked, well, why do I want to scare the shit out of people? Oh, Holly was right. I wanted to scare people because I had to.
So, taking the compulsion to write as the root answer, here are some additional qualifying details concerning my writing past:
2006-I want to scare you because I love Stephen King
2008-Because I LOOOOOVE allegory and want to emulate it
2009-Because I despise allegory, and love realism.
2010-Have you read Game of Thrones, I mean have you read it? I want to write fantasy.
2011-So comics are for kids, but graphic novels, GRAPHIC NOVELS are for adults, and I love them.
2012-Well.... here we go...
...I write because, after all the books I've read, and all the authors I've idolized, I'm not satiated. I have questions of the world, and each answer gives life to a hundred new questions. I write because, in prose I find the offensive, the tragic and the perverse to be instruments of my education. I write because observation subdivides the world into spheres for further analysis.
And, because I have to.
And, I have to.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mommy, Where Do Books Come From?

As I sit here on my computer at 7:17am (when did I start getting up before 11 on my days off?) on a Tuesday morning in September (9/11 I am just realizing) writing my first blog ever, I come to the realization that, as my blog was created ninety seconds ago and has no followers, some writers and certainly myself, write as if no one is looking, as if no one is connecting the words and ideas to the person who wrote them. Certainly people connect  Leo Tolstoy to the criticizing of war and the idea of humanity's ability to wage it. Certainly readers of Beloved associate Toni Morrison with a sensitive and poetic understanding of the history of our country's bigotry and cruelty. But, let's pause here for a second and think on that. Racism is BAD, War is BAD. OBVS (text speak for obvious).The themes of these books, while they contain characters of pure evil, are easy to pinpoint and rhetorically a certain extent. By no means am I suggesting that the texts are simple to read or understand in full, God (if you believe in that sort of thing) War and Peace confused me just by being 7,000,000 pages long. Instead I am saying, with how much conviction I still don't know--this is a blog, not English 100--some texts fall outside the box of what I like to call Good VS Evil and these books come in ALL sorts of shapes and sizes. The question thus becomes: how do we, or do we, connect the author to a book where his/her ideas are less allegorical, where the point is less identifiable, and where the lesson might not be a pretty one? Again, I am not saying that Beloved or War and Peace are simple books, but their conflicts and themes therein are easy to identify. Some books are just harder to categorize.

When I was a child and only read Stephen King and C.S. Lewis I would sit on my bed at night, staring at my closet for fear and in hope that something was inside. I would ask myself, where do these guys get their ideas? This is really two questions and serves as an introduction to the answer of the questions in the above paragraph. Stephen King writes villains, so does C.S. Lewis. Stephen King has throat slitting, child kidnapping, prison raping, wife beating, world ending, scary-as-fuck-I-never-want-to-see-a-clown-again monsters. C.S. Lewis has a White Witch who gives children candy, and with no hint at being a sexual predator, invites said children to her home. There is a difference in the evil here. Where does Mr. King's mind go that C.S. Lewis's doesn't (the question could be asked in the inverse, but that's not the point here)? King's mind goes into the realm of horror, the grotesque and the realm of literature we refer to as shock. Now, shock can come in many forms, through violence, through sex, and even through ideas (think 1984 as it was published in, um... 1951? I'm not googling it). How do we, as readers, reconcile this man's beastly ideas, his utter adoration for horror and violence, to the man himself? That seems to be the question.

Let's take Ayn Rand now. More than an author, she is the founder, the creator, of her own philosophical discipline: The virtue of Selfishness. Atlas Shrugged, her most famous book employing the unique maxim of selfishness, contains ideas that, at the time and perhaps even now, are not only shocking, but divide readers' opinions with more precision than Moses on the Red Sea. But it is not just enough to disagree, proponents of Rand hold Atlas Shrugged up as the second most important book next to the Bible, while critics of her philosophy find the book to be abhorrent and full of ideas that are pure poison to the cause of human betterment. Now we are getting close to the point. How do we connect the ideas of the book to the author? Obviously there must be room for differing opinions, but what does that mean and to what end are the authors held responsible for their ideas? Rand, as a philosopher, would want to be held explicitly accountable for her words, that is why she wrote them, other writers might be scared of this heavy burden. Not sure about Nabokov, I never met the guy, but if someone came up to him and talked about Lolita as if it were the crutch keeping him afloat in this life, I think the author would say: "why do you take this seriously? I am not saying do this! I'm saying think about this. I'm saying this exists!" Writing is cathartic and this is a work of FICTION!

As of this morning, I have finished editing 99% of my first novel: A Much Older, Wiser Man Than I. And as I read, erase, re-write, page after page, chapter after chapter, I think a lot about accountability. I think a lot about Ayn Rand, George Orwell, Stephen King and C.S. Lewis. And thinking about them has led me to this: if you have a story to tell, tell it. If your story is ugly, tell it. If you are embarrassed by your words, don't be. And lastly, if you are embarrassed by the idea of being held accountable for the ideas in your work, stop writing immediately and get a job in an office building. Where do ideas for books come from? From curious authors who wonder what if...? and are brave enough to spend days, weeks, months, and even years searching for the answer to that question.

In closing (you are never supposed to identify the ending of your essay [or speech--for those of you who know] by saying: in conclusion, in summation, or, the end is this, but this isn't English 100. Sorry Professors Nemeth, Reinhart and Brantingham, you taught me better) I want to bring up an author who, though I didn't mention him at all in this blog, is responsible for it being written: Tom Wolfe (not Thomas Wolfe. Tom Wolfe = modern social satirist and genius. Thomas Wolfe = dead British dude). His books The Bonfire of the Vanities and A man in Full have opened my eyes to what a writer can do. A character can be horrible, honest, racist, pathetic, noble, and a criminal all at the same time. Because books aren't here to show us what we know, or what we know to be wrong, they are here to show us the error in what is wrong. Books show us how the error came to be, what formed it, how it can be changed, and why sometimes it never will be. Good vs Evil bores me. The willpower of good in the face of the temptation of evil, with a firm exploration of the development (and possibly a sympathy for the circumstances of the development) of evil interests me. Make me care about the characters and make me feel them as real people and you've got me.

Within the next few days I am going to begin posting sections of my book, starting with the introduction, which is first ten pages.