Wednesday, December 19, 2018


So, no sooner had things started to get to normal (or something resembling it) after Hurricane Michael passed through, than I seriously tore a muscle in my hip/lower back and ended up rather incapacitated this past month. A week of hardly getting out of bed followed by one hobbling about with a cane, has given way gradually to my regular routine, albeit with a certain amount of pain and soreness.

What was perhaps most frustrating was the discomfort involved in sitting long in any position, making writing difficult (or at least painful). My fantasy novel-in-progress has not progressed very much but I know I’ll get to it. In the mean time, I putter about at this and that. I can even exercise some now though I must be careful not to put too much pressure or weight on the injured area. No dead-lifts for a while! They seem to give the most pain (and quite possibly are how I hurt myself, though I do not recall any one moment it happened). Short hiking and biking expeditions were possible this week. Those will get longer.

I had the same injury three years ago with much the same results. Oddly, I know exactly how I tore it that time — I was prying an old turbine loose from the roof. Apparently I have a vulnerable spot and will always have to take care. Maybe I fell on the hip too many times when young and into skateboarding, or maybe it’s just how I’m put together. It doesn’t matter much at this point.

As far as the next novel goes, I’m only like 4000 words into it. That would be ‘The Crocodile God,’ sequel to ‘The Crocodile’s Son.’ What I have dubbed the Crocodile Chronicles runs parallel to my Sajam Saga. The second of those, ‘The Jewels of the Elements,’ is due to come out in February of this coming year. That is the sequel to ‘The Eyes of the Wind’ where I introduced Qala, the former pirate queen, who is protagonist of the Crocodile series. I know where the story is going so it’s largely a matter of settling down — if I can get myself reasonably comfortable — and writing it out.

Both of these series are pretty much going to stop at two novels. At least for some time — if and when I return to them, the story will be taken up decades later and there may be some convergence of the two. Lots of other projects to concern myself with first, and both series will stand quite well as they are. Or will when I finish the WIP.

NOTE: this was written more than a week ago but the satellite internet has been down most of the time since. Finally a chance to post!

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

The Image and the Word

I create my images, whether in writing or in paint, brush stroke by brush stroke, word by word. They do not exist in my mind until I have created them so. I do not see them and then describe them or put them on canvas. I recognize that many — perhaps most — do not work this way.

Nabokov believed everyone thought in images. Reading his work, one can certainly see that he did. I need those words to fix what would be otherwise nebulous. I need to describe a scene to see it. I build it.

I slipped a little reference to that fact into my novel ‘Shaper,’ where our protagonist is asked to describe a suspect. He explains that he has to describe a man to himself to remember the details of his appearance. He needs to find the words that set the image in his mind. His explanation has little to do with the plot and we move on, but I can ‘see’ that suspect in my own mind still. He is made up of my words.

My poems almost always begin as a few words, a phrase, that catches my attention. They grow from that beginning. I have no firm idea about the meaning or the direction of the poem, nor do I sit down intending to ‘say something.’ That will be revealed by the words as I write. This is perhaps one reason I often write in form. Cadence and even rhyme help shape the pieces, help them find a direction.

And, of course, there is the sound of those words. I am very much one to read my stuff aloud to myself, not only the poetry but also the fiction. Dialog is spoken and so it must be heard if one is to know it is ‘right.’ (Though I am pretty good at hearing it in my head — along with those other voices!) I dislike clumsy prose and can see myself as the storyteller in the bazaar, speaking the finely-crafted lines of tradition.

Are the results worthwhile? That is for others to judge. I can only use my words to craft what I will.

Stephen Brooke ©2018

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Raindrops, a poem


I can not count the raindrops
but know they have a number;
they sang upon my rooftop
as I fell into slumber,
and each told me its name,
each whispered and was gone,
with all of night time's dreams
forgotten in the dawn.

Stephen Brooke ©2018

This is one of those pieces that I sat and looked at for some time, trying to decide whether I should add more. But there was really nothing to add.