What Did I Miss?

I thought I’d nailed this subject
Really hammered it in
Drove the last word
Right into the coffin
I thought I’d crushed it
Really broke it down
Buried my feelings
Deep underground

I was dropping microphones
Dunking on your memory
Going around town
Lapping up a victory
I told everyone and their mom
“Ha, I am so over her”
God I say some stupid shit
When I’m stone cold sober

Now I’m taking a shortcut
Through a long dark alley
And I’m not too worried
About what’s going to happen to me
Here I was thinking
I’d hardened my heart to this
Now I’m clutching at my chest
Asking what did I miss?

I thought I’d aced this subject
Got an A plus plus
Then you popped me with a quiz
And I’m back on the short bus
I thought my bruises were healing
Thought I’d satisfied this itch
I thought my fever had broken
Then it made me its bitch

I thought I’d closed this book
I thought I’d solved this crime
I thought history was done repeating
But it rhymes all the time
I thought I was above this
Blue skies as far as I could see
Then I went full blazing Hindenburg
Oh the humanity

Now I’m footing it
Across a desert valley
And I’m not too worried
About what’s going to happen to me
Here I was thinking
I’d hardened my heart to this
Now I’m clutching at my chest
Asking what did I miss?

The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

I uncovered this poem I wrote about the Humphrey Bogart classic 1941 noir The Maltese Falcon and thought it had an intriguingly dark mystique to it (spoilers for The Maltese Falcon follow).

The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

Sam Spade had to turn her in
Not just because she killed his partner
Because she played him for a sap
Him and every man she’d ever been with

The Falcon was a red herring
You could argue that his heart was too
As the elevator doors eclipsed her eyes
And took her down to hell

“When a man’s partner is killed
He’s supposed to do something about it”

He slides Exhibit A to the detective
The thousand-dollar bill
She tried to buy his loyalty with
If only she had thought to buy it with something else

There’s a smile on one side of his face
The truth rests on the other
He’s just made a sacrifice
To himself

“All we’ve got is that maybe you love me
And maybe I love you.”

There’s a cigarette where her lips could be
A fedora where her hands could have rested
A collar she could’ve wrapped her arms around
A lead bundle where his heart could’ve been

He tells his secretary to have Archer’s name taken off the door
His killer’s been sent up the river for twenty to life
It was duck soap when he figured it out
But it won’t make his bed any warmer tonight

“I hope they don’t hang you, precious,
By that sweet neck”

Boss Fight: A Poem about depression… and video games

I shattered all my armor
That time I took a hit
Went off on a fetch quest
To try to find my shit
Went outside my element
Too far for even me
Went over the edge
Of the realm of possibility
Mistook the map for the terrain
Hit an invisible wall
The platform vanished
And I had a great fall
Lost all of my progress
Damn near rage quit
Started swinging in the dark
Until I found something to hit

Depression is a boss fight
A fire-breathing dragon
With an infinite health bar
And wild attack patterns
It never sees stars
It never blinks red
And if you stop running
It will feast upon your head

I leveled up
For the fight ahead
Enchanted my helmet
To get right in the head
Filled up my health gage
Saw a mage about some sage
Did a serious inventory
Of all my baggage
But at the first trapdoor
I straight up choked
All my coping mechanisms
Straight up broke
Now I’m down in this arena
With this overpowered thing
I’ve no more fight in me
But I’ve gotten really good at dodging

Depression is a boss fight
A fire-breathing dragon
With an infinite health bar
And wild attack patterns
It never sees stars
It never blinks red
And if you stop running
It will feast upon your head

RETAIL HELL COVER REVEAL

New Author Photos Nighttime Edition

The other night my friend Bryan Politte and I took a walk around the lake with some remotely operated lighting gear. Our goal was to create portraits that looked nightmarish and weird, pictures that practically screamed HORROR AUTHOR. I think we achieved our goal.

Book Announcement: He Has Many Names

I’m super excited to announce my novel HE HAS MANY NAMES is coming out through CLASH Books this fall (just in time for Halloween). Here’s the press release from yesclash.com:

HE HAS MANY NAMES by Drew Chial is tongue in cheek meta-horror about a ghostwriter named Noelle, sequestered in a strange hotel, under the patronage of a famous & elusive bestselling horror author, where things go from strange to stranger.

This story is a fascinating exploration into the artmaking (or crazymaking) process & the bullshit politics writers face every day in the publishing industry. It’s a fresh spin on the Faustian bargain, a deal with the devil story in the age of artistic desperation.

Cover art by Matthew Revert

matthewrevert.com

Noelle is a Hollywood transplant who’s been subsisting on instant ramen and false hope. She’s on the verge of moving into her mother’s trailer when her agent convinces her to take a meeting at the Oralia Hotel. Enchanted by the art deco atmosphere Noelle signs a contract without reading the fine print. Now she has one month to pen a novel sequestered in a fantasy suite where a hack writer claims he had an unholy encounter. With whom you ask? Well, he has many names: Louis Cypher, Bill Z. Bub, Kel Diablo, Dee Ville.

Nevertheless Noelle is skeptical, until she’s awoken by horned shadow with a taste for souls. Desperate Noelle stays on, shifting the focus of her story to these encounters. Her investigations take her through the forth wall and back again in until she’s uncertain of the difference between reality and what’s written.

Is there a Satanic conspiracy, is it all a desperate author’s insanity, or is it something else entirely?

Photo by Bryan Politte

 

Drew Chial is a writer who haunts the coffee shops of Minneapolis Minnesota where he lives with his cat Nemo. He’s been a board member of the Minneapolis Screenwriter’s Workshop and a script reader for the production company Werc Werk Works. He’s won the Short Story and Flash Fiction Society’s Flash Fiction Contest. His articles have been featured on Word Press’s Freshly Pressed page and RogerEbert.com. The Fancy Pants Gangsters produced an audio drama from his short story The Narration for the Red Shift podcast. His short story ‘Grieving in Reverse’ was published in the collection Walking Hand and Hand into Extinction: Stories Inspired By True Detective. And he does not use ghostwriters…yet. His latest novel He Has Many Names is forthcoming from CLASH Books. He blogs about writing at drewchialauthor.com. Follow him on Twitter & Instagram @DrewChial where he shares disgustingly cute pics of his cat Nemo.

My Reoccurring Nightmare

I’ve been having this weird reoccurring nightmare. The thing is I’m not up on all that dream interpretation jargon. My brain keeps trying to tell me something, but I keep missing the point. Maybe you could help me figure it out.

The dream takes place in a vast palatial estate in the middle of the forest. I have no idea who owns the property or why they built so far from civilization. All I know is that the beds are always filled and that the guests have no clue how they got in them.

While this can be a jarring experience, the guests always seem to settle in. No one ever makes a break for the exit. Besides, where would they go? Every window looks out onto bark surfaces. The pantries are surrounded by towering evergreens. The dining hall is built upon a swamp and the bedchambers sit in a field of reeds.

The forest is well on its way to reclaiming the building. Maple seeds swirl through the skylights, vines droop from the rafters, and pollen is built up on everything like snow. Muskrats swim beneath the floorboards, frogs congregate on the windowsills, and raccoons and crows fight for perches on the shingles. There are cobwebs in every corner, nests in every crossbeam, and cocoons in every gutter.

For its part the estate refuses to go quietly. The support beams are always groaning, the foundations are always settling, and the shutters are always slapping against the side of the building.

The estate has a footprint the size of a castle, yet there are no grounds, no carriage houses, and no paths leading to the front steps.

There’s only one way to find this place.

I come here on nights when I’ve spent too much time pacing the apartment, too much time in the kitchen drinking, and too much time on the pillow thinking. I lie down in the city and rise up from my bunk in the woods.

Despite the size of the estate I can’t help but think of it as a cabin. Perhaps it’s the pine strips stacked floor to ceiling, the hardwood screeching under foot, or the log furnishing. Perhaps it’s the quilts hanging from the banisters, the moose antlers, or the smell of maple in the air.

I breath it all in. Continue reading My Reoccurring Nightmare

New Author Headshots

My friend Keane Amdahl did me a huge solid by taking  these headshots for my author profile. What do you think?

These are the daytime shots. The nighttime shots will be up soon.

 

On Writer’s Block and Maladaptive Daydreaming

Like most writers, I have a fantasy prone personality. This proves useful when I’m visualizing the layout of a haunted hotel, filling the art deco décor with pipe organ chandeliers, gargoyles, and mirrored elevators. It proves troublesome when I feel an urge to sit in total silence for several hours imagining what it would’ve been like had I become the rock star my high school self was certain I would, contemplating how I would’ve downplayed public breakups, circumvented beefs with other artists in the press, and teased out topical new material.

Some fantasies boost our imaginative powers while others just eat our hours. That brings us to one of the most insidious forms of writer’s block an aspiring author can face:Maladaptive Daydreaming. Continue reading On Writer’s Block and Maladaptive Daydreaming

He Has Many Names Cover Reveal

Advice for writers, stories about the world they live in.

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