Category Archives: Shorts

How to Build a Memory Palace Pitch (Audio Blog)

This piece should do two things:

Help you summarize your story by identifying the elements that audiences look for.
Help you remember each of those elements with a simple memory trick.

The audio component isn’t a podcast, where I discover my statement halfway through making it. It isn’t spoken word poetry either. It’s a guided visualization, set to a beat. It’s fun to listen to, but I invite you to participate. To shape images from your work in progress and place them somewhere in your childhood home.

The memory palace technique takes something your brain has no problem remembering, like spacial relationships, and combines it with something that’s tough to remember, like plot points. Continue reading How to Build a Memory Palace Pitch (Audio Blog)

Carnival of Goals

IMG_2545When I was a kid I threw a Halloween carnival in my parent’s basement. I knew I had the market cornered, because it was the middle of July.

I decided to keep mom and dad in the dark about the project. Investors have a way of meddling with an artist’s vision. I wanted to retain creative control. I was an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs don’t ask for their parents’ permission. Once they saw what a hit it could be, no one would make me apologize for success.

Continue reading Carnival of Goals

Curbside Noir (Video Short)

This is a video poem shot on my iPhone. A study in low light, lens flare and auto focus. I was looking for a visual component for my audio short Curbside Noir. It needed something to match the somber tone of its music and the spirit of its monologue. It had to be dark. It had to paint the world in silhouettes and shadows.

When it rained on the walk home, I took advantage of it, bobbing from entryway to entryway, hugging the storefronts. I cupped my fingers into a tarp over my phone. Then I let the storm put on a show.

Drizzle swarmed the street lamps. Headlights set the air aglow. Droplets turned everything into a reflective surface. Puddles tinted the street a shade of amber, light mirrored in the asphalt. I shot what I could before the rain water could trickle through my fingers. Forgive me if my white balance is a little off.

Waves mounted the curbs. Tide came to the boulevard. Little rivers flowed down the sidewalk. My shoes went for a dip. My jeans weighted my ankles. Water had pooled in the rolled up denim. There might just be a tad bit of motion blur.

Trees argued with the breeze. Leafs fluttered with the thunder. Branches swatted at the night and my video is all the better for it.

Enjoy it with the blinds closed. Continue reading Curbside Noir (Video Short)

Breaking Up With Your Story (Audio Short)

Writing a novel is like being in a relationship with a high maintenance person. Novels want all of your free time. They want the leading role in you day planner. They want you to take them everywhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re out with friends that you never get to see, your novel has something to say and you’re going to listen. Sneak your phone out and type a few paragraphs.

Your Novel looks at your short stories and says, “Who’s that then? They seem pretty cute? Is there something going on between the two of you that I should know about?”

Looking back on your relationship, your novel is never what you thought it was. The ruby colored glasses come off and you see all the edits you’re going to have to make, all the couple’s retreats and all the counseling. You will constantly doubt if it’s all worth it.

Then publishing your novel is like planing a wedding. First you have to find a place. Then they have to set a date. Then you have to send out the invites. It is work.

Like any relationship, writing a novel takes commitment.

This audio short is about what happens when you think you don’t have what it takes to see that commitment through. It’s my third piece to feature music. The first two were poems this is a fully realized short story. Enjoy!

The Night the Moon Came Down to Earth

Holding the MoonThe forest is alive with nodding treetops. They’ve come to a consensus. Each of them agree to throw their branches up into the air, to cast their pinecones into the night. Each of them creak as they bow to one another. Their trunks bend, their leafs curtsy. They dance. We have a good view from our place on the prairie. We watch the current cascade through them. It looks like an evergreen chorus line, especially when the trees kick up their skirts, and something comes rushing out. Continue reading The Night the Moon Came Down to Earth

Self-Sabotage (Audio Short)

Every writer runs the risk of letting their characters become so powerful that they take over their story, but sometimes the story is not enough. Sometimes the characters sneak into the writer’s waking life and start making changes of their own.

This is an audio short about a writer whose inspiration came calling for him in the middle of the night.

Find the Time (Audio Short)

What if you could freeze time, hit pause, hit mute, tell the whole to just wait a minute? What would you get accomplished without the looming punch clock, without the mouths to feed, without the noise pollution? What would you do if the earth rotated on your time?

This is a short story about someone with just such an ability. Too bad for the rest of the world, frozen in time, that this person happens to be a writer.

Self-Sabotage

TelescopeAt first, it was hard to find your watch. It had wandered off the end table and fallen into a pile of laundry. Then it was buried in the sock drawer. A week later, you found it tucked beneath a lamp shade wrapped around the light bulb.

You’d type your story into all hours of the night, look to your wrist and see only skin. Your hero traversed the ends of his world by the time you thought to check the clock on the monitor. It was frozen at twelve. You stumbled through a forum that said something about resetting “LOCATIONS SERVICES.” You gave up about three steps in. You said you would get around to it once you’d capped off the chapter. Continue reading Self-Sabotage

Find the Time

Time Flies
Time Flies

There’s an arc of cola in the air, a shiny brown ribbon trailed by a constellation of ice. It casts a wide shadow on the tiles below. My keyboard is right in the spill’s trajectory. I follow the floating brown bubbles to their twelve ounce origin. It’s pinched in the grip of a poor young runt. He’s a pasty faced kid with freckles on top of his acne. It looks like he’s lost his balance. Upon closer inspection, it looks like his balance has been taken from him. Taken by the fluorescent orange sneaker sweeping his ankle. I could step in, untie that gaudy orange knot at his feet, but it’s not going to put his drink back into his cup. I could move my laptop out of the splatter zone, but it doesn’t matter. Not yet it doesn’t. Continue reading Find the Time

The Distractions (Spoken Word)

What if you personified all of your distractions and they literally aimed to keep you from getting anything done? I wrote a story about it. Now I’ve read it aloud.