“Writing Violence in Fiction”—Writing from the Peak, with Pikes Peak Writers

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Here’s an excerpt from a recent article I wrote published online by Pikes Peak Writers—a comprehensive resource for writers in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “Writing Violence in Fiction” Write them. As realistic as possible. Make it gritty, make it stink, make it hurt. (It will dissuade the real thing.) I was fresh. It was during my second or third month of training as a cop on the street just west of Denver. I was on a traffic rotation focusing, supposedly, on that stereotypical kind of cop-thing, but it had been an exceptionally busy week. We’d rarely had the time to scratch a ticket. We ended up supplementing Patrol almost without let-up on a repeated, specific and particularly time-consuming call. For whatever reason, it was a week stacked, packed, jammed full of them. Suicides. A few a day. A planetary alignment, a phase of the moon, the weather, the upcoming holidays, who … READ MORE…

Perspective

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For geeks: Taken on a Nikon D610, Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8, ISO 3200, 20 second exposure WHEN YOU LOOK into the Milky Way (near the southern horizon this time of year) you’re looking into a “haze” caused by your eyes’ misperception of literally billions of points of light, each a star potentially circled by worlds like our own. At the center of of that haze lies a supermassive black hole, at least 4 million times the mass of our sun, trillions of miles away. I took this photo last night in a pretty remote area west of Colorado Springs, CO, USA. I’m a fan of challenging our perspectives, personal and collective. These terms (millions, billions, trillions) are really just incomprehensible. They’re completely foreign to our daily lives. For me, pictures like this and the thought they invoke have the power to change perspective—from that standard, normal, tired, daily frontal-lobe insularity to a felt … READ MORE…

Writing Dreams

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I RECENTLY FINISHED Haruki Murakami’s “Kafka on the Shore.” Murakami has been described by some critics as the greatest writer still living today. This book in particular has been labeled as one of his best. (For more, see my review on Goodreads.) Murakami writes his dreams. There are thousands of blogs, essays, reviews, pieces on the web talking about how incredible a writer, how revolutionary his stuff is. There’s a common sense of expressed amazement at how fantastic his writing can be. “Kafka on the Shore” includes scenes and imagery as varied and off-the-wall as WWII era UFO’s; a strange, enlightened old man who can talk with cats; a sociopathic, animal-mutilating Johnnie Walker; Colonel Sanders as a pimp; a mysterious stone disc with the power to somehow affect the world; a precocious, “well-equipped” 15 year old boy’s possibly incestuous sexual dalliances. All of this is very imaginative, sure. But I contend … READ MORE…

The Importance of Place

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Place This body of mine, in all its seeming dense and static corporeality; in all its seeming distinct and separate nature, is a mere interim expression of time and place. Like an animated ghost it moves through space, pervious to air and liquid, bacterium and virus, quark and neutrino. All but the most mundane and structured matter (itself a mere temporary arrangement) passes through me, interacts with me, affects me. I breathe the air, I drink the water, I am infected and then shot-through a trillion times over by the natives of its sub-atomic jungle. Except in mind and myopia, Place and “I” are near the same. Despite frequent admonitions to the contrary (Tennessee Williams: “I can write anywhere…”), a writer is an animated eating breathing thinking shitting expression of place. Beyond the obvious examples such as Joyce’s Dublin, Hemingway’s Paris, Lee’s Alabama, the “where” of a writer’s work is … READ MORE…

On Receiving a Negative Review

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A little time lapse shot with the moon rising over a winter oak. 30 second interval. Outside of Castle Rock, Colorado. #nature #moon #picoftheday #video #timelapse #colorado #followforfollow #follow4follow #followme #instapic #instadaily #castlerock #photography #photooftheday A video posted by Will Burcher (@willburcher) on Feb 24, 2016 at 3:15pm PST A FEW WEEKS AGO, a first real negative review of The GAIAD. After I’d read the thing, it took a few moments to identify my reaction. A half-second after that, a mental double-take and a literal LOL. Though not at the review. The review itself was well-written, the author clearly in possession of an active and educated mind. I respected his opinion. Respect, however, can absolutely exist simultaneously with disagreement. This sounds elementary—indeed, it’s a tenet that should be taught (along with so many other important and overlooked things) more vigorously to kids at school and at home. How many seemingly … READ MORE…

Anti-Gravity and the Pull of the Past

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“If you think you’re enlightened, go and spend a week with your parents.” —Ram Dass I’ve been spending a lot of time with my family lately—good time, quality time, with the people in this world I love most dearly. It renews me, recharges and inspires; and can be simultaneously frustrating. Even infuriating. These people are those with whom I share the most history. Here the past runs both heavy and deep. Much of my self-image has grown and developed through my interaction with, my history with them. And therein lies the rub. Our voluminous, shared past (along with love) defines these relationships. In college I once took an undergrad anthropology course from an excellent professor, Dr. Craig Palmer, now at the University of Missouri. He made a point that no relationship is stronger than that defined by blood, punctuated by the assertion (somewhat startling, but absolutely true) that any other … READ MORE…

A Positive Path

A fall day in Colorado. Above Geneva Creek, 90 mins west of Denver, 12,000 ft.

  I’m inclined to judge—people, places, my dogs, myself. I’m inclined like some rotten old tree, bent toward an undefined but clearly negative gravitational mass. And none of this is new, of course. I’m certainly not the only one afflicted by this proclivity. My mind, my ego, or the “I” of which “I” speak is effectively a resistance device, manufacturing judgment and negativity; bush-whacking through a daily span usually by toil and brow-sweat and a hell of a lot of swearing. But this I know. And therein lies the hope. With self-knowledge always comes a liberating ability—that of choice. I can choose to see that negative inclination for what it is and I can let go of it. Or at least I can sit back and watch the movie play out, knowing that “I” am that movie’s audience, not the film itself. And then, with practice, I can choose the … READ MORE…

Up from Below

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(Sperlonga, Italy. Photo by WB) Within this blog is a section entitled “Up from Below.” I wanted to explain it. Some might call this section “contemplative” or “philosophical” or “spiritual.” Perhaps all of these terms fit. I don’t know. For me, writings, musings, posts that fit in this section simply come from a place within me, the writer, that seems deeper and less tangible than that other, more common point of origin. They might also concern writers or works of art and lit, or the stuff of other thought leaders that I feel comes from this same place. These things well “up from below;” like a spring or a kind of clear and bubbling brook rising up and out of the earth. The term comes from a feeling, more than anything. The term is my expression of a perception almost prior to specific thought or words. I’ve come to learn that my … READ MORE…

The Dulling Flood

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A Writer’s Responsibility… To maintain that spark, that light of individuality even in the face of so much else, so much media. We exist today in a sea of media, the expression of thinking minds in all stages of development, engaged in all forms of expression. The force of the whole, the global mind. The baseline. The median. The mean. The middle of the statistical bell curve. I see it as a wave, a flood, a brown and fetid tide of mediocrity threatening every minute, every day to sweep me away with it. Admonition To Myself… Do not forget the great responsibility a life of public expression brings. You have the ability to lead people’s minds in various directions. You can either lead them toward stagnant, fetid pools—or something cleaner, clearer, fresher. Something new. You literally can take another person, a reader, on a journey—out of themselves, out of their … READ MORE…

“Immense Journey” by Loren Eiseley—A Review

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 5/5 Stars “We are one of many appearances of the thing called Life; we are not its perfect image, for it has no image except Life, and life is multitudinous and emergent in the stream of time.” —Loren Eiseley When it was first published in 1977 it was marketed as a science book for the nonscientist, as something written by Stephen Jay Gould or Stephen Hawking would be today. This categorization is simplistic, however. This is not a book about science, merely. It is not an attempt by an expert to explain some concept to the public. “Immense Journey” is a meditation. It is a work of spirit and of soul, as much as it of anything else. In poetic, musical prose he speaks of his own encounters with the natural world over the course of a notable career in varied natural fields. These encounters are sometimes small and seemingly … READ MORE…

RESISTANCE — An Author’s Diary

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My friend Noel and I head out for a hike and discuss the topic of my recent (written) blog post—Resistance, or writer’s block.  Be warned: Sunglasses will be worn awkwardly, all dogs (regardless of sex) will be called “buddy,” and there might be a graphic story of horrible injury and something about Kevin Bacon toward the end.     Will Burcher is a former police officer and current author of “The GAIAD,” a story of ancient secrets not quite forgotten and the positive power of global perspective. He lives and works in Colorado, USA. SUBSCRIBE for a chance to WIN A signed edition of The GAIAD. Join the conversation. EARTH. SPACE. INSPIRATION. EVERY 10th subscriber will receive a print edition of THE GAIAD, a new science fiction novel, signed by the author. Subscribers will also receive a 20% discount on the book—our thanks for being part of a conversation that WANTS TO … READ MORE…

Resistance

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(Just outside of Moab, Utah. The sun was setting behind my burning bush.) I kept second-guessing myself on this one.  Self-Talk: “You’re setting a very serious tone, and it’s just the beginning.  It could be too serious.  You’re going to turn people off—” Well, whatever.  It’s who I am.  I’m pretty serious.  Not all of these blog entries will be like this.  I promise.  Some might even have video of cute puppies doing cute things, or me dancing, or some other thing. Resistance!  Specifically the resistance we as writers encounter within ourselves when we set out to create something real, something good. And I should qualify this first.  Not all writers will encounter it.  Some writers produce, write, from a different place within.  For some, I think, it’s a necessity—a kind of outlet, an internal valve—and if they don’t write the pressure builds up within until something bad happens.  The curse … READ MORE…