“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…

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…