Sunday, January 31, 2010


February Album Writing Month is in the offing!

14 songs in 28 days - sounds hard, right? Due to time constraints associated with the ongoing edit of my entry for the last NaNoWriMo, I've decided to do an instrumental album; sort of a concept deal.

The rough concept I have in mind right now is that it will be a soundtrack that follows an alien spaceship marooned on a strange planet. Sounds weird and/or stupid, I know, but I think I can make it work - I've already got three or four songs outlined in my head.

I'll be (trying) to upload them to the player in my sidebar on a (semi-) regular basis. Wish me luck!

Listening to: Beach House - Norway
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hey ya!

Just got the news that my entry (Get Ready For The Weirdness) just garnered 2nd place over at the Clarity of Night writing contest! I feel just like the Soviet Olympic hockey team in 1980, only without the crushing oppression and fear that my family might spend the next four years in Gulag.

In all seriousness though, I am so seriously stoked! This is huge for me, and with so many great entries, a real honor.

Thanks to everyone who voted, and also to everyone who participated. You are all awesome! Tonight, I drink to you!

Listening to: OutKast - Hey Ya!
via FoxyTunes

Monday, January 18, 2010

Drug of Convenience

I've heard it said before that there are are no "recovered" (past tense) addicts, just addicts who've shifted their priorities. I'm not sure who said it; maybe I even made it up, though it sounds perhaps a little too clever for me. The point is this: The drug that brought my life into the wall was weed, which, I realize, is pathetic. And maybe that gives you an idea of the sort of stuff from which I am made.

Sometimes - though not very often, as I kept my crumbling inner life extremely well hidden - people ask me if I miss it; if the desire for drugs that once controlled me still calls. I'm not stupid; I know the answer, the only answer that a recovering addict can give: "Yes, sometimes, but I know it's just not worth it." Bullshit - all of it - every word.

The real answer is this: "Yes, I think about it literally every day. When I find my self alone and bored, it's all I can think about. I mourn my drug of choice's passing as I would the death of a family member. I was watching a movie the other day where the characters were taking hits off a bong they were passing around - I noticed that each time one of them took a hit, my mouth opened, and I took in a slow, steady, deep draw of breath.

"I made a big show out of deleting every contact out of my phone, but I know with religious certainty how my numb addict fingers will dial any number of them, the beeps and boops of the keypad hitting my ear like a symphony as my virtuoso fingers play the keypad like a concert instrument. But I don't. I can't even say for sure why; maybe I'm just getting used to not running myself ragged around an elaborate scaffolding, forever patching holes in my stories and keeping my structure of lies from crumbling around me. And it's nice not to be completely exhausted all the time. So yes, I suppose I know it's just not worth it, but that doesn't make it's siren song any less tempting."

Back to shifted priorities; from my drug of choice I had to switch to a drug of convenience, of pragmatism: Coffee. I come downstairs every morning and put on a kettle, poured from a water filter to get all the chlorine, salts, and everything else man deems fit to either introduce or not filter out. This water is pure, uncut, the best you can get. Next I scoop the coffee (fair trade, organic) and three scoops into a french press - none of that automatic drip swill for me - this french press is an elegant work of art, glass and chrome, imported from Europe. By now the kettle is whistling; I wait till it hits a certain pitch, indicating a particular fervor to the boil, before I take it off the burner and let it sit for thirty seconds. Yes, I actually do watch the second hand on my kitchen clock. When it's time, I pour the water in. The grounds seem to accept the steaming water as an extension of their own being, and they suck it up, becoming somehow more than the sum of their parts.

From there, I wait three minutes, until the grounds have all risen to the top, and the bubbles that were on top of the grounds have popped, leaving little craters on the grainy, quicksand surface. Then I insert and push down the plunger, all the way down, then bring it back up, and push it back down. At this point, my intuition takes over; it may be done, or may need one more plunge. A subtle calculus aided by each of my senses at once will let me know which is the right action. From there, I pour the coffee into another, identical french press, clean, sparkling, and once it is full, the plunger goes in - more to keep the heat in than anything else.

This ritual is the sacred to me, nearly - but not quite - inducing the same trance-like state that unrolling a baggie, cleaning the pipe, filling the bowl, and rubbing my thumb across the cross hatched metal wheel of a Bic lighter used to bring.

Listening to: Sleater-Kinney - The Fox
via FoxyTunes

Monday, January 11, 2010

If this blog were a dog, it'd be dead...

Long time, no write, bloggosphere.

Well, that's not entirely true - I've been writing like an MFer for weeks and weeks now, desperately trying to get my novel finished and edited to the point that I'd feel OK sending it off to get printed (one of the prizes for winning NaNoWriMo is a certificate for a single printing of your novel. Only one catch: must be redeemed by June!).

I've taken a brief break from the novel to do - guess what - more writing! I've just put the finishing touches on an entry for the latest Clarity of Night writing contest. He be the fruits of me labor:

Get Ready For The Weirdness
By Kurt Hendricks

"Get ready for the weirdness," I said, turning the knob.

We were blinded as the huge picture window was revealed; it was a brilliant, clear day outside. As our eyes were adjusting to the sudden brightness, Lisa gasped and took a step back. I thought she was startled by the rather large disco ball hanging from the ceiling, but even as the thought was forming, a solid 'thwack' reverberated through the room.

I expected some reaction from Mayme, but she didn't stir from her seat by the window. I walked over, repeating her name, louder and more urgent each time. An apprehensive hand reached out to touch hers, which was clutching the joystick controller for her electric wheelchair. It felt like defrosted poultry.

"Another one," I told Lisa. This was her first time delivering, and I wanted to instill in her an expectation of this sort of thing. She just looked right through me with a thousand mile stare. I turned to Mayme and sighed.

I never thought I'd end up a drug dealer again. Ever since legalization, the glamour - not to mention the money - had left the profession. The clientele had changed, too; now mostly senior citizens looking for pain relief or a way out. Coltrane played on softly in the background.

“That crow…,” Lisa whispered, “it flew right into the window.” She was still obviously a little shaken. “It must’ve been attracted to the shiny thing.”

“Yeah,” I said, “you’ll get a lot of that.”

Thanks for all the fishes!

Listening to: Monty Python - Always Look On the Bright Side of Life
via FoxyTunes