LoQ: Epics & Poets

Here is Dreamland, coming at you with this week’s Letters of Questioning!

Dear mad maven Ravyn,

Writing IS the pits! The dissertation comes slowly. It’s like watching an iceberg move, it’s glacial – and what’s more, the climate has been hostile to its very existence. It melts while it moves! Two jobs did not for a good time make. But the worst is over now, I hope. Today I got a few scant words on the page. Not bad. Either like seeds, they’ll grow, or at least for now take root.

Your musings over meandering mumblers reminds me of two things. First, the classic greek oral epics and their blind poet. I refer to the Iliad and the Odyssey, of course! Can you imagine having to board blind Homer for a few evenings? Those are ~~long~~ stories, and almost as bad as the bible in some spots, what with the genealogy and other boring details. Well at least they don’t ~translate~ in a pleasing way, either in language or time. And yet, at ~the same~ time, there are some good scenes. It adapts well to our other modern modes. We may not let Homer in through our front door, but we let him in through TV, movies, new books. He costs less to feed and clothe that way, too, I imagine, and we don’t have to listen to him snore by the fireside when he’s done improvising his recitation for the night.

But I think too of a very old story, older than Homer even. The story of the invention of writing. It’s from Egypt, which was already old when Greece was young. One of their animal-headed gods got annoyed with the invention of writing. “How will people remember anything,” lamented the hoary old bird, “if they grow weak by referring to what is written!” Poor bastard. His complaint endures but I seem to have forgotten his name.

We seem to think we know why the seasons change now because of science, but I might argue (who am I kidding, “might”? all i ~do~ is argue) I might argue that in a bigger, metaphorical sense, the season changes and no one knows why. The empire crumbles, the culture is stale, the platitudes about truth and freedom feel weary. You’re right; we need the oral tradition again. I’m afraid when the books have screens that even my routes of escape and education are really just spying on me. I’d rather have someone to talk to.

A hearty congratulations on the publications. It’s so pleasing to see hard work pay off! I know the cookbook will bear fruit ~ha~ before too long as well. Does the madness reign or does a productive rain quench its thirst? Whatever the case may be, I hope you manage to take the work by reigns and lead us further into the unknown, uncovering the mysteries of life, the universe, and everything.

Speaking of mysteries, one more old story – from Babylon, which was old when Egypt was young. In the fertile crescent, god-king Gilgamesh was promised the secret of everlasting life. All he had to do? Not fall asleep. No sooner were the instructions given than Gilgamesh fell instantly asleep. I’ve always enjoyed our penchant for doing the exact opposite of what we want. On second thought, the mysteries look pretty fetching with a sheet on top. Underneath might be horror, hell – I think while you’ve got the wheel, I’ll just have a nap.

By the fireside,

~dreamland’s insurgents~



LoQ: Storytelling

Coming at you with another Letter of Questioning!

 Dear drowned Dreamland,

I think that the dissertation will be more like a spring, ever fed of ideas, and never going to run dry than a dam that stagnates. Just sayin’.  I think water goes hand in hand because of the creative flowing spirit of writing!

As far as the cookbook, well… honestly I see it as more of ending up celiac is my own personal apocalypse. But I do hope that there is a healthy showing of the connection of words and food.  I mean honestly, words sustain us and without stories the world would be a bleak place indeed! I mean think on this, storytelling has been part of humanity since the dawn of time! In fact, traveling story tellers were treated as honored guests! As time moved on, they were even in every court! They told tales of heroic deeds, explained the changing of the seasons, and helped provide entertainment and learning.

I feel like something of that oral tradition was very important and I feel like in our age of electronics and “too long, didn’t read” mentality, it is something we sorely miss and need in our lives once more!

And yes, I agree, I think that sharing what it is like to live so differently than others, through storytelling, and offering these journey’s to find food one can eat and make themselves offers a beautiful opportunity for those who could never imagine how hard it really is to be so isolated, so removed from the world we live in today.

Ahhh, seems I too am dwelling in the infernal hells. I mean honestly, is not writing it’s own pit of hell? That leaves one suffering all too often? But the rewards are ever so worth it!

Camp is going alright, I am making progress in the cookbook. I just hope that I can do justice to the idea I have in my head of what this can become! And time has passed, I actually managed to get four new pieces published in different genre’s even! Rather amazing to me. How about you? How goes that journey? Any progress on the dissertation, now that you officially have the path to take? Where has life taken you?

From the pits of insanity,


I hope you enjoyed! Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

LoQ: Food of the Apocalypse

Welcome to this weeks guest installment of Letters of Questioning:

Dear castaway Ravyn,

Well, the prospectus defense is behind me, on to writing “the real deal,” the actual dissertation. “Defense” is really a poor word for the process. My advisers – like any good advisers, I imagine – were less like barbarians at the gates and more like security experts in their own right. I think “inspection” would be a good term. Is this dam going to hold water when the creative juices are turned on?

What is with all the water metaphors, in writing? Is it maybe that whole “water is life” slogan? I love the nautical themes you’ve come up with lately.

Like when you say, “nail down” a mission statement, I think of that scene in Moby Dick where Captain Ahab nails a Spanish doubloon to the ship’s mast, a reward for whoever first spots the elusive white whale…. A mission statement is a valuable thing. A piece of gold to keep the attention focused on the task at hand! Of course, it’s Ahab who spots the whale … and we all know what happens to that poor Luciferian bastard of a hero. Belay that allusion, boatswain~

Your ideas for the cookbook lately have been delightful! I love the idea of gluten-free as post-apocalyptic. And an epic quest to recover lost recipes. There have been many years now of apocalyptic stories, but they rarely, rarely discuss food. Never positively. Never a focal point in the plot. And the connection between food and language! The opportunity for fresh and interesting ideas abound. The connection between the past and the future. A future more alien than many of us (dirty gluten eaters) can imagine. A way for us to wrap our brains around it. So often the gluten-free get dismissed out of hand, but for folks really suffering from an affliction, it is (looks like, at least, from my observations) hellish.

I’m dwelling on the infernal today, it seems…. Must not have enough hell in my life, now that the defense is over.

How progresses the cookbook? The preparations for Camp Nano? I finally was assigned to the cabin, and I’m looking forward to starting writing – officially, I mean. I started drafting the dissertation some time ago. Speaking of the devil, I ought to go freshen up that draft with some of my most recent research, and the opinions my “consultants” gave me.

From Davy Jones’ Locker,

~dreamland’s insurgents~

We love to hear from you, please leave any thoughts and comments below!

Even More Published

Well, it is official! I am even more published than before! Today, well technically yesterday, the four short fiction pieces I worked so hard to polish and were accepted have been published in their genre based fictions! So, I am very excited to share the books with you! If you are interested and you purchase using my links, I do get a small kick back. They do not pay us for the stories, but they do offer us an affiliate program, and help us get published in today’s world!  So without further ado, here are the four books that were published today!



America’s Emerging Science Fiction Writers: Midwest Region with 14 up-and-coming writers representing five states across the Midwest (IL, IN, IA, MN, and WI) share their short science fiction stories.



America’s Emerging Horror Writers: Midwest Region with 17 up-and-coming writers representing five states across the Midwest (IL, IN, IA, MN, and WI) share their short horror stories.  I have never written horror before, so I am actually really excited that this piece was selected!



America’s Emerging Fantasy Writers: Midwest Region with 16 up-and-coming writers representing five states across the Midwest (IL, IN, IA, MN, and WI) share their short fantasy stories.




America’s Emerging Literary Fiction Writers: Minnesota and Wisconsin with 17 up-and-coming writers representing the great states of Minnesota and Wisconsin share their short fiction stories. This one has a piece that many consider my best piece, and it is the piece I dislike the most (yeah even if it is the best piece I have ever written, lol)


The most exciting thing about all of this is that it shows my writing speaks for itself across many genres!!! So, anyway, there you have it. I will even leave you with the previous piece that was published twice, because hey… four may not be enough books for you!


The first piece I ever managed to get published: Minnesota’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Fiction Covering a wide array of genres ranging from literary fiction to satire, mystery, comedy, science fiction, and more, these young talents will amaze you.


And because it was so well received they wanted to put it in their national edition: America’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Fiction (Volume One) 127 of our favorite up-and-coming writers (representing all 50 states) join together to share their words. Covering a wide array of genres ranging from satire, mystery, comedy, literary fiction and more, these young talents will amaze you.


Well, I hope you take a little time to check out these amazing anthologies! And please, feel free to share your thoughts! I am so excited to be officially published! And hey… I am traditionally published, how cool is that?!  I hope you enjoy!

LoQ: Core

Time for another Installment of Letters of Questioning!

My poor dizzy friend, Dreamland’s Insurgents,

You know… I think you are touching on something deeper when thinking about ideas.  Because to me… whenever I read a book, or when I even look at something I have written, even knowing that it is just an idea that may have blossomed from a prompt, it shows something about ourselves. It shows tiny glimpses of who we are.  Of course, what that says about me, and some of the very dark things I write, I couldn’t really say, or maybe I don’t want to face it, hehehe.  But I think, in all honesty, it is one of the deepest, most almost spiritual parts of writing that is at its very core, and prolly the most important thing to consider when we are looking at writing.

I think that being able to pin point the very core of our processes into a few sentences is what allows us to create/do something so much more, something deeper!  It is from finding that little core bite that allows an author to nail down the deepest part of the plot of a novel, and I think that a mission statement does that same for us in life!  All too often we just let the tides of life batter us around! Well, NO MORE! Stand firm, and find that core! Or keep floundering… I am good at that too.

I have to say, going forward, I am hoping to find my lost motivation.  Not sure where I left it… maybe in my poor little boat that I sank so I would never have to leave the island, that is now battering me with storms?  I am looking at prepping, Camp NaNo is just around the corner and I will work on my cookbook! The stories to be told I hope will find a way to shine! Maybe the cookbook needs a mission statement? At the least it could use a one sentence summary!

What projects does this letter find you working on? In the ever rising tides are you finding that you are still managing to stay afloat of your ever increasing demands on time and life?  Or are you, like me, feeling the tides rising faster and you sunk your own boat?

Trying desperately to craft a raft from sticks and twigs,


How about you, our friends.  Where does this letter reach you? Are you happy on a cozy island? Or are you on smooth seas or bumpy waves?  Do you find yourself digging to the core of your writing or instead just letting the tides take you where they will?  Do you have any burning questions? Or maybe you are searching for a treasure with a map of no destination?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Exciting News: Upcoming Release Date!

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Everyone, I am so excited! I have been given a release date for the anthologies I am in!

April 14th they are going to be available for purchase!

So that means that you should get ready for the great stories you can pick up! I am in three seperate anthologies this time around! There is Tattoos & Knitting in the Literary Fiction anthology.  I have two in the scifi/fantasy edition, Stimulus for the scifi piece and Home for the fantasy piece.  Lastly I have Running Late in the horror edition!

I hope that you will be able to enjoy these reads as well! As soon as I have links for purchase I will share them with you, but I had to share the wonderful news that there would be more published works that you could pick up!

I also wanted to say that I am sorry for not posting daily, it is Camp NaNo and I am focusing my attention on the cookbook I am working through. I would share that with you, but I kind of would like to keep it under wraps until it is further along.

I will post some more updates soon!  And you will still continue to receive Letters of Questioning and I may also find some time for letters or at the least postcards from Camp!

LoQ: Words Kinda Day

Another installment of our very own correspondences, the Letters of Questioning:

Dear island-bound Ravyn,

Oh, the painful irony! Unable to learn make it to your workshop because of an injured foot. A lesson in the importance of mobility? Cruel fate? A metaphorical missed step? Only a coincidence, of course, but definitely the material from which layered, poignant literary material is cut….

Missteps is a nice segue to my academic work. It goes slowly. Days where all I can do is focus on the work that pays the bills – the teaching, the extra job. Some days like today I can get a few hours in at the coffee house and get some serious work done~ Nevertheless, the work is important in its own fashion. The study of literature overlaps with history, anthropology, law, philosophy, art, music, science, even math (gasp!). But to me, the most important feature of that overlap – what literature uniquely brings to the table – is the study of ideology. How do people make ideas? How do ideas turn into a system of beliefs? How are those beliefs structured and how are they visible behind the things we do, say, and make? It’s endlessly fascinating to me. In one sense, I am a step closer today to understanding these things and helping make them legible to others, but in another very real sense, I’m learning over again every day.

So yeah … teaching mission statement. Mission statements are very hard to put into a concise form! This, you and I have learned well! How the hell, I ask you, do we squeeze the entire process of teaching and learning, one of the fundamental things which make us human, into just a few sentences?! (It makes about as much sense as a mission statement for writing!) But yes. They help! There is something you said about making the rewards we, as individuals, feel about writing or teaching sort of a central part of the statement. That helped me a lot. Seeing others grow as writers in my classroom is fundamental. It goes way beyond what the university as an institution can measure, too. For me, it is seeing students become critics, skeptics, trouble-makers in their own right. Cuz the world belongs to the trouble-makers!

Today is definitely a “words are nothing” day. That could mean a lot of things in itself! Words are easy; they are light; it’s nuthin. Or it can even mean the opposite: they’re meaningless, they’re trivial, they refuse to come; there’s nuthin there…. Yep. It’s a “words are nothing” day!

Where are you at when this letter finds you? I love your ideas for a book of prompts. That sounds like a kind of giving back after writing your flash fiction. After so much inspiration from the prompts of others, its time to give folks some prompts of your own! And the cycle goes ever on…. Are words everything, then? Ha!

Stomping in dizzying circles,

~Dreamland’s Insurgents~

How about you, my friends?  Do you find that you see who people are, what their ideas are from the essence of self in their work? Do you ever relate with words are nothing; both from the easy side or the trivial, meaningless side of things? What are your thoughts and feelings? Please, share with us your answers to our questions! This is so much bigger than the two of us, and we want you to be a part of it!  And if you have any burning questions of your own, don’t hesitate, we are always looking deeper!