Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Finds: Featured Artist - Amber E. Box

Welcome. I am so excited to kick of the featured artist series! Our first artist is a very close friend of mine. She and I met in the same online writer's group that Whiskey and I did. As a writer and as a human being, she is easily one of the most inspiring souls I have encountered on my path. Full of life, she never gives up, and is always working hard for the dreams she has for herself and her family. I tease her sometimes, that she must wear a cape, but it's not far from the truth. Whenever we work together, I feel the slight flutter of her cape, like angel wings have brushed by me. I am very lucky to have her in my community. I am proud to introduce Amber E. Box, Writer.

Artist Bio:
Amber E. Box is a teacher, freelance writer, editor, and photographer, and she is currently working on breaking out of the birdcage. She is a volunteer copyeditor for Landesa, a member of the editorial board for VimFire Magazine, and the editor-in-chief of the Scribes Anthology Series. She also does copywriting for a high-end real estate marketing firm in Boston. Box resides in North Texas with her wonderful husband of nearly 7 years and their three beautiful children.   She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature from Southern New Hampshire University and will begin work on her Master’s Degree in the fall, allowing her the opportunity to teach at the college level and of course...write.  


Tell me a little about how/when you were drawn to your art.
My writing generally began as a way to chronicle the severe nightmares I had when I was young. I found it not only helpful to keep track of patterns within those dreams but also cathartic. I’ve been writing ever since. I began with poetry and it just blossomed out into fiction.

What are some of the things that inspire your art?
 Since I began with my own darkness, I am particularly drawn to artists who also write on similar themes; Edgar Allan Poe and Flannery O’Connor are two of my favorites. But I think the ultimate truth within my stories is inspired by the emotions that we don’t always like to talk about. Anger, fear, depression, lust, etc. These feelings are what help me navigate a story, more than any plotline. As such, I find it to be nearly impossible for me to leave out. Many of us are not shiny and new. We are broken, and when those pieces are put back together—they leave scabs, scars. That’s where I am most inspired. I like to pick the scabs open and let them bleed.

As a writer, I make it a priority to reflect on my craft to ensure that I am growing. Tell me one way in which you have seen yourself grow in your craft.
Over the last two years, I have really spent a lot of time learning more about myself—my past, my fears, my goals. Coming to understand who I am, I feel, has really helped to strengthen my writing because it helps me to also understand others. Though my work is often inspired by my own experiences, this is not always the case, and trying to understand their pain as well as my own allows me to be more real and raw on the page.

I like to refer to my style as “confessional” because it is; it’s like being in the confession booth and revealing some part of yourself. Maybe it’s in the hopes of being forgiven, or healed, or understood, or just to be heard. In any case, it’s the truth that people don’t want to share because they fear that others won’t understand or relate. I hope to change that perception that some of us are flawed and others are not.

Do you create other kinds of art as well as the craft you are featuring today?
 I am a writer. But I’m also a mother, a wife, a daughter, a student, a teacher, an editor, and a realist. That is my art.

What are your goals for your art?
 My goals are to continue to expose these truths. Simple as that.

A Taste of Amber's Art

Chewing Gum

The cold rain fell in sheets of vellum paper—thin and transparent enough to see the shapes and colors of the life it was trying to protect. We ran, like ink on a page, dripping sweat and pain and ecstasy. She had just finished working and I had just finished watching. She said she was tired and wanted to go home. I wanted to be anywhere but home. Home reminded me of my wife.

The sun had long set and slow jazz spilled from the speakers of the End Street Depot as we waited. She cried. Or maybe it was the rain, I couldn’t be sure. I hugged her close, smelling her hair—a mixture of lemon, rosemary, and artificiality. I liked it.

The train pulled into the station, slowly coming to a halt a few feet away from where we stood beneath the overhang. We held newspapers over our heads and ran into the safety of barren seats and chewed gum left to die on the metallic floor of the nearly empty car. She sat next to a window, avoiding me. I sat across the aisle, staring at her from behind the steel pole that stretched between floor and ceiling. Her sleek black hair now soft with damp waves. Her red lipstick smeared across her face—and mine.

“It’s not enough for me,” she said, watching the blurred landscape as the train sped out of the station.

“I’m sorry,” I replied, not knowing what else to say. I could feel unfamiliar eyes staring me down from a few rows up.

It started as sex. No strings. An escape from my life. She stayed with me for the money, the gifts, the things she couldn’t have as a stripper. I was fine with that.

“I can’t give you more.”

She turned to face me, her freckled nose crinkling in frustration. She was fucking beautiful.

“It’s not enough,” she repeated.

I sat up, as though correct posture might make this conversation easier. I turned to face her, my legs blocking the aisle. I no longer cared about who heard us. “Elana, I don’t know what else you want from me. This was the deal. A good fuck and a nice new dress…nothing’s changed.”

Everything has changed,” she said turning to face me, her eyes bloodshot. “I want--”

“I already told you—there’s nothing left to keep us apart. She’s gone!”

“I know what you said,” she snapped, turning back to the window.

I thought about the day I first met her. Stubb’s Hall. She lit up the stage with her black glittered heels and wicked smile. I thought about the slow burn of the whiskey as I watched her undress to the wail of the low saxophone behind her. I knew my wife would have killed me if she knew where I had been, but the whiskey had already convinced me that I didn’t care.

Sinking back into the hard seat, I let my hands fall helplessly to my sides. “I just need more time.”

“For what?” she yelled. “I’ve given you nothing but time!”

I told Elana I would leave my wife, but I didn’t mean it. In the same breath, I promised my wife that it was over, that I was through with Elana—she was just a toy, a plaything. Something to keep in my back pocket for the days I got bored—like chewing gum. She would ask why I got bored, but I never could seem to answer that question. The sicker she got, the more I clung to Elana—coming home with glitter stuck to my groin—and the less I tried to hide it.

“I just…I don’t know. It’s complicated. My God, she hasn’t been dead a month.”

The night my wife died, my heart broke. I buried it with her and I knew I would never get it back. I didn’t deserve it back. Fuck Cancer, I thought. Fuck me for being such an asshole.

The train jarred us both as it pulled into the next station. The rain kept a steady beat on the car’s metallic roof, falling harder. The soft shapes of the world outside now hid completely behind opaque sheets.

“You’ve had enough time, Shawn,” Elana said as she stood, steadying herself on the steel pole that stood between them. “I can’t wait another six months for you to decide what you want.”

I watched her tears fall in a stream of sparkling black. There was no mistaking them for rain this time. I shoved my hands in my pockets and made no attempt to go after her. The train jerked forward to the next station. I thought about my wife. Her innocent smile. The paper skin around her gray eyes. How I chewed her up and spat her out just like I did Elana. I hated myself.

The beckoning lights of Stubb’s Hall flashed pink through the window. I hadn’t realized that the rain had stopped, once again revealing the world around me. Bracing myself for the next station, I stood and took hold of the pole. The cold stung my hand. When the car had come to a complete standstill, I made my way to the exit. Apparently, this was where I got off. Stepping from the platform to the ground, I stopped as my foot caught on something. Inspecting the underside of my shoe, I couldn’t help but laugh. A wad of gum. Freshly chewed and strung along between the bottom of my foot and the hard metal floor.

Originally published in 1:100

Website Links

Friday, September 18, 2015

Two Exciting Announcements

This week I have two exciting announcements:

Yesterday was the cover reveal for the Scribes Anthology Series. It's simply spooktacular!!  Whiskey and I (I will be publishing in my real name - Tracey Love) will each have a short story in the anthology. I am super excited! This will be my very first publication. Save the date...the Anthology will be for sale on Amazon on October first. Buy a copy - if you dare to read the creepy madness that comes from an author's head.

I also wanted to shout out a reminded that NEXT FRIDAY 10/25 begins my Featured Artist Series. Please stop by to check out the work of one of my best friends and greatest teachers, as her feature will kick off the series and celebrate the Autumn Equinox. Come back each Friday, you have 13 weeks of amazing artists to look forward to.

Please share this page as far and wide as you can. Our anthology and our series could really use some exposure within the literary community and beyond. 

Peace and Love

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Finds: Exciting Announcement

I have a very exciting announcement. To celebrate the autumn season (which I love with a passion), I will be hosting a 13-week Featured Artist Series. I am so excited!

I recently realized realized that I have the kind of community that a hippie, feminist, dreamer thinks she can only imagine. Some of the people who make up my intimate, little community have been in my life for many years, while others have come into my life (or back into my life) more recently. My community helps me to stay strong. I have been blessed enough to feel the ripples of love that come from community as one connection puts so much great energy into the universe. So, I want to help put even more of those ripples out into the universe, by sharing others’ passions. I met you all in different ways – some in a class where we shared a passion, others are friends of a friends (and now, my friends too). These are precisely the connections I’m talking about.

There is a beautiful diversity in the line-up. I will showcase fiction writers, bloggers, poets, musicians, a visual artist (drawing), a crafter (jewelry and other crafts), an actor, photographers, a filmmaker, and a mixed-media artist. Lots of the artists do mixed-media, but most of them will be focusing on one craft.

So, please come back every Friday starting two weeks from today Friday, September 25, 2015, to see the first installment of the special edition of Friday Finds: Featured Artist Series. And come back each and every Friday to see some of the stunning talent that will be showcased.

Peace and Love


Friday, September 4, 2015

Friday Finds: Kindle Unlimited

I sort of fell ass backwards into this Kindle Unlimited membership. Not even sure where I stumbled upon it, but I do love free trials – and I have learned to put an alarm on my phone at the time I sign up to remind me to cancel in time so I don’t get charged. I thought I was supposed to have 30 days free with KU, but it looks like it is 60. I dunno, maybe that was a glitch, but I have not been charged and I signed up in July.

I’m actually not a huge fan of reading on “a device.” I think paper is the best device to ever hold words, personally. But, I’m glad that such devices exist, considering the amount of material waste we humans create each year. Sometimes I make an exception. One time I had to order a textbook so late that I needed it yesterday and I conceded to buying an online version. Definitely not a fan of reading textbooks online. I can handle short stuff though: poetry, short stories, articles etc…

Last month when I reviewed stories from Robbed of Sleep, I accessed this journal through KU. I am going to use Twitter to connect with others who want reviews for their shorts. I just don’t have time for novels right now – depressing.

There is a great variety of stuff on KU, and for those of you who actually prefer to read on a device, I think this is an amazing price. At only $9.99 a month, you can get your fill of great reads, and give exposure to those who are self-publishing and using small markets. Check out Kindle Unlimited. 

Peace and Love