A Fairly New Style For Me

This is a nice little poem I wrote while experimenting with different poetic meters. The idea came to me suddenly about 2 weeks ago, causing me to scramble to write it down, only finishing it on Tuesday. I hope you enjoy it, even with my tendency to write about sad stuff.

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O’er to the market, come back to see me
When you are done I would like to apologise

Four nights apart and not once that I saw thee 

Ere to this day we did hate and we agonize 
Fret and a strife, but now all that is done with

Done is the hate that will split us apart 

Bad words retracted, redacted and onward

Honesty, gallantry, values and heart.
Back from the market, come to my residence

I shall announce that I’d like to part ways

Sad as you must be, cry as you will

But I know that you sure would have done me the same

Hate and Love: Creative writing poems

Hello all! I’m eager to share with you these two poems of mine that I wrote. I first published these on my old unused blog about 2 years ago, but I felt like it’d be nice to post it here too. 

I especially like them because of how they were written. They go along with each other well, really. The first one is what’s known as a lipogram, where none of the words have one specific letter. For that, I chose to omit the letter ‘L’. Then there’s a reverse lipogram, where every word has to contain a specific letter. I chose to include the letter ‘L’ in every word. So in a way, they’re both opposites while also being linked together. 

I plan to do more work like this in the future, having to use specific rhyme schemes and word patterns. I hope you enjoy these twin poems, though! 

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Hate

Human nature requires it

But human prosperity detests it.

How are we such hypocrites

We manage to perpetuate something

Then go around and preach of us being the ones to deter it?

It’s just negative passion

But passion yet the same

Have it, don’t be it

Don’t ignore it, just see it.

Love

Ailment? Accolade?

Alas; all simply loose, loose melodies plus woeful flower petals plucked slowly, carefully, hopefully

Possibly futile, still always relentless

Joyful, still melancholy

Temperamental, still jovial

Actually, only negligible

My first ever book signing! 3/11/2017

Hello all. As some of you already know, yesterday was a very eventful day; I did my first ever book signing ever!

The signing was for my teen/YA novel, The Month Of June. It took place at a local bookstore known as 2nd & Charles, often frequented by interesting and enthusiastic readers. I was set up at the front of the store, to the front right as soon as you walk in the door. I must admit that the location wasn’t ideal, but I still went with it!

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I saw several interesting people there, and sold several books. Nobody asked to take a picture to be on this blog, but I did meet a nice old man who told me a very interesting story about himself. I plan to write a short story based on it.

All in all, it was was a pretty good first experience. I really hope to do things like that again. And if you live in or around the area, there are still a few copies left at the store. Head over and buy one if you can!

Short story: The Haven

Hello all! Below is a short story I wrote about a year ago as part of my English class. I posted it earlier on an old blog, but I just finished editing it today. Feedback would be greatly appreciated, and tell me what you think about the idea of me continuing it. I’ve been considering it, but I’m not quite sure, and others’ opinions would really hope. But anyways, enjoy the story!

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    I expected something was up, I really did. Rarely, if ever, does one receive a completely unexpected one week paid vacation, especially in a job like mine. The Friday before said break was just a normal day in the office, researching and working on my newest article. On my way out, my boss yelled out to me “Lang, you’re off next week.”

    I swiveled around, thinking I’d heard him wrong. “Excuse me?”

    “I said, yer off next week, administrator’s leave. They say y’aint in trouble though and it’s very “pertinent”. But they still ain’t trying to tell me why. Yeah, so don’t come in Monday.”

    I nodded, and walked out the door with all my things, as usual. Confused I was, but as I was putting my things in my car I decided that I was probably overthinking it. I put all my worries past me by the time I got home.

    Fast forward to the following Monday. I wanted to make the time off as enjoyable as possible. I decided to start the day off by going to this family-owned coffee shop I really like. So I’m sitting there, drinking my caramel mocha and typing on my laptop, when the lady working the tables puts the check on my table. I sigh, and I’m about to pick it up and pay it when a hand reaches out and grabs it before I can. Looking up, I see an average-looking but sharply dressed man looking directly at me.

    I raise an eyebrow at him. “The hell are you doing?”

    He didn’t seem to notice what I just said. He removes a $20 bill from his pocket and sets it next to the table. “Are you Jackson Lang?” he asked.

    I would’ve protested, but he was paying my bill, so I decided I should at least let him finish. I nodded to him. He reaches into the inside of his blazer, pulls out an envelope with nothing written on it, throws it on the table, and walks out without a word. So I started thinking of all the possibilities of what that could’ve just been. Surely I hadn’t done anything illegal, had I? I started mentally reassuring myself that I had payed all of my bills and taxes on time, and that nothing had been done wrong on my part. Soon after, I tentatively opened the envelope, and inside was a slip of paper, just big enough to fit the following note:

“Listen to me, Jackson. You don’t know or understand anything yet but this situation is dire. Many people are in danger. You’re in danger. Leave this city immediately and bring nothing with you but this piece of paper. I’ll be waiting for you. Don’t tell anybody about this, do not talk about it out loud. Just go. -Mr. Jones”

I didn’t know what to think. I saved what I was doing and put my things back in my satchel, thinking about what I’d just read. I guess I didn’t really process the situation well enough, because I was still perfectly calm, but strangely, I didn’t doubt him. I got my caramel mocha and put it in a to-go cup (believe me, that place has such good coffee and scones that not even the potential threat of a large-scale disaster would make me want to waste it), and headed out the door, toward my car, the blue Volkswagen Passat that I took good care of. When I got in and buckled up, only then did it occur to me that I didn’t know what he meant by ‘out of the city’. I reviewed the note again to see if there were any details I missed, but there weren’t. I sat there for a moment to decide, and eventually I concluded that he probably meant the bridge, as that was the most used exit to outside the city limits. So that’s where I headed.

So I’m driving there, sipping my caramel mocha and being careful not to spill it. I’m quickly approaching the bridge, and I kept calm as best as I could, which was surprisingly good. Only when I was actually on the bridge did it really dawn on me that something really serious was about to happen. “What the hell am I doing?” I think to myself. My heart is pounding, but as I always do in my life when there’s stressful situations, I pressed on, trying to just not to think about it. As I got to the apex of the bridge, I noticed a fleet of black vans and cars at the other end on the right hand side, around the area where there was a bunch of dilapidated gates and old shacks, a section that had caused a lot of curiosity amongst me and my co-workers. Of course, when I saw them I knew it had to be the place the man was referring to, so I switched to the rightmost lane in order to get over there. I pulled over just inside the rough dirt path. I turned off the car and waited there for a little bit, to see if the strange man would appear any time soon. A few minutes later I’m still sitting there, lightly sipping the remnants of the caramel mocha, when I hear the same voice from the coffee shop, but only now coming from the passenger seat.

“So, you’ve come.” The man said.

As you could well imagine, that startled me. I just about jumped out of my seat, and stared at him while feebly trying to protect myself with my arms. “What the hell!” I said, “How’d you get into my car?”

He was still looking forward. “That’s not quite relevant. But if it matters to you, I wanted to make sure that you were going to the right place, so I hid on your backseat floorboard.”

I had many additional questions. How’d he unlock the car? How’d he get into the seat without me knowing? Why’d he want me to go right to this specific spot? I was about to ask but he turned his head toward me a little bit. “What do you have on you?” He asked me.

“Nothing but my caramel mocha.” I replied. “And my shoulderbag was where you were sitting.”

He looked forward again. “You can take the drink with you, but nothing else. Questions will be answered on the way. You can call me Mr. Jones.”

“Where are we going?” I asked him, but he ignored me and opened his door, beginning to walk out. I was still quite wary, but I had no choice but to follow him, so that’s what I did. We started walking toward the wooded area, and his eyes kept darting between the jet black vehicles I had seen before. After we passed them, he turned around and made some weird hand signals to the space around him. To my relief he appeared noticeably less tense. He looked at me, more directly now. “So, what do you want to know?” he asked.

“Well for one thing, what was that thing you just did?” I asked him shortly.

He smiled a bit, and he actually answered my question for the first time that day. “It was a nonverbal signal to my colleagues that we are here. They have been awaiting our arrival, and we don’t use words to remain relatively undetected.”

“That’s another thing, who is ‘we’? What is all of this about?”

He was still smiling, but his face got a bit more serious. “That’s a much longer explanation. It’s better that I explain that as we walk, as to not use up any more time. Again, follow me.”

He started walking forward. I now followed him less reluctantly, as he had effectively piqued my curiosity. The trees started getting thicker and the path more precarious, and it was clear that this path had been carefully planned out. I listened intently as he explained everything that was going on.

“Mister Lang, we have been awaiting you eagerly, as this day is going to be very eventful. First of all, to answer your question, I am part of a large secret organization dedicated to preserving us, us as in humanity. You are indeed in danger, everyone is. Our intelligence data combined with our top mathematicians showed that we are about to head into a very large war. This one is quite different, though, because we are almost sure that this war will end in mutually assured destruction. All the sides of this very covert impending war, made up of about 150 countries and governments according to our research, are extremely angry at each other, and are unwilling to compromise. They all have reached the point where they would much rather have the whole world end than have to succumb to any sort of opposition to what they believe in.

“Additionally, many of those countries are equipped with artillery, bombs, and in some cases, powerful weapons of mass destruction. We have realized that we need to take drastic measures to ensure survival, so this is what we have done. We have collected and analyzed tons and tons of data on people of the world, and due to a wide range of parameters we are choosing a certain number–half a billion, as of now–that are viable candidates for saving. This is the only way it can go; we wish we could save everyone, but we can’t, and it’s in our manifesto that this is the next best option. As you’ve probably guessed, you were one of the people selected for your demographic. Right now, we are headed toward a place we call The Haven, where we are holding and preparing all the other candidates. We are doing it now, as our calculations have narrowed the date of the first move to be some time within the next. You’ll be taken to The Haven shortly, via submersible aircraft, as it’s underwater. Prepare yourself, because this is it.”

I was absolutely speechless. I had nothing left to say. I kept smacking my hand against the nearby trees to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, but as it turned out, I wasn’t. I continued to follow him. Eventually he led me through a wall of thick foliage and into a large clearing, with other people scattered around. I walked in, and started walking around; it appeared that everyone else was just as confused as I was. Mr. Jones headed back toward the foliage wall, and turned around before leaving. “I’m going to go get the last guy” He told me. “Make sure you don’t do anything rash.”

He walked back from where we came. I started pacing around, trying to wrap my head around everything. I tried to realize that everything that just happened was actually real, but I was having extreme difficulty. Eventually I gave up, and leaned against a tree, awaiting my supposed departure toward The Haven.

A major milestone has been reached

Hello all, just a short post to tell you about an exciting big step in my writing career. Last afternoon (2/27/17), there was a pleasant surprise as my brother Travis informed me that a package arrived for me. I opened it and discovered that it turned out to be my first ever shipment of my book, The Month Of June!

It’s a surprise since I expected it to arrive on March 7th, as the website projected. But now that they’re here I can get to selling them sooner, and be able to get more money to then put into buying more books.

This really is a milestone for me. This started out as just a story I worked on in my notebook on my free time. And to finally see it materialized in front of me like this is amazing, and shows just how far I’ve come.

You can grab your own copy of The Month of June, too. All of the information about it is right here, with links to different purchasing options at the bottom. 

The Wisdom of Crowds – a 1-week long experiment done by me

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” -Confucius

Ah, people. Billions of us have existed and communicated with each other for thousands and thousands of years. And arguably the most important parts of our survival as a species: knowledge, wisdom, and communication. Without those, we would be nowhere.

These ideas are the basis of the famous social concept, The Wisdom of Crowds. Developed by James Surowiecki, it states that if given a large quantity for people to guess the exact amount of, the average of all their guesses will be more accurate than any one individual guess.

It sounds crazy, but it actually works. A BBC documentary as well as a few TEDx videos have been done about this theory. The documentary even demonstrates the theory, when a professor tells students to guess the number of jellybeans in a jar. The average of all their guesses was less than 1% off from the actual number of jellybeans. Additionally, this was done in the early 20th century, where Sir Francis Galton was able to accurately guess the weight of a bull by averaging the guesses from 800 villagers.

Seeing this concept for the first time, it really intrigued me, and naturally, it made me want to try it myself. So that’s exactly what I did. Here is the whole entire process of me replicating this experiment, and analyzing the results!

(bottle of skittles) Continue reading

The Month Of June–Now available online and in stores!

frontcover

Hello all! I have some very exciting news to share with you. My book, The Month Of June, has been republished and is now fully available on Amazon and Kindle!

The book is a 112-page novella, best categorized as a teen/young adult contemporary romance. I wrote this back in 2013/2014 when I was going through a very difficult time in life. Hence, this contains a lot of sad or upsetting content that reflects how I felt during the writing process.

The Month Of June is the story of a teenage boy named Daniel. He’s lived in the same area his entire life. Through the several ups and the very many downs, everything went on in his town; his best friend Marcus, his favourite frozen yogurt store, and especially,his bedroom. That all comes to an end when he moves to a new town in a new state. It devastates him, and he shuts himself away emotionally to block out the pain. Then, after the move, he gets to know his new neighbor, a bright young girl named June. He starts off as he normally does; shutting her out and ignoring her attempts to be friends. But it turns out way differently than he expected, and the move turns out to be an experience that he will never forget.

This book was basically stagnant for a long time; I didn’t do much work on it since I had lost confidence. But recently, a few friends of mine read the book and strongly encouraged me to continue doing work on it. So I took the manuscript, reformatted it, and republished it to make it nicer, better, and overall a lot more accessible. I think it’s a very good book, and a good story that a lot of people will want to read! I hope all of you enjoy my work, and I greatly welcome any feedback or reviews any of you have.


Buy it on Amazon – For the average reader. Paperback, 6″x9″

Buy it on Kindle – For all you eBook lovers out there. Buy the physical copy and get the digital copy for only 99 cents!

Buy it on Createspace – This is a lesser-known purchasing option. But if you’d like to support me, this is the same cost as it is on Amazon, but I make a little more money for each copy sold.

Buy it on Ebay – Price is much higher, but it’s still an option!

Buy it at Barnes & Noble – The only way to buy it at a physical store right now! Order it online, or ask for it and have a copy shipped to your local store.