Tag Archives: Writing

A Poem I Wrote On Halloween About Someone I Love

Stacy Campbell in New Orleans

We were supposed to
not like prophesized. We made plans
hunt ghosts in October,
close to Halloween
for that delicious yet fake Alanis irony

Last time, we broke in
because rules are for the rest
to the abandoned theme park,
capturing the rusting corpses of thrill rides
and posting on Instagram. Of course.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium
the home of thousands of dead
and a few ghosts that
we were going to talk to

Instead, I’ll be sitting on your couch
the one with the tags still on it
with my digital recorder
talking to you
asking you why you did it

(written October 2015)


This is part of a series in which I will attempt to write something every single day of 2016 here on Avitable.com. Will I be able to do it? You’ll only know if you subscribe using the form below!

Enter your email address:

When someone you love dies, writers write. This is for Stacy.

Stacy Campbell

amidst the broken chair and the fuck yous
dying  against the hard concrete block walls,
another memory surfaces from another of our
twisted story telling sessions.

not normal was our normal,
death was our life,
our frankness would be frankly
appalling.

“I’m going to go the way of The Greats,” you’d say
deadpan with no sense of irony and I’d file that
away in the folder marked
“Things To Talk About Soon”.

the list was my(our) lifeline,
finishing it would be the right
time to talk about all of the reasons why
you were wrong. So

why did you leave entries
empty? Unchecked boxes on your list
means you have to still be here.
You have to

we have to explore the
catacombs and travel the world
and
just talk. Again.

Stacy Campbell

Anastacia Campbell at Six Flags New Orleans

Happy Stacy

Anastacia Campbell the photographer

Adam Avitable and Anastacia Campbell

Stacy Campbell

Adam and Stacy NOLA

 

 

Nub

The sun, my natural alarm clock, paints my unshaven face with heat. Four steps from my bed sits my computer. I write for hours, only venturing outside once for some quick sustenance among people speaking a language I haven’t yet learned. Then it’s back to my words. My creations appearing on a screen in front of me. 

I’ve been waking up, in a sweat, to this vision every morning for the last week. It’s not a nightmare, though. It’s freeing.

My brain is overflowing with projects and ideas and whole worlds I can picture as if they were real and I want to develop and write and just . . . just create. For over a decade I’ve tried to balance a career with my creativity, but I’m gradually being ground down to nothing.

I hear my parents in my head as I type this. For baby boomers, life = work = money. You work hard because that’s how you support yourself and you don’t have to like it, but you do it so that eventually you can retire. By my age, my parents had three kids, two careers, two cars, a house with a pool, and a retirement fund. I have nothing. Zero. And I want even less.

A plan coalesces, piecing together every time those arctic fingers of depression crawl over me. All I need is the space to put it into play. Six months? A year? I need time to end this life, repay those who have been there, and rid myself of this detritus – this fucking debris that has become my life.

Why shouldn’t I? What can I possibly lose?

I’d rather live at a subsistence level and have the freedom to create than keep striving for this American dream, this nightmare that belongs to another generation, and be stifled. What I want out of this life, more than anything, is to make my mark. And that can’t happen right now. Not when I just keep grinding myself down to a nub.

The unmitigated gall of Adam Avitable when it comes to blogging conferences.

Blogging conferences, to me, have always been places to finally breathe the same air with those people who know you so well through your writing. Some of my deepest, strongest friendships have come from the world of online content, and I relish the opportunity to see these pillars of my life, hug them, and soak in as much time as I can in their presence.

What they definitely are not to me, are places to learn a damn thing. I’ve been writing online in some capacity for sixteen years, and if I haven’t learned it by now, I’m never going to. That’s not to say that you can’t learn something at any given moment of your time – you can! But I don’t have the type of personality that thrives sitting in a conference while an expert talks about traffic or metrics or social media or anything else. It’s not how I learn, and it’s not who I am.

Over drinks the other night, I was talking about my disdain for organized religion, comparing it to LOLcat pictures. “I can’t follow what someone else says. I need to do it myself. I need to lead, or, if I can’t lead, I need to take my own path. That’s why I never share funny memes or pictures, either. I’d rather create my own.” That brings me to this monstrosity of an event, occurring in thirty-two short hours from now:

The FLBlogCon*Tent Hands-on Writing Workshop was developed by Adam Avitable and Katy Widrick.

The Florida Blogger and Social Media Conference (FLBlogCon for short, or Flahblahcah if you’re really lazy), the best conference in the Southeast (and I’m not just saying that because I was one of the speakers last year and I’m on the planning committee this year), has graciously lent its name and support to a one-day, hands-on, intense, clothing optional (not really) writing workshop, developed solely by me and social media manager/producer/blogger/mom/health nut Katy Widrick.

The idea for this writing workshop occurred to me because I was trying to think about what I would want to learn from a blogging/social media conference if I was going to stop being an obnoxious asshole and actually learn. And I found that above all else – working with brands, marketing myself, driving traffic, proper tweeting protocols – I would want to know more about creating content.

Writing is one area where each of us can always improve. Every day I write, I learn invaluable tools about editing. I hear my voice coming in clearer. I recognize what works and what fails. And, most importantly, I constantly evolve. (As a writer. I don’t physically evolve – I will perpetually be a gorilla.)

So for six hours on Saturday, Katy and I will be focusing on creating content. Unadulterated, virginal, context-rich, consumable, engaging content. What shouldn’t you do? What should you do? How do you edit? How can you avoid alienating your audience? How do you find and develop a distinct voice?

I’m not an expert. I’ve published a book, but only one, and it was a blip on the radar. I have a distinct voice, but other voices are stronger and more unique. I’m intelligent and savvy about writing, but I don’t know everything. I don’t even know a small percentage of everything.

But that’s okay. This isn’t about us being experts. FLBlogCon*Tent is about two people with a not-minuscule amount of talent and knowledge, sharing their years of experience in the hopes that maybe someone will learn something they never considered or be moved to write more. Maybe passions will be ignited or inspirations created out of thin air.

I can’t wait to see our efforts reach fruition.  Saturday, for six hours, we will do our best to give our audience something tangible and infinitely valuable in their individual quests to become the best writers they can.

This is going to be something. I can feel it. 

As long as I don’t fuck it up.

 

So I should probably go finish writing the sessions instead of blogging about them.

Why I Write

One by one, as I sit in an ocean of silence in my preternaturally still home, my stresses and worries, buried deep by days of distractions, pop to the surface. They bob and flash, buoys daring me to ignore them.

Staying busy keeps them at bay. Too busy to look at the pile of mail on the table. To read those emails from the bank. To feel alone. Treading water may not get me anywhere, but it’s better than drowning.

When I sink like a stone, my breath comes to me in shallow, pitiful gasps and my vision dims, obscured by a haze that probes and pokes and jeers. My strengths and values and confidence transform in an instant, pushing on my chest with exponential strength.

It’s too much. The only solution is to keep going down, in the dank trenches, where the darkness snuffs out any semblance of hope. There’s no way to throw off the weight, to distinguish between up and down, to draw one more breath. It’s impossible.

Except for these words.

The unvarnished black on white draws me back to see the larger picture. The keyboard clicks with a comforting rhythm, each word a beacon. I find myself prodded gently towards the surface.

Writing doesn’t make everything okay.

It just shows me that it will be.