Author Archives: alanaicapria

January 27, 2015 – Excerpt

“The vomit wasn’t the only blackness. The veins turned black. Not only mine but so many of the others. The veins went black almost immediately. They touched a wall and the blackness came, arching towards the tops of their hands, spiking free of the skin and bulging hard. They were such long lines—when pierced, they hissed with unknown gases built up in the cardiovascular system. It was such terrible hissing. It burned in the air. It smelled like rotten meat, like stepping into the center of a butcher shop and breathing deep. The piercing had to be done with a steel blade—anything slimmer wasn’t capable of penetrating the vascular surface. The nurses tried desperately and each time, the syringes snapped apart.”

January 23, 2014 – Excerpt (& today’s my 30th birthday!)

“Here were my veins. They were very lovely. Prettiest veins in all the medical land. At least that was what the cardiovascular specialist believed. They were blue and green veins, a pastel purple. The Easter eggs of the human body despite being (1) not egg-shaped and (2) in no way related to Easter. Too many people took it upon themselves to trace those many lines. They touched the veins like they would a pregnancy: without asking permission, assuming that social decorum dictated that petting to be okay. The touching wasn’t okay.”

 

 

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AUTHOR’S NOTE: Today’s my 30th birthday. Pictured above are the literary lovelies my husband got me. Clockwise from top left: My Only Wife by Jac Jemc, Hell by Kathryn Davis, Suicide by Edouard Levé, and Small Porcelain Head by Allison Benis White. You know how there’s a paper anniversary? Well, I believe in a paper birthday every year, whether it be in the form of books or journals. Preferably both.

January 22, 2014 – Excerpt

“All the tests given to me (color tests and tube tests and various CT scans and X-rays and blood cultures and piss tests and stress tests) showed that I didn’t have The Silences. Only I did. There was no other disease I could possibly have. The Silences was in my body. It lived in my stomach, slipping in and out of the acidic lining. The lining thinned the longer The Silences stayed inside. The doctors checked for fevers and coughs and pains and chills. They looked at the bloodstains on my bed, touched their nails to it, then sniffed the red. The blood was healthy. There was no other place in my body The Silences could be hiding.”

January 21, 2015 – Excerpt

“I was covered in blood but had a doctor’s appointment. The man seemed unhealthy. When he spoke, it was about nitroglycerin. He wanted to explode the ovaries right out of my stomach. A cold sweat ran down his throat. He grabbed at his Adam’s apple and the bulge seemed to flatten against his fingers. When the doctor took my temperature, he sniffed my forehead. My center was covered in dried blood.”

January 16, 2014 – Excerpt

“I looked inside the holes and I saw a black worm slithering. It was half amphibian, half mammalian—its flesh was haired in parts, then slimy. The hair came off in large tufts. When I touched a finger to its back, the skin rippled, then wrinkled, the crease folding over itself to create a slightly dimply reservoir. When I touched the crease again, the skin collapsed, the membrane cut up by the sharpness of my fingernail. I imagined the skin beneath would be a bloody red but it was blackish, the red so ruby that it was barely visible amidst the moist shadows. Sometimes the interior felt velvet; at the dimples, it was wrinkled leather.”

January 14, 2014 – Excerpt

“I saw the worm sliding along my inner skin. Its body rippled within mine. It was a large worm, at least five inches long, and thick, its girth most likely in excess of two inches. The worm moved in circles, disappearing into my more muscular parts, then reappearing at the surface. I touched a finger to the worm and it swelled, sucking in as much of my blood as would fit in its mouth. The worm was almost senseless; it didn’t react to the light or temperature changes. But if my finger touched, then it squirmed away as best it could.”

January 13, 2014 – Excerpt

“We were together for so long, we forgot how it was to be separate. Once, I was I and you were you, but then we were we. We woke up, went to sleep, ate and defecated in between. We often suffered nightmares we had no intention of sharing. We thought that if we whispered these fleeting visions, the nightmares would come true and devour us alive, maybe starting at our toes, or perhaps, our tongues. We each had a tongue but they were joined at the tip, then the root.”

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I meant to write a little for my latest project last night but instead, I started writing a fairy tale-esque piece that I hadn’t considered writing until the words spilled out of my pen and onto the page. I scribbled what is probably around 500+ words and I’m kind of into the story so far. After scribbling a few pages and feeling kind of curious why I felt compelled to start this piece, I went to bed thinking that in the morning, I need to read some Angela Carter. So I have her short story collection Fireworks: Nine Profane Pieces sitting next to me, ready to be read as soon as I finish the day’s writing.

January 12, 2015 – Excerpt (and a brief ramble)

“I looked beneath the door. I looked beneath and saw the floor. I looked beneath and beyond the floor was more floor. I looked beneath and beyond that floor beyond the floor, there was more floor. I looked beneath and beyond the floor beyond the floor beyond the floor, there was the bottom of my bed. I looked beneath and beyond the bottom of my bed beyond the floor beyond the floor beyond the floor, there was darkness. Whether the darkness was the dried slick of my vomit, I couldn’t tell. It was flat black. It was oily in parts. It was painted on the planks. It seemed like if I eased the edges up with my fingernails, prying ever so gently, I could peel the black up.”

AUTHOR’S RAMBLE: Yesterday, I visited the Moleskine store at the mall to find two Moleskine colors I desperately wanted (orchid purple [a light pink-purple] and underwater blue [a deep teal]). I found the orchid purple but the underwater blue was sold out in the store and online. I just ordered it from Staples so fingers crossed that that doesn’t turn into a mess. While I was at the mall, I picked up some refills for a rollerball pen that had been without ink for about two years. My accumulation of my journal collection necessitates having ink and I don’t want to just use my fountain pen all the time. Switching between the two pens will prolong the life expectancy of the refills. Right now, my journal collection stands at six journals just waiting to be used: the orchid purple Moleskine I bought yesterday, a hot pink Moleskine, a violet Moleskine, an aqua blue Piccadilly, a light purple Piccadilly, and a black Piccadilly. My hope is that I can add the underwater blue Moleskine to the collection by next week. I also finished reading The End of the Story by Lydia Davis and started Mountains of the Moon by I. J. Kay last night. There are other books in my to-read pile that I’m more excited about but I figured I would get through the “literary” works first. The writing in The End of the Story was beautiful but I prefer my fiction to be a bit more fantastical. It’s a personal preference. My husband ordered four books for my birthday and decided to appease my impatience by giving me one (only 11 days until I get the other 3) so the next book I’m going to read is Suicide by Edouard Levé. I cannot wait. I had my fingers crossed that I would get it.

January 8, 2014 – Excerpt

“He said I should vomit just once for the road and I asked if that would aggravate the bulimic inside of me. He said she wouldn’t mind, that if anything, she would be relieved to give up the vomit because she hadn’t done so in so long. I wasn’t ready to vomit again. My throat was still sore from all the examinations and all my screaming. I didn’t say anything about my neighbor dying. I didn’t mention that I was the one who wrapped the curtains around his head. The doctor didn’t mention it either.”

January 7, 2014 – Excerpt

“The male nurse locked me in a metal box and pretended to throw away the key. The box was for my own safety. The box was because I couldn’t be trusted not to run screaming into yet another room and obliterate whatever bodies lay with their heads too close to pillows and curtains. I wanted to gut myself like a fish and hang the intestines from the door of the box, a warning that whomever might like to step inside would surely be devoured. My hunger deepened. I put my finger down my throat and gagged but nothing happened. I wanted the black vomit to return.”

January 3, 2015 – Welcome to 2015, friends.

I’m ringing in the New Year with a new writing toy. I ordered a bluetooth keyboard just before the New Year and it arrived yesterday. As much as I love my NEO, it’s kind of heavy to carry around all the time on trips. So I got the keyboard (it’s pretty small, about 9 inches long and around 6 ounces) and it fits perfectly in my bag and pairs easily with my phone and iPad. When I tried the keyboard with the iPad, I wrote about 511 words in less than 10 minutes, which is considerably better than my averages when using the iPad’s on screen keyboard. Most likely, I’ll just have my phone with me and do most of my writing in the “Notes” app. When I send the writing to my email, it gets sent as a text file attachment. I did a test of sending a message of 1,200 words to my email and it worked perfectly. All I had to do was download the file and add it to the appropriate document. Combine that with my journal and I’ve got the perfect lightweight writing system for when I’m out and about.

Another thing I considered is changing my word processor. Normally, I use LibreOffice or OpenOffice but with my current projects being a single extended narrative, the documents end up lagging because of the length of the paragraph as well as whatever macros are floating around. But when I do my edits in TextEdit, the application doesn’t process as slowly. So I’ve decided to do my actual composition using plain text (.txt extension). It’s easier because a plain text file can be read on every processing system and I don’t have to get distracted with fidgeting with fonts and other superficialities. From my research, a lot of writers have turned to using plain text because the file format is considered almost future-proof. While most word processors have their own preferred extensions (for example, OpenOffice prefers using .odt and Microsoft Word just changed from .doc to docx), a plain text file is a plain text file. With my own writing, I don’t have the original files of most of my writing before 2006 (and even if I did, I wouldn’t be able to open many of those files, especially the ones that were used with Corel Wordperfect, among others) but I still have my plain text file “Writing from 2006 and Before.” And with plain text files, I can move the writing between devices easily. So there you have it, my start of the year ideas. We’ll see how they work out as the year progresses. Until tomorrow, friends.

December 30, 2014 – Excerpt

“I felt pounds of feathers pressing up against my head. Their barbs were sharp and angled towards my neck so that if my head rested too comfortably, the spines would push into the meat, severing my spinal bonds. The nurses fluffed the pillow and gained bloody hands. This is all part of the ectopic condition, the nurses told me sadly. I didn’t know how much longer I could stand the vomit. It came out so thickly that it was like vomiting up chum. The black caught at the back of my throat and I gagged until a nurse pushed a finger into the side of my mouth and scooped the black out. She caught fingers of the material and dropped it to the tiles. The black splattered everything, leaving thick black blotches in a small circle at the side of the bed. I watched the puddle grow exponentially before it flowed beneath the bed, disappearing from sight.”

December 29, 2014 – My Christmas weekend adventures

Apologies for my holiday absence. I was reveling in holiday joy (i.e., reading). My favorite part of Christmas is getting to watch a stack of new books accumulate in front of me. This was the year of writing. My husband got me an engraved fountain pen which I had been crossing my fingers for. I’ve always wanted a fountain pen but never got around to buying one. And now I have one and have been using it obsessively. My book stack consisted of the following: The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer by Jennifer Lynch, The End of the Story by Lydia Davis, A Million Heavens by John Brandon, On the Road by Jack Kerouac, Mountains of the Moon by I. J. Kay, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson, Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks by Brad Dukes, and The Original Folk & Fairy Tales of The Brothers Grimm translated/edited by Jack Zipes. I already finished The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer and am currently reading Reflections. It’s not the most interesting book but it’s on my pile and thus, I’m reading.

On Saturday, my gentleman and I went to Philadelphia to see the David Lynch: The Unified Field exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. There was also an exhibition on Peter Blume: Nature and Metamorphosis which was fantastic. We got to the museum later than we meant to (the sir thought we should start watching The X-Files and while he ended up drifting into blissful slumber, I stayed up until about 2:30 in the morning watching episodes, then decided to read a book, and so I didn’t get to sleep until 4 in the morning.) so didn’t have as much time as wanted to explore the two buildings but we got through them both and managed to see almost everything (there was a sculpture room that we walked into, glanced about, then ran back out again with me whispering, “We’re running out of time, we’ve got to go.”). I wish I had a photographic memory so that I could look at everything in the museum, take a little mental snapshot, and linger over it while working. But what I remember is still pretty incredible and there’s always the internet to be reminded of a few pieces I saw. When we got back home, I wanted to write but decided to read instead. But the ideas were fast in coming and I’ve been scribbling them down as soon as they pop into my brain. In between the museum and home, we went to Barnes and Noble and I bought a bunch of journals simply for the fact that a fountain pen requires a journal. I got a sky blue Piccadilly notebook, a pink Moleskine, and a purple Moleskine. This is to add to the black Piccadilly and lavender Piccadilly notebooks I haven’t even written my name inside yet. But the purchase was worth it. Plus, my mother is a teacher and one of her students gifted her a journal embellished with flowers and so I took that on Christmas Eve and started scribbling.

And now the holiday is (mostly) over and I’m ready to get back to a few days of writing before New Year’s Eve comes. I’m bouncing between projects and for the last week and a half, I painstakingly went over (what felt like a million) manuscripts, changing the story tenses from present to past. For my writing style, I think the past reads a little better. So I wanted to get that out of the way before I threw myself back into a project. There are few more manuscripts that I’ve started that I need to adjust but they’re not finished and so at the most, there are about 20,000 words to get through which is manageable. I’ve found that it’s much easier to do the edits inside a simple word processor (I’m using TextEdit) than in a more complex program because the long paragraph makes the file a little unwieldy during the editing process. And I didn’t bother converting the writing from 2011-2013. I’d rather spend my time and energy on the recent material which I find more promising.

There were also rumors thrown around this weekend about a potential family vacation next year and so I spent some time contemplating how best to write when away from home. For every other vacation, I’ve traveled with the NEO (which I’ve mentioned in the past is a little heavy when walking around all day) and I decided that keeping a smaller bag on my person seems like a better idea. So I decided that in the event of vacation time, I’m bringing a journal and my fountain pen (obviously—plus, I’ll be bringing along plenty of extra ink cartridges). Plus, I just ordered a bluetooth keyboard that can connect to my phone so that at the end of the day, I can take a few minutes and type up what I wrote down. The way I figured it, it’s not like I’m spending 12 hours a day typing. It’s a few hours at the most and the other time is spent daydreaming and figuring plots out and procrastinating. I can send myself a copy of the writing to my email and feel better that I have a hardcopy, plus a typed/emailed copy. That set-up will save my back some agony (especially since I always have my phone anyway and the keyboard I ordered is pretty small), plus I always end up traveling with books because vacation is prime reading time. I need to buy a new copy of Jurassic Park by Michael Crighton if the trip ends up happening. When I was younger, it was my favorite book to bring on vacation so why not revisit that? There’s nothing like thinking about velociraptors hunting humans while lounging beachside. I’ll post an excerpt later tonight and be back tomorrow.

December 22, 2014 – Excerpt

“Vomit against metal sounded like rain. The sounds comforted me although I choked on the pain. Whenever I vomited, I rang a bell strung up between my bedroom and my parents’. The bell signaled that they might soon find me dead on the bedroom floor, my throat thick with rancid puke, vomit already drying on my pillow, regurgitated mess in my hair. Just as often, the bell rang so that my parents would bring me milk. What came out of the milk jugs was curdled with off-white clot. The air smelled like molded cheese. If I pushed a finger against the milk, it resisted like gorgonzola. The bell in my room dinged and mother screamed her frustrations. She hated always having to feed me.”

December 15, 2014 – Excerpt (and some photos)

“Imagine a scene in which Schrödinger cracks three eggs into a glass bowl, one after the other, and each egg has a yolk the color of the sun except for the last which is a bright red, so bright it is filled with blood, and when the egg yolk strikes its yellow brethren, I begin shrieking in terror off-screen. Imagine a scene where I lie face-down in an overflowing bathtub and as my body sinks beneath the roiling water, waves slosh over the porcelain sides and flood the floor, dripping beneath the tiles and out of the slats providing solid foundation beneath.”

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Yesterday, I went into NYC to give a reading at the closing of the “Post Partum Party” exhibition at the Rhombus Space art gallery in Brooklyn. The poets Nicole Callihan, Caitlin McDonnell, and Carley Moore read their work, and then I read two stories from Wrapped in Red. It was an honor to be part of the “Post Partum Party” exhibition and to read my work in the company of so many great writers.

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The Freedom Tower – early afternoon, December 14, 2014.

 

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Getting ready to read from “Wrapped in Red” at the “Post Partum Party” exhibition closing – December 14, 2014.

 

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The Freedom Tower again – December 14, 2014.

 

 

 

December 12, 2014 – Excerpt

“I don’t know what she does with the lines after. Maybe she stirs them into her spaghetti marinara. Maybe she uses them to string the harp she’s been slowly constructing in the diner’s basement. It’s for the organ choir. Every instrument is constructed from bone, skin, or sinew. The harp’s frame might be a cow’s rib cage and the many chords are built from her torn vessels. Maybe the use of her arteries are born from a failed experiment with bovine ligature. The lines kept snapping. She couldn’t keep them connected to the frame. She did her best but her best failed and now, when she strums the notes into existence, she listens to herself.”

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’m going to be reading from Wrapped in Red at the Rhombus Space Art Gallery in Brooklyn this Sunday (December 14) at 2pm. Stop on by and enjoy some literature and fine art.

December 5, 2014 – Excerpt

“You wish you were home. You wish you were in your parents’ kitchen with your father standing at the stove frying up Cuban ham croquettes, the same ones he used to make when you were young, those deliciously crisp on the outside, soft and steaming on the inside ham croquettes you still like to eat by pressing between two saltines. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, shoving them into a piece of potato bread with a squirt of ketchup. You know how to make them but you never make them here. The croquettes represent another part of your life, the one you left behind by deciding to move away, and if you fry them up, if you attempt to make your father’s recipe right here in this godforsaken kitchen which leaves you cold on a daily basis, things will grow steadily more terrible…”

 

 

Also, just a reminder that my short story collection Wrapped in Red (Montag Press, 2014) is now available at http://www.amazon.com/Wrapped-Red-Alana-I-Capria/dp/194023316X. Also, I’ll be reading from Wrapped in Red at the Rhombus Space Art Gallery in Brooklyn on Sunday, December 14th at 2pm. Stop on by if you’re in the area and enjoy some literature and art work.

December 3, 2014 – Excerpt

“You look at your hands for a long time. You watch the veins pulse. Or, you think you see them pulse. You stare for so long that your mind plays tricks. Your brain makes you think that your veins jump. You brain says, THESE VEINS ARE JUMPING. And so that is what you see. The veins jump and you feel them jumping. You jump off the couch. You jump on the floor. You jump up and down until you feel like your ankles might break. You jump at the walls. You jump at the door. You jump on the table. You jump on the couch. You jump and your knees creak. You jump and your calves burn. You jump and then the ground stops pushing up beneath you. You drop to your knees and it’s like you’re praying. You haven’t prayed in years.”

December 1, 2014 – WRAPPED IN RED is now available!

Wrapped in Red

 

My new book Wrapped in Red is now available for purchase at http://www.amazon.com/Wrapped-Red-Alana-I-Capria/dp/194023316X. Stories in the collection have been published by Turtleneck PressMenacing HedgeDanse Macabre Du JourTHE2NDHANDscissors and spackleA capella ZooZymbolLoud Zookill author, Mixer PublishingResist!, and Shuf Poetry.

November 29, 2014 – Excerpt

“You look around your room, your empty and silent room, and you think it might be nice to fill it with screaming. It doesn’t matter what kind of screaming; any kind will do. A scream from the shredded depths of your throat. A scream from your digesting innards. A scream from the reciprocating pipes hidden inside the walls. A scream from nails across glass. A scream from within the mattress. A scream from the center of your endlessly pulsing brain. Your poor brain. Your tired-of-thinking brain. Is it so much to ask for a reprieve from all the thinking? You roll out of bed landing on your feet. You walk through the apartment. You look at the couch. You look at the window. You stare at the door. You want to slam something, break anything. You want to run into the hallway and knock on the neighbors’ doors, knocking until your knuckles are raw and the neighbors are frothing with aggravation inside.”

November 28, 2014 – Excerpt

“Sometimes you fried things and when the frying oil splattered your bare skin, you closed your eyes and wished for it to happen again. You flicked water at the oil and then the oil flew up, sizzling on your arms, and you almost cried, almost but not quite, and your eyes watered but not enough moisture accumulated to drip down your face in a stream. You didn’t pick anything out of the oil. In fact, whatever breaded something it was that you tossed in, you left hovering at the bottom, the breading going from pale to golden to brown to black, then beyond, to completely scorched and saturated with grease. Smoke came out of the pot and it was strongly scented and its body filled the house so that when you breathed, you choked, but you were pleased with that choking because it meant something although you couldn’t be certain what.”

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I finished my NaNoWriMo novel on Tuesday (November 26) and am now 5,000 words into a new project. I still have to return to the NaNoWriMo novel and edit the manuscript but I wanted to make sure that I got some pages down in the new project so that I can make sure I know what direction the work is heading in. The writing feels more personal and I hope it becomes something I really like.

November 21, 2014 – “Wrapped in Red” released!

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Tonight, my short story collection Wrapped in Red was released at the “Post Partum Party” exhibition opening in Brooklyn. If you want a copy, you can order the book at http://www.amazon.com/Wrapped-Red-Alana-I-Capria/dp/194023316X.

November 19, 2014 – NaNoWriMo day 19

“The fourth floor is for anything snapped or cracked (broken ankles, broken ribs, broken skulls, broken arms and shoulders, broken necks, broken noses, broken wrists). The fifth floor is for growths (teratomas, tumors, lumps, sarcomas, carcinomas, fibroids, nodules, outgrowths, polyps, cysts again, excrescence). The sixth floor is unoccupied but keeps all the lights on regardless. The seventh floor is empty.”

 

NaNoWriMo word count is 34,956.

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