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#flashfiction: Even Now

She was there for me. She has always been there for me, even when I wasn’t there for myself.

Even now.

I’ve never been good at talking. I’ve known that all along. I’m a good listener and bad talker. Bad talker, yeah, that’s something, isn’t it? At least I’m good at being bad at something.

So she talked when I was silent. And I listened, taking it all in. Dwelling in those stories, soothing myself in her voice as we sat on the couch, curled up in a soft embrace. I listened to her voice, to her heart, to her breaths. It was so intimate. Warm.

I have never been that close to someone before. I was alive. I was safe.

And she was there for me. I felt it. I listened, trying to be enough for her. Hoping to be enough for her. I’m not sure I was.

She talked and filled the void I created around me. Yeah, call me Black Hole.

I listened to those words. They kept me alive. Well, for a while.

Even now she’s here for me, but she’s not talking. This time she’s crying. I feel her tears tap-tap on my face, so gentle that they mask out the pain.

Even now she’s here for me, holding my hand. My blood-red, sticky hand.

I know she will always be there for me, even on the other side. I know that.

I’m a good listener, so I listen to her sobs until there’s nothing to listen to.

Free Weekend!

To celebrate the beginning of the wonderful year ahead, I decided to make all my sci-fi stories free on Amazon Kindle for this weekend. Enjoy!

Branch Off Cover

White Dwarf One Cover

Lisa and Me

And Maybe This Is Why I Write

Typewriter

Credit: gratisography.com

There’s something we humans all share, even in our huge diversity: we need to have a place that makes us feel at home.

It doesn’t have to be a physical place. Maybe it’s just an idea, a concept. A tiny personal ritual. A person, or a pet. A song, or a photograph.

But we all have it. Think about it. What’s yours?

I myself have a few, big and small. Among the ones that would look insignificant there are some habits. Maybe it’s just because I like to inject order in the total chaos that is life. An illusion, I know.

One big feel-at-home thing for me is writing. It’s just me and the page – well, the screen. I love writing for others, with a group of readers in mind. It helps me focus on the style and the story.
But even better is writing for one specific reader. That’s the top, and I really find home there. Maybe that specific reader won’t ever read what I write, but it’s something special and intimate that makes me a better person, a bit less adrift, a little more happy.

And the point is exactly this: jotting down words is something that helps me find the route for the nearest harbor, and from there to home. Making stories up might seem silly, but it’s not. It’s very serious. After all, most of what we read in fiction is just real life with a fresh coat of paint on it. We find a lot of the authors’ own personality in the characters, and many of their real-world experiences.
Just like how we dream to consolidate memories (and often cope with them), I write to put order in what happens around me.

And feel at home.

La percezione equivoca

Hello, Italian friends! I come in peace!

You’re used to me writing in English, but this time I wrote something in Italian.

Cover of La percezione equivoca

Enter La percezione equivoca.

It’s a self-published collection of short stories and flash fiction that I and three friends put together over the past few months. The theme is how we (fail to) perceive reality. There’s really good stuff in there, and I’m very proud of what we created. You should read it. Oh, and I just love the cover, it’s gorgeous and it perfectly conveys the meaning and feeling of the tales inside.

It’s just €0.99 for the ebook and €6.99 for the paperback.

Places For Working And Writing

“But you can work from anywhere, right? With the web and email and Skype.”

Well.

I could work from the middle of the Gobi desert. There’s nothing preventing me, that’s true, but it doesn’t mean that I can. Most of us just don’t function like that. Most of us need to get in the zone, which is a mental state that allows us to focus on the job and do it well, with accuracy and passion.

While I can check social media and read news pretty much in any situation, I can’t do much else outside of a controlled environment. To read a book, for example, I need to be in my bed. I can write stuff on the train, but only sometimes. I need quiet, silence, a comfortable place, the right light. If it’s too hot or too cold, I can’t focus. Most of us can’t.

The reason for this is simple. Our brain is the collector of the hundreds of stimuli that bombard us all the time. That guy laughing on the phone. Someone asking if the seat is free (when it obviously is). Your head itching. The woman attracting your attention two rows down. Birds chirping outside. Emails arriving. The more stimuli we get, the less free “CPU time” our brain has to take care of other things. The threshold is different for each of us, but it’s always there.

So, yes, while it is possible to do information work from anywhere and at any time, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

And how do I get in the zone? It depends, but I mostly need:

  • quiet environment, without distinct sounds (white noise or background music is fine)
  • comfortable chair + desk combination (quite hard to find)
  • reasonable temperature: 19C – 24C is optimal (yes, I’m that specific. I’d need an “Operating Temperature” sticker)
  • in many cases, not many people around me (people distract me; they tend to be interesting to look at, although I know I sometimes give them the creeps).

But having the right conditions isn’t nearly enough. I also need a certain level of will, varying from time to time. I have to want to get in the zone. It’s not something that simply happens.