Writing and 8tracks

Recently, 8tracks has become my go-to for finding good music to write to.

In case you’re unfamiliar, 8tracks is a free internet-radio-type website akin to Pandora–except instead of stations, they have playlists created by users.

I don’t really recommend the site as a whole. There are some fantastic hidden gems among those playlists, but I tend to find them hidden amongst entirely too much frankly awful music.

But for instrumental playlists? Well, for that, 8tracks is golden. If you’re looking for good, wordless, emotionally resonant music to write (or draw, or whatever) to, I absolutely recommend checking it out. I usually just search “writing” and “instrumental” together, and then take my pick. This is a great one, and one of my personal favorites so far.

(And a few days ago, I discovered it can be good for an other thing, too. Namely, for listening to epic motivational speeches to kick-start my day. I found one playlist in particular, entitled Go Further., particularly inspiring.)

That’s all, folks.

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Burnt Flesh

by Paula de Carvalho
All rights reserved.

Tarik strolled around the newly re-discovered library’s main room, admiring the erratic rows of shelving units. He could live three lifetimes and never read all that the alien building contained. Why they’d abandoned it, he’d never understand—though at the moment he was more intrigued by the material the tablets were made of. They looked like slabs of sheet metal, but when he ran a finger over the embossed text, it felt like papyrus.

Amber’s voice came through the intercom strapped to his wrist, breaking his train of thought. “Boss?”

“Copy.”

“You’ve gotta get outta there. A fire broke out in the east wing, and its spreading like—well, like fire.”

Tarik shook his head, sure he’d misheard. “A what? How?” But even as he spoke, he began to smell it in the air.

“A fire, sir. I think Cady was smoking while she worked. Does it matter? Get out.”

He’d lost a childhood home to fire. He knew how quickly the flames could spread, and how completely they destroyed.

“Copy,” he said.

Tarik reached for the nearest shelf and grabbed tablets from it at random, hugging them to his chest.

Smoke descended from the ceiling, and flames leaped into the room from the east wing, swallowing shelving units whole.

The heat was suffocating—a few minutes more, and the whole room would ignite.

The tablets he’d already grabbed would have to suffice. Tarik sprinted across the room towards the open door, staying as low as he could manage, weaving in and out through the rows.

Flames danced after him, licking at his heels. He could feel his boots melting into his feet. His lungs burned and his eyes watered. The alien tablets grew hot in his arms.

Don’t burn up, he thought, please don’t burn up.

But his plea went unheeded. They grew hotter still, burning through his shirt and searing his flesh.

On instinct, he dropped them and kept running.

Instantly, he regretted it—but he could not turn back.

Tarik darted through the door and into open air. He fell to his hands and knees only a few feet from the entrance, coughing so hard he felt he would vomit. It didn’t help that the scent of his own burnt hair and flesh assaulted his nostrils.

Through bleary eyes, he saw two dark figures—his teammates—approaching him. They lifted him on either side, slinging his arms around their shoulders, and half-dragged him back to the rest of the team, well away from the fire.

When his coughing subsided and his vision cleared, Tarik looked up just in time to see the building collapse.

“Gone,” he said, through choked sobs. “It’s all gone.”

“Well,” Cady said, wincing, “not all of it.”

Only then did Tarik notice the scorching pain on his chest.

He looked down at his naked flesh, scarred with the mirror-image of some alien text—crudely branded, but legible.

And, through the pain, he smiled.

Back Again

Well, it’s been a while. I’ve been working on my writing (though, granted, not as much as I would’ve liked), but I’ve been seriously neglecting this blog. And I think I finally figured out why:

I’m taking it too seriously.

I forgot why I started blogging in the first place: to have a space to share my thoughts and my work, and, hopefully, to connect with people who think like I do, who like what I have to say, who I enjoy interacting with.

With my first few posts, I was successful in this. I wrote about the things I was thinking about. I liked what I wrote, and I was fortunate enough that a few people stumbled upon my posts and liked them, too. I didn’t plan a theme for my posts, or my blog–but a theme emerged anyway, and I felt like I was stuck with it. I felt like I had to write about writing (more specifically, about motivating oneself to write). Never mind that I love to write about writing. Just the fact of feeling pigeonholed made me freeze up and go off to do other things, leaving my blog abandoned in cyber-limbo.

But no more.

With this blog, like with my writing itself, I’m going back to the roots of my desire to start doing it in the first place: to have fun.

Because if I’m not enjoying something, or living my life the way I want to, then what’s the point?

So that’s my little rant. I can already hear a little left-brain voice telling me that this post is dumb, and no one’s gonna like it, or care. But I’m going to stuff that voice into a box, wrap it in duct tape, and ship it off to Antarctica. Because first and foremost, I write for myself. If anyone else likes it, that’s just a bonus. A great one, but also a completely unnecessary one.

On an unrelated note, expect my flash fiction piece Burnt Flesh to appear here later tonight or tomorrow. I’ve been sitting on these flash pieces for too long (2 of them done, 3 stuck in revision hell) and I want them to see the light of day. Even if the prospect of others reading them scares the shit out of me.