Very recently, author Kevin Donihe visited Rotterdam, the Netherlands to attend the UBIK: FUTUROSITY festival! While he was attending, Donihe was given a microphone and thrown in front of a crowd, because this is what you do with Kevin Donihe. The result is one of bizarro fiction’s top writers sharing his thoughts on weirdness and cavemen. Don’t fear the weird. Embrace it.
By Kevin L. Donihe
It’s not an easy task, giving advice about how to write poetry. Its creation is, perhaps, the most fluid and idiosyncratic of all written art forms. Still, I trust what’s below will encourage and edify you:
- Sit down.
- Open notebook or turn on computer.
- Think about what you are going to write.
- Write the stuff you thought about.
- Look over this stuff; revise it.
- Email finalized poem to some editor or another.
- Expect never to make a living doing this, unless you…
- …go back in time and trade bodies with Charles Bukowski…
- …but that trade-off might prove bad for your health, so…
- …attempt to create a seismic shift by devouring peyote buttons in a desert with members of THE EAGLES, proceeding thusly:
- Link hands with Don and Glenn, Joe and Timothy; open your third eye and focus energy until it fills the cosmos with a previously unknown love of poetry.
- Enjoy quality conversations with plant and animal spirits; glimpse the Godhead.
- Wait for your working to fail.
(Personal note: Short narrative poems seem to enter my head suddenly and almost fully formed. All I have to do is tweak the wording. If narrative poems are longer, my approach somewhat mirrors the one I’d take with flash fiction. For structural poems, my approach is, of course, more visual. I need to see how the pieces look in print, as appearance conveys meaning. Even with narrative poems, however, I aim to put line breaks at opportune spots so as to aid flow and foster readability. I don’t do rhyming poetry.)
(Personal note II: The most I’ve ever been paid for a single poem is $30, and my poetry collection, THE FLAPPY PARTS, is not one of my better-selling titles. Still, I smile. I enjoy writing poetry. In fact, I would continue to write it even if its only audience were the dust bunnies on my desk.)
(Personal note III: The dust bunnies are my muses.)
Kevin L. Donihe, perhaps the world’s oldest living wombat, resides in the hills of Tennessee. He has published more than ten books via Eraserhead Press. His short fiction and poetry has appeared in Psychos: Serial Killers, Depraved Madmen, and the Criminally Insane, The Mammoth Book of Legal Thrillers, ChiZine, The Cafe Irreal, Electric Velocipede, Poe’s Progeny, Not One of Us, Dreams and Nightmares, The Best Bizarro Fiction of the Decade and other venues.
A feeling has been tearing up the underground of the fiction world. It’s a nightmare reflection of the society you inhabit, a surreal explosion of pop, punk, and the post-apocalypse. Over the last decade, Bizarro Fiction has changed the definition of avant garde, it’s abolished the traditional prose of yesterday and established a new precedent for awesome. Collected in this anthology is some of the best weird fiction from the past decade. Award-winning writers, cult prodigies and burgeoning talents all collected together in one place. This is what you’ve done with the last ten years of your life.
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by Kevin L. Donihe
A master of meditation sat on the floor of his custom-designed chamber. There was no washtub, no toilet. No accoutrements or conveniences of any kind. A glass of water was the only thing he could drink, a piece of flatbread the only thing he could eat.
Years before, the master had cut away the dross in his life. He’d retired early from a job, floated away from friends and family members. Perhaps he’d missed some of them at one point, but no longer.
On the twelfth day of a two-week marathon session, the master sensed a presence in his chamber.
Opening his eyes, he saw a man dressed in a white, seamless robe, sitting in the lotus position across from him, knees almost touching his own.
“Who are you?” asked the master.
“I’m you,” said the man.
This man’s robe was identical to that of the master. His face was identical, too. But a red and angry wart grew by his nose. Never had the master suffered such an indignity.
This man was not the master.
The master found him repulsive, yet the master was a handsome, well-built man. Clearly, something beyond his double’s form had triggered the negative thoughts.
Eyes locked on the man, the master peeled away psychic layers to glimpse flesh-hidden truths.
His guest, it seemed, was a foolish seeker who mimicked the words and actions of others yet imagined himself wiser than any guru. He forged a circular path, which he saw as linear. Smug yet undeserving, his capacity for self-deceit was limitless.
Deeper still, his psyche was twisted-up, his moral compass broken. His aura was brown and sludgy, as if tainted by too much time spent in storm cellars or basements. His soul was cancerous.
No doubt he was the sort who would drown kittens and puppy dogs in bags. If he had a wife and kids, he’d beat them.
Yet there he was—sitting before the master, pretending that he shared his wisdom and was privy to all his secrets.
Such gall. Such hypocrisy.
The more the master dwelt on him, the more he realized he didn’t want to just mourn and pity the man. He wanted to rage at him for wallowing in his limitations, for being a laughable human, a phony and a fraud.
Hours passed. Still, the man mocked the master with his presence.
“I hate you,” said the master.
“Makes sense,” he responded.
One of the master’s fists curled. He was tempted to punch the man’s throat.
“Why are you even here?” he asked.
“Can’t say,” the man said.
The master was a finite being plumbing the infinite. He had no time for bullshit. “This is my room!” he roared. “Leave it!”
A dark chuckle: “Can’t do that, either. Sorry.”
Then the man vanished.
Anger drained from the master. Once again, his mind felt unburdened and receptive.
Closing his eyes, he found and linked up with his luminous self.
Two days later, the sound of a buzzer returned the master’s consciousness to flesh.
He opened his eyes. Inhaled. Exhaled. Stretched his arms. Popped his neck
He sipped water, nibbled flatbread.
He broke the lotus position with slight regret.
Warmth flowing back into his legs, he leaned over to massage them, but stopped, looked around the chamber instead.
It wasn’t that its atmosphere had turned oppressive, or he had another visitor. Things simply seemed… backwards.
No matter. He began to rub his quadriceps.
When he reached his calves, it dawned on him.
In his chamber, while meditating, he always turned away from the door. Now, however, he faced it.
Reaching up to his nose, the master felt a wart.
Kevin L. Donihe is one of the most beloved Bizarro authors in existence and an editor for Eraserhead Press. He is the author of House of Houses, Night of the Assholes, and Space Walrus (among others). He is also the editor of the definitive anthology of walrus-themed fictions: Walrus Tales.
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