Crystal Keeping You

Just because the sky turned black doesn’t mean it was ever grey

Just because it’s time I lack doesn’t mean I cannot stay

Some things are acute
A sort of sudden risk of peace
Another chance to break the crystal
And keep it from eating me

I needed to find a way to you
A way to make us see
A whole entire mess of life
A wicked anthology

And now it stands completed as if it ever was a task

And now I let it feel defeated as if apology we lack

I just wanted to find a way
A solution to see it through
And yet it seems I cannot break
The crystal keeping you

I drum upon it fiercely, hoping it may crack
But crystal is stronger than flesh
Blood bodies on their path

So what is left inside of us and is it something pale?

So why now does hope question time and what does it unveil?

We chase the stories
See them through
And still it’s not enough
To break the crystal keeping you
it still isn’t enough

Coming up with story ideas

I got a question on my Twitter asking how I come up with fantasy story ideas, and felt it merited more than 140 characters to reply. This will primarily focus on fantasy, but is useful for any storytelling. There are two methods that I’ve used to come up with the majority of my story ideas.

Many of my story ideas come from dreams. Dreams sometimes feel like “cheating,” because you didn’t have to wrack your brain coming up with an idea–it’s more like binge watching your favorite science fiction shows, go to sleep, wake up with a new story idea. But you arrived at that idea by the investment in exposing yourself to creative media, and eating well/being healthy to get a nice sleep cycle. When you wake up reflecting on a cool dream you had, write it down immediately. Not only do you have it written down to take a look at later, but it will help improve your dream recall for the future.

But dreams aren’t consistent. That’s where my next favorite method comes in.

I like to try and see fantasy in the mundane. For most things in everyday life, there is a simple, immediate explanation. But letting yourself play pretend with more fun explanations is a great way to prompt a story idea.

Maybe you woke up to see that a tree has fallen in your backyard. Sure, it was probably the storm last night but what if it was a dragon that knocked it over? What was a dragon doing in your back yard?! That’s something that a story could help answer!

But a big creature knocking over a tree is too obvious. Besides, what do dragons have against trees? What if something small was responsible? Who else likes trees? Woodpeckers like trees. Well, they like the bugs in trees. But they have to spend a lot of time and effort to drill the bugs out. What if woodpeckers have started an illegal logging operation in your backyard and are trying to take trees for later bug-extraction? This is a much more original (and thoroughly absurd) story prompt.

Little kids do this all the time. “Magical thinking” is a term to describe the common behavior of children connecting two completely unrelated events as cause-and-effect. For example, when I was very young, I ended up in the hospital with a nearly fatal case of pneumonia the night after visiting the Camp Snoopy theme park at the Mall of America. Here in Minnesota, we have Minnesota-themed things, because we are proud of being Minnesotan. The log flume ride is themed after Paul Bunyan and Babe the Big Blue Ox.

I was terrified of Babe the Big Blue Ox.

The true face of terror

The true face of terror

So, logically, to my very young self, Babe the Big Blue Ox, the most terrifying thing I had ever seen, had made me sick and was responsible for my trip to the hospital. Were this actually the case, it’d be one heck of an interesting story.

Little kids are natural fantasy story tellers. As we get older, we get used to the rules of reality and stop coming up with absurd explanations for things we experience or see. When coming up with story prompts, sometimes it can be helpful to let yourself make up more interesting explanations for the world around you. Depending on how realistic a story you are going for, come up with a more realistic way to connect the cause and effect, but you can more-or-less pick any two things and try and invent a reason that they are cause-and-effect to tell a cool story, from mysteries to fantasy to sci-fi.

I like Urban Fantasy because it invites exactly this. On your morning commute, try looking at the places you pass through and thinking about what kinds of stories could be told there. Interesting architecture and fire escapes are easy, but what about the lonesome street corner? The office building that you’ve gone by a hundred times and never seen anyone actually go in or out of? What stories can be told, and what explanations can you make up?

Coming up with story prompts is practicing the skill of imagination.


A square of light in a dark room
Time glued on the wall
An open vent but dusty flume
And never did time fall

Then harvest came
And with it new
And places we would go
Down by the sea and twists of trees
For never did we crawl

Because while laying down is easy
And standing up is hard
It doesn’t change that I still stand
So I’ll have to take it on

Then flowers grew
And with them me, me you.
Mechanic springs as sprigs of wings
To see ranges off radar.
While tulips would stick in the glass
They’d only burn a silent scar
Continue reading

Half Full, Full Spilled

Tumble towards the suffering twice had
under the yielding shadows of deep noon
Till the seeking has it’s vehement comeuppance
And the cup can spill half full


Author’s Note: I realized I hadn’t written anything here in a while. I’d like to fix that! I’m also going to spruce this place up a bit to feature and my new fantasy Za’nar.


With time to write more tangents I define the way behind
A traffic jam before the rail house where the rejects hide
A sole reminder of the past, a broken coffee mug
Over the rails a solemn remainder, refrainer steps
and searches through the wreckage of the
wake, and takes a path anew, to head onto
new surfaces to cling upon like a reptile on a screen
leaching through the glass for a glimpse of something warm



Author’s Note: Was in the mood to jot down a poem, so I did as much! I think I’m going to make an effort to write poems more frequently and post them here–if you’ve enjoyed poems I’ve written, I hope you check back to see new ones!

–Below Title Here–

Random word poem via typing random letters and then filling it in afterwards. Also, this is the poem title. It’s much longer than the poem. I could say this is some kind of experiment, or I am trying something new, but in reality the below poem lacks meaning other than it being random words that came from random letters. I typed it while surrounded by art students, an unusual place for me to sit when I normally write in my apartment, to try and see if placing myself somewhere new could allow me to see something new. Maybe even to absorb the energy in the room, like an experiment. That’s an experiment. This poem isn’t. And this is just me trying to explain why the below poem is so short and meaningless and this title is so long. It worked, though. I met three new faces as well. Three people I would not have crossed paths with. I don’t remember their names though, so maybe it doesn’t matter too much. I mean, if I wasn’t there, I don’t think their lives would have gone much differently, you know? Me being there probably didn’t change much. But I did meet three new faces. And that’s not to say that I don’t change things. I’m sure I do. And meeting anyone changes everything. We really see so little in our own bubble after all. I guess that goes back to what I was saying about wanting to put myself into a new set of surroundings in the form of different people. I can’t see very much on my own, and they can’t either, but I guess together we can see something. Except I don’t remember their names. But I did write this poem. I mean, the thing below this. This is just the title. There’s no meaning in the poem. It didn’t matter that it was there and met people either. But I’m sure that if this poem was a person, it’s field of view would feel expanded right now. I guess it’s how I’ve always thought about the world. I talk to people at bus stops. Not afraid to say it. It’s great. I see everything as a character, and every time I meet someone as a chance to learn more about life through them. If that’s not what socializing is about, than I don’t know what it is. Just an ego boost or something. I do hear people with high self-esteem are happier. But there’s more than that. Because sometimes you do change things, and those times make all the times you don’t worth the awkward moment of saying “Hello, my name is XXXX” and getting a grunt in response when you hoped the other person would introduce themselves back and maybe you could get to know each other, be friends, get help with homework or even just have them give you the time. Or maybe if you were attracted to them, you wanted to go on a date and became disappointed that nothing happened when you said hello. But you still met them, and while we forget things said in passing, you now know that some people won’t check their watch or phone for you and would rather grunt than give the time. That was still an impact, even if you didn’t change much. Because now there’s this story about you walking up to someone at the park bench and asking for the time by being all friendly and getting less than friendly back. And that’s okay. Your bubble got bigger, and so did theirs. But I’m getting ahead of myself when this is just a title and the poem is so insignificant and meaningless – A Projection on Paper poem by Zachary Storch

Gorgeous loop wizard cage jim cave us soul leap goal score deacon ID Rosa in an axle whoa sail rattle



Author’s Note: I am soooo performing this next time I have a chance to open mic.