Finding Words You Fancy


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Poems of a Darker Hue

This is the last one I posted only after a significant number of revisions. I will post more of what I have been writing soon, but in the meantime a little bit of #BurningMan:

Deserted Moments

Missed the bus, and the girl who winked at me, instead of hopping on as they pulled out
Missed fresh bacon and coffee as I stirred restless in my tent
Wondering what life would be like instead of living it
Misty recollections of nude dancers washing in rare sun showers
While I stood by watching and wanting to laugh with them
Missed a moment, hand raised, the whisper of a compliment on my lips
Drown out by the deafening drone and rhythmic lights
“Miss?” too softly, and she goes on dancing, the girl who winked at me
Her missed smile still haunts me.
In the dusty chaos, covered in a layer of soot and dream she wafts from the crowd and plants one on me. But with a patent wink she’s gone.
I touch my lips to remember the kiss.
Memories remind me of wayward opportunities,
Missed asking for a date before she’s picked up by her dad.
Missed offering to help with his car before he decided to sell it.
Missed getting that raise to someone who merely had to ask.
My hesitation missed the mark by which I measure courage; character.
The desert teaches me and no more will I while away the moments,
No more will I be missed.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Help Me Be The Iron Writer Champion!

Only 20 votes and 2 hours away from winning this! I did it before and we can do it again but I need you help!

Click here:

Scroll to the bottom and vote for Lettered :)

Monday, May 19, 2014


I am taking a poetry class. I like how poetry informs my prose. I like the economy or words and the counting - syllables, consonants, and lines. 

So for the next month my poems will stain the Dharma of Don. I may share poems I love or discovered. I may share poems of my peers. but I never want this to be just about me: Whenever you see an entry with the Poet tag feel free to comment with a poem - yours or someone else's matters not as long as you give credit where due. Tell us how your poems correlated or was inspired by mine. 

For our first assignment we were asked to write down an anaphora. 
The term “anaphora” comes from the Greek for “a carrying up or back," and refers to a type of parallelism created when successive phrases or lines begin with the same words, often resembling a litany.
So I figured I would try my hand at it. 

Now, while this is not wholey autobiographical I do recall being disappointed with how little I engaged with Burning Man, my first year. One of Burning Man's ten principles is "participation." I felt like I lost out on a great deal of experience by not being more proactive. I think Paul Tough would call this "Zest" or enthusiasm. While not an actionable characteristic I like the power of BM's word.

Participationby Don Corcoran
"Missed by loved ones," my underwhelming epitaph would read.
Misty recollections of wayward opportunities.
Missed out on so many open doors, peering at life through frosted windows.
Missed a moment, hand raised, the whisper of a compliment on my lips.
"Miss?" too softly, and she goes without my kind words. 
Her missed smile haunts me.
Missed that last dance.
Missed being someone's hero.
Missed that raise.
Missed all those years slipping away.
My hesitation missed the mark by which I measure courage; character.
So each step forward resounds, propelling me boldly, that answers affirmatively, the question:


Friday, May 16, 2014

The Iron Writer Annual Championship

I've been involved with the Iron Writer community for a year and I'm honored to be a part of such a supportive and talented group.

Now I find myself in the company of four accomplished and well deserved wordsmiths. The four of us compete for the title of 2014 Iron Writer. Please head over to the competition and show your support. Vote here:

For whatever reason my story didn't show up exactly as I planned. Wordpress's spacing is odd and a few important lines were swallowed up in the process. Here is my story as intended:

By Don Corcoran

Whatcha writing?
You're writing wrongs?
Oh, I see what you did there. Wait ? Which 'right?'
The Rite?
The very Sam one.
Don't you mean 'same?'
Who's it to?
You know whom.

Wren cringed. He hated being called that. He hissed between clenched teeth.

Wrong you.
Tell it to the horse!
That's not fair.
Sure it is. Payment for my long suffering.

The beastly thing shut up for a moment and thought.

When did you get so good at this game?
Sheepishly, Wren glanced up.

Last week.
Last week? When you went to the meet?
Don't talk about her like that?
Like what?

Sam was frustrated.

Okay, so maybe I was.
Yes, at the race.
Where you went to get your fix?
My fix?

A moment passed.

Fix. Yes, my heroine.

Sam rolled in the air, holding a belly gorged with flies, guppies, and perogies.

So you went to the races and met the love of your life, your everything... .
Don't say it.
Your whole.

Wren plucked the cigar from between Sams lips and twisted the embers into his mottled flesh until it became a smoking brown stain.  Sam screamed and zipped in loop-d-loops around the roomRubbing the wound, Sam scowled at Wren.

Okay, I deserved that one. So what happened?
That point when you thought it would be funny to trip me and send me sprawling into her, mustard and hot dogs first?
Hehe! Classic.
But she was too fast. I ended up taking a header over the railing.

Sam winced.

Yeah. I'm lucky I didn't break my neck.
Dude, you wouldn't have died or anything. That's why I'm here.
Well after a two week stay in the hospital, I woke up with words doing somersaults in my head.
Dude! That's so cool! A little spill and youre the heir.
I'd rather the air. You couldn't make me fly? You and your stupid word game.
I had nothing to do with it, hombre. This is the universes own special kind of chaos.
Well, now, I don't need you.
Back rubs were always optional. So wait, youre mad 'cause you think I gave you super powers?
No, Sam.
What then? We've been like bros since you were like this tall!

Sam sank a few feet, hand flat before him, his wings beating furiously.

And I fit in an acorn, for Oberon's sake!

Both considered his girth and realized a diet of woodland insects and Ding-Dongs may not have been the best choice.Wren sighed.

What a waist.
Come on! That little stunt made your relationship. She spent the next two weeks nursing you to health.

Wren finished the letter written on ancient parchment and penned in rare ink. He signed his name at the bottom  just as he had addressed it  and sealed the envelop with red wax.

Wait! What's-her-face isn't replacing me, is she?
Her name  Di.
Oh shit!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sociological Fiction

As I sit on a bench awaiting my next seminar I wanted to scribble out a note about sociological fiction. What I write are fanciful narrations. Ephemera. I aim for accessibility and speak to baser urges. On the other hand, it's truth, or a deeper truth. A peek beyond the words. My tall tales allow a reader to ask "what's going on here?"

My latest project, dubbed "The Frontier" has brought me to some extraordinary places, offered me staggering opportunities, and introduced me to wonderful people - new lifetime friends. It's led me to my Masters thesis and paved the way for a doctorate. My life straddles the same lines, fantasy clashing with cold, hard reality.

I hope, as we move forward, you not only enjoy what I produce, and engage with the characters, but you understand more about  race, class, gender, faith, and conflict.

In the mean time I'm in neighborhoods, bringing together communities, and finding humanity in the system.  Come along with me  on this roller coaster.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Write Through Life

I struggle as a writer. Nix that. I struggle with writing. Not with words. Certainly not with storytelling.  I struggle with doing it. I'm not alone. I am surrounded with writers that have a ton of excuses: 
"Work's been busy." 
"Family life has gotten in the way."
"I had this thing I had to do."
Depression. Moving. Vacation.
The list goes on.

Okay, before you flip a gasket, I am not saying those aren't fantastic reasons to not write - or not getting anything accomplished, for that matter. I have no doubt the things I would count as getting in the way of my writing would be touted as perfectly legitimate reasons for not putting pen to paper - finding a good kindergarten for my daughter; cancer screening; promoting my work. And, being the non-judgmental type I would never point to someone with "You don't really want to be a writer! Those are just excuses!"

But for me? Its all shit. Why? Not because I am a bad person or callous and unrealistic. Its garbage because I have made writing a priority in my life and failed to follow through with my own goals. It's a struggle because, for whatever reason I have put things ahead of my writing. And lets face it, not the things that should be prioritized. I laid in bed another half hour. I powered through, yet another, season of Justified. I told myself, "I'll play another round of Hearthstone" or "I'll grab a beer with the friend I haven't seen in ... weeks" or "I'll spend hours absorbing crappy micro-journalism on Facebook." Perhaps it's in the face of an emotional downturn. Perhaps it's under the auspice of "down time" and relaxing. Bollocks!

"I'm living life," some might say. But I want my life to be that of a writer. That is defined one way and one way only, through writing. Life isn't something that should stop writers from writing, life is the reason we write. Too sad or have no motivation to write? Write about it. Standing on line waiting for the person in front of you to get their act together? Open up a little notebook or a writing app and write what you see or how you feel. Dying to see that new episode of "House of Cards" or "Game of Thrones?" Make it a reward. Tell everyone who will listen. Make writing a priority. Don't make life an excuse to not write, rather, write through life.

Which brings me to my second point. Live. Yes, the combination of Elmore Leonard and Timothy Oliphant is inspired. Yes, I only need two more wins to get my Warrior deck to level 35. Oooo, someone posted yet another quiz about how I could actually be my favorite Babylon 5 character - let's explore Buzzfeed's unique perspective into the deeper recesses of my soul. One day a soul-weary exec at Buzzfeed is going to crack under the labor and meaninglessness of his life and have every Facebook quiz end with "Congratulations you've discovered you're a loser. Instead of living life, Don, you've made the insightful decision to pursue, yet another, useless foray into self discovery via social media. I hope it was worth it." 

I don't take pictures of everything  my daughter does because I want to do them WITH her. I want to be present in her life and my own and the validation of my social networks is not nearly as important as creating experiences with the ones I love. I don't want to experience life through a camera lens or even a smartphone screen. And I assure you I don't have my notebook out on roller coasters and scuba excursions. But my life isn't about TV shows and video games. I'm not writing technical manuals and my writing isn't made better by truncated, ill-informed political banter with people that already agree with me. 

My characters come alive by my life experiences. Their conversations more believable by expanding my own. If I honestly look at the things I am doing, while easier and cheaper, are not fulfilling. I spent over a decade being a consumer - sitting on a couch, absorbing calories and media. I mad ea concerted decision to live a life less traveled. Instead of filling my brain and bones with manufactured social detritus I'm going to take a deep breath, take constructive criticism as accountability, and see that my family and I have a life worth living. Thus instead of writing despite a tawdry, shallow existence I'll endeavor to write through life - one vibrant and worthy of my craft.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Breaking the Blogging Hiatus

There is a lot going on here and it's very exciting. Having written a great deal between November and now I have been hard at work on several projects. The top priority is to get the Voodoo Western Storytelling game done. It has gone through some significant changes through a year of play-testing and I think it is just about ready to hit the streets, guns blazing. Backers will receive a PDF file to the game prior to art, which begins about May.

I'm working through the script for the Voodoo Western radio show. More details in the coming months.

I'm also writing Book Three of the Voodoo Western series, while Book Two is in the editing stage along with my Mexican Revolution novel, Fountain of Blood. I've had the opportunity to be involved with a number of short story projects, in communication with the Philadelphia Library's Book Festival, and working on a research grant evaluating local mentoring programs for young men and women coming out of Pennsylvania prisons.

I have a number of blog posts lined up in the next couple of weeks so stay tuned.