An Alphabetical Guide to Potential Building Materials for Aspiring Urban Planners

This month, my patrons are receiving an exclusive flash piece, “An Alphabetical Guide to Potential Building Materials for Aspiring Urban Planners.”

I wrote this for the annual flash fiction contest I participate in every January/February. The goal is to write a piece of flash every weekend for five weeks. Last week was two of five. I had some trouble revving up my thought process until, with the deadline looming, I focused on the prompt, “What is your kingdom built of?”

As you might be able to tell from the title, it’s a bit (a lot) silly.

All my patrons receive an exclusive reward each month. There’s no specific amount required. I’m happy to share my creations with everyone who subscribes to my Patreon.  

A is for Alligators

Challenging for inexperienced planners. They will bite when you try to stack them.

B is for Barricades

Though barricades make good walls by definition, beware barricading yourself out of your own city. 

C is for Carbonara

Messy, but delicious. Do not continue eating your city after it’s been left unrefrigerated for more than three hours.

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Thanks to all my current patrons. Every dollar helps keep me writing!

photo of a lego with with people sitting at a bus stop and ambulance, cop cars, fire truck in front of city hall

Cat Pictures! Pete in a Hat

drawing of cat in a paper bowler hat

This is one of the images I used in Scragamuffin, the chapbook I released as October 2021’s exclusive Patreon reward. I thought it might be fun to release the pictures with the photos that inspired them.

Pete doesn’t look particularly happy about the hat, but he tolerated it. Zephyr was having none of the hat. I think Clone was just fine with the hat because it meant someone was paying attention to him. His entire goal in life was attention. For instance, during that visit, the other cats were skeptical of the dog. Clone, however, used him as a stepstool to get closer to human hands.

photo of cat in paper bowler hat

Upwards Toward the Light

Image of Upwards Toward the Light by Rachel Swirsky, an illustrated poem based on and in honor of the work of Ursula K. Le Guin with background image of haze obscuring buildings overlooking a rocky shore.

This poem was published in a poetry anthology memorializing Ursula K. Le Guin. It’s composed from scraps of her writing, cut up, pulled apart, and stitched in different ways to create an elegy.

Upwards Toward the Light

We have nothing but freedom:
not a gift given, but a heavy load
of permanent, intolerable uncertainty
that binds us beyond choice.

To be whole is to be part.
We all have forests in our minds,
unexplored, unending
stories in the middle of living.

When we are finally naked in the cold,
we who are so rich, so full of strength,
we breathe back the breathe that made us live,
we give back to the world all we did not do,
we are left only with kindness.

To see how beautiful the earth is,
you must choose to see it like the moon.