The Rorrim Compendium

the only bad idea is not having one


“Speech is the mirror of the soul.” – Publilius Syrus

My name is Silas and I believe this is the beginning, because beginning at the beginning is the only true place to begin, and so, for all further discourse and delight this quote by Publilius Syrus will act as a catalyst to d(r)ive deeper into seeing–not merely with the eyes on a superficial level, a rudimentary level, a standard level, a functional level, but on a forever inquisitive level with such a thirst that can never be quenched and the investigation pulls on and on, feverishly and desirably looking, interrogating, and speculating on finding some minute sliver of truth that can be held up to the light like a crystal, gleaming and shimmering in all of its perfect flaws, each one (i.e., the flaws) impeccably placed to dazzle outrageously: and it (i.e., the sliver of truth) so seems that it could and that it should, without a doubt, be shared by none other than the souls of the ones in whom this brilliant, magnificent, beautiful glory so amazingly reflects. I think it’s fair to say that mirrors are pretty freaking cool, and while they are mesmerizing, not all discourse on this blog will explicitly or even remotely refer to mirrors; however, hopefully, each post will provide fertile ground for a forest of thought.

Please feel free to enjoy (or be frustrated by) the following .gif



An Echo of ‘You’: Tottel Responding to Wyatt

I wrote this paper this past spring for a class instructed by Professor Michael Adams at Indiana University – Bloomington. In this paper I discuss the differences between the original and altered manuscripts of Wyatt’s poem, “They Flee From Me,”  in what amounts to a dialogue between the two — from admirer to artist. Read the rest of this entry »

A Last Breath

This is a rough draft of a short short (sometimes called flash fiction) that I recently wrote.

After twenty-four years of believing that monsters were real, Read the rest of this entry »

Finding the Premise (of Your Story)


Regardless of experience, publish status, popularity, skill, or any other trait you might assign with a writer, we all get stuck from time to time. Many of us will spend a large chunk of time and effort on a story, and we nurture it and help it grow, but there comes a time when we have to let our darlings go and be independent of ourselves. That’s great! I mean, look! you just wrote a story. You made your thoughts real by using words. Cool! Awesome! And now! Now you landed yourself into a frustrating cycle of trying to form the premise for your next story. What a pleasurable nightmare! Read the rest of this entry »

Putting those Darn Words on the Page

Hello fellow writers and friends!

As I mentioned before, we are moving into fiction, and that’s today’s topic. I ma going to try to help you get started with your story, following the methods I use and tips I’ve come across. The story I’m writing is a sister story, a mirror story, a story of self — of which is set ablaze through words. My story has gone through different Read the rest of this entry »

Stepping into Fiction & the “Impossible Thing” Mini-Exercise

Hi everybody, I would like to thank you for taking some time out of your busy (or not so busy) day to see what is going on here. I apologize that I have not been posting regularly; however, I will try to post more regularly from here on out. In the past, I have posted poems that I have written, either recently, or ones that I dug up from the depths of my collections. Ideally, the Rorrim Compendium will accommodate the various facets that are mentioned throughout the existing blog posts, such as: Poetry, Creative Writing, Fiction, Creative Writing Research, Fiction Writing Exercises, Academic Writing; and more. As the Poetry collection here is growing (and I would like to remind you all that any of your contributions to any of these fields can be submitted to myself and we can start a conversation) I want to start growing other aspects, primarily, Fiction.

I am currently writing two additional stories, one longer, and the second shorter. Occasionally, I will be posting excerpts from what I recently wrote, plan to write, or am currently writing. The purpose of these mid-craft posts is to discuss how writers face choices and overcome obstacles while writing. Most craft writings talk about how a writer should approach writing or how he or she should view the writing after it is written. I may discuss elements that I am employing, choices I am making (risky or safe), how I give freedom and how I limit freedom, and how I think about layers of separation. Because I am currently writing, and try to constantly be writing something, some of what I will discuss may not even address the words on the page that are being forged on my clacking keyboard, but I want to show how Writing is more than merely writing words; it is a near-constant mindset that the writer engages for the length of the work.

I want to address and show you my rough drafts. I want you to see the raw, inner-workings of how beautiful and how disgusting writing can be (You’ll see that clear enough from my notebook). I am aware that many of the practices that I use when writing are not shared with most other writers, by and large. I don’t want to prescribe your craft: I want to show you options and possibilities. I will encourage risks to be made, and help you to pick up the pieces when everything seems to fall apart. This being said, the only way to write well is to write a lot and with each piece, you have to challenge yourself. Some of the most innovative stories are the ones that seem to “shouldn’t” work.

So, right now, as a mini-excercise, I challenge you to think of something impossible, and then to write it down. Next to that impossible thing, I want you to write the two questions: “Why is this impossible?” and “What would need to exist for this to be possible?” If you decide you want to write about that impossible thing, go ahead. All I want you to do is to look at that impossible thing and those two questions a couple times a day. Don’t writing anything else down. Don’t write answers to the questions or a way to work it through. Don’t talk about it. Don’t do any writing or discussing of the impossible thing until you have to, until the thoughts you have about that impossible thing and those questions are bursting to come out. If that “need” to write about it isn’t coming, then look at the impossible thing and the questions more, and think about them more.

The reason I want you to try this is because that very experience of compounding thought and folding it over and over, cycling and revisiting those thoughts is precisely how stories are born. Instead of an contemplating an impossible thing, writers get inspired, and so will you.

As a final note, if there are any questions you have on the crafting process, in any writing form, feel free to ask. I am more than willing to help. If you would like me to address something in a post, or if you would like to send me a copy of something you have written to look over or critique it, simply email me here.

-:- ceramic angel -:-

once a pile of muck,

you stand proud and faithful, now.


stretched, molded, you came to life

and then you were carved

leaving your grey flesh under nails and picks.


under the watchful eyes of time,

you would be found in a blazing oven.

the cool moisture of your skin

being wicked away leaving you parched.


in your proper place they paint you,

they coat you in lies upon lies,

and we expect your shine, your glaze.


fragile little wings, little hands,

and your fragile little smile,

you’re just seconds from shattering,

but not your transcendent heart.


what a tragedy that nobody can hear you sing,

they’ll never know your hopeful hymn;

they’ve never given you a chance.


stained into our neurons are your closed eyes,

afraid of anything but perfect,

and your contrasting Red lips,

it’s the only voice they want to hear—


quiet and scandalous.

-:- Almost (Sleeping) -:-

I can lie here for hours on end.
I can pull back the covers and slide right in.
Looking at the untouched right-side,
I stare at the spinning blades on the fan.
Trying to stare them down to a stop,
but I am, Only sleeping. Read the rest of this entry »

A Quick ‘Throwback’ to Thinking about David Foster Wallace

There are many, upon many favorite David Foster Wallace quotations floating around; collectively they are a vast ocean of brilliantly beautiful blues and of extreme and uncomfortable exactitude that hits us harder than a crested and now collapsing wave, but still we look out to its rolling expanse. On our little dingy of a ship, Read the rest of this entry »

-:- stupid -:-

it was stupid how we met,
how I said you were dumb
and that your eyes were too dark
          I lied.

you tried to flip your hair to mock me,
but it never worked
—and I secretly liked it.

if I had any sense I would’ve been scared
to ask you out to see a movie,
a chick-flick.

and if you had any sense you would’ve said no.
we sat there, pretending to like the drama,
because we had no idea the other also hated dramas.

I was stupid for thinking you wanted
to celebrate three months,
but you had forgotten how fast time flies.

you bought me an broken pocketwatch
to try to slow time down.
maybe I’ll fix it this year,
          I say that every year now.

I remember when we watched Tv
and how mad I was when you wrote Stupid on my arm.
the marker lasted for three days;
          you once told me they seemed like years to you.

it was stupid how two years went by
without much thought. Henry came after the next two.
we saw many cups of coffee and farmers’ markets.
          —you liked the plums best.

one winter, I’m not sure which,
we saw live ice sculpting.
you turned to me and said you could do that,
          and I believed you.

we spent too many days talking
when we both would’ve like to had read crappy books
with the other in the same room.

we should’ve danced more, in the kitchen,
in the hallways, and in the driveway.
we were silly and had terrible tastes in music,
          but we didn’t care.

we planted flowers once,
and forgot to care for them and they died.
we didn’t plant flowers again.

yesterday I saw your picture on the mantel.
Henry asked when you’re coming home.
he’s six now, Tuesday was his birthday.
          —    you would know, you were good with dates.

he and I have talked about calling people stupid,
how it’s powerful and what it means.
later, when he’s older,
— I’ll tell him how intimate stupid really is.

how stupid we both were
and how stupid it all was,
and I’ve never been more stupid than I have been
          in the past eight years.

-:- acoustic blues string -:-

plastic in my pinch

and cords in my caress

I grip a heavy neck,

already strung with wire

with a gentle strike of my palm

a somber tone bellows out

the body still humming from my touch


the moan of a soul cry,

of a hope hymn,

the bitter of these damned Flats

and sting of something sharp.

I’ll dig my fingertip-bones

pressed raw into steel


a morose squeak kills

time now passed in silence

the hum faded with its growing stillness

this language talks to me

as a blues-man’s harp to the devil’s tongue

—all too well


the plastic in my pinch

and chords in my caress

makes the train talk

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