Year Reflections – Writing

In this reflection, I talk about my reflection’s fiction short listing, Envie Magazine, and my honours! Its been a great year of writing for me!

Dead Among Us

Dead Among Us is one of my most least-talked about projects but arguably, it is the one that has seen the most growth and development this year. It was shortlisted along with 10 other exicting new writers this year for the Penguin Random House Write It Fellowship. I received some formative feedback that can help shape the series (fantasy-permitting). Even though I did not enter the Final Round, I cleaned up and have some serious ideas moving forward for this novel. It also gave me a ton of motivation and validation regarding my fiction writing.

Thank you to alpha readers for helping giving feedback and supporting me!

Envie Magazine

Previously titled ‘Writing Community Newsletter’, ‘Envie: A Magazine for the Literary Curios’ has been an exciting new opportunity to be able to contribute to that has helped focus my love of writing and also help grow my lovely network of writers. With 6 Articles contributed this year, it has also been a good way to help me reflect on my own craft. My articles focus more on representation, my inner social worker is showing. I am loving being a part of a writing community effort that is designed to help and support fellow writers on twitter!

Thank you to the rest of the staff for being wonderful and providing very many fantastic reads.

Honours – Social Work Student’s Views Towards Same-sex parenting

After completing the initial proposal to my university’s ethics committee, I am now awaiting on my amendments to be accepted before diving into releasing my survey to Australian social work students. Its been an interesting time and my supervisors have been great sources of supports in revising and creating a clear direction for this research. The first semester of 2020 I will be writing the literature review component while also undertaking research and coding of the data that will be collected.

Having such a strong start is making me excited for the future of this research project, and looking forward to publishing into a social work/LGBTQIA+ related journal.

Summary of project at this point: We are investigating the opinions, attitudes, beliefs and views of social work students (in Australia) towards same-sex parenting through a anonymous qualitative survey. Social work students will be the new work force in the coming years and will essentially be encountering same-sex families on the front line. It is crucial to understand what their views are to see if we as a profession are able to meet social work’s social justice paradigm when working with these families.


Thank you for reading this post! Happy New Year! I will be posting my goals post in the coming week! You’ll notice these three only include on fiction piece, which is something I would like to work on moving forward with Christosfloratos.com and Christoast’s Thoughts.

Stagnation

Website Version Here

By Christos Floratos

It is that time, again.

To wait for it to all end.

This waiting is a crux –

A crutch and a lux,

Spread thin over the fortnight’s influx.

 

This money system has left me bitter,

A tea that has long overstayed.

Corrupted green that has mixed with the soil,

Auburn turns black to brown, to a prodded boil,

Where the honey at the end would always spoil.

 

I am curious to their appraisals,

That my life is through a proverbial spring.

I may have all the bricks lined on the frontier,

But I confess, it is not yet veneer.

Stagnation has taken my masonry’s finest, oh dear.

 

It is all an arbitrary collection of bricks and stones,

For Autumn and Spring don’t exist.

It is the eternal summers and winters I chase.

For even though those bricks are lined, houses are placed

No residence could save me from ash encase.

 

No, I am most definitely in the fall.

Yet defiantly, death and dying is not what I feel.

I am warmed by the sun’s rays and adore the hearth.

Though daises are no longer pushing a girth,

This uncertainty is what lulls me to the earth.

 

I don’t dread Autumn, for it is going,

But because I know it will arrive again.

White horse with black hooves trampling the ground

And there is discovery in it yet against the sound.

For waiting has christened my crown.

 

Nothingness has become my favourite companion.

It is they, that lonesome path to permanence.

At the end nought could be done to amend

Except for you, reader, who has provided an ear on lend.

Perhaps the wait will be indefinite – these words need to be tend.

 

Autumn will be that bastard.

And we will never be through.

We will remain along this cursed line

These cheap words and rhymes, they will be just fine.

These horrible thoughts will be paid through the halt of a lifeline.

© Christos Floratos 2019

Christoast Update – Honours, Poetry, Future and More! (Spooky Month Update)

It has been a hot minute since I’ve made a blog post, but boy has there been a lot going on in the last few months!

A poetry update:

  • Stagnation, the last poem of the ‘Autumn, That Bastard’ Poetry Collection will be posted in November.
  • Bubbles, the poetry collection coming out of Pen to Paper, will be finalised and released during November.

Currently what has eaten my time at university has been my honours project. While doing this research project, I am also completing my regular social work degree which as given me limited time for this website and my writing interests. However, there has been interesting strides and currently working on an Ethics Application to conduct the study. The project is about ‘Social work students’ views towards same-sex parenting’ and is a very interesting space indeed!

Another commitment I have started working on related to my university degree is a project for Rainbow Families where we are aiming to express the voices of children of LGBTQI+ parents, in a creative booklet form.

If you follow my twitter, you may see my Dungeons and Dragons is still going strong, with my Homegame now on Session 45. You can check out the wiki I’ve got going for it here.

Road Ahead:

I finish this semester this week and will dedicate more time to my other writing endeavours.

  • Towards the end of November, I will be doing Extra Life once again, the 24 hour live stream charity to raise funds for sick children. All you need to do to support me is to visit the stream, share with your friends and if you are financially able to, support my fundraising efforts!
  • Another writing project after ‘Autumn, That Bastard’ is finished and all Authors Comment sections are done!

And there is still plenty more after that! So stay tuned by following this blog and following my social media below.

Deity – What the Heck am I Rambling About? #8

Today we breakdown ‘Deity’, the 8th poem of the Autumn, That Bastard poetry collection. ‘Deity’ ponders not ‘who made the universe’ but rather, ‘who made me’. This is poem is in the Autumn that is the construction of my beliefs, values and my spiritual identity.

You can find Deity here before moving on!

Before I delve further into what I am rambling about, I have recently signed up for a fundraiser where I will will be writing 6 poems over a writing filled weekend to help get young people who are disadvantaged get into creative writing workshops! Donations of $15 will get you a PDF version of the 6 poems as a thank you!

https://give.everydayhero.com/au/christoast

But Onto Deity!

In my Author’s Comments section, I talk about how these religions have moulded and constructed my values. However, in here, to continue with the theme of different interpretations of the same poem (as mentioned in ‘There, We’re Whispers’), I am actually using the deities named as representations of events and figures in my life.

“Home was only around when he showed his radiant face.”

The allusion I reference, to the compliment of the face and the reference to Cronulla is my boyfriend. Where all the trains meet is allusion to Central/City stations where me and my boyfriend have tended to meet up at. I liken it to God (shout out to Ariana Grande who does something similar with ‘God is a woman’) as God has been a consistent influence in my life.

“I found Buddha once in the closet of my mind.”

This is a reference to developing calmness to override instinct in my daily interaction. I have become more inclined and reflective in daily interactions since, and many of the typical values expected of Buddhism I have grown to appreciate.

“My teeth were hot and I was sick of faded rainbows.”

The comment about Vishnu and Hinduism, is a comment on polytheism which is an allusion to me emerging on the gay scene and experiencing the community. The faded rainbows imagery metaphorically represents the transition of acceptance from straight to queer.

“In a field scorn of ignorance; that White powdered most.”

In honesty, I have never considered adopting any other spiritual belief apart from my current view point, which is kind of agnostic. I have critiqued how western society (‘White’) has been so exclusionary towards Islam. The broken encore is a reference to how I will try to remain an ally for religious freedom, but how western society has probably heard my arguments before and engaged in this debate numerous times.

Are there any lines that piqued your interest? Let me know on my social media or in the comments below!

Other poems of the collection:

The Penelope Complex
There, We’re Whispers
Leviticus

There, We’re Whispers – What the Heck am I Rambling about? #7

There, We’re Whispers‘ is the first poem I wrote in the ‘Autumn, That Bastard’ poetry collection. Originally titled “There Were Whispers” I revamped and remodelled it to focus on place rather than time. With that said, this type of poem I am more interested in what my readers perceive of it. I have mentioned ‘death of the author’ before, but this poem well and truly is a representation of that in the sense that I do not want to cast an image of what I think it is about.

Wooden Walls

Grey Jungle

Their doorstep

Humble Abode

Descriptions of place within the poem

Something really interesting I found is talking about why I changed the title so last minute. So ‘There Were Whispers’ focuses on time and ‘There, We’re Whispers’ focuses on place and individuals. Throughout the poem I refer to various places, but ‘humble abode’ denotes feelings of kinship and a homey feeling that has caused problems for the voice.

What are these problems though?

No, it is not that cold snap,
Nor is it that summer’s shimmer,
The houses left tender – just a whisper.
In howls of the past; here they entrap.

Rhyming Example

If you notice, the poem rhymes, stops in a peculiar place, keeps going and then ends without a rhyme. This is to symbolise rhythm with life once a previous assumption/pleasure is challenged. That we stop to think about it, try to move on with our lives but the activity/thing becomes irreparable moving forward.

Moving onto the last stanza, I want to talk about how it completely changed and how that affects the final meaning. Originally, it was meant to be:

There were whispers

and I was afraid.

Pre-production Last Stanza

Other than being a total rip-off ‘The Walking Dead’ comic issue, it felt like it did not serve the rest of the poem. Being afraid is only apparent if you make a few leaps and jumps over rivers of confusion in the poem. Being shameful is relevant with people asking who he is, the ‘spitting lights’ which casts imagery of him being lesser, the contrast with being salvation but also being Satan…

There, we’re whispers

And I followed that shame.

Published Last stanza

But as I say, I am a big fan of what people think! Do let me know what you think in the comments, social media, or even emails!

Thank you to everyone so far who has given comments and their thoughts on my writing! It has been a blast to read!

There, We’re Whispers

Website Version Here

By Christos Floratos

In grainy corridors calling distant lights

Where shadows erect pillars of blight,

The wooden walls beg down upon me,

And here I am left quaking at its fee.

 

No, it is not that cold snap,

Nor is it that summer’s shimmer,

The houses left tender – just a whisper.

In howls of the past; here they entrap.

 

Arsonists of hate and weavers of sorrow

They gather like dying moths to flickering toilet lights.

“Isn’t that him?” They whisper and spray,

With their stuttered voice and eyes disarray,

 

Like Satan is on their door step and all they can do

Is whisper and point at him.

The farmer of salvation dug deep in mud yet

No one utters a word to him.

 

Neon lights echo a howling gale through the grey jungle

Flashes flash as Utterers utter

“Tell us more.” They demand then hide,

However, they’ve been blinded by their gaze to the blaring sun.

Yet here I am in this humble abode,

Ants follow and sheep’s tune to anode

For you see,

It all came with one simple mist…

 

Because of those whispers

And those damn spitting lights

It shook me here in this necropolis disintegrating

And all those sheep are going,

And here in the back of the cities I must confess,

 

There, we’re whispers.

And I followed the shame.

 

© Christos Floratos 2019

This is one of those ‘death of the author’ poems I alluded too that would come in this collection. I am so interested in what other people think this poem is about, so shoot me a message on my social medias or leave a comment below!

Other poems of the Autumn, That Bastard collection:

What The Heck am I Rambling About? #3 – Night-Time Colours

Night-Time Colours is about some of the feelings experienced in a night-club. It is a celebration of the beauty such a night holds but also a critique on the almost-carnivorous repetition these nights create. It is the third poem of the ‘Autumn, That Bastard‘ Poetry Collection and maybe the most digestible of them all!

‘What The Heck Am I Rambling About?’ is me talking about the meanings I intended in my creative and poetic works!

Check out the poem here before reading ahead where you can also read my Author’s Comments section: Night-Time Colours

I used to very much enjoy going to clubs occasionally and spending the night out with friends. Dancing away to music. But now, sometimes, not all the time, I am hit with an anxiety in a club space. There’s a feeling of limited control and what I think is a “loudness to compete with the loudness”. In such a space, ‘intimacy has no atrium’ and as such, love and hook-up culture can be freely explored. To an extent, celebrated.

The colours and lights I refer to are what people are drawn to. Because amidst the bobbing of the head, amidst the undulating movement of bodies, people want to be in the centre of the night-club. I use the oxymoron of ‘silent-loud decree’ that there is an expectation and eagerness to be presentable. Yet this dress-codes runs in direct opposition of this purpose. How the hell do you dance comfortably in those clothes? Yet, we rarely challenge it and it is ultimately the ‘cruel-bouncer’ who blocks them and they don’t get to dance, hence the ‘stale legs’ imagery.

As mentioned to in the author’s comment section of Nigh-Time Colours, this is both a celebration of this youthful culture but also a critique of it. Although the poem ends on a somewhat hopeful night, the repetition is cyclical and nights like a clubbing night will happen again. This is just one of the ways it relates to the Autumn, That Bastard poetry collection.

You can check out the other poems so far in the collection here:

Leave me your thoughts about this in the comments!