Deprecated: Hook custom_css_loaded is deprecated since version jetpack-13.5! Use WordPress Custom CSS instead. Jetpack no longer supports Custom CSS. Read the WordPress.org documentation to learn how to apply custom styles to your site: https://wordpress.org/documentation/article/styles-overview/#applying-custom-css in /var/www/wp-includes/functions.php on line 6078
Jay - JAY SIZEMORE

JAY SIZEMORE

poet and author

Regarding Recent Events

Hello, readers,

In light of recent events, I’ve made the difficult decision to once again remove myself from social media and any activity within circles of the independent writing community.

I’ve once again found myself at the center of a dogpiling escapade, and to be frank, because of this, I was thoroughly considering all options of vanishing off the face of the Earth. I’m sure this would have pleased some, but I’ve done a lot of soul searching, and I won’t be defeated so easily.

Instead, I’ve come to terms with a few things about myself.

I have a mental illness. I’ve hypothesized as much in the past, but people assume I’m just trying to make excuses. It’s not an excuse. But the fact remains.

I’ve reached out to professionals and will be re-entering therapy for my conditions, and hopefully will begin medicinal treatment as soon as possible.

My illnesses are PTSD, and versions of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that have plagued me for my whole life. Perhaps a concussion I suffered in 2006 exacerbated my OCD, as it has seemed to get a lot worse since then, but who is to say. I certainly never had Tourettism ticks before then, and I do now.

My OCD has resulted in obsession with social media, and seeking validation there, to the point that I get trapped in cycles of intrusive thought, and then act on compulsion. This results in bad choices and an unhealthy relationship with the internet, to put it mildly. There is also some element of self-destructive instinct in there, which I think must stem from PTSD. There is some part of me that simply doesn’t want to succeed.

Both the incidents that I have been online-shamed over have roots in these symptoms of mine exerting their control over my rational brain.

On the video I shared via Tiktok, whether or not it was someone I know, or someone trying to draw more attention to my work, or someone just actively trying to hurt me, there is part of myself that knew if I shared it, it would result in the exact outcome we’ve seen transpire.

On the old drama from 2017, I clearly had an OCD episode that resulted in thought spirals and compulsion to destroy myself through lashing at others who I perceived had tried to hurt me.

There’s little excuse for this, except that my mental health issues were not diagnosed, and I have not been properly medicated. I was briefly on Zoloft in 2016, but after a bit took myself off it, resulting in another spiral that was well worse than any that came before. I should have sought help, or another prescription. I just have a paranoid distrust of doctors, hey another symptom of my OCD. The same thing that makes me constantly believe my food has been tampered with, and that there’s an army of people online working against my every move.

I apologize once again for all the hurt I’ve caused and the distrust I have created for myself. I can only hope to do better in the future.

Posting this may be ill-advised itself. It seems no matter what I do, I only make matters worse. But I just want to be transparent as possible.

I realize I have problems that need to be handled in order to have a healthy relationship with any potential audience.

I do not ask for forgiveness at this time. I only ask for understanding, and perhaps a bit of patience.

I will strive to be as good a person as possible, and to produce the best possible stories for anyone who wants to read them.

Thank you for your kindness.

And thank you to everyone who gave me the benefit of the doubt, or at least chose not to participate in the widespread glut of online mockery I’ve endured since Friday.

I do not have many friends in this world. And I cherish the ones that have stood by me, even when I’ve done everything possible to make myself look like an utter fool.

Humbly,

Jay Sizemore

New Novel Forthcoming!

The initial draft of my second novel was completed this month. I am going to begin the editing phase next week.

The first draft closed out at 56,500 words. A little bit longer than APNEA, and it will probably grow some in the editing process, if it follows suit with how my work on Apnea proceeded.

This novel is titled IGNORE THE DEAD. It is an existential horror story about a man with terminal cancer who is given an opportunity to survive, but at a cost that will take its toll on his mind. This book explores what happens when we are forced to face our own mortality, and the nature of love and friendship, and the secrets that people keep. It also delves into the possibilities of what lurks beyond death’s doorway. It’s a novel that tries to get under your skin, and sets a tone of ominous dread that will have you watching the shadows from the comfort of your reading space.

The release date is set for September at the moment. Keep an eye out for this!

In the meantime, I have started work on my third novel already! It’s a horror western. I’m extremely excited to bring this thing into the world. More to come!

Poem for Cormac McCarthy

The Storyteller
~for Cormac McCarthy

If all stories have been told
and there’s only variance in their telling,
what of gods then,
who know all things?
Future, past, present,
swirled like honey around a silver spoon
before stirring through so much bourbon
meant to coat a singer’s throat.
Perhaps God is the story.
Or it becomes the story
through the sacrament of telling,
the sharing of experience,
of details flitting like weightless spiders
across the surface of a pond
where that pond embodies the essence
of human spirit
cupped and passed between
strangers thirsty from their travels,
much spilling through aching fingers,
dribbling to the ground.
Some losses can be felt
before their arrival.
A thirst before physical exertion,
before pain.
They hang like malevolent clouds
beyond the precipice of our world,
unseen yet present
in an atmosphere thick with expectancy
like the scent of blood
in a toolshed, where something happened
both unspeakable and haunting.
This is the nature of stories,
and all have a role to fulfill
in their making, in their living,
each tongue a gear work
in the mechanism of the universe.
Today, the gods frowned
and shook their collective heads,
they dragged their gnarled knuckles
through their beards
or across the gruff whiskers of their chins,
and they acknowledged
that another ramshackle room
had been emptied of its guest,
a flicker of lightning
gone to wander the outer rim,
returned to the story
from which his ether had been birthed.
The telling, however, remained,
for nothing once spoken can be unmade.

Thank You

This is just a note to say, thanks to everyone who has given my debut novel APNEA a chance.

Since its release in January, it has sold 261 copies. It has 45 ratings on Goodreads and 35 on Amazon, with an average rating over 4 stars on both sites.

Reviews for the work have been overwhelmingly positive, and encouraging. Five reader comments have referred to the novel as a “masterpiece” which is a truly humbling and unbelievably amazing thing for an author to hear.

I have submitted it to be considered for The BookLife Prize, The Writer’s Digest fiction prize, The Stoker Award for first novel, and a couple other indie awards.

Now, I am working on my next book. I am 120 pages into it, currently over 40,000 words, and feeling good about where it is going. It’s a horror novel, and this time I am aiming to really get under people’s skin. I am trying to write something so scary, you will have nightmares for weeks after you read it.

I have written a novel

I’m so excited. After years of failing to complete a book of prose, during the final two months of 2022 I finished the first draft of a novel.

This is a goal I set for myself at the beginning of the year, and I consider it a small miracle that I was able to see it through to completion, with so little time to spare. When I saw the NaNoWriMo posts begin online from others who were trying to write their first books, it spurred me to dedicate my efforts with my full attention.

I began my novel draft on November 3, and I finished it on December 23, just in time for it to be a Christmas gift to myself. The first draft was 42,000 words.

This morning, I completed work on re-writes and initial edits. The second draft is 52,000 words. I’ve sent drafts to beta readers to gain insights on what works and doesn’t work. Responses from the first draft were highly positive, and I feel that the second draft is a vast improvement in nearly every aspect. I look forward to hearing from readers on what they think.

The novel is a work of dystopian sci-fi, in the tradition of I Am Legend, Fahrenheit 451, and The Handmaid’s Tale. I’ve tried to marry my key influences into one cohesive style of prose that is not only readable, but compelling. I think this book succeeds in those goals, and at least one reader commented that it was “really original” and a “page-turner.”

Below is the cover I designed for the book. Be looking for it to come out this year. I can’t wait for you to read this.

SHAME: A new poem

Please check out my newest poem, “Shame,” which I published yesterday on Medium.

I think it’s pretty good. I know, I know, my own opinion is worthless. But maybe you’ll agree anyway?

Also, I reviewed the latest Ryan Adams album, “Chris,” which has for some reason stopped showing up in Google search results. I find that odd, since like no one else has reviewed it at all. If that interests you, please check it out.

As always, I appreciate any support you give through sharing my work and of course, reading it.

Thank you.

Politrix: political poems, is out now

Just a note to say that my full-length collection of political poetry has now been released.

POLITRIX: political poems, is a collection that puts most of my poems about social issues into one cohesive volume. While I did not want to just combine my other three political books into this one, some of the better poems from those works did make the cut in this mostly new and unseen collection. These poems deal with issues such as the Trump presidency, gun control, immigration, climate change, racism, censorship, and more.

Over 120 pages of new poetry for you to read and enjoy.

This is the last poetry collection I had in the hopper, and I have no plans to release any more. For the foreseeable future, my focus will be entirely on my fiction.

As always, thanks for your support.

My Instagram poem coffee table book

Just wanted to drop a line and pimp my latest offering, which is a full-sized, full-color coffee table book of the photo poems I once shared to Instagram. It started off as a parody of sorts, mocking the superficiality of the trend, but as I progressed with it, my attempts got more serious and elaborate in their use of the medium to convey a poetic image.

The book is called NOT ART. There are two versions. The paperback is a sampler of sorts of about thirty pages of the pieces. The hardcover, is a full-sized coffee table book, that is over 100 pages of content.

In the book you will find photos such as these examples below:

If this sort of thing interests you, please consider giving it a shot and ordering a copy of the book. If nothing else, it could serve as an interesting conversation piece for your home or office.

My many thanks for helping support independent publishing.

some announcements and housekeeping

My new poetry collection, Canon Fodder, has been out now for a few weeks. Kudos if you’ve picked one up. It currently has three reviews on Amazon, five star rating. Thanks to the reviewers!

I must say, I expected to have more reviews by now, considering how many advance copies I sent out, but such is life.

I have deleted all my social media presence. I do not think I will return. The absence of that toxicity from my life has already been a tremendous boon for my productivity and my overall mentality. You should consider eliminating it from your life as well. I believe you will find it rewarding.

When I say rewarding, I’m not joking. In the few weeks since I’ve deleted my social media platforms, I’ve published two new books, and have another on the way.

The first one I did is a collection of social commentary essays, largely refuting the notion set forward by a bestselling one called “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck,” in which I suggest the popularity of such a philosophy is turning society into a bunch of narcissistic crybabies. My book is called Choosing to Give All the F*cks: More Empathy, Less Apathy for a Better World, and it is up now on Amazon. It contains several of the essays I’ve written over the last two years on Medium, and a substantial portion of brand new work that I wrote especially for the book.

The next new book I put out is a collection of work that I posted on Instagram, combining satirical poetry with artful photographs. It’s a small collection, as I did not pursue that medium for very long, but I think it’s pretty cool. For this book, called NOT ART, I had to make a full color photo book, with high quality paper, so that the photographs would all retain their attention to detail. If you’re interested in such a project, it would make quite the conversation starter for your coffee table maybe. Check it out.

Lastly, one project that I tackled this week was revamping a majority of the book covers of my old books. I realized, looking them over one day, that I had significantly improved as a designer of books since I started publishing stuff over eight years ago. Many of my old books, their covers just sucked. I either was too lazy, or just didn’t care, to notice. I decided to publish new versions of those books, with much better covers, and hopefully you will agree it has been a heck of an improvement.

My first poetry collection, Father Figures, now has one of my favorite covers of all of my works. It’s a real family photo, taken of me as a baby with my mom and biological father. I also updated the Kindle versions of books like this one, which were quite bad, because I honestly had no idea how to produce a good Kindle book up until quite recently. Sorry to anyone who had downloaded one of these glitchy, and not properly formatted Kindle versions. If you update your download of it, it should be fixed now.

Below, I will just post the new covers of the other collections I updated.

CORONA:

Second Amendment Pastoral:

THIEVES:

GRIEF:

The Ghosts of Silence:

life:death:love:theft:

SCOWL:

And lastly, I have a new collection that will be out soon, comprising the majority of the political poetry I have written over the years. It will be called POLITRIX. This one is still in development, but should be done within the month.

That’s all I have to report at the moment. I hope you like the new updated look of most of my books. If you bought an old one, and would like a new version, feel free to contact me via email (you can use the Contact Me page on here for that if you don’t have my email) and we will see what we can do.

In the meantime, thanks for supporting my work. And be on the lookout for future projects. I fully intend to have written a fiction novel this year. And it’s going to be great.

Taters!

But the dead do not remember and nothingness is not a curse.

Cormac mccarthy, suttree