For a long time, almost immediately after publication of My Mind's Abyss, I suppressed this book, limiting all eBook and paperback copies available f...more For a long time, almost immediately after publication of My Mind's Abyss, I suppressed this book, limiting all eBook and paperback copies available for it. I did this out of fear, out of shame, maybe for being a writer, maybe for what I've written. I spent almost two years battling with this book, whether to leave it buried or to resurrect it. I lost great amounts of sleep, had panic attacks, felt more lost and more hopeless all because of having written this book. I no longer felt some sense of pride about it, instead it became my scarlet letter.
I wrote My Mind's Abyss while I was in a different place in my life, battling with severe depression, substance abuse withdrawal, and delirium tremens, mixed with what remained of a broken life. Getting clean and sober wasn't exactly the reality I was looking for nor hoping to find. See, the original plan was to commit suicide after writing this book. I was losing it. I couldn't sleep. I felt schizophrenic. I figured that if I killed myself after rushing to publish the book, then by my act of suicide not only would I get peace, but the world would have no choice but to hear what I had to say. I also thought that by doing so I could guarantee some wealth for my family. Maybe it's all just narcissism and vanity.(less)
All right, so I've had a copy of this book for a good while; I think like four months or so. I haven't exactly been known to be the fastest reader, bu...moreAll right, so I've had a copy of this book for a good while; I think like four months or so. I haven't exactly been known to be the fastest reader, but on top of that I have work and school. I was able to purchase a copy but I didn't get to it right away. So, yeah, I'm a busy guy, I'm important, yada yada...but I'm almost sorry that I waited so long.
The novella is primo! It has a great story line about two gun runners smuggling weapons from a military base in Texas into Mexico. Things quickly become more interesting and heat up, and from then on, it's a page turner until the end.
All right, so I have to say this--it felt like I was watching a movie. It was like a screen play, but wasn't a bothersome read. He was very detailed but didn't use a lot of fluff. Butcher said what he needed to say and that was it. The characters in the story are well-developed, and some of the things some of them said or did even made me laugh.
Overall, it was a great story and I'm looking forward to the next one (or two). Thanks, Butcher!(less)
Originally, I attained a PDF copy of this book. At the time the Kindle version wasn't yet available, but for the price, it's a waaaaay less expensive...moreOriginally, I attained a PDF copy of this book. At the time the Kindle version wasn't yet available, but for the price, it's a waaaaay less expensive option than trying to attain a paperback copy; not that it wouldn't be awesome to have a print version, but the prices some people are willing to part with theirs are relatively high. I drink a lot of coffee and it makes my mind race. I was on my usual coffee fit when I read this book for the first time, and it really made me think. It was actually a bit shocking.
Butcher tells of what his life was like behind bars, starting with the final act that landed him there (if you want to hear more of the story as to WHY he was out robbing people at gun point, then you'll have to read Rusty String Quartet, as he talks about it in there). Murder, rape, violence, hatred, pain, humiliation, and even a little joy--it's all in there. Butcher seems to have this "matter of fact" approach to thinks, like, it's not insensitive or anything like that, it's more like "this is just how it is." I know that his time in prison must have been difficult; I couldn't imagine. But what he shares with us in Stone Hotel is a way for someone to vicariously experience what the prison life would be like.
In this volume, his first published by a press, he's compassionate, he observant, he's clear and concise--being able to say not too much, but just enough to convey his emotions and point of view, and then the poem closes. This is a really good collection, one I'll reiterate again--messes with your head a bit.(less)
This was a really nice collection of poems. I know that may sound typical in a review, especially one given to an indie author, but I'm being sincere...moreThis was a really nice collection of poems. I know that may sound typical in a review, especially one given to an indie author, but I'm being sincere about it. I read Jen's first collection, "Undercurrent" and was not nearly as impressed as I am with "Songlines". It's not meant offensively either! I know that myself also being a writer, and I prefer to use that term loosely, also get better over time. No one comes out of the gate hitting home-runs, even if we do come out swinging.
When I was reading through this collection, I was always thinking about "Undercurrent" and how much more I've enjoyed this volume. I think that perhaps with "Undercurrent" there may have been some type of a language difference, not necessarily a barrier, but a difference, as Jen had to translate from her native language into English. It would appear to me that all of the poems (with exception of Engel, which is in German, but she was kind enough to have the English translation next to it) were WRITTEN in English and not translated. Of course, without asking her, this is only my assumption with the way things seem to flow a tad better.
In this collection there really is a lot of powerful imagery, and a times a sort of staggered thought process that doesn't take away from the poems. There's also a love story being told in the poems; by the way, congratulations on your marriage. The spirit of the poet comes out in this collection where Jen is merely the observer attempting to record and translate her awareness into a format that will hopefully last forever.
Job well done on this collection Jen, and it has such a beautiful cover too! My favorite poem is "Testament".(less)
I really liked this chapbook. It was interesting to read this after having read Rusty String Quartet. I know that Raegan Butcher states at the start o...moreI really liked this chapbook. It was interesting to read this after having read Rusty String Quartet. I know that Raegan Butcher states at the start of End of the World Graffiti that he's found his voice, and I believe that he has too, but it was interesting to read some of his earlier poems after reading some later ones. It's the same Butcher who I've come to know. Clear and straight to the point, serious, not so serious, sad and still optimistic. (less)
Everything everyone has been saying about Butcher's writing is true. I've yet to see a negative review about any of his works. I was amazed at how wel...moreEverything everyone has been saying about Butcher's writing is true. I've yet to see a negative review about any of his works. I was amazed at how well he can express his point, and he does it so well with so few words. His writing is gritty, raw, straightforward and has an ongoing undertone of sadness.
Reading through some of those poems, I know they must have been hard to write. He talks about his childhood, a love he had, (further explaining why he went to prison in the first place), and other various events or things going on in his life.
He bears his heart and soul in this collection. Raegan seems so frustrated with things in this collection, but has come to accept some things the way they are. He always seems to have some type of an outlook on life that there is something better; I think or would like to think that he's still hopeful.
I take this book with me when I go places so that I'm able to read a poem every now and again, though I've already read the book. I also take it with me to share his work with others. It's unfortunate that his book is out of print, but it's fortunate that I was able to purchase a copy direct from him on Amazon (and got it autographed). I look forward to more of his work, hopefully in the nearby future.(less)
I don't know where to start when trying to talk about this book. This was my first collection and better attempt at poetry. I don't know if it's a suc...moreI don't know where to start when trying to talk about this book. This was my first collection and better attempt at poetry. I don't know if it's a success or a fail. I wrote this collection during a strange time in my life. I know that probably doesn't make that much sense; at least when thinking about my life I consider them to all be strange times and ever-changing.
With each piece that I write, I look at the former one(s) as garbage and not being good enough. I try to raise the bar with each of my works, so I don't think that there will ever be a consistency per se, unless it comes from knowing my voice. And while maybe that is just the narcissist artist in me, I think that perhaps it's just me being hopeful about my next endeavor.
I guess, for me, White Elephant was a bunch of crap that I was dealing with and didn't really want to anymore, and I had again planned my suicide, smearing my blood on pages 117 and 118, before deciding to go out for a homeless experience in an attempt to regain some joy from the world. So, if you think this collection is crap too, my apologies, I promise things will keep getting better.(less)