Oh, Jean. The slate is clean. Friday, Sep 25 2009 

“May I be honest; may I be decent…
I wonder if you know why I address these manuscripts to you.
You are the only person in the world
who believes I can do what I set out to do.
Not even I believe that all the time.
And so, in a kind gratitude,
I address all my writing to you,
whether you know it or not.”

~John Steinbeck, Life in Letters

I’m starting fresh. I’m still waiting to feel that novel rise within me; I’ve had a few ideas, a few whispers of a thrill. I need a goal. I’ve met most of those I’ve set for a while, and the others are so far off that it’d be a wasted effort to be preoccupied with them.

With a huge sense of disappointment, I had to cancel the Tulane book release earlier this month due to a administrative error on the campus side of things, and school/work/NROTC has been keeping me on my heels trying to break me. While I still plan on having a book release here, I’m doing what I can to plan it to make sure its done right.

Once more, if you have any suggestions— let me know! I’d love to hear your ideas on what makes a book release worth attending, because trust me: I’ve done as many as you have.


Adam Camp Photography:

Been awhile since I plugged someone so here goes— if you’re into photography check out adam camp’s website at:


Here he not only posts his latest pictures and thoughts about, well, anything that comes to mind— but he’ll also show diagrams on how he sets up his shop, and will trade any knowledge he has with his readers.

I’ve posted a few of my favorite shots that he’s put up in the last month. Like most aspiring professionals, he needs motivation, so drop him a line and comment his site. Tell what you like, don’t like, and what you need to see more of.

Knowing the kind of gentleman Mr. Camp is, I’m sure he’d be happy to oblige to any challenge.

Jonathan Bollinger Nile C. Kinnick High School Yokosuka, Japan January 2009.


I know, I know, its been a while since I posted something of my own to read. So here we go!

In my creative writing class, we did a piece on voice. Simple assignment, just create a narrative with a distinct voice. Here, I once more explore the darker aspect of human nature. One of these days, joy and happiness and all that good stuff will bubble up inside me— but until then, I can’t pick my muses.

Those fleeting dames of inspiration always seem to find me.

The usual remark: Leave feedback! I love to hear criticism. It usually takes me 3 days and a long stubborn argument before I admit each latest piece isn’t the greatest thing ever— I’m arrogant enough to post it online and believe people will read, so shoot me down! Tell me what you don’t like, then tell me what made you shiver. I love negative feedback as much as I love your kind words! Improve me so that I can write the next great American novel, kiddos.



The Hidden

There is a place where I hide on Jed’s property. It’s not much more than a grassy patch of land, surrounded by three crumbling buildings: a house, a barn, and a tool shed. The tool shed is locked, and I don’t like locks. Most of the time, I’m not the one with the key. That was my father, the man with the key ring. Whenever I heard the jangling I knew— Oh! I knew! — that my father was on the way and he was mad. Boy, he’d get mad sometimes.

Like the time I shot the dog. Now, I didn’t shoot the dog like some trigger happy fool. But what’s a city kid to do with a hunting dog anyways? The dog goes down the rabbit hole, a rabbit comes out first. Even a city kid knows that rabbit comes out first. And you shoot on movement alone. Instinct. You don’t wait. Because the rabbit always comes out first. I’m not a kid anymore. But I was when I shot his dog.

Not saying I’m sorry. Not saying I didn’t do wrong. I just don’t like locks.

When he jangled those keys, I always tried to stay away from my dad. I have no problem with the dark; I just don’t like being trapped. What kid likes the corner, anyways? I know the difference between the dark and the light, and it is a locked closet door.

I stay away from the tool shed.

I really used to like the barn.

High rafters and the comforting smell of straw and rot, there was a lot of wide open space. I liked the emptiness. It was nice to have something to fill. I lined the walls with all the dolls I could find. It’s always a pleasure to have company, but I don’t bring too many people here. I don’t think that they’d understand. Even the dolls can get judgmental, a silent majority against me. I brought them to watch but… I don’t think they like me very much. That’s why I left the barn one day, and kept to the house. In rooms, I can hide from the eyes, even when the walls are crumbling. I’m not ashamed. People just don’t understand.

In the remains of the house, I hide the worst part of me. The windows are all broken in, shards hanging from the frame; there is gravel on the carpet. There is a stale smell that the wind can’t get rid of. I used to pace around the house, sitting for hours, staring at the art on the walls. Those who I bring here leave their mark.

Dark stains cake the walls like finger pictures. They tell a story, but I pay no mind. There are many stories buried in this house. I just enjoy the movement. Savor the rawness. Those streaks dance up and down all over the place. They dance all the way to the basement door. It is a hard oak door, thick and immobile. The other side of that door is the furthest place in the world for me. I’m sure everyone else feels the same way.

This is the place I hide on Jed’s property. This is not my happy place, but I don’t think I’ll ever be far from it. Over the hill and under the sun, I follow the dirt path toward the abandoned lot. I am heading to work. My father always said I’d have to atone for his sins. All the dirty things he did marked me from the rest; his legacy was mine before I knew not to want it. All I ever wanted was to be a better man than he, but the wound father passed down to me got infected real nice.

I walk up the path around the house. I see the storm cellar doors that lead to the basement. The doors are tied shut. I hear rapid pounding and muted voices, but ignore it. My father taught me to ignore a lot of things. The muffled yelling means nothing here. This is the place where the dirt meets the glass, and rust stains the trees. This place is neither heaven nor hell, but the river to either. I drag the baseball bat behind me.


My first Creative Writing Class Assignment: The Calling Currents. Sunday, Aug 30 2009 


Hey everyone! This is due Wednesday afternoon, so please critique it before then! While I haven’t told anyone in the class that I’ve written a book of short stories, I do expect them to figure it out when Tulane University’s campus is overrun with flyers and advertisement for my book release.

This is a new, original story written for the class. It is about Sebastian, a man onboard the RMS Carpathia, and his struggle with the ocean. For those who don’t know, the Carpathia was the first ship on the scene to rescue the survivors of the Titanic.

I consider this the equivalent of asking my peers to edit it before I turn it in—so please, any serious criticism is needed. Especially grammatical and spelling, etc. Also, if there is anything I can clarify more…

Ah, I’m proud of this. It was fun to write, but the inspiration came and went regularly. Cheers!


The Calling Currents  (v 1.2)
By Terence Sanders

“There is nothing to fear at all.”

The words settled over the quiet bridge of the RMS Carpathia, and the echo reverberating within the spaces. Sebastian listened in shock as Captain Arthur Henry Roston concluded with reassurance over the intercom, with all the sincerity of women with questionable morality. After all, the announcement explaining the sudden change of direction and speed of the ship had come hours after the fact. Perhaps, it was late with reason. The news of the Titanic sinking on its maiden voyage numbed him, and he was certain that he wasn’t alone in that regard.

Alone now in the bridge with the captain, Sebastian could feel the suffocating despair wash over and around him. The Carpathia was the closest ship to the last known coordinates of the Titanic. Carrying the somber responsibility of this knowledge, the captain shared the burden of attempting a rescue with the rest of the crew.

Sebastian made his way to the door. His limbs felt unresponsive and trembling. His body was reaching for the doorknob, but his mind was drifting to years ago. When he was just a boy, his father had been lost to the sea. Sebastian swore that he would never abandon his family for a watery grave. Yet, heading to the sinking carcass of a sailor’s fantasy— it was there that the very beast loomed ever present and waiting. He considered the possibility of heading to his cabin, hiding in his bunk. In hiding, the ocean would take no notice of him. Halfway out the door, his hopes fell to pieces as the captain informed him that he would be standing out on the deck, searching for survivors.

There was no escape. There was no hiding. The captain waved him away.

Visibly shaken, Sebastian nodded mutely. He left the captain on the radio and made his way to the outer decks.

Illuminated by the ship’s lights, the calm ocean traced the outlines of the hull. From the safety of the doorway, he stared out wistfully and imagined land. The sweet, reassuring feeling as grass gave way beneath his feet while wandering the woods. He could smell the jasmine growing by the windowsill, and within his mind, traced the hard oak wood that built his home. He wondered suddenly why he was onboard. He didn’t belong here.

The ocean seemed to be aware of his presence. For hours the water had been placid, indifferent to the frantic scrambling of the sailors aboard the ship. But now, with every splash across the deck, the water seemed to drag the very energy of men back with it. Alarms were sounding, warning of the troubled waters ahead. Glancing around, Sebastian realized that he was alone with the beast.

The waves crashed uniform against the side of the ship. The steady march of the ocean was escalating, unforgiving of this encroachment on her prey, and battered the Carpathia in its pursuit of rescue. By now, the distress alarms had stopped ringing across the ship, but the silence onboard only amplified his fears. When they arrived, would he hear the muffled cries for help? Or would there be nothing, merely the ceaseless wrinkles of movement in the dark?

Imagination now turned on him. Sebastian could hear the whisper of screams among the waves in his crowded mind. Hidden among the swell of the tide was the slow moans of those drowning ahead, a child’s whimper for him to hurry. The ship shook with speed as it cut through creases between the waves. Still, guilt barricaded within his chest against reason; it was a weight sinking slowly to the soles of his damp boots. It rooted him to his place as audience before the calling currents; the ocean begged for his acquaintance and more.

He was sweating profusely. He licked the salt, the warmth melting ice from his lips. The saliva froze colder than before. Ice floes, the voiceless sentries of this frigid hell, nodded to the dark jive of the tide. Harmless at first sight, each harbored a history of violence— and tonight, they danced heartily to the feast of souls in these waters.

The ship pressed on perilously close. The ice was visible around them. A whisper in the wind, he strained to hear. The dark water seemed to mock his efforts, clawing up the side of the ship hungrily at him. The taste of salt once more on his lips, he stared toward his reflection in the water. His face was joined by the imagined faces of all those trapped in the water just ahead, unable to rot away with their pain forgotten. Suspended in their beauty, they were meaningless beneath the spray and foam. There was nothing else enduring, the ocean reminded, than this endless hunger.

His breath stalled on the way to his lungs. The unmistakable outline of the sinking Titanic interrupted the steady line of the horizon. Cut down by the frozen scythe of the ocean’s mistress, he saw the slow fall of man’s greatest effort against the waves. Sebastian could feel the fear rising as the ocean continued to mock him, with each wave beckoning him to ride its pull back down toward the deep.

Sebastian heard the shouting from the bridge. The others had spotted the fading treasure as well. Three and a half hours had passed since the course had been set. Was there anything left to save? The ocean seemed to prowl each wrinkle of it’s surface, racing against him to feed. His eyes narrowed and tried to see in the dark twilight, searching for movement— for hope, a desperate need of his own soul as much as those among the freezing waters.

The water grinned back at him.

“You can’t have me.”

His voice was met with low voices talking within earshot. He stood stunned by a response, and cupped his ear. Soft, tender sounds were floating toward him. Sebastian shouted out to the captain and was surprised to be greeted with a hard smile. The ship shuddered to a stop. Sebastian reached down and picked up a length of rope, some courage. For the first time since he had stepped outside, the water seemed anxious by the presence of the Carpathia. Of Sebastian.

The icebergs that had seemed so far away now loomed dangerously close. No longer stolid and vacant, his mind carved malevolent expressions across the face of the floating sentries. The wind, though ever present, wailed now for his attention as he struggled to place where the voices were coming from. Such low murmurs, they seemed further now. The water swirled causing endless small, sharp waves swirling dangerously— the rabid ocean’s frothy maw, churning in hunger. He saw the scattered remains of the Titanic floating; he felt the tug within for hope to be splintered among the debris, and swallowed whole.

There was color among the waves. He squinted, but his eyes widened in astonishment. It disappeared, fading from view as though once more his mind was taunting him. But louder now, above the wind, were pleas for help. He could be brave. Sebastian shuddered, his face grim.

Gripping the railing tightly, he made his way toward the voices.

Dipping beneath and rising between the swell, he could see a ravaged life boat drifting aimlessly. Onboard, huddled figures were pointing and waving. As the ship approached, the extent of the damage became evident; once more, he could feel the weight of the rising tide anchoring him to the deck. Time was running out onboard the boat and in its void, water was quickly filling.

With the rope, Sebastian leaned over the railing. The boat was just beyond his reach. At the mercy of the tides, he watched the water teasingly pull the boat away and bring it closer. He tried to ignore the fear frozen across the faces of the small children onboard. Desperation had begun to cloud his judgment. He stretched wider, courage pulsing through his veins—

And nearly fell into the water himself. At the last moment, the trap sprung, the current pulling the sinking life vessel sharply away. He could hear the traces of perverse laughter from deep below as he struggled to regain balance, his face wet with sea spray. The rope slipped from his grip. People screamed as a wave nearly capsized the life boat entirely, but dragging it so very close to the ship as to tempt him once more.

He could feel the courage slinking back within his veins, leaving burden of self-preservation to hold him down, useless but safe. Sebastian felt his face turn to stone, a mask against the people to hide his hesitation. What did they see? Their hero, brave and valiant, struggling against the strength of the ocean? He was no Achilles. Or perhaps he was, with the heel in his heart. He recognized that he was flawed, imperfect. And worse, that it was no excuse to stop living, to help live.

The life boat was now collapsing. Frantically, the people pleaded for help, reaching out toward him as moments passed quicker than a breath. People were falling into the water, while others held their children higher, closer to the ship and out of the mounting water. A rising swell was visible on the horizon, the impartial scythe; the chariot of the ocean’s mistress approach once more.

Sebastian stared at the child held out over the edge of the boat. His eyes locked with the small boy’s own. The child’s mouth moved to say something, the wind carrying the whisper to Sebastian’s ears:

“Please, sir. I’m afraid.”

Sebastian could wait no longer. He took the bait. He lunged toward the child’s small outstretched hands. The wind stung at his eyes. His hands were cold. His jaw clenched firmly around what was left of his nerve. The waves pulled back, and the child what seemed miles away. He was exposed. The ocean reached up to engulf him whole—

And in a sea of frost, he felt warmth.



Support your favorite starving author! www.terencesanders.com

The Return to New Orleans; New Story!! Saturday, Aug 22 2009 

I have just moved into my room, and acclimated appropriately to the New Orleans lifestyle, if you’re picking up what I’m setting down. Needless to say, I’m not in the appropriate state of mind to be writing in—however, I was too excited not to publish this. I got the idea on the airplane over and finished it just now. Expect this intro to be edited in the morning if I remember I wrote this.

In short news, I’m safe and happy to be back home.

In this story I use several extended metaphors—but despite my eagerness to express my thoughts on my own writing, I’m much more eager to read what you think they mean. While unpolished and perhaps … etc. I’m not in the mood to explain. I’m just happy to have written again, despite my claims that I’m down with short stories.

With affection,

P.S. I’m working on ideas for a novel. Please leave your ideas on what you think should be included in the next great American novel. Move aside East of Eden!

P.P.S. Please read and leave your comments on what you think! There is nothing more disheartening for me to write without feedback. Don’t write me telling me good job, write me telling me what’s wrong—or what made you think, or a thousand other things that don’t have to do with stroking an ego that’s entirely too big for its own good.

The Woodsman.

When I was young, I came upon a place empty and void, but with the mind of a child, it had the potential to be anything. Unsure of what to do with this sacred place, I left it barren but moist; ready to bloom when I returned. I sat alongside the other children and listened to the history of my family, the land, and learned to smile with the same chant. Memorized, I said many great things and mesmerized, I knew there was none greater than the world I called my own.

My thoughts drifted through this world and back again many times before I remembered that empty place. Now, I knew what I must do— I would return and plant the seeds of my father’s land, and bring this world from the emptiness. I was proud and confident, for I could see what I must build, and it was beautiful.

I set off but was three steps down the road when my confidence took its first blow. The beautiful vineyard on the edge my father’s land had always been my favorite place, yet just beyond the wall I could see the wild bloom dying. The very vineyard that I loved was choking the land just beyond, ignorant of stifling the world outside the walls.

There was patch of flowers so blue that it appeared the sky itself had fallen and graced the land, but the slow march of death towards it ensured that yet another miracle would go by unnoticed. Helpless, the inevitable passed before me, and I feared. Feared what? I wasn’t sure then, and still I wonder what gripped me so violently, but it hasn’t let go. I knew that those vines would have no place in the world I would make, and I burned seeds until precious few were left from my father’s land and I took the seeds from the dying sky.

Beyond the walls of my father’s land, I saw many things that I didn’t understand. I spoke a great language yet could not communicate with some I met, even if I felt they too watched me behind eyes that knew better things. I traded seeds with many I met, and along my travels I kept only those I knew would make my patch of emptiness full. My pockets always felt light, but full, and I’ve never felt richer. Many times I traveled back to that sacred place to plant those seeds and watch fields grow, the trees stretch skyward, and thicken with pride. I sit many mornings in the sky, watching those blue flowers’ slow dance with the wind, and wonder how I ever thought I could build my father’s land here but leaning against the tall trees I brought from my father’s own birthplace, I feel a great sense of belonging and strength, and realize being great can mean many things.

Although I may have taken the long road away from my father’s land, never once did I feel sadness in leaving it behind; I think back to the day I left confident that I knew what the world was. Even with my world in full bloom, I was naive and young. There came a day when I met a pretty girl, who said many things I didn’t understand yet wanted nothing else but to. I took her to see my rapture, my world, and nervously watched her stare blankly around, unimpressed.

She said little, and even walked past my patch of sky without notice. In the coming weeks, she would ask many things— many terrible things. I would dig up the fields I loved to sit in to clear the land; I would carve up those trees that lasted all these years to build her a home. I contested with myself, declared it for love, and knew it was for better. Days would pass and more she would demand, and more I would slash. Soon there was little left of what I thought was heaven, and in its place was a new vision that was for us, for love, for practicality, for her.

Yet, the more I carved to gain, the more I seemed to lose. Her beauty faded into greed, and I gave in even more because there wasn’t enough left to keep, and I was scared of losing her after the price I paid. When the wells ran dry, and the trees were gone, and fields had returned to the emptiness whence they came— she left as well. In a fiery blaze of passion for someone else, some better man, she burned the home I had built from myself to shelter her, to please her, and left but charred ground.

I asked her but one question: not who, but why. Her answer stunned me so soundly that I did nothing to stop the fire. She had said from the doorway as she left:

“You are nothing but a woodsman. With your axe you hack away— I want a gardener. I don’t want to build something; I want to grow with someone.”

After all the years, I stared at the empty place I had found as a child so fascinating, the place I had filled with the greatest parts of the world I had seen to keep with me forever, to make me the man I wanted to be— the place I had carved at, slashed at, and watched burn to emptiness. I walked for miles in the ash of what could have once been something more, stared horrified at the end of the same slow march of death upon the bloom of my blue sky; the mistake I swore would never taint this place.

Among the wilted, I sat quiet and shaking. I felt young and inexperienced. I thought of home and felt an aching. I knew both that I could return and would not. The damage had been painful but not fatal. I sifted through the ashes to find the remnants of myself growing back. I gave it time and I waited patiently, eventually I watched the world rise forth from the emptiness. Different, though close, it was less bright and I built a wall of hard stone as a tribute to the memory of vulnerability.

I waited a long time for my patch of blue sky to come back, but it never did. Some cuts go too deep to heal, but never shallow enough to forget. I woke one day to accept this, and lived many after. I tended to what was left, what remained, what I could keep to hold strong. When I had the courage that my garden could once more weather any storm, I carefully stepped beyond my walls; I peered into the same world with wearied eyes. I didn’t speak to strangers to hear great things, and I ventured to my father’s land on occasion without fear of childhood impressionability. Ill-advised, I kept my eyes sharp for the sight of a patch of fallen sky, no matter how small.

I returned one day from my travels to see a stranger in the bare fields on the outskirts of my land. Beneath the hood revealed a beautiful woman, which made me immediately suspicious. Some cuts go too deep. But she asked for nothing but a conversation with the keeper of these lands, so that I gave her. She said many kind words for what she had seen when she had roamed my roads and gardens, but said, “It could use but a touch of color.”

Before I could protest, she kneeled down and plant but a single, bright blue flower.

Tears swelled up in my eyes, and I’ve never forgotten how hard hope is to find.



What I do when I don’t write.

Book Released Online! Return of MNIJM! Sunday, Jul 19 2009 

It is true that we are weak and sick and ugly and quarrelsome
but if that is all we ever were, we would millenniums ago
have disappeared from the face of the earth.
~John Steinbeck

A busy month! First and foremost, I’d like to thank my publisher for all the help she’s been towards getting the book out. It was released a week ago, and is now available at Amazon.com :

Click this picture to go to the webpage!

The Pocketbook

To purchase the book, you have the following options:

1. Purchase my item at  Amazon.com!

2. If “temporarily sold out” as it has been the last few days, buy directly from the publisher! It is the second option. It may cost a dollar more, but there are ample copies available. She is the other seller on Amazon.com selling the book under the “purchase new and used” section.

3. The third option is to buy from me! I’ve ordered a box and will be selling and signing copies for all those who desire. It will be slightly cheaper than both options Amazon.com and will guarantee that autograph everyone is so eager to receive.

If you are in Louisiana, fear nothing! I will offering the same deal once I get back to Tulane University in the renaissance city of New Orleans. I am still also in the process of planning an epic book release at Tulane University in mid-September hopefully!

P.S. if you’re interested in helping at the Tulane Book release, in any way shape or form, please email me at coloring.the.gray@gmail.com! I don’t care if you’re a musician wanting to bring an acoustic guitar and sing songs to draw attention and crowds, or a paste and construction paper fiend and desire to decorate the world with word of my book’s release.

As always, I am humble and thankful for any help offered.



For those of you who have been keeping in touch with the best of the rising young musicians of New Orleans, the following won’t be much news to you. However, if you suddenly remembered how incredible MNIJM is, head over to their blog and catch up! Just click on the song to go to the blog that has the free download available!

2009 Demo
1. No Matter What 
2. Poof [ tentative title ]
3. The Elders and the Desperate

Please read my previous blog on the New Orleans rock band, MyNameIsJohnMichael, if you have no idea who I’m talking about but dig the new songs. I’m sure I can help you find a way to get you the other 52 free songs the released in 2008.

Call me sentimental of The City Life, but listening to the harmonies in Poof reminded me of the cast of vocals at MNIJM’s disposal for the upcoming album— I’m eager to see how they continue to grow and expand upon their limitless potential.

It is The Elders and the Desperate, however, that’s more than impressing… it’s damn near amazing. Probably my favorite lyrically of all 55 (I lied, Candy is still my favorite, but it is close), so I do wonder which genius had the biggest role in writing? mynameisjohnmichael

I have to be honest, though, the writing takes a rare second to the simply amazing drums and brass in the song. I tip my metaphorical top hat to who I presume to be Eric Rogers and Cory Schultz playing, and the rest of you inspiring musicians.

New Orleans. MyNameIsJohnMichael. Three songs in three weeks leaves the world wondering— and eager in anticipation— of what’s next? I’m half convinced I’ll wake up ten years from now and see them performing live on the television because it’ll be that sad day when those SOB’s Time and Life have passed me by, and I can’t wander into a venue and stand by their stage and sing along next to them. What’s next is radios, world tours, and a benefit foundation in their honor. A movie deal, a couple book deals, and a school of music built.

But I’ll still sing along.

The Elders and Desperate available for download!

I can’t wait to see you live again, guys.


I have been busy though! No time for writing as much as it kills me, but I’m having fun at CORTRAMID NROTC training, in sunny San Diego.
Here is a picture of what I’ve been up to:100_0331

Contrary to popular belief, I’m not going into aviation— no real desire to fly fighter jets. After a week of acrobatic stunts and flying combat helicopters, however, I’m not willing to rule ANYTHING out.

I’m learning loads, and having a great time networking and meeting new people. I hope everyone’s summer has been productive as mine.

Cheers from San Diego!


Any questions for the author? About his writing? About writing in general? About the state of the San Diego Chargers? Feel free to leave a comment or send an email to coloring.the.gray@gmail.com

I, Terence Sanders, promise to get back to you. You support your favorite starving author— and I’ll never forget it.

The Epic Japan Marketing Tour. Friday, Jun 19 2009 

“Coleridge was a drug addict. Poe was an alcoholic.
Marlowe was killed by a man whom he was treacherously trying to stab.
Pope took money to keep a woman’s name out of a satire
then wrote a piece so that she could still be recognized anyhow.
Chatterton killed himself. Byron was accused of incest.
Do you still want to a writer and if so, why?”

~Bennett Cerf


Hey, its been over a month, hasn’t it? But I’ve been busy— I swear it.

Some key points I’ve done for my in the last month:

1. Made the front page headlines for the Stars and Stripes Pacific Newspaper, the primary newspaper for all military installations that have anything to do with the Pacific, which basically means my silly grin was spread from California, to Hawaii, to Japan, to Korea, and Guam.

Here is parts of the article, the full article found at:

Yokosuka Grad publishing book inspired by military community

Terence Sanders, 18, the book’s author, returned for a visit last week to Yokosuka, where as a junior at Nile C. Kinnick High School he wrote many of the stories included in the proof edition.

Many of his characters’ personality traits came from Sanders’ experiences living on military bases.

The transient nature of the community instilled a desire within Sanders to get to know people quickly and deeply in the short time before they inevitably parted.

“Nobody goes into high school expecting to graduate with their friends,” Sanders said. “So you pick the best people and get to know them the best you can.”

That sense of urgency led Sanders to write as much as he could before leaving for California during his senior year.

Albie Clemmer, a former teacher at Kinnick and the sponsor for the writing group, said other writers looked up to Sanders out of respect for his writing.

“It shows there really is no limitation to age because at his age, his fluency with the language — it just flows so beautifully from him,” Clemmer said. “The stories, the ideas, the images, they’re coming from a deeper place.”

While attending Orange Glen High School during his senior year in Escondido, Calif., Sanders’ writing caught the attention of a student whose mother was starting up a publishing house.

But the publishers said they found Sanders’ writing interesting, so he agreed and embarked on a grueling editing process.

Sanders explores several writing techniques, ranging from stream of consciousness to more traditional structures. His writing is often heavy on metaphor, which Clemmer believes is one of Sanders’ strengths.

“He sees immense complexity most people his age don’t see,” Clemmer said. “These relationships really are puzzles.”

Sanders will have a book release in New Orleans, where he is a first-year student at Tulane. He’ll have updates about the book at his Web site, http://www.terence sanders.com.

His full Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps scholarship means he likely will follow the path of his father, Lt. Cmdr. Wesley Sanders.

While many writers dream of finishing a book but save it for another day, knowing that he’ll be putting on an ensign’s rank in three years gave Sanders all the more reason to finish up while he is young.

“Once I get into the service, there will be other important things in my life,” Sanders said.”

Erik Slavin / S&S

Terence Sanders displays a proof copy of his new book, “The Pocketbook: Coloring the Gray,” while visiting Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, on Tuesday. Sanders, a first-year student at Tulane University, based some of the personality traits of his characters on people he met as a student at Kinnick High School.

2. Gave a couple talks about my book to the faculty at Kinnick High School and such, basically getting my old community aware of what I’m doing. Its always fun to talk to people and hear about how they have already heard of the book—through various people, seen my ads, etc.

Thanks Jossan Urban, especially. Since for some reason almost the entire Filipino population of Yokosuka visits her myspace, where there is an extreme blow up of my ad 🙂th_50434e2b


3… maybe I’ll continue this list some other time. I’m so tired, I can’t even think right now. Let’s just leave it at “Great chance to spread word across the world.”




I spoke to my good buddy, Stephen Voodoo Powell (Check out his facebook group New Orleans Music Scene to get the latest of the music happenings around New Orleans”) and he told me he could probably utilize his resources for securing a room at the LBC for the book release…

I’d settle for a table.

Anyways, I need ideas! How can we make it a sha-bang worth remembering? Who wants to help? I think I’m going to plan on it being a Friday or a Saturday in September…

Well. If you’re interested and full of ideas, HIT ME UP on this or at my email.

Overdue Thanks, Rainer Maria Rilke, Let’s get excited about something I normally won’t do if you paid me… Friday, May 15 2009 

"The purpose of life is to be defeated
by greater and greater things."
~Rainer Maria Rilke

It’s been a quiet two weeks hasn’t it? I’ve seen the hit count on my web blog grow, and grow— so I apologize for not updating. I am finally through with my first year of college and wonder,

Why does saying that make me feel so old, yet sound so young?

Regardless, it is done and over with now. I thank those that have supported me on this journey leading up to the release of the book: everyone who submitted art, especially Samantha Thayer, Khaila Sun, and Mehdi Vasigh, Adam Camp for various photographs to provide stimulating conversation on the blog, my publisher for making this all possible…

There are so many to thank. Hell, I can thank Maya Goldberg for being there to bounce ideas off of, and Luke Lavanway for telling me that I didn’t look the part of a writer at all. MYNAMEISJOHNMICHAEL putting up a shout out on their website pretty much made my spring, not to mention Leo giving me a shout out at the show.

All along, I’ve wondered how I was going to make this blog personal, but well…

Thanks. I play the part of arrogance and over confident well— but know that not a day goes by that I don’t recognize my saints.


First off, I’d like to thank Kelsey Rogut for introducing me to the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. If you do as you should, and read the quotes I take the time to put on the top of each blog entry, you’ll find that today I’ve chosen one by the poet.

Now, do not that this as my acceptance of poetry as a form of literature… only kidding. While I have limited to no skill at poetry, as my previous poem submissions to this blog will attest, I do enjoy Rilke’s work.

While I’m only experienced with his Duino Elegies, his somber tone and word choice surprise me.

He sounds too young for his writing in my opinion. Despite the ten year creative drought that interrupted the writing of Duino, Rilke fails to have the voice of the older man that completed the poems. He sounds too young, so inexperienced in his experience with Love and the more violent emotions known to man.

But the youth in his writing bleeds through with desperation, a subconscious recognition within himself, perhaps, of getting old? I’m not interested enough to wikipedia him yet, to discover his history of love interests, but I am willing to bet that they were few, and far between— with a healthy dose of obsession.

(Personally, between you and me, I don’t see what’s affection without at least a noticeable amount of obsession. It is one thing to call five times in ten minutes but quite another to find yourself thinking of someone when before you’d think of nothing at all.)

But what’s poetry without discussion?

"Isn’t it time that we lovingly freed ourselves from the beloved and, quivering, endured: as the arrow endures the bowstring’s tension, so that gathered in the snap of release it can be more than itself. For there is no place where we can remain." ~ First Elegy, Duino Elegies

Now, Kelsey and I discussed this particular passage. The two key wordings to feel the meaning of the poem was said to be either:

1. Quivering, endured
2. Tension, Snap of Release

I’m interested to see what you guys think. Which pair enables the poem to project itself onto the reader more, on a personal, more grasping level? Or perhaps, something else connects more with you? Feel free to share. As always, leave your feedback as a comment below and I’ll be sure to get back to you!


Review of my book:

Here is an excerpt of a review of my book:

"Through the complex lens of a teenager who inhabits the creative acumen of a seasoned writer, Terence Sanders proves that age does not determine skill, nor does one need to be experienced in life to be a shrewd observer of it. The intricacy of relationships; inward torments and ruminations, and imagery rich in metaphorical puzzles, weave through a collection of short stories animated with angst and desire, human despair and love."

—– ALBIE CLEMMER, teacher, poet, ecopsychologist


She’s a retired teacher of mine, who happens to be running a poetry and writing retreat for authors both accomplished and new in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in late June. Contact me if you want more information about it.  Also, be sure to keep an eye out for her published collection of poetry that’s due out in the coming months!



Today, I’m taking a break from the ongoing Writing Project to do another literary exercise. With the spotlight on Rainer Maria Rilke, I thought I’d provide my readers with an opportunity and a forum to discuss, analyze, and otherwise get excited about poetry— something even I rarely can do.

Excerpt from Duino Elegies: The 3rd Elegy

Observe: a season does not contain
our whole lifetime, as with a lilac.
When we love, a slower sap,
thicker than centuries,
courses through our embrace.
O my love, consider: the child
we would fain conceive was never
an individual but a multitude,
the personification of the fathers
lying in our depths like mountains
leveled to the lowest summits; like
the barren riverbeds of mothers past-
the entire soundless panorama,
whether cloudy or clear,
of mutual destiny.
Before you,
sweet lover,
this was…


My thoughts, questions, ideas-I-hopelessly-pray-you-disagree-with:

Thicker than centuries: now here is something I enjoy. The thickness of time could imply many things, but the imagery that springs into my mind is that of a book as a metaphor of Time. A dusty, thick text that recounts love of all forms for years past (and as a part of this great thing we call humanity— with mountains within us higher than we’ll ever climb alone but pits below that can only exceed our worst idea of Hell— I am grateful that it is quite a thick volume).

The comparisons and use of nature to describe fathers and mothers, it’s something lost in our age of technology. How many among my readers can honestly say they would prefer the calm of the wilderness to an all expense paid trip to the highlights of New York City? I, too, am a victim to this mindset in society. I can use all the excuse of loving to converse and study people I want, but at the end of the day: poetry like Rilke’s requires an affection of nature that I fear I can only read of.

But why leveled to the lowest summits? Why the barren riverbeds? Why did he he consider the child the personification such… limitations? I wonder if he was trying to push the idea of humanity at the barest minimum of nature, or was the negative connotation specifically geared toward… our failures as a race.

Despite tones of a pessimist, I don’t believe he looked to harshly on humanity. But I’m not sure.

I’m just glad it makes me think.

So feel free and leave your thoughts, analysis, or feedback to the poem! Hit the comment button on the bottom, and support your favorite starving author!


Novel…? Adam Harvey Camp. Writing Project IV. Friday, May 1 2009 

I’ve seen a look in dogs’ eyes,
a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt,
and I am convinced that basically
dogs think humans are nuts.
~John Steinbeck


For those of you interested, I’m inspired for my summer writing. While for the third straight year I am going to claim and attempt to write the Ayn Rand Foundation essay competition (after year in and out of reading the winning essays and being thoroughly unimpressed), once more I doubt that will happen since my connection with Atlas Shrugged is not nearly as personal as it is with The Fountainhead, and frankly—

I don’t know. All signs point to me writing an essay about a book I love and have read time and again, but I never can put myself to do it.Soissons France

However, inspired by the feedback and general energy I get from the readers of this blog, I came across an interesting story. While not quite a novel (who knows? It might be when I’m finished), I am going to try my first go at historical fiction. This summer I plan to write the story that takes place in the frozen winter of France, 1765. This picture is a clue where… 

Make it a contest! What is happening worth writing about? A hint: Louis XV of France paid a sweet reward to the main I’m going to base my protagonist off of.






Adam Camp, photographer and musician, recently took me up on an offer to design a banner. As my oldest, worst, most untrustworthy SOB that I’ve come to cherish as a best friend— I’m going to showcase him as I should’ve a while ago.

Crossing around the world much like I have, Adam has always held onto his passion for music. Currently situated out in sunny San Diego, he recently released a acoustic collection: a one man gig with a studio in his room, he’s doing what most aspiring musicians do when they first start out:

Whatever he can.

If you’re digging a indie groove along the likes of The Academy Is… and other acoustic guitar wielding bards, give his music a shot. I was pleasantly surprised at the genuine honesty he brings to music, a kind of roughness and human edge lost in studio music.

So drop him a line, he’s always open to feedback and who knows?

Maybe he’ll be up for a request.




It was quiet in the way most things are loud, unnoticeably and everywhere. From my window I saw the light beyond the benches, and in my mind’s eye I traced the steps down the lawn, across the street, and up the hills on which those empty benches sat—

But no more. Because from where I sat, that’s the most I ever saw and the farthest I ever got. Tonight that would change. The house was empty. I wouldn’t be missed.

Or would I? There was so much to do. I wasn’t a kid anymore, I couldn’t just drop everything and chase the stars.

No, tonight would be like every other night. The coffee would warm me, the music would lull me to sleep, and the window would remain clo— why was the window open?

A cool breeze came into the room, and shivering I latched the window shut. The wind had brought in the faint smell of flowers into the room. I paused. It was cold outside.

I grabbed my jacket and the night greeted me as my footsteps echoed, the thud of the rubber against the gravel as I crossed the street and made my way up the hill.

The golden walls of the manor glowed like all the riches of the world as she stumbled out of the party. I was a little buzzed from the five glasses of Gray Goose I had drank just hours earlier, so everything looked as if they were shining like the stars in the sky. Walking out to a bench beyond the manor— I took to staring at the sky. The moon seemed to smile and winked at me. Even the moon noticed my presence here, despite how insignificant I was feeling at that moment.

Why was there a party, I didn’t know. To me, it was just a gathering of somewhat known…  strangers… looking for an excuse to dance and be merry. Walking out of the party helped me realize perhaps we were all nothing more than a string of words, phrases, and skin tied together to make a human being trying to find our place in this world like everyone else.

Is this what life had come to?


The second paragraph was written by Dorothy Garcia in response to my first, with minor edits. I had to maintain the point of view so I changed she to I, and other pronouns wherever appropriate.

I enjoyed it. Already we’re expanding the story beyond the scope of just a walk in the park— we’ve reached the change of scenery…

But Sam/Alejandro has yet to arrive into the picture.

I won’t take the next step because I’m eager to see who will. This is a critical point in determining who he is, and what interpretation will you take from the photograph.

I’m interested to see where we go from here.

But I’ll do my part in keeping the wheels moving. Rather than a photograph, I’ve struggled to find a new medium to draw inspiration from. So…

Let’s get some dialogue going in the next addition, eh?

Find away to incorporate this:

“… and I’m sorry, but those words were the last thing on my mind and the first that left my tongue.”

“Is that an apology… or an introduction?”




Keep the pens moving, or the fingers typing. Its the only way a thought becomes a phrase shared between you and the world.



ALSO: The first new fan-based created banner available for distribution, courtesy of Adam Camp.


<a href=”http://www.terencesanders.com” target=”_blank”>
<img src=”http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn57/adamcampphoto/tspbctg/coloringthegray.gif” 
alt=”I support my favorite starving author, Terence Sanders.”></a>

New quote! Design-a-banner. Writing Project III Friday, Apr 24 2009 

Writing gives you the illusion of control,
and then you realize it’s just an illusion,
that people are going to bring their own stuff into it.
-David Sedaris

The quote remark in the headline is twofold— one, I hope each of you take the time to actually read the quotes I start each blog with. Most of the time, they are direct reflections of what I feel writing is, and wish I could’ve said first myself.

Secondly, a little more obscure, but I’m going to routinely change the quote in the top left corner with snippets here and there from my book. Showcased are lines I feel would intrigue a common passerby on this blog to actually buy the book and check it out when it comes back.

Currently, it is:

"I see her take to the streets, dressed to kill but walking like lead on paper stilts." This is actually the opening line to the story To Hold the Sky, one of the last few I wrote and am especially proud of. It takes a new attempt at rewriting conversation that purposely reflects the terseness and low growls of a street life setting.

It’s been brought to my attention that some people want more variety in the banner selection to help promote me on your websites. Since the feedback and response I got for the cover art was so impressive, I’m sending a charge out to all my readers to design their own banner— and show me a copy of it, so that I can put it here and showcase your work. 

By the way, be sure you click on the pictures below to go to the photographer, Adam Camp’s, Personal Photographer Blog. 

Part III Writing Project:

So let’s recap. We’ve got a musician by the name of Alexandro (or Sam because there hasn’t been an official declaration) and a connection between strangers— not unusual for a band and a fan to have. We’ve got benches on a hill at night with a low glow, and most of all:

We’ve got a lot of questions.

Well, today I’m going to give you some answers: Does anyone reading want to know what is emitting the glow? It is the lamps of a manor beyond the hill.


Who lives here? Do you? Does he? Or is he just performing for a private function that you’ve stumbled upon. Or were you invited? Of course you were. You threw the party.

Or was it thrown for you?

Like most things, answers often lead to more questions. This is the next step we’re taking, readers.

We’ve got a character, some semblance of a plot, and now a transition from one location to another. Now is the time when the feedback the regulars are leaving should be more than thoughts and ideas…

I want a paragraph. If you’ve got an idea, so be it. Put it into words and give it your best shot. Read through the responses others have been giving— you might be surprised with the thought provoking notions that has been passed around.

Seeing how I am the author of this blog, and making the request, I’ll start us off.


It was quiet in the way most things are loud, unnoticeably and everywhere. From my window I saw the light beyond the benches, and in my mind’s eye I traced the steps down the lawn, across the street, and up the hills on which those empty benches sat—

But no more. Because from where I sat, that’s the most I ever saw and the farthest I ever got. Tonight that would change. The house was empty. I wouldn’t be missed.

Or would I? There was so much to do. I wasn’t a kid anymore, I couldn’t just drop everything and chase the stars.

No, tonight would be like every other night. The coffee would warm me, the music would lull me to sleep, and the window would remain clo— why was the window open?

A cool breeze came into the room, and shivering I latched the window shut. The wind had brought in the faint smell of flowers into the room. I paused. It was cold outside.

Main Character

I grabbed my jacket and the night greeted me as my footsteps echoed, the thud of the rubber against the gravel as I crossed the street and made my way up the hill.

The Long Goodnight, Writing Project pt. II. Friday, Apr 17 2009 

The test of any good fiction is that
you should care something for the characters;
the good to succeed, the bad to fail.
The trouble with most fiction is that
you want them all to land in hell, together,
as quickly as possible.
~Mark Twain


It’s been a while hasn’t it? The bi-daily blog is rapidly becoming a weekly blog as things pick up around me. It’s been a busy week— just about everything that could’ve happened did. Several times. However, now that I’ve got a few moments to spare:

I’ll do what I can to keep my readers in the loop.

In my slumber away from the blog, I’ve pretty much finalized the cover art to submit to the publisher. If you haven’t seen it then please check it out and tell me what you think.

Cover Design

Just for the record, I want to thank again Khaila Sun and Samantha Thayer— the two honestly amazing photographers whose passion for the camera paid off huge for me.

Also, Mehdi Vasigh and Andriana Genualdi acted as my media design experts who polished up the final project, offering me advice on the initial design.

Finally, another step closer to finishing the book. I’m still trying for the anticipated book release date to be in or  around the dates: August/September 2009.

Its coming soon, isn’t it? I suppose it’ll really hit me then.

Random plug: Support MNIJM at the BIG EASY MUSIC AWARDS.




Part II Writing Project:

When I asked you last time what you saw in the picture, some responses I got where:

The Trees

Light beyond the Trees

Mindset of the Viewer

These are all outstanding selections— each of you who responded avoided the obvious and pushed beyond the simple measure of detailing what you saw in the picture. Believe it or not, that’s a step most people miss.

Too many tell a story with a barrage of facts and one sentence descriptions. That’s a summary, not a story. But it is still just the first step; you’ve started to think like a writer… now you must write plan like a writer. No one just sits down and writes a story.

Art 1

Since we’ve got to start somewhere, it’ll begin with a character. A musician. (What? Wasn’t I suppose to be the one writing about a musician? Okay maybe I’m manipulating you guys into inspiring me for my own story) Regardless, it’s one of the most interesting portrait shots I have in my collection right now.

So we’ve got benches in the dark. A glow behind the hills. A some trees. And now a guy with a guitar.

What’s his name? Will it be simple? Eloquent? Irrelevant, because you won’t give him a name? It’s time to decide.

If you stop by and read this, drop a few lines telling me what you’d have a guy like this doing at a place like that. Is he your friend, a stranger, or someone you thought you once knew? Does he laugh, or is he quiet? Are you looking at him… or do you notice him looking at you?

There are about a thousand details you could write about. But only a handful are important. What do you think the reader cares about most about someone they’ve never met?

How can you make the two be more than strangers?
Next week, I’ll remark about what thoughts you guys submit. Also, I’ll introduce the next character in our little writing project.

As promised! A bit of what I’ve been up to:

Fingertips rubbed raw and ached no more than the ever shrinking space within his chest, they moved in a flurry of rushed— of calculated— movement. Familiar vibrations shook his body, hypnotic but not seductive enough; he could feel the minutes stretch by and separate into lifetimes. Cycles of birth, love, anguish, and laughter over and again, time passed with no peace, no war, just movement from one emotion to the next.”

Support your favorite starving author.

Survey says …! Reach out and talk to me about writing. (Some help advertising?) Friday, Apr 10 2009 

Be obscure clearly
~E.B. White


I can’t listen to a good song while I’m writing, for too often I find myself transcribing its lyrics rather than thinking of my own. Irrelevant fact number one for the blog— let’s see how many more I get can get out to you.

As the readers of the last blog can attest, I’ve put out a rough design on the cover of my book. So far its just the general idea, so if any of my darling readers care to push their two cents across the bar to me, I’ll appreciate it. So far some of the feedback I’ve gotten has really got me thinking, so remember: if you speak, you will be heard

Interestingly enough, I’ve started writing a new story! And I’ve got to admit, I’m liking where its heading. I’ve come to a crossroads: I can either post the story online after the Easter weekend, or I can offer and excerpt of the story, a taste, and see if there is enough time to polish it to be in the book. I’m finishing up the final draft right now so there is a small window of my to edit as I choose… Its you guys’ chance to make a difference in my first publication! So leave me some feedback telling me to do one or the other!

One of the most difficult questions I get asked is, how do you write? Besides the obvious answer: “I went to elementary school,” there is a lot that goes into the process. I’ve never had the patience to be a novelist, despite the urgings of many of my teachers, and to create an instance that is a short story is hard enough.

So, to help connect with all you underground writers (like myself) out, I’m going to try this out. I want you to look at the picture and tell me what is the most important thing to write about. What do you see? What did you want to see? Look past the benches and did you even notice the moon between the trees? Or is it a cleverly disguised street light. Is that the sun rising in the horizon, or some late night insomniac sitting alone in his chair?

One of the most important things writers fail to remember is: inspiration is not complete. I do not write a story because I grasped an entire scenario at once. Take the story I’m writing now for example:

“He was fury.”

That was what I started with, one sentence inspired by one man. I didn’t know where it was going to lead me, but I was excited to find out. I’m building an entire story around three words. Why? Because I saw the picture and did not stop at the empty benches.

I wondered what shined so bright beyond it that I could see the benches in the first place.

( p.s. I look forward to reading what you see of the picture. )


For all my loyal readers out there, if you want to support me:

AD2.jpg picture by SnooterdawgSo far the best way I can spread word about my work and get more people involved with this is through my readers, meaning you all!

It’s asking a lot, but I’m begging if you have space on your myspace, blog, xanga, or any other online post that people regularly see—

Then place this on it. The code is provided below & every person who sees it will know that you support your favorite starving author.

Again, I know its asking a lot.
But if you do happen to put it up– take a screen shot and email it to me. I might be inclined to do something with it 🙂


<a href=”http://www.terencesanders.com” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y21/Snooterdawg/AD2.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”I support my favorite starving author, Terence Sanders.”></a>

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