Tongue Paintings is for more than those who want to follow my work (though they certainly come first). I believe writers form a tribe bonded by a common talent that sometimes makes me feel like I’m navigating a barrier between me and people who haven’t lived through the writing process. Conversely, I never feel more integrated with humanity than when I talk to someone whose passion for writing matches mine. If you’ve felt like this — if you’ve ever spent years mastering the genre of, say, romance fiction only to have your spouse or mom say, “You know, I really love spy novels. Why don’t you write spy novels?” — then my site is for you too. I’d like to grow a community at Tongue Paintings comprised from artists and those who love art.

As the site grows, you’ll find tips and resources for writers, shameless plugs for my work, and posts related to artistic process.

Thank you for stopping by. You’re always welcome here.

Published Works

Flash Fiction: Fear Itself


The Ignatian Review threw a release party at USF for it’s annual edition, and I’m proud to be among the contributing authors. My story tells us why we should all fear babies.

Fear Itself
By Emile DeWeaver
Babies scare the shit out of me. It all started with that Chuckie-movie and the creepy patter of tiny feet across carpet before the doll electrocutes the blood out of somebody’s eye sockets. 
Well, it didn’t start with Child’s Play; the movie just confirmed my suspicions, but semantics aside, the take-home message here is that movie messed with me. It made me realize something. And it’s crazy that we’ve been missing this because we’ve been asking the right question since the invention of books: where do writers get their ideas? They steal them. From life.
Now, you’re thinking that there’s no way the writers of Child’s Play actually knew a homicidal maniac who’s trapped in a doll’s body, and, instead of calling the police or Geraldo, they shook hands and said, “Who can we get to direct this?”
That’s not what I’m saying. But here’s what they did. They took something real and gave it a twist.
Here’s the truth they twisted. Demons are real. But since the death of Christ, they’ve been unable to possess people, so they possess objects. Their favorite objects are dolls (for obvious reasons.)
What does this have to do with babies?
Have you seen that kids’ movie about dogs where all the animals talk to each other, but when humans are around they just bark or meow, and cats are trying to take over Earth because those are some wily fuckers? Yeah, those writers stole that from the baby conspiracy. Babies can talk. They don’t tell us because the demons have them tricked and giggling at how crazy we look talking jibberish over their cribs. The demons want the babies’ minds to themselves, so they can corrupt them and use their baby powers against us.
What baby powers? A fair question.
You ever hear these yahoos talk about how if they could travel back in time, they’d kill baby Hitler to prevent World War II and save a million Jews. They’re kidding themselves. You ever try to kill a baby?
Exactly. Baby power.
I got my first glimpse of demon-dolls when I was five, but I was too young to understand the conspiracy. My foster brother Waldo was a sissy for carrying a black Cabbage Patch Kid around in his backpack. Or so said all the kids who left Barbie heads on my desk and in my coat pockets. Once, they put one in my shoe, and after naptime, something cold and hard had its mouth on my toe, and it triggered an asthma attack.
Later, I caught Waldo burning toilet paper in the backyard with the Zippo he let me touch once. He squatted on the walk next to the sliding glass door while his Cabbage Patch watched with marshmallow eyes from a plastic patio table that was dirty with leaves and rainwater. And so I told Waldo brother that he and his Cabbage Patch were sissies, and that’s why my friends at school were cruel to me.
Waldo dropped a flaming coil of T.P. onto the concrete and straightened his legs until he stood over me. He had a face like a pie, his hair was girl-curly because his birth father was white, and his breath choked my nostrils with grape candy.
“We’re pretending to be brothers,” he said, “so I can let slide you calling me a fag. But Renaldo gonna’ show you what a sissy is.”
Renaldo was his Cabbage Patch. I’d never noticed until that moment Renaldo wore one of those Freddy Kruger sweaters beneath the smiley face on its overalls.
Waldo grabbed me, and I begged him to stop.
“Talk to Renaldo.” Waldo shrugged before he slid one hand around my throat. “Tell him sorry, and maybe he’ll let this go.”
I tried to say sorry, but I couldn’t breath. He choked me until I passed out and pissed my pants and tucked-in shirt. Waldo and Renaldo turned this into a regular torment, my foster brother asking his doll to please forgive his punk, little brother, Waldo smiling as I flailed to free myself. It was my first hint of demons, and the hold they have on people like Waldo. There’s no telling how many of my friends at school they’d twisted up too, and if you think hard, it explains so much!
I’m a little crazy. You can’t know what I know and keep it all together, but you need to listen to me: remember the movies. The madman is always the madman until you find your body-snatching double growing out of a plant-pod in your girlfriend’s basement.


Chapter 1: Us Against Inertia

I promised myself I’d write another book this year, and April is my deadline to begin. I don’t feel like writing a book right now. I have four books waiting to rise from beneath my bed and break rays across an editor’s desk, but I didn’t feel like writing them either. That is, I didn’t feel like writing them until I was knee-deep in writing them… until I was chair-deep writing them… until I was balls-to-chair writing them. “Sorry about that; I’m getting in book-writing mode where all lackluster phrasings must die.)
What I’m saying is a dwarf star’s gravity has nothing on the inertial pull against finishing Chapter 1, but once I reach Chapter 2, I find that inertia works both ways.
I’ve 12 good reasons why I should put off my book until May. What I know: time keeps cruising by the minute hand, and in May I’ll likely have 14 good reasons to put my book off until June. My obstacles aren’t going anywhere until I sit and clickety-clack through the livelong day.
So what can we do to break the initial inertia? I’ve tried a few things. I set a ream of blank paper on a table, slapped the ream with a batter’s glove, and challenged it to a gentleman’s duel. To prepare for the duel — wet quills at dawn — I’ve been listening to Lose Yourself  from the 8 Mile soundtrack, swaying to the bad boy beat in the dark. I’ve also tried bitter tea because you really have to cast a wide net when hunting muse.
Does all this work? Will pretending to be Marshal Mathers rapping for his life help me write a book? The reasoned answer is “Ask me a week into April, and I’ll tell you.” The writer’s answer: “Fuck yes, it works.”


Poetry: Blinkers

I wrote another constraint poem. A friend at a workshop provided the limitations. Must use a child’s POV, describe

the night sky, and never use an explicit color word. Describing the sky without using a color challenged me, but it taught me that good imagery relies on my readers’ imaginations, less on  me telling them what to imagine. The Show not Tell rule strikes again. 


Dad told me where stars
come from. When little boys free
fireflies from mayonnaise jars to make
embers beneath maple trees,
blinkers watch the stars through sleeping leaves.

What no one knows is
Stars ain’t stars. They’re fireflies that followed dreams.

The blinkers we watch,
while chickens rustle in their coops,
build courage to climb moonlight.

When two get ready, they blink goodbyes then light
rises, compass points in a blind sky.

When dawn balloons behind the quarry ridge,
when morning swells to noon,
after day deflates to night, search twilight,
Dad says. You’ll
know if two dreamers made it.


C.M. Mayo’s Giant Golden Buddha and 364 More Free 5 Minute Writing Exercises

Poetry prompts usually work for me, but fiction prompts never do. That is until I found this site. Here, you’ll find a prompt or exercise for every day of the week. I use them as needed, when I’m long on time but short on inspiration. So far I’ve 2 successes from 3 attempts, with one of the successes slated for publication in April.

Give them a try, work your writer’s muscles, and let me know what you think.