all i’m saying

Is when you’re talking about suicide, depression and mental health around others, be aware that there may be sufferers nearby for whom your demonization or minimization of their struggle impacts negatively, reinforcing the very stereotypes about themselves that may be keeping in this state of diminished being.

Your words could spiral someone who was teetering, and you might not even know it.

Leave the place better than you found it. That’s all I’m saying.

And for Pete’s sake, if your only contribution to empathy is a social media post or bluster to friends, just stop pretending you give a shit, so everybody can know what an asshole you are, and not just those attuned to recognize hypocrisy and bullshit.

(Also, who’s Pete? Why are we doing things for Pete’s sake? Is Pete depressed? Should we be worried about Pete?)

Target: 700 words
Written: 41 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: Hans Christian Anderson's Fairy Tales (so.  goddamned.  long.)
Comics: American Vampire Second Cycle 11, American Vampire Anthology 2, American Vampire 1976 1-2
Music: One By One, Foo Fighters (the last great rock band - unless you count Jack White, which I don't after the White Stripes ended)


A guy we don’t know through some people we don’t know through some people we do know killed himself recently.

I’m sure it’s not that uncommon; I suspect many unexpected deaths that they don’t list causes for in the newspaper are suicide-based, more than we care to admit.

What bothers me is the response.

The condemnation of this fellow is unanimous – what an asshole for leaving his wife and children, and in his own home!

This, from people who will advocate for nearly anyone who has a “disorder”, as long as they don’t know them personally. The homeless are just broken. Oh, you can’t hold them responsible for that. They have anxiety, and get this, DEPRESSION.

And yet, the condemnation of this poor fellow is ASSHOLE, LOSER, IDIOT, MONSTER.

I don’t know anything about the situation that led to all this, so I don’t know the man’s motivations or the attitudes and behaviours of those in his life, but I suspect if he was willing to go that far, his thoughts about himself probably ran much the same.


And as someone who has lived with depression since I was twelve and thought about snuffing it more times than I can count, I can tell you that someone showing a little empathy, some care and concern, could very well have turned it around.

My go-to is “this too shall pass”, which reminds me when I’m feeling like that just to keep moving and the situation will change. Sometimes, that takes days. Sometimes, it just needs one other person to say something nice, or to engage you in something that takes your mind off of it.

Writing helps. Better out than in.

I don’t know anything, again, and the man or his wife, his kids, his job, whatever. Maybe he just found out he had stage 4 cancer and didn’t want to put his family through that. Maybe he was into some shady shit and his whole world was about to blow apart. His reasons might be entirely different from my own.

I don’t know if she was supportive and he was suffering psychological issues beyond what she could deal with, but from the sound of it, it was fairly unexpected, so who knows?

Either way, I think some empathy is due. He felt enough pain to make the one choice that truly abdicates one’s responsibility toward this life in which we live. That, in itself, should trigger questions as to why, not condemnations. That solves nothing, and for the other people in your life that may suffer in depression, and may be thinking of self-harm, it sends a clear message – what a worthless, idiotic, monstrous asshole you would be for committing such an act, and by extension, even considering it (which we sufferers inevitably do).

I can guarantee, because I had the fucking thought, the reaction there from those who are still suffering, was “they don’t understand the pain”, followed by guilt and a further spiral of anger, because again, the world proves it does not care about you, that it devalues you, that you are a worthless, idiotic, asshole loser and now, yes, a MONSTER.

Of course, these same people show empathy when all it requires is meaningless words to people not involved or a post on social media, but when it comes to supporting or sympathizing with someone in reality?

That’s how you know these people are more interested in status and reputation and not in empathy or helping those who suffer.

So, sorry, guy I didn’t know. You were suffering to the point where you felt leaving this life was the only reasonable choice. You didn’t have (or didn’t know you had) people around you who would support you, who would help you and you made the ultimate choice.

And while we can debate endlessly the nature of the act – cowardice and irresponsibility versus relief and the end of suffering – we can spare a minute to think of the pain of those left behind and the departed.

He made a bad choice, driven by bad feelings, caught in the tunnel vision of despair, in which one sees no options and none are presented.

Perhaps if someone had taken the time to pay attention, and provide an option or a shoulder to cry on, instead of ASSHOLE, LOSER, IDIOT, MONSTER, he might not be gone at all.

Target: 700 words
Written: 63 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: Hans Christian Anderson's Fairy Tales
Comics: American Vampire: Second Cycle 7-10
Music: The One, Foo Fighters


I think I’m sick of the lack of responsibility and accountability in this world. From millenials and Gen Z blaming all their woes on whatever psychological issue that they have or fucking Trumpers assuming they can commit literal crime (up to and including fascism or hate crimes) with no pushback, I’ve just had it.

Take some fucking responsibility, goddamnit.

If you really want freedom, you have to understand, that the more freedom, the more responsibility. The more responsible you are for your own behaviour.

You don’t get a pass because you’re white, straight or male.

You don’t get a pass because you have generalized anxiety disorder.

I’m all those things and I feel responsible for everything. I know my choices are my own. I know my depression is just a thing I deal with, not the thing that runs my life.

I make my own choices.

Are they always good? Nope, but that’s the point. You fucking learn from the bad ones.

You are not hopeless. You are not powerless.

You are not able to do whatever you want without consequence.

These things are true.

So suck it the fuck up, take your lumps, and BE. BETTER.

Target: 600 words
Written: 123 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: Hans Christian Anderson's Fairy Tales
Comics: American Vampire: Second Cycle 3-6
Music: One, The Beatles


I hate in-office. There’s so much extra (unnecessary) shit to do. And there are things that you have to be in the office for, but honestly, so much of it could be automated, or done by the group that is in office all the time, and with what they’ve assigned me this week, there is absolutely zero reason for me to be there.

It’s just so goddamned unnecessary – a time suck, a morale suck, a tension raiser because I don’t like being around all those people (I’m not a crowd guy). I work less efficiently, it raises my stress levels and the extra time I need in the morning, afternoon and lunch to travel, get lunches, get things ready for dogs, cats and whoever, the whole fucking week just becomes a drag, literally, slowing down any momentum I might have had with the extra time and energy I have from a work-at-home week.

Any why? Because they want federal employees to stimulate the economy by spending money on gas?

Polluting the fucking planet when we don’t actually need to?

It’s so goddamned irresponsible, fiscally and morally, and as human beings.


Target: 600 words
Written: 60 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: Hans Christian Anderson's Fairy Tales
Comics: American Vampire: The Long Road To Hell, American Vampire Anthology 1, American Vampire: Second Cycle 1-2
Music: Once Upon A Time, Simple Minds

seriously, sorry

I don’t know what came over me yesterday.

I think maybe I’d had enough of the bleak, and needed something light and stupid to take my mind off of it.

And so, you get a bad, probably old and tired, fart joke.

It was no Ryan Gosling/Mikey Day as Beavis & Butthead, but we can’t all be geniuses by just sitting there and looking confused.

Although, I’m getting pretty good at being confused. Sitting there takes some work.

Target: 600 words
Written: 314 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: Hans Christian Anderson's Fairy Tales
Comics: American Vampire: Lord Of Nightmares 5, American Vampire 32-34
Music: On Your Own, Blur


In an effort to dispel a little doom and gloom, or flagrant ego, we note that we try, several times a year, to have themed dinners with the whole family. And we picked Mediterranean.

And it was good, but apparently, a trail of gas is following me around like a trail of death, according to my wife.

And I woke up in the night, thinking, I don’t usually get that from Greek food.

And my butt answered.

This is not Greek food.

This. IS. FARTA!!!!!!

I’m so terribly sorry.

Target: 600 words
Written: 866 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: Hans Christian Anderson's Fairy Tales
Comics: American Vampire 30-31, American Vampire: Lord Of Nightmares 3-4
Music: On Your Own, The Verve


Yeah, no.

About ten minutes’ worth of quietude on the front porch, until a person walked by and the dogs started barking, thunder came up and the little dog lost her shit, and, and, and.

It’s a poem, in bleak deconstruction.

Stillness, peace.

Ripped open by the rabid sound of protection,

And the heightened screams of fear.

Target: 600 words
Written: 631 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tale
Comics: American Vampire 28-29, American Vampire: Lord Of Nightmares 1-2
Music: On The Radio, Green Day


I’ve been thinking a lot about trauma. I know, in most cases, it’s some dramatic event – a car crash, the loss of the loved one, or something more insidious – sexual abuse, the threat of violence, an addicted partner.

But part of me wonders, what if it’s just the day to day of life, almost worse for it seeming so petty that even suggesting that’s an equivalent trauma to be raped or shot is absurd, but no less effective at ruining a life?

How do you even complain about that?

I know, that’s kind of the point, but a million pricks of the needle will surely bleed you to death.

I don’t know.

I was disemboweled as a child, and I still find the ins and outs of daily life more traumatic.

Target: 600 words
Written: 689 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales
Comics: American Vampire 24-27
Music: On A Train, Mudmen

blank space

And not the good kind, where there’s peace filling the void, but rather the kind where you just kind of stare blankly and the implications of your entire life’s arc stare you in the face and you struggle to see how it was a good thing, or a way out.

It’s definitely not the Taylor Swift kind, no matter how much my niece insists I should love her.

Target: 600 words
Words: 269 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle
Comics: American Vampire: Survival Of The Fittest 5, American Vampire 21-23
Music: Omerta, Royal Crescent Mob


Oh, God, it sounds so horrible, like some kind of Tolle/Robbins platitude, meant to sound deep and meaningful, but actually being somewhat of a scam.

I mean, I don’t want to go too deep into it, because I’ve got a whole idea percolating that I don’t want to spoil the punchline on, but you know how we often try to teach the things we most need to learn?

Next to the dictionary entry beside ego, I suspect there’s a picture of Eckhart Tolle. The Power Of Now and A New Earth practically drip with his ego, his unhinged desire to be a messiah, don’t they?

I’m not sure stealing a bunch of ideas that have been around for thousands of years, or basic common sense ideas, and drenching them in an insipid slurry of rancid toss to pretend you’ve found some special knowledge, is messiah material.

Honestly, it sounds exactly like the kind of bullshit I was writing in my late teens and early twenties, when I was also trying to be a messiah, but was actually a schmuck who didn’t live any of the platitudes he was spouting.

I guess I was too busy with sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll to make the millions he did.

Anyway, my point is: The Practicing Mind by Thomas Sterner is the better option if you want to learn about presence. If you strip all of the bullshit and pomp from The Power Of Now, and replaced it with humility and practicality, there you go. And Mr. Sterner isn’t trying to sell you on being Jesus.

Or Buddha, or Lao Tzu, whom Tolle seems to only mention in passing, despite having ripped off the Tao Te Ching extensively (though not anywhere near as well, and with added layers of unnecessary drivel). I guess he doesn’t want anyone to realize he hasn’t actually generated an original understanding, but rather, stole everything he purports to have discovered from luminaries long dead?

Anyway, my thought was: I’m such an insignificant, microscopic piece of the universe, why am I carrying its weight?

I know, right?

Target: 600 words
Written: 576 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle
Comics: American Vampire: Survival Of The Fittest 3-4, American Vampire 19-20
Music: Old Plaid Shirt, Mudmen