five hundred days

It’s now been five hundred days since I sat down and wrote the “birds fall” haiku, and said, I’m going to do this.

The number of times I’ve wanted to turn back, to give it all up and just start over, start fresh, back at the beginning?

Probably almost equal, if not higher. But I’ve been starting over, giving up and turning back since I was twelve years old. I’m done with it.

The older I get, the more friends and family I lose, my body is turning on me and life is getting to be too “life”, and not enough life.

I am running out of time. Do-overs are no longer truly possible. I’m not hip. I’m not cool or famous, nor do I know anyone cool and famous. I’m too shy, too much of an introvert, too passive to reach out to famous people.

My Nineties-era disillusionment and sneering keeps me from enjoying the cool and the new, because popularity and recency have zero bearing on quality.

Things can be unknown and be epic. Things can be world famous and still awesome.

Contrarian I, I was never the one to tell a band to go fuck itself because it got big. I stopped listening when they started to suck. And sometimes, their old shit?

It was garbage.

Someday, hopefully, someone will call me a sell-out even if I’m doing the same thing, because I got rich doing it. Someday, I don’t care if I’m rich, I’ll be comfortable and able to do what I love full-time. I’ll have the quiet life of which I dream, and the assholes can do whatever it is they want to do, as long as they stay the hell away from me.

Target: 1500 words
Written: 1315 words, novel: Father Lightning

daisy jones and the six

I’m sure Daisy is supposed to be the hero and Billy the villain, but I’m not sure it’s that simple. Billy has an ego and can be very controlling, sure, but there’s something so unbelievably manipulative and selfish about Daisy’s character that she’s just unlikable all around, in my opinion. She intentionally pushes all the buttons she can, and why? Control. She’s no less controlling than Billy; she just plays the victim around it, the persecuted, even as she tears things apart.

Of course, the other issue is that shows about fictional bands always have to make up their own music, and since it’s all written for a script, instead of from the heart, the show inevitably suffers from the lack of suspension of disbelief, because it’s hard to buy that they’re the biggest band in the world, when the music is mostly generic and tepid. It doesn’t help that the rest of the soundtrack being so good acts as an ultimate comparison, to which the band doesn’t exactly live up.

Then again, asking a bunch of studio writers to one-up not once, but repeatedly, some of the best music that generation has to offer… that’s a tall order.

Target: 1400 words
Written: 1580 words, novel: Father Lightning

welcome back

Tinnitus is pretty bad, but I can hear again today, after spending an entire day wallowing around in the sound of silence, where everything got to feel like it’s underwater.

I can enjoy Fiona Apple again! Yay!

And I slept, sort of. With heavy drugs and a double dose of NyQuil.

Hopefully, this is me on the mend.

The dog loves my nieces. You should have seen her. Prancy dancing around the living room and foyer like she’d never seen anything more exciting in her life.

And yes, we have a foyer, but that’s because we bought a Chatham icon’s old house; the author of Romantic Kent built the place with servants and no plumbing. A hundred years later, it has plumbing, a secret set of what we call murder stairs beneath the shower and an endless stream of problems.

A money pit, really.

Bukowski would hate me, but we’d have some good times. We could talk about cats.

Target: 1400 words
Written: 415 words, novel: Father Lightning

less productive

It’s weird how being in the office has had no effect on my productivity; save for the things I do for myself in a day. What a world we would have if we cut out all the unnecessary bullshit and let people do the things they love, and celebrate them for it.

No working for a dollar. No rock ‘n’ roll pros, playing for the lawyers, as Local H would say.

Just people playing on whatever they want, without judgment, only help and support.

No more assholes. No more soul crushing work. No more cruelty.

Just a life of kindness and support.

What a fucked-up world that would be, isn’t it? The fact that you’re (and by extension, me) are already thinking it’s impossible shows just how far we have to go, and how much better we could be.

It doesn’t have to happen all at once. Protopia is better than utopia, any day. Incremental improvement is still improvement; the only sin is being so far jaded that the effort becomes impossible, instead of inevitable.

Target: 1400 words
Written: 328 words, novel: Father Lightning

lost in space

There are certain shows and stories that, for whatever reason, hit me so hard that the endorphin spot in my brain explodes in a shower of “holy shit”.

Lost In Space, the Netflix version, did that for me. I felt like the writers really understand the concept of put your characters in danger and keep them there. The tension was palpable, right from the start. The magnetized aliens, Penny and Dr. Smith in the box, Judy in the water, it goes on and on. Terrifically done.

One of the best series I’ve seen in this new “golden age” of television. Beginning to end. Great characterization, well done weaving all the threads together, good mix of tension, humour and conflict.

I like when a story really sucks me in. Like the way you can feel the Alabama sticky in Jasons Aaron and Latour’s Southern Bastards or the chill vibe of Dazed And Confused. There’s a reason I don’t limit myself to certain genres. It’s all about experience and empathy, and that can be found in stories about elves or stories about football. It can live in a love story or a revenge kick.

Creating closer connections and greater understanding (or at least, having a good time trying) is the whole point of art. Exploration. Understanding. Joy in the thing, even if it’s insanely dark.

As always, the day I decide to up my target is the day I miss it. I hope I’m retired in twenty years so these ever increasing targets don’t grow out of my reach.

Target: 1100 words
Written: 764 words, novella: The Mungk

what form kindness?

There are different types of kindness, certainly. Kindness towards others. Kindness toward the self. Kindness in action. Kindness in words. Kindness in intent, possibly.

There are kindnesses that affect global populations, like creating algae that converts carbon dioxide to oxygen in order to save the planet (thanks, Sean Murphy, for that idea! Read Punk Rock Jesus, if you haven’t). There are smaller kindnesses, like helping an old woman across the street or making a kid laugh when they’re feeling down.

These smaller kindnesses are infinitely more attainable to the average person who isn’t a scientific supergenius with unlimited resources, and therefore, much more applicable to the everyday person. It’s these I must master if I want to improve the quality of my contributions to life.

Kindness toward the self is critical for me these days as well. I feel, at most moments, as though I’m a failure and little I’ve done lately has made me feel much different. No matter the effort, no matter how hard or smart I work, no matter what problems I solve or ideas I have, it seems not to matter. It’s never enough.

Perhaps I haven’t found my tribe. I’m a recluse at best and I prefer a small company of friends to any grand gathering, so I’m certainly potentially to blame for that, at least in part.

Partly, I’m not sure what I do is conducive to sales, even selling it to an agent. I’ve been published a few times lately, but mostly to outlets that aren’t there to make authors money, but to promote art.

Maybe it’s because I’ve always striven for that universal “what does it all mean?”, greater depth thing. I need themes, not just plot. I need complex characters, not bodies moving from one place to another. I can appreciate that in a popcorn movie or spy novel, but from me?

It’s beneath me.

I suppose that makes me egotistical, if it weren’t for the ever-present sense of failure at living up to that level of expectation for myself.

My life is a perpetual state of fear.

Maybe popcorn is the way to go, but in the end, can I even do it? Everything I write gets too big, too grand, something that feels so far beyond my reach that I end up paralyzed by my own inability (and my own fear of finding out just how deep that inability runs). Then, of course, I see others doing it so fucking well and I want to throw up my hands and ask, “what could I possibly have to offer that hasn’t been done elsewhere better by someone more qualified?”

Pray for me, if you’re the praying type. I will need all the kindness I can muster to move past this.

Target: 700 words
Written: 94 words, novella: The Mungk

three little birds

Music plays a big role in synchronicity in my life. The right song at the right time – like Bjork’s Undo yesterday when I was on the verge of a meltdown, or Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds this morning when I’m overwhelmed with all the things I have yet to do today – can be life-altering.

There’s a reason I like to build playlists around the things I write – the connection to the song allows me to understand my characters and their circumstances in greater depth, or even ridiculousness. It lightens the mood (or deepens it, depending).

I think I missed a calling creating soundtracks for movies, or as a director. Tough to say. I’m not sure I can deal with the Hollywood machines. As much as I might enjoy the art industry, it’s populated with some ridiculous individuals, and in my growing age, I’m finding myself far less tolerant of other people’s bullshit.

Politics and art may have to do without me. Perhaps I can carve my own niche and ignore them all.

Target: 700 words
Written: 538 words, novella: The Mungk


Sadly, not the fun kind where you splash a bunch of random paint on a canvas and call yourself Jackson Pollock. Maybe I’m not enough of an art lover, but while it might be pretty, does it actually connect with people genuinely that way?

Not the pretentious types who pretend to connect with it so they sound smarter or more sophisticated, but actual, gut feeling connect?

I’ve never found it to be that way. I suppose I’m a Neanderthal.

Target: 600 words
Written: 365 words, novella: The Mungk

drama festival

Was it always this awkward, even when I was in it? Made me want to go back and relive it, but without all the depression and insecurity this time.

Method acting, actually doing a good job, an impressive job. People love impressive work. Being very good at what you do seems to shield people from a lot of bad behaviour, not that I’d want that as an excuse.

I’d rather be excellent and good.

Target: 300 words
Written: 1439 words, novella: The Mungk