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

the breakdown

I’m in full on brain lock mode. Depression, deep dissatisfaction with the current state of my life and an absolute uncertainty about what’s even possible in the future have me essentially shutting down.

I hate technology. I mean, I’m not a luddite or anything, though I feel like maybe we should all be a little more luddite these days. I work in IT.

And I hate technology.

It certainly has wonderful uses. I like the functionality of computers and smart phones (though sometimes, the smart phone thing is a little too much) and the way The Last Of Us looks on my Playstation is incredible.

But I hate working with it. I have no desire to keep “updating my skills”, especially when I know that most “updates” in technology are bullshit to sell more gear or subscriptions or whatever. Most software only ever becomes bloatware, and loses its core functions as time goes on (see Facebook’s awful algorithm or Twitter’s semi-monthly attempts to force the HOME feature no one wants on its users).

Sometimes, things are fine the way they are and simplicity is almost always the best choice.

I have no passion for this type of work, not for a long, long time. I fell into it as a teenager and kid, because it was the cool, cutting edge thing at the time, but I have always wanted to be an artist (writing/drawing/music). I’m just not enough of a hustler to do it and beyond writing, I’m too old and too busy to develop the skills to excel at anything else.

I need a month off to get my shit straight, but instead, I’m working the job of five people, doing work I hate with people I don’t particularly care for (and some recent subtractions I absolutely hated). When the hell do I get to slack and figure it out? It’s not like I can go back in time and be fifteen again.

It’s not like I was even able to make that choice at fifteen. If there’s one feature of our culture that pisses me off, it’s that we expect children, most of whom have no concept of what the real world or work is like yet, and who barely know themselves (if they do at all), to decide what they want to do for the rest of their days at such young ages.

How well does that ever work out?

I’ll tell you, as a forty-four year old who wants nothing more than to go “find himself” and go back to school for something he actually might want to do… pretty well never.

Target: 300 words
Written: 1609 words, hip little story: Get Back Again