This time last year, I wrote about learning about kindness. That wouldn’t truly start until almost February, despite my protests to the contrary. 2022 would end up being a real bugger of a year, followed by a real bitch of a start to 2023.

2023 isn’t shaping up great in the first half, but the farther I go, the more I realize there’s no turning back, only giving up.

And since this is it, this is all we have, then that doesn’t really seem like a great option.

Since this time last year, I finish my novella The Mungk, wrote a couple of poems (one of which was published), a four issue crime comic (unpublished) and a trio of short stories (also unpublished). I’m working on my first full-length novel – a horror about kindness.

I’ve read more than seventy-five books, roughly fourteen hundred comics, and take ten minutes daily to meditate. I’ve built up my exercise regime, although it’s not helping my waistline, which is definitely bigger than this time last year. I’ve tried over two hundred new recipes. Listened to almost four hundred albums.

Life’s weird.

Here’s hoping forty-six runs a lot smoother than forty-five.

Target: 1400 words
Written: 1423 words, novel: Father Lightning

end of everything

I think, for the first time, watching the smoke roll in from forest fires thousands of miles away, listening to the news go on and on about this fascist nut or this racist piece of garbage, and none of it pushing back, not effectively anyway, and knowing that this authoritarian menace is not going away, not until the rest of us start imposing real, actual consequences, and climate change is just another buzzword when in reality, it’s killing us all, and all the dystopian stories of my youth are real, real goddamnit, and this is it, this is really it, I think, and for the first time, I truly, truly believe… this may be the end of the world.

The end of us all.

We are in fucking hell, and it’s our own making, as all good hells are.

It’s the end of the world and not just as we know it, because we know this world. Near-future sci-fi writers have been screaming at us about it for the better part of a century or longer.

William Gibson is a prophet; Blade Runner is fact, yet to happen.

These are the end times, as Jonathan Hickman would write. We would tell you to pray, but it wouldn’t do any good. You have earned what is coming to you.

So, I write, and maybe the survivors will one day read my stories, and know that they were written in the hope that one day, they might be read, and not destined to the ashes.

Target: 1400 words
Written: 1211 words, novel: Father Lightning


We have a lot of clutter. I personally hate clutter, and I like to spend my money on experiences, rather than stuff. Stuff collects, doesn’t mean anything and is a waste of money. A wooden carved turtle reminds me of a trip to Antigua, and that’s fine. My t-shirts consist of bands and geek stuff and places I’ve visited. Craft brewery shirts.

Experiences. I have books galore, comics, video games, movies, box sets of television shows. A healthy collection of music from the Forties to now.


But stuff… stuff drives me nuts.

I have cigars and lubricants and sex toys. A well stocked bar, beer fridge and wine rack. (I am nothing if not decadent; the world’s quietest hedonist.)


Cookbooks, cooking supplies. Practical items like lawnmowers and vacuums.

Useful things. Experiences.

Not… stuff.

Stuff sucks. It’s junk. The kind of stuff that should never be anywhere near a house. And I know everyone’s experiences and what they enjoy are different, but if it doesn’t turn you on, if it’s not useful, if it doesn’t speak to you of something you’ve done or could do, then fuck.

What’s the goddamn point?

Target: 1400 words
Written: 1105 words, novel: Father Lightning

lazy sunday

Why not? We’re on the tail end of COVID, tired after a long journey, trying to get back into the swing of normal life.

Writing. Reading. Comics. That’s all I really need. Exercise and meditation for the body and mind. Music for the spirit. Cooking as an alternate outlet for creativity and experience.

Anything else is gravy. Movies, television, video games, sex, travel, other various storytelling mediums… gravy.

Target: 1300 words
Written: 2326 words, novel: Father Lightning

the mungk

It’s hard to describe the feeling of peace when you let a piece of writing that’s dwelled inside you for so long go, especially when it’s one that took you to a very dark place.

I have ideas.

I have lots of ideas.

As it stands, I’ve over three dozen ideas for novels written down, in part, and at least a dozen ideas for comic books. Hundreds of short stories. Poetry just tends to happen.

But The Mungk represents a starting point for me. While someday, I hope to write novels about the Great Way, blending reality and all things good, today, here, now, The Mungk focuses on everything and anything awful in life.

Feelings of hopelessness, of loss. Of trauma and drain, the kind that wears you down over the course of a life and leaves you withered and bitter fruit.

And I’m glad to see it go. I suspect there will be some residuals, as I try to sell the thing to a publisher or an agent, but it’s a novella. Not particularly saleable in the best of times, no matter how good.

In any case, it’s done. No more editing. No more putzing about with it. It’s time to send it out into the world to spawn its feckless devils. If I can’t get any takers in a year, I’ll publish it myself. From this point on, everything I write gets out there in some way. The universe receives it, whether it’s wanted or not.

Peace, Mungk.

Target: 1200 words
Written: 1449 words, novella: The Mungk


I know it’s not cool for me to say as a grown-up grunge, punk and alternative kid, but I love a good blockbuster.

The thing is, to me, sneering at the popular is only useful as long as the popular is actual tripe. The fact of something’s popularity is absolutely no indicator of quality, but it’s also not entirely a reliable indicator of a lack thereof either.

Breathing is popular, and I think there’d be few people who believe breathing is bad. Chocolate – popular. Fucking wonderful.

There are great bands, great movies, great games and shows and books that are wonderful. The Shining is a huge selling book – and it was amazing. I love a good Marvel movie.

The fact is, it doesn’t have be high art. It can follow the hero’s journey or a standard plot. The trick is to do it well, don’t pander too much and take the time to develop the characters and situations.

Not all popular things are bad, and not all unpopular things are instantly cool. Sometimes, they’re unpopular for a reason.

Anyway, I liked Avatar: The Way Of Water, same as the original, and even though I understand James Cameron is kind of a prick, I, for one, really appreciate his environmentalism, and his willingness to think big.

Anyway, if that makes me uncool, so be it. I also like Local H, Lou Reed and Modest Mouse. I read obscure indy comics and classics by Jules Verne and Farley Mowat. I think stoicism is cool. Elizabeth Bear.

I’ve heard just about every Who and Rolling Stones song a hundred times. Same for the Beatles. Same for Nirvana, Green Day, NOFX and Bad Religion. The Hip are my religion, right next to Taoism.

My point is, limiting oneself by how popular or “cool” something is is limiting how you see it, leaving you judging it through the lens of what’s being told to you about, instead of its actual value. Ignore the size of the thing; try and enjoy it for what it is. If it’s shit, it will let you know.

Target: 1100 words
Written: 503 words, novella: The Mungk

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

the crow

It’s been a while since I read the original, but it packs a punch like no other comic I’ve ever read, save for maybe the last bit with Ampersand in Y: The Last Man. That gets me every time.

The whole thing is so intensely personal, so perfectly raw. It’s brilliance and connection with a subject on a level I can’t even comprehend. Christ, all the navel gazing bullshit I’ve endured in my life, and this is the homage I strive to live up to.

For all the darkness and wallowing, for all the violence and anger, it is a story of love, like no other.

Target: 1000 words
Written: 806 words, novella: The Mungk

slight consideration

I’m taking my own well-being into account these days. I knew I would start small, and I did.

I read short books. Crappy books. Short comic series. Standalone movies. Single season shows that got cancelled.

I wrote a haiku.

A piece of flash fiction.

A one-shot comic.

A short story, which was really more of a noir, back-twisted rant I didn’t believe in.

Weirdly, all the individual work was published. The comic is pending, because comics are collaborative, and I’m an anxious collaborator, in the sense that I’m terrified of anything beyond the script stage.

I try to remember. Little things build to bigger. Most overnight successes spent ten or more years laying groundwork.

Learning. Mastering. You don’t pick up a guitar and channel Jimi or Kim Thayil.

That shit takes time.

Piece by piece. Trying to remember, it’s not about hitting targets. No such thing as delayed gratification; the joy is found in each stage. To defer it to the end is to guarantee frustration and a fleeting moment of exultation, if we even make it that far.

Most of us will not.

Target: 800 words
Written: 631 words, novella: The Mungk