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


Heaven forbid I try and do things for myself on the weekend.

In a matter of moments, what should have been a productive day ended up being a day spent doing crap for other people, running around places I didn’t need to go.

I try to go with the flow, but it seems I can’t find even five minutes to read or meditate without interruption.

It’s like there’s a camera on me and the second I try to do something for myself, the vultures come in, with their demands and their conversations and their places to be, things to do.

Fuck, man. I just want to spend the day reading and writing. Maybe a video game for thirty minutes and a nice movie to top it off. A good dinner. Some nice sex.

I used to do those exercises where you write out your ideal day, and it was always some travelling orgy that spanned the globe and featured a dozen different daring activities – snowboarding, skydiving, scuba, riding elephants and tigers and bears, oh my.

If I wrote it now, it would writing in the morning, reading in the afternoon, some exercise and meditation, followed up by a nice dinner with my wife and some sweaty alone time (with her, obviously). That’s it. A glass of wine and some chocolate. Maybe an old fashioned and a cigar if I was being really cheeky.

I wouldn’t even leave the house, except maybe to sit on the porch or the deck.


Target: 1500 words
Written: 1170 words, novel: Father Lightning


That day went downhill in a hurry.

I’m in scramble mode; way behind on everything, even the little stuff I usually have done before six in the morning.

Too many puppies, not enough sleep. Forgetting everything.

Forgetting coffee.

Forgetting myself.

Target: 1400 words
Written: 1704 words, novel: Father Lightning


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

making a better effort

I know, I know. If The Mungk was all about the impact of trauma in our lives and how it can suck any joy out of it, Father Lightning was supposed to be about kindness.

The same, but opposite.

I’m not doing a very good job with kindness these days.

I suppose the process of The Mungk was about understanding how trauma and the crush of life can negatively impact me. It was a discovery.

Perhaps then Father Lightning isn’t about being kind; it’s about discovering kindness altogether.

The end result of The Mungk was to understand what my starting point was; what I don’t want my life to be.

The end result of Father Lightning? Discovering kindness. How to be kind. Kind to myself. Kind to others.

Do better, man.

You can, you know.

Target: 1400 words
Written: 1509 words, novel: Father Lightning

lost day

Let’s recap. Since March of last year, we’ve:

  • Taken care of father-in-law’s hip surgery
  • Taken care of mother-in-law’s Alzheimer’s
  • Taken care of mother’s knee surgery
  • Lost mother-in-law to Alzheimer’s/COVID
  • Taken care of wife’s foot surgery
  • Lost twenty year cat that I fucking adored, despite being kind of an asshole
  • Lost sixteen-year old cat I fucking adored, who was an absolute sweetheart
  • Cancelled New Year’s plan due to sick/dying cats
  • Cancelled Valentine’s when wife got norovirus
  • Cancelled wife’s birthday/St. Patrick’s Day when I got norovirus
  • Got threatened by guns at Versailles
  • Got COVID for the first time
  • Got sinus/ear infection that cost me some hearing
  • Massive power outage on our anniversary
  • Father-in-law broke neck
  • Missed trip to Frankenmuth for my birthday because father-in-law broke neck
  • Missed birthday dinner because mother decided I needed to dogwatch the dog she was supposed to watch thereby ending my dinner plans
  • Left old job because I would have shot myself if I didn’t
  • Started new job that’s very mentally taxing and not as satisfying as expected
  • Fought relentlessly with shitty people and poorly behaving family members who refused to step in and help with any of this
  • Felt like absolute failure
  • Was not allowed to complain or receive any sympathy because… reasons, I guess?

We are not okay.

Target: 1400 words
Written: 1369 words, novel: Father Lightning

fractured neck

My father-in-law fell and fractured his neck.

Face busted and stitched.

Right hand not able to move.

Laid for a long time in a pool of blood.

Luckily, it appears he’ll recover with no particularly lasting effects.

Unfortunately, that might be a while, so we’re relegated to helpers again, much like last year when my mother-in-law went downhill and into the hospital, before succumbing to a combination is Alzheimer’s and COVID.

It’s The Summer of Sad, Part 2: The Depressioning.

I feel like a boxer, punched out in the twelfth round, unable to mount any credible offense, unable to really defend himself, somehow not falling as the blows to the head and gut keep on coming…

Of course, it could be worse. I could have a fractured neck.

Perspective is key to avoiding the KO.

Target: 1400 words

this is my life now

On Thursday, I went to cut the grass, in anticipation of visitors and the fact that it’s rained like Genesis lately and everything’s getting very long.

Instead, I got have a row, about fifteen feet done, before a piece of random metal got caught in my lawnmower and killed it dead.

This morning, I went to bake a hash brown casserole for my stepson and his wife, and that adorable little pixie of a granddaughter of ours, and my tempered glass casserole dish cracked. Not the whole thing. It wasn’t dropped.

Just, at some point in the baking process, the corner just kind of… fell off.

And out the egg and milk mixture went and burned to the bottom of the oven, stinking up the joint, ending the whole process and ruining two separate dishes.

I sometimes believe in synchronicity; events like this are the universe reminding me that I’m an idiot, and the face of order in existence only hides the chaos out of which it’s inevitably bred. We see patterns in the pandemonium; they exist in such multitudes as to make chaos inevitable, like a centrifuge filled with random junk and overclocked by half, about to spin off its axis and fling us all out toward destruction.

Being kind to oneself isn’t hopelessly romantic; it’s critical to our survival and any potential we have for joy.

Target: 1400 words
Written: 1303 words, novel: Father Lightning

migraines and nausea

Woke up at 1:15AM with a full-on migraine; took four Advil to kill it, at least enough to sleep, but then I started coughing up acid, which kept me up another hour or two.

Now, low-grade migraine and waves of nausea.

My granddaughter is coming tomorrow. Fuck.

This better not last.

There’s enough sickness blocking love in this world; I don’t need anymore.

Target: 1400 words
Written: 1440 words, novel: Father Lightning