goodbye, luna

As much as this has been a trial the past couple of weeks, man, I’m gonna miss this little goof.

Bye, Luna. See you soon. You’re a lovable bugger, even if you punched me in the face this morning to wake me up.

Maybe not for such a long stretch next time.

A couple hours, okay?

Target: 1500 words
Written: 1088 words, novel: Father Lightning


Lord, oh Lord. Part of me actually really likes this dog.

The other part is endlessly frustrated, but I know it’s not her fault.

She’s a dog, away from her family in an unfamiliar place. It’s likely to take more than a couple of weeks to settle in and find that routine/train her in the way we would need her.

So, we endure, trying to be as good as we can despite the lack of sleep or free moments, and we do our best for the poor little girl.

Her parents are back Sunday, and despite all the insanity of the last two weeks, I’m starting to suspect I’ll miss her.

Target: 1500 words
Written: 1270 words, novel: Father Lightning

one more week

One more week of this lunatic dog. As an only dog, she’s probably fine, but she’s constantly chasing our cats, went after my brother’s little dog that we had for three days and she’s upsetting our Great Golden Pyrenees, Mazy.

We were sold on this dog being good and calm and fine with cats and other dogs.

It appears we may have been oversold a little. Babysitter beware, I suppose.

The thing is, I don’t hold it against the dog. She’s a perfectly acceptable dog, just not in this house with us. In another house, she’s probably perfectly lovely.

She’s reminded me of all the reasons I never wanted a dog. We lucked out massively with Mazy, given that she’s literally the best dog ever (no joke – she’s so calm and good with the cats and people; our only complaint is that it looks like a homeless person snuck into our yard and took a dump when she goes to the bathroom – we had to buy a giant claw thing to pick it up.)

But yeah. The other one? Sorry, puppy. I love you, but man, you’re a lot.

Target: 1400 words
Written: 1452 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

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


And not the cool, freaky, robotic ones from East Of West (which you should totally read, by the way, if you’re into apocalyptic fiction surrounding an alternate America and the love story between Death and the vicious, but awesome empress of China).

Father Lightning revolves around a perversion of two things: first, my grandfather, who was among the kindest men I’ve ever known – a role model for me in so many ways. And secondly, the United Church, where I grew up and eventually left, because when we did confirmation at age twelve, I decided to, uh, read the Bible.

Like, all of it.

Nothing will turn you atheist faster, believe me. Well, fast isn’t the word, I suppose. It’s a very long book, although by the time I was through with Exodus, I was well on my way. Something about the way they treated women and gay folks, and well, you know, the explicit acceptance of slavery as being totally cool.

Even at twelve, I knew that shit wasn’t right.

Anyway, I had to get away from God, and it’s taken me three decades to come back to it with a fresh look. I’m not, by any means, turning Christian. I’m not even taking up a belief in God. I am, however, seeing that some faiths aren’t as harmful as others. The United Church was among the first to accept gay marriage, women into the ministry and the message is largely of kindness. Heck, they even came out with a surprisingly accountable apology for residentials schools… in the Nineties, twenty years before the rest of Canada was forced to reckon with them.

All faiths are not equal, and not always harmful.

That said, I’m perverting both things, because I needed a vehicle to show that no matter our intentions, when we allow our beliefs to become institutionalized, they become magnets for people craving power. Greedy people. People who want to lord over others. And slowly, over time, we begin to forget why we believe what we believe and the words we use become scribbles on a floor, walked over and unread.

Our faith becomes dogmatic; our truths platitudes served up only in the service of covering up worse behaviour. They become a false shield; a way to deflect from the many crimes going on behind the front lines.

That’s what Father Lightning is. Reclaiming kindness without faith. Kindness as logic. Kindness as common sense. Kindness as what it should be – a way of life that makes the lives of everyone involved better, which makes sense.

Why anyone would choose otherwise is beyond me.

Target: 1400 words
Written: 1182 words, novel: Father Lightning

first draft kindness

That’s not the name of the book. If you’ve been paying attention to my running total as I meet and miss targets every day (achieving the overall target, I should point out), it’s Father Lightning, and I just managed to finish the first draft.

As with all first drafts, it sucks.

It does also, like all good first drafts, behave like the most detailed outline one could write, and it laid out bare all the weakness and plot holes and missing plot points and opportunities for character growth and change that a basic outline never could.

Tomorrow begins the unenviable task of figuring out just exactly where I fucked up, and creating draft after draft to fix all the mistakes that inevitably live in this draft, until it resembles something cohesive and worthwhile.

Because that’s the point.

It’s not enough that it’s written well. If it doesn’t suck you in, make you feel, make you think and take you somewhere you didn’t know you wanted to go (or maybe somewhere you didn’t, but the emotional impact exists anyway), well, then, hell. You’re not doing your job.

The Mungk was a fatalist screed, short and sweet existential terror encompassed in a young boy and the monster under his bed.

This is an screed of institutional kindness, and what that actually fucking means.

What is true kindness?

Well, that’s what this story aims to find out.

At least, it’s a starting point, like all first drafts.

Target: 1400 words
Written: 1277 words, novel: Father Lightning


It goes on and on and on. I think I’m going a little mad. Try to be nice to me. I probably can’t hear you.

I don’t want to go deaf. I’d miss music too much. I wouldn’t miss the sound of people’s voices.

Target: 1400 words
Written: 1504 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