I’m having difficulty focusing. I know we’re going away this weekend, and I’ve only just caught up on all the stuff I missed while galavanting around France, and I don’t want to fall behind again.

As always, I yearn for the simple life. One where all I do is read, write and cook, with the occasional bouts of meditation and healthy exercise, a trip or two, some nice sex and a close-knit group of non-judgmental, drama free friends and family.

Pipe dreams, all. Living the dream is an illusion. People will always let you down. Life will always intrude. Happy lives are for rom-com movies and bad TV shows.

Target: 1400 words
Written: 1648 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

la franchia

Wine country. Here we come. Nothing like spending a week in the French countryside, sipping deep reds and local fare, enjoying the history and beauty of the region. (Not that I’ve ever done this before, except for a brief half day stop in Grenoble once as an ungrateful teen boy more interested in trying to get sexy with his fellow exchange students or getting loaded.)

Still. This world is beautiful, and there is wonder, even in a war zone.

Here’s hoping we’re not walking into one.

Target: 1300 words
Written: 141 words, novel: Father Lightning

on strike

Well, not me, but my union is on strike. I’m considered code one, which I guess means business as usual for me. Honestly, I’m fine with that. Working normally and leaving for France, or getting partial pay, and having to spend my days tromping on a picket line?

I’d rather keep working.

My life has been through such upheaval over the past year, the kind thing to do for myself is allow myself time to relax and not stress about things. Stressing about whether or not I’m going to get enough money to cover food this week doesn’t sound like it’s conducive to that.

I support the union and its aims, as inflation has made the cost of living so much worse, but I still feel like I dodged a bullet. I’m not sure I have the bandwidth for all that at this point. I need a long break, without the constant at-at-at, just to find some way to find some semblance of a head on straight.

And then, we can get back to the business of justice and equality and all that good stuff.

For now, I hope it works out for the union; I hope it works out for taxpayers. I hope it works out for everyone.

That’s really what I hope for everyone in every situation involving injustice or inequality or general unfairness.

Sadly, I am oft disappointed. If I weren’t, Donald Trump would be in jail, Pierre Poilevre wouldn’t be anywhere near politics and Vladimir Putin would be suffering tremendously as his people ran free.

Such is not the way of the world, so it is imperative on me to make my little piece of it as bearable and kind-hearted as possible. I would not contribute to the insanity; only to the hugs in the midst of the madness.

Target: 1300 words
Written: 152 words, novel: Father Lightning

being better to myself

It’s become pretty clear to me that kindness isn’t just for the people around you, and random strangers that you let go ahead of you at the grocery store.

I’m pretty tough on myself; the result of a reversal of many years of denial and bullshit and stupidity, turned the other direction. Once I came to the realization that freedom and responsibility were inseparable, that we are both entirely free all of the time, no matter our scenario and entirely responsible for everything we do, say and think… well, it was only a matter of time before the previously repressed and desperately ignored guilt over behaving like such an asshole came to bear.

It’s been almost a decade since that realization and I’m still an ineffectual nobody; I just now more intimately aware of how my own actions, the thoughts I have and the things I say impact the world around me. People love to put realizations like this out as epiphanies, but that’s bullshit. A lifetime of behaviour, whatever it is, doesn’t change in an instant – not for the vast majority of it and us. Change is often gradual, tiny realizations we come to that shift our values, our needs, our wants.

For example, I wanted to be rich once. Now, I just want to make enough of a living not to worry about money too much, and to be able to do the things I want to do. I’m more interested in a simple life filled with joy than a lucrative one filled with bullshit. Mo’ money, mo’ problems, as they say.

(Of course, whoever complains about being rich should be forced to be dirt poor or homeless for a while. Extremes of poverty and riches each have their own particularly nasty repercussions.)

The point here is that kindness begins at home. I have to start being kinder to myself; forgiving myself for the way I behaved as a teenager, as a young man in my twenties, as an idiot finally beginning to realize what an idiot he is/was, and now, as a man in my forties whose fears and depression dictate the level of risk he’s willing to endure.

Ironically, my DNA tests suggest I am a risk taker. Perhaps I would be, under different circumstances.

For now, the biggest risk is to forgive myself, to let go the sins of the past and finally, to remember them, but to learn what they’re trying to teach me, so as not to repeat them.

(And maybe stop referring to them as sins, but rather mistakes. Whoopsies. Duhs.)

Target: 1300 words
Written: 218 words, novel: Father Lightning

world without money

I dream of it. What we could accomplish if we weren’t scrambling for scraps, while human pieces of filth hoard all the rest.

The only issue would be overcrowding on the beautiful places, but I would hope without this urgent greed, we would learn more civility and kindness, and more appreciation for our nearest and dearest, the local culture, the flora and fauna of where we live, and stop being sold on always needing to go to the same type of places.

While bikinis and margaritas are enjoyable (though I don’t look particularly good in a matching two-piece thong, given my waistline and the fact that I’m a middle-aged man), there’s so much more to the world than sand and palm. Antarctica, tundra, northern Ontario, Lapland, the Outback, all over Africa, Europe, Iceland, Greenland, Kingsville, Pelee Island, British Columbia, redwood forests, salt seas, steppes, Nepal… the list is quite literally as expansive as the universe itself.

Arbitrary systems of currency should not be the sole reason we can’t go see it, or spend time in our community, or loving our fellow humanity.

Target: 1300 words
Written: 2363 words, novel: Father Lightning

when the morning comes

I’ve been treating this blog like a journal of misery, with the occasional note about writing. The Mungk has a tendency to do that to you. It was fatalist. Depressing. Overwhelming in its hopelessness.

This phase, which started probably about a month and a half ago, is intended to be better, around the time I moved on from The Mungk.

I’ve decided that I need to explore kindness. Going forward, I’m going to focus on finding the kindnesses in my life, and to dedicating myself to demonstrating a kindness in keeping with my beliefs.

There’s only one reason not to be kind, and that’s to tell an unfortunate truth. And even then, it must be done in the kindest terms possible. Direct, but kind.

And if that ain’t a credo for a good life, I don’t know what is.

Target: 1300 words
Written: 678 words, novel: Father Lightning

the matrix

It occurred to me a week or two ago that I’d never actually seen The Matrix. I love the Wachowskis, but that’s from their Netflix Sense8 series, which carried wonderful messages about commonality, understanding, love and kindness.

The Matrix was something I hated by proxy. When it came out, I had to listen to way too many dudebros (including one particularly obnoxious one named Jeff) who went on and on and on about the core concept of living in a non-existent reality, and as a result, I went, well, I’m not watching that. It’s like you people have never read any science fiction before – or read fucking Alice In Wonderland. Heard of Plato.

Every single one of them wanted to be Neo, to feed that Messiah complex, that only they and they alone were special, they and a handful of others, and they most special of all. Oh, and they get the girl in latex with the nice you-know-whats who’s kind of a badass (but still, submissive to them).

Anyway, somehow, after that initial decision not to go watch it fifty times in the theatre with the rest of the dudebros, I somehow avoided it for the next twenty-four years.

I finally watched it, and as a sci-fi action, it’s okay, though the effects are a little cheesy in the nowadays. If you want good hard action, John Wick and Atomic Blonde are better options. The plot holes and things that didn’t make sense were a bit much. You want to break free of the predetermined role, get out into the Matrix, where you’re immediately called “the One” and put on a pre-determined path? How does that break you free of determinism? Of “Fate”?

The religious aspects are a bit much for me. Anyway, cheesecake popcorn filler, as far as I’m concerned, thus validating my dismissal of all the dudebros who’ve never bothered to pick up a Philip K. Dick novel or actually read Lewis Carroll. If The Matrix blew your mind, I bet you also believed that the Fast & Furious movies have plots, or that Moulin Rouge was actual art, and not just pretentious drivel trying to disguise itself as cleverness.

Thus ends Misanthrope Monday and its first genuine rant.

Target: 1200 words
Written: 3033 words, comic: Bike #1

another week, another end of week

Thank goodness. Kindness. I use the words thank god and for Christ’s sake and things like that, but realistically, I shouldn’t. I’m not Christian. I’m agnostic at best.

Habit, I suppose. There’s no correlation between divinity and human religion, though I believe in the divinity of certain behaviours. Kindness, for one.

Perspective and understanding, another.

Total honesty, in the nicest possible of conveyance.

All things to strive for, and for which I repeatedly fail.

Target: 1200 words
Written: 444 words, comic: Bike #1