giving up

There are days where you think you should just say fuck it, and start over. Give up on your dreams.

Decide everything you are and everything you have is shit, and you want to walk away and never come back.

But then you actually think about it, and you know you can never get away from yourself, and the things in your life are hardly all shit. There’s plenty worth it there.

It’s like a decision I already made that I keep coming back to.

Fuck it. Keep going. You’re too deep. Too far in.

Carry on and on and on, as Spacehog would say.

Target: 1500 words
Written: 1326 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

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

sleeping or ascending?

I do a few minutes of meditation every day, if I can find ten minutes to spare. I’ve reached a point where my mind buzzes, and I get a little bit of a bpdy buzz if I sit long enough.

The question I have is this: is it reaching a higher plane a more in-depth focus, a trance-like presence? Or is it merely pins-and-needles, the soft tingle of the edge of sleep?

I’m not entirely sure; therein lies the trap of enlightenment. How can you tell if you’re actually improving as a person or if you’re simply falling further asleep?

How blind we are to ourselves.

Target: 1400 words
Written: 797 words, novel: Father Lightning

carpe diem

It’s Saturday, and it’s supposed to rain all day. For most people, that might be a blight. For me, it means no yard work, no spending the day at my parents’ house in their pool. It means reading and writing and video games and playing with my cats and dogs.

Carpe diem doesn’t always mean taking over the world; it mostly means do the things you want to do.

And maybe that’s being a total homebody and fucking around all day.

That’s the diem I want to carpe.

I could pepper it with pop music and other such platitudes, if you’d like. Make it a little more Californian.

Of course, California’s carpe diem for the young, hot and rich. Old, fat and poor need not apply.

Target: 1400 words
Written: 1967 words, novel: Father Lightning

sharing is caring

Our dog has a time share on her Costco bed. In the mornings, it belongs to her.

In the evening, it belongs to Ares, our youngest cat.

And Mazy just allows it. I often think that’s odd, because Mazy is a hundred and ten pound Golden Pyrenees and Ares is a cat, and as non-aggressive as one can get.

But it speaks to softness and co-existence. Why force your desires onto others if you don’t have to? If they’re perfectly content with what is?

The superpowers of the world could learn something from this.

Target: 1400 words
Written: 1516 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


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