roses and violets

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Hearts are black
And lungs are bruised
Legs are weary
Head aches
I’ve gone too far
Before I wake
The road behind
Is trampled waste
Lessons learned
And lost in haste
Roses red
And dipped in black
Falling slowly
Down my back
Burning muscles
Acid lungs
I’ve come to know
My race is run
And if I die before I wake
May someone find
What I meant to make

the mungk – playlist

I love music. I’m an old school punk and grunge kid from the eighties and nineties, though in the last couple of decades, my musical tastes have radically expanded. I’ll listen to anything from Billie Holiday or Frankie Valli to Anti-Flag to Alessia Cara. While writing The Mungk, I listened to thousands of songs, starting with Los Angeles by X and finally Popcorn by Muse, with stops ranging from AFI to Joni Mitchell to Katy Perry to The Tragically Hip (a lot of Hip – there always is. I listened to Get Back Again over three dozen times while writing that piece, now in Retreats From Oblivion).

Anyway, music is such an intricate part of art for me, that I inevitably can’t help creating playlists to match the bigger works that I write. Sometimes, it’s a song that caught my ear in the act of writing or editing and fit so perfectly, I can’t hear it without thinking about that scene or its emotions. Other times, it’s tongue in cheek or counterintuitive, but somehow, just works.

The playlist for The Mungk is as follows:

The House In The Country: Julian Plenti – Skyscraper (3:18)
The First Appearance Of The Mungk: Alice Cooper – Welcome To My Nightmare (2:48)
We’ll Get You A Nightlight: The Who – Helpless Dancer (2:34)
What Does That Mungk Do?: Nirvana – Drain You (3:44)
Cracks: L7 – Crackpot Baby (2:38)
The Doctor: Snow Patrol – Run (5:57)
Goodbye, Alice: Violent Femmes – I Know It’s True, But I’m Sorry To Say (5:06)
Alice Aftermath: Billy Talent – Living In The Shadows (3:16)
The Fight: INXS – Never Tear Us Apart (3:07)
Bumps In The Night: The Rolling Stones – Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow? (2:37)
The Power Goes Out: The Tragically Hip – Frozen In My Tracks (4:04)
The Storm: Bruce Springsteen – My Father’s House (5:08)
The Aftermath: Beck – Morning (5:20)

the mungk

I was going to rant about how my work can’t leave me alone for even one day, just one goddamn day that I called in sick, the first in ages, so I can finish this thing called The Mungk, but fuck them.

The Mungk has owned my brain for the last three-plus months. Three months of spiralling down the drain into hopelessness, hoping that this thing is worthy of being published.

Trauma, microaggressions, the general malevolence of the universe, that’s been my focus for the past ninety-nine days, and it has taken its toll.

Add to that a hostile, abusive work environment, where the relief of getting away from those deceitful, lazy shits we had as contractors never materialized because head office couldn’t be bothered to follow through on replacing them, and you’ve got an interior that feels like it’s been scraped out with acid all of the time.

The Mungk is a manifestation of my worst impulses, my great fatalism. It is hopefully the first in a series of novels, each hopefully moving toward a life and canon that is better all the time, not just in execution, but in outlook.

I’m sorry if I bum you out. Life sucks sometimes. Life sucks a lot of time these days. The Mungk has me so often that it’s nightmarish and the relentless imposition and unwillingness to allow for any leeway of the people around me has me running for asylum (or an asylum, or a body bag). The pride I felt at finishing this, the joy of finishing it and letting go, completely overshadowed by the demands of assholes who refuse to listen when I try and set any kind of boundary.

Anyway, The Mungk is coming. Sell first, publish later, pray for enough revenue to leave this place forever.

The assholes don’t get to win.

the sprint

Production manuscript done. A few last details tomorrow and I can settle down with a nice glass of quality whiskey (Wayne Gretzky No. 99 Red Cask – No.99 for the number of days this took) and a Rohangel Laguito No.3 cigar.

A few more tiny steps.


Working on the submission manuscript today, whole hog. The whole deal.

Courier 12. Proper margins and indents. Page breaks.

The little stuff. I try not to make mistakes and I’m not always great at this kind of hyper-focused super detail, but only when I get distracted by depression or stress. When I’m on, nothing gets by me. That’s where I am today.

Hyper-focused, doing my best not to let the little things get to me. Not to let this encroaching pressure crush me.

I can’t deal with other people’s shit today.


This is it. The grand finale. Tomorrow, a submission manuscript properly formatted via Shunn, and then a production manuscript for my own little world – something I can PDF.

Something that should this quirky, dark little novella not get accepted anywhere, can be used as a template for self-publishing. Maybe a podcast?

I don’t know. We’re a long way away from that.

cold wind blowing

By the end of this week, I’ll have a working manuscript for The Mungk. Ideally, I can start sending it to potential agents and publishers after that, and maybe, if I’m lucky, within six to nine months, I’ll have a deal in place. Then it’s release, marketing, probably mostly by myself, based on what I’ve seen in regards to how publishers help authors market.

Which means building up social media. Which probably means less woe-is-me navel gazing. Things are going to have to change. Still, I can’t help but feel there’s a cold wind blowing across my dreams, a stark reality waiting to chop my head off, a la Ned Stark.

Sometimes, just when you think you’re getting started, you’re actually at the end.

the day after

The problem with spiritual revelations is that they ultimately have to jive with reality. We may make a decision about how we want to behave in the future, the kind of life we want, but then, we get back out into the world and other people’s agendas, and it all goes to pot.

It takes strength to change in an instant; the reality is most change never really happens or happens very gradually. I recognize that, and I also recognize that pre-existing relationships can get in the way. We have to renegotiate the terms of each affected relationship, which is a lot easier if you don’t like the person, because you don’t feel bad at all about telling them to get stuffed. When you like the person or value their respect, it can be difficult to change the nature of that relationship and set the boundaries you need to set.

Of course, a true friend will respect your needs. The reality is that most won’t, even if, by all definitions, they are friends.

For now, I just want a workable, hopefully saleable manuscript, and a work life that doesn’t infringe on every second of every day with ridiculous demands. I can hopefully manage one of those things. I suspect a change of scenery and a new environment where I can set the standards I need right off the bat with no preconceived notions about how they should be is what will ultimately be needed. There’s too much history, too much water under the bridge. Too much written in stone.

Change is traumatic, even when it isn’t you changing. Others inevitably push back, because the status quo is what they’re used to. It’s often what they want, because it’s to their advantage. Unfortunately, the status quo is killing me, so something has to give. And if they can’t get on board with it, however fast or slow the change happens, then fuck ’em.

coming up on the end

I started making notes for the manuscript of The Mungk today. I figure I have about two weeks before a workable version can go out into the world, blasted out of my literary womb like so much flotsam.

And if that appeals to you, well, then fuck. I don’t know what to tell you, weirdo. Birth is horrific and traumatic.

Of course, I wrote it so what does that say about me?