The Slush Pile (A Review)

So without really even trying, it feels, I hit 35k on my current work in progress, Nowhere. It’s a dystopian Western set in the flat, wastelands of our Apocalyptic future. So that’s been a ton of fun, but it got me thinking. My slush pile, the stack of first drafts and half attempts every writer accumulates, is starting to look a little crazy, almost like it could just topple and spill all over the carpet. It would probably grow eight hairy legs, eat the asbestos tiles in my downstairs office, and just walk away to some other coffee soaked writer’s den. Oh if I could only be so lucky, anyway, so yeah I got thinking why not do a little review of the slush pile, to determine which of these monsters I should give my attention to and finally finish and distribute.

The Books

Pomegranate Lane-This was the last first draft I wrote, in November of 2015 for National Novel Writing Month (#Nanowrimo). It’s a murder-mystery novel set in the future. The protagonist Dorothy (ignore the hackery) is a detective, working the first real murder case anyone in decades has had, due to the impressive surveillance state which has been achieved. She wakes up the morning of the gruesome murder, alcohol drenched and one foot over the edge of an existential crisis. What was her job? Why did she want to do it? What is this strange world she took for granted? All these questions become compounded when there are failures in the security state itself, which provide ugly glimmers of a reality right next store, that threatens to overwhelm her secured world.

Interludes-I’ve been distributing this on here. I won’t go into too many details since you can just go read it if your interested. It’s a first person story, told by a version of myself, it unfolds in a place I call La-La-Land. There’s weird cults and rituals, a werewolf who sexually assaults me and tries to eat me, tricky mythical-poetical entities, and overall a deep and hopefully humorous study of Art itself. I am about three quarters of the way through the edit on this, and hope in the future to finish serializing it on this blog, so stick around.

Dawning of the Werewolf-This draft sits short of full novel, 45k words. I think I worked on it before Interludes, but I’m not sure. Overall, the slush pile gets a little scattered here in my own chronology. This story is a first person confessional about a guy who discovers he’s a werewolf. All I really remember is a lot of running, and this cool vibe of a man-beast racing up the edge of Lake Michigan. Oh, and I did like the ultimate hack move and had my creature help steal The One Ring, from Lord of the Rings, for some baddies. Again some cool stuff, but with that level of hack I think this one may be a dud.
Mech Suits (Totally working Title)-Science Fiction, first draft right at 50k words. This one may have potential. Basic story, in the future robotic technology is so far advanced that the use of machines suits, think the thing Ripley from Alien wears to kick that alien’s ass, is common place. There is an updated version of football which is played with these suits. The youngest boy gets roped into an international terrorist situation, through his connection to an very rich, corporate executive, who was aware of his skill, and had allow him free reign of his workshop.




Something sort of cool about this one. The story follows three brothers. The youngest is a technical genius with machines (think Hephaestus), and his two older brothers are Mechball (think I just made that name up) all stars on the high school team. An interesting detail for me is when I wrote this book I only had two boys at the time, but now I have my own trio of sons. That personal relevancy definitely bumps this one up on the priority list. I also liked the big, entertaining story that took place. It was sort of like Golden Era 80s-90’s action flicks (think half Karate Kid, half Die Hard), mixed with a heady batch of Orwellian musings.

Sumer, previously Robot Academy Funtimes– I stalled out on the second draft of this work, a little over 66k words. Again there’s a personal component that makes me want to finish-finish. Basic plot came from my brother years ago, in a far distant future, robots rule the Earth, they have decided to begin reproducing humans, because they have lost their sense of humanity. My story follows one of these new-humans, a girl named Echo.

This one presents a number of critical and complicated issues. For one the story takes places in a holodeck/scientific lab of sorts. This sort of reeks of amateur hackery again because you end up in a sort of dream sequence explanation which isn’t very good. If it’s all a dream or a simulation then who really give a damn, the argument goes. Of course, traversing prickly fields of contradictions and ego destroying logical conundrums sort of destroys the pursuit of digestible narration.

More over, what was a stunning philosophical insight from my teenage brother, was a fairly well established Science Fiction trope. In my own reading aI have become more aware of this issue, via Asimov and others. That said, my draft was done with mostly clean hands, and since there really is nothing new under the sun, I don’t automatically discount this story. I feel like this definitely has the feeling of a fruit not yet ripened, so I continue on.

The Siege/Winterset-First draft, Speculative Fiction, right at 47.9k words. This is a weird one for me. What started out with the thought experiment, what would a people’s revolution look like in small town mid-West United States, led by a somewhat quixotic youth protagonist, similar to the idealized concept the Author has of himself. Think farm animals released on Main Street and the bouncy ball pit at high noon on a Saturday.
I didn’t like how it ended up though, in chaos and murder, and low-down outlaws. No one was supposed to get hurt…I thought about this book a lot later when I when I watched things like the Occupy movement, or the recent riots in Baltimore. I realized that the bullshit, Mayberry sense of revolution I depicted in the book was naive, in the meanest and truest sense of the word. This sort of development in my thinking leads to it having a permanent position in the slush pile.



Tom’s Episode-I believe this is the first book I wrote, and it sits at a monstrous 95,829 words. Wow. It is sort of crazy to go through all these stories. They connect and bring back so many memories of when I wrote them. The basic idea of this story is what happens if someone became an atheist while in heaven. Again, just an awful, typical beginner’s premise, a story set in heaven. I wrote this over five years ago. I’d taken a class at University of Iowa, on Science and Religion around that time, and I remember I was deep into the Atheist, Creationism vs. Evolution, Dawkins, sort of stuff. Of course, Tom is an allusion to the so-called doubting Thomas of the Gospels.


Strictly speaking I would label myself an Atheist, in the strict I have seen no evidence for the positive claim there is a God, but in all the ways that count I’m still a dirty old apostate Catholic. I pray Our Fathers then Hail Marys, am in dialogue with the Holy Spirit, and ultimately abide a messianic eschatology (and I am the one I have been waiting for). But yes, it’s those sort of Gnostic drenched ramblings that make up this book. I also recognized later that it’s Interludes Part One, but that seems to form some sort of psychological singularity which I don’t really care to deal with (we’re all writing the same shit over and over and over…). I encountered Tom Robbins, and Christopher Moore’s Lamb later, they do masterfully, what I did very shoddily in this one, but again know, I wait for the day I may have the capabilities to birth this monster. Consider yourself warned.


Novellas/Shorts Stories


Kill The Television-This is a novella right around 17k words. I consider this my Parvus Opus (Small Work). Simple story, thirteen year old, Ronald lives on his Grandma’s couch at her senior living center. One day, he decides to start head hunting flat screens. Cool little story, hero’s quest sort of thing, set in my home city. I love the themes of this one and definitely want it to have some readers someday. Hard to place it exactly, not big enough to hold its own as a book, think I would like it to make it the title work for a collection of other short stories. I got hung up finishing it on a pacing issue, there’s a break away story told during the climax, which interrupts the flow, but I love it too much to cut it. Why not just shorten it the mind pushes.

Story of Roger Meeks-Science Fiction, 14k words, again cool idea, but not enough for own book. Seventy something year old is a nobody, from Nowhere American. He works as a cashier at a local gas station, and lives alone in the same house he grew up in. When a spacefaring race shows up, it is Mr. Meeks they want to talk to.

I like this one a lot. Didn’t quite get over in the version I got now, but definitely potential in this. I love the original Twilight Zone, and this is my attempt at something like that. I would love to see this in a collection of short stories.

Gnomes. Or How Martin Gardner’s LIfe Was Ruined By A Clan of Gnomes with Big Problems-Fantasy, right around 22k word, this has got to be the strangest of all the slush piles specimens. The general idea I had was, sort of like in Toy Story, what if your garden variety gnomes were actually alive, and their owners formed a shadowy underground railroad of magic. Fun idea, silly story, but not really enough for a whole book. But again, it so sort of absurd and simple, something still gets me about this story. Might need to revisit it…then again maybe not, just remembered a bit of hackery taking place in this one too.

So the main character is named Martin Gardner. I’m pretty sure the Martin is ripped right from Stephen King’s man in black, Flagg-type guyand I had some idea of this being like an alternative origins story for that character or a character like him. Normal average person that got suck unknowingly into a magical world, and ended up powerful, ruined and corrupt in the process. I think this is so out there it could be good, but would need extensive rewrites and a commitment to the absurd.

The Last Virgin of Hollywood-Fiction, a little under 10k. The premise of the story is in the title, Norma a twenty something year old make up artist of the stars has somehow retained her virginity. The shorty story follows her as she tries to hold on to it. It was a rushed story, scattered with cliches, the overconfident rich guy, the hobo with a soul, the decadent evil Brad Pitt type. I like the idea, and sort of feel in love with main character. I think this one had potential to be a great story.

Jar of Kisses-Fantasy, 13k words, another story with a good premise and hook, but not enough to warrant a full book. This was a simple story. We have this little jar, with the words “Kisses” on it, that prompted the idea what if there was this magical jar, that if you took an invisible scoop from it with your hand, and took a drink from it, would give you the greatest kiss you could ever imagine. Ended up being a decent story, middle-schooler gets it, bully classmate discovers it, decent portions of horror and sentimentality. Definitely worth edit.

Formation of the White-God awful title, clearly Tolkien hackery. Very strange feeling, sits a little over 10k words and I have absolutely no clue what the story is about. No characters, no scene, no anything. Vaguely, I am prompted by the title, I think this was when I started wanting an intertextual thing with my books, like Stephen King and Terry Pratchett have done, where characters and story lines can pop up in different books.
I read an excerpt from it:

…“Oh come on, I swear you think everyone is a sexual predator these days.”
“He’s a lame.”
“I swear Claire. This is the exact problem we’re up against. Everyone is too worried about how they look, and being cool, and all that shit. A guy like Chris Davis, a good man, is seen as a schmuck. I think that’s just wrong. Now they asked for a light, and we are going to get them a light, all right? And Davis is our light.”
“Fine, lame it is.” She took a drink of her coffee.
Her brother paid the bill; he always paid the bill.
They sat in silence for some time. Connor hated silence and finally broke it. “What is it?”
“Nothing,” she said.

And it all comes back to me. Claire and Conor are angel figures, representing Intuition and Righteousness, the story follows them on a heroes quest of still murky specifications. I imagined some sort of occulted initiation ritual into the Good. The protagonist, not the lame in question, is a bastardly bookish type like the author himself. I think this story was a bit of wishful thinking, hopefully not conjuring, on my part. Anyway, this work gets a big question mark. Could it be an Interludes sequel?

Rock Art Salesman-This was another one in line for weirdest premises. Right around 8k words, story is about the greatest Rock Arts salesman in the world. He’s entrapped in the selling of an exceptional piece, to a odious and shadowy party. I liked this story, but felt it was part of a larger tale. I have another start of a story, which I feel has a connection to this story, but haven’t flushed the either one out yet. Liked the characters and idea though.Also weird synchronicity, but I was later encounter just such a Rock Art Salesman in On a Pale Horse, by Piers Anthony.

Scrubber Boys-This is probably my best and favorite short story. Right under 7k words, the main plot points and characters came to me in a dream. I woke that morning and took notes in my journal and had a draft fast. Definitely needs a rewrite and an edit, but if I ever have a shorty story collection this will be in it.

It follows two scrubber boys John and Pinto, who work as child laborers on a giant battery complex in a strange world. Surreal, challenging, this story runs out of the dream into reality and back. I love this story.

We Troll-Fiction/Horror. Another strong short story premise. 5k words. Set in the future, the story follow high schooler Roger, as he experiences a surreal amount of bullying. Exaggerating the trend of online trolling and abuse, I speculated what would happen when this behavior ingrained itself into a society and festered for a century. I imagined a website were bullies could get together and make a sport of the process. The result is this terrifying glimpse into a possible future.

Escape-Fiction/Fantasy, 997 words, spawned in early parent hood when 2nd child hopped out of his crib one night, about a toddler who sneaks out on his parents, to discover a magical world outside. Dense, exciting, and frightening, probably worth finishing.

Changeling-Fiction/Fantasy, around 3k words. Decent story, again produced in newly acquired parenthood. Tells a modern story of the ancient myth of “the changeling”, which is a surrogate fairy child, the fairy/gnomey people leave while they take your child and train it in their magical ways. This story takes place on the night the human child is returning to the home. Can you guess the ironic twist? Strong enough to be given further consideration

Agent or Standard Operating Procedure-Fiction/Speculative Fiction, 4.6k words, written in a 1st person perspective, confessional, telling the story of how this agent ended up violating protocol. Strong story, but overdone. Energy comes from the first person story, and with things like Interlude, I have gotten that urge out of my system. Strong enough to consider for the short story collection.

Arms in Ankeny-Short Story, Science Fiction, 6th draft, 5k words, this was the first piece I sent to a paid editor. I wrote about that experience here. Definitely has legs, and I need to work a final version. Would definitely be in a collection. This one taught me how hard it is to write a great short story. It was like overworking the dough, the whole thing began to crumble in my hands as I played with it. Still, I have the sneaking suspicion one day I will find myself in the perfect spot to finish it. Again, I am reminded thinking of this one, that my problem is letting of the bad parts in the story, the stuff that doesn’t work.

The Case of Bill Mimic-Fiction, 4k words, interesting story Kafka-like, basic premise what if a person had a condition where they lost their unique personality and merely mimicked whoever they came into contact with. Don’t remember if I pulled this one off, but think I need to go back and reread. Candidate for the collection.

Rich’s Autoland-2,850 word, a brief sojourn into a realist Fiction vibe. Story follows a newspaper writer working on a story about the National Wresting Hall of Fame in Waterloo, Ia, and a champion boy wrestler whose the focus of the story. That is the back drop, it takes a surrealist bent in the end, something I of course really like. It’s like I just couldn’t play it straight and had to let it out in the end…Don’t know the viability of this as a story, but definitely some potential.

3 Ways-7k words, Science Fiction, another one that could be expanded or chopped. Basic premise, in the future sex is highly regulated, you have to get a ticket. There are only three way to get it, everyone is given one to begin with, they can be bought (no one can afford them), or they can be given, and that’s it. Story focuses in on one man as he wrestles with this system. Strong story, definitely worth urther development.


This was a great time splashing around in the slush pile. Though I have to admit it does leave an unpleasant after taste, and maybe a little gunk between your toes. Writing is an easy task for me, finishing writing is something else all together. I have to admit a sense of confusion when I look at my slush pile. So many half baked schemes, just sitting there, if I let my mind wander I could start feeling it was a waste, a byproduct of a desperate attempt for attention, and self realization. But I don’t do that.

Tomorrow, come heaven, hell, and high water, I will wake up and try to put up a thousand words, and add another layer to my slush pile. And I’ll tell you why, the secret if you will, it’s not because I don’t care whether it is good or not, or whether I will succumb to crippling debt, and my children will starve in the streets or not, no it is none of those earthly concerns, it is for the greater, heavenly concern, the desire to be great, to be great at creation…creation of what you could ask…a story for another time, I’d advise. Thanks for taking a dip with me. I would love to hear what in that mess sparks your interest. And I hope you stay paddling on top of the slush pile.


What Is Going On?!?! (Interludes Prologue)

I had a very strange experience, and I don’t know why I feel compelled to write about it here, but I do. I anthropomorphized “The Muse” in previous posts. I did that as an intellectual tool, a thought experiment. For me to have written about the concept at all demonstrates how much time I had already given to it. You can imagine my frustration, when after the idea was out there, I did not get the usual relief I do in these situations.

Instead, the whole thing of an anthropomorphized muse stuck with me. Anytime I had a free interior minute, like washing the dishes or before bed, I would find myself drifting towards the thought of the Muse, as a full fledged, living person.

Here is how the thoughts sort of went. What is really behind being in that artistic zone? How does the artist just turn over to this other force and have it produce such intelligent, cohesive products? If it is some sort of a power of the subconscious (thinking something like Jungian psychology), then how do we make sense of it being more creatively intelligent and complicated then our regular modes of thinking?

But further my mind would snap, and here is where the fissure starts, because I can almost hear a voice, her voice to be exact. Who says you have anything to do with it? So bold, right there, right smack between my eyes. The language and orientation seemed so strange. Why would I say such things to myself?

She always seems to have an answer, and be tired of my shit. She is also sick of me taking credit for her ideas, and wants her share of recognition and goodies. Now I know this sounds like I am losing my mind, but this is what happened. So I found myself down in the office this morning about to write. Now I have been writing somewhat seriously now for at least four years, and though I have days were it might have take longer to get going, I can always get the job done.

In other words, I had never known writer’s block. It also is important to note that I was in a fairly positive frame of mind, breakfast, coffee, free time, etc., but right as I hit my seat and started the computer a dreadfulness bombarded me. It was so strong and disorienting that I jumped up out of my chair, and in a panicked spastic response I flung my arms wildly around the room.

I was overwhelmed with paranoia. It was in there deep. I wanted to dig it out of myself somehow. I heard my kids playing upstairs. My wife was telling my oldest son that she just needed to finish the dishes and then they would all go outside. The normalcy of the moment snapped me out of it and I sat back down, but my hands were still shaking and I was so scared.

I opened up my work in progress and read the last sentence I wrote. There were a number of grammatical errors, which I tinkered with for a second. Somewhat disinterested, I went to write the new words and again a feeling of death and dread, and magnanimity overwhelmed. I felt stomach sick. I closed my eyes and laid my head on the desk.

An unending stream of existential crisis tore through me. What was I doing writing anyway? What did I have to say? I was a nothing and a nobody and just a loser like everybody else. There was nothing great in me. Compared to those before me, I am an inexperienced moron. All this obsession with art was so much inconsequential madness. It was sickening and shameful. A danger, to myself and others. I was a coward who had hide and ran and taken the path of least resistance and I would continue to be that, forever. It was over for me.

How can I describe the sensation of feeling that your thoughts are not you’re own? It’s like a person entering the room and beginning to talk to you, not quite yelling, but loud enough that you cannot ignore it. It’s an alien voice too, almost like reading words on a page, you have to sort of interpret character, inflection and tone.

It isn’t good at bluffing or bullshitting. It is just like the wind; it blows or it doesn’t.

The wind was blowing hard through my head. It was almost like drowning, but the nonstop stream of ideas filled the deadly world. I probably laid there for twenty minutes in this state before I popped out of my seat again, panicked. I was asthmatic too. I couldn’t get a deep enough breathe. The feeling of sharing the room with someone came back hard now. So hard that I grabbed my wallet and went running out the house, terrified that some physical or even metaphysical brain “popping” was about to occur.

It was a godawful hot humid day, and the heat and bright light just smashed me in the face. It was like I had ran right into a yellowish sweat bubble. The wet sickness pushed through my eyes balls and down into my guts. I could feel my morning breakfast gurgling there.

I should have gone inside and laid down, but I was too scared to go back into my house. I started walking. Everything wa cartoonish, blocky, almost lego-y. I began to hear what sounded like a choir singing, but I couldn’t find the source. I walked for a while until I came to a gas station. I stood outside, pacing, totally out of my mind. I was so worked up, angry and for what appeared to be nothing. I felt stupid about leaving the house like that, and I was sure my wife was wondering where the hell I went.

A woman pulled up in a white Nissan. I saw that it was an older woman, heavy set, and in business attire. We made eye contact for a second and I looked away. But as she walked passed, I looked back and now the woman was young, slim and shiny blond hair ran down seventies style lime green dress, which fit her perfectly. So weirded out, I walked around the building but was stopped by three youths. Two boys were on their bikes, and one little girl was standing on the curb, watching the others riding circles in the parking lot.

As I went passed them the little girl began to talk to me. “Oh professor ass dude, weirdo, lame type predator.” I couldn’t believe what was I was hearing. “Pussy,” she said. I turned around and they were all lined up staring at me. I felt like I should say something, but they were all smiling and what could I say? The oldest couldn’t have been nine, and the girl was no more than five. I couldn’t believe something like that coming from such a young child, but the way they were smiling told me they thought it was real funny.

I stared at them for a second so dumbfounded and weirded out that finally I just turned and walked away. As I got to the edge of the parking lot I looked back for them and they were gone. I kept walking, wading through this lingering dread. I walked until I came to a Dollar General. I had the urge to buy some candles, some candy, maybe even some flowers. I walked through the aisles and every person I went passed had some negative words for me. Vulgar, high school type trash. Pencil Dick. Faggot. Cocksucker. A Grandma in a red hat called me a cunt.

I got my chocolate bars and candles and headed for the checkout line, which was packed with people. I waited for an eternity. The whole time this voice in my head just kept going and going, like standing under a waterfall.

I couldn’t imagine another world existing outside of the pounding, pulsating, internal voice which was just having a freak out, in perfect, controlled, monotoned persistence. You suck you know that, you really suck. You sucks eggs. You suck dicks. You can suck a golf ball through a garden a hose. A carburetor out an engine block. You’re like black hole level suck. Bending matter to your empty black suck. Abortion vacuum suck…

I watched the checkout lady as the line crept. She was an older woman, late forties, early fifties. She had thinning hair and the look of a smoker. She had an air of a look of dignity though too, as she rang everyone’s crap up. Something told me she had some other career experience, like a horse trainer or something. But that was before, when she had something she loved, but that didn’t work out. She took this job out of necessity.

I finally made it to her, but right before, a viscous, emergency type, stomach pain kick in. I leaned against the counter and tried to close my eyes and take some deep breaths. When I opened my eyes, my things were being rang up and a voice broke into my head. “3.33, Sir.” I struggled for my wallet and when I brought it back up and looked the cashier in the face she had changed. It was the beautiful woman who was outside the gas station, but now she was in the Dollar General uniform. For the first time, I got a look at her face.

I love and am ever faithful to my wife, so I feel bad writing this, but she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Normally I am a burnet man, but her ocean waves of shimmering blond hair and lightening green eyes left me floored and overwhelmed with lust. It was her smell too! It was like cool wind on a warm day, through a lavender field, mixed with the earthy scent of woman.

She smiled and said, “3.33, you sick bastard!” As if she read my dirty mind. She said the last words full of both sexuality and insult. I dropped my wallet and banged my head on the counter as I went to grab it. I was full of apologies, even though she had just insulted me. All flustered and blushing, I opened my wallet and there was nothing in there! I was a ramble of sorries and she just kept smiling at me.

“You’re fucking great,” she said. “I can’t wait to get my hands on you Austin. You’re a screamer, aren’t you? I can always sense a screamer. Hemingway never broke; I hated that. You don’t have a fiver on ya? You broke, chubby, son-of-a-bitch. Take the candy asshole, consider it a last meal. Fucking candles.”

You know the phrase deer in the head lights? Now I literally know what that feels like. It was like a decked out, glossy Escalade appeared from the ether and was going to plow right through me. The sick, twisted thing is as I basked in her presence I was still aroused, seduced even by her destructive forces. For some (possibly profound) reason I began to think about the blank page back at home, and how I needed to be doing my words.

The whole word froze and the lights went dim. The store began to shake and drywall began to sift from the ceiling. I looked at the folks behind me, all lined up and waiting to pay for their stuff. They were now statues. Their still shoulders collected the falling dust.

I looked back at the new woman. She was frozen too, smiling like the sun. I had the most awesome realization. This was the Muse!!! Right in front of me. I could hear this indecipherable, yet oddly familiar hum emanating from her. Think it clicked in my head, I had heard this same effect, sometimes deep in the writing zone, when the words were just gushing out beyond my control.élix-Nicolas_Frillié_-_Kiss_of_the_Muse,_c._1863.jpgélix-Nicolas_Frillié_-_Kiss_of_the_Muse,_c._1863.jpg

This was the source of that hum and she was standing right before me. I had the strange thought to try to capture her, bottle her up somehow and hide her back in my house. There was a loud boom of thunder in the store and a web of lightening broke out across the ceiling. With another boom, a giant appeared behind her in the next aisle.

The first thought that came to mind was Gandalf, because of his long white hair and robes, but the man was black, like deep of night black, so black that it was hard to even make out any features on his face, and he was a giant. I’m guessing probably twelve or thirteen feet tall, at least; his head almost touched the ceiling.

He stood there arms crossed for an awful minute. A chrome scepter, capped with a flashing diamond, was clinched in his left hand, and poised to obliterate me with one smack. Thankfully, there were no words passed between us. He just stood there, staring. Then I passed out.

I woke up back in my chair, a small Dollar General store bag with the candles and candy in it on the desk. It was like waking up from a nightmare. I felt so disoriented and insane. Worst of all, I looked up at the screen and all that you have been reading was already up there. As I reread it, memories of the whole experience came flooding back.

I think I might have gone insane. I need to talk to my wife about this, but I don’t know what she’ll say. Has anyone had an experience with this? Please share with me if you have. Thanks for reading. She exists!


Next Chapter

2-8-18 (a brief sketch of self, on the failure of language, and irony, reluctantly released, too much slip showing)

And it’s all just words, empty phrases and utterances. A man struggling not to drown, is what a writer (person?) is. But all that verbal flailing seems to be the core of the problem. All these extra words are just bad techniques which have to be abandoned in the next attempt. Just an endless sowing of existential angst, a tone which escalates in feverish pitch, but never hits that ceiling, never climaxes.

I’ve been learning Spanish. Do it on duo-lingo on my phone. It’s fun and I can just tear through the exercises, the same strength and weakness of intuitive ability at play. . You can feel the shared history of words from the morphing collective feel of them. Peace, Paz, Pax, Pace.

You know about the Tower of Babel? Ah, fuck it. Point I was going to make was about how language fails us at its critical task, namely talking to one another. Because there’s always this gap of language and inner psychology, that obscures shared understanding. You don’t know what the words mean, objectively or subjectively to the other person, or really to yourself either.

What attracted me to words early on has soured and now often repulses. I was trying to figure “it” out. The whole pie, in and out, and the words were a safe and more importantly available way to get at the thing. But now they’ve not satiated, yet left their remnants, and they’ve warped the vessel.

Not broken, note, just warped. To the point they can just pour and pour and fill and fill, and the original hexagonal spout, from having been turned so many times, has worn round and in the flood it can be hard to find and grip it. What’s worse (better?) is you’ve grown amphibious, developed gills and you can make it work underwater, but other can’t, and they start to pull away for air.

2.1.18 (Finding the Third Eye, The Great Mystery, Tom Robbins, The Great Chain of Being, The Nuemenon, Atheism, Gnosticism, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young)


Strange days. I feel like February came with a bit of a sigh, a pleasant sigh. A gentle exhale. Okay, we’re here. Listened to Finding The Third Eye, by Vera Alder, read by Jimbo’s Info Depot on YOUTUBE. It a gentleman reading the book, with some commentary and context added. I’ve sort of lost the super magic ability of superhuman reading. I don’t know if I just if I wore the power out, or if other factors are at play, say homestead, and possibly worse general disinterest. Been picking my way through Tom Roobins skinny legs and all, a book at full prowess I would eat in a week, but now just stays about a quarter finished. Anyway, I’m finding I like someone reading a book to me like that. I’m finding the Vera Alder listen. It’s the exact sort of whoo-whoo that I’m attracted too, the Big Mystery, the occult history of mankind and self.




The Great Mystery is the theme of that Tom Robbins book in fact. General plot is an Arab and a Jew open a restaurant in the front of the UN. And it keeps being attacked by extremist on both sides. The pillars and mounds are symbolized by a stick and a sea shell. There’s a couple silly, humping artist types that make it interesting.

It’s funny how we all keep retelling the same story. I’ve read a couple other Robbins books, Even Cowgirls Get The Blues I think was one I also liked. That was the one with girl with giant thumbs? No? Anyway same sort of flavor, and I love it. Big truths, gurus, idols, sex, humor, history. Seeing yourself in the text. And what is that? When we find ourselves in the text, in the Art, in the other person? Somehow it feels like we’re all the same somehow? Copies of copies. The Great Mystery is about that, the Force, how it runs up and down a great chain of being, pillars and mounds, 1s and 0s, being and nothingness, rolling in circles, eating its own tail, a roller coaster ride through eternity.

But that’s the poetry of it, the word salad of the thing. The issue, the central engine of the theater, is  the vast majority of human beings have a critical level of unwillingness to discuss it. The have not a sense to see how the sausage is made. Yet they completely aware and reactive to the white elephant in the room, them phenomenal and limited aspect of life. Phenomenal meaning sensory, and transitory the world, apparently consisting of multiple planes, dimensions and deities, sentient things. The deep game that the Gods, the Great NouMenon (where’d I pull that one from I have no idea, but a double check in the dictionary tells me it’s the exact word I mean, the thing beyond sense experience) that sits on top of this plane of existence, feeding on our spirits, energy and ideas. The thing beyond that permeates and copulates with this thing, our thing. Because that’s the important point, it’s not like there are different planes or layers in a massive cosmic lasagna. No, it’s all poured together and swirling in an ever great organism (organization), onward and upwards, turtles stacked to the sky.


World Turtle


I like that. You can talk it down in ways. But I’m at the point where the talk down doesn’t make much sense. Seems too unconsciously authoritarian to argue purely “material” explanations for humanity and the world. That the concept of a “spirit” is a made-up word and thing. And everything we think and care about is just a passing phenomena in the great vacuum of space. I wouldn’t choose to believe that. Atheism is based on the straw-man argument that there is no empirical evidence for God. Yet the Mystery Tradition, which is really to say all religious traditions were never claiming an individuated sense of the God, but that God meant that which is in everything. Begging the question, faith based, non-negating nonsense, of course but that was the rap. Not angry Santa Claus waiting to talk in the cloud space about jerking off (that may happen though, remember MYSTERY).

It’s always been one great chain of being. It wouldn’t have made sense other wise. No, for the more outrageous bits there are intricate explanations, meanings, and interpretations, which anyone is right to be cautious of, but to stand at this point in history and just say we will ignore the Christians, the Muslims, the Jews, the Hindus, and Buddhist, and the every other cultural tradition that had ever existed, is inherently invalid, and we know the truth. Which is that there’s no you, no God, no eternal life, but we have got a  giant, possibly conscious, phantom zone full of energy, and spooky behavior at the quantum level, and we will build super-computers, that will be artificially intelligent,  made in our image, so we can copulate…wait a second…



It’s probably no time to be a smart-ass about it. I’m trying to slow it down a bit. Everything. It’s difficult. Controlling yourself. Just breath. That’s about all you can do. Breath and enjoy it, I mean, of course. There’s a more important point in the mystical ramblings. About the consciousness elevation, the upgrading of self that can go on, if that’s what you want. It also appears you can sit in the surf,  coast through reincarnation. Get an existential suntan.  Stay a Virgo forever. Or Cancer. Or whatever you are.


A New Sacred Space

On Casting Spells (The Power of Language) 

Magic (no “k” here you sons of bitches) is the conscious application of will to change the material world. Simple enough, right? What is the difference between spelling and spell casting? I’m suggesting not much really. 

We know this intuitively, and operate in the matrix of the thing typically unconsciously. Typically because most of us aren’t magicians, aren’t padwans on our way to Masterdom. 

I am, in fact a Jedi Knight, so I think of these things all the time. And it really is a peculair situation to start seeing the world this way. For instance, a mother lecturing their child in the check out aisle, suddenly transforms said child into a forty-year potbellied alcoholic of future self, then it snaps back to the frustrated, curse struck child. A casual conversation with a spouse is suddenly elevated to a Harry Potter like battle of wizards, sans wans. Wait, perhaps wands, are at play with husbands and wives. In any case, I challenge you to take a deep breath, still the mind and listen to the words (only need to borrow an “l” from spells to get worlds) around you and the ones that issue forth from you, and see what world is being created around you. 

One of the most enlightening habits I ever began was when I started writing at the top of each journal entry “I can do anything”. This one small habit essentially transformed my whole reality. I suggest you give it a try. 

1.15.18 (a brief sketch of self, across the space time continuum, two paragraphs, mittens) 

Woke up from the strangest dream. My family and I, are on an adventure, through some unknown city, a walk back to our vehicle, a familiar, yet different, older van. Chay and I are in the middle seats, and we drive for a mundane moment. Until, we pull into a building and a dream becomes a dream. 

We’re in a tunnel, and before I know it we’ve blasted off, through some worm-hole time tunnel thing. I open my eyes for a second, and it’s a glittering kaleidoscopic other world, seen in yesteryear, too beautiful to stare at. I close my eyes, losing my breath, and reach for my boy’s hand. It’s there I can feel it through the mitten, so real, how soft the loose material is, how it slides on his little fingers in my grip, so real. 

1.14.18 (10:55, a brief sketch of self, on thee Bug, the anti-dote for illness(the power of Western Films), America, Chess, and Winter)

I was hit with a bug (thee bug?) Friday to Saturday. The heat in my knees and groins provides the perfect warning system of illness. It was a strange batch. It never got too bad, no throwing up, clogged nostrils, or too intense of a headache, yet still it brought pure immobilization. Like I was basically fine, laying there, but if I attempted anything it would come on more severe. It could have been the questionable jar of apple butter in the fridge, to all appearances of sight and smell it was fine, under six months as well, so I’m more inclined to believe it’s thee bug.

It’s funny how you sit in sickness, analyzing your reality. That blank space of the hospital bed. Especially in this season, post holidays, the netherworld of significations. And I read on my phone that “false-alert” in Hawaii, and it can all feel so weird, that so much can be at stake, and yet fake, and nonsensical, i.e. stuffing children in sewer lines? Got to thinking about vaccines and all that, and the simple contradiction that every year they say it’s the worst flu season ever, yet they keep pushing the shots like they’re a panacea, but what I see is everyone getting the shot, seems to be sick, and sick worse. And all that holiday food, the crust of empty sugar and salt of the holidays, booze, bloated opinions and dreams, running you down, when you should be sleeping, resting, leaning.

I slept through it fine,, noted it was probably time to take a break, lay around, imagine the future. I’d worked early Friday on cleaning out the little shed that covers the stairs to the cellar/basement area. I’m imagining how we can turn it into a baby chicken house for a month or two this spring. Friday, we had our official familial planning meeting about Spring goals for the homestead, budgeting the money for that. We were able to put a couple hundred towards a big berry push through Johnny Select Seeds, got fifty raspberry plants, half Killarney and half Anne. And they’re an early to mid, and mid to late season thing, so that means we should basically have berries forever. We also ordered 25 Sparkle Strawberry plants. Our goal is perennial gardening, meaning we want to plant stuff that will grow forever and just do its own thing primarily, as opposed to row-farming, or anything like that.

We watched movie The Revenant. It’s a brutal tale of the American frontier, Hugh Glass/Dicaprio, is a pelt trader who gets eaten by a bear, he chases John Fitzgerald/Tom Hardy around for killing his boy. Of course with some crazy Injuns and Europeans tearing after them all as well. What I like about this movie is that it gets it basically right, I imagine, in historical reality sense, I think to mean. How brutal life can be, savage and beautiful simultaneously (Shown in the bear fight, for the briefest moments, the bear will lay on him like another bear or cub, just like he lays on his own dying/living boy). How this current theme of White (a made up/ahistorical word)-is wrong doesn’t really work out in the real world, but yet it does, in the generational sin, marks a mankind, that all of humanity regardless of race have sort of got to take account of. How we can all be petty, greedy, low, and selfish, but that’s all right, we got live, and we can get along, goddammit, if we can forgive each other’s trespasses. We’re in this shit together. America.

Don’t really like graphically violent movies like that anymore, and it is a disturbing movie/reality. I do have this thing with Westerns while I’m sick though. Remember being in High School, just feeling like I was going to die, and I watched Tombstone. I’d seen it before, but in that weird lucid, liminal state of the sick work, the movie was a perfect escape. Val Kilmer, all sick and ragged, but still the baddest dude. Because he is staring death in the eye, tuberculosis, venereal disease, whatevers there with him. Love that scene though, the other Lawmen, including other 80s movie icon (template Bad-Ass Dad) Kurt Russell, are sort of punked by the maddog criminal. Russell tells him he ain’t economically worth nothing, exposing his true motives, material gain, a la Babylon. The sickman, dead man tells no lies though. He finds from a calm position on the sideline, perfect reckoning. His guns is behind his back, ready. At the end, the maddog is put back on his leash, he stumbles into two caskets, emphasizing the death symbolism twice.


Woke up at four and it was gone. The aches, but even more pronounced the mental motivation, function deficiency. I was again excited and capable in life. I’d lost almost ten games of chess on Friday. An unusual occurrence. I’ve been focusing on my rating and trying to stay above 1100, which for how many games I’ve played, and my general ability should be no problem. But Friday, I went on this atrocious chess run. Then this morning, decide to play a few, bugs dissipated (but not gone I’m well aware), and it’s the best chess of my life. I withstand the same attacks as last game, but reverse and counter with ease. It’s a total different reality, based on what? A day?A virus? Bad apple-butter? Cabin Fever? Vitamin-D deficiency? Catholicism?

Things are snowy and freezing around these parts. It provides an ideal backdrop to these ruminations. I leave the window open and let hot house air flow through and out, until the wind pushes back in, forcing it shut. Like the cold, said that once or twice, I’m sure. Like how it freezes things, retains them, holds them, suggesting forever, permanence. Until next time, when they’re ready. After the sleep, we are stronger.

1.11.18 (A brief sketch of self, a fulfilling guitar session, On noble Max the three legged dog, cold feet, the power of birds)

9ish, I’m sitting here writing while Britney puts the kids to bed. Had a crazy guitar lesson, getting to the upper-intermediary stages (a soulless description, no doubt) where I can just go through simple version of a lot of songs, the first time. Specifically through this Youtube Guitar Guru, Munson Music Live.

Started with a slower version of Rocky Raccoon, then I like. But this time I stuck with it, and it actually helped my strumming, trying to slow down and play it along with Munson. Then I did Elvis, Can’t Help Falling In Love With You, and I again the slowness sort of annoyed me, but I went with it, until towards the end where I unconsciously started breaking the 1/4 notes into sixteenth notes, sort of improvising along with the video. After that I went to one that challenges my strumming Tom Petty’s Running Down A Dream, the fast version of that is a challenge to my wrist. But more and more I find myself able to rely on the muscle memory built up in my hands, and actually relax while I’m doing, take that forth dimensional perspective, where I can enjoy or critique what I am doing, see between the segments of music. Then I went on a random chain, Genesis/Land of Confusion, Fleetwood Mac/The Chain and Gypsy, and the last one the good bass strumming, strumming, strumming, through the cords felt very natural, and right along with the music. And it hit me, I was actually playing, like really playing. Hours and hours of sucking, and I probably am still not all that good, but still I can say I know what its like to play the guitar. The full thing, not just faking.

Let me tell you about another creature that doesn’t fake it. Max, the three-legged, semi-adopted farm dog. He came with 1900s house. He’s its official Dog of the Watch. He barks mightily at the vehicles as they hit the stop sign, or go flying passed on the dirt road. He dutifully tracks, all range of animals, coyotes, possums, deer. He’s invaluable. He’s technically the neighbor’s dogs, but I think he was owned by their Father, who lived here prior, I believe. He sleeps under our front deck, and likes to sunbath on the porch. Some asshole down the street shot his leg off, told our neighbors that he was going after their dog. That seems impossible, but who knows, young four legged, freedom loving, dogs can be something. He his a younger sister, a beauty named Lady. And the freezing temperatures iced her electric leash, so sometimes she gets off too. She likes to hop, but like Max, has to be respected for her benefits, namely keep the coyotes and strays away.

It was a wintry mix this morning. Sleet and snow, all hell really. Lil salt particles of ice that whipped against the house. Cold winds that make you run for it. And there was Max, enduring it all, outside as always. Thought of bringing him, but realized it wouldn’t work (Lady too, she stared at me longingly, chained up in the barn). We do let the him downstairs in the basement when the storms comes. He appreciates that, hates the thunder I think. Tries to push the door at times, but he was loving the snow, skipping around in it, making his rounds. I noticed the birds too this winter, especially. How do they do it? Survive the snow, I mean. Even more so the birds. So little. You think about how much blood they got in them, probably not enough to fill half a coffee cup. But I saw it today, a black and grey Finch (not sure if it was a Finch at all), with that striking red on his head, gripping the large tree in our yards. How do they do it? My heels hurt from the holes in my shoes….

1.9.18 (a brief sketch of self, from the breakfast table, a lingering smell of eggs, and overly hyped sour-dough bread) 

Two nights ago the Bible jumped off the book stand, and John of Patmos began ranting; it was impossible to go back to sleep with that sort of thing going on. Initially I had thought it was a redneck blowing up a propane tank, or maybe an example of those strange sounds people hear world-wide, where it sounds like God is rearranging deck furniture in heaven. 

But nope, just John and he went on and on, and when I finally told him to shut the fuck up, or at least address me in a language I could understand, he got offended, said something about pearls before swine, and with a humph put himself back on the shelf, precariously perched once again, of course. 

Max, our 3-legged, inherited farm dog, whose a real sweet heart and asset for the homestead, barks at the devil and the coyotes every night. In the dark, it’s hard to see exactly what has his focus. We try not to be annoyed, knowing in our rational minds he’s just doing his noble work, but still it annoys us. People can be quite short sighted and selfish, can’t they? 

Sunday there was a kid’s B-day party scheduled, and a dinner party later that night, back in Des Moines. I had said my attending was unlikely, but then the force of socialization, and really a fear of my sweet lil brood traversing the lonely country roads forced me to go. I decided to cut the boredom and anxiety with booze. So I stopped by the grocery got a big bottle of Guinness extra-stout and a six pack of Voodoo Ranger. The cashier was in a death struggle with a maintenance guy about a non-working beer fridge, and I had to separate them with a crow bar to pay for my stuff; I should have noted the bad omen, and acted accordingly. 

The birthday party was a new circle in Dante’s inferno. A small clubhouse had been overfilled, so the smell of hot ass and cheap pizza filled the place. Hungry, emotionally and physically, adults worked the place in an ugly frenzy. I joined other stragglers and black sheep outside or along the wall designated for the phone starers. Outside I found a likely ally, a wigger, with cheap “G” pendant, who was introduced as “Stoney”. I considered copping, but it didn’t seem appropriate, instead I tried to huff his second hand cigarette smoke, while he ranted about the facilities. “Oh shit, is that a water park? Bet that’s dope in the summer! Look at that fucking seagull!?” 

The booze was calling me, and I can’t even remember knocking back the big Guinness when we arrived at the party. Alcohol digested, I was better able to play the social games, one person rants, gets off, then the other, back and forth, until a chunky social lather is acquired. The children took over the house eventually, playing some game filled with intermittent screams of terror and slamming doors. The host a world-class chef created an exceptional spread, and had plenty of interesting information to share (large parts were marked off record, and in the chaos I tried to explain that really wasn’t fair, as I’m a writer and a lowlife, so there is no off record, really) but ultimately the conversation went to a familiar debate of the problems of mankind, namely were people ignorant or evil. I of course am firmly stuck in the evil party, my friend the ignorant party, but really, subsurface we hold the opposite opinions. In any case, turned it over to my oldest, he of course usurped his Father and went to the other camp. I was proud, but sad, sad for revelations to come. 

Britney made the most delicious Apple-Pie, I’d ever tasted. The innards became an appley caramel which was heaven. There was Champagne and delicious wine, all too expensive for a lowly dirt farmer and labeled in languages impossible to remember. I hate alcohol (a bold line delivered in a dramatic dream last night, that I don’t have the time or desire to relate) but can  knock them back like the best when the mood calls. And calling it did…

Illuminate agents were posted up on the way out of town, subtle yet obvious to a Jedi, parked in an abandoned industrial area, reversed into a spot, lights on, too dark to see, yet there in subconscious force. Even the stable and grounded straight-man wife took notice. In the booze it didn’t bother me at all. It was like we were VIPs and they just wanted to make sure we got out of Dodge. 

And luckily we’re mature enough to have a designated driver, Brit this time. So the drive was uneventful and beautiful, and in 15 glorious minutes we were in the hinterlands, and in the booze and darkness, it all seemed new, and I realized how far away from Babylon we really are, and that made me happy. Somehow, the boozy bravado had endeared the Wife, and she was eager for some love, but the demonic liquid had taken its toll, and so instead I just passed out, being scratched like the bear I am. Until like three in the morning when, my body decided it was time for me to pay the piper. 

I’ll save the ugly details. It was a brutal, yet enlightening process. I sat there on the toilet head spinning. My mind jumped from non-sequitur to non-sequitur, dialogue from a soap opera I saw back in 1987, a philosophy text from college, recent tidbits and random minutiae. Cold sweats. Hot sweats. Shit. Vomit. A half an hour or so of biological torture. Then it was basically done, a mild hang over would annoy for most of Monday, but all in all, it was a great experience. A reminder, that booze is not for me. That despite all the television and ads, somehow maturity has set in, and I feel sobriety IS better! For someone from such dysfunctional origins the revelation is something like a personal achievement. 

I’m beginning to realize, with every growing inch of beard, the way forward. I think it will begin this Spring, with a burning of the shoes, and then with a buckshot thru this IPhone, and then ultimately in a swearing off of all vestiges of Babylon, money, debit cards, petrochemicals, etc. Then it’s just me, cabbages, chicken shit, open air, and all that sounds like heaven to me. 

1.5.18 (a brief sketch of self, from bed, managing with a neurotoxin, highlights of a shopping trip in America) 

Had to go to Wal-Mart to pick up carpet cleaner, a youngling had pissed on the floor and I did a half ass job cleaning it up apparently, so every time I walked up stairs I got a wiff of it. As I entered the megastore I got the first hit of whatever post-holiday dope they’re pumping through the furnace vents and by the time I had my cart, I could feel its effects running up my spine and infiltrating my cerebral cortex. 

I walked through the isles, unable to stop observing my fellow shoppers. Their resonances (the term of the week) stood out to me like neon drugstore signs. Depression. Avarice. Apathy. Homicidal rage. An ugly old woman, with leathery skin, like she’d been dipped in a vat of Camel Light juice spoke loudly on the phone. “That’s the thing Mandy, there’s always gonna be people fucking with you at work. No matter where you go, there will be someone who doesn’t like you.” Her eyes rolled  in her head like a cartoon slot machine. The characters were made up of dice, the skull and bones poison symbol, and a cocktail waitress with her dress hiked  up. 

I staggered my way to the pisser. I’d been chugging coffee to fight a headache and so the cart blocking the men’s room door was ignored. I stood there handling my business, taking deep lung fulls of whatever they were pumping into the place. In a haze I looked back to the cart blocking the door and there was the crunchy, hair sprayed back of a woman’s head. She was grunting, frustrated by some disgusting mess left in the waste basket. I ignored and kept on with my business. It seemed like it took forever and when I looked back again, she was staring at me. I stared back and kept at it, the dope had done away with any  inhibitions. She stared at me longingly as she kept trying to scrap the shit off the bottom of the white basket. 

She followed me through the store for the rest of my shopping. A veil had lifted and now all the mechanisms of commercial manipulation stood out to me. The consumers we’re on a conveyor belt, and the machines forced things unwilling into their carts. A mother and daughter, kept filling and unloading their cart with 1$/lb turkeys, left over from the holidays. A man sat Buddha style on the floor with his shirt off, a can of gasoline next to him, vaping. 

I got my items, carpet cleaner, paper towels, chicken, beef, salad. Whatever the machines told me to get. The cashiers face rolled, and swirled, and metals loops jumped from her lips, to her nose, to her ears, back to her lips. She invited me to an orgy in the break room, said I could put smiley stickers on her nipples while we did it, I declined, the way the cleaning lady was looking at me and licking her cracked lips was freaking me out. I smiled, said thanks, but no thanks and collected my bags. 

There was a shirtless Pygmy checking my tires as I loaded up. But as the freezing air started clearing out my lungs, he began to shimmer like a mirage, and blinked out of existence with a wink.