Awaiting Midnight

Cat for Friday 13thDesolate existence.

The chair scatters his frame, legs outstretched, his arms resting on arms, not at rest really, merely not moving. The light above the chair burned out years ago. No need to replace it, the chair has no more use for light than he does. It is worn with springs long ago gone back to rest from what resistance they would have once provided to the sitter; he is beyond caring, yet his eyes move about the room.

Windows on the side of the room, where curtains once fell in adornment, now give a stark gray frame to the bitter cold of the autumn’s last full sweep upon the land before winter might arrive. There is cold inside this room that could perhaps freeze the very wind that blows outside. A different cold, one that settles on the soul when the last light in the universe has blinked out – as real as all of eternity’s failure to answer even one small prayer.

But cold is not the master here, merely a symptom of all else that does not matter.

Desolate existence.

Of course, there is much irony in even pretending there is such a thing as existence. Or perhaps the mind quickly ponders essence and confuses the two. It matters not. The foundation creeks and moans, even as he sits without moving. It might be the wind is stronger. It might be the foundation is weak. Walls which form a house weren’t meant to last forever. But the walls creak and moan not from the wind, they dance in time with the witch’s curse upon the bones of its very structure; brittle bones longing for the dust of ground, blood, less liquid than the sludge of life all but spent. Yet, the moans continue. It would be hard to say they emanate from the one who sits in the chair. A sad lament which could ears hear the timbre, they would point to the banshee pulling from the shadows.

Desolate existence.

There was a time …

It no longer matters. The other rooms are silent, dusty cobwebs adorn the corners. Even the spirit of possibility and longing has moved on. Some silence is too quiet for even the most sensitive of forgotten moments. Sleep offers no solace, only endless dreams of falling down, and getting up and falling down again; no one to help you up, no purpose of direction should there be the possibility of a step forward.

Endless desolation.


MerlinThe pain is greater than anything I have even witnessed. I kept it from them best I could; it was not their burden to bear. However, it was clear they knew. Two doctor visits in as many days, x-rays, examinations, hushed talks that all gave evidence to bitter things to come.

I wish they knew it was okay. It’s not like I never experienced life; sure, having lived a wonderful existence, one wants more of the same, but that it more the acknowledgement of having done so well, rather than any need that must be filled. They loved me even before I could tell who they were; of course, that soon changed as my love for them filled every ounce of my being. I had some love left over for that rottie who insisted on following me around, and those two cats who liked to take a poke at me every time I walked by.

This last night I took a slow and peaceful walk around the property I knew so well. As nights like this should be, a bright moon offered up a silvery shine to the crisp silence of late December—not so cold that any hurry was necessary. I knew they watched me from the doorway, thought they knew my need to be alone; they allowed me to linger where I felt the need. The cool gave cover to the pain, a temporary thing I knew. There was no going back.

I somehow accepted when I came inside that endings were being arranged. The fireplace burnt bright, an oddity so late at night for a family who liked to turn in early—the clock had moved well past midnight. The huge air mattress was on the floor in front of the fire, something which never happened. I could not help myself and found a place as close to the fire as possible, the heat, at once, doing even more than the cool had tried to accomplish.

She curled in behind me, and he rested in the rocking chair, those familiar squeaks sending me off to sleep.

I did not stir until morning, a slow and silent start to the day. Even the rottie laid still, the two cats somewhere else inside the house.

Back to the doctor’s I assumed as we moved out the driveway. This time they sat on the floor with me. He rubbed my head as she held my paw. It’s nice to have family protect you when you visit a doctor. One never knows what is like to happen.

I love them …

The Screen Door

lonelyThe weathered gray door hung askew; the many holes in its screen told of uselessness; the middle hinge was still at work with what the top hinge had accomplished—separation from the old house frame, though the screws in the top hinge still met some wood. It had hung there for a long time, a long time serving a need, letting in what needed to, and keeping out what best be kept outside. Now it squeaked from the small gusts of wind that sent in twisting on its hinges, perhaps asking if anyone was home, a silly thing to aspire to a lifeless door which no longer had purpose.

It had been some time since anyone had yanked that door wide open. Even as it shut now and again, resting from its battle with the breeze, it scarce stayed closed long enough to keep any mosquitoes out; its only effective job now to hang there and be the mocking cry to all of silence.

The bits of early autumn leaves, curled with the sun’s heat, and the tumbleweeds of disregarded things, in the dry dusty garden, moved like the misty smoke on the surface of a warm pond in the chill of early morning; no sound; and, as if in irritation, the breeze would stop and sit them down again. Such things a man would do when all that needed attention also needed repose.

The windswept barn, its doors wide open, splayed, incapable of any protection to what might live there, the worn wooden latch and the frayed piece of rope that held the slider in place, now hung loosely, most likely beyond fixing, a puzzle to anyone less familiar with old things; best forgotten. The stalls sat empty, the scent of who might live here was now a distant glow of sanctuary having been abandoned; the water buckets rested on their sides, empty; the swarms of flies settled on what remained of discard, nothing new to attract their attention. Two stall doors were beaten down as if something had wanted desperately to get out. There was blood mixed with the splinters of wood, not the blood of the prey to the predator, rather the blood of desperation. What had been here was now gone.

Not all though, some had still a ways to go. A couple of horses grazed in the lower pasture, their backs to the farmhouse; a few sheep kept their heads down, far from the old barn, to the right of where the two-track dirt road curved off into the distance, next to the river which gave what water they needed. There was no sign of hens or ducks. The tops of corn stalks in the upper field moved slightly; not likely the wind would move them in such a manner, perhaps the cows had made their way there.

This old farm was different that most; a sparsity of machinery here, save the old John Deere with more rust than green. It still ran, by the looks of it, and parts that never again would be attached for sewing or reaping lay sprawled about, the tall grass doing all it could to hide they even existed.

An old wagon wheel hung on one side of the barn, maybe a link to some other time; and down along where the rains would tumble from the roof during the summer rainstorms, links of old chains lay curled, for a purpose only who had put them there would understand.

It wasn’t time for harvest, nor was it time for planting. It was sometime south of where all the work was done, and the work yet to come was still a few paces north—an interlude of sorts. Not that anyone would come this far to look for anyone who entertained such notions.

Those he loved had long departed. The separation had not been done with any intention of ill will. Nor was it done with any particular grand exodus in mind; first one, and then another, and then, only he was there as the old screen door began pulling itself to be free of the house.

It was fair to say that hugs and laughter, waves and smiles, came with each exit, each small step to being alone. That part was lost to memory devouring memory. There came a time when he had no need to even recall their names. Still, he held on to a desperately needed recollection of love, and he watched the road each evening when his work was done, the seasons doing their best to end his vigil.

He was not an angry man, nor was he lost in some world where humanity was not needed. He was not too kind, too selfish, too brave, too lost, too anything, other than being what he was. He understood deeply that his ways were just that, his. He understood that all things must come to an end. A way of life is merely adopted. His mother and father, their parents before them, had passed that way of life onto him. His intention was nothing more than to pass it on, father to son, mother to daughter. That was not to be; and even in that he understood and accepted the reality of all things; there must be a last.

The old screen door slammed itself once more. This time the top screw fell out and landed on the porch, bounced once, and slid down a crack and out of sight.

Just a week or so ago when he had come inside to retire, he had marked his intend to fix that door, bring it back to as it once had been. Even from where he slept, the distraction was loud enough to wake him.

But that was before he let the door close behind him one last time.


Bored CatBoredom is an interesting phenomenon.

Even thinking about what it is, long enough, makes the entire episode philosophical, and it goes away; but, sitting and trying to think of what you might do next so as not to be bored is a hopeless endeavor. Everything you now conjure up to do is boring.

As you get older you find you’ve done most things, and most of those things were never worth doing in the first place, forgetting all the money you had to spend doing what never needed doing. As you go through that list in your small moments of boredom, all of those ‘done it’ things pop up.

Yet boredom hangs right in there with resignation, sadness, depression, I don’t mean clinical depression—that is a state all by itself. Of course when we are not bored, or places we are bored but getting paid for it—work—usually Monday to Friday, parts of Saturday, and the Sunday night movie, we are busy complaining how fast time flies: Where did the weekend go? Where did the summer go? Oh, my God it’s thanksgiving. Being bored is such an odd place.

It doesn’t even make sense; with all the activity in our lives we should be thankful for these few wonderful minutes, hours, of do nothing time; but, oh no, because we have nothing to do we are awash in: I need a good book, a movie, nah, books suck, all movies suck; maybe I’ll cook something different, nah, food sucks; maybe I’ll go for a walk, nah, walking sucks; and on, ad nauseam.

I think the next time boredom comes to visit, I am going to let it sit there in front of me; I will merely stare back at it, and allow it to do the same to me. No questions, no need for action; let the two of us get to know each other a little better. We have been long time friends but have spent rare moments together.

Boredom, I’m sorry. Please come back, and together we will build a bridge that stretched into the future just far enough to where it is no longer necessary.


A scary word to many people. It conjures up the idea of disaster and total destruction. The movies that adopted the genre in film often portrayed it as what happens when you leave three or four teenagers at home while you take a trip away for the weekend; and they promise no parties.

I allow the word to lean toward its broader definition—incredible change, as in a veil lifting and in quick fashion bringing on a great transformation.

The genre I am currently writing in—post apocalyptic fantasy—gives another distancing to the more popular definition of death and destruction as being the main theme. I like being there as it offers a clean slate of sorts. The usual matters of life that eat up all of our energy and time can be set aside, and characters get to choose to some greater degree what they want to do. It also allows comparison and contrast to what is so compelling in our modern technical controlled world; the curtain is pulled way back and the reader gets to glimpse other possibilities.

I won’t tell you that any one of my books will leave you with any great insight into where humanity is perched to travel; each book will, however, make you think about choices we make, and the consequences. Each one will show how we are all connected, and how being connected does not need to dilute the individual, unless of course such connection is more a form of subservience than a willful joining.

My stories take ordinary people and propel them to explore the dark and the light. It is rare that someone is very good, or that someone is totally bad. Events have a way of tainting character to either side. It is my wish that light should always prevail.

In all of this, the main focus is always on the story. While I believe in coincidence and chance as being a real part of life, I also make sure the plot must be carried by the characters and their abilities, some such abilities being learned quickly as the journey unfolds. Yes, I have a storyboard, a plot line, a style sheet, and a damn good editor.

Please come check me out. The Druid and the Flower, now available; Ashima, available in the November 2015.

Ticked Off

a cow

So, how was your day, yesterday?

I don’t know who, or what to believe any more. I know I don’t have the wherewithal to check out every piece of information that comes my way. Even my computer protection software is constantly telling me how it saves me. It brags that its other great products will make my computer better than when it was first booted up; and as I download a trial copy, I hardly notice the five tick marks on the other software that will come along for the ride.

I firmly believe I have programs inside my computer fighting ongoing battles with each other. One or two programs constantly scream at me that they are being blocked and NEED to get to the internet. I feel like I have captured some poor animal and it is trying desperately to get free.

My last round with tech support was a doozy; yes, I have many tech support services that take me, from being on hold forever, to finding out I was hung up on hours ago, to a ‘groundhog day’ of menus that are so vast and varied, it takes me hours to figure out, “Wait a f$%$%# min, I’ve been here.”

So, in one of those yesterdays, not so long ago, one of my programs refused to work (no need to tell your which program; they all take their turn). I contact tech support, and tech support walks me through all sorts of novel, but meaningless, ideas, finally takes over my computer, and when he can’t do anything, blames it on SOMETHING in my computer. Of course, at this point we are a few hours in, and I share with the young overachiever how impressed I am with such a conclusion. We go our separate ways, him telling me to wipe everything from my computer and start all over.

I’m used to this by now; I wait a day, yup, yesterday, call back, and sure enough the new tech waits to hear my problem, pretends that there is no message on my account relating to same, and quickly tells me how I MUST HAVE ticked a box that I should not have ticked. He walks me down a series of submenus that I could not have found with a team of trackers on my side, and a three year supply of mouse batteries. “There,” he says. “See, that box needs to be ticked, “never.”

“How stupid of me,” I add.

I mean, why bother.

P.S. Yes, I figured I figures out, from all that transpired, what had happened. I had installed Windows 10, yes, I told them both that. That tick mark told their program “to look for a certain home page” which no longer existed. Yes, their program came that way; but, they needed to make it all look to be my fault, and that ticks me off.


sad kitenIn the aftermath of gun violence, here in the land of the free and brave, the usual posturing takes place, some who blame it on the guns, and the others who blame it on the people with the guns. I see two completely different issues.

Allow me to take the guns first (yes, an unintended pun). To have some insane idea that we should have guns in case we need to start a revolution goes without merit of comment. So, let’s move onto protection. I do suppose there are times when a gun might come in handy during some act of violence; I do suppose that there are times when guns save a life, one that should have being saved.

That being said, I find it a more important question to ask why it is we thing we need a gun to protect ourselves. Surely, we have moved on from the barbaric days of kill or be killed. I would submit that even in the times of clans, tribes, and cavemen, members of the same sect were capable of walking around with their own kind without fear of being killed—with all due difference to Game of Thrones. What have we become if we don’t feel safe walking down a sidewalk in the middle of the day, unless we are packing a gun; how safe do you really feel, if you have to have a gun under your pillow, cocked and ready to shoot? If that is who we are, then I would postulate we are far from living in the land of the free.

Then there is the other side which believes every gun is a killing machine, looking for a target. All guns are evil. Many people, especially children are killed accidentally because a gun is in the home. Even when guns are in the home, they don’ always get used in a home invasion; sometimes they are taken away by the intruders. All good points; all, in my estimation, not on point with the problem.

My rambling, thus far, is not to make guns good or bad. I pose this question. If you were asked to walk around in body armor all day, and sleep that way, how would you feel? I don’t think it’s much difference HAVING to carry a gun. One might be easier to do, but they are both for the same reason.

Now, let’s take a gander at the people who carry out the violence. No matter what we do, give them guns, take away their guns, they will find a way to carry out their violence. And of course these wayward sons and daughters know full well, the greater the horrific nature of their deed, the greater the coverage from our media. They rise from obscurity to fame. Which, of course brings us to the media and the numbers of people upon our small planet. The population has exploded in the last century or two, the info we gather from all who live here is beyond measure in terms of availability and speed of sharing. Those two developments allow any calamity, small, large, contrived, or otherwise, to be spread like wildfire on a tall, dry, grassy plain in a Nebraska hot July afternoon.

I read a twitter from an author I like, Thomas Moore. “Violence is due not to “mental illness” but to “soul illness”: the need for love, belonging, recognition, respect, opportunity…” I don’t know how right he is. I do know our world has too many people; more and more people are feeling disenfranchised; the internet allows a close look on all of the world, and people see clearly the massive disparity that exists. I’m sure Mr. Moore did not want to rule out mental illness, as a link to violence; he merely wanted people to focus on the obvious; the mass of people live in desperation of one kind or another, and they see splattered over the media the privileged few who flaunt their wealth, power, prestige as some symbol of them being special, rather than being lucky, smug in their own vile interpretation of the world they no longer live in.

NO, I won’t add to that rules of law that numb the senses, the governments who continually do what is best for them and NOT what is right for the people.

It is time for compassion and understanding, true leadership and guidance. Let’s show our children we have moved out of the cave.

Choose Darkness

me_as_a_raven_nightThe twilight, which brings in the evening, offers immutable intention, so different from its left-handed twin on the other side of day or night as one deems best to look. With the evening’s push against the day the crickets rub their wings together in anticipation of the trepidation that might follow them into night; for now as the sun blinks out, all the heat, so immensely stored all about the earth, must leave the land. Such departure has little to do with how cold or warm it might be; the vastness above pulls it like a blanket for its own warmth. And there is a chill left behind, which sits waiting for the uninitiated.

Nor does the heat simply rise into the air. For the twilight of evening also frees the druids from the tall black oaks. The druids ride the rising heat of the earth to do what nature demands of them in the darkness to come. It is the druids who make the leaves rustle even though there is no wind; the bending of the tuffs of grass bears witness to their passing; and should there be a moon upon the water, faint ripples can be seen where none should be, that too, the sacred priests of nature well about their work. They join the young wolf on the cliffs overlooking the forest and teach him to howl his presence that all might know he has moved to find his pack and a new territory. They lead the deer away from stream and open field to lay quietly tucked behind a screen of brush; their ears ready for any sound, and the place ordained that it provide ease of escape, should that be necessary. A druid sails with the Screech-Owl, and brings her to a perch, where they sit together, so she might learn silence and the way of the night.

All creatures understand this is time to be the hunter or the hunted, and it is the druids who guide all who dwell here. Evening twilight is the toll of life’s bell to meet the druids, to rehash what the day did bring, to plan what must be accomplished tomorrow, to survive the night.

The twilight of morning does not care to grip the day in any dark embrace; its concern is all about unfolding. It comes as a whisper in a lover’s ear, or a soft caress against a breast to stir the flames of a new passion. There is a misty shroud of softness all about; the trees, the grass, the water, stretching throughout the land; the entirety appears joined as one; each blending into the other, impossible to tell where one begins and the other ends. It is a time of awakening and ephemeral wonder: First, it is the sky that breaks away and offers a sleepy eye; ill-lit, it scarce can make out the small stream of clouds to the eastern sky. Then somehow, stretching, as does a great woods animal when it first rises from sleep, and then with great majesty moves to the bank where it takes its first drink, the light, in its fashion, sets pinks and greys against the far horizon, a vivid and glorious display of the light to come; and just as quickly as the tall antlered buck leaps from the bank at the sound of a branch breaking; the colors dissipate, and the day has arrived.

Morning is what we crave most. It offers a new start, and that is indeed a glorious purpose. But, dare you not forget the “dark night of the soul,” for learning is all about darkness, not light. The best of insight comes from the dreams that stir to us in the depth of night. Few ponder such dreams, and so they are bid to repeat them. Those who do ponder, do so with their eyes shut against the light; that they might touch the reason and the why of a matter. In the best of deeds and accomplishments, there are crucial times of darkness which test the resolve to continue. That darkness should not be feared or ignored; it is merely the time to know how well you might want the outcome.

A myriad of great teachers have long ago slipped into the dark shroud of our past. Yet they reach out to teach us in books, poetry, paintings, music, and the crafts they explored; and so we may move forward with their knowledge. The best of the teachers who even now dwell among us have already lived a life of discovery and learning; and their light too might bend towards the twilight of evening as they impart their knowledge to us. It seems a trade of sorts; we move into the light as they move into the darkness.

Yes, the light is the best of what is yet to be; know well however, it is the darkness which will give you the power to best explore the light.

The New Gatekeeper

OllieKindleScout. A new program by Amazon.

A quick read of what Kindlescout proposes points to be a most wonderful opportunity; and yet it forced me to pause and consider. No, I have not pawed through every detail of the agreement; I offer my comments here as a means to enlighten those who are not aware of its existence; and beg those of you with a more commanding view of the publishing industry to weigh in.

It would appear from my short read that once you submit your completed book (not manuscript) to Kindlescout, some forty-five days later, should they decide, they own all digital rights (no, not print rights); for eternity should certain revenue thresholds be maintained. Not a bad thing at first glance. They are the big cojones of digital print anyways, so might as well jump on their bandwagon.

Here’s what bothers me. The big publishing houses were the “gatekeepers” of quality, so the historians of that world would like us believe. It looks now that Amazon will own the playing field for some time to come, and has its own way to be a gatekeeper. There will be a special field, invitation only, where the lucky few, the chosen, will be allowed to graze.
It might appear we have traded the small garden party that was invitation only for the mighty Mosh Pit which will also be invitation only. The rest will get to dance in the street.

What think you?

Choosing a Career


“What I would do now” is a glimpse into the impossible – a pondering of what I would do if I were twenty or so now, and given the vantage point I now possess. I don’t mean it to be educational, nor do I wish to preach. I very much want to explore how the world has changed since my younger days, and how I might view things.

I need to choose a career; or so I’m told. I’ve tried working at MacDonald’s; that long-term part-time job at Blockbusters worked out well. My favorite job was cleaning out the fryolator at one o’clock in the morning while it was still hot with used smelly oil drenched in an evening of deep-fried foods destined to put a few more pounds on the trove of customers who craved such dishes.

Time to be serious. Let’s start with the big stuff. Do I want a career that insists I go to only the best college, at the top price, and emerge from there with a nice hefty loan the size of a house mortgage; only to be reliant on the contacts I make there to ever find a top-notched job? My life style tells me, no. I like the folks I hang with; we connect because we like each other, and share similar interest; not because we need to use each other as a steppingstone

Okay, then. How about the local university that is in driving distance? Or should I live on campus somewhere far away? That’s a little like asking, should I find a job in another city so instead of getting to work in ten, twenty minutes, I get to commute for two hours, pay for parking, and still walk a long way to arrive at the workplace; better still, find a job in some far off city where I must find a hotel to stay in, and come back home on the weekends.

If I don’t live on campus, and I garner a part-time job I get to graduate with what might look like a new car payment sans the new car – still better than a house mortgage. Is that the better course of action? Hmmn.

Oh ya, I need to pick the career first and then decide. I guess I forgot that step.
Dental assistant is popular; so is everything to do with exercise, training, rehab. The construction industry, the associated trades offer good pay and some possibility of continued employment.

Putting my hand in someone’s mouth—nope, not doing it. Banging a hammer is cool; but not in sub-zero or ninety degree temperatures.

On line gaming, I mean I play lots of those. I bet I could design one and make millions. Or write a book. Why is fifty so popular? “Fifty ways to leave your lover”; “fifty shades…” Maybe if I went with fifty-one.

This is going nowhere fast. Too many things to ponder. What if I want to get married, sire children….damn, there I go again.

I know one thing to be true about life. It depends little on how much money I make after a certain point; it matters greatly how I use the money, and how I define what I truly need.
I like cerebral stuff. Ah, I am making headway. Accountant maybe? Teacher, preacher, lawyer, no, no, no…. I want to be a writer. Okay I’ll need a day job. An accountant will do. Just don’t overwork the accountant part. It’s not worth the effort.

What’s most important is doing something you want to do. Life is too short and too precious to use it up exploring the quickest path to riches. Sure we need money, but we don’t need to mortgage our life to acquire money. We need to have joy and peace of mind—that includes the workplace where we might spend one-third of our day for a long stretch of years. All of us are good at something, and/or something resonates in our mind as being important. Find that link and explore it; it is you, it defines who you are or what you wish to become. Let it guide your decisions; push all the other minutia aside.