Trust not my reading, nor my observations, which with experimental seal do warrant the tenor of my blog.

Hello.  Good morning.  Today is Thursday, and so of course it’s time for the most recent edition of my weekly blog post.

I’m writing this post on my phone, using the Google Docs app, because unfortunately, even my petite, eleven-inch-hypotenuse laptop seems to be too much to carry around in my backpack, given how badly my back and hips and ankle have been behaving.  I don’t think it’s so much the weight of the thing that’s the issue as where it tends to rest‒right up against my lumbar spine.  It may not truly be triggering any problems, because my back and hips and my right knee and ankle are in pretty severe pain no matter what, even though I’ve lost two belt notches worth of weight recently.  However, reducing the load in that area seems to decrease my pain, or at least to cause less of an exacerbation, so for now I’m writing on my phone, so to speak.

I keep trying to find things to do that decrease my pain, but all my attempts have so far been quite unsatisfying.  Perhaps the Dread Pirate Roberts was right after all, and life is pain.  Or was that the Buddha?  Anyway, one or more of those great philosophers said something about life and pain being inextricable.

I’ve been writing The Dark Fairy and the Desperado on my phone this week as well.  The two main characters have finally met!  Of course, the Dark Fairy immediately tried to kill the Desperado, but that’s to be expected.  It’s slightly slower writing on the phone than it is with the laptop, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, but as I’ve also mentioned, that may be good for keeping my writing more concise.  On the other hand, my verbosity may not be something any device known to humanity can curtail.

I posted the most recent section of Outlaw’s Mind here this week.  There’s still quite a bit to go before we reach the point where I’ve stopped writing it, and I hope those of you who read it are enjoying the story.

In other news, yesterday I recorded, overdubbed, edited, and posted a video of me playing and singing the Beatles song And I Love Her, and I’ll embed it here.  I’ve been half-heartedly working on getting it into playable shape for a while, and I decided I needed to have a rhythm track (which I had to create the new-fashioned way, beat by beat, on Audacity, since I have no drums), and that it also would be much better with the little accompanying arpeggios* during the second, third, and last verses in the background.  I wanted to be able to do those at speed when I played them.  To pat myself on the back (which doesn’t help my back pain), I only got the basic chords from a guitar book, but did the (admittedly simple) key changing and worked out the solo and stuff for myself.  I’m reasonably pleased with the results, though it’s far from perfect.  I’ve gotten pretty good at throwing these videos together at least, including sound editing and backing tracks and the like; I did these things literally in my spare time yesterday morning.

There’s no need to feel obligated to watch the video of me playing, though; I certainly take no joy in looking at myself and it’s hard to imagine anyone else would.  It’s basically there to prove that, yes, except for backup/overdubs, I really did play and sing it all at once, myself…and because the milling masses mostly only seem to respond to video** anymore‒but here it is in case you want to listen:

I’m not sure what else there is to talk about today.  Of course, there are always subjects that could be raised, but I’ve not really done any discussion or commentary, either here or on Iterations of Zero, for quite a while.  The whole process seems utterly pointless (not least because of the aforementioned predilection of the populace for video***); my energy level is steadily deteriorating, and my motivation is doing so even more.  I’m not convinced that anything I write or say or do will make any difference, even for me.  I continue this blog mainly out of stubbornness.

I did do a slightly curious thing this week.  There’s a horror novel that I used to read and reread a lot back when I was a teenager:  Floating Dragon, by Peter Straub.  The events of the story begin on May 17, 1980.  Indeed, there’s a line in the book that goes, “On May 17th, 1980, the Dragon came to Patchin County.”  That line is always bouncing around my head at this time of year, so on Tuesday (which was the 17th) I decided to buy the Kindle version of the book, though I haven’t started reading it yet.  I miss my old, battered paperback copy, lost now with all my other possessions from before 2013.  It had the amusing characteristic that the way the title and author were written on the spine, if one read them in ordinary left-to-right fashion, seemed to say, “Floating Peter/Dragon Straub”.  I wonder if the publishers realized that after the fact and were duly embarrassed.  Anyway, it was a good, albeit very weird horror story, and I still can recite parts of it from memory, such as:

“You were dreaming for a long time, and then you were not.  You were asleep in a place you did not know, and when you awakened you were someone else.  You had a drink in your hand, and a woman was looking at you, and Dragon, the world was yours again.”

With that, I’ll call things to a close today.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this atypically written blog post, and that you’re all as well as you can possibly be.



*Is it supposed to be “arpeggi”?  That’s how Radiohead spelled it in the title of their song Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, and they’re Cambridge-educated, albeit probably not in linguistics.  Then again, I studied English at Cornell.  Not that such a thing matters much anyway, since the word in question is Italian…but it’s not being used as Italian, but rather as a term of musical jargon.  I should probably just look it up, but where’s the fun in that?

**Angels and ministers of grace defend us from anyone who might think to ask most people to read.

***Perhaps we should retire the term vox populi and replace it with visus populi.

For grief is proud, and makes his blogger stoop.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, the second Thursday in May of 2022, and it’s time for another edition of my weekly blog post.  Tomorrow will be Friday the 13th! Unlike many people, I like Friday the 13th both because I like being a bit contrary and because I like prime numbers.  I used to always put thirteen gallons of gas in my car when I filled it up, just because I like prime numbers, and I particularly like thirteen because so many people dislike it.  Maybe I thought it deserved to get some positive attention for a change.

I haven’t been quite as productive this week as last week, but I did write a good five thousand words on The Dark Fairy and the Desperado.  I’ve been a little worn out because my recent travails have exacerbated my chronic back and leg pain, and yet I’m walking about two and half miles a day as part of my commute.  So, my concentration—nay, even my very will to live*—has been detrimentally affected.  Nevertheless, I have continued to write; being on the train is nice for doing that, at the very least.

I posted the next section of Outlaw’s Mind this Tuesday, but it was a short one.  I didn’t want to add the subsequent section to beef it up any, because that section is already rather long, and adding them together would have made it too much, I think.  I don’t know if anyone is actually reading the story—I don’t know if anyone is actually reading this, for that matter—and if they are, I don’t know whether they like it.  I suppose it’s possible that some masochist might hate the whole thing but read it for that very reason.  That seems unlikely, though.

I mentioned last week, with my tongue in my cheek, that I tend to play guitar and sing as a way to punish the world.  Well, I’ve done a bit of such punishing recently; I’ve embedded below two videos of me amateurishly playing guitar and singing, for anyone who feels the need to scold themselves, perhaps for falling off a diet, or not getting enough exercise, or committing adultery…stuff like that.  In all seriousness, however, I like both of these songs a lot, and so I did my amateurish best to play and sing them.

The first is If You Could Read My Mind, by Gordon Lightfoot, a song I’ve known and liked since I was a little boy.  I’ve always loved the melody, and Gordon Lightfoot was a very good singer.

The second is No Surprises, by Radiohead, which I only came to be aware of perhaps fifteen years ago, but which very quickly became one of my favorite songs (and bands).  It’s harder to play than IYCRMM, as you can probably tell, but I really love it.  In many ways, it is the song of my soul, if there is such a thing.

As for anything else…well, there really isn’t much else.  There was a death in my family late last week, about which I’m quite sad.  This was my uncle, whom I hadn’t seen in quite a while, but who had been, along with his son—my cousin—one of the only people in my family to attend my wedding.  That’s part of a long and dreary story that I won’t go into, but it is a shame that I hadn’t seen him in so long, and now I won’t be able to do so.  Such is the story of life, unfortunately.  I wish I could have told him how much that meant at the time, and even though that marriage has since failed, that gesture still means a great deal to me.  At least I can hereby tell my cousin the same for his part!

I fear quite honestly that I am on the verge of a real and serious mental (and physical) breakdown, and I don’t know what to do about it.  I also fear that, even if I did know what to do about it, I would not have the will to do it.  I wish I did.  I would like to be optimistic and upbeat; I have been so in the past.  No one who suffers from chronic depression and/or other, related difficulties would wish to suffer from it/them. They might well believe, however, that they richly deserve their own suffering for being the awful, evil, rotten person that they see, that they “know”, themselves to be.  I don’t know how to escape that trap.  I have tried, many times and in many ways, but I don’t think I have the strength or the resources to do it on my own.  And on my own is what I am.

I hope, nevertheless, that all of you reading are feeling and doing as well as you possibly can, and that you are with those you love, or at least in communication with them, and that you find a great deal of joy in that.  Please take care of yourselves, and of each other.



*It’s an interesting notion, this concept of “will to live”.  It’s misguided and misleading, because it’s not as though one can simply stop having some “will to live” and consequently just die.  Trust me, I know.  The body and brain have been shaped by millions upon millions of years of evolution to try to stay alive, and one’s will, at the human level, has almost nothing to do with it.  Ditto with eating and drinking and breathing.  Just try not doing those things.  The machine keeps cranking along until it falls apart, or until something breaks it.  Believe me, if not having the “will to live” mattered at all, there are many times—several in any given week, I’d say—in which I would already have died.  Alas, it’s the will to die that’s more a real kind of will, and it is set against gargantuan, Lovecraftian powers of nature that force living beings to stay alive whether they really want to or not.  I’m working on it, though.

Plenty and peace blogs cowards; hardness ever of hardiness is mother.

Hello, everyone, and good morning, everyone.  It’s Thursday—it’s quite early in the morning, since I’m having a particularly noteworthy iteration of insomnia today—and so it’s time once again for my weekly blog post.  This is the first Thursday in May of 2022, which is mildly interesting, I guess.  It’s also Cinco de Mayo, so for those of you who celebrate that holiday:  Enjoy!

As those of you who pay attention to it will have noted, I posted the most recent part of Outlaw’s Mind here on Tuesday.  I hope those who are reading along steadily—if there are any such people—are enjoying it.  It’s a fairly dark tale, which is probably why I’ve had to keep stopping and starting it as I go along.  I like my main character, Timothy Outlaw, and I keep making crappy things happen to him, or at least having him experience crappy things.  So, I have to take a step back from time to time.  It’s strange that this story has such an effect on me, considering I’m the author; I don’t know what it might say about my own psychology, if anything, but it can be a bit frustrating.

On the other hand, The Dark Fairy and the Desperado—which is not entirely a light-hearted tale, either—is at least quite fanciful, it being a supernatural adventure across multiple universes, the main characters of which are an unerringly deadly gunman from the Old West of our world (or one very much like ours) and a very angry fairy from a completely different world, whose experiences with humans have filled her with an enduring wrath that earned her her sobriquet.  And, of course, they only meet because of the machinations of a wizard from yet another world who has become trapped in a universe of his own creation and needs help getting out of it.  So, while it’s heavier in some senses than Outlaw’s Mind—Omniversally heavy, one might say—it’s lighter in tone.

I’ve gotten quite a lot of writing done on it lately.  This is at least partly because I’ve been taking the train, and so I can write while I’m traveling to work.  Even though I didn’t accomplish anything at all last Friday, I’ve still written just shy of 8500 words since this time last week.  I haven’t even introduced the Dark Fairy yet, since it takes some time to bring a desperado out of the Old West into a trans-universal setting and explain to him what the heck is going on when it happens.  It helps that, at the time he is transported from his home, he is facing nearly certain death in the desert, without a horse and without water.  He figures almost anything would be preferable to that, so he’s able to go along with things.

Anyway, it’s a fun story, and one I’ve had in my mind for roughly as long as I had Mark Red.  Like Mark Red, it was originally thought up as a manga, and it’s now meant to be a series of books; I haven’t written any more of Mark’s story yet because, frankly, no one has expressed any interest.  I still may end up doing it, though—assuming I live that long—because Morgan, the vampire who saves Mark’s life by making him into a demi-vampire, is still my favorite character that I’ve written to date.  There are at least two more books waiting to be written about her and Mark.

The adventures of The Dark Fairy and the Desperado will probably take more books, because of the structure of the adventure they’re going to be having, but I don’t expect the books to be as long individually.  There will be more action and less soul-searching, so to speak, since neither of the main characters are teenagers, and in fact are quite hardened and cynical, each in his or her own way.  Neither one needs to try to avoid becoming a killer and/or a supernatural being, since it’s already too late to avoid such things.

They inhabit the same Omniverse as do the various characters in my other stories—after all, the Omniverse is infinite in infinite dimensions, and it contains all possible universes of any nature—but they will spend more time traveling from one realm to another than pretty much any of my other characters*.

And that’s pretty much a summary of everything that’s happening in my life or is likely to happen—I don’t really do anything for fun**, I don’t have any real friends***, I have no pets, no local family (none that want to see me, anyway), and no hobbies**.  I occasionally attempt to play guitar and sing, but that’s more my way of punishing the world, à la Welcome to the MachineI don’t know that it could be considered a worthwhile endeavor.

But I continue to write, both my books and this blog.  I hope you all enjoy reading it (and them, when and if it applies), and I hope you have a good holiday, if it is one for you, and that in general you have the best possible day, week, month, year, and life you can have, along with those you love and who love you.  And try to treat all the other people well, also, if you can.

Oh, and wish your mothers Happy Mother’s Day this coming Sunday, if you’re lucky enough still to be able to do so.  And to all you mothers**** out there—Happy (early) Mother’s Day from me!


cinco dance

*With the possible exception of the eventual story Changeling in a Shadow World, which I’ve mentioned here previously.

**Other than writing, I guess.

***Does that surprise anyone at all?

****Rarely enough, for me, this is not intended as “half a word”.

Why, what is pomp, rule, reign, but earth and dust? And, blog we how we can, yet die we must.

Hello.  Good morning.  It’s Thursday, and so, whether anyone asked for it or not—whether anyone wants it or not—it’s time for my weekly blog post.

I can only apologize.

So far, this week has been marginally better than last week for me, which may not be saying very much, but at least it is better by some measures.  I got quite a bit of writing done this Monday through Wednesday on the train; I’ve been using my laptop, not my phone to do it, despite my thoughts that I just might stick with the former device.  Still, on each of those three days, I wrote roughly 2100 words in the morning, which is more than twice as many as I wrote last Friday, which was a very difficult day, continuing the pattern of the days that had preceded it.

Anyway, The Dark Fairy and the Desperado is moving along well.  Though we have not met the Dark Fairy yet, we have met the Desperado.  He is the first person we encounter, and he is soon to be sent to meet his fellow title character.  It won’t be a friendly encounter, I’m afraid, but if things all went easily, where would be the fun?  A story without the exchange of fireballs and bullets between protagonists can hardly be called a story at all.

I also remembered to post the next part of Outlaw’s Mind here this week, unlike last week, so to those of you who were pining for it, you’re welcome.  I tried to put in a “continue reading” tab, so that it wouldn’t take up as much screen space for scrolling purposes if you’re trying to go back to further entries, but I’m not sure I succeeded.  I didn’t try very hard to check, and I haven’t yet gone back to insert any in earlier posts.  Have I but world enough and time, I mean to do so.

I’ve considered perhaps interspersing some posting of parts of The Dark Fairy and the Desperado here, perhaps alternating with Outlaw’s Mind, perhaps posting them on another day of the week.  Let me know what you think, if you have any interest in the question at all.  It’s not a horror story, but is instead a trans-universal fantasy adventure, so be prepared.  I want to (and so I hereby do) remind everyone that these are stories in early draft form*, so they won’t be as polished and streamlined as something that’s been formally published would be.

In this, unfortunately, they may bear all too much resemblance to all too many of at least the online versions of publications from Scientific American to the various major newspapers, all of which seem to have fallen into the editorial hands of the pointy-haired boss from Dilbert, and many of the writers of which seem to have learned their trade via Twitter-mediated coursework.  Honestly, the state of much of the publishing industry is terribly dispiriting to note.

More than once within the last few months, in mainstream-published books about arguably serious subject matter, I’ve encountered the words “free reign” used instead of “free rein”.  That latter is an expression related to horseback riding, in which one essentially releases control of the horse to allow it to go where it will, presumably at high speed, but with outcomes that may be difficult to predict, and this is the source of the metaphor.  The former is…I don’t know, perhaps a reference to some form of particularly liberal monarchial regime**.

But, as they say, I digress.  I’m prone to do so often and grievously.  The point I meant to make was simply that I wouldn’t want you to mistake the form in which I might share parts of a story here for the way they might appear in “officially” published form, in case anyone were to consider buying one of my books.

One other thing I did at the end of last week was to record a video of me playing guitar and singing the David Bowie song, A Space Oddity.  I had downloaded the chords to the song from a site of which I am a member, and they sounded so good to me when I played them, even though they weren’t particularly difficult chords, that I couldn’t resist making a video.  I’ll embed it here, for anyone who is interested.  I make no promises regarding the quality of the playing or the singing; I just liked singing and playing the song.

And I think that’s pretty much what I have to share this week.  I hope you’ve all been feeling and doing better than I have been, and I do mean “all”.  I’ve been having a truly rough time, though at least I’ve kept on writing, and I don’t want any of you to feel like I do, no matter what Peter Frampton might say.  I would seriously like you to share (in the comments here, not on Facebook or Twitter, which I tend not to spend much time on for the sake of my already alarmingly tenuous mental health) whether you would be interested in reading sections of The Dark Fairy and the Desperado, and if so whether you would mind if I alternated them with Outlaw’s Mind, or if you would prefer to have me share them in another slot during the week.

Otherwise, as always, please try to be kind to each other and to yourselves, because goodness knows I’m not likely to do it.


Theoden king

*It wouldn’t be quite accurate to say that they are first drafts, because I always reread what I’ve written the previous day before starting on any new writing, and I edit as I do so.  Often, I’ll have reread a portion and edited it more than once in this process, depending on how much I wrote the preceding day.

**A regime, by the way, is related to the rule of a person or dynasty over a nation, or something analogous.  A regimen is a “prescribed course of medical treatment, way of life, or diet for the promotion or restoration of health”, and related usages.  The words are obviously related, so it’s not such a big deal to conflate them***, but it is a bit sloppy, and—of course—it irritates me far beyond its level of importance.  One follows an exercise regimen, not an exercise regime, unless one is ruled over/governed by one’s workout routine in a more or less literal sense****.

*** “Reign”, on the other hand, comes from Latin via Old French and Middle English and so on, while “rein” is apparently derived from Old Norse, so though they are homophones, they are not closely related words.

****A “diet” is more complicated, since it can refer to a legislative body, thus making things ever more confusing, though I doubt that many people confuse regime with regimen for that specific reason.  There’s even a famous historical “Diet of Worms”, which had nothing to do with the eating habits of annelids, but instead referred to a body convened to address the heresy of Martin Luther.  Though I love it dearly, English is often muddled and can be confusing.  It’s both a technically “degenerate” code and also often not a very specific one.  Maybe I shouldn’t get so worked up by people mistaking a horseback metaphor for one related to monarchy and similar governmental situations.

It is the bright day that brings forth the blogger, and that craves wary walking.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, as you probably know, and‒as you probably also know‒because it is Thursday, it’s time for my weekly blog post.

This may be a somewhat unusual post, not so much in content as in style, because I’m writing it on my cellphone/smartphone/mobile phone using the Google Docs app*.  Why am I doing that, you may ask? Well, it’s been a helluva week…

Through various misadventures, some due to my own failings, others due to the slings and arrows of truly outrageous fortune, I’ve been stuck commuting via various combinations of buses and trains (and a lot of walking), and though I do own a mini laptop, if I’m going to be walking around a lot, then having that little rectangle poking me right in my back surgery scar is just too much.  Maybe when I’ve gotten as fit for walking as I intend to become it won’t be a problem, but during a week in which I’m already quite stressed out, I prefer to avoid the amplification of my baseline back pain that such poking entails.

So, I’ve decided to try writing on my smartphone, and for creative writing at least, it’s been working fairly well.  The first day I did it, I wrote about 1700 words on The Dark Fairy and the Desperado even as I went through three bus transfers.  The next day I wrote 1400 words, on bus and train**, but I think the decrease was partly due to the fact that I was particularly stressed out that day.  As I said, it’s been a helluva week.

There is precedent for me writing books at least partially on my smartphone, of course.  I wrote a good chunk of the first draft of Son of Man on a much tinier and less advanced phone than I’m using now (while still on work release!), and I think that’s one of my best-written novels.  It’s one of the few for which I’ve received personal praise from a coworker who actually read the whole thing and enjoyed the twists and surprises in it.  So, I’m okay with writing first drafts on the smartphone.  It’s a lot easier to carry than a laptop, and I would have it with me anyway, whether I’m using it to write books or not.

In all this personal chaos, such as it has been and continues to be, I’m afraid I neglected*** to post the latest part of Outlaw’s Mind this week.  My sincere apologies to any and all of you who were looking forward to it.  I will return to sharing that story next week.  In the meantime, if you want to reread last week’s part, you can go here, and if you want to see all that I have posted of it so far, you can go here.  It will be listed there in reverse order I’m afraid, and for that I apologize.  I need to go back and at least add a “click here to read more” tag in those posts to save on scrolling.

There is a potential extra benefit to writing on my smartphone, whether I’m writing fiction or nonfiction:  I cannot write as quickly on my phone as I can on any normal keyboard, since I’ve been using those at least since I was eleven, and so it may force me to be more concise.  Maybe it doesn’t; perhaps there’s no appreciable difference whatsoever in my writing length and style from phone to laptop.  It feels that there is from the inside, of course, but as I had one of my characters say once, “The inside view is always the blurriest.”  I don’t unreservedly agree with that character’s statement‒it’s too absolute in two places for my taste‒but I think it’s a good reminder of how difficult it is to be objective about oneself.  In any case, I don’t think my stories will suffer.  I may even decide to keep writing this way when I don’t need to do so.

And…that’s about all that I think I have for right now.  I hope you all had/are having a good holiday, and that you got to spend time with your families and/or the (other) people you love.  The world continues to be unsane, but who could expect otherwise from a place absolutely riddled‒nay, infested‒with naked house apes?  Some of those apes are at least tolerable, though, and hopefully, being in the presence of those ones will make putting up with the rest of them likewise tolerable.  Maybe.


hollywood train

*Which seems appropriate for me, since my nickname is Doc, and that’s the only name I go by at the office.

**I have been working to find the best route for me.  The three buses are not the ideal choice, though I enjoy being able to look at shops and stuff while on the bus.  I experienced a curious visual illusion while we were going north on 441 just before the Hard Rock casino the other day.  Up ahead I saw a lit store sign.  When we reached it, I think it was the quite ordinary display for a vape shop, but as we approached I could have sworn it read “Sliced Cod Live”.  I don’t know how my brain produced that illusion, but it sounds like the name of an indie band.  “Performing for one night only:  Sliced Cod, Live!”

***i.e., I forgot.

If all the year were playing holidays; To blog would be as tedious as to work.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday again, and so, to your delight or your chagrin (or your apathy) it’s time for another edition of my weekly blog post.  We’re roughly midway through April already, which feels pretty remarkable, but as time goes by, every day is getting shorter, to quote and/or paraphrase two songs in one sentence.

I’m back on the train (yeah) today, but—thankfully—I am not back on the chain gang*.  For various reasons, I’m now more or less committed to taking either the train or the bus to work (and back) every day.  In some ways, I prefer it.  For one thing, I can do at least part of my daily writing while commuting when I’m on public transport.  It would be incredibly reckless, and likely wreckful, for me to try to write while taking some form of transportation that was under my direct control.  It’s better to sit back and let someone else take me where I’m going.

I’ve been writing a decent amount on The Dark Fairy and the Desperado this week, though not as much as I will probably write in future weeks, since I was in transition, and that makes things go a bit slowly sometimes.  Still, on Tuesday, especially, I wrote quite a bit:  over sixteen-hundred words in one morning.  Just think, if I did that five days out of every seven, it would come to eight thousand words a week!  At that rate, I could write a novel as long as Unanimity in just over a year, though I hope not to write a story that long again if I can help it.  My current tale is beginning reasonably well, though we’ve only met one of the title characters yet.  So far, it’s definitely more fun to write this than to write Outlaw’s Mind.  We’ll see if that lasts.

I did post the latest section of Outlaw’s Mind here this week—on Tuesday this time.  It’s a bit longer than most of the other parts have been, since I included two sections with a break in between.  The first one was just so short that I thought people might feel they weren’t getting their money’s worth, so to speak, if I only posted that section.  That surely wouldn’t do.  Even when you’re not paying, you’re spending your time reading my stuff when you might be reading something else, and I want you to get as good a return on your investment as I’m able to provide.

Given that, I’m going to have to wrestle a bit with whether or not to keep working on Outlaw’s Mind.  Your feedback, if you have any to offer, would provide me some useful input regarding that decision.  We’re not getting very close yet, but every week we draw nearer to the place in Outlaw’s Mind that I’ve reached so far, and eventually, we will catch up.  By then, I’m going to need either simply to suspend those posts—maybe I’ll start sharing some of my other stories—or resume writing the story so that there will be stuff for you guys to read.

Probably I’m worrying over nothing.  I’m not sure that anyone, except perhaps immediate family, truly reads the sections of Outlaw’s Mind that I post here.  Page views and even “likes” are hard to interpret unambiguously.  I’m probably overthinking everything right from the start.  And, who knows, maybe I’ll get hit by a truck (or a bus or a train?) in the meantime and I won’t have to worry about any of it, or anything else, after that.  A guy can dream, can’t he?

I don’t mean to imply that I don’t like writing, or that I don’t like sharing some of my stories here.  I’m just chronically tired and depressed, with very little in my life other than my writing.  With respect to my stories (and blog posts), I often just feel as if they are messages in bottles, cast out into some stormy sea from the extremely remote, peculiar, and rocky desert island that is my personality.  They are unlikely ever to reach anyone at all, let alone to entice someone to want to visit such a forbidding and unpleasant place.  I don’t even want to be here, myself.

I’m not very good at promoting tourism, am I?

Anyway, I think that’s just about all I have for this week.  It’s nice to keep it “short” once in a while.  That way I can write an entire first draft during a single half-an-hour-ish train ride.  I hope you’re all doing well, or at least that you’re doing as well as you possibly can, and that you’re being good to those you love and to those who love you and being polite at least to everyone else (unless they make that impossible, which can happen).  Oh, and Happy Passover and Happy Easter to those of you who will be celebrating those holidays!  I hope you get to be with your families and that you can enjoy your time together.  Don’t underestimate the value of such things.


Passover mosaic with words

I think it’s particularly appropriate to share a Passover “mosaic”**

happy easter night

*That’s three songs in two sentences.

**Get it?  Get it?

Be not disturbed with my infirmity.  If you be pleased, retire into my blog.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, April 7th of 2022, the first Thursday in April this year unless I’m terribly confused and mistaken, and—of course—it’s time for my weekly blog post.

I haven’t been feeling well this last week, or at least for the past several days.  I’m not sure why.  I don’t have any obvious signs or symptoms of any acute respiratory or otherwise localized infection, but my body aches quite a lot.  That generalized soreness, as well as fatigue, is consistent with the experience of fighting some illness or other.  I described it to a coworker yesterday as feeling as if I’d spent the previous day playing tackle football with some of my friends from high school…but they were still high school aged, while I was my present self.

I stayed home from work Tuesday, which is why I didn’t post the next portion of Outlaw’s Mind until yesterday.  I just didn’t feel up to doing much.  I didn’t feel much better yesterday, nor do I today, but I know that staying away from work makes everything all that much more stressful when I come back to the office, since there is so much catching up to do after even one day.  When I have Saturday off—which is every other Saturday—I come in the following Monday and find that there is an inordinate amount of catching up to do.  It’s frustrating.

I’ve likewise done very little guitar playing; whole braces of days at a time have passed in which I didn’t so much as touch or pluck or pick a string.  That’s a fair indicator of how “low-energy” I’ve been.

Given that I haven’t been feeling well, I’ve gotten almost no new writing done, neither on Outlaw’s Mind nor on The Dark Fairy and the Desperado.  Hopefully none of you find that too disappointing.  In any case, this physical process shouldn’t last too much longer—either I’m going to feel better rather soon, or it will kill me, presumably.  I’m pretty much fine with either outcome, when it comes right down to it.  What I definitely don’t want is to continue to feel so rotten.

My walking and other exercise has suffered nearly as much as has my writing.  This may be useful for consolidating the healing of my old blisters, but I don’t want to lose the calluses that may have formed, because then I’ll just blister again when I go back to walking.

I was going to say “Sisyphus, eat your heart out,” after that last thought, but I realize that would be a gross and melodramatic exaggeration of my current situation.  It’s also more appropriate to say “Prometheus, eat your heart out…or your liver, anyway.”  That, unfortunately, would be an even greater hyperbole* regarding my current challenges, and rather pathetic, though at least the imagery is good.

That last little thought makes me stop to wonder, and to wonder what you all might think, about who had it worse in mythology, Sisyphus or Prometheus.  The former, of course, had to do a lot more work, always only to find that his work led to nothing, so he always had to start over rolling his boulder, supposedly forever.  Prometheus didn’t have to take active part in his punishment, but his was surely more painful, at least in the acute moments when he was being fed upon by Zeus’s eagle.

I’ve occasionally wondered why Sisyphus bothered with his task.  There must have been some force or drive operating that led him to need to push his boulder up the hill, lest he face some pain or stress or anxiety worse than the boulder-pushing itself.  If his body just moved on its own, then it could hardly be considered his effort, and then his punishment would be “just” the muscle aches and pains and the knowledge of the endlessness of his task.  Which would make it similar to Prometheus’s punishment.

All of this is pointless mental meandering, but I would be interested to know if any of you have thoughts about which fate you might prefer, remembering that Prometheus at least would have a form of respite, and of course, he was eventually freed.  Not that either figure actually existed, but you know what I mean, I think.

That’s pretty much all I have to say for today.  I don’t really have the energy to write much more for the moment.  I hope you’re all doing well, and hopefully next week I’ll have more productivity to report to you.  If you have any requests or suggestions for topics of my random, walk-in writing, please feel free to share them.  I can’t promise that I would follow any possible suggestion, but I well certainly read and consider any serious thoughts, and it would be pleasant to hear from…well, someone in the world.

I hope you’re all as well as it’s possible for you to be**, and that you are treating yourselves and your families and your friends and any other loved ones as well as you can possibly treat them***.



*I’ve long found it at least mildly interesting that the word “hyperbolic” can mean “of or relating to hyperbole(s)” or “of or relating to hyperbolas”.

**That’s not as straightforward a notion as it might seem at first glance.

***Again, not in some simple-minded fashion like giving them all your money or something stupid like that.  Short-term and long-term outcomes and inputs must be weighed and continuously reassessed.  That’s life.  I can’t unreservedly recommend it.

Crowns in my purse I have and blogs at home, and so am come abroad to see the world.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday again—the last Thursday in March of 2022, and indeed, the last day of March in 2022.  Given those things, it must be time for my weekly blog post.  Actually, those latter two facts are irrelevant to it being time for my blog post; they are merely trivia.  But they give me something to say, at least, and “trivia” is not always trivial*.

I’ve not gotten much done on Outlaw’s Mind this week—none at all, in fact—partly because the story is making me feel kind of glum**.  I like Timothy Outlaw, as a person, and I feel bad about things that are happening and are going to happen to him, so it gives me a rather unpleasant feeling, since after all I am the one doing it.

But I didn’t want to stop writing, so I decided, more or less on a whim, at the beginning of the week, to start work on a project that’s been “waiting” even longer than Outlaw’s Mind:  My “light-hearted” fantasy adventure Dark Fairy and the Desperado.

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This is a story that took its earliest origin in two doodles I drew—well, okay, they weren’t doodles, they became legitimate cartoon drawings, really, and they were based on two real people.  One was based on a picture of me, dressed up as a western gunslinger type from when I had gone to visit Universal Studios (the one in California).  The other was based on the Halloween costume of a friend of mine that I had met and spoken to online.  Once I had the drawings, eventually I decided I wanted to think of a story involving the characters.


This is the first drawing of the Dark Fairy, looking pure and happy as she contemplates the fiery destruction of a human city. She has her reasons.

I had thought of making a manga about them, much as I had meant to do for Mark Red.  However, though I drew many pictures of them—some of which I will have included in this post—and of other characters they met in their travels, and I even drew and colored the first page of a potential manga, I eventually realized that I don’t have enough enthusiasm for making manga to get me to keep working on one.


This is NOT the first picture of the Desperado, which I haven’t been able to locate, but I like it.

As with Mark Red, I’ve long planned to write the story of the DFandD as a book, and so I took that as my distraction from Outlaw’s Mind for now.  I did, of course, post the next part of the latter story here on Tuesday, and will continue to do so until I reach the latest point so far, but I may otherwise take another hiatus from Timothy Outlaw.  I think I’ve done too much horror over and over for a while, and I need to write something that doesn’t involve quite as much fear and despair for the characters.


The first meeting of the Dark Fairy and the Desperado. It turns out better than it seems.

It being me who is writing, there will, of course, still be violent and even sometimes “horrific” elements—even the main characters are dangerous people, to say the least—but it will have a much more tongue-in-cheek attitude.  For instance, one of the people our protagonists encounter will be an extra-dimensional demi-god who calls herself Lucy; she is a huge fan of the Beatles, and she models herself and her universe on their songs.  I like her, and I’ve drawn some fun pictures of her, as well, with hints of kaleidoscope eyes and all.

In other news, I’ve been trying to get into shape for my planned, or hoped-for, “epic” quest, and I’ve come a long way, baby.  I’ve increased my walking time to over two hours nonstop, and I walked over six miles two days ago.  I’m taking the train today (as I did yesterday), which forces extra walking on me and gives me extra time to write while commuting.  I’m writing this on the train right now (though I’m unlikely to be on the train when you read it).  I’m also getting a bike, and I may end up using that at times to get to and from the station, giving me even more of a workout.

Partly this is all an attempt to fight my depression, which is supposed to be improved by regular exercise.  I’m sorry to say that it hasn’t been helping much so far; every day I have severe bouts of self-hatred and despair, when I literally wish for death.  But maybe after enough time it will make a difference.  If not, I can always try to exercise until it kills me.  And in the meantime, I’ll get into better shape.  Either way, it’s good.

Also in the meantime, I’ll be working on DFandD, which I may end up starting with the definite article, thus making it The Dark Fairy and the Desperado.  Let me know what you think, if you have any opinion about which would be better.  I don’t promise that I’ll be persuaded by your arguments, but I do promise to pay attention to them.  I’d also actually like to hear what you think about my present diversion from Outlaw’s Mind to Dark Fairy and the Desperado.  I don’t know if anyone out there has actually been reading the sections of Outlaw’s Mind as I’ve been posting them and might be devastated, or at least disappointed, if I leave another long hiatus before finishing it.  If that’s the case for anyone, please do let me know.

In the meantime, I hope you all are as well as you can possibly be, living in a world dominated by humans.  Honestly, I don’t know what most of you see in them.  I guess, every once in a while, among seven or eight billion, there are a few of them that are pretty good, and who may even make it worth putting up with the rest, as the 12th Doctor said.  I’m not convinced, but I’m willing to consider it.


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My favorite picture of the Dark Fairy


A very early scene which is in fact about to be written! Even if you’re dying of thirst in the desert, you don’t want water doing that.

*Though in this case, it probably is.

**I know, right?  It’s unheard-of.

Now, my fair’st friend, I would I had some blogs o’ the spring that might become your time of day.

Hello.  Good morning.  It’s Thursday, so of course it’s time for my weekly blog post.  This is the first blog of spring, not counting my uploading of the next part of Outlaw’s Mind earlier this week.  Although, it’s autumn in the southern hemisphere now.  I tend to prefer autumn to spring, generally, but that’s largely due to Halloween coming and the changing of the leaves.  Of course, the leaves don’t change in south Florida, so that’s annually disappointing.  I assume there are some changing autumn leaves in the southern hemisphere, at least in some places, though they may be rather different than the ones in the northern.  Are there oaks and maples and the like in the southern hemisphere?  I would guess not, but I could be quite wrong.  I don’t think I’ve ever thought about it before.

I’ve been continuing my walking, though I’ve dealt with significant foot blisters that have slowed my progress, and I’ve gone through, I think, at least three new pairs of shoes—none very expensive, thankfully—trying to find ones that minimize my trouble.  Yesterday, at least, I was able to walk five and a half miles, and at the end, my blisters felt no worse than they had before I started, so that pair of shoes gets a good grade from me.  If this keeps up, it shouldn’t be too long before I can undertake my dreamed-of epic quest.

I’ve written just over four thousand words on Outlaw’s Mind this week, after basically slacking off the rest of last week and restarting on Monday.  It’s getting harder and harder to bother with anything at all lately.  But I’m rather stubborn, and most things I do in life I do not because I feel enthusiastic but because I had decided that I was going to do them, and so go through with it.  Enthusiasm is not one of my noteworthy attributes, I fear.  Anyway, the story is progressing, and the shocking event due to happen to Timothy has now begun, and it’s only developing and worsening from here.

It’s interesting that, no matter how clearly imagined and expected the course of a plot is, there are almost always little diversions or variations due to the actions of certain characters, who do things that were not necessarily planned by the author*.  Characters have their own personalities—they almost have a kind of free will, in a way—and they must behave the way they behave, since they are people, and sometimes people do things that I wouldn’t have thought about in advance.

It’s not that it’s truly surprising, not in any profound sense; it’s just that I sometimes come to the point where I realize certain characters in a story are going to do or say things that may affect the plot, because that’s who they are.  This is not to say that the story arc has changed, just that some specifics get adjusted.  Chaos theory being what it is, of course, it is possible for characters’ actions to change the course of a story profoundly, and in ways that were not readily predictable.  This is because they are, in a sense, real people, and with a flap of their (usually figurative)** wings, they can change the weather on the other side of the world, whether it’s spring there or autumn or anything in between—or they can change the specific outcome of a story.

I don’t really have much else to write about today, I fear.  Or maybe that’s a relief.  I don’t know.  I occasionally try to express deeper, more personal concerns, here and elsewhere, but I get the impression that these are of no interest to anyone (in the blogosphere or in real life), and I don’t seem very good at expressing or conveying them, anyway.  Alexithymia, I guess, or just general awkwardness and cluelessness on my part, is or are to blame.  Eventually, I guess I’ll run out of things even to try to say—sometimes I think that has already happened, at least ten years ago—and the rest will be silence.  This will probably be a welcome happenstance for most of those who even notice it.

Be that as it may, I hope you all have a good springtime—or a lovely autumn to the people in the southern hemisphere—and that you treat well the people you love and the people who love you…and even yourselves.


robin 3

*I’m speaking hypothetically, of course.

**I have at least one prospective story in which a main character does have literal wings, and she is rather chaotic as well.

They were red-hot with drinking; so full of valor that they smote the air, for blogging in their faces

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, so it’s time for another of my weekly blog posts.  It’s also Saint Patrick’s Day, which is probably celebrated in the US as energetically as anywhere in the world, including Ireland—though perhaps I’m wrong; I’ve never been to Ireland.  I haven’t worn anything green today, except maybe a tag or label somewhere, but I doubt anyone is going to try to pinch me.  Do people still do that on Saint Patrick’s Day?  They used to do it when I was in school, but that was decades ago, and it’s not as though I keep in the loop of popular culture much.

I’m also not likely to have any corned beef and cabbage for dinner, regrettably.

I haven’t written much on Outlaw’s Mind this week—only a little over 2000 words, because I’ve really only done two days of writing.  I did post the next section of the story earlier this week, here.  I don’t know if perhaps I should start inserting those “read more” lines in such postings or not.  The story sections make for long blog posts, and if one were trying to scroll down to the previous entry, it would be quite a scroll.  Not quite a full Torah, maybe, but possibly a Dead Sea.

I’m slightly frustrated that the entries come up in reverse order when one clicks on the subject heading Outlaw’s Mind*, with the most recent one first.  There may be a way via WordPress to adjust that, but if so, I’m not sure what it is, and I haven’t had the gumption to seek it out.  Apologies.  My motivation is not the highest it’s ever been, and I’ve never been great at such executive functions at the best of times, at least on my own behalf.  I do better when I’m working for others, which is probably not unusual.

I’m not entirely sure why I’ve been so reticent about writing my story this week.  A small part of it is that something very bad is about to happen that will throw Timothy’s life into a severe tailspin, right after things had just begun looking up from a threatening event that had appeared to resolve or begin to resolve well.  I wonder if it’s typical for authors to feel guilty when they make heartrending things happen to their characters.  It’s not like I won’t do it, since it’s part of the story.  It just makes me feel bad.  But I feel bad anyway most of the time, so at least I’m used to it.

That’s probably the biggest part of the decreased writing this week—my mental energy just hasn’t been good.  Physically, I guess my energy has been tolerable.  I’ve been walking a fair amount, and even jogged a tiny bit during my 4.5 mile walk on Tuesday, to try to get my feet prepared for a potential “epic” quest I’m tentatively planning to undertake, but even that notion isn’t as exciting as it was at first.

I get up in the morning, I do a tiny bit of exercise, I shower, I go to the office, I write a bit, then I putter around on the guitar a bit, then I do work stuff (reading a bit during breaks), then in the afternoon (for the past few weeks, anyway) I walk, and then I go home and watch some videos and go to sleep.  Lather, rinse, repeat as needed.  There’s eating in there, too, of course.  Always eating.  It’s my version of “stimming”, I suppose, though I do other forms of that, too, I guess.

I’m really tired.  Not physically, unfortunately.  I am able to walk pretty long distances without much difficulty other than some blistering that’s resolving steadily, and it’s not as if I’m able to sleep all that well, as I would expect would happen if I were merely physically tired.  That’s one thing I’d like to be able to look forward to about an epic-level undertaking:  being physically exhausted enough just to fall asleep and stay asleep.  It would be so nice simply to sleep until I feel rested and to wake up refreshed, rather than waking up over-alert and tense, like a deep-cover spy embedded in a foreign world that, if not frankly hostile, is at least thoroughly alien.  Or maybe I’m more like a hobbit stuck in Mordor trying to pass himself off as an orc, who’s not even sure that the Shire still exists, let alone that there are any allies anywhere.  Mordor sucks, whether or not you’ve got anywhere else to go, and so does having to try to pass as an orc.

Anyway, enough melodrama for now.  I hope you all have a lovely Saint Patrick’s Day, if you’re celebrating it, and that you have a nice meal and not too much beer, if beer is your thing.  Spend time with people who love you, if you have them.


saint patrick day

*There are two such entries, because I made an error on the first one.  The second one should be the “correct” one to click on if you’re looking for subject headings.  Eventually, I’ll get around to figuring out how to remove the first one.  Or maybe I won’t ever get around to it.  If I do, I will.