Friday, May 1, 2020


Taking a little break from D Rose 2 and polishing my literary-suspense manuscript a bit. Renamed it some time ago, to Gospel, as it a story about, more than anything, those truths which abide most indelibly within us. The protagonist has been compelled into an insidious, Faustian pact and dark odyssey, but his thoughts and his heart remain tethered inexorably to the love of his life, who has left him. The journey which matters most to him is the one which leads back to her. When it becomes apparent she has not only moved out, but moved on, he must find a way to do likewise, while confronting the reality that some truths, never truly die.

He thought of her. There, on the face of the mountain, with the wind howling down the rutted slope, cold and lupine and setting his teeth to clatter, but then, he always thought of her. Even when not top of mind, it was always right there, just beneath. In good times or bad. A truth, the truth of her. Inscribed upon his heart like chiseled stone. Like stone, his heart had grown calcified and remote, but when they’d met she’d found it and pierced it, lightening quick and petal soft and he’d understood in that moment that to her would it forever be ordained. Come what may. And what had come was this—here, now—the desolation of this inhospitable peak no match for that which now occupied the whole of his heart. He’d understood from the moment he loved her, the countervailing truths of the road ahead: to be loved by her was heaven; to be forsaken would be hell. But to know her was to love her and to love her was a covenant from which there was no recusal. No matter time or distance or the carousel of seasons which had these last years without her sojourned past, his own locus remained fixed. Less a destination than a bearing, for his road, he knew, would not lead to her, nor lead anywhere at all. But his road it was, as real in its solitude as anything else which remained. And so the seasons galloped past; painted ponies on the move, for life marches on, no seasons to be denied, but he could only look on, a man lost in time, a season unto himself, and only the one, and it was something colder than winter—a hinterland never again to be found by another, could never, and from which he would never again return. He’d seen it before, this place, the last time he’d held her to him. He’d held her and felt her love but so too her fear, and he’d seen straight through in that moment years forward to this, when fear prevailed, and he had failed, and it did not matter whether he regretted it all or not, for once he’d loved her there was only that truth. To pretend or proceed otherwise was pure folly; like telling the river to cease running, or the mountain no longer to stand. Some things just were.

It wasn’t the emptiness which scared him. He’d grown long-since accustomed to this charade that was life, this great pantomime of the daily requirements of a given day. He felt at times that someone must surely see it, that glaring void within him, and he could swear now and then folks saw it and looked away, trying not to stare at this freakish character, this circus act, this hollow man who was but a careful construction of walls around that void. It wasn’t the emptiness but that which might fill it. Cold, irredeemable things which like the whistling wind of this mountain would infiltrate his soul, finding refuge in the wasteland of his wayward heart.

He missed her. He wished he could share all this with her. Not that it was flattering, but that was just it: she had loved him for all that he was—those estimable virtues and those countless assailable ones. He knew she was gone but it was to her that his heart still turned, and though it hurt, it didn’t even matter that she wasn’t returning—for his heart turned to her, he longed to share with her, he loved her—not contingent upon possessing her, or even her feelings, or lack thereof, for him. He loved her because she was the most lovable person in the world, because she was that flower imprinted upon his stone heart, and he smiled bitterly now through the tears because what he’d known from the moment he’d loved her, and most assuredly from the moment he’d lost her, had been borne out every moment of every day since. All previous loves had faded away for him, every time; he’d steel himself, seal away his heart, mourn for a spell and then, done. No lamentations, no pain. Until her. Until she’d shattered the stone with only a smile, and imprinted herself eternally with a single kiss. He loved her more with each passing day. Had, from the very first moment; would, until his very last breath.

The wind was howling but he staggered to his feet. He had to go on. He thought of Emerson, who’d had a way of saying things. All that concerns me, is what I must do. He might never be happy, not in the way he’d once dreamed; not in the way he’d been with her. But what of it? The purpose of life, said Emerson, is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate. He would try. He must. Anything less constituted a shameful ingratitude. A vanity mired in self-pity, when a miracle lived before his very eyes, the miracle of her. He should not curse the fates that she no longer loved him, but rather thank the heavens that she ever had. To have lost the love of his life bore testament to having found it, and that was more than many could ever say.

He loved her. And for this, he owed her everything, for even in her absence, she remained forever close at heart. At his weakest, he thought he couldn’t be happy without her, but with each passing day, with every step along his road, he was learning. It wasn’t about his happiness, but hers. No matter the source. He dropped to one knee, there on the mountain face, the wind all around him but his own voice clarion at last: Let her be happy, I implore you. May her world be love and light for she is all of these things herself. Love her, please, and let the world love her too. As I will, with every breath and every step, for the rest of my days.

He staggered back to his feet, for the path was steep and he was weary, and cinched his coat up around his neck, and continued on.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Once Upon a Midnight Dreary...

...I bet you know the next line, if not the rest.

Sometimes, we can point definitively to the locus of our inspiration, that precise moment our dreams crystallized and help set forth that road which--one way or another--we were destined to sojourn. Other times it is more elusive--we cannot recall any specific moment which set us upon this course, but nonetheless abide it, a covenant blood writ, and which courses though our veins. Indeed, when I'm writing I so often feel, this is what I'm meant to do. 

While I can't pinpoint an exact moment, I can attest how my father reading us Edgar Allan Poe stories when we were little, kindled and stoked my earliest literary embers. Murders in the Rue Morgue might have been the first, and to this day, my favorite. My first dabblings were in fact of the macabre variety, and I would be remiss if I did not today, on Poe's birthday, acknowledge the great master. Here's a look back at one of my favorite guest posts I was fortunate enough to pen on the terrific site of the wonderful KM Weiland. 

Happy birthday, good sir; rest assured, you have through your work achieved immortality, and in this vein may I implore permission to adapt a hallmark phrase every slightly: quote the raven, forevermore... 

Saturday, January 11, 2020

A Strange Matter Indeed....

...That I might pen anything inspired by quantum theory. My kids know more about this stuff than I, mainly due to Marvel, but what can you do? Tickled that the great folks at Quantum Shorts published my flash piece on their great site. It's under consideration for one of their contests, but I'm up against many great writers and probably some quantum physicists and such, so likely a long shot for this wayward scribe, but I enjoyed researching the topic, and crafting this story. I hope you enjoy it.

Artwork by Tapilipa.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

A Single Flower: A Vision for the New Year

He thought that in the beauty of the world were hid a secret. He thought that the world’s heart beat at some terrible cost and that the world’s pain and its beauty moved in a relationship of diverging equity and that in this headlong deficit the blood of multitudes might ultimately be exacted for the vision of a single flower.

Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

Hindsight is 2020, but 2020 is the here and now, and as I ponder my own vision for this new year, I’m unsurprised that a McCarthy quote effervesces to mind. He’s my go-to, a scribe of such surpassing grit, eloquence and vision himself, that I emerge, unfailingly, inspired to write—more and better—after reading anything of his.

2019 was eventful, personally and professionally. A new job, turned 50, a health scare, and my novel was at long last republished. Time plays large in the David Rose series, and it’s hard not to ruminate on it now, with numbers such as 2020 and 50, lurking about. I was scouring some writing contests today, and one was entitled, Old Writers Contest. Don’t say 50, I thought, don’t say 50(though part of me secretly was ok with the notion, inasmuch as I wanted to submit to the contest). Sure enough, 50. Doh! 50 = old, at least as writers go, apparently. Ah well, I’ve always felt old. (They say—whoever they are—it’s not how old you are, but how old you which I now reply: that’s not helping.) 

Alas, most writers are old souls, anyway, I think. Romantics, in our way, even if that’s not our chosen genre(most assuredly not mine—not that there’s anything wrong with that). But even purveyors of the rawest, grittiest prose—McCarthy could be considered among them—have their song to song, their verse to contribute, and want to—perhaps  need to—be read, and be heard. That what they feel, what they think, and the characters and tales who manifest it, might for the reader come alive upon the page, and evoke even a modicum of thought and feeling in turn.

As we turn the page into a new year, I am, like so many of us, setting goals, and making plans. But no matter the goals, the plans, the lists, the numbers, it tends to always come back to that vision of which McCarthy wrote. When all’s said and done, it’s all that I hope for, what most, if not all writers hope for, I’d wager. That through the pain and the beauty, the blood, sweat and tears, the maddening writers’ block and intoxicating moments of epiphany, we might in the end, exact the vision of a single flower(or whatever that vision looks like for you).

May your writing and your vision and your dreams bloom as you desire in this year ahead.

Happy New Year, and thanks as always, for your support.