He is a little man, dressed all in black, shivering on a wet and cold street corner. It is 37 degrees and raining hard, puddles of blackened half-melted snow marking the vestigial remains of winter. His sparse wiry facial hair and vaguely Asiatic features mark him as an American Indian. Native American. Indigenous. First Nations, as the Canadians about sixty miles to the north say. He stands at the busy intersection, clutching a hand-written cardboard sign with letters scrawled in black Sharpie announcing his plight: “Homeless, God Bless.” Continue reading A Five Dollar Blessing
I’m an impatient writer. I tend to write in cloudbursts of creative energy. Stories come gushing out like torrential downpours, 5000 words flooding onto the page. Writing is in some ways a birthing process. Ideas germinate, gestate and at some point, when they’re too big to be contained, they just have to come out, there’s no stopping them.
But just as in giving birth, the work doesn’t stop once the baby is born. A story needs nurturing, it needs to mature. It needs editing, rewriting, revising, workshopping. It needs fresh eyes, new perspectives. If you’re lucky, and if you’ve given it enough care, someday it will get published, maybe years after you first scribbled it onto a napkin in the haste to capture the kernel of the idea. Continue reading Birth of a Story
It’s raining. There are few things on earth more relaxing, more peaceful, than waking up on a cool and rainy late summer day. It’s dark, even the sun has taken the day off. The heavy clouds are holding it at bay, but it doesn’t fight too hard. It’s tired after shining so intently all summer long, boiling us under its unrelenting glare. It needs a break. Continue reading September Soliloquy
Here’s a new piece of fiction I just sat down and wrote after work tonight. No idea where this came from. Just a story, I guess.
DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. All characters are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual people, alive or dead, is purely coincidental.
The old man was sitting by himself, cradling an intricately carved walking stick between his knees. A small leather satchel lay at his feet. He looked as if his body had shrunk with time, as if withdrawing into itself, leaving behind a topographic landscape of brown and leathery skin. His hair, the parts that peeked out from under his VFW uniform hat, was white as snow, as were his bushy eyebrows. His face was smoothly shaven. The gold embroidery of the VFW hat announced him as the commander of Post 2744 of Lawton, Oklahoma. His features were distinctly Native American. I wondered what tribe he was from. Continue reading Stolen Memories
He awoke happy for the first time in longer than he could remember. It was an odd feeling. He likened it to turning on a faucet after the water has been shut off for a long time and all the water in the pipes has been replaced by air. You hear the air racing through the water lines as the pressure builds, the oncoming rush of water displacing the air. You feel it coming, the pressure building. And it comes in fits and starts, the first few drops arriving in sputtering explosive spurts, followed by the release of more trapped air being pushed relentlessly onward by a torrent. And tasting those first few succulent drops on a tongue so parched it feels like cotton wool, thick and heavy in your mouth. Then greedily lapping it up like a dog, gulping down lusty mouthfuls, eagerly drinking your fill. Then wetting your face and soaking your hair, your whole head, bathing yourself in the cool fountain of relief, as if you could absorb it by osmosis directly into the body, like a dry sponge rehydrating. Continue reading The End of The Happiness Drought
As book nerds, we commonly hold the rather snobbish opinion that movies based on novels are never as good as the book. There are good reasons for this, as each book reading experience is very subjective. We visualize the characters in our own way. We savor each detail. Film interpretations of novels often have to be ruthless in cutting details, lest each film run hours or days in length. Characters are often cast for their star appeal rather than their authenticity to the role. Avid literati often take offence at this. “How dare they cast Brad Pitt in that role? He’s completely wrong for it.” Or, “How dare they not include the scene at the refinery, that’s the key detail that explains the ending.” Continue reading Book/Movie Review: Winter in the Blood
The 1984 film Terminator, and its subsequent sequels, explores a dystopian world in which the machines have become our masters. Sadly, that world is no longer one of science fiction. While the nightmarish scenario of a single-minded T-800 Terminator cyborg relentlessly pursuing its pre-programmed prey (Sarah Connor? I’ll be back) has thankfully not come to fruition, we have indeed become slaves to our machines in many ways. Continue reading The machines have already taken over