Category Archives: Stories

Episodes from my life.

I Pledge Allegiance

*Warning: this story is politically charged and likely to be highly offensive to a great many people. If you’re a patriotic American with high blood pressure, please don’t read it. I’m serious. It’s also very very sad.

A story which could also be titled, “Why I No Longer Pledge Allegiance”.

The time is 2:27 in the afternoon. The location is some remote village in Afghanistan that has a name, but a name that would mean nothing to most American citizens. An unmanned aerial combat vehicle (drone) fires a missile. The missile strikes the largest building in the village, a three-storied rectangular concrete structure which happens to be used as a children’s hospital. Eighteen children immediately perish. A small bloody foot juts out from the smoldering wreckage and a man is running up to it, running, running and clutching his heart and the tears are running down his face and he lifts up his eyes to the sky and even though he can’t see through the tears he shakes his impotent fist at what he knows is up there and feels in his heart that he would rejoice to die if it would only harm the monsters who sent this unmanned killing machine into his village and killed his only son.

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Russian Roulette Brain Soup

A change of pace, before I get back to Perrin. I was just about to drift off to sleep in my chair the other night and my dream self dumped the idea into my head just like that. Not sure what to say about it except that it’s darkly disturbing. Is it ironic or just absurd? Is there a point to it? I’m honestly not sure. But I wrote it down anyway. Who am I to question my dream self?

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The Highway and Nothing

I’ve decided to steer this blog in a more literary direction. At least until I decide to steer it another direction or stop steering at all. But I’ve decided to write some short stories, and I have a file full of dozens of ideas, but I’ve been too lazy to write any of them. So yesterday I decided to write and it came out…well, rather crazy. Or did it? Here it is:

I left work one evening, right at 11:15 as normal, and the strangest thing happened. As I was driving down the highway, the rest of the world disappeared, and only the highway was left there alone.

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As some of you know, I spent last winter writing a fantasy novel. Well, today I learned how to format an e-book and I just published the electronic version on Lulu. Best of all, I was able to make it free. Just cuz I think art should be free. So please, if you have a nook or an iPad or anything you can use for an ePub file, drop by and download a copy. I know it’s good because it’s already had at least four readers, two of whom aren’t even family, and not one of them has given me a bad review to my face. 😉

So about the book. Hmmm… it’s a little strange, not gonna lie. But in a good way, I hope. The story is basically a long elaborate daydream I had last spring when I was driving through the beautiful north woods of Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan. I started writing it in the fall, one chapter a week, and I used an experimental technique: I tried not to think through the plot ahead of time, except very generally; then, I would use self-hypnosis to get my mind into as dream-like a state as possible and just pound out whatever I was seeing, all stream-of-consciousness. Of course that meant I had to go back and edit like crazy afterward, which was kind of a drag. So even though the editing and revising is left-brain, the whole storyline is very much a right-brain kind of fantasy. I enjoyed the trip my subconscious took me on. Occasionally, I completely surprised myself. But I’ll quit talking about my unusual methodology lest I raise the undue (I think) suspicion of schizophrenia.

I’ll give you the synopsis I put on the back cover, so you have at least a vague idea of what it’s about:

Jesse Artsinger isn’t looking to be the most popular kid in middle school. He just wants to be left alone. Joe Grabe, the class bully, won’t let that happen. When a chance occurrence plunges Jesse into an extraordinary world of fragile beauty, which has always existed unseen within his beloved Wisconsin woods, he begins to suspect that Joe’s egotistic rage could bring about a devastating and irreversible result. As the fight spins out of control, Jesse is brought to the brink of losing everything – his friends, his family and even his own life. He’s always prided himself on being a loner. But when being alone is no longer enough, will he find the help he finally realizes he needs before it’s too late?

That’s all I’ll say about it. If it sounds at all interesting, pop on over and download it. The only thing you have to lose is a few moments of your time — cuz did I mention it’s free?

Peace out, my people. 🙂

The Back Door to the Universe

This summer, I wrote a children’s book of sorts called The Back Door to the Universe. It was a new experience for me, which I rather enjoyed. To me, categorizing a piece of art as being somehow a “children’s” work denotes the freedom to wander as far afield of grown up convention as one should like, which is a liberty I relished. I’m not sure what normal grown ups might think of it (I’ve never been a normal grown up myself), but I know my two kids kept pestering me to complete my chapters, so I feel content with it.*

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