My Regular Mind, February 28, 2011 at 01h48

Some time last week, I didn’t sleep well. In the middle of the night, I heard a loud, loud noise that sprung me immediately to my feet. I stood beside the bed confused, adjusting to my surroundings. My girlfriend tends to sleep lightly, and yet she was undisturbed. Had there been no loud, loud noise at all? Was it the sound of my feet hitting the floor that sounded to me like thunder? Hesitantly, I returned to our bed, and eventually, once again, to sleep.

And then yesterday, after a slightly delayed flight and then a long drive, I was back in my home town. I did not sleep uninterrupted. Once again, I woke up in a similar confused way, slowly adjusting to my surroundings.

Something similar happened years and years ago. I can’t imagine what similarities between then and now might be causing this unusual restlessness. At times, I worry about things like sleepwalking, even though I’ve never had a history of it. Never even an incident. But the thing I worry about is not knowing if perhaps there was.

Questions Over Anger

My Regular Mind, February 22, 2011 at 12h28

Everywhere I go, all over this city, it’s the same. The buildings, the signs. People are peaceful. And yet I realize that other places are not like this. At any given moment, in some city somewhere, people are fighting. Some people

Half-demolished buildings wondering when they’ll eat next.

I can’t understand the anger that war requires. Where does it come from? Is it fear of others? A misunderstanding of love? Are we over-compensating for some inadequacy, perhaps acting upon some systemic emotional conditioning?

Shouldn’t be too difficult for me to project a theoretical anger based

Mostly the Story of Avi

My Regular Mind, January 30, 2011 at 11h53

Almost a year ago, I had finished eating an avocado and decided to put the seed in a planter. A few months later there was a stem sprouting from the seed, with some little green leaves flourishing at the top! I was fascinated by the insistence of life, which is what inspired me to plant a balcony garden. I’ve taken pictures of Little Avi’s progress over time, such as the day he got his own place. He loves his new digs.

On the way home last night I shared a taxi with an Austrian couple. They’d been in Vancouver for six months, and I asked what they thought about it so far. In Austria, he said, he only paid fifteen dollars a month for the equivalent cell phone package he has now. Here, though, he pays sixty. To be honest, mine is even more than that, which is all very absurd. Those companies must return substantial profits.

There’s a lot of growth in that industry these days.

Leave it to a night at the bar to remind me why I spend very few nights at bars. When I was younger, I didn’t mind that the music was too loud, and I didn’t mind that it was too cramped. I guess this is one of the hundred other indicators that I’m getting older.

Avi too. Just under a year old, and just over a meter tall. He’s a perfect reminder that if the conditions are right, you have to use the opportunity to thrive. Do something you love doing long enough and it’s bound to pay off. Otherwise, who knows, maybe you didn’t really love it as much as you thought.

Excitement Abound

My Regular Mind, January 27, 2011 at 06h08

Without exaggeration, I can say that I haven’t been this excited about music in a long time. I’ve been exploring my guitar again, and now there’s a beautiful puzzle unlocking at my fingertips. I’m seeing sounds as shapes now, hearing subtleties I’ve never noticed. A complex system of notes and patterns that make sense in a way I’ve never known. For the first time in fifteen years, I’m starting to understand this instrument. It’s all very, very exciting.

On a related note, the Great Big Project is becoming more defined. All these stray ideas are coming together in harmony; characters are developing, plot is advancing, conflict is building. I used to know how it was all going to end, but now I’m not so sure. Even I can’t predict it any more.

I’ve been looking at various web sites that may help me develop my own future. I’m seeing opportunities at every inconvenience. Possibilities. There’s a theory that exists wherein every possible decision creates its own alternate universe. In one of them I might be a pilot, in another a rock star, and in another I’m sitting here in this same chair with a different shirt on. Nobody really knows where any decision will lead, but I think that when we do what we love, we compile good decisions that lead to good outcomes.

I’ve got a pretty solid compilation going on. Let’s see how this all plays out.

Catching Up

My Regular Mind, January 12, 2011 at 03h24

These are the conditions where Vancouver shuts down. Overnight snow, morning rain, a city covered in dreary frozen slush. I saw a bus this morning give up at Vine Street, and you can tell everyone feels the same way. In this weather, the city just stands still, a remarkable feat for such a busy place.

Last week I was the key witness of an assault. The mindlessness of it all sits in my memory, reminding me of how sudden everything can be. We’re in such a rush that we lose our minds over things that don’t matter.

Maybe this weather is the universe telling us to slow down. Racing from one moment to the next, we barely see the blur in-between.

This new year has aged me. We do grown-up things without even noticing them, and then one day it all catches up. We realize exactly where we are.

Be mindful that time does pass by, that good things do come, and then go. Each moment will be the only one like it. Focus. Make it the one you want.


My Regular Mind, December 31, 2010 at 04h21

The day started with bedsheets pulled up over my head. Some sour thought nagged at the back of my mind, warning me not to get out of bed. But I did anyway, forcing myself into the day. Maybe a hot shower would wash the hollow feeling somewhere far, far from me. But the water was hot and that was all. My mood did not change, did not drip from my body as I stood in the tub cold and wet.

I tried curling up on the bed again, but I couldn’t stay there. I left home like a child. Angry, upset, scared. I did not lock the door behind me. Continued…

Seasonal Madness and Supermarketry

My Regular Mind, December 19, 2010 at 08h01

Using public transportation is a great way to get around the city. Under ideal conditions, it is efficient and reliable, and you’re never standing on a crowded and overheated bus as it inches toward a traffic jam caused by a parking dispute. This of course leads to the ongoing debate of pulling in versus backing in. I don’t know if there is an actual law, so I won’t pressure you with my opinion except to say that I’m with George on this one.

Typical gray winter days loom over Vancouver, ruining nearly everyone’s Corn Flakes. If it’s not currently raining, it’s either just stopped or it’s about to start. Usually both. This relentlessly wet weather brings out the Irresponsible Umbrella Owners, a secret society that I’m convinced is dedicated to poking out my eyes. As a person of above-average height, you can imagine my perfectly rational fear of these people. They’ve yet to connect with more than a scratch, but I have once again initiated my seasonal defense mode. Oh yes, it’s on.

A few weeks ago there was a suspicious incident with a local specialty supermarket. Early one morning, I saw that fire investigators had it all roped off and were inside beeping and reasoning. A sign on the door now says that it was declared arson, and as I’ve learned from movies, arson is always suspicious. Hypothetically, if there were a supermarket of similar specialty in the same area, this would be an opportune motive to shut them down and ruin their inventory. But hey, draw your own conclusions, I’m just spreading gossip.

There’s an underlying frustration during the holidays that can’t quite be obscured by massive sales and Salvation Army carolers. People with no time, no patience, no money, whatever. It affects drivers, pedestrians, and grocers alike, and you can either let it affect you or let it pass right through. Lately I’m a ‘pass through’ kind of fellow, and when the seasonal madness approaches, I grab a rum-and-nog and relax by the imitation fireplace with my best gal.

Pieces, Torn and Sinking

Briefs of Fiction, December 13, 2010 at 08h49

One by one, the pieces fall down, down, resting for a moment on the water before being pulled away forever. Henry treats the photos like strangers. He does not want to recognize more than he has to, more than he already does. It all feels like the day before, when he still had her.

This was the day they met. Summer camp, twelve years old, she was fourteen, wearing a Road to Ruin t-shirt. He had the same poster at home, that’s what they talked about. Nobody else in the photo matters, just him and Lisa, side by side. She wrote her address on the back. It rests for a moment and then is gone.

When he was fifteen, he performed in Chicago. She came out to see him, to witness the unscheduled solo they joked about. He was kicked out of band class for it, but he had to, Lisa dared him. Her laugh was in perfect harmony.

That was the day he told her that he loved her, but this too falls and is lost forever.

Yesterday, they were dancing at their wedding. In her beautiful white gown, in his black suit, flailing wildly to the music. Laughing. This was their joke together, to play Sedated as their first dance.

And then they are torn from that day, and they fall in pieces to the water.

He remembers everything she said, every gesture, every smile. Oh, that smile, it always leaves him breathless, and then the memory gently fades. Down, down, and gone forever.

On The Tracks

Crime of Life, November 19, 2010 at 01h16

It was a warm day for a cold winter, the temperature hovering around fifteen below. We climbed the fence and walked out onto the bridge. It wasn’t used in the winter, not by trains, just the one-way traffic right below us. You could hear it, feel it, see it through the slits of wood. At the edge, you could see the frozen river forty meters down. We couldn’t have fallen, not easily. This was his idea.

When he told me he wanted to take pictures on the tracks, I thought it’d be fun. We’d be high up there and it’s great to look down at the world sometimes. I think we both needed that then.

We had mutual friends and similar interests, like computers and cameras and being alive. It was only natural we’d become friends ourselves, and it was only too obvious that it would one day get complicated. Similar interests. Mutual friends.

But before all this would come out, we stood on that bridge, in the cold, looking down at the world. I walked half across, then back. No coat, for a while no shirt, always the subject of a camera capturing the instance of a man alive.

My Favourite Briefs

My Regular Mind, November 16, 2010 at 04h39

Believe it or not — and I certainly hope you do — occasionally I’ll hear that someone enjoyed one of my stories. This always leads to a little parade in my heart, with balloons and streamers and stilt-walkers. Herein is a shortlist of a few such parade-inducing briefs so you can avoid the fluff of my entire catalogue.

Flowers For Pepito was inspired by one of Kristian Adam’s beautiful paintings. As soon as I saw it, an entire story poured out of me, and I knew I couldn’t capture it all. Within the story are hints at this bigger story, and I would be delighted if one day I had the time to tell it.

Dolls was for a monthly contest done by Other Voices where they offer a prompt such as, in this case, no man is completely masculine and no woman solely feminine. I imagine the main character in this story as a living embodiment of a Russian doll, but hopefully with more interesting redundancy.

Under The Bed was based on this feeling I had one morning that there was something under my bed. When I lifted up my air mattress, there was nothing there but dust, but it gave me some flashbacks to some of my childhood worries. The same day that I posted this, three of my friends let me know that they enjoyed it. They might have once had similar worries.

Petals In The Fall is a story I read at an open mic, and afterwards a couple people told me it was their favourite of the three stories I’d read. It was written based on my own speculation of a conversation I was eavesdropping on.

Regrowth was read by a friend of mine who subsequently told me she had a nightmare about it. I suppose that’s just about the highest compliment for a story that is intended to conjure these similar fears. Like most of my briefs, it was written impulsively based on an idea I had, this one being about modifying plant genetics.

These last three are speculative fiction about the end of the world. Nobody told me these stories were particularly good so I won’t bother going into detail; all you need to know is that I like them and that’s why they’re here. The first is called Darkness, the second is called While We Were Sleeping, and the third is called Time Running. Who knows, maybe the three scenarios are in fact linked to the same event. Only time will tell…