"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

29 December 2011


Two years ago, I began by telling a story of my concept of Kashmir. It was an old in its context, and it went unnoticed, but I sometimes feel awkward when I am the focus of attention. I have purged words from my skull forever and a day. One of my friends calls this a rare gift I should share. When I've referred to it as a curse, another of my friends tells me not to be so melodramatic.

Some things are started with predefined goals, whilst others it's a case of seeing where one ends up. I tend to think this was the ladder rather than the former. Although, to paraphrase someone I used to know; I think I was looking for a new mythology. See, I'd self-published a book a few years back. A angsty dark thing that was great for my twenties and early thirties living within the borders of the greater metroplex, but I was neither that age or in that location anymore. Unfortunately, there were a few cats I knew who could not or would not accept that I wanted to move on. Somehow, I was betraying them.

But, perhaps it was a matter of context. By the time I started purging words my skull here, I'd lived in the mountains for a few years. Different geography. Different reality. I wanted to tell stories about being out in the in-between places and exploring deeper into the American Maghreb. Sometimes, starting out, I would joke were I crazy, or stupid, enough to try for publication once more, perhaps it would be upon the pages of the Mountain Gazette.

That day I vomited out my first story here, my mother was languishing in a sickhouse. Five days later, my brother and I would be standing over her body, trying to reconcile the very harsh reality that she was lost and gone forever, and ever, amen. I did tell stories about losing her and trying to come to peace with it, but, at first, not here. I didn't want to drag any random strangers from across the spider's web of cyber into my mourning. That lasted for four months, and then all bets were off.

I told stories about my mother. About helping my father move from the Rub 'al Khali of the badlands of Eastern Colorado. Stories about living in the mountains, walkabouts through our little Sahel, and observations of the weather. Tales with my daughter, Sabina, and the other species of quadruped we share our tiny house with. I started telling other tales again, ones spoken in the tongues of fiction as well as fact, because it's all true; even and especially the lies.

Somewhere in there, I think I found the shape of this, even if I've not found the words to articulate that particular concept. At its simplist; this is mine. My little bit of terror and shock and awe I inflict upon the rest of the cosmos. The simple fact anyone else looks is really quite humbling. Once upon a time, I thought it would be cool to be famous for the words I purge from my skull, but then I remember how mortified and uncomfortable I became in my own skin when someone announced, quite loudly, how I'd published a book to a room full of strangers. That's when I learned I'll never be a rock and/or roll star.

I've just finished a story arc and have been queried as to what I might do next. Rest assured, it's just as much of a mystery to me, but that could be half the fun of it. A very long time ago, I once told someone that some stories write and/or tell themselves and the storytellers are just along for the ride. It's a bit of wisdom, cosmic in its significance, perhaps, that I truly believe.


  1. The most amazing thing about writing, to me, is that fracture in time when the words take over and I am nothing more than the conduit.

    I've been writing in one direction, confident that I know where I'm going, and in the next moment, almost against my will, the plot shifts. I used to try to wrestle for control, but soon realized that if I just let go, allowed the story to play out on its own, it was just the most incredible feeling/experience.

    And made for a far better plot.

  2. When I was in school, I was taught to outline stoires and the like, which was always a disappointment. Things have to happen organically with me, or not at all.

  3. I'm like you and terlee, too. I learned in school to write an outline, sometimes starting with the ending and trying to figure out how I got there, but those methods rarely work for me.
    My inspiration can be as simple as the rip in the upholstery on my sofa.

  4. I hear you about the inspiration. Someone once asked me how I do it...and I was glib, saying the words come when they come.

  5. I'm glad you decided to purge the words from your skull - and that we get to read them. I'm looking forward to more in 2012.
    Happy New Year!