How are we doing these days? Holding up? Hanging in there? I hope so. If you’re reading this, I hope you’re doing so during a brief pause from doing nice things for yourself like reading books, making art, drinking beers, and eating some really incredible food. Tiny blissful moments are a big deal. Everything that’s going on in the world constantly draws me in and I feel compelled to read the news and dive into my Twitter feed, but lately, I’m suffering from information fatigue. Mostly, it’s Trump fatigue. I don’t need to experience a daily bombardment of voices each day telling me that he said an awful thing. Both sides harbor their own set of obsessions that tend to weigh heavy on everyone. Too much of that shit and I start to morph into Rust Cohle from the first season of True Detective.
There’s a lot of scared people. Angry people. And people who think none of this matters, or that it’s fun to troll scared and angry people. There are people out there who are looking for a fight and need a bit of conflict to chew on for one reason or another. They’ve got their shit. We’ve all got our shit. It’s hard not to fling fistfuls of that shit at one another, I know. It’s easy to forget the big picture and zero in on the asshole on Facebook who is a shouting, fleshy sack of unabashed hatred. But, you can do it. If you see your friend getting sucked into the asshole vortex, help ’em out. Extend a hand. Provide a distraction.
We can get through the hard stuff if we take the time to help each other out and remind one another of the wonderful stuff. The world is still a pretty great place.
Being out in the world helps me, which is strange, because I tend to feel my best when I’m being reclusive in the dark. But, there have been demonstrations in London. The Women’s March. The March Against Racism. Something very beneficial and magical happens when you walk down the street with hundreds of strangers who share some of the same hopes that you do; whose dreams mesh harmoniously with your own. I attended the 420 rally in London and the Green Pride Day in Brighton and am gearing up for the Gay Pride Parade in London because being surrounded by stoners and love and joy does more for my sanity and general outlook than the hysterical news cycle. It reminds me that when people focus and work together, they can do amazing things.
I’ve been spending more time immersed in stories, music, and writing. When I get hit with a severe case of information fatigue, it’s therapeutic to fall into a melody that reminds me of the beauty that human beings are capable of, or a story that injects a healthy dose of humanity. Meditation. Exercise. Playing with my pets. A fresh pint of Guinness and a well-made fish taco. Tiny moments that put me right again and give me enough of a recharge to take on whatever comes next.
Throughout all of this, I write. Then I open a window and let the stories flutter away. Sometimes, they even land somewhere.
Too Many Words, a flash fiction story I wrote a while ago, was published at Intrinsick, a cool magazine filled with “weird, what-the-eff stories.” You’re into that kind of stuff, right? Cool. It’s a tiny story about abuse, mothers, coping, and tacos. You can read it for free by clicking here.
Symbol Infection is a short story about making mistakes, then dealing with those mistakes by revisiting some old ones. Living life in reverse never works, but most of us try to do it at least once. It was published by The Corvus Review. You can read the entire PDF version of the magazine here.
Black Heart Magazine has released a new anthology. DISARM: A Gun Sense Anthology is a charity project that “includes short fiction, personal essays and poetry in a gun sense anthology, which will wholly benefit the Gun Safety Lobby to bring about legislation and meaningful changes to our country.” Please buy a copy of this book. All proceeds will benefit Everytown for Gun Safety.
In Our Blood is a short story I wrote as a contribution to the project. It’s fiction, but inspired by a very real dilemma I experienced years ago when I had to decide if I was afraid enough to purchase a firearm, or brave enough to live by my principles and continue on without a gun.
To buy a copy of this book and contribute to a good cause, click on the books tab above, or just go here.
Another very short story, Questions Crawling Past appeared on Danse Macabre’s DM du Jour section. It’s a creepy story with scuttling, skittering, crawling things. It’s also a love story. Sort of. Probably not a in a good way. You can read it here.
And finally, Smashwords is holding their annual summer sale. Both of my books, Human Detritus and Broken Abroad, are $0.99 USD until July 31st. The sale is a big site-wide sale, so click here, peruse a bit and load up your ebook reader with some free and discounted books.
There’s some other stuff forthcoming, but that’s future stuff. Better to focus on the now stuff. So, focus on the now. Be kind. Embrace distractions. Keep thinking. Extend a hand. Resist. Persist. Create new things and set them loose in the world, even if it means only one other person will see it. Sometimes, one is enough.