1,000 Words: Shells

Every single one of these shells has a story to tell. Each one is a memory. They clutter up my house like stories clutter up my mind, each one precious, each one inspiration. 


A Tide of Thoughts

I know that I have not posted anything of substance in a long while for various reasons–personal, professional, it doesn’t matter. I have been derelict in my duties. I can’t promise a return to regularly scheduled posts, but I do promise to try harder and post more frequently until I can get back to weekly or twice weekly posts. That said, let’s perform some updates.

I have sent my Viking novella out to two small presses; a no from one (they were intrigued, but booked) and I have yet to hear from the other. While the novella is making the rounds, I am tweaking my “wizard story” setting and reevaluating the diversity of my characters (which is a daunting task–I’m struggling with the feeling of phoniness. I’m not _____, so how the hell would I know? If any of you have tips, or wish to share you experiences, please do so in the comments).

Thus ends the writing updates. Secondary thought process: this week is family beach vacation. Except, I was not able to attend this year. Not going has made me all out of whack, as the ocean re-calibrates my soul. I’ve been trying to recreate the oceanic effect with listening to ocean wave videos, drinking Hames Gin and Tonics (traditional liquid mascot of the beach), and reading as much fantasy as I can get a hold of, but it doesn’t quite have the same quality. Sigh. There’s always next year.

How do you all re-calibrate?

This is me, from a long time ago (aka college), sitting on Virginia Beach. The beach is my happy place. Remember to visit your happy places, my darlings, in reality or in your mind.

This is me, from a long time ago (aka college), sitting on Virginia Beach. The beach is my happy place. Remember to visit your happy places, my darlings, in reality or in your mind.

The Hames Gin&Tonic

You will need:
Tonic water
Maraschino cherries
Angostura bitters
Glass tumbler.

Put the desired amount of ice in your tumbler. Sprinkle ice with 3-4 drops of bitters. Take a slice of lime, squeeze over ice, and then drop it into the glass. Pop two cherries in there while you’re at it, maybe a splash of cherry juice if you like your drinks sweeter. Pour in a shot of gin–or two, if you’re feeling rebellious. Top with tonic water. Serve immediately.

Don't mind the blurry cell-phone picture. The important part is that your drink isn't blurry--if it is, stop drinking.

Don’t mind the blurry cell-phone picture. The important part is that your drink isn’t blurry–if it is, stop drinking.

The ocean both terrifies and inspires

I have long been an advocate of the ocean. Its shores are a place to relax, its depths something to protect, its creatures something to admire. Almost all of the ocean is unexplored. It is the unknown—and, much the same with my opinion of space—that fact fills me with wonder and hope. It inspires me.

Our world, our culture is one of finite terms. There is the possible and the impossible, the probable and the improbable, the no and the yes. You either can or you can’t. We’re told, as a global society from birth, what we are likely or unlikely to achieve based on religion, sexuality, gender, and class.

We know what we know and ignore the things we don’t understand. It’s an epidemic. And this prevalent attitude is why I absolutely adore the ocean, in all of its unknown, freakish glory.

Because there is so much unknown about the ocean, and things that are known about it somehow defy logic on a regular basis, that means, to me, that this whole possible/impossible shit is entirely relative.

The ocean is an example. We don’t actually know what is impossible. We don’t actually know, with any degree of certainty, if society would fall apart when a poor transsexual man befriends an evangelist Christian celebrity. We can’t actually say that being born in a certain class means we have to stay there.

Nature, Earth, space—the whole of the universe itself challenges global societal beliefs simply by existing.

What is impossible is only impossible because you believe it is so.

Allow the ocean to blow your mind a little when you click on the link and then come back for one final thought. Go ahead, I’ll wait.


Back? Good. So, you know how the stuff you just saw kind of defies your perceptions a tad? Yeah, hold on to that feeling. Cherish that wonkiness. Go out into the world feeling slightly off-balance in a good way.

Question, challenge, and disagree.


1,000 Words XII: Beach Cat

Beach Cat



This little dude wandered up to the beach house I was staying in at Holden Beach, N.C., one year right after a rain storm cleared out. He was a stray, just house-hopping, getting some love and maybe possibly food where he could. It was the first and the last time we saw him that week. Like a little furry ghost. He epitomized the beach-aura, though. Laid back, friendly, scruffy–a tad sunburned around the ears.

I miss that feeling in my life (aside from the sunburn part. I do not miss sunburns, ever.) Are you all missing any particular feeling in your life? Relaxation? Or maybe urgency? Stimulation? Or would you rather be slightly bored? Let me know.

A Pirate’s life for me

All right, my doves, it’s time. It’s time for me to explain why I consider myself a pirate, as I said may or may not happen.

There are several reasons. One is the romance behind the swashbucklers—I love the old Errol Flynn movies like “Captain Blood” and the rogue-with-a-heart-of-gold characterizations. I grew up watching the fantasy cartoon “Pirates of Dark Water,” which has emblazoned itself upon my memory even though it’s probably one of the more obscure cartoons from my generation.

Then, of course, I fell in love with Captain Jack Sparrow and dear William Turner. Don’t judge.

But the main reason I am a pirate is because I worked with a bunch of buccaneers at a bookstore. Uh-buh? Pirate bookstore?

I used to work at Borders Books, the now defunct mega bookstore chain.

Yup. I was bookseller at the store in my little town, seasonally during college and for about eight months after I graduated. I don’t know why, but I had wanted to work there since high school—I was (still am) a voracious reader, and I thought that maybe, while I worked there, MAYBE I’d see one of the books I wrote appear on the shelves.

As we all know, I wasn’t quite that lucky, but despite some of the messy (chicken bones littering the fantasy shelves) and spiteful (people would yell at you because the store had sold out of a book and were too lazy to go to another store) customers, I had a great time there.

I had dozens of coworkers during my tenure but there was a core group that stayed as long, if not longer, than I did. I came to know them quite well.

We weathered Harry Potter midnight releases together and in the wee hours of the morning, as in 2 a.m., and had a slow-motion lightsaber fight in wizard costumes. I may have also accidentally shattered the eardrum of my supervisor while yelling for cash only customers at the register.

We used to race to close the book and music side of the store before the baristas could close the café, which was more difficult than you might think. And if the café wasn’t shut down before the bookstore, the booksellers would go to help. It was on one such night I was heaved into an empty-ish, rolling trashcan as a joke and immediately tumbled out on to the tile.

I have other silly stories that I could bore you with, but they are more inside jokes than anything else (A-Team? Batman?), so I won’t do that.

The group I worked with, headed up by the most fabulous manager you could imagine, became very tight-knit. We referred to ourselves as a pirate crew due to our manager’s love of all things piratical and her self-designated captaincy.

It is people like this—the ones that let you be totally yourself, right down to the inner-nerd core—that facilitate creativity. I didn’t know it then, but I do now. Working at that bookstore with my Crewmates was basically like finding the mother ship. Everyone was just as weird as I was, just as strangely creative, just as slightly off-center.

It was the golden age of pirates.