About me

I've been writing stories for years. I think I'm a good writer and I'm willing to bet you'll feel the same way. So here they are. Enjoy them, comment on them, tell your friends about'em, reblog them, retweet them, reread them. I have four stories in my archive so far:
"One day on the Mountain", a story of Lycanthropy, a father, and a son.
"The Boy", a story of a very ambitious and sociopathic fifth grade boy.
"The Easy Girl, A story of infidelity and unpaid sexual debts. This story is very dark.
"Brick The Mighty", a story of an aging superhero.
Although this is primarily a blog of horror, I also write about things that are important to me. I have more stories tucked away; they just need editing. There's even a few novels. There will be more to come.
PS. Feel free to leave a comment. I love comments.

Monday, 25 July 2011

In the face of hate

      A few days ago, a madman blew up the Norwegian Parliament. Then he hitched a ride to an island and shot almost ninety Norwegian children with bullets designed to fragment inside the body. Not too much later, or perhaps at the same time, Amy Winehouse joined the 27 club.

      The Norwegian people are better than me. If the gunman were in my custody, I would probably torture him. I wouldn't even ask him for information in exchange for mercy. But according to the police, he is a "very demanding prisoner." They are "interviewing" him, and noting that he has confessed to the actions but in no way does he consider his actions criminal. He wants his day in court so he can explain why he had to destroy nearly one hundred familes. He hates muslims, and he hates the people who might give muslims a break. So he shot people. He shot children. He shot kids as they were trying to swim away. Some were as young as ten.

     Amy Winehouse was possessed by a different sort of hate than that which drove Ander Behring Breivik. She hated herself. So she drugged herself, and perched a massive black wig on top of her head, which she tried to keep upright, which she scratched when she was particularly strung out. That beehive seemed to be a sort of security blanket. She plastered herself with tattoos, grew thin as a rail, lost teeth. During all of this, she didn't write fifteen hundred page manifestos of racist hatred. She wrote bleak and beautiful music. She sang like an angel that had been unfairly, or perhaps fairly, cast down. That music won five Grammys. Perhaps there were a few - maybe more than a few - young girls out there who hated themselves as well, who used her music to hold the darkness at bay. That girl can't be so sad, they might have thought. Listen to her sing. No one who sounds like that could that sad. And so Amy helped people. She hated herself, poisoned herself, and yet she did beautiful things.

    One more story here. It's my own.

    In 1989 I was a punk-ass freshman at McGill University. At the gym, I'd met a medical student who liked the way I filled out my Adidas short-shorts. One weekend close to the Christmas break I took her out to a movie. It was December 6th.

    After the movie we walked to her apartment in the student ghetto, looked at her photo album, and finally got down to the business of fooling around. Half an hour later, the phone rang. She answered it, talked for perhaps a minute, said goodbye and hung up. She had a most peculiar expression on her face.

    "What's the matter?" I said.

    "That was a friend of mine. She's clerking in the Emergency room. She called to tell me that they're bringing in all these girls. She says they've been shot to pieces."

     When I got back to residence, I found out that an armed man named Marc Lepine had walked into a lecture hall in L'Ecole Polytechnique, the engineering faculty for the University of Montreal, and told all the men to leave. Then he opened fire on the remaining women. He killed fourteen people. He hated feminists and he didn't think women deserved to be in Engineering.

     No one kills out of love. But killers love their reasons. They love their hate. They hold on to it and shut out the world until they realize the world disagrees. Then they set out to make the world hate just as much as they do. Anders Behring Breivik did it; Marc Lepine did it; Osama Bin Laden did it.

   Let's try something: Let's forget his name. Whenever someone does this, let's erase his (it's always a man, sorry) name, and only remember the names of the victims. These killers have done this to expose their cause, to be forever remembered by all the coming copycats who think greatness can be found in a gun amidst a crowd of unarmed people, and to change the world to their liking. Norway, in all its collective and calm Northern European logic, has already pledged more openness. It knows the right things because it has always done the right thing.

    Let us forever be like Norway, which through its tears has refused to change its essential goodness. Let's be like Amy, who made beautiful music in the face of her inevitable death. Let us keep making beautful things, and pledge that we will never change that which has gotten us here. No matter what looks back at us.
   Whatever hurts you, or frightens you, is trying to change you. Defy it, don't be fooled, and refuse. Just say no and keep creating.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

A great lady dies of cancer

   Last week my wife's aunt died of cancer.

   I make it sound sudden but of course it wasn't sudden. In the fall she had an unceasing headache and chronic pain in her back, and scans revealed tumours in her back, her lungs, and her brain. The doctors tried various therapies, and she lost her sense of balance, her continence, and when relatives visited she was often too nauseous and in too much pain to enjoy their company. The last few months she was bedridden and mostly unconscious.
     There is a picture on many a facebook page of our extended family: that of this woman, playing in a band during last summer's family reunion. In this photo she is all of sixty-five years old, slender and fit, beautiful, with dark hair, and wearing flattering white pants, standing beside her husband playing sixties tunes for my kids and their cousins. It's a wonderful photo and the very essence of her.
    Yet if you know anything about cancer, you know those tumours were inside her, posing for that same picture. They were sitting there, patiently growing. Cancer is doing the same thing to millions of unsuspecting people around the world.
    Cancer is the perfect dichotomy of the endlessly tragic and the grindingly mundane. In every first world city there is a hospital that is the main thoroughfare for cancer patients. In Toronto it's the Princess Margaret. Writers with cancer describe going for their first consult and seeing in the waiting room their kids' pediatrician, local judges, old schoolmates, former workmates, relatives of friends. Oh, you too? I'm so sorry. How old are your kids? How are they handling things? My family has been great. Cancer tragically kills your mother and then it invades your prostrate. It sneaks in under your armpit and eats up your breast. The sun can start cancer growing under your toenail, or the sole of your foot. And there is more and more of cancer.

    We consume frightening movies and books about horror and the apocolypse so we can forget about the things that kill us. Vampires, zombies, werewolves - they all follow rules, have you noticed that? Specific vulnerabilities, times of weakness. They can be defeated. We watch them, so we don't have to think about cancer and things like it: Alzheimer's, heart disease, strokes, or that great and undiscussed gift that keeps on giving: a type-1 mental illness. But you cannot ram a stake through cancer's heart, or shoot it with a silver bullet. You can only start to make phone calls to relatives, the specialists, and in many cases a hospice that can manage pain and provide comfort.

   The funeral was wonderful. People laughed and sang, and it was so packed the funeral home air conditioner broke down dealing with the heat of all those extra bodies. She was a woman who lived her life with grace and humour, who could have lived another thirty years, and who left behind a son before he could give her a grandchild.
    This is my best memory of her. In February of 2002, when my first son was six weeks old, we visited my in-laws. The new great-grandmother held him for most of the visit, then the new grandparents, and then the baby-crazy neighbor. My wife's aunt just manned the snack trays, coordinated the visits and parties heralding the clan's first child of the new generation, and was chauffeur to her mother-in-law.  Finally, at the third party at an uncle's house, when all the old people were napping in their chairs, and everyone else was readying to go home, she quietly asked if she could hold the baby.
    Of course we said yes. She was our favorite aunt. She always will be.