Having Seen Seattle
I went down to Seattle, and came back again.
It was a lovely trip. Seattle is the largest city I’ve ever been to, and it was beautiful. This was really my first real experience of being America, as well.
I guess what I really loved about Seattle, was all the Urban Decay. Everywhere there were run-down old buildings, and alleys softly crumbling into ruin.
Of course, the best part about Seattle is that my girlfriend lives there. She lives in a little space in the International Village (the area that used to be Chinatown, until it filled up with every other ethnicity). We spent a lot of time just sitting around in bed, watching cartoons.
It’s funny, but I was amazed at how many Black people there were. In Vancouver, we have very strong Asian communities, but our population of Black people is like, 2% of the total city. In Seattle it seemed closer to 40%, and for me, that was mind-blowing. You have to understand, I come from the smallest, whitest towns in the world. North-Western Canada, yo. So I’ve just never had the chance to see Black people, outside of TV.
Seattle was clean and polite, the way us Canadians like our foreign cities. It’s the only place I’ve ever been to in America, but I think it’s somewhere I could enjoy living if that ever came to pass. Not that I have any plans to ever permanently leave Canada.
The worst part of the trip, the only bad part, was that I don’t travel well. I got nauseous, my stomach aches, and because I was travelling into the states, I had to travel without marijuana, which would’ve really helped with those other issues.
I saw an incredible Manga store, and Pike Place Market was cool; Pike Place was full of all these unique little novelty stores. In Vancouver, the rents are too high to allow for businesses like that. There was a store that sold nothing but wind-up toys; they had a large display-table, and sign that said “Please do not race the toys.”
I sorta wish I’d spent more money on stuff; as it was, all I really brought back were four bags of Doritos, and some awesome memories.
Mum’s The Word
Okay, so it’s Mother’s Day.
I remember when we moved into the woods, I had to walk 2 miles through the woods to catch the school-bus, and 2 miles to get home again, and for the first year that we lived out there, my mom would walk with me, so I wouldn’t have to be alone. I was maybe eight or nine years old.
To pass the time, we sat around one night, and wrote a big two-person comedy sketch. Then, every day, all the way along the walk, we’d rehears the sketch. We’d sing songs, and get the timing down just right on all our jokes.
Then, after a few months, my mom came all the way into the school with me, and we performed our little skit. It was maybe fifteen minutes long. All original material, plus some old vaudeville jokes, and a Smothers Brothers song. I don’t know if we were a big hit at Horsefly Elementary, but we certainly had fun.
I know a lot of things about my mom. I know her finger got broken by a guy she loved. He’s gone, but the finger’s still broken. I know her family name, and that she was born in Germany.
I know that every year she seems to get smaller and smaller; I suspect that by the time I’m fifty, she’ll be about the size of a mouse, and will probably live in a pretty little shoebox somewhere.
Mostly I remember my mom, a hard-working earthen sort, rolling her eyes and saying “Mother’s day is such a load of bullshit.” She was a cynic, with a cold-heart for the affairs of capitalist empires. She believed in art, and the earth, and not much else.
She’s a good lady, my ma. Well, maybe not good, but she’s certainly awful interesting, and usually a lot of fun.
It’s a Hard Knock Street
He’s somewhere in his late-teens and his early-twenties.
I saw him, picking up the remnants of a pizza slice. It’d been wrapped in a paper plate, and left on the bus-stop.
I saw him, as he dropped a bit on the ground. Then he bent down, picked it back up, and ate that bit first.
He didn’t see me. Man, he was ramblin’. Not on the nod, but on the go. Places to locate. People to perceive.
Street pizza, man. Like real street pizza, as in off the street. Tomato sauce and cheese on concrete, served with a side of bus exhaust.
He keeps moving. He can’t stay still. He’s hungry, but then, who isn’t? We’re all hungry, eventually. We all walk these streets, looking for a way to get filled.
We eat love, we eat our friends, we eat our family, we eat strangers in the street, we eat their dogs and their cats, we eat our histories and our lies, and eventually, we devour ourselves, soul-first.
Down on the street, where the pizza slices sell for cheap.
Candy Skull Island
I’ve never really imagined having a tattoo like this; it makes me feel like I’m part of a bad-ass gang.
I like that the design doesn’t feel tribal, exactly. It feels more primitive, or ancient. It reminds me a bit of really old Aboriginal cave-drawings.
It also looks a little like a map. Yeah, a map of Skull Island. All these colours, though… Maybe it’s Candy Skull Island. I’d like that. Candy Skull Island is totally where I’d like to hang out.
I can’t get over how bright and colourful it is! I love the green because I’ve been getting back into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles again recently, so the idea of something glowing bright green with toxicity is pretty cool to me.
This picture is from the pages of the book King City, by Brandon Graham. I’m no Cat Master like Joe, but I am known to most urban animals. Pigeons flock to me. Crows follow me around. Squirrels sit on my shoulders, and watch the world go by.
Two Sides; Single Coin
Thanks So Much For All The Awesome Support!
Man, I got lucky.
Like forty people on tumblr reblogged my post where I explained that I’d published my first book online, and where I told you how to find it.
The Man Who Could Fly But Probably Shouldn’t’ve
is a dark little comedy about faith and love and being an idiot. It’s the story of Ernie, who discovers one day that he can fly, and it’s about how his life goes kind of crazy after that.
It was a book inspired, in some ways, by the tones of the films of Terry Gilliam and the prose of Kurt Vonnegut; hilariously dark stories about filthy, broken people, leading out perpetually self-mocking lives.
I hope some of you can afford to check it out. It was a fun little journey, writing the book, and I think it might afford a smile or two to those who’d chose to crack its cover.
I hope people read it. I hope they review it. I hope they get excited, and tell their friends!
I hope I can make a lifestyle out of being a writer.
It feels like fun.
First Time On A Bike
I remember my step-dad, James, teaching me to ride a bike.
We were in the back-section of the parking lot of the big grocery store. I’d only ever ridden a bike with train-wheels at that point. I was maybe seven or eight years old.
It was an awful day, and that’s all I really remember. I can recall going around and around in a circle, on the bike, with James screaming at me, threatening that he was going to beat me senseless if I couldn’t stay on the bike.
He hated my fear, which terrified me. It was a vicious cycle, no pun intended, that resulted in him getting angrier and angrier, as I choked back scared sobs, and tried to keep the bicycle moving, so it wouldn’t totter over and smash me to the ground, where he could catch me.
James almost ruined bike-riding for me. He made it something awful that made me feel like I’d been punched in the stomach. But, on the other hand, it took me away from him, further and further, and faster and faster. That part, I loved.
Going further, and further away. Faster and faster.
I looked up my old home on Google Maps. It’s not there anymore; the bridge is still up, across the creek, but it doesn’t lead to anything anymore, except a big empty field.
I don’t know what happened to the house I grew up in.
Fight For Your Right To Be Non-Violent
I was reading about the Men’s Rights Movement this morning…
I grew up in the North, where violence against women is still pretty common. Big men, who are used to using their bodies to make their way in the world. This thing displeases me? Well, I’ll just hit it, until it acts better.
They treat their women that way. Their animals. They raise their children, and then their children grow up to do the same.
I saw it. I experienced it. My step-father was a mean little redneck who ruled our home with violence and threats. One time he attacked my mother, and I ran away. I was about twelve. While I was gone, he broke my mother’s finger, and when I came back, he said it was my fault. That her finger got broke, because I ran off.
And it wasn’t just my home. It was lots of homes. Every home had a secret ruler hidden inside. An angry ogre dressed like a bread-earner, though most of the time it was their wives who had the real jobs, and did the real work.
I’m not saying every man in the North is a woman-beating idiot. But it’s more common than you’d think. Common enough to be called A Problem.
It’s a culture of violence. Men geared to see women as property they deserve. Boys told that they should laugh about it. Laugh, when your mothers, and your sisters cry. Laugh as some strange man beasts their faces and cracks their bones. Laugh and find one of your own.
That’s what I think about, when I think the Men’s Rights Movement. I think about all the horrible violent acts I’ve seen men commit. I think about all the dead sex-trade workers in my town. I think about my mom’s broken finger, which is still broken to this day. We never saw a doctor about it, never got it set.
The world is a hard, fucked-up place.
You gotta be ready to think carefully about which parts of it you want to fight for.
A friend of mine ended his battle with cancer yesterday.
We weren’t as close as we could’ve been, but he was one of those people who always made me smile, every time I saw him. He was this great big fucker, tall and broad-shouldered and big-bellied. He wasn’t fat; he was a big man. Big as a mountain!
He was sarcastic, too. As soon as we were friends on Facebook, I had to watch myself, because every time I posted something whiney, or self-indulgent, or self-pitying, he’d be right there, to post something stupid and silly, to take the piss out of my moping. He wouldn’t let me be down; he always wanted to hassle me, to make me laugh.
It feels so pointless to praise him now. He’s not here to know how much he meant to us. He’s on a different journey now; I don’t believe in an afterlife, but I do like the metaphor of the trip.
But I want to praise him. I want the world to know that he was a good man, and he was my friend. He was good people, and I’d have vouched for him, any day. I was proud to be his friend, and to count him as one of mine. He made me feel like I was a good person, just because he liked me.
He was a good man. And he always will be, too.
The Cries Of The Robins Outside
The robins started calling this morning.
I hadn’t heard robins outside for a few months, but it seems like today marked the day they start back up again.
I hate the cry of the robins.
I remember it from when I was a kid, living deep in the woods. When I heard the robins, that meant it was dawn, and cold. It was time to get up, and start a fire. Go outside, and feed the horses. Haul some water. Split some wood.
The robins’ call implied frostiness, and that it was time to get out of bed. Time to do some work.
New Year’s Eve 2013
The past few years I have had awful New Year’s eves.
It all started a few years ago, when I was at a NY’s Eve party. It was a giant house-party, and I was doing MDMA for the first time in a couple of years. Everything was great, I was having an amazingly fun time, and then, right in the midst of the evening, one of my best friends had a drug-induced seizure He went toppling to the floor, almost foaming out the mouth as his girlfriend shrieked and cried, and then we called an ambulance.
That sucked. I spent the rest of the night freaking out. People tried to calm me down saying it wasn’t such a big deal, and I hated them for it. I was on the same drugs as my friend had taken as well, and the people who sold them to us, did not seem at all concerned about how we were all doing. It was a weird, upsetting night.
The year after that, I wanted a smaller party, so I invited a few friends over to a place where we could all hang out. I really missed them, and just wanted a quiet night. Then all my best friends went off to a private room to have group-sex, leaving me all alone in the living room to watch Red Dwarf until it was morning and the busses were running again.
Then I did a year at a party that turned out to be a frat-house full of drunk teenagers. They were all idiots, and the evening sucked, and just as we left, a girl got drugged against her consent and started to flip-out in the middle of the party.
Last year I can’t even remember, now. I can’t find my notes. I feel like we went to some lame party, but I can’t bring it to mind. I feel like I threatened getting fucked up, and then stayed somewhat sober.
This year… I have a head-cold, just a little one, and a strong desire to take some LSD and see DJango Unchained up on the big screen. I want to hang out with the lovely girl I live with, and that’s really about it. I don’t need to dance, to drink, to meet anybody new, to see anybody old…
Really, it’s just a Monday. Rent is due tomorrow, I want to make nachos again soon, there’s leftovers to be eaten, and we’re almost done watching season 7 of The Office. Life is just a slurring slew of life-sized events, rolling by without any real meter or cadence.
Mostly I just want to put books out. I want to get paid for writing, so I can quit my job of selling other people’s stupid books, and focus on a lifestyle of selling my own stupid books.
And that’s me. Looking ahead at 2013. Maybe I’ll look back at 2012 later.
Or maybe not.