Sunday, December 5, 2010

Oh Beloved Steinbeck

Sometimes you simply can't say it better. Sometimes, all you can do is share what you've heard and hope that it speaks to others as truthfully as it speaks to you. This is my favorite quote from my favorite book:

"Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet. Its beginning has the pleasure of a great stretching yawn; it flashes in the brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes. A man may have lived all of his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then -the glory- so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man's importance in the world can be measured by the quality and number of his glories. It is a lonely thing but it relates us to the world. It is the mother of all creativeness, and it sets each man separate from all other men. "
— John Steinbeck (East of Eden)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Asleep in the Dirt Teaser

Okay, here's a section from Asleep in the Dirt, which is the short novel that Bryan Schatz and I wrote. It's been completed multiple times but is yet again in an editing stage. It will probably constantly be changed until we actually sell it to a publisher.

The following section is pretty far into the book, but don't worry, it's nowhere near the end. You don't need to know everything that's happening, just think of it as a short story about Dan and Bryan hanging out with their spiritual guide, Houndtooth Herman and trying to open their imaginations. Both Dan and Bryan are currently struggling with dark, violent dreams that have been affecting their everyday life. So here it is....

Asleep in the Dirt (Partially):

"Well boys," Houndtooth sighed, "I know it ain't easy, but ain't nothin' better for a tortured soul than some imaginin'."

"I dont think so Herm, I'm done with-"

Dan was interrupted when Houndtooth looked up at him with that big furrowed brow of his, "It may take a bit o' practice, but y'all ought to try again." Then Ol' Herm thought for a moment, took a deep breath and continued. "Hell, maybe I can even help a bit. Some times its best to just let certain things go."

They frowned, scared of what they might see, but Houndtooth had a way about him, a presence that drew out one's faith and put it there before them for all to see. Clinching their eyes tight once again, they held out the visions of their ravaged friend, and thankfully, a soft blackness suspended before them.

Up above the old shack, a great cloud took shape in the image of Ol' Houndtooth. He was butt naked and smoking from his corn-cob pipe. He looked down upon the boys from his perch high above the ground and he exhaled slowly. As the smoke escaped from his lips it turned to rain and the dark, heavy clouds burst open and it began to pour. A drenching, cleansing rain drowned the landscape and washed their bodies deeply. It cleared the concealed anguish from their minds, and flushed from them the curse of their haunted, torturous dreams.

With eyes still closed, their imaginations were finally liberated. Their clenched eyes relaxed, allowing in whatever was to come. The blackness slipped away, replaced by a welcomed sense of alleviation. Their tightened shoulders dropped, they breathed in a deep fresh breath, and then their minds traveled far and wide.

Bryan built a giant fortress home, complete with a martial arts dojo, an armory and battlements and a great feasting hall where all his friends would gather and drink strong, hearty mead. Next to the house would be a waterfall fifty stories tall that would thunder and roar all day and night. The days were always sunny and warm and Bryan would stand atop this waterfall and hurl himself into the great river below. Then he'd catch a fish with his teeth and barbecue it up on the bank. He lived for all eternity.

Dan crouched down into a pouncing stance and then leaped straight to the moon. As he stood on that gray space rock he gazed upon the Earth. He saw every great adventure throughout history occur all at once. Then he buried his clothes in a crater and took the moon in his hands and he hurled the moon into the Earth. The two bodies collided and merged into one while Dan floated through space naked and warm, he visited planets and civilizations that would never be discovered by others.

As the sun buried itself into the horizon, the temperature dropped suddenly and the two friends were snapped back to Earth by a sudden shiver.

"I guess we'd better get inside or something, before it gets too damned cold." Bryan said, wishing he was still in his everlasting home. "I don't really understand exactly what occurred here, but if Ol' Houndtooth is some kind of an immortal then I can definitely see why."

Dan was still considering his vision, intrigued by its vastness. Feeling content, he gratefully allowed the experience to seep in to his core. He turned to the old man and gave him a nudge, "Come on Houndtooth."

Monday, October 11, 2010


A thousand apologies to you readers for being a bit late with this latest post. I've been a little more busy this past week with work and I really had no ideas for what to write. My good friend Bryan told me I should write a story about an alligator. So... here's a story about an alligator. I can't promise that it will be good but what I can promise is that it is about an alligator.

Rory the Elephant

Rory was a large elephant who loved to toss his trunk around and toot at passersby. One day, however, he tooted at the wrong motherfucker. Strongburk was floating by on a sunny afternoon when Rory hit him with the noise from the river bank. Nobody liked Rory, not one fucking animal, but Rory was one of those who long ago decided that he enjoyed being the badguy, like those assholes that drive by on the street and scream their stupidity at you when you're minding your own business. Unfortunately for Rory, Strongburk had less patience for tomfoolery than any other animal in the whole wild jungle.

Once Strongburk's heart rate returned to normal he looked over and saw that the startling sound had come from that goddamn Rory. His heart rate quickly increased again, but this time it was the blood of fury that throbbed from his chest and into his muscles and eyeballs. An alligator with bloodshot anger eyes looks fucking scary, in case you can't picture it yourself. When Rory saw the gator heading for him with violence, Rory did what any intelligent animal would do. He ran the hell away.

Now it is said that to escape from a gator on land, one must run in a zig zag pattern, because alligators cannot turn quickly. However, the superb agility of the elephant is not one of those great natural abilities of which we humans are always envious. When Rory runs, he runs straight, and when Strongburk is locked in on revenge, he runs fast. Thus the chase began.

Being so large, Rory was capable of building a lot of momentum and speed, but the jungle was dense and provided many obstacles. Animal nests, trees and shrubs, large anthills, all these things slowed Rory down as he was forced to bash straight through them, leaving a nice, neat path for Strongburk to follow. The gator's feet were a blur as he made a bee line for that phant's ass.

That's when, all of a sudden, Thong the raven swooped from the sky and .... aw fuck it, I'm sorry. This story sucks. Here just watch this instead:

My next post will be a short teaser from my novel, Asleep in the Dirt. I'll put it up in a day or two, I promise.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


 This week I wrote a short story. The idea popped out of my head during a free write and I decided to run with it. It's not edited so hopefully there aren't too many errors or poorly written sentences. Let me know what you think.


Amongst the tallest and most remote mountains of the Spredumback range there lives a small community of very large folks. This little village is built from the mighty boulders that break from the faces of the mountains when the great thunder god is feeling uncertain and full of angst. Huts that would be massive to you or I provide modest and cozy shelter for the rock giants that dwell in this place. At the center of town there exists one hut that dwarfs the rest. It is an imposing and ornate structure, gaudily decorated with large, raw crystals and gems. Above the entrance there hangs the head of an enormous bird of prey, preserved in an expression of sheer terror. This palace is the home of Fgor, newly appointed chieftan, president, protector and holy man of all rock giant-kind. Upon the walls inside Fgor's home there is a great mural, painted with red dust mixed in water, that tells the tale of the great victory of Fgor's life. What follows is my best attempt at translating the images I saw upon these walls. May Fgor be merciful should I err.

For many years the rock giants inhabited the village of Murkystank and lived there in peace and happiness. When food was in need, they simply hiked down to the land of men and slew all they could find, feasting upon their nutritious flesh and taking a pleasant, scenic walk home. They were good days.

It was early in the spring of Fgor's 24th year when the terrible gray clouds appeared. It had not rained in the Spredumbacks for nearly 400 years and the sudden change in weather made the oldest and wisest fearful of what may come next. Linderbub, the great father of the wise men, looked to the sky one day and prayed to the bashful sun god to return. As he peered up he noticed something unexpected. A great bird soared high in the clouds, a creature of which he had heard before. Some moments passed as Linderbub recovered the creatures name from his memory. The entire community was there, watching Linderbub as he worked his magic to banish the clouds, and he looked upon them and the word came to him.


Thus the great bird creatures came to the Spredumbacks. At first, the rock giants were in awe and showed respect to them. Griffins roosted upon the cliffs high above the village and started a life there, growing in number over time. The first time a rock giant got shit on, it was pretty funny. Several other giants witnessed Dugburn get hit by a softball sized glob of white goo and they laughed hearty bellowing laughs. It was a story that was told for days after, and every time it got a good laugh. Cleaning the shit off the roofs was easy, and the giants did not mind it much, because it is wise to recognize that everything must shit.

Several years passed and the griffins thrived. The shitting increased gradually, so that no one noticed what was going on but their behavior began to change. Irritation had eventually become a plague, and no one could understand the source. The giants avoided looking at the sky for fear of getting shit in their face, even though no giant would laugh at another for such things anymore. It had happened to them all at one point or another. They became depressed, down-trodden. This is what happens to any creature's spirit when it spends too much time being shit upon by other creatures. The rock giants began to feel like they were worthless, they lost their honor and were doing horrible things to one another. They were lying to get ahead, being sneaky, murdering each other in horrible, unfair ways.

Fgor was no different from the rest, conniving, selfish and fed-up. He was a simple stone puller who wanted to experiment with his mind. In his home one night, he ate a large cave mushroom and had a vision. He saw the future of his people. They had become small, tinier than maggots. They were grimy and disgusting and they cannibalized each other in order to live. They began living off the shit of the griffins. Using it to build their dens and spice the flesh of their families. This tore open Fgor's mighty heart. He began to see how even he had been acting like a scummy deviant and he wept.

The morning after, Fgor awoke and saw a fraction of light break through the dense clouds. Thus Fgor decided that the time for change had come. With little thought he simply began climbing the great cliff face toward the peak where the most griffins roosted. The birds soon saw him coming and saw the vengeance in his eyes. They immediately attacked him, swooping on him as he climbed, trying to peck his eyes. They knew rock giant skin was tough, too tough for their razor claws to do any serious damage, so they went to his face. When that did not stop him, the birds tumbled rocks down upon him, but still Fgor climbed. After many hours of punishment he reached the top and the griffins scattered in fear.

It had become widely known that griffins are mainly female. The griffin King is usually the only male and the only one who inseminates the females' eggs. Kill the king and the griffin population will dwindle, taking generations to recover. Fgor called to the king and insulted him. The huge male strutted out of his cave roost and haughtily responded. They lunged at each other at once.

The bird king's claws were large and sharp and they dug deep past Fgor's thick hide. He was wounded and bleeding, but the strength of giants is unrivaled. Fgor grabbed sensitive parts of the king's anatomy, squeezed really hard and lifted the griffin above his head. Griffin bones splintered as the great bird creature was slammed down onto the harsh ground. One excruciating chirp was the king's last address to his harem before a large rock smashed into his skull, ending his life. Fgor tossed the rock aside and dragged the body down home, to show his friends what he had done. They cheered for him and worshiped him and the clouds began to part.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

One Hell of a Damn Weekend

I had one hell of a damn weekend. This Thursday I got off work at 11pm and spent all night riding buses, walking many miles, and hiding from campus security while I tried to pack my bags in the dark outside. Finally, at 4am I walked up to the Santa Cruz Metro Station and waited for my friend Emily to show up so that we could start the long public transportation journey up to San Francisco. There were so many transfers that I had no chance to catch any shuteye before we reached the city. It was about 8:30am by the time we met our ride, a friend of Emily's, in the city to head north to the Earthdance music festival in Laytonville. In this stranger's backseat I finally got to nod off during the two hour ride.

Earthdance was a name I had heard before, but I had no idea what to expect from the festival. It was out in the rolling hills, miles from town, where thousands would camp on this large private property, watch music, learn, meditate and take many, many psychadelics. That's where I came in. As a volunteer for RockMed, an amazing organization that you should all look into, I was going to put my Wilderness First Responder training into real life practice for the first time ever. RockMed provides 100% donation based medical care to all who need it and they send large groups of medically trained volunteers, from those who are simply CPR certified to full blown RNs and doctors, to concerts and festivals in the Northern California area. Their goal at these festivals is simply to make sure everyone is having a good time and that when people are hurt or uncomfortable, they can have a safe place to go for free.

Upon my arrival Emily and I spoke with the coordinator, Carol, to see what they wanted to do with me, as I was a last minute addition who had not gone through the proper orientations, which is the only way that I know how to do things. Carol assigned me to the night shift psych crew. She wanted me to just stick with Emily and watch and help where I can. Night shift, by the way, is 8pm to 8am. Psych crew, as I'm sure you can all imagine, meant I'd be dealing with people who have lost their friggin' minds. LSD was flowing through this festival like Eminem through one of his sick rhymes.

Several of the patients who came in were injured and required immediate medical care. One guy had started a fight at the bar and got a beer bottle broken over his head. Security escorted him to our tent while his blood ran all over his shirtless torso from just behind his ear. The doctors and nurses on site gave him several stitches while the police showed up and questioned him. We sent him on his way without a single fee, right into police custody.

Once the sun went down however, the injuries thinned out and the trippers began their dance. Some were brought in by their friends or security because they were non-combative and just clearly needed a safe place to ride out their stressful trip. There were others though. Oh my lord were there others. Throughout the night we would get a call from security or some random festival employee about a resistant, violent psychadelic victim. The psych team would then hop aboard the Gator (imagine a golf cart designed for off-roading) and haul ass through the rain and mud and darkness to find the patient.

For one call we had to go so far out into the mass of tents, miles from the actual venue, that the only way we managed to find the patient was by following her screams in the night. She was completely out of control, thrashing all over the ground at nothing and everything. We tried to communicate but she wouldn't speak, only yell unintelligibly and throw her body into other tents and push people away. It soon became clear that she was at risk of hurting herself or someone else and that we would have to restrain her. Unfortunately she was in a very tight cluster of tents and there was no room to work, so we had to drag the poor girl out into the muddy road. There we (six men) pinned her to the ground as gently as we could while two others brought up a back board to which we would tie her. I never even saw the poor girl's face, just the part of her body that my head lamp would illuminate while I held it down. She never stopped screaming, even after we had hauled her back to the med tent, given her sedatives and waited about an hour for an ambulance to take her to the hospital. As she was being rolled away someone finally got her to say her first name. That was all we knew of her. She had no friends available or looking after her, not one person on the site had known who she was.

Another patient, a young man who was large and cumbersome had to be carried in as he could no longer stand under his own power. I sat with him for about an hour trying to help him relax and breathe and reassure him that the trip would end. He was terrified of everything, he would lie down and then every minute or so suddenly grab his hair and pull hard or press his fingers deep into his own eyes. Each time I gently pulled his hands away and told him that he didn't want to hurt himself. He never said much, but would occasionally start chanting about Oregon or the redwoods, or ask us if we were his friends, Randy or Morgan or Jessica. There was one moment where he was lying there, still, breathing deeply to relax while I knelt over him saying reassuring things. Suddenly he snapped awake sat up and grabbed the fingers of my right hand and began pulling them apart. His grip was iron tight and he was close to breaking the bones but I managed to calmly pull his hands off me and reassure him that he did not need to grab me like that. He never did it again, but I was much more cautious about my extremities for the rest of the night.

There were many others besides these two. Many that were never dangerous, only scared and rather amusing to watch. I sat with trippers all night long both nights, just talking to them and making them comfortable. There was Love, a young man that was brought in naked, who started masturbating with the most blissful look on his face. It was gross and my teammate gave him a sharp tap on the shoulder to make him stop, but the rest of us couldn't help but laugh. I'll never forget the kid that was brought in tied down because he had been combative but ended up being one of the nicest, funniest people I had met. He kept asking if he had started a fire and if we were all burning, which we were not. Once he had finally been convinced that he was safe and had simply taken a bit too much acid, he attempted and apparently succeeded at levitating. Twice. He also kept asking for dancers to perform for him so one of our volunteer doctors stood in front of him and twirled around with some light sticks.

All in all, after 3 full nights without sleep and dealing with intense and sometimes terrible events, I came away from that festival only more certain that I want to save people. My EMT class starts on October 25th. I saved up the cash I need by working two jobs all summer long and I could not be more satisfied with where my money is going. This life path has reached a curve and I think I like where it's heading.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

First Attempt at True Contact

Hello, I'm your friend Dan. Well, I'm probably your friend. It is possible that you have come to this site as my enemy, in which case, know this: i will destroy all that you are and all that you ever have been. It is, however, more than likely that you're not an enemy, but a friend or a family member. Let me get to the point. Welcome to my blog. My first ever. How enriching.

I have started this as a means to multiple ends. To kill a couple of birds with one well tossed stone. This blog shall be primarily a means for me to focus on writing; to take time from my life and put my ideas down into words and practice my smithing. Some days I shall write short stories, sometimes I shall just talk about my life or even my supposed "emotions". That was a joke for my mom, who loves to pretend she doesn't have emotions. Imagine my childhood.

Okay, let's get back to the dead birds. The other "dead bird" is to have a method for communicating with family and friends who live far away and are not a part of my everyday life. If you've received an invitation to this blog it means that I would like for you to have a chance to see more of who I am, in case you were wondering. I would very much enjoy getting responses from such friends and family and getting to know you in turn.

I will use this site to practice my sincerity in writing. It is important to me to write from my soul and create what I deem to be good art. This requires me to release the total of my personality into my writing, holding back nothing and being utterly honest about who I am.

My goal shall be to update this blog at minimum once a week. Normally being consistant in such things is not my strong point, so this will be a good chance for a little old fashioned personal growth.

There are already several writings I shall be adding today. This will give readers something to peruse while I desperately force myself to come up with good new material. The following are excerpts from my mind. For a short time I was practicing free writes, sitting down every day and just letting words flow from my head, no editing or stopping. Here are some highlights and gold nuggets. A lot of it is silly, some of it is intense, all of it came directly from my brain with no filter.

From April 13: (This one starts off pretty ridiculous but I enjoy the progression)

Where do you get your bushels? I get mine from Nantucket! That’s an island you know? And how do I know, well I’ll tell ya, stink ass! I ate the fruit of knowledge and it told me things like things that I know. Not exactly the things I know, but things like that. Know what I  mean? Probably not here’s a story about a man named Naval. He ate peaches more than anything else and those peaches squirted all over his clothes. His momma always told him, Naval, you best start doing your own laundry, elsewhiles I’ll spank your ballsack!. Naval hated having his ballsack spanked so a laundry he would do. What do you think of that? I’ll tell you this, Naval has a history of spousal murders. That’s why he lives with his mother and she does his laundry. Until now. Now he does his own laundry and his mother sips more mint julips. They aren’t southern though, they’re from Nantucket too. Howdy DOO! Whispers from afar sound like obnoxious breezes that make you second guess who you are. (That last sentence was written because I was writing all this in a coffee shop and heard two random girls whisper and giggle seemingly in my direction) There;s some poetry for ya!

From April 14: (As many of you are aware, sometimes I have hygiene issues)

Chillin watching the world go by. Is this a good place to watch the world go by? he asked the two as they sat upon the dirt trail. They could not tell if he was being sarcastically didactic or if he truly wanted to know. Lesson learned, don't sit in strange places or people will be strange to you. Keep moving, avoid strangeness. Walk walk walk, head up but eyes looking nowhere except for the shop windows. Shopping is normal and real. spend money, send money, lend money, rend money. Bend money? That's easy. Burrowing forth introduction. Into the earth I burrow like a worm, gooed and wiggly. I cannot see a thing but forth i trudge on. Ouch, was that a root? I've been stabbed.what do i eat? plant matter and i turn it into dirt. Compost is my filth and guess what, you use it to eat. Disgusting. You are unclean. By your very essence and nature, you can not avoid it, uncleanliness is everywhere, it is the state of all things. Clean is a myth, why bother. It's the most boring myth to come from any age, why spend so much time on it? I'd rather focus on Thor or wizardry, myths that are exciting and if they were real life would be more interesting. If clean were real what the fuck good would that do?

From April 15: (I pretty much just like this one for the one liners)

How do you live life? What are the rules? Let me put it this way: go lose yourself in the eyes of the holy, go dive into the deepest of pits and wait for rescue, go lick the most disgusting of waters and force it through your bladder. These sound like direct translations of foreign insults.

From April 16: (This was from when I fucked up and was unhappy about it)

Was I born to lack success? Are the gods and fates trying to tell me to give up? Is it only natural that some people feel this way so that others can succeed to the most extreme? We can't all be winners after all, some of us must lose. Perhaps that is my destiny. To lose big time and never recover. Still, I don't know how to stop wanting. I want and I want and I want. Sack up douchebag, get some balls, take life by the horns and tell the world of your value! Such that it is. Maybe my value is truly, simply, low. How did I let myself get so depressed? Am I letting myself feel this way and act this way? It feels overwhelming, like some outside force is pressing upon me and fighting back is too exhausting. It is this sensation that makes me think of fate, of destiny. This feeling that I have no real choice in the matter and that my life is laid out in failure with little deviation, stems from the awful feeling that this weight is here and put upon me by some powerful creature that simply knows better than I. All I know is this feeling exists and I don't believe anyone out there can really explain why it is there. But maybe they can, perhaps that is part of my great failure, to realize that these things are real and chemical and treatable by those who know more than I.
Perhaps I am simply diseased, sick, and requiring scientific treatment. Or perhaps that is simply what others tell me so that they can believe that they are in control. That these powerful forces don't truly exist and so the feeling, that these forces do exist, will just go away with a little medicine.

From April 21: (Trying to work on my query letter, which is a 1 page letter you send to publishing agents to get them interested in your book)

How many times have you ridden the horse of sorrow, only to find that it leads you home? what the fuck does that mean? man I wish i had something to say about the query letter. Follow your imagination and it will set you on a path of heartfelt and exilerating life. Dammit I had a thought and lost it while i was typing that last sentence. Think about the query letter dammit. Tastes! Taste of existence. Sojourners of existence. When one comes to terms with the fact that they are merely a sojourner of existence, one wants nothing more than to take a bite from every aspect of life, to taste all that the world has to offer. Be it bitter and hard or the most delicate of sweets, it is all appreciated as something that is here and worthy of your brief time. There must be a reason why, and the answer does not matter. It is the search, the search for the answer, that makes us relish what we have and feel the essence of life throb in our blood.

From April  22: (Another little teaser about the novel I wrote with my friend Bryan. It's called Asleep in the Dirt, for those of you who have not read it)

Think about the query letter. How does it all work out? what's the theme? What's going on? Randy is our enemy but he's also a great friend. The kind of friend who is brutally honest with you even if it kinda hurts. He's the guy that will challenge you and force you to grow because he sees your potential. An obnoxious mentor of spirited adventure and ardor. Some guy is singing on the other side of the room and I can't concentrate now. What the fuck. He seems obnoxious but not like the type that would challenge you to grow or mentor you or be brutally honest. Think think think. Philosophize this shit. Make it good, make it interesting. Pull it all together. What the fuck is this book ABOUT? How does it really end? The problems are resolved when Dan and Bryan finally see how far they've come, how different things have become since the death of their friend. They finally realize that their experiences have been unique and wild and something far beyond enjoyable. They have lived a life that few others can imagine. This is good. They are inspired by this and finally take matters into their own hands, leaving the overbearing guidance of Randall in order to strike out on their own and find the adventure for themselves. They are no longer detached from their surroundings and the extraordinary events that have occured. The cleansing of their haunted souls has allowed them to see how truly beautiful and mysterious life can be if you just throw yourself to the wind and let it carry you away.

Okay that's the last of them. Now it is up to me to write more. I have 7 days from today to put up something that you will all hopefully enjoy reading. I hope this beginning has been entertaining or intriguing for you in one way or another.