the best girl

Posted: January 4, 2021 in Uncategorized

Taco Belle, my faithful and constant companion for the last nine years has gone over the rainbow bridge. she was a damn good dog and i will miss her. hell, i miss her already. i keep catching myself heading toward the back door to let her in when i get home from running errands or getting groceries. i keep looking over to her preferred spot on the couch and wishing she was still there so i could reach over and pet her for a while. she’s been gone 3 days now and i am realizing how much i talked to her when no one else was around.

i have considered her end at different times. she was getting long in the tooth and her snout was growing as grey as mine. i didn’t think it would hurt like this, though. apparently i love that little dog. i’ve had other dogs throughout my life that passed and though i was sad they died, it didn’t hit me like this has. i don’t know if i’m getting soft in my old age, or if it’s that i had her longer than both my marriages lasted combined, or that i figured i had at least a couple more years with her, but i’m crushed.

i’m glad she went quickly, though. i wouldn’t want her to suffer and not understand why. and i feel blessed that she and i had several great days together before she left me. she wasn’t feeling great on the first day of the year, but i didn’t have to be anywhere til late afternoon and we cuddled up all day while i was writing. i snuck her some chicken and she barked at the neighbors who had the nerve to walk past our house. i’m glad i got to spend that time with her. my only regret is that i wasn’t there when she went into distress. i hate that she was probably scared and i was driving across Texas to pick up my kiddos.

they, these pets of ours, really do become part of our family, don’t they? in my case, with my life the way it is, Taco was the only one that was here all the time. and now that she’s gone, there is a furry 12 pound hole right through me.

i know it’s probably silly to be shook up over a dog, but she was my girl.



Posted: December 14, 2020 in Uncategorized

we were fourteen and fifteen and sixteen and it was us against the world, or maybe it was us outside the world. i was mars and you were ma’adim, and we both stood facing the sun. we let people love us and we let them break our hearts and we glued them back together as best we could. i still see the cracks and chips, though. they are evident in everything we do, even now.

and maybe that’s okay. the past brought us here, after all and even though Melancholy tells us differently, here is not so bad. just like then, the future’s unclear, but i’ll be right beside you even though i don’t seek you out very often anymore. you have this nasty habit of telling me things i don’t want to hear, of showing me things i don’t want to see.

maybe part of getting older is just getting bolder and getting better at knowing what to say. yeah, sure, we’re all grown up, but we aren’t outta luck just yet. we’re on a road trip with no destination. we’re writing poetry for no real reason. we’re infinite and that’s just the way we like it. we’re middle forties and it’s still just us against the world.

we’ll take it.

we can take it.


freedom writer

Posted: December 10, 2020 in Uncategorized

i love words. words represent possibility to me. i like being able to write myself into a character that is so much better than who i am. words can do that for you. they’re one of the only forms of magic i still believe in.

there’s a certain kind of light that can only be found in a perfectly crafted sentence. it’s the same as the light in a love that could overcome everything. maybe that’s all there really is. love and words.

i don’t know how to make them fit together anymore. i don’t know if i deserve that kind of magic. i’ll take the words and leave the love for others. i can’t tell you what i really want where love is concerned anyway. i have no idea. all i know is that i’m desperately tired of feeling guilty that i am not more reckless and free like the characters i write.



Posted: December 8, 2020 in Uncategorized

It’s been so many years and I’m still here. Recycling the same sentences. Lost in the same words. Buried in a life that sometimes feels like it doesn’t quite belong to me. Do you ever feel that? Do you ever feel like you’re out of place? Do you ever feel like the world is spinning opposite you?

It’s funny how with enough distance nothing looks real. Sometimes I drive out to the dam and park where I can look out over the massive lake that this area is known for. It’s miles across the water to the horizon on the far side and I like the view. Clashing blues and greens. A straight line of water against an even straighter line of sky. And that’s it. It’s everything and it’s nothing and for a little while I feel like I’m somewhere else. Somewhere different than my day to day. It’s like I can see an entire ocean sprawled out in front of me, instead of these familiar waters. 

I’ve grown to like it here. I didn’t always. It is my home now, but sometimes I feel like I’ve grown apart from here. Sometimes I feel a desperate pull between the urge to pack up the kids and drive away and the desire to retreat into my home and be a hermit. That seems so simple, and I’m sure that there’s more to it than that, but I can’t seem to get to the bottom of the reason I feel this way. 

It’s so much bigger than me, so I trace the familiar roads back to my home and I sit in my living room working on a manuscript and consider how I managed to build a life for myself despite so many mistakes and setbacks and people who stood in my way or pushed me aside when I had outlived my usefulness to them. I have a family here. I have amazing children and we laugh and love and frolic with our small black dog. I’ve managed to make something here.

It is enough and more than I deserve. So why does it feel like something is missing?


all go, no stop.

Posted: November 30, 2020 in Uncategorized

august of 2019 i began writing a novel. it was to be a stand alone not related to either The Chronicles of the Wolf Pack or The Tales of the Hellfighters series that are my mainstays. it was supposed to be one book, but as i neared it’s completion, storylines for two sequels started forming in my mind and as soon as i finished the first last november, i began the second, finishing the first draft somewhere around march. i started the third, but was distracted by the seventh Wolf Pack novel and my school year being ruined by Covid-19. both of those books were put on hold because i made a deal for five new publications and spent the summer shaping previously completed stories up for submission. since school started back in late august i have been grinding on the third of this trilogy and i’m happy to report i’m about 2/3rds through it. this one was supposed to be the conclusion of a pretty epic journey for a cast of characters i have grown to love and i was really excited to finish their story.

i say was because i woke up this morning at 5:13 am with a spark of an idea and in the almost two hours since i have lain here in the dark, a fourth installment has almost fully formed in my brain.

the work, it never stops.


looking forward

Posted: November 20, 2020 in Uncategorized

somewhere along the way i think i must have lost what it means to be. or maybe i haven’t and i’ve just kinda lost my way. my goals remain the same, after all. there are still things i want to accomplish. there are things i am grinding toward even though i seem to be doing nothing but treading water and trying not to go under. 

my mind wanders lately. what if i have only existed in the minds of others? if (when) they leave am i still their lover, father, friend?

i have been considering the future. everything ends. everyone leaves eventually. when they do, when i cease to be useful, when the reasons i get up in the morning no longer need me and i no longer have purpose, will i be able to fight back the darkness that washes over me all too often?

dark times ahead. storm clouds on the horizon and all that. 

i suppose that is a fight for another day, though. today has enough of its own.


a fellow teacher walks in to ask me advice about something she is working on. i am working on a baby grand piano for my school’s theater class. the teachers who run that program are both young and vibrant and for reasons i cannot imagine have accepted this grumpy old man into their friends circle, which, of course, means i will do anything they ask me to. i have been working on this project for several months. it is life sized. it is hefty and sturdy and built to last. the other teacher tells me how amazing it is and i immediately start back pedaling, trying to escape the compliments. i’m in my classroom though so i can’t just make my exit and run away. she then tells me that stuff like this, my willingness to work so hard for other people is why she nominates me for teacher of the year every time we are asked to do so. blink.

i thank her as profusely as i can, but after she leaves, i am kinda floored by the idea that anyone even notices me or the effort i try to put into everything i do. don’t get me wrong, i don’t want recognition. i definitely don’t want any praise. i do not deserve it and if i’m being perfectly honest, that sort of thing kinda scares me. it always feels like i’m about to be cut loose when someone butters me up. yeah, i know that’s not true, but i can’t help it.

later, one of the theater teachers helps me move the finished piano. she loves it, or at least she says she does. i never trust that people aren’t just saying the polite thing because they are civilized and have been taught formulaic responses. she says it is an amazing piece, but all i can think of is how i messed up on various parts while building and designing it. she is building me up and all i can think of is that i don’t deserve it. all i want to do is flee.

i know there is something wrong with me. i think whatever is at the heart of this constant feeling of worthlessness is why i can’t allow myself to let go and fall in love and shoot for building the sort of ideal life i imagine other people are living. i see people living it. i see couples celebrating twenty or twenty-five years being married. i love it. i am proud for these people. i am genuinely happy for them and i hope i am around to see them at their forty and fifty year anniversaries.

maybe that kind of life isn’t meant for me. let’s face it, i have an abrasive personality. depression rolls over me too often and sometimes the best i can do is to just hang on until it passes. that’s not a burden i want to subject anyone else to. i wonder why i feel like i need to apologize for my very existence. i definitely don’t want to be a burden for anyone. i wonder sometimes if i will ever feel differently. i wish i could see the future and know if there is ever going to be an end to this constant battle in my head. will i always be torn between wanting to share all the love i hold inside or destroying myself to save others the bother of my presence.

i have some friends of varying ages and persuasions and a student who have opened up to me about their battles with their depression. Some of theirs attack them in similar fashion to the way my mind is constantly working on me and i want to wrap them up in love and tell them how beautiful and lovely and amazing they are. i wish there was a way i could make them see themselves through my eyes, through the eyes of their parents and siblings and friends, through the eyes of a world which is in as much awe of them as i am. it hurts my heart to know they are suffering through all this. i understand the constant struggle and i hate that someone else is going through it too.  

i’m sorry for all this. it’s been on my mind for a while and i needed to write it out.


your new formatting is dumb

Posted: November 6, 2020 in Uncategorized

glowing, like dying embers

but blue-green-white
with soft


sporadic grey clouds
gather beside ripples of thought, memory,
and curiosity in the unraveling wisps of vapor

darkness creeps in from the east like a
sigh of resignation
or resilience

it’s so quiet
and self-contained,
full of slight sadnesses and firm wisdoms

that i can hear your voice
whispering through the trees


results may vary

Posted: October 9, 2020 in Uncategorized

If you want to be good at anything you absolutely must put in the work. I’m not talking about passive effort here. I’m talking about attacking it with fervor and conviction and discipline. I work every day at trying to improve my writing and my art, and while I’m still learning and still making mistakes, I am thoroughly enjoying the process. There’s really no other place I’d rather be than listening to music with a good pen in one hand and a notebook in the other, building worlds and creating stories. Nothing fascinates me more than stringing words together and seeing how a collection of them can cause a profound effect in a reader’s heart and mind. To me, that’s magic. 


like water

Posted: September 14, 2020 in Uncategorized

you and i both know my place is in the quiet corners. i assure you my socialite status is still fully intact. i retain my title of lacking. i am perfectly fine with this. i do not wish any variety of touch or intimacy. i just want to retreat to the shadows and disappear for a few years.

i am seeking my beauty in silence. sound is little more than distraction adrift alongside my crooked path these days.

i’d like to let comfort flourish in my palms with you, but there are splinters in my fingers and i seem to be singularly focused on pulling them free with my teeth.

i just wish i was lying in the dark, staring at the ceiling letting these knots in shoulders dissolve, like my time. like water down the drain.