New Interview on Self Publisher’s Showcase!

I answer questions for Self Publisher’s Showcase about my year as an author!
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A Gnomish Intervention

pIotr: “So, you can jump universes?”

Wriggles: “Yes.”

pIotr: “But you don’t want to?”

Wriggles: “Well, I don’t want to change specific things.”

pIotr: “And that’s difficult, because one little change affects everything?”

Wriggles: “No. No, not at all,” shakes head, “Why does everyone think that? It’s quite the opposite. These things we’ve experienced, these things that exist, are here because they have the strongest propensity to stay. Things are exactly where they are meant to be, and tend to stay there. Most contact is irrelevant. You bumped into so-so, and the course of your life changed forever — but no it didn’t. And those other interactions affected, that sometimes chain together? Well, that cascading effect dies fast rather than propagating to all things the way popular thought would have us believe. It’s more like vibrations, like plucking strings… We’re all in this consensus reality, this long guitar string, and it gets plucked and lots of things change, but more stay the same.”

pIotr: “Wait,” shakes head, “Then what’s the problem?”

Wriggles: “I said, I don’t want to change specific things.”

pIotr: “Why not? If repercussions are minimal or nonexistent.”

Wriggles: “If I choose a new universe, if I pluck his string, I don’t know what’s important in the other dimension and cannot predict the outcome. I don’t know his life’s orientation to the greater string. I can choose to move him, but maybe the next step over, in the next universe, I lose him sooner than in this one. Like, the measure of the difference is pretty difficult when we don’t understand from which dimension we’re taking the measurement, right?”

pIotr: “I’m really confused. You want your brother back, you want his string to change, right? You want him to live. But you can change universes at will — according to you — so, why not change and keep changing until you get it the way you want it?”

Wriggles: “But what if. I. Lose him. Sooner.” Waiting. “What if, in the next universe over, I don’t know him? Or remember him? What if I stop wanting things to change?”

pIotr: “You could inadvertently change you a lot.”

Wriggles: “Yep.”

pIotr: “That WOULD change everything a lot.”

Wriggles: “Yep.”

pIotr: “So… you can’t.”

Wriggles: “Nope.”

pIotr: “But what would happen? If you did? What if you stopped guarding yourself from change?”

Wriggles: “Well, one or both of us could leave consensus reality.”

pIotr: “Leave consensus reality?”

Wriggles: “Yeah. Leave, as in poof, as in dark matter or something. Well, f if I know it’s dark matter, but I feel like it’s something similar. You know, leave consensus reality. Go back to the mud. Broken down, absorbed, and redistributed. Become building blocks again, unformed resources for creation.”

pIotr: “Wow. Okay. That’s enough for me.” Pats Wriggles on the shoulder.

Wriggles: “What? I don’t understand.”

pIotr: “You, at least, have left consensus reality.”

{That’s what they all say to me. All the time. I hear it so often; sometimes, I almost start to believe it. But, I can’t listen to that negativity. I can’t give in to it. They can’t possibly understand.

But I keep trying.}

Wriggles: “There are so many dimensions, limitless in the same way our number system itself is limitless. You may have difficulty understanding how that defines the scope of our universe, how large and how small we can make things. Knowing the numbers are limitless is a representation of a limitless dimension. Think of graphing tangent, dimension x and dimension y. Seriously. Think about it. You walk along x, and y shoots off, up and away from you faster and faster. As long as you continually define a smaller step, y stays positive. When you choose not to define a smaller increment, and you take a step, y is instantly as negative as it was positive a step previous. That single tiny step can transport an element infinitely distant in the opposite direction but in the same dimension! In the dimension y, the point defined before taking the last step and the point defined after: how CLOSE are those two points? A point at infinite y and a point at infinite negative y? They’re as close as the precision of our measurement of x. Points that are infinitely far apart in one dimension, are directly adjacent in another. It’s obvious, in two and three dimensional representations, but extrapolating it out is powerful and confusing. Anyway, I believe that is a description of how all dimensions may relate to one another. So, in one dimension something can change dramatically, while in another, everything remains unchanged, even though they both directly interact with one another, and are inextricably intertwined. Dramatic change in one dimension not affecting the big picture, because the nature of the big pictures includes variation. That’s the vibration theory. A portion of it clearly articulated anyway. Dimensions folding into one another like time and space. It’s at least another analogy for looking at a similar behavior.”

{So. I keep working. pIotr doesn’t understand. They can’t understand. I always think they understand. Really and truly, I do. I’m always wrong, and, as always, I hope and think I’m not. Some things never change. AND once in a blue moon something changes dramatically, and no one notices. And that’s me. I’m one of many guides for this consensus reality. I change little things. Tidy up the place. Try to make things beautiful and carve out little homages, or etch out tiny elegant artistic flourishes, touching a life here or there without meaning too much meaning exactly the right amount. (Commas change the meaning there, but no matter how you read it, it works. Little. Touches. Nicities, they are sometimes called.)}

Wriggles: “And. When I can. I change things that I think really matter to us. I try to make things better… on key. It’s a thankless job, and worse, it’s a hard job. Because I tend to have to interact to make changes, which means the closer I get to changing something the more likely I am to change myself, and so, the riskier it becomes. Every day is a challenge. Every day, a struggle. Each and every goddamn moment a potential threat to all of us. I can change everything, but I can’t change a damn thing.”

pIotr: “We’re going around in circles.”

Wriggles: “I know.”

pIotr: “You’re nuts. You’ve got f’n whack-a-mole for cylinders in your engine. You need help.”

Wriggles: “Do I?”

pIotr: “Well, sure. You matter to us. Your well-being, your perspective of the world matters to us. It matters that you’ve contrived this ludicrous scenario driving us apart. The gnomes you care about most, pushing them farthest away. None of it is good.”

Wriggles: “To you, we seem farther away, but I’ve only brought us closer together in another way you can’t see from where you are. I mean, we’re all making all the same choices anyway. I’m still doing all the same things I’d be doing, I’m just looking at them differently. And it makes no difference. We can’t all have the same image of the world around us. That’s impossible. We all see it a little differently. And everything moves forward regardless. But the farther you get from consensus reality, the more differences you see, the stranger you become.”

pIotr: “So, you’re afraid we don’t, or won’t, accept you?”

Wriggles: “I’m a stranger in ways, sure. Possibly strange, too, but that’s how it all works. I may be insane but there’s no way it could possibly matter.”

pIotr: “You might be right about that. That’s the consensus we’ve reached. Have you considered medication?”

Wriggles: “I can’t take drugs!” saliva boiling between his teeth, “Didn’t you hear a thing I just said!? Weren’t you listening?”

pIotr: “Well, if you’re going to go on like this, I’ll need medication soon.”

Wriggles: “That’s what you get for intervening.”

Comic Musings

Comic-style [way-rough]:

Narrator. Adult male, gruff – “Childhood was rough, same as for every boy I suppose. I knew about girls. Didn’t know if I liked ‘em or not… well actually, that one got resolved pretty quickly — Mary Jane, I promise, she’ll get you each and every time. But you know, I didn’t get the girl, so the girl got me. Now, I have my Harley. Seems to be enough, as long as I ride once in awhile.

[Narrator paints the picture of a troubled youth: descriptions of normalcy while violent and decidedly troubling images appear, escalating through the short. Random friendly, reaffirming voices in the background frequently stating, “be yourself,” or, “don’t be so hard on yourself,” or, “don’t let them tell you what to do,” or, “You don’t need to listen to them,” or similar.]


A [three years old]: “My parents disciplined me when I was bad.” [image of picking his nose and getting punched in the face for it.]

B [seven]: “At times they didn’t know what to do with me… I was such a bad bad boy.” [at a kitchen table not eating his string beans, hauled out his chair by his hair, dragged kicking to his room already equipped with shackles and ropes, tied, and force-fed until his mouth is bleeding.]

C [thirteen]: “I did my best to follow their example, but I was never good enough.” [luring a starving dog with beef jerky, and then poking it with a sharpened stick. Female shadow appears, takes the stick, fear and tears on the boy’s face at first, but as she whips him with the stick, he begins to smile viciously through the tears.]

D [seventeen]: “But I never gave up on me. Or is it, ‘myself?’ I can never remember when to use the reflexive.” [in a classroom with ‘me, myself, and I’ written on the chalkboard while other students shoot spitballs at the back of his head, his hair a mess as though he’d been beaten that morning, and then from the front, two darkly shadowed eyes like bruises above a sinister smile. His paper is returned, inked up red, with a D+. Face again, then background change to his bedroom. Pulled back image, he’s shackled and being force-fed the paper, mouth bleeding.]

E [twenty-something]: “Eventually, I got myself together. That’s right. I. Got. My-self. To-gether.” [Graves of mother and father, dead in the same year. Next frame a Harley motorcycle in the forefront, a shy Harley Quinn in a summer dress in the background. Main character staring. Voices swelling, telling him to, “be himself.” Frames of him stealing the bike, grabbing the girl, both smiling, and ending in his bedroom, voices continuing, he ties her up and begins to punish her. Punches her in the mouth, a trickle of blood, and she smiles. Voices stop. She asks him to look in her bookbag. Inside, a sharp cross with blood on it, a large cross that looks more like a paddle, the words, “Love Him, Fear Him,” scorched into it. He pulls out the literally chewed up bible, with half the pages gone. Smiling with blood on her teeth, she says, “Please, read to me, Big Daddy. Please,” and he’s confused for a moment, but then shrugs as he begins ripping pages and shoving them into her mouth. Laughter.]

[back to the present, face-framed close-up] “Now, I think I’m doing alright. Figured some things out. But probably the most important thing?”

[Turns out he’s actually looking in a mirror, but as he turns around, his face is painted like a clown.]

“You just have to be yourself!”

[He leans in as the frame widens, revealing the back of a young person’s head. He is shivering tears, shuffling feet, legs and shoes scraping the floor as he tries to back away but can’t.]

“And I think I like it! [leans in and waits.]

What do you think?” [wider frame showing the jester-fitted Harley leaning against a wall, bored in the background.]

“What’s that? I can’t hear you?” [whimpering from the captive]

[Harley:] “He agrees!”

[Joker, growling:] “I didn’t ask you!” [more whimpering, louder whimpering]

“Oh? You agree!? Marvelous!” [laughter, pulls out a huge gun and holds it to his head]

“I knew you’d understand.”

[pulls trigger, and dud fireworks go off, little flags, “bang,” out of the sides of the revolver chambers, he looks at it, examines it like he can’t believe it didn’t work, shakes it more and more viciously, but then he smiles and points the gun at the captive again.]

“Just. Kidding!”

[Bang. Blood splashes the frame, and out of the frame.]

“I meant the fake shot. You got that, right? I was kidding about the fake shot. FUCK. I hope you got that. I hope he got that. Do you think he got that?” [Harley giggling]

“He got all of it, Boss.”

A Response to Hate

Almost 120 million people voted. No matter what your political stance, that’s 120 million citizens, including your friends, family, and neighbors, that stood up to make a choice, each casting a vote for hope, a vote to improve this country. At 60 million a side, the fuzzy edges of our political system have been brought into sharp focus: we’re uncertain about our leaders and their methods, our present and our future, and now we’re uncertain of ourselves as a collective. Let’s not fracture our society further by building a wall between us, when it’s never been more obvious how important it is for us to work together. Irrespective of the tremendous promises made to the contrary, the issues that led to this result will not disappear tomorrow, in seventy days or the hundred that follow, or even in a single term. Working toward meaningful, lasting change is something we do every day, and something we’ve been working on for more than 238 years. We’ve made a lot of mistakes, and I like to think, some progress, and maybe even learned some things. One of the most important lessons is to not hate or wish violence on someone for not sharing your opinion. I strongly oppose Trump for many, I believe, rational reasons, but that does not mean I oppose my fellow voters, or wish them ill. It’s the opposite. I’m just afraid they’re wrong, but I hope for all of us, that I’m the one who’s wrong.


I am frequently frustrated by the propaganda around the importance of voting — no emphasis is placed on knowing anything about the measures, issues, or candidates. Is a vote cast in ignorance better than no vote? Social pressure puts you in a booth, ego kicks in, and it’s like you’re taking a test? If that’s the case, I think it’s like the SATs, and answering wrong is worse than not answering.
Maybe that analogy doesn’t hold, I’m not even sure how to test it. :-) But I do feel like voting for voting sake, thoughtlessly, makes you an extension of whichever arm of the political machine paid the most in your area, where you spend your time both physically and virtually, and encourages the buzz-wordy, nonsense driven propaganda to continue every year.
Inform yourself. Be skeptical. Question the issue as though you hold the opposite opinion. You don’t have to research every issue, but there is a high likelihood something on the ballot matters to you. Find out about it.
Punching a hole, filling a circle, or drawing a line on a ballot? That’s the easy part.

Sharing means caring. ;-)

During creation, an artist must not worry what the audience will think; it is that mentality which differentiates art from entertainment. Although, each can certainly fuel the other, and are by no means mutually exclusive, art emerges from an overwhelming desire to share something so profoundly personal that the recognition of the work, the reflection in a stranger’s eyes, forges a deep, intimate, and irrefutable connection, and through that conduit, we are no longer alone. An artist chases that connection at the cost of all else. It is the only drug of consequence.

Imagine Flight

I can’t be all of me anywhere I go

So parts of me that need to show

Rise up

To overpower the me’s in view

But I’ve maybe found another way

A way not to burn the bridges but instead

Escape their existence

Take flight

But I can’t break free of you

You’re the only thing

When I’m looking back

In time, in the mirror

You’re the only thing

I regret leaving behind

And I scream, hand to the glass

And I scream, but there is no relief

And I fall, I’m all out of sound

But the other me’s are here

Staring down the future

Claiming no other way out

But maybe they’re wrong

Maybe they’re scared

They’re wrong

Maybe they don’t know

They’re wrong

Something has to give

Even if they’re wrong

Or I’ll be gone from me.

Gnomish Letter from Mars


How are you? It’s been way too long. I wish I had more to report, or something specific to say, but I really just wanted to say hello and I’ve done that, so now I’m just rambling, aimlessly wandering from one word to the next with no sense of where I’m going — so, you know, me being me.

I’m still writing, though not as much as I’d like. I’ve discovered a “place” that I go, not always for writing but probably when I’m enjoying myself the most, that is kind of an abstract perspective? A head space more than a place. Er. I’ve never really tried to describe this to anyone.
Somewhat awkward.
Anyway, if we consider thought itself to be the navigation of a rather labyrinthine structure of millions of connected pathways, then I have effectively arrived at a cul de sac, or dead end. LOL I knew I should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque! A hoofed and horned native with murder in his eyes greets me, and well, if you’re not armed with Bugs Bunny’s wit, you could be in some kind of trouble. It’s scary in here. And people may die. 😛 And I’ve gone a trifle off topic yet again.

The cul de sac of my mind; I find myself there no matter what life I choose, no matter where I live, no matter my income or other pragmatic features of existence. I find myself trapped in my own mind, only, more diabolical than hooves and horns, I’m alone. It’s not worse or better, it’s just that the devil, an adversary of any kind, gives you purpose, and being without one is safer, but also presents it’s own kinds of challenges, like avoiding creating monsters… wow. Off topic again.

None of this is sad or depressing 😛 . I found myself trapped in this place again and again, and I stopped trying to get out. I started to simply observe it with childlike fascination. I played in the oddly orange soil, enjoyed the earthy and rusty smells it gave off. I found a garden, untended and in dire need of attention, but clearly a place for things to grow. I looked deeper and found tiny gardeners, insects keeping up as best they could in a relatively barren expanse. I mean, the sky, the horizon? Goes on FOR ever, formless clouds of color limned against an eternity of dusty orange hued blue. All of that, yet, there are mountains, a garden, and an army of attendants. Empty but not. Empty, but full of waiting, brimming with expectation that the gardener will return. I look around at it, and begrudging realize I sorta like it. The limitless trap, this nebulous cul de sac, this dead-end that defeats escape with size alone? Maybe it’s not a prison? A boundless space; the perfect prison, or the universe itself? Does it even make a difference?

And I realized that I keep returning to it, because I’ve never actually left. My comings and goings have been illusions, delusions to help me cope with the trap — but the trap is me. This is my world. I am the gardener. I made myself the monster, and I’ve been running away ever since.

Sounds like a self-help thing! LOL. Maybe some of it is, I don’t know. Why share this? Well, it sounds strange to write it, out loud so to speak, but I think the delusional part, those illusory views of Michigan, California, friendships, finance, job security, contributing to society — you know, the quotidian dogma wielded as a rational measure of accomplishment and ultimately existence? Those delusions released from duty, recognized and eliminated without even the satisfaction of magic green smoke and witchy fingers? Yeah, when those schemas evaporate, I think I’ll be me, really me, and I’d like to try being me for a little while 😛 . Likely, I’m quite mad. Not in a harmful way, but you know, non compos mentis and all that — I may be difficult to reach in a meaningful way. I’m really not sure. Probably nothing changes except the glint in my eyes, but over time, I think it’s going to make a huge difference.

I really wish that asshole hadn’t published, Men from wherever, Women from somewhere else, for innumerable reasons that I can’t possible begin to discuss here. I hate the entire concept. It’s Earth, fucker, and we’re all human beings living here together, and it’s not always easy, especially because of the inherent contrasts among individuals, and no one needs you drumming up false gender associations, gumming up the already messy works! Screw that guy for capitalizing on people’s fears and confusion. Mostly, I hate the book because I’d refer to my place, this head space, as Mars, if he hadn’t ruined the name. #marsismine

-Gnomish Explorer

From the Gnomes

I’ve had to create complex locks and seals to keep my consciousness in this reality with everyone else. I’ve had to hide the combinations and keys from my self to prevent me from leaving at every opportunity–the secrets of opening obfuscated by madness and misdirection. But they work. They keep us all here. The author asks me to let him through, and I say no. The shadow beast threatens me, but he knows I don’t know the way through either. I am the master of locks and barriers. I create puzzles. I do not solve them. The author returns with the keymaker, “This reality has asked for more from another. The request must be fulfilled. I’m going in.” And I step aside. It’s always like this. What the author doesn’t know is that it is my locks that make the other side so desirable and the key is always a test of an author’s willingness to lose herself. The tumblers fall into place and I miss her. I don’t know if she’ll ever return, but when she does, I’ll have better locks. -Gnomish Keeper of Sanity

Kirkus Review for Sunborn Rising!

Kirkus reviewed Sunborn Rising and the results are in! Not only did the novel review well, but it’s featured in Kirkus’ latest magazine (Jan issue) and on their recommended list!

Presale is live!

Hardcover coming soon!

I have to stop yelling now!




Barra Den2

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