Thursday, August 21, 2014

Beautifully described, erotic and just ever so slightly disturbing

Writer Tim Jeffreys has posted a review of my science fiction novella, All Roads Lead To Winter.

What I really wondered, after discovering what the story was about, was whether the author could pull this off convincingly. In my experience, it's one thing to have a weird idea as a writer, but quite another to get the reader to buy into it. I have to say that I was totally convinced by this tale....

There's a depth to the writing that lifts this above being a mere curio... and the characters were well drawn with clear motivations. Mark Fuller Dillon is a talented writer, one to watch. I can't wait to get stuck into his short story collection.

The full review is available at Goodreads.  

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Welcome to Midlife Crisis. Please Keep Off the Lawns.

Here I am, lost and confused by life, but I accept my confusion. I feel as if I had stepped off a train at the wrong town, in a purple summer dusk with an orange moon perched on the hills and the pines. The houses are elaborately tall, teetering blocks of pseudo-Queen Anne locked at the ends of narrow yards by thorn-mazes of wrought iron, but they stand there black and, as far as I can tell, empty... as empty as the lanes.

I could stay here for a long time and stare at the houses, confident that nothing would stare back, but I want the next train to pass by, and soon. I have to go somewhere.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Buck Stops Here

Without warning, on the day I turned 50 years old, I began to write sonnets.

Sonnets have a great advantage over other forms of writing: they are strict. Despite the small freedom of variation in the rhyme schemes, they present a steady wall of rules.

Many people object to rules of writing, but I appreciate them. For the most part, I write short stories, and as H. E. Bates has pointed out, "The basis of almost every argument or conclusion I can make is the axiom that the short story can be anything the author decides it shall be." The drawback of this freedom is the subsequent inability to know if a story has been sufficiently well-crafted to communicate with readers. I worry about this, because my stories are self-published, and all responsibility for their clarity or vagueness must lie with me alone. As Truman would say, "The buck stops here." If my stories fall apart, the fault is mine.

My sonnets, on the other hand, follow tradition. At the end of the day, I might not be certain about the constantly-shifting ones and zeroes of the stories filed away on my hard-drive, but I do know that a sonnet can be nothing else.

I need that certainty. There it is.

The Lies of Happy Dreams

In dreams I seek your face on festive streets.
Anachronistic christmas bulbs arise
To line the backdrop of my search; and skies
Hang harvest moons above the faded sheets
Of rose or purple where each rooftop meets
The looming night. These frame the hopes and lies
Of mask and costume, every stage-lit guise
For optimistic fools and pointless feats.

Too often, when you notice me, you smile
With no hint of the anger or the scars
That blunt the daytime velvet of your glance.
In dreams, you pause to speak with me a while
And nothing in your disposition mars
My vision of the love we shared by chance.

-- July 31, 2014.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

In A World Falling Apart

I need to stop reading news in the morning: it kills the rest of my day.

Yet as a Canadian, as one of the luckier human beings on this planet, I feel the need to understand the current mess (in part because my country is involved in messing things up). I have never learned how to do this without anger, shame, and despair. Not even the decades I spent working with social and political activist groups could ease that feeling in my gut.

Perhaps, for those of us not being bombed or droned or starved or occupied to death, one of the challenges of the century will be to survive on the inside: to live in a world that is falling apart, without falling apart ourselves... because if we fall apart, then how can we help other people?

But again, I have never learned how to do this.