New book idea

I have been working on a new project for a while now. I have a non-traditional idea for my next publication that would make everything more natural for me, but I am still unclear on how it’s going to scan.

I have an idea of compiling my short stories into a print function. I have a few dozen more that I didn’t publish on this site, and I have about a dozen or so that I am currently writing.

The really intriguing part for me will be how next month is received. The plan I have right now is to have a story, then put a fact instead of a title.

My end goal is 100,000 words, so at 1500 words a story, I will have to put almost 100 stories to print. Is that too much? Am I keeping things too short? Should I just stick to what I am doing?

To be clear, I am not going to be pulling the stories already published on this site. I also plan on releasing stories from time to time to keep both Patreons and the public happy. As far as depressing facts go, I can generate literally thousands of them.

I should probably explain why those are important. I think it is equal parts humbling and important to realize just how fragile life and happiness is. I feel it is important to normalize how hideous times can be as a kind of preparation for when (not if) things go sideways. Life is amazing. It can be equal parts beautiful and horrible, and at our darkest it can be next to impossible to see the light. The flip of that is that people tend to forget just how dark things can be, and they get stuck into the sludge when it comes to the forefront.

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That time they messed up…

A few years ago, a bunch of friends and I went to see Animals as Leaders and Between the Buried and Me in Toronto. I came with full expectations to have my face melted and my pride to be destroyed, but I left with nothing shy of unbridled hope.

CAFO, and this should shock no one, is one of my favourite songs of all time. It starts with a bang and never really lets up, not to mention that is has one of the strange syncopation bits dead centre of the song. My goal, before I ended up in hospital, was to learn every bit of that song. I knew full well that I would never perform it for anyone but me, but by jove! It would be such an accomplishment.

AaL jumped into their set and I was far from disappointed. Every accent was a perfect match, every solo was nailed, every motion was beautiful.

By the time they got to CAFO, I was expecting them to have already called it a night. I could not believe the stamina, not to mention the level of dexterity, that I was baring witness to. Sure enough, CAFO was going beautifully. I could not believe how fast every member had to be to keep up with the incredible pace already set by the recording, and they had amped up the speed for stage.

For those who know what tempo is, they moved the slider up 40-50 BPM faster than the recording was. To match that speed with the single=stroke rolls present in the beginning of the song is, for lack of a better term, stupid.

Then, they got to the part I could never quite match. They could not do it either, and just made a bunch of noise to mask the drummers flub. Some would say that it was a disappointment to witness a hero fail at a performance.

I was elated. I could not have been my pleased to see a mistake in my life. It was at that moment I realized that the person I put on the highest pedestal was just that, a person. It sounds stupid: foolish even. I argue that we are all guilty of idolizing someone, and we all need to remember that they are just people, even if they are the best at something. They had to become great, and were potentially worse than you when they started.

That is not to say that you should give up and never try, just be easy on yourself. know your limits and do not get too discouraged.

With all of that said: it is not a bad thing to think that you are not good enough! In fact: I would argue that no one ever is good at anything, but can always get better at it! The biggest catch is to not give into feeling inadequate and giving up. That is always difficult, but just realize that there is always better.

Take drums, for instance. You could be the best at what you play, held on high as the epitome of what is possible in the genre. Then, you come across Maps and Atlases, or Chon, and realize you strive to be the best over in that world, as well. So, you start at the bottom of another ladder that is totally unrelated to where you came from.

Now, that may sound daunting and debilitating, but the point is that you should enjoy the journey. There is no end, and you should not try to find one. That would be boring.

The Profits of Boredom

Ironic sounding title, but I owe a huge bit of gratitude for “boredom”

I starting writing because I felt, probably unwarranted, that I had found everything that could express my views on life. When I found myself restricted to a wheelchair and, with the kind of damage to my brain that lead to epilepsy, I started to write. It started with my views and opinions based around what happened so I could become okay with it myself, because it was very unexpected. Then, I started writing to fill my time. I really do not care if other people like what I put on the screen if I am entertained by it.

Thankfully for me, there is an interested community for what I have written, and it seems to grow with every release I make. It is a kind of masturbation: a way to relieve myself of my artistic drive, now that drums and touring are no longer an option.

I recently found writings I did when I was in high school. There is one, in particular, that I plan on cleaning up and creating a narrative around. As it stands right now, it is nothing more than a snapshot of where my mind was over ten years ago. In a way, the piece was my introduction into the world of fiction writing. I remember that I just finished reading Dente’s Inferno, and I absolutely played the “I’m 18 and I am deep” card, but I still enjoy the basic premiss, and still use it as a type of template for what I write.

Now, am I still writing exactly like I was back then? Hell no. I would write simple journal entries as entities that never actually existed. Most of them are just depression fodder and fed my need to express my distaste for the world as a whole. Now, I strive to explore a side of the human psyche that may not ever get expressed. I want people to look at situations they are in and think about how, if they were a little more detached, they might react differently. I want to expose human flaws and call into question the societal norms that we all feel pressured to display.

***
So, I wrote this piece all because I was listening to the band with the greatest name of all time, “…and you will know us by the trail of dead”. I got into this band when I started working in a record shop and was looking for something new and not scream-y to put in the store payer. I did some research, and found out I could play that band with the amazing name. I was initially caught off guard with how ’90’s alternative they were. They were kind of that band I did not know I was looking for. I started with the album “Source Tags & Codes” but any album they released is joy to the ears.

Please allow my digression: I was going through all of my music when this song came up. I immediately loaded the full album and wrote this all out. My point being, music very much influences my writing style and mood.

Side note: this link is for the vinyl, and I wish I had that. If you purchase it (or already own it), let me know how amazing it is.

I guess I should talk about…

…that thing I did over a week ago. I write these a little bit more than a week ahead usually, so news is delayed.

I should just not time stamp all together.

ANYWAY! Tash and I went to Canada’s Wonderland on August 15th! It was hot, it was a long day, and much was discovered. Mostly, eight hours in the sun without sunscreen is a bad idea: who knew?!

Once we got in the gate (which was a bit longer than anticipated thanks to Tash’s work) we got a map and a coffee and started to sort out the plan for the day. We sat under a tree and our faces dropped when we realized that I needed a special pass that I was unaware of at the time. We knew that there would be some awkward bullshit around me being in a chair and whatnot, but we had to come to that discovery on our own. By this point, we had talked to five or six staff who did not even let on that we needed to go to customer service for a piece of paper.

We did what we needed to. The customer service desk was also the hub for missing children as well as general complaints, so we were number three in line, give or take.

FORTY FIVE FUCKING MINUETS LATER and we finally got in the building for the five minuet thing. I hate people.

Anyway, the first hour passed, and we were on our way. Where? Dragon Fire, of course. We figured that it would be a good introduction for the process around everything to do with the chair.

…and the verdict..?

It was all good. A bit strange: wheelchair users were taken up through the exit so their chair was on the proper side to leave the ride at the end. We got to avoid waiting the queue, but that does not mean that we got to skip the line all together. They would base our load time on the estimated wait time for the line. We might be one circuit faster, but we still waited. At times, we would be behind the gate for thirty minuets. It was entertaining usually to see all the workings of the employees as they scrambled to make sure everything and everyone was safe.

There was only one time that was awkward. The ride we were waiting for broke literally the time before we were to be let on. I mean, shit happens, but it was a bit disheartening.

The bitch of the trip was how uneven the paths were. I pulled the muscle in my shoulder trying to keep myself moving in the desired direction, and Tash almost had to bail on a couple of rides from being exhausted pushing my chair up the ramps.

FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS!

The main point that I wanted to say is that, minus sun burns and sore muscles, being in a wheelchair was not a deterrent for going to Wonderland. If you go, just expect a fuck tonne of work getting from point A to B.

INTERESTING REMINDER!

Almighty Human by Hannah Jordan gets released soon. I hope you like it as much as I do!

I am taking submissions for the following months. Please, e-mail me at jay.garden.1188(at)gmail.com for more into!

…and again: I have to thank my Patreon supporters for making it financially viable to release these every month! Next goal is to make sure I can pay someone to do art for each release, since I cannot do visual art in any capacity.

~PATREON SUPPORTER TALE :: Bree Harrison

Bree and I go back a number of years. Early me playing drums for the Twin, anyway. She was that girl with the expensive camera, pushing her way to the front of concerts, trying to get fantastic photographs of bands. She was very good at taking pictures. To my knowledge, she never monetized the practice, but she could have.

I digress.

So, as I was saying, I saw her around long before I talked to her. She started hanging out with members of my band. Me, with the license, got to know her over driving her from the concerts back to my vocalist house. She grew on me, much as a fungus would grow on a rock.

No, that analogy paints a bad picture. Let me try the metaphor again.

Her and I became quick friends. We both rarely slept, and would spend many nights exchanging solum looks while we helped people through many different stages of inebriation. We both had a similar outlook on life, friends, music, and family. I am not saying that her and I had the same woes, but we would find the same things funny.

Like Katie, I considered Bree a sister. Unlike Katie, Bree lived in the same town, and I would see her almost everyday some months.

She moved across country to BC a number of years ago. Between that event, and me getting sick, I have only seen her a couple of times in the last few years. I miss her dearly.

I also have to mention that SHE DONATED $100! I asked her swiftly if that was on purpose, she assured me that it was, though temporary as her work was seasonal.

So, I conclude with: FUCK YOU, BREE! I love you and I hope we can spend time together soon.

Thanks to her donation, the next ansP releases will be back to back months. So, to clarify, September, October, November, and December will all see releases. We’ll see what the donations are like, and I’ll see if releases continue in this pattern for the new year.

Ableism : Social v. Institutional

I got about 200 words deep into this topic, when I decided to look back at my catalogue to see if I had done something like this before. I had. I feel silly.

One thing that I did not talk about (because I was not faced with it yet) are the fucking cabs in this city.

I, to those who did not realize, used to live in Hamilton. Now, I live in Burlington. You can actually see Hamilton downtown from my living room window if you can look past all the buildings.

It’s behind Ikea.

What I did not and could never expect was how different the cabs were. Regardless of time, Hamilton was there to make sure you had a wheelchair taxi at your disposal. Four AM or four PM, you were covered.

Burlington, on the other hand, almost pretends that people in wheelchairs do not exist after dark. Accessible cabs do not exist after eleven, forcing you just to give up and go to bed.

Stores have wheelchair ramps and doors, but it feels like it is out of obligation. Rooms are never designed to fit a chair, main door theshholds are always too large, and everything is horrible.

But, enough of me wincing on about that. What about political?

There are laws in place to protect people who find themselves, whether acute or not, in a wheelchair. Are they enforced? Fuck no. There are government buildings where automatic doors open the wrong way, there are a plethora of ramps that are to steep, and God Forbid you have multiple disabilities: the job market cannot handle it.

For example, I am paraplegic and epileptic. I have searched for a job. I wold love a job. My body is too unreliable. No, employers cannot discriminate about your disability here. They can find other avenues, however. They can stress the fact that you cannot leave your post until it is time, health condition be damned. They can point out pitfalls in layout and pose the question as “… but that will not be an issue, right?” The point is taken.

I fully admit that I have a limited scope in dealing with this kind of bull. Between knowing that I am the only disabled person in my building and knowing that, no matter how much I really want to, I cannot go back to my old job, my ego is fractured into one-thousand pieces.

….and do not get started on government assistance. I have had a right bitch of a time getting medical coverage for the two medications I need and STILL do not have any coverage.

What really hurts me, and I double checked that other article, is people who knew me before still assuming I could (at least half) do what I could before.

Or people who never knew me before assuming that I am using my disabilities as a kind of crutch.

Oh, there would be a special place in the afterlife for people like that, if one exists.

NOW THAT I HAVE GOTTEN THAT OFF MY CHEST!

anewsin Publishing is having its first release on the first of July. I have updated the Patreon to include an awesome perk that if you donate just $3 a month, you get the upcoming story early! I hope you like it!

what have i done?

I have rewritten You’re Not Dead for the re-issue due this year. Friessen Press has this thing where you have to pay for re-issue for hard release every two years. I understand it, but, fuck me, is it worth it?

I’m going to go with a ‘yes’ on that question. Like I mentioned, I have rewritten much of it. Most of which was editing grammar mistakes missed by the editor. Some of it was fixing continuity. It was fucking hard having to reread bits and relive other bits. Especially because I am adding an afterwards.

To be clear, my epilepsy has been since day one in the hospital. To ignore it is to ignore part of what the story is trying to tell. The only problem is that it fucks with the timeline by several years. My initial plan was to just highlight what I went through in the ten months, but to truly tell the story I am trying to tell, I have to push everything to nearly 3 years later. I am worried that it is going to get off topic. My worst fear is that it will come off as ramble-y. Check that: more ramble-y that it already was.

Other interesting note: I am sorry to anyone who got a copy in the state that it was in. I have found so many bloody stupid mistakes that I cannot even blame on epilepsy. Mistakes like using the wrong ‘their’ or talking about hw the Hero walks to the car, opens the door, then finishes his coffee and makes his way to the car.

Yes, I know it was my first attempt at writing. I know that I have no clue what I am doing. Yet, I cannot shake the feeling that I am a COMPLETE FUCKING MORON at times.

ON A FUN SIDE-NOTE THAT FINISHING OFF CALLING MYSELF AN ILLITERATE MORON!

I started planning my second book. I had a talk with my publicist. I mentioned how I am terrible at writing one long narrative and find it much easier and I have more fun writing short 1000 word stories. He thought that I should consider releasing a book of short stories for my next project. After finding old story prompts that I wrote back in high school, I can say that I am actually excited to start a venture into this plan!

I have updated my Patreon so a small monthly donation of $5 will guarantee that every two months you will receive a PDF containing whatever I am working on next. Please, consider giving to that. It will help me feed the animals, pay my rent, and make sure this blog stays open. I would love to thank the donators I have had so far. Without them, you would not be able to see this update.

This weeks recommended listening is Chon. Lovely four-piece that combines metal and jazz. I am probably going to be yelled at for putting it that way, but I do not really know how else to describe it. Musicians will cry, everyone else will be swooned by the beautiful sounds.

update; most . of what I talk about above is no longer relevant. More news in the coming weeks

…you will die.

I posed a question to my Facebook the other day: if you had to hear one song and then you died, what would it be?

I never really put any further explanation, nor have I voiced my personal choice. I was just curious how many replies I would get, and what kind of songs people would post.

I found the results of the pole confusing. Granted, I never made it explicit what the circumstances of your death would be. Maybe that is why I found the answers so confounding.

The rules are that once the song ends, you will die immediately. What I had in mind was a gunshot or massive heart attack. This would ensure that there would be no way to recover or survive, and the final song that played would follow you into the void.

I had some interesting replies. One fellow thought that he would break my game and just go with the Song that Doesn’t End (you’re welcome for that link) and from that point he would live forever. With the parameters I placed on the question, I fully understand why he went this way. To him, my official reply is: well played, sir. Well played. Enjoy that song following you around for the remainder of all time.

The other big reply that I got was Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Though, that song is amazing, it is so long. You would be dwelling on the fact that you are going to die for the entire 5:55 that the song goes on for. I do not know about you, but for the almost six minuets it is playing, I would not be able to enjoy it. I would just be cringing and counting until my demise.

That is why my choice would be Mother Night Revisited by Premonitions of War. The song is stupid short (1:21) and it is busy, loud, and distracting. The cacophony it creates would drown out my thoughts of my impending demise and it ends abruptly, not giving me any time to dwell on the fact that it is ending.

Maybe I am just biased, but I want to just cease living, not contemplate my entire life throughout my favourite song.

AMENDMENT:

Well, amendment is a strong word for the situation. More like another idea, or concept, that I would like to share because it is so cool!

The album Transatlanticism by Death Cab for Cutie is one of my favourites of all time. It is dark, cynical, honest, and beautiful. One thing that it does (in the most sneaky way) is open with a machine sound. The album plays and that machine sound seems to stop. Where it gets really cool is that the sound does not actually stop, or even change volume. The sound hovers in the back. It is not fully noticeable again until the very last song where the guitar and vocals clear for a moment to revel that it has been there the entire time. Until then, one may not notice just how invasive the sound has been through the entire album.

Then: it stops.

The album ends, therefore the sound ends. Actually, if you wish to get petty, the sound ends one second before the album does. The silence is deafening. At that moment, you are left to reminisce on every word that was sang up until that point.

I am pretty sure that it was not intentional, but it beautifully demonstrates my view on death. Everything ends abruptly and there is nothing.

Fuck, that sounds bleak.

ANYWAY: I am curious. Please, let me know in the comments what song you would like to die to immediately preceding. Do you have a reason for the choice? What is your take on my choice?

I did a bad

So, I was doing all this planning and research for my next update. It was going to be another top-10 list of albums that I highly recommend listening to. I was planning on going about it entirely differently and I was genuinely excited to share it.

Then: I did something horrible.

I do not have a strong excuse, but it did not save I probably hit the “be a moron and throw away hours of work?” button when it came up.

REGARDLESS: I spent seven hours getting together some amazing albums, finding songs, and writing blurbs about each one. It probably was not all that good, but I thought it was fantastic.

I have talked before on this site about the importance of doing something you enjoy to survive another moment in this bleak existence. I have three sources for distraction: music, writing, my wife. That is not to say that is all I have in life, quite the opposite: between friends and family, my calendar is rarely empty. I will say those are my favourite and most time consuming things because I make them so. I would not have it any other way.