Thursday, June 08, 2023

Litany for a Broken World

I am still here, though you might not know that by looking at my (sorely neglected) blog or my spotty social media presence. Finally, after 5 years of word-wrangling, I have finished my latest manuscript. 

A young girl's disastrous first foray through the multiverse cleaves her from her family and abandons her in a homeless encampment, adrift in a body not her own.

A doctor struggling with grief volunteers for the annual Boston homeless census and is confronted by the impossible and her deeply buried childhood trauma.

A lonely, disaffected seer rejected by those he seeks to help is drawn from his home by a desperate call across the world walls.

Three strangers, each broken in some way, become targets of an organization exploiting those with the ability to travel the multiverse.

Drawn together into a conflict that has already destroyed generations of multiverse Travelers and damaged countless worlds, the three must risk everything that matters to heal the fractured places in themselves and across reality.

This is Litany For a Broken World. 

I'd like to share the first chapter with you. 


Tuesday, February 28, 2023

When every day is blursday

Winter finally arrives at StarField Farm

The past few months have gone by in a blur of family stress and change. And even when change is ultimately positive, it is still difficult. 

My spouse left the hospital he had worked at for the entirety of his 30+ year career. At my urging, he has taken January and February off to decompress from the traumatic years of covid, among other stresses, before he decides what's next. Which means neither of us have the external markers of time passing. Hence the title of this blogpost. 
Despite everything, I have managed to complete the (as yet unnamed) multiverse novel and am deep into its second revision. In the process, I have unlocked the conflicts at the heart of the sequel. Now I'm eager to complete book 1 and move on to drafting book 2. 
Book 1 takes place over a few day span in a Boston winter, so in a way, I've been living in those brief moments in time for several years. Blursday, indeed. When I look out the window today, the landscape finally matches my internal sense of place. 
Living in the Northeast US, the other way I have always kept track of where I am in time is the march of the seasons. And that, too, has been changing in ways that I find quite disorienting. 
In my lifetime (I'll be 60 this year) I have watched the seasons skew, more extreme "100 year" storms, & overall less predictable seasonal weather patterns.

There's already word that there will be no stone fruit in New England this season because of the weather extremes we had earlier in the month - from 50 degrees F to -13 within days.

I am a scifi geek, so I often reflect on the ST:TNG episode The Inner Light where Picard's consciousness is snagged by a memory beacon & he lives a lifetime with a civilization coming to grips with its own extreme climate change as its sun ends up as a supernova. Ah, Science Fiction shining a light on the present since forever.

This is heavy thinking for a beautiful snowy morning in Central Massachusetts, so I will leave you with a haiku:


round bellied birds perch
trees snug in coats of fresh snow
how still the world waits


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Monday, November 28, 2022

The False Urgency of Commerce

I have deleted hundreds of emails and text messages in the past week exhorting me to Spend! Buy! Save! Donate! 

To be honest, I love shiny things as much as any crow, but I'm done with the false urgency of commerce.

These not-so-subtle messages embedded in all these communications is that w are not enough. That we need to fill our emptiness with stuff. That we are judged on our acquisitions. 

I guess our society has always had this lurking, but it feels like it's ramped up to eleven this year. 

Fuck that noise.

We are wonderful for who we are. (Thank you, Mr. Rogers).

So share your weird and wild selves. 

We are the gift.

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Monday, October 17, 2022

Work doesn't love you back

 Is it any wonder the message at large is that young people are lazy and don't want to work?


I don't make any secret of my age - I turned 59 this year. What that means in the context of this post is I was raised and came of age during a time when the workplace was sold as a second family and loyalty to work was something expected, as an unwritten, uncompensated requirement of employment. 

Despite the erosion of worker protections (this was the era of the slow disappearance of pensions as a new benefit and the abrupt loss of pensions to already retired workers), the message was still couched in the language of mutual obligation. "Take care of the company and the company will take care of you."

Things were starting to change in small ways and in certain occupations by the time I was in my late 20s. I distinctly remember a conversation with my sister - 7 years my senior and working as an accountant in one of the big firms - where she was appalled that I would leave a job after a mere year or two. Her exact words: "no one is going to hire you with that resume."

Well, there were distinct differences in the world of health care and as a newly minted physical therapist in the late 1980, I was in high demand, practically at any hospital in the nation. Still, the notion of your colleagues as a second family was definitely encouraged and as a young single person, I did spend a lot of time after work socializing with my work mates. And many friendships were forged along the way. 

However, there is an insidious undertone to this work-as-family theme: it places management in a kind of loco parentis, or at least as the authority figure with all of the subtle and not so subtle power imbalances that exist in family constellations. 

In truth, management does not consider the worker (except in exceedingly rare cases) as family. The worker - and this can be at any level, in any profession (ask me how I know...) - is simply a number on a spreadsheet and is completely exchangeable and expendable. 

These are the lessons I have been slowly learning from my children's generation. They have a much more realistic view of work and its place in a life. They see through the con, which definitely doesn't serve management/ownership. Is it any wonder the message at large is that young people are lazy and don't want to work? My 20-something children work and work hard, as do their friends. They are just better equipped to understand that work is purely transactional: their labor in exchange for fair recompense. 

Theoretically, you could work as a highly technical and highly skilled professional for many decades at the same employer, have a national reputation in your field, be lauded by your colleagues and professional organizations, have commendations from your employer regarding your exemplary contributions to the institution and none of it matters when it becomes convenient or expedient for the employer to sever your employment. 

Work. Does. Not. Love. You. Back.

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