Category Archives: Ephemera

On The Docket

A quick update tonight – just putting some words out there to catch up on a few things that have been happening.

  • After last night’s Five Things post, I managed to stay awake long enough to re-read the first five issue of Mother Panic before I fell asleep. The last of the four initial launch titles in the Young Animal line at DC, Mother Panic seems to get lost in the shuffle when people are talking about those books. It’s a shame, because it definitely hangs well with the rest of the line. Lots to talk about, like how the book has a bi-sexual lead and deals with the idea of violence against women. Also, one of few comic titles out there where the female superhero gets to confront anger. Lots to dig into, but more on that another day, because…
  • Earlier today I was contacted by CBC Edmonton AM about appearing on tomorrow’s show at 7:50am. I’ll be on the show talking about Wednesday’s Capital Ideas event here in the city where I’ll be talking about offbeat marketing ideas alongside Mike Lundy of Flannel Foxes and Amy Nachtigall of Sugared & Spiced. Both events should get my imposter syndrome in a tizzy, so that’ll be fun. I’ll link to any media that comes out of this here as we try and keep Submet running at a gentle purr.
  • The media stuff has put a significant dent into tonight’s writing time, so look for some more substantial stuff later in the week. Until then, I highly suggest you check out Devin R. Bruce’s weekly pop culture column that he writes for us over at Variant Edition. Each and every article is chock full of great pop culture morsels, and this week, Devin is talking about a classic Sergio Aragones comic, a new release from a heavy metal band, and the second season of a Netflix show I have yet to watch. It’s all good stuff.

Thank you for checking in. I should be back here tomorrow with something with a bit more meat on the bone. Until then!

5 Things: Handsome Pictures Ahoy

Five Things is an occasional check in on what’s been and what might be. I refuse to set a regularity for it, because deadlines are for nerds and squares.

01. So it’s late on Sunday night and we had a long day at the store (more on that in a bit). I’m supposed to be writing, but instead I spent the night dicking around making the logo you’re seeing above. It’s okay. I’m not a professional graphic designer by any stretch of the imagination, but I’d like to think I’m not the worst. Anyway, I just went to show Danica what it looked like, and she’s already asleep because again, it’s late af. I need to get this update done. Hi there. How are you. Continue reading 5 Things: Handsome Pictures Ahoy

A Bargain

I have a compulsion to hurt myself. Not physically mind you, just… emotionally.

Do you have a voice inside your head that keeps telling you that you don’t deserve good things? That the bad that comes your way was earned through a general lack of skill and talent? In my travels, I’ve discovered that this voice lives inside many of us. It also tries to tell us how everyone around us has things so put together. Meanwhile, that person we see smiling about their life is nervously listening to their own voice.

You’re not good.

You were never good enough.

And so on.

It seems like these days, I’m desperately seeking balance. Like… I know that I’m not as bad as the voice in my head keeps telling me, but I also know that I’ve made mistakes… and that I will continue to make mistakes. I bargain with myself, trying to strike a balance between what I’m comfortable with believing, and what I want to believe. It’s… it’s a tough process. But it’s one that I’m also privileged enough to be able to sort out, on the good days. And I’m also lucky that there are quite a few good days.

I think…

I think that most of us spend a lot of time trying to find balance. Between the voices and our beliefs and the various forms of self worth we evaluate through out the day.

I think that maintaining that balance is hard, and that everyone is just trying to make their way through the day bargaining with themselves.

I think that was all do it and that we shouldn’t feel bad. Or at least not as bad as we think we should feel.

I think we should listen more to others, as they are usually better arbiters of worth than we are for ourselves. And I think we should be slower to dismiss what others seem to see in ourselves.

I think… I should listen to my own advice.

But then again, the voice in my head just told me this was all garbage so. Who am I gonna believe?

That’s the choice, isn’t it.

Hmm.

I Ran Away Last Week

I ran away last week

 

I began reading a book

 

I took a walk down to the lake

 

I tried not to think about the future

 

I annoyed some geese

 

I watched a lot of X-Files

 

I tried not to think about the present

 

I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die

 

I bonded with a black cat

 

I tried not to miss my own cats

 

I finished the book

 

I tried not to think about the past

Nowhere In Particular

I’ve been spending a lot of time recalibrating lately. The world is always shifting, usually so slow we don’t notice the changes until suddenly, violently, we discover we’re not in the place where we want to be. It’s a slow, insidious creep followed by jarring clarity.

“How did I get here?” is a thought, followed swiftly by, “Where do I go from here?”

Well.

// HOW //

Inaction, pure and simple.

Last week, I wrote about the power of words, but I neglected to mention the power of inaction.

I pride myself on talking about taking action over merely using words. This is something that I seldom follow through on. At least in any meaningful way. I speak and I push, but I inevitably let fear lull myself into inaction – and as powerful as words can be, inaction can be even more powerful.

It’s through inaction that the world shifts around us, and it’s usually an action that finally jars us enough to realize we’ve become lost. As I start recalibrating, I do so with a purpose, with goals. Some of them are bound to hurt and all of them will come at some kind of cost, but if there’s some kind of purpose or action behind them, I should be able to shift along with the world rather than drifting away once again. Which brings us to…

// WHERE //

There’s a complicated answer to this.

If you had asked me a few weeks ago where I was going, I would point in a certain direction with the utmost clarity. Today, I am less sure, and if I’m being honest, that uncertainly is giving me calm.

A life can’t be lived with certainly. It just can’t.

A certain life is one that doesn’t give, that doesn’t bend. It asks a lot, and offers very little in return.

There are people in my life that I hold quite dear. There are people in my life that have been neglected in my quest for certainty. There was no give there, no space for their own plans to take root. And… well, if there’s no place for anything to take root, then nothing can grow.

So.

The where… the where I’ve decided doesn’t really matter so much as the who of it all. I want to collaborate, and not dictate, and I want to do so without asking for and taking so much. I want to give more and I want to be open to a broader spectrum of ideas and directions – a future of possibilities and not possibility.

It’s a new day. It’s a new week. It’s a new start, and the life that unspools before me… it’s grand, and it’s mysterious, and… it will be happy, and it will be sad. It will have moments of connection and dissolution. It can and will be interesting.

It will be for me. It will be for you. Whatever that means, and where ever that leaves us at the end… who knows.

Let’s go nowhere in particular together, and see where it gets us.

Talk with you again tomorrow.

Songs for the End of the World

I’ve managed to write something for the past three days in a row, and it’s felt pretty great. Today, I set out to do the same, but with a bit more calm in my heart. There’s no real reason for this beyond the general ebb and flow of life, I guess.

So.

I have a playlist that I’ve been putting together for the end of the world. It’s filled with all kinds of different things, though the majority  of it is what Danica and I have taken to describe as “songs to drown to”. That’s a… bleak description, I know, but it’s apt. I’ve always been a bit of a dour soul when it comes to music. Most of the songs I key tend to rock gently as though moved by the sea. They’re the songs that speak to my heart.

And so… my songs for the end of the world. They’re not apocalyptic by any means. They’re just the ones that I’d love to listen to if someone pressed the button. Words and melody that speak to my soul, that would whisper to me as the clock ticks away.

It’s weird, I know. But as 2017 marches on, I feel like the work I’m putting into this list is terribly vital. Something I can build and feed upon in any darker moments while preparing what could be the darkest. Does any of this make any sense? Probably not. But I like the list, and I think over the next few days and weeks, I’ll share bits and pieces on this blog. Maybe it’ll provide some insight as to my thoughts and methods.

A programming note: there’s a good chance I’ll skip on updating tomorrow. Four days seems like a good start to this, and the weekend is looking to be filled with friends and family. We’ll talk again on Monday. Thank you for listening, and I hope you are all well.

The Meaning of This

It’s the difference between “I’m sorry” and “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

The words sound the same, but the structure… the structure tells a different story. With the former, there’s onus on the person who is speaking. With the second, that onus has been placed on the person who is being spoken to, blame shifted with four simple words. Four short syllables.

I’ve been thinking about the power of words a lot lately, and how they’re often used to shift ideas in harmful ways. An example involves a meeting that took place two weeks ago between Marvel and some of their high end direct market clientele, in which Marvel’s head of PR made some choice comments about diversity.

You might have seen the headlines. The majority of them stated that Marvel is abandoning efforts to add diversity to their titles. But… that’s not what the PR man actually said.

In talking to this room of old school retailers, the Marvel rep talked about how the room kept talking about how the company’s efforts towards diversity weren’t working “We’re hearing that” was a phrase that was often used. “You’re telling us”. Never did the representative say that specific books in the line weren’t working he merely made leading statements, and never once said a thing that took responsibility.

It’s easy to use words as slight of hand to say what you mean without taking any blame for the action. We’re seeing it every day in American politics. Or whatever, we see it every day in politics in general. Manipulation, pure and simple. Rewards and ideas without blame. Because just like with Marvel, it wasn’t something they said. It was something you said. Something you wanted.

I sometimes catch myself using these tactics, usually unintentionally, but sometimes with a sharp purpose. Because it’s not my fault. I’m the hero of this story. That’s me. The champion.

But here’s the real shit: none of us are heroes. We’re all just characters. We’re all filled with flaws, trying our best to navigate the world without too many hardships. In the end, if I’m standing around saying “well, if that’s what you want” when I’m thinking “well, that’s what I want too”, that doesn’t make me the hero.

If you want to be a hero, if that matters to you so much, think about what we all admire about our heroes. It’s usually a strength. A resolve. The ability and want to do and be good. Allowing blame to shift does not absolve you in the situation – it takes your share of the blame and places it on another. A hero doesn’t absolve themselves of decisions, they take responsibility for their actions, and they do it openly.

Like I said before, I’m not a hero. At best, I’m a poorly written character who is in desperate need of some courage. I’m working on that. But it’s hard when a simple “if that’s what you want” makes your hands so clean, if only for yourself.

The other day, I spoke about one of my favourite ideas: “Some people say if there isn’t anything after this, then what does it matter. I say, if there is nothing after this, then everything matters.”

If anything I do is meant to mean something, then it has to be with purpose, and I have to carry the responsibility of the decisions myself. I can’t hide behind manipulations. Because dammit, these things matter. Words matter. Everything, everything, everything fucking matters.

Thank you for reading these wandering missives over the past few days. If I’m being honest (and in a post about taking responsibility for our words, I should be), I’m doing this all for myself. To figure out who I am and where I want to be. The world is a fucked up place, and I don’t think I’ve been doing myself any favours over the past few months and years, and I want to be better. I want to own the decisions that I made. Especially the ones that I was complicit in, but refused to take responsibility for, either through deliberate action or inaction.

Everything matters.

Everything.

I’ll see you here again tomorrow.

 

Ghosts

I don’t believe in ghosts. Or at least not in the traditional sense.

I like making jokes about them. Just this week, I was telling people that a blog post I made was absolutely not haunted and they should stop asking questions, but it’s all for the lulz, right? I mean… right?

Let’s say this: I don’t believe in ghosts in the way that most people believe in ghosts. A manifestation of old souls, actual people lingering, attempting to deal with a life unfulfilled, thoughts incomplete. I do believe in the metaphor though.

As I wander through life, I’m followed by my own ghosts. Bad choices made, past connections that linger in the mind… as I walk, they drift about, begging for attention and gaining it on occasion. For the most part, they manifest themselves in dreams, the subconscious never forgetting what was thought to be lost in the mists. I usually wake feeling tense, coated in sweat, gasping for a bit of air, even though I’ve been breathing just fine.

We all have our ghosts, the things that haunt us. I think that’s why the idea of ghosts came about in the first place – lingering spirits trying to find a way to resolve. We love the idea of closure, but sometimes the best we get is a general sense of peace that allows the odd drifter to pass along through. We remain haunted by remnants and I think we always will be. They are the price of a life lived.

What we can choose, I think, is how we react to being haunted. I deal with my hauntings poorly. I get embarrassed and I bury. I can’t count the amount of times I dream of the past, of rectifying a mistake or pushing further in the opposite direction. It’s the exes that really get to me. The ones that “got away”, the ones that linger. The what ifs combined with the strangeness of dreams becomes a heady mix that grips my heart. Why would I think of them? They’re gone. They’re lost. And there were reasons for that.

I get embarrassed. I keep it in. I’m not proud of my hauntings, not proud that my brain won’t let the past lie, when there is today.

I don’t know what to do about the ghosts. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel confident about talking about these hauntings any deeper than I am right now. To be honest, I’m pretty uncomfortable with what little I’ve talked about right now.

But.

Ghosts… ghosts aren’t real. They’re manifestations, sometimes angry, sometimes benevolent, of things gone by. Things that linger, but ultimately… ultimately, they only matter as much as you or I allow them to. And I think in talking about them, even a little bit here, I’m stealing power from them today.

The goal is to not be owned by the past. It will never be forgotten. It can’t be. But the future… there’s a power that can be taken from it. It is yet to be, and I can help shape it, help write it. I can choose what it looks like and what it means. I can separate it from the ghosts as much as any of us can. And that’s something.

So. Try not to let the hauntings get you down kids. Ghosts aren’t real. You are. And the future is what you make of it.

We’ll talk again tomorrow.

Eat It, World.

I would like to be a writer, but it turns out there’s a catch: writers must write. And I do not do that. So.

What I want to do today is deceptively simple. My fingers are itching to spill forth words but my brain is far too full. I’m going to try and remedy this by spilling some of the jumble. It’s not going to be pretty, but it needs to happen. Because if I’m not writing…


Being an adult is some kind of wretched bullshit most days.

As it turns out, we never stop growing, never stop learning, and as time and knowledge accrue, the world can often seem bigger and nastier every single day.

But.

As much as it hurts, I… actually wouldn’t trade being an adult for anything. There’s an idea from a comic (of all things) that I keep close to my chest, and it goes a bit like this:

Some people say if there isn’t anything after this, then what does it matter. I say, if there is nothing after this, then everything matters.

I love this idea. It’s what drives me on most days. Because as a kid, you are feeling things through inertia. You’re pretty much just existing and testing, accomplishing nothing for the most part. But as an adult, your actions are sound. They are built from the structures of time and knowledge. The choices you make actually matter. And the best part? You’re still going to make the wrong choices.

It’s… it’s weirdly part of the beauty of life. No matter where you are, no matter how much you know, you’re going to fuck up, and you’re going to fuck up bad. I do it daily. But like hell I’ll be beaten down by it all. Like hell I’m going to take anything lying down.

Because this is it. This is what we have. And everything matters. Everything. So bring on the hurt. You don’t scare me, world. I choose a life that matters, choose a life that I feel, that I ache with, and not because I’m a masochist, but because if you feel that bad, you can feel the good. It’s the contrast that makes it all worthwhile.

To those who know me. To those who like me. To those who love me. I make my choices deliberately, with sound and with fury. I am strong as hell, and no matter what happens, I will perceiver. I will feel. I will hurt. I will heal. I will empathize. I will love.

Whatever comes, I will be ready. Maybe not right away. It might take time. It might take effort. But no matter what the fight is, the end will be worth it all.

I’ll talk with you all again tomorrow, however briefly.

Because writers. They write.