How I Dance with My Depression

“Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.” Mark Twain

Depression Lies.

I first heard this through Wil Wheaton via his blog, who in turn borrowed it from the Bloggess/Jenny Lawson.

Depression DOES lie, but that is a simplification, Depression also cheats, it exaggerates, it can twist your thoughts and feelings around to serve its own dark ends (as Wheaton succinctly puts it, “Depression is a Dick”).  It can raise doubts in your head on a perfectly normal, even great day which will cause your perception of the world to come crashing down around you.

It can get to anyone.  With the current news cycle that just keeps spinning and spinning it can even get to those that have not been diagnosed with a Manic Depression (like I have) or Bipolar Disorder.

To describe the mania of the “Manic” real quick, for those who might not know.  It is like being in a world, to borrow a Spinal Tap reference that “has been turned up to eleven” everything is brighter, louder, your ambition and confidence lights up (on the positive upswings) and the negativity and doubts blacken your perspectives (on the downswings).  It’s my understanding that those diagnosed with bi-polar get the mania amplified yet again, pushing the depression and the mania to more extreme territories.

Something that I have been asked a lot lately from people I am just getting to know, or friendships I am rekindling after being away in my own self-imposed hermitage for several years.  How do you fight depression?  What makes it better?  If you are down and depressed, or with a down and depressed person, what steps can you take to improve things?

Fighting is not the point, the Depression and the Mania are ingrained within your personality.  The notion of fighting it is nigh impossible, on good days we co-exist.  On the best days, the trinity of mania-depression-personality become dance partners, one motion and action supporting and bouncing off another in a neutral to positive manner. Continue reading How I Dance with My Depression

NonFiction: Meanwhile…

I am still here.

I am still breathing, as hard as it may be sometimes.  I have cold onset asthma. To live in Iowa in the winter means my lungs go into spasm and I stop breathing when I step outside.

There are steps I can take to try and combat this…iowawinter_cuteversion

…but it is ultimately a losing battle. Breathing through the bandana is nearly just as hard on my already taxed lungs as breathing the cold air outright.  The ears are supposed to suggest that I have a sense of dying in the sub-zero temperatures.  Whether or not they do their job, I am unsure, as it is tough to gauge people’s reactions when my head is down, trying hard to notice where the black ice is as the dark spots on the edge of my vision get darker and darker as the air gets less and less. Continue reading NonFiction: Meanwhile…

Fiction: Philip and Short Wing


This is an excerpt from a larger work in progress titled “Home by the Sea”

To give a little context: the main character is on the way to his Uncle’s funeral.  During a plane flight dominated by turbulence, he tries to find peace in remembering a story his Uncle once told him about flying…

Once upon a time,

as these things generally begin,

there was a happy family of Fletchers, who lived in a cottage on the coast of the Aegean Sea. Mother and Father made and mended fishing nets, and were teaching their young son Philip the trade as well. It was a fine, pleasant life for everyone. The family was renowned for making the strongest and lightest nets in the region. Trade was brisk, the work steady, but not overwhelming.

On the weekends when the sun was out and the water was calm, which was often, Philip and his father would go on fishing trips, taking a row boat out onto the sea to fish for sea bass, bream, and yellowtail.

One day in early spring, on one such fishing trip, the perfect weather turned quickly dire. A storm came on with a sudden ferocity, knocking Philip from the boat. Swift currents carried him away from his father.

Do not worry.  That is not the end of Philip’s story.

It is only the beginning.

Philip and Short Wing

Philip woke up with the sun shining down on his face and the cries of a great many birds piercing the air.

The cool surf was brushing against his feet and lower legs. Sand beneath his head. His body was a wreck of soreness, and his eyes felt all gummy. He gradually sat up to find himself on an unfamiliar beach. Continue reading Fiction: Philip and Short Wing

Dream Journal: May 29, 2016

I am on a date with Rosario Dawson.

Embed from Getty Images  Rosario Dawson

Rosario and I are in a fancy restaurant, dark wood with dim candlelight, and the Larry Clark/Harmony Korine movie “Kids” (1995) is playing in the background.  Continue reading Dream Journal: May 29, 2016

Dream Journal: May 11, 2016

My friend Jason H. lives in one of those mini camper homes that is mounted to the back of a pickup truck.

The camper is overcrowded with all kinds of old art textbooks, notebooks, sketchbooks, comic books and graphic novels, original artwork and things like original David Sim & Gerhard pencils and inks from Cerebus the Aardvark, Carl Barks’ Scrooge McDuck pages, and the like.

This is a treasure trove which Jason needs to liquidate so he can actually fit into his camper studio again – so there is to be an auction.

Jason and I are dressed like monks.  Brown robes in a rough burlap style fabric. Continue reading Dream Journal: May 11, 2016

Dream Journal: May 8, 2016

The setting is a city which is a mix between Seattle, Washington and Ottumwa, Iowa.

Someone I used to work with is getting married.

I am behind the scenes, an outsider that has not been invited, but I have managed to integrate myself within the wedding party.

My friend and former partner Heather C. is also here, which is exciting as I have not seen her in years, and I am thinking, maybe, just maybe, there is a chance we can hook up later. Continue reading Dream Journal: May 8, 2016

Dream Journal: May 4, 2016

After being on a road trip with my wife through a seemingly endless procession of beaches and other coastal scenes, I need a break.

I get dropped off to spend time with my friend Jason H. at his apartment.

Jason lives in a studio apartment which is set in a complex that is a mix of apartments and classrooms – all glass and honey varnished oak. As it is summertime the majority of the classrooms are empty. Continue reading Dream Journal: May 4, 2016

Dream Journal: April 24, 2016

Part One:

Cat and I are staying in a hotel, in the penthouse suite.  Everything is immaculately clean and polished, colors are all cream, white and tan.  The oversized TV that is mounted to the wall is on and showing some kind of cheeky spy movie starring Henry Czerny.

I head downstairs.  It is morning.

I leave the hotel and enter another building through the back door that opens into a fast food/movie theater place where I am scheduled to interview.  Before me is a very large room, where an army of black and red uniformed people are assembling sandwiches and other food stuffs at a series of star-shaped counter stations.

Before me is a very large room, where an army of black and red uniformed people are assembling sandwiches and other food stuffs at a series of star-shaped table stations.


Continue reading Dream Journal: April 24, 2016

Film Review: X-men Apocalypse

X-Men Apocalypse Review

2 out of 5 stars

Full disclosure: I have seen all the X-men movies, most of them multiple times, so there is an implied sense of comparison here.

Launching from the previous film in the series, X-man: Days of Future Past, this one proudly exclaims everything is new again, which the filmmakers appear to take as license to revisit old scenarios, set-ups, right down to specific lines of dialogue that were delivered before in previous X-men movies.  Mutant cage-match fight, check. New kid in school who has trouble with power control, double check.  Pawns swayed into following a powerful new leader, triple check.  Quirky mannerisms, costumes and set dressing of another era, check.  The “us (strong, next evolutionary step, mutants) versus them (confused, fearful, lost, humans)” conversation, check.  Scenes of mass destruction, check.  The cute/fun appearance of Quicksilver to cheekily save the day, check.  Alkali Lake facility, Stryker, Wolverine cameo … check check check. “Time to fight” speech, check. “I am not a hero” speech, check.  Destruction of Xavier’s school, check. Continue reading Film Review: X-men Apocalypse

Dream Journal: April 19, 2016

Part One:

It is winter, in the country.  I am the driver of a horse-drawn carriage.  The cart passengers are a Man (played by actor Matthew Mercer) and a Woman (played by actress Marisha Ray).

Embed from Getty Images  Matthew Mercer and Marisha Ray

The Man and Woman are not kind, but they are very charming. Continue reading Dream Journal: April 19, 2016