Category Archives: Writing


Just when I think that I can breathe a sigh of relief, safe in my choices at work and home, I find myself buried beneath a mountain of frustration. I won’t go into work things, because they are working themselves out (probably). That leaves me, of course, with the ever-abundant source of grim revelations: those found within my home. For days, I have watched my living room transform into something of which I don’t necessarily approve, the result of my granddaughter’s full-on assault on everything which she perceives may be destroyed (most of these items are, of course, mine). I awoke from a nap a week ago to find her in my room, with the remnants of a pack of my cigarettes splayed out before her on the floor. Books are being torn to shreds (this is particularly irksome, as her father has said that it’s okay if she tears up his books, which is all fine and good, were she able to differentiate between his books and mine). Discs are being forcibly relocated (mainly to the floor, or beneath furniture, such as my office chair). But today I found that my sweet little Goldilocks had outdone herself. My trusty Chromebook (which I’d purchased as a secondary machine so as to spare my main computing device the ignominy of its senility) is now a multi-colored paperweight whose cracked screen would cost more to repair than a new machine would.

So now, in the midst of the Holiday Season, I am in need of a new computing machine. I mean, to be honest, the one I’ve got left is still more or less okay (or, at least until the Fates realize that I have tempted them), but it’s a bit unwieldy, and something that I will need in the coming months, if I am going to find a way to balance work and writing, is a machine with portability. Also, I’d like to have something that wouldn’t crap out on WiFi just when I was really getting into my groove. So what do I do?

I’ve already seen that I can’t fit in a pocket of time before work, or once I get home, as I am simply too exhausted to function after a full day and nearly half again as much on my commute. I want to write. I want to do these again. Every day. I need to get back into doing what I love because I can’t keep working in the industry forever. I want to write for a living. And I can’t do that if I can’t make the time to write. I know that since May of last year. I’ve already begun to oxidize. Three decades, now, since I made up my mind what I was going to do. I mean, I know that I am a Master of Procrastination, but it seems to have gotten out of hand.

Upon further reflection, it seems that I can make do with the damage to my Chromebook’s screen, but it still doesn’t address my need for something upon which I can write in an unconnected world. What I really need is a portable word processor. Something that I can use to bang out my words whilst I am on my commute, and then upload once I’m back at home, and connected to my WiFi. Honestly, I suppose that I could just use a notebook (of the original variety) and pencil, but I’d prefer to only write them once, and typing is far more effective.

It’s kind of funny, in a way. I used to have stacks and stacks of notebooks which I’d write in all the time. As a matter of fact, I still have them somewhere. I never used to need a computer to focus my inner wordsmith. Well, almost never. It’s come in handy as a method of safekeeping (definitely a priority since the Great Purge of 2000), and as a way to preserve the forests of the world.

There is a distinct possibility that I am going through a depressive phase right now. It usually begins somewhere in November and finishes up sometime around… October. In all seriousness, though, I think a bigger one has reared its head this time. It’s been a tough year for me. My grandfather died, my dream (non-writing) job didn’t pan out (something I may eventually discuss when I feel able), and I spent another year not doing what I felt that I was meant to do. Hell, about the only decent thing to come about this year was the new Metallica album, which, Holy Shit!, right? Intellectually, I know that I am in a good place (or a better place, anyway), but it doesn’t feel that way.

I just want to hide under the covers and never come out. The fact that finances do not allow for this seems to be exacerbating my anxiety on the matter. Which in turn is driving me deeper into depression.

I’ve got health insurance now, so pretty soon, I should be able to see a Medical Professional. Despite the fact that I know that what I got is a lifetime commitment (ha!), there is still a small part of me which hopes that maybe one day all of this will come to an end, that one day I will wake up and not feel this way anymore, and that, this time, that feeling will stick. I wish that I could believe that sort of thing could happen, but I know better.

I also know that whatever imbalance exists within my brain has also given me ability to do what I most love: substances of a questionable nature. But it also allows me to string words together in an interesting fashion, and the desire to do so. It allows me to see the world differently, so that I might interpret it in such a manner that has not been done before.

Once again, I seem to have gone round and round in circles and wound up somewhere I never truly intended (especially impressive considering that circles generally bring you back to where you where, and not to… I don’t know… taupe.

Wandering In The Desert

The words are hovering about me this morning, whispering promises of eloquence into my ears. I rather tend to disbelieve them, however, as it’s taken me twenty minutes to get this far, and it only looks to go downward from here. This is what I get for only sitting down to write every few months or so, waiting on a free moment, or a special occasion, such as my birthday. I didn’t even manage to write a Second Annual Thanksgiving post, so now, should I have time in future years to remedy that, I am uncertain of the numbering system which I will be forced to devise. I guess I could pound one out after this, and preface it by saying that it took extra consideration to prepare, as this was a completely shit year, and I wanted to include at least some levity. That is, of course, if I ever manage to finish writing this one.

I always get a bit melancholy on my birthday. My wife thinks that it’s because I have convinced myself that everything will be terrible, while I know it’s because there is a fifty-fifty chance that this day will bring some sort of misery or disappointment. I wound up in the hospital on my birthday once, and, on another occasion, was giving the gift of compulsory freedom from my newly ex-girlfriend. It’s not that I believe that things will be horrible, and so endeavor, subconsciously, to make them so, but rather that I have been paying attention, and would prefer not to be blindsided by misfortune. Then again, this could be a really awesome year for celebrating another successful campaign against mortality, and it’s only the early waking hours of the day which are tinged with sadness and physical discomfort. I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

Since leaving Blondie’s two years ago, I have had four jobs, not including the time I spent writing (and grossing a grand total of $19 (net was -$60, as I had to purchase TurboTax Business for that year)). All, aside from my current gig were somewhat disappointing. Big Lots (insert ridiculous exclamation points wherever) reminded me that the hardest jobs are done for the least amount of respect and pay, and that even after years and years in management, I still believed in unions. Bear’s Lair introduced me to several cool people while reinforcing the notion that large corporations frequently lack a delicate touch. Jupiter was where I saw the sausage being made, and very nearly became a vegetarian (metaphorically speaking, obviously, as I cannot abide by vegetables in real life). It’s like I am forcing myself to remember what I swore that I would stand for, and begging myself to get started on changing the world already.

All of that, of course, led me to Canyon Market. A friend of mine from back in the Blondie’s days had been working there for nearly a year, and had only great things to say about it. I took a chance (and an hour-long BART ride) and applied for a job making sandwiches in the Deli. Now, I’ve worked in several restaurants (most of them in the Quick Service Arena), but I’d never actually gotten a chance to be paid for making sandwiches. As it turns out, I kind of love it. I mean, I’ve been rocking the amateur scene for decades now, but the chance to go pro has fundamentally fulfilled me. Sure, it’s not a desk job involving the pitter-patter of tiny keystrokes, but it’s strangely satisfying, all the same. And, of course, I was just recently made Acting Supervisor of the Deli, which came not so much as a shock to me, but as an inevitable consequence of my work history.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

So where do I go from here? Obviously, I need to be writing more, especially since it’s almost time to renew my WordPress hosting, and this year has essentially been a gym membership for me (not to mention last year after May. I need to find a balance between work and home (and a balance at home between family, writing, play, and sleep). It looks like I may need to invest in a slightly less awkward laptop (of the non-Chromebook variety) so that I can use the 3+ hours I spend commuting everyday on something more productive than naptime. I need the person who I am to become to step the hell up and give me a hand. But, as we all know, Future Batmart is kind of an asshole. I don’t blame him too much, though, as Present Batmart (with the aid of Past Batmart) is constantly screwing Future Batmart over.

I’m not going to make a resolution, as those seem only to exist for the express purpose of breaking into tiny, bite-sized shards of shame. Nor shall I make a covert plan of action, for those also seem to good for tracking just how quickly things go off the rails, and by how far they’ve missed their destination. What, then? Perhaps just one step at a time. Every day from now until, oh, I don’t know… success… I will try to find the willingness to do something positive with my time. One day that might mean being a little more romantic with my wife, while another might include a little less paternal judgement toward my son.

I feel like my life is getting chopped up into increasingly tinier pieces, which are harder and harder to fill constructively. The older I get, the faster that time seems to pass. I have postulated that this occurs because each second is an increasingly smaller unit of measure compared to the total amount of time which I have lived. Think back in your own life: when you were a kid, five minutes took forever to finally pass, whereas five minutes now are gone before you realize that you’d been counting. As a child of five, one year was twenty percent of your existence. At 37, it’s (let me pull out my calculator) it’s just under 3% (and diminishing). Much as a quarter was a magical unit of currency when I was small (you could mail a letter, make a phone call from a pay phone, or buy a can of soda from a vending machine (wow, I just realized how truly old I am)), now it seems only good for 15 minutes in a laundromat’s dryer. Hell, I won’t even (can’t even) sell a smoke to someone for a quarter anymore.

So what’s the answer?

No, seriously. What’s the answer? Because I haven’t got the slightest clue.

The Will To Be

I am not alone in feeling that 2016 cannot come to an end soon enough. Perhaps I’ve just let the various superstitions get into my head, but right now, at this very moment, I’m struggling to find the will to be. Not that last year was a whole lot better, but at least I managed to write for a decent stretch of time, and put some much needed distance between myself and the ever-quickening rat race. Of course, no good deed goes unpunished, and I managed to get myself fairly established within the world of debt. Do I regret it? Not really, because it set me up to actually start a novel (of which I’ve written 27,000 words), and I self-published a couple of things on Amazon (earning me a whopping $19!). But, in the end, I found myself drawn back to the industry which had threatened to unmake me in the first place. I feel like I just need some breathing room, some time to dedicate myself entirely to this endeavor, so that I can really focus on finishing Hiraeth, and see what kind of luck I’ll have with a proper novel. I’ve gotten decent feedback from my beta readers, and I think that I may have stumbled upon something here.

So what do I do? Obviously, I can’t take another six months off, as I’m still paying off The Great Sabbatical of 2015. And there’s a minimum dollar amount which I need to make progress of climbing out of debt, which limits what sort of employment I can consider. Unfortunately, those types of jobs also seem to be more time-intensive, which kind of defeats the purpose. What I really need to pull is this off is a work schedule which features two days off which aren’t separated by anything more than the changing of the day, and the ability to stay at home (or do whatever) on said days off, and not be required to go in for any reason whatsoever. The only thing that does is burn someone out like a candle within a sphere of blowtorches. Throw a little personal tragedy into the mix, and top it off with a dash (results may vary) of mental illness, and the sky’s the limit for a risk of a complete meltdown. All I know is that whatever the solution, I need to find it quickly. I’m tired of not doing what I love. It’s been over thirty years since I discovered my place within the universe, and aside from a handful of baby steps, I haven’t done anything to get there.

Realistically, I think that I could get everything accomplished that I need to for the low, low price of $30,000. Check out the Benefactors page if you’re interested in contributing… The only thing that I can do is lower my head and hope that this time I can pull it off. I’ve happened to work miracles on countless occasions before, extricating myself from the fires in which I’d put myself, but I’d love to somehow get ahead of the curve, and not have to wait until the final moment to manage some kind of magic. Number One: I can’t count on my unblemished record of victories snatched from the jaws of defeat, and Number Two: that kind of strategy is, honestly, exhausting. I know that I can do it. I know that I have the skills to make it happen. All I need now is the time to try. If I can only pull myself up from within the grips of my depression, and find within myself the will to be, I think that everything will be okay.

New Year

I haven’t written anything in about a week. I can blame the first couple of days on the New Year’s Eve festivities and how my increasing age has made recovery a longer process, but the rest of my time has remained unproductive due to a combination of persistent headache and a general feeling of malaise, coupled with an extended bout of insomnia and full-contact parenting. It’s really a shame, as I was really gaining steam with the thing I had been working on. Of course, part of it also had to do with the fact that almost nobody read my last column, which I had been hoping would drive some fans toward the artist. Hell, I even said I’d give away a free copy of the album reviewed, and still no one seemed to care to participate. I remember when I could count on double digit page views on any given day, and now it seems that I am lucky to get eight. I mean, I know that’s what happens when you disappear for months on end, but it’s not like I have kept my intermittent return a surprise. And to top it all off, it seems that my muse has recently abandoned me, though I cannot hold it against her, for even fountains of inspiration must grow weary of my melancholy shenanigans. So far, I am not terribly impressed by 2016.

I’m hoping that by actually sitting down and writing on the blog, that I might shake loose whatever has been holding me back, and I can get another couple of thousand words written on the Other Thing. I may have mentioned it, but I was really enjoying the process of writing it, and it finally felt fun to write again. Sure, there was a satisfaction in retooling Terracrats, but it didn’t flow as easily, and I was quite self-conscious about both staying true to the spirit of the original, and showing off nearly two decades of honed skills. But, I’ll not speak too much ill of it, for it is my first (self) published original work, and I have made tens of dollars off of it. If only I had some way of paying off all of my bills, I think that I would give it another try, and pour myself into the only career in which I have ever envisioned myself consistently. To that end, I began another business yesterday, but everyone seems to think that it’s a joke, and it looks like I may have to expend actual effort in monetizing it. Then again, last night was the Mega Millions draw, and there is a minuscule possibility that my wife and I have won some manner of prize, enabling me to forego the drudgery of working for The Man again. There’s always hope, right?

Oh, to be able to buy a house with an office, and feel no worry about debt or other fiduciary obligations. But, knowing me, I’d probably do as close to nothing as I could tolerate for as long as possible, while consuming an alarming quantity of… let’s call them “artistic enhancers.” I could finally catch up on all the shows which I’ve been meaning to get current on, and play through the stack of video games which I haven’t really had the time to play. And sleep. I could sleep for weeks, waking only to use the restroom and then burrowing back into my bed again. I could fund my friends and help their creative careers get well and truly rolling. Maybe if I focus on hoping to make the world a better (or at the very least, more tolerable) place for those for whom I care, the Karma Fairy will douse me with his positivity, and I will find myself able to enact my Master Plan without all of the hassle of having to build my empire slowly. I’m not really a patient sort of fellow, you see, and I’d sort of like to get a move on, if it’s all the same to you.

I would also like to travel. Not to escape the the sadness of a mundane existence, but to see the beauty of the world beyond that which I could rightly consider my backyard, that is, if I actually had a yard, which I do not, because I am poor, and live in an apartment. I think that I would like to see the British Isles, and then maybe pop over to check out Spain before getting drunk in Germany. Perhaps I could make my way to the ancestral home of my great-grandmother, and pay a visit to Norway. It would be a fine opportunity to catch up on the finest of Death Metals. Hell, it would even be fun to bring the kid along, and maybe even Mr. Bad Leon Suave. After all of that, I’d head to Mexico and bum about near pyramids amidst the thunderstorms. Maybe even get to know my parents-in-law. There is so much that I am dying to see and do, and I feel that I will never see or do any of it at the rate which I am going.

Baby steps.

It cost me thousands of dollars for the opportunity to knock the rust off of my wordsmithing abilities, and a large chunk of that time spent was done so under self-inflicted duress. I made myself write nearly every day, and would have kept doing so, but I ran out of money, and couldn’t keep connected to the internet. By the time I paid the bills, and we got reconnected, I was locked in at a full-time job, and found myself without the time to write. Luckily, I’m nowhere near as bad as I was when I began this blog, and there is a chance that maybe I will actually make it happen. I just know that I can’t give up. I have to find a way to pay the bills, and yet not work so much that there is nothing left in me by the time that I can finally make my way back home. I refuse to stand down again. Once I’ve stopped, and by this I mean, accept that I have failed in this endeavor, I don’t know if I could ever rebuild the momentum.

The second half of 2015 was a setback, to be sure, but I never signaled my surrender. I will make it. If only because I never made plans to do anything else with my life, and if I allow myself to believe that I shouldn’t be doing this, then I honestly don’t know what I’ll have left. I cannot bear to entertain the notion that a world exists wherein I have given up the dream of writing. I am in my mid-thirties, closer now to middle-age than I am to the vigor of my youth, and there is no better time to finally force myself to make things happen than right now.

I hope.

Some more from that thing that I’m working on…

Interlude: Road Trips with the Grandparents

Part One


In the summer of 1984, his grandparents, perhaps sensing that his mother could benefit from some time apart from her precious son, took the boy on a road trip to California. When he was told of the impending vacationary travels, he insisted that they take his grandfather’s truck down on the trip. When his grandfather asked him where his grandmother was to sit, he helpfully suggested that there was room in the cargo bed. Sadly, at least to him, he was overruled. He couldn’t understand why she wasn’t interested, and in fact, the only reason that he hadn’t offered to ride in back himself, was that his grandfather seemed wholly obsessed with the notion of seatbelts where it came to his diminutive passenger. For the entire run-up to the day of their departure, the child could feel his excitement grow, filling him to nearly bursting with a smug sense of glee and four-year-old entitlement.

But on the day of his departure, he briefly lifted up his mask of self-importance, and asked his mother if she was sure that she would be all right without him. He couldn’t say exactly why he came to feel the way he did, but the look upon his mother’s face as he was being bundled into the car seemed wholly inappropriate considering that he was going to be going away. He felt that she should be wracked with apprehension, tear-stained eyes betraying the sense of loss she felt, seeing her son, her only son!, being taken from her. Instead, he caught only a barest hint of a smile which was quickly hidden behind her “serious face”, and then the door was closed, and the journey begun.

It would be his first trip to Disneyland, as well as his first extended period of time away from his mother. It was also, according to reliable sources, a time when he subsisted almost entirely upon air and various bites of food from off his grandmother’s plates, much to her growing fear and consternation. As the miles rolled by, and the boy became an official Interstate traveler, he found himself caught between the realization that he would soon be arriving at the “Happiest Place On Earth” and the worry that his mother would be cast adrift without him. Every other night, as he and his grandparents settled into their motel, he would call his mother and ask her if she was all right.

Far be it from a simple narrator to interject his personal opinion, but it is entirely plausible that he was using these conversations not to reassure his mother, but rather, to reassure himself. It was, after all, his first time so far away from her, and though he dearly loved his grandparents, he was also ill-equipped to deal with change. Of course, once he made it to the Magic Kingdom, the majority of his worry began to melt away, and his conversations with his mother, while still framed in the pretense of concern, were now more about assuaging his growing sense of guilt at having an amazing time and leaving her at home in utter boredom.

As for his grandparents, he didn’t give a second thought to whether they might be bored, as he could not conceive of how someone might remained untouched by the sheer splendor of it all. In later years, the only thing which he was able to recall was a brief moment of stark naked panic at the sensation of flight above a miniaturized London as he and his grandparents glided along upon the Peter Pan ride. And though he never truly got over his fear of heights (either real or of a forced perspective), it made him feel immeasurably better to discover that his grandfather had also reacted similarly. His grandmother, on the other hand, had thought that they were both acting just a bit ridiculously. But at the time, Tex was rather shaken by it, and demanded almost immediately upon exiting the ride that they make their way back to the Small World ride again.

According to his grandparents, if there is a hell, then it is going on a trip to Disneyland with a four-year-old child. And, if one has truly lived a vile and horrid life, littered with depravity and sin, then the special place reserved for him is the Small World ride. For a child, its repetition and simplicity were the pinnacle of innovation; for the adult accompanying him each and every consecutive visit, mind-numbing would have been more preferable than any term which I may try to insert here. Throughout their visit, they managed to take a ride on the Peter Pan exhibit, the Pirates of the Caribbean (decades before anyone considered turning it into a film franchise), and very nearly managed to get on the Teacup ride. In contrast, they were forced to queue up and suffer through (at minimum) forty-eight trips through the smallest world of all: their rapidly shrinking sanity. Suffice it to say, that when the vacation was drawing down, their joy at never having to take that ride again was the direct inverse of the child’s despondency, but at that point, they may have even been willing to pay another visit to the Tiki House.

By the time that they had finally gotten home, each of the weary travelers was anxious to go spend some time apart from one another. The boy’s anxiety had gotten the better of him, and once all of the fun had been extracted from his visit to the Golden State, he began to feel a keen and biting sense of urgency to return home. As there was no constant barrage of diversion to keep him occupied, his mind returned to the plight of his mother, and how terribly lonely she must have been. His grandparents managed to keep it together just long enough to drop him off at home, and only then by retreating into their inner sanctums and imagining a world where tiny people did not feel the urge to speak from the moment when they woke (entirely too early to be wholesome), until the moment when they finally passed out, mid-sentence.

The car pulled into the spot in front of our hero’s home, and as soon as he was unbuckled and set loose, racing toward his mother, a tangible weight lifted from each and every one of the three vacationers. No sooner was the boy’s luggage extracted from the trunk and set briskly upon the porch, did his grandparents get back in the car and drive back to their home. It might have seemed a bit bizarre, if the boy had noticed it, for normally his mother and his grandparents lingered interminably before departure. He, however, was awash in the comfort of returning home, having nobly cut his adventure short so that he might rescue his mother from her doldrums.

“I’m home!” the boy said with genuine enthusiasm. “Did you miss me?”

His mother only stared at the falling dust which her parents’ car had left behind as they’d driven away. The smile upon her face turned down ever so slightly, and then she snatched up the boy in great big hug, and said into his ear, “Of course, honey.”

The Boy Who Dreamed (Sample)

Here is the first bit of that thing I have been working on:




The Boy Who Dreamed and The Big Bad Wolf Which He Became

(A Fable For The Jaded Special Presentation)


by Tex Batmart






Chapter One



                Our story begins, as most stories do, on a storm-soaked December afternoon in the Pacific Northwest. Hang on. Statistically speaking, almost no stories begin like that. Nevertheless, our tale must carry on. I suppose we could go back a ways, and briefly tell of the love between a man and woman which endured nearly the requisite number of minutes for our hero to be conceived, but that is another tale entirely, and not one which this author is entirely interested in retelling. Suffice it to say, that when our hero came into this world, he did so into an already broken home, the vessel of a fading, jaded love which a bruised and beaten woman had infused with all her hopes and dreams for an uncertain future. Our hero, of course, knew nothing of this, knew nothing much at all, save for the newly-gleaned understanding of the differences between dark and light, warm and chill, weightlessness and gravity, and a rapidly developing preference between the lot of them. Gone was the soothing rhythm of his mother’s beating heart. Gone was the safety and security of an existence at the center of his own personal universe. I am convinced that he never fully recovered from these losses.

                Within an hour of residency within the nursery, he was returned to his mother under the pretext of having incited a neonatal revolution. Even minutes old, he didn’t take too kindly to disappointment. Life, such as it was, had been thrust upon him, and he didn’t much care for it, truth be told. No one had warned him that things would be so jarring, so cold and desiccating, for the first time in his brief (measured by the pulsing beatings of his heart) life, and as he filled his belly, and fell, troubled, into sleep, he had no idea what it was that he would do, or how he might come to repay these slights visited upon him during his moments of vulnerability.

                For the first year of his life, he and his mother stayed with her parents, as she struggled to make sense of her own broken life. A failed marriage, single motherhood, and the shame of the necessity of returning home to where her parents had made their home (and lasting marriage, she bitterly chastised herself), did not sit well with her. For the child, however, it was a wonderland of near-constant attention from interesting people. What he loved more than anything, however, was a pair of leather slippers which had previously belonged to his grandfather. I say previously, because as soon as he could crawl, the child made his way over to them, and began to gum them into submission in a release of his frustration at having several bony protrusions slowly tear their way free of his still tender gums. His mother was always snatching away his slippers, but the child never failed to find them once again, as long as no one was looking.

                It was during this time, that he made his first friend. Having grown tired of the removal of his playthings, and this new vocalization, “No!”, he came to befriend a flower-print couch which he was occasionally imprisoned upon. It never said much, but always seemed to be there for him, listening for hours on end, without interruption, as he practiced his nascent idiomancy. Oh, the tales of tiny victories and heartbreaking injustices which he imparted to his dual-natured cellmate and prison. Inevitably, however, his sentence was commuted, and he was separated from his friend and captor. Actually, as memory serves (though it rarely does), it was around the time when he had mastered his plan of escape when he was whisked away. Normally, he was allowed brief moments outside of his cell to exercise himself upon the pea green shag carpeting of the prison yard, but this time, he was taken somewhere new, somewhere his couch and confidant could never follow. Worse than that, he would soon come to understand that it would now be just he and his mother living together. The final indignity, of course, the event which would set him upon his path and remind him of cooed promises made moments after birth, was his enrollment in something he once overheard described as “daycare.”

As you can see, it’s something I’m having a little fun with, and, once it’s done, should save me the effort of having to spend the time letting people get to know me. Obviously, the lighthearted nature of this romp will probably get dark pretty quick (which should be obvious to those of you who know me), but this time I’m making a concerted effort to balance the ennui with some intentional humor. So far, it seems to be going okay, but then again, I haven’t even written to my first day of school yet, so, you know… baby steps.

Anyway, hope you enjoy! If I don’t hear anything back from Jupiter within the next few days, I’ll be back here blogging (and working on the story) in between attempts to seek out and obtain some sort of employment. I think that if I don’t get the awesome job for which I have been hoping, that I might just try to find something with minimal responsibility, or am I just repeating myself?


I just started writing again last night, which is good, but now I’ve found that the story that I’ve started has wrapped me up tightly in a blanket of sheer terror. I’m going to continue with it, because I am determined to actually someday make money with my words, but it will be a real test to see if I can actually make it through the writing process. I’m going to be starting up again this evening, and plugging away at it tomorrow, with the hope of trying to have it ready for sale on Amazon either at the end of this weekend, or sometime next week. To be clear, for those of you who may choose to buy it, it is fiction, though parts of it are inspired from things which I have experienced. In some ways, I suppose that you could say that it is “Based On A True Story”, if you take into account just how little most stories which advertise that bear any more than a passing resemblance to past events. But it is a good chance for me to practice digging into my various hurts and traumas to try to find something of value to write about.

It will also mark the first time that I have written anything which puts to use my decade-plus of time spent working in the restaurant industry. Seriously, despite the fact that I was in food service since 2001 (it could be argued that my time associated with kitchens began in 1996, when I was working as a “Food Removal Engineer” at a local nursing home back on The Rock, but as that job lasted only long enough for me to purchase Pink Floyd’s, “The Wall” and its necessary accessories, I think that I’ll keep the start date firmly set in the twenty-first century), I have never found a way to incorporate my experiences in restaurants, nor even truly felt inclined to try. Perhaps I was just too close to it, the stresses of the industry having blinded me to the forest while focusing my myopia upon the trees. And even now, the story really isn’t even about restaurants; maybe someday, I’ll think up a story where that industry is front and center, integral to the plot, but for now, the setting is merely incidental. Though I’m doing my best to keep it from feeling like it, the whole food service aspect is basically just there to frame the actual story which I want to write. So, in other words, it’s filler.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m working on it, and will be developing it so that it feels like needed to be written, but reason for the story is nestled deep within it. The thing I really wanted to write just won’t work in the original way that I envisioned it, as it would have required character interaction which I am, at least in this instance, uniquely ill-suited to provide. Once I knew that I couldn’t present it as the story itself, the rest just sort of came to me. I’ve got the first part of the really good part written, but I’m holding off on finishing it until I’ve got the framework done. As long as I can keep the carrot before me, I can keep working toward making the whole story worthy of its premise, as opposed to a hodgepodge, hastily assembled marriage of two ideas which truly don’t belong together. But now I can make sure that before I write the part which I am dying to get off my chest, that the rest of the story is good enough to risk including with it, because once I’ve put it out there, I can’t simply recycle the “good part” if the rest of it doesn’t really work. I know that it’s not technically plagiarism, if I’m stealing from myself, but I don’t really want to be that guy who only rewrites the same damn thing for the entirety of his career (“Semantics: they’re my favorite kind of antics” notwithstanding).

And unlike Terracratsthis is the first completely new fiction which I will have written in years. I mean, I’ve started some open-ended things, and been assembling my notes for {Untitled Project #4}, but I haven’t come up with anything truly original (and by that, I am referring to self-plagiarism) since that hastily assembled thing I threw together that night that Flor was late coming home from work, and I started to freak out. Terracrats was a chance for me to look back at one of my favorite stories and see if I could do something better with it, which I believe I did. But I’ve only got so many stories which I could rework, and some of them are good enough as is, or, on the other hand, aren’t nearly close enough to worthwhile for me to waste my time upon. No, if I’m actually going to do this, I have to trust enough in myself to value the stories which I want to tell, and though this one isn’t what has been consuming me for several years, it is near and dear to me, and a good a place to start as any.

So why am I afraid? It’s not of failing, as my royalties from Amazon have tempered my expectations. And it’s really not that I won’t be able to write the thing, or that it somehow won’t work enough to sell it. Ultimately, though I would like to be able to support myself like this, I just want to have my words out where other people can read, and maybe appreciate them. The story will be good enough: of that I’m fairly certain, and I have a small group of advance readers to help me make sure that it doesn’t completely suck, who I need to sign off what I’m putting out. No, in this case, what scares me the most is finally putting into words, feelings which I’ve not allowed to see the light of day. Bits and pieces of Tex Batmart that existed before and apart from my lovely wife. To reiterate, these words are fiction, and not some deep-seated desire for confession, except, perhaps, on an existential level. But I’ve always thought of writing as the smart man’s therapy, and by spending this session with me, you’ve helped me come to terms with what I’m feeling, and set me down upon the path to writing something awesome (I hope).

Sighs of Regret

It’s a good thing that I’ve pretty much given up on trying to meet my goal of 365,000 words this year, or I’d be feeling fairly down on myself for having fallen so far behind. And it’s a good thing that I haven’t been spending a lot of time pondering my decision to leave a job which (though I was being underpaid) covered my expenses so that I could get myself into debt and wind up working a $9/hr job with less than 30 hours a week, because I might start to get really worried about how I was going to make it this time around. But the fact is that I needed the break which I allowed myself to take, and it was nice to get back to doing something that I actually wanted to do, for a change. I knew that it would be nearly impossible to try to write while working a full-time gig, but it turns out that even trying to steal away a few moments throughout the week is proving hard enough. I’d been thinking that at least I’ll have a little more time to be by myself when David goes back to school, but by then, I’ll either have a different job (one which will most likely not afford me the opportunity to work in the wee hours), or have been promoted (which means a switch to full-time in addition to a raise in my hourly wage), which means that the time I have right now, when David would otherwise have been at school, will still be unavailable to me.

As for my source of employment, there’s not a whole lot to report upon right now. I am still being groomed for that promotion, which basically involves throwing more work and responsibility at me without any change in my rate of pay or the number of hours for which I am scheduled on a weekly basis. I’m convinced that the guy in charge is completely useless, and that it probably wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world for me to try to find something else sooner rather than later. My department is slowly flying apart, as more and more people are growing increasingly frustrated with the current state of management, which includes an increased workload as more and more people leave, and the general manager refuses to get hands-on as would normally be recommended. I’ve even had some of my coworkers ask me to remember them if I manage to land a restaurant management gig somewhere nearby. Even if it weren’t turning into a complete shit show, the very fact that everyone is nurturing escape plans makes me unwilling to face the possibility of having to do the work of at least twelve people (of which we currently have seven) all by my very lonesome. I’ve even started romanticizing the last place where I worked, but luckily, my son-in-law still works there, and it is through his stories that I am able to remind myself of all the reasons why I left.

On the Minkey Front, it turns out that, in addition to his nose, he has also inherited his mother’s eyes, both in form and function. I mean, I’m not saying that my eyesight is perfect, but it turns out that my son is, for all intents and purposes, blind as a bat. I think Flor said that his glasses should be ready in a couple of weeks, at which point it is my sincere hope that he actually will begin to want to read. Well, that and that he might not need to drape himself over my desk so that he can watch his cartoons. It is also my hope that clarity of vision will lead to better penmanship. At least if he can see, his vacation will not have been for nothing. I know that he is bored out of his mind this summer, but I wish he knew (in a way that wouldn’t scar him for life) just how trying his constant presence is for the rest of us. It’s not that we don’t love him, it’s just that he’s a very… intense person, and should only be taken in small doses. In that regard, as well as normally wearing his heart upon his sleeve, he is very much my son. I know it’s wrong to say, but I feel rather  like Ford Prefect in the company of Arthur Dent when spending time with David. And you better believe that I know where my towel is!

As for the writing, well, I’m trying to figure out how to budget some time for myself more that once a week so that I can, at the very least, keep up with the blog. It’s hard because my normal solution would be to go to bed an hour earlier, and make with the clickety-clackety before I go to work. But it’s hard enough to get a proper amount of sleep anyway, and if I tried to put David to bed that early, I’m pretty sure that I’d be facing a full revolt before the end of summer. But the real news is that I’ve been running bits and pieces of {Book #4} around in my head while trying to figure it out (Books #1 and #2 are “Parade”, which I know I have to start before I have forgotten everything, but whose events are so traumatic as to make me nervous about reliving them again, no matter how “noble” the cause may be; Book #3 is The Wild West Fantasy, which I’ve been playing with for a while, but haven’t really decided what I want to do with it). But I think that I finally figured out {Book 4}. It was going to be a fictional account (based on true stories) and told from a female point of view, but I then decided that I could structure it more like a series of interviews. Now, of course, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll probably just write out each interview, and then integrate those all together into an overarching narrative. Or not. It’s still early.

And it’s not like I’m suffering from an overwhelming sense of regret.

Maybe When We’re Younger


I hear your hatred in my heart-

echoes loud as blood,

the nights we shared don’t ever seem


to withstand the beatings of our souls.

But maybe when we’re younger, we’ll understand

It all.

For every hurt and pain that comes from this

another lesson has been learned.


Maybe when we’re younger,

spring will smile anew.

And maybe, when we’re younger,

our loves themselves renew.


Destroy me, discard me, regard me as shit-

but once, you loved me (makes it harder).

Forgive me, though I know I don’t deserve it,

and love me again (though I know not to

expect it).

Our hearts we crushed alone in pain as if we

could not know each other. So many

arguments… dark bitterness…

But what’s the point


Forget me, and build your wall

and remember nothing you’ve

taught me.


Maybe when we’re younger,

spring will smile anew.

And maybe, when we’re younger,

our loves themselves renew.


So hate me now, the love can wait until tomorrow.

We sit and stab, while in the dark, ending up killing

ourselves (ourselves). Whatever was the point

any way?

But Maybe,

if we superglue and duct tape everything that’s left

(maybe when we’re younger, we’ll understand

it all),

we might live a little longer

and become a little younger.

Maybe when we’re younger we’ll understand

it all.


Maybe when we’re younger,

spring will smile anew.

And maybe, when we’re younger,

our loves themselves renew

Because I know that when we’re younger

a nightmare will have passed.

Maybe when we’re younger-

Maybe when we’re younger-

Maybe when we’re younger,

a nightmare will have passed.


-Maybe When We’re Younger

© 1998 Tex Batmart


I originally wrote this one day after my girlfriend and I had endured a massive fight during one of our housecleaning jobs. Part of the phraseology had to do with the fact that I was eighteen, and fed up with people telling me that I would understand things when I was older, and part of it was commentary of the age difference between my girlfriend and myself. For me, nineteen years didn’t seem like all that much, but as I slowly work my way to the age she was when we got together, it’s difficult to imagine myself falling for someone so much younger. One’s mid-thirties are a breeding ground for existential doubt, as I have begun to discover for myself; whereas one’s late teen years are so infused by omniscience that it sometimes make me sad to think of all the confidence which I once possessed. But above all, the phrase, “maybe when we’re younger” is a metaphor for shrugging off the nonsense of the grownup world, muting the negativities which experience has bought, and turning back to a more passionate embrace of living in the moment and trusting in your heart. I hate admitting to the youthful sentiment, and it makes me want to travel back in time and kick myself squarely in the nuts for writing such pretentious crap. That being said, however, I’ve also found that the things I write have a tendency to work somewhat for the people and circumstances which they were written to describe, but are more unnervingly accurate when read regarding situations in the future. Somehow I’ve been given the gift of prophecy, but only when it comes to misery to unfold along the timeline of my life. Well, it’s either that, or I’m unable to change the cycle of my behaviors and it’s less prognostication and more living down to my own expectations.

Reading this again, I cannot help but think that I somehow managed to sneak a little wisdom forward. Maybe it’s true that I’m impossible to deal with, and maybe it’s true that I’m more likely to have epic disagreements with the woman with whom I’m completely smitten, but perhaps it isn’t just a matter of being unable to break the cycle of dysfunction. Maybe I really was onto something back then, half my life ago. In this case, it could also be interpreted as a suggestion that we look toward the happier moments of those years ago (which, to be fair, was how it could have been interpreted back then) in order to wash away the stresses of our failures and find within ourselves all the myriad reasons by which we first fell in love. Or it could be that, for some reason, I wanted myself to be more like the principled, unyielding poet/crusader that was determined to bend the world to his authority. It’s like when you’re in the middle of a transcendental hallucinogenic experience, and the universe unfolds before you, serving up its secrets directly to your brain, and you’re determined not to let go of this new level of understanding, so you leave yourself a note for when you’re back to being your regular self tomorrow, diminished and a little wistful at your loss. And it’s then that you look down at that piece of paper, and read the note you’ve left yourself, and wonder what the hell, exactly, you meant when you scribbled down “tunnels though the afterthoughts are the paradox of infidelity. Don’t believe the (illegible) wormholes into consciousness.” I mean, as you are looking at the words, you can remember having known what all of that meant the night before, but like a ten-dollar word, it resides solely upon the tip of your own tongue. And then you go in search of orange juice, and realize that there’s not a single drop in the entire house.

I know from far too many personal experiences that superglue and duct tape can’t fix everything, but I cannot help but love myself for having truly believed that it could. It makes me wonder if I’m a better person than I might have been before, if I’ve stayed the same, or if I’ve somehow sold my soul just to pay the rent. I’d like to believe that I’ve learned some things these past two decades, and that I’m better off for having done so, but I’ve also made so many compromises (not that anyone would believe that if they knew me), put survival ahead of my own self-truth. I guess that I will just have to hope that I know what I am doing (as I am known to reassure those with whom I’m close, from time to time), and that I also knew what I was doing back when I’m pretty sure I didn’t. They say Shakespeare is held in such high regard because he helped fundamentally shape the English language which we speak today. Could it be that I hold the younger me in such high regard because were it not for his choices, both successful and mistaken, I would not be who I am today, and therefore I am indebted to him for my very existence?

I guess the other reason that this poem has stuck with me all these years is that I still have the memory of when I wrote it in the empty spaces of a paper Safeway bag, and that it was the first song which I ever wrote without any assistance. I mean, sure, the melody is love letter to A minor, and I only needed to know the single chord, but it was also the first song that I ever felt comfortable singing, though not in front of other people. Pink Doors O Negative. That was the project that Fed and I had going back then. We recorded a half-dozen songs collaboratively before it became obvious to him that I had no idea what in the hell that I was doing. That wasn’t enough to stop me, but he also knew other people who could actually play their instruments (and keep time), so we just quietly disbanded.

Well, this just got weird. Hopefully tomorrow I will be feeling a little more upbeat. Until then, have a great night!

Isolation and Connection

It’s great to be back.

I’ve had a nice little break, here in isolation, from the worries of needing to think up entertaining things to write, and been able to fully explore the depths of my self-loathing. So, all in all, it’s been a productive couple of weeks. I just wish that I had better news on the employment front. I did manage to get a call back for an interview, but haven’t heard anything since then. Meanwhile, Flor just walks into a place and walks out with another job. Seriously. Of course, apparently they were only looking for female employees, but still. It’s frustrating. I just feel like I’ve managed to experience myself out of the job market. No manager wants to bring in someone who will be able to dethrone him (or her), and most owners don’t spend a lot of time glancing at resumes. Still, I suppose that I will eventually be summoned in for an interview that will result in something other than a complete waste of time.

But, as dire as all of that sounds, it has come with a slightest glimmer of a silver lining: Flor has seen that I have been trying to find work, and has come to the conclusion that I will be hired when the time has finally come that the universe wishes me to be gainfully employed. In the meantime, she has ordered me to continue writing, to take full advantage of this free time which I have in abundance, and continue pursuing my ultimate dream of getting down with the clackity-clack. And that’s not such bad advice. In the couple of weeks in which I haven’t been writing, I seem to have lost a little bit of focus. It’s not so bad as it was when I started this blog back in December, but the words aren’t flowing as easily as they had been in May. Or it could be that I am in pajama pants, with my son narrating some sort of adventure in the background.

Summer vacation is upon us, you see. In the midst of this mad scramble to seek gainful employment, with the prospect of the adult children moving out, we are also faced with the looming problem of what we’re going to do with David while he’s on break from school. He’ll be turning eight in just a couple of weeks, and while he’s shown moments of brilliance and hints that he might not die if we were to leave him alone for small periods of time, I can’t imagine him being okay for hours at a time. I’ve done my best to try to teach him a modicum of self-reliance, such as how to prepare a bowl of cereal and heat up corndogs, but I don’t know that I would trust him on his own in an emergency situation. Part of that is due to his unique application of “logic” and “reasoning”, but part of it is directly tied into his utter dearth of experiences from which to draw when dealing with a crisis. I just want to know that when we leave the apartment, that both it and David will be fine when we return.

Now for something completely different:

Like I have mentioned before, I am now a professional author, in that people have paid me for things which I have written. It hasn’t been as great a start as I might have hoped, but at least it’s something. Flor has been reminding me that it takes time to build up some momentum, which I understand, but I usually counter with, “I had been hoping it would have been more than $17.”  But, I am not terribly concerned, not really. You see, one of the lessons I learned after high school has prepared me for this moment.

I was always upset when I couldn’t get whichever girl I’d fallen completely in love with that week to agree to go out with me. I was sensitive, intelligent guy, occasionally amusing, and decent at kissing, and yet completely hopeless with the ladies. I just wanted them to give me a chance so that I could show them how awesome I was. It wasn’t until later that I realized that the only way to attract the ladies was to make myself into someone who might actually be attractive to the ladies, as it turns out that angry love poetry alone is not terribly romantic. And as made myself more interesting, by having more experiences, and trying to find satisfaction (if not happiness), I discovered that people began to want to talk to me. This didn’t solve the problem of my anxiety, but it did lead to some moments which were worth the effort.

So my writing at this moment is my teenage self. There are many good things about it, but it isn’t what it needs to be. I mean, a collection of blog posts and a 6,000 word short story are not a true foundation upon which to build an empire. So I have to find a way to get past the swollen bruises of my ego, and simply write better. I have a few ideas for novels, some of which I have actually started working on, and half a year of near-daily writing under my belt. I know that I can do this. I refuse to just let this be a hobby. I have dreamt of this for nearly thirty years, and I am going to find a way to make it happen.

It’s amazing how many times I must relearn the lesson of the importance of getting over myself. And yet, it’s also important not to get too down upon myself. I am a man of extremes, and it seems that I am capable only of self-aggrandizement and self-loathing, neither of which is particularly useful to me right now. I once found a virtual middle ground from which to launch my romantic campaigns, so it might be time to dust that off and give it a whirl again. Not for dating, obviously.