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(pronounced Ko-Hane)
Dan is the Bram Stoker-nominated author of Plague of Darkness, Solomon’s Grave, and the critically-acclaimed Margaret's Ark. Writing as G. Daniel Gunn, he released Destroyer of Worlds and the novella (written with L.L.Soares) Nightmare in Greasepaint (Samhain Publishing),. His short stories have appeared in Cemetery Dance, Shroud Magazine, Apex Digest and many more. He and his family live in New England.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

With The Wind Blowing Through My Hair

I'm posting every day for the rest of lent as a way of breaking down walls I've built over the years - I think... to be honest, I'm not exactly sure why except that I feel I should... it's all badly explained here...)

It's funny how, when you work from home too long you begin to lose your perspective on so many things. You get stir crazy, lazy sometimes (if it goes on too long) - for me, I get bitter, too, especially on top of everything else I'm not writing. Not sure why. Change can do that, but No Change can do worse, and there's something about going into the office and working with your peers face-to-face that makes you actually enjoy the day. You feel needed again. I just finished work in the office today, and am sitting at my desk writing this before hitting the road. Honestly, I'd come in more often if it wasn't an hour drive each way. I was directionless, but now it's better, back on track. Sometimes we can wander off the path but that's why we have guides, in this particular case the guy I work with. Sharp cookie, that one.

I mentioned earlier how someone once said depression is an extreme case if self-absorption, or something like that. Working from home - be it in the field computers or full-time writing - alone for too long you become your own company, for better or worse. You, and your dogs. You wonder why mountain men or hermits are represented in movies or TV as wild haired crazy people. Check out my hair in my updated profile pic on the side bar in this blog - and if you've been reading you know I'm halfway to crazy already. Need to get out of the house more often, and not just to the same old place. Everybody needs to be among other people. That's one thing about my wife: when we go out, we meet people and talk. People just gravitate toward Linda and talk to her.

So if someday I find myself fortunate enough to write full time (because my writing can support it) then I'll need to make it a point to get out among other people. But until then, I need to go into work more often to remind me that most of my work related angst is in my head (which so easily gets dusty and needs to air out with a long drive).
That's it for today, need to head home, get some groceries and cook supper. Let the dogs out. That sort of thing. Haven't seen them all day. :-)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I Have This Friend, You Know?

I'm posting every day for the rest of lent as a way of breaking down walls I've built over the years - I think... to be honest, I'm not exactly sure why except that I feel I should... it's all badly explained here...)

Ok, so yesterday's post got a leeeetle long-winded. Sorry about that. :-) I'll try to be less verbose and bombastic, not to mention redundant. But I'm serious, I will use every one of those Word Wealth vocabulary words I had to memorize in school before I drop off this planet.

I'll be brief.

I have a friend who knows he needs to do something about his job when he actually gets to the point in his prayer life where he asks to get laid off. Pretty bad. His employment, after a great run and challenging projects and some amazing coworkers, had begun - on and off over the past few years to feel like standing in a warehouse during the Apocalypse, after the hordes of survivors had already come through and picked it clean. A fluttering of paper, a can of beans maybe, to the point where why bother even eating the beans, you know? (Think opening scene of Walking Dead, season 3, and the dog food can.) Plus, to keep with the simile (Word Wealth, grade 9), no one even knows he's there sometimes. Part of that's his doing - withdrawing into the shadows, but never for lack of asking. It's funny - the older we all get in this business, the more they either think we're busier than we are, or the less they want to give you, even though productivity-wise he can write code three times as fast as the foreign outsourcing folks they bring in to replace those who let go in past years (no offense to the contractors he works with, he just has a very high opinion of his coding skills). 

Still - he's my age, and I know how he feels. I've been doing this thing for 28 years. Me, I'd be happy if they just had me code a bunch of programs not have to do any analytical work. Or research. Or other icky stuff I never liked doing even in college. I'm too much a techie. But I need to be busy, so like my friend who is a completely other person working at some completely different company, if I'm not extremely busy at work, my productivity goes down. It's like when this happens to me I horde what little work I can get - though at least recently, over the past year I've been busy enough and in those times I found my job satisfying. I find it that way when I get paid, regardless - but though I can't speak for my friend, but for me - it feels like I've overstayed my welcome. And it's felt that way for a while now.

This is another of my little "change" vignettes I guess. Like the blind man in this Mumford & Sons video, there's a time to let go of my own self- and expectation-imposed limitations and trust in God's plan, begin running with more trust into the light. He's got my back.

So if thats the case, why don't we do it more often?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I Must Diminish

I'm posting every day for the rest of lent as a way of breaking down walls I've built over the years - I think... to be honest, I'm not exactly sure why except that I feel I should... it's all badly explained here...)

On a side note, just got a call from my credit card on some suspicious charges - and yep, sure enough someone stole my card # and was charging a bunch of stuff to video game software and having it shipped to California... they killed the card, are issuing me new ones, but you know - someone robbed me. The new, modern way. Wow. This happened one other time, but a long time ago. I have to slowly figure out all the places I have this card for auto-charging (like Netflix etc) now, so there's some inconvenience... 

But back to the real world as it is...

Been feeling pretty melancholy the past couple of days - with interruptions for fun, like the Oscar party, but yesterday I was in the doldrums... and yes, I know, I was exhausted. That happens when I'm tired. I can't imagine how I could have ever made it through some of the nastier years in the latter part of the previous decade without my faith, because I was tired a lot, lack of sleep & stress. Funny how so much of stress we feel is self-inflicted. Even if we're not always the inflicter, we choose to accept it. But we do inflict a lot on ourselves, though, don't we? Worrying about things, doing stupid things them worrying about that... but melancholy is, in my own definition, like swimming in past sadness, a pond that you know exists in the woods which you can choose to never go to again but sometimes in your broken tiredness find yourself at the edge of. In these moments, you can do one of three things: 1) saunter into the warm but dark water of the pond and swim through the sad misery again, revisit and remember the pain, let it permeate your being again; or 2) turn and run from it - maybe stand there, acknowledge it, then run away... and that's probably how the majority of people deal with it. But I think when you do that, you will be tired again and somehow find yourself at the water's edge one day in the future. And again another time. Ad infinitum.

The third way is change. Begin dismantling the sets of your life - always knowing it's the same life, and the past is the past and you cannot ignore it - and know that if being tired leads you down the path to the pond, rearrange your life so the path is gone - not blocked, gone.

Yes, yes, wax poetic and you can make anything sound simple.

Maybe this is simple. Simply reconfigure the world around you. Sure. Piece of cake.

After a contemplative pause. How do you do that? Well one of two ways: 1)... yes, this seems to be a list day... 1) go mad. Did that once in the summer between middle school and high school. Long story. Some day I'll tell you. One reason it won't work (among many): the world around you does not change outside the walls of your temporary hiding place; or 2) Change your world. Or reconfigure it. Though reconfiguration is change, so.. change your world. One wall and one aspect at a time.

Changing your world seems to be the lenten theme of the blog entries. I like that. Changing your world, and trying to deal with the forces (people, jobs, traditions) around you trying to keep the world as it is.

Why the title of this entry? In writing, an author creates the world formed inside the pages, the characters are given personalties, life, hopes and dreams, the living room in one scene has dust on the mantel and a heirloom threaded doily on the table with one elaborate and ancient edge browned and curled.... the author puts words together to make images in the reader's mind. If it is done right - in a scene that is the epitome of scenes, the author and the reader dimish to the point where only the characters and that doily on the table exist.

I must diminish as the author so the characters can live. John baptizing people and being the most famous, if not eccentric, figure in the public eye of his time told his diciples he had to diminish, step from the spotlight, when Jesus began his ministry. John's role, his purpose, everything he'd done to that point was to prepare everyone around him in how they think and act and see their pasts and futures, metaphorically till the soil, so that the Messiah when he came could plant the seeds and reap a harvest of souls....

Yea, sentences like the above are good examples of how an author does NOT diminish. :-) Still, point made, if not a little dramatic.

But I must dimish in other ways. My world is not the center of my world any more, if that makes any sense. It was - and I read recently that depression is the supreme manifestation of self-centeredness. You get so wrapped up in your world that all faults and cracks in the walls become the most important thing in the world. Paying attention to the pond mentioned above will invariably give it life and draw you back. Looking outside your protective walls gives you new perspective and takes your mind off the crap on the bottom of your shoes.

My brother mentioned a shooting that happened recently - some psychotic cop killed other officers' families, and I had no idea what we was talking about. He looked at me like I was daft. Maybe I was.

I stopped reading the news a while back because it had bummed me out too much. But I can't live in the world and ignore it at the same time. I can't write about the world and ignore it at the same time. Been thinking I should buy a newspaper soon. Last time I did, I learned quite a lot, and it's food for thought, grist for the mill. And required of anyone who actually claims to be in the world (but not of it, to use a popular but apt line from the bible).

The my earlier point (sorry, got off track), diminishing oneself helps other people who might gain from your existence. How? If you take the focus from yourself, you tend to stop talking about yourself. If you take the focus off of yourself and put it on other people, one very, very important thing begins to happen: you start listening. Then they will talk, and you will learn from them. Then they will learn because a conversation will begin.

So, to this jump-aroundy essay's point, we must become large enough to embrace the world without fear, and as we do so diminish ourselves only to the point where we are no longer the center of our world, but have become part of it that we might truly be with the people in it.

There's so much more to say, but that last line sounded cool enough we should stop there.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Bobble Heads and Silhouettes

So the Oscar party last night was a success. Friends from town, Linda's and mine and also the girls', came by, made their picks on ballots, and we laughed and enjoyed the show and each others' company. In the end we had a second place prize and a grand prize. Congrats to Ned Utzig who sprinted to the finish line with the final few categories and took second place, winning a set of movie passes! And congrats to yours truly, who took the grand prize by a margin of only one answer. My prized trophy (pictured, a Bilbo Baggins bobble head) is being proudly displayed on our shelf. We had a couple of issues with parking because we hadn't gotten plowed out so one car was stuck - special shout out to my neighbor Ernie for helping to push it free and letting us use his driveway for a spell. Neighbors are cool that way, and we have some good ones.

I'm tired still. The show ended at midnight (kudos to host MacFarlane, he did a great job) and by the time we settled in and slept it was after 1:00... And today, I have to drive an hour to church tonight for the men's group. This session we're doing another Andy Stanley program called Defining Moments. I've enjoyed these programs, meeting in a large group, then breaking out into smaller discussions afterwards. This time around, I'm one of the small group leaders. Figured it was worth a try. I didn't do too well as a facilitator the first week. I might be just down on myself, but I felt I was stumbling for words  - this time, hopefully I'll remember to simply stop trying so hard and be myself. Not like this is a management position (which I do not like doing), simply a person in a small group who helps keep the conversation going, etc. When we're put into any kind of attention-getting position (i.e. people looking to you for whatever) we sometimes forget to relax and simply be real. Just do what you'd do if you were anyone else. I guess. We'll see.

Another thing I did yesterday was try to make the painting I'm hoping to auction off Saturday at the mission market (see the end of yesterday's post below). It didn't come out the way I'd hoped, so I tried to fix it, gave up (though the result looks interesting enough I might continue it later in another direction). On another canvas Linda managed to recreate the one aspect I had trouble with (the silhouette of a man praying) - so now I'm going to take that and work a background in behind it, the opposite order one normally does but her silhouette is really good so I want to retain it if I can.

Not sure how much I'll get for the painting, or the signed books I'm auctioning, but hopefully something. Amanda is making her journals to sell. I'm going to try and sell on-the-fly poems (gotta think and pray on this some more), and we're going to sell food... chili, or something else (might have to change since someone else is selling chili, too). We're still way behind on our fund-raising goal (ony 33% of the required money for the trip), and this market could help greatly.

You know, I'm feeling too tired today to be anything more than a mild distraction today. Sorry. Talk to you tomorrow....

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oscars and The Same and Opening Up And Letting Go

So tonight is Academy Awards Night - when we at the Keohane house sit down with our own printed ballots and make our best guesses as to which movie, actor, actress, editor will take home the coveted Oscar statuette. Though this is something I always  wanted to watch through to the end, we didn't begin doing it until the last few years. The tradition has recently been to get Chinese food with the kids and watch the show, but no one seems to want Chinese lately because of better-eating goals (myself included), so unless we want to watch Audrey eat all the Teriyaki Beef, we'll eat healthier.

I digress. Tonight, we're have a few friends from town over to watch with us as well. Another way of reaching out to the world around us and inviting them into our world rather than keeping the world at an arm's distance. Daughter Amanda is also inviting a few of her friends, too. Why keep the world at bay, when people are so much more interesting than walls? It's a "comfort zone" thing, of course, especially with kids, until you point out to them that their friends are always invited at any time, so why can't ours be? Teenagers sometimes have a hard time remembering that their parents, step- or otherwise, are actually people, too. But it's also where in the past the home was more closed off, treated as a sanctum sancotrium... I was just as guilty as anyone of this, and a lot of times it was treated this way for no other reason than I/we knew no other approach.

So, should be fun tonight. Hopefully the plow guy comes by before people arrive so we have parking (it's snowing here today). We've got munchies and drinks and ballots and two prizes for the top 2 winners.

Unfortunately because of the snow we weren't able to get to church today. New England Chapel is having services but it's only raining there, snowing here. We tried to drive, but the roads were too treacherous. Sometimes having your church be an hour drive away has its disadvantages. How many times the kids have looked at us and asked why we don't just go to the church in town like I always have done? Like them, I was born and raised Catholic, but for me, since college I've wanted more, wanted that closeness with God, an actual relationship with Him that I would see from people who were part of other, more biblically-centered denominations. The Catholic Church is also Christian (a fact which some Catholics are surprised to hear, since the word "Christian" is used infrequently, as least compared to "Catholic"). But for many, it's the right one for them. For many, the rituals, the special days and rote prayers are what they want and need - whatever brings you closer to God is good. It was special to me, but I had a yearning for something different and I finally feel the time has been right to do so, and I have not regretted it. My right-brain-ness probably just needs more than the same thing week to week. I like things less ritualistic, more relational. God will use everything around us to bring us closer to him. For me, it was the Catholic church growing up, but there have also been other people from other bents religion-wise who have expanded my view of faith in one way or another, New England Chapel lately, and there will be more people and more places to come. Why not? It's His world. He can play with whatever toys he wants to.

So don't say - Dan should go back to where he'd been going. Dan shouldn't. Dan will go where the Spirit leads him and he'll do it prayerfully and openly and will make mistakes but so what? We have the experience and years to make educated decisions. However, and this is important: offered advice from those around us is welcome. Without objective viewpoints from other people I will likely make more mistakes than I already have. Offer advice, know I hear, and know I will appreciate it, whether or not I actually follow it. Same the other way, viceversary. I may offer advice, but like anything given, I try (key word, there) to give it freely, letting it go and not worrying if it will be taken. Two way street, that philosophy.

So I never mentioned the fund raiser this coming Saturday. Click Here For More Info, and I'll promote it more here next time. Speaking of giving away, I'm going to be running a poetry booth at the market, for any donation I'll whip up a custom poem on a notebook page, sign it and tear it off and give it to the donor. Out of my head, into their hands and gone. Something I'd read about in Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down The Bones back in the 80's. Amanda is going to sell these cool, hand-made journals, and were going to be selling meatless chili (it's AMAZING, trust me).

So, good luck to the nominee's tonight. I wish the Oscars were on Saturday night instead of Sunday, seriously. People have work/school to get to in the morning. But its Hollywood, they don't live like normal people.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

wordslentlettinggo

So I was struck by this blog written by someone attending a church Linda & I visited last week, referenced by the pastor in a weekly email on how some people are celebrating Lent. The woman in question is blogging about something that she feels makes her vulnerable every day for the period.  

http://myvulnerabilityproject.wordpress.com/

It's a brilliant idea. Become vulnerable in front of other people and they will come closer, and maybe open up. Made me look at how, in my almost 50 years how I spend these days and see it's usually no more special than playing the soundtrack to Jesus Christ Superstar in the car and seeing how many of the lyrics I could remember (pretty much all of them). There was the time in college when I quit smoking for Lent (yea, I had held off smoking until college then chain smoked - cigarettes - my way with Al & Christen through the halls of Bentley). Other years we give up chocolates, or sugar. Not bad things. Daughter Audrey's given up chips of all kinds which for her is a good one. I'll talk later about how Linda & I did a Daniel Fast to start the year, and the amazing revelations (health-wise) that came of it. In fact, Linda is doing the fast again for Lent (it's a partial fast, basically Vegan with an attitude, but also with more time devoted to prayer and drawing closer in your relationship with Christ - it is a fast, after all, not a "diet").

Me? Not much more than listening to Jesus Christ Superstar again. Trying to write, working on Plague of Darkness, and a short story for the NEHW anthology, thinking about my other two projects, Ezra and a nonfiction book on the 400 years between the biblical testaments. And lately, failing miserably at all of it. Granted there's been a lot of drama at home, and a lot of upcoming events (big fundraiser next Saturday I'll tell you about tomorrow if I remember, to try raise more funds for our Alabama mission trip in April).

But my life has been contained in a shell for so long, reading Kaylee's Vulnerability blog above, I realize that if I'm going to break out of this rut, become productive, not stare at my writing, or  my "normal" day-job work, or my faith and produce more than only sighs as results - I need to stop... all of this. This holding in, not taking chances, for peace in my home I need to stand up and say enough, to anything and anyone which/who (ok, grammarians, if I precede a clause with "anything or anyone" what do I do with the "which/who" wording... who, since "anyone" was the last word?).... sorry, I think these interruptions are defense mechanisms... anything or anyone who tells me that things must be this way or that. This is how it used to be done and this is how it must be done.

No. We all know in our spirits (aka minds/brains) and souls (that connection or bridge to God which I imagine being a picturesque green hillside looking over a valley) what is right. What is wrong. But taking steps forward with confidence (big word, working on it, starting with these blog entries) and if we are doing that then no one can stop us.

No, not sure what that last sentence means, not entirely. That's what we'll figure out here. I'm going to try to do what Kaylee is doing in her blog for this Lenten period, but whether my direction is being vulnerable, or honest, time will tell.

On news front, my short story "Box" is going to be free for the kindle for another couple of days if you want to grab it (http://www.amazon.com/Box-A-Short-Story-ebook/dp/B00BGW88FK/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361137499&sr=1-4&keywords=daniel+g.+keohane)

Monday, February 18, 2013

"Box" Available for $0.99

My short story, "Box" is now available on the kindle for only 99 cents. This story was originally published in Coach’s midnight Diner, Back From the Dead edition. When it was released it received an Honorable Mention in the Year's Best Horror. I'm pretty proud of this particular piece:

http://www.amazon.com/Box-A-Short-Story-ebook/dp/B00BGW88FK/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361137499&sr=1-4&keywords=daniel+g.+keohane