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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, September 12, 2019

A Thank You from Paul Keohane

"You find the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down."
                                                                                                                              -- C.S. Lewis
As I look back on this year's event, this quote seems fitting.

In between a beautiful Friday and Sunday was a storm-shortened Saturday.  Hurricane Dorian crept in like a lion on Friday night and hammered us a bit with its heavy winds and rain -- most powerfully in the overnight hours, luckily.  As a result, we had to hold off on our Saturday start a few extra hours.  The storm may have shortened our route that day but it definitely didn't dampen our spirits.

The MS 3-Day event is always such an emotional time.  Surrounded by the over five hundred walkers and volunteers throughout the weekend, it's tough not to be inspired by their stories and their resolve. 

I spoke to many people with MS, who feel the headwinds that life sends their way each day.  There were times when they talked about their struggles, both physically and mentally.  But mostly they talked about hope.  They talked about how they will not let MS define them.  They talked about how this event was a way for them to rage back against the storm, arm-in-arm with friends and family who love them and will always fight by their sides. And they talked about their dream of a day when those headwinds finally calmed and the storm that was MS headed out to sea forever.

I want to thank each and every one of you for joining me and fighting by my sister's side these past few months. 

Thanks to your generosity, we were able to raise over $6,000!!    You are incredible!!  I cannot thank you enough for your support and kindness. 

We will continue to rage against the storm.  We will win this fight.

- Paul


Saturday, September 07, 2019

Wicked Weird from the NEHW is now available!

A little late getting this out:

The New England Horror Authors' newest anthology, Wicked Weird, is now available everywhere!

Edited by Scott T. Goudsward, David Price and Amber Fallon, with cover art by Ogmios the Artist, this is a fantastic foray into the weirder side of horror. I did final proof editing, internal layout and publication (under our org's guide of NEHW Press). Here's the blurb:

There’s a side of the world those deemed "normal" don’t see, save for glimpses in flashing moments of fear and confusion. These places exist just around the corner of our vision, beyond the ocean fog of memory and nightmare, where monstrous children cry for love and secrets are hidden in remote caves; where nature reclaims its own and a sweet taste in your mouth portends evil beyond imagining. Within these pages are twenty-one secrets hidden behind a veil only the most ancient of beings have dared to pass through, brought to you by some of the most talented and imaginative authors to come out of New England.In short, these stories are Wicked Weird. Featuring oddities and terrors from Matthew M. Bartlett, J. Edwin Buja, William D. Carl, Victoria Dalpe, Barry Lee Dejasu, Peter N. Dudar, Emma J. Gibbon, John Goodrich, Paul R. McNamee, F. R. Michaels, Kali Moulton, Errick A. Nunnally, Jason Parent, Steve Van Samson, Rob Smales, LL Soares, Wicker Stone, Morgan Sylvia, Jeffrey Thomas, K. H. Vaughan and Trisha J. Wooldridge.



Monday, August 05, 2019

Wheels and Heels Against MS, 2019!

From my brother Paul Keohane:

I can’t believe it’s already August.   I hope everyone has been enjoying the warm weather of late and that you’re all doing well!   It seems like I send out my letter later each year but, fear not, I will be lacing up my sneakers and heading down to the Cape this September.

This year, my sister Anne and I decided that, between leg issues that she’s been dealing with and my current sore shoulder, that I should go it alone this time around.  Although she will not be with me during those three days, she will most certainly be there with me in spirit – motivating me as the miles pile up and the blisters inevitably start to form.

This year’s MS Challenge Walk begins on Friday, September 6 and will mark my 17th year participating.   My mission remains as always -- as long as MS negatively impacts my sister, I will continue to do whatever I can to help fight back against it.  I look forward to joining forces with friends and fellow walkers next month, raising awareness of MS as well as raising the much-needed funds to get us closer to one day finding a cure.

Anne wanted me to be sure to stress to all of you how much this event means to her and how very much she appreciates your incredible generosity.  She has benefited greatly from the National MS Society’s programs over the years and knows how important they are in not only helping her but everyone else who battles this terrible disease.

Multiple Sclerosis is a frightening disease that affects the central nervous system.  The symptoms may be mild (such as numbness in the limbs) or severe enough to cause blindness or paralysis. The severity and specifics of the symptoms of MS can’t yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are giving hope to all affected by the disease.

Your donations to the National MS Society are the key to these exciting treatments.  We hope that you decide to persist in the fight with us and be that beacon of hope for all who battle this disease.  No donation is too small! 

As in the past, there are two ways you can donate. 

The fastest and most convenient way would be to visit my fundraising page at:

https://secure.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR/Challenge/MAMChallengeWalkEvents?px=17227995&pg=personal&fr_id=30718&view_as_public=true

You can also mail me a check, making it out to The National MS Society.
My address is:            Paul Keohane                                               
                                   2 Jillian Rose Dr                                 
                                  Oxford, MA 01540

Thank you all so very much for your continued support!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

"Vaguebooking Out the Window of Life" at The Holman Report

My essay about a trend I'm seeing with increasing regularity on social media is now up at The Holman Report, check it out at https://www.holmanreport.com/2019/07/vaguebooking-out-the-window-of-life/



Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Of Leviathans and Famines

My friend Marty Holman recently began an online magazine called The Holman Report, where he writes about living our your faith in the wilderness, starting conversations about the modern church and where it is, where it's going, etc. I've written a few articles for him so far. One recently. The last couple are:


and

Friday, May 17, 2019

When Someday Becomes Tomorrow, for Amanda and Audrey



My two amazing daughters, Amanda and Audrey, are graduating college. In fact, Amanda has already graduated a few days earlier. Audrey's big moment is coming up tomorrow morning. I've been trying to write something around all of this for a week. What I keep coming up with are clumps of memories, what has stayed with me through the years. But it didn't feel enough. Too impersonal, more akin to those end of year summaries outlining the fun had since the last summary. Something was missing.

What makes a memory, and what do I truly remember about the family I helped bring into the world, and specifically the two little girls I held and hugged and loved from babyhood through this beginning phase of their adult lives?

What do I need to remember from a quarter century of being Dad?

Moments, laughing and crying and watching these beautiful people dance and run and pretend and dress up and snuggle as I read to them. I bought them clothes and got them to school and helped with homework but in the end, if I've been halfway decent with this parenting thing, I also watched them. The best gift we can give any child is what they crave the most: my valuable, personal attention.

Watch me, Daddy.

I watched them jump in the pool; do a dance; stand on one foot; perform a play they renamed "Rabbit" because "The Big Scary Haunted House" was too frightening a title. I watched them learn to cook, setup blankets and pillows in front of the TV for movie night, do a fashion show.

I listened, to the stories they made up, the things they did in school. To flute and piano recitals, the music washing over me grander than any symphony because this was music made by my daughters. Listened to their bad dreams, and without judgment their plans for the future. As parents we try to support their first steps towards any dream. I want to be a chef. I want to be an engineer. I want to be a cinematographer. I want to work in an office like on that TV show. I want to save the world. I want to step out and make my own mistakes but God willing I hope you're there if things go south and I need to call my Daddy.

I talked to them. Not my strongest suit. When I do speak it usually sounds like I'm thinking about something else. I've tried to be honest with my girls. Restraint when needed, when my opinion doesn’t matter in the moment, but offering encouragement or advice if I think it'll land in good soil. When they were little, I spoke to them as if they were big. Never speak down to the little ones; if they don't know what you mean, they'll ask.

I read, Harry Potter and Madeline and Get Fuzzy comic strips and that series of books with the cats. Curled up against a pillow at bedtime, opening a world of words for them. If I'm lucky, the memories of their childhood will be narrated by my voice. Share with your children the books and movies you loved as a kid, too. These are as much a part of you as any grand tradition carried through generations.

I watched them dance and let their joy break my heart (see below for a link to a classic entry on that topic that still makes me cry). Shouted and screamed and burst with pride as they raced to the finish line (then threw up). I laughed at the plays they wrote then performed, at the scary movies they made when they stole the video camera.

What advice would I leave future Dads (and Moms)? As a parent, never make the mistake of thinking their universe revolves around you, or take their acts of rebellion as a personal affront. At the very best, you will never be the center of their world, but always an anchor when it's needed. Video as much as you can, but don't pan the camera too quickly. People watching will throw up. On that note assume you'll get vomit on you often, and don’t assume when the kids get bigger that part ends.
Every now and then, make chocolate cake for breakfast (one very minor regret of mine, never having done that). Try to live your life with honesty and integrity, and assume they'll follow suit. Live out your faith with no hesitation, and pray for them every day. Don't shove any of it down their throats, but don't let them talk down about it. They'll follow your path, or make their own. You can’t control them. You can only love them.

Amanda and Audrey, I love you girls so much I want to cry if I think too hard about it. In a couple more days you will both be officially out of college and joining your amazing brother in "the real world" with all its possible roads before you. I'll continue to watch as the events of your life unfold, the good and the bad (there will always be both), and listen to you tell me about your adventures traveling the world or what you saw in the supermarket the other day.

I think we did OK with this family stuff, crazy and eclectic as it's become. I might not be able to give anything too big or shiny as a graduation gift, but I can always give my words. Hopefully, along with love and our shared memories of what has been, these will last a lifetime.

Dad.


Some related entries from days gone by:


Friday, May 03, 2019

Who Am I? (Part 2)


In Part one (which was a devotional - click here to read Who Am I? (Part One)), we talked about the perils of meeting your heroes, and briefly mentioned how we raise up others to be larger-than-life examples of the kind of person we either wish we could be, or strive to be. This is where we pick up now:

Wishing and striving are two very different actions, and the way you look at them will vastly determine the path ahead of you in life.

That's the kind of man I want to be.
I wish I was like him.

Which of the above statements would end in a resigned sigh? Most likely, the second. If wishes were fishes, and all that. On the surface, they sound similar. Follow them along the path they lay out for you, however, and the destination will vastly differ.

That's the kind of man (or woman or artist or park ranger or ball player) I want to be.

This statement implies you can, if you choose, become like this person, even better. You are pointing to someone and saying, "role model," "example" (living or otherwise), "goal." As in a race, when you see the finish line and aim for it, a person raised up as an example before us – and by us (key point) – is a destination towards which we direct our lives.

When we were young, people often pointed at little Johnny (apologies to all the Johnnys used as literary examples in this way) and say, You should be more like him, or, Your older sister has no problems in gym class, what's your deal? More directly, Why can't you be more like this person, while pointing to an athlete or a speaker or a neighbor or someone on TV.

That approach never works. Forcing a role model on someone breeds discontent. On the other hand, imagine a six-year-old girl watching the Olympics with her mother. Mom says, "Oh, that skater is so amazing. I love watching her." No finger pointing, just genuine awe and respect. If the daughter is athletically inclined, she might see that skater as a hero, a model towards which to strive. Perhaps for no other reason than to make her mother proud.  We do a lot of things in life to make Mom and/or Dad proud. That's an important bonus take-away from all this: If you're a parent, show pride for your children. It is the number one fuel for their early years.

I wish I was like him.

On the other hand, this statement doesn't actually have a destination in sight. As mentioned earlier, it's usually followed by a sigh of discontent. Personally - and yes I'll agree this might be a purely personal feeling with no basis in fact - "wish" is not an active verb. It's a statement of desire without an accompanying action. As someone who has a faith in God and tries to live it out the best I can (which on some days is not very well), I see prayer as being active. Lord, help me to become more like this person; show me ways to reach this level. That's asking for help. Wishing for it is just that and no more.

When I was a teenager, I wished I was a writer. Though I did scribble a few words down, they were quickly discarded. Growing up, my personal dreams and desires were only wishes. I never did anything about them and instead let events and experiences carry me where they may. No complaints, in retrospect, as they were mostly fun times and I did a lot of growing up. After school, job in hand, I started adding actions to my desires. Firstly, I finally conceded that to be a writer, I needed to write. I took a continuing ed course on fiction, read a book on the craft and most formed a writers' group with other newbies. I also read a lot, studying how those (far) better than me created such amazing visuals with words. Many of these were written by people who became in varying degrees my literary heroes.

All of it, adding action to the wish, making desire into a goal. I was off, slowly, but forward.

We all have dreams and wishes and bucket lists. If future accomplishments and worlds-to-visit start off as only wishes that's fine. Wishes come from the imagination and without that we would be standing in little unpainted rooms staring blankly out onto brick alleys all our lives. At the very least, wishes elevate our imaginations away from the mundane to something new and hopefully better.
Soon, though, decide on a first step and take it. Find someone who is doing what you want to do, being who you want to be, and use them as 1) proof that it's possible, 2) an example of how to do it well. You don't need to know them, or ever meet them in person. Decide, then, on the next step, and take that, and the next, all the while putting action to the wish. Once you start, it becomes a goal and the proverbial race is on. Keep going, adjust as necessary, and you will reach the end. One of many ends. There will always be more races, more goals to aim for.

Finally, and most importantly, enjoy the journey. In my life I've finished a number of smaller races and enjoyed the process of getting there. I learned a lot, found new heroes, chose new goals, and started again. I'm on one now – though my end goal is a little fuzzier than usual, and I've been wandering off course. But it'll come. I'll get a better picture, then get back on track.

We all will. It's life, and this a pretty good way to live it.