Category Archives: Uncategorized

How the Story Ends

The most important part of a novel is how it ends. It is the ending of the story that does the most to establish the theme, make the points the author wants to make, or gives you the all-important feeling that the story is complete.

I have written nine good novels and ended the story nine times. I have reason to believe they are good books. Two of them were contest finalists. I have gotten no bad reviews (of the minimal number of times someone besides me has actually read one of these books). And even experienced editors have told me that my books are competent and good enough to be potential best sellers. But, of course, they have little chance of ever reaching a wider audience. I am an Indie author and have either published through pay-to-publish publishing companies or the free Amazon/Kindle publishing services. The way the story of me being a published author will end, though, is not a story of success and wealth and critical acclaim. I am dissolving into abject poverty and fatal ill health. I will not last to see my books hit the big time. And when I croak and become worm food, my books will be forgotten and mostly ignored, even by my family who look at it as a pie-in-the-sky dream rather than reality. Reality, unfortunately, really sucks.

The fact is, all the greatest and most worthwhile people that ever lived have suffered terribly and they were forced to endure much. Greed, villainy, injustice, inequality, bullying, rape, murder, and income taxes prevail in an unbalanced and unjust world. If Guy McPherson in the opening video is to be believed (if you haven’t already watched it, I suggest you don’t. Hearing that message from a credible climate scientist like him is very depressing.) then greedy, rich, and powerful people made the decision to murder us all decades ago, and there is nothing we can do about it.

So, here is how my story ends; I will continue to tell stories and write essays like this one until the very end. And, for me, that will come any day now. It is the only thing worth doing for me at this point in my life. I also hope that you will take heed of my example and endeavor to be the author of your own story’s end. And I am not suggesting you commit suicide or hole up in a bunker somewhere. I suggest you spend every day as if it is your last one on Earth. Cherish your loved ones. Do what pleases you to do. And, most of all, be the author of how your own story ends… plotted out with grace, theme, and meaning. A tribute to how you lived. And maybe you will be able to tell me sometime in the next life about what a colossal fool I was when I wrote this essay.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Monstrous Monday Meditations

Pumpkinhead Hitler seems to be on the verge of multiple indictments from multiple investigations. But those of you who wear the red hats, don’t despair. It will probably only help him get elected as Fuhrer in 2024. The world is run by the wealthiest among us. And only criminals become billionaires. You have to be weirdly evil to make money in our crony-capitalism economy. You only have multiple billions if you have enough money to solve homelessness and hunger worldwide, but are only willing to spend it on rockets shaped like penises and owning Twitter. I am a pessimist. But pessimists are too often right.

The world is drowning in carbon dioxide. We are going to face the possible extinction of life on Earth because Republican industrialists would rather kill us all than forego all those fabulous short-term profits from burning all those fossil fuels that they extracted from the lands owned by other people down to six feet below the surface. Your life and mine are expendable to the Koch Brothers, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos. I don’t hate rich people, but if they are begging me to save them from an approaching killer storm, and I could actually do it… well, I would at least have to consider my options.

And all our schools will soon be privatized and limited in their ability to learn anything about anything that isn’t approved personally by Reichmarschall Ron DeSantis (who is not a saint, even in Italian.) No black poets like Langston Hughes will be in the libraries of any school. Nor any black novelists like James Baldwin. Nor black essayists like W. E. B. Du Bois. Any black literature of note is dangerous because it might make Florida’s white-skinned, wealthy elite children feel ashamed of being racist. And any gay children will be locked in closets. Trans individuals will officially no longer exist. And the letters C, R, and T will be removed from the alphabet.

But even Saint Ron DeSantis can’t cancel out the fact that Mickey Mouse and Disney World once existed. And Charlie Chaplin once made us laugh. And Groucho Marx once made fun of stuffy penguins who were engorged with dollars just like Bezos, Musk, and Trump. Good things came out of our brief stint as the dominant species on this planet. And even if it ends in infamy, at least it was worth doing.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Random Sunday Ruminations

Sometimes I simply have to stop and think hard about what I am thinking about. You can probably tell by today’s first Paffooney that I am thinking in Biblical proportions today. The picture is called “David Plays for Saul”. In the Bible story, the survival of Israel is definitely in question. King Saul, the anointed ruler, is under intense pressure from governing a kingdom that chose him rather than giving him a chance to choose for himself. He is surrounded by enemies with significant military power. He goes a bit loony over the matter, consulting astrologers and witches, even though God has told him through prophets, “Saulie, don’t do that, boy!” The prophet Samuel even goes so far as to find a new candidate for an anointed king, David the Shepherd, Son of Jesse. Saul uses his irrational mind to come up with a solution to the problem. “I know!” he says to himself. “I’ll murder the boy in front of God and everybody.” (Sort of a Trumpian solution, right?)

And then David plays his harp and sings. That decides the matter. Saul is calmed in his murderous mind and abandons murder plans just long enough to eventually lose his crown along with his head in battle against the Philistines. (No danger of Trump copying Saul there.)

Myself in Iowa at 9, before the world changed.

So, as I sit and chew my cud and ruminate like a mooncalf, I am thinking we need a King David to replace the King Pumpkinhead we have now. And then he or she must fight harder than the Biblical David to overcome what has happened to us. If Israel represents the world, then Israel may soon be destroyed without a wise king. Climate change, dictators with nukes, and Republican kowtowing to billionaires are real problems not solvable through astrology.

Too often, it seems, I am the mooncalf, the monstrously malformed creature created by a lifetime of hard experience, loss, and fear of the future. But in many ways I am a self-made man. I know this because I sewed on my new right hand, implanted new eyeballs, and did numerous brain-enhancement surgeries on myself. (I do hope you realize I mean that figuratively, not literally. No, really! You can put away the torches and pitchforks!) I feel like a monster when I look at myself critically and end up not liking what I see.

Still, the world is full of beauty and wonder, for now, at least. And we must enjoy it while we have it, living the best life we can before it all too soon comes to its end.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Naked Meditations

The most important reason for being a nudist, in my humble and mostly worthless opinion, is the simple act of sitting naked outdoors in the summer sunshine and taking the time to meditate. Not thinking deep thoughts. Not daydreaming. But real meditation. Emptying your mind of worry, plans, thoughts, and beliefs. Simply reaching out to the world around you with your senses, absorbing it all into your very being, and becoming one with everything under the sun.

Meditation is good for you even if you wear comfortable clothes while doing it. You have to do it right. Not reading a book. Not listening to the Bee Gees, or any other music with words in it. Just slowly stirring the head juice and thinking about nothing. It can be more refreshing, energizing. and renewing than sleep. It is a special mind power.

And it is even more powerful when you do it with no cloth barriers between you and the biological environment around you.

Being nude is really more about getting to intimately know yourself than anything else. And meditating in the nude is about knowing this in the deepest places inside your mind.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Sad Man

Yep, Mickey has the blues… again.

He’s just finished proofreading The Necromancer’s Apprentice again. 12 errors corrected and the book successfully republished. Comma errors, typos, and poor-word-choice corrections can make a guy sad.

And Mickey feels awful all the time. Every joint hurts with arthritis. He hasn’t been remembering to eat on time, so his diabetes is filling his head with angry bees. He’s lonely because every friend he used to have was a teacher too, and now that he’s retired they are all far away and long ago, teaching in other schools, retired too, or dead.

And he’s depressed.

Dertfentwinkle, the Necromancer’s Apprentice

And then he remembers. He’s a storyteller. His head is full of imaginary people to talk to. And most of them are funny. And they can walk around naked if he wants them to be nudists. And in a sense, he is like God in that way. He is in control of everything when he’s writing a story.

But, ironically, he can write very little because of all of things that make him sad.

He’s a sad man.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Wisdom Comes from the Strangest Places

There’s only one person who controls your happiness. Yes, you yourself. The only one with the actual power to make you happy or keep you from being happy is you. Not me. I control only me and my happiness. Not yours. Stop thinking that. True happiness requires you to cook your own happiness recipe. So, there! Wisdom. My two cents. Although it isn’t even worth half that.

I have been thinking of the end of my personal story a lot lately. And although I know it is kind of maudlin to be telling you about it in what is supposed to be a humor blog, I do not fear death any more than I welcome it. The end of the story happens to every storyteller. More than once hopefully. But if you’ve spent your lifetime tending to your little pot filled with blooming blossoms of happiness, you’ve lived a life worth living.

My story has been a good story. I like it just the way it is. I don’t have to change anything so far.

But everything is slowing down. I can’t write or draw as much as I did only a year ago. So, the last chapter is probably here already. We shall see how it ends.

But don’t worry or be sad for me. Tend your own little pot of happiness blossoms. Make them bloom. I will be fine. And so will you.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Being Lectured by Little Girls

It has never been my intention to become a dirty old man. I understand how it happens. Age takes away a lot of inhibitions that you may have had during the more respectable years of your life. After you lose the ability to have any sexual experiences that aren’t mere memories, you might forget that it is not proper to make embarrassing remarks, rude jokes, unwelcome pinches, and random butt touches on young and desirable females. The first President Bush explored the line between dirty-old-coot behaviors and actual sexual harassment. And then died soon after. Being a coot is not sufficient excuse… but it can definitely be an unconscious cause.

She said it to me in plain English, even though that was not her first language. She said, “If you draw me naked, you draw me as a happy nude girl. Not sexy or icky. but sweet and playful and funny and fun!”

“Yes, ma’am!” I answered with a salute which made her giggle.

“I am not your ship captain. Just the beautiful person in charge.”

I have always been as careful as possible. I have never asked a female of any age to pose nude for me. Either they were a model in an art class I was taking, or they asked me as an adult to draw them, or they asked me to draw them because they liked the other nudes I had drawn and got their parents’ approval and supervision.

Or, like my imaginary granddaughter pictured above, they were not real enough for full consent to be required. (Yes, I know it is weird to be drawing nude little girls who are not real, but I am becoming a crazy old coot, doing stuff I would never have done in my younger, more respectable days.)

This black-and-white version looks less splotchy than the colored-pencil version.

I don’t draw nudes for sexual reasons. I do not try to create pornography, especially not child pornography. What I am trying to create is art that shows innocence, freshness, freedom, and joy in your own bodily form. The beauty is in drawing something potentially fragile and vulnerable that is safely navigating the complexities of the clothed, repressed, and dangerous world around us.

I was robbed of the chance to be confidently naked in my own childhood. I won’t recount how that happened here, but it is one of the many sadnesses of a post-Victorian world where everyone is overly concerned about seeing nudity to the point of putting fig leaves on nude statues. Your life can be totally screwed up because people feel so repressed sometimes that they have to act out in weird and possibly illegal ways. And do things to you that you don’t want them to do.

The nudists I have known in real life are more confident, friendly, and accepting than the textile-addicted people with tighter than usual behinds who are always telling me how to behave and think.

I don’t randomly take off all my clothes in public or show off my private parts to people that aren’t also nudists and do not want to see them. Even other nudists don’t spend lots of time staring at my privates. They are not beautiful. (Not the nudists, the things I mostly keep private.)

So, I am not an exhibitionist, a sex fiend, or a pornographer. I am an artist obsessed with innocent nudity. No matter what you may think of my work, admiring it or condemning it, I am not self-conscious about making it to the best of my deteriorating ability. I enjoy drawing it. I enjoy sharing it.

The little girl voice in my head, the one commanding me in the voice of my imaginary granddaughter (a story for another day that includes the fact that I have no real grandchildren,) constantly argues with me about what I am doing. And I keep in mind that I don’t want to be offensive or too controversial. But she also asks me why people like you come to this blog and look and sometimes even read. Is your motivation clean and pure of heart? Or did questionable search terms bring you here? Think about it carefully. Nudity is not evil. I believe nudism is good for people. But it has to be embraced by people who seek it for the right reasons. Cannibals, child-molesters, and rapists are not welcome. But you are not like that, or you wouldn’t have made it this far to the boring, preachy part of the essay.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Daily Post


Yes I will continue to coddiwomple for a while.  On my birthday in November of 2014 after retiring in May, I decided I would do a blog post every single day for at least a year.  Now, two years and four months later, I am still posting every single day.  I think that I shall continue for a while because there are real benefits to doing so.

  • It keeps my seriously old and worn-out brain active, chugging along even though it is held together with mental duct tape.
  • It challenges my ability to come up with new ideas.  I admit, sometimes I set down to write a post with nothing in my head but random snippets of music and empty space.  Yet, I have managed to increasingly create bizarre and exotic thought-artifacts at an increasingly volatile pace.  Perhaps soon the ideas reach critical mass and my writing goes boom like  a series of fireworks.
  • It has increased my visibility on WordPress and the reach of my writing through social media.
  • It has taught me how much I hate Twitter.  People tweeting in a rage at each other makes the world a birdhouse full of angry birds.
  • It has also taught me to edit carefully and quickly because my writing time is theoretically limited, as is my target word-count.
  • And I have learned that some days I need to do a simple and easy post like this to give my mind-muscles a chance to rest and grow.

So I will continue to post on WordPress, putting up pusillanimous Paffoonies to treat and entertain you.  (Yes, I know that “pusillanimous” means timid.  But the root words mean “small mind”, and my mind is nothing if not small.  And I also needed a multi-syllabic p-word to make the alliteration sound funnier.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Why, Mickey, Why?

I have now entered new territory in my daily posting streak. 748 consecutive days with at least one post, one essay, one picture paffooney, or one announcement every single day for two years and 18 days. 12 days more than the last time I reached this many.

And why do I do it? Why do writers feel the need to communicate daily with the universe in this fashion, writing junk that may one day be read and understood by someone, and definitely may not be read by anyone ever? Most of the people who visit this post will do so for the pictures, not for the prose. It is a conversation with a silent universe that has no love for me, no pity, and no malice. My writing exists for the same reasons that I do. I simply already exist. I just happen to be here.

Whatever magic I have in my words, it will never teach anybody anything if they are not seeking something and make the effort to find it by including my many nonsensical notions in their searching and putting up with the inane effort to read it.

And this is the same reason that the works of writers I know and love exist. The poems of Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, and whoever really wrote the blank verse of William Shakespeare. The essays of Henry David Thoreau, Robert Fulghum, Dave Barry, and Carl Sagan. The cartoon strips of Charles Shultz, Lyn Johnston, Walt Kelly, and Al Capp. The comic books of Carl Barks, Wally Wood, Stan Lee and Jack King Kirby, and Alan Moore. All the comedy, psychological drama, fantastic characters, themes, and raw emotion that make up life as I know it.

That’s why Mickey does all of it and any of it. The real reason why.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor

Johann Sebastian Bach may or may not have written his organ masterpiece, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor in 1704. All we know for sure is that the combined efforts of Johannes Ringk, who saved it in manuscript form in the 1830’s, and Felix Mendelssohn who performed it and made it a hit you could dance to during the Bach Revival in 1840 made it possible to still hear its sublime music today. Okay, maybe not dance to exactly… But without the two of them, the piece might have been lost to us in obscurity.

The Toccata part is a composition that uses fast fingerings and a sprightly beat to make happy hippie type music that is really quite trippy. The Fugue part (pronounced Fyoog, not Fuggwee which I learned to my horror in grade school music class) is a part where one part of the tune echoes another part of the tune and one part becomes the other part and then reflects it all back again. I know that’s needlessly confusing, but at least I know what I mean. That is not always a given when I am writing quickly like a Toccata.

I have posted two different versions for you to listen to in this musical metaphor nonsensical posticle… err… Popsicle… err… maybe just post. One is the kinda creepy organ version like you might find in a Hammer Films monster movie in the 1970’s. The other is the light and fluffy violin version from Disney’s Fantasia. I don’t really expect you to listen to both, but listening to one or the other would at least give you a tonal hint about what the ever-loving foolishness I am writing in this post is really all about.

You see, I find sober thoughts in this 313-year-old piece of music that I apply to the arc of my life to give it meaning in musical measure.

Toccata and Fugue

This is the Paffooney of this piece, a picture of my wife in her cartoon panda incarnation, along with the panda persona of my number two son. The background of this Paffooney is the actual Ringk manuscript that allowed Bach’s masterwork not to be lost for all time.

My life was always a musical composition, though I never really learned piano other than to pick out favorite tunes by ear. But the Bach Toccata and Fugue begins thusly;

The Toccata begins with a single-voice flourish in the upper ranges of the keyboard, doubled at the octave. It then spirals toward the bottom, where a diminished seventh chord appears (which actually implies a dominant chord with a minor 9th against a tonic pedal), built one note at a time. This resolves into a D major chord.

I interpret that in prose thusly;

Life was bright and full of promise when I was a child… men going to the moon, me learning to draw and paint, and being smarter than the average child to the point of being hated for my smart-asserry and tortured accordingly. I was sexually assaulted by an older boy and spiraled towards the bottom where I was diminished for a time and mired in a seventh chord of depression and despair. But that resolved into a D major chord when the realization dawned that I could teach and help others to learn the music of life.

And then the Fugue begins in earnest. I set the melody and led my students to repeat and reflect it back again. Over and over, rising like a storm and skipping like a happy child through the tulips that blossom as the showers pass. Winding and unwinding in equal measure, my life progressed to a creaky old age. But the notes of regret in the conclusion are few. The reflections of happinesses gained are legion. I have lived a life I do not regret. I may not have my music saved in the same way Johann Sebastian did, but I am proud of the whole of it. And whether by organ or by violin, it will translate to the next life, and will continue to repeat. What more can a doofus who thinks teaching and drawing and telling stories are a form of music ask for from life?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized