In the Brainholes: Trying to Be a Time Travel Expert


October wears on, burying me in its deluge of crap. Missed Thursday’s post. Not happy about it.

But on the plus side, Nick and I furthered our Looper discussion by creating a big analysis of the movie’s time travel ins and outs, and the post is now available as a Huffington Post blog. You can check it out right here.

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excuses and restarts

facepalm 600

Sometime around July, I started to write an entry in this blog to restart it. As you might have guessed, I never finished that entry.

That entry opened with a short discussion of lowered priorities, the balancing of making money and writing in blogs that no one reads, et cetera and so on. I also played the “I was writing a book” card, which kind of excuses me, I guess. Except we finished writing that book in April. I’ve had a few short flurries of activity since then in the editing process, concerning copy edits, content edits, cover choices and promo materials, but nothing to warrant not having written here for so long.

Let’s face it. I was lazy. I also read A¬†Game of Thrones, A Storm of Swords (when something becomes a TV show or a movie, that’s often when I find out about it) and some other stuff. I’ve played a lot of video games for work. Skyrim is a thing that sucks up some of my time. I have a lot of excuses, I’ve written a lot of words, and I’ve neglected this thing I’ve created. I have a tendency to do that. I’m a terrible father and an easily distracted god.

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Cracking Open Fingers to Release Truth, Whether It's In There or Not

He stared at the blank page and it reflected his mind.

Not that he had nothing to say. On the contrary, he felt he had plenty to say, so much so that all the bits of it were piling against the floodgates that ran to his fingers, coagulating against one another and preventing any from being projected out into the void.

And while all those things were there, fluttering just behind his eyes and bouncing off one another like moths crowding toward an incandescent, false moon, he couldn’t seem to find a shape for them. They were formless hunks of half-formed ideas that he felt sure he could make into something if only he could figure out that first word.

So Hugh Summerville picked one at random.

Burma. It popped in there at once. People were fighting for democracy in Myanmar, he’d read just a few seconds earlier during one of his many forays into the void, excursions he made every time his attention wavered.

Burma. Democracy in Burma. Burmese pythons. Burmese mountain dogs. Dogs fighting pythons. Hugh didn’t even like dogs (or pythons), not really, because he found them to be too much like children, except harder to wrangle, impossible to reason with, and constantly begging for food.

Misbehaving dogs drove Hugh crazy. It was an attitude he’d inherited from his mother, who always would yell at the family dogs (why there had been two Hugh had no idea) regardless of what they were doing, and most the time when they were doing nothing at all.

He hated the fact that he’d been so influenced by his parents’ opinions. His dumb parents, Hugh corrected himself, rapping on the delete key. They knew nothing of the world in which Hugh lived, he was sure. They were often closed-minded. They disagreed with him on a number of political and religious fronts. Once, his mother had been so offended that Hugh said he considered himself an atheist that he’d thought she might disown him then and there.

Not that Hugh had had much in the way of a religious upbringing. But suddenly it was incredibly important, and his lack of faith incredibly disappointing. He refused to talk about it ever again.

He considered deleting the document up to now and replacing it with a discussion of religion and parents, but really, he had nothing to say on the matter. His parents irritated him, and so did religion. End of story.

He considered next a long dissertation on his politics, the stupidly hard-to-explain cross between laissez-faire and social protection that even he couldn’t really wrap his head around. Health care yes, government control no. Security yes, government wiretaps no. Strong dealing with foreign aggressors yes, preemptive war no. Part-time state legislature. Better road care. Free market. Regulations against jokers in the energy industry.

The philosophy was wrought with contradictions, Hugh was the first to admit that. No reason in inviting criticism from the fat Internet geeks he knew who would probably be the first, last and only people to read what he had to say. Not that had had anything to say at on the front that hadn’t been said, and said better, by someone else anyway.

Annoyed, he shut the laptop. He wandered the room for a few seconds, then returned, determined to force himself to be interesting, to pour his thoughts out into the void, to prove to himself that he was both worthwhile and had something worth sharing with others.

But he didn’t.


The screen shimmered dark and light, the text going gray and blurry before his eyes. It was a convoluted, nonsensical mess, but so was his mind.

Fuck it, Hugh thought. No one read what he had to write anyway. If a tree falls in the woods, alone and cold and desperate to leave an impression before it rots away and disappears, at least it makes a sound to itself.

Therefore, writing without having anything to write was just fine. After all, everyone else did.

Hugh tapped “publish” and went for a smoke.

I'm blogging! Brock, I blogged!

I keep trying to do this and failing. For a journalist, I’m not much for keeping journals.

Still, at the past suggestion of Caitlin M. Foyt, and because it’s always a struggle to keep writing and this is yet another outlet, I’m typing life down. Just in case you weren’t getting enough Phil Hornshaw. That is, assuming someone else sees this and I’m not just reading it myself in a year.

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about and working on stories about zombies. Anybody who’s been reading “Wrath of the Damned,” a multi-author ongoing zombie apocalypse short story blog project (adjectives, anyone?), probably has heard me rant about the zombie genre, its place among the horror genres, and the way it’s been mistreated pretty much always (with a few noteable, but slightly campy, exceptions).

If you haven’t heard that rant, I’ll spell it out. As a genre of stories, I feel zombie fiction is, on the whole, fairly horrible. Occasionally zombie stories are treated with the reverence and seriousness they deserve, but that’s usually not the case. Such stories largely amount to little more than gory monsters gorily munching on screaming victims. These victims, more often than not, could have avoided certain death merely by being a little more vigilant, a little less petty, or a little more respectful of the danger around them.

Therefore, “Wrath,” to which I contribute along with authors Nick Hurwitch, Robert Bernardi, Rich Bronson and Angie Hornshaw, is supposed to be a more realistic, high-minded, and possibly spiritual look at the idea of the living dead. Specifically, I have questions: what do zombies mean to the idea of a soul; if the dead return to life, what does that mean about life after death; is it mercy to kill someone to prevent them from becoming a zombie, or to kill a zombie to “release” it; if you kill a zombie, is it murder; Can zombies be saved?

So we’re trying to do some cool stuff. We’re also trying to do some story-type stuff with our wrathofdamned Twitter account.

Hopefully more people will read it.