Educator, writer and documentarian based out of central China. Catch the full story at www.findthefabulist.com.
The Hermit and the Songbird
They flew no banners, the carts that snaked down the narrow, overgrown paths of the Mordenwood, but any who saw them would recognize them as vehicles of conquest. The cart in the lead was open to the air, drawn by draft horses in barding and filled with soldiers and their kit – two pikemen, four musketeers and a driver with a matchlock pistol secreted in his garb, each of them with a cuirass and a steel helmet. Behind it was a carriage with a compartment reinforced with iron bars; two pikeman minded the roof of the vehicle while the captain sat with the driver, wearing his fine steel broadsword and ornate pistol proudly. A pair of men on coursers rode at the flanks, occasionally prodding the thickets with their lancets and sweeping the path ahead.
Thus we shaped our ideal god. We sang in time to the digital hum And harmonized with its synthetic voice For we knew no other possibility.
The Western Dawn
There was a cloud following in the wake of the fleet when it came, a looming pall the color of a morning thunderhead resting atop a mountain's crown. This was the sign that the day would not be a normal one, that the world was soon to unfold into something we'd never expected. The sun vanished behind that strange cloud, and when it appeared again it was over a land made new.
On Squirrels, or: The Joy of the Unwilling Photo Subject
There's a story behind my first squirrel picture. I was coming home from a different photo opportunity - a little concert in an indie music store, perfectly lit to the eye but it might has well have been half a mile below the surface to the camera. As I passed through a small park, I noticed a single squirrel skulking around in front of an adjacent business. Inspiration struck: As long as I'm carrying this gear bag, why not try to get a shot of the little furball?
The Angel of El Escorial
Originally published in the Wavelengths anthology, June 2018. The notes in the pages that follow are a secret to all but God the Father and their author, Epifanio Artemio Felix, servant of the Holy Mother Church and bearer and translator of the Holy Scripture in the name of Bishop of Rome and the Father General of the Society of Jesus. That I have kept the contents of this pamphlet a secret is my greatest sin, and I have begged forgiveness from the Lord for my cowardice. In the name of my life, my reputation and my station, I concealed the marvel that we discovered in the foothills of Sierra de Guadarrama. In my defense, however feeble, I feared the impact that the entity would have on an empire that stands on a foundation that even still erodes. My prayers are that this information be found in a time of stability when the information can be used to the greater glory.
Cheery Little Monochrome World
Daniel's stomach folded twice over upon itself as the subway train squirmed through the network of uniform concrete veins that ran beneath the city streets. It wasn't that the ride was a rough one – transportation services were excellent in whatever city this was (the name eluded him for the moment but the subway was good anywhere you went). The teal interior walls were cleanly scrubbed, the comfort filters doing superb work in cleansing the air of the aromas of perspiration, fast food, and cigarette smoke. It was enough to make one feel sorry for the drivers on the streets above whose own personal vehicles – produced as they were by dinosaur companies that yet resisted the call of rationality – had no similar guarantee of sanitation and comfort. No, if there was anything tightening the vise on Daniel's gut, it was internal – jet lag, exhaustion, stress, all the unpleasant hallmarks of an otherwise prestigious position. Experience had not yet gifted him with a tolerance for the mental and physical rigors of constant travel.
A Brief Guide to Worldbuilding (And Why It's Not That Important)
"Worldbuilding" is one of those concepts that ebbs and flows in writing communities. It's a non-topic, and then suddenly it's the only thing anyone wants to talk about - and when worldbuilding is at its high water mark, there are resources in abundance to address it. There are checklists, map builders, podcasts, worksheets, books, and hundreds if not thousands of articles on this allegedly all-important topic. At times it seems like the only thing an aspiring novelist should care about.
The Seven Deadly Sins of Dialogue Tags
How many people have written posts on this exact topic? Dozens? No doubt. Hundreds? I'd believe it. They keep writing them because it's an area where the point never sinks in. To the novice writer - almost invariably afraid of repetition - getting creative with dialogue tags just makes sense, no matter how many times people tell them not to do it.