When the Beta Is All Wrong

This past weekend, I took a little jaunt down to southern Utah to hike and rappel a slot canyon… ok, first, here’s a warning–this is super long… but you like to read, so, hey! Match made in heaven. 😉

So, I thought this would take 3-5 hours, because that’s what the beta said! Ha. Ha ha ha. 

By the way, I should mention that reading this might take you 3-5 hours. 

From 10am-6pm, we descended into this really gorgeous slot canyon. Incredible. Stunning. An absolute work of art—reminded me of a Henry Moore sculpture, but better, because Nature did it, and she’s a woman, and she’s got fine hands for sculpting. 

The best parts were the final rappels (there were 8). At that point we’d been cold all day. There’s a lot of standing around waiting for your turn and it was between 30-50 degrees F down there. And right at the end, there was this frigid wind flowing through the slot. I don’t mind being cold, but it can wear you down after a while… 

My kids are badasses. I can’t even believe they did this. Their tiny legs just never stopping, especially at the end. 

….the end. We got out of the canyon around 6. Then we had a hike back to our cars. It was fine at first. 

Then night fell around 7:30pm. 

Child rappelling in a slot canyon

And there was no trail to get out of the canyon.

NO TRAIL. To explain, there were three exit options. One involved shuttling a car through rough road to a pick up place (which we didn’t do). The other was the long hike out—which would take 4-5 hours (and based on my experience now, these helpful fools writing the beta can’t be trusted, and so that was probably more of a 6-7 hour hike). 

The last exit route was trailblazing through a wash (a WASH… you know, washes aren’t trails… they get washed away every time it rains. And it had rained/snowed recently) to a ridge, and then just eyeballing it from there. 

Eyeballing it is no problem, in daylight. 

But after an hour of hiking, I mean… I felt like we’d landed in a bad episode of Gilligan’s Island. What was suppose to be a 3 hour tour ended up A LIFETIME. 

For real. If you recall, the beta on the slot canyon said 3-5 hours. haha. We were on this 3 hour tour from 10am to 9:45 pm. 

I’d made reservations at this super cool restaurant with great beer back in Kanab for 5pm (because everyone was in Kanab over the weekend, following me… I can’t escape the crowds!). So, we breezed right through that… I’d been so hopeful and trusting in the beta lies that I made a reservation just like a hopeful fool does. So adorable of me… ha ha.

Woman at the top of a slot canyon rappell

So anyway… 

The real issue is one I can control. And that is… good lord, when will I learn to do my own damn research before an adventure? It’s the problem of dividing and conquering. When you’re single, you just do all your shit for yourself. You don’t just blindly trust a partner to figure stuff out for you. 

When you’re with someone, you think, “They got this. This is their sphere. I have to bake some pot brownies right now. So I’ll do that, while they plan this awesome backpacking trip through Mexico.” 

I don’t bake pot brownies, but I wanted that imaginary scenario to be cooler than baking cookies for my kids, which I do and then eat them all. So anyway, I said pot brownies, but I wouldn’t ruin a good brownie with pot. I’d just keep them separate, like you should. 

Anyway, yeah, so after all this time in, like I don’t know, 15 or 16 years, I think I may have finally learned that I need to know the risks going into adventures. My adventure planner and my brother-in-law, the other adventure planner, both have tendencies to gloss over the brutal details that may end up killing us. 

If we’d had to stay all night out there in the elements on an exposed butte in the middle of the desert, we would have been fine. But that was THIS time. 

Who knows what details might kill me next time? Will my adventure planner accidentally just forget to mention the recent shark sightings on this gorgeous stretch of beach that no one ever goes to, but we can have it all to ourselves? Will he skip the poisonous snakes and behemoth anaconda details because the monkeys and tropical birds are worth it? 

These are things I should know. 

People relax in a slot canyon
The author communes with the wind...

This is what I can control, you know. When I haven’t, and I’ve found myself in a pickle (haha), it’s my fault. 

Not that there’s really FAULT here. Because the night hike was flipping stunning. The half moon was brilliant and gave us so much light we hardly needed anything else (except in the thickets, of which there were billions). 

There were wildly bright planets chasing each other through the sky and even despite the moon’s glow, I got to see my first view of the Pleiades for the season. Orion’s not far behind when I see the Seven Sisters popping above the horizon like that. That sets my soul on fire. 

I just mean… I need to remember to find out for myself, instead of trusting others to know what I should know. 

Because what happens is that I feel a bit idiotic as the cold truth settles in and I realize things like, “Oh wow, what the hell have I gotten myself into? There’s no way out of this except to endure the hike…” 

That’s fine when it’s only a two hour commitment. But on that final rappel, freezing and aching everywhere, I remember thinking, “Oh shit. I still have a damn hike UP HILL THE WHOLE WAY to get back to my hotel room. And it’s almost dark.” 

I wouldn’t do it again in quite that way, knowing what I know now. 

But we made it. And so that’s freaking amazing and it’s settling in and I like the way it shaped me. And I think it shaped my kids in a way that will help them become even better than I could have imagined. 

So, all in all. Pretty freaking awesome. 

If you read this entire thing, wow. Thank you! You’re a damn trooper. Probably would have slayed it on this grueling journey with me. Next time, you’re invited!

Man with rope standing at bottom of slope

When Obstacles Are Opportunities

Before he died, Calvin—my dad—made these two…vases, I guess you’d call them. I have three, and there are more scattered among my sisters and maybe among people I don’t know—I didn’t really move in his circles, or know if he even had circles. 

Looking at them, they’re probably not that impressive. But here’s why I think they’re amazing aside from the fact that my dad made them. 

I’m not suggesting that the jaws of art critics will drop, though once I did get the opinion of an NYC based art critic on them because I thought that would be cool. 

He said they’re worth millions.

No, joking. 

Judging from his art, maybe Calvin felt too much (and maybe isn’t that something that defines artists?). I hardly knew him—my mom divorced him when I was 9 and we grew apart. But I think I know that thing about him—that he was passionate and longed to create beautiful art. And when I look at what he made, I realize things about him and I wish I could talk to him about that stuff. 

On a factual level, I only know a few things about Calvin Grotepas. Like, his birthdate, and so his astrological sign. Cancer, if you’re wondering, a water sign. Water signs hide depths and hidden worlds and I know that brands me as into woo or something to even mention it, but in my experience, birth signs impact relationships and certain signs are drawn to other signs. 

His parents were immigrants—his mother was British, and his father was from the Netherlands and the man spoke very little to no English. Calvin was raised in quite poor circumstances, and paid rent beginning at the age 14. 

Those things shaped him. But his passion drew him to fascinating interests. He admired the work of Henry Moore, and probably other sculptors, but I remember Moore because Calvin took me to an exhibit at the U of U to see his work. 

I was super little and only remember trying to pay attention and make him proud of me for being so attentive and interested in his interests.

When I was older, he spent a lot of his time throwing pottery on the wheel and attempting to fuse a wheel thrown style with sculpture. He did loads of bronze casts of sculptures and the forms he conceptualized there would also end up as handles on lids of wheel thrown pots.

At some point, his muscles began to deteriorate. His pinky finger wouldn’t bend, so it would cut through the pots as he threw them and ruin his work. I still remember the day he told me, years after the fact. Those were the things he bore alone and I look back and wish things could have been different for him. 

If you’ve ever thrown on a wheel, you’ll understand how disastrous an uncooperative finger could be, and that it would mean an end to the experience altogether. 

What was happening? He eventually discovered that he had a very rare muscle wasting disease likely catalyzed by lithium treatments for his mental illness. 

But he didn’t give up creating. 

Even when he could no longer follow that specific passion, he transferred it to a new way of building the forms he loved.

Hand-built pots take patience. I’ve only dabbled in clay a bit—courses in junior high, high school, and college—but I know enough to know that any weight bearing component of a piece must dry enough to support new layers. 

There’s something organic, alive, and patient about these vases. They’re built layer on layer, slowly. I never got to ask him how long it took to make one. I wish I had. 

What’s even more surprising about these vases, is how light they are in relation to how large—some are at least one cat-length! To me they suggest waves and growth, movement, and they breathe as though they were thrown, but no, they were formed by hand. Pressed together, molded and shaped over long periods of time.

I’m not a specialist in art, let alone sculpture, but I look at the periods of Cal’s creative life and I believe he reached his peak when he began to make these vases. Hitting that peak, even at the moment when his power had been blunted, required a lifetime of mastering previous lessons and principles related to clay and working with it.

If the road had been easy, if he’d not been forced to give up the wheel, if his body had cooperated forever till he died, he’d have never uncovered the genius and beauty that lay within him, dormant. 

It required a new path, one that was found when there was no other way to go, when he’d been robbed of his comforts and was forced to find a new method to still do what he loved. 

I have so many regrets about my dad. But I’m pleased to have these pieces of him scattered around my house, reminders of what was hidden within him, the beautiful parts of his soul that were blocked from both of us by pain and sorrow. 

In coming to these realizations about him, I’ve also come to understand the complexity of humans, and most especially my parents—the people we tend to expect to be perfect when we’re children. 

As a general rule and in my view, people are confusing and hard, though I always tend to love them. I want them to speak my language and meet me on my terms, but often the only way to hear them is on THEIR terms and by learning their language…sculpture, pottery, and science fiction were my dad’s languages. 

And I hear him. 

I think I do, anyway. And ultimately, I just think these vases are super cool. And everyone should see them.

Kindle Paperwhite Giveaway for Feed 4: The Corporation

For the last leg of relaunching the Feed series with new covers, I’m doing a MASSIVE giveaway. I convinced a bunch of really REALLY good authors to help me load this Kindle Paperwhite up with their books, and I’m super pumped to share it with you.

Because I write space opera, steampunk, and dystopian, you’ll notice that a lot of the authors are from those genres. So I hope you don’t mind. In addition to their stuff, the winner will receive all of the Feed series, the Holly Drake series, and the 6 Moon Side Job books. So, you’re getting much more than just a reading device.

The true value of this prize? Priceless. 😉

Oh, and just one more thing, if you read and reviewed the previous iterations of the Feed books, please consider reviewing the new copies. I’d be ever so grateful and send you all the e-hugs I can.



p.s. some of you have already done this! Thank you so much! <3

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Bazillion things to do. I do one. This one.

I’m  currently polishing up the final draft of “Shoulders of Giants.” Where the hell have I been of late?

Only a bazillion places and doing a trillion things, and taking care of a grillion tasks.

Here’s a sample.

Well, the one I already mentioned. Finishing up Shoulders of Giants, Odeon’s story, and I really love it.

I’m really into the 6 Moons universe and it’s been a blast to write from Odeon’s perspective.

My husband, who I’ve somehow suckered into staying THIS GD long with me, Stoker (remember him?), had a skin infection in his arm recently.

Let me explain. We went to Mexico with his family and one night we stayed in Long Beach. That’s when I remember seeing this random wound on his elbow. No idea where he got it. Four days later, it was puffy and swollen, but swear to Jupiter, it didn’t look infected.

We thought it was an old skateboarding injury flaring up. From a year ago. We started skateboarding recently. So when I say “old skateboarding injury” I mean last year. haha.

Anyway. Long story short. It didn’t respond to antibiotics for like 3-4 days. He finally went back to the doctor and they gave him a second line antibiotic. It finally began to heal. Thank Zeus!

But that’s some scary shit. You don’t think you’ve been selected to contract a super-bacteria or whatever until it happens. We were waiting for that. Maybe. We’re both hypochondriacs. Who knows?

I’m coaching my daughter’s pre-K soccer team (little known fact about me: I kill it at soccer–I should have been a soccer star! How much you wanna bet I could kick this ball over those mountains!).

I have always really identified with Uncle Rico. Glory days...

It’s so fun. But time consuming, especially since it has been the most rainy April/May in all of history in Utah. So there have been a lot of canceled games, which means, make up games. But you know, you plan for that original game and organize your day around it. So when it doesn’t happen…

My kids are growing up too goddamn fast. That’s just a thought I had. Has nothing to do with what I’ve been doing, unless we can say what I’ve been doing is biting my nails, watching time fly, feeling like there’s not enough of it, and crying in the shower that I’m not doing enough carpe diem when it comes to my sweet little cherubs

Safest place to cry.

Writing a lot of books. That’s another thing. It’s funny how writing blog posts takes a lot of time. Those 1000 awesome words I write in a blog post could be half a chapter of Odeon performing death-defying stunts on the Spireway. So, you know, I end up picking my battles.

I love the sound of my writing voice. So writing blog posts is really fun. But I’m a mom. And my husband works crazy hard and sometimes his hours are long and that means I’m momming it longer, until the kids are in bed, and usually, these days, I’m exhausted at that point. If I haven’t put my words in to finish a novel, then I’m almost too tired at that point to write.

I sometimes fall asleep at the keyboard. I end up writing whatever I’m beginning to dream about. Do I have to say that it’s really hilarious? The stuff I end up writing as I’m drifting off? It’s like college all over again.

I should keep track of them. Ah, what the hell. They’re probably only funny to me!

I don’t know what else I’ve been doing! Here’s what I HAVEN’T been doing:

Writing blog posts. Playing with my kids (enough). Having wine a lot with friends while we chat. Going on dates with Stoker. Playing with my cats or just cuddling them. Sleeping in. Remodeling my house. Hanging the pictures I have ready to hang (why the hell?…). Going to the Greek isles. Eating fine cheeses. Preventing my hair from going gray. Getting that shattered crown replaced (WTF? F-U life). Listening to records. Going to concerts. Reading that friend’s writing sample he sent me to see if it’s a decent UF story (sorry, bro! You sent it to me while I was driving and in the midst of my husbands health crisis! Getting to it…) I mean, it probably is, right? He’s the most picky writer I’ve ever met. That’s a compliment.

Maybe my next blog post will happen in a year! We’ll see! I might surprise you. I love surprises.

Did you see this one? Yeah, I've been super bad about posting cover reveals here! Follow me on FB because I'm a champion there!

Ten Days of Feed 3! Starting with: Cover Reveal!

Feed 3 comes out on December 15th and this post should have gone up yesterday. But let’s pretend that today is the 5th and not my mom’s birthday (Happy birthday, Mom! She doesn’t read my blog, haha, but if she happened to glance at it, I would definitely want her to know that she MUST have a happy birthday.). 

I have a bunch of stuff planned to celebrate the long awaited release of this book. So I want to get right into it. 

First of all, if you’re not signed up for my mailing list and you’re a fan of my Feed series (also known as the Fooko series), then you should know that if you DO sign up for it, you will receive a copy of “Feed 0.5 (Genesis)”, which is only available to my newsletter subscribers. Here’s the link to do that.

Secondly, the cover of the new book! 

Pretty great, eh? Yeah, it sticks with the style. Thematically speaking.

Feed 3 is going to be available in paperback and as a Kindle edition. It won’t be available from any other retailer except Amazon. If it ever is, I’ll let you know. For now, you’ll be able to read it on Kindle Unlimited. It’s going to be on sale for 99 cents for the first week before it goes up to $2.99.

OK, one more thing. Feed 1 and 2 are currently not available in paperback because I’m still reformatting them into the smaller (and better) size. As soon as they’re back on sale as paper back, I’ll let you know.

Enormous Sci-Fi and Fantasy Ebook Giveaway!

Can there ever be TOO many unicorns? They're a staple. So no. I don't think so.

Are you a compulsive reader of fantasy and sci-fi? Do your thoughts drift to the book you’d rather be reading over being forced to engage in conversation with store clerks, coworkers, bosses, dentists? 

If you answered yes to either of those questions, then this MASSIVE giveaway, hosted by esteemed, glitterati sci-fi writer Patty Jansen (via #Instafreebie) is for you. There are over 150 books for you to peruse and download at your behest.

And all you have to do to get one is surrender your email address! 

I know, it’s like level 100 book-extortion! Haha.

But it’s not, really, because hey, we’re authors and if you LOVE our work, like we all hope you do, then we’re actually doing you a favor! 

Heh. Heh. 

No but seriously. I’ve signed up for a few mailing lists, including Jansen’s. She’s got quite a few series I’m looking to read soon.

What have you guys been reading? I’m always interested in getting reader’s recommendations. Lately I’ve been reading books from the Discworld universe and loving them. 

Let me know if you find anything on this list that piques your interest. Oh, did I mention, Feed 1 is on there? It is! And by the way, I have a major announcement coming soon on that front, so keep that on your radar. 

How to Use a Pumice Stone (and How Not To)

Back in 2005 when I started my first blog and began dating Stoker, he had a run-in with a pumice stone. And I wrote a mildly decent post about it (linked, if you’re interested in reading the original), because why not?

It still cracks me up, that pumice stone incident. And I confess that I still find the improper use of pumice stones hilarious, especially when it involves Stoker, as an adorable 22-year-old.

Anyway, so apparently people really have a lot of questions about how to use these little chunks of sandpaper, because that post gets loads of regular traffic.

So, I’m revisiting the topic! And I’m also going to do everyone a solid and share new info, like the PROPER WAY TO USE A PUMICE STONE as well as give you the best clips of the old post here, because it makes a great format and I really like great things. Love the great things. Like, a lot.

Let’s get on with it. Let’s really dig into my in-depth tutorial on using a pumice stone! Here goes:

The other night Stoker scrubbed the inside of his elbow too vigorously with the pumice stone. He was taking a bath, reading his book on recording engineering, and he got this itch on his inner elbow. You know, the soft, pale part of your arm just below the bulge of round joint. I don’t know what he was thinking using a pumice stone there. But he did. He’s new to pumice stones, I suppose and didn’t realize that you should only use them on tough, calloused skin like the bottom of your feet and elbows.


    An innocent-looking pumice stone. Should be fine on my skin, like all over my entire body, right? WRONG.

The itch flared up and the light blue, foot shaped pumice stone was resting on the edge of the bathtub, innocently minding its own business. Stoker’s eyes fell on its white flecked beauty and the idea struck him. He grabbed the light stone and scraped it lightly across the tender skin. It felt good. Deceivingly good. With a sigh, he brushed the skin with the pumice stone, effectively eliminating the itch.

2. WHEN CONFRONTED WITH A POWERFUL ITCH, EVEN WHEN A PUMICE STONE IS PRESENT, DO NOT USE THE PUMICE STONE TO SCRATCH SOFT TISSUE. At first, of course you might slide the pumice stone across the skin and find relief. OK, one soft stroke is fine. But as everyone knows, an itch doesn’t often go away with just one scratch. In order to avoid the inevitable scenario of too much pumice-stone-scratching, do not even engage in JUST ONE SCRATCH.

Later, the skin turned red. Raw. That’s when the whole story came spilling out: itch… pumice stone…I scrubbed it and it was great, at the time. But now it hurt. Like a burn. Poor kid. I truly felt bad for him, felt a little guilty for not warning him about the potency of a pumice stone. Though, when you think about it, I’m sure he knew. How could you not? I mean, it’s like sandpaper. No one rubs their skin with sandpaper, right?

3. PUMICE STONE USE SHOULD BE RESERVED FOR PORTIONS OF THE BODY WITH THICK, TOUGH CALLOUSES, LIKE THE HEEL, THE BALL-JOINT OF THE BIG TOE, OR, WELL YEAH, THAT’S ABOUT IT. And you know, just rub the pumice stone on the callous. It’s not rocket science (although, it occurs to me now, that maybe it is, and I’m just ignorant of the highly complicated process of pumice stone operation. Maybe I should do a Google search!).

So, to sum up, this is a bad idea, even for body hair removal [Note: this statement is not backed by any peer-reviewed studies]:

You want to do that to remove all your HIDEOUS BODY HAIR? Fine. Go for it. But we all know this body-hair removing use of pumice stones was started by pumice stone companies looking to have a new way to market their callous-removing tool.

To be safe, reserve the pumice stone for officially sanctioned (by the Pumice Stone Society of America) pumice stone activities. You don’t want to denude the top layer of your skin in some weird effort to rid yourself of body hair. Accept it! You’re a mammal. A beautiful animal that grew hair for a billion biological reasons, and mother nature doesn’t make mistakes (except for when she does, like accidentally).

If you really want to get rid of your arm hair (and stuff), consider a safer alternative, like burning it off with a curling iron, ah! Wait!

New use of curling irons!

Just a second . . . I’ve got Revlon on the phone now . . .

I Can’t Go On . . . I’ll Go On: The Grief of Loss

So, my cat died four weeks ago. Still hard. I still keep thinking I hear the cat door open and close while the other cats are clustered around me. There are just two, now. The house seems empty without Bastet around.

One night I’d been playing Destiny PVP waaaaaaaaaay too late. Like, till maybe 2 am (shhhh, keep it a secret). And I was probably killing it in the Crucible. Because I do.

Anyway, that’s just some slang to show how IN I am in the hardcore gaming world. (I mean, I’m not. Not really.)

So I finally had the willpower to not play just one more match, and I got into bed. When I closed my eyes, all I could see was the heads-up display radar flashing red at me.

That’s fine. I mean, who hasn’t overdosed before on a video game and while trying to sleep has the jitters from holding their arms too close to their body for long periods of time? Common problem.

But as I tried to sleep, still seeing the game in my head in a sleep-deprived fog, I realized that maybe I’ve been immersing myself in the fantasy construct of the game to numb the painful and loud absence left by my old companion, Bastet.

With my eyes closed, I thought of her. I flashbacked to the vet’s office and holding her as the doctor gave her the barbituate.

And I couldn’t get my head around the fucking idea that she’s gone. And that I held her tight in that moment, and now she’s in the ground and what I knew of her has fled–the light that made Bastet, Bastet. The animation. The purrs. The sounds. The fragrance of her fur. The blinky-eye kisses that she’d give me from across a room.

My sleep-deprived brain settled on the grotesque image of her body, a white skeleton in the ground (though yes, I know it will be some time before that actually happens), a strange entity that bears no familiarity to the cat I knew.

And I suddenly understood elephants. I mean, you know how elephants are said to revisit the bones of a departed family/herd member? I GET THAT NOW (it’s not necessarily true, however, see links). I felt like an elephant, in my head, wrapping myself around the rib bones of my cat, keening about my loss.

Do elephants keen? I could be making this up, this info about elephants. Don’t use this as a source for your biology report on elephants.

This is kind of psychedelic and is likely a result of the black maw of sorrow in my chest and the aforementioned overdose of Destiny PVP.

But let’s all be unflinchingly honest for a moment about American culture–there is no built-in method to channel grief. To deal with grief and the struggle to move on when a loved one passes on.

Bear with me here.

We have a funeral. And . . .

That’s it, guys, a FUNERAL. We close the casket or scatter the ashes and boom, that’s it. Good luck moving on, friend. And then those of us least affected by the death do tend to move on well enough.

But if you’ve lost a lover, a child, a cat or a dog (let’s face it because they’re with us as often as humans), how the hell do you deal? How do you get your instinctive, animal-brain around that sudden, malicious absence?

I say that it’s the old part of the brain that really struggles, because I think it is. I’m sure there’s likely research or info out there to back me up, but this isn’t a research paper. This is my OP-ED piece. It’s my opinion. And I’m saying that it’s the old part of the brain because I think the newer parts of the human brain grasp death, in a way. Those are the parts that comprehend time. The past. The future. The present. And they’re all trying to mix and mingle in the middle of the brain, the part where we live.

But death, death is confusing, and it goes against the old part of the brain, where we live in the now. That is the part of our heads that looks around to find our friend, and then the other parts of our brain are like, “Dude, get a grip! They’re GONE.” And we are like, “What does that even mean? How can they be gone? They were just here! I JUST SAW THEM.” None of this is making sense. But consider that it doesn’t make sense because DEATH DOESN’T MAKE SENSE.

In other cultures, there are complicated funeral rites that sometimes last up to 100 days after the death of a loved one. These traditions aren’t meant for the dead, though it’s said that they are–they’re for the living. They’re designed to channel grief into something meaningful, into a roadmap of how to make it the hell out of the valley of the shadow of death to where you can manage to move on without wanting to collapse in a waterfall of tears, implode into a blackhole of rage and sorrow.

And we have nothing like that. We have our shared American religions that tell us our dead friend or lover is living again with God or Christ. But that’s not really enough. Because it doesn’t involve us in doing something that means something. To help us move from the space of catastrophic sadness and loneliness and “I can’t go on” to the place of “I can deal, I can go on, OMG I don’t want to, but I will.”

In any case. That’s all. I’ve been using a game world to find solace. And it’s working.

I think.

But still. I miss her. So much.

She loved cuddles. And playing “kill the bird” with cat toys. She was HUNTING perfected. Yet, incongruently enough, was also a master of the cuddle-fest.

And see, here are these quotes from The Unnamable, by Samuel Beckett, which is how death and grief feel to those left behind:

If I gave up! If only I could give up! Before beginning, before beginning again! (What breathlessness! That’s right, ejaculations! That helps you on, that puts off the fatal hour. No? The reverse? I don’t know.) Start again, in this immensity, this obscurity: go through the motions of starting again – you who can’t stir, you who never started. (You the who?) (Go through the motions? What motions? You can’t stir.)

You launch your voice, it dies away in the vault. (It calls that a vault – perhaps it’s the abyss: those are words). It speaks of a prison (I’ve no objection), vast enough for a whole people, for me alone (or waiting for me). I’ll go there now, I’ll try and go there now.

I can’t stir.

And then this clip:

I don’t know: perhaps it’s a dream, all a dream. (That would surprise me.) I’ll wake, in the silence, and never sleep again. (It will be I?) Or dream (dream again), dream of a silence, a dream silence, full of murmurs (I don’t know, that’s all words), never wake (all words, there’s nothing else).

You must go on, that’s all I know.

They’re going to stop, I know that well: I can feel it. They’re going to abandon me. It will be the silence, for a moment (a good few moments). Or it will be mine? The lasting one, that didn’t last, that still lasts? It will be I?

You must go on.

I can’t go on.

You must go on.

I’ll go on. You must say words, as long as there are any – until they find me, until they say me. (Strange pain, strange sin!) You must go on. Perhaps it’s done already. Perhaps they have said me already. Perhaps they have carried me to the threshold of my story, before the door that opens on my story. (That would surprise me, if it opens.)

It will be I? It will be the silence, where I am? I don’t know, I’ll never know: in the silence you don’t know.

You must go on.

I can’t go on.

I’ll go on.


A Paul Anka Mystery (with Peter Cetera!) Song!

Sometime in the late 70s/early 80s (exact date of song genesis unknown), Paul Anka wrote a song called “Hold Me Till the Morning Comes.” And then he proceeded to record about fifty thousand different versions. Since 1997, I have been looking for the version that appeared on a tape that some attractive Marine made for me during the autumn of 1996 (we didn’t last, as a couple).

But around the turn of the century, the Internet didn’t yet have the answer to every single question I might have, because, well, see for yourself:

Amazon literally looked like an unkempt rainforest back then, didn’t it? No wonder I couldn’t find answers!

(cont.) and so I ended up with the crappy version (from the 1983 album “Walk a Fine Line”) that appeared on the album “Body of Work” that came out in 1998. Confused? You should be. Because I was. And have been, for 17 years, apparently. Anyway, that version sounds like this:

(Note: the above video is not the original video featured in this post. Youtube/SME blocked the original, which was great. IP is such a drag). 

The Youtuber who posted this is a marketing genius. Put Peter Cetera on the cover of your vid and get 239,952 views (5,000 of them are mine) vs. the comparison I’ll make later in this post.

And I knew it wasn’t the right version. Because this version just sounds . . . less punchy. It’s almost like Paul couldn’t let Peter have his moment, there, at the end, when Peter is saying, “Would you love me in the morning?” And Paul is like, “Would you lo-ove me?” over the top of Peter’s vocals. Not great.

I mean, I DO wonder what Paul was doing. And what he was thinking, because even if the critics didn’t love him or the album this song appeared on, he was hella successful. I mean, it’s the sort of thing when writers complain that Twilight sucked and why was it so successful? It’s crap! And then some wiser person, for instance, me, responds, “Yeah, it’s crap. That’s why Stephenie is laughing all the way to her bank account. The account in the bank she OWNS BECAUSE SHE’S UNIMAGINABLY RICH.”

That’s Paul Anka. He had some hits in the 50s, then made a series of business-brilliant moves and even if his voice is “slight” and “a little hard to hear” with “all that talent surrounding it” {link} HE DOESN’T have to be as impressive as Peter. Paul’s smart. And he did a lot of genius crap and now he’s reaping the rewards.

But I digress. That version, where Paul is like, “I will not let you steal my spotlight! I must dub my own vocals over Peter’s shit because he’s the BACKING vocals and I’m the main act!” It’s a crap version.

Amongst the weird vocal blips at the end, there are other instrumental differences as well, which I noticed and didn’t like. Plus I could obviously compare it to the track that was on the tape Matt the Marine made for me, because back then I still had my double-cassette tape deck. It looked exactly like this random image of the precise make and model of the stereo I had back when Matt made me that tape:

This puppy was for sale in Canada for $40. And now that I have no way to listen to cassettes, I obvs. wish I would have known. I could have bought it! And then proceeded to live in the past, where everything is sunnier and warmer all the time.

So, despite years of obstacles and insurmountable blockades by record labels looking to repeatedly release new albums full of bad versions of old songs and not reissue Japanese 45s, the Internet in 2017 wins. Because while it didn’t have the answer to every life-long mystery back in 1999 . . . . {drum roll}

IT HAS THEM NOW. Here is the BEST VERSION of Paul Anka’s hit “Hold Me Til the Morning Comes” (featuring Peter Cetera on backing [backing, dammit, backing!] vocals).

NOTE: Again, this is not the original version that made it into this awesome post. I can no longer find that rare single version. SME keeps blocking everything. They’re so FUN like that. They apparently only want the crap versions of Paul’s hit circulating in the world. But here’s the actual link. It won’t embed, but you may be able to see it on Youtube.

Here’s that comparison for you (update: which no longer matters, due to the shittiness of Youtube and SME): the above version of the song only has like 500 views, because unlike the other Youtuber, they didn’t put Peter on the cover. Or in the title. We need to get a marketing team on this, because it would be great to get that crap version of the song out of circulation!

And for your reference, here is the version I found before I found the version from the Japanese 45, which also features a hilarious (I just have to be honest about that) Euro-version at the end. I guess that one is supposed to be for the discotheques.


(This link is the same link as above, because of the amorphous nature of Youtube and rules and b.s. stuff like that).

TL;DR — It took me 17 years to find a version of a song that I first heard in 1996. The Internet saved me, finally, from taking the complete mystery to my grave.

NOTE: This once stunning work of posting genius has been mangled by Youtube and my attempts to keep it up to date. I refuse to be stymied by THEIR whims. So I’m keeping it out of stubbornness.