Monday, December 22, 2014

Joe's Gone

Joe's gone. I said so in the title and you still didn't believe me. I liked Joe. I'm sure several thousand people are blasting this song all over the internet. I don't mind being several thousand and one.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Being off of most social media means I don't hear the news. I still use Tumblr for the Mango and just learned about what went down in Pakistan. I don't have anything to say that be of any use to anyone. It's one of those nightmares come true that we humans are so good at.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Dark Crystal

Just watched The Dark Crystal for the first time in decades. My nineteen year old daughter actually liked it. Shock! The beginning did move a bit too slowly for her 21st century tastes, though. I saw it twice in the theater when I was thirteen years old with two different groups of fantasy-loving friends. I'd forgotten much of it and was surprised at how old-fashioned it looked to me, but I still loved the variety of alien life Henson and his people created. Still good stuff!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Some Changes

I'm figuring out where I want to be in ten years, and I decided I want to have written a lot more fiction by that time. I looked at some of the bigger time-sucks in my life over which I have control. Yesterday, I dropped off of Facebook, Twitter, and Google +. My accounts are still there, I'm just not looking at them. I hope to spend more time reading and writing, because of that. Also, I'm bringing the Beware the Hairy Mango podcast to an end. Because I just had people subscribe to the Elitist show for a year, I figured I'd give it one more year. So my last show there is going to be December 30th, 2015.

As I sharpen my focus on what I want for 2025, there will be other changes as well. Who knows what they might be?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Take A Man For A Joyride!

Not me, silly. That would be a miseryride. What I'm saying is, go over to SF Signal today to read the latest free story from my collection, The Dritty Doesen! I call it, A Body is for Driving, and so will you if you choose to call it by its title. It's number 113 of The One-Thousand and it's a fun little ride. Click the following link and enjoy!

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Philosophy Is The Hardest Part

And you thought it was the waiting. Hope you're all following along, as we still have a few stories to go! Today's Dritty guest spot is over at the incredible Christie Yant's blog. Christie let me post my story, "The Hard Philosophy," (number 126 of The One-Thousand) and it's waiting there for you to read it right now!

It's one of my favorites! Go read it!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Two-Thirds Of A Tripleshot!

I warned you of a doubleshot hours ago. Due to blog scheduling mayhem today, you get a tripleshot! Well, I waited so long to post this, it's the next day. Work with me. The other two shots follow.

The other New Zealand shoe has dropped at Dan Rabarts' blog, where you can find The Dritty Doesen story, A Splitting Head—one of my strangest! It's number 125 of The One-Thousand! Lookee here:

The other awesome thing is this article I wrote over at the Inkpunks' blog on why I chose to self-publish:

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Fun Side Of Cannibalism

Cover art copyright © 2014 Galen Dara

Hey there! Because of a little technical difficulty yesterday, you'll be getting a Dritty doubleshot from New Zealand today! The first is Steve Sepp, Tasty! Tasty! (number 128 of the One-Thousand) which you'll find at Grant Stone's blog here: 

The second comes later today, barring more technical difficulties. Can you manage your anticipation? Well, act like you can't!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

About Face On The Sofa

Cover art copyright © 2014 Galen Dara
Hey there! Today's Dritty Doesen tale is up at StarShipSofa! That's right! You don't even have to do any work. Just sit there and listen! The story is called About Face (number 58 of The One-Thousand) and Tony's sweet intro for it begins at about the 32:30 minute mark. But you'll also enjoy the longer story by Angela Slatter and the interview with Jonathan Taylor. Dig it:

Hope you enjoy!

Speaking of sweetness, John DeNardo gave The Dritty Doesen a nifty plug over on his superblog, SF Signal. In case you're curious:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I Challenge You To Understand It!

Cover art copyright © 2014 Galen Dara

Hey, people! I've got a new collection out called, The Dritty Doesen: Some of the Least Reasonable Stories of Matthew Sanborn Smith! Check out that cover by Galen Dara! You can find it here:

 To both celebrate the release and promote it, my friends are helping me to pelt you with free stories from the book! Today, Diane Severson showcases the (sort of) title story, Dritty Does (Number 71 of The One-Thousand). This is one of my favorite stories of all I've written. If you can't understand it, you're in good company. In fact, I challenge you to understand it!

Read it here and enjoy:


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hope For The One-Thousand

You know those stories where the protagonists are completely screwed, there's no way out, and then suddenly there's a shard of hope?

I gave up some months ago on actually reaching the goal this blog was named after and created for. As fast as time is passing, I'd have to finish a story every two days in order to make it, and unless I could quit my job, there was no way.

Let's review the rules once more: The goal was to write a thousand stories by the time I turn fifty years old. To qualify, a story has to be submitted to an editor in the hopes of getting it published. Length does not matter. I've counted everything from Twitter fiction to my novel. They're all equal.

I don't know why I didn't think of this before. Stepping into the shower today, I realized I could write eight hundred and fifty pieces of flash fiction in the time I had left. I've written hundreds of flash fiction stories for fun on this blog and Beware the Hairy Mango. I consider myself thoroughly competent in that regard. Hell, I could write one or more a day and submit only the best and still make my goal. I could do this! Then I got wet. All over.

Because I turned on the shower.

They may not all be flash fiction. It's very likely doing a lot of flash will buy me the time to do some longer work. I can't see the future and I know myself well, so I'm not going to say it's in the bag. I will say, though, that I'm back in the game!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dada's Home

Edited 9-26-14: Changed "employer" to "owner" below, which is not only more correct, but more interesting.

If I haven't mentioned it before, I am now: I'm a member of an authorial conglomeration known as Cerberus, along with Dan Rabarts and Grant Stone. Cerberus' first piece of fiction is now available in issue 60 of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, which you can buy here, at least for a month or so after I've posted this. Because the link refers to the latest issue, rather than issue 60, I assume the link will get you to future issues someday.

The story is called Dada (number 141 of The One-Thousand). It's dieselpunk mixed with a bit of the surreal. Set in the seventh year of an alternate World War I, the story takes place during an invasion of England by German forces. Our hero, Dada, is a robot who must rescue his kidnapped son with help from the lad's human mother, who is also Dada's employer owner. Yes, you've got it right. The story explores the role of an intelligent robotkind in a madly destructive human society. Check it out. An e-copy is only five Australian bucks, whatever that comes to. I hope it doesn't come to seven-hundred and thirty-two American dollars. It probably doesn't. That's rather specific.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I Stop Making Sense Thirty Years After Everyone Else

Believe it or not, I just saw Stop Making Sense for the first time. Obviously, I was never a hardcore fan of Talking Heads, but I liked what I heard on the radio and their videos back when. But I discovered the These Things Matter podcast a couple of weeks ago and listened to their Talking Heads episode wherein they convinced me to watch the movie. They were right about it. This film is pretty incredible.

Some observations: I never realized how danceable Talking Heads music was. I know that sounds stupid, but I have to hear a whole bunch of something in a pile in order to pick up on these things. For instance, I never realized how country the Eagles were until I heard one of their "best of" tapes. I know that sounds even more stupid.

If you didn't know Talking Heads' songs were so danceable by listening, you could just watch them on stage and pick that up. I've never seen a band with so much energy, and I used to go to a lot of heavy metal concerts in a former life. Old, fat me watched this movie and said to The Boy, "If I was up there on stage, after the fifth song I'd have to say, 'I'm gonna go sit down over there. You guys finish the show without me.'" On top of the normal energy was the entertainment value of David Byrne's funky moves, which weren't spontaneous, but definitely courageous and inventive.

During a Byrne break, we got that one Tom Tom Club song, which was good fun. And speaking of the Toms, Tina Weymouth knows how to lay down a groove, y'all. She's not a flashy bass player, but she finds the pocket and swings there. It's unusual in a live show to hear the bass cranked up like it is in Stop Making Sense, but again, there's the dancey thing. If you're not a riff band, your danciness comes from the rhythm section and this band knows it. I can't really speak to Chris Frantz' drumming because I'm a former bass player and bassing is what I listen to. I know all you bass players out there are saying, "If you were a good bass player, you'd be listening to the drums!" To that I answer, I never said I was a good bass player. Ha! Tied you up with your own logic!

If you're my age and you're into Talking Heads, you've already seen this movie. But maybe you're not my age, and you thought the band was kind of okay, but never really checked them out. Go get this film watch it with some friends. Make a party of it. It's a hell of a good time. I rented the DVD, but I imagine I'll have to buy a copy now.

The Empire State Building Strikes Back!

Hey! My latest story, The Empire State Building Strikes Back! (number 119 of The One-Thousand) is available today on The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine! It's a fast-paced, crazy-ass science fiction story with lots of funny stuff. Go listen here:

Let me be straight with you. I ran this story by editors at pro markets for which I thought it would be a good fit. When they all rejected me, I skipped the semi-pros and went straight to the Dunesteef. Why? Because, for them, I thought it was the perfect fit. Yes, I went for the money first. I am trying to make a buck. But you know what? Even if I could have possibly sold this story to The New Yorker, they couldn't have given me what the Dunesteef has. (It's always the Dunesteef to me. Get over it.)

None of the big markets would have given my story the audio treatment with a full cast reading, sound effects, and music. None. You might see the Dunesteef as a small market, but they give you something, with passion, that the pros won't. As they explain in the show, due to a series of mishaps, my story broke their record for the longest time on their hard drives before being podcast.  But I'm delighted with the final product. It was worth the wait.

Wolf in White Van

When I heard John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats had a novel coming out, there was no question in my mind that I'd be gobbling it up as soon as I got my hands on it. Darnielle writes the most visceral lyrics I've ever heard, with a knack for cutting right to the pain, whether emotional or physical, in just a line or two. I got what I expected from Wolf in White Van's prose by the second paragraph:

"Every other day they'd bathe me, and every time, I'd feel like it wasn't so bad for a few minutes; and then the heat would slacken the resewn flaps of my cheeks a little, and the tingling would start up, a rippling alarm traveling down confused wires."

If you figure the paragraph which precedes that one explains what's led up to that point of the narrator's life, you're no expert figurer. Answers come in time, but not all of them. There are a couple of things going on here. The telling leaps all over the story's timeline and it's meant to be disorienting. There are times the reader isn't quite sure when an event is happening or which of the other narrative strands it might be connected to. We're left to attach the pieces with little reference, perhaps echoing the reassembly of the narrator and his life after the accident that is central to the story. And centers are important here.

A little Robert Frost:

We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.

There are many unknowable centers in the book, from the imaginary fortress which sits right in the middle of the country and is the unachievable goal of the narrator's play-by-mail game, Trace Italian; to his motivation for the central act of the novel, which may be unknown even to him; to the unspoken feelings of so many of the characters.

It's the search for what lies in those centers that drive us on through the book and drive the characters through their inner turmoil. The answers at the core of everything are cloaked in many layers of protection, the innermost wrapping being the hardest and most inviting of them all: the apprehension of the seeker. Darnielle lays out the story so we can see the ending coming, and it's probably for this reason the last ten pages of Wolf in White Van filled me with dread.

Take a look for yourself:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

We Are The Cloud

Great story up at Lightspeed right now, We Are the Cloud by Sam J. Miller. You can read it here:

 Many times, I don't go for stories that seem at first to under-utilize the science fictional elements within them, but the solid writing carried me through this one until it felt like the New Wave stories of yore that I used to read years ago. In many of those stories, as in this one, the characters carried the day. Too many stories that I've been reading lately show that the author is trying to create a character-driven story, but can't quite pull it off, as far as I'm concerned. Rather, it is character-driven in that many of the elements are in place, but it's not compelling as such. Sam J. Miller nailed it. I wish I knew exactly how, so I could do it too. I'll have to re-read it. You can take a look for yourself and tell me if you catch the trick.

Friday, September 19, 2014


I've loved this song for years, bought the single and B.o.B.'s album. I've loved Rivers Cuomo's music for decades. That's not why I'm posting this video here. I'm posting it because I just saw the video for the first time a few minutes ago and what happens at the 0:35 mark made me laugh out loud. Maybe it won't do it for you, especially because you're expecting something now, more especially because I've hyped it, but it's a great song you might not have heard, so when the crushing disappointment sets in at the 0:36 mark, just know that I warned you and then you can sit back and enjoy the song.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The 3 Most Important Things in Life

From the beginning, I intended a secondary purpose for this blog, as I didn't expect to have posts about my story progress for you all the time. I wanted a place to turn you guys on to stuff that I really liked. Who knows? Since The One-Thousand now seems like an impossible goal unless I quit my job, that secondary purpose may become the primary.

Along those bolstered lines is my favorite essay of all time, Harlan Ellison's The 3 Most Important Things in Life, a journey through three highly entertaining episodes of his highly entertaining life. I would have spread the word earlier had I realized it was available online. You can read it here: 

I hope that the highly-litigious and perhaps less than internet savvy Ellison understands that I am not copying or distributing his work by linking to it. What I do, I do out of love, and the desire to turn people on to the work of one of my favorite writers.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Weekend Novella

This was the plan: To write an 18,000 word first draft this weekend and write the second draft next weekend for a market that's closing to unagented submissions next Sunday night.

I've never written that much in two days. Some people can knock that out without too much trouble, but I've never been one of those. When things aren't distracting me, I'm shaking them violently and shouting, "Distract me, damn you!"

This weekend's results: An incomplete first draft of 11,496 words.

I'm not down about it, though. For me, that's a lot of work. And much of what I have worked out is great. The first two chapters, in fact, are very close to what their last drafts will be. The plot's all worked out. I've got some completed chunks of scenes, the characters are coming to life, and the major players have their arcs. Best of all, it's fun and funny, which is what I was going for from the get-go.

I probably won't have time to work on the manuscript this week, between work and Mango obligations. But I'll do what I can next weekend and if I don't have an awesome manuscript to send out next Sunday night, I'll make it awesome later and send it to someone else.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Love Or Fear

I get lost at metaphorical sea on a regular basis. I just woke up after much too little sleep over the last twenty-eight hours and I was pep-talking myself with the thought that you can either choose love or choose fear and your results will reflect your choice. This idea is ancient, not mine, and I don't consider it new-agey in that "universe provides" sort of way. I see it, instead, as a way one's subconscious mind categorizes one's possible decisions.

Anyway, I told myself this as I was washing up: "You can choose love, or you can choose fear." And then I walked back into my bedroom and saw what my uneyeglassed sight took to be an enormous freaky spider on my floor. I didn't panic, but I did say to myself, "Well, I guess I'm going to have to choose fear this time." Bending in closer to this unmoving mass, I realized it was not an enormous freaky spider, but two lizards wrapped up in each other, not getting it on, but just chilling. I'm cool with lizards. The universe threw me a softball and let me choose love after all. Now that sounds horribly new-agey, but it's just anthropomorphization. I believe the universe is unintelligent and uncaring. It feeds with the same hand it kills with and is unaware it even has a hand. The best we can do is soak the universal hand in a bowl of Palmolive (with love) and hope for the best.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My Song Of Ice And Fire Fan Fiction

Chapter 1


Hodor. Hodor, Hodor, Hodor. Hodor.


"Hodor, Hodor!"

Hodor. Hodor. Hodor. Hodor. Hodor. Hodor. Hodor, Hodor. Hodor. Hodor. Hodor.

Hodor. Hodor. Hodor, Hodor, Hodor, Hodor.


(I'm sure this has been done, but I've avoided the series and the fans for years and am only now beginning the second book. Hodor.)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sleep Tight!

I was tired and just packing up for bed a few minutes ago when I discovered a monstrous spider in my room, two feet from my pillow. My mattress is on the floor because I dumped what passed for a bed frame when I moved, and haven't spent the dough for a new one. The spider wasn't moving, so I grabbed a can of insecticide and a long-handled dust pan from the kitchen. The dust pan's purpose was to block Ms. Spider from the mattress when she inevitably made a run for it.

I sprayed her good and was surprised that she didn't move. Her legs hadn't been curled up like a dead spider's would be. Why do I refer to her as a female? Because SUDDENLY LOTS OF BABIES CAME POURING OUT OF HER! GAAAAAAHHHHHHH!

I kept up the chemical warfare and big momma woke from her labor and went on the move! I had to sweep back and forth between her and the kids, keeping in mind that she could be dropping a trail of children off along the way. When it was all over I had a literal puddle of insecticide on my faux wood floor. I mopped up that and many arachnid corpses with the shivery, itchy, crawly sensation one gets all over one's skin when one is less than stout-hearted.

I'm hoping I'll be exhausted enough to sleep in a few more hours.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fiction Crawler 15

I did my first Fiction Crawler in ten months on last week's StarShipSofa. Go listen and then stick around for some great fiction by Rachel Swirsky and Suzanne Palmer! The Palmer story is narrated by the lush-voiced Ibba Armancas. If you haven't heard before, you're in for a treat.

Here are the stories I'm covering (links are on the Sofa's site):

Feature Development for Social Networking by Benjamin Rosenbaum

Tornado’s Siren by Brooke Bolander

The Oregon Trail Diary of Willa Porter by Andy Marino

A Debt Repaid by Marina J. Lostetter

Bloodchild by Octavia E. Butler

The Curandero and the Swede by Daniel Abraham.


The Boy just learned about Batman villain, Man-Bat. He thought it was a stupid idea and suggested a Superman villain called Man-Super. I said maybe he's a super-powered janitor. The Boy said:

"Man-Super, I asked you to turn the water on six times!"

"Never! Mwah-ha-ha-ha!"

Sunday, July 06, 2014


If you like wonderfully surreal, pornographic, medieval-fantasy-trope-filled webcomics, why aren't you reading Oglaf already? As a sample, I offer this, something that fans of Beware the Hairy Mango might assume I'd like: Be sure to always roll over any given strip for an extra gag.

Lots of the strips are one-shots, but there are some multi-strip stories. You don't always realize that when you're reading them and therefore sometimes wonder what the hell a certain ending was supposed to mean. But you'll get over it. There are lots of returning characters and over time you get the larger picture of the awesome, impossible world in which Oglaf is set. There was one long storyline about the Funsnake with a rather mind-blowing climax. My advice is to go to the archives and start from the beginning of the strip.

It's very adult, very porny, and not everyone's cup of tea, but if my words haven't put you off, give it a look. If you like it, you'll have hours of comics to enjoy. This one is one of my favorites. It seems to be a more poorly drawn, more insane than usual filler, but the insane part is why I love it:

Have fun!

Friday, July 04, 2014

The Idea Generator #1 - The Junk Dealer

Hey! My daughter, Ivory, and I are starting a new video series called The Idea Generator. It's all about how to come up with new ideas. Take a look at episode number one - The Junk Dealer!

The Story Behind Three Kingdoms

Happy Independence Day, Americans!

My story, Three Kingdoms was just published at Kaleidotrope. It's number 95 of The One-Thousand. Go read it here: and then come back and read what went into the making of the story after the jump.


Sunday, June 15, 2014


Just wrote and sent out a piece of flash fiction which is officially number 150 of The One-Thousand!

Friday, June 06, 2014

Some Good Health News

As you may have read in the post before this one, I had a little health scare over the weekend. A big scare to me, actually, as I thought I might be having a heart attack. But between the tests at the hospital and the stress test I did yesterday afternoon, the doctors determined that my heart and arteries are healthy (healthier than I would have guessed, given my eating habits). The only issue is blood pressure. I've already started eating better to lose weight and I'll make exercise a regular thing.

The medicine I was given on Sunday is an ACE inhibitor and, apparently, a small percentage of people get a persistent cough when using ACE inhibitors. I'm part of that percentage. The cough was bad enough that it ruined my sleep for a couple of days. Today I'm on new meds. Thought I'd get a better night of sleep tonight (The cough hangs on, but is a little less severe), but I ended up volunteering for a late night at work, because the carpets were being cleaned and I had stuff I could do. It ran a couple of hours later than I expected. Ah, well. If I'm lucky, I'll squeeze in six hours before the next shift.

With the medical stuff and the lack of sleep, not a lot of creative work got done this week. I hope to have things back to normal by Sunday at the latest.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Brief Hospital Visit

I was feeling super funky a few hours ago and asked The Boy to call 911. Turns out my blood pressure was higher than I've ever seen it. The paramedics brought it down quickly, but I'm stuck in the hospital at least for the night while they make sure my heart's fine. So far it seems fine.

After my last blood pressure problem, I got healthy. When the doctor told me everything was looking good, I slacked off and here I am again four years later. Anyway, everything's cool right now. Hospital has wi-fi. I'm just lying here hoping I don't have to stay too long.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Lessons Of Compressed Mango

Here's the lesson that MuchoMangoMayo tries to teach me every single year: Get the goddamned shows done before May!

Not only have I refused to learn that lesson, but this year I was less prepared than ever! There was the additional work brought about by the new subscription feed, Beware the Elitist Mango; there was my burst of short story frenzy at the beginning of the year; and there was my move across town in March.

MuchoMangoMayo is thirty-one shows in thirty-one days and each five minute show is fully scripted. It can take three and a half hours to write, record, edit, upload,and schedule one show. The farthest ahead of the conveyor belt I've been this year is maybe three episodes. Many days I'm doing the episode hours or minutes before it goes up.

This happens every year, but this time it's been happening since almost the beginning of the month, even though I took a week off from the day job and worked on Mangoes five hours a day. I was nine minutes late with one show early on, but I otherwise have ridden the wave, and continue to ride it. My goal for today, after some sleep, is to finish four scripts and produce one show. We'll see how that goes.

But all that is just set-up for the point of this post: the lessons this year's MuchoMangoMayo has taught me.

1) I can work harder than I thought I could. Working five hours or more a day on my days off and two to three hours a day around my day job has taught me that I can work harder than I thought I could. One of the reasons I've been writing for decades with relatively poor results is that I've been slow, inconsistent, and have had to wrestle with my ADD self always to get any work done at all. The past three weeks have been my most intense creative period ever, and that includes NaNoWriMo, which I finished the first time I did it some years ago.

2) It feels fantastic. Working at this level is what I've always wanted to do and I feel more creatively satisfied than I ever have in my life. I'm more tired (and that's saying a lot, because I'm always tired), but less cranky. I'm a little less anxious and way less stressed. For thirty years, I've been wanting to make creative work my life and although I've always done the work, I've never done enough of it to feel like I'm at the level I want. But now I feel like I'm living the dream. I'm squeezing more than ever out of myself and I'm getting good work done consistently. I've arrived at the life I've always wanted.

Don't get me wrong, the ultimate teenage dream involved much more money and fans and no day job, but the day to day work and satisfaction is all there.

3) I need to ship on time.  In the world of manufacturing, shipping a new product on time means getting the thing designed, mass-produced and out the door on the day you say you're going to do it. I've known for many years that I work better with deadlines than without, so I started setting deadlines. I almost always missed them, but I worked harder knowing they were there.

I've known for less years than that that I'll work harder for someone else than I will for myself. For a couple of years I told other people my deadlines—my dear friends Emily and Diane—so I'd feel obligated to get the stuff done on time and not disappoint them. I'd still blow deadlines, but not as many.

With MuchoMangoMayo I've promised people I don't even know that I will ship on time. Every day in May, they will get a show, delivered at midnight. That is my promise. People donate more money to the show in May than in any other month because I'm delivering something special. I sure as hell don't want to disappoint them and so far I haven't.

So there's my lesson for future projects: tell people what you're doing and when it's going to ship and make sure that happens. There's creative power in time limits and I heard Ian Boothby talk about this just hours ago in the latest episode of the Sneaky Dragon podcast. When you've got to hustle to get something done for someone else, you'll deliver something that's less than perfect. The beauty is you won't have time to fret over imperfection because you'll have already moved onto the next thing. You'll never make one perfect thing, no matter how long you work and how much you stress. Say that to yourself a few thousand times while you're making many, many imperfect things and chilling.

4) The fountain's got to sit down. When you're kicking off into a creative life, you have a tendency to think that it's possible to run out of ideas. After a while you realize that's not true, but you don't really feel it in your gut yet. A few years ago, I began to feel it in my gut. I never worry about the ideas anymore. They always come even though I burn through a shitload of them with every project. But even though ideas flow from a never-ending fountain, that fountain needs occasional maintenance, some chlorine, a cleaning out of the spigots or whatever it is fountains have. Sometimes the fountain has to go sit down over there for a while.

I'd put in about nine or ten days straight when one day I had stuff to do. I did that stuff and then problems happened. I dealt with the problems and it was getting late in the day and I wasn't getting to work. This is normally the point where I wrestle myself into a foam of paralysis, guilt, and despair. This time I said to myself, "I think I accidentally gave myself the day off." I didn't freak. I relaxed and read and screwed around online. The next day I was back at it.

Normally when I take a vacation, I dread going back to work. I'm sure many of you do too. This time I didn't. As each day passed, I was working and I knew when I went back to the day job I'd still be working. Come Sunday I was a little bent out of shape that I wasn't going to have enough time to work on the show, but my destructive emotions just weren't hitting the highs that they normally do.

The alien thing was that when I went back to work, I was almost relieved. I was going to have an excuse not to think creatively for hours! I just slid in and did my job without a bit of frustration. That was weird. Normally I'm bubbling with ideas at work and I'm writing the best ones down, but it took me about four days before that started kicking in again. I'd worked my making-things-up muscle hard for a week and it needed to rest up a bit. Once it was rested, it started flexing again. This doesn't mean I stopped creating for a few days. It means I had many waking hours when I wasn't creating, couldn't create, and didn't have to create.

I had finally, for the first time in my life, sated this appetite within myself. It felt great. My bubbling demons were at peace for a while.

If you can do it, work your mind hard. Run a long distance race with it. It's wonderful.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

My Brand Of Failure

Happy Mother's Day to all you mommas! Here's a thing I wrote about my mother on Mother's Day 2009 in a nearly unreadable litany of terse sentences.

Well, last night fell apart so far as Mango plans went. After I finished my third script, I had to run to the store before it closed and mangoing never came back together. The Boy came home and I was sociable with people online and on the phone. It was a good night, don't get me wrong. If I've gotten some work done, I'll always want to connect with people rather than do more work.

I recorded those three shows a couple of hours ago and will start editing soon. I'll try to get to more script writing, but there are some chores I have to handle too.

Anyway, the title of the post is My Brand of Failure. As I was explaining to a close friend last night, I always set my goals higher than I think I can reach, and I nearly always fall short. Failure is always with me. It's been with me so long that I'm beginning to transcend failure. Any progress I make becomes victory. So my brand of failure, I think, is pretty good as failure goes.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Challenge

As I said, I wanted to have seven more shows in the can this weekend. As I also said I took yesterday off. Ideally, I'd like to finish seven partial scripts today (some of those are extremely partial), record them tomorrow while The Boy's at work, and spend the rest of tomorrow editing and scheduling them.

I'm just sitting down to work now, after hanging with my daughter, going to the comic book shop, grocery shopping, and making and eating lunch. It's almost half-past four. I don't think there's any way I can make this happen, but what fun is there in not giving it a shot?

Off I go!

Friday, May 09, 2014

Ummm . . .

I seem to have taken a day off today.

How It's Mangoing

I took this week off because I was super behind on Mangoes for MuchoMangoMayo. I knew going into this week I'd have to work on the show ten and a half hours a day to get the whole month done before it was time to go back to work. I also knew that I'd fail, because I know what I can and can't do. However, I always get a little more out of myself by setting my goals high.

Except for today I've been averaging about five hours of work a day. Today was very good. I got eight hours in. I've only got the weekend uploaded. By that I mean Friday (which just popped up), Saturday, and Sunday.

I've got three more scripts mostly done, partial stories for about two more. I have three more days before work. My guess is I'll get maybe seven more shows in the can. Then I'll do what I can around the job. I still have two more weekends as well.

If you're worried, don't worry. I'll get it done. I always get it done. I only won't get it done if something super bad happens to me and then it will be too late to worry. So don't worry.

You weren't worrying at all, were you? Do you even know what Beware the Hairy Mango is?

Wednesday, May 07, 2014


I don't check stats on who unfollows me on social media sites, but I know some people do, or they at least hide my feeds. I know some of the people I follow and I know the stuff I post is definitely not their type of thing. Some find it offensive, whether it's about gross bodily functions or politics. I understand that it's offensive to some and they won't want to see it.

I'm thinking about this because of the glut of Mango posts I do, especially in May. My feeds look like one big advertisement and I hate seeing that on other people's feeds. So, I question myself. Should I be doing this? Should I have separate accounts for the Mango? Maybe I'll do that in the future. But even without the Mango, I post offensive stuff.

What I'm thinking today is that I'd rather have a smaller group of followers who know what they're getting from me and enjoying it, than have many thousands of followers while trying to remain as bland as possible and being another face in the feed. I'm not slamming people who want to remain all inclusive. We all have to live with ourselves in the end. Make the decisions that feel right to you. I'm going this way.

Fuck pussy shit. Eat the rich, etc.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

I Am Interviewed

Last week's StarShipSofa features an interview with me! Learn about some behind the scenes stuff at Beware the Hairy Mango; some self-publishing news; my ongoing writing collaboration project, Cerberus; and science fiction convention stuff. The interview starts about thirty minutes into the episode. Get it here:

We're Big Pants People

Just saw this ancient act from Kevin Meaney and it still makes me laugh until I tear up. Some people hate his stuff, but I love his energy and audacity.

50 Best Non-Superhero Graphic Novels

Rolling Stone's list, Drawn Out: The 50 Best Non-Superhero Graphic Novels is out. Don't get caught up in what's number one and what should be number one or why your favorite isn't in the top ten. That kind of bullshit is for lesser people than you. Use the list to find some cool stuff you hadn't heard about before that comes highly recommended. That's right. I'm saying enjoy it!

Monday, May 05, 2014

Crumb's "A Short History of America"

By way of Explore:

Are You Human? Take Our Quiz

Just curious. I know real people read my posts here when I direct them from social media sites. When I don't, I still get a handful of views. I know I get hammered by spammers in the comments, so I wonder is this handful all bots, or are there real unsolicited humans reading this stuff?

If you're human, please leave a comment. It can be super short if you're in a hurry. Thanks!

Different Is Good

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Halfway to Ninety and 149

Just updated the header at the top of this page (as opposed to the header at the bottom). I turned 45 on April 24th. One quarter of the way to 180! Today, Dan Rabarts sent out the latest offering from Cerberus, so that brings me to story 149 of The One-Thousand. Almost there!

Future Failed Experiment

Just had a thought to use this blog like Twitter or Facebook. Post a lot more and say a lot less. We'll see if it sucks or not. Deep in the shit with MuchoMangoMayo right now. I learned from yesterday and will record this morning while The Boy is out of the house. Talk to you later. Maybe. You, of all people, know by now that I'm super bad at follow through with most things. But then, we never know where and when we'll surprise ourselves, do we? That's why it's surprising.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Let's Go A-Mangoing!

Had a sparkling idea the other day. In the past, I've mostly taken my vacation time in one to four hour increments so I could cut out of a boring day at work. This year, I needed to take a week off to move and that very move fouled up my plans for MuchoMangoMayo 2014, which were already contingent plans. The other day I thought, "Why not take another week off?"

I asked around at work, certain it would screw something up for somebody. Fortunately, I'm delightfully unnecessary! So I'm taking the first full week of May off and I can get the fibrous bulk of MMM 2014 done then. Hooray! The only thing that could—wait, not the only thing. One of the things that could screw everything up is if I get chosen for jury duty next week and get stuck in a trial that lasts for weeks.


Hmmmm . . .

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Poster Syndrome

Sorry I haven't been here in a couple of months. I moved across town and it was hairy working that around my day job. I did take a week off, but then all sorts of awesome people I usually don't see were in town and available, so they took precedence.

I went to ICFA a couple of weeks ago, hung out with old friends, made new ones, spent too much money on books, had the most magnificent steak of my life, soaked in Ellen Klages' tales of Clarion down under, and got brain freeze with Ian McDonald. It was awesome.

Because of these things and my short story writing frenzy the first two months of this year, I am, as usual, way the hell behind on Mangoes. My boss, who's a fan of the show, says I was even farther behind last year. I still have to record all four April shows (yes, there will be an April 30th show this year), and of the thirty-one shows I need for MuchoMangoMayo, I've only finished writing the first one yesterday! I hope to have the second done today.

I inadvertently shot off story 148 of The One-Thousand the other day. It was a twitter story and I submitted it before even realizing I'd taken another step toward my goal.

The Boy made supper for me today. Ravioli and garlic bread. A nice surprise for my exhausted ass. And for the rest of me as well.

Another Cerberus story is nearing completion! I always have to check the spelling on that. Being a comic book geek, I always want to write Cerebus. It's a fine line between a three-headed dog and a talking aardvark. Anyway, the current version of the story is deep and cloudy (that's good). My esteemed co-authors have begun to write some things that are just beyond my comprehension and I'm loving it.

I have other writer friends and acquaintances who talk about having imposter syndrome, which is crazy, because they're all great, published writers. I was explaining to one friend recently that I've always had the opposite problem. I'm convinced that I'm much better than I actually am, and why hasn't the world recognized my genius? Rather than living in fear of being caught, I live in disappointment for not being caught. How boring life would be if we were all satisfied. Embrace your issues. Hold them tightly. Love 'em up.

Sunday, February 09, 2014


I got 147 off while it was still January, but I sometimes forgot, sometimes didn't feel like mentioning it here. Now it's 3:45 am, I'd really like to sleep, but that's not happening. I don't feel like creating and I don't even feel like consuming, so here I am.

147 is only partly mine. It was another joint effort by Cerberus, and I am part of that joint. That's all I have to say about that .

Sunday, January 12, 2014

On Finishing And 146

Finished story 146 tonight and sent it out the door. Wouldn't it be great if the rest of the year rolled on like the last couple of days?

What happened is I thought I'd write a new story for Charles Coleman Finlay's guest issue of F&SF within the two week submission period. But I got off to a bad start this year because of my crazy, dizzy head (which is all better now, thank you), so I figured I wouldn't finish in time and submitted another story.

Yesterday after a couple of false starts at even newer stories, I realized I had literally hundreds of partial stories lying around on my hard drives, and why not finish them up? "Finish what you write" is an old maxim that Neil Gaiman, for one, always offers when asked for writing advice. I made a new wallpaper for my computer that's just a white background with the words, "It's all about finishing stories." Then I remembered a roughly thousand word story that seemed good to me even though I once thought I should add more. I reworked it and that was 145. Today I finished that story that was meant to be for F&SF and that was 146. So there you go. Tomorrow, I'll look for another unfinished story I can finish.

Maybe you've got some unfinished business too. Of course you do.

Now I'm off to record and post a couple of Mangoes!

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Finished and sent out story 145 tonight. And then I celebrated that by submitting another story.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Harlan's New Glass Teat

Have you subscribed to Harlan Ellison's YouTube channel yet? Why not? He's not only a writer worthy of being one of my literary heroes, he's also lots of fun to watch. The link is here: The channel seems to include all the brilliant spots he did for Sci Fi Buzz in the nineties (Harlan Ellison's Watching)! Here's a little taste:

Saturday, January 04, 2014

My Head Is Spinning

I woke up dizzy on the 2nd. That's not normal. Checked my blood pressure, it was good. Went light-headed through the day, hoping I wouldn't get dizzy while driving. Whenever something funky is going on in my body, I assume I'm going to die, it's just a question of when. I got home without being dead yet. I lay down that night and my head went nuts. The lights on my digital clock zipped back and forth like Katherine Hepburn's maracas. "That ain't right," I wisely told myself. I asked my daughter to bring me to the ER. They did a CAT scan and EKG. Fortunately, it was just Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, which sounds horrible, but focus on the "Benign" part. If you care, you can read about it here:

My doctor had me lie down with my head over the edge of the table or whatever you call that thing I was lying on. She tilted my head back and to the left and I got crazy dizzy. She said she'd never seen such a clear reaction. She called in another doctor and four nurses to watch the show (after she asked my permission). She did the trick again and they all enjoyed my dancing eyeballs. She later went through the whole Epley maneuver with me (referring to the following video, in fact) and the worst of it was over.


They gave me meds and sent me on my way. Yesterday I still felt weird and got progressively dizzier as the day went on. I took the day off from work and got the medicine, Antivert, which unfortunately did not make me less dizzy, but made me super tired. I spent about seventeen hours in bed, twelve of those sleeping. I probably won't take anymore unless I'm having trouble sleeping. Today I feel odd in a different way. My head is thick and I don't necessarily feel vertigo, but things aren't exactly locking into place. My moves are slow and deliberate. I'm hoping I'll feel progressively better as the days pass.