November 21:  We Sing (and Bust up Laughing) in the Bedroom

I had best hits of the 80s playing when I drew this (“I was dreaming when i wrote this…”) so I was singing hard in my studio… and I pray everyone else in adjoining studios was okay with that!  But I know the lyrics to hundreds of 80s songs… embedded in my core memory forever. Not useless data. Valuable data. Shared experience  data.  You know old folks homes for Gen Xers are gonna be filled with the best music.  Nobody will come in there on weekends to play “a bicycle built for two”–they’ll bring in a cover band and play Journey, “Someday love will find you, BREAK those chains that BIND you!” And all us old Xers will be rockin’ out and singing along.

Do you sing in the bedroom? If you have a partner, do they sing in the bedroom?  Do you sing together in the bedroom sometimes? (I count the shower as the bedroom in some houses!)  Then do you  bust up laughing because it’s so wonderful and funny?  70’s-80s songs, Broadway, Disney and church hymns…. that’s my on-call repertoire. Some Irish ballads… folk songs… and okay, Dan Fogelberg and the Beatles can be pulled up when necessary.  Currently, songs from Nathaniel Rateliff, Rag & Bone Man, Taylor Swift, and Adele run through my head–because they got me through the pandemic by dropping albums into our difficult times like rocks into a still lake. (And now—Sam Smith and Kim Petras’ “Unholy” is so damn catchy, I’ve been playing that over and over while I work on the big King O the Cats painting)  Anyway!  When I have had someone who likes to sing, it’s fun to sing with them. (Some cute guy I know enjoys singing in the car!  And it’s nice to blend with him down the curvy road.)

Where do songs come from inside us? Are they stored with feelings? I don’t think they are in a bin called “music” in our brain because if someone asked me what I know by heart I couldn’t tell you… that file is empty… but let me have a feeling, and wow, I get songs with lyrics that match that feeling flood my brain.  If I hear three notes outside from a windchime–I can sing a whole song in full. Or turn on the car radio and all my notes are there.

There are songs appropriate for every feeling we’ve felt and I thank musicians for cataloguing those experiences and feelings so well.  When I have to clean, I turn on the music to get me happy enough not to mind the cleaning.  When I am sad, I turn on music to purge the sadness, to reflect in it, to bleed it out.  Music puts us on a collective train of a feeling–and the lyrics and our lives merge in the windows of the shared landscape passing by. By the end of the song, we know the singer has “felt” our experience, and we theirs, our shared music of the moment

In the bedroom, we have a chance for many duets. Yeah, our voices aren’t perfect all the time. (But I bet opera baritone Bryn Terfel’s morning voice can be froggy hilarious too!)  But I love my partner’s voice. I love singing with him. I love laughing about how we know all the lyrics, or- or- or- or… stay with me… how I memorized the lyrics ALL wrong… and those can be really funny too.  Music allows us to share feelings– in a way like no other. We are full-throated blasting the Joy of our “Summer of 69” or we are harmonizing and synching in the sadness of our “Mercy Street” together.  It puts us, for a moment, on the same page as our partner.  And they know, even when they can’t express their feelings in words yet, that yeah, we “feel” their music too.

“Postlude to the Afternoon of a Faun” is finalist for Eugie Foster Memorial Award

Very happy and honored to tell you that my novelette, “Postlude to the Afternoon of a Faun” originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (Mar/Apr 2019) is a finalist for the 2020 Eugie Foster Memorial Award!

The Eugie Foster Memorial Award for Short Fiction (or Eugie Award) celebrates the best in innovative fiction. This annual award is presented at Dragon Con, the nation’s largest fan-run convention. Starting with the 2020, we will add a video presentation of the award online, along with a reading of a section of each finalist.

The Eugie Award honors stories that are irreplaceable, that inspire, enlighten, and entertain. We will be looking for stories that are beautiful, thoughtful, and passionate, and change us and the field. The recipient is a story that is unique and will become essential to speculative fiction readers.

—from the Eugie Award website

You can learn on the website what a wonderful writer and person Eugie Foster was, and about her legacy. I’m deeply honored to be on a list recognized by those associated with her.

Four other writers are also featured with their stories:

A Civilization Dreams of Absolutely Nothing” by Thoraiya Dyer (Analog Science Fiction and Fact)

For He Can Creep” by Siobhan Carroll (

The House Wins in the End” by L Chan (The Dark)

Love in the Time of Immuno-Sharing” by Andy Dudak (Analog Science Fiction and Fact)

I’ve had a wonderful two days just telling people that I became a finalist and receiving so much positive feedback. I kinda feel that being a finalist with all these cool authors and stories is its own reward! It’s really filled my soul with love in this very tumultuous time.

There are still many changes to make in the world. We will make them! Today, it was nice to feel loved.

PS. Yes that is my illustration for the story. It was something created way after the story was accepted and in print… but it was fun to doodle.

Awards Eligibility Post, 2019

I only published one thing this year, 2019, but it was a big publication for me. “Postlude to the Afternoon of a Faun” was a novelette (8000 words) published in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in the March/April 2019 issue and is eligible for Canadian and American writing awards. It is Fantasy. It’s about the power of music, music mentoring, about the courage to go on after loss, and features jazz-playing fauns. The character is queer and disabled. He stays queer and disabled and alive through the whole story.

Below you’ll find a link to the whole story here online, or you can read an excerpt from it.

*I am a Canadian and American writer, holding dual citizenship.

Thank you for visiting my 2019 year round up page, and I hope you enjoy my story.



Postlude to the Afternoon of a Faun

Mr. Dance couldn’t keep his eyes off Eric’s clarinet. From the moment the young football player opened the black case and revealed the instrument, Mr. Dance knew that what he thought had been broken– as his legs were– or lost–as he felt–had instead been hidden for a hundred years.

Continue reading

Janelle Monáe and Science Fiction: Metropolis, Freedom, and the Other

I like finding science fiction in odd places.   Janelle Monáe is a genius.  Think if the Archies had been a ska band with a funk lead singer.  But she’s more than that.  She’s also a brilliant storyteller.  Her “Many Moons” reimagines the beginnings of science fiction cinema, Metropolis.  She gives the silent film Metropolis the soundtrack it needed.  For Janelle, Metropolis is about many androids now…and there are comments on slave auctions, blaxploitation, and the lack of freedom–for anyone.  For women, for minorities, for humans in a world overcome by technology.  There is no fear of androids in “Many Moons”—but even I would think that at the corners of the movie Monae makes, there is jealousy at the perfection of the androids, and even a bit of jealousy when Cindy Mayweather erupts in a spasm of freedom, or is it a spasm of realization that she is not free…. all I know is that she breaks loose and begins to dance, dance so high, that she short circuits.  But the crowd is in ecstasy with her.

Monae has certainly looked here at humanity as commodity.  She’s done it with brass.  And artistry.  She’s even mixed in a bit of Sesame Street.

I like finding science fiction in odd places.  And this small film is beautiful.    It’s got solid worldbuilding where she’s imagined, in one scene, the state of society.  The characters all have the hint of well-developed backstories; they have desires, weaknesses, past confrontations.  Cindy Mayweather grows as an android/character.  Her growth, perhaps, comes from her realizations–of the names that keep her as Other.  The names are not androidish—they are names leveled at minorities.  Check out the Cybernetic Chantdown after the break.

Continue reading

Rocket Men: “Lonely” Astronauts in Popular Music

Hey, The American Astronaut, a film-noir musical about a steampunk astronaut, isn’t the most widely known astronaut in music. I got to feeling nostalgic about Major Tom and other Musical Odes to Astronauts and found a few that I thought you might enjoy.

Most of these songs characterize the astronaut as lonely and eventually disconnected–disconnected from family as he leaves, disconnected from Earth, and in a few of the songs, disconnected from the spaceship as well, as he floats out into the nothing of space. Bowie’s song was in 1969, timed to coincide with the first moon landing; Elton John’s in 1972 and Peter Schilling’s in 1983. I add Duran Duran’s Astronaut as a contrast–he’s “leaving with an astronaut” which makes the song much more about coupling than de-coupling. And then, the opening to “Enterprise”–“Faith of the Heart” that celebrates astronauts as parts of teams.

I think the lonely/together idea is interesting when you talk about astronauts. Are we starting to see astronauts not as those who leave community, but those who are creating community? The first three songs are about leaving, about separating, and about not trusting Ground Control and where they might be sending humans. The other two, perhaps, are seeing the adventurous side of being an astronaut again, certainly about being part of a larger community which connects all the aviation pioneers in a long line of exploration and pushing out into space–which according to Star Trek– is densely populated.

Welcome, “lonely” astronaut!

Below: David Bowie “Space Oddity”; Elton John, “Rocket Man”; Peter Schilling “Major Tom”; Duran Duran “Astronaut” and Russell Watson’s “Faith of the Heart,” the opening to the TV series “Enterprise.”

For more on the story of Major Tom and the first three songs, try this link to the Straight Dope on Was there really a Major Tom?