A Time For Change…Again


I find a great deal of humor that my last post was about procrastination. That post was published in April.

Hey, at least I’m posting within the same year.

On Wednesday, December 27th, Carrie Fisher passed. It’s been a rough year if you grew up in the 70s/80s and have been a member of the cult of pop-culture. One of the things I always loved about her was her openness. Ms. Fisher never cowered when she spoke of her mental illness or her addiction. Like many others this week, I went ahead and purchased The Princess Diarist on Audible. In listening to Princess/General Fisher discuss her life, in her own voice, I became inspired.

This year has been a tough one for me. I began therapy early last year for my anxiety and depression. After one session my therapist diagnosed me with ADHD. This was a revelation. So much of my past came into focus and it was as if I was being reacquainted with myself. In August of 2015, I moved to Asheville, NC. I was prepared to take in all the wonder that the mountains could show me.

It was later that year that my anxiety ravaged me and I began taking Lexapro. All was well, until several months ago when my depression overtook anxiety as mental health issue numero uno.

I thought about hurting myself for the first time. It was scary.

So, UP went the dosage. I feared the day that my meds stopped working, and it seemed to be upon me. I continue to struggle, however, I’m prepared to return to therapy and get my medication mystery figured out; at least for now.

Here I am, on the precipice of a new calendar year, and I feel hope. In 2017 I will receive my degree in Creative Writing, and then (in true Daniel-form) I will enter a graduate program to become a Mental Health Counselor.

I feel wonderfully giddy about become a counselor. First, I’ve got to get myself in check and under control.

I just wanted to share a bit with all of you…out there…reading. Perhaps you know me personally, or you just stumbled upon this. However you arrived, I hope you come back, and we can all talk about what’s happening inside our heads and hearts.




Master Procrastinator


The hardest thing about writing, is the act of doing it. Having a great idea is fantastic, but you’ve got to get it down on paper, or type it out on-screen. I know this just as well as many.


Snapchat–another distraction 

For the past seven years or so, I’ve been kicking around the idea for a comic book. I’ve been an avid comic book reader/fan/geek my entire life. So, writing my own only seemed natural. I had sketched out random ideas for this comic, had multiple brainstorming sessions with the artist, and started a first draft in March 2015. Then, again on January 31, 2016.

Yesterday, I finished it. It felt amazing. It was like an achievement was unlocked and I’d acquired enough XP to Level Up. I had finished the beginning of this story, and I had given life to this world that was gestating inside my head. It felt so great.

But, now? Now it’s time to edit, and re-write, re-write, re-write.

The hardest thing about writing, is the act of doing it. I love the act, every beautiful, tortured moment.

The Stars Look Very Different Today



I woke up this morning gasping for air. The room was dark, there was no light peaking through the curtains. When I pushed them aside the sky was grey and somber. The world seemed to lack color. There were no bright blues. There were no oranges, or golden yellows. There was only grey.

Then I heard the news.

Suddenly, it all made sense. He was gone. The Man Who Fell To Earth. The Starman. The Thin White Duke. The Goblin King. Gone.

He was a true artist. He was transcendent. He was a god among mortals. He was like Baphomet, Dionysus, or Minerva. A radiant, colorful idol, who took us to the stars and through space.

And now he is gone.

It does seem like the world lost more than just a person, or musician. He was a complete artist who influenced the worlds of music, fashion, and film. He produced and executed complete artistic visions.

It is those things that he leaves behind with all of us, in all of us. For that, we are truly grateful.

They are gifts from a god.



Are We Too Difficult To Entertain?


I remember seeing Jurassic Park when I was 12 years old. It was an amazing experience and I was so floored by the spectacle and huge-ness of it all. It’s something that I will never forget. I saw Jurassic World this weekend, and apparently, I was not the only one. I again found myself in awe. The scale of it all scale of it all! I did see it on the biggest movie screen in the country, so there’s that, but in terms of watching dinosaurs and the human protagonists running for their lives it still was HUGE. As we were exiting the lot of the drive-in the projectionist was showing a reel of old movie trailers on the screen. I will share one with you. Behold the Valley of Gwangi (1969)!

By our standards, it looks pretty ridiculous. However, in 1969 it was probably awesome. There’s a certain amount of awe that I feel even in watching that trailer. It’s about craftsmanship and the fact that in 1969 that probably felt HUGE.

Anyway, I digress.

In navigating the internet, there is a saying: “Never read the comments.” Now, this is because the comments are where the trolls lurk. They wait for anyone to wander forth and read their absurd opinions, and to engage them. In this case, I was curious as to the general audience’s feelings on Jurassic World. I was surprised to see that there was so much harsh criticism. Words like “horrible piece of crap” were being thrown around. Yes, everyone has an opinion, but I had to question whether I was simply under the spell of the “huge-ness”, and failed to recognize a crappy film. I’m a huge fan of film making from screenwriting to directing, and onto editing. However, there are times when I just want to sit back, eat some popcorn, and enjoy the magic of it all.

In our hyper-informative day and age, are we too difficult to entertain? I remember seeing Interstellar, which despite being really long, was a a great film. As I was leaving the theatre someone was questioning the validity of the crop choices made by the characters in the film. I think we often forget that, unless otherwise indicated, we are watching works of fiction. These worlds are created and crafted by the writers, directors, and producers. They make the rules, they create the stakes, and they choose the crops. Have we lost our sense of wonder? Can we not enjoy fantastic things? Have we forgotten what it was like when we were small and gazing up at that HUGE screen? I mean, yes the crops matter to that specific person, and that’s cool.

All I’m saying is I think it’s important, unless you’re a film critique, to just let yourself be taken for a ride. Let’s suspend some disbelief. Who cares about the crops? You just watched a group of space travelers jump galaxies through a black hole. That’s tremendous! You just watched a character outrun a T-Rex in high heels! That’s pretty amazing and VERY unlikely. But, it’s okay! It’s cinema. It’s huge and it’s awesome. Just a thought. Please share your in the comments.


Making It Count: Character Deaths and Entertainment


If you’re a fan of shows like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones, you’ve become accustomed to death. You can’t swing a Valyrian steel sword week after week without striking a character and murdering them. It used to be that minor characters, and sometimes very minor characters (i.e.-Redshirt in Star Trek), were the only ones at risk of biting it. Usually that was so your main characters could be motivated to move forth in the exposition/rising action to unlock the achievement of being the hero. These days, however, are much different. The stakes are higher and no one is safe. It does make for some exciting entertainment, but it also leaves you wondering if it’s really essential to the art of storytelling, or it’s just a reflection of our society.

Accessing news isn’t difficult these days. You can tune into numerous 24-hour cable news networks, or access countless outlets on your laptop, tablet, or smartphones. It’s more than likely that most of what you read contains death. It could be a local shooting, or unrest and war in Syria, etc. We are bombarded with constant reminders of our own fragility and mortality. So, why do we sit in front of our flat screens every week to be entertained by watching people die?

Just as death is a part of life, it is just as much a part of our art and entertainment. As I mentioned before, a character dying motivates other characters, it drives the plot, and it makes things seem dire and the circumstances, grave. For us, witnessing a character’s death can connect us with the show, movie, or book. It makes us grieve and sympathize with the characters, and now (more than ever) it makes us wonder: who’s next?

As a warning I am about to enter spoiler territory, so please…read with caution. If you haven’t watched, or read, Game of Thrones: STOP READING NOW.


Ned Stark’s death at the conclusion of Season One of HBO’s Game of Thrones was shocking. This was a primary character that we had followed through an entire season. He was noble and he was (for many) their tie to the show. In a world of back stabbers, and political plotting, Ned was the good guy. Well, his head was chopped off and it left many wondering WHY?! Ned’s death was necessary. It was trigger, a catalyst that caused ripples throughout Westeros and beyond. His death, although unexpected and devastating was essential to the story. However, as you continue to watch the show, many more die. Before long you’re fearful that no one is guarded from the exectuioners blade. But does that affect how you connect with the characters and the story?

I think so.

You always can rely on the good guy/girl. He/she/they will triumph over evil and in the end, be it alive or dead, the side of the right will be victorious. In our current entertainment landscape, not so much. So, why should we care? Why dedicate an hour of our lives every week when we don’t know if our favorite characters are going to make it? I think it comes down to the bigger picture. Dramas are no longer driven by characters, they’re driven by story. Yes, characters (OBVIOUSLY) are essential, but it’s not about whether Character A or B dies, it’s about moving forward. It’s also because there’s Characters C-F, and so forth. You’re seeing more characters. Think about the abundance of characters on hit series like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. We live in the age of the ensemble, where rarely does a show revolve around just one or two characters. Sure, there’s your central ones (Rick Grimes), but we no longer bet the house on just one horse in the race. No one is safe, but there’s always a baton to be passed. Forgive me for the sport racing analogies.

With all things, however, there reaches a saturation point. I’m not certain when ours will come, but we may be close. Again, SPOILERS FOR GAME OF THRONES…if you have not watched Season Five, Episode 9 “The Dance of Dragons DO NOT READ.

This week, Shireen’s death was devastating and hard to watch. Was it essential to moving the plot? I say no. Especially since it was not done that way in the source material, so why is it needed in this adaptation? Such as we witnessed with what happened to Sansa Stark, I sadly feel that sensationalism and exploitation, the “shock factor”, are winning the battle over quality of writing. We live in a culture driven by internet buzz, and I’m sure that the writers room wants folks like me writing about their show. They want bloggers to dissect their decisions. They want hashtags to go to the top of the trending list. I suppose that makes me part of the problem. I am an accessory to the current wave of character deaths, and for that I am sorry. As they say “Valar Morghulis”, or for those of who do not speak High Valyrian, “All men must die.”


Comment below and tell me what you think.

-Daniel J

Winter Has Come: My thoughts on Game of Thrones and other things


Well, we’ve breached the 48 hour window of Internet spoilers. That’s how it works, right? Who cares! It’s the Internet, everything is spoiled! Nothing is sacred! Hopefully, most of you have watched Episode 8 of the current season (Season Five) of Game of Thrones. It was BAD. ASS. I’m not going to go blow for blow, you should go over to HoboTrashCan.com for a stellar re-cap of the episode. I just want to comment on how tired I had grown of Game of Thrones.

After Episode 6, which we will refer to as the “Sansa Episode”, I had come to this realization that I was a masochist. Game of Thrones is a show for masochists and those enjoy suffering from dysphoria. Week after week, or hour after hour if you’d read the books, we watch a bunch of miserable people being raked through the muck, over and over again. I felt that the writers room had fallen asleep at the wheel and the show was no longer compelling. It was just a spectacle of misery and was spinning its wheels.

That was until last night. The episode, titled “Hardhome”, was written by Game of Throne’s show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. It was masterful. I was reminded why I continue to tune in week after week. The pacing was tight and precise. The acting was superb, and the action? You will tense muscles you had forgotten you had. Let us hope, with two episodes left, the remainder of the season is just as brilliant as last weeks.

I also caught the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony over the weekend. Bill Withers and Stevie Ray Vaughn were rightfully inducted. Baltimore’s own, Joan Jett, was inducted by (of all people) Miley Cyrus, and watching Green Day made me feel old. I can still remember where I was when I heard Dookie for the first time. Yeesh! It’ll will be aired over and over again on every channel HBO’s got. It’s worth a watch.

Any fans of John Scalzi out there? He signed a HUGE contract last week,  so I decided to read one of his books. I’m know that he has a reputation for military sci-fi (Old Man’s War), but I went with Lock InIt’s more of a police procedural, rooted in sci-fi, and so far I like it a lot. I’ve been listening to the audiobook narrated by none other than Wil Wheaton. I highly recommend any work narrated by Wil, and I’ll get back to you on my thoughts of John Scalzi. So far, so awesome.

Also, THIS! If you haven’t read The Wicked + The Divine, you should do so immediately. It’s going to be on your TV soon. Find it at your local comic shop, or there’s always Amazon.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned, and read more (Not just here, but like…in general)

The Winds of Change


I’ve been working on the website, so there’s going to be lots of changes. This front page will be used to update you on the constant evolution of moi as I grow and morph into a real, working, and (hopefully) published writer. I’ll post more often about stuff I’m watching, reading, or listening to, so please stay tuned. You can find some samples of my writing under the Writing Samples selection on the sidebar to your left.

Thanks for reading and all your continued support!

-Daniel J