Just... uh... I haven't been around in a while. Anybody reading this?
Just... uh... I haven't been around in a while. Anybody reading this?
It’s been a bitterly disappointing for me this year, but I fancy I’m almost back on track. Getting closer to solving my intractable novel problem, which has so many nebulous holes needing plausible filling. I feel like I’m building the chapel when all I was hired for was painting the chapel ceiling. But hey, it’s a chapel of my own making, so I won’t complain, and I won’t back down.
More to come soon, I think. Thanks for reading.
It’s Good To Be King
2017 10 26 1:29PM
Draw the card from the trebled deck
And claim your prize
You don’t have to get old to get wise.
You’ve pulled down the Autumn Moon
From the leaden skies
Your thin smile is a pale disguise.
A moonbeam pierces the clouds, her face cloaked in stars
Bedecked in ribbons of crimson scars.
The rusty leaves on the ground proclaim summer’s end
Will we ever embrace again, my friend?
It’s good to be king
Because you are the cat
Who knows where his shit’s at.
And as king
You never need to look out
Because everyone else is holding out their hat.
Your own name stands for avarice
The pandemic of our age
We all serve at your feet in mute rage.
You call for the jesters
The fools take to the stage
As the audience applauds from their cage.
Ochre stains your porcelain mask
You don your wispy crown
Your subjects’ corpses line the ground
Your palace built of pride and glitz
Will one day fall down
But I swear you won’t be caught hanging around.
It’s good to be king
You call all the shots
And piss in everyone’s pot
And as king
You stand high up on the pile
Of all the bullshit that we foolishly bought.
‘Cuz it’s the only shit left that we’ve got
Right now some coke would really hit the spot
As the whole damned world’s begun to rot
And we’re up to our necks in the lot!
The Face of Luna has waxed and waned
But you waltz on past
The poor woman’s heart of glass.
You stand bare before the world
And you shake your ass
But we still need to believe you’vre got class.
It’s good to be king
As the flesh of your palms
Caress the land like the underaged model’s smooth silky thighs.
And as king
You never have to look up
Because no one you know can touch these incredible out of body highs.
As you’re head floats around in the indigo sky
Over walls and big guns, crushed hearts and small fries
And the press still can’t seem to figure out why
You laugh cuz you know the truth’s in your child’s eyes
Cuz you know you know you know you know you know you know you know you know…
The crowns bow down before you
And you laugh out loud
You’ve worked hard for this moment, so be proud.
And on the day of the reckoning
Comes complete surprise
The oaths of our hero are all lies.
It’s good to be king.
It’s good to be king.
It’s good to be king!
© 2017 Lee Edward McIlmoyle
for Philosophical Clown Tales (Publishing Ltd.)
from the upcoming album, “Good To Be King”
I’m about to try to write something painful and honest. Bear with me.
Like most boys growing up in the western world of the late 20th Century, I was introduced to sexuality through the pages of Playboy and Penthouse magazines. I was never sold on the idea that women were at their best when being admired for their conventional beauty. But I was never completely convinced that there was or is something truly awful about admiring women of striking physical beauty. It doesn’t preclude my admiration of their personalities or capabilities. In fact, for me, it’s a prerequisite. I might glance at you and note to myself that you are beautiful, but I don’t really decide for myself if you are someone I need to know until we’ve had a chat about something that interests both of us. Then I become an ardent fan… or not.
What this means to the men I know and still call friends is, we like you. Simple, isn’t it? Well, it’s clearly not so simple, because in the age of rape culture and rampant misogyny, the battlefield went from the Sexual Revolution of the 60s and 70s to the AIDS Scare of the 80s and the rise of a neo-puritanical fear that there really IS something inherently evil about sexual relations. I don’t want to hurt, insult, offend or especially demean women in any way. It horrifies me, actually. And yet, I still catch myself smiling or even getting excited in the presence of women whose physical beauty actually does enhance their overall beauty as a human being.
Understand, I’m not planning on doing anything about it. I’m a married man, and I love my wife. I don’t expect a prize for this statement. I don’t even expect to be let off the hook. I’m as guilty of admiring women for their bodies as any man alive. I don’t defend some male priviledge to male gaze. I’m bisexual. I used to be young and pretty, too. I know what it feels like to have men look me up. It can be intoxicating and it can be terrifying. I get it, is what I’m saying. I’ve never been harmed sexually, but I know that many men in this world have ill-informed, unfriendly attitudes towards sexuality. I know women are not anywhere near safe from this plight. I understand, but I don’t live with the fear that women today still do. So I know my sense of urgency hasn’t been fully engaged, unlike many women who are studying feminism and gender studies to learn about how they might be able to live without fear and prejudice. I appreciate their need. I support it. I even admire the pursuit of female emancipation and equality between men and women. Actually, I even support and admire men and women who realize they are actually in the wrong body, or who prefer to maintain an asexual appearance and lifestyle.
I also think men have a major transformation ahead. Our society no longer requires brute force to survive. In fact, it’s a hinderance to our continued progress from mere primates to truly enlightened and advanced human beings. We still justify and insist that there are people in the world who are too primitive to be trusted with a purely pacifistic society. I know as well that I am in the minority on this opinion. We’re just not there yet.
But what we do have is a sexual imperative. We need to keep our society alive if we’re ever going to finish evolving into whatever it is we’re drifting towards. I hope fervently that it will be wonderful.
Getting back on topic, though, I have conflicting emotions when I see friends and loved ones struggle with their sexual identities. Our society is only beginning to wrap it’s brain around sexual equality, and learning to respect and admire gender fluidity and non-binary sexual identity is proving to be a struggle for many of us. We can’t all be bodhisattvas, but we can’t all reclaim our heritage as primitive cave dwellers, either. So, what am I supposed to do. I know not to look at a woman’s body when I’m talking to her. I know where her eyes are, and invariably, that’s where I derive the most joy reaching engagement. Women these days are rightfully scared to engage strange men with the simple act of looking in their eyes as they pass. I experience the slightly off-putting feeling of being measured at a distance and judged to be a threat by women before they are even within eye contact range. I’m not a very imposing man. It’s a disturbing realization that I still qualify as a threat, even after all these years and all this work to be recognized as a safe person to be around.
But I don’t blame women for protecting themselves. It just hurts that they must protect themselves from me, too. And there it is.
I’m not asking for the world to recognize me as a ‘nice guy’. Hell, that’s the last thing I want, in these days when many ‘nice guys’ have been outed as outrageously misogynistic man-children who can’t handle their dicks with anything approaching a conscience. Leave me out of it.
But I DO still like to admire women. And men, if I’m honest, but mostly women. And that’s proving to be a problem. What seemed innocent and titillating as a young boy discovering his uncle’s stash of Playboy magazines from the 1970s (back when women were still admired for having comfortable curves and such) now feels like the very thing we were trying not to live with: fear of sexuality. It feels creepy looking at modern pornography (which I do, on occasion, BTW). Heck, I find most modern pornography to be pretty fucking sketchy and off-putting. Men subjugating women. Slapping them in the face. Choking them. It really is becoming a misogynistic problem. Men who want to continue feeling like what their fathers and grandfathers taught them is the very meaning of being a confident male are now being hounded. And they are fighting back. And it’s getting truly ugly. Spouse battering is still with us. Sexual subjugation and the disrespect for feminist icons and strong female leads in movies who do not spend the film trying to woo a mate. Gamergate. Sad Puppies. Filth.
So while I refuse to canonize the late Hugh Hefner for living a life of sexual self-empowerment disguised as sexual revolution, I don’t enjoy hearing or reading friends hurling venom and invective at the man for engineering this mess. I don’t think he engineered this. I think we all did. And we still have a long way to go before we can look each other in the eye and share real love.
Okay, the LCBO-model for provincial cannabis sales is probably the best model we could have hoped for, from our antediluvian political thinking.
The problem is, even if they open up a handful of shops in town, they probably won’t carry all of the strains cannabis users (like myself) have become accustomed to. If this was truly the same as alcohol, I would say ‘whatevs’ and move on. But this stuff is also medicine, with profoundly deeper experiences than any alcoholic beverage can produce.
Cannabis isn’t like alcohol. It’s not physically addictive, for starters, and it can be inhaled or ingested in ways that render it non-carcinogenic, as well, which makes it significantly less dangerous than we have been led to believe over the last 90 years of prohibition. The science is finally being done openly and properly.
But more than just its reputation is changing. Our understanding of the plant class we know as cannabis is changing as well. I’m concerned about the medical properties we are uncovering, which prove conclusively that this is both physically and psychologically essential to the wellbeing of many, if not most of us. I know that sounds hippy dippy. I can live with that. I think we need to reconsider everything we think we know about cannabis, and unpack our prejudices to see for ourselves what cannabis is really like.
The open secret is, every strain of cannabis is significantly different from the next. These are complex organisms, and the effects of each strain is profoundly different from each other. Some promote weight gain, others weight loss; some head highs to relieve stress and anxiety, and still others promote pain relief and the psychological relief that pain-free existence affords patients.
But there is another issue that needs to be examined thoroughly and without the usual prejudice: Legal Cannabis Dispensaries.
Now, the legal dispensary boom in Ontario has been recent and startling, particularly in smaller cities like Hamilton, where you can now find a reliable dispensary on nearly every street in the downtown core, and others on the mountain. This isn’t JUST opportunity knocking, here. There has to be a real demand and need for the substance, if all of these dispensaries have been able to start and stay in business this long, even with periodic busts for those that skim a little too close to the line. I personally prefer dispensaries that are professional and give great customer service, like our local Natural Green Healing (hello, ladies), and I want to see more, not less, progress in this area. If the dispensaries are shut down without prejudice, and the contents treated like contraband, everyone who relies on the medicinal properties of cannabis will be punished because the legal system chose to criminalize instead of regulating it from a public safety standpoint. This should have been done decades ago, and now we’re still doing this dance as if the government is having trouble getting permission to do this thing that will change and improve our society.
Lest anyone think I’m overstating my point, let me make this clear: Cannabis will change our society. All of it. Not everyone will become a user. But everyone will have to change their viewpoint on this one, and it will affect our health and criminal policies significantly, whether we approve of ‘soft drugs’ or not.
Back in the spring of 2017, the paper I work on (2-time Maggie Awards’ Best Independent News Outlet nominee, The Hamilton Anvil) printed a full issue on drug legalization. We tried to cover the issues as they were being addressed back in the winter and fall of last year, before the announcement that legalization was being rolled out. Our least problem was that full legalization for both medical and recreational cannabis consumption would be delayed to the summer of 2018. The real problem is, many people’s lives have already been changed for the better, starting with the ex-criminals who have come out of the shadows to give competent and reliable cannabis retail service. These people are going to pay for our unwillingness to push our government to be both smart and compassionate with these people that we have come to know and trust. What will happen to them once their profession is relegated to the scrap heap? Their jobs will be taken over by ‘fully-legal’ stores and online services, which will send many of them back to the underground, selling the exotic buds that the big stores won’t be allowed to carry.
Think about that. We are going to perpetuate a criminal element and ensure that pot busts are still a thing, just because we don’t want the headache of decriminalizing so many growers, distributors, and tenders. We’re getting to the first step. This is good for everyone, whether they are going to be a user or not. But we’re poised to screw this up and create years of injustice and needless upheaval.
What we need is to take a step back as a society and ask ourselves the very real, very serious question, “Is Cannabis Going To Harm Me or My Loved Ones?” I remember seeing alarming films that tried their best to demonize and vilify cannabis, teaching us from childhood not just to be concerned, but to be outright afraid and suspicious of cannabis. This is making it extremely difficult to think clearly about how cannabis legalization needs to be implemented to work effectively.
We need to remember why we’re doing this. We need to accept the amount of damage done by making this substance the focus of the DEA and the RCMP and municipal police departments all across north America. We have turbo-charged large criminal syndicates and marginalized anyone in our borders for using the stuff, whether medicinally or recreationally.
I’ll admit I was extremely leery of the whole scene, and unknowingly suffered emotionally, psychologically and even physically from not having safe, legal access to the strains I am learning are most effective for helping me curb my difficulties with Bipolar Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Social Anxiety, as well as to ease my problems with an old back injury, fallen arches, and several points of joint arthritis. Even after becoming a legal medical cannabis user, I still find I haven’t completely lost my aversion to the criminal element I grew up around as a child.
I think I’ve babbled enough. If you have any questions or better information, leave them in the comments. And thank you for reading.
Lee ‘Stoner Spouse’ McIlmoyle,
Somewhere in Limbo.
I’m in the middle of finalizing plans and such for a children’s event we’re running on Sunday.
I’m also still sketching for Ian’s Ogre fairytale.
I’m plotting and sketching out a comic for the Anvil.
I’m still wrestling with the novel.
I need people to buy a few paintings, so I can take care of stuff that keeps getting put off… like grocery shopping.
Time to go. Take care.
This is going to be a short bit (I hope) on the classic Blade Runner sci-fi mystery.
Okay, three things up front:
1) I write sci-fi. I’m not famous, but I do write sci-fi on occasion.
2) Blade Runner is my favourite film of all time.
3) I am a fan of Philip Kindred Dick’s writing, more so than I am a fan of Ridley Scott’s direction. I love both, but there it is.
Okay, so, what’s the point of arguing about this 35 years after the movie came out? None, really, except that intelligent people keep missing the point about the so-called mystery of Blade Runner. There are a lot of clues to support the theory that Rick Deckard was an android, but they’re all based on little film tricks that Scott injected into the film almost as an afterthought. The only compelling evidence anyone has ever come out with was the unicorn origami conundrum, tied to the unicorn dream. Here’s the thing: the unicorn dream was not part of the original narrative at all. It’s made to look significant to inject a little extra worry into what may have seemed to some to be a bog standard sci fi noir detective story.
The central question of the whole movie is, what does it mean to be human? In fact, one could suppose that the whole thing is a sham, and that anyone in the supposedly human camp could be an android. More shades of Terminator (different director, but the same fears; how do you tell the difference between Them and Us?), really. The central Cold War-era question of trust in the 80s ended up superseding the question of the meaning of humanity, but the film didn’t really ask either question too pointedly, so you are still left to your own devices to interpret the message.
The problem for me is, Ridley Scott isn’t a writer. He’s a director. I like directors. Especially the maverick ones. My favourite is Terry Gilliam, but that’s neither here nor there; Terry’s not really a writer per se, either. But he has a better sense of what the story he’s telling is really about. Ridley made Alien, and then got roped into doing this film. He also went on to make Legend a little while later, a fantasy story featuring a sequence with a unicorn, some of which wound up on the cutting room floor. The unicorn footage? Ended up in Blade Runner for the director’s cut. Ta Da! Neat trick, but it’s not part of the story, and only works because Ridley wedged it in there to make his point.
The central argument is that Gaff knew Deckard was a replicant. I don’t know if Deckard was actually a replicant, but I don’t really care, either, because I remember what the story is supposed to be about: What does it mean to be human? You can have the mystery and still have that question, but it goes unanswered because we’re confused by what we’ve been watching. We saw a human replicant killer fall in love with a replicant, which is a more useful metric than Gaff’s obsessive fidgeting with mini origami figurines. If a man who is trained to detect, hunt down and kill fake humans suddenly falls in love with one, doesn’t that tell you something? Something profound? Something human?
That’s the point of the film. A more cynical Deckard would have ‘aired out’ his girlfriend and moved on. Rachel was cute as heck, but Rick knew she wasn’t ‘real’. His in-built prejudice against replicant invaders and a lifetime of thinking of replicants as The Other would almost certainly have dictated that… except for one thing: He’s a human being, and humans change our minds. We learn. We adapt. We grow. We aren’t as logical and precise as we sometimes aspire to be. We. Can. Change.
Rachel proved herself to be human enough for Rick. In the end, he learned that it was more important to believe you are human, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and to act accordingly, than to have actually been born a human. That doesn’t take away from the so-called mystery, but it does become confusing if Deckard is actually a replicant who has no idea that he is. A (retired) replicant killer who happens to be a replicant that isn’t aware of his identity is kind of profound, too, but it kick-drops the original question into the mud. Why? Because the movie in its final state would rather ask the question, ‘how do we know who is a human?’ It suddenly becomes a question of ‘who do we trust?’ That leads back to the original question, and doesn’t necessarily detract from it, but it DOES obfuscate the point, unless you look really hard at it.
Philip Kindred Dick wasn’t as ambivalent–or as sanguine–about the question. He asked it in a lot of his work. He was obsessed by the idea that real humans were as likely to do inhumane things as any seeming fakes. In fact, his central argument for years (before his untimely death) was that we as humans really ought to try a little harder to behave like decent human beings instead of what he saw humanity becoming.
So, to end this bit of meaningless ramble, I just want you to understand one little idea before you go see the sequel: We are all human. All of us. Even the replicants. It’s up to us to figure that out and act accordingly.
I’m still trying to break the back of this novel. It’s the meanest book I’ve tried yet. It refuses to let me in. I’m starting to hate the fucker. Seriously.
The first act is about a ‘school for gifted youngsters’ (not THAT school). So it needs a number of interesting and different students to make it work. And it needs a few villainous types that aren’t impossible to mistake for allies until it’s too late. So far, I have all the character names and abilities/talents worked out, but the characters themselves aren’t coming to meet me, so I can get to know them enough to write them. :frusty: This is making it difficult to get to work on any of the other acts, because I’m determined to open with this story first… at least for now. *sigh*
The second act is about a guy who kills his cheating husband and has to run from the law long enough to create a new life for himself. He’s actually a pretty decent guy, but he couldn’t figure any other way to salvage what was left of their joint credibility rating (which is like TV show ratings AND your personal credit rating all in one). The tricks are, he lives in a huge megalopolis that is a hundred stories high, and half of it sunken underground, and everyone in society pays their bills via lifestyle packages that include 24 hour ‘experiential’ reality show streaming, all inside of your body. Along the way, he tries to find redemption, but it’s a very hard commodity to come by in this novel.
The third act is about a genderfluid waitress in a space diner, who becomes implicated in the death of the leader of a feminist space pirate/biker gang. Yeah, that sounds like a pulp novel plot, but it’s got stuff I really want to explore visa gender and sexuality, for the sequel series.
The fourth act is about a cybernetic spy hunter (think 007, played by Michelle Yeoh with a Bat-utility belt under her skin) who tries to retire to her home village in Chyna, only to learn that all of her friends and family have been hired into the same organization to keep her in harness.
The fifth act sees me returning to a really old, super short story of mine, called Cash Job. I’m fleshing it out, and it’s really got legs this time around. The hero is a sort of private detective, but one whose specialty is insurance claims. You heard that: A future/noir insurance detective. Other than that, it’s pretty straight up, except for his nanotechnological healing factor. I always wanted to write Logan as a private dick, and now I can.
The sixth act (!) is about a transsexual government greenhouse scientist who is being strong-armed by unscrupulous developers who want the land the greenhouse is located on. I’m still trying to get to grips with this plot, but it’s going to involve the Nazca Plains, which is kinda cool, even though damage has been done to the lines recently.
The seventh act (!!) is about a certified bodyworker who is denounced and has her license to practice revoked when she tries to cure the President of a strange disease that is making people into a sort of zombie. The president dies from the procedure and subsequently has to be destroyed, after he rises and goes on a rampage. Meanwhile, she gets kidnapped and taken to a secret detainment facility in the Caribbean, where she must practice her skills to save a group of people, including the late president’s daughter, who has been infected by her dad, and is becoming a zombie.
The eighth act (!!!) is about a futuristic hip hop poet (who looks remarkably like a very famous modern TV actor of diminutive stature) who tries to complete his late love’s symphonic opus, while avoiding her murderers.
The ninth and final act (phew!) brings all of the survivors together on the first of a fleet of environmentally-contained passenger trains, each designed to carry and house over a million passengers at once. And guess what? It’s not a safe voyage.
All this, plus ten interludes featuring a woman who is slipping through time to try to correct the catastrophes that force the human race onto those trains in the first place.
Honestly, if it wasn’t such an amazing piece of fiction slowly brewing into shape, I would just abandon the project and go do something easier. Three and a half years of trying to figure it out and write it is just too long for me. But it might just be the novel that breaks me into the industry… if it doesn’t break me first.
So that’s what I’m struggling with at present… along with a gig illustrating a children’s fantasy novel for a friend. All other projects are temporarily on hiatus until I get to grips with these two projects, I think.
Thanks for reading.
There’s a remarkable thing about the passage of time as you get old: it seems like everything is going faster and faster, but really, when you take it in perspective, it’s actually going incredibly slow, but your attention to life’s little details is both more refined and yet lazy. When you were a kid, you absorbed random information like a sponge. Your brain still largely works the same way as you get older, but your frame of reference filters out most of what you receive. You probably sort it all out in your dreams. Not sure about that yet, but it seems to be the case. Science is a process, not a religion.
Hi there. Remember me? I’ve been away for a few weeks. Money has been tight. My uber-capable wife maintains the server for our webpages. She needs money to achieve this miraculous feat. When she finally loses patience with me and leaves for the gardener, I’ll have to pay for my own web server again. Maybe by then there will be more than seven or eight of you to talk to. We’ll see.
Okay, so, what have I been doing, besides smoking a lot of cannabis for my back and brainmeats? I’ve been working on some illustration projects, most of which are not really presentable, but since we’re probably at the put up or shut up stage in the relationship, I’ll show you mine if you promise to show me yours.
First, I planned out my ideas for a series of painting collaborations between my wife and I, in the form of thumbnails for a graphic novel in gallery form. The paintings are all 30″ x 40″, so it will take some time and space to showcase them properly. We previewed the first two piece back in 2015. We’ve been working on a few more, one of which is just about done and one of which is sort of fighting me, internally. It needs to be more yonic and ethereal, and right now, it just looks like a golden shower. I’m hoping to goad myself into a solution for that mess in the next six weeks. Anyway, here’s the plan, Stan:
Second, I’m also working on illustrations for an old school friend who has written his first children’s book, and needs a little help getting it together. He’s helping me figure out how to build a walk-in splatter box, so it all balances out somehow. I have a number of tentative drawings for that, but the only ones I like are these:
…and of course, my sprawling sci-fi epic, The CONSTANT SEA of NIGHT:
The thing is, I’m actually working on a number of other paintings, and I have a book of album reviews I’m going to finish up and put out this summer, if I can just find time to finish the last few reviews, which have never been seen on this website before, and probably won’t be seen on this site afterwards, either.
As some of you know, I always have a lot of ideas percolating, but what actually gets completed is more complicated than just saying I’ll work on a thing. So we’ll see where we are in a few months’ time. Meanwhile, it’s time to get some work done. Have a good day.