Brave New Worlds is out, a little earlier than January 2011. It is an anthology edited by John Joseph Adams. My name appears in a table of contents with my heroes Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Harlan Ellison, and many others who are far better writers with boundless success.

Seeing my name juxtaposed with theirs is something I have imagined since childhood. Now that it has happened, I am not entirely sure what to hope for next.

Topless for my shirt's sake, I'm painting World 1-1 on your bookshelf, which is actually my bookshelf, but we have lately lost some distinction as to whose things are whose because I have taken to wearing your clothes and you have taken to using my computer and no one particularly cares.

My skies are all done, streaky blues and purples because did I mention this is going to be my own crooked interpretation of things? It would be too difficult to copy it pixel for pixel, so I am taking the easy way out because creativity trumps replication in my world today. But I can't do much else until this layer dries. I'm sitting on your floor waiting when you look over and tell me it looks good, and I'm not sure if you mean the paint or my tits but I'm happy to hear either.

While I wait I'm watching you play a game, and my interest in you peaks your interest in me and you say let's watch The Office and instead you take your shirt off.

We eventually do watch The Office.

Three episodes is about all we can handle before it's just too much for us and you ask me what I want to do but I don't know so you offer your bed for me to nap in for a while before I go to sleep. This is usually considered a bad habit (it feeds my insomnia) but today is special. I don't even have to put my shirt back on because your roommate is out of town.

Falling in and out of half-sleep, I'm dreaming about pizza and diamond rings and crayons, hundreds of crayons all over the floor, and I am trying to put them away but I just keep finding more, but I don't mind because I like the colors. And then I dream that someone knocks on the door so I hide behind it as you open it, and it's supposed to be pizza but it's some guy in a towel looking for your roommate. And he is going to drive you to the store to buy me diamonds and I'm thrilled except right now I don't want any diamonds, just a pizza, but you keep telling me to wait for tomorrow.

You wake me up with the lightest kiss I have ever felt, on my forehead, so light that your presence rouses me more than your touch. I nap in your bed most days but I never spend the night, not even tonight, because you are a sprawler and you hate not to be able to sprawl. But you walk me to my own bed and then you crawl into it with me and hold me until I am on the verge of sleep, and then you kiss my cheek and sneak away to your own room alone.

Diamonds are lovely. I can wait until tomorrow for my pizza.

My phone rang at 5:30 this morning. It’s been my experience that when stuff like that happens it usually means someone’s either died unexpectedly or is locked up and needs someone to bail them out. Imagine my surprise when the voice on the other end was all cheerful and in good spirits.

It was the voice of my kid.

She just wanted to remind me that she was off to someplace called Crank’s Creek in Kentucky where she and a group of other like minded volunteers from the neighborhood schools are helping out some folks in the hills of Appalachia. Most of what they’ll be doing is in the form of handing out Christmas presents, feeding the needy and bonding with the locals. She wanted to say “goodbye” since she doesn’t think her cell phone will work due to the remote location.

Earlier this week I had to take a day off to get some minor repairs done on my car. A buddy of mine offered to drive me to the shop to pick it once it was done. In return for that favor I offered to pick up the tab for a couple of beers at our local watering hole. I think we hung around until about six or seven.

Something looked strange inside the house. I’d long since given up putting a Christmas tree or hanging any lights but from outside I could see I could see the familiar warm glow. Once I got inside I saw my living room bathed in various strings of multicolored lights. It seems some elf had stopped by while I was gone and wanted to surprise me.

When I called her later and heard her on the phone my eyes welled up and my voice started to crack.

I got her Christmas list the other day. To quote the author, “This is not a WISH list, it’s an idea list.”

I won’t bother you with all the details which includes music by bands that I’ve never heard of but since she’s going on a student exchange program to France next year she wanted some books on Paris and France in general. She also requested some clothes that might be suitable for her trip and in line with French fashion. Again, I quote, “This doesn’t mean clothes with the Eiffel Tower or French expression, wearing that in France may be a bit tacky.

I like to think of myself as a something of a hardened by life kinda guy. Over the years, nothing seems to have come easy. Various health issues and the loss of loved ones has given me a somewhat jaded view on what to expect in the coming years.

At least it used to.

It’s amazing what a few simple gestures by another person can do to restore something inside of you thought was gone.

I live for the years to come, not for the ones that have already passed.

Thank you Anna…


She's doing it again in 2011. She leaves December 16 and returns December 19. I've her asked her to write down her experiences and who knows, maybe we'll get a first hand account in the form of a w/u in the not too distant future.

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