A collection of brief takes on non-chemical ways to alter your brain on a budget, Edward Rosenfeld’s THE BOOK OF HIGHS is a case of truth in packaging. Look at the cover and you know what you’re going to get. Resenfeld doesn’t go into any depth because then he’d be straining the attention span of the Dorito-munching target reader, but he does a great job of touching on a variety of ways to get outside your head without turning on. From “Semantic awareness” to “Myths, tales and koans,” from “Suffering and pain” to “Fasting,” the topics are brought up, briefly described, and wrapped up with references to further reading.

It’s not a source book as much as it is a quick intro to getting out of your brain’s bubble. It’s disappointing in its skimpiness–Why couldn’t he have given some starter tips on “Demonic possession”?–unless you’re just looking for suggestions for alternative trips. Lucid dreaming, “Zen morning laughs”, Gestalt therapy–the variety of ideas presented is the book’s great strength.

If you’ve been stuck on the sofa or your books and music aren’t giving you a kick anymore, give this a look. Reading “Finnegans Wake” might be more frightening than “Near-death experiences,” but who’s gonna stop ya if that’s your thing?


Rebooting Yourself: 1 Other People’s Ideas

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They’re called ‘life hacks,’ but they don’t really seem to last, do they? You can find all sorts of ’em online, and they get you excited while you’re reading them.

Do you actually DO a life hack? Maybe. And you might feel awesome for awhile.

I bring this up on a blog devoted to dark, weird fiction and pop culture because circumstances I won’t bore you with have forced me to reboot myself…inadvertently. I didn’t PLAN on taking time off from my routine, I was forced to, and then I realized I could turn it to my advantage if I played into what I was doing.

I’ll try to keep this simple, and practical. You can adapt it to your own schedule and needs, but if you’re not interested in making an actual change, in rebooting your writing, your life, your routine, then I’ll see you tomorrow.

I’ll start out with a few ideas I have written about in the past. I’m repeating them so they’re here for your consideration, and since I’m trying to stretch this out over two days.


Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages. Look it up. It works.

Dan Simmons’ Reading Cure. His suggestion was to stay offline, stay off social media, don’t write, and don’t read EXCEPT for the writing of Ralph Waldo Emerson. I suspect this would work with other writers–Shakespeare? Too heavy? But I did the one-month Emerson cure. It was something. Maybe I’ll write about it.

Philip K…?

Gene Wolfe’s writer’s block cure. Don’t write, don’t read, don’t be artistically creative AT ALL–don’t even watch movies or listen to music. You can garden, and don’t give me shit about gardening being art, you know damned well what I’m talking about. Fix up around the house, go for a walk, without your ipod. No museums. Getting the message?

Wolfe suggested doing this until you feel like writing again, but I’m considering trying it for a month. No cameras, either.

OK. Next: My personal hack.

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The Purge

Have gone through some things lately. I’ve written about this before, in the two “Reboot” pieces.

I’m rebooting starting now. Offline, getting some stuff done that needed doing.

Already I’ve put the Kindle books back up. Some short stories I need to finish and send out. Some real-life stuff of no interest to anyone but me.

Then, onto the real stuff…

I think this was where “Alicia” was first published

Writing is easier for some than others. Same with publishing. Some of us are big successes, some small successes. Others…

We have to keep asking ourselves, “Is it worth it? Can I do something else?”

And we have to keep answering.

Because one day the answer might not be what it was yesterday.

Too lazy to check which story was in this

It’s exciting to start out on something that will lead to things being different from what they are right now. I’ve already made some changes, just three days in.

“What the heck are you DOING? Stop babbling!”

I’m doing some work, putting things in order, so I can move forward with a pretty massive publishing venture.

Toys Left Behind...
Illo for my story “Toys Left Behind in an Abortionist’s Waiting Room”

I’ve left a bunch of stuff for you to read. Every day, there’s something I think you might enjoy, or my ramblings.

When I come back, I’ll have something to report. No matter what happens, as long as I’m capable, I’ll have done…something. This is a lot loopier than I’d planned on it being, but I’ve been up for hours and feel kinda trippy.

Have you ever attempted sleep deprivation? What about fasting? Both were recommended to me by someone years ago. Wish I stayed in contact.


I look forward to telling you what’s going on, after it’s gone on, and then tell you what the result was. But I’m purging a lot of stuff, mental, physical, emotional. It might end up way too personal to share. But it’ll be interesting, I think, to come back and report here after it’s all over.

See you then.