The greatest mystery is not that we have been flung at random between the profusion of matter and of the stars, but that within this prison we can draw from ourselves images powerful enough to deny our nothingness.”
— Andre Malraux

Prosatio Silban and the Uninvited Guest

THE RHYTHMIC RAPPING OF STEEL on wood filled Prosatio Silban’s cozy galleywagon with the sharp tang of garlic, and he marveled – not for the first time – at how easily the aroma sliced through a quarter-century of cooking smells.

Having stopped for the evening in the shadow of haunt-rumored Mount Tenebros, the Cook For Any Price had seen to his great dray-beast’s dinner and was now preparing his own to suit the clammy evening chill. The area, mostly bare basalt rock with a scattering of curious boulders, did not readily retain the day’s heat; and he paused in his chopping to close the galleywagon’s carved and windowed door. He latched it, turned, and regarded his portable haven with fond familiarity.

365 Names: Flow

FLOW is preferred to The Flow, since “the” suggests separateness — “Thingness,” if you will — and as Flow cannot be reliably distinguished from that-which-flows, said usage would upset “the” carefully built phenomenological apple-cart. (And we certainly can’t have that.) Just another attempt at naming the Nameless…without naming it, of course.

A Very Good and Simple Stir-Fry

AS THE TITLE INSINUATES, HERE is a quick solo dinner that takes about 20 minutes (mostly because that’s how long the rice cooks) and is nourishing, cheap and tasty.

1. Start fixing some rice of your choice (1:2 rice:water ratio for white, basmati or jasmine; I don’t like brown rice very much, and besides, it takes longer to cook).

2. Assemble a mise-en-place of stir-fry ingredients; in my case, and because I like motley-colored food, that’s usually:

– 1 small boneless/skinless chicken breast (fajita-cut)
– handful of green beans (chopped into thirds)
– 1 carrot (cut into broad matchsticks)
– 1 yellow summer-squash (cut into 1″-thick half-moons)

5 Thoughts: All My EEGs in One Basket

An electrode for your thoughts? (Click to embiggen.)

1. WHEN I GOT INTO THE driver’s seat and couldn’t recognize the dashboard, I knew it was time to enlist some professional help.

2. I had been experiencing some memory and cognitive issues for a while (as well as a few bouts of sleepwalking), and at this writing (2019.10.08) I still am. But the Dashboard Incident really threw me. So I saw a neurologist, who subjected me to an MRI and electroencephalogram (“EEG” in doctor-speak). “We’re just ruling things out,” she said. Both tests were low-impact procedures (despite the genial claustrophobia of the former and the intricately placed electrodes of the latter), and I actually fell asleep during the course of them both.


TODAY KICKS OFF THE WOULD-BE novelists’ annual motivational event, NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to write 1,667 words a day for a total of 50,000 by November 30. (I participated one year, and have a fairly mediocre time-travel novel to show for it.)

But some of us who write aren’t het up on novels so much as, say, short stories about a mercenary cook who used to be a holyman but can’t quite shake his past. Toward that end, I invite you to join in the alternative: NaSSWriMo, an acronym which I just made up and won’t insult your intelligence by defining.

It’s Really Spelled “Hallowe’en”

(TO BE CLEAR, IT’S ACTUALLY a slight abbreviation of the phrase “All Hallow’s Evening,” AKA “All Hallow’s Even,” AKA “Hallows E’en.”)

There’s something to be said about archaic or alternate spellings / renderings. For example, a beloved English teacher once opined that the spelling “grey” instead of “gray” made the word look and feel, well, “greyer.”

Different fonts make the words we read sound different in our minds. Italics (at least for me) convey a more choral mindfeel than does plain text; bold is like a quiet sit-up-and-pay-attention monotone; ALL CAPS evokes shouting; deletion lines are like mumbled static. Put them all together, and one has CONTROLLED CHAOS.