“You Cannot Feed us Beans and Expect Us Not to Fart”

This is my motto. At least, it’s been something I’ve said for the past few years in defense of what I write.

Lots of folks think mottos must be in Latin, especially if they’re using naughty words like “fart.” so I’ve asked friends to translate it and have received variously:

et non simus, ne comederemus et ne faba crepitum facere.


Nos autem non potest, et fabam, et expecta ad crepitum facere non

But I suppose if my scant knowledge of Latin can’t tell which is better, then I better stop putting on airs and leave the Latin to the Pope and the Romans.

I came across the real quotation accidentally today, that the motto sort of recalls, that is, Telemachus’ defense of Polemius in The Odyssey, Book One (Butler translation):

“Let the bard sing what he has a mind to;
bards do not make the ills they sing of;
it is Jove, not they, who makes them,
and who sends weal or woe upon mankind according to his own good pleasure…”

though Homer gets all cosmic and theological where my version is more socio-political and scatological.

But to the point, I get a degree of shit for writing horror, dark fantasy and pointing out uncomfortable realities. When we live in a world of lollipops and gumdrops, peace and justice, joy and fulfillment, maybe I won’t transcribe my nightmares.

Tarot Cards as Writing Prompts (Penguicon 2014)

Another Penguicon has come and gone, that glorious celebration of Open Source Culture. From hackers and makers, programmers and tinkers, to writers and dreamers, weirdos and musicians, this is the circus I run away to join every year, at least for a weekend. During Penguicon 2014, I sat on several panels, sharing the stage with bigwigs in speculative fiction like John Scalzi (Redshirts) Ernie Cline (Ready Player One) and Ferret Steinmetz as well as with my home-town writing buddies Sean M. Davis (Clean Freak), Michael Cieslak (Desolation: 21 Tales for Tails) and Nicole Castle.

I also gave a presentation on my own about “Indeterminacy as Compositional Tool: Tarot Cards and Writing.” Here’s a video of the preso with my voice-over commentary. The crowd was modest but enthusiastic and I at least had a blast. One attendee said the presentation gave her an idea for another creative use for tarot cards that she’ll maybe share next year. Who knows, maybe it’ll give you cool ideas too.