A little of that Christmas cheer

fireplaceGene Autry crooning from the CD player, the Christmas tree filling the house with its pine scent, wood popping in the fireplace…ah, yes, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

Those who follow this blog are aware that I love Christmas and still cling to the faint possibility of Santa Claus (hey, the cookies I leave out are always eaten when I get up in the morning, explain that).

This year possesses an extra poignancy, I suspect, because it’s our last Christmas before our youngest lad moves out, leaving us with ye olde empty nest. And a much smaller food bill (but I digress).

Hectic around here, as it is for everybody else this time of year. Trying to finish last minute shopping, get parcels away to relatives and loved ones, keeping the walk shoveled and the house warm during some recent cold snaps.

I’ll probably do a year end review at some point but not on this occasion.

Instead I want to announce a special Christmas treat:

I’ve created, with the help of those over-priced buggers at Cafe Press, some pins/buttons. The button with the smallest print reads “Frustrate algorithms.” Sorry, despite my best efforts, I remain mediocre at taking still photos.


(Click on images to enlarge)

These pins reflect aspects of my personal philosophy, that subversive, non–conformist attitude I’ve had for as far back as I can remember.

I’m giving away three sets of pins along with three personally inscribed copies of my latest book, Exceptions & Deceptions, for the best questions or comments submitted in the next month. Post your remarks, then, if you want to be eligible for a prize, send your particulars (address, etc.) to blackdogpress@yahoo.ca. I’ll make my choices sometime in mid-January and post the names of winners at that time.

Feeling very positive as this year comes to a close. There’s a desire now that I’m fifty to start living a more spiritually and aesthetically fulfilling life, to continue to expand my horizons by exposing myself to smart, daring books and films and music, eschewing the trivial and formulaic. Off with the old skin, on with the new.

“…Identity is the daughter of birth,
but in the end, the invention of its owner,
not an heirloom from the past.”

-Mahmoud Darwish, from Almond Blossoms & Beyond
(Translated by Mohammad Shaheen)


  1. Kendi Clearwater

    Confession: This Christmas I again succumbed to a pretty cover with a teaser clip on the back, doh! I hate paying money for drivel that some gap toothed, mouth breathing, lickspittle managed to cobble together with some clever marketing, and most galling of all is the knowledge that I fell for it. Swearing I could do better in my sleep I try to put together a plot line and find a voice when I realize once again, … i can even hear your voice intoning the very words…”If it was easy kiddo, everyone would do it.”

    Love your short stories, and I thank you once again for the copy of Exceptions & Deceptions. Balm to my poor reader’s soul. Well if I do not have the discipline nor skill to write even claptrap i shall just have to console myself with the work of those who do! You subversive, nonconformist skin shedder.

  2. Kendi Clearwater

    Just finished “Second Sight”, the last story in Exceptions & Deceptions, loved it. Nicely done, brother. You have always been a master of a sharply drawn characters. Interesting to see, the characters in “Second Sight” and some of the other stories in the collection are far more rounded. I enjoy this development in this collection.
    “Matriarchy” was a good’er, “Daughter” and “Daddy Monster” were chilling. Only you could make the hero of “Printed Matter” adorable! lol! I will be reading these stories again.

  3. Cliff Burns

    Like most short story collections, Exceptions & Deceptions is struggling to find readers. Sad to see how the short story format has declined in many people’s eyes.

    Delighted you loved Exceptions–it still retains a very special place in my heart.

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