The Unlikely Stoic

My grandfather was a great man. He would have identified himself as a stoic; he would have appreciated Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations if he wouldn’t have quit school at the tender age of fourteen, left the village where he was born, and walked barefoot for some forty miles to the nearest city to work in construction.
He taught me many valuable lessons, but the most important one he never dared utter into existence.

It took him some thirty years to die. Continue reading

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story-a-week.com: one free short story every week

Hi guys,

I thought I’d write this short post to let you know I have a site where I post a free short story every week.

For those of you who enjoy reading fiction.

For those of you who like short stories.

For those of you who enjoy my writing.

They say you’ll live forever if a writer falls in love with you.

[READ MORE]

 

About Dreams

“That which is dreamed can never be lost, can never be undreamed.” – Neil Gaiman

It was a dark and stormy night. No, I’m just kidding. But it was night though. A cold, winter night. You know, the air is so cold, it rubs like sandpaper against your throat. You can feel it going down your lungs.

Me and my mother were taking the tram home after having visited my grandfather.

That’s when I decided to become a writer. It just happened.

I had an idea and that night I began writing. This idea soon became a dream.

My most important dream: to become a writer. Continue reading

land of the blind: Episode One: Si vis pacem, para bellum

The old train station is dying in an atmosphere of panic and chaos. The plaster on the walls and pillars has fallen off almost completely. Concrete and rusted steel bars, the insides of a beast that has never known the innocent pleasure of sleep. The huge clock, anchored against the eastern wall, slices time away carelessly. The ceiling is covered with fantastic irregularities; time has carved long strips of cracks along its surface – badly healed wounds.
Outside, on platform five, Hank is sitting on a bench, legs crossed. The sun is high on the blue sky and makes the air quiver like steam rising from a boiling liquid.
A kid passes by, a sandwich in his right hand, little drops of mustard and ketchup falling on the ground. Hank sighs and takes a look at his watch. He closes his eyes and smiles in quiet surrender, then rises fast from the bench as if startled by a nightmare. He glances around, then takes a couple of steps towards the edge of the platform. The air is clear, and he can see far. The rails slip under the thin line of the horizon; if he were to follow them he’s sure he’d end up on the other side of the planet. Or back here.

***

A warehouse with floodlights. Outside, a small airplane. A man standing against a motorcycle, helmet in hand. To his left, a knot of heavies, their backs against the wall, smoking.
The black Rolls-Royce parks in front, the counselor steps out of the car.
The biker stands up, greets him. He signals one of the heavies, who pushes a button on a remote. The metal door clanks upward. The biker and the counselor walk inside. They cross the room to an island in the far corner that contains a kitchen and a bed, a tin locker, a leather easy chair. The biker turns on the stereo and opens the refrigerator and takes out two bottles of beer. He places the beers on the table and takes off his leather jacket and unzips a pocket and takes out a clear plastic bag and pitches it onto the table. It is full of hundred dollar bills. He motions the counselor to take a sit at the table, then he opens a drawer and takes out a packet of marijuana and papers and sits rolling a joint. He lights it and leans back with his eyes closed. He blows smoke up in the air. “You can call me Scorpio.”
The counselor doesn’t answer.
“Come,” the man says. He stands up, walks to the kitchen counter, pulls out a gun out of a drawer and starts walking. The counselor follows him to the other end of the warehouse. They step outside, cross the yard to another warehouse. Scorpio stops in front of a metal door, where he pushes three buttons on a keypad. He waits. There is a click and he pushes the door open, lets the counselor in. He turns and shuts the door.
In the center of the room, a mattress. On it, a man, his legs and hands and mouth tied. He looks peacefully up at them, a tear lingering in the corner of his right eye.
“Big guy. Put up a hell of a fight. Had to sedate him.” He hands the gun to the counselor. “Here. He’s a liability…”
Robert takes the gun, stares down at the man. “I can’t do this. He’s –“
Scorpio points at the gun. “Blackwell told me to mess with you a bit.” Scorpio stares, thinking. “Told me you’re a coward.” He takes the gun from the counselor’s hands. “I can do it for you, if you want. Blackwell said you need to understand there’s a price for everything. He wants you to pull the trigger. I say it doesn’t matter. You’re here.”
The counselor shakes his head. “Si vis pacem, para bellum.”
Scorpio shrugs. He aims and shoots the man in the chest twice. A muffled cry and then silence.

***

A story of intrigue, “land of the blind” is a serialized novel describing the power struggles of the corrupt wealthy, the so-called “kingmakers” in their attempt to assassinate the King of England and obtain the independence of the American Colonies.

There are no rules, no principles. There’s no middle ground, no playing it safe.

But you know what they say, “In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king.”

New episodes each week.

Available on Amazon.com.

Beauty will save the world

beautyDostoyevsky once said that beauty will save the world. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn kind of agreed with him in his 1970 Nobel Lecture. (that’s just an excerpt but it’s so worth reading.)

Beauty will save the world.

But what exactly is beauty? How can you define it? Continue reading

New Release: Memento Mori

Hi guys,

I’m am excited to announce a new release.

Memento Mori.

A compilation of short essays about life, death, and what happens in between.

***

During the Roman Empire, whenever a general would be successful in battle and return home, he would be awarded a triumph, a celebration on the streets of Rome. It was his moment of glory. All the pain and suffering faded away in that moment, because an entire city cheered for him, and in doing so, they created a moment that gave away the delicate illusion of perfection, as if their cheers and claps were capable of morphing a man into a god. But there was a catch. At all times, the general had behind him a slave, whose sole task was to whisper to his ears these two words, “Memento mori.”

Remember that you are mortal. A mere man. No matter how successful, how cheered for, how strong, you are still only human. And you’re going to die.

You are going to die. This, I am afraid, is one of the few inevitable truths. A bitter one, indeed. You are going to die, and yet you don’t see too many folks huddling in a corner, crying about it.

This certainty should terrify us, should it not?

And yet we could around, being busy about our lives, without being aware of our impending deaths.

How can such a thing be? Why?

The thing is, we never forget. Our own mortality and its inevitability are ingrained in our very being. We may not be aware of it consciously, but our subconscious minds never forget. Of course, everyone from saints, sinners, to philosophers and psychologists have tried to figure things out for a while, and they’ll do so in the future.

What I am trying to write about is my own philosophy. Someone who’s been confronted with his own mortality early in life, someone who nearly died a couple of times…

And, no, it’s not about huddling in a corner and asking for a blanket.

***

Memento Mori available on Amazon for $0.99. Buy here.

 

“Those who can do, those who can’t teach.”George Bernard Shaw

The so-called expert loses all credibility the moment he decides to ignore this profound truth: he doesn’t really know what he did to achieve his success.

Not the opening you were expecting?

Life has the quality of being random, which we hate(that is why most people are superstitious.) There are events that we cannot control, predict, or even influence.

That being said, if you choose not to read this book, let me give you one piece of advice that holds true: perseverance.

Is that all, you may ask. Yes, it is.

In my five years of daily blogging I discovered that even though one has no strategy, no knowledge, no relations, but works and works and works, one can usually get ahead of those who contemplate the perfect strategy over and over again.

Don’t think, just do is a principle that holds true in all areas of life.

And I’ll offer the following example: the first draft of any piece of fiction is awful.

The purpose, thus, is not to write a brilliant first draft, but to simply get it done with. Then you can edit.

The same principle goes for almost anything in life. It is important to get started, to develop a habit, then you can develop a strategy.

The Journey is a no-bullshit take of what’s supposed to work for those who are willing to persevere, while the previous statement makes it clear that they could do well enough without employing(or even reading) the principles found in this book.

***

I do not like the term “guide” but I had to use it in my title. What I do like to tell you is this: the book is helpful. I put a lot of effort into giving you “no-bullshit” advice. What I mean by that? Stuff that I know works. Common sense that may not be so common. Insights and inspiration. The right kind of mindset. Developing the habit.

 

The Journey: A No-Bullshit Guide to Blogging, only $4.99 on my e-store here.