Halfway out of the dark

The opposite of summer,
That forever twilight of my youth,
The sky just a darker blue
Long past midnight.

Solstice balances Solstice,
A line connecting each pole.
The year strung out, summed up in sunsets
And reckoned in rises.

Every sunset is a defeat,
Every sunrise a victory.
The ticktock of days
Rushing by ever faster.

The worst days,
Like broken glass
Crunching and cutting
Under your feet.

The best days,
Brief moments of bright
Gone too soon,
Never forgotten.

It’s not the days in your life,
But the life in your days,
Lick your fingers clean,
Reach in and take another.

Almost There

It feels like we’re still in the middle of writing it, but in reality the Broken Rooms RPG is almost finished. I’ll be interested to see what my final (personal) word count is, but I suspect it’s upwards of 75,000 words. That’s before editing, so it may not all make it in, but I think the book is going to be around 125,000 words when it’s all said and done.

Here’s the first four or five pages of the RPG, the introduction chapter. We may add a few things to it, specifically around explaining a bit more about the system, but it’s more or less as you see it. 

The artwork is a photograph of one of the other writers that I took using his nice DSLR camera. We’ve been running photographs through a top-secret process (an iPhone app, actually) to get this kind of abstract style. 

Let me know what you think. I’ll be posting more about the game, its history and its development over the next month or so.


He was a good cat
Though unspeakable vile
To the not-us and un-we.

He was the third of his name
A tradition of my family
Now thirty six years in the making.

He was my sidekick
In my first months in America
My feline shadow in the Canton apartment.

He always smelled a bit like curry
A pleasant and exotic scent
As if he wasn’t just a common tabby.

He loved my feet
Would sleep by and over them.
Say howdy with a nibble and a flop.

He loved straws
Would pull them from cups
Drag them up and down stairs.

He would say hello
With a nod and a short meow
As if copying the human gesture.

He liked being scooped
PIcked up and cuddled
But only by us.

He would come when called
Chirping and curious
Wondering where the turkey was.

He played fetch
Would bring you something
And wait for you to throw it.

He was generous
Leaving loose change in my shoes
Turning every pair into penny loafers.

He missed us
Would be at the door when we got home
Endless nose-rubs after vacations.

We miss him
Eleven years old, almost exactly
A wedding gift to ourselves.

He was a good cat
A gift that never stopped giving
And never will.

Samuel Jay Herron
April 2000 – April 2011
He was a good cat

The Art of Getting Stuff Done

I’ve had a busy couple of days, mostly involving trips to Belfast.

Yesterday, I spent time with Tim, my best friend from ages 6 until 15 or so. We lost touch a couple of years after I moved from Glengormley to Ballymena and it was only recently that Tim found me online via Twitter. It’s been great catching up with him and it was lovely to meet his wife and daughter, too. I got a very tasty home cooked meal last night at his house, which isn’t too far away from the street where we grew up. It was nostalgic in all the right ways. Tim’s not really changed, which is reassuring, because neither have I. We’re both still big science fiction and movie fans who would have probably spent the whole evening building starships out of Lego, had we had any.

Today I met up with long-time writing collaborator, Colin Sinclair. We ate lunch at the Victoria Center in Belfast (which continues to impress the heck out of me). Then we retired to a coffee shop to go over background material for the Broken Rooms RPG. As usual, there was some great ideas sparking back and forth, though I’m reminded again of how much work is ahead of us if we want to get the book done for August 2011. It’s to the point where I’m seriously considering uninstalling World of Warcraft from the Macbook. Hmm.

I’ve been enjoying my time in Belfast. I’m noticing the impact of the recession, with some closed shops here and there, but for the most part it seems like business as usual.

Despite the very kind and effective taxi-service laid on by my friends while I’m home, I decided to take the train home. I’ve always enjoyed the train and they’re particularly nice and modern these days. The ride back was in darkness, of course (sunset at about 4:30pm here) but there’s something comforting about the sea of sodium lights that is Newtownabbey by Night. Those lights are an important part of my childhood color palette. 

I’ve been back for a week and it does feel longer. Despite a sore throat and the beginnings of a cold, I’m very happy with how things have gone so far. I just need to avoid distractions and get writing. There’s no one to blame but myself for that, though.

Closer Apart

Spring Promise
Summers Golden Wish
Open Eyes, Heart Unfurled
Waiting with patience tested
Dangerous tender words

Autumn change
Winters dark sorrow
Deny hope so gently
Biding time, waiting for the moment
Tonight the truth aches

Spring Hope
Summer lies before us
Shadows fade, we remain
Closer apart

(Lyrics written in 1997)