Life in progress


Zone – #AtoZChallenge & Song-Lyric Sunday

When you see me staring blankly into space and it takes several seconds for me to answer a simple question, I’m in the zone.

For the final post of this year’s A to Z Challenge, I chose from my thesaurus the word “zone.” The first thing the word always brings to my mind is the zone I need to be in, in order to create. Free from most outside distractions, particularly ones that require concentration on things I’m worried about.  I’m able to do mindless things and stay in the zone: I can get up and make a grilled-cheese sandwich for my son, but not answer any questions; I can let the dog out, but God forbid the phone rings. Having said that, sometimes I burn the sandwich and the dog will scratch at the door to come back in for half an hour.

Getting into my little bubble of creativeness is often difficult. I can’t do it when I know I’ll be distracted in the near future–I’m okay if Alex is due home from school in an hour, but not if I expect him in forty-five minutes. But there is one thing that always helps: my inspiration, my muse. Buck-Tick.

This week’s prompt for the lovely Helen Espinosa’s Song-Lyric Sunday is “consequences, good or bad.” (Click here.) Claiming that my favourite Japanese band’s music is the consequence of being able to write is a bit of a stretch, but I’m going with it because it fits.

This song inspired my upcoming novel, The Great Dagmaru. The lyrics tell the basis of the story. I can’t not disappear into the world of my creation when I listen to this song and watch this video. The English captions are available when you watch it (please do–it’s a fantastic performance), but I’ve copied them out below.


Megami (Goddess)
Lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi (vocals)
Music: Hoshino Hidehiko (acoustic guitar)

Within the heat wave,
a goddess alights
Now no longer lonely,
grant my wish

I’m going mad in this overwhelming emotion
consoled many times
I sin and wait anxiously for punishment
just getting corrupted

I’m in an agony of immorality,
shivering with a premonition
She smiles at me
and grants my wish

Screaming out, I explode
It’s maddening, precious
Even that profile distorted by fear
is beautiful, precious
Turn into chaos before my eyes
Hold me… I can’t see anything

It’s a quiet night, isn’t it?
Such a beautiful night
She smiles at me
–my wish did not come true.

Screaming out, I explode
It’s maddening, precious
Even that profile distorted by fear
is beautiful, precious
Turn into chaos before my eyes
Hold me… I can’t see anything

Only you are kind to me
Only you


Song-Lyric Sunday – Cities In Dust, The Mortal (Cover)

The theme for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, a prompt from the lovely Helen Espinosa, (find her post here and join in today! ) is “scary.” The song I’ve chosen isn’t really scary, as such, but it’s about as Goth as you can get.

Originally written and recorded by Siouxsie and the Banshees in 1986, Cities In Dust may arguably be one of the most popular Goth songs of all time. Still haven’t heard it? Well here’s your chance.

I’m so excited to be able to share with you The Mortal’s cover of the song. Sakurai Atsushi, the vocalist, translated the verses into Japanese for his version of it. In my opinion, the arrangement of the song is even better than the original. Add to that the fact that I WAS ACTUALLY AT THE CONCERT in the video:


My name is on the ticket!

and it’s even more awesome. The video was filmed at the NHK Hall in Tokyo, in November, 2015.

Here’s the video (subbed in English), and below are the lyrics.

Courtesy of A-Z Lyrics:

Cities In Dust

Water was running, children were running
You were running out of time
Under the mountain, a golden fountain
Were you praying at the Lares’ shrine?
But oh, your city lies in dust, my friend
But oh, your city lies in dust, my friend

We found you hiding, we found you lying
Choking on the dirt and sand
Your former glories and all the stories
Dragged and washed with eager hands
But oh, your city lies in dust, my friend
But oh, your city lies in dust, my friend
Your city lies in dust

Water was running, children were running
We found you hiding, we found you lying
Water was running, children were running
We found you hiding, we found you lying
Your city lies in dust, my friend
But oh, your city lies in dust, my friend

Hot and burning in your nostrils
Pouring down your gaping mouth
Your molten bodies, blanket of cinders
Caught in the throes
And oh, your city lies in dust, my friend
Oh, your city lies in dust, my friend
Oh, your city lies in dust, my friend
Oh, your city lies in dust, my friend
Your city lies in dust, my friend
Oh, your city lies in dust, my friend…



#SoCS – The Artful Dodger

When I came up with this week’s prompt, my outlook on “art” was so very plain. I was thinking, you know, art, music, writing… the “arts.” But now that I’m writing this post I’m realizing that everyone has an art that they’re good at. I might be an okay writer, and you might be a proficient draw-er, but how about all the other things we can be artful with?

The art of manipulation is one that comes to mind. Very big in the news these days – politics in particular. And how about the art of wine-making? That art is currently my friend. But hey, I only bottle it. My friend Al is the expert.

Some people turn their bodies into art.


Hell, some people do it daily before they’ll walk out the door.

I’ve never been one for make-up. I’ll put some on once in a blue moon… actually, there are more blue moons that have happened in my lifetime than there are occasions when I’ve put on make-up. I’m a little awestruck at how some women find the time to do it on a regular basis. Like women (or parents in general) who have the time to work outside the home and then come home and take care of their families.

We finally did the lemonade stand today (speaking of parenting). There was no art put into the lemonade itself. It came out of a carton. But Alex did make up some nice signs. Three of them said “Lemonade 25¢” and the one we put up down the street said “Lemonade $25.” Needless to say, we didn’t get a lot of traffic from that direction.  Having said that, one man actually gave us $10 for 3 glasses, so we were close!

Apart from that it’s been a rough day. The dog has found a way under the fence into the neighbour’s yard, so I can’t let him into my back yard anymore. At least not until I can get some extra boards nailed up. Luckily he didn’t decide to take a dip in their inground swimming pool.

Escaping is an art, isn’t it? Yeah, let’s go with that to get me back on track before I end the post.

SoCS badge 2015

This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Click the link to see how you can join in! 😀


Song Lyric Sunday – Long Distance Call by Buck-Tick

Buck-Tick is a Japanese band who I was so impressed with right from the first time I heard them, that I’ve traveled to Japan to see them in concert. Twice, in the case of the lead singer, Sakurai Atsushi.

I thought I’d share the first song I ever heard of theirs. It’s called “Long Distance Call,” and was written about Mr. Sakurai’s mother and the last time he talked to her before she died. The band was out on the road, and he couldn’t get home to see her. Honestly, I don’t know how he keeps it together when he sings it.

Unfortunately I’m not able to copy and paste the lyrics. It’s sung in Japanese, but the translation is available; the lady who translates them prefers to have a link back to her site, which is here. However, if you watch the video, the subtitles are there and easy to read. You just have to click on the settings button (the cogged wheel) at the bottom of the video and you’ll see how to access them.


This post is part of Song Lyric Sunday, brought to you by the lovely and talented Helen Espinosa at This Life One Word At A Time. Click here to see this week’s prompt, and join in!



My Plans for February and Why I’ve Been MIA

That would be Missing In Action, and the reason is also what is behind my exciting news. A friend, who is also an avid reader and a respected author and reviewer of fiction has accepted my request to read my manuscript. I’ve asked her to give me a no-holds-barred opinion on whether or not my novel needs a professional editor. Yes, I know how many authors and editors insist that every novel MUST HAVE an editor, but seriously… My novel is 750 pages long. I’m looking at paying more money than I can probably ever hope to get back. So this is my last-ditch attempt to really see what’s up with my grammar.

So why have I not been around? I’m concentrating on getting this baby as good as it’s going to get before I give it up. And then, it’s either going to an editor or not because come hell or high water, it’s getting published this year. Why is it going to be published this year? Because I told my muse in a letter that it would. And that’s what it all comes down to.

Just had to slip that in

That’s right.

Not that I’m delusional enough to believe that even on the off-chance he read my letter he would remember it ten minutes later, let alone remember I’m writing a character with his sense of fashion, his stage presence and his face, he’s damned well going to (potentially if it gets to him) receive a copy of my novel in the mail, complete with his name in the acknowledgements! So there! (Disclaimer: The preceding run-on sentence is not, by any stretch of the imagination, an example of the grammar in my novel.)

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing and what I’ll be doing for the next week or so. But I haven’t forgotten about you! I realize I’m terribly behind in my reading and replying to comments. I’ll be going back a couple of weeks to get to them, so if you get a reply to a comment you’ve forgotten you left, don’t be surprised. In the meantime I’m going to try to post every day on my fiction blog, plus blog about my trip to Japan here, and, (of course) keep up the weekly prompts. In other words, I won’t be as busy as I was last month. 🙄

Wish me luck. 😀


Just Jot It January 12th – Skulls

Skulls, for me of late, have been all about inspiration. It began a few months ago with the release of a solo project, a band called The Mortal, by my favourite singer Sakurai Atsushi. The music of The Mortal with Sakurai’s Shakespearean inspired lyrics, and the Gothic look they created with their tophats and props spoke to me from the start.

skull sakurai

But today, with the news of the death of David Bowie the co-incidences and the very meaning of how deeply music can inspire us was driven home and has been revolving in my head faster than I can process it.

I fell in love with “A Space Oddity” the first time I heard it. I was in my parent’s best friends’ basement with their niece, Beverly. She was a teenager – a mythical creature to me at my tender age of about six years. On this particular afternoon she was listening to the song over and over. I’ve never tired of it.

At my first glimpse of the man himself I was totally fascinated. His slightly feminine features which seemed to blur but not hide his masculinity, his style (which was his Ziggy persona at the time), and his lyrics made my mind whirl at the possibilities of what even my life could be like: wild, bohemian, and perhaps out-of-this-world exciting. Bowie made me dream. Ultimately he sparked my imagination and guided me to the worlds my characters live in.

skull db

As a young man this “cat from Japan” was also inspired by David Bowie.

1987 db

1987 bt

Sakurai Atsushi with Buck-Tick, 1987








During Sakurai’s first solo outing in 2004, before I knew he existed, he covered “A Space Oddity.”

And so we fast-forward to my discovery of Mr. Sakurai. Eleven years after this video was recorded I had the privilege to see Sakurai perform for the second time. He described The Mortal as an opportunity to be himself; to do what he wanted on stage, with the dark, Goth-inspired atmosphere that moves him.

I suppose you could say that I’ve been influenced twice by the same man. First directly, when I was very young, and now again indirectly by the influence he had over Sakurai Atsushi.

David Bowie, the hero that blew the spark that lit the flame of our imaginations has flown. May his influence live forever.

The “Skulls” prompt is brought to you by Dean Kealy at Dean’z Doodlez. Please check out his amazing doodles, and tell him I said hi while you’re there!

JJJ 2016

To find the rules for Just Jot It January, click here and join in today. It’s never too late! And don’t forget to ping back your January 12th post here!


Random Stuff – #SoCS

It seems the concert I came all the way to Japan to see was the stuff of inspiration. I started writing a new novel today. Only 1,333 words into it – not quite up to NaNoWriMo standards, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to finish my first draft by Christmas. Thanks, as always, go to this guy for his inspirational lyrics:


Sakurai Atsushi

And the rest of the band for the awesome music:

The Mortal

The Mortal

Some of which you can listen to here:

(I’ll leave the video here for a limited time, so if you’re interested, listen to it soon.)

And so that’s most of my interesting stuff, at least the stuff I’ll disclose before I get back home to Canada. I have loads of fantastic sights to share and stories to tell. It’s been a trip for the books… so to speak.

This random update post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Find the prompt here: and join in!

SoCS badge 2015