The Journey of SILVER BROWN

I Served A Werelizard

A former colleague of mine contacted me by phone a few months ago. He offered me a job. Decided not to take it, though. For two reasons. The first reason being that he was very insistent I move back to Toronto to take the job. Something I have precisely zero interest in doing. I lived and worked in Toronto for a number of years, and those were arguably the darkest years of my life.

My old program coordinator at Sheridan College once advised a more naïve and innocent version of yours truly against seeking work in the Big Smoke upon graduation. Her exact pearl of wisdom was: “You’re just not a Toronto kind of guy.” I probably should’ve taken her advice in retrospect. But I didn’t, and learned the hard way what she was getting at. I ended up working for a psychopath who eventually got arrested for stabbing a dude, but that wasn’t the half of it. Toronto is only exciting and glamourous if you’ve never had the experience of living or working there. Otherwise, it’s the most miserable little hellhole on the face of the earth. Douchebaggery and shameless materialism are epidemics in that town. If you dare to base your whole sense of self-worth on something other than the number of zeros on your paycheque, people actually think there’s something horribly wrong with you.

I hate myself and want to die. That’s darling! #WhatIWore

The second reason why I turned down the job is because I’ve already made definitive plans as to what I’m going to do with the post-Ellis Galea Kirkland phase of my professional life. Plans which I may or may not elaborate on in a future blog post. I’ve done the corporate stooge thing, and have experienced firsthand that there is no contentment to be found in a corporate stooge existence. Deriving some kind of satisfaction from my work would be a good and welcome thing, methinks. So now I’d like to devote my time and talents towards a more noble endeavour. All the paperwork with regards to said endeavour has been completed and submitted to the relevant personnel; I should be hearing back from them in a few months’ time.


It was the first time I had spoken to the aforementioned former colleague in four years, and the conversation did not revolve entirely around this job he was offering me. Among other things, he enlightened me to the fact that our one-time boss did not actually commit suicide, as was initially reported in the Globe. That was the “official” explanation given to the media, but the truth is even stranger (and hence far more interesting) than that. She died accidentally. Hypothermic shock.

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As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this site, Ellis Galea Kirkland was a cancer survivor. She successfully bought her way back to relative health, but not before her years of illness rendered numerous biological functions defective. One of those functions being the human body’s natural thermoregulatory ability. Over a period of years, her body temperature would gradually lose its propensity to remain consistent regardless of external atmospheric conditions, and would instead fluctuate in response to her body’s immediate surroundings. In short, she ceased to be a normal warm-blooded mammal and became cold-blooded. Like a reptile.

Years ago when Ellis first discussed this particular quirk of her physiology with me, I made some wisecrack to her in response about how she was a human lizard. Despite her hair-trigger temper and her tendency to take herself way too seriously, she laughed that one off. The joke likely reminded her of the pet iguana she used to have back in the Eighties.

Yeah, you read that right – being the near-Michael Jackson level of eccentric she was, Ellis once had a pet iguana. I never met the iguana, unfortunately. This little guy had been dead for years by the time I first met her, but I’ve personally seen old photographs of her posing with it. She would tell me that this critter expired prematurely as a result of an unintended moment’s exposure to a particularly harsh Canadian winter. In a weird way, one could say the iguana eerily presaged its owner’s death some thirty years later. There’s at least a one in ten million possibility that the iguana’s manitou cursed Ellis in retaliation for forcing it to spend the majority of its mortal existence in her abominable presence somewhere in a wretched urban swamp right next door to the ninth circle of hell, but don’t quote me on that.

“And it shall come to pass…”

With her reptilianism in some unbeknownst waxing phase (she was medically a werelizard, I’m pretty sure of it), it would be a mere five minutes outside on a bitter New Year’s Eve in the financial capital of a certain country far in the Northern Hemisphere known the world over for its harsh winters (if nothing else) that would ultimately do her in. A demise that recalls the Wicked Witch of the West, in the sense that she was killed by something that has been naturally present on Earth for millions of years which the comfortable majority can easily withstand exposure to without suffering any life-threatening medical complications.

I may or may not use this as a plot device in SILVER BROWN. Some variant of it might show up, but right now it’s really too early to tell. It’s certainly fucked-up enough to make excellent fodder for fiction. The stuff of a good biological horror story worthy of Cronenberg. There are quite a few characters in SILVER BROWN that cannot be accurately described as human, so if I find myself having to kill one of them off, it would be only fitting to give them a very inhuman sendoff.


Verbal Fluoxetine

“Good Christ, a Jewish man with parents alive is a fifteen-year-old boy, and will remain a fifteen-year-old boy till they die!”

– Philip Roth, Portnoy’s Complaint

I lost my mother earlier this year, shortly after the winter solstice. My mood about that varies with the alignment of the stars on any given day, for my relationship with her was complicated. To put it mildly. She was a rule-enforcer. A dogmatic one at that. More the type of parent to tell me not to do something than to do it. Always more terrified of the possible negatives that could arise from any given situation rather than excited about the possible positives. So I grew up with the feeling that I couldn’t really rely on her as a life coach; I had to look well outside the home environment from an early age to find my inspiration. My mother’s level of depressing merely intensified as she got older, and would leave this world fearful, angry and miserable after a mere sixty-nine years. A slow horrible death, by all accounts.

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I’m still struggling to come to terms with living in a world without my mother in it. She’s been an omnipresence in my life for so long that her absence is almost shocking. It’ll take a bit more time for the shock to wear off, methinks. Some days I’m fully comfortable living in this new world, and other days I’m so uncomfortable with it that I willfully go looking for love in all the wrong places. But if I ever have one of those days when I just can’t deal, it helps to write something. The written word oft proves to be my salvation. Just the act of tapping away at the keyboard puts me in a better frame of mind. The words I write occasionally even shine a light on something I’ve never considered before, even if I end up deleting them soon after.

The Green Grass of SILVER BROWN

Just What Are You Smoking? August 2019 Edition

This strain is called Island Pink. It’s a sativa-dominant hybrid with about forty percent kush. The buds are small but very hairy, with a faintly purplish and decidedly odorous toke packed with magically delicious wonder-working power.

If you stare at this picture long enough, you will understand at long last why there was only ever one Smurf woman.

This is one of those strains that will glue you to the couch. Even if you’re a seasoned veteran of the holy ganja, such as yours truly. But at the same time, it’s a highly cerebral high. The number of new ideas for the book that came flooding into my brain after two rips of this herb was just staggering. All in all, I quite enjoyed this smoke. I was at peace with the universe. Hardly ever paranoid. There were split-second hallucinations of strange extra-dimensional vermiform creatures at high enough doses, but I was spiritually enlightened enough to recognize those creatures as manifestations of sunyata.


Some of you might be wondering what this (or my previous blog post) has to do with the book. Well, in case you haven’t figured it out by now, SILVER BROWN was largely conceptualized and written by Our Lady of 420. She writes through me. I am merely Her medium. I also do quite a bit of writing whilst not under the influence of anything, except maybe my mandatory morning dosage of two cups of good strong coffee. But when I do, I will usually at some point run it past Mother Ganja, seeking Her wise counsel on how the prose could be improved. She always has something to say.

I’ve had exchanges with many a fellow scribe on Twitter that went something like this…

The reactions I get to such a suggestion range from curious amusement to unfettered moral outrage. It’s the thought processes of the latter folk I particularly can’t fathom. I’m one of those people that needs to be awed. Awe is the spinach that fuels my literary Popeye. Verily, she is my muse. Sometimes awe is in tragically short supply in a man’s day-to-day existence, but fortunately Mother Nature has blessed us with a remedy for awe deficiency in the form of the genus Cannabis. It’s not the only remedy, I’ll admit. Far from it. But I’ve fully explored all of The Man’s “socially acceptable” suggested alternatives, and at the end of the day I’d rather just hit the bong and be done with it. I spent twelve years of my life working for a literal psychopath who notoriously went insane and stabbed a dude, so I think I’m entitled to at least one bad habit.

An extreme closeup shot of Her Majesty packed with the Island Pink. I took this picture early in the morning, for effect.

Expanding on the whole awe thing, writing about some band I’m into is an awe-accumulating thing as well. When I am awed, I gain new perspectives on SILVER BROWN that I am suddenly eager to start implementing.

“Chapters are like turds. Some of them just gush out of you, but others require a lot of ass-straining.”

Speaking of which, all the meticulous editing I’ve been doing on Act One of SILVER BROWN is now complete. When Chapters Sixteen and Seventeen finally came together, the rest of it came to me so easily. Chapters are like turds. Some of them just gush out of you, but others require a lot of ass-straining. The first act has a cliffhanger ending with a Big Reveal. Some people will probably need barf bags, like they did with The Exorcist. But even those people will probably still love it.

“The power of Christ compels you!”