The Journey of SILVER BROWN


The earliest drafts of what would eventually become SILVER BROWN came into being solely because I needed an outlet for my creativity. An outlet I wasn’t getting from my job. I went to college to train in the field of digital media. A line of work normally associated with creating things. But I was seldom allowed to actually create anything. The corporate culture of the firm I ended up working for was extremely hostile towards any semblance of creativity on my part. Particularly during those last few years, when my boss’ mental health had deteriorated to a point where she started engaging in unlawful things. There was only room for one creative genius at that firm, and it wasn’t me. My job was just to follow her orders.

Prior to entering such a suffocating work environment, I loved building websites. Then that love was kindly shown into a black sedan somewhere and garroted from behind like Luca Brasi. So I found a completely different craft to put my passions into – writing. I have no regrets about taking up this noble and ancient art, a craft I’ll continue to practice for as long as the Fates will allow me to. Writing is good for the soul, without question. Seeing your own words right in front of your face has a way of illuminating certain truths in ways that Enlightenment philosophers and pleasant conversations with friends simply don’t.

Even so, one cannot live on writing alone. Every writer needs fuel for their creative motors. With no experiences outside of writing, what will the writer write about? So after some hesitation, I dived into the Hudson to find Luca Brasi and pull him out to shore, reanimating his skeletal remains by immersing myself in the Old Craft, with a focus on learning about this fancy newfangled middleware and how to use it.

Node.js is definitely not your grandpa’s JavaScript. In ancient times, JavaScript was an interpreted client-side language, running locally on a web browser. It was equipped with a number of tools to enable communication between a web page and a server, but willing an actual server into existence using only JavaScript was the stuff of science fiction. Yet science fiction tends to become science fact with the passage of time. In some ways, that’s a good thing. As recently as six weeks ago, I was pretty convinced building some kind of web application would be problematic for me, on account of lack of access to the appropriate resources. Namely, a working server on which I could run scripts. But now I have such a server, having acquired the knowledge to build one myself. Here’s a mini-Twitter I built from scratch that runs on said server…

It’s not much to look at and there aren’t many bells and whistles yet. I mostly built this to get my feet wet playing with this shit.

This is just the tip of the iceberg; I am fully intent on furthering my education in this technology in the coming months (I tend to catch onto these new technologies in short order – hell, even my psychopath former boss once described me to a few of her contemporaries as a “quick study”). But the grand adventure on the side that is SILVER BROWN is and never was a waste of time. I know it doesn’t go unappreciated, hence the reason why I continue to write. A more detailed report of the progress of the book will come at a later date.

In the meantime, I should mention that I connected with a writer over the holidays who has published over sixty books and is a Master Mason to boot (if I ever get the itch to join that ancient brotherhood, I know who to call). In the first week of the new year he presented me with a printout of the first chapter of SILVER BROWN I had emailed him on New Year’s Eve, which was augmented with his editing suggestions and commentary. His only real complaint was that there was too much jargon used in the text which might get in the way of audience comprehension of the story. But his overall impression was favourable. To use his exact words, he found it “interesting”.

At least as interesting as this.

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 a miserable place. Shameless materialism and delusions of grandeur 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’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. [EDIT 1/30/2020 10:40 UTC-5 These plans ultimately did not work out for me, as I elaborate on in more detail here. So the search continues for life’s next great adventure. Hopefully that adventure will not involve dealing with anyone with a God complex. Satisfaction would still be a good and welcome thing.]


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.

giphy (2)

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. It had been dead for years by the time I first met Ellis, 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.

“And it shall come to pass…”

With her reptilianism in some unbeknownst waxing phase, 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.

The Journey of SILVER BROWN

Behind The Wall Of Sleep

Due to its potency, and the bevy of perils that could possibly be wrought from its misuse, methinks written prose should ideally be allowed time to breathe prior to consumption. Like a bottle of wine. Or this guy’s brain. Take your pick.

If you can’t watch a movie like this and sleep like a baby on the same night, you’ll probably find the rest of this blog post completely useless.

Specifically, it is foolhardy to publicize a written work on the same day it was composed. You have to sleep on it at least once before entertaining any vague notion of letting somebody else read it. At the (very unfortunate) risk of sounding like your mama, a good night’s rest assists both the body and the mind to purge themselves of waste. Which is kind of important. After a good mindshitting, you’re a new (wo)man. You can approach your work with a clearer conscience. This is something my crazy boss never understood. The one with the magna cum laude degree from Harvard who went insane and stabbed a dude. Sleep was taboo to her. She could never be bothered to excrete her own mindshit because she was too busy running the world, and eventually found herself with a massive pulsating backlog of that ectoplasmic goop which ruptured all over the news.

The work itself likewise needs time to sit and rest periodically. Sometimes the best thing to do with a project is put it off to the side and not fuck with it for a while. Just let it age, like Kentucky bourbon. A quote that’s stuck with me for many years is that enlightenment is like a cat. If you chase after it, it will run from you. But if you remain still and free your mind of expectations, the cat will jump right into your lap. It’s good that I can just allow the cats to come to me now, after many years of working for somebody who was always insistent on chasing them (and extremely hostile towards any suggestion that chasing them might not be the best way to go). One of those cats just told me to leak more information about the nature of the Environment in the chapter I’m editing now. But not too much.