Thomm Quackenbush, author

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    Q's in a Pod: Disenfranchised Edition



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    Please don't elect Trump or be Brock Turner. Actually, try not to elect Hillary Clinton, if you can help it.

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    Xenography: The Importance of Being Bored

    Some of my best ideas come when I am showering, driving long distances, tossing in my bed restlessly, or doing yoga; in other words, when I am least able to write anything down. While on runs, I used to dictate into my MP3 player multiple paragraphs of suddenly formed plot so that I might not forget anything valuable. I considered this inconvenience the cruel quirk of the writer brain, missing the point entirely because I was too close to it.

    My mind is productive these times because I let myself be bored after long swaths of stifling amusement. All at once, things became quiet enough to hear what needed hearing. Our culture abhors boredom, providing no end of entertainment to distract us from the discomfort of not having something flashing in front of our eyes. Entertained people are rarely creative, bread and circuses being the surest way to abate cunning plans.

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    Q's in a Pod: Control Your Guns Edition


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    Consent is as easy as tea, even in the porn industry. Maybe America should talk about gun control.

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    Xenology: Seeking a Friend for Saturday

    I rush Amber to Beltane at the Center for Symbolic Studies in New Paltz. I've attended in the past but, given my rededication to finding my community for my own mental balance, it feels imbued with increased importance. Let me be in the presence of believers, even as I find satisfaction in doubt. Let me comfort in those for whom the gods are more than metaphors for psychology.

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    Xenology: The Convicted Dan Jurow

    "One disturbed individual." That is how the judge in Dan Jurow's trial referred to him during sentencing. I know people who could have saved the judicial system some time and money by making that pronouncement years ago, before he had a chance to try to meet a twelve-year-old for sex.

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    Xenography: Not a Pagan Author

    I smile through a conversation at a street fair, trying to convince a woman that she wants my books without being pushy. (I cannot stand the hard sell approach and am much more likely to flee in panic than be convinced to buy.)

    She selects a copy of Pagan Standard Times, my book of essays written because I find my religion both fascinating and maligned.

    "Are you Pagan?" she asks, possibly ready for a fight if I had the audacity to speak for a group to which I did not belong.

    I assure her I am, thus why she has that book in her hands now. I try to write books only I could have written.

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    Xenography: In Defense of Foodstuff Skin Tones

    I encountered a post decrying that anyone would dare to compare skin tones to foodstuffs in writing, stating that writers should instead just use the word "brown" to prevent offending someone who is damn tired of being called chocolate-skinned. While I am not out to beat that strawman, I believe that author do this for the same reason the skin color Crayolas do not only come with only a solitary brown crayon: it's not the most accurate descriptor. If we just wanted to call six billion plus people "brown," we'd write inaccurate and racist technical manuals for the government. Four of my serious girlfriends have had brown hair, but each had a completely different brown (spring mud puddle, cat at night, Labrador, Whitman's sampler). One had eyes like a scuffed turquoise, another like melted mint fudge, the next like an hour after dawn, the fourth like a forest being sucked into a vortex, and my wife has slate eyes. I could not stomach saying they had blue, hazel, and brown eyes when I have the opportunity to be precise.

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    Xenography: Representation and You

    As writers, we owe it to the world to produce inclusive work. This means we have to veer sharply away from the Glee Treatment, packing ten stereotypes together in a room to talk about their race/disability/sexuality and to not engage beyond this. People need to be able to see themselves in fiction, but they need the best story first. No disabled person I know is solely occupied with their disability. Most of them get coffee, watch anime, read cheesy paranormal novels, and lead lives outside of marching on Washington every other weekend. If you are creating asylums for your characters where they never encounter anyone outside their experience, you need to read more and talk much more before you put pen to paper.

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    Xenography: I Got 99 Problems, But Your Book Ain't One

    So you want to tell me the book you want to write, when what you really mean is the book you wish you had already written and from which you were reaping the royalties already. I know you don't want to write a book because you are not writing a book.

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    Xenology: To My Recidivist Student

    You are visiting the facility for a second or third time. You had been through the system once before, sacrificing six months of your childhood because you were too busy on the outside pretending to be an adult. But you aren't a man. You have no context for what a man is supposed to be. In your brightest moments with us, you are a boy, something you never let yourself be on the outside.

    You think I cannot handle how "real" you are, but it's the opposite. What you consider reality is death over a cliff. I see it, everyone around you not strung out or awful does, but you are only concerned with getting your momentum up before the plunge. You will die soon or you will cripple someone as you plummet and be placed in a prison that will be as good as death. I have known far more of the latter than the former. I cannot say that it is a better way. I want to reduce the number of underage corpses and prisoners in the world. I know that this is likely your last chance to turn back, and you will not take it. You cannot believe survival is a possibility for you.

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Works by Thomm Quackenbush

The Night's Dream Series

We Shadows by Thomm Quackenbush

Danse Macabre by Thomm Quackenbush

Artificial Gods by Thomm Quackenbush