Blog Vacation

My Dearest Reader,

I know you lie awake at night waiting impatiently, shaking your feet in anticipation and drumming your fingers in agitation on your arm waiting for my next blog entry. Alas I must disappoint you, Dearest, for frequent blogging and constant streaming are no longer to be.

Bushlings is taking a vacation.  A break.  Blog leave.  From the Singlestream.

The painful truth behind our sad parting is this, dear Reader.  I have distracted myself daily with this blog.  My book has been left neglected near a month and is truly poorly treated despite being my favoured child.

I know you also wait in desperate anxiety for the completion of the manuscript, and so as a compromise, I will not leave you totally bereft of Bushlings’ wisdom.  Once a week I will write to you – only because I know how much you need me.  Only for you my Dearest.  A sad shadow of the rich and constant fare to which you have grown accustomed, but I go to prepare a feast for you!  Better than no fare at all, no?

All foolishness aside guys, I’m on a mission to write a book.  Every time my hand itches to write, it’s so much easier to log in here and its the blog and not the book (and not really me in the long-term) that benefits.  Until I’m caught up it’s book all week for me.  You’ll hear from me weekly – I know I just can’t help myself so I’m being realistic – and I’ll drop an update or a sample here and there.  And so, so long my friends!  Until next Friday!

Have a great weekend!

The Four Agreements

Have any of you read this book?  If your answer is no then please click on The Four Agreements and order it immediately.

It may take you half a day to read, it is a tiny little book, but it could change your thinking and perhaps your day to day life.

I’ll give you guys a bit of time to read and come back with my review.



The Power of Fantasy

It is not a widely known fact that I battle with depression and anxiety.  On a monthly basis.  It’s something many women face.  For those of us with this tendency, every time we face down PMS we pray God please let it go away after a few days.  There are months when it lasts the whole month.  There are years when it lasts for several months.  Fortunately for me, I have only once seen it pass a year.  I’m sure that if a study were to be done on where a woman is in her cycle when she decides to kill herself, commit homicide, or do something absolutely dreadful and drastic it would find that that time of month is where the magic happens.

On a bout several years ago I spoke to my brother.  He was just out of med school and had already passed the psych rotation (The one where he was diagnosing every member of the family with some random disorder or another.  I got the diagnosis of histrionics.  I told him to piss off).  He said something to me in the wisdom of his youth that I have never forgotten.  When you find yourself depressed you need to step outside of yourself and act as a carer.  Pretend that you are caring for a member of your family or a friend that you love very much and that they are sick.  What would you do?  You would take them for walks.  You would take them to the movies and distract them.  You would cook good food for them and give them good books to read and sit on the beach with them and watch the sunset.  You need to care for yourself as though you are caring for someone you love.

This is a practice that has kept my monthly to a monthly for a few years now – caring for myself as though I am not myself but someone else that depends on me.  And I have found a tool that works.  FANTASY.

For those of us who are avid readers there is a lush forest of material to feast on.  Every form of thought in this life is represented by a written book.  There is poetry, self-help, scientific, chick lit, classic literature, romance, comedy, spiritual, technical – you name it there is a book on it.  But what does a mind that is plagued by pain have the capacity to digest?

My saving grace has been FANTASY.  Sneaking into the worlds created by the minds of others has been a great distraction from my own gnawing aches.  It exercises my weary mind when I cannot sleep, it embraces my imagination with something other than darkness, and when I wake from the foreign world I find myself grateful for the comfort of my apartment, the love of my family and my two animals, and the work to which I dedicate my waking hours.

Narnia and the Lord of the Rings were some of my early entertainers.  These have been made famous by years of followers and have been represented by movie-makers a few times over.  But a series can be so satisfying because as you finish one book you look for the next one to carry you through next month.  I have two obscure recommendations for those new to fantasy but needing to escape.

Stephen Hunt’s Jackelian series:

I came across these books in college.  I don’t know what made me pick up this little book with the nondescript cover off the shelf in Waterstones but I have become bound to this series every since.  My mind could not rest after ploughing through the brilliance of ancient lords of the court and so I would simply switch gears and cares into the world of Jackals.  Stephen Hunt introduces you to a world that resembles the home of Oliver Twist in some ways and Star Wars in others.  It is inhabited by human beings, the Fey, Steammen (sentient machines from the frozen mountains of the North), Cassarabians of the deserts to the south with an uncanny science for the development of mutants with the use of Womb Mages, Catosians who are steroid-pumped amazon-like women warriors, Craynarbians who have an exoskeleton much like crustaceans we now eat, and many other “races”.  The travels of Commodore Black (resembling an old version of Jack Sparrow) through the Fire Sea, over the deserts, through the jungles and into the sky cities of this world are easy to relate to and impossible to abandon once you pick up a book.  The first book, The Court of the Air, was an incredible launch into the life of Molly Templar, an orphan with a fantastic fate.  I recommend this book to any woman sufferer, and any person needing an escape.

The Redwall Books of Brian Jacques:

This world is inhabited by the animals of our own world with a noble congregation in a place called Redwall Abbey.  Mice are mighty and Badgers brave as they fight off the hoards of stoats and tricky foxes.  The medieval abbey of Redwall is full of secrets and surprises, headed by an Abbot and championed by a warrior.  The language takes on the accents of the British Isles with such accuracy it will tease the laughter out of the surliest and most unwilling reader.  The suspense is something that will keep you in the books late into sleepless nights.  The lessons and even the language of these books are appropriate for every age.


Writing class homework from last week – show don’t tell.  The title Man Is Fear.

The phone’s vibration springs his eyes wide.  Gunshots in his dreams fade away as he lies corpse-still, the only movement in the room his eyelids blinking, once and then quickly three times.  The shutters on the windows have slapped an extra coat of darkness on the pre-dawn hour of his waking.   Hearing nothing, he stretches his right arm overhead slowly.  And then his left.  Never two at the same time – one must always be near his defense.  Rolling half-over to the right at the silent sticky pace of a snail he reaches his hand to the night stand for the reassuring touch of cool steel.

Placing one booted foot and then another, feather-light, beside the bed, he tests the worn wooden floor for creaks with a little weight at a time.  Jeans soaked from the night’s humidity cling soggy to his legs as they extend to standing.  Reaching tall he rises out of a bed as fully dressed as he, and casts  the light from the screen of his phone over to the corner for the suitcase.  The cold blue of his eyes cannot be seen but their gaze connects with the object, in its place in this room, identical to its place in the room of his last rest three hundred miles behind.  There had been five rooms in the last fifteen days for a few hours at a time.

Relief and disappointment flow in quick succession through the worry lines on his face.  It was a face full of valleys that once was handsome and carefree.  Now he avoids the dark mirror on the cheap bureau.  Dousing the light of the phone in the darkness of his jeans pocket he lets his skin adjust to being awake and runs a shaking hand through hair that has begun, in the last fifteen days, to show signs of gray.

The room, heavy with the scent of mothballs and sweat, is adorned with a window air condition unit and a small fridge with the sign “Minibar” in cracked adhesive letters.  He saw them the night before and can find them easily in the darkness.  The unit would have been far too loud for him to hear any of the sounds of the lodge and the alcohol would have dulled senses that overnight might have been needed to save his life.  But in the sticky  darkness of another restless dawn he reaches into the cool fridge and pulls out a finger.  The bulb inside has long needed a replacement and he is unable to read the label but it doesn’t matter.  It is the calm he is after.  And something to take the edge off this infernal shaking.

He throws the bottle mouth back with his head.  Deep breaths are sucked in as the liquid fire slides down his throat.  A slow count to ten.  Not enough he closes his eyes and counts another ten.  When they open again, his eyes register that the room has grayed slightly and shapes have begun to take form.  It is time to leave.

The night before he had walked to the desk, cash in hand.  The attendant had avoided looking at his hooded face and would not be able to answer any questions later.  He would be gone before sunrise in any case.  There were enough fifties handed over to buy some time, some silence, and a quick untraceable exit.

Taking that exit now, he transforms.  No longer stiff in slow motion, he is now a feral cat with the hair on the back of his neck standing on end.  Every sense comes alive as he takes in the dank smell of the corn-scented mist drifting toward the lodge.  Claws of light have scratched lines into the horizon across the street and over the fields.  Soon they will grip the lodge and already his form can be seen silently closing the door.  Mere seconds stand between him and the grasping light.

The car was chosen for speed and stealth, not for beauty.  He pours himself into the bucket seat without a sound, sinks the case in the hidden compartment beneath the floor and rests the weapon in its place.  Only now, as the starter turns over with a whisper, does he exhale.  Black tint on glass floods the interior with the airless blackness of a tomb.  But calm is shattered by the scream of a rooster in the grip of new light and his head crashes,  startled, against the ceiling of the car.  With an aching scalp and chills running up and down his spine he flings the stick into gear and tears out of the parking lot.

Another day will pass on the open road.  He will not stop to rest again until three hundred miles lies between him and this morning.