Torturous Euphoria

I have my dream job!

Not many people can say that. I certainly took an unconventional (and unfortunate) route to get here, but I have achieved my goal: I am a full-time writer. Thanks to a pair of publishers who have taken a chance on me, my professional life’s #1 priority is my writing career. Everything else I do is simply what else I do. Everything else is just the other stuff — stuff that fills the gaps between the time I spend writing my work-in-progress. Read More

No Way Out

Allow me to share a parable I recently heard on The West Wing:

This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, “Hey you. Can you help me out?” The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, “Father, I’m down in this hole can you help me out?” The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by, “Hey, Joe, it’s me can you help me out?” And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, “Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.” The friend says, “Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.”

This parable perfectly illustrates why I do what I do — why I wrote After 3PM, why I make speeches, why I give interviews — that is why. I’ve been stuck in the depths of the issue I’m fighting — and I know the way out. Read More

“Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc” — Chapter One

There is something about the smell of blood — it never leaves the memory. When blood is experienced in mass quantity, there is a smell, and it smells like no other airborne emanation, except blood. It is the essence of life, but it smells like death; it smells warm, even when it’s cold. It isn’t red, it isn’t maroon, it isn’t vermilion, it isn’t burgundy, it isn’t crimson, it isn’t scarlet — it’s blood. And blood in mass quantities, especially in an unfamiliar crimes scene, casts a dark shadow from the floor upon the entire room, upon the entire building, upon the entire world. Read More

You: 2.0

You will always be you. I will always be me. And there is nothing either of us can do about that. We’re stuck. You are you and I am me. And for some people, that’s perfectly fine. But for some of us with a regretful past of poor choices and unfortunate experiences, it almost seems like a dream to be someone else, if only for a short while.

But let’s be honest, that won’t happen. You will always be you and I will always be me. Yep, we’re stuck.

But there is still hope, there is still an option: Upgrades. Read More

Another Teacher

Another Wichita-area teacher was arrested for having a sexual relationship with a student. This time, it was a Haysville teacher named Sheri Herrs — a P.E. teacher and track coach. She’s also married to a guy named Ryan. Sheri has (assuming she’s guilty) destroyed her career and scarred her marriage (which may or may not recover from this). She was arrested last night and booked into jail just before 7PM. She spent the night in the Sedgwick County Jail, and as much as I know she deserves to be there, I can’t help but hurt for her too — because I’ve been in the exact same situation, in the exact same place, thinking the exact same feelings of regret that she is feeling right now — at this very moment, as I type this very sentence, as she sits on a small metal cot with a flat plastic mattress, wondering what will happen to the rest of her life.

I’ve been there. I deserved to be there. She deserves to be there. But it could have been prevented. Read More

Baby Blue

I feel like Walter White. In many ways, the parallels are uncanny; I could write an entire book on the subject. I mean, let’s face it, I’m a villain, right? Granted, I understand that this moniker may be my own personal overdramatization of who I am in the eyes of many people — but am I wrong?

I don’t like being the bad guy, and I miss being the good guy. But here’s the problem with that: I’m the bad guy now, living a good life. When I was the good guy (the respected teacher, husband, colleague, mentor, etc.), I was secretly an evil son of a bitch. So even though I was perceived as good, I was pretty fucking bad. And now that I’m widely-despised, I’m actually living the moral life I should have been living in the first place.

I’m not sure if that’s irony or not, but it’s definitely interesting. Read More

Solo

“Assume everyone will betray you, and you’ll never be disappointed.”
Solo: A Star Wars Story

Today is May the Fourth — affectionately known as Star Wars Day. So I’m obviously wearing my Millennium Falcom t-shirt and Star Wars: Episode IV is playing on my Blu-Ray player right now. I’ve loved Star Wars ever since I was a kid; maybe because, when I was a kid, life — and people — were so much simpler.

Needless to say, I am extremely excited for the upcoming newest installment of the Star Wars saga: Solo: A Star Wars Story, which chronicles the younger years of Han Solo (who is, incidentally, my favorite Star Wars character). Read More

Body of Lies

“If you live like it’s the past and you behave like it’s the past,
then guys from the future find it very hard to see you.”
Body of Lies 


I’ve been lying to myself. Ever since the moment I stepped out of prison, I’ve been lying to myself. I’ve been perpetuating a fallacy upon myself which has diluted my entire world-view and skewed my perspective of life. Because ever since I walked out of prison, I’ve been trying to convince myself (and everyone around me) that I’m a better version of who I was. I keep trying to convince myself that I’m a more moral person than who I was, a better husband than who I was, a better father than who I was, and a better friend (to my few remaining friends) than who I was. Read More

#BeTheChange

“It’s more comfortable to label me insane,” said the killer from the movie SE7EN.

“It’s very comfortable,” the detective replied.

I use this example often to describe why society feels “more comfortable” labeling people like me a “pedophile” or a “sexual predator” rather than seeking the actual causes for my choices and behaviors. However, I do not discount this perspective. It certainly is “more comfortable” to cast an accusatory finger upon someone who has done something terrible and immediately attribute his/her choices to some sort of sick affliction or mental illness. Read More

Ready Player One

My generation grew up playing “Super Mario Bros.”(Bros, not brothers, although it’s read “brothers,” it’s spelled “Bros.”) If I ever make it to Heaven (which is still 50/50 at this point), I’m going to ask God how many hours of my life were spent trying defeat Bowser and rescuing Princess Peach. And no matter what the answer, I will be both shocked and not at all surprised.

“Super Mario Bros” is obviously the quintessential classic Nintendo game. It is a two-player game, but only one player could play at a time. So if, for example, you were playing with someone who was very good at the game, you may sit for quite a while until that player’s turn was over. Thus, if Player One was Mario (as it was) and Player Two was Luigi (as it was), then choosing to play as Mario meant you played first, and playing as Luigi meant you had to wait until Mario died before you could play. Read More

Do I Matter?

My first mainstream book, After 3PM, comes out in three weeks. And I wrote it for one reason: To change the system; to change perspectives; to make a difference.

But I find myself asking the pessimistic (yet potentially real) questions: Will my book make a difference? Will I make a difference? Will I matter?

If nothing else, these difficult years (ever since 2010, when I committed my crime) have made me an extremely self-aware person. Essentially, “I know my place.” Or, at least, I know what place society demands I remain: Out of sight — Out of mind. But that’s not what I’m doing. Read More

Shoot the Messenger 

When did contemporary culture become more interested in the person conveying information than the information actually being conveyed? In a world that seems to (on the surface) crave intellect, this indisputable phenomenon is the most nonintellectual approach to obtaining information imaginable. In the same way that we used to idolize men like Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather, we now seem to take a sick pleasure in watching the downfall of people like Keith Olberman and Brian Williams. And now, incontrovertible facts are called into question, merely due to the individual relaying the fact. And I suppose I never really grasped this concept until I experienced it first-hand. Read More

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