I gotta say it, folks — 2015 was quite the whirl around the burning ball in the sky for MR BROOKE M. BURGESS (Mumford? Moriarty? MA$E? Let the pointless speculation continue!). The life of a digital nomad ain’t a bore…I’ll give it that.
In January of last year, necessity brought me back to Vancouver, where I slipped into the ol’ prostitution pants like I never took ’em off and pimped my junk with newfound aplomb (A dope global IP-turned-action-RPG, TBA this month!). And then, as I chipped away at a veiny slab of debt in Sisyphean style, I had the chance to reconnect with some dear old friends, engage in further whoring (Another hush-hush mobile narrative coming this summer!) and spend a month Skype-surfing the velvet-throated waves of voiceover king (and Deep Cove Theatre homie for life!) DAVID KAYE for this spring’s audiobook release:
After that, it was back to Southeast Asia in mid-April for some R&R, book research, and a completely slap-me-with-a-fish-I-can’t-believe-this-shit pilot test-shoot for the Travel Channel (someday, this shall make for incriminating hilarity for all involved…don’t touch that dial):
With the mid-life candle dripping heavy and singed on both ends with fragrant ash and cheap Thai whiskey, August would find me hopping continents and hanging the proverbial (and actual) hat in Germany for a month. Aside from quaffing enough hefeweisen to make children in direct proximity ‘gluten intolerant’, I made sure to ride the rails north and thank my #1 beta reader in beautiful Hamburg:
Then I rallied the troop(s) to swing down through Berlin for a brilliant stretch of audiobook post-production sessions with the staggering genius and coffee/croissant/butter/beer/pizza-loving maestro, TOBIAS TINKER:
The next month I was back in Southeast Asia. Everything was a nasty blur of Thai monsoons, Indonesian disaster-smog, and 5-piece emotional-baggage sets getting dumped off the nearest metaphorical pier. This was crowned by the blood-soaked midnight trauma of a glass dagger making sweet, sweet love to the sole of my foot. Much needed distractions included: a crutch-carrying Malaysian visa run, an 8AM speedboat to a mainland STAR WARS screening , and the miraculous repair of my ‘digital lifestyle bestie’ (yes — I just implied that I have a ‘relationship’ with a Samsung Galaxy Note 4. It’s touch-sensitive, vibrates, and likes a firm but loving hand. Exactly.)
And let’s be clear — I was not expecting any presents ‘neath my Charlie Brown Christmas-sized palm this year. Most backpacker and digital nomad types are (like me) selfish and impoverished schmucks — my folks might send an e-card if I didn’t offended them in recent memory (Vegas stopped taking odds) — and I live on a Muslim island. Hearing warm-hearted locals say ‘Melly Kissmass’ is pretty much the best you can hope for in these parts..and probably more than I deserve, all things considered.
Which made a last-minute delivery down the non-existent tropical chimney — my book winning a BEST YA MYSTERY of 2015 Award — a morale boost of near-spiritual (and quasi-orgasmic) proportions.
But in wrapping up the year, I have to be honest with you…and with myself.
This blog ain’t just about ‘brand building’ and promotional wankery anymore. (sure, sure…give it time, son). What I really hope to share from now on has little to do with work…or marketing…or increasingly hollow (though certainly appreciated) accolades.
Instead, I wanted to finish this recap by reposting something from my Facebook page (Cue irony!). Something personal. Something that happened near year’s end, and that would claim the dubious distinction of my ‘Saddest Day of the Year’.
It’s not that I have an obsession with ending things on a bum note (I do.) But hey…the bite-sized anecdote below actually happened. It really did, and the feelings from it are still there, raw and jagged and clawing at my insides. And moments like these are a huge (maybe the only) reason why I write, and why I tell the kinds of stories that I do. FYI.
There you have it, kids — straight from the horse’s (douche’s?) mouth. Things are gonna change around here in 2016, and not just cosmetically (that’s in the pipe!). It’s time to get real in this bitch.
For you. For me. And then?
We’ll see where that takes us.
NOV 19, 2015
The other night, I took an abandoned kitten into my care. It was shivering in the centre of a lonely road on the far side of my island home, and I swore that if it was still there on the drive back to my bungalow, I would do what I could to help it.
It was…so I did.
It had a nasty scarring on its ears — common in this part of the world, a form of ‘plague’ carried by infected rodents — and was terribly malnourished. It could barely move, aside from the odd tremble and wobble. I did what little I could over the next day with the resources available to me — drams of milk, saucers of tuna oil, and a layer of tea-tree and coconut oil on its ears. It opened its mouth to give thanks for these small gifts, but the mew was hollow and silent. So, as best it could, it purred a ragged purr when I came close, and slowly blinked its swollen eyes when I bent down to comfort it.
This morning, I committed to visiting the island’s makeshift vet. I balanced the kitten on my lap in a small cloth bag as I inched along the 5KM stretch to the animal outpost. The wee brown and grey and cinnamon ball took the needles and liquids without cry or complaint, and nuzzled against me as we drove away. I decided to take the long way home then to introduce my new friend to several cat-lovers I knew, and discuss potential names. At a regular seaside haunt, the owner’s daughter and I beamed as the cat emerged from the bag and placed a hesitant paw on the bar counter. It blinked at us through green-gold eyes and opened its tiny mouth. Another silent mew of gratitude. I brought it home then, back to the far side of this sleepy island paradise, and fed it a little more before having a short nap.
I awoke to the sound of thunder, and the first heavy drops of tropical rain. ‘I don’t care what the vet says,’ I thought. ‘I should bring the poor thing inside and wrap it in a warm towel — parasites be damned.’
I threw on some clothes and searched the bungalow’s garden. Then I looked along the lazy dirt road out front, where he had been sitting and watching the world go by as he waited for me the day before. I called, and didn’t get a response. I shook a bag of kibble, and combed the beachside, thinking that he might be hunting crabs…if only he could find one smaller than himself.
And that’s when I found it…
The kitten was crumpled and misshapen at the side of the road. Its neck was broken, and its tiny mouth was wide in a final, silent cry.
I am writing this 30 minutes after finding him.
After racing into town, hoping to outrun the tears and grief and rage.
Just now, thunder split the skies wide open…
and the rains are threatening to flood.