Photo Credit: Dominik Dombrowski (Unsplash)

I can’t remember what the argument was, but in the fury of the moment I said the meanest thing a child could muster: “I’m not going to cry when you die”. The barb landed ruthlessly, the illusion of my mother as a powerful and invulnerable presence crumbled beneath the heartbreak spreading across her weary face.

Several months later, an innocuous Monday morning before the school run, my father snuck into my room and meekly announced mom had passed during the night. I cried. I cried and cried until my little twelve-year-old body heaved and couldn’t possibly cry any more, and…

Photo Credit: Ray Hennessy

Sometimes I remember how you hurt me. Indignant: “I didn’t deserve that. How could you?” But when I look closer, I realise there is a second voice speaking through the first: “You were supposed to complete me”. I try to remind myself it’s a contract you never signed.

Sometimes I catch myself thinking about the future we might have had, how bright and lustrous it seems. But the mind has trouble telling simulacrum from reality, and I know the allure is simply my storyteller soothing the pain. Like morphine, I must moderate my intake lest I become the addict.



Several months ago I read Michael Moore’s piece predicting a Trump win on the back of the rust belt vote, and was unnerved to find no argument with it’s logic. Nevertheless, Moore is a bit of a crackpot, perhaps it was a good time to step back from the internet and it’s obsessive Trumpmania.

Before we give Moore too much credit, as this bizarro whirlwind veered it’s wild course, even he was looking toward a Hillary win in a post Donald-grab-em-by-the-pussy world. I really thought that would seal the deal too: A literal self-confessed sexual predator vs the first ever…

Child drawing, age 6. Credit: By Julie Kertesz from Paris neighbourhood, France (Flickr) via Wikimedia Commons

How often do we hear “I can’t sing” or “I can’t draw to save my life” or “I don’t do maths”? Are our defences protecting us from harm or turning off what we love?

In psychology trauma relates to some the of the most painful experiences of the human condition. When events are so dramatic or severe they overwhelm our natural ability to cope, trauma is our way of dealing with what we cannot.

Like hot steel thrust into cold water, a single event can temper our psyches into a hardened shell and cast a shadow lasting years or even a lifetime. …

Photo Credit:

In our efforts to reach for our dreams, are we just inventing buggy standards of failure for ourselves?

You know when you learn a word for the first time, and then suddenly you hear it everywhere? If we’re being proper, this is called the Baader-Meinhoff phenomenon. My most recent example is “The law of reversed effort”. I first encountered it a few weeks ago and now I’m seeing echoed everywhere, significantly by writers I admire.

Apparently it was coined by everyone’s favourite counter-culture philosopher: Alan Watts. As I understand it, the idea goes that the more we reach for something, the harder we try and push, the more we reinforce the ways we are deficient in that thing…

Understanding your dreams might not make you happy seems to be powerful way to engage with your art more authentically — but swallowing this wisdom can be difficult.

Photo Credit: Sweet Ice Cream Photography

Our dreams of fame and fortune are often a way to escape our discomfort and the painful reality that perhaps we feel a bit lonely and unloved. And we aren’t alone in this infatuation, society at large is obsessed with those who have more than we do. It’s very easy to believe amongst the abundance of wealth and adoration, there too is an opulence of love and acceptance — and that most elusive of states: happiness.

And yet when we pay attention to those who’ve made it, we might be disappointed to find that success isn’t guaranteed to dispel our…

How putting your art out there feels like being a kid terrified of getting into trouble.

I find it curious how happenstance shapes and influences our most formative memories. What must seem completely trivial at the time somehow triggers us into remembering a thing forever. In this case, it’s the photo album of my third birthday that carbonised some vivid details of my earliest memories.

Now, in case it’s been a long time since you were three years old, let me remind you that the art of blowing out candles is serious business. And blowing out birthday cake candles that also grant magic wishes? Deadly serious. That I happened to be terrible at it was beside…

A tale of how achieving success in your creative field is so much harder when you aren’t honest with yourself and your art.

Let’s rewind to somewhere around the turn of the millennium: A time when I had terrible hair and even more terrible skin. The age at which identities are fragile and what you’re into can seem like the most important thing in the world. The altar at which I worshipped: Rock and Roll. And as with the inevitable march of the colour black through my wardrobe, it wasn’t long before I picked up my first knockoff pawn shop bass guitar. I just knew it, I was going to be a rock star.

The epidemic of fame

It’s likely, by now, you’ve heard of PewDiePie (real…

An effort to come to terms with creative paralysis while working on a long term project

It happened a few weeks ago. After three years of working on the unreleased video game Cadence and generally managing to semi-successfully keep it all together, I became stuck. Stuck in the manner wherein looking at the screen for a second longer felt like needing to throw up. Done, finished, over it, kaput!

Photo by Phoebe Dill

After I spent the rest of the day on Facebook tantrum browsing, because adulting be damned, there was a dose of reality I had to confront. This had been percolating for several months, it was only now that my ability to sideline it to the back of…

Sometimes appearances can be deceiving: behind the idyllic veneer there is often an inner turmoil we can’t appreciate or fathom. Perhaps by peeking behind the curtain we can reveal the humanity in us all?

Imagine for a second the picture above. The soft golden glow draped over open vistas in that perfectly still way that only a summer’s evening can. Feel the warm breeze tickle your arms, the flies dancing in the sunlight in front of you, and tell me what you think this photo encapsulates? A calm sense of wonder?

Except, the person in this photo is crying —…

Peter Gardner

Code Smith, a maker of games and things... specifically Cadence

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