Revisiting the Work: Rowan Blaize and the Hand of Djin Rummy

Official Book Teaser:

Twenty years have passed since Rowan Blaize faced his greatest magical foe, but the ancient warlock is still on-the-run with his mortal foundling, Miranda. What better place to lay low than the charming seaside town of St. Augustine, Florida? The Ancient City, however, is already home to voyeuristic ghosts, cocktail-loving vampires, werewolf comedians, and three highly eccentric witches! 

Rowan’s monster-mash celebration is all set for Halloween night, but when a cursed ring crosses paths with a beauty pageant brat, a catastrophe is unleashed upon the partying Ancient City … and possibly the world. Can the witches stop bickering long enough to combine their powers and avert disaster, or will Rowan’s worst fears about an enemy from the past be realized?

Rowan Blaize and the Hand of Djin Rummy is a novel that blends enchantment, satire, suspense, and horror in a delectable cauldron’s-brew-of-a-tale. Fabulous new characters are introduced, elaborate back-stories reveal much about Rowan’s extraordinary past, and tantalizing questions are posed about his future.

Sample Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Funny—Hypnotic Witches and Warlocks Come to Life

I enjoyed this book tremendously. It is about a Warlock and Witches and all sorts of interesting and unique magical characters – with character! The author pokes fun at everyday Witch and Warlock life which rings true in mortal life as well. There is a crazy and nasty Genie that comes out of entrapment in a Ruby Ring and wreaks havoc, but I won’t tell you any more or I could spoil the ending. Overall, the writing is amazing, the book is funny, it took me away from the challenges of everyday life and I love that the author lives near Big Sur, California – a wonderful place for magic! ~Jette

Current Author Reflection:

I wanted to break away from the epic verse and lofty, mystical tone of the initial book about my sorcerer, Rowan Blaize, and get down to a nitty-gritty novelization that allowed me to run the entire gamut of fantasy characterizations in everyday, contemporary language … without losing a shred of the supernatural ambience and fantastical quality. I wanted the book to be raw, full of juicy backstories, rambunctious, and wickedly satirical in places, giving me the opportunity to poke fun at some of our “mortal” culture’s most ridiculous excesses, mainly as a narrative juxtaposition to the necessarily over-the-top portrayals of the many magical denizens inhabiting this novel. The presence of three bickering witches is a nod to Shakespearean motifs, but themes like the absurdity of “little girl beauty pageants” (especially in Southern USA culture) and huckster religious traditions balance-out the overall sense of mayhem and madness, keeping a kind of outrageous, hilarious tempo beating throughout the heart of the book. Perhaps more than anything, I wanted to establish the importance of a specific location as playing a role as a character in the story, all by itself. I used to live in St. Augustine, Florida, and it was an easy choice to employ as a backdrop. St. Augustine is centuries old, grandiose, still slightly ghostly, witchy, and full of its own peculiar Southern enchantment, and loaded with pizzazz. I made the right choice and the result is a sultry, sensuous, snarky tale about what happens when sleepy oceanside tourist towns meet apocalyptic magical forces head-on.

Click on the author’s panel above to the RIGHT to order the book and join the rip-roaring adventure.


#JonathanKieran #JonathanKieranAuthor #JonathanKieranWriter #RowanBlaize #EpicFantasy #EpicVerse #LyricalWriting #BrightbourneMedia #AuthorMarketingExperts #AME #IllustratedBooks #ClassicalFantasyBooks #GraphicIllustration #AuthorRetrospective #Sorcerers #Witches #Warlocks #SupernaturalThemes #Magic #MagicalTales #ModernFairyTales #StAugustineFlorida #ContemporaryFantasy #SatiricalFantasy #Spells #WildCharacters #DjinRummy #RowanBlaizeandtheHandOfDjinRummy #TheHandofDjinRummy #SupernaturalSouthern Novels #SupernaturalNovels #Sequels

Let Shepherd Do What a Shepherd Must Do

Have a gander at this new and growing site dedicated specifically to guiding avid readers toward books ideally suited to their tastes. The concept of SHEPHERD is intriguing and appears rife with possibilities for those enamored of the written word, whatever the genre.

I have contributed my own list to the up-and-coming colloquium and will ring a bell or employ some other suitably clamorous device when my profile is published therein. Meanwhile, click the underscored links just above to have a gander at the impressive scope of authors and books already featured by the dedicated team at WWW.SHEPHERD.COM.

As for news concerning my own publishing timetable, work continues apace on several rather exciting and elaborate projects slated for release in the (hopefully near) future. Stay tuned, if you are so inclined. “Things” are taking shape, indeed.

#JonathanKieran #JonathanKieranAuthor #JonathanKieranWriter #BooksOnline #LiteraryWebsites #ShepherdDotCom #ShepherdForBooks #BookAggregators #BookRecommendations #RowanBlaize #Authors #AlternativesForReaders #AuthorNews #Publishing #UpcomingWork #Shepherd

Revisiting the Work: Rowan Blaize

Official Teaser Summary: Ravaged by the fury of a terrifying storm, an ancient sorcerer falls from the sky and crashes into a farm upon the English countryside. Powerless but determined, the wily Rowan Blaize must make his way to London and seek the help of his eccentric Aunt Ariadne, unaware that supernatural perils lurk around every corner. Even more daunting is the ultimate war he must wage against a vengeful goddess in order to reclaim his enchanted heritage. Told in the epic narrative tradition of classics like Hiawatha and The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, Rowan Blaize is a one-of-a-kind fantasy tale to be cherished for the ages. Lavish illustrations enhance a magical story that traverses a breathtaking journey through mystical worlds and encounters with a host of unforgettable characters. A sumptuous feast of enchantment to be savored by readers of all descriptions, Rowan Blaize is the cornerstone work and the “key” that opens the door to the entire series of novels in the Enchanted Heritage Chronicles.

Sample Review:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Outstanding!

—Sue, Amazon VINE VOICE

Rowan Blaize: Book One of the Enchanted Heritage Chronicles by Jonathan Kieran is enchanting indeed. This is the first book I read that is written in epic verse and I loved it. I like poetry but just so much of it and I was afraid at first that I wouldn’t like this book because all I can picture is the hard time I had with Shakespeare in school. Because of this I passed by the book a few times but it did sound interesting since I do like the ‘magical and mystical’ so figured I would give it a try. Once I read the first page, I never put the book down until I was finished. It went from intriguing to captivating that quick.

It is a story with humans, warlocks, witches, faeries, dryads and many other mystical/folklore creatures as characters. These creatures are all struggling to survive in a world where humans are taking over. To be honest with you I couldn’t help but think how sad it is in parts….mainly because it is true. No, I don’t mean that there are all these mystical creatures living among the trees (Or are there?) but there are deer and other wildlife that live in the woods long before humans came and cut them all down. If they could talk, I bet their story would be much the same as what King Narzell told to Rowan Blaize..

There is greed, lies and struggles as well as friendship, kindness and loyalty throughout the story. Speaking of what is throughout the story, much to my delight there are awesome illustrations that only add to the pleasure of this story. The poetry was not hard to understand as you can tell from the partial quote above. The flow and rhythm are excellent and the ending made me smile. I have nothing negative to say about this book at all. I am giving it five stars (because that is as high as they go) and I recommend it everyone.

MY CURRENT REFLECTION: Writing Rowan Blaize was a life-affirming, challenging delight. Classically appointed fantasy tales have intrigued me since I was a child, especially due to their power to express in mystical terms the realities of Good versus Evil and All Things In Between. I don’t think there was ever any doubt that I would get around to writing fairy tales of my own. The idea had long been in the back of my mind, simply as a labor of love. I was excited to embark upon the journey, particularly when I believed that a sense of the “classical” might be leavened with contemporary charm to create something sumptuous and uniquely atmospheric.

Admittedly, the plan to tell the story of my plucky-but-solemn immortal, Rowan, entirely through the medium of epic verse was ambitious, to say the least. There exists no flourishing literary marketplace for poetic tales, epic or otherwise. With this book, however, I wanted to “up” the Enchantment Factor and craft a work that might possess something genuinely wistful and lyrically magical, something of a potentially enduring quality, wherein Old-meets-New in terms of both narrative content and stylistic execution. Besides all of that, I always write according to my direct inspiration, and this is exactly how Rowan and his many adventures first “showed up” to introduce themselves in my mind and spirit—in the form of a soul-song, if you will. I can still hear the first lines as they entered my thought, out of the blue, as a musical whisper.

The other and obviously immense challenge presented by composing Rowan Blaize revolved around my decision to embellish the entire work myself with about 25 elaborate pen-and-ink illustrations. In addition to writing, I have been a professional illustrator, graphic artist, and designer for many years, so this project allowed me to flex two rather different creative muscles simultaneously. The original drawings—all committed to 8 & 1/2 x 11-inch Bristol and then reduced for the book—are crucial to the unveiling of the story and add that extra note of mystery and ambience. But I will admit that the illustrations were, by far, the more painstaking aspect of that particular endeavor. I incorporate a great amount of pointillistic effects in my large-scale illustrative works and that takes an inordinate amount of concentration, patience, time, and instinct, over and above the conceptual bedrock alone. That said, it was a brilliant life-experience to bring it all together and see Rowan Blaize not only finished but published and enjoyed. Thanks are certainly due to the little consortium/editorial panel that believed in the book and published it. And special kudos belong to Penny Sansevieri and her superb marketing team at AME, as well.

The effort will always occupy a special place in the heart, for me, and I’m pleased that the work was well-received and enjoyed (often unexpectedly so!) by people of all backgrounds, and especially in Europe, where appreciation for fairy tales and lyrical writing is still very much alive and well.

To order a paperback or digital copy of Rowan Blaize from Amazon, just click HERE.


#JonathanKieran #JonathanKieranAuthor #JonathanKieranWriter #RowanBlaize #EpicFantasy #EpicVerse #LyricalWriting #BrightbourneMedia #AuthorMarketingExperts #AME #IllustratedBooks #ClassicalFantasyBooks #GraphicIllustration #AuthorRetrospective #Sorcerers #Witches #Warlocks #SupernaturalThemes #Magic #MagicalTales #ModernFairyTales

Sans Aucun Doute, Le Chateau—C’est Parfait

All hail the labyrinthine wonder that is online access. Though the internets seem to swirl ever-nearer the Abysmal Vortex in terms of their usefulness to the general upkeep of the human intellect, that’s entirely the fault of the humans. Wonders of all sorts may still be encountered by the intrepid wanderer, and the information highway certainly lives up to its name in every sense when it comes to helpful material for bona fide globe-trotters.

I stumbled upon the following article about the Chateau Clair de Lune in Biarritz, France, and can attest personally to the excellence of this enchanting little hideaway. Biarritz, with its sultry mix of oceanside allure and incongruous cosmopolitan quaintness, springs like a curious gazelle out of the mystical thickets of the Pyrenees. The city and its environs have dazzled travelers for ages and have always added razzle to the dazzle of my own visits. Biarritz remains one of my favorite places on earth and the Chateau Clair de Lune is a major plucker of the heartstrings amid that ongoing love affair.

As you will see from the link, the house itself is a fairly unassuming old country estate compared to its far more grand and famous peers in l’Univers des Chateaux Francaises, but what Clair de Lune may lack in sheer magnitude it more than makes up for in charm. Everything the article reports about this beguiling destination is true according to my own experience.

Even the apparent presence of a ghost on the grounds cannot detract from the establishment’s overall excellence—it’s the only time in my entire life when I flat-out saw something utterly inexplicable, hair-raising, and for such a sustained stretch that I had enough time to actually blink and rub my eyes to make certain I was seeing what I was seeing. (I was.) And no spirits of the alcoholic sort were remotely involved in the encounter, I assure.

But that’s the Pyrenees Mountains for you. Deliciously uncanny. Maybe I’ll write more fully about this ghost (or whatever it was) at a later time, but not here, not for free. Perhaps in a book of travel essays when my days of sojourning approach a more palpable denouement.

Until then have a gander at Le Chateau Clair de Lune:

#Travel #JonathanKieran #JonathanKieranAuthor #France #Pyrenees #Biarritz #Chateau #ChateauClairDeLune #InternationalTravel #Destinations #TravelWriting #LuxuryAccommodation

Will “Teacup Yorkie” Replace the Beloved “Cleveland Steamer”?

Experts are dumping all sorts of prognostications into the mix and stirring quite a pot of confusion about this gripping question. Seasoned linguists from elite academic backgrounds currently find themselves in a pinch regarding the matter. Journalists of repute from every daily paper are rushing to seek the best answers that might drop under cultural pressure from the man, woman, and xzdyizobitwyk on the street:

VANDERBILT POOPER: “I was here in Times Square, just hosing-off my pumps and trying to get a random splash of moisture up into my gussets, when I met Fussbudgita, who was on her way to the grocery store to buy Klonopin. Realizing the timeliness of this wounding cultural battle between teacups and steamers, I literally flitted out of my ‘private mode’ and went FULL NEWSDOG, baby, asking this spicy Mama for her personal take on the enigma. I had some photos in my MxnSatchel, so that helped. I would have filmed our discussion on my new iPhone Probe-ANAL (Anti-Nascent Adumbrated Lariat) but Fussbudgita, who insisted I call her by her nickname, ‘Fudgie,’ didn’t want to appear on video due to potential knowledge of her grocery store’s supply of narcotics and the fact that she was about to unleash a world-changing movement that was not yet ready for mainstream publicity.

Nevertheless, the transcript of our brief exchange can be viewed below:

VANDERBILT POOPER: “Hi! You look glorious! What’s your name, sweetie?”

FUDGIE: “My name is Fussbudgita, but most folks call me ‘Fudgie.’ Who the hell are you and why’d you leap outta that fountain in a skirt with no shirt and them giant silver titty-clamps?”

VANDERBILT POOPER: “Oh, these li’l accessories? They’re irrelevant, silly! I’m a well-respected journalist enjoying my day off!”

FUDGIE: “I don’t believe you.”

VANDERBILT POOPER: “Ohmigod, what? That I’m a journalist or that it’s my day off?”

FUDGIE: “That you’re well-respected.”

VANDERBILT POOPER: “Oh. Okay, I lied about that part, but what I want today is your opinion about this dreadful tug-of-war assailing our culture concerning the term ‘Teacup Yorkie’ potentially replacing ‘Cleveland Steamer’ in our beloved American lexicon!”

FUDGIE: “Yeah, that’s a tough one for all of us. Normally, I’d take a hard pass on this question, but it brings to mind another term that my own dear Mama used often and fondly about the very same phenomenon, and now I’m fit to be tied trying to remember what that term was.”

VANDERBILT POOPER: “Ohmigod! What term was it?”

FUDGIE: “I don’t know, otherwise I would’na said I’m fit to be tied trying to remember, you buttermilk pixie. And don’t you dare try to film me with that phone you just snatched from your ninnywhistle, cabron.”

VANDERBILT POOPER: “Fine, Ms. Fudgie. Have it your way. Instead of the phone—which really is special, once you rinse it—I’ve got these photographs in my SassySatchel. Photos from the famous trial currently underway … the trial that’s caused all this worrisome brouhaha about Teacup Yorkies and Cleveland Steamers, and which term will be most politically correct to use going forward! The future of a nation hangs on this conundrum, like hair shorn from a destitute Mumbai virgin weaved onto the head of a multi-suckling welfare mother in Lansing! Can I show you some photos?”

FUDGIE: “Well, I’ll look at most anything for twenty seconds. What have you got?”

VANDERBILT POOPER: “Gah! Have a look at this, though I daresay it won’t help you remember your Mama’s beloved term for the Teacup Yorkie!”

FUDGIE: “Wrong, bitch. This brings Mama’s words flooding RIGHT into my brain.”

VANDERBILT POOPER: “Ohmigod?!? What’s the term?”

FUDGIE: “Dirty Sanchez.”


#BringOnTheAsteroid #AmericaTheBeautiful #TeacupYorkie #ClevelandSteamer #TheWestHasFallen #Priorities #AllOverButTheShouting #FiftyYearsAtTheOutside #NoWonderTheyHateUs #DisForDepravity #ReadGibbon #MonkeyPox #Goodnight

Who Could Have Possibly Foreseen an Ashley Judd Essay at this Juncture?

Mark my words: at Naomi Judd’s open-casket globally broadcast funeral there will be 12 Geese-a-laying, a minor cartel hit, medieval mummers identifying as Post-Structuralist origami artists, dill pickles, Norwegian sailors debating how to best bake a capybara, half a tennis ball, three county-approved tickle fights, the widow of a legless flamenco legend, a mysterious postcard, the extra box of wigs from that storage unit Uncle Cactus rented, and Fentanyl.

Also, there shall be navigating, delving, encountering, processing, rebirthing of prior analogues, entering, draining of unexpected reservoirs, primal grunting, immediate accessorizing of certainties, and rectification. Heaps of that last one.



France: Prolapsed Asshole of the West

Nah, nah, nah, nah—this is not really about the results of the supposedly nail-biting battle between Macron and Marine Le Pen. Please. Anyone who is masochistic enough to take a twig and stir it even lightly around the cesspool of French politics has long-known that there’s never been much difference between the sniveling dipshit Macron and the disingenuous, opportunistic Le Pen.

Same (but differentially ugly) sides of the same coin.

The main point, if any point is ever worth taking-away, at this juncture, is that the French are perennially useless as both members of the EU and as (dubious) members of the West, at this stage in history.

I do not say this lightly. I say this as someone of predominantly French extraction. All four grandparents, except one, were as French as blood-pudding. BOUDIN, Baby! It must have been the one parental strain from Ireland/England that led to my thoroughly unexpected and innate ability to eventually conquer every single thing I have ever fucked-up. If I were completely French, I would take the original things I fucked-up and solved, and then fuck them up again, permanently.

Ce n’est pas trop, mais merci a ZEUS … particulierment pour the bizarre ethnic mix and for small graces.

Three portions of my heritage are derived from pissy, bitchy, pompous, arrogant, melodramatic antagonistes … one forth comes from England, or possibly northern Germany. (I wish … the people in Niedersachsen are my kind of folk.

It’s all a bizarre genetic lottery, for any of us, but I can be thankful for a touch of bangers in my mash, and perhaps a bit of schnitzel in my kartoffelsalat.

And I want no grief from morons. I know of what I speak. The French (as a people in general—not by any means in entirety) are nihilistic whiners, at best. They are also, in general, irascible turds who have produced one blood-curdling (boudin!) fuck-up after another since WWI and WWII.

Since Late Antiquity, the French have always had a knack for inflicting the worst of their dysfunction upon others. Blecchhh. Yuccckkkk. Conards! More debilitating, most everyday American citizens, grandfathers, grandmothers, mothers, fathers, and sundry have no CLUE that the French really started to shovel even more heaping helpings of their scatterbrained insanity onto the rest of the West after WWII, when America and the rest of the globe were reeling to recover—rebuilding to forge an onward path.

That’s when the ever-infectious French began to peddle the stinking stench of Post-Structuralism into American, English, and German universities—yesssss, starting subtly, like bloodworms and fungi, at the academic level, while most sturdy and reputable people were focused upon rebuilding and recovery.

Oh, take a look at the perverted freaks that the French exported; their names now seem interchangeable, like clowns replacing each other, over and over and over, on the stage of some desperate and disreputable circus troupe: Jacques LaCan, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, etc.—almost all of whom prided themselves upon “exploring” acts of depravity across the globe until they finally crumbled into balls of stink, dissolution, and their own self-aggrandizing versions of chronic ennui.

Yet, the febrile emanations from the diseased brains of these drunken pieces of willful cultural filth have nevertheless undergirded the educational platforms of every university curriculum since the early 1960s in the United States, Germany, and France, backed heavily and yet insidiously by blown-out Communist agitators and furtive instigators.

It was a great time for rubbishy minds to try to infect entire scholarly disciplines—while an already exhausted-but-otherwise-determined populace was busy cleaning things up in those awful, evil, capitalist WAYS!!! Yes. Believe it or not, humans once had the nerve to use actual monetary profit to refortify the very societies whose freethinking mandates made such pestilential dogmatics ever allowed, but also ever-sensibly defeated.

The French postmodernists, post-morons. Doyens of depravity who encapsulated in their sybaritic idiocy the very pits of stinking Paris and Berlin, seeking to plant the seeds of their fetid notions, not as marginal theories, but as foundational sources for all future learning, for everyone!

And they succeeded. Why?

Because everyday American and English and German and French people were too busy recovering and then navel-gazing. It happens.

Just like war, to begin with. It’s amazing to see wimpy new generations even glimpse the itty-bitty outskirts of foreign wars (Ukraine—Russia) through the lens of Kardashian Lip-Glossed Social (Diseased) Media. No concept. No clue.

Wars happen. Big, rollicking, civilization-shattering ones happen at least every 100-150 years, with lots & lots & lots of mind-boggling conflicts occurring in between.

War is to be avoided among people of evolved thought and values, but … it ain’t ever gonna work like that. Supposedly mindless species of aggressive ants get fired-up in remote jungle shadows and by the thousands they overtake and obliterate entire colonies of humdrum, relatively sedate ants.

You think humans—who have the faculties to actually plan, plot, connive, and amplify—are exempt from the very same stresses and conflicts and paradoxical impulses we see in every strata of existence, from amoebas to toads to birds to … Really?

One of the staggering reasons why people are losing their goobs with increasing ease, these days, is because the explosive diffusion of information in the past 50 years—the truly unprecedented acceleration of technological advance—has forced the “dominant” Western societies on our globe to confront, on a wide and even popular scale, the abject lie that humans were somehow immortally perfect in the beginning, created by a just Divinity, and then placed innocently in a Paradise stacked with “Don’t You Touch!” temptations placed there by the same Divinity, and then … humans fucked it all up by being curious, essentially.

GUILT GUILT GUILT GUILT GUILT … based upon the frantic embrace of bad mythology. Based upon abject lies, for those who think the “BIBLE” is some document of literal, power drill-penetrating Truth.

This kind of religious/emotional, default manner of thinking has caused, in our age, in the West, a massive cultural Disconnect like none that has ever been seen before.

The bedrock ”Guilt and Atonement” Syndrome has been proven to be a lie, at least as applied to real, widespread human existence, meaning, and purpose … and millions are waking-up to it and freaking out, whether aware of the reasons or not aware—a sense of primordial guilt is inherited just like any other part of inherited culture.

Yet, what do societies do when that veil is lifted, even briefly, and the bedrock collapses?

The Churches do not do anything. Roman Catholicism and all of its ever-unseemly pomps, glories, and even genuinely lovely attributes are mired in the grievous Primeval Guilt (Original Sin) error expounded by St. Augustine, who, in his reformed lecherousness, was uplifted to dictate a terrifying trajectory of Western civilization. The Protestants kept that insidious guilt-dogma and, in most cases, made it worse. In an ongoing fit of convoluted pique, they tried to rid themselves of “Catholic trappings” but they threw out the best parts (Mary, Art) and kept the worst—Original Sin.

And they did this based upon the ongoing, hardcore belief that the Eden story in Genesis was absolute truth.

Well, we are seeing the cultural effects of the widespread (and deserved) breakdown of this doctrine. Again, whether people are even aware of it, as a determinative element of their very lives and cultures, or not.

And, in that sense, everyday people cannot be blamed for all of the chaos.

All of Western civilization has been based upon Roman Catholic/Augustinian foundations of Original Sin and Protestant Calvinism, plus 30,000+ offshoots.

Abjectly amoral and, frankly, malformed minds like Foucault, Derrida, LaCan, and others, may have thought, in their unproductive, substance-abusing vanity, that they were filling the obvious and widening cultural gap in that respect, but rest assured that these individuals were not even remotely equipped to tackle such a vast, extraordinary issue. Weak and pallid minds can never correct even the slightest, unintentional mistakes of far greater minds—and no bigger mistake has been made in Western history than the adoption and hunkering-down of Roman Catholicism/Protestantism of the Original Sin myth.

The Eastern Christians, the Orthodox, did not accept Augustine (or Roman popes) and they reject the idea of Original Sin, leaving the fundamental question of human meaning far, far more open than the Western platform … yet the Orthodox still ascribe to a “Fall” of humanity from a prior, immortal state of existence. So, in some significant ways, the cultural effect is the same: a primordial guilt and shame.

It’s a conundrum that none of the major Churches want to acknowledge in this age. The Roman Catholic hierarchy have so dogmatized themselves into inescapable corners that the slightest admission would destroy them, and, while I count many Catholics as lifelong friends and the finest believers/Christians on earth, it would be great to see the Roman Church—at its Vatican source—somehow destroyed and humbled. I do not want the destruction of the Medieval and Renaissance masters to ever fall. Life and Fire forbid. But it would be mighty if the Popes and Cardinals rebuked their pomp, dressed themselves in sackcloth monks’ robes, turned their wealth over to lay management, and then lived in honeybee-type cells out behind the Vatican—just like the poor but cheerful monks I used to visit frequently in fire-beleaguered New Camaldoli, in Big Sur.

I have news for the Roman Catholic Church: you peaked in the Middle Ages, and only by luck. You’re very old and bulky, with lots of worldly power, ancient property, and lots of jingles and jangles, but you have been on a downhill-slide since those Middle Ages and the Reformation. And in the big picture of Western human history, you have since been a far greater detriment to society than a unifying force. Looking closely, Protestants may not be that smart, either, by any shake of the stick.

But they were smart enough to get away from YOU, Rome.

I certainly do not ascribe to general Protestant obsession with the Bible (which, ironically, Catholics compiled and ratified in the 300s AD!) and their own ongoing embrace of Original Sin literalism. I do not consider most Protestants to be in “direct connection” with the very few realities that we know with some certainty, the elements Christ truly left behind —a meal, his mother, and a mission—but I will sit in a welcoming Lutheran church (just for example) before I ever again gather around a Pope-focused altar.

Such remarks are not made in a spirit of enmity against millions of marvelous Catholic lay people, who are probably light years more holy than I; these remarks are rendered because of my conscience. Roman Catholic papal jurisdiction is a sad, broken bust of a dead pagan emperor on the dust-scrap of human history, and I wish I had sensed that earlier in my life.

I don’t belong anywhere, as usual. Yet, as so many have said before, “I will not leave my mind at the door” [of the church, or churches].

As a legitimate historian, I have some yet unspoken perspectives regarding these matters, but I can’t imagine what they might accomplish at this ominous juncture. I hope that I am quite incorrect about the future, near or far.

My primary point amid this treatise was to underscore the fact that bogus, false, outmoded. wrong, awfully stupid (and ancient!) Christian “bedrock doctrines” about primeval guilt/original sin have destroyed as many lives as they may have won or secured over the ages. And these doctrines are embedded deeply throughout the West, and while these bedrock beliefs may have been effective when people needed motivation to ACHIEVE ACHIEVE ACHIEVE (before realizing that their worldly success was not bound to primordial guilt) these motives have reached a terrifying existential limit.

Once Darwin and so many of our best scientists—so many of them unheralded and forgotten, unlike so many psychotic “saints” who have been lifted ridiculously on high—so many of these scientists shed a striking and interesting and potentially WORLD-CHANGING light. As a result, this entire era/age has been forced to confront and question, through the overwhelming aegis of social media, some of the beliefs that even now keep them on their feet and safe in their homes and shopping for supper at a local market. It’s huge.

(And beware of scientists—scientists have become as cultish and as slippery-common as preachers, these days. This is not new. Ask me about ancient Egypt or Byzantium, I dare Ya.)

Reasonably bright people know where I am coming-from with this sort of exposition. If dogmatists of religious fundamentalists seek to blow their wigs and attack me … I could not care less. I would never treat another human being—sight unseen!—with anything less than kindness and respect. I have lived my entire life in that manner. It works, mostly. Don’t be a snob, don’t be a doormat. Just be courteous and respectful to EVERYONE, even if you don’t agree on everything like doctrine.

And to wrap-up, the staggering fools like Foucault, Derrida, etc. offered the worst possible “answers” to real and burgeoning questions; these were complete, propped-up French idiots, les dilettantes sans aucun raison …

But one of the sad facts of our species is that, while certain specimens are understandably willing to sniff around any old carcass, most leave the rotting ones to decompose. Some stay and feast.

Like the bizarre, almost parallel-world failures of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism to address the explosive tension in a new era, the Post-Structuralist nincompoops have failed just as spectacularly, if not more, given the direct evidence of their inane babblings. Even Popes have known—guilefully or diplomatically or wisely—to shut their pieholes, mostly, over the past century!

When it comes to French post-Structuralist solutions to our firestorm angst in the West, their dogmas of the divorce of text from context, of the divorce of reality from experience, have borne rottener fruit— we all see the putrefaction about us.

Whores are heroes!

Criminals are saints!

Actors are philosophers!

Addicts are Enlighteners!

The Obscenely Wealthy are Lonely, Misunderstood Victims!

Confusion is a Desirable State-of-Being!

Sense is for Base Pleasure!

Sensibility is for New Puritanism!

Life is Basically Cheap … and always at the beck and call of richer grifters.

And the putrid alleyways and sewers of France are the biggest suppliers of this oozing excrement. Blame them. Or blame Paris, which is well nigh the most unworthy place for even a rat to visit. Trust me. I have lived there.

Until apathetic people of any Western nation rise up against the egregious pendulum-swing, nothing will be resolved. And it’s already too late.

If you’re in your late 30s or early 40s you may well avoid the Breaking Point.

Otherwise, buckle-up. Feast and make merry as the primary goal of life. That’s the kind of spell that 80 years of human obliviousness can cast upon an entire globe.

It’s nothing new. But we, as a species, have less excuse than ever before in history, for allowing matters to collapse in such mind-destroying ways.

We possess far, far, far, far FAR greater technological, economic, medical, educational, spiritual infrastructures and powers than ever recorded, at our very fingertips.

And in case anyone might wonder, my words are not remotely about such pedestrian dichotomies as “liberal” and “conservative.”

I truly do not recognize either of those labels in this age of huddling sheep. And I do not belong to either camp, if such camps can even be said to exist. “Be a MAN!” as Brando spluttered in The Godfather. Or, obviously, be a woman. Be an individual, if you really don’t consider yourself either one of those boring basics.

But I will pin myself down to one thing: the French are to blame for much of it.

Hey, I’m human. I wanna blame somebody else and they seem likely.

#JonathanKieran #JonathanKieranAuthor #AuthorJonathanKieran #FrenchElection #Oracles #Macron #LePen #Derrida #Foucault #LaCan #Hysteria #SlowDrip

For Fans of Divine Smiting …

Yes, this is for real. An EXACT REPLICA of Noah’s Ark—just the way Almighty Big Daddy God commanded it to be built, according to that timeless work of scientific exactitude and geometric infallibility known as THE BIBLE.

The resurrected ark is found in Kentucky. It’s over 500ft long and 85ft wide and at least as tall as one of the higher Cherubim with a Flaming Death-Sword brandished aloft. FULL DISCLOSURE: Admittedly, there are no Biblical statistics regarding the exact physical dimensions of Cherubim with Flaming Death-Swords brandished aloft. Big Daddy God wanted to keep that a secret. Like toothpaste, for instance: a man-made—not God-made—invention which is transparently “of the devil” since Big Daddy God deliberately chose not to include toothpaste in the Bible. I mean, any fool can follow this sacred logic. BUT Big Daddy God wants everyone to know about Noah and the Ark—especially Baptists with money-to-burn and kids to feed, indoctrinate, and lodge in local hotels off the turnpike. #EveryShekelMatters

And don’t you dare call this a “tourist attraction”—even though packages, dining and hotel suggestions are amply provided—because this here is a state-o-the-artifice Spiritual Enrichment attraction. There’s powerful learnin’ to be encountered in this place. BOOK LEARNIN’!—from the only buk, buk, buk, buk-kuk on Earth that truly matters.

That’s right: The BIBLE, bitches!

And just have yourself a closer look at that happy family in the above website photo of Ark Encounter. They are practically floating out of that Ginormous Doomsday Bible-Boat on the fumes o’ glory, enraptured (which, FYI, is but a partial rapture before the REAL Rapture), elated by the truths and wonders they explored not long after hoovering every last crumb of Mitzi’s Old Fashioned Manna in the snack bar beneath the behemoth. By the Land o’ Goshen, it looks like Mother ate herself an entire Baked HAM-Son-of-Noah special (only $39.99 on Two-by-Two Tuesdays!). Yep, she’s carrying the leftovers in her Thoroughly Redeemed ‘n’ Recyclable plastic Ark Accessories & Purchases bag; later on, back at the hotel, the kids’ll scavenge that meat like ravens on Armageddon’s battlefield, all while Papa’s gittin’ him another kind of rump roast in the ensuite, heh heh heh. Just like LORDY GOD likes it and watches it and demands it:

Be fruitful and multiply! [The more to smite the merrier!]*

I don’t know about y’all, but that Ark-mesmerized family is so vividly showcased that I can hear their conversation as they depart the hulking tabernacle, that veritable Lusitania of Leviticus or whatever the hell Bible-Book tells all about the Noah Truth. (Oh, come on, we ALL know it’s delineated in Genesis. You think I don’t know my Bible? You THINK I don’t KNOW my Bible? Youthinkidontknowmyfuckinbible?!?!? Relax, bitches. I’m just messin’. But not only do I know my Bible, I know exactly what these four believers are saying as they bask in the Afterglory:

DAD: “Kids, wasn’t that the most magnificent and utterly unimpeachable encounter you have ever had with our God Jehoova? I mean, you couldn’t have gotten any closer to Heaven unless the Devil himself was on your ass and chasin’ you right up Jacob’s Ladder—which, I understand from that perky-bosomed ticket girl, is going to be built in 2023 right next to the Ark itself! Phase II of the Encounter: Stairway to Salvation! We’ll have to come back for sure.”

MOM: “Praised by Chee-zuss. Personally, I’d like to see ’em rebuild the Tower of Babel.”

SON: “Shut up, Mom. Your privilege is showing, again.”

MOM: “Sorry, Son. I know I am not to offer opinions forthright due to the wantonness of my womanly curse.”

SON: “Anyhow, Dad—I know it’s written down in the Bible by God’s own hand and all that, but do you really think that one crusty old farmer and his kids were able to build a boat that big out of gopher wood and tend to all the species of the entire world?”

DAD: “No doubt at all, son. You have to remember: they had magical instructions given to them directly by God and, best of all, they had Lot, but also lots and lots and lots of subservient wives and concubines to do the heavy lifting and globally sustainable poop-scooping and such. I sure wish God hadn’t revoked the right to multiple concubines somewhere along the way. So useful in a pinch.”

MOM: “I wish God still allowed concubines, too. I’m tired.”

DAUGHTER: “But Daddy, how did all the millions of different animal species of the world know when to pair-up and march, two-by-two, from all the regions of the earth to get on the actual boat? The logistics are staggering!”

DAD: “God told ’em to get their sorry asses on the run if they wanted to live, that’s how.”

DAUGHTER: “But how did all the individual species decide which male and female specimens among them had the honor of being the only ones to survive the Destruction? Wouldn’t animals have fought over something like that? Seems they would’ve, what with the teeth and feral drive to survive. That sort of thing.”

SON: “Didn’t you listen to the Ark Encounter tour guide, Sis? Our God Jehoova implanted a sacred Chip of Foreboding into the brains of all the chosen members of the various species beforehand. Then, when He decided it was the perfect time to smite, he activated the chip implants and they all just knew right away!”

DAD: “That’s right, Son, and well said. Our Jehoova God had everything in place before the time came to whack the world.”

MOM: “Praise Chee-zuss.”

DAUGHTER: “I don’t remember reading anything about implanted Chips of Foreboding in the Bible.”

DAD: “Don’t question God or your brother, girl. Remember that you are here only by virtue of the Borrowed Rib, accursed for all ages by the ease with which the snake that God put in the Garden seduced your frail and hungry spirit. You, like your mother, are no more than a metaphysical adjunct filled with an innate need to screw-up God’s royal plans at every possible turn due to the harrowing catastrophe of your female condition. This is why men were created first. Oh, boy!”

DAUGHTER: “Okayyyyyy. So you’re saying that God even implanted Sacred Chips of Foreboding into the minuscule neuron-clusters of thousands of butterflies and spider species? I mean, butterflies and spiders couldn’t survive a rain-smiting, right?”

DAD: “Yes, yes. Butterflies and spiders and insects were implanted too. They were all on the Ark. Noah and the rest of those poor bastards must’ve wanted to swat their hands through the air like crazy, but they couldn’t. God’s command forbade bug-smooshing. By the way, honey, stop peering too deeply into the mystery! That’s another sad devil-inclination of your wraith-bedazzled sex. Always with the goddamned chatter.”

MOM: “Yea, glory! So hath my Lord ‘n’ huzzbund spoken … so mayeth it be. Ith.”

SON: “You know, Dad, just before we came to worship at the Ark, one of my teachers said that the whole Jewish story of Noah was actually based on a much, much more ancient Babylonian story of a dude named Gilgamesh, and that the Israelites pretty much copied the details.”

DAD: “Babylonia … Gilga … WHUTT?!? Son, I will take this child on my shoulders and swing her like a club at your head until it fractures and brain-matter slops onto the hot Kentucky asphalt like so much discarded oatmeal. Don’t you ever mention these blasphemies again.”

MOM: “Oh, deliver us, Chee-zuss.”

SON: “Okay, okay. I was just curious. But have you ever wondered, Dad, why Jehoova God had to smite everyone to begin with?”

DAD: “It isn’t rocket science, son! The Bible tells it plain as plain and anyone with an ounce of logic can easily discern the reason. God looked down upon the earth one day, probably after a nap in the Garden, you know? And He saw that 99% of human brings were desperate, conniving, starving, dirty, diseased, frightened, reckless, faulty, and mistake-prone creatures. Then, like any higher being who sees that His creation is imperfect due to His own flawed blueprints and apparent ineptitude, God—who is male, after all—grew frustrated and had to throw a tantrum. Whereupon He obliterated all that He had made in a fit of spectacular pique. You remember that deck I tried to build in the back yard last year?

SON: “Oh, yeah! That wraparound deck was a hot mess. You really screwed it up from the first plank, but you kept on building and building until it was ‘finished.’ It hurt just to look at that hodgepodge. Then, when Mom—of course—fell through it at the unveiling, you spent days and days tearing the whole thing down with an axe, stomping on the hacked wood, screaming and wailing, drinking whiskey, then pouring whiskey over the pile of rubble and setting it all on fire. You stayed up all night to watch it burn … you watched it burn until you laughed.

DAD: “There you have it, Son. Jehoova God does the same thing when he is faced with his own fuck-ups. Only, when God decides to burn his faulty creations, he burns them for eternity, not just a day or two. And believe me, He laughs as they fry. Whoah, yeah.”

MOM: “That sounds fair. He is God, after all.”

DAD: “That’s the smartest thing you’ve said all day, woman.”

MOTHER: “Praised be Chee-zuss.”

DAD: “Amen. Now, let’s all head back to the hotel. I could use a bath. I stink from spending too much time near the rhino enclosure. Those things sure can shit up a storm, especially when they get their stubby little tails swinging.”

SON: “Funny that God saved the rhinos on the ark only to see them hovering near extinction these days, right Dad?”

DAD: “The Lord works in mysterious ways, Son. And remember: there’s all kinds of smiting He can do. ALL KINDS.”

SON: “Amen! Hey Dad: now that we’ve seen this living re-creation of the greatest seafaring vessel ever known to recorded human history, built from the very mind of God Almighty Himself and lifted from the pages of His own international bestseller, can we vacation next year in California? I really want to go see Universal’s Jurassic Park tour—yet another educational re-creation!”

DAD: “Hell no, we won’t go there, son.”

SON: “Awww, why not?”

DAD: “Because dinosaurs are a goddamned myth, you idiot.”

* This addendum to the famed ”be fruitful and multiply” command is generally considered apocryphal and is preserved only in a few rare codices of late ancient rabbinical literature. It is included here in brackets because several current and respected bodies of academic study believe it was (A) An original portion of the Genesis verse in question, and (B) It sounds like something Jehoova would actually say.


#ArkEncounter #Satire #Fundamentalism #IKnowWhyTheAtheistsSnicker #Noah #BibleTruth #FamilyVacations #Manna #Paradoxes #GetMeOffTheFrigginPlanet #OnwardChristianSoldiers #BrainImplants #ChipImplants #SundaySchool #KentuckyArk #TouristTraps #TowerOfBabel #JonathanKieran #JonathanKieranWriter #Blogging #Parody #ButNotMuchParody #JonathanKieranAuthor #AGoodRogering #ReligiousInanity #YesInanityNotInsanity #ReligiousInsanity

The Fish Rots from the Head Down

There can be no question, now. The repeated words of Moscow Patriarch Kirill as he justifies in spiritual—even apocalyptic—terms the unprovoked aggressions and murders of innocent civilians (women and children!) in Ukraine cannot be misinterpreted. They cannot be “spun” in a positive direction while Kirill is alive or changed by history after he is dead, which is hopefully quite soon. His pontifications leave no room for ambiguity.

Under the leadership of Kirill, the remainder of those in the Russian Orthodox Church who agree with him must likewise be considered anathema—expelled by Christ, Whose messages of unflinching peace and the necessary separation of secular concerns from spiritual concerns could not have been clearer (“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s”).

It is one thing to look upon the vast struggles of the Late Ancient and Medieval Byzantine Empire as it sought to protect and defend itself from the predations of endless aggressors, often resorting to prayer and the stoking of religious fervor to galvanize a populace to protect the glorious walls of Constantinople from unjust siege by Huns, Goths, Saracens, Persians, Gauls, and other encroaching powers. History does indeed look with a measure of due pride and regret at the incomparable city that stood its ground for centuries, the New Rome that managed to thrive in the face of relentless assault long after the sacking of Old Rome in 410 CE.

It is another matter entirely when patriarchs and pontiffs launch Holy Wars and Crusades in the name of the Peaceful Christ, ever motivated by their lust for political power and wealth—a lust that has always and easily been disguised and “fed” to the poorer masses as a whipping-up of religious/nationalist fervor. The results of such misguided Crusades contributed to the destruction of Constantinople, and to the rape, butchery, and pillaging of untold men, women, and children, Christian and non-Christian, at the hands of supposed Christians. The vile Crusades led directly to the indiscriminate destruction of cities and irreplaceable works of sublime human art intended for the greater glory of the Divine. The Crusades achieved nothing but evil, being as they were spawned in the minds and machinations of reprobate Popes and treacherous aristocrats.

And now, many hundreds of years later, Kirill of Moscow would dare to champion the methods of the very Roman Popes he (and history) rightfully disdain, the very Popes whose eldritch campaigns contributed to destruction of his own Church’s Mother City (Constantinople) and to the jeopardization of all Western civilization to this day? Kirill would invoke the methods of foul Roman Popes to accomplish the ongoing, savage murders of Orthodox believers dwelling in Kyiv, the very birthplace of the Russian wing of Orthodoxy?!?

Patriarch Kirill has proved himself to be an abomination. The blood of thousands of innocents is now upon his arrogant head and upon his fat, Rolex-encircled hands for using his ecclesiastical voice to sanction barbaric evils that even Roman Popes in all their effeminate pomp and worldly wickedness have not outwardly fostered in hundreds of years (possibly because they were too busy with other, more clandestine crimes against humanity. Oh, yeah.)

Worse, the silence of everyday Russian Orthodox believers must be accounted as tacit approval of this disgraceful approbation manifested by Kirill. They, too, are guilty of a merciless and egregiously unjust war waged upon innocents.

Who can be surprised, though, even in this age of chaos and insanity? The Russian Orthodox Church (like certain fringe factions of any “church”) has been a much more pervasive breeding ground for the most extreme superstitions and paranoid, apocalyptic doctrinal obsessions. They are a medievally-minded lot. Even the Roman Church managed to cleanse a great deal of its inner-filth—the flotsam and jetsam, the accumulations and encrustations of squalid centuries—via the Vatican II reforms. However, the vast Orthodox confederation of autonomous churches, led ostensibly by Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, has stubbornly refused to summon much-needed synods and councils aimed at better communicating their often beautiful and undeniably archaic rites and practices to a global society that is not all bad, automatically, just because it is global.

What a foolish line in the sand for a powerful Christian leader in 2022 to draw: Kirill is essentially saying to the West, “If the Kremlin deems your spiritual health insufficient we will murder you in the name of Jesus.”

That’s priceless and eerily similar to certain other worldly religious extremists who think and act the same way. The West is certainly fraught with a litany of problems more endless than the brain-frazzling, toe-cramping Akathist hymn to the Virgin Mary, but how rich is it that the goddamned Russians, of all people, think that they are the ones most fit to correct the rest of us?! Have another bottle of vodka for supper, and then a nightcap for your babushka, assholes.

In a world where reprehensible public behavior has reached epidemic proportions, we now behold the religious leader of a few hundred million believers behaving in the most reprehensible manner of all. A genuinely Christian man would protest the unjust, barbaric forays of his nation’s dictator and risk both alienation and martyrdom, as the martyrs of yore so often found the strength to do, courageously.

Kirill has excommunicated himself from “his” Christ by his own words, and whatever his motivation may be—fanaticism, greed, lust for power, or plain old imbecility—his doom is sealed.

No wonder we live in an age that despises religion. Who can blame the atheists? No wonder we live in an age that despises politicians. Who can blame the citizens?

A Great White Pas de Deux

Behold La Danse Macabre

Great White sharks possess such a chilling sort of nobility as they glide through the oceans—the larger ones appearing almost cumbersome, like stately jet planes or submarines, cruising forward unstoppable, resplendent with hefty elegance and a linear foreboding wrought by some distinct impression of glacial inevitability.

At times they appear to be quite aloof in their own environments … yet simultaneously aware, ever-aware. These phantoms pass as ominous, silent nightmares through the vast mind of the slumbering sea, haunting the submerged outskirts of sight and sensation, where all ghosts and unspoken terrors are most apt to be found.

But when they fix upon prey, these massive animals can move explosively into the real and lethal realm of frantic existence, whipping and bursting through the water at surprising angles, employing lightning-fast shifts in direction and thrust until. They. BITE 🦈

The luckless seal in the video above was performing some extraordinary acrobatic evasive maneuvers, and one might think that the smaller, sleeker animal would prove too energetic and elusive for the big fish, especially since the preferred element of surprise/ambush on the part of the shark was removed from the equation. But, no deal. Amazingly, the adult great white matched with ease the seal’s quicksilver agility. GAME OVER.

That’s what countless millions of years of refined hunting techniques and innate instincts bring to the table. The shark’s dinner table, that is.

#GreatWhiteSharks #SharkChat #PoetryWithTeeth #Predation #OceansAlive #JonathanKieran #JonathanKieranWriter #NatureInAction #Sharks #SharkAttacks #CircleOfLifeAndDeath #Jaws

Zanzibar Circus 3/17/22

It’s been awhile. Happy St. Patrick’s Day. At least the aliens are green.

#ZanzibarCircus #JonathanKieran #JonathanKieranAuthor #DarkComics #Illustrations #DarkHumor #AlienAbductions #AnalProbes #LittleGreenMen #FarmToTable #SustainableFood

My One and Only Bradshaw

There can be little question that I was fated to meet and become a friend of celebrated multi-media artist Robert Bradshaw, whose recent death at age 90 I am now saddened to report. Along with the sadness, I find myself a little bewildered that his passing was not marked with much (if any) public fanfare—Bob had long been an award-winning stalwart of both the Carmel and Palm Springs, CA artistic scenes, his work gracing some of the finest galleries in California and abroad. Nevertheless, Bob was retired and significantly older. He is survived by his longtime companion, Angelo, and I get the distinct sense that, with advancing age, the two (quite understandably) retreated a bit from the social activity demanded by the artistic milieu in Palm Springs, where Bob passed away.

Then again, Bob was always an enigmatic spirit who relished the wide success of his atmospheric, unique multimedia paintings and cared fairly little for the more glamorous elbow-rubbing that came along with the thrill of sales and gallery openings. Wry & dry of wit, gentlemanly to his very core, and wise in a winsomely mercurial fashion, Bob was a marvel. The story of how we met and became friends is truly one for the proverbial books.

After living for a year in Europe in 1993, I returned to the USA and moved almost immediately to California, scanning the Western “horizon of all horizons” for new opportunities and meaningful life-adventures in San Francisco. That city was still inhabitable by the hoi polloi in 1994 and I was able to find an apartment (in the then-newly revamped-and-revamping Hayes District) and a job quite easily. At the time, I was working as a waiter and barista at a fantastic three-level restaurant housed in a stately old Victorian on Diamond Street. The place was called “Ryan’s” and its namesake owners, Michael Ryan and his wife, chef Lenore Nolan-Ryan, decorated their popular eatery with some of the quirkiest, most brooding, and enchantingly surreal artworks I had ever seen on display in such a setting. I commented upon the superb quality of the paintings on my first day, in fact, and Mr. Ryan mentioned that these works had been created by their longtime friend, Bob Bradshaw, who lived a few doors down in their apartment building and who owned a successful home goods store on nearby Castro Street. At the time, Bob was painting as an enthusiast, rather than as a professional.

Fast forward to late 1996. I had left San Francisco for the quainter climes of Monterey, down the Central Coast, and had completely forgotten any initial remarks made about the paintings that bedecked the Ryans’ restaurant in the city. I had moved into an apartment complex not far from the heart of downtown Monterey and, coming and going as one does, I often noticed a slightly older gent in his 50s standing on his balcony directly above my own apartment, drinking his coffee (or martini) and gazing out at the beauty of the nearby oak grove. Being of a neighborly disposition, I waved and exchanged greetings whenever I saw him. Chatted about the weather or other niceties. We didn’t introduce ourselves beyond first names, but after a couple of months in the new place, the gentleman kindly invited me up for a home-cooked dinner. Lamb was on the menu and there was apparently an abundance of it. He couldn’t possibly eat all of it himself. The invitation was so friendly and casual that I was not inclined to beg off, so I dressed appropriately and went upstairs later in the evening to get to know my neighbor.

The moment I walked into the entryway of his smartly decorated place, something jogged my memory. Something I could not quite put a finger upon. My congenial host fixed me a drink and asked me to relax in the living room where we could carry on a light conversation as he worked diligently on supper around the corner in the kitchen. We made small talk about ourselves and our backgrounds, breaking the ice easily because we were both well-traveled and facile conversationalists. But something about his apartment’s decor continued to intrigue in a riddling way. I looked about, searching for clues in the very ether. What was it? After a few more moments sipping a Cosmo (the beverage de rigeur, then) and savoring the smells of braised lamb, the puzzle seemed ostensibly solved. The paintings on the walls—evocative and enchanting, like fever-dreams whispered by Hieronymus Bosch into the somnambulant mind of Salvador Dali—jolted me out of my cogitations.

“You know something,” I called into the kitchen, “the paintings you have throughout your place remind me very much of these works that decorated a restaurant I worked in a couple of years ago, up in the city. An excellent place called Ryan’s. They have virtually the same ambience, I swear. Sorry to say that I can’t remember the artist’s name.”

A grey-haired head, owlish behind round spectacles, popped briefly around the corner. “Not to worry. You have a good eye. The paintings you saw at Ryan’s in San Francisco were mine. I’m the artist, Robert Bradshaw. I painted all of the ones you see here, as well.” Then his head returned to the dinner preparations, having delivered that revelation in the most dry, matter-of-fact tone imaginable.

I nearly fell off my chair! What were the chances?

Needless to say, I had made a friend for life. Fortuna has her irresistible rewards … when she spins her wheel with an extra bit of serendipitous flair.

Over the ensuing years, Bob and I had ample opportunity to stay in touch and get to know each other better as both pals and artists. He bit the bullet and submitted some of his works to the very selective Carmel Art Association, becoming an almost instant success. I published my first work of fiction (a comic novel under a different nom de plume) to delightful cross-country reception in 2000, and Bob was as thrilled for me as I was for his watershed moment. It had been his dream sell his work at some point in life; he had started out as a professional illustrator decades earlier, so we had quite a few things in common.

Best of all, Bob took me under his wing for a spell and demonstrated his unique creative method, which involved a complex process of multiple India inkings on distressed canvas or hard board, followed by multiple ink-washes to uncover and reveal successive layers of visual atmosphere, followed by the later interpolation of his charming and surrealist figures and subjects. I was spellbound and fairly grateful to learn such a curious technique from a master—by that point, Bob had already become one of the most celebrated figures on the Carmel art scene. I have created a couple of works utilizing his style (combined with my own touches) but the time has not yet come to reveal them. Like Bob, perhaps I shall wait to unleash them when most of my many and varied other artistic projects have been achieved and the hour is ripe for a bit of a paradigm shift.

More than anything, Bob was crucial in terms of his ability to understand and respect artistry in another professional, especially from the standpoint of our friendship—a delicate balance often fraught with more than a hint of competitiveness and neurosis in the histories of other “friendly” artists, great and small. Believe me: artists and writers are just as notorious for not getting along as they are for establishing salons populated by their (usually) seething and competitive selves. Count me in, but count me out, if you catch my drift.

As the years went on, the one thing lacking in Bob’s otherwise contented, hermit-like existence, was intimate companionship. This void was filled when he met his life-partner, Angelo, in the early Aughts. I was so happy for him. Bob and Angelo relocated to Palm Springs not long after and we stayed in touch, regularly at first and then more sporadically. I was happy to buy one of Bob’s paintings before he moved South; it still hangs with pride of place in my home. In recent years, time and distance made our communication much more sporadic, but the lasting state of friendship was never in doubt. It was with great delight that I noted Bob’s even greater successes across the Palm Springs and Southern California art scenes in the years before his retirement.

There are at least a few dozen other marvelous “Bob Bradshaw Stories” I could rattle-off, but in honor of Bob’s own fondness for personal privacy I shall respectfully refrain. He revealed much to me about his background, exciting life, and the experiences that formed his inimitable character. Suffice to say, I am honored to have been his dear friend and mourn his passing, well aware that Bob lived a charmed private and artistic existence that would be the proper envy of so many across the wider creative landscape. To learn a bit more about Bob’s extraordinary gifts, as much of his past as he was willing to share with endorsement, and his ongoing legacy, have a look at the following gallery page, where his work is still featured and where it continues to thrive.

Arrivaderci, Roberto! Say “Ciao” to Federico, Giulietta, and Nino Rota in the Vast Beyond, where starlight fades and every mood of moonlight reigns sensuously supreme.

#RobertBradshaw #RobertBradshawArtist #PalmSpringsArt #Surrealists #CarmelArtAssociation #MultimediaArtists #Obituaries #JonathanKieran #JonathanKieranAuthor #JonathanKieranArtist #Reminiscence #ArtAssociations #ArtTechniques #ArtGalleries