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Sometimes we get lost.

I had been working, when time permitted, on a story that would stretch me a little. A forthcoming anthology wanted splatter-horror westerns. I've never written a western, and "splatter" is not my thing. It paid well, and I had an idea for a story that might work.

The deeper I got, however, the more I felt this story shouldn't splatter. It should be disturbing, yes, but gore wasn't its style, and treating my particular premise that way felt disrespectful to those involved with the historical events I referenced. You'd have to read it to understand. Maybe you will. I needed to start writing the story I'd developed, and likely would have to forego my foray into blood and guts for now.

Not that it matters. The publisher was Silver Shamrock, the recent implosion of which has been covered at this very site. More can be found if one reads threads by the "horror community" online, but the salient point for me is that Midnight on the Stage Coach won't be riding into book stores in the near future, with or without my tale.

This sort of thing has happened to more writers I know than I can mention. Anthologies often prove difficult beasts to break.

And sometimes we miss the obvious.

We've attended a handful of classical musical events, now that in-attendance performances have returned. My wife has sung a few times. We caught the Rite of Spring-- no need to hate all Russians! It was preceded by two pieces. Many classical performances in the Great White North begin with a short piece by a Canadian composer. In this case, the evening began with Alice Ping Yee Ho's "Jubilation of Spring." We then had a longer home-grown piece, Richard Mascall's Ziigwan, based on the FN experience of the seasons in this region and featuring a narrative delivered by an Anishinaabe storyteller.

Amidst these cultural encounters, some beats removed from Splatter, I spoke with a local musical figure.

His views trend conservative, though classical ensembles in Canada have little trouble taking whatever cultural grant money may be available. Fair enough, perhaps: as I've written elsewhere, "right wing" and "left wing" is a metaphor that has largely outlived its uselessness. Our conversation turned to the situation in the Ukraine. Despite political differences, we both share the general view that the blame falls pretty much entirely on Russia and Vladimir Putin. Don't want the countries on your border to be so chummy with NATO? Stop giving them reasons to be. Also, you know, stop invading a sovereign country and killing people.

And I write that, two paragraphs after mentioning the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island.

"They want their land and resources." He shakes his head and says. "Just shows you that socialism doesn't work."

I point out that contemporary Russia is not, in fact, socialist.

"Oh," he says. "Right."