Category Archives: creative writing

the shady bunch

Here’s the story of a dork named Donnie
And every single thing he touches dies
Like the steaks the Taj Mahal and the election
He lost in court sixty times.

Here’s the story of a crazy lady
Who told a lot of crazy crazy lies
And she got together with some looney lawyers
To steal some votes they tried.

Then the loser set his mob upon the Congress
And Giulani’s hair dye ran right down his face
And the crazy lady said the vote was stolen
By Jewish lasers shot from satellites in space.

And when they all got caught for doing some light treason
Chesebro flipped and Kraken lady, too
And Donnie you’re in real big fuckin’ trouble
Because Fanni Willis is coming for you

And the Treason Bunch
The Treason Bunch
A criminal conspiracy called
Treason bunch

the wait

We aren’t supposed to speak ill of the dead, even when they were monsters in life who hurt countless people.

Okay. But nobody said we couldn’t write fan fiction.

The Wait

Pat Robertson walks past thousands of souls, smugly and full of pride, and cuts to the front of the line at the velvet rope in outside the entrance to his version of Heaven.

The bouncer looks up from their clipboard, observing Robertson with thousands of eyes in a swirling cascade of light.

“Pat Robertson,” they say. “We’ve been expecting you.”

Pat Robertson silently congratulates himself. He swells with joy. All those people who died from AIDS, natural disasters, even 9/11 … they all deserved it. They were sinners!

The bouncer speaks into their headset. “He’s here.” They listen. “Yep. At the front of the line.”

The bouncer turns most of its gaze back to Pat Robertson. “Just wait here for one moment, please.”

Pat Robertson steps to one side and waits.

After one thousand years, he begins to wonder if there was a miscommunication.

“Excuse me,” he says to the bouncer, “I am Pat –“

“Robertson. Yes. We know. We’re just getting everything in order for you. It will just be one more moment.”

Tens of thousands of victims of gun violence walk past him and enter Heaven. The population of an entire village, lost in a typhoon that was intensified by climate change, is welcomed. And still he waits.

They file past him, all the people he looked down on. All the people he hurt, directly and indirectly, don’t even notice him as they pass. It’s like he isn’t even there.

Another thousand years pass. Pat Robertson realizes he hasn’t had a thing to eat since he died and he is so very hungry.

“Hey!” He shouts at the bouncer. “What’s the problem? Don’t you know who I am?”

The bouncer rolls half a million eyes at once. “We know exactly who you are.”

“Well, alright, then!” Pat Robertson spits out, exasperated, “if you aren’t going to help me, get someone here who will!”

The bouncer speaks into its headset again. “We’re ready.”

A gibbering mass of what is mostly human flesh — or was, once — slithers / rolls / flops into Pat Robertson’s view. It is covered with mouths that bleed and weep and click their teeth together. Enormous open sores swirl and burst and close and reopen and drip pus and viscera across blistering skin. The faint memory of a smell surrounds it, something like very old cigar smoke and very expensive liquor.

Pat Robertson tries to scream. Arm-like stalks extend from the quivering shape. One resembles a hand at the end of an arm, dripping viscera.

In a flash, it grabs Pat Robertson’s hand and shakes it. Something hot and acidic splashes up on his arm, blinds him in one eye. He feels weak. Afraid. Alone. Confused.

Hundreds of mouths try to speak. Dozens of them vomit acrid bile that splashes across his chest. Dozens more silently spit out the lies they’ve been cursed to repeat for eternity to an audience who will never hear them again.

One mouth speaks clearly. So clearly, it’s inside Pat Robertson’s head and everywhere else all at once. “I’m Rush Limbaugh,” it says. “I’m your new roommate. Come with me.”

And that’s when Pat Robertson knows. That’s when it all hits him, all at once. He’s getting everything he deserves.

The line to get into Heaven does not see or hear or notice him, or the Limbeast. They can’t hurt anyone, anymore. They are, finally, invisible.

The cancerous mass of hate wraps its arm around his shoulder and just like that Pat Robertson finds himself in a vast parody of a cathedral. It’s built of bones and flesh and lies. The walls writhe, and he sees that they are not bricks and lathe but bodies wrapped in confederate flags and wearing red hats.

The pews are filled to capacity with the souls of people who followed him in life, hated who he told them to hate. Only their hate is now focused on him, hot and unforgiving. Relentless.

Pat Robertson looks for his companion, but it has vanished. It has left him alone to suffer.

A sermon rises in his chest and pushes against his throat. Pat Robertson is compelled to speak, and as he does each word tears through him like broken glass. He spews his hate and his lies, just as he did in life. Only in this place, he doesn’t feel the glee and the satisfaction he always did. No, he feels the pain and the suffering and the agony of every human being who he deliberately hurt. He. Feels. All. Of. It. He tries to stop speaking. Of course, he can not. He can not ever stop.

And Pat Robertson’s eternity begins.

take me anywhere i don’t care

It is 1987. The movie sold out, and there is no way we are going home early. There aren’t many places for us to go, and we only have like ten bucks, each, so this is where we end up.

I mean, not here, specifically, but if you are already smelling the old coffee, the smoking section, the rancid grease, and maybe I think that’s pie crust from this morning? You know what I’m talking about. You’ll find one in every town, you’ll see.

Bless all the servers who endured a table of teenage nerds who bought a single plate of fries to share and got refills of soda for three hours, tipped like shit because they didn’t know any better, and loudly argued about comic book characters when they weren’t even more loudly quoting Monty Python. We didn’t know how much we would come to retroactively appreciate you, and the safe place you were part of.

I wrote fan fiction for my job and got paid for it and everything.

A few months ago, an editor at IDW reached out and asked me if I’d be interested in contributing something to their 400th issue of the Star Trek comic. I told her I was VERY interested, but wasn’t sure how much time I had in my schedule.

I offered a few options, presented in order from easiest (and least desirable for me) to most time-consuming, but most exciting for me to do: I could give them an essay that already exists, I could write a short, new essay, or I could write an entire new story.

She was like, how about that new story?

So I pitched something, and told my team that I was going to be working on this for a couple of weeks. One of them wrote back that I didn’t have time to do this. I told them I was creating time out of thin air to work on it, because it was that important to me. And that’s what I did.

My pitch was accepted, and I set my brain upon the task of developing it. It came in little pieces, out of order, until I woke up in the middle of the night about a week in, with an idea that was orders of magnitude more interesting and challenging. I got out of bed, transcribed what my brain was delivering, and hoped it would make sense in the morning. When morning came, I saw the shape of it, and I saw The Thing that I really wanted to do, The Thing that makes the whole story worth writing. (For shorts, there is always A Thing I want to tell in the story, and that’s why I write it. When The Thing revealed itself to me, it happened to be about 4 in the morning. It happens like that pretty frequently.)

We had to get approval, but time was already short. So I got to work before I even had permission and hoped for the best. I was fortunate to get broad approval, and the notes ended up being about small things that didn’t affect the narrative arc.

So a lot of the process to bring this together was watching and consuming Star Trek (thank you for your thoughts and prayers at this difficult time) so I was steeped in the universe. Think of living abroad for so long, you have to relearn what your cultural and language norms are before you go home.

It was the most fun I have ever had writing something. From the very beginning, I just had fun. I didn’t second guess myself. I didn’t worry. I didn’t let my anxiety or the relentlessly critical inner voice of the man who was my father speak up and distract me. I worked hard and without fear, and it was the best thing, ever. I have no idea how this will be received by the audience. I hope other people like it as much as I do. But even if they don’t, I love this story and I loved writing it. That’s all I care about, and WOW let me tell you what an incredible feeling that is!

I’m so grateful I learned how to separate the joy of doing the work from the anxiety of how it will be received. The rest of this post is collected from daily posts I made on Facebook as I tracked my progress.

July 11

I am having the BEST time writing this thing that’s due on Friday. I love EVERY SECOND of this process, even the parts where I don’t feel like I’m making progress the way I want to. I’m still making progress, and I’m learning to embrace that process so I can enjoy it more.

I’ve been at it all day, and I want to keep writing SO MUCH, but I am just totally out of gas and it’s time to go play NHL 22.

I love this. I love this so much. I love being a writer and a storyteller. I am so grateful for this life.

July 12

It’s another day on this project that’s due Friday. I’m on pace to wrap up tomorrow, have Thursday to polish it, and turn it in on time.

I think I’ve overwritten it (I usually do) and I may have to lose a substantial chunk, but that’s cool with me. I’ve learned how to save things, how to let go of my original idea when the collaborative process begins and the work starts to develop into its own thing. It’s pretty great.

I’d love to keep going, but just now, in the middle of a sentence, I ran out of gas. It happens, and I’ve managed my time responsibly enough to go ahead and call it for the day.
I’m still having the best time doing this, and I’m super excited to release it into the world.

July 13

I’ve been working on this thing that’s due on Friday for about a month, but I didn’t start actually writing it until last week, because WOW HAVE I BEEN BUSY.

I just finished the first complete draft, and I’m walking away to let it breathe until tomorrow, when I’ll rewrite. I am exhausted, but this has been so much fun. It’s going to kill me when I have to cut at least half of it, but I’m actually going to make this deadline, like I’m an adult and a professional, and everything.

July 14

So that thing that’s due tomorrow? Finished it and turned it in a couple hours ago. For the first time in my career as a writer, I actually got something in AHEAD of a deadline.
It wasn’t easy. This morning, while I was working on rewriting, tightening it up, raising the stakes, and all that, I hit The Valley of Despair. This is a part of my creative process, very close to the end, when I feel like everything I’ve done is terrible, I’m the worst writer in the world, they’re all gonna laugh at me, and I should just give up and quit right now.

When that happens, I know I’m close to the end, but too close to be objective and see the words among all the letters. (This took many painful years to learn.)

So I reached out to a friend I respect deeply, who has EXTREMELY relevant experience, and asked for notes. They gave me notes, some INCREDIBLE ideas that I absolutely LOVED adding, and they got me across The Valley of Despair. Once I was on the other side, everything came together so effortlessly, it was kind of rude.

It’s so interesting to me that I can struggle for so long to see where the cuts need to happen, never seeing them, feeling like each precious bit is too precious to cut, right up until the moment they are all suddenly so obvious, I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote them, and I never miss them when they’re gone. I cut a lot of stuff today that I enjoyed making up and writing, but I don’t miss it at all. The story didn’t need it. I’ve heard some writers talk about that stuff as the scaffolding they use to hold the thing together while they work on it. I like that metaphor.

Maybe the Valley of Despair is what happens when I take the scaffolding down. That’s a neat metaphor, too.

I don’t know when I’ll be able to get into details about this. Until then, I’m going to stay safely vague. But I’m super excited for this to be a thing in the world that all of you can read. It was really fun to imagine.

July 20

So I turned this thing in on Thursday last week, knowing it was overwritten and needed deep cuts that were going to hurt. That’s okay. It’s part of the whole creation process.

On Monday, I made some deep cuts. The manuscript sank into the swamp. Then I made more deep cuts yesterday. THAT sank into the swamp. I just finished ANOTHER round of extremely deep cuts today. If it follows, it will burn down, fall over, and sink into the swamp. BUT the next one will stay.

It’s fascinating to watch this happen in front of me. When I see the cut bits behind the green “cut this” suggestion thing, I REALLY miss them. But when I accept the cuts and read it all without the stuff I’ve cut, it still works and I don’t miss it at all. That is so WEIRD.

But it is so much fun, and so satisfying, to play with these toys. I still can’t believe I get to do this for my job.

Also, could someone get that guard a drink of water?

July 21

That thing I’ve been working on? That I couldn’t get specific about?

Well, now I can.

“IDW Publishing is celebrating 400 issues of Star Trek. This September, IDW will release the oversized Star Trek #400 one-shot featuring new stories from across the Star Trek universe. The stories include a brand new Star Trek: The Next Generation by series star Wil Wheaton, who recently reprised his role as Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: Picard’s second season finale. “

I think this drops in September, around Star Trek Day. If you want to get one, tell your local comic shop so they can order it for you.

Writing fan fiction is never not fun.

I have been reading the Internet, as you do, and I see a lot of my fellow nerds are as excited to see the TNG cast back together as I am.

I’ve also seen a LOT of people — like, way more than I ever would have imagined –expressing dismay that Wesley isn’t part of it.

I share some of your sadness, for my own reasons, but I choose to focus instead on how special it’s going to be to see my family back together again, and how wonderful it’s going to be to talk with them about it in the Ready Room.

Still, I’ve been thinking all day … what would happen if Wesley DID show up? Why would Traveler Wesley be there? And my imagination did its thing.

So I sketched this out in my head, and … well, it felt like something that was worth sharing.


Jean-Luc sits in a comfortable chair. He’s spent a lot of time here, lost in precisely this kind of thought. He’s sipping a glass of wine. Number One is asleep at his feet. The room shimmers in the golden light — but not the warmth — of a blazing fire. Deep shadows fill the corners, reflecting in their way the shadow on Picard’s face.

He looks up. Did he just sense movement in the shadows? He looks back to Number One, who is snoring on the floor, kicking his legs. Picard slowly stands up.

CUT TO WIDE. There it is. A figure in the darkness.

(more curious than alarmed)
Hello? Who’s there?

A beat. We hold our breath. Is it Q?

The figure emerges from the shadows, instantly familiar to some of us. It’s Wesley Crusher. Older. Wiser. Maybe a little haunted? A Traveler who has seen some shit. He smiles warmly.



It’s good to see you, Captain.

The fire crackles. Picard regards him for a long moment. It’s been 20 years. It’s a lot to take in.

(feeling it)
Wesley, I haven’t been your Captain for a very long time.

Now it’s Wesley’s turn to regard him.

You will always be my Captain.

Picard’s smile almost reaches his eyes. This is more than a simple reunion, and he knows it.

Why are you here? In this place? At this time?

The Traveler takes a deep, deliberate breath. Before he speaks, Number One growls, then barks. Through the windows, it’s getting brighter. Is the sun rising? No, it’s too fast, too bright, to be the sun. This is more like a spotlight being shined directly into the room. Picard shields his eyes from the increasingly blinding light. The Traveler is unaffected.

(as the light begins to swallow them)
… because this is where I am needed.

The white light fills the screen.

Black letters fade in: TO BE CONTINUED.

Writing fan fiction is never not fun, y’all.