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Novelist. Essayist. Former entomologist. Now a full-time writer exploring travel, art, philosophy, psychology, and science.

Stories from a static year

Photo by author

2020 was my first full year of writing on Medium

And although I told myself with almost every story I published that I was done with the platform, I kept coming back. Until the calendar flipped over and I realized I had a body of work on my hands.

Some of these stories are among the most popular I’ve written. Some were abject flops. But all have something in them that I’m proud of. A message I think is important. Helpful tips for others. Or just a single phrase that came out exactly the way I wanted it.

Anyway, although I cringe a little at…

Nietzsche, Jung, and the stages of life

Photo by boris misevic on Unsplash

Thirty-Eight Trips Around the Sun

Thirteen thousand eight hundred eighty revolutions of the planet I still know nothing about, that I’ve still seen so little of despite the millions of miles I’ve racked up.

Let’s not make more of it than we need to. I’ve never been a fan of forced fun, and that’s exactly what birthdays are. Along with Christmas, New Year’s, and any other arbitrary day we try to set aside and make special. …

Vandalism and Japanese aesthetics

Photo by John Rodenn Castillo on Unsplash

Every church started here

You’ve been here before. Even if you don’t know it. A gray granite cliff that soaks up the sun, staring down over an expanse of ocean that sometimes shines too bright to look at. At least today it does.

And in the wind that moves through the trees like fingers running through a lover’s hair, you hear the whisper of nameless things. From the shadow of the trees, you watch the waves that never stop moving, your chest expanding and shrinking just as stubbornly, just as infinitely. Out on the dazzling water, the red bulk of a container ship crawls…

A day at the beach in Canada’s top ski resort

Green Lake, Whistler, BC. Photo by author.

Some people, presumably, are born in Whistler

Some must die here too. All the normal churn and burn of human life, messy entrances and messy exits, must happen here in the granite shadows of glaciated mountains.

But it doesn’t feel that way. Chirpy young Australians serve overpriced food to wealthy Chinese tourists, and this resort municipality doesn’t seem like a place where ordinary life runs its ordinary course. It’s a millionaires playground, a place with tiny condos sell for millions of dollars and a night out bankrupts anyone without a trust fund.

But the unreality of resort towns is part of their charm. These are places where…

Keep turning up the heat and see what happens

Photo by Gavin Allanwood on Unsplash

Forty-four degrees

That’s 111 degrees Fahrenheit to those of you still bearing a grudge against Napoleon. Hot enough to bake the sky into a pale blue glaze. Hot enough that the mountains surrounding the valley almost disappeared, losing their heads into a dim haze of ozone.

I’ve never been to Las Vegas or to Dubai. I’ve never experienced temperatures that high. Not in the South of Italy. Not in California. After all the traveling I’ve done, I never suspected the hottest place I would ever be was at home in BC.

I wanted to experience it. So I stepped out into the…

Nothing good comes from following the herd.

Photo by Ryan Stone on Unsplash

Summer Was Just Getting Started

The growing heat calling leaves from tight buds. The days stretching out, sunset and sunrise almost clasping hands over a shrinking sliver of night. You know how summer is. Never sweeter than when it first starts, when the light and warmth are loved all the more for feeling new.

We were in a park. Me and my wife and some friends of ours, sitting on a small beach at the edge of a cool clear lake. We had shared already our tiny scraps of news, what little there was. The last eighteen months have not been rich in adventure.


A pep talk from a nobody

Photo by Sam Carter on Unsplash

Writing is communication

At its most basic level, it’s simply the words we speak made (slightly) more permanent. Back when almost no one could do it, the act of writing was seen as magic. Moses came down from the mountain with tablets of stone. The incontrovertible word of God, set and unchangeable forever. As though no one ever heard of a chisel.

Communication has never been easier. And by the grim calculus of supply and demand, it’s never been worth less. We’ll never meet, but the words I’m speaking into a microphone like Homer dictating to his scribe are echoing now in the…

A postcard from the latest apocalypse

Photo by Timo Volz on Unsplash

We’re allowed out again

The powers that be have decided that the risk to human health, in this particular instance, is outweighed by the risk to the economy.

So for the first time in well over a year, the wife and I went out for dinner with some friends of ours. At some mediocre restaurant — every restaurant in this town is mediocre — we were told there would be a forty-minute wait. So we went to a pub down the road.

We ate. We drank. We cracked weak jokes the young server was obliged to laugh at behind the black mask that matched…

But it can still mean something.

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

Everything is temporary.

At least when you look at it from one perspective. It’s only human to hope that the things that make you happy can last forever. But that’s not the way it works.

People come and go in our lives. But just because relationships end, it doesn’t follow that they meant nothing.

I don’t remember how we met.

But it wouldn’t be hard to guess. We lived in the same neighborhood, went to the same Catholic schools. Our world was much smaller than we realized.

I do remember being at his house and knocking out my front teeth on the concrete windowsill. I remember, with the same…

Art, wildlife, and the elusive nature of creativity

Photo by Keith Luke on Unsplash

They wave at me
They wave and slip
Back into the sea — Mermaids, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Sometimes the mornings are flawless

The air as crisp and clean as polished glass. The sun sailing west with full sails and heavy belly, shedding gold and shadows as it cruises past. Creative people tend not to be early risers. Artists and madmen are children of the night. Our proper traffic is with demons, and they whisper beneath the stars. But the morning has its own magic. The liminal space creation requires. The silence and the solitude.

Ryan Frawley

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