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3 Years Ago—The Umbrella Academy—The Heartbeat Of Wounded Knee

On July 7th, 2016—three years ago yesterday—I published Greysuits on Amazon.

I had decided to make that date my deadline—the 7th day of the 7th month because Aerabel Sevens is the main character and I’m nothing if not cheesy—and I was working hard to go through a final round of edits to get it to a place I could be happy with for many years.

That didn’t work, of course, as I have many times since then thought of going back and rewriting the first third of the book, especially the first couple chapters.

But it was done. I had accomplished a dream I had held since I was a teenager, to write and publish a novel.

I thought for sure I would have published another book in the three years since. Instead, we’ve had a third child, made a cross country move, cleaned out and fixed up my wife’s grandparents’ house, and I’ve written the rough draft of a memoir I wasn’t even thinking about writing three years ago, and almost finished the rough draft to the next fiction novel.

It’s funny all the curveballs we throw at ourselves to keep life interesting. It’s also amazing how tiny bits of work here and there can add up to something big over time. I think that’s been one of my biggest lessons since I started on Greysuits back in 2014.


I recently finished season one of Umbrella Academy.
My wife, Wendy, works retail and so her schedule is not consistent. Some days she works closing shifts and on those nights, after the kids are in bed, I try to watch shows she doesn’t necessarily like, ideally with my friend Darius if he is around. The Umbrella Academy is one such show.

I had read the graphic novels a couple years ago but totally forgot the story. I think it’s a really interesting take on classic superhero teams like the X-Men. I always used to read those comics and wish they had more interplay between the characters outside of the fights and heroics. I remember one issue some of the X-Men were playing basketball at the school and they weren’t supposed to use their powers. I liked seeing them live their normal lives like that.

I think Gerard Way, creator of The Umbrella Academy and lead singer of My Chemical Romance, is maybe interested in some of the same things. Like, what are these superhero teams’ relationships like when they’re not superheroing? In the case of The Umbrella Academy, they are this weird dysfunctional misfit family with serious daddy issues.

I don’t tend to like stories that are super dark or disturbing, and The Umbrella Academy definitely skates close to those lines for me, but I love the ridiculousness of it, which I think is what drew me to the graphic novels. A talking chimp, a guy who’s part gorilla, an old assassin trapped in a child’s body, a pair of assassins who wear cartoonish animal masks, a guy who stays high so he doesn’t have to constantly see and listen to unhappy dead people, a father with zero compassion who’s trying to prevent an apocalypse.

My friend didn’t like the last few episodes. The writers lost him toward the end, just like they did with Game Of Thrones and with season one of Cloak And Dagger. Personally, I thought it was worth watching if you’re not put off by the violence.

• Our kitchen remodel is ongoing.

• I’m reading The Heartbeat Of Wounded Knee by David Treuer.
It's this giant hardback summarizing the history of American Indians and their relationship with the U.S.A., starting before Europeans hit America’s shores and going right up to present day.

It’s taking me a while to get through it, but it’s fascinating, heartbreaking yet hopeful, and very enlightening.

I’ve always been enthralled by Native Americans and used to believe I was part Cherokee until my dad’s Ancestry.com DNA test results came back. No Cherokee. But I’m still enthralled, as you’ll no doubt find out if you read the next novel.