On Belief and Surviving the Tough Times

All my long, sometimes INSANELY long 43 year life on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence I’ve believed in something. The something in question has changed at points throughout depending on where I was mentally and, to be honest? What I was smoking, and if you DON’T KNOW what I mean by that then… well heck, you don’t know me. And that’s okay because I don’t expect everyone reading this to know me or my history, despite my inclination to constantly write about it in the electronic pages of this blog that I’ve been maintaining for 100+ entries now (no sarcasm whatsoever intended).

The bottom line? I’ve ALWAYS believed in something. And my current state of belief is a synthesis of… basically everything I’ve ever believed in since I was a child, starting with my earliest days, attending the now defunct Immaculate Conception, BVM Catholic School in good ol’ J-Town, PA (booyakasha, fellow Jenkintownians. RESPECT). Were I to classify my belief system now I would say that it’s a healthy share of Roman Catholicism, mixed with a little Agnoticism and Buddahism, “What Dreams May Come,” The Force and my own, personal hot take on spirituality which, if you read the Endworld books, you know and have seen; I call it “The All” and it’s… well, just that! Everything, every reality, everywhere. Basically? My spiritual belief system is a Mutt. Kind of like my ancestry. Primarily Irish, English and Scottish allowing me to–piss poor punchline alert–always be at war with myself. Roll snare drum.

I can hear you groaning over here in my corner of this, our shared subjective reality and that’s… OKAY. Winky emoticon. Smiley face.

When times got tough–and I’ve my share of tough times over the years–I rarely lost hope. On occasion yes: I’ll admit that I did. There were moments, one in particular that involved a third floor balcony, an almost finished bottle of tequila and yet another, lost relationship that I got very, very down on myself. My own, personal version of rock bottom. But even then–as I drunkenly stared what I thought was a quick departure from this world in the eye and would have likely ended up being nothing more than a couple of broken legs–I was buoyed by… SOMETHING. The feeling of something… someONE watching over me, and assuring me like a “coldly rational” voice in my head (sound familiar, Endworld readers?) that I should not quit. That this life… this world and universe had a deeper purpose for me… a destiny. So I finished my bottle of tequila, went back inside and crashed on the floor of the little, two bedroom apartment I was sharing at the time with four other people. And FUN FACT friends, family and oft times casual readers: There is a scene in CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD that is highly reflective of this moment. You’ll know it when you see it.

Quick parenthetical aside: If you’re reading CHILDREN, I hope you’re enjoying it. And if you’re starting late/just now reading ENDWORLD – A Novel to get caught up, I hope the same. You know who you are. Yes, you. I’m looking at YOU. And smiling. Thank you.

The point, guys and gals is this: Belief helps. Believing in something can sustain you through the tough times. Whether your chosen belief is one in God, Jesus, Muhammad, Buddah or yourself/science… Whatever, don’t lose sight of it. Don’t think that what you believe in has abandoned you because he, she or it hasn’t. And if you believe in nothing? That’s cool too. I honestly have a lot of respect for people that trust in no providence but their own, their only belief in that of science and the law of it dictating everything from the tiniest, sub-cellular interaction to me, typing these words out on my phone, in my mobile WordPress app. I’ve even dabbled in it a bit myself–my oft mentioned in these blog entries, many moons ago “recovering Roman Catholic” phase–but for me? As much as I dig science there’s simply too much order in the universe on this, or any side of the proverbial wormhole of existence for me to chalk it up to a synthesis of numbers and equations. It’s the artist in me. Art recognizes art and when I look around me, I see things that must have been painted, sketched or molded by someone, ones or someTHING. Even the most universally derided areas maintain a sliver of beauty. A bean sprout, struggling up through the cracks in the sidewalk in the inner city. Or a tree, long deprived of life standing sentinel over a deserted beach in Cape May, NJ with the words “Voodoo” and “Tree” carved into either side of it’s split trunk. Yes, that was another Endworld reference. My apologies to the uninitiated.

Why am I writing this tonight? I honestly don’t know. It just felt like something I had to write. This last year plus has been a bit difficult (sarcasm, directed at the “bit” part fully intended this time) and there have been times when I have felt a tinge of abandonment. Not by my friends and family. Never them. They have been and remain blessed constants in my life that I am forever grateful for. Old friends, new friends, old friends renewed and new friends I never saw coming. But despite the inclination to lose faith and stop believing I never did. Because I know, deep down inside that everything that we go through in life, good or bad is moving us forward in a direction. Toward our purpose. Why we’re here. Call it destiny if you want. I prefer to call it “The Why.”

This week? I got to be a part of something monumental at the job I get paid consistently for, not the one I do in my free time. 10,000 hours invoiced. 10,025 to be exact, a whopping 166 of which was mine. “10K Hours” has been a constant mantra at my new place of business since I got there. It had never happened previous to this week and for the first time since I entered the world of staffing almost six years ago, I felt like a part of something… Transcendent. Monumental. When I started there I believed in what we could accomplish and we did. Belief. Not just belief in becoming a famous author which, at times, borders on imagination but belief in achieving a practical goal.

Belief drives us, folks. Whether in self or a higher power it is necessary and if I have any message to convey tonight it is this: Don’t give up. Don’t stop believing. Don’t lose faith no matter how difficult things get because there is always a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. You may not get there right away. Sh*t, I’m not there yet. But stay focused because eventually, the tough times will end and the good times will roll like you always wanted them too. I hope. I believe. And I promise.

And that? That’s it. A couple of quick shoutouts. To the Jenkintownians. Always. To God, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddah, Richard Matheson, George Lucas and everyone or thing that has contributed over time to my personal, Mutt-like system of belief, a spirituality that is always at war with itself but maintains some kind of whacked out sense to me and the characters that inhabit Endworld. To the good times AND the bad because both contribute to make us who we are. To the people who have read or are reading The Endworld Series right now (you know who you are). To the rest of my team at work for fulfilling the “10K Hours” mantra and to everyone, everywhere that has had their respective moment, standing upon a third floor balcony 10 sheets to the wind that remembered that it’s okay to despair, but you… None of us are ever alone. That believed in a better tomorrow and stumbled inside, intent to pass the f*ck out on the floor and wake up the next day, hung over as Hell and continue. Continue what? Just continue. I can neither confirm nor deny if that statement, or a version of it appears in CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD but when you get there? You’ll know it.

Goodnight, all. Have a terrific weekend. Winky emoticon? Smiley face.


A Quick, CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD Launch Day Postmortem

A little something from the Endworld website for all my Random Musings readers. Feel free to follow me over there, as well! Maybe one day I’ll take both websites and combine them into one, big, super-duper website. But for now? Here’s the link.


In Which I Blog About the Impending Launch of CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD and Say THANK YOU

Good Evening fellow denizens of this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence. I’ve been posting over on the Endworld site all week and I figured that Random Musings deserved a little love. So? Here I am. This isn’t going to be a long post, and honestly? It’s likely not going to be as frantic as many of the others I’ve written. The fact is that I’m too tired to consider life, the universe and everything tonight. I’ll save that for when I’m NOT in the middle of a book launch. Yep. You read that right. The long awaited sequel to ENDWORLD – A Novel is HERE. Shocking, huh?

Well? Technically it won’t be here until Saturday morning, the 27th but you CAN pre-order the ebook on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks et al RIGHT NOW. I’d be remiss in my duties as a shameless, self-promoting, now TWO TIME Indie Novelist if I didn’t write something over here, as well as on the Endworld site so… Yep. Here you go!

CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD is now available for pre-order on the following ebook platforms:

CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD will eventually be available in print on Amazon, as well (6X9, trade edition paperback, 452 pages) for $15.99 EACH. I should have the proof of it in my hands tomorrow and as soon as I look at it, and verify that it looks good I’ll go live with it. I’m hoping for Saturday so keep your fingers crossed. I’ll be sure to let you know as soon as it’s available!

Additionally, if anyone that’s new to the world of the Madchronicler and his alter ego, Frank Marsh (oh sh*t! That’s me!) wants to start reading The Endworld Series, now is the time to do it! Book One, ENDWORLD – A Novel IS available in print, on Amazon (6X9, trade edition paperback, 426 pages) for $15.99 EACH. You can link it HERE. Or, if you prefer an ebook, you can get it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble for $0.99 EACH right now! You support is, as always, and remains more appreciated than you know!

Speaking of support and appreciation, I’ve popped over here tonight to say THANK YOU. Thank you to everyone that has pre-ordered, liked, shared, commented, Retweeted et al since I announced the first pre-orders this past Monday night. My heart is sufficiently warmed by the response I’ve seen from both old readers that have been patiently waiting for CHILDREN for six years, and new ones that are discovering The Endworld Series for the first time. The thing is, self-publishing? It’s a bit of a chore. And I’m not a huge fan of self-promotion, despite how it looks at times like this. Honestly? All I want is to tell a story. The same one that’s been plaguing my mind for a couple of decades. And the fact that so many of you, reading this right now want to hear it? That’s amazing. And I am beyond fortunate. In truth? I feel like the luckiest guy in the world. To create art AND be able to entertain? That’s the dream, man. It’s always been my dream. And I’m getting to live it right now. So booyakasha to all of you. A thousand times over. MAD respect. Please excuse me while I go mist up in the corner.

That said? I guess I’m done for the moment. Not done writing. Oh no. Far from it. I have many words left to write, and a lot more story… Stories to tell. Tales from Endworld, other Skews, maybe even from the farthest ends of the known universe. Who knows? God willing I’ll have the time to write everything. It always killed me that Chaucer never got to finish THE CANTERBURY TALES on his terms. My will alone should be enough to keep me alive and kicking, long enough to write everything I need to. ‘Cause writing isn’t a choice, all. It’s an imperative. We all have one or more and this one is mine.

So… ONE MORE DAY. One more day until CHILDREN is out there. For better OR worse. I won’t know for a bit. But I gave it my all, I did it for YOU, and I am proud of the finished product. If you read it, please review it! And if you like it, tell your friends about it! And one last time before it launches? THANK YOU.

Winky emoticon. Smiley face.


On the Road to 100, What I’ve Learned and What I Still Have to Learn on This Side of the Proverbial Wormhole of Existence

Wow. I wonder if that wins the award for my longest title ever. Survey says? Not even close. Thank you Richard Dawson! Please, don’t kiss me. Wait. What? Richard Dawson is dead? Oh my God. He died in 2012 (thanks Wikipedia; mind the gap). Figures. I haven’t even thought of him since I wrote about him, so long ago in Random Musings Version 1.0. I guess him kissing me is not a concern any longer, huh? Cool. Insert sigh of relief HERE. Now I can focus on the business at hand. Which is…

Drum roll PLEASE…

Blog Entry Number 100! Yay! We made it! You, me, Pinky Lee, Rizzo, Kenickie and everyone else that has had or will have a featured role in blog entries past/this blog entry. It’s been a long and winding road to get to this point, and I can think of a number of people to thank. Even Dennis Rodman who–fun fact–was the featured topic of one of my lesser read pieces of Mental Flatulence, “In Which I Abruptly Break from Writing CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD to Discuss a Topic of International Importance.” I tried to look up the stats on that one and couldn’t, but if I remember correctly, it was around 10. Yes, 10. No, not 10 visitors. 10 views. And two or three of them were likely me. It just goes to show how relevant Dennis Rodman was back in 2016, huh? I honestly don’t think it’s changed much in the intervening time since. If anything, he’s even less relevant now. I could argue the same about myself but… ah sh*t. I digress. Crap, when do I ever not?

Since I’m a bit of a stat guy, here’s a couple. Mind you, these are the stats for Random Musings 2.0. I am unable to view my pre-2.0 stats, i.e. my 1.0 stats though for the record, those blog entries/pieces of Mental Flatulence WERE imported to this site, shortly after I made the change and hence would count toward my total views, vistors etc..  So? Ah, screw it. Let’s just count ’em all together. I can’t imagine that 1.0 got a ton of traffic pre-Wordpress anyway.

Random Musings Version 1.0 and 2.0, since 2012:

Views: 6,353
Visitors: 4,313
Best [Daily] Views Ever: November 3, 2016; 546 (“Remembering the Mayor of Maple Street”)
Most Popular Day: Tuesday; 45% of all views
Most Popular Time: 7PM; 29% of all views
Total WordPress Followers: 75

Survey says? Not uber-impressive by any standard though it warms my heart, to this day to see how much interest “Remembering the Mayor of Maple Street” had early on and has had in the time since. That one came from the heart, guys and gals. The best I could do to eulogize, in my own way, a giant among men. Thank you for reading it. And thank you for reading… well sh*t, everything I’ve written on here. Even the one about Dennis Rodman. All 10 of you. Views. Not visitors. God Bless.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this previously but it bears repeating herein: Writing, for me, was never about fame. It wasn’t about fortune and glory, kid. Fortune and glory. If that came with it great. But it’s just… it’s simple, really. It’s something I like to do. I always have and hopefully always will. Writing was always about speaking my mind and saying what I needed to say when I was afraid to say it aloud. About telling a story. Whether people agreed with me or not, and more than a few of you disagreed with me over the years. The one about Charlie Brown growing up and the one about “Dora the Explorer: A J. J. Abrams Film” were especially polarizing. Thanks for never being afraid to call me out. Booyakasha. Respect.

People over the years have asked me “why?” Why write? Why keep at it when you have no way of knowing for sure whether you’ll ever achieve anything more than a localized, social media-driven following, along with a semi-fervent Endworld fan base in, of all places, Central America? The answer to that question is relatively simple, and it’s been the same, every time someone has asked me it. Why? In the immortal words of Jane’s Addiction, “Just Because.” Just because. Because if I can speak to one person… if I can write something that affects a single soul on this, or any side of the proverbial wormhole of existence then in my eyes? I’ve done my job. I’ve succeeded. Sure, I’d love to be the guy or girl that gets to write for a living, but maybe… just maybe that’s not in the cards for me, AKA El Autoro, AKA your old buddy the Madchronicler. And if it’s not? If this blog, and my completed two novels in The Endworld Series—along with the barely started third—are my legacy then so be it. Fates be kind. I hope y’all have enjoyed the ride ‘cause I sure as sh*t have.

All that said, I hope to continue this ride with you for many, many years to come. Honestly? There was a part of me that considered ending Random Musings with this blog entry. I even discussed it with someone I recently re-connected with a few weeks ago. Their question? “Why?” Why stop? What point save for a symbolic one would stopping serve? I couldn’t answer them then, but I can now. Why? What point? In short: None. Like Miley Cyrus I can’t and won’t stop because these trite, long-form brain farts that I classed up with the phrase Mental Flatulence many, many moons ago when I, my friends and family all lived in and around J-Town, Oz and/or State Pen and no one lived anyplace else are as much a part of me as Endworld is.

Many of you reading this right now know me. You know that I’ve always been a guy that wears his heart on his sleeve. I guess you could… you can argue that I further wear my words on my sleeve. Sleeves. Plural. Because I’ve written a lot. A veritable sh*t ton of material, honestly, not all of which you’ve seen and not all of which will see the light of day before I shuffle off this mortal coil many, many moons from now God willing. And at it’s core everything that I’ve ever written has been a reflection of some aspect of me. The person I was. The person I am. The person I want to be. The ideal I dream of. The hero I wish I was in the case of William MacNuff. So? If you tuned out a long time ago like 75% of The Walking Dead’s audience (not me, though; I remain invested and Godd*mn! Aren’t the Whispererers, specifically Beta bada**?) and just popped back over to see what I’ve been up to for 99, now 100 blog posts you should probably look away. Look away NOW. Because this isn’t the end. It’s an end, but not the end. Random Musings of a Pseudo-Madman Version 3.0? Perhaps. To go along with Frank Marsh Version 3.0. Survey says? Sure! Why the f*ck not?

Yeah. I guess a reboot of sorts is in order, isn’t it? I think I’ll stay here, though: I’ve kind of gotten used to this URL (though I have to figure out how to get that 2.0 out of it and replace it with a 3.0). Random Musings Version 3.0, otherwise known as yet another attempt by me, one of a number of sh*theads living on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence (the world is still full of them, ya’ know; sh*theads, not wormholes) to make sense of an oft times screwed up universe in his… in my own, occasionally self-reflective way. Because let’s face it, everyone: The universe is inherently f*cked up. It doesn’t matter which side of the wormhole you live on, or what you believe or whether you’ve been reading my ramblings for the last seven to 10 years or you just started reading now. The bottom line is that it’s virtually impossible to make sense out of chaos. Senselessness. And yet despite how it appears on the surface at it’s core, I have always believed and will always believe that there is an underlying beauty to the universe on this, or any side of the proverbial wormhole of existence. Call it God if you want. A representation of the infinite in any number of spiritual creeds. The All as they call it in Endworld. It’s there. It’s something. There is order beneath the madness and that, friends? That’s what I sought out many, many years ago when I started writing and it’s still what I’m looking for now, at 43 plus years old. Maybe this is the way I find it. Maybe you get to find it with me. Who knows? If you find it before me, though, please let me know. A simple phone call, text message, PM or email will suffice. I really appreciate it.

Which sadly (sad for me; you might be thanking the almighty right now and if you are, it’s cool) brings me to the end of Blog Entry Number 100 which, if I look back over the road that got me here, is really exactly what it should be. No fanfare. More a whisper than a scream. More retrospection and reflection. A little bullsh*t. A touch of Richard Dawson and Dennis Rodman, a sprinkle of Miley Cyrus and a well-remembered, and always loved Mayor of Maple Street. A sh*thead here and a sh*thead there, a wormhole, an alternate reality or two, some stuff about Endworld and me, the former El Autoro turned Madchronicler ruminating on life, the universe and everything because if I don’t write it and do it internally, my brain will explode. Being known as the guy who thought too hard and blew up his brain? Not the kind of fortune and glory, kid, fortune and glory that I’m looking for.

One thing I did want to do before calling it quits on my first 100 blog entries, though, was look back on the first one. Yeah, that one. From Random Musings Version 1.0. The one that started this big a** boulder rolling. The title was “I guess in a way, you always end up right back where you started.” Back then, I was 33 years old. I was toiling away at a little company called Advanced Fluid Systems in Royersford, PA. I was married and a homeowner with two “furry children named Pandora and Roxy” and I was anticipating the arrival of my first, human child. Nicole and I had decided to name her Cara Angelina Marsh. Cara for “beloved” (in Italian) and “friend” (in Irish), and Angelina for it’s Italian meaning—“angel”—and Nicole’s then-94 year old grandmother. “Beloved Angel.” It wasn’t much of a composition—nothing monumental—but looking back on it now—after so much “life, man, life”—I see what it was. What it did. It was a beginning. The first concrete thing I had written in a very, very long time. The rewritten ENDWORLD – A NOVEL evolved from it. CHILDREN, as well. The soon-to-be rewritten HEAVEN. A handful of short stories and other, started but not completed novels and novellas. And now 99 others pieces of Mental Flatulence. Not only was it a beginning. Looking back now, I think that it was THE beginning. And that, guys and gals? That makes me smile. ‘Cause here I am now, 10 years later, after so much has changed and I’m still doing it. Exactly what I always wanted to do. A little bit for me but mainly? For you. Always you.

All of you. And You? Yeah, you. You too.

Winky emoticon. Smiley face. And thank you. Always.

Frank Marsh