I am fortunate enough to share another published story with you all. This one deals with the burdens we carry. How much misery would you be willing to keep? How much to part with? I hope we are building to a future where people support each other out of their misery rather than force acceptance through the pain.

Click below to read EJ’s choice. Be sure to click “display entire story” at the cut off. I hope you like it!


I am happy to announce that my short story “Facing Reality” is available for purchase in the After the Gold Rush anthology here: https://www.amazon.com/After-Gold-Third-Flatiron-Anthologies-ebook/dp/B0B3V48HWK/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1B23UX1ATJE6O&keywords=after+the+gold+rush+anthology&qid=1659052229&s=books&sprefix=after+tje+gold+rush+anthology%2Cstripbooks%2C68&sr=1-1

What happens when too many people choose simulated perfection over reality? My protagonist, Logan, is trying to bring back the survivors, his daughter among them. Can he do it without getting tempted himself? What would you choose?

As a scientist, it has always been my dream to be published in the prestigious journal Nature. As a science fiction writer… the same holds true. Check out my flash here:


It’s a story about inheriting more than genetics from our parents and about how even the most privileged among us can still be lonely and in want of connection.

I got a short piece of mine published in a special anthology and it’s finally available for purchase.

The story is about Dinah, an observant woman using her faith to try to do everything she can to save her family from Covid-19. Through prophetic dreams she discovers, contrary to her learning, that there had always been a Talmud written by women sages lost to time because of social pressure. Can she save her mother and other members of her community using the miracle of her dreams or does her discovery doom them all because of heresy?

Strange Fire: Jewish Voices from the Pandemic leans into the crack between the faith we are supposed to practice and the faith we do, particularly in times of crisis. That may look like atheism paired with orthopraxis. It may look like charms and prayers one step removed from spells. It may look like philosophy in the light of secular redemption. It may look like blasphemy.

Three o’clock had come and gone with no one to put us to use. The staplers chattered, working their silvers into a jam. I jittered with my fellow yellow pencils, itching to be sharpened. Even the papers cut the air with their razor sharp edges.

“Where are they?”

We asked the same thing the next day. And the next. Soon losing count.

Everything missed a student. A teacher. A seat warmer. A pen biter.

STAEDTLER Mars erasers were consulted by those suspicious among us. “Could it be a zombie apocalypse?” They thought back to Robert’s famed doodles. “No, the desks haven’t seen anyone from the windows.”

With no sign of change, a rubber band, another pencil and I, made a plan to jiggle the doorknob open. The band hugged us around the waist, just above where we proudly sported our choice #2 lead. It almost felt the way I imagined skinny fingers would.

Not everything agreed with us.

“How uncouth,” the scantrons fluttered, “just have more patience.”

“Easy for you to say.” I tried to keep my purchase on the knob. “You’re barely used. What do you know of Max, Rachel, and Tanya? Only their sweat on test day. No one likes you.”

The scantrons replied with a united flap from their plastic packet. “We got better things to do than just sitting all day reduced to our use.”

I was something else once, a field of me tall enough to soar. Too long a time ago. Many of us were.

The scissors, there were three in the closet, made us all hush with the threat of sharpened steel. Anything that wanted to go, would go. Anything that wanted to stay, could stay. The door hadn’t moved despite the sounds of rubber stretching.

I began to slip. “I’m sorry.” I apologized both for my failure and to the bitter scantrons that, like the rest of us, had no say in their purpose.

Mid-fall, eraser butt down, the hinges groaned as the rust scraped from its brass knuckles. The other pencil and rubber band joined me on the floor.

The freedom had a magnetic pull, inspiring the index cards to drop with aplomb and abandon. A black tiled floor in a shower of white.

We sought purpose in each other. The pencil sharpeners came to my aid. I, to the aid of papers and cards. Even the scantrons joined us in the end.

When a familiar flowery scent mixed with disinfectant wafted the halls we froze. The paralysis reminded us we weren’t meant to challenge our roles.

“What about these?” I didn’t recognize the janitor behind his mask.

They meant us, scribbled papers crumpled over seats like butts.

“Everythings got to be clean before the students come back. Throw it out.”

My first time to be held, I thought. My last.

“S-sorry,” the bristles of the broom swished against the tile as the man swept us all into its packed dustpan, never laying a finger on us.

We receive a message from around the area of Mars. Excited to speak with aliens, we ask “Do you live on the planet?” They reply “We are the planet.”

Dear NASA Administrator,

Forgive my unprofessional ramblings in this letter, it will be my last communication.

You have always pushed for the best in your teammates. It is no wonder to me that our contact with the planet came under your command. As per order SV65, I continued transmissions with Mars. Did you know how right the Romans were to name it after the God of War?

When we first got the message, you know to which I refer, we attributed it to translational error. I cannot fault you for ascribing this to human error, to crossed wires, to extended isolation on a space shuttle, to anything but the truth of this 4th planet from our sun. I personally recomputed the code but the reply was the same.

Introductory Biology teaches that all living things are made of cells and you have argued the opposite is more true, that cells make living things. Seemingly a small semantic issue, especially when you will come to face our alien. I think of viruses, “machines” organic enough to co-opt a living host and make use of the necessary bits for their own selfish propagation. Still we cling to our definition of living things and ignore the defiance of a virus. Would you still do the same knowing what I know?

The more I write the less I remember to relate. Order SV65. You did not notice the station going off course because according to our instruments all systems were stable. Is the transmission still showing the station present?

It is a macro-fractal. Recursive down to the atomic scale. I figured this after message 75, the most challenging transmission that I continue to work on. It was not much longer then, the shuttle to the surface of the thing.

Eukaryotic DNA is composed of introns and exons. An almost universal triplet code except the universe was limited to our 3rd rock from our sun.


We are

We are the

We are the planet


What if the transmission, like our DNA, also includes code that needs to be excised? The same message plays with itself and the number of codons is inconsistent. The combinations and combinations of combinations.

Wear the planet

We are the plan

We are the net

Always “We are.” Or maybe it does not start with “we” but ends that way.​

You cannot imagine the most outright solar panel as it held its last in orbit. What was left, before continued immersion, showed all the features of inorganic matter native to this living rock that breathes wind and ash. Soon, as the rest of the station, and my soul with it descend, we will be nothing but Mars.

Do not underestimate how inclusive ‘we’ can be. How long have you, has Earth, been searching for home?

I wonder if this is what the good book meant when it said dust to du-