Chapter 23 – September 2020

Hi! Welcome to Chapter 23.

Become evil. Rule the world. Maybe drink tea first and sit down for a bit.

“Culture is not your friend.”

— Terence McKenna

Life is but a dream — but you’ve still got to get out of bed in the morning.

This month, there’s a shaggy dog story, friend links as per usual, and I still can’t believe what Netflix are going to do with Cowboy Bebop. *wipes a tear from the corner of my eye*

Thanks to the generosity of paid subscribers this month’s secret paid post is open to everyone for free. If you appreciate it then please pay to subscribe. You make my work possible. I mean that in a good way!

Please also give a warm welcome to Asshole Astrology subscribers.

Asshole Astrology is my faux horocscope column where I pretend to provide ‘horoscopes for horrible people.’

It doesn’t matter when you read it, or which sign you are, as horoscopes are all made up.

It started as a joke. People like them a lot. And it has gotten a little out of hand. So much so that I created a separate newsletter from Chapter 23.

I’ve paid subscribers on both newsletters. So thanks to their generosity I’ve decided to give all existing Chapter 23 subscribers honorary subscriptions to Asshole Astrology and vice versa.

You can of course just unsubscribe with one click if you’d rather not receive either newsletter.

But who wouldn’t want to receive horoscopes from Hell? And who wouldn’t want to be part of a cult?

That was a rhetorical question.

Thank you for supporting my work. Both to the people who are signed up to the free posts on my newsletters and the people who are paid subscribers.

Either way, I think that you’re wonderful. And absolutely not an asshole really.

I’m sure that you’re all lovely.

Chaplaincy Bet

Photo by Braydon Anderson

A friend told me a story once that they swore to me was true. My friend is a great storyteller so, although I never believed them, I always loved the story.

A man who was going on a cruise made a bet with his friends. He decided to try and pass himself off as a chaplain — you know, as people tend to do on cruises. The bet was a bottle of champagne if he managed to bluff his way around as a chaplain for the duration of the entire trip.

So, he got his clothes together, and went to great lengths to make sure that he looked the part. From the moment they started the cruise, he pretended to be a chaplain. He even went around giving advice and listening to people, and discovered that he was actually very good at being a chaplain.

He bumped into a local chaplain on the cruise; a real one. They became fast friends. As the real chaplain was older and more experienced than the fake chaplain pretended to be, he seemed to take him under his wing.

The two men spent a lot of time together, drinking and talking into the small hours. One night, towards the end of the cruise, the two chaplains got very drunk.

The real chaplain said, “Just between you and me — you’re not a real chaplain, are you?”

And so the man who’d been faking it, confessed everything, out of respect for his friend. He told him about the bet for the bottle of champagne, but also how much he’d enjoyed being a chaplain, and that he’d tried to give people good advice.

The real chaplain said, “I’ll do you a deal — I won’t tell anyone, on the condition that if anyone is in desperate need of a real chaplain, you send them to me.”

The man agreed and won his bet.

I often think about why my friend told me this story. It probably had something to do with writing. The only thing I’m certain of is that I’m glad she told it, and I must have needed to hear it at the time.

Friend Links

Here’s some of my stuff to read on the interweb. They’re all Friend Links so anyone can read them.

What Japanese Culture and Being an Outsider Can Teach You about Writing — All writers are gaijin

This is How I Got Started with Travel Photography — These photos of Japan will make you want to travel

My Secret Visualisation Technique to Dramatically Improve Your Stories — The true shape of a story

The Best Thing to do with a Good Book — Bibliomancy for fun and profit

Black Mirror — A Dream Narrative

‘Do the Work’ is the Ultimate Lifehack — The productivity secret you don’t seem to get

Should I Write Under a Pseudonym? — Inquiring minds want to know

Fiction is the Lie That Tells the Truth — Why I stopped writing fiction for more than a decade

If You Didn’t Vote Then Shut Your Mouth — Don’t advertise the fact that you’re an idiot.

My Corona — Never gonna stop? Give it up.

Make Money on Medium — Build Your Audience and Grow Your Income with Medium.com

Digital Zuihitsu — Blogging and ranting in the information age

All writers are assholes but not all assholes are writers — Great writing advice from a non-writing writer

Friend Links for Medium — All my Medium posts to the end of 2019

One Minute Reads for Writers — 30 posts in 30 days

jamesgarside.net — My website has links to most of my writing

Note: If you have a problem opening any of these links just try to view them in private browsing mode and that will probably do the trick.

We’re partners in crime

You have a voice in my work. You can name characters, choose article topics, or opt to be thanked in the acknowledgments section of my books or online.

You can even be Tuckerised — that’s where you become a character who gets killed off in one of my stories. Your literary death will be messy, inventive or at the very least funny.

Just send me a message. Tell me what you’d like. I’m sure we can work something out.

Thanks for reading.

As always feel free to #AskMeAnything