Friday, September 30, 2011


First there was Friendster, then MySpace, next up was Facebook and now there is Google+. It seems, since 2002, at least, people have been using the internet to “socialize” with each other, create groups, obscure cyber-friends and even “hook-up” in an attempt to feel better about themselves and their lives. Hell, I’ve even overheard conversations from people as to who has the most “Friends” on their social networking pages. (This makes me really question the insecurities some people seem to carry with them throughout their lives.)
     So, where is all this leading? Simple, you see I missed out on the “Friendster” craze, and I was there to see Myspace fall to king Facebook and now I’m witnessing the exodus to Google+. All this makes me wonder what sort of social interactive website is in our future. I mean think about it, do you remember what a pain in the ass it was to learn how to upload your photos and customize your Myspace page only to have to relearn the process for Facebook and now Google+. I can only assume things will become easier and more instinctive for us humans as our interactions with computers and the “blue nowhere” merge to a more cohesive understanding in our future.
     It seems anyone anywhere can upload photos, blogs, vlogs or status updates anytime they choose with the smart-phone technology available to them. Or, if they have a “tablet” computer, the options are almost limitless. Where is all this information sharing going? Who is monitoring and sorting this information? Can one group of people manage the metric tons of drivel that are constantly thrown onto the internet? Or, is there some master computer somewhere doing all the sorting for them?
     I don’t know. I don’t think I want to know. I don’t think anyone can know. Knowing information like that would not allow any of us to sleep at night. Of course if the general public did believe there was someone, somewhere, sitting in a bunker with a score of supercomputers spitting out sorted data on everyone in our country, I believe there would be a revolution of epic proportions.
     Or not. Maybe the public would just shrug their shoulders, pick up the remote and change channels to the latest comedy, drama, reality based show for an hour of mindless entertainment. And this entertainment has only one goal in mind, and that is to turn our brains to pabulum and make us as compliant as possible to the will of the master controllers. (This is me being paranoid)
     But I have faith in our country, less in our countries leaders, but faith none the less.
     (I’ve left twitter out of this diatribe simply because the format in which it is built reminds me of the early chat rooms the internet used to have. Only now, you can pick and choose who you are talking to and sort them through different types of platforms. )
     And all of this ranting leads me to three questions… Who here is leaving facebook for Google+? And when the time comes are you going to be jumping off the Google bus to the next social networking program? Also, what ever happened to good old face to face talking?

PS, the book "Death, be not Proud" that has my story "Cindy's Condition" in it is on sale at as well as It's only 9 bucks, go buy a copy or three! PLEASE, I'M BEGGING YOU!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Death, Be Not Proud (But I sure am!)

Death Be Not Proud
By John Donne

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy p
ictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliver
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make u
s sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt not die.

Hello folks! It is with great pleasure that I am able to announce the release of “Death, Be Not Proud a Zombie Anthology” featuring 13 writers. Some of these writers are veterans of the publishing industry, some are journeymen, others are rising stars… then there is ME a complete and utter neophyte to the world of writing and publishing. (Yes, this is fiction we are talking about, not my Blog.)

Here is the list of writers in no particular order:

Gord Rollo

Joseph Mulak

Joe McKinney

Gregory Hall

Lucy Snyder

Rick Hautala

Steven Shrewsbury

Scott Christian Carr

David Dunwoody

Sheldon Higdon

Skip Novak

Dave Brockie

Jonathan Maberry

I highly recommend you go out and buy a copy of this tome of deliciousness. I had fun writing my story and I know some of the other writers had a blast with theirs. The book is available from as as well as (Please remember, orders of 25 dollars or more get FREE shipping so buy two copies and save yourself shipping costs. As for what you will do with the extra book, simple, give it to a friend as a gift. Send it to me and I’ll sign my story for you and send it back. Use it as a door stop. Or, in the case of a real Zombie apocalypse, you can use it to keep your mind occupied while hiding in your zombie proof bunker!)

Have a great week! (Now go buy a couple of books)

Friday, September 9, 2011

I Am

Once again I sit down and write a blog in response to a question posed to me by Kelli Owen. Now, if you don’t know who Kelli is then your life is just not as full as it should be. Here, let me do you a favor by posting a link to her blog right now,, now click the link and read. Then come back and read my blog. This response is written for her August 26th posting.

I Am

By Skip Novak

I am a liar. I am a hard worker. I am fat. I am loyal. I am untrustworthy. I am a cook. I am ugly. I am a solver. I am a thief. I am a hard case. I am lost. I am sick. I am happy. I am an enemy. I am a friend. I am a consultant. I am an opportunist. I am over worked, over tired, over drawn, over extended and over it.

I’ve been up, I’ve been down and I’ve been around. I’ve traveled from Wisconsin to the other side of the world. I’ve had my heart broken and been drunk for weeks. I’ve been in love and sober for years. I’ve seen the beauty of life in the petal of a flower. I’ve seen the horror of the world in a child’s eyes. I’ve witnessed desperate men and women commit despicable, frightening and appalling acts upon each other in the name of love, in the name of jealousy and in the name of hate.

I’ve been to the edge of the abyss and became mesmerized by its beauty so much so that I almost jumped in and lost myself completely. I’ve stood on even fields of bounty with daggers of pain tearing through my soul and no hope on the horizon. Only to become grounded by the simple fact that with the end of the day comes the end of pain and the dawning of a new day gives birth to new hope and the fresh soothing pain of healing wounds. I bear the scars of life’s misery and life’s loves.

I have memories I wish I could forget and I have moments I can’t remember. Reflective moments in my life I know cause me unblemished embarrassment and shame haunt me when I least suspect it. There are days when the yoke of my humiliation seems almost too much for me to carry. There are days when my heart is filled to the bursting point with adoration and hope for the people in my life.

I’ve been embarrassed by my successes and awards and I’ve been happy in my failures and losses. I’ve been frustrated by my ignorance and foolhardy in my knowledge. I’ve been blinded by a woman’s beauty and fascinated by a person’s intellect. I’ve cursed God and Satan. I’ve prayed for death and life. I found salvation in a baby’s eyes and despondency in a friend’s suicide. As I’ve grown older I cherish what I once had and beg for more of an innocent age where I’ve yet to be filled with pain.

I’ve blindly traveled the world in a mindless state of confusion and self pity only to realize I was truly looking for a way to make peace with myself and the unmerited sense of self worthlessness I felt was instilled in me by others.

I’ve confessed my sins to strangers and kept personal revelations from friends. I’ve aided in the promotion of enemies just to watch them fail. I’ve plotted, schemed and been through the wringer to attain vengeance on those who have intentionally harmed me and I’ve forgiven people who don’t deserve my grace. I’ve made ghastly first impressions and virtuous last impressions. I’ve fought for what I believed was right only to find out I was wrong and no matter what penance I pay I can never fix those wrongs.

I’ve won minor battles only to lose the war and I’ve won wars by not fighting any battles. I’ve been mean just to be mean and I’ve been good for the sake of being good. I’ve alienated people because I don’t like them and I’ve tried to build relationships with others out of a sense of loyalty. I’ve taught eager minds only to watch them fail and have beat myself up for their failure. I’ve poured everything in my being just to learn a simple fact of life that seems to be common sense to others around me.

I am a lover of art that celebrates life and I’m fascinated by horror of tragedy that seems to end life. I am a lover of books and knowledge and I relish in certain ignorance of my failures.

I’ve been an atheist, deist and a Christian.

I know I will never know what comes tomorrow and I’ve been scarred at the prospect of the knowledge of the coming day.

I’ve faced my fears and won and I’ve faced my loves and suffered.

I’ve been selfish and selfless.

I’ve brought out the best in myself and the worst in myself.

I’ve been homeless and free.

I’ve been unbound in my orphanhood.

I’ve been chained by the weights of family and responsibility.

I’m a man who for the past 44 years has lived on this mudball and with a purpose of trying to survive. And, now with the grace of God and love of my family and friends I hope to live at least another 44 years.

I am Skip Novak.

(Edited for space)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Reaper Madness

“Have you ever had surgery?” the question came at me out of nowhere and I answered as honestly as I could.

“Yes.” I replied with a sudden wave of memories crashing into my consciousness of lying on a hospital gurney at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Green Bay Wisconsin as my mother read me the latest Readers Digest to calm my nerves and let the sedation drugs slowly lull me into a false sense of security.

I suppose I should rewind the clock for all you good folks out there who are sitting in your living rooms reading this on the wonderful world wide web.

The year is 1978, the Bee Gees own the radio air waves with little brother Andy coming in a close second and Paul McCartney and Wings are closing in on the title slot like a laser beam. In the theatres Grease, Superman and Animal House are raking in the dough to the laughter and surprise of everyone in attendance. On tv “The Incredible Hulk”, “Dallas” and “Taxi” are getting ready to premier. Home computers, cell phones, and the internet have yet to be invented let alone truly be thought of. And while all this is going on I end up with a bullet lodged in my mental tuberoses of my mandible (that’s a fancy way of saying chin.) All because Al Minnow (Fish) thought it would be funny to shoot me at close range in his bedroom with his Crossman Pump BB/Pellet gun.

That is the back story. Good Times.

Now, fast forward to 2011 and I am sitting in an emergency room in Suffolk, Virginia and some nurse who is barely out of nursing school is asking me about my medical history.

“What sort of surgery have you had?” she asks calmly.

I gaze over my glasses at her freshly washed face and into her ever so eager to help eyes and calmly say “I’ve had a bullet removed from my chin, on my right arm I’ve had my flexor/extensor tendon sewn together and above my left knee I’ve had my vastus lateralus repaired.”

I watch as her face slowly drains of color and her eyes become blank orbs of fear. I wonder what she is thinking for a moment but then the moment passes and I just enjoy the moment.

“Uhm… Mr. Novak, all at the same time?”

I would love to say yes just to watch her reaction but then I answer truthfully and say “No. Different times for the bullet and the tendons and muscle.”

The young lady lets out a nervous sigh and then starts typing on her computer.

The interview continues with such mundane questions like: Why are you here today? If you could gauge your pain level on a ten scale what would it be? Are you allergic to anything? And the list goes on and on. But as you may have already guessed, I have put my brain on auto pilot and am simply answering the questions from some primordial recess deep within my mind.

I’ve answered these questions hundreds of times. I don’t want to answer them anymore, I just want to get back to the semi-private room, have the Doc come look at the worst part of my body, give me a shot or pills and send me on my way. Because unlike the young nurse sitting across from me, I know I will never truly be fixed. I know I will always be in pain, I know I will never be the healthy strapping young man I was twenty years ago. I know that as my life progresses my health will decline and I will always have some sort of ailment that will constantly plague my system. This is the way of life. This is the chronic condition of deterioration we all face. I am comfortable with it.

When she was satisfied she led me to my examination room, handed me a hospital robe that was made for King Kong, asked me to change and then abruptly but politely left the room. But her questions, questions I have answered in the past and will answer in the future, got me thinking. I obeyed her commands and started to disrobe, and as I stood there in that stark, clinical room I stared at the mirror on the back of the door at the scars and age of my body.

Looking at them brought to mind some of the early railroad maps that I’ve collected over the years. Lines of tender pink tissue that started and stopped unexpectedly on my arms, legs and shoulders looked out of place but also looked as if they belonged. I tried to imagine myself without them and the stories they represented and the pain that caused them. I couldn’t.

I realized then and there, standing half naked with the threat of strangers coming to poke and prod me that my scars were as much a part of me as my sarcasm, wit and Polish heritage. I also learned I appreciate my life and all its difficulties, pleasures and familiarities better than most of my friends and colleagues.

You see, I have held hands with the reaper four times so far in my life and the S.O.B. has been cordial enough to let my hand go so that I may continue living on this mud ball for as long as my will sustains my love of breathing fresh air, smoking cigars and riding my bike. These scars are my memories of those lonely walks with him and I will continue to make my trek for as long as I can.

As for the Doctor and the nurse? They pushed, pulled, poked and prodded me to the best of their abilities then gave me some pills and sent me on my way. I’m healthier now because of them but I still wonder where the Reaper is right now and when he will come take me for my final walk.