the Non-Conference

Kind readers,

I just wrote a long post over on my Livejournal about the Non-Conference… Allow me to share it with you here.

moving in perfect peace and harmony towards Elvisness

My most precious ones,

whew! I’ve been resting since I got back home from the Non-Conference, and I’m slowly starting to feel less exhausted.

Before I begin telling you all about it, let me say this: it was extraordinary, and I’ll definitely be going to the next one.

Things were rough on thursday, though. That evening, I don’t know if it was tiredness, nerves, or the prospect of going to a city I’d never travelled to before and everything, embarking upon something entirely new—a mixture of all these I imagine—but I started to cry and was basically unable to stop until I finally went to bed. Then I wound up taking not one but three sleep aids, to no avail; I had no sleep whatsoever. I got up early the next morning, looking and feeling like absolute shit on a cracker: I was sleepless yet groggy, anxious, my eyelids swollen like little sausages (it took a good part of the day for the swelling to go down), my face throbbing. I took Tylenols, got in the shower, and dressed, put my overnight bag in the car, and began my journey to Kitchener.

Everything was fine when I was on highway 7 and 115, and then I got on the 401. I hadn’t driven on the 401 in twenty years (the last few times I’d been to the city, I took the train), and I’d hoped I left early enough to avoid traffic. But apparently, during week days, there’s always traffic around Toronto; the slowdown began one hour before I even got to Toronto, and persisted for about an hour after I’d driven past it.

It was exhausting. A drive I thought would take me around five hours lasted seven hours.

But, thankfully, I found my way to the hotel without trouble, and when I entered the nice room, my relief was overwhelming to say the least. I felt more relaxed; I had my temporary shell where I could rest and recuperate by myself. I undressed, got all my stuff organized in the bathroom and lay out my clothes for the next morning with my usual, almost military precision, and ordered room service—spaghetti with meat balls. I then watched television in the large, warm, comfortable bed, propped up by a mountain of pillows, and thank goodness, I dozed off early and did get some decent sleep that night (I give it a 7.5 out of ten. It was a million times better than the previous night, which would rate a 0).

The next day, I got up at six thirty, feeling much better. I showered, dressed, and went to the lobby; I’d called the front desk on the previous evening, arranging for a taxi. Said taxi soon arrived, and along with my heavy box of books, I was on my way to the convention center, which was about ten minutes away from the hotel.

When I got there, I saw a very nice, beautifully organized conference room. It was large, but not gargantuan. I’d say the conference was MISTI-sized. There was a table with all sorts of complimentary beverages at the back, and a stage at the front. The kind people who gave me my registration badge brought me to my table, and I saw, to my utter delight, that I was sharing it with Atheist Republic; these were people I’d been dying to meet (their Facebook Page has over a million likes).

Shortly after I set up my table, I started selling copies of Hula Girl. I used my Square device for the first time, and it worked perfectly. I’d made color copies of a poster I’d designed (it had quotes from well known bloggers and podcasters who’d shared kind things about the book), and I handed them out to people who were stopping by, saying, “Would you like a piece of paper? These are some of the things that have been said about the book…” And I talked and I talked. It felt so awkward, trying to promote my own work, but I did my best.

More than one person was impressed by the fact I’d been on the Godless Spellchecker podcast, including Professor Krauss (I’ll get to this in a moment).

I was already speaking with many people, such as Nicol Simard (The Infidel), who invited me to be on his podcast at some point (“podcast for the damned”). I said, “I’d love to.” I had seen one of his shows, when he interviewed my friend Sean McGuire (My Secret Atheist Blog).

The first person to give a talk was Armin Navabi, founder of Atheist Republic. He’s a remarkable young man, and throughout the day, I greatly enjoyed chatting with him. His presentation was funny, thought-provoking, and moving (he’s an ex-Muslim). At one point, I told his lovely companion Chay—she was so lovely—that I’d sent them a copy of Hula Girl a number of months ago, but I knew they got a lot of mail and I figured it was in a pile somewhere, and she immediately got a copy of my book; I got a copy of Armin’s own book, Why There Is No God.

At the end of the day (it was close to ten o’clock! I was drained, but exultant), Chay said, “I want some photos!” My goodness, I’d hang out with her all the time if they lived closer (they’re in Vancouver).

Here I am with another wonderful fellow whose name I alas now can’t recall (he was one of those who got a copy of Hula Girl). You can see that I was becoming very tired.

I met countless wonderful people there.

All the talks were fantastic. Not a single one of them was dull in any way, and there frequently was a lot of laughter. And then, of course, there was Raif Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, who read words that made my throat clench. She had a translator with her, and I was awed by her courage. I even had the good fortune of running into her at one point, and I thanked her and held her hands in mine, she was so small, and told her that her talk had been beautiful, and I said, “Can you understand me?” She smiled and shook her head a little—she doesn’t speak much English—and I repeated, “Beautiful… Your husband will get out of there.”

Also of note was Carolyn Hyppolite’s talk (I managed to bump into her too, and I gave her a complimentary copy of my book; amazing woman), and Stephanie Guttormson’s talk about transgender issues (I had the opportunity to give her a complimentary copy of my book as well), and Brian “Mr. Deity” Dalton (he was incredibly funny). I mean, everything was top notch.

I ate my lunch and dinner at my table, away from the bustle of the eating area (it was behind curtains beyond the stage), and so did Armin and Chay, and we talked quite a bit; it was wonderful. By the end of the day, I’d sold about two thirds of the books I’d brought. I spoke a few words on camera for the fellow who runs Atheism TV, Emmanuel Proux, who asked me to say why I was an atheist.

At one point, a woman who’d purchased two copies of Hula Girl came to me while I was signing, and she said, “I just wanted to tell you that I’ve started reading your book and I can’t put it down! You’re so concise and”—she lavished praise on my writing, which made me stammer and feel tremendously encouraged…

And before it was time for Professor Krauss to speak, I managed to summon the nerve to go give him a copy of Hula Girl with the help of Nicol, who insisted I do so and ushered me towards the stage. In fact, he was the one who began speaking with Professor Krauss and told him that I had something for him.

I told Professor Krauss, “I’m sure your suitcase must be full already, but may I give you a copy of my book? If not, it’s okay!” But he crouched down and said, “I do have a lot of stuff, but your book is thin, and yes, I’d love to have it,” and then I was stunned to hear him ask me to sign it. I’d actually meant to ask him to sign his book for me! Of course, I’d freaking forgotten to bring it with me on the trip. I told him I’d been on Godless Spellchecker and his eyebrows shot up and he said, “Oh!”

I had no idea a kind person had been taking these photos! They were waiting for me in my email box after I got back home. I was most grateful and thrilled to bits.

Professor Krauss gave his talk, and he was magnificent. His knowledge is formidable, he has a very sharp wit and doesn’t suffer foolishness gladly. When he started talking about physics and the Hadron Collider, I was captivated and it was better, far more wondrous, than any sermon I’d ever heard.

Before I left, I got a marvelous necklace from the people at Sacred Secular Sanctuary—people after my own heart. I wore it the very next morning, and it made me very happy.

I also gave some more copies of Hula Girl to Spencer Lucas, who’d organized the convention and who was very kind to me (“Are you enjoying the convention? You’re selling books? Good!” I thanked him profusely), and to a couple of people at the Humanist Canada table, including the wonderful Eric Thomas, president of Humanist Canada, who was very kind and encouraging to me too, I loved this man, and to Christine Shellska, president of Atheist Alliance International, who was, no surprise there, very kind and encouraging to me as well.

Again I’ll say: it was a phenomenal event, and I’m so happy that I went.

Then I went back to the hotel; it was nearly ten o’clock, and I had no stamina left for the concert that was about to start. The taxi arrived, and soon after I was back in my room, resting upon the plush bed. I had another very good night’s sleep, I say nine out of ten, and the next morning I hit the road around nine thirty. The drive on the 401 was much, much smoother this time—there was only one slowdown, cause by a multiple car accident—and I was home around four o’clock. My better half was in the middle of making dinner. I ate, then soon fell asleep on the couch.

I’ve been sleeping a lot since I got home.

The next day, I saw that there was a beautiful gift waiting for me online: the twentieth review of Hula Girl on Amazon, and it left me dumbstruck.

Next stop: thirty reviews, I hope!

I’ll rest for a few more days (feeling sleepy right now, in fact), and then I’ll be hard at work on Tiki Hour.

So, goodness, as you can see, it was quite an epic adventure, and a joyful, stimulating conference! I would like to thank, from the bottom of my heart, everyone who purchased a copy of my book at the Non-Conference; I can’t begin to tell you how much your support and interest in my work means to me. Thank you so much. If you enjoy the book, please do tell all your friends and anyone who might be comforted or inspired by it! Thank you.

Deep gratitude as well to Spencer, who is such a marvelous, soft-spoken, dedicated fellow. We need the Non-Conference. It was a joy and privilege to be there.

Your devoted
Logospilgrim, the quiet professor

Godless Mom’s beautiful review of Hula Girl

Kind readers,

the Non-Conference is less than two weeks away, and I’ve been doing everything I can to relax. So my toy collection has been growing by leaps and bounds 😉

I’ve also been turning into Tweek on a regular basis.

“I can’t take that kind of pressure!! AAH!”

Yesterday, I was left speechless by Godless Mom‘s kind and generous review of There’s a Hula Girl on my Dashboard. I’m not sure I’ve quite recovered from the shock of it all yet. She’s a wonderful and very active blogger, and I’m so grateful that she was willing to read my scribble. Knowing she enjoyed it the way she did is, I mean, I can barely describe how I feel. Her review of the book is still making my head spin.

You can also read it here: Every Atheist Needs There’s a Hula Girl on my Dashboard

She then asked me if I’d contacted Hemant Mehta, The Friendly Atheist, about the book, and I told her that I had sent him a copy, but that, you know, he’s a busy person and everything… To my astonishment, he joined in our Twitter conversation, and the next thing I knew, he’d shared a link to Godless Mom’s review on his Facebook Page:

You can also find it here: “Sounds like a fascinating book!”

I was extremely touched and encouraged by their support, and if I may ask this, please share the links above far and wide! It would be tremendously helpful, and encourage yours truly more than words can express.

As ever, if you’ve read the book and enjoyed it, a short review on Amazon would make a vital difference; I’d appreciate it a great deal. Thank you so much for your affection and encouragement! I’ll say it again: I couldn’t do this without you. I’ve had trouble focusing on my next book, what with the Non-Conference being so near, but I will be plunging in Atheist Tiki Hour after the conference…

Okay, goodness, I need a nice cool beverage, a snack of some kind, and a nap! I’m overwhelmed.

Your devoted
Logospilgrim, the quiet professor

book reviews and therapeutic toy collecting

Kind readers,

it’s been fantastically hot and humid here. Whew. Around 107º today. Fortunately, the weather will be more comfortable in the days to come.

The Non-Conference is only about three weeks away!! *breathing in a bag*

More people have been sharing very kind words about Hula Girl, such as author Joshua Kelley. I was so happy he enjoyed the book.

A new edition of his book will be available in December, and I’m really looking forward to adding it to my library.

More kind words from wonderful people. I’m tremendously grateful when people share things like this! Thank you so, so much, everyone.

Hula Girl now has an “editorial reviews” section on Amazon! Deep gratitude to Sean McGuire (@GodlessPoutine, My Secret Atheist Blog), Stephen Knight (The Godless Spellchecker podcast), and Joshua Kelly for such generous support. I’ll never forget their kindness, and enthusiasm for my work.

Sean also has a podcast now!

In other news, I’ve been devoting more time to self-care lately. More so than I have in a long time. It was time 😉 In all seriousness, it’s been good for me. If I have too much going on at once, I either break down or melt down, and one of the things I need most is a fair amount of tranquility. I need to be by myself a lot. I’ve so often tried to split myself into a thousand pieces, especially in the past (whatever I did, it was never good enough, it was never enough), and these days, I refuse to do that. I can’t cope with an overloaded schedule, too much activity. Taking care of my home (which is my refuge), writing, seeing a loved one now and then… That’s it. That’s what I can handle and remain healthy and serene. One or two conventions a year, that’s the extent of how regularly I’m able to attend social events like that. I enjoy them greatly, but then, I’m absolutely wiped out. These days, I’ve been reminding myself that I’ve managed to get shingles twice so far, and I’m only forty-six.

The more I’ve been committed to low-commotion levels, the more peaceful and relaxed I’ve been feeling. This past month has been particularly good. I’ve been honoring who I am. I’ve had to learn to respect my own humanity (if you’ve read Hula Girl, you’ll probably better understand why this has been a life-long struggle for me).

All of this is giving me much food for thought as I begin to write Atheist Tiki Hour! That book will truly be a celebration of life.

Speaking of celebration, I’ll be doing some happy Pee-wee cosplay soon. My suit has arrived, and it’s terrific. I’m still waiting for the white shoes. The cosplay photos will inspire relevant, inspirational blogging as well; you’ll see what I mean…

Tomorrow: there will be corn dogs and fries for lunch (at a cabane à patates frites, the best possible place for such delicacies), I’ll acquire a Mr. Potato Head, a tea set, and I’ll write.

Toy collecting has been a vital part of my healing from religion, actually. I will be writing about this in more detail.

This is the tea set I’ve got my eyes on (they’re holding it for me at Mrs Tiggy Winkle’s, one of my very favorite happy places): a tin cupcake tea set! How could one go wrong?

And this is on its way to me. Here’s the thing: I love eggs. I’ve always had a thing for eggs. I don’t know why, there just so happy! And delicious. Next spring, I plan to celebrate Eggster.

Note: the chicks peep when you press down on them.

Recently, I played Candy Land with one of my dolls (I adored that game when I was a kid), and it was even more fun than I’d anticipated. I was surprised by how much fun I was having. Plain, silly, frivolous fun. I felt bad when the doll lost the first game, but she won the second, so it was all good.

I hope with all my heart that you’re all having a beautiful summer!

Your devoted
Logospilgrim, the quiet professor

summertime fun

Kind readers,

we’re having a heatwave over here in southern Quebec… I’ve been feeling sleepy all weekend.

Almost only one month left until the Non-Conference. This is going to be an excellent event, I just know it. So many people I can’t wait to meet. I’ll have a table with fifty copies of There’s a Hula Girl on my Dashboard on hand, which should be more than enough, I imagine.

The support my book has received continues to leave me at a loss for words. People have had very kind words for my recent appearance on the Godless Spellchecker podcast, and my guest blog post on My Secret Atheist Blog.

I could share more! It’s all been profoundly encouraging. To all who’ve had uplifting words for me, and who’ve been reading Hula Girl and sharing their impressions with others: I truly can’t thank you enough ♥

I’ll be giving talks at the Center For Inquiry this autumn, in Ottawa and Toronto. It’s with immense joy that I can now say I’m a card carrying member:

The notion that I’ll be giving said talks makes my heart race a little, but I’ll be okay, I’m sure. I hope!

I’ll be doing some fun cosplaying in the very near future to thank everyone for their kindness… Here’s a clue.

Get ready for joyful silliness.

In the meantime, here are some treats for you.

Happiness is chocolate ice cream mugs and scented candy-shaped pens, don’t you think? 🙂

Your devoted
Logospilgrim, the quiet professor

I was on the Godless Spellchecker podcast! No foolin’!

Kind readers,

today is my 46th birthday, and I’m having a banner day… It’s been a banner year, in fact 🙂

Right now, I’m still slowly waking up from a crabcake and fish, red wine, and chocolate buttercream cake coma.

I treated myself to a bunch of toys this week, and Pee Wee’s Playhouse on Blu-ray. In keeping with this theme, I’ve got vintage cartoons playing in the background as I type this.

This week, I also received my copy of Faith Vs. Fact, which I’d asked Professor Coyne to sign. Note the fabulous cat drawing.

Also, I was immensely honored to be a guest on the Godless Spellchecker podcast! My mind still reels at the thought that this truly did happen; it’s overwhelming. I’m still amazed that he asked me in the first place, because who the hell am I? Stephen is an incredibly sweet, funny, and knowledgeable fellow, and it was such a pure joy to chat with him. I’m tremendously grateful for his gracious invitation to be on his podcast.

Click on the image below if you’d like to listen to the episode:

And here’s yet another wonderful and most appreciated review of Hula Girl:

All of this is so encouraging to me as I get set to write my next book, Atheist Tiki Hour: Your Guide to a Secular Blast.

And the Non-Conference keeps getting closer…

In conclusion, have some chocolate erasers.

Your devoted
Logospilgrim, the quiet professor

portraits and reviews

Kind readers,

the other day, I took some new author photos… Including ink photos.

My name is Logospilgrim, and I write books 😉 Also, I love ties and tattoos.

“Personne n’a de comptes à me rendre,

et je n’ai de comptes à rendre à personne.”

~ Capitaine Albator

Allow me to share some recent reviews of There’s a Hula Girl on my Dashboard:

I’m extremely grateful for all the kind words people have shared about the book. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, everyone! I couldn’t do it without you.

Today, Sean McGuire, a.k.a. @GodlessPoutine, posted a wonderful review of Hula Girl on his blog, My Secret Atheist Blog. I couldn’t help but gasp when I saw the link on my Twitter feed this morning.

To read the review, please go here:

Thank you so much, Sean, for your kindness and support. It means more than I can say.

Many more interesting and exciting things to come this summer! So much so I think I need to rest right now 😉

Your devoted
Logospilgrim, the quiet professor

Hula Girl: now available on Kindle

Kind readers,

so, the first time Hula Girl was submitted to Kindle, some sort of glitch occurred.

The second time was the charm, however, and I can at last tell you that Hula Girl is available on Kindle!

I’m very happy about this.

As ever, if you enjoyed the book, please, please, please leave a review! And recommend it to your friends. It makes all the difference in the world; this is how people who might be comforted or inspired by the book will learn it exists. I’ve been very touched and encouraged by the kind and supportive words that have come my way about Hula Girl. I’ve even started to believe that there’s a chance it’s not garbage after all!

In other news, I’ve become a member of the Center for Inquiry Canada. And then this happened:

Mercy. I assure you that it’s a good thing I was sitting down when I got that tweet.

So yes, at some point in the not too distant future, I will be rambling, uh…

I’ve also become a member of Humanist Canada.

This week, I’ll be working on a guest post for BaDoink Magazine. If it’s good enough, it’ll be on the blog. I’ll be writing about my bi-romantic asexuality and genderqueerness.

And here’s another Silverheart photo that was taken at MISTI-Con 15! I was holding a little bear that was a stand-in for Teddy Radiator, who alas couldn’t be with us (this time!).

Speaking of Silverheart, here is the stunning illustration that Nezumi and her daughter Selene did for the cover of Outlaw in the Outer Reaches, book 2 of my Outlaw series, which I’ll be writing this November…

I’m really looking forward to writing this novel. In the first book, Silverheart is a kind of vague theist/esotericist, but the series will progressively take her from a religious outlook to secular humanism.

That’s it for now… I should have more exciting news for you soon 🙂

Oh! Here’s something that makes me smile every time I look at it.

I love toys.

Your devoted
Logospilgrim, the quiet professor

holy crap, I’m a guest blogger

Kind readers,

I have happy things to share with you.

First, look at my lovely Twitter friend Cigi Warpurr with her copy of Hula Girl!

And here it is again, with my dearest Fabulous Raye’s kitty (she has many kitties!).

Whenever I see pictures like these, I gasp with delight and clap my hands. I really do 🙂

Profound gratitude to all who have expressed such enthusiasm for my scribblings. You keep me going. I see things like those photos and think, I can do this, and need to do this. So I continue, so I persevere, so I share my heart.

Here is another photo of me dressed as Kristopher Silverheart during MISTI-Con 2015, courtesy of my friend Celestialbeing:

Check out my Nebula Pistol… I love that thing. It means %$#@! business.

Also, Sean (@GodlessPoutine) put my post on his website My Secret Atheist Blog today! I am now a guest blogger! I can hardly believe it, I tell you.

Click on the picture below to read the post:

Here’s my bio line at the bottom of the post. It all looks so wonderful.

It’s truly an honor to have contributed to Sean’s blog. I’m very grateful he invited me to do so, and I’m extremely touched and encouraged by all his kind words. I’ll be eagerly awaiting his review of Hula Girl.

It’s just… mercy. It’s overwhelming.

Boy, I can’t wait to go to the Non-Conference. It’s a good thing I’ve got my Atheist Tiki Hour writing project to keep me busy ’til then 😉

Your devoted
Logospilgrim, the quiet professor