Charles Daly


Category: Blog (page 2 of 15)

I Wrote 52 Posts in 2017, here are my Favorites

I was all over the place this year, literally and figuratively, usually in a good way. I lived in Spain for a while, spent my first fall in New England since before college, and took a few extended trips to Montréal. I started two longer projects (one fiction, one non) and got my first byline in a major newspaper.


In total, I wrote 52 blog posts and articles this year, an average of one a week. Here are the highlights:


I wrote about Las Fallas, the fiesta that sounds like a war zone and Monomoy, Cape Cod’s desert island for the Boston Globe Travel section.


My most read, most emailed, and most popular post on Facebook was one I wrote about visiting the Marine Corps museum with my dad.


The one that got the most reTweets was a blurb about a meteorology lecture on the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. I remember writing this on a morning I didn’t feel like writing. It was my idea of a compromise, and I never expected much of a reaction. You never know.


Another hit on Twitter, and one of my all-time favorite interviews, was my conversation with noir novelist Sarah M. Chen. We talked hardboiled fiction, irredeemable sleazebags, and Redondo Beach’s pulp legacy.


Montréal was good to me. It’s where I started blogging regularly after a bit of a dry spell. I covered an art exhibit inspired by Leonard Cohen, and I wrote about the city’s “potluck culture” for Roam Magazine.


I reviewed some fountain pens.


I also posted some flash fiction. My favorites are “Midnight Cereal,” “‘Rubbers’ are ‘Erasers,'” and “Enter Contempt.”


See you in 2018

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Friday Roundup, “From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads…”

“All Rhodes Scholars had a great future in their past.”

–Peter Thiel

Part of the reason I title these “Friday roundups” is that I’m accountable to post throughout the week. If I don’t, my recent articles will just be a string of Friday Roundups.


What I’m Reading:

Zero to One Peter Theil. The startup manifesto in which he takes a big dump on traditional education and tracking. This one hits home. He could be talking about my experience of formal education when he writes, “Students who don’t learn best by sitting still at a desk are made to feel somehow inferior, while children who excel on conventional measures like tests and assignments end up defining their identities in terms of this weirdly contrived academic parallel reality.” It was painful and discouraging to be the former. But today, I’m so glad I wasn’t the latter.


Some titles from Image Comics. It was my first time actually buying comics at Newbury Comics. (Boston people will get it.)


What I’m listening to:

My Song on repeat while I work this week is “Temptation” by New Order.  It’s the one the girl in Trainspotting is singing while Renton is going through withdrawal.


You’re right, David, “Life on Mars” is Bowie’s best song. If you’re in NYC and want to learn more about Bowie’s relationship with the city, check out the David Bowie walking tour.


Mark Manson’s audio articles are great for “reading” while you’re on the move.


What I’m doing:

Typing all weekend after a brilliantly distracting trip to New York.

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Maida Gayle, Hanoi’s abstract (expat) expressionist

On June 10th, 2017, Maida Gayle had her first solo exhibition in Hanoi, Vietnam. It was a significant date for her. One year early, on June 10th, 2016, she had been hospitalized, on the other side of the Pacific, following a stroke.


Motivated, in part, by her scare and the painful recovery that followed, Maida put it all on canvas and took painting from a hobby to a side-hustle to much more than that.


I met Maida back in 2013, in Busan, South Korea, where we were both teaching english and using freetime to moonlight as creatives. She has since moved to Hanoi and established herself in Vietnam’s art scene. As her work develops, she is synthesizing her abstract painting with her performing arts background and her work with a women’s NGO. The result is incandescent and contagiously positive.


Plenty of people, especially expats and nomads, like to talk about “life embracing.” Maida is one who actually reaches out and grabs life with both hands.

maida gayle artist studio hanoi


You got into painting while you were teaching in Korea… Because you didn’t have room for your keyboard, is that right?   

My journey into painting started when I decided to move out of Busan city life in Korea to the countryside of Gimechon.


With a quieter environment and less people to mingle with I had a lot more extra time than I ever had in Busan.


Playing music and singing had always been the only form of art I used to express myself. It kept me company when I didn’t have the people to do so. Unfortunately living in a small apartment, I had no space or money to invest in a keyboard and didn’t have the confidence to try any other instruments out. There was also no music scene like Busan… so I felt kind of stuck.  


There was an art supply store that had stationary supplies I got for teaching and always noticed the paint and canvas in the back corner. I thought, “what the heck, let’s just try and splash some paint on canvas.” It was a weird urge that I never had before… and I went with it.


When did it become more than a hobby?

The unofficial start into getting more serious was when I was selling my things before leaving Korea and a friend asked to buy one of the paintings.


At that point I didn’t think the paintings were good enough or worthy of showing to anyone. They were just diary entries on canvas,  a place for my emotions to rest.


The transition started officially in Hanoi when a friend of mine, Paul Salnek, asked me to live paint for Signal Flair. This is an arts event that started in Bangkok. Funnily enough, the guy who put that together just contacted me, and I’m happy to say they will be flying me out to Bangkok to live paint an event they are throwing!


But with the encouragement of that sale and Hunter’s push to show my art, I started posting them on facebook.


What’s going on in Hanoi?


Hanoi is special.


Never have I been in a community that fosters creativity so much as this. Literally everything about the expat community revolves around pursuing your art, encouraging you to find your niche in art.


There are ample of opportunities for art here because

a) supplies are cheap

b) the community is small but not too small.

maida gayle artist painting hanoi

Literally, anything you want to do… you can most likely do it here and the scene will nurture and support you.


The friends you make are super encouraging. Travis Risenurr, a close friend of mine is a great example of this and a huge reason why I have pursued my art here in the first place. I met him at a festival back in Korea but didn’t really get to know him until I moved here in 2015. He has been such an inspiration and a personal motivator for me when it came to delving deeper into my art and pushing the boundaries. He’s helped me and so many others believe that they are really capable of anything if you just try. Never again will I say things like, “I can’t draw” for fear of the weird look I’ll get back from him.


He holds ‘Art Night for Grownups’ every two weeks at a café called Clickspace. Here, he provides people with the space and materials to express themselves through coloring and painting. He’s also successfully established his own brand, ‘Phlerp Designs’ and it’s been amazing to see how his art has grown from fun little stickers spread across Korea and Hanoi to extremely beautiful (huge) art installations at Quest and his most recent endeavour, psychedelic wear/awesome clothes! I owe this guy more than he realizes. Thanks Trav!



Where did the scene get started, is it connected with the local arts, or just a bunch of expats doing their own thing?

I’m not exactly sure where it started but I do know that because Hanoi keeps to more tradition than Saigon, this has somehow influenced the artistic culture here.


Old French architecture is kept untouched and remains beautiful. You can tell they care about aesthetics and keeping the original beauty of the city just from the lakes and trees and green everywhere.


It’s not just the foreign scene that is creative, it’s not just a few artists, it’s the whole city itself.

Hanoi is known for it’s amazing fabrics and streets dedicated to making clothing, costumes and all of the sort. There is plenty for us to use in the city to help us in our artistic endeavours and that’s why I think people come … and stay.

maida gayle artist studio hanoi

To give you a picture of what I mean… in America, the supplies to paint one painting might cost well over $100. Over here, maybe $10 at most.


You can do anything! There’s a street dedicated to glitter and gems for goodness sake!


A huge name that I think gave it a kick start for the foreign community is a team who is now known as Gingerwork. Started by a dear friend, Mark Harris, who came to Hanoi about 7 years ago dreamed about creating a space and/or spaces for expats to cultivate and harness their creative passions. And it’s happened.


Quest Festival (the biggest project of Gingerwork) has gone from about 100 people to becoming a 4000+ festival in these years. Gingerwork has also established a creative hub called The Creative Artillery (this is where I had my first exhibition!)  


Hanoi is a place where it’s completely normal to see a group of people dressed up as unicorns on the weekend or holding costume making workshops for the next underground rave or party that’s happening. Costumes are not only reserved for Halloween here. It’s a lifestyle.


We all have our own talents and we come together to make an extremely beautiful and unique experience for every person who comes through Hanoi whether it be for 6 weeks, months, or years.


You mentioned Nerd Night. That sounds awesome, what’s it about?


A bunch of “nerds” coming together to talk nerdy things! I love this group because it’s different from your usual “open mic night” (not that those aren’t awesome here!).


Every fortnight we get together and anyone can present their interpretation of a topic that was pulled from a hat at the last meeting. Some examples of topics “original sin, all the small things, dystopia, music and emotion.


We’ve had several types of presentations as well.. from PowerPoints to song or dance performances, poems .. and the list goes on.


It’s held at my sweet friend, Ed’s home (which is an amazing studio like home designed by an artist I’m not quite sure of who he is). Ed is a writer/editor and has been for Word Magazine from the past. He brought hundreds of books and zines from New York and set up his home to be the official Zine Library of Hanoi.


Every Sunday it’s open for anyone to drop by, have some tea and sift through all the zines he’s collected. He’s curated the space really well – it’s one of my favorite spots to be in Hanoi.

maida gayle artist hanoi


Tell me about your first show, first sale, first solo show. What was it like growing in your own self-image–going from “this is fun” to “people want to see/ buy my stuff…damn”?

My first show–at the Creative Artillery– was a huge milestone.


I didn’t realize at this point that I had really painted enough paintings to fill out a whole gallery space.


I chose the theme –“In Motion.” I couldn’t believe the response. I sold more paintings than I thought I would and was able to curate an event and had my friends perform on opening day. Despite the rain, it was amazing. I unexpectedly was interviewed by a local Vietnamese Channel regarding the exhibition as well as the first workshop I held that same day.


First sale – first one was in Korea, when I was getting rid of my stuff, but the first REAL sale was at a charity event held by Blue Dragon.


To celebrate women’s day they wanted to display a female artists work and have the paintings up for sale as well as have live painting to later auction them off at the end of the night.


I displayed my work and painted that night.


“They were just diary entries on canvas. A place for my emotions to rest.”


My now close friend Sara Butryn (an out of this world comedian in Hanoi) bought the painting I painted at Signal Flair. I can’t even begin to describe that rush of a feeling that my paintings were… good enough and touched someone deep enough to have them purchase it.


Displaying and pricing my art has been tricky, but I’ve learned to look passed that and see it as a means for me to share my trials and joys of life on canvas. The money isn’t the goal, it’s the connection someone feels to the work… (as corny as that may sound)


My good friend and extremely talented artist, Holland played such a vital role in this transition from “this is fun” to something more serious. He was an experienced go-getter in the art scene in the States (and now here). We had countless one-on-one talks about art, the art world and how to put a price on paintings without feeling like they were being violated (harsh word, can’t come up with another!)


I was realizing that people could relate to the emotions I was putting on my canvas and that it helped them to work through their own. That alone is priceless.


Talk a little bit about your style and direction as an artist… What are you interested in? What do you want us, the audience, to pay closer attention to?

My style is a reflection of how I try to live out my life.


A couple of years ago, I was introduced to the Vipassana Buddhist philosophies and have been sitting with those ever since.


I strive to live present in each moment, working through every bump and smooth transitions.


I want my viewers to see that in my paintings. I may have a set picture of what I want a piece to look like but I need to surrender all control to my brush. Where the painting goes I follow, without resistance, without regret and without the belief that anything was a mistake. I work with what might seem to be a bad choice in color and turn it into something that can resonate with the rest…

I want people to discover for themselves what the answer is and that’s why I paint abstract pieces. I don’t want to give people a set image to decipher but rather to decipher one on their own.

maida gayle artist hanoi

As for something more mundane, you’re killing it on social media. That’s how this interview started…

Facebook and Instagram are not the devil! They’ve given me a portal to show my art across the world and the world’s responded!

Through my posts (that I never really took that seriously in the fist place) has now resulted in me sending paintings to San Diego, Toronto and Philadelphia. Who knows where next?


Friends from different lives I’ve lived have messaged asking for paintings. I love this because it reconnects me to these people I thought I would never get in touch with or see again. It’s really amazing to see who your paintings speak to. They are all so different from each other and this shows me that my work is relatable not just to one kind of sub-cultured group of people but is diverse enough to reach almost anyone. Who knew!


My social media presence is part of what led to my being featured in Word Magazine.


One of their talented photographers, Julie Vola got a message from Mark and found me through social media.. so did her head editor (Nick Ross) and they contacted me for an interview and photoshoot.


Their September edition was featuring 10 people throughout Vietnam who were living a “bohemian artist lifestyle” and they thought I fit the description just right.


My head was in the clouds here… I still couldn’t believe this was happening. Still don’t believe it did!


A family from Saigon read about me in my article and have messaged me about a painting -who knew I would get to the point where strangers are now asking for paintings!


What’s next for you? What’s now?


Oh boy. Right now my job is hectic but with this studio space I hope to just simply produce and learn through the process… I want to let my art evolve naturally into what it’s to become next.


I can’t focus my time on selling but that’s completely ok. In fact, I’m a bit relieved. My love for it hasn’t been stripped because I’m over producing and I think that’s a good thing.


Hunter and I have been talking and I think our next actual move will be to Hong Kong. Being an international city, I feel it will give me more of a platform for my art. Hanoi has helped me and will continue to help me find my place in all of this artsy stuff and I hope that in this last year here I will hone in on my style and my vision and will be clear of what I want by the time we move to HK.

maida gayle artist painting hanoi


HK is also a good bridge city to transition back to the West, possibly back to Cali, Portland or Vancouver.


I’d love to have my paintings up in nice venues, in families’ homes and offices… I just want people, real, ordinary people to enjoy my art.


Progressing with my duo band called Uklear Bomb and a music project I’m working on with Hunter (not going to reveal the secret just yet!).


More importantly, I want to continue to take my art into Women’s Shelters. Working with women and children who are victims of sex trafficking and domestic violence has sat close to my heart for a very long time. It’s something I’ve written about.


I have the privilege to be working with Hagar International in Vietnam now. I meet the women and children once a month and we create abstract pieces together. It’s the most rewarding thing in world. I want to build this into an established workshop that I can take anywhere in the world. So far I’ve given it a name, “Extraction through Abstraction”.


These victims have learned to work through their pain and so to be able to help them reclaim and re-identify certain emotions through activities like art and connection to other humans who hold their worth high, is simply amazing and it’s what I want to live my life doing.  


… In general life’s too short to be taken so seriously, why spend it caring about money and all that.


Do what you love and love what you do. I’m sure you know the saying… I’m just trying to put it into practice!

Maida Gayle artist hanoi painting

Who should we read/ follow/ listen to/ check out in Hanoi?

Ah. Everyone. I will try to list as many as I can.


Weekly/Monthly Events and Venues

Zine Library

Free Thoughts Art



Down the Lane


Artists w/ Links and Art Pages:

Phlerp Designs  

Holland Holland

Will Dameron

Cat O’brien

Handxam Tattoo

Mars Black

May Cortazzi – Creative Director for Eva de Eva and founder of Happiness Beauty and Skincare Beautiful and inspiring woman!

Ukelear Bomb – EP coming soon

Claire Allurd

Hanoian Jazz Band


Hunter Lind


All things Rave:

Liquid Hive  



More People Worth Mentioning :

Lilianna Pedroni – SHE DOES EVERYTHING.SHE IS AWESOME. My partner in Ukelear Bomb, circus freak/ flowarts artist, musician, music teacher, comedian and the list goes on. A multitalented extravaganza of a person and friend.

Katie-May Taylor – Super Woman. Literally. Co-creative producer for Quest Festival and a producer in her own right for all things way important outside of Vietnam. Trust me. She’s wow.

Maartje Matheeuwsen WICKEDLY TALENTED facepainter.

Mitch Brookman –a well known mosaic artist in the States who has been a great influence and mentor to me. Hailing from Cali and Texas has decided to save one blonde at a time here in Hanoi!

Tracy Johnson– flowarts, hoop dancer. beautiful woman

Aisling Feral model, flowarts hoop magician.

Julie Vola – photographer for Word Magazine and the wonderful lady who interviewed me as well.

(There so many more in Hanoi but this just gives you a taste of the freakin’ talent that’s out here, for real! I’m going to offend a lot of people because there are just too many to mention)


*This interview has been edited for length and content.

**Photos courtesy of Maida Gayle.

Friday Roundup, 600 days to go

“I’m a writer but then nobody’s perfect.” 

Billy Wilder

Deep in first draft land on two longer projects, which means I haven’t gotten up to much this week besides writing. I’m trying to figure out the best way to balance blogging and my long-form stuff. I’ve thought about setting aside one full day to blog every week–just write a week’s worth of posts in one day–but It’s probably better to do a little bit of each every day.

I need a life coach.

What I’m reading

Undergrounda novel by my brother Michael Daly


A Q&A with photographer Elizabeth M. Claffey in Strange Fire


The 1,000 Day Rule: basically, when you quit your day job, you can expect to be poor for your first 1,000 days of following your bliss/ building your own business. The message is hopeful for those willing to put in the hours (writing more on this soon.)


400 things Cops Know: Street Smart Lessons from a Veteran Patrolman — Adam Plantinga. A must for anyone interested in writing crime fiction.


What I’m listening to

In the Light” by Led Zeppelin. I found this one in the last episode of MindhunterWatch it, if you haven’t yet.


Mark Manson’s talks on blogging and writing. Well worth signing up for. He has a very non-traditional background for a writer, so his advice isn’t a bunch of shit you’ve heard before.


What I’m Doing

Writing by hand, as always


Sending postcards to my newest subscribers. Click here to subscribe, and I’ll send you a postcard. 


Starting to share behind the scenes stuff from ghostwriting my dad’s memoir.


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Dad’s trip to the Marine Corps Museum

When I tell people my dad was in the Korean war, they often say, “You mean Vietnam?” (or even the Gulf War.) And when I tell them that his father fought in  WWI they think I’m really confused… My father and his father only talked about war one time. Dad wanted to know if the memories of combat will ever fade. His father told him they will but never completely.


“They (The Marines) can teach you how to kill, but no one can teach how to get over killing.”


Half a century later, when I was growing up, my dad and I talked about his war memories a lot. He didn’t really have a choice. I was obsessed with history as a kid (still am) and  I had so many questions. Questions about his bad arm. Questions about his medals and the weapons in his study. He told me some of his funnier stories, like the time he heard movement in a bush while on patrol and emptied an entire magazine from his carbine into the bush, only to have a pheasant fly out unscathed. He talked about the stuff he could talk about.


It was only this year when we started working together on his memoir, that he talked about the stuff he doesn’t talk about. Those interviews were slow going. Sometimes we’d just do ten or fifteen minutes before it was too much for him. Other times, we’d be out for breakfast and he’d bring up a long-buried experience in graphic detail, talking faster than I could write.


Marine Corps Museum

One of the challenges of working on this project, so far, has been balancing the war stories with the rest of his life. He was in Korea for a little less than four months, but that time takes up a huge chunk of what we’ve drafted up to this point. The project started as 300 pages of notes he had taken over the years thinking he might want to write a book someday. About 160 of those pages were about the war.


This would be fine if war had been the only interesting thing he’d done with his life, but dad had an extraordinary post-war career that included working in JFK’s West Wing, serving as vice president of the University of Chicago and then Harvard, serving as chair of the Joyce Foundation, running the JFK Library, and spending the first years of “retirement” reporting on AIDS in South Africa–like a kid fresh out of journalism school. His self-effacing explanation for this is “Plenty of people can’t hold down a job…”


In spite of all this, it was a struggle to get the details out of him when it came to his life after the war. It’s as if his war memories are in high definition, and the rest is black and white. He left the war, but the war never left him. It was impossible to draft his life story and compartmentalize the Korea stuff. It returns again and again in the text.


Before the war, he had a middle-management position, importing molasses–where he likely where he would have stayed if it hadn’t been for the things he saw and did in Korea. He devoted the subsequent years–which he never expected to have–doing things that felt worthwhile. He had to. He was living not just for himself, but for the guys who didn’t come home. Guys who would never have to worry about high-quality problems like getting bored in a corporate job.


He was sent to Korea in the 5th Replacement Draft, in February 1951, and took part in some of the bloodiest fighting in that war. One Marine Corps general who was there put it like this:


“I have long ago given up telling people what I saw them (the Marines) do on so many occasions. Nobody believes me, nor would I believe anyone else telling the same story of other troops.”

–Maj Gen W.S Brown, USMC


Dad received a Silver Star–for leading a bayonet charge on a heavily defended hill and overrunning an enemy command post–and a Purple Heart, after being shot in the arm. The bullet left him with nerve damage in his elbow that feels something like a constant “funny bone.”


This Veteran’s Day, he and I went to the Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia. Quantico is where he became a Marine, attending the first-ever Special Basic School, which had been created after WWII to give officers more thorough training than they’d had in previous wars.


Chosin korean war marine corps museum

Korean Era USMC winter uniform. Cotton in Arctic conditions.


The Korean war exhibit starts with a history video explaining how the war started and why the U.S got involved. The backstory here is given more attention than in the WWII or War on Terror exhibits. Korea is, after all, “the forgotten war.”


Chosin korean war marine corps museumChosin korean war marine corps museum

Since the focus is on Marine involvement in the conflict, the largest section of the exhibit is dedicated to the Battle of Chosin (also known as “Frozen Chosin.”) There’s a large refrigerated room containing a life-sized recreation of a Marine fighting position on an icy hillside.  It’s not as cold as Chosin must have been, but they’ve done their best to take you out of a climate-controlled museum in Virginia. As we walked through the exhibit, dad remembered out loud about living in those hills (he arrived after Chosin, but it was still winter. Still freezing.)


He remembers a guy getting hit in a situation just like the one that’s been depicted in the exhibit with wax figures.


Chosin korean war marine corps museum david douglas duncChosin korean war marine corps museum david douglas duncan photographer

(PHOTOS BY David Douglas Duncan)

It’s an awkward compliment to the realism and accuracy of the museum that it upsets and overwhelms a combat veteran. One exhibit that stopped dad in his tracks was a recreation of a corpsman treating a badly wounded Marine.


He paused to catch his breath,  blinked away tears, and said, “That’s a tough one… The guy’s not going to make it.”

korean war marine corps museum corpsman wounded

Elsewhere, they have a miniature bugle on display. After reading the description of what it is, dad shook his head and laughed.  It was one of the bugles the Chinese used to rally their troops for “human wave” attacks. When the Marines could hear bugles on every hill around them, they knew that they were completely surrounded and that the enemy was closing in. It amused him to see that instrument under glass on American soil.


Chosin korean war marine corps museum chinese bugle


Composing himself after one the tough moments, he said he liked the way they included the tough stuff. “You can’t put the reality of combat in a museum,” he said, “but at least here they show you the ugly side and it’s not all ‘hoo-rah’ recruitment bullshit.”


In our interviews, I asked him what he’d say to any young person thinking of joining the Marines. He quoted a friend of his who’s a retired Marine Corps General: “They can teach you how to kill, but no one can teach you how to get over killing.” That said, he also said he would probably still go if given a do-over. 


During his yearlong stay in a Navy hospital, having his arm reconstructed, he asked a buddy, who lost a leg and part of one hand, the same question:


“if you could go back, knowing exactly what would happen to you, would you do it again?” 


“Yes.” He said


Chosin korean war marine corps museum

Something else on display in the museum is the deep and sincere bond between individual Marines. Dad wore his Silver Star lapel pin that day, something people in their world notice immediately. The response was intense.


Walking out, a fireplug of a guy, who looks exactly how you expect a Marine to look, grabbed dad’s good hand with all his might, looked him in the eye, said “Semper Fi, Devil Dog,” and kept walking. A visiting Army Special Operations helicopter pilot wordlessly pressed a challenge coin from his unit into dad’s palm.


By the way dad bantered with the two privates guarding the door, you’d think they were old friends of his. “We really mean all that, ‘Semper Fi’ shit,” he tells me.


dan daly come on you sons of bitches do you want to live forever quote mug marine corps museum


In the gift shop, he bought a few more Globe & Anchor bumper stickers for his car. Growing up, our car always had one of these stickers on the back windshield. There is a practical reason for this, besides displaying his membership in the world’s largest fraternity: he says the stickers are handy if you get pulled over because half the State Troopers served in the Marines.


I bought him a mug with a quote printed on it from Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Daniel Daly (no relation) who yelled to his Marines before they charged the Germans at the Battle of Belleaeu Wood in WWI:


“Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?”


The next morning, he read the quote aloud, in a grumpy voice, while his tea was steeping.



Friday Roundup, without hope, without despair

Was reminded of some words of wisdom–I first encountered in my English major days–from Austin Kleon quoting Raymond Carver who was quoting Isak Dinesen. Carver and Kleon both put these words on a 3×5 card on the wall, and I’m doing the same.

every day without hope without despair 3x5 Isak Dinesen raymond carter austin kloean

Here’s what I’ve been up to the past 7 days:


What I’m Reading

Devil in a Blue Dress — Walter Mosley


Hard-Boiled, an anthology of American crime fiction


Picasso’s Picasso — David Douglas Duncan. Duncan was a photo-journalist who covered the Korean war around the time my dad was there. He went on to become Picasso’s personal photographer.


What I’m Listening to

Joe Rogan and Cameron Hanes talking about bow hunting. This is a MUST if you have strong opinions about hunting but haven’t spent time outdoors.


Gorgeous” by Taylor Swift


Megamix Depresivo (Depressive Megamix) From Love Lasts 3 Years By Frederic Beigbeder. Contemporary French literature’s great contribution to the heartbreak playlist genre


More Oasis, the Verve, and the brothers Gallagher. I made a playlist.


What I’m Doing

Sharing my handwriting (gasp) and pages from my notebooks.


Looking at a first draft of dad’s book by January, 2018.


Working on my iPhone dependence. I’m following three new rules:

1. I don’t check my phone when I wake up or before bed.

2. I Check in a couple times per day, not continuously. (My Tweets are queued up. I really #amwriting)

3. Notifications are turned off.

The things I’m Thankful for This Year

After Thanksgiving dinner, my family goes around the table and says what we’re thankful for. We’re not the kind of family that can do this with straight faces, and the whole thing tends to devolve into a parody of how we imagine “normal” families act at the table–picture the contrasting dinner scenes in Annie Hall.


I have their voices in my head when I go to write my gratitude log every morning. I try to remember where I came from. And while I may have adopted this self-helpy, super sensitive daily practice, I don’t have to be all solemn about it. Sometimes my items of gratitude are frivolous or sarcastic. There not always positive. And that’s just the attitude I’m trying to cultivate: gratitude for all of life, not just the stuff that’s easy to be grateful for.


I write three items every morning that tend to fall into three categories. Here are my big ones for 2017 (written on hotel stationary–something I’m very grateful for):

The Big Stuff

gratitude charles daly notebook hotel stationarygratitude charles daly notebook hotel stationary gratitude charles daly notebook hotel stationarymemento mori coin ryan holdiay


The Medium Stuff

gratitude charles daly notebook hotel stationarygratitude charles daly notebook hotel stationarygratitude charles daly notebook hotel stationary



gratitude charles daly notebook hotel stationary


Maybe this Isn’t for You

Charles Daly writer journal show your work maybe this isn't for you

Charles Daly writer journal show your work maybe this isn't for you

Charles Daly writer journal show your work maybe this isn't for you

Friday Roundup,

“Submerged, the idle chatter of the monkey mind recedes. Each stroke, each lap is like a metronome, lulling me into a calm state of presence. When my swim is complete, I have an inescapable feeling of gratitude, with a light dusting of accomplishment.”

–Rich Roll 

Happy Friday, from Florida. It’s been grey here, so don’t be jealous. Here’s what I’ve been up to this week.

What I’m Reading:

Ryan Holiday’s case for swimming as meditation. I’m getting back in the pool after a little hiatus. Holiday’s article reminds me why I swim.

An article in the Times Magazine arguing “The Age of the Artistic Recluse is Over.”


What I’m Listening to:

Urban Hymns – the Verve. They’re known as a one-hit-wonder for “Bitter Sweet Symphony,” but the whole album is brilliant. “Neon Wilderness” has been the song I play on repeat while I work.


Jocko Willink’s interview with Peter Attia, an ER surgeon who treated the gunshot wounds of the Baltimore gangsters who inspired The Wire. 


What I’m Doing:

Swimming. Bodysurfing. Talking about fountain pens and Raymond Chandler on Reddit.


Doing the workouts from Jocko Willink’s Discipline Equals Freedom: a field manualThese are INTENSE. On a road trip last week, I did his hotel room pushup set. It went like this:

5 x 10 pushups

2 x 50

4 x 25

5 x 20

5 x 10

(400 pushups total. Rest between each set)



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5 True Crime Podcasts

I’ve been obsessed with true crime podcasts lately. Because they’re so much fun, because serial killer stories are more uplifting than current events, because I’m doing research for a top secret fiction project I can’t talk about yet.


These are my favorites.

A Killing on the Cape

“You’re sure to fall in love with old Cape Cod.”

ABC (20/20)’s investigation of the murder for which every man in the small town of Truro, MA was a suspect at one point. Look no further for your Serial fix.


This one’s fun for me because it takes place in my backyard.


True Crime Garage

“Be Kind, and Don’t litter.”

Just a couple of guys drinking beer in a garage and talking about crime. The depth of their research is unreal. They’ll devote six, seven hours, over three parts, to a case if that’s what it requires. They revisit cold cases with new developments and bring in the occasional expert from the online amateur detective community.


My Favorite Murder

“Stay sexy. Don’t get murdered.”

The Pumpkin Spiced Latte of crime podcasts, this one will make you feel a little less weird about listening to serial killer stories for entertainment.  Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark break up the gory details of the case at hand with basic AF interjections like “what the actual fuck?”

If you’re already up on the killers they discuss, it’s not likely you’ll learn anything new, but it’s worth tuning in for the banter.

All Killa No Filla 

“Dead Funny.”

The U.K’s contribution to the all female true crime podcast sub-genre–for which the audience is huge apparently. Rachel and Kiri deliver the same mood-lightening tangents as their sisters across the pond at My Favorite Murder but with a bit more research.

It’s super charming and adorable when they correct their various Britishisms for a global audience. Like in the John Wayne Gacey episode when they say Gacey was “leathered, I mean drunk, I mean hammered.”

Dirty John

“Where other people saw red flags, she saw a parade.”

Hailed as “the best true crime podcast since serial,” by NME, Dirty John tells the story of the scumbag of the century and the woman he duped.

This is a production of the L.A times. Like NPR’s Serial and ABC’s  A Killing on the Cape, this one benefits from serious journalism and the resources of a major media company.


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