All posts by Axel Howerton

Axel Howerton is a former entertainment journalist, and the author of the Arthur Ellis Award nominated detective caper "Hot Sinatra", the modern gothic fairytale "Furr", and the forthcoming "Wolf & Devil" urban fantasy series. His work, including short stories, columns, poetry and essays, have appeared the world over, in no fewer than five languages. Axel is the Prairies director of the Crime Writers of Canada, and a member of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association, the Calgary Crime Writers, and the Kintsugi Poets. He is also the editor of the books "Death by Drive-In", "AB Negative", and "Tall Tales of the Weird West", and is the organizer behind one of Canada's first recurring "Noir At The Bar" events, #NoirBarYYC. Visit Axel online at to sign up for the GotHow? email list and receive free exclusive ebook collections, sneak peeks, and more.#AxelHow #GotHow

Grandma’s Boy

This is something that comes from a lot of confusion and pain. I love my Grandmother very much and she has always been wonderful to me – She raised me while my parents worked, until I was old enough to start school. But as I’ve grown older and lost my Grandfather, moved away and moved on, looking back I can see a lot of discrepancies between my idyllic memories of childhood and the truth. Seeing her now, I wonder if she’s even the same person. It frightens and intrigues me, and it led me to write this little item – not really a poem, not really an essay, but somewhere in-between.

My wife says it is touching, sad and a little angry, but it also made her laugh… she’s funny that way… in any case, take it as you will.

Continue reading Grandma’s Boy

Our Song In Retrospect

I’ve been racking my brain, stretching and pulling at the tendons of memory – snapping ligaments and cracking bones – trying to think of just the right format, just the right angle to use to tell this story. The story of me.

Many ideas have made their way into the running, but only a choice few have come anywhere close to the page. After all of that I’ve realized that this site is just a sounding board, a raw template to work that all out. So I think I will just let fly and sort it out at the end.

I’ve been cataloguing the crushes, romances and great loves of my life, and trying to cross-refrence them with the songs that remind me of those moments. I’m thinking of calling it “Our Song in Retrospect”. The only problem is that some of these people are indelibly linked in my mind – with a song, a record, a sunny afternoon groping to the sounds of traffic from the nearby highway – and some of them are vagaries of time and space.

Some are barely echoes. I can’t remember the name of a girl 12 years ago, the one I met at a party at Danielles. We sat in the driveway, smoked a joint, talked for 3 hours and then made out. We went on two dates afterwards and then just fell away from each other. I can’t, for the life of me, remember her name, or her face. I have the overwhelming feeling that, at the time, I thought she was my perfect woman. I couldn’t tell you why. I remember nothing but that she existed and that I thought she was tremendously cute and that she had short dark hair.

On the other hand, there’s Robin, the first girl I ever kissed, on the first day of Kindergarten, 27 years ago. I can picture her face, her pigtails, her little Laura Engalls flowery dress. I remember that she brought ants-on-a-log for snack time. I knew her for precisely one month – before we moved away and I set to kissing the girls in my new class.

These are the faults of memory that stand in my way. After numerous cranial traumas, years of being kicked and/or boxed in the head, and subsequent bouts of severe drunkeness and moderate drug use, I don’t imagine things will come any clearer. So I will march on, secure in the knowledge that I will probably fabricate half of what I write here.

Be prepared. The record is out of the sleeve. It has been dropped on the platter, spun for posterity. The needle is dropping… now.


Where to begin?

Have I led the Life DeLuxe?


I have had a few missteps, a few wild nights and a few spells of good old fashioned self-destructive behaviour. Sitting here, just past the cusp of my third decade, it occurs to me that I know nothing of myself. I see the outward appearance, as everyone else does – funny guy, film freak, wannabe writer, with a hotblooded and loving wife, a most amazing genius of a son, etc. etc. What I want to know is why I still feel like there is something missing, something jabbing at me from behind, and leaving me impotent to do anything but submit to the undertow of mediocrity.

I work a superflous middle management job for a ridiculous and unappealing company. I’ve lost my interest in Film, Art and Poetry. I have no inspiration to write, and I have no energy to really live. I take great pleasure in being with my wife, supporting her creativity, and helping in her endeavors. I love my son more than life itself, and am elated for the 3 or 4 hours a day I can spend with him.

The problem is me.

I am unhappy, unfulfilled and uninspired. I need to change something, and I have no idea what that is. Nosce te ipsum – Know thyself. That is my goal and my mission. For as long as I can recall, I have used my critical and intuitive senses to observe and analyze others. Now I turn the eye inward to spy out the reason for my discord with the universe.

This is my good eye.