My books

Carl Jung in the Sky with Zeppo


This podcast is an excerpt from the novella “Sigmund, Falling Up!” by David Raffin.

Photo by Craig Whitehead on Unsplash

“Winner Winner!” by Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

“Someone Else’s Memories” “Simulation Hypothesis” “Line of Flight” from the album The Politics of Desire by Revolution Void licensed under Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0.

No Love Lost

I watched the neighbors on the opposite ridge bulldoze the property line, each in turn. Each had a bulldozer. They were being sold posts and barbed wire by a dealer in town. Repeatedly. Follow the money. One day the girl on one side married the boy on the other and the war transitioned to a delicate cease-fire. When they were divorced, the bulldozers started back up. It was love. Then it was lost love. Before that it was just business.

Fun in Summer

I’ll tell you how she won his love. She used to chase the boy and when she caught him she would sit on him. This was also how she lost him. It became old hat. They needed to shake it up and were thwarted by tradition. It was what they knew. Not enough.

The feud resumed easily. It was what they knew. But now it had more vigor. Teeth. They enjoyed it more. It had a history. A violation of code. Familial.

But at last one of them sold out and moved away. Was replaced with a new family. There was no fight between the houses on one side or the other. The bulldozers were never seen again. The new people didn’t even own one. Absent pride of ownership, the fence stood. The new neighbors had nothing in common with the old. They didn’t socialize in any way. They really couldn’t stand one another.

It was a cold war.



“I’ve had enough of your horseplay,” s/he said. “Off you go now.”

Everything in the world is seeking to stand on the highest point. Where one can see. There is nothing else which explains the urge to climb mountains, get there first, or pat oneself on the back. It even explains the eruption of volcanoes, the contents inside wishing to come out on top. That’s the prime real estate. No matter what one has to do to get there. That says a lot.

Eruption by Richard Lindsay

That’s why an eruption is such a sacred shared event. A seismic shift. People remember it. It burns itself on the social memory pad. Changes everything. I saw such an event once. It was my first. After this I saw more, but they were robbed of absolute novelty. Because If you see one you’ve seen it all, the world order set up.

At some point everything becomes common place. It starts to look alike. A revelatory illusion.

Everything is built on something else. The novelty is an illusion. The present is a time shift of the past. It seems clear because there has been a precedent. A prologue. An introduction. And when we left we said “Make it look like no one has ever been here before.” So as not to rob the future of its own initiative. Priorities. I don’t make the rules, I break them.

The present has to be built. In detail. For the purpose of references. Few check these out. Outdated.

Once it is built, it seems to have always been there. This is the natural order. It’s traditional.

My first book was a stapled together mess called A Child’s Guide to Suicide, and I handed it out at a punk rock club. Have you ever been hugged by a sweaty punk rocker? I don’t even have a copy of it.  You come away looking like you were up on the stage. The copy I had drowned in a flood. It was from a hot water heater. Twenty years old, it sprung a leak into the basement apartment. The trauma of aging. I was dreaming at the time. I dreamt of water, a gentle flow. A steady dripping and splashing of the tropics. As if I were stranded on a beach. When I awoke I splashed down, as my feet hit the floor and were submerged. I salvaged what I could. And rebuilt. It’s what people do. By conditioning. Tradition.

So here we are.

She had short hair, light brown, when she approached me. She was tall and played the bass guitar. I had been admiring her from afar, but she had no way of knowing this. Like when you look to the top of Mount Everest with longing in your heart, though you understand the perils inherent in such a desire. It’s a question of preparation. How well you pack. If you are ready. If your heart is strong.

“Are you handing this out to children?” she demanded. And it was a set-up to a joke, but instead, for love, the punchline was moved to a footnote. And so the response was left wanting. And she walked away with a flourish. And perhaps that was the greatest gift I could give her. For who can understand the nature of love, for which so much is sacrificed in our perpetual present?

More than One Day


The More than True podcast returns with a vintage story about spies, Russians, shoes, USA electoral politics, and raisins.

It’s an audio rendition of the story More Than One Day in the Life of Igor Igoravitch, from the collection Hard Fought Illusions of Choice. Enjoy. It is strong. Like Stalin.

“Winner Winner!” by Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

“Someone Else’s Memories” from the album The Politics of Desire by Revolution Void licensed under Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0.

Just Zep on in

“And I am a great businessman,” Zeppo said, really swinging the ladder. “You got that right. And funny. Say, did you know I catered my own wedding?”

“How’d that come off?” Carl said.

“I am pleased to say without a hitch,” Zeppo said. “Served animal crackers and duck soup. Didn’t last. She was Daffy. Oh, I get enough of that at home.”

“I understand,” said Carl. “Most marriages end in the home.”

“You can say that again, doctor,” Zeppo said.

“I said, ‘Most marriages end in the home,’” said Carl, glad to be of service. Zeppo was such a nice man. People tended to fall all over themselves. It was a concern. Even now.

“It was then I sent you that letter,” said Zeppo. “Requesting our meeting.”

“It was a strange thing,” Carl said. “An opening and a closing without the part in the middle.”

“I didn’t think that was wholly necessary,” Zeppo said. “Ipso Facto. Superfluous, as my brother Harpo might say. So I cut it all out. Swept it under a rug.”

“Well it really left me,” Carl said, “hanging.”

“Sorry doc,” Zeppo said. “Vaudevillian’s curse.”

Carl thought there must be a better way to enter and exit a Zeppelin, and someone would surely cash in on that in the future. However, upwards. To the inner Zeppelin. The guts of the thing.

I got You, Babe

Babe Ruth visited and was impressed. It was a big building. And he was really just a big kid. Still fresh from the orphanage. And the doctor was a famous man. Babe was a famous man as well, but he never considered himself like that. He was just the Babe, after all. And he needed someone, a father figure maybe, who he could talk with. Not like the guys in his league. Great guys. But he had some trouble making connections. And the bosses, well, they was bosses. And they were taking him to the cleaners, he suspected. Nah, he was sure. But he didn’t argue with figures of authority. Didn’t realize his power dynamic had shifted in his favor yet.

Babe rode the elevator to Carl’s Penthouse. First, he was mobbed before he got in the building. Kids, mostly. Out and about. Wanting autographs. Babe Ruth got such an autograph. Wasn’t even a matter of worth. They wanted a piece of the Babe. Part of his soul. For communion. And he was happy to oblige.

This sort of thing made him late. He stopped wearing a watch. But found people willing to wait, for him, so it was all-reat, brother.

And he entered the spinning doors, revolving inward, and into the grand lobby. And the kids pressed against the windows outside, to see the Babe cross a room and disappear. Like in a terrarium, where living inside was hospitable while artificial.

People look out to look in, pressed against the window, seen inside-out.

There were two elevators. Both waiting for him. Identically attired attendants inside each with one hand on the door, keeping it open, and one hand waiting on the control, to take him to his heart’s desire. The ringers ringing against rhythm. People on other floors pleading for escape. The lights above the doors blink off and on in reverse. The rings were in. They both waited for Babe, on the ground floor. Babe chose one at seeming random and stepped inside. As he did, an apologetic nod to the other, dejected. The disappointment on that operator’s face projected into the faces of the kids pressing against the outer windows. Communion. Disappointment. Universal.

Is it better to be appointed or disappointed? To be ordained or pre-ordained? Does order matter? Who decides? First come. Serve up.

The doors to the elevators closed. Better luck next time. The faces on the windows faded away.

“Where-to?” said that lucky elevator operator.

“Up-top,” said the Babe.

“Will do,” said the operator, “Will do.”

Wasn’t nothin’ said otherwise. A ride up, uninterrupted in silence. And he was off.

For the operator it was over. “Good day,” he said.

Babe mumbled something and walked off. The operator closed the door. Felt a little empty inside, after all.

True ’nuff. True ’nuff.

Her Story of Ballooning

An excerpt from the WIP “Sigmund, Falling Up!”

Man has always dreamt of flight, free through the air. A dream attained. Through effort and persistence.

But for the longest time it was attainable only in dreams. And what did that mean, they thought. Why want something which cannot be had? Madness. 

But that is the way of dreams. They persist. Timeless. In repetition.

The first dream was to fly like a bird. To rise, soar, and dive. To flutter about, careless. 

But this requires a fragility of bone structure. A hollowing out. And wings.

At first this is the desire. The simple answer, to attain wings. And man, initiative, looks to the construction of tools. To build wings, themselves tools, to attain lift off. To rise up. In emulation of birds.

Wings have feathers. These could be borrowed. These could be assembled. Blended in to the apparatus. They might even be faked. To make a man look like a bird, or a facsimile, a fake bird. 

Thus assembled comes the test. But there is no lift. There is no take off. No flight. To start from on high, to glide, is to have dreams deferred. No jumping, no flapping, no gliding to speak of. Just dreams dashed on the rocks of higher expectation. Even some birds cannot fly and they all have feathers. Feathers are more a mark of a bird than flight. Still, if a man were to wear feathers, it would not make him a bird. Hope dashed.

The same goes for women, though they are more grounded in thought. Though just as ready to rise up.

But a balloon. An artificial construct filled with air confined. Was discovered to be able to sail through the outer air. The air inside the construct being different than the air outside. An anomaly. Rises to the occasion. As long as it is mastered.

Ballooning is a rather safe way to fly. Do not let the thought make you a basket case. The balloon may be mastered. Our Lady Madeline Sophie Blanchard is a master of the balloon. She knows the way of the air. She keeps current. She has risen up more than anyone on earth, and let her passengers, and herself, down gently. Every time. You could do worse.

Further, to prove a point, she throws fireworks from the air. People come from all over to see the spectacle of lights popping in the air and a woman sailing away. Free. Like a bird. But not at all like a bird. 

Sigmund met her in the morning. In the field. In the commune of Avignon. By the left bank of the Rhone river. Once the home of seven successive popes. You can still see the ramparts.

He is an old man, a man obsessed. A father figure. She a vibrant woman of the air. Together they are classic figures of modernity, but a miss-match.

They size each other up and are impressed, each with the other.

“Shall we fly?” said Madame  Sophie Blanchard.

“Yes,” said Sigmund. “I have often dreamt of such.”

He held his hat in one hand, to his chest, and bowed slightly. His cane was hooked on his other arm. A cigar hung from his mouth.

She took him to the basket case. Swung open the door. They climbed in. There were seats inside, and under them a stockpile of explosives. Fireworks. 

“Is this safe,” Siggy asked.

“But of course, you silly man,” said Madame Blanchard. “Ballooning is the safest way to fly.”

“That is what they say,” Sigmund said. “But is it not, if we are to be clear, the only real way to fly?”

“Do not be pedantic,” Sophie said. “Fill yourself with the wonders of the modern age. This will do until something else comes along. If you will do the honor, Doctor Freud, please light the gas flame with your silly cigar.”

Sigmund did, and Sophie pulled in the grounding line. And soon they lifted off the field of Avignon. 

Up, up drifted the adventurers. Sigmund fell back into one of the seats. “Silly Sigmund!” Sophie said. “Falling Up!” He noted that the seats were simple. Not more than three legged stools attached to the basket, the walls of which made up the back. Certainly not first class seating. Or second. 

From the air they rose over the city walls, the ramparts. Obsoleting them. Though they looked nice from above. 

“This is what it is like to be free!” shouted Sophie Blanchard into the sky. “As a bird!”

Sigmund was well on the way to prove his point to the other gentlemen of the Psychoanalytic Club, those upstart whippersnappers. He would show them all. Again. Also, there was a matter of a gentleman’s bet.

Madame Sophie Blanchard needed to prove nothing to no-one. Different motivations. Altogether.