Another Year Around the Sun

I’ll be celebrating another birthday early next week. Another trip around the sun as they say. I’ll be 47 which feels like one of those ages that is insane for me to process. It’s not one of the bigger ones… 18…21…25…30…40..50..60… but for some reason it feels like one of those ages a younger version of me wouldn’t even understand. Not that I’m a wild child and “never expected to make it this far”, but more in the idea of how did I get to be 47? It sometimes feels like it was only yesterday that I was back in college, wondering when that portion of my life was going to end so that I could move on to that next stage of things.


My first memory is when I was 4ish. I remember seeing Star Wars at a drive in theater. I remember the moment the movie started and the space battle and the Star Destroyer that ate up the majority of the screen.

And I don’t know if that is the truth.


At some point it switches, right? Early on in life, we are in a hurry to get older, because through getting older we obtain a greater freedom. You get older and you get to stay up late. Stay home by yourself. Learn to drive. Go to college. Get a job. Get married.

And so on.

Sometime in there you need to start enjoying the current status you have obtained. Somewhere in there you need to make sure that you aren’t still living for the weekend. That you are happy with the life you have chosen (or perhaps the life that chose you). It means taking a little time to make sure you appreciate where you were, with those little dreams and big dreams and everything else in between. From that very first memory you have all the way to the next time you lay your head down to sleep. Every little moment has led you to this place. This moment in time. This mental state. For good or bad, we are what our experiences are.


You see, the movie certainly could have been playing a drive in theater in 1979. But there is another part of me who wonders if my mind constructed this memory from pieces of a dream. But then I remind myself that I would have to had seen it on the big screen back then. And I know I saw Empire Strikes Back (twice in the theater) and knew what it was. Knew what had happened before.

But I never can truly know, right?


We can never know where our path is going to go. Sometimes you need a kick in the ass to actually get moving on your dreams.


About 13 years ago, I was laid off.

I had dabbled with ideas for short stories. Dabbled with ideas for things that might make a cool novel. I’d even written some short comic stories.

I’m not sure if it would have become much more than that had I not been laid off. If my wife hadn’t told me to “just write it already”.


Star Wars, like so many others, has become a part of my life. My history. My lexicon. I remember the Special Editions and taking my future wife to see the movies for the “first time”. The moment in the theater with my friends as the opening scroll of the Prequels began and we all cheered.


Did that all happen because its my first memory? Or was I destined to fall in love with those movies?

Did the words I’ve written happen because I was laid off? Or would I have always found my way to writing?

I hope that I would have found my way to where I was writing in some capacity, but I was already in my 30s at that point and hadn’t pulled the trigger. So what makes me think that I would have changed my path.

But I grabbed the opportunity.


So I take another pass around the sun. Some memories as fresh as when they were made and others buried somewhere deep in my subconcious, waiting for the moment to come back to the surface to remind me of a lesson I need to learn, straighten out my current path, or just give me a smile on a rough day.


John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at

My Muse

Today is my wife’s birthday.

Courtney puts up with a fair amount from me. She has endured the loss of an entire closet to a boatload of comic long boxes. But it doesn’t end there. Comic books are normally lying all over the house, and she just takes it in stride… though her favorite line may be “do you need to go buy another long box to put these comics in?” (meaning, maybe these need to go upstairs in the comic room).


Now, we’ve been together since high school, so she did not enter into this situation unaware. MAYBE she didn’t quite understand the extent of how many comics I had or how deep my love is for the format, but she had a preexisting knowledge of some aspect of it.

Over the years I even managed to get her to read a Bone comic. She has a Superman t-shirt and a Wonder Woman t-shirt.

She journeys to all the latest comic related movies. She knows not only who Mary Jane Watson is, but knows that her husband hasn’t read a Spiderman comic since their marriage was done away with (even if she doesn’t know how that bit of strangeness happened in the first place).


I try to take her to this type of movie…



Not this type of Superhero movie!

But that’s not all. I’m not sure she knows this (I don’t know that I’ve said it to her), but she’s my Muse.

She’s the person that has to endure my random story-ideas as we are driving around, running errands, or perhaps even worse for her, when we have a longer trip planned. I can only imagine what she thinks of some of the things which roll past my lips. Yet, somehow, someway, she not only spares my feelings when perhaps the idea is not one of the better ones, but she helps to flesh out some aspects of these tales. There has been many a time where my side of the conversation began with:

“So I have this idea about a guy who does this X thing… and that’s all I have really.”

She takes this in stride and knows to ask questions that may or may not prompt me into some kind of discovery.

This is how The Dark That Follows came to be. I literally had the barest spark of an idea for a story (I didn’t know what it would be or the length even): What if a fortune teller could actually see the future? And then what if he came across a person who no longer had any kind of future? What then?

That’s all I had, just the barest of a thought. She was the one who encouraged me to begin writing that book. And then she assumed her next role… that of my Alpha reader.

Through this entire adventure through my writing those first couple of short comic stories for the Terminus anthologies to my first novel (extremely soon to be released), she has been the rock that not only supports my dreams, but shares in them. I’m in the final phase of editing/formatting The Dark That Follows, and I think she is happier about it than I am (that’s not to say I’m not happy, but it is mixed with a sense of relief that I can finally release this thing I’ve worked on for the last 3 years into the world). She’s bouncing up and down thinking about various ways of letting people know, her hand on the trigger to call all the friends and relatives as soon as the book goes live on Amazon.

And that feeling, knowing that she is proud of the work I’ve done, proud of OUR accomplishment in all of this, is better than the finishing of the book. Because this book is as much hers as it is mine. Without her constant support, I’m not sure I would have gotten this far… perhaps video games or some other shiny object might have occupied my attention.

In the new year, I want to repay her for a little of this support by writing the book she’s been wanting me to write for about a year and a half (currently titled The Edge of the World). Again, I hit her up with a bare-bones idea, but she latched onto it. I keep teasing her with it, telling her that it is next on the docket as soon as I get some free time, as soon as the writing schedule frees up. And in January I should have a little time, maybe a bit more in February, so I’m putting it out there in writing for all to see. It’s not quite wrapped in birthday paper, but it will be my gift to her.

And who knows, maybe a year from now I’ll be talking about publishing that one.


Happy Birthday, Courtney McGuire!

Thank you for everything you do… I literally couldn’t do it without you.