The Singer of Pi – An Illustrated Short Story

The Singer of PI

She sang in the choir, always trying to understand the meaning of the songs. She felt they were a mystery far beyond her capacity to understand. But she also knew that, just like in her yoga class where if she kept doing that one pose she would master it, she would eventually get closer and closer to understanding the more she sang. And that turned out to be true. She never did completely understand, but over time she became better at hearing, interpreting, and understanding. She became a leader in the choir, helping the less experienced members learn these same mysteries. As a result she became beloved by all.

The End

A Conspiracy of Foxes – Orange Man #8

This is true, though it can be women who indulge in it as well, it’s not just men.

Here’s the thing to always ask yourself about conspiracy theories: First, how many people would realistically have to be involved to pull it off? Second, how many different organization’s people would have to be in on it and how far up the chain in that organization would the conspiracy realistically have to go? Third, what is the likelihood that so many people will all perform their job perfectly AND keep quiet about it afterwards?  That is why conspiracy theories are almost never true.

In the meanwhile, we have the Orange Man believing way too much of what the Fox says and then acting on it. That is not a good thing in my opinion.

Drawing and commentary © Marty Coleman |

“Conspiracy Theories: A game invented for the amusement of unoccupied men of privilege.” – Addison

Medusa Thwarts a Killer

The Adventures of Medusa

Medusa Thwarts a Killer

Medusa was going to pick up her daughter at school. As she sat in her car she heard gunshots. She ran into the school and saw the gunman. He was turned away from her and shooting people in the hallway. Because he wasn’t looking at her she had to actually attack him instead of just looking at him. Her secret weapon, which many people do not know about, is that her hair, which is made of snakes, is both venomous and constricting. She was able to wrap her hair around him before he know what happened and bite him. She then took his gun and bent it so it could no longer shoot. When he finally turned around and saw her he did what all people do who incur the wrath of Medusa, he turned to stone.

Her daughter was safe and all those who were shot survived. Another thing many people do not know about Medusa is that when she turns someone to stone it isn’t forever. It only lasts as long as she is angry. The gunman, who got his gun from his garage where his dad kept it in a box, was later convicted of attempted murder and spent 25 years in prison. He died choking on a tater tot.

Medusa was given the Key to the City and The Medal of Gratitude by the Mayor in honor of her heroism.

The End

Drawing and short story © 2018 Marty Coleman |

The Short Order Cook – An Illustrated Short Story

The Short Order Cook

He stood exceedingly still. Not for a moment or a minute, but for many minutes at a time. This happened at least 3 times while I was eating at the counter. He looked in the fridge at one point. He waved goodbye to a customer, not saying anything. He checked under the grill for something when the counter waitress asked if they needed to reorder something. Otherwise he was still.

I had stopped in on a whim. It’s a very small hamburger joint, really just a counter and a cooking area with windows all around. I had passed it many times over 24 years of living in Tulsa, but had never gone in. Now I was out enjoying my birthday. I had already stopped by a coffee house to draw and a museum to wander and now it was lunch time. I passed the place and decided today would be a perfect day to finally stop in. I did a u-turn and made my way in to a seat at the counter.

There was another cook behind the counter and he was the one who made my lunch. I ordered a patty melt (my favorite type of burger) and fries, with a Dr. Pepper. It was not a diet day for me, obviously. The waitress didn’t really need to do much since the cook could hear me say my order and had it going before the waitress had it fully written down. She went around the corner into the back of the place and I didn’t see her until the minute my food was put on the plate, at which point she magically appeared to pick it up and walk it the 5 feet from the grill to my spot. She then turned around and in no more than 3 steps poured me my drink and gave it to me. She was all about the efficiency of movement.

While I was eating I drew this cook. He didn’t notice me drawing since he was staring out the window in what seemed like a daze. I imagined him seeing a fully made hamburger floating away out the window in front of him. I imagined him wishing he could follow. In the meanwhile, the meal was perfect. The patty melt was greasy, the fries were crisp and the drink was obnoxiously sweet.

As I left I said goodbye to the waitress and waved to the two cooks. I headed out the door and as I did I heard the waitress say, “You gonna move outa my way Bobby?” and the cook who stood exceedingly still said, “I really should.”

The End

Drawing and story © 2018 Marty Coleman |

The Knitters – Four Variations

I drew a group of knitters at ‘Shades of Brown’ coffee shop here in Tulsa last week. They call themselves the ‘Knit Wits’.  I spent a good hour plus drawing then showed it to them. They seemed to enjoy it, which is always a nice end to a drawing session.

This is the final result, colored and shaded.  Print and original available for purchase.

Here it is after the coloring but before the shading. Print available for purchase.

After I scanned it I decided to just play with a color design overlay, just to see what I could come up with. This is the result. Print available for purchase.

And here is the original drawing straight from the sketchbook. Print available for purchase.

I was going to write a story to go along with the drawing but I think the drawing tells a story all by itself.

Drawing © 2018 Marty Coleman |

The Woman with Only Two Thoughts – An Illustrated Short Story

The Woman with Only Two Thoughts – An Illustrated Short Story

The Large and The Small

The woman wasn’t able to think anything but these two thoughts. Everything was either too large or too small. Things were never just right. Well, that isn’t exactly true. Sometimes the large thing was just right, even though it was large. And sometimes the small thing was just right, even though it was small. But most of the time the thing that was small should have been larger and the thing that was large should have been smaller.

The Things

This was true of real things, like cheese or mufflers, but it was also true of unreal things, like Jesus or monsters. She thought cheese was usually too large for her mouth and that mufflers were too small for her cars. She thought Jesus was too large for her morals and that monsters were too small to kill her enemies. She thought her books were too large or too small. The non-fiction ones always seemed too large. When she was 3/4 of the way through she almost always wanted them to be over. And she thought fiction ones were too small. Most of the time, when she finished a novel she didn’t want it to end.

The Body

She felt this way about her body. Her apartment was too small, for example, and the reason for that was that she was too large. She wasn’t large sideways, just up and down. That meant she hit her head on the door jams a lot. It meant her shower was too small. The water never hit her head unless she bent over. She hated that. She thought her breasts were too large but she didn’t want to get them reduced because she was afraid they might be then be too small. She thought her eyes were too small, but only because she had so many friends who had their eyes enlarged that hers looked small in comparison. Her neck was too small, unless you measured it, then it was too large. Her knees were definitely too large and her fingernails were definitely too small. The worst part was that her bladder was too small and her heart was too large.

The Social

Her social life had the same problem. Her circle of friends was too large but her number of close friends was too small. As a matter of fact she really didn’t have any close friends so she wasn’t really sure she could even call it too small. Is zero of something too small? The amount of people she was in charge of at work was too large. The amount of people she could complain to about how large this group of people was was too small. Then there were all the people she had to commute with on the train. That number was too large and that meant the number of seats on the train was too small. As a matter of fact, not only were there not enough seats the individual seats were too small. She hated seats that were too small.

The Emotional

Now that she thought about it, her emotional life was that way too. Emotions, hers or others, were always too large or too small. That is why her boyfriends usually left her they said. They would hit her and she would get angry. They would say, “You are making this issue too large and it’s just not.” Or sometimes it would be the opposite. She would feel nothing and say nothing, trying not to upset them and they would get mad and hit her, saying, “You think you can just hide away and be small in the corner but you can’t. I know you are plotting something and I won’t let you get away with it.”

The Just Right

Because of this, life was too large a struggle and she sometimes thought of killing herself. But she knew she never would because her courage was too small to do something that would hurt her or those she loved.  And that thought always brought her back to what I mentioned at the start, that sometimes things weren’t too large or too small, but were just right. In spite of all her issues she always knew that the love her family had for her was that. It wasn’t too large so that it suffocated her and it wasn’t too small so she felt alone and abandoned. It was just right. The very large (but not too large) love her family had for her was the one thing that made all the other things small. And that was just right.

Oh, her shoe collection was just right too.

The End


Skepticism, Faith and Seeing

Seeing What Others Don’t

Because I am known to be an artist people aren’t surprised when I see things like patterns, details, connections, concepts, etc. that they don’t.  They just chalk it up to ‘that’s because he is an artist.’  But I think people get it backwards.  Seeing all those things is what made me an artist, not the other way around.

Not Saying No

Why did I and other artists see those things when others didn’t?  Because we didn’t say ‘no’.  We don’t dismiss an idea because it is not approved. We don’t dismiss a vision because it doesn’t make sense. We don’t dismiss a connection between things because the connection has never been made before. In other words we don’t follow rules.

Rule Followers, Rule Breakers

Wait, I take that back. We don’t follow some rules but we do follow others. That is why some artists are radicals and shock everyone (they follow very few rules) and other artists are the darlings of the rule followers (because they only break very insignificant rules, if any).

How Radical Are You?

in the context of the quote and illustration above you might say the skeptic is the radical, right? She broke the rules of her religion, no longer believing what her religion says she must believe.  But if that skeptic merely exchanges one set of rules, the religious ones, for the skeptics’ set of rules, how much has really changed? How much has she really seen in a new or fresh way?  It might appear she has at first since obviously there is a breaking away from a set of rules, but then she becomes as doctrinaire as she ever was as a religious follower and nothing really has changed.

Truly Free

The truly free person is the one who holds their ideas and rules lightly. It’s not that they never hold on to them but they aren’t bound to them to such an extent that they don’t see beyond them. They are willing to consider new and strange ideas, issues, images without judgment beforehand.  They are willing to see connections that aren’t immediately apparent.

Drawing and commentary © 2018 Marty Coleman |

“Skepticism is like faith: both are substitutes for seeing.” – Bert Hellinger, 1925 – not dead yet, German Psychotherapist

Medusa Walks the Runway

The Adventures of Medusa

Medusa Walks the Runway

Medusa decided she wanted to be a model.  She went to Stone Mountain Modeling School and got a job as a runway model. She walked for the famous House of Gorgon but wore an outfit no one really liked. They sat stone-faced as she walked by and, Medusa being Medusa, you know what happened next.

The End

Genius and Stupidity – Orange Man #7

Words Matter

When I was in my divorce years (the 2 years leading up to it) I remember how tentative my wife was in what she would say. She would say something like ‘Just because I am thinking about it, doesn’t mean I am going to act on it’.  Then a few weeks or months later that thing she was just casually considering became real.  Then it happened again and then again. Pretty soon I realized something.  Some things are too radical for one to consider until they get used to the idea.

Little by Little

‘I will never get divorced’ becomes the mantra because getting a divorce is just too radical. Then after a series of mental and verbal negotiations with oneself it becomes “Divorce is ok if…”.  Then more negotiations and “Divorce is what needs to happen.”  It takes time but eventually people get there. But not at first. They talk themselves into it. I am not saying it’s wrong to talk yourself into it, sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. But it is how the process works because words and thoughts matter.

The Danger

That is the dangerous power of continually thinking negatively in one direction. You become what you think and say. If you fight back blindly against any slight without thinking about if there is validity or something to learn from that slight, then eventually you do it automatically with minimal choice in the matter. Like a dog trained to fight, that becomes your natural and unthinking reaction.

It’s sometimes called being stupid.

Drawing and commentary © 2018 Marty Coleman |

“The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.” – Albert Einstein

Spring Marathon Training – Weeks 2,3 and 4

Before I forget

The day before December’s Dallas Half Marathon that I ran with my daughter we went to the runner’s expo. There we were lucky enough to meet Shalane Flanagan, the recent winner of the 2017 New York Marathon. What a thrill it was to meet her! Turns out her husband has just started a job with Fleet Feet in Portland, Oregon so we had something to talk about. She is definitely a big running hero of mine. The woman next to her, my wife Linda, is an even bigger hero to me for always supporting my running activities!

Shalane Flanagan, 2017 NYC Marathon winner

Food Fight

Man, time flies when you have guests for the holidays! Now I remember why I don’t like early spring marathons. Not only are you training in the cold and dark but you are balancing it with a ton of holiday activities.  The result for me hasn’t been too bad on the running front. I pretty much kept on schedule with maybe 2 skipped runs over 3 weeks. The weekly mileage isn’t high, but it really doesn’t need to be quite yet.

However, on food front? That exploded. Family dinners after lunches after breakfasts after dinners of high calories, high carbs, high sugar. Could I have avoided it all? Sure, but I didn’t. I wanted the ham and turkey and mashed potatoes and cookies and salty snacks and pies and… you get the idea. So, basically from Thanksgiving to New years I gained 5+ lbs. But, I had already gained about 5 from my eating a lot during my fall marathon training so now I am about 7-8lbs over my maximum best running weight and I can feel the difference.

In cliché fashion I waited until New Years Day arrived and then I avoided the potatoes and dessert and bread and Fritos and chips and salsa and stuck to meat and veggies AND I went for a run in very cold temps.

Cruella de Winter

It is cruel to call this a spring training session. Week 2 the temperatures weren’t too bad, but the week before Christmas and the week after were REALLY cold. How cold? I’ve worn three layers on top with a wool base layer, two on the bottom, two pairs of gloves (one set heated), wool socks, ski cap and buff for the last 4 runs, that’s how cold. My cut off for comfort is right around 32º. Below that and it becomes a challenge. It doesn’t mean I don’t do it, I still do. I just have a harder time running is all. Add in the Oklahoma wind and drop the temps to 15º and it can be pretty brutal. This is especially true if you have to run alone, as I did several times recently.  ‘Misery loves company’ is absolutely true when it comes to running. If I have to run when it’s 5º wind chill, I want my friends suffering alongside me!

Coming Up

My longest run so far this season has been 14 miles, which isn’t a stretch considering most weekends since October I have been doing mileage close to that. But in two weeks I will move up to 16 and i will start to hit the meat of the training. I am looking forward to it.

My goal marathon is the Oakland Marathon in California. It has a wicked elevation profile to it (13 miles up, 13 miles down basically) so I am going to be doing a lot of hill workouts this season to help prepare me. I also looked up the average temperature on March 25th over the years and the average low is 49º and the average high 64º.  If it’s around those temps I should be fine, even though I would love the start temp to be closer to 40º. The Marine Corps Marathon I did in October had a starting temp of close to 60º and ending temp at about 75º and it really only affected me the last 2 miles. My long-term goal is to get my marathon time to 4:05 or below. That means I need to average 9:20 per mile, which so far I have been able to do.  Whether I can do that in Oakland, we shall see.

My Xmas present from my daughter Chelsea in Oakland

That’s it for now. If you would like to read more from marathon training series, click in the ‘series’ drop down menu above on the right and find ‘Marathon Training’.

See you running,


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