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Thom Dunn is a Boston-based writer, musician, homebrewer, and new media artist. He enjoys Oxford commas, metaphysics, and romantic clichés (especially when they involve whiskey), and he firmly believes that Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" is the single greatest atrocity committed against mankind. He is a graduate of Clarion Writer's Workshop at UCSD ('13) & Emerson College ('08).

How science fiction helped me understand my mental disorder.

My first week at the Clarion Writer’s Workshop, I decided to kick things off with a bang: an 8,000-word short story that never ended.

Clarion is a highly-renowned training ground for sci-fi/fantasy writers, so naturally, I wanted to make an impression. Hence, I introduced myself to my cohort and award-winning instructors by writing a recursive metafictional time travel story. The main “plot” was only about two pages, followed by another thirty pages of footnotes, each with multiple internal references to other footnotes, all to explain the theoretical science behind the causal loop that lead to the main characters’ spacetime-crossed romance. This had the effect of taking the reader on a self-directed non-linear journey through characters’ pasts, presents, and futures, in an endless circle of effect-cause-effect that was unique to each reader.

That was 2013. Me and the other 17 members of my cohort still talk regularly; some of them have already become award-winning authors in their own rights. And to this day, not a week goes by without at least one of them giving me shit for that story. But I have a good excuse for my obnoxious ambitions:

I have ADHD, so it made perfect sense. To me.

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Human waste as sustainable energy? These high schoolers made it happen.

Leroy Mwasaru was a high school student at Kenya's prestigious Maseno School when a dorm room renovation created an unfortunate situation.

The school's outdoor latrines overflowed into the local water supply.

Understandably, this made some people quite upset. But Mwasaru saw this as an opportunity to turn something revolting into a revolution.

If he could redirect the overflowing human waste, it could give them cleaner water and help the school save money on fire and electricity.

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Let’s Think About This From Comey’s Point-of-View For A Second

The storyteller in me is always interested in what goes on in other people’s heads. There are various cliches about how every villain is a hero in their own story, and I generally think that’s true — both in fiction, and in real life.

And as more and more information comes out about the whole Russia-Trump-Comey-Hillary-Email-Clusterfuck, I think it’s important for us all to remember that these are actual human beings, who, like all of us, are often forced to make decisions with limited time and with even more limited information, and that sometimes, they get it wrong.

(Except for Trump, obviously; he’s little more than a spoiled chaos demonbaby in the middle of his greatest tantrum yet.)

So instead of arguing about conspiracies and fake news and hypocritical firings or whatever petty satisfaction the Internet is feeding on right now, put yourself in Comey’s shoes, circa June 2016.

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Podcast Party: Talkin' Art & Tragedy with the New England Unsettler

Last week, I had the privilege of speaking with Elias Kozniak on New England Unsettler radio show, a self-described audio journal of minor sabotage.

The two of us chatted at length about the commodification of the Boston Marathon bombing; the role of art in reaction to tragedy; and the terrifying normalization of militarized policing. So ya, know, all fun topics!. (No really, it's a blast, I swear!)

Semi-related, Elias is also a dopeass songwriter and I'm kind of obsessed with the awesome sigil magic he invokes on the show's logo, but that's a topic for another time.

You can listen to the podcast below, or subscribe to the Unsettler on iTunes for weekly Communiques about fringe theory, deep ecology, radical politics, the unusual, and the underground.

Communique 006: Marky Mark & the Dunkies Bunch

Elias goes deep with writer, storyteller, and musician Thom Dunn on Hollywood commercialization of tragedy and the militarization of local police forces in the years since the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Is there room for reflection in the culture industry, or is it all toxic schlock? How can the stories we tell make the world a better place? Can Mark Wahlberg just fuck off already?

Talking points: Brother West on militarized policing, a different kind of reading, Sean Boo-urns, stories are about people–they’re people!, reading our Miranda July Rights, reflection in the mainstream, obscuring the lesson, whom does optimism benefit?, Darth Vader police chic, cooks with AR-15s, state vs capital: a lover’s spat, a very American Hustle, talking tragedy profiteers and merchandising, Thom and Elias are friendly dummies, what kind of lefty are you?, toxic schlock, Heavyweights with SWAT LARPing, we believe the children are our dystopian future, fun in a bleak way.

On “Hamilton,” Brexit, and Irish Independence

In June 2016, my wife and I headed to Ireland for a week-long vacation. It was my first time on Emerald soil, despite my unabashed affection for my cultural heritage. While I certainly wish I’d had the chance to visit earlier, there was also something poetic about making the trip during the centennial celebration of the Easter Rising, the first major conflict in the struggle for Irish Independence.

We certainly didn’t expect to hop on a plane to Ireland the day after the Brexit vote. Nor did I think anything at the time about the fact that I listened to "Hamilton" for the first times ever as we drove through Ireland that week, and in that specific political context.

So naturally, this got me thinkin'...

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Happy 20th Birthday, Buffy! Here's a new birthday song:

Here's a little tune I wrote about that really unhealthy relationship you had with that vampire guy:

A massive new study shows how to reduce abortions — and it's not more regulation.

Abortion rates in the United States just reached a record low, dropping below a million per year for the first time since Roe v. Wade.

That information comes from a new study by the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization committed to sexual and reproductive health. It's fair to say a hallmark reduction in any medical procedure is generally a good thing.

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Don't Break A Window

Whatever you do, just make sure that you don’t break a window
‘Cause when your outrage smashes the glass, it lets them know how the wind blows
Not the black kids who died for the march,
Or the women and trans folk who want control of their own parts
It’s the shattered shards of pane they look through,
that’s where the real problem starts.

You can take to the streets just as long as you don’t punch a nazi
Exercising rights is like the gays: it’s fine as long as no one has to see
a way of life that doesn’t fit
into the narrow view controlling it
reality’s a one-way road you can’t just quit

It won’t go away
when the man upstairs says that “everything is great”
change won’t wait
for an open space in your Outlook calendar
Lives mean more than people’s property

Do I have your attention now that I’m condoning violence?
Well it’s funny how that works, and you should know, ‘cause you’re the one who came up with it
Make a profit while you’re promising rights
Keeping order never works when they’re fighting to survive
Justice only comes when we rage against the dying light

Now don’t get me wrong, I still believe that non-violence should work
But when the rules of the game have changed, things are bound to get worse.
Now that our truths are free of fact
Well, how else are the people supposed to react?
You can’t expect them all to keep the peace when you broke your part of the pact

We’ve heard say
that justice and truth are the American way
Things don’t change
at a convenient time for your Outlook calendar
Time is right to do what we’re gonna do
okay well technically the time that was right is now way overdue
But it all has to start with those same self-evident truths.


The inauguration of Donald Trump felt like a nightmare. The Women's March across the country was amazing. Here's a much more hopeful look at that inspiring day: