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).

New Album Preview! Hooray!

I've been putting this off for far too long, but I'm finally making headway on a new full-length solo album of songs I've been working on, tentatively titled "Five Years on the B-Side." If all goes well, it'll be out sometime in the early spring, and I might even do a few live shows around the Northeast to support it!

In the meantime, here are a few rough draft demos to give you an idea of what to expect. (just, ya know, keep in mind that they're sketches of the final arrangements, to help me figure out production things myself, which is why they're kinda messy and why they'll also disappear when recording is complete)

4 things the Left keeps getting wrong about gun reform.

Another day, another awful tragedy. Several months ago, I'd pitched a story to Huffington Post about tangible, rational, fact-based suggestions to help curb the epidemic of gun violence in America—specifically, things that might be a little uncomfortable for Left-leaning liberals to acknowledge, but things that would actually make a difference (and have a chance of getting passed).

But every time we planned to publish it, it was always felt too uncomfortably close to another mass shooting. So we put it off for a while longer, again and again and again.

Then Las Vegas struck. And if it wasn't clear before (it was), then it certainly is now (it is) that the time to talk about gun violence is right now, and the longer we put it off out of some kind of expectation of polite social courtesy, then the higher the body count will climb. 

So here it is. Now let's do something about it.

(I also had the privilege of speaking with Chris Frates on the Smerconish Show on Sirius XM Potus Politics. You'll need to be a Sirius subscriber to listen, but we had a great chat about finding common ground on gun violence issues, which inspired some wonderful call-in comments from listeners as well)

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My first full guide for Wirecutter!

That's right: not only did we revamp the entire Wirecutter website with a cool new look and fancy mobile friendliness, but I've also published my first official guide for them! Check it out:

 Ironically, I also shaved my beard off this morning, so my author photo is no longer accurate.

Ironically, I also shaved my beard off this morning, so my author photo is no longer accurate.

So uhhhhh I just signed with a literary agent? So that's cool?

That's right: I just signed with a literary agent! The Kepner Agency was so impressed with my Irish Boston supernatural punk rock noir tentatively titled Pints of 'Gansett Make You Strong  that they want to make something happen with it!

Excuse me while I go dance over here in the corner.

In the meantime, you can listen to the official unofficial Pints of 'Gansett Make You Strong soundtrack to tide you over, 'cause publishing takes a while.

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: