Yahweh’s Children – Print Edition

On the first of this year, I published my first novel, Yahweh’s Children, as an Amazon Kindle exclusive. All these months later, I’ve finally completed designing the print edition and you can purchase it now.

Cover: Yahweh's Children by Joseph Lyttleton
Yahweh’s Children

The Reviews Are In:

“The best book I’ve ever read of yours.” ~ My girlfriend

“I’m going to start reading it next weekend.” ~ Most of my friends

“You have a book?” ~ My mother

“Who is this?” ~ My father

“It’s kind of hard to explain. You probably wouldn’t like it.” ~ Me

“…A troubling disquisition on how ordinary people react to extraordinary and inexplicable events.” ~ Stephen King (review of “The Leftovers” by Tom Perrotta)


Available in both Print and E-Book editions, buy Yahweh’s Children now.

Cover of Yahweh's Children, a novel by Joseph Lyttleton

Yahweh’s Children: Available Now

Happy New Year!

Alright, with that out of the way, on to business.

The day is finally here. More than a decade after typing the first words on a long deceased computer, my novel, Yahweh’s Children, is available to purchase. Right now. RIGHT HERE.

Yahweh's Children

“The subway pulsed with the message,” was how the novel began in its original form. That opening sentence remains, albeit altered, but so much of what follows is completely changed from the first draft. The first chapter used to be twice as long before I cut out all the unnecessary exposition. You’re welcome.

This is a novel with many themes: family and love; pursuing passions and losing faith; the evolution of life and language; the elusiveness of truth. Also, aliens.

This book is a part of me, an avatar for me; which means it will probably be off-putting to some and out stay its welcome with others. But, hopefully, there will be those who find its weird conceits, obsessive minutia, and caustic humor to be oddly charming.

Now, I’m going to ask something of you, dear reader, that in the long history of this project and this website I have never explicitly done: Give me money. Buy my book.

It’s only $4.99 (available on Amazon right now) and unlike that hypothetical book of poetry, the money will actually go to me. Heck, you don’t even have to read it. But, I mean, please do?

I know some of you out there made a resolution to read more books this year. Here’s the perfect opportunity to follow through and support an independent writer at the same time.

I can already hear some people saying, “Can’t you publish a physical version? I hate reading on a Kindle.” And I get it, I still buy physical books and have never actually read an entire e-book. Believe me, there is no greater dream in my heart than seeing my book on the shelf of an actual bookstore.

For now, though, the plan is to keep Yahweh’s Children digital only. That could change in the future, but only if there is enough demand to warrant it. In the meantime, maybe give the Kindle (or Kindle App) a try.

Thank you so much ahead of time to anyone who does buy and read my novel. I can’t promise it’ll be your favorite book of all time, but I can promise it was written with the intent that it would be. That’s all any writer can endeavor towards.

Buy Yahweh’s Children now.




“The Question” Published in Crack the Spine

It’s been some time since I was last able to post something of this nature, but I have a new short story available today in the latest issue of Crack the Spine, an online magazine that also publishes quarterly print anthologies.

You can check out the latest issue here: Issue 137 or skip directly to “The Question.”

I hope you’ll give it a look and maybe even be so kind as to leave some feedback on their website.



Random Update About Nothing

It’s May if you hadn’t noticed, which puts us firmly in the middle of Spring (someone finally told the weather). It also puts me in the last third of my year here in Boston. Time has come for me to start turning my focus towards my next city, New York. It’s also my last city so, who am I kidding, my focus has always been on it.

There have been moments throughout the years where I’ve considered just skipping to the last chapter and moving to the Big Apple. The original reason for making it my last city was because I knew it was where I wanted to end up. If I had gone to New York in my 5th year, it’s unlikely I would have finished the project.

But I am finishing the project. And, frankly, I don’t know what that means. I move in September, likely I will find yet another job waiting tables and then… what? Don’t get me wrong, I have dreams and ambitions, but there’s no script for this shit. There’s nothing that says I don’t end up serving food to yuppies and tourists for the rest of my life.

I went to college, earned my degree. Granted, it was in Creative Writing so it doesn’t amount to anything, but I got it all the same. By the usual script, the next step was to find a job, work my way up, get a girl, get a ring, buy a house. That is the path most of my friends from Kansas have followed in some manner or another. It’s the norm.

I didn’t askew the normal path because I thought it was dumb or misguided. I went off-road because, as a persistently unhappy kid, I didn’t see things getting better if I didn’t try something different. I didn’t have some grand plan for my life, I just knew what I didn’t want to do. So I made a choice, and then another, and another, and nine years later, I’m here.

10 Cities / 10 Years has only ever been a travelogue in the broadest sense of the word. While I’ve posted impressions and photographs of my various cities, the majority of my writing for this site has been on a host of topics ranging from art to science, politics to religion because those are the things I care about, and they are the things that as I’ve traveled the country have remained a common thread of discourse.

Which likely explains why this site has never been a big draw (well, that, and I’m a lousy networker). There’s no consistent topic to latch on to. One week I write about gay marriage, the next my 5 favorite songs, or atheism, or I share a poem. Never quite a blog, not really a travel page, 10cities10years.com is a reflection of my mind in the truest form: Disjointed, at times madly engaged, frequently disconnected and always ready to jump onto the next topic. Any readership I’ve had is likely suffering from whiplash.

The truth is, I’m not sure what role this website will play in my final year. It’s been great to have for the past 5 years (5 years? Jesus!), if for no other reason than because it provided me a place to throw up my writing when I knew I’d never find an audience for it elsewhere. As I try to figure out how exactly I want to write about this decade of life experiences, there’s less place for my random updates on this website. Whatever publicity for my project I hoped to drum up with this site has been achieved as well as it ever will be.

I’ve posted a lot of thinkpieces here, and while I’m proud of many of them, I’ve also grown less interested in them in the last year or so. I’ve pretty much said everything I’m going to be able to say on Atheism, Christianity, Marriage Equality and my other favorite topics. I refuse to engage in click bait tactics and I have never once allowed some outside resource commandeer my page for ads masquerading as posts. Every post on this page has been written by me.

Because, again, this page is a reflection of me and only me. It’s got rough edges, it has flared up with anger at times (some more righteous than others), it’s got pretensions towards artistic merit and it can be at turns mawkishly earnest or dismissively sarcastic. On rare occasions, it has demanded attention, but generally it just sort of exists in the background for people to discover on their own.

I say all of this because, as I approach the end of this story, I know I’ll have some more things to say, mostly to close the circle, but generally it’s time for me to move on. As useful as this site has been for providing me an outlet, it’s also at times been a distraction from working on longer, more substantial work. Before I created this website, I had completed 4 novels. Since, 0. I’ve written countless short stories, poems and articles in that time, but I’ve lost touch with my long form skills. I need to get those back.

That’s not to say I won’t update this page. Sometimes an idea for an article comes to me and I can’t think about anything else until I’ve written it, and this will still be my go-to place for poetry. But I’ve been treading water for far too long, allowing this project to be an excuse for not having a career in writing. “It’ll happen once I finish.” That’s a deadly way to think.

To be honest, when I sat down to write this post, I didn’t know what I was going to write. I just felt like I should put an update here, and this is what came out. I don’t want to say that I’m abandoning my readership, but a) I don’t really have a readership to abandon and b) well, maybe I should.

I’ve liked having this website, and I’m certainly not shutting it down, but the reality is I have no interest in doing all the marketing bullshit and internet aggrandizing necessary to make this site viral or trend-y. I’ve made faint attempts at creating hit-generating content, but that’s just not in my wheelhouse. 10 Cities / 10 Years is a decade-long project, the ultimate slow burn. It was foolish of me to ever think that could translate into buzz-of-the-moment posts.

If anything has come from this site, it’s that I’ve become a better communicator, a stronger writer. Seeing as that was the goal when I started the 10 Cities Project (long before this .com existed), mission accomplished. This website exists (and will continue to) as an archive of a major chunk of my life, a defining period of my life. In the hundreds of posts here, I truly believe there is something for everyone, but good luck finding your personal nugget.

I’m still here, I’ve still got a year to go. But as I look towards my year in New York, I’m also looking past my (first) year in New York. I’m not saying I’m gonna plan the next 10 years of my life, but it’s time I make some plan.

Even if that just means planning on getting a real job.



This May: Spread The Love

Art is nourished by criticism. An honest and educated appraisal of a work’s strengths and weaknesses helps us better appreciate art, both as creators and consumers. I say this up front so it is clear that what I am about to propose is not attacking art criticism or art critics. It is a worthy profession, an important one in the right hands, even a noble endeavor for a select few.

Criticism, though, is becoming angrier and duller. As the adage goes, everyone is a critic, and this has never been more true than in the Internet Age. This wondrous invention that allows us to experience the world from the comfort of our bedrooms is filling up with poison, and we’re all responsible for it.

We use Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, blogs, forums, and innumerable websites to spout off on all manner of experiences, and with inevitable frequency, we are voicing displeasure. We can’t simply click past, our disapproval must be known. We feel compelled to inform the creator that they have failed and then troll the fan base. The world cannot be allowed to spin another minute without it being known that this random thing that you, of your own volition, experienced did not live up to your satisfaction.

So here is my proposal:

For the month of May, let us refrain from negative criticisms.
Instead, let’s focus on the positive and ‘Spread the love’.

This will not be easy, I know.

For all of May, refrain from criticizing Youtube videos, skip the Facebook bashing, don’t tweet about a movie you loathed (or its stars) and let your disdain for a TV show subside. Don’t even hit the thumbs down button on Stumbleupon. Just move on. Criticism is not all bad, but maybe, just maybe, we’ve become so obsessed with what we hate that we’re losing sight of what we love. So, for 31 short days, why not refocus our energy on enjoying art?

Suggestions for things to do as an alternative to criticizing:

1. Share a favorite work of art with a friend or stranger.

2. Read positive reviews of art you’ve never experienced and consume it.

3. Write a positive review of something you loved.

4. Request art recommendations from friends.

5. Close your browser and go outside; see a live band or go to a movie theater, or get cozy in a chair at your local bookstore and read two to three chapters.

6. Watch porn.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter, just expend the energy some other way. Be cool.


I know it will be a struggle for most people, it will be for me, too. But I think we need a hiatus from our jobs as the world’s critics. It’s not like it pays well.

Before I’m accused of squashing Free Speech or I’m dismissed as a ‘Love Is All You Need’ hippie, let me reiterate that I’m not proposing the abolishment of all negativity. This is a finite challenge I’m proposing for all of us, like a New Years Resolution or Lent, except instead of trying to lose weight or fasting for spiritual purposes, we agree to refrain from spewing hatred for one month. And then, in June, we can return to our regularly scheduled vitriol.

I assure you, the world will not stop spinning if you delay telling Dave Matthews fans how much he sucks, nor will a new ice age befall us if the failings of the new Spider-man movie aren’t thoroughly documented on your blog. Terrible art exists and it deserves to be called out for its shortcomings, but for the month of May we can ignore it in order to celebrate the truly great art.

To address some other possible concerns:

1. This challenge is about art. Politics and science require constant scrutiny. Which is not to suggest that art is lesser than politics or science – not by any means – only that art’s impact on the world isn’t as immediate or dire.

2. If you make your living as an art critic, it might not be feasible for you to only write positive reviews. Then again, maybe your editor would be on board if you devoted May exclusively to spotlighting your favorite works. This should be easy for non-professional critics.

3. Even if you’re not someone who regularly discusses art, use this month to spread the word on what you like. You may just introduce someone to their new favorite band, book or show.

4. If you enjoy the idea, don’t feel like you have to limit yourself. Spread the love to other realms of your life.

5. If you think this is an insipid, meaningless gesture, maybe you’re right. But why not give it a try for a month anyway, what could it hurt?

Don’t think of it as giving up criticism. Think of it as a month’s vacation from things you don’t like. So this May, practice the fine art of saying something nice. You might even grow to like it.

Thumper Quote

If you like this idea and plan on participating, please share this post and use #SpreadTheLove to keep it trending. What could one month of positivity bring about?

Fiction is often the best Fact

“Fiction is often the best fact.” ~ William Faulkner (ostensibly)

I am, first, foremost, forever a fiction writer above all. Despite the poetry, despite the essays and articles, despite 10 Cities / 10 Years, the reason I write is because of fiction, and when all is said and done it’s the form I cherish most. I’ve read thousands of books, fiction and non-fiction, and while I’ve learned a tremendous amount from the latter and had my mind and worldview expanded because of it, no book has ever carved as deep an impression in me as the best works of fiction.

Faulkner’s assertion that “Fiction is often the best fact,” is a big part of that. We have two ways of learning about our world. The first, research and empirical evidence is best explored in works of non-fiction, whether that be science, history, math or even, to a lesser degree, philosophy.

The other way we learn about existence is through personal experience of our world. This is a far less accurate, reliable and repeatable means of learning about our world, yet for the majority of us it is this knowledge that we lean on most heavily. Our beliefs, prejudices, preferences and morality may be informed by factual evidence, but they are rooted in our experiences.

Which is why fiction matters. A non-fiction writer gathers information and presents a narrative with a more-or-less specific conclusion. A fiction writer, on the other hand, merges both experience and evidence, memories and education into a literary story with characters who, at worst, represent an amalgamation of people or, at best, become true to life living souls, as real as anyone you’ve ever met in life. The story that is told is not true in a technical sense, but the greatest works of literature hold more truth than any textbook.

I came to the above quote and newest tattoo while on a Wiki rabbit trail that led me to reading up on Gonzo Journalism, Hunter S. Thompson’s rousing writing style that mixed personal narrative with impersonal journalism. Thompson was an inimitable writer (as proof, read anyone who has tried), and his articles and books are among the most thrilling true-life stories you will ever read. In an introduction to one of his most famous works, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Thompson wrote:

“More or less…and this qualifier is the essence of what, for no particular reason, I’ve decided to call Gonzo Journalism. It is a style of “reporting” based on William Faulkner’s idea that the best fiction is far more true than any kind of journalism—and the best journalists have always known this.”

In the process of reading about this idea, I came across the quote, “Fiction is often the best fact,” credited to William Faulkner, the brilliant southern novelist.

Here’s the thing about that quote, though: I can’t find any evidence that Faulkner ever said it. At least, not those exact words. Many quote websites list him as saying, “The best fiction is far more true than any journalism,” though there doesn’t seem to be a specific source for it. Apparently it was just something he said. Despite the Wikipedia page on Gonzo Journalism specifically attributing “Fiction is often the best fact” to Faulkner, I wasn’t able to track down where or when the author said or wrote it.

And isn’t that perfect? It’s not so important whether or not the words in this form ever actually emerged from Faulkner’s pen or mouth because we know that the sentiment was essentially his. Or maybe we don’t. Maybe Thompson made it all up. Thompson put a lot of emphasis on accuracy in his writing, and yet he also knew that absolute accuracy was never possible.

That is the beauty of fiction. Whereas the academic arts such as science and history (rightfully) make stringent demands for veracity, literature plays with facts, muddles them with lies and peppers in details plucked from the ether. And yet, if the writer has done her or his job right, when the final product comes out, it has the revelatory impact of an entire year of collegiate study.

As a writer, I may be forced to make my bread and butter on gimmicks like 10 Cities because literature is a dying breed (unless it boasts a vampire or teenage protagonist), but make no mistake: Fiction is where I live and die. Everything else is just passing the time.

Fiction is often the best Fact context