This Is Us

The truth of your life is always there — and the more you hide from it, the worse it haunts you

Blue-colored illustration of a person looking out froma prison cell.
Blue-colored illustration of a person looking out froma prison cell.
Illustration: lupashchenkoiryna/Getty Images

The cops swarmed toward us.

Have you ever been in a riot?

There were screams, but there was also silence. Enough silence to hear bones crack.

Out of that memory grows a profound connection.

In my life, I’ve wandered into some wild places. I’ve taken long drives in the night across bridges and thought to stop and just end it. But I found help—a doctor who spent a lot of time with me and talked me through the rough bits. It was a relationship I treasured, but it also reached a place where I needed to move on.

At our…


Sixteen Months That Changed Music.

The summer after The Beach Boys released their album Pet Sounds, the Beatles were in L.A.. The band was on their last tour and were looking forward to a break.

“Bruce Johnson on a trip to London played it to John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Keith Moon and Mick Jagger’s girlfriend Marianne Faithfull, all of whom were struck dumb by what they heard. And soon the cream of British musicians–including Graham Nash, Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham and, well, Eric Clapton’s Cream–were in thrall to Wilson’s meisterwerk.” Paul Lester

By the time the Beatles get…


May is Mental Health Month.

1. Dysfunctional people cause chaos.

I used to think they put me on this earth to help dysfunctional people. Of course, that thought was its own symptom of a dysfunctional personalty. I wanted to save people, like some kind of dime-store Jesus.

You learn the hard way in this life, and the dysfunctional people around me taught the hardest lessons.

Dysfunctional people cause chaos. It’s their goal. It’s their pleasure. They tell lies, then weave fantastic stories from their lies, and confuse everything so you no longer know what is the truth. They attack in ways blatant and subtle. …


I get fired from the Moscow State Circus for messing with a bear.

Martin tells me to be ready at 6 a.m. He has coffee in a thermos and hands me a cup. It’s medicine. I require coffee. We’d been on the beach all night. Our house is right on the beach. The ocean draws you out at night. Dreams as waves crash along the shore.

We make our way across Adelaide. Streets empty. I don’t know the city. Martin is from here. He drives fast, coffee in one hand, wheel in the other.

Martin is a tall, skinny guy with an unkempt beard. I met him in Sydney. He said there’s work…


I consider mixing music an alchemical process. My #1 mixing tip? Never begin a mix on headphones. Only use headphones to check detail now and then. Why? To create a piece of music you need to blend a crucible of vibrations.

You need to move air, define space, you need to create a center. I look for the place where vibrations bloom and unfold. That’s the proper place for your ears and the point where you can shape and sculpt the music. I place my speakers in the center of space, away from walls, so they are unimpeded and vibrate…


The previous president plowed through the guard rails protecting our Constitution and painted gray areas with his own personal logo. My reoccurring thought during the rough years of his presidency was we need serious ethics reform of the Executive Branch.

His presidency was scattered, unfocused and undisciplined. We survived. I think. But another smarter, ambitious, insidious personality could exploit weak ethics to destroy our democracy.

The Congressional Effort to reform Executive Branch ethics is wrapped into the For The People voting rights act. But Republicans see voting rights as a last stand. Efforts to insure Americans vote are a lethal…


Several years before the pandemic arrived and forced us into a remote work debate, I was working on totally remote massive global productions. I was part of remote team that was so productive it was cited in the Financial Times in 2009 as ‘the future of work.’ And I became an evangelist for the concept.

My work is in the animation and video game industries, both long-term masters of remote global pipelines. The COVID crisis was handled efficiently by every video game producer I knew. Barely a beat was missed. It was impressive. And depressing too. …


Congress must act.

The previous president plowed through the guard rails protecting our Constitution and painted gray areas with his own personal logo. My reoccurring thought during the rough years of his presidency was we need serious ethics reform of the Executive Branch.

Scattered, unfocused and undisciplined, his presidency faltered, but we survived. The red flags flew. Another smarter, ambitious, insidious personality might exploit weak ethics to destroy our democracy.

They wrapped the Congressional Effort to reform Executive Branch ethics into the ‘For The ‘People voting rights act. But Republicans see voting rights as a Last Stand. Efforts to insure Americans vote are…


Used to hang upstairs in Tony Bon Jovi’s apartment at Power Station. You can imagine. Jim was there a lot. One night he says he needs 200 tracks to do this song he’s working on. Yeah, sure. But he’s Jim. So next day the guys at the studio bring in maybe 8 or 9 Otari 24-tracks and hook them all together. They fill the control room and go out into the hall. Cables everywhere. Give a challenge like that to studio engineers and they eat it up. It never exactly worked. Getting all those machines to run in sync, just…


Writing and productivity tips overwhelm the platform.

Are we being terrorized by algorithms? Likes? Followers?

Why I write. It’s a compulsion. I started young, eight. I had my first story published in a Catholic newspaper. ‘How I Saved Jesus.’

The story: I rush into a church and save the Sacred Host. Me saving The Lord. They must have thought it cute.

I write because I always do. When Medium started up it was a blood-rush. A writer’s platform. A place to publish. The Mission Statement felt writerly. Home. More importantly, a place to read writing, to discuss writing, to vibe writing.

Not so much these days. Now…

Christopher McHale

Writer | Composer | Producer | Human | Christopher lives and works in New York City. www.christophermchale.com

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