Tomorrow

If I turned off my mental radio and stopped, just stopped… If I stopped and really thought about it all, I would most likely burst into tears.

crying-girl

I would burst into tears like some sort of overly pampered priss, while flailing about in an impotent rage. Rage in all that has passed, and in all that has not. All that has fallen apart, and all that has stubbornly stayed put. I would mourn the death of innocence in two young lives, and the two open doors that I could not walk through alone and, as such, could not walk through at all. I would weep over the pile of bodies that 2012 is leaving behind, and the swath of aborted dreams that were mowed down throughout its three hundred and sixty five days and nights.

So to avoid this, I will not turn my mental radio off. I will instead keep the cacophony at ear-deafening volumes, while I snuggle my mind deep within the distraction and cool warmth of its noise. I will keep my rage directed towards nonsensical things, things hardly deserving the sort of hate to be bestowed upon them. And I will do so in the hopes that in so doing I can slowly bleed it out, run it dry. Empty myself of the stuff in order to fill the newly open void with something better. Something positive.

Before I do so however, I would simply like to add:

2013, I am ready for a fresh start. Please Jesus, please – I am ready for Tomorrow.

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If.

If I had to do it all over again…

I would’ve been a female.

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I mean, and not to sound too jaded or anything, but as I troll along Blogsville’s well-lit streets, it does seem to me that it is the female of the species who garners greater attention overall.

I would have also stuck with more fiction. I understand that the idea behind this thing was to work through some issues in the first; but in retrospect that didn’t provide very much for the average reader to come running back for, now did it?

I would have figured out a way to disable my stats bar.

I would have publicized myself as well (just how in the hell I would’ve accomplished that in an anonymous fashion, I’ve no idea, but I’m sure I could’ve come up with something). I would have plugged my site, made sure that it was at least known about within my circles.

And finally, I would’ve left Jesus out of it. I can’t help but feel as if He’s rather upset with the idea that I spend a portion of my time telling you that He’s giving out (((hugs))), while I dawdle about the remaining posts, throwing f-bombs out and sulking in a general state of oft times unwarranted pissery.

If I had to do it all over again, I would start totally anew. In a new place, with a new name and a new focus. Simply to entertain, nothing more. I wouldn’t put my heart out so much so. I wouldn’t expect that anyone – busy with their own lives and concerns – would ever need to know of mine. I wouldn’t be so “me.” And hopefully, the resulting output would be better.

If I had to do it all over again… I just might.


Here’s a link, should you prefer to forgo the “live experience,” and simply listen to the prerecorded version instead.

An obligatory NaNoWriMo post

No, I didn’t have one of these last year. As I was still relatively new to the blogging game (a mere 5 months old at the time), I honestly had no idea what “NaNo” was when everyone first started chirping about it.

This year however, I was wiser – less wet behind my bloggerish ears. This year I was with the “in” crowd, and had actually signed up with NaNoWriMo. I even went so far as to write a post about it. One that would, in the final analysis never leave the status of “draft.” Well, not until now, that is:

Holy Christ.

I just created a NaNoWriMo account.

Now, what in the hell did I go and do that for?

I can’t write. I mean, for a sustained period of time on one subject. Oh sure, I can blubber on and on about any number of random topics – made-up or real – but I can’t actually write an honest-to-God story. Or at least I don’t feel as if I can. I think we can all see that, in the “Stranger Things” tale that is spinning slowly out of control (that’s right, part 2.2 is currently sitting around with a very sour look on it’s face somewhere in “drafts;” being very hard to please and even harder to talk with). With it, I can feel myself falling into that old trap I constructed all those years ago, wherein nothing I create is ever truly good enough. “Sins of the fathers” sort of thing, you know. As a result, each installment is getting harder and harder to beat out through my battered keyboard. True, my “100 Words” tale is coming along nicely, but I’m none too sure if that’s because of me, or more because of the community involved (that, plus the fact that the 100 word limitation makes you work really hard to get your point across!)

So then, why’d I do it?

I have no idea.

Which of course means I have a very good idea. I think it all comes back to that concept about bettering myself. Finding my way. Yeah, that’s gotta be it. I’m finding my way, and in so doing, I want to share my story. A story that I just can’t believe isn’t up there in my grey matter somewhere. I know it is. I can feel it, taste it. I can glimpse it even, but every time I go to write it down, it simply disappears into the ether of my mind, hiding out until it thinks I’ve forgotten about it. But I don’t forget. I keep coming back. Trying to find it again, so that I can plunk it all down, and share it with you.

My fear?

My fear is that my story – the one so rudely involving me in a game of “hide & seek” that I didn’t ask to play – is pornographic in nature. C’mon now, stop laughing, I’m being serious. I believe I’ve mentioned before just how important sex is to me. Hell, look at how many tags I’ve created involving it:

And I also think I could spin a pretty good yarn revolving around it. But you see I wouldn’t want it to be porn. Or perceived as such, at any rate. For me, sex is way too important – and enjoyable – to be muddied by plastic boobs, bleached hair and canned dialogue. That, plus I’m still not sure just where exactly J.C. stands on the whole “sex thing.” I know for a fact that the folks claiming to follow him have it all wrong, but seeing as he nary said two words on the whole subject, I would just never be sure if what I wrote was somehow sinful. Again, stop laughing. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to “play it safe” and as a result have my story perceived as some dime store romance either. Sex is way too important – and enjoyable – to be flounced by bullshit rainbows, happy-ever-afters and over-the-top dialogue as well. You see, it’s somewhere right in between the porn and the romance. Smack dab in the middle of “real.”

Now wait, what in the flip was that last bit all about?

This post is supposed to be about writing, not sex (dammit, C is right, it IS all I ever think about). Anywho, sorry for falling off the map like that. Moving on…

So, there you have it. I signed up for NaNoWriMo. And I did so – I believe – in the hopes of forcing my story out of its hiding spot. Once done, I’m hoping that other stories will come easier. I’ve a darling blogging buddy who wants to co-author with me, and I’ve been a very bad person, blowing her off as a result of this current trepidation. I’m terribly afraid that, similar to my solitary work, I’ll start to short-circuit while writing our story together, and attempt to bail on the whole thing. I simply couldn’t do that to her. Well, I could. So I won’t. Hell, even when she asked me what we would write about, I blanked. I shut down. It’s been over a week since the question was asked, and my mind is still stumbling all over itself in the dark. And I really wanted to do this with her.

Maybe my fear isn’t that my story will be pornographic, maybe it’s that it just doesn’t exist in the first. Maybe what I feel, taste and catch glimpses of isn’t a story at all, but rather a ruse I invented for myself, something to keep me occupied. Who knows? I suppose we’ll find out this November when I’ll have to slam down umpteen words into a fashion that creates some sort of a yarn when they’re all laid out. I still have no idea what that yarn will be, so it had better come out of hiding soon…

•••

As I think we all know, the story didn’t come out. But it’s not because of any failure on its (or my) part. No, instead school came out. And two additional kids came out. And work issues came out. And C’s (continuing) health issues came out. And – well, I could go on – but I’m sure you’ve got the idea by now. Life looked me square in the eye and said, “Son, tain’t gonna be no NaNoWriMo for you this year. Not if you want to keep your family, your job and your sanity.” Duly noted, Life. Hell, if I’m still around Blogsville next year, I might give it another go. Maybe Life might cut me a break. Until then, best of luck to all of you who are participating – I hope your keyboards are still speaking to you by month’s end!

Now, here’s a little ditty – the BEST song the 80’s EVER produced, I might add – to help spur you along…

Crazy.

He was a client. Just a client.

Why am I sitting here, crying over the news of his sudden death? Why did he have to die while vacationing with his bride? Why did he have to die at all?

And the other? He was my sister-in-law’s father.

I knew him better, but that fact didn’t save his life. Maybe he’s spending time with dad now, maybe not.

Am I crazy for crying?

She’s a client as well.

One who’s been holding onto a very dark secret for far too many years. A secret she’s no longer willing to live with. A secret she shared with me. Again, impotent tears roam my pallid face.

And the one I’m supposed to be protecting?

Well, she won’t even protect herself. At the grand age of 14, she’s decided that life is a waste, bettering yourself, for chumps.

Am I crazy for trying?

Am I?

•••

Listen, I apologize if this one is all clunky and amateurish in nature. It’s just that here it is September already, and still 2012 continues to shit itself down the throats of my friends and loved ones. Shoving pain after pain into their lives while I sit idly by – a personally unaffected and powerless passenger on a bullshit scenic drive through the streets of Miserytown, population: too damned many.

And then Fay dropped “Crazy” by Patsy Cline as her latest song prompt, the very day I found out about one client, three days prior to other client’s unexpected and violent death. As one who seemingly can’t let any damned thing go, thoughts of these two brought to mind the other two. And the rage builds. The anger boils. The frustration, the God damned frustration… Part of me wants to fall down at His feet, and the other part wants to sucker punch Him in the gut. The 150 words laid down today aren’t a testament to Patsy’s lost love so much as they are an affirmation of her feeling like she’s crazy. Anyone who lets love in is crazy. But maybe crazy is the way to be. Maybe crazy is the sole path to salvation, the route to being reborn.

I don’t know, and to be honest, I’m not actually in the mood to care just now. Just now, all I want to say is “hey, Big Daddy Death and Uncle Devastation, fuck you. I’ve had enough of the both of you this year. Quite enough. Give it a rest already, will ya? Leave my friends alone. Leave my family alone. Just leave us alone.”

I’m terribly sorry about all the pissy posts as of late kids. I’ll try my best to find a better place, and write from there moving forward. For now here’s Patsy with “Crazy,” one of only (3) country performers I’ll ever admit to listening to on a regular basis…

Briefly…

I was upset with my phone this morning, as the song prompt it was playing kept gagging. But then I realized: my phone was playing a song prompt.

It wasn’t tethered to the kitchen wall nor adorned with a clunky roto-dial. No, it sat comfortably in my passenger seat as it played a video (no worries, I only listened) of this weeks prompt for the 100 Word Song challenge.

Speaking of, here’s this weeks 100 Word Song.

And don’t forget, you can grab the whole mess of it here.

Isn’t it odd, as times change and technology expands – instead of looking on in wonder, I’m more prone to become frustrated over the “brave new world’s” perceived inadequacies. Instead of relishing in the fact that my phone even plays music, I become frustrated that it can’t do so correctly.

(im)Possibilities

Looking up, I realized that the sky was impossibly blue, which as a phrase, is an utter and bold-faced lie. I mean if it were an impossibility, then my eyes would’ve never been caressed by the hue that they were in the first. Turns out, the blue of the sky was quite possible after all, despite any negative terminology I used to describe it.

This of course, could call into question a couple of things. First off, the idea of just what’s possible. Besides men giving birth – or my ever understanding the lure of shows like “Jersey Shore” – I see damned little on the human level that is impossible, and yet we’ve not accomplished quite a bit due to the concept’s existence. Could it be that everything is possible, and we only throw the little “im” bit in at the beginning to ensure that we never have to make it so? I’m none to sure. And neither are you or anyone else. Because in a world of possibilities, we find ourselves constantly strapped down with phrases like “it just isn’t done that way,” “it’s never been done before,” “I can’t see why it would work,” and of course, “it’s impossible.”

Not that I’ve all the experience required to make this next statement, but I’ve never really observed anyone put forth the effort required on anything (besides my ever understanding the lure of shows like “Jersey Shore”) to actually validate the impossibility of something. Even in my own life, when I found myself sitting at the airport – weeping over the fact that stupid weather and union pussy regulations were keeping me from spending time with friends I haven’t seen in something like a hundred years – getting there wasn’t actually impossible, I just deemed it to be so after looking at the logistics of the thing. “Impossible,” I’m thinking is a snow job we allow ourselves to get suckered into, every time we feel we’re too weak, unworthy of, or just don’t give a damn about a particular possibility. We don’t care enough – or feel as if we can – make the world better, so we say that any effort to do so would be “impossible.”

Which then leads me to my second “thing,” the power of words. The idea that by simply saying something, it must be true. This is most prevelent in politics and religion of course (and yes you atheists, I talking about you as well), but it also washes across our daily lives. I’m constantly blown away that simple words have such power. It’s sort of like the power of money, in that something of no worth is given high esteem. Of course, unlike money, words can have worth, if spoken from the heart. But so often they’re not.

I’ve a friend who calls me both a music and a word whore. Right on both counts, although I feel better about my musical whoredom. You see, lyrics notwithstanding, with music all we can do is build. By its very nature, music uplifts, creates, caresses and provides us with more at the end than we had at the beginning. Words do very much the same, but they can also be used to the opposite affect as well. Words can destroy. Words can abuse. Words can be twisted so that they spread hate, all while appearing to be spreading love. Words can – and do – tear us apart from each other, build up barriers between classes, and provide those gifted in intellect – but not soul – with endless ammunition with which to destroy their opponents. In short, words are dangerous. But then again, anything we hold power over is.  The difference between a person yielding a hammer and another yielding a pen however is that while the one with the hammer can only clobber one opponent at a time, the one with the pen can literally wipe out an entire race with just one little stroke.

So, when one who is gifted with words says that something is impossible, most-to all of us will be inclined to believe them, without ever first giving it a go ourselves to see if they’re correct in their assessment. Again, the world suffers, simply because someone somewhere decided that the logistics of the matter were just too much effort to actually make the idea a reality.

As for me, I’m tired of “impossible,” whether it be the color of the sky, or something loftier. I’m tired of being told that this, that and the other thing cannot be done, because it simply isn’t done in that fashion. I’m no Punk Rock Warlord, but I agree with Joe Strummer that I am stuck in my mouse trail – and maybe even you in yours – and it will only be when we crawl out of our impossible little ruts, that the Possible will be realized.

Sorry Mr. Como, but while it was a close call, in the final analysis the boys from Carter USM beat out your “It’s Impossible.”

Freedom, wealth and ocean views

“Retire Rich” was emblazoned firmly across the cover of the Fortune magazine I happened upon in the public restroom where I work. I didn’t read the article, in part because it’s a subject I don’t feel I’ll need to be “boning up on” any time soon, and more importantly, because – as I noted previously – it was residing in a public restroom. It’s hard enough for me to actually walk into one, let alone touch anything that happens to be lying about on the stall floor. Directly beneath the headline, there’s an image of a healthy, well-dressed white couple – far too young in appearance to be retired yet, if you ask me – standing on the bow of what appears to be a yacht, overlooking the ocean.

They’re rich. They’re retired. And they’re together. But alone. No one else is in the shot with this couple who’s far too young in appearance to be retired yet. And it bothers me that there isn’t. It bothers me that in the year 2012, we still find ourselves dealing with these snake oil salesmen. You see, I believe that the magazine didn’t just trail up and down the coast in search of a healthy, well-dressed, white, far-too-young-in-appearance-to-be-retired-yet-if-you-ask-me couple. I believe they very specifically chose whom they did, and they then plunked them down in the exact spot needed, to best serve the magazine’s goals. Now I won’t go off about the couple’s race, because I’m certain that Caucasians were only chosen because we seem to work best in seafaring settings. I will however, go off on several other items, but before we move on – a quick digression first:

I said “Caucasian” on purpose. As I for one, am sick and tired of having to be so careful as to what name I use when addressing other races, yet when in regards to us, plain old “white,” still works just fine. For the record, I’m not white – I’m Polish-American. Polish-bald and slightly overweight with a panache for music appreciation-American, if you’re being specific.

OK, back on topic. I was trying to make a link between the magazine and snake oil salesmen because after all these years, there are folk out there still trying to sell us on the idea of eternal youth. Of happiness through wealth. Of – well – apparently owning the damned ocean’s view, by mere fact of financial independence. I mean, what gives? I’m no Rockefeller, and I’m still allowed to take a peek at the ocean if I want. True, I can’t do it from the bow of a yacht, but it’s still there for me. And that I guess, is the part of the cover that bothers me most. Had the couple been trapped in the surroundings of wealth one normally associates with the stinkin’ rich, I think I would have felt better (or at least not noticed as much) about their being far too young in appearance to be retired yet. But with the ocean setting, it almost seems as if the magazine is saying that the wealthy are freer than the rest of us. Freer than us poor working stiff-types. Free enough to take ownership of what is free already. And that sort of pisses me off. Not because it’s a lie, but because it’s simply not true.

You see, I believe “freedom” is a lot like “wealth,” in that both are concepts very subjective to the beholder. While I can acknowledge that the rich have more goods and products, I can’t see whereas that makes them wealthier than I. And while they may have more time to spend with these goods and products, I can’t see where that then equates to true freedom. To me, true freedom doesn’t have a price tag, but true freedom does cost you everything you own. I know, I’m starting to make less and less sense – right? Let’s see if this works to help clear things up – being able to spend a week in Disneyland, while providing me with a certain amount of freedom, doesn’t make me free. Eventually I must return from my momentary freedom, and work to save up for the next time. Conversely, volunteering with the Peace Corps most assuredly removes every shred of freedom you may have previously enjoyed, but at the same time, it frees you wholly from the existence the rest of us find ourselves trapped in. And not only that, it betters you – frees you to accomplish even more. The time you spend away from worrying about “retiring rich,” allows you to come back a much richer person in the balance. One who will be glad to forego retirement altogether, to focus instead on the pursuit of Life.

Now, I’m not saying that I have ever volunteered for the Peace Corps (or have been to Disneyland for that matter), but I feel as if I have tried to use the opportunities provided to me in my time, to carry on with that sort of a spirit. As I’ve told my children – when I die, God is going to have a LOT of questions for me, but how much money I made is not gonna be one of them. I truly believe that (both parts, by the by), and I wish more people felt the same. I wish that those rich couples would stop staring at the damned ocean from the safety of their yacht and jump in with the rest of us. There’s a lot we could accomplish if we did so collectively. But apart, all that results is a small few on yachts, and the rest of us treading water. Building their yachts for them, as they sail along carefree, right over us.

So, is this just a poor person rant against the rich? Could be, I suppose. But I hope it’s not, and hope even more so that it is not perceived in that vein. I would never tell a rich person to give to the poor what they have worked “so hard” for. But I would invite the rich to stop working so hard for only themselves. It is that very ideology that drives us ever onward to tearing ourselves apart as a species. The very thing that ensures that we will never reach our full potential.

OK, I guess I’m done now, but I do feel as if before I clamber down from my soapbox that I should mention – hey you people living on welfare? You know, the ones who do it just to avoid having to actually work for a living? Yeah, that goes for you too. Let’s all work together, stop making yachts, and start making room at the ocean side for everyone to catch a glimpse, OK? I promise that if we do, then we can all retire rich.