The Looming Sunshine…

They sat on the porch, together.

They sat on the porch, quietly. He invested deep within his book, and she, equally so in hers. Not a word was spoken, nor a head even raised as I walked briskly by. They were each totally engrossed within their own little worlds alone, but together.

The porch they sat on was not nearly big enough for the two of them, let alone their large-format print books, nor the cat that apparently shared their life. So to make space, he at least scampered down onto the lawn just before I arrived, stalking about almost as if to imply that he too was looking for a book in order ignore the rest of the world with. 

The scene got me to thinking randomly (don’t they all?) and what I got to thinking randomly about was this:

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Have you ever been engrossed with a book?

One written expertly, with characters so alive that you could almost pinch them, and a story line so well crafted that you could swear it was divined, instead of merely written?

And then all of a sudden, smack dab deep within the goodness and glory of that book, the whole thing turns rather sour, with the Author making you read through page after page of utterly distasteful activities and scenarios.

You read on, because you know that surely the Author didn’t suddenly lose all their skill, talent and story-writing ability. You’re certain that the Author simply MUST be forcing you through this section – most usually occurring shortly after the chapter that follows the halfway mark – in order to teach you something critical about the characters in this tale.

You’re certain of it but still, with each page passed, you keep glimpsing forward anxiously, wondering when the chapter will end, hoping that the next will bring you back to the delightful yarn that you had been enjoying so much so up until this point. You’d even read a short stanza or two from the pages to follow, and you know that it’s soon enough to be true, just after you can slog through this one black sheep of a bastardly and evil, yet wholly required chapter, first.

That in a nutshell, it suddenly occurs to me friends, is where I find my life right about now. But just for exactly right about now. Having worked my way through most of the chapter I wish I could have skipped altogether, I can see the number of pages remaining continue to dwindle. And while that does cause me extreme joy, it also gnaws on me, similar to the clawing cat that knows with desperation that it’s losing its litter-encrusted grip upon you. I keep finding myself having to fight the urge to try to read faster, or skip whole pages, for I know that I can do neither anyway. I must wait patiently and read through to the very last word.

The next chapter is already looming bright, begging to greet me with open arms and sunshine. But it can not start in earnest until this one first ends.

And sadly that, word by bloody distasteful word…

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Tags, Peace & Love

There are certain bloggers who are above playing along with the “tag, your it” posts.

I am not one of these.

Well, not this time at any rate, because this time I was tagged by one of my favorite writers out here, Nowan Zen from I’m Not Lost, Just Weird.

And just as I was beginning to compile the reams of documentation required for these types of posts, who should drop in, but Shannon from The Squeaky Wheel Blog, who also asked if she could tag me (that’s right Nowan, Shannon asked…)

So what will follow will be a Frankensteining of sorts, between the (2) tags, and since both require that additional people are then – well – tagged in a “play it forward” fashion, I am simply saying screw it, and throwing this right back onto the two who first nabbed me, with each being tasked to figure out just what parts pertain to them (if you’d like to be tagged as well, start gathering your paperwork, and just let me know).

OK, ready?

Both require a picture. Both will receive the same one. This is me and my boys at Pride 2013. Simon is an agnostic who believes in Jesus more than a lot of Christians do, and he wanted to express the idea that J.C. was all about love and inclusion, versus hate and exclusion. Hence his marching the parade (as he came be known by the crowd) as “Rainbow Jesus.” I’m the lumpy old guy in the middle.

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Both require 11 random facts. Why is it always 11, and why must they always be random? Never the mind, here goes:

1. Technically, I suppose the “lumpy” bit could count as number 1.

2. Simon caught a lot of flak from his mother and her family for his decision. He stuck to his guns anyway. Fine, not actually a random fact about me, but I’m proud of him regardless.

3. Yes, our t-shirts say “Jesus Is Not A Homophobe.”

4. “Homophobe” refers to a person who is hateful of Gay and Lesbian people. Apparently scared that this sort of thing is contagious…?

5. Yes, we’ll get off the subject of the damned photo already.

6. Random fact # 7 actually comes in at # 6.

7. See above

8. Sorry – just one more thing. Ian is going next year in full drag.

9. I’m damned proud of him as well.

10. Lookie here, we’re already at the second-to last one!

11. When I was young, I used to suck my thumb. It soothed me greatly. I recently tried it again, but it just didn’t have the same affect. Damned thumb.

Both have a bunch of questions. Some I will answer honestly, others I will simply bullshit my way through, and for none of them will I actually be funny, insightful or in any way engaging…

Nowen asks:

  1. What is your quest? To dream the impossible dream, of course. Duh!
  2. If you could select any character from the Big Bang Theory to describe yourself, which one would you select and why? (Losing Nerd cred), I’ve never watched the show, but (gaining Nerd cred), if this were about Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy, I would be the lorry driver who doesn’t realize that he is actually the God of Rain.
  3. When was the last time you laughed hard enough to snort (aka Donkey Honk) and what was so funny? The last time was when Ian (pictured above as not Jesus) came up to me and asked if he could go to Target.com to “buy a set.” Turns out, he was actually talking about legos.
  4. If you could travel anywhere and live all expenses paid for a year, where would that be? (No you may not select Uranus. Stop giggling!) The sky. No lie. Just up there in the blue. Not to get away from it all, but rather, above it. Incidentally, and since neither asked, flying is also my superpower of choice.
  5. What was the last book you read that you actually enjoyed and why would you recommend it? Andrew Davidson’s, The Gargoyle. Because it was creepy, sexual, inspiring and scary. Long before my divorce ever came down, this book showed me that True Love was not what I had. That and it made me cry. Oh, it’s also a nice weight and size to place in the small of your back, should it be aching in the middle of the night.
  6. What is your motto or mantra for your life? To dream the impossible dream, of course. Duh!
  7. You have one chance to witness first hand any event, you cannot alter it only witness it, what would it be? In all seriousness, I would like to be there on Easter morning. Not to prove to myself that it actually happened, but just to be able to give Him a hug and say thank you.
  8.  A book is being written about your life by an observer, what would the title be? Wonder How Many People Are Actually Gonna Buy This Book?
  9. What would creep you out the most? (seeing me naked is NOT an acceptable answer!) The very thing that I most desire – an actual visit from an angel. I’ve known a few who have told me of this experience, and I chose to believe them all. It’s the one thing I’ve always longed for to happen, but it would also creep me right out of my skin if it ever did.
  10. You have a friend who really needs a laugh, how do you get them to laugh? (dress in a hamster suit and dance the Macarena is funny) Depends on the person, but I can usually get people laughing just by walking into a room…
  11. What is the worst pick-up line you have heard used that worked? My little brother used to use it to great success and often, and it really can say a lot about certain members of the female of the species. He would say simply, “Get Away From Me.”

Shannon asks:

1. What smell instantly takes you back to a moment from your childhood?

Sixlets. When we were little, every year Christmas morn found us craddling hollow tube candy canes, packed to the brim with m&m’s. But these m&m’s smelled different. Tasted better. Ma n’ Pa said it was because they were Christmas m&m’s delivered by Santa, but they lied. Not too sure about the Santa part, but definitely about their being m&m’s. They were not, they were sixlets. I still like them better than m&m’s, and I still get mentally thrown back to Christmas 1970-something every time I open a bag. (Incidentally, this simutanlously makes me miss terribly the Godzilla Shogun Warrior I also had from around the same time – yeah, the one with the launching fist.)

2. What song will make you headbang/car dance/waltz around your living room no matter what kind of a shitty mood you’re in?

There is only ONE song that needs be played for this. “Jesus Built My Hot Rod,” by Ministry of course.

Or, “Got Some” by Pearl Jam I suppose.

And again, there’s also “Dont Fuck Me Up” by Cracker. And you can’t forget “Going Nowhere” by Therapy?, and I suppose I would have to mention my quizzer’s son’s near-namesake, The Exploited’s “Daily News.” And, well, I guess there’s at least a couple that trip my anger trigger.

Oops! Almost forgot “Hell Bent For Leather” by Judas Priest!

3. If you had to pick having to smell roses everywhere you went all the time or never being able to see the color blue, which would you choose?

I hate roses. And no, not because they “really smell like poo, poo-poo.” I hate them because they are so widely regarded as beautiful, with little or no actual reasoning behind this assessment. And in my experience, anything – or one – who is looked upon like this, can quite often have a deep inner ugliness that, when stumbled upon, destroys any semblance of the previously held viewpoint. That being said, if I chose the latter over the former, I would never again be able to look up into the deep azure sky, and long for the day that I will be able fly up there, unaided by man-made plane, controlled by heaven-made pilot. So I will simply have to resign myself to smelling those fucking roses all the time instead.

4. Would you be more afraid of a rhinoceros charging at you or a hippopotamus?

I would be more afraid if neither was charging me in fact. I mean, how could they not? Look at me, I’m freakin’ delicious.

5. Which, to you, would be the most flattering way to finish this sentence: Your writing really reminds me of _______.

The love-child of Douglas Adams and C.S. Lewis. With the full understanding that Mr. Lewis couldn’t actually bear Mr. Adams a child, resulting from his religious convictions.

6. Is it hard for you to stay on task from beginning to end, or do you jump around and do a little of this and a little of that and eventually cross the finish line?

Wait! There’s a finish line???

7. What is your biggest pet peeve about yourself?

43 years later, I still fall into that old trap of believing that my best will never be good enough. “Never,” as in the deepest, bleakest, most worthless never ever.

8. Do you plan to write your own epitaph or let someone else do it? Or, I guess conversely, cremation or burial would need to be answered first. TWO-PARTER! So that’s 8 & 9, because I multi-task like a motherfucker!

I’m going to answer this as a politician would. Which bascially means the answer will have nothing to do with the question. I’ve told my kids I want exactly (3) things for my funeral, and they can do whatever else they want with the rest of the service. 1) no wake. NO. WAKE. I’ve been to many, they’re all creepy, and not a damned one has actually worked. No wake. 2) bury me in pajamas (or if I die in the summer, nude is fine). Seriously, a liftime of corporate strangulation, and then you get stuck in a suit and tie for the big sleep? No thank you! 3) Bobby Darin MUST be played at the funeral. “Artificial Flowers,” to be exact. Don’t ask why.

10. All time favorite curse word, either one you’ve heard or one you’ve made up in the heat of the moment?

Douchery, fuckery, jack-assery. Catching a theme here? Basically, you can take any swear word, simply place a “ery” at the end, and it instantly becomes cool. Now, lets stop dicking around, and move on.

Incidentally “dicking around” could possibly the coolest, most nebulous swears ever. Use it often. People will think you’re smart if you do.

11. What vanity license plate would put “YOU” out there for all other driver’s to know?

“Can you believe that this cat actually thinks it’s cool to say ‘fuckery’?”

Both require a litany of new questions be generated and parceled out. But I’ve only one. Well, more like 2 – 3 in one.

If this is all that there is, and there is nothing else, either after or before, are you happy? I mean, truly happy? If “no,” then what can you do to turn that? And if “yes,” then where can I get what you’re having?

So there we go.

Shannon, Nowen, swap questions and get back to me, ya hear? Oh, and I’m also tagging Twin Daddy because I really respect his writing (though he has no idea I exist), and because He was the one that got me into this mess with Shannon in the first place.

So there.

If you’ve read this far, you deserve a little treat. So here, have a Cracker…

175 Words Plus A Sentence

We’re getting a new professor over at Master Class 2013.

In addition, k~ asked me to this week refrain from writing about dead people or people seeing dead people – maybe even try something life-affirming for a change…

These modifications of course, make me nervous. So much so, that – as you probably guessed from today’s title – I totally blew my usually self-imposed 150-word limit.

No worries though, I’m still Times New Roman, double spaced and one inch margined, all ’round.

So, understanding that this week’s twist is fitting the prompt sentence somewhere within the body of the text (versus being at the beginning or the end) below is week six’s submission for Master Class 2013:

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Seeing her smile, he felt like a safe cracker who – partly by luck – had sussed out the first digit in a lengthy, arduous combination. She was more of a puzzle than she was a safe of course. But in the idea of locating the first two pieces to match, you just don’t achieve the same sort of satisfaction. Or so he imagined. Oh hell, he had no idea what he was trying to describe.

But that’s the way it was with love, now wasn’t it? He was unsure, as he had never felt this before. Not True Love at any rate.

He could hear his soul nudging him, “Shut up and talk to her already, you fool!”

Working up the nerve, he met her vacuous gaze while nervously scratching out a hello of sorts. All while his trembling body gave hint that – upon hearing her response – it might very well simply fall apart at each and every seam.

Before she could speak however, the gruff voice of the store manager intruded forcefully from behind, saying, “Sir, I’ve told you before – you frighten the other customers away, when you talk to our mannequins like that.”

•••

Shannon chose for this week, from Lev Grossman’s “The Magicians.”

Yeah, I just went there.

150 Words Plus A Sentence

Well into week 4 already, I still feel as if I’m finding my way through this Master Class endeavor. Am I doing well, or doing poorly? I’ve no idea, as I haven’t received very many grades back as of yet.

That being said, I should (hopefully) be able to hear from all of you as to how I am doing, since Master Class has now instituted a voting mechanism to see who readers feel deserves to go to the head of the class in a given week. That means, from this Sunday morn through Monday night, you’ll be able to vote for whom you felt did the best job, after clicking here and reading through all the entries.

That being said, and without further ado, here’s my homework submission for week 4 of Master Class 2013′s spring semester.

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And (like it or not) here’s the song I found myself humming along while I wrote it…

150 Words Plus A Sentence

Almost didn’t make it to class today, what with all the atrocious weather and (worse still) drivers mucking about.

Here’s my homework submission for week 3 of Master Class 2013′s spring semester.

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And here’s a song I find myself singing quite often when thinking of dad, and when thinking about me.

150 Words Plus A Sentence

You are correct. This week’s submission does not include any characters who are dead, dying or talking about death. Nope, just a bitchy old lady on an average day in paradise.

Here’s my homework submission for week 2 of Master Class 2013’s spring semester.

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And here’s a song that could have very well been playing up in the old lady’s head while she stood there…

150 Words Plus A Sentence

Listen, there are some really good writers out there, and a group of them have a weekly challenge they call “Master Class.” Please click on the image below, or visit my “Master Class 2013” tab above, to learn more.

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I’ve never had the nerve to join in the fun before, but I felt I should give ‘er a go for the upcoming Spring semester. Just to see if I can do with literary prompts what I feel I’ve become pretty proficient at with musical ones.

Although there’s no limitation on the word count with this challenge, as you can see from my post title, I will attempt to keep my entries down to 150 words past the prompt sentence. I feel the brevity of the exercise will help me to become a better writer, while at the same time guarantee that you’ll not have to suffer through my usual 1,000 + words.

So, without further ado, here’s this week’s Master Class 2013 entry.

And, in a partial ode to my constant fear that I’m writing something that someone else already did, here’s the tune I chose to kick this venture off with…