Move On Up

“The trouble was, I had been inadequate all along, I simply hadn’t thought about it.”

~ Sylvia Plath

Copyright – Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Copyright – Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

I wonder,

How can someone so singular in mind,

Be so double in their standards?

How can someone so longing to be freed from outside opinion,

Be so ready to compartmentalize all others?

How can someone so desiring of respect from this very same outside,

Be so ready to marginalize all those who would freely give it.

I wonder,

But in knowing that no answer to my puzzlement is forthcoming,

Decide to wonder no more.

•••

Deciding that Rochelle’s image provided a near-perfect excuse to empty my mental closet of some very old and unneeded worry, I jumped full-on with this week’s Friday Fictioneers. I hope you decide to jump on (full or otherwise) as well…

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David’s White Coat.

You might think that it should be The Clash, but it won’t.

Or possibly Judas Priest is the one band you think I’ll address today, but they’re not the winners either.

Surely you all know me well enough to know that it couldn’t possibly be Bobby Darin, as I do so loathe going with the over-the-top obvious in these matters.

And to those who know the inner me very well as well, perhaps you think The Bolshoi will be the band who rates my five, but even these lovely lads will be passed up for today.

And they will be likewise treated, as even more important than they, New Model Army has for many a year led my heart’s fray.

First formed in 1980, and still recording and touring till this day, these boys out of Yorkshire, England first captured me in 1988, with my unplanned purchase of their self-named EP tape (one of the many such bands that I came to love, after purchasing their album based SOLELY upon the artwork) – an EP tape that awoke my melodic and social senses with an immediate kick to the mental stones, partially due to their message of bleached lab coats gone mad…

David, my dearest friend and mentor during my stay in Jacksonville, North Carolina, at a little USMC air station called New River, chose this very song to last-dance to when he was leaving, discharge papers in-hand. And while that experience burned into my memory cells, it would prove to be a different N.M.A. song altogether that highlighted the “Tribe” that I had found for the first time ever, during those stormy days of my youngish life…

Appearing on their “Thunder & Consolation” album – a disc that would forever change the way I looked at people, “Vagabonds” was only bested by the following little ditty. A song of no consequence, unless of course, you listened to the lyrics…

Like many bands in my life, these boys and I parted ways at some point, though neither one of us will ever truly know why. And it wasn’t until we reconnected that these avowed witches were able to (once again) help to explain to me my avowed Christian beliefs, all while talking to me about “me…”

Once we reconnected, I went on a mad flourish (yes, complete with wrists a’ flailing, if you please) to catch up on all their efforts that I had missed out on while being absent. And as a result, your bonus track for today comes before track #5…

But alas, track #5 must ALWAYS come, and in the case of New Model Army, and in relation to a 44-year-old post-punk punk, the following provides strange consolation to an oldish man getting ready himself to be reborn…

Since 1988, they’ve spoken to me, consoled me and urged me on. I’m quite certain they never knew that they did so, but I’d like to thank them for the favor none the less. New Model Army – you should check them out.

•••

Jen, God bless ya for starting Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday, and God bless ya even more for providing us with the “favorite band” prompt for this week.

mixtape-jenkehl1-300x300

Happy Feet

She is an inspiring artist, and a wonderful sport. I love her vision, and have longed to use more than one of her pieces as prompts. With one of her more recent works I blurted out my desire, and instead of politely ignoring me (as she should have), she actually invited me instead to go ahead and do as I wished. Dear Elena, I truly hope I don’t disappoint you with the following…

Copyright - Elena Caravela

Copyright – Elena Caravela

The shoes are key.

You see, it’s the shoes that always point forward, never back.

And my friend, if you’ve even one that points in the yesterday direction, then I should think it high time that you invest in a new pair!

No, it’s the shoes that point forward. Ever looking towards the horizon. Ever hoping for the next step instead of the last, scary monsters and super creeps be damned.

Be they jaunty or clunky, tight tipped or broad-nosed, dirty or clean, new or old, they carry you on your journey. They are – if you’ll pardon the deplorable, yet necessary pun – with you every step of the blessed (or damned, as the case may be) way.

For you see, while the shoes may point the direction, tis you who decides how they’ll get you to where they’re going. Tis you who decides whether they’ll bounce or thud, whether they’ll crisply cut the low air, or drag along the concrete sulkily. Tis you who decides whether they will move with purpose and speed, lounge along casually with a certain ease of mind, or trawl dead-weighted from moment to moment in sullen despair.

You see, whether you turn to the left or turn to the right is not the thing. The thing is in the very fashion with which you make that turn, and in the passion with which you tarry forth.

And best of all, tis you who decides that, my friend – YOU!

As for yours truly, I had decided several epiphanies back to slap the smile on my face, and screw my best hat – yes, the flouncy one – securely to my noggin just prior to heading out my mind’s door.

True, the rain still comes, and the weather must still be weathered. But I’ve come to learn that it’s not so much the rain that stops me, as it is these very drops of salty wetness that serve to create me – making me who I am and who I might someday be.

The smudges these sky-fallen tears leave are worn with pride, not embarrassment. And much like the shoes that are charged with moving both them and my own good self along, on our way forward we all march gaily to the ‘morrow!

•••

I hope you come along too.

And yes, I am ending today with this…

Interrupting All Programs.

So on Tuesday, this happened:

I-Won-The-Internet

I Won The Internet, 8/20/13

Just thought you all should know, you know, just how cool it is to be reading me…

Thank you Tracy =)

Briefly… The My Three Adoration edition

Simon’s 16 years-old.

My first-born, when he was first born, lay there on the heating-table as the nurse looked to me, saying “He’s yours – you can touch him.” I recently introduced him to the (somewhat painful) world of job applications, though it feels as he was only born a few years ago.

Simon has the power.

Hannah’s 15, and Hell on Wheels. Hell. On. Wheels. A strong young woman who desires popularity, while understanding the power of true friendship. She’s gonna dazzle the world with her persona, a trait she gets – oddly enough – from me.

Hannah has the power.

Ian’s 13. “Last but not least” never had a truer ring, and to me, he’s a Heart Of Gold on two legs – two very short legs. He keeps us four in check, making damned sure that I’m always on top of my game.

Ian has the power.

I named them with the following criteria – each should have names rooted in biblical history (“Ian” being Gaelic for “John”), and none should have names that could be altered in common conversation.

GIKids

All three bless my Life.

All three lift me.

All three have the power.

And all three,

Will someday use it.

•••

robot-badge

Three (3) notes concerning this post:

1) This week’s 100 Word Song prompt was chosen by Linda Roy (who has the bestest business cards ever!) – “People Have Power” by Patti Smith.

2) Losing all punk rock cred, I never actually was that much of a Patti Smith fan. I mean, I caught “Because The Night,” and thought to m’self, “Well, that was rather nice,” before moving on. Hey, it happens. Truth be told, I wasn’t all that sold on Iggy Pop either.

3) There are three people in my life who continually inspire me, unconditionally love me, and make me a better man by their mere presence. They are currently walking with me through the hardest challenge of my adult life thus far, and I felt it was once again time to give them their due respect. Even IF I blew the 100 word limitation by a straight 100% in the process. Being their dad is never a pain, and always a pleasure.

3.5) Well. I suppose we can all safely assume that that last bit is a *touch* over-the-top, unadulterated and biased b.s., right…? 

Time Out…

It was a flying swing-sort of thing, but I didn’t catch the name. Hell, I didn’t catch a lot of stuff on that day.

But it was a perfect day none the less. True, Mother Nature tried to bring us down, with some skies initially grey. And a certain other also tried to bring me down. But even her best efforts at pissery melted painlessly away, under the sun and the Love of the day.

The sun, the Love, and the perfection were all experienced by myself, my three, plus a friend of Hannah’s, at a little 5 & Dime theme park up my way called Fantasy Island. Now if you’re anything like me, you can NOT go to this park without hoping, “Maybe this time. Maybe this time Mr. Rourke will be waiting for me, wearing white and looking drop-dead Mexican sexy, as he welcomes me to his drop-dead-not-Mexican-but-just-as-sexy island, granting me a wish.” As you might have guessed, this visit did no more to yield that desire becoming a reality than any of the other visits, but as the day strolled itself along, this time I found that it didn’t really matter too much at all.

It was all good, and every moment was cherished, me with them, and they with me. No longer little children – like the last time we had gone – they’d grown now, matured, and the “kiddie rides” took on a whole new meaning. A new flavor. Obviously, the ones that required you to be 4′ or under were passed by altogether this time (me, being dragged by the three plus one away from the Lil’ Boat Merry-Go-Round. Can you imagine? I mean, c’mon! They use REAL water for God’s sake! That ride kicks ASS!) But we still all smiled like idiots, as we rode down the Giant Slide, potato sack under butt. We still all pretended to have zombie and/or cyborg horses (I mean, they DO all have posts struck straight through them, after all) on the carousel. And we all – every last one – pretended that bumper cars were the vehicles used exclusively by average older Americans, in the effort of learning how to drive.

We enjoyed the Crazy Mouse (a roller coaster best described as being engineered by the boys from Devo, while being high on paint thinner), and the ferris wheel, but it was that damned flying swing-sort of thing that would eventually provide me with the inspiration (FINALLY!) for this particular post.

Picture 7

You see, the ride is simple. A swing. That goes in a circle. No big deal, right? Right, unless you realize that this particular swing is about 800 gazillion feet up in the air. I went only because I told myself – as I was herding the three plus one into the car – that this trip, I would “Just. Let. Go.” I would live, instead of worrying about dying. I would be me, instead of being scared about being yelled at by someone because I was being me. So when the kids said “let’s go,” I swallowed my trepidation, and got on the swing.

And I loved it. Like, “Jesus pulling on my non-existent hair just so it could blow in the wind one more time” loved it. The first time I went with Hannah’s friend. Which was perfect, because she has no reason to love me, yet still she apparently does (she calls me “Grand Pee,” only after she decided that “Dr. Pee Wee” was too formal). The second time I went with Ian. Which was perfect because, well, because he’s Ian. And the last time I went with, well…

He told me his name on the flying swing-sort of thing, but I didn’t catch it. Hell, I didn’t catch a lot of stuff on that day.

You see, with this ride, they always need exactly an even number of riders to lift off. And this time, he and I were both odd men out. So we sat together.

He was O.G. (do they still say that?), but one of the mentally handicapped variety (do they still say that?) A good kid, but I must admit, a bit creepy on the surface as well. Creepy as in, it wasn’t until we reached the 800 gazillion feet range that I realized, only a metal bar and a plastic seat were keeping me alive. But I swallowed a second helping of trepidation, ignored old tendencies and old fears about such things, and just spoke to the kid.

Now to be sure, we will not be pen pals anytime soon, but we did both come to realize that flying is a pretty danged cool power to have, and if God was willing, we would both ask for it. I also came to understand that even “a bit creepy on the surface” people just want to be talked to, and treated with basic human respect, in order to be happy.

The ride ended, and the kid left. And that was that.

I still don’t know his name, but I will always remember the one stage in our “journey” – after he had pointed out his family members in the adjacent swings – where I motioned across the expanse of sky to another swing, and noting the (2) beautiful young men who sat within (both having had the good sense to remove their shoes before the ride began), being able to say to my momentary friend, “those are my two boys. I love them.”

I went to Fantasy Island to spend some time with my children. But I left with the realization that they weren’t my children, they were now their own. And they had decided to come to the same park for the sole purpose of spending time with me. And I remembered just how blessed I was, and am, to have that sort of Love in my life.

Thank God for grey skies that become blue.

Thank God for icy tones that melt painlessly away.

And thank Him as well, for those nameless, yet liberating flying swing-sort of things.

Now, if He would only see Himself to just allowing for taller folk to be able to ride the Lil’ Boat Merry-Go-Round…

•••

And then THIS happened…

Yesterday, I saw a new icon on my notification tab. Well; I thought it was a new icon at any rate. Clicking on it, I realized that I actually had seen it before, exactly one-year prior in fact, as the following popped into existence…

Picture 5

That’s right. As of the 27th of May, this lil blog of mine is now two years old. And to celebrate, I got it nothing.

Abso-freakin’-lutely nothing.

No special posts written, no photos taken, no quotes retrieved. No reviews readied, nor songs chosen. Nothing. Hell, I didn’t even realize that its anniversary was coming due.

What kind of ass am I?

I mean, over the past two years, “As Long As…” has allowed me to share with you my father’s passing, my children’s growth, the struggles I’ve had with my faith, the recent and unexpected death of my 17 year marriage, the oft time battles I’ve had with depression, and of course the efforts that have stock-piled, resulting from my dreams of one day becoming a pretend writer of some sort.

Starting with just one follower – my bestest friend ever whom I’ve never met – this kid has grown slowly to a little over 230 more of you since. And I am as grateful to you all, as I am questioning of your literary taste… More importantly though, since its inception “As Long As…” has provided me with peace and solace during my dark hours. A place to scream, bitch, bemoan, play and flex my mental muscles and – to my albeit grateful surprise – it has brought me strong friendships that have only grown, as the challenges of life have become harder, though eventually overcome. In short, this blog has given me more than a lot of living, breathing people I know have.

And I didn’t even realize that its anniversary was coming due.

What kind of ass am I?

Hey you, As Long As I’m Singing, thank you my friend. I appreciate it… all of it.

As I noted previously, I didn’t have an applicable quote, nor a song chosen for this event. You know, in part because I totally forgot that this event was even to be an event. But I figured the following two will work well enough. The quote, simply because it’s about the truest thing I’ve ever read, and something I am coming to believe. And the song because, as you are an apple that fell pretty close to its somewhat creative tree, I feel it’s a good choice to describe how I feel about us both.

Happy 2nd, As Long As I’m Singing. Here’s to year 3 =)

•••

“Bad things can happen,

and often do–

but they only take up a few pages of your story;

and anyone can survive a few pages.”

~ James A. Owen