Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

We All Died of Dysentery

February 5, 2017

rogue

So…I haven’t been here lately. And by lately, I mean it’s been more than a year. Truth be told, I forgot I even had a blog until today. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing.

For just under ten years, I’ve shared pretty much everything, unedited, unfiltered and sadly, in some cases, unfinished. I’ve enjoyed sharing the creative process with my writing, design and art, but somewhere along the line I decided it would be best to work quietly without a live studio audience.

I’ve been working on two books for a number of years, much of which I’ve shared along the way, but I recently put them aside to pursue a different story. I’ll return to them eventually, but right now I’m working on something new. It’s a work of fiction and a love letter to my generation. My recent exodus from social media has given me a new found focus, allowing me to dive head first into this piece, and I’m pretty electrified by what’s coming out. I don’t intend to share it until it’s finished, but since I’m here, I might as well at least leave something behind. This little snippet may not even make it into the final draft, but it was certainly the jumping off point for everything that’s come since. So here’s the prologue, and nothing else. I’d hate to spoil the story or any surprises that might come along the way.

Enjoy.

mtchmid

We All Died of Dysentery

Do you remember where you were when the Berlin Wall came down? What about 9/11? Are you old enough to remember, or did you grow up in its shadow? Where were you when you found out Kurt Cobain was dead? Do you even know who that is? Did you have an old black and white TV in your basement, growing up?

I did.

I grew up with a rotary dial phone tethered to a wall. I had a dial-up modem and before that, lived in a world where we could only connect four. (Pretty sneaky, sis.)

I lived through vinyl, cassettes and compact discs, and rented movies from an actual store on Friday nights. To quote the memes, streetlights were my curfew and trophies were earned.

I remember a time when, if you didn’t watch a show when it aired, you may never see it again, unless it found its way to syndication, a word that barely had relevance prior to cable TV.

I remember that, too. A time when the broadcast day ended. Snow was more than just a season’s mark, and there was a brief, dark moment when the world was completely quiet—when we could all collectively breathe.

Once upon a time, we could sleep without all the chatter, but now sleep is little more than a mode on our laptop. Our world—so immersed, so immediate, so apparent. Living, breathing, pulsating snapshots of a past we cannot ignore. Our present is so lost in posture and presentation while the future is merely the next unwritten meme. Moments of solace found in assumption, until our world comes back around again. We can try to hide—try to pull the covers up over our head, but we talk in our sleep; the chatter is always there, always on. Our world—so accessible, so obvious, so inadvertently tragic.

For as convenient as the world has become, life is anything but simple. Those days are behind us, and there’s too much momentum to stop. Our modern times have become accidental satire, and I’m too old too be anything more than annoyed by it all. Somewhere along the line, the rest of the world sped up and left me behind. Eventually, we’ll all become anachronisms if we’re lucky. Do I sound jaded? Just wait.

My name is Tucker Flynn, and I’m getting old.

And it really kind of sucks.

pen

Advertisements

PFTIB: A Short Work of Fiction, Vol. 9

November 7, 2015

ps1

I was fortunate enough to live within the moment, all the while knowing that it would one day be something I would look back on nostalgically. It’s a powerful feeling to live in the now, but still aware that the moment was something slightly bigger. This was London. This is why I came in the first place.

And this is why I was leaving.

This is why I was sitting on a train, with everything I owned strapped on my back slowly making my way south.

I really missed my walkman. The empty train car was a terrible conversationalist, and any inner dialogue I might have had was said hours ago, leaving me with an awkward silence in my own head. It was like my junior prom all over again, only without a date staring blankly back at me.

I could have stayed in London. I could have carried on at the pub with my friends, drinking, smoking and treating each day as if it might be our last. I had found nothing but amazing experiences riddled in excess hiding around every corner of the city, but…I needed something more. This might be the only chance I had to strike out in search of something else with such lightness. It was a moment and I was living within it, all the while knowing I was headed toward something slightly bigger. This was Kent.

This is why I came in the first place.

But this time, I was completely on my own, and it was scary as hell.

Fondly: This is Exposition

October 16, 2014

fndlygrphc

How did I get here?

How did I end up in a van full of sideshow freaks and burlesque girls? I wasn’t a part of this world—I wore suits and manipulated the public’s idea of needing.

Of wanting.

I was neither artist nor musician, my wife made sure of that.

But there was something about her. I was attracted to her; less like a bee to a flower, more akin to a moth to the flame.

So I got in.

Work would understand, my wife would not.

I didn’t really understand it either.

Truth be told, I was just happy to feel something again. Something other than remorse and loneliness. Something other than resignation and defeat. Even fear felt better, at least when coupled with big blue eyes and a smile that worked more effectively than a cattle prod turned up to eleven.

How quickly and easily the unassuming romantic can be swept away by a soft pair of lips—wrapped up between the legs of an idea far more pure than any one person.

The moment I got in that van I knew; I had a lot of decisions to make—a lot of changes to contend with, save for one.

One choice was made obvious and clear, for once you jump down that dark deep hole you simply must chase the rabbit all the way to the bottom.

Jumping head first ensured I would fall, never once thinking about the abrupt landing waiting just below.

I was too busy feeling weightless to notice my stomach drop.

Just where were we going, anyway?

Fondly: Table for one.

September 18, 2014

fndlygrphc

In my reckless youth, living up to the cliche by searching the vast map of Europe for myself, I never had a problem being alone, free to witness or interact as I pleased.

More to wit, I once relished such exercises.

I could fall in love with a stranger and live out my life without saying a word or lifting a finger. I could fall into the shadows and watch stories unfold, or develop my own.

Somewhere along the line that stopped. With little warning and even less fanfare, going out with others became a chore, unthinkable alone.

The outside world didn’t change, but sadly, I had.

But then, lets be clear about something; having worked so diligently at honing my skill and rank of functioning alcoholic, sitting alone at a dark bar, staring into my old fashioned, was an entirely different exercise.

I could drink alone like a professional. What I could not do is sit down at a table for one and dine alone.

When I sat at a bar I was never alone. I wasn’t in a bar, I was in my drink—in my mind. I was at home.

Dining alone, however was an altogether different thing.

Perhaps it harkened back those lonely moments, sitting at a high school locker, a brown paper bag and book my only lunchtime companions. Such invisible spotlights can be rather blinding.

Perhaps I didn’t like the reminder that I was, indeed, alone. The reminder that the only better half I possessed was merely the left or right side of myself.

Or perhaps I simply didn’t like eating alone.

“How many will be dining tonight?”
“One.”

Fondly: Catch and Release

June 17, 2014

fndlygrphc

 

 

 

It was the same every summer.

From our first to our last.

It didn’t matter where we were. It didn’t matter who was watching or what lengths she had to go through to do it.

It wasn’t officially summer until she did it.

I remember one in particular. It wasn’t at the beginning, nor close to the end. It was nestled somewhere in the middle, when things could go either way.

Before they went this way.

We sat on the back porch of our home.

It wasn’t the first summer evening we sat out there, drinking good beer and scratching our dog.

Then she saw one.

And then another.

Suddenly our yard was an all-natural, eco-friendly dance club.

There were lightning bugs everywhere—some call them fireflies, but we never did.

I watched her jump out of her chair, and run down to the yard, barefoot and in her PJ’s. She lunged, and then paused. She waited and watched for them to show themselves for that split second.

And then she caught one.

I watched from the porch as she whispered something into her hands, occasionally illuminated through her fingers by the nervous blink of a captive audience.

And then she let it go, watched it fly away and came back to the porch.

As she sat down, she told me, “I named him Herbie. Summer can begin.”

She took a drink, and I looked at her.

This was the part of her I fell in love with.

Sadly, it was just one of many pieces, and we had become very different puzzles.

I still catch a lightning bug every year, whisper a name and let it go.

Sometimes, that’s all you can do with something so wonderful.

 

newestrings

My Blue Heaven, Pt. 2

June 16, 2014

I am not a handy person. I’m more of an idea man.

 

But after four years, it was time.

 

Time to claim my yard and create my own personal Blue Heaven.

 

I have always loved sitting out back, usually on the top step of the porch.

 

But. I rarely went down the steps into the yard.

 

It’s uneven, ugly—grass won’t grow in parts, and the patio area was too small for much of anything beyond a chair.

 

A. Chair.

 

bky1

So I planned. I planned a budget, and a strategy.

bky2

I raked and dug and broke the earth with my bare hands. I broke rocks until my arms were sore, my back ached and my hands bled.

bky6

I shoveled and leveled and laid each piece of the patio down, one tile at a time.

bky4

 

bky3

 

I built, I assembled.

 

bky10

 

And then, I finished.

bky9

 

 

Sure, there are tweaks to be made, plants to be planted, a grill to assemble still, but by and large, it’s finished.

 

And as I sit out here, in my own private bar patio, coffee house, living room and office—My Blue Heaven—writing this rather bland post about Doing It Myself, I feel proud of what I made.

 

I am content with where I am—A satisfied man.

bky7

My Blue Heaven, Pt. 1

June 11, 2014

I acknowledge the fact that I’ve written very little as of late.

 

This is for two primary reasons:

 

I’m in the process of curating and revising a book of short stories, essays and poems for a Fall 2014 release. This takes time not to write, but to review what I’ve already done, to coordinate with my editor and designer…

 

But.

 

The main reason, is my reaction to the most current mental funk, manual labor.

 

I’ve lived here for four years now. Every nice day I spend the majority of it out back, sitting on my porch, top step.

 

I write, drink, and play out there. I watch my dogs at their happiest.

 

But I never leave that porch, save to take the trash out to the alley.

 

So I decided to fix that.

 

I love my backyard. It has no trees, but the neighbors do, and that gives me shade, and my dogs room to run and romp and play.

 

So this month has been spent digging, raking, tilling, laying down patio and assembling things.

 

I’m not finished, but I’ve done enough now to sit out here on a couch, typing this blog as Daisy chases lightning bugs and Deuces sits next to me for the ear scritches.

 

Stay tuned. You know I like to share.

 

 

Fondly: Spoonman

May 29, 2014

fndlygrphc

 

My wife didn’t like us to touch when we slept, or most any time we were awake for that matter.

She insisted we buy the largest bed possible to avoid such atrocities as one of my legs drifting over.

I had no idea what I was missing, until her. As we laid in my much smaller queen sized bed, she whispered quietly in my ear nine words I never knew I even needed to hear, until she said them. Nine words my wife would never say, at least not to me.

“Do you want me to big your big spoon?”

I said nothing more than a faint, barely audible “yes.”

Then I felt her leg wind into a tangle with mine, an arm tucking gently around my torso. I felt her beautiful, young body press against mine, until I could no longer tell where I stopped and she began.

Her breath was warm; steady, soft—a lullaby sweeter than music.

It really felt like she wanted to be there, melting into me. I believed it with all of my heart, as my brain screamed obscenities and called me a fool.

But to be loved in such an open, warm way made my mind’s opinions moot.

It was everything I ever craved in my previous life.

Everything I never had.

I never wanted to sleep any other way ever again so long as I lived.

I did my best to enjoy the warmth and intimacy of the moment; I tried to ignore that nagging feeling in my gut that there wouldn’t always be a spoon to help reassure me of my choices.

But there was for now.

Fondly: Awake

May 29, 2014

fndlygrphc

 

I used to lay awake…in a cold bed, next to an even colder woman. I would lay there and think about everything. I would think until my mind was overwhelmed and confused—turned inside out and tangled up.

It always started with the same thought:

I should leave.

This isn’t my beautiful wife. This is not my beautiful house.

How did I get here?

More to wit, what would happen if I left?

I would lose my house, my TV, my couch and over-priced dining room table.

I would lose 13 years of memories shared.

I would lose my dog.

I would be alone.

Possibly forever.

 

Alone.

 

What is alone like?

I wondered, and then pondered…

And then I had an anxiety attack.

I had never been alone. Not really.

Siblings and parents, roommates, a girlfriend and then a wife.

What if this was my one and only chance? What if I left and never found another person to share my life?

Nobody to talk to—nobody to spend holidays and weekends with, regardless of how those weekends were being spent.

It scared me. It scared me enough to stay.

And now, even after leaving, I lay awake, listening to the deep breathing of another warm body slumbering beside me for no reason other than a simultaneous fear of waking up alone.

Perhaps I needed to learn how to be codependent on myself, for a change.

Fondly: It Must Be Love

May 4, 2014

fndlygrphc

 

Madness. It had all fallen into complete madness. A freefall.

 

I had jumped. I needed to for the both of us.

 

It wasn’t always so bad—our life together didn’t begin with such bitter resignation.

 

We used to enjoy one another’s company.

newestrings

We spent our honeymoon in London, or more to wit, inside various pubs of London. Drinking was one thing we still had in common, if little else.

 

It was our last night before returning to reality. We spent it in our favorite local, just down the road from our hotel. We had gotten to know the regulars and bartenders, by face, if not name, through repetition and an open invitation to converse with anyone willing to talk.

hrvys

I bet the wife I could get the bar to serenade her, without asking. The prize, one pound coin.

 

And eternal respect for my charm.

 

I finished my pint, walked to the jukebox and selected the proper song, before making my way  to the bar for a refill.

 

I selected It Must Be Love by Madness. I’m fairly certain everyone in England knows this song.

 

As the song began, I noticed the regulars tapping their fingers, and bobbing their heads, gently to the intro. I began to sing along quietly, just loud enough for the people next to me to hear.

 

When the chorus came around, a burly, bearded old Brit with a cane and a can of snuff stood up and wailed out the chorus with everything he had. His eyes were closed, his face red, his pint was swinging along, spilling onto his had and the floor. That was enough to bring the rest of the bar in for the next chorus.

 

I walked over to the wife and took her hand. She smiled and blushed, a growing rarity as the calendars turned. I lead her to the center of the bar with the drunk, singing patrons all around her. I winked, and rejoined the chorus.

 

I still have that pound coin.

 

What I felt once upon a time; It must be love.

 

Madness.

newestrings2

Fondly: When I Was Your Age…

April 1, 2014

fndlygrphc

 

“When I was your age…”

 

When you’re dating someone 13 years younger, this is the moment your relationship changes.

 

It strikes a nerve—in both of you.

 

Suddenly, one of you feels young, while the other, extremely old.

 

It reminds you both that your love isn’t wildly accepted by the outside world, and maybe, the inside one as well.

 

It doesn’t change how you feel about her, merely the situation.

 

newestrings

Why couldn’t we have both been born in the same generation? Why did Grunge happen when she was four, while I was rebelling in college?

 

Why didn’t our nostalgia match?

 

Our passions were the same, and every bit as intense.

 

But she was still searching for something I had found.

 

When I was her age…sigh…I was every bit as passionate as I am now…and every bit as lost.

newestrings2

 

Fondly: Well-Aged Inapropos

March 19, 2014

fndlygrphc

“You’re the first grownup I’ve ever dated.”

Ouch.

I’m pretty sure she meant it as a compliment, but it merely made me feel old, and it made her seem really, really young.

When a woman dates a younger man, she is called a Cougar.

When a man does it, he’s a lecherous, creepy, dirty old man in the midst of a crisis of some sort.

Given that most women mature faster, and develop rational thought, that seems a bit unfair.

Given that I act like a 15-year-old in my thirties only proves a point of compatibility.

newestrings

I’m sure when she told me that, she meant it as a compliment. I’m sure she meant she’d only dated boys until now—boys with fast food jobs, and a strange obsession with video games.

I had already caught myself starting a sentence with, “When I was your age” far too many times, as I searched for our level of equality.

But at her age, she was merely searching.

When I was her age…I was too.

newestrings2

So why did I expect her to be different?

I didn’t even know how old, or perhaps young, she was until well after it was too late. I didn’t ever even think to ask. When your soul finds something that feels right, age becomes inapropos.

So does a house, a wife, and pretty much everything else.

ashtry

Fondly: Closer than Cheek-to-Cheek, and Slower than a Grind

March 9, 2014

fndlygrphc

The kitchen was dark, save for the fluorescent bulb, flickering above the sink.

I don’t know why we were even in the kitchen, and I couldn’t tell you if there was any music playing.

 pollbk

I can’t dance.

I’ve never been any good at any variation of it. My sister tried to teach me, during my awkward junior high years, and that was enough to know I was born to be a wallflower.

But we danced, regardless.

Close.

Closer than cheek-to-cheek, and slower than a grind.

Her warm breath hit my ear, my neck. I could do nothing but close my eyes and breathe her in.

I had never been more in love, nor as afraid in all my life.

And I sure as hell wasn’t ready for the song to end, whether it was ever playing or not.

 newestrings

Love songs and relevance

January 12, 2014

lv

 

She made love songs relevant again. For the first time in more than 10 years.

 

Ours was a love story with a very defined soundtrack.

 

And now.

 

Songs that once filled me and made me float are a heavy weight tied around my ankle.

 

Songs I love that I can never listen to again without mourning.

 

But she made love songs relevant again.

 

And someday, I will find a new song, as relevant as the past.

 

Because kitchens were made for a slow dance.

 

45

Hemingway and the Art of Being Concise

December 10, 2013

mmi

For sale: Baby Shoes, never worn.

Six words, one very full story.

As the legend goes, famed author Ernest Hemingway won a bet with those six words. While lunching with friends at the Algonquin, he wagered ten dollars to everyone sitting at the table (and probably a bartender and a few waitresses) that he could craft an entire story in just six words.

And then he did—on a cocktail napkin.

Six words. That’s all it took to make an impact. Hemingway proved that you can get right to the point, without missing it.

He’d probably punch me for saying it, but he would have been one hell of an ad man.

 newestrings2

There’s a lot of similarity between that storied literary tale and advertising; beyond scribbling something on a cocktail napkin, a concise message must tell a whole story, and it’s worth far more than a few ten dollar bills over lunch.

It’s the difference between making your point, or blending in with the rest of the white noise.

The average focus-attention span for a human is 7 seconds, and it decreases annually—that’s two seconds shorter than a goldfish. Divide that time in half while in motion.

That isn’t a lot of time to make an impact.

You don’t have time to explain every detail, but if done correctly, it’s enough to stimulate the desire to know more.

How does one say so much with so few words?

 pollbk

It’s a matter of selecting the words carefully, and with both sides of the brain—and what is left between those words, is the true craft of writing.

Be it humor or wit, a touching moment, the beginning of a mystery or a desire to grab a person by the shoulders and scream, “LOOK AT THIS,” the only way to say more is to get their attention in the first place.

In about six words or less.

Hemingway proved it can be done. Now it’s up to us to continue doing it correctly.

What will your six words be?

newestrings

Be Thy Name

December 3, 2013

nxt

 

The stones, the sticks.

 

The arrows. The slings.

 

Outrageous.

 

Fortune.

 

Be thy name.

 

And I shall sing once more.

fmm2

Nocturnal Admissions: Thoughts as simple as a kiss…

November 27, 2013

2am2

I’ve been sitting in that rather strange place tonight. Trapped between deep thought, a million stories to be written, and the simple lack of alertness to do justice to the prose.

Tonight, my mind has been coming back around, again and again, to the kiss.

The first kiss of any relationship.

The second, the third, and the 300th.

You can tell a lot from a kiss. The first one, usually desperate, awkward or accidental is merely a leap together. The risk that, in that moment, you both are willing to take.

But the ones that follow, as your lips learn each other, fitting together like pieces of a puzzle—those are the ones that matter.

I have kissed many a beautiful young woman in my lifetime, but very few have been the type you think of days later; months later—years later.

It’s more than love, more than intimacy. It’s passion.

It’s a whisper in the ear, over and over again, reminding you that you aren’t in this alone. The warmth of a big spoon, stirring, stirring.

When the lips fit, as if they were designed for one another, it is a rarity, and presents a far deeper connection than three simple, often misused words can.

When the lips fit, the souls tend to follow, even if the heart cannot.

mtchmid

Fondly: Fumbling in the Dark

November 7, 2013

fndlygrphc

It was dark before he even got home.

 

He, of course, forgot to leave a light on. This meant fumbling in the dark, something he should be used to by now in every sense of the phrase.

 

He didn’t do anything for the first thirty seconds through the doorway. He just stood quietly; his dog jumping in place in the mixed euphoria of his best friend’s return and dinner.

 

He took a deep breath, placed a calm hand on the dog’s head, and sighed before heading to the kitchen.

 newestrings

As the dog inhaled his dinner, he mixed a drink. Carefully—deliberately.

 

Solemnly.

 

The kitchen window had already transformed into a mirror, giving him a darkened, slightly obscured reflection.

 

He looked more disheveled than normal.

 

Usually, it was a part of his charm, but now he just look defeated.

 

Deflated and beaten down.

 

It wasn’t any one thing. It was every little thing. One thing after another, in every part of his life; raindrops collecting in a bucket that was just about full.

 pollbk

He didn’t bother taking off his coat, merely loosening his tie as he walked back to the living room, his dog trailing at his feet.

 

When he flipped the switch to turn on the lamp, he was met with a flash and a pop, followed by darkness. That was his last light bulb.

 

When it rains it pours.

 

He took a drink and sat down, as his dog curled up beside him, head in lap.

 

Left to fumble in the dark until sunrise.

mtchmid

Fondly: Not for me

November 4, 2013

fndlygrphc

She climbed onto the sink, her towel falling to the floor, her back to me.

 

She was putting on her makeup for a show; I was merely admiring the view.

 

She leaned in closer to the mirror to add her eyeliner and fake lashes.

 

I looked at her feet. They were filthy.

 

I had neither seen anyone, nor anything more beautiful in my entire life than in that moment.

 

But she wasn’t doing it for me.

 

And she had no idea what either fact did to me.

mtchmid

I’ve got rhythm.

October 25, 2013

nxt

I never graduated college.

This is a fact that I’m both proud of, and mortified by.

I’m proud, simply because I managed to become a success regardless. It’s proof that if you figure out your goals, make a strategy and have a little patience, you really can do whatever the hell you want.

I’m mortified, because I consider myself an intelligent individual, but school somehow never worked out for me. With the exception of a few distinct years, I got good grades, by and large. When I dropped out, I literally had a 4.0 GPA.

But it was always a struggle.

It was always a pain.

I hated very second of it.

And I never really cared if I didn’t understand how it actually applied to me and the life by which I was surrounded.

len

In grade school, I was so underwhelmed by lessons and over stimulated by thought, my third grade teacher inadvertently invented “Independent Studies” for me. She figure out how to put my energy to use, by writing books, and plays, creating sets, binding, etc.

My mom tells me that if it had existed back then, I would have been diagnosed with ADHD. When I was a kid, they called it hyperactivity and gave us Ridlin. But mine was confined to my mind. And thank god. Rather than some prescription that made me calm and complacent, I had a teacher that figured out how to help me put my mind to a better use.

Not that I don’t believe in the usefulness of antidepressants and medication when truly necessary, but as a child, the mind is a great coping mechanism.

art2

Sometimes, I think I have dyslexia. Words get jumbled when I read, and if I write too fast, I literally write words backwards. But if nobody tells you there’s an excuse, you don’t have one and push through it.

And if you’re lucky enough to have parents that instill a passion for the simple act of learning, discovering…if you indeed love to embrace the fact that there is still so much unknown, it’s really easy to push through.

To evolve. Every day.

Case in point. I always believed I had no rhythm. I couldn’t even snap in beat to songs I sang, and knew intimately.

One day, a band member called me out.  I don’t know theory; I don’t know shit, aside from what rests in my soul. I have no problem with criticism, especially when it’s as constructive as this was. I was snapping on the up beat, when I should be snapping on the down.

It wasn’t that I had no rhythm; I simply had the wrong rhythm.

Mind. Blown.

It’s like learning that 1+1=3. Like learning you’ve been tying your shoes wrong your entire life. Such a simple, mild adjustment. We have to be open to the fact that we don’t always know. Even when we assume we usually do. Because, even when we know so much, we have to be open to the idea that we’re wrong; that we don’t know shit from shine-ola.

This is a fatal flaw in the world—we all have egos.

But once you shed that—once you admit that the key to knowing everything is the simple fact that you know nothing at all, that’s when you can truly figure it out. When there are no rules, no egos, no pomp nor circumstance, but rather, an open mind. That’s when the magic really happens.

Me…?

I’ve got rhythm…

…now.