Posts Tagged ‘novel’

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

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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

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: 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

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

Fondly: Grip

August 27, 2013

fndlygrphc

Back on the porch.

The music was on, his dog playing in the yard, running in wild circles, as if it were the first time there. He had stayed inside too long for either of their own good.

It was just too cold.

He always said there was a difference between being lonely and alone, but the former was overtaking the latter. So he hibernated, sharing a jail cell with his thoughts.

He pulled away from everything but work, and even that had become a struggle. He had given in to the blinking lights, unable to tell which voice was his—which thoughts were healthy.

Which thoughts were true.

But his fractured brain, two hands holding tightly to that which it could not change, squeezing as hard as they could, were finally starting to loosen their grip.

Fortunately, it was just before he lost his.

Another season in every sense of the word.

But it was still cold.

And he was still alone.

hldymid

Fondly: From the mourning

August 22, 2013

fndlygrphc

“I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…”

 

She whispered it over and over again in my ear, neither of us letting go.

 

Neither of us able.

 

It was the dead of winter, the point that beats down the last of us standing, driving us inward—driving us down. It was overcast inside as much as out, as nothing but gray crept into the bungalow through the curtains. The cab idled out front, its lights on, the trunk already open.

 

She had spent her last night with me, not him.

 

That meant a lot. Or at least it meant something.

 

We held tighter, as she continued whispering the same phrase, over and over.

 

“I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…”

 

So many times I started to believe it.

 

So many times I wanted, more than anything, for her to stay.

 

But she had to go, and I was the one who convinced her as much.

 

So I closed my eyes and listened to her mantra, feeling her warm breath in my ear, each word a kiss, each word, mounting proof that ours’ was a tragic tale, more so than a divine comedy, unless it was one of errors.

 

“I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…”

 

newestrings

 

Fondly: Commuting to the apocalypse

August 8, 2013

fndlygrphc

It was just beginning to rain. Light, gentle. It barely got him wet. The overcast sky seemed to fit his mood. Apathetic and indifferent. He sighed, then unlocked his car door.

He didn’t start the engine right away. He just sat there, looking straight ahead, the street already devoid of neighbors’ cars by virtue of the daily commute.

He would not be talking to her throughout the day. He would not see her after work. They wouldn’t snuggle up on the couch together watching something mindless, more background for the togetherness than a form of entertainment.

He was alone, and it scared the crap out of him. He had never been alone before in his life. But he had a feeling he had better get used to it.

mtchmid

He took another deep breath and sighed again before starting the car and joining the other worker bees. He left the radio off. He never moved in silence.

There was already enough noise in his head.

The rain began to pick up as he got onto the highway, but he didn’t turn on his windshield wipers. He didn’t care. He watched the drops getting bigger, falling harder.

But he didn’t care.

Then he closed his eyes. He wasn’t trying to die, he just wanted to see if the universe thought differently. He accelerated. He could hear the rain, his engine roaring, occasionally the rough sound of the car hitting the shoulder of the road. He kept his eyes closed and pushed forward, the rain turning into the sound of static in his mind. His heart began to pound.

 newestrings2

But.

The universe didn’t want him that day.

Or perhaps, it merely wasn’t paying close enough attention.

ashtry

Fondly: Postponing truth

June 29, 2013

fndlygrphc

I knew the question before she even asked it.

She was just trying to process everything, and I understood, but I was tired; exhausted from justifying my decision again and again, trying to find the proper explanation to appease her.

If divorce were my client, and she was the target market, I was failing miserably at my job.

I knew the question was coming, yet I still couldn’t seem to find the answer she wanted to hear. Being a writer was working against me. It suddenly made her wonder about my ability to deceive.

Advertising was close, but it wasn’t fiction. She couldn’t see the difference.

To her, being a writer meant I was a grand and professional liar.

ashtry

I was sitting at my desk in our home-office chain-smoking; she was standing outside the door, just out of sight. How do you talk to someone when you can’t even see one another?

She asked the question, merely a disconnected voice emanating from the hallway.

All the cards, letters and poems professing an undying love—was any of it true, or just my innate talent for bullshit?

I sat quietly for a moment, trying to think of the right thing to say. Instead, I told the truth.

I told her, perhaps, I was writing what I wished were true.

She asked me the question, and I answered—poorly.

Perhaps this wasn’t the right night to tell her I found a place. Maybe I’d wait to tell her I’d be moving out at the end of the week.

Is postponing the truth the same as lying?

I did it for ten years.

newestrings2

Fondly: Half a world away

June 25, 2013

fndlygrphc

I wanted to be there—in person. Holding her hand, taking her to dinner, feeling her big spoon. I wanted to get in my car and drive through the night, just to fall asleep next to her.

Sending her a gift in the mail wasn’t enough.

Video chatting while she got ready to go out for her birthday with someone else just wasn’t enough.

But she was half a world away, in the pines, which was all I was left with until she returned.

The hard pines.

I was having a difficult time living without her. It was almost as hard, I would one day learn, as living with her.

And as she spoke—about people I did not know, adventures I would not have, I watched; her eyes, her lips. I couldn’t tell if it filled me with an overwhelming joy, or a divine longing and sadness.

And this is where the hard pines are bred. It goes beyond longing, to the point of heartache, with little moments of rapture in the mix.

I suppose I was still the loneliest man she’d ever kissed.

We had only just begun; did she run away out of fear? Was it her conscience, the pressure, or had I simply called her bluff?

For all I know, a simple lyric from a song could have done it; she was easily influenced—by nearly everything.

She called it a search for destiny; for a sign from the universe. She hadn’t lived long enough to learn just how indifferent the universe really is.

It’s a narcissism reserved for the folly of inexperience and those that somehow stay lost, regardless of time.

It justifies every bad choice they make.

But she reassured me I was the only one. The way she looked at me—into me—as she said it allowed me to believe, for just a moment, that I wasn’t just another one. Regardless of my gut feeling or my ability to read people, a talent I tried to reserve for my day job.

I liked to believe I used my powers for good, rather than evil. Even if it was a mild form of public manipulation. At least in advertising, we didn’t try to kid ourselves. We embraced it, rather than ignore it or justify it. In advertising, we were at least accountable for our work.

But I digress. Blinking lights.

She was half a world away, and I was on the other side. Deep down, I had a feeling that even if she hadn’t gone looking for the universe—even if she were in my arms, she would never really be here.

I just had to ignore it.

mtchmid

Fondly: Zero Visibility Part 1

April 19, 2013

fndlygrphc

What it really boiled down to was this.

I had never been in love. I had loved, but I had never been so undeniably in love. The passion—that end of the world feeling of being apart. The pain of the truest yearn.

Desire in its most honest attire.

I really didn’t know what to do, how to feel, other than like a man atop a building who truly believed he could fly.

And now I was jumping off the ledge to find out.

I was driving through storms for this. I squinted my eyes and did my best to get there as quickly as I could without dying.

newestrings

It was done. It was actually, officially done.

I threw my life in boxes, bribed my friends with pizza, beer and pure desperation, and created my own, new world, ready to be filled with this.

We had waited. I had waited. I had to.

I wanted her. Every part of her. From the moment I saw her walk into that bar, my life, I wanted her. Not in the easy, carnal way. I wanted her.

But not like…that. I didn’t want to be that guy. She was not the other woman. She was the only woman.

The only one that mattered.

This would not be a small “what if” lurking about in the shadows of my mind just before slumber for the rest of my life. This was a story that was in need of unfolding, whether there was a happy ending or not.

So I waited.

I did what had to be done.

And now, it was done. It sucked. It hurt. It was the beginning of a long, long process to survive.

But now, I could drive through torrential downpours and zero visibility like a man on a mission, with a clear conscience.

I thought about my wife, sitting alone in our house with our dog. Maybe she was crying. Maybe not.

Definitely drinking.

I imagined the house was silent, save for a sob, sigh or spill.

I had never been the one to do the leaving before. This was all new and confusing. This sudden freedom. Being alone to make the choices I wanted, rather than resigning myself to the choices made for me.

But I wasn’t really alone. I had a safety net to break my fall.

It was a two-hour drive…I’d driven longer for less.

I leaned forward, squinted my eyes and stepped down on the gas pedal.

pollbk

Fondly: Stem

April 16, 2013

fndlygrphc

I felt like such a fool.

Wandering around, alone and helpless, desperately trying to save, or at the very least salvage what was, by this point, little more than a stem.

It was a rose when I bought it.

I was flustered, I was frustrated and I was hurt. But mostly, I was lost in a city that would never be mine, searching for a girl that was just the same.

Cold, confusing, and utterly charming…

…and probably, ultimately, unattainable.

Though the same could be said of me, most of the time.

hye

It wasn’t that she couldn’t wait, or couldn’t help me find my way…It was that she didn’t seem to care if I did or not.

I knew she was distracted. I knew how she got before performing. My rational side was quietly telling me not to read into anything. Not to look for a hidden meaning or sign.

But those blinking lights always screamed quite the opposite.

And hers were blinking, too, maybe even brighter.

So we fought. By way of overtly concise cell phone conversation(s) ending with us taking turns hanging up on one another, and increasingly sardonic texts. It wasn’t the first argument, and probably wouldn’t be the last.

At least I hoped not.

I hated it. I knew what was happening, and could only watch from the back of my head, as things spiraled further out of control. Every time one of us responded, it only escalated more. She was nervous, and I was scared. Our lights were blinking out of sync.

I knew this would affect her, her performance, her mood. It was affecting me, too, and I hated it.

Worst of all, it would have an affect on what little time we had together before I had to make my long, lonely, midnight drive back home, probably still unsure which one of us was the asshole.

The truth neither of us could see, is that we were both the asshole; we were both being selfish.

I just wished I could hit some magic reset button.

I felt so lost, so helpless, as I relied on the kindness of strangers, a rare trait in this city.

I started having a panic attack as I desperately made my way to her.

I was helpless to my location, my emotions, and situation at large.

You would think I’d be used to being so lost by now. That, is, after all, how I’ve spent the majority of my life.

mtchmid

I arrived just in time to see her for a moment, before she vanished backstage to wait for her turn to perform.

Our eyes met through the loud, crowded lobby as I stood there, holding nothing but a stem.

It was a rose when I bought it.

She looked down at the stem, then back into my eyes.

She smiled and squeezed my hand. Once. Twice. Three times. It was our secret, private way of saying, “I love you.”

Perhaps this is why I loved her so much—I didn’t feel lost when I was with her.

I felt like I knew where I was, and more importantly, why, if only for that brief moment we were together.

I handed her the stem and squeezed her hand.

One, two, three, four.

It was a rose when I bought it.

rings

Fondly: Rinse and repeat.

March 14, 2013

fndlygrphc

We sat on the top step of the back porch. Summer was putting its foot in the door and forcing its way in like a pushy bible salesman. I was only a day and a half into my binge, but had already settled comfortably into a semi-permanent numbness.

I don’t think it was the alcohol that had put me there.

We listened to one song…over and over, propelling us further down into our heads.
Deeper into our bottle.

We kept playing it. First on the porch, then in the kitchen, over to the living room and finally the bedroom.

The words fit all too well, and came at just the right time.

So did she.

Sisyphus Incarnate: Idle Time, Ribs and the Suicide Jones

December 8, 2009

I can still remember the first time I was ever laid off.

Not fired, laid off.

My soon-to-be former boss pulled me into his office at the very end of the work day, as I was packing up my briefcase and preparing for another road rage-inducing commute home.

The meeting was a blur. It started with small talk then degraded from formal pleasantries to the matter at hand.

Once they said they were going to have to let me go, the buzzing in my head drowned out all other sounds in the room, including my now-former boss, who kept speaking, though I was reduced to reading lips at this point in the conversation.

I can’t be sure, but I think they said it wasn’t me, it was them. I can’t be 100% certain, but I believe they told me we could still be friends.

I made no speeches, I gave no retort. I just sat frozen, uninvited tears swelling up in my eyes.

It came out of nowhere, like an assassin jumping from the shadows. I wasn’t prepared.

I left, defeated—deflated.

Now, I’ve been fired before. It has almost always sucked, but I could usually see it coming. Usually it was time to move on anyway.

I could usually make my exit with venomous parting words, a bridge burned and a conscience clear.

But this was different.

This time, it was less my fault and more the side effect of a crumbling economy.

This time, I wasn’t ready to go.

I returned later that night to pack up my belongings in solitude. I couldn’t face my now-former coworkers.

When they came to work the next morning, all they would find would be an empty office and perhaps an email from the Vice-President of the company.

For the first few weeks, I didn’t know what to do with this new found free time.

Sure, I updated my resume and built a web portfolio—I combed the want ads, Monster.com, Hotjobs and Creative Hotlist.

But a Bush had taken office, the dot.com bubble had long since burst and we were in the throws of 9-11.

There were no jobs to find.

I had far too much idle time on my hands—hard liquor and internet porn can only take you so far.

The more time that passed, the more often I replayed that final meeting in my head; Every time I relived the fateful exchange that left me laying by the wayside, I grew angrier and angrier, full of impotent rage.

After months of fruitless job searches, countless reruns of the Rockford Files and no less than 567 naps taken, I began fantasizing about what I would have liked to have said when the hammer dropped.

Shortly thereafter, I found myself unconsciously writing it all down.

The words flowed from my fingertips as if I were in a trance, speaking in tongues.

When I was finished, I had ten pages of corporate-casual rants written in far more eloquent a diatribe than had I spoken it off the cuff.

But I didn’t know what to do with it. I liked my now-former bosses and coworkers. I’m sure (or at least hope) the decision was hard enough for them without my literary bitterness adding to it.

Still, I hit the ‘save’ button before stepping away.

A few more weeks rolled by, a blur of bad daytime television and time spent staring blankly at a wall, before I reopened the document and read it again.

While riddled with bitterness and uncharted anger, it was at times quite entertaining. Though quite dark, there was humor lurking beneath the venom.

So I kept going—and going.

A new fire was burning within. Where time once stood still, suddenly there weren’t enough hours in the day. Morning, noon and night saw me hunched over my keyboard typing.

For the remainder of my unemployment, and well into my next three occupational downgrades, I kept writing—laboring over what would eventually become Rorschach’s Ribs.

That’s how I became a writer.

And now ten years later, nearly to the day, I find myself swept back up in long naps, hard liquor and bad daytime television.

It’s a vicious cycle.

I guess that means it’s time to finish another book.

I started one a few years back, but between a full time job, wife, dogs, a band and blogs, it somehow landed on the back burner, left to simmer.

I reckon it’s time to heat things back up.

When I write, I find comfort.

Comfort in the control I have over something in an otherwise chaotic world.

Comfort in the fact that if I keep pushing that boulder, eventually I will make it to the top of the mountain.

Write Now.

November 26, 2009

I’m not a copywriter. I’m not a blogger.

I’m no novelist, nor poet, nor songwriter…

I’m merely a writer.

Or perhaps, more to wit, especially a writer.

I don’t clock out. I don’t take it for granted.

I don’t write because they tell me to. I write because I have to.

Because it’s more than what I do—it’s who I am.

I try to transcend the cliche, the obvious.

Go ahead and draw a line in the sand, I’ll cross it eventually—I refuse to accept the limits of what’s been done. Life is more than just a copy/paste of the past.

I’m as flexible as a Russian gymnast—I’m more than any one style.

I’m more than just a funny guy. I’m not always a sentimental baby, and not every word must burn.

We’re built to process more than the surface emotion.

Sometimes it’s not a matter of what you want.

Sometimes it’s a matter of what you didn’t know you needed.

My motive isn’t always clear, and I don’t write for everyone.

I write for you, and it’s true:

The pen is mightier than the sword.

Anyone can throw a punch or pull a trigger, but action merely garners reaction.

Words can do so much more.

Someday, some folks might just realize what they’re missing.

What they missed.

What they didn’t know they needed.

As for right now, I can only write now.

And hope you keep reading.