Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

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: 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

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

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

Nocturnal Admissions: Kindling at the Ready

September 27, 2013

len1

I have had a rather strange week. Strange only in contrast to the week prior, full of professional oddity and the type of strange that has somehow become my norm.

This was an inadvertent, self-imposed variation of a semi-solitary confinement of sorts. I didn’t try to cut myself off from the outside world, save for brief moments of self-supposed wit and charm via the social satellites of love…

I just did.

I’ve mentioned in recent posts that, save for poems and short chapters, I have been a bit at a loss for words.

It’s not that they aren’t there; there are simply far too many. Far too many unfinished chapters and half-started explorations stemming from a mind that moves faster than the hand, whether by ink or keyboard.

I am, by trade and reputation, an emotional, passionate man. I am learning from experience that I am best admired from afar, lest you see the unavoidable truths of the temperament found within me; found within a complex man in search of simple things.

I am, by trade and reputation, a tornado.

But this week, without planning such, my emotion has been vacant, my passion focused and quiet. There have been brief moments of contentment, longing, angst and melancholy, but they only creep out like a soft light emanating from underneath a bedroom door.

Without trying, I’ve spent the week in a cosmic ambivalence, by and large, shrugging the universe off in trade of simple images that say more than my words ever could.

More than they ever should.

Loud images, in a quiet place, my mind focused on nothing but.

icarus

It is an artist’s burden to feel so damned much all the time. It allows us to display these emotions, explain them, or at least show the world they exist, so they can feel them too.

Or perhaps, know they aren’t alone.

Without, of course, the privileges and benefits of slowly going crazy as a result.

 pen

Emotional ambiguity. To exist in this state for too long is a tragedy for any man or woman. But for me, right now, it’s kind of necessary. Even were it not, I am here nonetheless.

I’ve thought too hard. Longed too hard. Spoke too hard. Loved too hard. Lost too hard.

Sometimes I drink too hard, and perhaps I simply live too hard.

It can make a man tired.

 newestrings2

Sometimes, when I feel everything, I need a little time to feel nothing.

But.

It’s a farce. Deep down, I know better.

Hard as I may try, to stop feeling altogether would be to stop living.

And regardless of how one lives, for this brief moment in time, we are alive.

Perhaps this emotional dissidence is merely a temporary calm before a rather large storm.

The biggest blazes all start with a spark, and I am but kindling at the ready.

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

snow

August 24, 2013

rogue

Once upon a time, the broadcast day ended.

Once upon a time, we could sleep without talking.

Snow is just a season’s mark now.

Sleep is but a mode.

Our world.

So immersed.

So immediate.

So apparent.

Living, breathing, pulsating snapshots of a past we cannot ignore—

A present so lost in posture and presentation.

The future, merely a meme.

Moments of solace 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.

Always there.

Always on.

Our world.

So accessible.

So obvious.

So inadvertently tragic.

tv

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

 

I Dunno

August 14, 2013

rs

It came on by mistake.

I thought I had deleted it.

but for the first time since,

I let it play—

I let it go.

And for the first time since,

I dunno…

I remembered how I felt the first time I heard it.

newestrings2

It doesn’t change a thing, because we do indeed know.

But I smiled anyway.

For the past.

I smiled for the hope.

For the chances taken.

It changes nothing.

But I smiled nonetheless.

smoke

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

the wolf and the rose

July 24, 2013

smoke

A rose is just a cactus sitting in disguise.

A song that wasn’t written but waiting for reprise.

Like a wolf is just a dog with bigger, sharper teeth,

a rose is just the thorns waiting underneath.

newestrings2

Shedding my ‘Skine, Part 1

July 19, 2013

len1

I’ve been feeling a little lost as of late—disheveled.

I mean, more disheveled than usual.

I filled the last page of my last moleskine, and have had nothing in my pocket to catch the random crap that falls out of my brain. My journals, notebooks, sketchbooks…this is where ideas get mapped out. Fleshed out. Worked out. It’s where simple sentences are recorded for a rainy day when I need a spark.

ms2

And it makes me smarter. It’s true.

Just the simple act of putting ink to page on a regular basis improves how I think. Scientifically speaking, studies have shown that writing by hand is a process that requires an integration of visual, motor, and cognitive execution for a stronger, more stimulated mode of thought.

ms1

The simple, singular focus on that little piece of paper, rather than a constant exchange between keyboard and monitor allows a more centered point of thought. A more centered point of thought allows more expansion of thought.

And I have nowhere to do it.

I’ve been using Moleskines for years. Personally, I don’t care if Hemingway used a Moleskine or a roll of toilet paper to record his thoughts. I have been using them because I like the binding, size and paper weight.

I do not, however, like the page count. At 80, they fill up far too fast to keep up.

Nor do I like the price.

mtchmid

So I’ve decided to branch out and try some different brands.

I ordered a Piccadilly, a Pen&Ink and a Pentalic pocket notebook/sketchbook. They all win on price.

Quality is another thing entirely.

As I said earlier, I have been carrying around Moles because of the binding, size and paper. The latter being the most important selling point. The stock of paper needs to be thick. I don’t just write in these. I carve into them, and build the initial mockups for bigger, more thought out ideas. I abuse tape, spray adhesive and glue sticks.

len6_7len4

These journals come with me everywhere. Client meetings, backstage amidst the beautiful chaos of show time, family events, road trips, business trips, mind trips.

They are chew toys for the puppies, coasters for my cocktails, and bulging at the seams with thought.

msk1

I’m not sure which new brand will arrive first, but I will use them as I get them, and compare and contrast with the iconic hipster accessory I have lovingly used for years, and report back to you.

Because I have better things to spend my money on.

Like hookers and blow.

Or, you know, rent and stuff.

Suicide Jones: Only the Dying Fear Death

July 18, 2013

sj

1.

I remember shortly before my grandfather passed away, he began focusing on his own mortality. He knew his time left on earth was short.

Consequently, this limited time remaining amongst the living became his only focus in every conversation we had. Death was all he thought about.

Death was all he talked about. It was as if he were being chased, and even though he knew he couldn’t last much longer, he kept running.

He was a stubborn son of a bitch—and a real downer at holiday gatherings.

“I don’t have much time left in this world, Finnegan,” he’d always say to me, with tired defeat in his eyes.  “And let me tell you, dying is a pain in the ass.”

I hated hearing his doomsday soliloquies, and did my best to change the subject every time he brought it up. It was usually a futile effort that left me wishing I hadn’t quit smoking so many years ago.

I always felt like he was dwelling on the wrong things; that he should have been getting as much out of our time together as possible. All he could do, however, was point out the fact that this would probably be the last (insert any family oriented holiday rotating around ham or turkey here) we would spend together.

It was like breaking bread with the grim reaper.

But now, I guess I have to ask myself, am I afraid to die?

I did it once already.

pen

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