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Journal

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I journal now.

I have attempted this for going on decades now.  In various forms, under different descriptions, and for uncountable reasons why, I have tried to spend a little time with a notebook and a pen, and tell the invisible just how I was feeling.

And failed.

Every time.

Until now.

I don’t succeed every day.  Just like, with life, I don’t succeed every day.  But now, I try.  I am doing this on the advice of a friend.  Not a close friend, because the advice of close friends, for me, has a way of becoming a message that falls on deaf ears.  Deaf ears that don’t read lips all that well, so the well-meaning of others, just as often, falls.  So, where were we?  Oh yeah, forms, descriptions, and reasons. 

Forms: affirmations, observations, gratitude, grief, self-talk, listening, healing, prayer… just to name a few more than a few.     

Descriptions: meditative, stream of consciousness, automatic writing, biographical, dear fucking diary, poetry and prose.  If I left something out, I’m sorry.  If it meant more, I’m sure I’d still remember it.

Reasons: to get in touch with my feelings, to separate myself from my feelings, to find my true path, to stay off the wrong path, to find myself, to lose myself, to know myself, to find God, to know God, to have God know me.

Yeah, I used to journal to God.  But a long time ago I stopped wanting God to hear what I had to say.  So I stopped journaling to God.

I journal now.

When I used to journal, the many MANY times I tried to journal, I couldn’t write freely, always editing the thoughts in my mind before the words scratched themselves into the page.  I’ve always been a stickler for the way words feel as they lay on your tongue, as you silently read them to yourself, like a whisper with no breath to carry the sound.

C’mon, admit it with me, we ALL do that.  It’s the real reason why people move their lips when they read.  Some people just hide it better, or care much more, than others.  You don’t want to be thought of as simple minded, so you keep your lips pressed together when you read, but your tongue still moves between your teeth and the roof of your mouth, because we ALL love how words FEEL in our mouths.

Anyway, in those days, the words had to read perfect to feel perfect.  So I quit, because the prose ended up being prosaic, and prosaic is just another way of saying “droning self-importance”, and the whole point of journaling was to get past self-importance and discover something more than self, right?

But, bright side, I did become a bloody awful poet, so there’s that.

I journal now.

I don’t know what I will discover, this time.  Will it end up being just another one-man circle jerk of overly-edited thoughts?  So far, no.  I have an actual editor for that now.  One thing I know, so far, is that, where the words used to come out like sawdust, now they come out like blood.  No cuts required.  I even doodle now.  Also in blood.

The world is a different place than it was the last time I tried this, just as my place in it is different.  Recently, my walls came down with a crash, and instead of trying to rebuild walls, I think it’s better if I just write what I find in the rubble and move on.

And no, you will never read my journal.  No one will.  Except maybe God, and then, mostly over my shoulder.

Besides, some of it might be about you.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

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Breathing

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I don’t overshare.

Yes, I have thoughts.  Yes, I have feelings.  No, I don’t put them out there, all heart on my sleeve, for the world at large to see and sift through.  I had that, in no uncertain terms, kicked outta me years and years ago by someone I loved, and that was enough for one lifetime.  Of course now, it’s taken as a sign of unwillingness on my part to be intimate, but whatever.  It’s my sleeve, and I’ll leave it bare if I want to.

A while ago, I mastered the art of Vaguebooking, but was told, in equally certain terms, that behavior like that only alienates folks from getting to know the real me, but for me, it’s easier to speak the truth I know people want to hear, or just say nothing at all.  Again, the feelings are there, I’ve just been conditioned to keep them to myself.

It doesn’t make for many friends or lovers, but I’ve become reconciled with that, believing, until recently, that when it comes to pain in the heart places, less is better.

Yeah, I said “until recently”.

See, I’ve been going through a Fuck Ton of things in the last year, and thought I could poet my way through them.  Thought I could silent my way through them.  Thought I could Vaguebook my way through them.    

I’ve been going through a Fuck Ton of things in the last year, and I had to finally say something.  The only way I know how.

After the fact.

 ***

A friend of mine, a really good friend, recently told me something that, in the moment, froze my bones.  That something was,

“With change comes sacrifice.”

I didn’t say it in that moment, but I truly hated those words.  Things had been changing so rapidly in my life that the last thing I wanted to hear was that, with all this change, I was going to have to “sacrifice” something or somethings I still held onto like a cheap life jacket after the leaky boat sinks.  I was barely hanging on as it was, and NOW comes sacrifice?

***

On a seemingly unrelated note, a few weeks before this, I had begun the practice of spoken affirmations.  Not the kind you might think, but the kind that only I would think to practice.  Notice I did not say positive affirmations.  I began the practice of negative affirmations.  With phrases like,

“I wish I had never met you.”

“I need to get you OFF of me.” 

And most recently,

“You’re somebody else’s problem now”. 

Whenever I began to feel the sink of sadness begin to drag me to the hell of my own dark mind, I would invoke those, and other phrases.  These negative affirmations became my talismans against the feelings that kept me from moving.  They allowed me the freedom of expression that Vaguebooking never could.  They created in me the ability to breathe.  Not in, but out.  And this was important for me to understand, because, in the world of breathing, you learn quickly that your life is only as good as your next breath.  And if you spend your life holding one breath, that breath just might kill you, because you have to breathe out to breathe in the next breath, and the next, and the next.

You have to sacrifice that breath if you ever hope to have another.            

So in my mind, I did.

And shortly after that, I had me a day.  The kind where you wake up one way, and if you just keep breathing, it ends different than you thought it would.

You see, I woke up holding my breath.  Then sometime during that day, I sacrificed that breath for the promise of the next breath, and the next, and the next.  And the words in the picture at the top of this page were that day.  Poeted through.  With the promise that there could be more than just holding my breath, waiting for the next breath to come.

***

Somewhere on Facebook, maybe a little, but not in a way I think will be held against me, I posted these words, and Instagram posts, at the end of that day,

“Today, I wrote myself all the way through a sadness that has hung on me like grave clothes since last fall. These are the trilogy of Instagram posts that were the path for those feelings to find their way out…”

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***

There is no snappy conclusion to this post.  One that ties up all the loose ends of all the thoughts I’ve just unloaded on you who read this.  It’s like life, I guess.  It’s just a series of breaths that keep you going along the way to more life, and the next breath, and the next, and the next.  And now that I’ve finally let go of that one breath I’ve held for so long, sacrificed it for the change to come, I know I’m still breathing. 

And that’s living.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Ray Bradbury, Albert Camus, and Me

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I seriously just had the most amazing experience.

Reading.

First time I can ever remember a story becoming alive to me from the printed page.  Full of colors, and smells, and stars. 

Then, it merged into another story I had read, elsewhere.  Full of heat, and death, and regret. 

And the two stories became what I felt I’ve been living since I don’t know when.

That’s as deep as I’ve been in a while.

And I swear I have smoked no peyote.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Six Tacos

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Today, I ate six tacos from Del Taco, and watched a movie that I wished had been about my life.  Also, I considered day drinking, but there was company in the downstairs, and I didn’t want to have to explain to anyone why I was crafting a boilermaker at 2:54 in the afternoon.  The movie was about a child musical prodigy, and his college age summer nanny.

And before you think that thought out loud, no… not because I have a fantasy about that sort of thing… although, hot nanny… but because I wish I had a childhood memory I held dear that didn’t involve loneliness, or being an outcast. The way the boy felt in the movie.

The way I feel now.

Over the previous bunch of months, in both my poetry and my blog posts, I’ve been telling the folks who read me that I was changing my life.  Changing it for the good.  Cutting the ties that held me to the old life…the job and other questionable choices… and I did.  Except, I realize, that the one thing I brought with me in all the changes, that I have not yet changed, is me.

So now, after all the changes, it is time for me to change me.

Changes begin the moment the first one happens, like eating six tacos from Del Taco, or stumbling upon a movie you wished you’d lived, decades before.  There’s a part in the movie where the boy and his nanny talk about past choices… hers… and the possibilities for the future.  And since I’ve already lived my past, it all made me think what those possibilities will be.  And to be truthful, I don’t know what they are yet.  But I know now that they aren’t as far off as I once thought they were.  They are as close as a story I wished I’d lived.  They are as close as six tacos from Del Taco.

They are here. 

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

And If a Hundred

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It’s not about who you want to love.  Love is very much like lust in that way.  If you could fuck a hundred, you could love a hundred.  And if a hundred fucks, or a hundred loves, there must be a hundred reasons to love the one of them who could love you.

Will she keep you honest when you’re having that asshole moment, when you don’t yet know how stupid you are in those thirty seconds between your idiot words and when you speak the words that tell her you’re sorry?  And for those thirty seconds, will she still keep her hand on your cock, and look you straight in the eyes, waiting, because her love for you will not wane, even when it hurts her soul?  And more important than that, will she tell you, right then, in that moment?  Because you’re a fool sometimes, and you don’t want her to just get over it, you want her to share her disappointment or sadness or grief, even if, especially if, you are the one who caused it.  Because that’s the only way you will learn how to love. 

Because only the insanity should be temporary.

It’s not about who you want to love.  It’s about who wants to love you.  And if a hundred fucks, or one.  A hundred loves, or one.  A hundred reasons, or one.  

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

No Lie

 

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One thing you learn as a writer, if you tell yourself the truth, is that writers are really good liars.  And I am a really good writer.

No lie.

I’ve been moved into the new place for a week now, and I don’t think I can handle it.  I know what all my online posts looked like after I got here.  All Zen and peaceful, with a nod toward some kind of “I found myself” vibe since I arrived.  As I write this, there’s a soft breeze coming through my windows with the approach of sunset.  I can see Long Beach airport in the not too far off distance.  I hear birds sing in the next-door neighbor’s trees.  On the quiet street below, a man walks his dog, and the two of them move over the fresh asphalt as if they were walking on green grass in a park.  Idyllic is the first word that comes to my mind. 

Idyllic, if you’re raising kids, or retired, or a lot of other things that I am not.

Idyllic.  And I fucking hate it.

Maybe because, for the first time since I turned my life over, originally to the chaos of separation and estrangement, then to the disillusion of love found and lost, and finally to the desperation of intention and the desire for something more, all that’s left for me to feel is nothing. 

And it turns out that is the last thing I want to feel.

I thought, with all the change I manipulated and moved myself into over the last few months, I would feel that new direction I was aching for.  Feel the purpose that comes with a best laid plan, conceived and achieved.  Feel everything coming together for the first time in the entire time I’ve been alive. 

Just… feel.

One thing you learn as a writer, if you tell yourself the truth, is that writers are really good liars.  And I am a really good writer.

No lie.

At least that’s how I feel.

 

© 2017 William S. Friday

Wishes to Ashes

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History becomes remembrance when you leave the past behind. 

Even the bad that could never be turned into good, becomes its best version of sepia and gold nostalgia, while that which was truly good and green, and can never be recaptured, becomes a dagger in your faint-beating, grey-fringed heart.

Playful turns to wistful. 

Wishes to ashes. 

Until, long forgotten by next-of, next-of kin, in the collective mind of the cosmos, it is held as it was on the day of its formation, new in all minds, as it once was in one. 

Fresh as infancy, and with the hope of forever, eternal.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Movies, Monkeys, and the Music in my Head

 

28 days later

There’s music playing in my head right now.  Not the kind you’d expect.  Not the Sirius XM playlist kind of music that some invisible algorithm picks for you from somewhere in the black bowels of your emo soul.

It’s something more insidious.

When I was 20, I had a job in retail, selling wallpaper and other equally inane home decor products for a nationally known chain of stores owned by an international breakfast cereal conglomerate.  And no, I could not make that shit up if I sat down hard and tried.  Anyway, this nationally known chain of stores, owned by an international breakfast cereal conglomerate did not play well-known music over the ceiling speakers for the customer’s in-store pleasure.  What they played was a six-hour, continuously looped, instrumental audio tape of songs, scientifically created… or so we were told in training… to stimulate the shopper’s brain in such a way as to create in them “an innate desire to purchase” on a purely subconscious level.

Such was the weird science of the early 1980s.

Whether or not these musical cues actually stimulated our customer’s amygdaloidal behavior to the tune of windfall profits was unclear to me then, just as it is to me now.  But what I can recall clearly was how we just-above-minimum wage employees responded to being in the presence of these sounds, day in-day out, for however long each of us worked there.

Did you ever see the film 28 Days Later?  Yes?  Good.  That’ll make this explanation easier.  Remember the opening scene, where the eco-activists broke into the animal testing laboratory to free the captive primates from their cages, but found out, too late, that these primates had been infected with some chemical cocktail “rage virus” while being subjected to image after television image of non-stop human-on-human violence?  Remember what these primates then did to their liberators?  And remember what would become of the world only 28 short days later?

Yeah, I wonder what all that listening to shopper stimulation music ultimately did to those of us who worked for that nationally known chain of stores owned by an international breakfast cereal conglomerate in 1981.

Oh yeah, my actual point.

Remember when I said there’s music playing in my head right now?

I’m not so sure it’s a coincidence I thought of that music while sitting alone in a warehouse and wondering, is it really only two weeks…okay, 14 days, 22 hours, and 19 minutes… till I’m free from this 20,000 square foot chimpanzee enclosure?  And when I’m free, will I react like an adorable rage monkey?  Because, you know, writers can be pretty adorable when they’re raging.  Or will I act like Jim, the smooth-skinned, human in the story, who when awakened from a coma, must face an entire world now completely changed from the one he knew before.

Metaphorically speaking, and if you read me, you know, I’ve been in a type of coma since I started working the graveyard double-shift life last year.  This awakening of sorts that’s happening in June is me, coming to grips not only with my certain past, but my uncertain future as well.  I’m unsure how it’s going to go.

But I have it on reasonably good authority that it’s going to go better for me than it did for those adorable rage monkeys in the movie.

Tick-tock.

I’m about to wake up.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

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