All the Leaves are Brown

And the sky is gray.

It doesn’t take a keen artistic eye, or a love for 1960s pop ballads, to recognize signs in the heavens, or atmospheric conditions at the end of a November on the east coast.  It’s not cold, it’s bleak.  The sun rises almost two hours after I wake up, it sets in what feels like early afternoon, and I realize now what I must’ve sounded like when I still lived in California, and the morning cold was chased away by an afternoon Santa Ana blowing 40-plus miles an hour at 90-plus degrees, and my 60 years in the same place mind would think,

“I feel a chill in the air”.

And in my right this minute mind’s eye, I am staring at myself, and thinking,

“You’re an idiot”.

And I’m right.

I hope that, wherever you are as I write this, you are okay with how you’re talking to yourself.  And by the way, before I get too much further into this, let me say that, I believe accuracy is a form kindness.  I also believe that kindness is a good way to approach things, in the same way that a wall that needs paint needs a paintbrush, not a sledgehammer.  That said, when painting, sometimes a wall needs a paint roller, not a fine-bristle edge brush. 

And sometimes, it’s okay to be harsh with you, with words or names that we wouldn’t use on strangers.  Just so, there are moments when, in self-talk, I call myself by the name that appears on my birth certificate, William.  There are other moments, also in self-talk, when I call myself one of a multitude of kinder nicknames, given by me, to me, over years and years of getting to know myself, each nickname befitting whichever subtly-nuanced moment I am experiencing at the time. 

And finally, there are moments when, in the most intimate of self-talk, I call myself names that I might never use on someone I loved, because it could be taken as harsh or hurting.  Or on someone young, because their tender psyche is still in development, and terse descriptives would likely become imprinted upon them in a way that would injure, and cause them to limp through life, not run freely, as they should. 

But I am no longer young, and I am no longer tender.  Not in the sense that I am still a psyche in development, or someone who may, with his own words, say something that others have used, or have not already used, in anger, on myself.

Now I use these words on myself, with consent, and in full understanding of how they might sound in the ears of another, who might not understand that the years it took me to unlearn the hurt in these words from my self-talk vocabulary, have also taken the sting from them, because the power for me is not in these words. 

The power is in my breaking the grip these words once had over me.  In intimate words that once might have swung like a sledgehammer, with angry eyes and a clenched jaw, but now are as soft as a paintbrush, wet with colors that feel like love, accompanied by a smile, a shake of the head, a roll of the eyes.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Some Days

Some days you got it, some days you sit for two hours, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, because you’re looking for a kid you know, carrying a big-ass candy cane, walking somewhere next to the float with Santa Clause on it, but instead, at the last moment, NBC cuts to commercial, and when they come back, the Zombie Queen of Christmas** is singing an old song she won’t even legally allow other artists do a cover of, because Zombie Queen, and then the parade is over, and all you’ve got for a Day 24 post is a picture of the tiny breakfast tostadas you made and slapped up all over social media, while waiting for the nice kid with the Styrofoam and glitter candy cane to walk past the camera during the parade.

*breathe, Bill, breathe*

Well, at least Hoda looked warm.

So were the tostadas.

Seriously, that’s all I got.  The tostadas were good, but I’m a little over-caffeinated for the second consecutive day because for the second consecutive night I didn’t get as much sleep… okay, remember in my Day 23 post, I mentioned how a writer’s writing could change if they didn’t get enough sleep… as I ought to, because of nightmares about death and dying… not my death, other people’s deaths, but no one you know… so I’m not even having my customary eggnog latte while writing this. 

I find it an exceptionally funny thing when, after I overcame what your family and friends would have called a “premature death” in your own life, the subject of death and dying becomes a recurring theme in dreams that used to be primarily made up of work-related fears, car accidents, and dark-leathery demons sitting on my chest.  In any case, at least now the dreams are also better lit and the camera focus of my dream sight is much, much sharper. 

Yep, damn near 4k.

There’s an obscure passage in the book of the prophet Joel which reads,

“…I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams.”

And while I won’t tell you how I remember that… because it’s so much more fun if I just let you all guess… I will say that, as I get older, the dreams keep coming, and they keep getting sharper and sharper.

And even I don’t know what the hell they mean.

But anyway, tostadas.  I recommend the mini flour tortillas from Trader Joe’s.  And remember kids, life is too short to pan-fry your tostadas in anything other than REAL BUTTER.  So, like I said about 300 words back up the page, that’s all I got.  Hopefully, I will get a richly rewarding, 8 hours’ sleep tonight.  A sleep devoid of anything triggering. 

Oh, and one more usual thing, the question.  What robs YOU of the sleep your body needs?  Is it nightmares?  General anxiety.  An enlarged prostate?  Snoring (yours or another’s)?  Maybe something from totally out of left-field?  You know I’d love to hear about it, and maybe compare notes.

Talk to you tomorrow.

**Mariah Carey (as if you didn’t know)

If This Isn’t Nice… to Feel Nothing

And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is”.

Kurt Vonnegut – A Man Without a Country

How nice — to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive.

Kurt Vonnegut – Slaughterhouse-Five

Yes, the same man wrote both thoughts. 

Literary criticism be fully damned.

A very long time ago, I was a student of literary criticism, which is just another way of saying, “Tell someone you’re a college drop-out without telling them you’re a college drop-out.”

It was fascinating, though.  A lot like Google is fascinating, and can become the greatest time suck in the history of time… that sucks.  Questions like, “Did the Apostle Paul write the Epistle to the Romans, AND the Epistle to the Hebrews?”  Or, “Did William Shakespeare write the works of William Shakespeare?” 

The first one only matters if you’re live-tweeting during the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions.  The second one doesn’t matter at all, because, “…a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, if the name was Shakespeare of Stratford, the Sweet Swan of Avon, Sir Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, or a bunch of late 16th century fanboys on a perpetual pub crawl through the dirty streets of London.

And we all know that A Rose by Any Other Name was Teena Marie.

How was that for “I digress”?

But the point of my point is, and this is the part that I really want to drive home, in a month-long parade of posts like National Blog Posting Month, writers write as themselves.  Maybe more like themselves than at any other time of the blogging year, because… after so many posts on consecutive days… all the varnish is off the mixed-metaphorical hot dog.  There is no plan anymore, as if you had a plan to begin with.  By today, Day 23, all there is that’s left inside is an imprint of your true self.

Which changes with your mood, how much sleep you got the night before, if you had an argument with your cat during breakfast, or every other potential existential crisis available to post-modern human-kind.

Take a look back up the page, at the two disparate quotes from the very prolific writer, Kurt Vonnegut.  Sloppy literary criticism might try to get you, the reader, to believe that Vonnegut did NOT, in fact, write both quotes.  Even though there are publishers, editors, colleagues, friends, family, and readers over the decades, who could tell you without equivocation that Kurt Vonnegut wrote both A Man Without a Country, AND Slaughterhouse-Five.  And, even more important, your own stories, written daily on the page, or however often you write, are all written by the same author.

And let’s go one step further.

Every You Thought, or You Feeling, every idea or plan, high, low, or in-between, is being thought or felt, ALL by YOU. 

There will be days when you will feel nothing, and still get full credit for being an intrinsically AWESOME human being.  There will also be days when you will not be able to keep The Murmur inside you, The Exclaim inside you, The HAPPY inside you, and all of that is also ALL by YOU.

Beautiful, never the same, yet always, only you.

And after all that letting my brains leak onto the page, maybe tomorrow, I’ll just write a limerick and call Day 24 break-even.

So now, tell me, do you ever feel like you’re never the same person twice, even though there’s always only one of you?  Let me know, okay.

Talk to you tomorrow.

The Poet Returns

Yesterday, I made the grave mistake of not having something with a light-transgressive, semi-autobiographical, literary non-fiction vibe to it, in the pipe, ready to go for Day 21 of NanoPoblano.  I sat in the shadow of the muse who would not come, then went about every day, normal things like watching the Series Finale of The Walking Dead, a brief cry as it was ending, then after another couple of hours of waiting on that fickle genius one more time, watched the finals of Dancing with the Stars and called it a day… without posting anything entertaining or the least bit darkly benign.

Which led me to this morning. 

A day to play catch-up, and post TWICE before midnight.

There’s this thing that I, as one who writes, has had to deal with for practically EVER.  No, not writers’ block.  Well, yes, writers’ block, but no, not writer’s block this time.  The thing that happens, the thing I didn’t want to have happen in the month of November is, my writer’s brain defaults to… poetry.

This morning, I wrote a poem.

But not a poem the way I used to write a poem.  About me.  I’m done with that garbage.  There’s much more important stuff in this world to poet about than one’s own self-serving screed-lets.  Like calling out the world on its shit.  Like pointing my words at a problem the world created, and giving it no room to breathe until the problem changes.  The whole “speaking truth to power” thing, or in my case, telling power to fuck itself.  One thing I’ve learned by living a long time is how truly short time is.  So, this morning, I began showing on the public side of me what’s been changing on the inside for a while now.

And, when people wonder why I haven’t had a book go to print in almost five years, this is why.  And why, even when changes happen years before, it may take some time for those changes figure out how to make themselves known, to the public, even if those changes are common knowledge among the folks who know you best.

So for now, Day 22 of NanoPoblano… The Catch-Up Edition… is complete.  If you somehow missed this morning’s poem and wish to read it, just scroll down below the post you’re reading, and let me know if it, well, just let me know.

And with all that, I really will talk to you tomorrow.


There shouldn’t have to be heroes 

There shouldn’t be a need for them 

There should just be beautiful people

living out their beautiful lives

without need of



allies or

human shields 


There shouldn’t have to be

moments that create heroes at

The Stonewall

at Pulse

at Club Q 

There should be only acceptance

and laughter

and tears of joy 

Of joy 


In our nightmares

heroes are discovered 

In our dreams

heroes are no longer required 


Mothers shouldn’t have to

identify their children by the

tattoos on their skin

but by the smiles that disappear

into shoulders

from hugs that last so long

maybe you forgot how to breathe

when you could still breathe 

When they could still breathe

A Short Post about the Weather

It’s been almost 8 months since I moved from California to the previously-mostly-left-leaning State of New York, taking up residence in the heart of New York’s Separatist Confederate Appendage, known as Long Island. 

As a forever Californian, I am truly grateful for every time I’m on the highway, and see a blue, black, or camouflage green Dodge Ram 1500 pickup, sporting any number of multiple Black-and-White-Thin-Blue-Line-Punisher-Skull-Let’s-Go-Brandon-I’m-Armed-And-I-Vote decals that never fail to remind me just how great a Second Amendment Patriot they are, because without said decals, I might lose my soul by inadvertently making eye-contact with them on my way to that Sanctuary City of Retail… Trader Joe’s.

Other things that I have learned in my 8 months of living just off the southern border of Canada are words and phrases used by New York TV meteorologists.  Those terms… and their Straight Outta SoCal translations… include, in no particular order,

East Coast Terms…………………….West Coast Translations


Soaking Rain…………………………..Wet Rain

Wash-out…………………………………Rain (stay home)

Drought……………………………………Rain Next Tuesday

Tree Pollen Alert……………………..People Sneeze

Heat Index……………………………….People Move to California


Lake Effect……………………………….Cold (stay home)

Arctic Air…………………………………..Cold (for Canada)

Dew Point…………………………………Meaningless Weather Obsession

Bomb Cyclone…………………………Patio Furniture into the Garage

Ice Fog………………………………………First Circle of Hell

Thunder Snow………………………….See: Lake Effect

Weather Watch………………………..Beer in Hand on Front Porch

Tropical Storm………………………….Now and Then Winter in Southern California

Weather Warning…………………….Beer in Hand in Basement

Hurricane…………………………………..I’d Rather Have an Earthquake

Truthfully, being raised in Southern California, I have never encountered a more weather-centric culture than the Tri-State (that’s New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, NOT Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky). 

Also totally new to me is their weather-centrism, which, while totally legitimate as with Super-Storm Sandy, also carries over to weather-watching along the Southern-Atlantic Coast (because that’s where the hurricanes make landfall) as well as watching the West Coast of Africa (where the storms that become hurricanes originate).

Then again, I’ve also never known folks who would still rather live in a region where all that weather shit happens regularly, yet become visibly agitated when the idea of an adorable little 14-seconds-long-7-point-ohhhh earthquake in California finds its way into a casual weather conversation.    

But that’s probably a blog post for some time in November, 2023.

And today’s question.  Did you ever move from one part of the country or the world, to another distinctly different part of the country or the world?  How did that change the way you think, about where you once were, as well as where you ended up?

This one, I’m extra curious about.

I’ll be reading.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Dr Pimple Popper Poetry

The need for some

to see the bum

of someone with a pimple

is gross and too

disgusting to

explain to those so simple.

An ingrown hair

when it hits the air

will look just like a spider

and a carbuncle

on your sweaty uncle

will splatter all the wider.

When evacuated bumps

gush cottage cheese in clumps

all for the sake of better dermal health

the only thing I see

as I hide my eyes and flee

is a doctor’s bank account increasing wealth.

So if you want me to look

I will tell you I’d rather read a book

of couplets rhymed and read aloud quite loosely

because there won’t come a day

when I succumb to this display

of you conniving me to watch obtusely.

But let me tell you what,

I will not watch the clefted butt

of reality TV outpatient surgery 

I will however say

that in the past as with today

not one damn thing I wrote in this was perjury.

And now that you’ve read THAT, do you even want to leave me a comment about a thing you’ve had a friend recommend to you that is just too gross for you to think twice about seeing, doing, or letting live, rent free, in your head?

Share ’em if you got ’em, please?

Talk to you tomorrow.

The Big Quit or My Friend Tom from MySpace

November 18, NanoPoblano 2020.  A November blog day just like any other.  Except on THIS blog day, I quit.

It had been just over one year since I was the lucky survivor of cancer.  Undiagnosed for what doctors deemed “a while”, growing quietly on my right kidney, reaching Stage 3.  Keeping its business to itself, without jumping over any margins, to any other organs, then showing itself, only at the last minute, through something as desperately random as a never-ending stream of blood in my urine. 

Medical emails, followed by tests and re-tests during the panic of a pandemic, and in just 6½ short but agonizingly slow weeks, it was over.  The whole kidney removed, and with it, the monster on my insides.  Jump ahead just a little over one year later, and I thought that blogging about my journey from first symptom to medical all-clear was brilliant, and easy, and something I was ready to undertake.

I could not have been more wrong. 

What should’ve been light and anecdotal posts, post-nightmare, became a greater and greater weight on me throughout the month, until, on November 18, I just stopped writing about it. 

I just stopped writing, about anything.

Gee, I wonder why.

Why does a boxer quit on their stool?  Why does a marathoner just walk off the course with the finish line in sight?  Why do people quit working for Twitter?  You can answer those questions any way you want.  For me, the answers are, at their core, the same. 

Because they are done, that’s why.

So today, quietly, and celebrating only with myself, I mark the second anniversary of the day I quit on my stool.  For me, there was no NanoPoblano 2021.  There was only walking off the course of a marathon without having even begun the race.  Oh and, fuck Twitter, though I still have my two accounts there, in case My Friend Tom from MySpace ever wants to resurrect that decomposing blue bird, during what’s left of my lifetime. 

But I… as usual… digress, BIG TIME.

I guess that’s who I’ve become, or more accurately, who I’ve embraced already being, in the last two years since “The Big Quit”.  I’m more me, or maybe I’m just me… more.  This had to have always been “me”, whoever that was.  And if you knew me before “The Big Quit”, maybe I let you in on it.  Also, maybe I didn’t, but if you’re here now, I’m damn sure letting you see it, every day, for 18 straight days, unlike the last time.

Okay, now YOU.  We’ve all quit on our stool.  So what was yours?  It doesn’t have to be a monumental thing, but if it WAS monumental, that’s okay, too.  If you want to share, please do.  If not, just share it with yourself. 

I already know what a good listener you are.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Something Very Much Like Frost

Nobody’s comin’ to save you,

to save you. 

But if somebody’s comin’ to save you,

to save you 

Then nobody’s comin’ to save you,

from him.

(c) 2022 William S. Friday

Sometimes, I wander through my world, singing.  Just to myself.  I mostly don’t write it down, because the words are coming off the top of my head as I go about my everyday business, and I don’t stop the song to write it all down, because that will interrupt the flow.

I mean, sometimes I write it down, if I get lucky and I have a pen and paper close by, or maybe my phone.  I can tell you when it doesn’t happen.  It doesn’t happen when the laptop is open and the page is blank, and I’m staring at it like the words should already be there. 

Well, there was this one time.  Today.

I’ve learned to accept this spontaneous expression, which comes when I expect it the least, as a small, boxed gift without a card attached.  As just an anonymous blessing, quickly forgotten.  The way I’m told frost comes when it’s cold overnight, then in the morning, it’s gone before you think to take a picture of it.

Also, taking pictures of frost is a tourist thing, and I’m really trying hard to blend in around here.

The song in the quote box, above, is something very much like frost.  It was here, then gone, and pretty soon, will be forgotten.  The only difference, right here right now?  The laptop was open.  So what was intended only for me, I now share with you.

But what does a chorus without a backstory or a conclusion mean?  It beats the hell out of me.  I suppose I could guess.  I mean, you could guess if you want to.  I pretty much never know what the gift-giver intends, when the gift is delivered. 

I just open it, and sing.

So, do you ever experience spontaneous creativity?  It doesn’t have to be writing.  It could literally be anything.  I know I do, with more things than this.  What’s yours?

Talk to you tomorrow.

Come With Me If You Want To Live

Sure, I’d like to be writing something else right now.  Maybe thinking through the deeper implications of literary non-fiction, or even free-versing some poetry, but no.  I’m un-showered (a water main shut-off in the neighborhood), and under the general malaise of the first 24 hours after my post-booster omicron variant shot, while writing this, and watching the “cuss-words removed for TV” version of the 1984 film classic, The Terminator

And also, drinking cream soda.  Mmmmm… cream soda.  If cream soda is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Not too much else to say about my lack of production today, except that, if the water gets turned back on before the movie ends, or before this post gets written, I’m ducking out on both, just as quick as I can.  It’s not that I have…

…checks faucets…

*STOP! Shower Time!*

…and, I’m back!

As I was saying, at least for today, while I would rather be writing something memorable, or even monumental, all I’m doing is knocking out 500-or-so words, right off the top of my head.  Nothing deep, nothing to put in a book, and absolutely nothing to be so proud of, as to leave up on this blog, except in a mostly-invisible folder you can click on in the future if you’re so inclined.  Rather, what this day, and pretty much EVERY day in November is for, comes down to the simple discipline of writing SOMEthing, even when I don’t feel inspired, let alone brilliant, let alone even when I don’t particularly give a shit. 

For me, the month of November is about that kind of discipline, and little else, and you visiting my blog just to see how things are going, is a lot like a friend swinging by the house when I haven’t had a shower or brushed my teeth, and have two loads of dirty laundry strewn across the living room, between the front door and the washer and dryer.  But if you’re cool like that, I’m cool like that.   I always like having you over, but let me just say as I let you in everyday, that the place is a mess, and if you trip over stuff, the personal injuries are all on you.

If you didn’t already know this, writing and I have had a funny relationship for as far back as I can remember.  While pausing over the keys, I just had a flashback of a one-act play I wrote when I was in the 6th grade which, for you keeping score at home, made me 11 years old at the time.  This spun my head further into that time, to a playground football memory, and then a thought about my 6th grade teacher, Mr. McKinney, who looked like Richard Roundtree in the movie Shaft, and right back to the surface again to pick back up at, “…funny relationship for as far back…” and here I am again, may the circle be unbroken

So yeah, as you can see, “funny relationship” may be an understatement, but that story may best explain why I’m using November as a discipline to grow some long-gone-soft writing muscles, and not as a showcase for my story-crafting talent.

And don’t let anyone tell you that accidental self-hypnosis isn’t a very real thing.

Time for me to do the laundry.

And of course, I have a question for you.  If you had to think of the one, REALLY real reason why you’re writing your way through this November, what would that reason be?  Those of you who are not writing, don’t worry, I’ll have a question for you before the month is over.

Talk to you tomorrow.