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To Walk Down a Dead-End Street

dead end

As an introvert with comically low

self-esteem,

I have made some truly awful

choices in my life.

But writing isn’t one of them. 

It’s true that a life of

settling for less along the path of least resistance

has given me

a point of view most successful creative folk never see,

and I can write from that view

as easily as breathe. 

But there is still

something missing,

and I don’t mean something missing from my

smalltime life. 

I mean something missing from my

genetic code

that enables others to whisper a resolute “fuck it”,

and move onto the

places where few go,

and fewer survive. 

I have always been,

for less than better,

and often far worse than that,

one who only moves forward with

a wall at his back,

and this time is no different. 

But it is

forward I must go,

because the only right direction to walk

down a dead-end street

is out.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Crossroads

crossroads

First note to self: Every road has a crossroad, eventually.

This may be my last blog post.  Then again, it may be the first of another few hundred.  It all depends on what’s coming at the next crossroad.  Once upon a time, in a distant, bordering county to Los Angeles, I thought I knew exactly what the path of my life was.  With a wife and two kids, and a history of changing directions every few years, I believed I was cosmically chosen to move back to the land of my raisings, and begin all over again in the very same zip code my parents had once called home.

So we bought a nice, mid-sized home, half a mile from my old high school, and with plans and late-thirties dreams, we marched blindly ahead into the future.  I started a brick and mortar business.  Our eldest started the 9th grade. My wife stayed home with our youngest.  It was an early chapter in our book of the American Dream.  Now because this is an unread blog post and not an essay in some fine quarterly anthology, I will cut to the chase and tell you that in the years following, the business went bust, our eldest learned how to score meth, our youngest retreated into his own insomnia-fueled exile, and the marriage came to an end. 

And those weren’t necessarily the worst things that happened, just the highlights I felt like sharing.

Basically, it was a ten year stretch along a highway of failure after failure, bad choice after bad choice, crossroad after untaken crossroad.

Second note to self: Every crossroad has crossroad of its own, if you’re looking for it.

When I was younger, I would hear this phrase spoken a lot, “When God closes a door, look for a window”.  Now I don’t know about you, but to me, that sounds a lot like breaking and entering.  And God being God, I figure if he closes a door, the least he could do is open another actual door, and I would not be required to carry a crowbar and a flashlight everywhere I go just to get into someplace I actually belonged.  Yeah, metaphors are tricky like that.

So anyway, crossroads. 

About ten years ago, give or take, I began two hardcore pursuits that, combined, still occupy nearly all of my waking hours, and a lot of my sleeping hours, too.  Those things are work and writing.  I know, work doesn’t sound like something you just decide to pick up in your late forties, and it’s not.  And frankly, neither is writing.  But the way I threw myself into them was.  Starting slowly, I forced myself to learn what it was to work.  Long hours of actual physical labor, with no human reward except the food it put in the fridge, the rent it paid, and the endurance it created in me.  And at the very same time, after thirty years of ignoring a calling I first heard in college, I began to write.  Then, after ten years of writing, a first book was born.  As much a tribute to the endurance learned from work as any questionable skill I may possess.

Both the work, and the writing, the result of slowing down long enough to look, and to see, the crossroads.

So now, because I sort of know what to look for, I know I am at the crossroads again.  After ten years of these twin occupations, I have decisions to make with them, and what roads to turn down on my way to something newer, better, and right.  One decision is made, and the other is in the making.  The first, I am quitting the job that is now damn near killing me.  That’s a done deal, even if the boss doesn’t know it yet.  The second has to do with the writing, and not even I know what the questions are, let alone the answers.  But I think the writing may be killing me, too.

You remember that line at the beginning of all this, “This may be my last blog post”? 

Maybe it is, maybe not.  But I know I can’t keep doing both the work and the writing for very much longer without becoming some cliché mashup that a friend of mine had called, Norman Rockwell-Bukowski.  So with that, and because I hate being a cliché, I’m taking a detour off of one of these roads before I have to take the other.  And we’ll see what calling it quits with the job does in keeping me from calling it quits with the writing.

But the truth is, I do not know what in the actual fuck I am doing.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Not the Same

Never was

is not the same as

never will be. 

But never was,

and never was to be,

are.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Life Gets In

img_7791

Life gets in.

It is not always beautiful, but it knows that.  It cannot be hurt by your words, but it does not stop you from speaking.  It will not be surprised by your actions, right or wrong, and it will encourage you to be stupid, or gloriously brilliant.

It is rarely fair.  It does not ask for your permission.  It goes where it is not invited, and it does not tell you why.

It blows you back, like wind off the sea in winter.  It burns you, like the desert sun on bare skin.  It falls from the sky, like rain. 

It grows under the hedges you plant to keep it out.  It bursts forth, one day like weeds, the next, like wildflowers.  It shows you its colors, and it does not judge your choices of them. 

Only the choices you do not make, after life gets in.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

New Year’s Fucking Eve

hny-01

We who remain

Must remember,

for those of

us who

do not. 

 

Surrender

ourselves to

the past,

and 

forget not. 

 

Find hope in the

retelling,

pain welling

in our hearts,

and eyes. 

 

Let what we lost

go, what we found

show, in

remembrance

of the good.

 

© Copyright 2016 William S. Friday

Dog

dog

I‘m not what people

look for in a blog. 

I don’t write about

my kids,

my wife,

my dog. 

My kids are all grown. 

One has a kid of her own. 

The other is gay. 

With his mother he’ll stay. 

But the dog,

purest love that I’ve known. 

 

© Copyright 2016 William S. Friday

November Is No More

today pic

November is no more.

The frenzy.  The confusion.  The push to the finish.

(and that’s just when you’re sleeping)

Every day a panic where there need be none, all because of a looming, self-imposed midnight deadline that causes content anxiety in the most honored of bloggers.  And gives all wannabe bloggers the only reason they need to disengage from all social media until after the New Year.

So before I go off into blogging witness protection for the next month, here’s a little recap of the November that was.

NaBloPoMo 2016.

 

Where most of my good ideas came from…

urban-lumberjack

 

Where most of my bad ideas came from…

bed

 

My most favorite post…

There Must Be Something More

more

 

Your most favorite post…

Shitheap

 

img_1482

 

The reason I quit every year…

typewriter-bleed

 

The reason I don’t…

cheer-peppers

 

Thank you to the Cheer Peppers, and thank you to their creator, Ra Avis…

ra-avis

 

And as much as it pains me to say this here and now…

I’ll see all of you here again, next year.

 

© Copyright 2016 William S. Friday

Urban Lumberjack

 

urban-lumberjack

Into the silent night,

I look up.  

A pig iron forest,

rises. 

My feet,

balanced upon soft cement,

a meadow,

grey. 

Red and black checked flannel,

and hemp,

layered above denim,

covering. 

With wool upon my head,

to keep warm,

my thoughts. 

The urban lumberjack,

with fire,

built from circuits,

lit by words,

sparks,

from my fingertips.

 

© Copyright 2016 William S. Friday

Night Sky

night-sky

I walk in shadows now, most of the time.  I once marked my days in the hours between memories made.  Now I mark my days in the memories I am missing, in my isolation.

I am learning to appreciate the truth of sunshine again, after the lies of fluorescent light, in the place where the moon and stars used to hang, in the dark.  I miss the moon and stars.  I miss the dark.

I live in a cave now, thirty feet high, with the lights turned off, to remind me of what I thought I would not miss.  It is not the same.  But I tell myself that, when I look up at just the right angle, there is still a night sky above me.  And a moon and stars, made of iron.

 

© Copyright 2016 William S. Friday

Misssion

mission

Did you make it through another day? 

If you’re reading this, you did.  Maybe I didn’t.  That’s not the point.  The point is you did.  All I was supposed to do was make it far enough to hand this off to you, and I did. 

My mission, accomplished.  Now, what’s your mission? 

What are you handing off to the next someone?  What will they hand off to the next?  Not my mission, not my monkeys.  I always wanted to say that.  My mission wasn’t to manage yours, it was to finish mine, and I did.  I know that because here you are, with my mission in your hands, making it your own. 

Did you make it through another day? 

If you wrote this, you did.

 

© Copyright 2016 William S. Friday

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