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Archive for the tag “Los Angeles”

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

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DIY Life Coach

nano do as I say

 

It’s November 14th, 2015.  Tomorrow marks the half-way point for what I, in the past, have mocked harder than France secretly mocks Jerry Lewis.  Yep, NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month.  A time when normally shunned people rise up from their nerd coffins and attempt to make the internet explode.  A time when the average blogger, cyber reader, or Bloody Awful Poet tries to post more in one month than in the previous twelve months combined.  I’ve known bloggers who, following participating in NaBloPoMo, have taken ill, quit jobs, lost relationships, and otherwise simply dropped out of society.

Having said that, here are a few observations I’ve made through the first two weeks of this self-inflicted Blogmageddon…

Observation number one.  Contrary to popular myth, THIS SHIT IS EASY. 

I used to look at regularly published posts as something to be feared… even dreaded.  Like uncompensated on-call hours for that blue-collar job that you make-believe is SO COOL, but is really just a life-suck that pays a lot closer to minimum wage than your used car salesman of a boss is willing to admit.  Putting your shitty life on hold for a few weeks to write what amounts to three chapters of a bloated Stephen King novel is chump change in comparison to sitting on your ass waiting for a drive from LAX to Culver City for twenty bucks… minus the gas YOU have to pay for out of your own pocket.

Life lesson number one.  Work sucks, but we all need the bucks.

And posting everyday breaks up the monotony of being insulted by working a ninety-hour week, and having the guy who signs your paycheck tell you, with a straight face, that you really only worked a fifty.

Observation number two.  You don’t know what complaining really is till you learn what complaining REALLY IS.

People in France have a right to complain.  Not blue-collar workers in Los Angeles.  Not blue-balled bloggers in their mommy’s basement.  People with real problems have a right to complain.  While “hard is hard”, some hards are harder than others.  Bitching about blogging, much like bitching about your job, means you have one… and possibly both.  Blog or don’t blog.  Work or don’t work.  Blogging every day has taught me that if you can do it, and choose to do it, you give up your rights to bitch about doing it.

Life lesson number two.  Quit yer bitching.

And yes, I mean ME.

Observation number three.  In a month that has taught me more than four years of high school, thirty years of marriage, and fifty-four years of life, here it is.

Do what makes you happy.  If that means blogging every single day for the rest of your life, then do it.  If that means working a job that doesn’t allow time for blogging… or for that matter, a life… then do that.  And if life gives you the clarity and the opportunity to know and do what you love, then jump the hell on it and ride it hard off into the sunset.

Life lesson number three.  Oh, fuck!  There IS NO number three!

Just do what I said.  Because, for once in my life, I’m going to.  Whatever that entails.  Which, at the time of this writing, I have no idea what it is.  But I’m going to find it and do it.

So ends day 14 of that hashtag that changed my life, forever.

 

© Copyright 2015 Bill Friday

I Gave Up Writing Poetry

"Free Poetry" © 2014 Bill Friday

“Free Poetry” © 2014 Bill Friday

I gave up writing poetry

for the last time yesterday

right before I got talked back into it

by smiles

by circumstance

by words

oh, those damn persuasive words

and the way people look at you

when they think you

can do something they cannot.

 

© 2014 Bill Friday

Tony Deegan

old-man-with-flowing-beard-looking-down-left

I met Tony Deegen when he was almost 70… I was near 50… He was old on the outside and young in his bones… just the opposite of me.

Tony Deegan spent his 401k on a stripper… must have been a big tipper ‘cause he didn’t drink… paid for her tits and put her through school… as old farts go, he was cool.

Tony Deegan saw the Dodgers in the Coliseum… got to see ‘em play there in the 1950’s… sat his bony ass near the peristyle… Vin Scully’s transistor echo made him smile… when all things were new… till they moved all the families out of the Ravine before ’62.  He saw Drysdale and Koufax and Bobby and Jack as equals in his hall of fame.

Tony Deegan, by the time I knew him, he lived on Arbor Vitae… where he wouldn’t invite you because it was a rundown piece of furnished shit… and the beard on his neck was thicker than the one on my chin.  He was all stories by then… forgotten glories of a when that was dead… and he wouldn’t let just anyone into his head.

Tony Deegan always listened to progressive talk on his car radio while he worked, or sports… always out of sorts… and his opinion on either subject wasn’t always correct, political or otherwise… everyone around him said he was always to blame for every wrong thing… mostly because he couldn’t keep his damn mouth shut.

I want to be just like Tony Deegan when I grow up… except for the stripper, and the 401k… and the dying when he was so damn alone.

Copyright © 2013 Bill Friday

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