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Archive for the tag “me”

A Day in an Invisible Life: Hour 6

A Day in an Invisible Life (9)

I feel.

(and by the way, I hate it)

I don’t know why.  I don’t know when.  But there are days that, after a rush of accomplishment, there is a vacuum created inside of me.  It’s almost a physical property, like when a low pressure system moves into a geographic location, and soon after, the real weather moves in.  Dark clouds, heavy with rain.  Wind.  Thunder.  Lightning.  You can taste it. 

Sometimes, the hair on your arms even stands up.

I feel this.

(and by the way, I hate it)

I’m feeling it right now.

And just like the weather, I never know what emotion will blow in when the low pressure system comes.  Today, it’s sadness.  But let’s be clear, today it’s ONLY sadness.  Not depression like the depression that came last summer.  That was a fucking weather Armageddon.  That was purple-black funnel clouds, with cows spinning inside them.  This is just sadness.  Like on another day, it’s just anger, or another day, it’s fear, anticipation, or even joy.

Today, it’s sadness.  And I’m writing my way through it.  It’s how I learned to cope, last summer.  And I’m coping right now.  Hell, I’m even writing a blog post and not matchbook poetry, which was about all I could do in 2017.  Matchbook poetry.  Poetry so short, it could fit on the cover of a matchbook.  Yeah, it’s a thing.  Anyway, if you’ve read the first five posts in this series, and shame on you if you haven’t… I’m laughing as I write that… you know that I’m okay, and you are not to call the authorities when you read shit like “sadness”, “anger”, or “weather Armageddon” in a sentence.  Buddha Bukowski 5 BETTER ENDINGYou also know that, while I have spent the last decade writing poetry that would make Mary Poppins cry, I still believe in the better ending. 

Here’s a picture of a shirt design I created that says so. 

And that I believe all these feelings, these feelings that are as common to everyone as they are to me, are just a part of the earthscape that I’ve been put here to describe, in words that are insufficient.  Which is why I try, every day.  Because maybe, if I try, every day, better words will appear than “sadness” and “anger”.  And you will read them, and know that you are not alone.       

Because when we feel, we are never alone.

(and by the way, even if we hate it)

 

© Copyright 2018 William S. Friday   

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A Day in an Invisible Life: Hour 3

A Day in an Invisible Life (3)

I Read.

I tell myself that it’s important to do that.  When I was at my deep darkest, it was first reading… not writing… that turned my face to the light again. 

As a child, I was reading on my own before the chairs got warm in kindergarten, but like anything an undisciplined child accomplishes too soon, that child takes it for granted, and if left to wander too long on this path, that child loses his way.  At least this child did.

As an adult, it turns out, the ones I love the most, read the most.  It wasn’t that I set out to reclaim my lost path by finding and loving those who read, it just worked out that way.  Like Guy Montag in Fahrenheit 451, maybe readers just found me.  To hear of their love of this thing I took for granted from childhood made me curious to know them, and this love that filled them up.  Without meaning to, they showed me the empty inside myself.  They spoke of reading like a person in love speaks of their special someone, corporeal, as real to them as the touch of another human being.  Of a love that fills their soul.

And I needed to fill my soul.

I read now.  Remedially.  Not because my comprehension or vocabulary is stunted, but because the muscles in my brain that should be running reading marathons are atrophied, like someone waking from a coma, and falling on the way to the bathroom. 

I read now.  Slowly.  Chewing on every word, often aloud, to let the taste and weight of every word satisfy me.  I get filled up so easily, and it hurts to take it all inside, so some days it’s all I can do to read a few lines before I have to stop and digest what new thing I just took in.  Some days it’s poetry, others, classic fiction.  But most days, it’s something I’ve never tasted before, and I chew on it like a baby chews on that first bite of peas or blueberries.  Cautiously, curiously, the way someone who lived life without friends makes friends for the first time.

So today, in this hour, I read.  Not for others, but for myself. 

Because I am empty, and I am so hungry.

 

© Copyright 2018 William S. Friday

A Day in an Invisible Life: Hour 2

A Day in an Invisible Life (5)

Hour 2

 

I keep a journal. 

It’s not what most people think as a journal.  It’s what I imagine therapy would be like… if I’d ever gone to therapy… which I haven’t.  I have nothing against therapy.  I have friends who go.  I think it speaks volumes that my kids go to therapy, and my eldest grand kid… and my kids’ mother.  And since you’re reading this on a blog, you might think that I subscribe to that very-often-quoted maxim, “I don’t go to therapy, I blog”.  But I don’t.  Subscribe to that very-often-quoted maxim, that is.  I’ve read blogs that purport to be self-therapy for their bloggers. 

All I can say about that is, those bloggers need therapy.

Oh, yeah.  I keep a journal.

It was about a year ago that I finally gave into someone’s idea of a daily practice that could best be called ‘self-care’.  It started with the only thing in my life at the time that could be identified as such.  My morning cup of coffee.  One cup, about a half-hour to drink it, no more—no less.  It was to become a quiet time, a sacred time, filled with nothing but my thoughts… or lack of thoughts… as I sat in remembrance of what was, and the day that was to be. 

That was when my journal came to be.

Originally a place for gratitude, eventually this journal took the shape of… well, a landfill… for thoughts and feelings that had begun to overflow my ability to process in the moment.  I’ve hinted at this in blog posts before, but the truth of things is, about a year ago, I was in the midst of an undiagnosed depressive episode.  My long-overdue first, and since, only, fall down a mineshaft of emotional and spiritual darkness.  To sum it up in a sentence, I was in a really fucked-up place.  But it was in those months that I began to listen to the words that had become stuck inside me, and wrote them all down as they surfaced, in real-time.  The words were full of sadness and anger, hope and confusion, love and hate.  It wasn’t fun and it wasn’t easy.  But I learned that there was a landfill waiting for a whole lifetime of garbage to fill it up. 

So I filled it up.  I still do.  Some days I miss, most days I don’t.  And every day I do it is one more day that I stay out of the mineshaft.  Also, in case you wondered why I don’t share it on the blog, it’s because I don’t believe a blog is therapy.  I believe therapy is therapy, just like I believe a journal isn’t therapy.  But between the coffee, and the quiet, and the pen, and the ink, I’m not where I was a year ago.

So this day, I’ll make a second cup of coffee, sit in the chair between my bed and the window, and drop another page into the landfill.

 

© Copyright 2018 William S. Friday

A Day in an Invisible Life

A Day in an Invisible Life

Prologue…

My days begin in anonymity*. 

Nobody knows who I am, really.  Maybe that’s because I lead a double—life.

There are hints here and there.  Some days… nights, actually…  I call work and tell them I can’t come in.  That I have “something going on with that other job”, and they understand.  But around this town, nobody has a clue of who I am, and what I do. 

 

Hour 1…

The molten sun pours through my window blinds between 6 and 8 am.  I don’t remember it being this way when I moved here last July.  It’s like that scene near the beginning of the movie Jaws, when Chief Brody says basically the same thing to his wife, and she explains it to him.  My observation being not the angle of the sun, or what season I moved in, but that Chief Brody had a wife.

In another minute I decide there’s no use fighting with the sun, and I grab something that passes for pants to wear on the walk downstairs to make coffee.  I’m not against making coffee naked, I just don’t want to be seen doing so by my landlady.  She’s not at all a morning person, but that one time I did laundry naked now shapes the way I make morning coffee for however long I end up living here.

I work nights, and I’ll get to talking about that.  But for right now, I have editing to do.  Not my own, or I’d probably push that off till tomorrow, or the next day.  This is for someone whose book is on deadline, and I don’t intend to be that guy who can’t make other people’s dreams come true.  I’ve been that guy, and that guy has no place in my life, anymore.  So, while my slower-than-a-kid-late-for-school laptop boots, I shuffle downstairs… clothed… to make the magic happen.

Coffee is magic.

I drink my coffee and edit the book, and the sun asks if I wouldn’t mind opening the blinds a little wider, just to make it easier on both of us.  No, the sun doesn’t really talk to me.  That would be crazy.  But I get the hint, and do it.  My room fills with slat-filtered daylight, and the coffee seems stronger for it.  As I search the pages of the book on my screen for errors… and I do find a few… I know that what I’m doing now is important.  It has invisible value.  I guess, like my invisible life.  As I read and make notes on paper, in ink, I forget about the coffee, growing cold in the cup that sits beside me on my bed.  I think how this may be the most important thing I do all day. 

This book is magic.

 

*I began this “day in the life” at the suggestion of a trusted friend.  When I realized I couldn’t jam 24 hours into 600 words, the idea of serializing my day was born.  Next up, Hour 2. 

 

© Copyright 2018 William S. Friday

Please May I Have a Coma?

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“Please, may I have a coma?”

 I said that in a conversation with a friend the other day.  There was no correlation to any one thing I remember talking about.  It was just a stand-alone thought.  This sort of thing happens often with me, seeming, usually, completely disconnected from whatever train of thought or flow of conversation I’m having in that moment.  Most people, even those closest to me, miss it.  That instant when my consciousness gets invaded by my subconscious, and my Freudian Slip starts to show.

I used to miss it, too.

But a lot has happened over the last year so that, on this day, I didn’t miss it at all.

I, and most of my nearest and dearest, have had a hard year.  I can’t explain why.  Okay, maybe?  The same way people try and explain how a half-a-dozen women, in regular near-proximity to each other, seemingly sync their periods.  Or how, when you buy a make and model of car you never really gave much thought to, and then it seems like that same car is on every street, and in every parking lot, everywhere you go. 

The collective unconscious, manifested.

And no, I don’t believe for one minute that, like periods or late-model cars, any of my friends and I wanted our collective shits to happen, but maybe there’s something equally invisible going on that drew us all together before, so that we could be here for each other in the during, and rejoice with each other in the after.  Because that’s why human beings have friends. 

“Please, may I have a coma?”

Now that the end of another November is here, and with it, the end of another National Blog Posting Month, I think it’s time for a re-examination.  Priorities that held this priory together last month, last year, last life, no longer belong in my life.  Things that once felt important, no longer feel that way.  And I’m educated guessing that the same is being said by many of my friends.  But human beings are nothing if not creatures of habit.  One of those habits is holding onto to things we’ve outgrown, or that have outgrown us.  I don’t know what you’ve outgrown but, like a closet full of last decade’s fashion disasters and fat pants, for me, it’s time to make room for something new, or maybe for nothing new at all, but only for what’s most important. 

Because a closet full of winter coats does you no good if you live the rest of your life in the sunshine.

“Please, may I have a coma?”

Okay, but only for a little while.  It’s time to empty out my storage, give away what I won’t be needing, and decide where the sun shines brightest for me.  But don’t worry.  You’re ALL my friends.  And I’ll leave breadcrumbs on the trail, wherever it is I go. 

Thank you for reading my words these last 30 days.  And thank you for allowing me to spend it reading yours.

Till then. 

 

Always,

Bill

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Even If I’m out of Time

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This is a throw-away post. 

It was bound to happen sometime this month.  I just didn’t expect it to happen like this.  To be brief, my computer and my phone are working.  I still have the internet, and I’ve been good physically.  I haven’t run out of ideas, and I haven’t run out of words, either.

What I’m out of is money.

And because I’m out of money, I am also out of time.  I’m out of time to sit and contemplate what to write over the last week-and-change of National Blog Posting Month.  I’ve been busy chasing the money necessary to keep the creditors at arm’s length while I complete my comeback from the work-related depression that forced me to quit my job last June.  Yesterday, I sold my pickup truck to the highest retail bidder.  Sold it for a couple grand less than it was worth, just to get the cash.  The cash that won’t be in my hands until after some bills go to collection. 

I’m not bitching about life.  On the whole, life has been pretty good to me.  For now, just not THIS part of life.  I’ve been told, repeatedly, that life… God, the Universe, whatever floats your philosophical boat… takes care of me.  But today, I can’t say I know that.  Because today, I’m writing a post saying that I could be living in a twenty-year-old Dodge in a couple of weeks.

And the downside to all of this distraction is, I’ve got no time to sit and contemplate what to write.  Not what to write for myself, because I do that every day, but what to write for you.  Because some of you read me every day. 

And I don’t want to let you down.

So for the rest of National Blog Posting Month, I’ll keep trying and meet you here, every day.

Even if I’m out of time.     

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Like Someone in a Mirror

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BILL is standing behind a podium at the front of a large meeting room.  Before him is a roomful of folding chairs, all of them reserved for the bloggers of Nano Poblano 2017.

Bill is about to call the meeting to order.

 

Bill: Before we begin… where IS everybody?

 

Two people sitting in the room look around at dozens of other people sitting in folding chairs.

 

Woman: You don’t know?

Man: How many people do you think we’re missing?

Bill: Count the empty chairs.

 

The two people look at each other, then slowly, at Bill.

 

Bill: Why are you looking at ME like that?

 

From the back of the room, a voice speaks.

 

Voice: Ummm… Bill…?

Bill (looking for the voice): Who’s that?

Voice: It’s ME, Bill.

Bill (under his breath): Shit.

Voice: Shit is right, Bill.

 

The person who is The Voice stands up, and begins walking to where Bill is standing at the front of the room.

 

Voice: Have you looked in a mirror lately, Bill?

Bill: Huh?  What does that even mean?

 

The Voice reaches the podium.  He stands in front of Bill, looking at him with a face of knowing expectation.

Voice: Don’t you see what everyone else sees?

Bill: I see what I see.

 

Bill looks out at a roomful of empty chairs.  Only the two people sitting in those chairs are the two from the beginning of the meeting.

 

Voice: Look again, Bill.

 

Bill looks at The Voice, then back at the room full of empty chairs.  Each chair has someone sitting in it.  Bill is looking at a roomful of people.

 

Bill (to The Voice): You look a lot like someone I know.

Voice: A lot like someone in a mirror?

Bill: I haven’t seen that guy in a long time.

Voice: Since the first of November?

Bill: About then.

Voice: He’ll be back.

Bill: You mean it?

Voice: Yeah, Bill.  You mean it, too.

 

And The Voice disappears.

The original two people look at each other, then back at Bill, then at each other again.  They seem confused, and a little bit like maybe they’ve seen a ghost.

 

Bill (to everyone in the room): Hello, Peppers.  I’m Bill. 

Peppers (in unison): HI, BILL!

Bill: Only ten days to go.  You all hangin’ in there?

 

Nano Poblano ends November 30th.  If you believe in ghosts, you might want to avoid mirrors until December 1st.  But hang in there.  Between you, me, and the voice in your head, everything’s going to be okay.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

It’s Not About You

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I don’t stockpile blog posts.  I’m not in any way a prolific blogger.  I used to wish I was like that; the Stephen King of blogging, grinding out page after page on any subject that popped into, or fell out of, my head.  And for a short time, about ten years ago, I was heading in that direction, writing online. 

Until a nasty bout of what I thought was writer’s block overtook me, and for the next few months I went from writing a feature column for a website to being an itinerant poet. 

I’ve told the story before, so that’s why the short version this time.  But there is a part I’ve never told, in print or in person, to anyone.

I started writing poetry for the same reason people vaguebook, or subtweet, before there were such things as vaguebooking and subtweeting.  I started writing poetry because all the things I ever wanted to say to others required honesty.  Feature-length, name the names, feel the feels, full disclosure honesty.  And I wasn’t ready for that kind of honesty ten years ago.  Just like I wasn’t ready for it five years ago, or two, or even more recently than that.

Poetry, and I just figured this out last week… I know, late to my own party, again… became a way of purging shit, real, honest shit, without ever having to confront another human being over that shit.  See, I hate confrontation. 

ALL CAPS HATE.

Of course I know what some of you are thinking, “How can a guy who writes the things you write NOT be confrontational?”  And my marginally confrontational answer is, “Have you not read my writing?”  See, I’m both blessed and cursed with a soul.  Not the half-in/half-out, maybe I care/maybe I don’t kind of a soul.  But the all-in/all-out/all-the-time kind of soul.  The soul that can either love you, or burn the bridge you stand on while we’re talking.  So because of that, and because this 100/100 soul can’t hold everything in ALL the time, I started purging all of it through the power of poetry. No names, vague scenarios, love you or burn the bridge you stand on, poetry.

And I am a saner man for it.

So if in the future, before you ask me, “Was that poem about me?” remember to look down and see if you’re standing on a bridge ready to be burned, and know that I probably love you, or I wouldn’t have written the poem in the first place.

And just believe me when I say,

“It’s not about you.”

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

The Night Ruby Marie was Born

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This is a momentary hiccup in Nano Poblano for me.  A hiccup like the sound my almost-here grandbaby has been making on the fetal heart monitor for the last two days.  Blogging takes different paths for everyone in the month of November.  Some people have equipment failures (me… on day 2 of last year), life failures (people dropping out mid-month), and every other reason imaginable for stopping before the end of this crazy-busy month.

But I’m kind of a ‘hell or high water’ blogger.  As a poet, and most of my blog posts have been poetry, I post when I’ve got something I want to share, not because I have a self-imposed blog deadline I have to keep up with.

But in November, knowing that I’m going to post every damn day, come hell or high water, I have already resolved that nothing is going to derail this blog train. 

Nothing.

And then came Friday.

My daughter… my first born child… was told by her obstetrician that they needed to induce labor. 

That night.

And as she had already designated me as one of the two non-medical personnel in the room, I was on-call for her beautiful, blessed event, my second grandchild.

                                                          *************

And now it’s Sunday night.

My not-so little girl, after 48 hours of induced labor that still hadn’t produced a labor or a delivery, is in the Labor and Delivery O.R. as I write this.  I’m in the waiting room and her man is in the room with her.  I am sitting with a load of family.  Both sides.  And I have no idea what’s been happening in the 45 minutes since the C-Section began.

But I have time now to do more than worry and pray, and so I write… and post.

It’s a hard, strange, helpless position to be in.  Hard and strange I can handle.  Helpless, not so much.  But I have this commitment, so I’m telling you about what’s happening on this day, when my morning post became an evening post, and my full-grown baby is having this second baby of her own.

I’ve seen pretty much enough of hospitals for a while, but for my little girl, I’ll see them as much and as long as she needs me to.

Stick around, and I’ll keep you updated in the comment thread of this post, and let you know how everything went on the night that Ruby Marie was born.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

Final Approach

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“Once we induce, it could be 30 minutes… it could be 3 days.”

At least that’s what the Labor and Delivery nurse said to my daughter when she was asked, “How long…?”  My baby is having a baby, her second, almost 10 years after her first.  I wasn’t in the room with her for my first grandchild, but besides the father, this time my daughter asked me.

And I wouldn’t be anywhere else.

Don’t tell the nurses, but I brought a flask of bourbon into the room this morning.  If I’m going to be here for the duration, I have to have some of the comforts of home here with me, right?  Almost 10 years ago, when I was still becoming who I am today, I wouldn’t have had the balls to bring a flask into L&D.  I also wouldn’t have had the balls to write a blog post at the foot of my daughter’s bed while she was beginning to have the contractions that will bring another granddaughter into the world. 

But I’m not that man anymore.

This time around, it seems, everything is different.  My daughter isn’t a kid anymore.  Her life is as stable as any parent could’ve hoped for his child as he was raising her, imperfectly… so fucking imperfectly.

This time around, she trusts me.  And that’s all a dad can hope for from his kid.  Because after all the work and worry of parenting a first-born child… your ‘experimental child’… is done, all that’s left is that she, maybe, loves you as much as you love her.

And being in this room, in this moment, I know better than any other something could ever show me.

And in this room, at this moment now on final approach, I know I am a fortunate man.  Not because I have life figured out, or because I’ve made myself great in the eyes of the world, because I haven’t.  Not even close.  I know that I am a fortunate man because, for one of the rare times since my birth, realize what love is.  I am fortunate in the time between contractions, from the tender looks between my daughter and her man.  In the sound of the fetal heart monitor, filling the room with the presence of new life.  And I am fortunate in the flow of conversation between my daughter and me, which finds its place in the gaps of all that’s happening in this room where Ruby will take her first breaths.  In the randomness of bad jokes, and doing whatever it is my baby girl asks of me. 

This is where my life finds some semblance of completion.  This is where everything, good or bad, from the day of her birth till now, has led.  This is that moment where I know that nothing I have done badly is held against me, and all that matters is now, and the future is alight with promise and purpose and every good thing that could ever be.

And I wouldn’t be anywhere else.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

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