Holding Pattern

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“I am allowed one piece of pretty to call my own,” says Harrison.                                                                                                                 -excerpt from THE VAST LANDSCAPE.

Yes Harrison, you most certainly are.

Buddha says, “patience, creativity is a process.”  OK, Buddha probably didn’t say that. I made that up.

Baby it’s Cold Outside

My friend always says, “can’t go backwards, only forward.” It’s super annoying. Duh, I know that. I don’t want to go back, but sure as hell would like to head south. Too busy for a staycation, I’d settle for a long week-end. Six, seven days for optimum unwind and relax. Meet me in Miami debauchery, cafe con leche, black beans and rice, hit the old haunts, sea salt brittle in your hair. Not a care in the world, the sun sets the mood. A free wheeling, bicycle peddling, meandering, waste the day with zero guilt. A young guy I know packed his bags, sold his belongings and headed to Hawaii. I asked, “what are you going to do?” “Live off the land, yoga, not sure,” he replied. “I’ll figure it out when I get there.” Ouch. I felt a pang of jealousy and hint of regret in the pit of my stomach. Ah, to be young and wise again. With nothing to do, nowhere to be. Meet me in Miami? Not so I might relive the past, but so I can be reminded. How good it felt. No obligations, no worries, no lists, no regret. Baggage left behind a closed door. Image

Hey Red.

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Yesterday was not a good day. No, in fact It was a very, very bad one. Crap, we all have them. Not exactly like mine. My bad day started out fine, until out of nowhere, it wasn’t. Frenzied, panicked, the emotional turmoil requires a great deal of work. They tell me ride it out, it will be fine. It won’t. My mother sits across watching, as my eye droops, I sob hysterically, my face contorts, reason jets out the window. Her face frozen with patience, sorrow and exhaustion shows me the way back. After an hour, the very bad subsides. I am wrecked. I tell her I am fine, which I am not but what the hell. It’s a small lie, a white one. Her heart has been broken too many times. She leaves, drives around the block, only to return. She has not done that before, I wonder did she see something menacing as I went missing? Clawing my way back to the here and now. A task, a physical task helps. I rake, working the body to exhaustion quelling the incessant noise. I work until numb. That helps. I spend too much time trying to be the person I was. Wasted energy. I must let her die. She was beautiful, loud, said all the inappropriate things, flawed and messy. She was free. She was me. I loved her, anyway. She is gone, but I celebrate the best parts of her. Even the experts aren’t experts on the bad days. They have no finite conclusion, no magic pill, tangible task to offer. Baffled by the mysterious workings of the mind. I’m leaving this muddled brain to science. That is my contribution to her and me. And all those that came before, and come after.

Today is better. I get out, and walk. Nature’s changing scenery reminds me, all is temporary. Billy Joel’s, “you catholic girls start much too late. Sooner or later it comes down to fate,” takes me to a happy place. Childhood memories, skipping, twirling and tacky plaid uniforms. The crisp air, biting wind off the angry water is good for the soul. Watching my pooch run leaps and bounds, ears at attention, I lose myself in her joy. I feel a smile coming on, in spite of it all. I’d dance in the oddly vacant parking lot, no one’s around. I better not. I must behave. Oh fuk it, I shake my booty just a little, shimmy my shoulders, press unlock and hop in the car. I hit repeat, singing loud and off-key, “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints. The sinners are much more fun.” Only the Good Die Young. I’m lucky. How many of us die and live to talk about it.

The Vast Landscape, debut fiction

A year in the making, decades of prose, essays, blogging, writing, re-writing and working the craft. My debut fiction novel (a love story, go figure) is almost here. This close. I can’t wait to properly introduce you to Harrison. She rocks. THE VAST LANDSCAPE rocks and rolls. So I’ve been humbly told.

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What I Saw

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The traffic light turned red. This time, I could not avoid the person standing at the corner. In his spot night after night. I pulled over in a knee-jerk, impulsive instant. I looked at the once handsome man, hiding beneath the desperation and guilt of unlucky circumstance. I noticed the man with razor-sharp blue eyes, scraggly gray beard and sorrow stamped across his crinkled forehead. He immediately looked down when I approached him. His shame would not greet mine. I saw a man who’d been beaten. He wore only a ripped plaid shirt and stank ridden, dirty blue jeans. It was Autumn, not quite freezing but cold enough to bite. I saw a man without a coat, so I gave him mine. It wasn’t anything fancy, picked it up at the Salvation Army. Cargo, military grade. I like my coats to have weight, buy men’s most of the time. He hesitated, I placed the jacket delicately on the cold pavement. I noticed he wore weathered combat boots without laces or socks. I took off my cowboy boots, removed my Wal-Mart heavy woolen socks and set them on top of the coat. I didn’t mind. I didn’t mind at all. I’d come this far, figured I’d give him my jeans too. They were big and baggy, I don’t like my clothes tight. He was more embarrassed than I. Mortified that I stood half-naked in my boy shorts Gap underwear. He stepped in front of me, instinctively shielding the googly eye glares of ignorance, the tooting horns as they drove by. I didn’t mind being exposed. I had a warm car to climb into waiting curbside. Passersby noticed me, 6′ foot almost naked, they didn’t bother to notice him. I saw him. I couldn’t help but see him. We are not so different, he and I. Someone noticed me once. Yes, they sure did. I did not mind at all.

Marmas -excerpt from THE RED BENCH

The pixie dust floats freely now, sprinkling the air with golden specks of light. Love, real in your face love, never loses hope. It defies all logic, transcending illness, magic, planets, time and infinity. I’m sprinkling the air with pixie dust, faith and childlike qualities, so that we might grasp onto wonder, in these shaky, fast times of uncertainty.

Tomorrow will come, or it won’t. I needn’t remind myself of that. I mustn’t worry over the minutiae.

I have only to concentrate on the walk, making the now minutes count. I carve my name into my bench for posterity, so that I might never, ever forget. Be forgotten.