Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ties that Bind

I was talking to Lisa the other day and the subject of blogs came up. We were talking about one of our blogger friends and wondering what was going on in her life. We've never met her in person, or spoken to her on the phone, yet we were talking about her like we knew her and hoping that she is doing all right.

This lead to a discussion about how amazing it is to connect with people through blogging that you would never have the opportunity to meet. That's the reason we blog. To connect, to encourage, and to receive encouragement. We blog to be reminded that we are all tied together in this immense world.

One of our mutual favorite bloggers is Brian. He writes prolifically, honestly and beautifully. And he leaves encouraging, warm if he feels everything we're writing. He pays the utmost attention. This is no small feat considering he has about a million followers.

Recently, I've been a dry well and I wrote about that on my last post. Brian left a comment, said he's going through something similar. I went back to his blog and read what I've missed the past of week and found this piece. And it reminded me of the poem below. It's one I wrote twenty years ago during a very dark period of my life. Brian's takes place in a coffee shop and mine takes place in a bar. Brian mentions Charles Bukowski and at the time I wrote mine, I was reading everything I could get my hands on by Bukowski. If you've ever read any of his work, you'll see it in my piece. I was trying to imitate his style and it reeks of Bukowski...absolutely reeks. And though the two pieces are different, they are similar. Especially that one line about fitting. You'll recognize it if you read them both. And immediately, I was reminded about how we all search for that connection. I was reminded that even in this big, sometimes sad, world, we are all looking for some place to fit. A place to belong.

I was lucky enough to have it published in the Marr's Field Journal, an undergraduate literary journal published by The University of Alabama. I say lucky because it's horrible. My creative writing teachers tore it apart and I've tried to rework it a few times, with no success. And here it is, twenty years later, somehow tied in a mysterious way to a piece written by someone I've never met. Maybe it's just me, but I think the connection is pretty cool. And maybe I'm the only one that sees the connection and that's just fine. It got me writing again. Thanks, Brian and Lisa.

Crazy for you, baby

Back in my tequila drinking days, I knew a lot of insane people
who used to hang out at a bar I know.
They are the best people to be with because they're honest.
They don't know any better.
One guy named Glen was from New Jersey and a manic depressive.
He used to cry like a baby everyday while sitting on his bar stool.
He was good at suffering.
He had a friend named Mike who used to be a psychiatrist at Bryce Hospital.
Mike was fired for being aggressive with his aggressive patients.
He was good at beating the shit out of people.
Glen and Mike would sit there everyday, on those same puke green bar stools in
that nasty, smelly bar, and disagree.
That's what they did - that's where they fit.
Glen hated the south and Mike would tell him to shut up and go away.
Said if he couldn't handle eccentric southern bullshit, he should go back to Jersey,
and that's when Glen would start to cry.
The drunker they got, the better they got so I bought them tequila and we drank it straight.
None of that salt and lime bullshit.
It was smooth and hard going down.
One afternoon, after too many shots and a round of Jeopardy which
included a category on Jewish history, Glen started to cry again.
He couldn't stop so I took him home.
His apartment was empty except for his depression which smelled like something dead.
He told me about his girlfriend, who he had driven crazy, and I said,
"No big deal, we all drive the ones we love a little crazy."
He said, "No, she's really crazy.
She wears a straight jacket like a security blanket.
She eats nails like candy.
She feeds one me."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Scattered, but still here

Every now and then, I run out of words. I don't know how this happens, or why. It's as if I've completely forgotten how to write, how to string a sentence together or even, how to spell. I'm amazed at the people who crank out a poem or a thoughtful post almost everyday. I lurk in the shadows, silent, and read.

But I know the longer I go without writing here, the more foreign it becomes. My thoughts are scattered, though, and so is this post.

Remember when I mentioned Panting with a Twist? I had a great time and this is the result.

See the sweet girl on the left? That's my daughter, Stevey. She just turned 18. Eighteen. 10 + 8. Two years less than 20. She's going to college in eight months. I have so many mixed emotions about that, I can't even begin to write about them yet.

This guy is one of my most favorite people on the planet, my grandson, little Brian. We had a scare a couple of weeks ago when he was pretty sick with Kawasaki Disease. He was in the hospital for four days. He's fine now. Great, actually. I have amazing friends and family who prayed for him. In this photo, we're at Barnes and Nobles. We go there often and he asks me to buy him every book in the children's section. It's hard to resist that little face, people. He rarely leaves empty handed.

My three favorite girls, daughters Stevey and Sara, on the left and right, and granddaughter, Makaila in the center. This was two nights ago at Makaila's first Christmas program. She was in the center of the stage, dancing up a storm to "Happy Birthday, Jesus". Not really a dance song, but she made it her own. We all had to fight back the tears. She was beautiful.

Let's see...what else? I'm still riding my bike every Saturday. I'm getting stronger, lasting longer before I keel over and pass out. This coming Saturday should be challenging because it's supposed to be wicked cold.

Christmas is in 8 days. I haven't bought one thing yet. I planned on getting it all done the week after Thanksgiving but life got in the way. I think I self-sabotage early Christmas shopping every year because I secretly like the hustle and bustle of last minute shopping. Or maybe I'm just a procrastinator. Which I am.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to watch Polar Express for the umpteenth time with B. He loves that movie, and so do I.

Merry Christmas!