When you come to the fork in the road? Eat.

As most of you who read this outpost of a blog are well aware, I do so enjoy being an envoy for the absurdities that define our doomed existence. I dabble in all manner of trouble. So you don’t have to.

And . . . you’re welcome.

So it was that this afternoon, I was having a legit conversation as per my latest storytelling idea with a dude who used to do Summer Stock, all over the map. Richard is sixty-ish, semi-retired and he lives in a condo. He’s also fairly ambivalent when it comes to his live-in girlfriend. The dude is loose threads in the cosmic sense, but he’s why I love actors. Because they jump first and ask the more pertinent questions later on.

“I’m going with my undertow story.” I say.

It takes a few moments for words to catch up with what’s left of his cerebral cortex- which no doubt resembles a taco stand. But when he finally gets around to collating, it’s Climax Blues Band on methamphetamine sprinkled chalupas. Which means, it’s delicious sounding shit.

“Oh shit yeah that’s a funny story! The waving? Priceless. You have to go with that one. Shit yeah!”

If I had a dollar for every time Richard says “Shit, yeah.”, I would own the New York Yankees, have PSL’s to Golden State Warriors games and Oprah would be on speed dial. Richard may speak in clipped appraisals, but when he throws a Hallelujah at you, it’s as if you just watched Jesus in a fist fight.

From there, I go long form with him. I spill a few loose thought ideas so’s he can reduce the elements whilst identifying the cutting room floor material. Dude has a sixth sense about these things. He’s a modern day proverb dressed in stage lights. I love the systemic advancement he uses in order to shelter the wild nature of feral thoughts.

The moments are so very elegant and purposed, and then Sesame Street goes drive by on my ass.

“What are you talking about?”

It’s Danielle. She’s all of twenty one and her interests include Instagram, breaking up with boyfriends, Snap-chat, breaking up with boyfriends and Taco Bell. I’m sure there’s more where that came from, but really . . that’s enough.

“My story.”

“For what?”

“Story Slam.”

“Oh my Gawd! Your video was soooo funny. Is that like stand up?”

I explain to her what storytelling is all about as if I was a human GIF, because that’s the language she speaks. While I’m attempting to send her on her way, she asks if I heard the news about Linkin Park front man Chester Bennington.

“Yes, he committed suicide.”

Richard chimes in with, “Strange day, Chester Bennington hangs himself and O.J. Simpson gets cut loose.” The man has a chime to his rhyme, tell you what.

“Who’s O.J.?” Danielle asks.

Not that long ago, this was a two syllable trivial pursuit question with one hell of a racial slip-switch. (Not that long ago? Meet a million years ago. And even though the two of you have absolutely nothing in common, go have sex. And make babies that ask questions like this.)

“Simpson.” I replied. “O.J. Simpson.”

Her hesitation was a notarized reminder of how quickly time flies. And it signaled my removal from this Bermuda Triangle of crimes and misdemeanors. Hey man, I can run five miles on a ninety five degree afternoon, but I just don’t have the patience for this. It’s fucking exhausting.

“Go with that undertow story, Marc.” Richard winked.

The universe came calling, and it was dressed in a ponytail with yellow colored shades and a forever sounding reminisce of big mistakes dressed in fine solutions.

I winked back.

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The aFrank Angle Challenge- Day Late/Dollar Short Edition!

Okay, so Frank over at aFrank Angle gave his readers a challenge.  Or in WordPress parlance (?) a ‘prompt’. He supplied an image, which I have included below and he asked his readers to create a fictional piece out of it. In 150 words or less.

Truthfully, I haven’t done a ‘prompt’ in ages. But hey, if our President can settle the country’s business in 150 characters or less, I think I can handle a fiction challenge.

I realize this entry will not be considered by the Academy due to the late nature of its submission. Ironic that I’m calling it a ‘prompt’, huh?

 

 

 

 

 

            Footprints in the Sand – by Cayman Thorn

Taylor’s feet scalloped the minute shards of ocean glass into small indentations whose evidence was being stolen with each musical sway of the tides. His roam transformed inside the short walk- from confusion to recognition, and finally to a seething rage.

He dropped to his knees at the sight of the oxidized wreckage whose spires fought the darkness but whose symbolism had long since been stolen away in the name of a manifest power whose intention had never been to serve better angels.

“Trump did it . . he finally, really did it. You maniac! You blew it up! God damn you!” He screamed, as if his lungs could reach the wicked depths and all those long lost souls.

Nova gripped the reins of their horse and stared silently into the face of a murdered ideal, whose body was being interred by the fates.

They had reached the end of the world.

(Muchisimas gracias to Frank for allowing me to stay after school and finish this assignment. The link to his challenge is below just in case you didn’t click on my hyper-link up top.)

https://afrankangle.wordpress.com/2017/07/10/on-footprints-in-the-sand/

Wednesday Morning Coffee Love

If an alien from another galaxy asked me about love, I would tell him to imagine the craziest thing and then multiply it by infinity. I would warn him as to how dangerous a thing it was, and how wars have been fought over the stuff and countless hearts have been crushed inside its grasp. I would let him know there are people who search for it their entire lives and never find it. And how there are people who wish they had never found it. I would liken it to jumping off the moon, sans gravity, and diving head first into the oceans below.

And when he asked me the obvious question . . .why? Why do humans yearn for something so crazy and dangerous as love? I would just smile before replying, “Because our bodies were made from the earth, but our souls were born to fly.”

It is within the extravagant mysteries of a universe that each and every moment is created. It created mine through the pulse of a story about the end of the world. And how ironic a thing that the end of one world was the beginning of another. Because that’s where love happened, in the telling of a story about living and dying, music and mortality . . . the here and the not here. Love was busy introducing itself inside the soft hums of labor that were unleashing themselves inside every provocative sounding verb, until the light of day caught its bloom and named it after the two of us.

And so we wrote, together. We wrote a love story whose madness was a brilliant tease for what was really going on between each line; as fiction became something less so and reality became the kind of fantasy you only see in movies. And so from the writing, we offered precious little sips of our respective worlds. I only found the nerve to tell her the good parts of me; afraid that sharing more might send her running. She cured me of this fear by sharing more of herself. Our fears lessened as our familiarity with each other grew.

I could sense it in her voice, that she had been waiting for someone to walk through that door for a very long time. But the something in her voice was also quite clear that she didn’t need me, or any other man to define her. This was a good thing, because I dig a woman who knows herself.

When we talked, everything in my head went quiet. I was convinced hers was the voodoo of ancient rituals. I would stare at her picture as we spoke on the phone and I would lose myself in her smile. That smile of hers was like an IV drip of sunshine straight into my veins. Her voice was this sensuous purr that made me tremble. It was as if she dipped each syllable in honey, because they reminded me of every Van Morrison song that ever caught fire. And her laugh . . . .it was the kind of laugh you leave the lights on for. Like . . forever.

They say that ninety percent of human interaction is non-verbal, and I would have to agree. Because we had a knack for turning texts into jam sessions and emails into advanced placement classes on pop culture. We made a glorious sound together, even when we did not utter a single word.

Of course, there were potholes along the yellow brick road, and when we ran across them it was as if that famous poet/philosopher Rudy Francisco was talking to us when he bitched about Cupid being fucking irresponsible. It was inside these times that old wounds became echoes and windows became reminders and the past seemed a prologue in spite of all those wonderful ‘coincidences’ wrought of sunflowers and stardust.

The absence of her was like watching a dandelion lose its mind in the wind, scattering a thousand seeds worth of memories across my everyday. Because she followed me wherever I went and there was no escaping her. And here’s the thing, I didn’t want to escape her. I wanted to be that vulnerable. As if to remind myself that ours was no ordinary thing. That it was different, unique.

And so, from the spaces in between she kept me company in my heart and in my mind. When a friend would tell me of their romantic entanglement, I would think of her. Or when I chilled to a certain song, she would be there inside the lyrics . . dancing. First thing in the morning, last thing at night.

Our separation, it was like our hearts had skinned their knees. But this was a good thing, because not having training wheels or elbow pads allowed our scars to tell a story. And ours was worth telling. And so we owned the bloody and the scabs and we could own the healing. And if the only thing we gained in staying was each other? Well my God, that was plenty and so very much more.

If I could tell that alien one more thing about love, it would be this. Try. No matter the odds, no matter the risk. Because in the trying is where you will find the some kind of wonderful that no other potion in the world can match. Because loving someone is the most exhilarating form of danger known to man. Because knowing how it feels? Is everything.

That’s how I feel, when she’s around. She makes me feel like Broadway. She makes me feel like I could swim the oceans. She makes me dance while standing still. She makes me feel like I could miss twenty three balls in a row at the batting cages and she would flash me this winning smile as if I just hit a home run in the ninth inning of a World Series game.

Maybe love stays, and maybe love can’t and maybe it shouldn’t. And maybe . . just maybe, love arrives exactly when it was supposed to. And maybe I need her. The way that big moon needs that open sea.

Like that. Entirely.

Sunday Morning Coffee Love: nothing is ever lost, only misplaced 

 

******

“I have to wonder if this was where the hope was leading me, to here, to this moment. And I realize that’s all it is, that’s all hope is, it’s for the moments that make it worth it. That make all the hurt and pain worth waking up for, that make life worth being present for. Moments of wonderful.

And as I stand in the door waving to Sam and Dave as they pass through our gate, Declan slips up behind me wrapping his arms around my chest and pulling me into him as he drops a kiss above my ear and quietly asks me if I’m ok. And I know he means it. I smile and nod as I lean back into him placing my hands over his and we watch Sam and Dave walk hand in hand down the beach with the setting sun casting the sky and waves to flame, and I think of how it’s amazing that such a small spark held in the face of such darkness, if looked at from a different angle, can create such a lovely fire.”

Jennie CK Hope

******

“Because I also wrote somewhere, in some other lifetime that “nothing is ever lost. Only misplaced.” And I believe it now as I did on the night I wrote it. So there’s that.

Good thing for us that hope never goes out of style. So, in keeping with that spirit, we fight for the better places and we challenge the most impossible of odds and we believe in that crazy little thing called love. It’s always going to be worth it because as long as you have the chance to change something? You have everything you’re ever going to need.”

–Cayman Thorn

******

“Hope never goes out of style, but sometimes it hides. In the depths of the undertow. Sometimes we sink down so that we can find it, but even if we find it, we’re still stuck in the undertow. We still need someone else to help us find the shore again, to reconnect us to the beauty that we’re missing. But when we find that someone, our natural instinct is to scratch and pull and try to climb on them…anything to save ourselves from drowning. All it results in is usually both parties drowning.

Funny thing though. When we stop fighting the current, when we let go, when we stop trying to control our own outcome and direction, we usually end up exactly where we are supposed to be. Gravity eventually lifts us to the light, to the surface. The undertow eventually spits us out. The river current carries us in the natural direction of life. But both parties have to let go of what they’re clinging to. Sometimes they even have to let go of each other. Both parties have to trust. That eventually the current will carry them to the same place.

No, nothing is ever lost. The best way to find a misplaced item is to simply go back and retrace our steps. Rediscovery is our reward.

–Christy Anna Beguins

******

When Show Meets Tell, Good Things Happen

Storytelling has always been second nature for me. From the time I was a wee lad and my parents would ‘spotlight’ me for their dinner company, I’ve been entertaining peeps with tales. It’s not about the instant gratification though. Nope, it’s about the connection that is achieved in this particular relationship. When you write, the comments arrive in dotted arrangements of time and space, if at all. And I dig that just fine, because to write is the thing for me.

Storytelling simply validates my idea about making whatever form you wish to express yourself in, the thing. You understand it to be all that matters, because in the cosmic way of doing business, it is. To live by any other mandate is to enslave the very thing you’re trying to achieve. Voice. It’s just that, unlike most forms of expression, storytelling is uniquely efficient. Because when you tell a story to a group of people, it’s all right there. No delays. Just boom. These are characteristics to which I abide- creativity, passion and boom.

I got to thinking about this connection after taking in an art show recently. I dig artists, mostly because they conceptualize reality without restraints. There is a thrust to their cultivation that I have always been in love with. Good art is pleasing to the senses. Great art? It’s every single other thing. It’s one of the purest forms of provocative thought, and I’m always inspired by its refusal to play by rules or precepts.

And so it goes with storytelling in real time. I write to achieve peace, but I tell stories to achieve everything else. For me, writing a story is like paddling a canoe across a pond. Telling a story is white water rafting.

A top 5 of my recent Hall of Fame storyteller listens? Sure, why not . . .

Sheryl Sandberg- When she speaks on how she coped with overwhelming grief, I’m awed. When she talks about the voice we all have, I’m floored. She is the quintessential Wonder Woman of the spoken word.

Louis C.K.- He speaks on the unpleasant realities of our everyday lives with all the subtlety of a jackhammer. In an age of stylized irreverence- where backbone goes to die- he deals up the truth, with no apologies.

Richard Harris- He didn’t simply tell stories, he stitched them into our minds with a regal aplomb. Harris used the skeletons in his closet as the scaffolding for the stories he constructed, because it always felt as if you were getting away with something in the listening.

Bob Dylan- He is the emeritus professor of lyrics; the common denominator of so many of the songs that followed him out of the brilliant storm of a musical revolution.

Frank Deford- In this age of disposable journalism, he was a master of erudition and (gasp!) veracity. Godspeed.

Writing will always be a thing I do, because I love turning the hustle into flow. Storytelling is something that happened into being out of the something good of a fresh new perspective on writing. And now? The ‘twain are gonna shack up and have babies. And I have no idea how it’s going to look, and I’m not gonna lie . . . that turns me on.

It’s a very good thing.

 

 

 

Simple Thing

There is something mystical about a simple gesture. I was driving to work yesterday afternoon when I witnessed just such a thing whilst stopped at a red light. It involved a young homeless man, a veteran I think; he takes up residence at a busy intersection near the local mall. I’ve seen him several times over the last week, dressed in his ratty jeans and a cardboard sign asking for help. His belongings fit inside a beat up old backpack, and I am ashamed to admit that yesterday was the first time I took notice of these things. Thanks to an older gentleman who performed a simple and totally random act of kindness on a Thursday afternoon.

It was getting hot and I had the AC pumping and Live humming its way through my sound system, caught inside my titanium sheathed bubble in which the whole wide world was my sovereign child. All that mattered to me was recording a story idea I’d come up with for the local Story Slam, and then reality was smacking me upside the head as I watched this older gentleman doing this kid a favor. Doing the whole world a favor, really.

The kindly old fellow got out of his car and opened his trunk, where he fetched a baseball cap for the kid dressed in struggle who calls the intersection home. That was it, the whole thing, that. The gift of a baseball cap that was making me feel as if a million dollars had just changed hands. And I wondered if the other witnesses to this beautiful moment were paying the same kind of attention as me. I wondered if they saw the purpose of such a thing, and the lessons it was dealing up.

And I stopped recording while Ed Kowalcyk railed on about misery and hope being maternal twins of an earth whose best days are hard to come by. And I cried, a glorious feeling kind of cry that wasn’t ashamed or self conscious. It just was. And I prayed for that kid some, and I gave thanks for that old dude. And the world seemed to make sense, if only for the moment, at that busy intersection . . on a Thursday afternoon in the middle of another working day.

You really shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. You should embrace it.

 

 

Why rent out my mind when it’s a seller’s market?

It occurs to me that my brain gets more interesting every day. Too bad my long term memory has gone all short term on me. Or is that a good thing? Anyways, here are a few of my favorite thoughts since sitting down to dinner. As Keanu Reeves would say, Vaya Con Dee Ohs.

-Watched the Halloween as per of a Rob Zombie reboot this evening. Fucking A, the man has a genius to him that I crush on madly. His rendition is actually . . . oh  . . how did I refer to it today? Oh yeah. My ‘happy place’. Yep, I’m gonna be residing in the fiery pits on the other side of all this hilarity. Fun people? Hit me up!

-I got one of my best pals (And a huge Tebow hater) to say the following . . . verbatim. “Tim Tebow is God’s homie.” And it only cost me a couple of Heineken big ones to coax it out of him. Okay, maybe you had to be there to get the satisfaction.

-Wait a minute! Ice Cube created a 3 on 3 league? And it starts tonight? In Brooklyn? And . . I’m curently watching it as I write this post . . .

-Deep dish pizza is the best pizza. Yes, this Bronx born son just said that. But hey, I have made both of these pie plates by hand with genuine pizza dough (not the store bought crap), and well . . . deep dish is still winning. I went all Luca Brasi with my sweet Italian sausage version last night. Which is the mafioso way of saying . . . Killed It! 

-The Cubs? Not so much winning going on there. And I think I love that fact more than deep dish.

-And not for nothing, but if the Red Sox win it all this season? Welp, they bought a title. Hey, as a Yankees fan who has been hearing that shit forever . . . it’s all about the fair play of a turnabout.

-Oh shit, I almost forgot. As far as the Rob Zombie masterpiece of a Halloween reboot goes, I can’t stop falling in love again with his music placement. Going with one of my all time favorite Rush songs . . Tom Sawyer? In the truck stop scene? Only a writer on the level of Isaac Newton (Or Quentin Tarantino . . . same diff) would be able to grasp that kind of gravitas. Wow? Meet za.

(Since I have a sweet spot finish for this post, Imma throw one of my favorite Rush spills in right here.)

-Ann Curry, you are my Joe DiMaggio in curls. And please, please, please! Come back!

-Katie Couric? Stay wherever you are.

-That Friday the 13th game I have actually been playing on PS4 . . . kicks. Ass.

-I can’t believe I just said that. Much less . . . meant it.

-And might there be a future post on this Friday the 13th game? Call Vegas right now, and win big with the yes.

-Speaking of . . . What if you would have gone to Vegas, like thirty years ago, and tried to lay money on this here bet? That America’s Father (at the time) Bill Cosby would be known as a sexual predator . . that the saintly Joe Paterno was covering up child rape (he was), and that Donald Trump would be elected President in 2016? Vegas books would’ve been like, “Yeah, and the Raiders are moving to Vegas.” And well, there’s that.

-Just finished watching Season 3 of Fargo, and while I didn’t find it to be the strongest of the entries thus far,  it was still plenty satisfying. Which is why this show is still my favorite. Because its not lazy in the buildup, and it’s not predictable in the end. And if you’re a fan of writing for writing’s sake, you understand.

-The Yankees woeful present tense is still better than what I had imagined for this season. So, nope . . I’m not fluxed. Even the slightest bit.

-And as far as the Red Sox are concerned (because I can’t bring myself to stop brawling with Yawkey Way) . . . I have been in touch with Neil Diamond’s agent, and he is open to a Buffalo Wild Wings dinner. Soooooo . . . that fucker is gonna be mine. Figure out your late innings anthem from here, Beanies!

-I promised myself I wouldn’t fall for a Starbucks drink this summer, so . . . umm. Well, damn you Midnight Mint Mocha and S’Mores fraps!

-I miss smoking every single day. So thank you running, thank you for keeping me from going back.

-Hey, I damn fraps and I give thanks to running. It keeps me even. Because the meds . . . are way more expensive.

-The idea of D Wade joining up with the Cavs next season? I am totally fluxed. Because guess what King James! You only started winning anything after you rented a room in D Wade’s house on South Beach! And yes, that’s how I feel about it.

-Still, if Carmelo joins up with the James Gang, Imma be excited for the Land. Much.

-But D Wade? Please go anywhere else, with the anywhere else meaning the Lakers. Or Heat. Or hells, just hit up Ice Cube.

-When did commercials become philosophy class? Have we become that shallow? Ugh, people!

-I haven’t watched CNN, FOX or MSNBC in over a month now. And to think, once upon a time, politics was my favorite swing. Damn. How times have changed.

-Is Trump still President? Wait . . don’t answer that. I’ve tricked myself into believing Harrison Ford is running things.

-Harrison beat out Michael Douglas in my imaginary (enough) America.  The runoff was decided in a Chopped showdown. Which is no more ridiculous than what actually happened. In fact, it’s much less so.

–If Ice Cube is reading this . . . I can still hit a spot up 3. With much certainty. Just. Saying.

-I bought myself a Harambe stuffed animal yesterday. Because as far as my stuffed animals go, I Never, Ever, Forget.

-Shared a cool story with my son’s girlfriend tonight about how me and some of my peeps once sat outside the Trust Building in Lancaster City, Pa and listened to Ed Kowalczyk of Live do his thing. It was one of my all time favorite free concerts. Right up there with the late great Robert Palmer’s Jones Beach gig, which I took in from the parking lot whilst waiting on my girlfriend back in high school.

-So lemme get this straight. Peter Jennings is dead and Bill O’ Reilly . . oh, never mind. Life ain’t fair.

-Was that too soon? For O’ Reilly?

-Well, it was too soon for Jennings. So let’s call it a tie.

-3 Headed Monsters WIN! Bill Clinton would be proud.