In the Beginning

rocker200…I don’t know what happened. I wasn’t there.

I wasn’t at my birth either, though I’ve heard the story and it’s quite humorous.

No, the consciousness that is me, wasn’t actually around until about the time of this picture. And yes, that IS me—I’ve always had those dark-ass gypsy eyes and fake smile.

Life, for me, began on a very specific night. I don’t remember much of anything that came before—only faded recollections of memories too far gone and long forgotten to be anything remotely clear. My existence before that night consists of running watercolor canvases filled with the blur of three dogs, the bars of my sister’s crib, and monster-sized blue bottle flies on a window sill. I vaguely recall the smell of a house whose interior I can’t picture, and the surroundings of a glass-topped fishing lure case I apparently danced on with my black patent-leather shoes. And I remember once remembering the chimes of a cuckoo-clock, which mom said was at a babysitter’s, but I don’t remember the sitter or her house, and only “just” recalled that she had a son I later went to school with.

No, me and the memories that make up me started one dark (though not stormy) night.

We had just moved into a new apartment. I don’t remember where we came from, or the act of moving in, I just remember that night, that place.

The apartment had those old ginormous cast-iron radiators. I was standing next to one taller than me, holding the teddy bear my grandfather gave me—which I still have, upstairs, on the dresser. I stared out the window at the moon. It was huge. Bigger than me, my family, our new apartment. Bigger than life as I knew it. Around me were smells I still remember clearly—and almost fainted at when I moved into a new apartment after my divorce and was hit with similar smells thirty years later. The apartment of my beginning had lots of woodwork. Old varnish, new polish, life absorbed by the grains and held tight in the knots—it had a smell.

And a sound. But the sound wasn’t the wood. It was my grandfather, on his hands and knees, pounding the nails down in each and every floorboard to make sure they were flush and wouldn’t hurt our tender little feet. Our. Because even though I don’t remember her that night, I know my sister was there. Probably sleeping in her crib.

That was the night my life started. With the sounds and smells of my mother making coffee in the kitchen wafting through the apartment and mingling with the smell of  wood and sound of grandpa hammering. And the moon. My moon. The gypsy’s moon that hangs in that sky every night and calls to me with its secrets and wise silence. The moon I’ve gone back to time and again.

I remember so many things, from big events to tiny details, from that day forward. That’s where I fell in the mud as a ghost for Halloween. That’s where I cracked my head open on the sidewalk thanks to Billy and Kong. That’s where the lilac tree lived across the street, Trina had a better tan, a mime lived downstairs, the Cottons across the yard, kindergarten started eventually, and grandma lived across the alley—where she made lovely green ice cream drinks for the adults but wouldn’t let the kids have any. It was where grandma made me sit on the Sears catalog because I was short, and then ran me to Sears for portraits when I fell down the stairs and got two black eyes, because that’s how we roll in my family. I remember a ton. Mostly good. Very little bad. My mom’s 8-tracks (sorry for shredding those), and an album with a fairy tale on the cover or a wolf or something that my mind turned into a fairy tale. I remember the claw-foot tub and being afraid to flush at night because I was convinced the monster that belonged to those feet would come up and eat me. I remember “the vice” (sorry Jen), and the awesome-tube, and hiding behind the couch when the wicked witch appeared on Wizard of Oz. Lasagna and mom’s friends. Climbing in the bathroom window because mom liked to forget her keys. Laying in bed listening to the sounds outside, and the voices inside. I remember…

But nothing concrete before it. Nothing solid before that moon and the sound of grandpa making my world safe.

Sometimes, feeling safe is more important that we realize. It can become the beginning as we know it. Sometimes, we take advantage of or get comfortable with the fact that we’re safe. And only realize it when we reach an end. Sometimes, the moon needs to wink and remind us to appreciate it, or seek it out, or spread it to others. Because even when the clouds cover the moon and the comfort of a teddy bear is outgrown, safety is still there, still whispered, in the quiet presence of memory, and everyone should have a beginning.

Vascular Access

ERdrawersHippie told me to write. I wrote. On muscle relaxants and pain killers. He laughed while taking care of me. He made fun. He told others. He video taped me.

And then Jersey said put it online.

Sooo… still jacked up on meds, I’ve decided to think about that. Three short stories, written while under the influence, sans any lucid editing. I’ll offer it as a pdf chapbook type download for $5.00 (oh shit, self-publishing!) and the proceeds will go to either my medical bills, a good lawyer, or bail.

Whatcha think? Ohhh… a question, and it’s not even Thursday! Would you buy it? Would you like to see what happened after the video the Hippie went and posted on facebook? “Vascular Access: A writer’s journey through pain management” bwahahahahaha uh oh. Meds are kicking in… time to write!

None of this is real

Nightmare“It was a dark and stormy nightmare.”
~ Neil Gaiman, “Sandman”

I have this neat trick. I don’t lucid dream (oh but don’t I wish!), but I can wake up. The second I realize, or think, or say “none of this is real” or “this is a dream”, I ‘m instantly awake. Of course, I wish I hadn’t said that during the Johnny Depp dreams of 2007 but alas, I did. Which is only mentioned to point out that it works on good and bad dreams. Well, and because it’s Depp. It would be nice if I had more control. If I knew that saying that would wake me. I don’t. It sucks. But in a good way when it’s a nightmare.

I had four nightmares last night. Back to back. I kept realizing there was no way this was happening and waking up… and then going right back in. Now, mind you, not back to the same dream or same spot, though I’ve done that accidentally in the past. No, I mean that I went back into that negative world. The characters were the same. The outcome the same. But how we got there each time was different. It was like a special edition DVD with alternate middles instead of alternate endings. And each time, I got a little further into the horrible end before my brain put the brakes on and screamed “I don’t think so!”

So, since it’s Thursday, and this week’s been nothing but remnants of Monday masquerading as its siblings, let’s talk dreams—good, bad and ugly. What do you do? Can you wake yourself? Can you go back in and pick up where you left off? Can you control things going on, or people and places? What tricks does your nocturnal mind have that it’s not sharing with your conscious?

Entertain me… I could use it this week!

And then I died


“…an eagle came and swooped me up
And through the air we flied,
But he dropped me in a boiling lake
A thousand miles wide.
And you’ll never guess what I did then–

~ Shel Silverstein’s “True Story” from Where the Sidewalk Ends

I posted True Story in it’s entirety once, I only needed a tidbit for this entry. Basically, I only needed the last line…

Have you ever had the fleeting thought that you actually died at one point in your life and all of this is just you dreaming in your coffin? Or your afterlife? Or that millisecond before death and you imagined all this is what would have happened? Not in a morbid, gothy-whiny sort of way, but in a more elusive, disenchanted, disconnected and possibly surreal moment kind of way. And for our purposes, without the use of drugs to get there. Have you?

I have.

And I’d always thought it a bit odd. One of those strange thoughts I have that I keep to myself for fear of being locked up. But, as a little moonlight and a lot of tequila have revealed, I am not alone in this thought. It’s fleeting and not at all suicidal, it’s more of a “what if” situation.

And so, I drag it into the garage for this Thursday’s question. Never mind if you have or haven’t had the thought, I wouldn’t want to out those of you still protecting yourself from the encumbering styles currently available in high-end straight jackets. Rather, for giggles, let’s pretend you all have… now tell me when you died. What moment could have been your death? That near miss on the highway? That accident that didn’t happen on the farm? Whatcha got?

Me? I drowned when I was six. I was swimming with the daycare away group in some shallow rapids and hit one of those soft spot drop-offs. I remember going under, hitting bottom way over my head, springing up and gulping air, and then going down again. I did this several times before… Before I died, and dreamed the rest of this life I’ve had =)

That was my moment. When did you die?

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