Showing posts from 2014

Good Night, prequel

I decided to take a lover that Spring out of sheer boredom. Because the town we live in is small, or perhaps just fate, my had taken a lover as well. The same person. It did not end well for that one.

After the kids had left the house, alone in our togetherness, I decided to leave Sheila. I plopped my self into the breakfast nook and told her as much.
She burst out laughing and then pointed the tear stained letter she had shoved under my poached eggs. Her note asking me for a divorce. We laughed until we cried. Then we fucked like bunnies.

What to do with the years we had left?

She kissed me once on the lips, then puttered around the kitchen. She kissed me again and leaned for upstairs but leaned back and kissed me on the nose.

I walk our dog, Marmoset before bed.

This was a life in a nutshell. She provided love and nurturing. She made our place a home. I did what need doing.

After circling the block and letting Marmoset pee on every other lawn, I brought him in, took off my baseb…

From the novel Redemption

My dad had this way of sharing things intimate and special, but avuncular fashion. So close, but so far away.

I told him Kate was leaving me.

He put his hand on my knee and said, "No one gets out alive and we all die alone." He gave my knee a pat as he stood. He paused at the doorway and nodded at me, shaking his head a little, with a smile. He gave me the best advice he could. He gave me a doorway to another point of view, that made me laugh and cry.

Sitting in the seat of the history of my life, my parents living room, I dream of a future with Kate. I dream of making dreams come true.


Where this will fit in the history of my writing, I don't know. I had to capture it though...

"We all grow up in the shade of something. Like a tree, our parents, or the past."

He points to magnificent mesquite tree near the arroyo.

"Look at that. Innocent, giving shade to the desert. But look at that, gnarled, bent by hot wind, drought years and then flash floods. It's home has twisted and scarred in a way I don't think was planned. But still some how it's innocent, it's content to be what it is."

Get Lost - Bobby Hartick

Who is Bobby Hartick?

“You have no darkness in you,” that what Emily said when we met in college. She said the same thing when I was in Marshal training, and she would drive up from Jacksonville to Glynco. Then she was making the drive up to remind me, I think.

Even though I joined after the McVeigh thing. I had no anger in me. My dad taught me, “ We all have one life to give. Give it to something good." I was going to college thinking I would make a good school teacher. After Oklahoma City I pivoted, in my thinking. I needed to do something more.

Did the darkness set upon me after the kids died in that accident, or was it before? Of course, it was after. Emily took me to church and fed me a steady diet of light and things good to keep the darkness at  bay. That week driving to the office, coffee in my hand, living a mundane life. Till that semi barreled into us.

I think we were arguing about what to take to Tina and Vic's BBQ. I can't remember now. During rehab it was im…

Wild eats feral

"Wild eats feral. Feral beats domesticated. Domesticated lives a long, long time, at the foot of its master. " 
I thought about getting that tattooed on my forearm in Latin, to make it look cool. It's the last thing my dad said to me. I know it's odd. He shouted over his shoulder to Mom, in the TV room. He said that he was going for a pack of Kools and some beer. Then he grabbed my ten year-old frame, leaned in and, looked me square in the eye and whispered, "I love you." 

I felt all the blood rush to my ears and then down to my stomach. He had never said that before. He could see the tears forming in my eyes as he walked away. At the last minute he reach back, rubbed the top of my head, and said, "wild eats feral. Feral beats domesticated. Domesticated lives a long, long time, at the foot of its master. " And then he was gone.
He took nothing with him. I know this is where someone says, "My dad left he took my childhood." Nope. I had a g…

10 minutes about lost love

I loved someone once. 
She made me dinner.
This is not that. And the problem of that relationship was mine, so I folded it into my heart and hoped it would take a heart like shape. I wouldn't know until two years later that only hearts take heart like shape. Pain and disease take the shape of pain and disease, no mater how many times you fold them.
Sitting at this wedding for my. "dinner maker," for the one that got away makes me stronger than I've ever been before. It's the wrong kind of strength, but it will get me through any number of board meetings, networking events and other presentations. 
Thinking this way about lost love, it's the part of me that I think is crazy. Not quite connected to the rest of the world.
I see a future where the VP of sales says, "Brock, where's your plus one? Where's that little filly of yours?" Never mind he call women fillies, as in chattel. But I see myself smiling and saying, "Dreck... I mean Dick. …


I've got most of the day off today. It's Memorial Day, which seems too big to me. The real meaning of today is too big to fit into words. Yet having one day to honor all who've lost their lives in service to this country, in its many iterations, just one day, seems too small.

Our country which isn't defined by a specific land mass, as much as it's defined by ideas. Which means these people died for some vague and rich ideas, called America.

Soldiers giving their lives for a vague, yet rich idea, we all don't agree upon. Its true there are some words we agree upon when describing America: Freedom, justice, independence. We just don't agree on what those words mean. (A separate blog post altogether)

A single day seems too small. How do you honor the loss of million of lives. What can I say about men and women who gave their lives for an idea? I am humbled.

Hotel rumination

I’ve been on the road for too long. I’ve had too much to think about and I've patronized too many false idols: booze, power and bad music.
My favorite drink is a Sad Martini: vodka, vermouth, and lemon juice. I spent most of the hockey semi-finals with that drink in my hand. Listening to the guys in the booth next to me talk about women and then scream about hockey. I’m straining it all through a booze filter, and they sound the same to me. I hear passion, complaint, loss and regret. The sound from a score on goal is the same as a one-night stand. The wistfulness of the play they will never make is the same in both arenas. And it seems there are only arenas in life. Everything is on display. All is sport.
Power If it all weren’t sport, it would be life and death, a struggle for power. It’s here I lose my will to go on. When they skirt the real of life I order more to drink. To really tell you what they were saying about power would impart too much information and you will gue…
"May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand."

I posted this quote to one of my oldest friends Facebook page.

It was a very specific wish, for a very special person.

Reflect on this Irish blessing, I look towards a gray Seattle sky and I can see this blessing become a road map for us all.

The road rises up to meet us, as we face challenges we are gently held and guided. The wind of our community is always at our backs. We have friends and family that are always looking out for us. Our spirit is the sun shine from within, this must be true.

The rain of our efforts is a blessing and the we meet God in everyone person we see (though sometimes it is buried)

Ugly, writing exercise, Natalie Goldberg, failure

Utter failure. She wanted to know what I thought ugliness was, so I told her. "Ugliness is failure." I can still taste the last time I failed, and I mean really failed.  I failed to produce the desired result. It was that simple, but not doing what I was appointed to do, was not a loss. It was the laying face down in my own crapulence, that was the failure. 
I'll talk about the money first. I had 200,000 dollars. The most money I had ever held in my entire life. The number was too big to think about, so I had the banker stack twenty rows of one hundred, one hundred-dollar bills, in front of me. After seeing my money like that I knew, I never wanted to be without money again.
Then I lost it all. Not all at once. First there was Mexico City, then Los Angeles, then Las Vegas, and finally San Francisco. That's all it took, four cities and it was all gone. In Mexico City I was mugged, in Los Angeles I was stabbed, in Las Vegas I gave a bunch away and finally in San Franci…

Character Study for Karen

I want, what I want. What I want is you. You order a Sad Martini, you call it. Two parts vermouth, one part vodka and the juice of a lemon. But you don't order a it,  you point at your glass and the bartender knows what to put in it, because this is your place. They know you here.

They know you here better than I know you. They talk of your velvety laugh. Connor, the barkeep, told me how you were late to a photo shoot one day, because you stopped to rescue a dog. He says that's who you are. I laugh and say no one's that nice. Connor's chubby face furls itself into a fist and he punches the words at me, "She is that nice."

I'm lucky he let me wait here for you. And now that you're here I feel even more lucky. I know that's not how the words should go together, but when I'm with you, Karen, words don't make much sense.

I want, what I want. What I want is you.

Happy Writing exercise

I remember the last time I was really happy. I was in Phoenix hanging out with Karen, Scott, and Terri. I was driving. I consider driving a stern task. Driving up Central, laughing for no reason I can remember.

The car was too small for us and our luggage, the lunch was too heavy for all we planned to do that day, and we had no time for errands. All the spaces in between our concerns were fun. We made each other young again, and free.

We stopped in to see an old friend and his new storefront. There was nothing special about our visit, but looking at his shop, talking about business I didn't understand, I felt I was in the presence of love. As though somehow leaving Seattle and landing in Phoenix helped me turn the corner and pack all my concerns, all my everyday worries into a bag.

I say it's like that after a few drinks, but drinking only masks the problems that sit next to me. This was a moment in time when all of myself and all of my friends' parts and pieces were welco…

Thunder, Natalie Goldberg, writing exercise,

The first time I remember begin afraid was during a thunderstorm.  I couldn't have been more than seven or so. Also,  I remember being a great kid. A few tantrums, but I was the kid the neighbors liked to babysit. I was as mellow as the day is long.

My parents left me and my middle brother for the night for  a 70's all-night-discoteque. That night a storm rolled in. Some days I think it never left me. My brother, my keeper, reading a comic book.

The thunder sounded like it would roll right through the roof of our house. The first clap of thunder brought my brother to the window, and me to the floor. I could only shake and cry in place, as he peered out the window, I think, looking for lightning. How would I know, my eyes were closed?

As I cried, I demanded that mom and dad come home. I worried into my brother, I could see his resolve weakening, though I didn't know what resolve was then. At the last minute he stiffened and told the truth. There was nothing mom and dad coul…

A writing prompt of my own from November 7th, 2007.

A writing prompt of my own from November 7th, 2007.

So I dug in. I took it just above the nose. The pain came at the same time my knees buckled. I dug in. I dug in for the last time in my life, the last time I can remember trying ….I remember clearly, it was all in slow motion. I was thinking nothing, I was hopped up on pure athletic zeal. Just me and the ball. There was no pitcher, no one in the stands, just a sacred dance of sport.
I tell people that is the moment I gave up, but it's not. I gave up before that day in the batter's box. 

About washing dishes # writing exercise

The house is empty on a perfect Spring day and it shouldn't be. I can hear the television set on in the background, but when I look in the den, I find only my father's 32 ounce tumbler, filled to the brim with rock solid ice cubes and iced-tea, but no Dad in his chair.

The kitchen, where I should find my mom making dinner appears to be abandoned in the middle of preparing a dinner. A skillet pushed to the side, no apron hanging on its hook. The breakfast dishes from me and my brother have been pushed a side, a reminder that we haven't done our chores.

I drop my backpack and scrambled back to the front door, peering out on the driveway and across the street, I can hear neighborhood noises that cause no alarm. I see all the things I should see; my parent's cars parked in their spots, my brother's car parked on the street, but no family anywhere.

My sentence is clear. I cry my way back to the kitchen, I pull out the red step stool, so I can reach the sink. I begin doin…

#6 Writing exercise Jell-O

I grew up in a non Jell-O making family until somebody, somewhere made it the desert of choice for  people trying to loose weight in the 1970's then, it was everywhere.

Jell-O molds, Jell-O with fruit in it. Going my friends' house for dinner. The shag carpet neatly at attention, a three foot by three foot Godseye hangs over their chimney with care and the potluck was in full speed. There at end to the table separated from normal deserts, like cake and pie, sits Jell-O. Red, passive, ready to cut into squares. Very adult Jell-O. Lonely.

Jell-0 is needed nowhere. But if you're going to have Jell-O it's got to be red or green. Not strawberry or lime flavored. It will taste nothing like that, if you are expecting it to.

By the time Jell-O made it the cafeterias of my youth, it was for snorting(on a bet) throwing (for fun) or propelling at someone (Todd) through a straw. Jell-O. Not food.

Writing exercise # 5

Getting warmed up by using some of Natalie Goldberg's writing prompts...


I pour my coffee into a pint glass, from my friendly french press. I add cream and the color turns from chocolate-oil black to sturdy tan. Then I wrap my hands around the glass to feel its heat, to let the coffee slip through the glass, through my skin and into my veins. The coffee is never weak, it's strong and friendly.

I drink my coffee in sips, chewing it, acknowledging it, noticing it, letting it talk to me. The caffeine is secondary, the bitter shock when it his my lips, the heat and liquid butter of the half and half dance across my tongue, there is nothing better in this moment.

I experience myself through this liquid conversation. I drink coffee there for I am.  

It's a private experience. I don't get from Starbucks, or coffee on the run, or coffee after dinner, or coffee wit…

Writing exercise #4

Getting warmed up by using
and some of Natalie Goldberg's writing prompts

When I die I miss you. I will miss being around you, hearing your stories, drinking your drinks and wondering what's going to happen next.  I will miss all of you.

I will miss fucking you.
I will miss being confused around you.

I will miss loving you and being loved by you.
I will miss curry. I will miss making love with you.
I will miss speaking broken Spanish, because the guy at Home Depot thinks of all the non-hispanic people in Home Depot, maybe I'm the one that speaks Spanish.
When I die I will miss having a body and all things I could do with a body. I will miss the things I never did. I will miss the things I never wanted to do, and now never will. 
I will miss you, I will miss you though I will carry you in my heart beyond on the veil of this existence.
I will miss being nervous after telling a lie. I will miss twice baked almond croissants…

Writing exercise #3

I don't remember the first time I saw my dad with a drink in his hand, or a cigarette. But I do remember thinking he was cool. I don't remember the bar, so I fill it in with different backgrounds when I tell the story. 
It was loud, smoky and I was a alien by at least a decade to this place. The smoke curled around the figures bar side and made them look once removed.
He was laughing through a story,  too loudly for the others around around. Yet his eyes were sharp enough to pierce the smoke.  I remember him seeing me through the haze, across decades, letting me know we lived in two different worlds.

His world, other than being my father, was a world were people were at his beck and call. They called him, "Hank," and were waiting for Hank to call the next shot; at pool, at the bar, and at the barbecue grill. They called him about creating opportunities for small African-American business. They called him, when I 
couldn't be bothered with his advice, guidance, parent…

Writing exercise #2

Getting warmed up by using
and some of her writing prompts

Memory of my mother...
My mom cooks like nobody's business. She's magic. I see her and hear her humming and singing as cast iron pots move and are prayed over.

Her coca-ebony skin glows with a little chicken grease from the spatter. She laughs and smiles as she moves collard greens and ham-hocks to happy tummies.

Memory of the color red...
Blood on my clothing from sparring again. Throbbing blood-shot eyes from sparring. Trying to see through a vermilion haze to my sparring partner.
Punch, spit blood. Cross, jab, hook, spit blood. I try to remember a time without blood in my mouth, a cleaner, younger time.

Memory of a sound...
Summertime sizzles on the grill. There are no mistakes in this season. The ice cream truck jingle-jangle marks the shank of each afternoon of play. I wish for my seesaw time with Shelly and Chris. I long to be torn by the splash of swi…

My name is Karl Cummings and I remember everything

Fresh from my electro-apple-typewriter, free from proofreading and ready for the masses. Taking a small break from working on my screenplay.

“I remember everything.” 
Karl was not prone to bragging. So this statement came as a surprise, as did his request for a night out. Just me and him like the old days, before Sheryl and Mel become permeant fixtures. His wife of 10 years, my husband of five (Yes, Sheryl and Mel are the membranes through which our two lives pass)
“Listen, Karl, if you’re trying to entertain me I prefer a floor show, dancers, music, etcetera.” 
Karl turned from his drink and grabbed my hand. Another decidedly unlike Karl thing to do. We’ve been friends since college and “brothers” since I was thrown out of a frat at Arizona State for coming out of the closet. He was the only one to quit the frat in protest. I tried to kiss him once, that didn’t go well.  I put my beer down, I let the upscale trimmings my yuppie life and my yuppie bar fade into the background. I nodded to …