The Tunnel…

I’m in the tunnel now. I’m really focused on making “Jocko” something that all of you will enjoy reading. The tunnel is long, dark and lonely.

Going to the book signings, doing radio and newspaper interviews are a lot of fun, but those are the things that happen when I leave ‘The Tunnel’.

I don’t want to confuse you. The Attic is the place that I go to to create ideas, characters and eventually stories. The Tunnel is the darkness that encounter when I’m actually writing the story. On occasion, I’ll look back in the rear view mirror and smile at what I left in order to drive in the darkness.

I am focused once I’m really inside the tunnel. I can’t chance being distracted. I’m not being rude…well…maybe I am. Writing is my job. I have to focus my speeding car, on a tight road, using my headlights and wits to navigate through a very dark tunnel.

Part of driving through the tunnel is the focus…the vision…yes, the focus. Maybe, I’m ignoring phone calls, or not posting on social media as often. I enjoy the laser focus of tunnel vision…looking up and realizing that I’ve sawed through another 15,000 words…then 42,000 then 68,754 and eventually reaching the daylight on the other side of the tunnel.

I’m about 7,000 words into a story about a…now, that would be telling. I’m going to be focused, and embody all of those things that go along with my focus.

I do hope that all of you understand the point that I’m trying to convey. If not, I’m really sorry. All that I can suggest is that you re-read this and try to read between the lines.

Once I’ve jumped through all of my hoops, I’ll take a couple of weeks off and promote “Jocko”.

Then, I’ll build another car…climb inside and drive through the darkness.

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Come on up…Have a seat…

I’ve heard that if you have a job that you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. I have to admit that it is true. My only concern are the other people that come to work with me. You know who they are…

Well, maybe you don’t.

I am firmly convinced that writers, songwriters, artists, and other visionaries are non-medicated schizophrenics. Someone that works in a non-artistic field cannot understand the sound of a voice rattling around between your ears.

I’ve heard that sound my entire life.

I think that there is a reason many artists choose when their lives become benal. The voices say nothing new. The people that occupy the attic become too real…too close for comfort. It becomes difficult…no, impossible to walk that fine line between artistic genius and insanity.

Don’t worry, I’m not planning on emulating Thompson, Hemingway, Plath or Poe.

Not right now.

I’m very happy that I’ve lived my life and allowed the voices to get comfortable, choose their rooms and stay in my attic. I’ve let them live without being too much of a bother…until recently.

Like a parent’s advice that a child refuses to heed until they are wise enough to see the wisdom imparted, I chose to ignore the conversations that swirled around my mental sanctum.

I’ve carried my insanity and unease with life under my coat. I’ve just been looking for a place where I can hide it.

I have found it. It is in my attic, where the voices have been all along. Now they let me see their face…they talk to me and have names. They’ve given me permission to share their lives with you…the reader.

My work probably isn’t posh enough for some palates and it may ring up an ugly dark bile in others…yet it is still mine. Now I hold it up for the world to see…no shame here.

The people in my attic are the same people that are in yours. My illness begs of me to share them with you.

Yes, it is an illness…and writing is my medication.

Come on up into my attic. Meet my friends. Watch me dole out my medication.Attic 001

The Fading Glow…

There is nothing like the glow of fame. Whether it is in a small circle, local, regional, national or international. Knowing that you’ve been recognized for something that you accomplished or performed is…well…humbling.

I liken the feeling to the feeling that I had when I played Little League baseball.

II had a uniform.

I was special…I was different.

Then the glow fades. Someone else gets to put on the uniform…win the trophy…talk on the radio.

When the glow fades, it’s time to go back into the dark dungeon and slide into the uncomfortable wardrobe.

It’s too hot…too cold. Voices of doubt accompany each and every word. Laughter and sour tomatoes are served with despair.

This won’t be good enough.

I carry on. I carry on through the darkness that is the child of the fading glow.

Each word carries me closer to another bright dawn…and the inevitability of tomorrow’s fading glow.

Dirt Nap…

A very good friend of mine is burying her mother today. I must admit that funerals scare me. I’ve always claimed an emotional lacking to respond to any questions regarding my animosity toward the inevitability of the final service.

I know why I fear funerals…It is a moment when your life is condensed to who cares and who doesn’t. When the total of a life is condensed to a poorly written couple of paragraphs on a quickly discarded piece of paper. Even the most loved person, will have their existence placed into a lonely compartment in someone’s brain.

I don’t want all of that. I really don’t. I think that I’m just a collection of carbon based star dust, that happened to come together and I was gifted this wonderful life.

Maybe I do want some attention. I just want it while I’m still alive.

Ain’t that selfish?

Nahhh…It’s just different.

I’m going to grieve with my friend for her sweet mother. Then I’m going to do what we all do and place her tender memory into a special closet. Occasionally, I’ll pull her memory out and think of the good times.

It’s time for me to get to work and write something today.

I have to write.

It’s why I want people to remember me…

Right before my dirt nap.

Thank you…Yes…You…

This is another big week for this writer. It is time for me to say “Thank You, denizen of my attic.”

I haven’t said thank you enough. My mother raised me right. I’m supposed to say thank you for being interested in my dirty tales of mayhem. I’ve just found my self caught up in the self-immersion of writing. If I were writing for myself, then my thank you’s would be forever lost in a pocket of my mouth. I’m not writing for myself. I am writing for an audience. An audience of one…You. I’m going to write things that aren’t your cup of tea. You’re gonna wrinkle your nose and frown at the very idea of my nonsense. I hope to ¬†write a number of tales that makes your bones ache…and you want more.

This is a thank you. Our numbers aren’t many right now…maybe ever. If you like the stories that I scrounge out of the dusty corners of my imagination, share them with your friends. Maybe they’ll like them too…It’s like evangelizing to those readers that don’t know.

Still…thank you. Each and every one of you.

You are my audience of one.

The Endless Plains…

The most exciting part of any story that I’ve written, or maybe any of us that consider ourselves talented enough to take a trip in prose, is the beginning. Whether it is song, picture, verse, or tale, the idea that sprang on us was glorious in spectre. It would be the trip to end all trips.

So we load the car with all of the provisions that we need. A map, of some kind, to keep us on track. The artist looks at the house and waves goodbye. They hope to come back with a story of a successful quest.

It isn’t too long before a cursory glance at the map reveals the honest truth.

It’s gonna be a very long trip and there aren’t enough sandwiches. Maybe they got stuck in unseen highway construction. Sometimes stopping for petrol becomes an adventure. Chasing a rabbit that cannot be caught.

Often, the trip becomes boring. This is the most dangerous thing that can happen to the artist. Distractions fall from shelves like rain…and the project is put on a shelf with the other discarded ideas and rhymes.

Right now I’m driving along the plains of my little story. I have to drive across the plains to get to my destination. I smile and wink at the occasional silo, or laugh at billboard humor. The car radio provides all of the entertainment that I need. In fact, I’ve found that it’s good to listen to those little bumpkin stations…a little kernel might appear. Something that will make the story of my trip more appealing to the reader.

I see the carcasses of fellow tale-tellers that became lost and swerved off course. Some relinquished the trip under the killing sun. They stopped for a refreshing drink…only to allow the sun to bleach their bones dry.

One of my old wagons is still sitting on the side of the road. Maybe one day I’ll come back and retrieve it. Get the engine purring and take that novel all the way to the very fucking end.

And I’ll come back with a tale.

Right now, I’m traveling the Great Plains. They are vast, desolate and revealing. I’m going to return with some pictures and a tale. We’ll have a drink and I’ll share every mile of that trip with you.

Maybe I’ll tell it in a way where you feel like you’re right there in the car with me.

Finding The Inspiration…

Deep inside of my soul, there is a kernel of hurt. It is a dark seed that I try not to water for fear that I may act out as the roots grow deeper. That is the place the the artist, specifically, the writer has to go in order to create. It doesn’t have to be dark…but it helps if it is. The darkness reminds me of the faint squeal of joy and laughter, while keeping a steady vigil against the very scar that reminds me of my pain. I’m looking for that today. I may locate it, and if I do, I will look at it and remember the pleasure pains. I will hold the water of life in my other trembling hand…while the other voice tempts me to drench the seed…and watch the malady.