His thoughts were connecting like dots, synaptic cosmic robots, zipping through his head like shots. Little laser beams, they take off like rockets and careen through the heavens like drunken freaks on roller skates. It was fine until they...
The world is a hellish place, and bad writing is destroying the quality of our suffering. - Tom Waits
William J Archer is an almost middle-aged husband, and father of two (yeah, third person, but William J Archer can be like that sometimes. He will never do it again though, he finds the level of detachment too real).
I have been honing my literary skills in secret, training in monasteries across the globe and I am now prepared to come out of hiding and judo-chop my “target audience” into submission.
The word on the street is that I'm slightly unhinged, which, if true, is not really surprising. Who else would willingly choose to spend most of their time in their own head?
As a writer, I could go on about myself forever, but for once, I won't.
The services listed below are meant to give more of a general idea of the types of writing I enjoy the most. Granted, when a person does something they enjoy, and have a natural affinity for, whatever they are engaged in tends to have a certain purity about it that isn't present where enjoyment and talent are absent or struggling. That being said, The lists below are not rigid structures constructed to repel things lurking outside of my comfort zone. I enjoy challenges. And please do feel free to plunge into the blog section for more of an idea as to what types of madness I naturally indulge in.
*I do not write Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romance or Young Adult
*Nothing boring please. You know what I mean, no data-plugging, finance or other yawn-inducing forms of non-creative torture.
Ghost-writing, as defined by Wikipedia: literary or journalistic works, speeches, or other texts that are officially credited to another person as the author.
Pretty self-explanatory, I will write you top-notch content (please take note of some of the parameters listed in the other two sections of this page), and you pay me for the right to take all of the credit.
Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good. - Dr. Samuel Johnson, to an aspiring writer
His mother had died before he was old enough to form any reliable memory of her, kicked in the head by a horse she spooked early one winter morning as she was bringing it oats. His father found her face-down halfway between the corral and the house, muddy snow caked on her hands and knees. A trail of blood had painted it’s way from the crater in her broken head, down her face and body, and out behind her as he she had tried to crawl back home. Her name had been Marion.
His mother had died before he was old enough to form any reliable memory of her, kicked in the head by a horse she spooked early one winter morning as she was bringing it oats. His father found her face-down in the yard, halfway between the corral and the house; muddy snow caked on her hands and knees and a trail of blood painted garishly onto the snowy ground behind her. The rusty-red river of her soul matted and freeze-drying in her cold hair, streaked down her face, body, and the ground before disappearing around the corner like a marker in the snow leading to the the scene of a crime. Her name had been Marion.
His father killed that horse with an axe, buried his mother in the frozen ground, drank all the whiskey in the house and did what he must to raise a son. Which wasn’t much at all in the way of fathering.
The boy had little choice but to stick around until he no longer depended on the old bastard for his survival. As bleak as it was, he was pretty sure most things beyond the edges of their land were harder for a child than they were within them. When he figured he had a fighting chance beyond the fences of the only world he had ever known, he took what few belongings he had managed to acquire, and a few that weren’t his, and set out to try his luck elsewhere. He rode off in the night on his old man’s only good horse, into an unknown for which he harboured few expectations.
For ten years that followed, life showed him that he was right to assume that most everything about living was difficult, because for him it was. For the first couple of years after leaving home he was tricked, used, robbed, beaten and hungry. But by fifteen he was tough as nails, jaded as hell, and experienced well beyond his years; cold, capable, and indifferent to whether he lived or died, but well-armed with the tools needed to ensure that he could live if he chose to.
Sometimes the world is fortunate enough to have hard men that lean toward moral righteousness and desire to use their strength to uphold whatever their sense of right may be. He was not one of those men. When he realized he could hurt people, he did. And when hurting people wasn’t enough he took to killing them. And it didn’t take long for him to become exceptionally proficient at it, as there was always plenty of opportunity to hone his craft within the circles he moved.
In a world where there was always a demand for killers, he rarely had far to go to find someone willing to pay for his particular set of skills. And pay they did, for all manner of evils they hadn’t either the fortitude or the freedom to commit themselves. He murdered and tortured men, killed women and children, burned down churches, homes and entire towns. And he took the money paid to him for his wickedness without so much as a sigh of remorse or an errant tear.
He spent eight violent years as an evil man, an unrepentant sinner paving his way to hell with stolen souls.
But for all of the painful things inside him that he may have found reason to hide from, he never fell slave to booze nor drugs nor gambling. He figured it was probably better to avoid adding strength to the legions of demons already lurking within the dark places of his heart. And he knew that no matter how hard he might try, there was nothing money could buy that would hide him from his evil. So he spent little and saved much.
For a short time there was a woman who may have had a chance of softening his heart, and as far as he knew, she did; one of the whores he sometimes visited when circumstances and the desire to do so converged. But what may have been was never to be when she had her throat slit one night by a drunk preacher. The preacher wasn’t much with a knife though and she managed to scream for help and deflect his first few unskilled attempts with her arms. By the time he opened up her throat and jumped out a window into the alley below there were ten vigilantes after him. He didn’t make it far.
A handful of men brought the preacher back to the brothel after beating him near to death, and they dragged him into the cellar where he was kept alive for two days of unimaginable hell. What they carried out afterwards barely even resembled a man. The broken body was hung by the road near the eastern entrance to town as a warning. What remained of him swayed in the wind for a time, bloody, tattered frock and all until the birds and the bugs, time and tall creatures patiently stacked his skeleton beneath the frayed rope that had once held him. The priest’s bones were left where they fell.
After the only woman he had ever been close to was murdered by a man of god, the sinner figured it was a providential sign that there was to be no love in his life, so he gave up the notion for good. But shortly after that unfortunate event, whatever sinister entity within him that had thirsted for blood became quiet and the need to dispense death left his heart.
He took his money, said his few goodbyes, boarded a train and set to making an unassuming life for himself in a land where no one knew him from any other mysterious stranger arriving from faraway places. He paid in full for the land he bought and immediately began building a home in the grass beside the mountains.
Within two years there stood a modest but comfortable house, a barn that met all of the needs of him and his few animals, and woodshed and small forge built side-by-side under one roof, and some comforts and curios set here and there about the yard. Though there ran a creek through his land near year-round, a well and the small shack covering it sat quietly off of the corner of the house nearest the kitchen door.
It was a pleasant, solitary existence, something he was not sure he deserved considering the evil he had brought to others over the years, but he didn’t squander this peace with fears of divine justice or mortal revenge; hell would still be waiting for him when he died, and if revenge came calling he was prepared to meet it just as he had met it every time before.
This short interlude was the only time in his life when not every morning greeted him with the promise of violence, fear or anger. It took some getting used to. He had no desire or need for companionship or distraction in his little paradise as he had long ago grown accustomed to loneliness, it was his most reliable friend. His only friend.
He did make some new acquaintances over a time though, during his visits to town. But these visits tended to be few and far between as town was near two full days ride to the south. A barman, a barber, an undertaker and a card-playing woman were people that looked forward to his arrival, and he looked forward to them too in some manner. They were the closest thing he had ever had to friends in all his years. It seemed odd to him to have people to just sit and talk with, or play cards with, or take fishing; people with no expectations other than the pleasure of his company, people that could disagree with one another now and again without resorting to hitting, shooting or stabbing. That seemed odd to him too, but he liked it.
He enjoyed near two-and-a half years of a lifestyle he never expected to lead. But at some point during those years he developed a health condition he initially chose to ignore, thinking it would pass. Eventually though he had to admit that the cough wasn’t going away. Hell, it was probably too late to address it now at any rate. The night sweats and chest pain told him all he needed to know to be sure. He wryly supposed that divine justice had finally found him and he was glad he had not bothered to concern himself with such things while they had been absent. He was as happy as he had ever been for the blink of an eye and now was no time for regret. Everything dies he knew, so must he.
He would be damned however if he went to the devil without settling one final account. It was something he had been putting off since had had first entertained the notion, when the vision of youth made it seem like there were more tomorrows than a person would ever be able to spend. But youth knows very little and sickness affords the afflicted not the luxury of indeterminate procrastination. He then made a decision to do what he had decided must be done.
He led a horse he called Lucifer out of the barn and into an early morning not long after fully admitting he was ill, and aimed him west. Before they rounded the last bend in the trail that offered him a view of his home, he turned back for a moment to express something of a thank-you. It was the only place he had ever found any measure of happiness. He didn’t expect he would ever return and he regretted that, it was the only sincere sense of regret he had felt since he had been a boy.
The play of his short life had often run through his head over the years, and now, camped beside the beginnings of a mountain in the infancy of this latest and probably last journey, he again reflected on his past. Most people are born only to suffer and die he figured, and he was one of those. The thought didn’t anger him like it used to, it just made him wonder if there was any reason for any of it at all. He didn’t figure so.
He leaned back and looked up at the darkening sky as the first stars began ripping tiny holes through the thin fabric of the evening. He pushed the fire around with the toe of his boot as a light breeze whispered through trees and the grass and the hills, and he prepared for what he knew was to follow the terrible itching in his lungs.
Thirty minutes later he wiped the blood from his lips and laid down on his bedroll for the night, exhausted.
A week down the trail the horse injured himself running from a bear. It wasn’t much of a run seeing as the bear was equally surprised and went the opposite direction, but the short distance Lucifer covered was over rough, rocky ground. By the time he was calmed down enough to be lead somewhere suitable to hole-up for a day or three, he had a noticeable limp.
Four days of rest, and hot and cold compresses of tree-bark and nearby plants saw Lucifer strong enough to carry his own weight, and the two travellers set off once more, this time both afoot. They continued in that manner for another week yet, thus prolonging the journey by near fourteen days overall if one was to consider the days spent confined to camp, and the decreased pace with which the horse would have to travel even after his limp disappeared. That and the fact the he would only be able to bear the weight of his master for a certain number of hours per day, and only walk unladen for a short time following that. A proper recovery regimen for Lucifer would have been ideal but the summer was becoming autumn now and the man’s coughing wasn’t letting up any. If they were to make the journey in it’s entirety, unnecessary delays were not an option. So they pushed on at a pace they both could maintain.
By the time they ventured far into the foothills it was clear that summer here was already at it’s end. The leaves had not yet begun to turn full colours but were starting to yellow some on higher branches and in open places. And although the wind hadn’t completely developed it’s teeth yet, in the sunless hours it eagerly nipped at exposed skin like a puppy tentatively gauging it’s own strength before being chased off by the fire. The sun, though still warm during the high part of day, had begun to perceptibly start it’s journey south for another season, taking more and more daylight with it as the nights and the northern shadows grew longer. Autumn was certainly around the corner and winter would be right on it’s heels.
Eventually they returned to covering a respectable amount of ground per day, and if things went relatively well they would be out the other side of the mountains before the week was out.
Things did go well, and five days later horse and man emerged from the mountains down into craggy, rugged foothills that stretched out another two-hundred miles before rising once again to meet the next range.
He had shared camp near the summit of the pass in the company of a man and his son; they were headed east to winter among family. The father of the boy thought it important that uncles, aunts, granny and gramps and all the cousins had a chance to meet his son before the boy grew into a man, something the journey itself would certainly contribute to. A perilous mission for sentimental reasons the man admitted, but The Lord would see them through. The Lord and the obviously well-tended-to arsenal of firearms they both carried.
The following morning they had wished well to one another and parted ways. If man and boy were to be believed, their benevolent lord guided the two down one side of the mountain in the golden rays of the morning sun as they began their day; the two of them headed toward family and future. On the other side of the pass a dying sinner and his horde of silent demons led an injured horse named Lucifer downward into waking shadows and eternity.
Three more slow but steady and relatively uneventful days saw horse and man into a town with a real bed in a hotel with a well-maintained stable. They could both use the rest and recuperation after their gruelling push through the hills behind.
They stayed in town only two days. Considering the season and the propensity for unpredictable weather so close yet to the mountains, prudence dictated they had best keep moving. That, and the sinner thought he may have been recognized the night before by a man he was sure he recognized as well, though he was unable to recall from where. Considering the life he had lead up until fairly recently, being recognized at all was most likely unfavourable.
He had his horse saddled and on the trail before the sun woke up. By the time it began lighting the tops of the trees through which he rode he had been already underway for most of three hours. As far as he could tell nobody was close enough behind to detect, but that didn’t mean nobody was back there somewhere, or possibly ahead, waiting to ambush him. He knew it could be just as likely that there was no one in either direction, but he hadn’t remained alive this long by disregarding paranoia.
He had made sure to ride on the grass verges and the rocks beside the trail, rather than on it, when he could do so without compromising his horse’s recent injury. Where the trail passed by a scrub-brush leading to the river he decided to abandon the beaten track and follow the river until there was a suitable place to cross. A quarter-mile along the river he came to a shallows, forded the channel and rode into some hills offering a view of the road leading in both directions. He tethered Lucifer in the bush and sat under the branches of a pine tree with his telescope.
He didn’t have to wait long before two riders came into view on the trail behind, moving faster than a man with a long day ahead, but not fast enough that the clatter of hooves would thunder through the hills for miles.
Sitting in the grass, on a knoll under his tree, the urge to extinguish the unbearable itching inside his chest overcame his desire to remain silent and he began to cough. He hoped the riders were still far enough off that over the sound of their mounts they wouldn’t hear the short but violent bout of hacking that racked the body of the man watching them. But though this particular fit was of unusual intensity, it was short-lived and was over before the two men were within earshot. When he had recovered sufficiently he brought the telescope to his eye. One of the riders was the vaguely familiar character who had earlier seemed to recognize him.
He waited until they passed his position, and then he waited for a while longer than that. Eventually he rode down from his perch in the hills and continued onward in the direction he had been travelling previously. He kept to the side of the river opposite the main track, stopping regularly to listen for the sounds of what he was sure had been his pursuers until they were too far ahead for him to hear any longer. He continued on cautiously nonetheless, and planned to do so far some time to come. At the end of the day lay another small town he intended to avoid regardless of whether it offered a real bed and a hot meal or not. In order to nullify any chance of detection as they approached the village, he and Lucifer kept to the trees, skirting the settlement with little difficulty, only once emerging from cover to cross a road coming in from the south.
They rejoined the track some distance the other side of the settlement, in the light of dusk, and proceeded into the darkness of night. They walked until Lucifer began to occasionally stumble in that hour before night trades roles with the day so he dismounted and led the horse into the hills not overly far from the trail, but far enough that the sounds of beast and man wouldn’t likely be overheard by passers-by. And there they waited and rested.
There had been a time not long past when he wouldn’t have hesitated a second to confront the two men that had been following him out on the trail, and if their answers to his queries dissatisfied him or they couldn’t be convinced to abandon their pursuit, he would have killed them both as they sat and took what he might need or want from the saddlebags of their masterless mounts. The decision not to do so now wasn’t influenced by any regret for his past, any desire to repent, or some new-found arrival of faith, it was just that the desire to solve the problem violently no longer presented itself to him as the most viable option. The consequences for solving problems with gunpowder and lead were generally more problematic than simply avoiding confrontation, and so it was more a matter of energy conservation than anything else.
The ailing sinner and his faithful horse spent most of the next day holed up in the hills, waiting for the sun to fall as they prepared for another push through darkness. That evening they emerged from the bush with an hour or so of hazy light remaining and resumed their journey.
They held to the same schedule one more day and one more night. By the last morning the man was sure there was no longer any threat of the two strangers on his tail, and he and his horse went back to travelling during daylight hours, stopping briefly on only two occasions: once to get a hot meal; and another to buy oats for Lucifer.
About a week out from their destination it began to rain. It started as intermittent showers some time in the morning, waking him earlier than he usually arose. By noon it had become a steady drizzle occasionally interrupted by brief downpours. He had anticipated the likelihood of this and had secured a heavy rain-slicker behind his saddle before leaving the comfort of home. The horse had not had the foresight to equip himself so and was left to contend with the turn in weather wearing the only coat he had. It seemed to affect his disposition very little. He threw his head a bit more than usual to keep the water from his eyes, but dutifully forged ahead as he had since the journey’s first day.
It rained every day for the rest of the trip, making for a very long, soggy week, but despite the discomfort brought about by wet weather and the increasing cold, they eventually arrived at their destination.
The small ranch looked mostly as he had pictured it in his mind, except for the green trim around the doors and windows. The outbuildings, corrals and other fences generally fit the profile he had constructed in his mind though, as did most everything else.
Atop a slight rise, barely high enough to look down on the scene below, he tottered weakly in the saddle, astride Lucifer and sicker now than ever; he attributed that to the constant dampness of the last week and the colder nights of what was now proper autumn. He and the horse stood motionlessly under a giant spruce tree while water dripped, poured, and was blown all around them in the windy, waning light of evening. He wanted more than anything to go down there now and take care of his business, just so that he and the horse might have a warm, dry place to sleep. But he didn’t, and he knew he wouldn’t until he had a better idea of what to expect. His intention was to watch the goings-on below from the cover of shade and shadow for a day or so before formulating a plan of approach.
He barely had the strength that night for constructing a simple frame to support the small oiled canvas sheet he carried for inclement weather conditions such as assailed them now, but he managed. Keeping most of the rain off of the horse and himself was the best that could be hoped for tonight.
When the sorry little shelter was as complete as it was going to get, he undid the cinches tethering Lucifer to his saddle and bags, which he then let roll lazily off of Lucifer’s back to the ground before painstakingly dragging them out of the rain. Then, after coughing out what to him seemed like an endless supply of blood, he passed out sitting up.
Some hours later he awoke, shivering uncontrollably, with his knees gathered up to his chest like a hypothermic man-fetus violently miscarrying in the inhospitable womb of that strange forest. The trees writhed an uncomfortable dance in time with the contentious, whipping wind as they spit needles and broken bits of branches down onto the drenched forest floor. Twisting and swaying, they incessantly moaned their protests against the wild manipulations of the tempest. Off in the distance was heard the painful, rending death-cry of one of the most unfortunate among them as it was executed in the night. It’s decapitated head clumsily crashed it’s way through the limbs of it’s struggling cousins before finally smashing upon the ground below.
Somehow he summoned the will to move and managed to convince his cadaver-cold fingers to unfasten the leather strings holding his bedroll together. Then, with great effort, he wrapped whatever warmth he could salvage from the damp blankets around his quaking shoulders and waited. By the time the faint light began stealing through the trees his bones were no longer in danger of rattling through his skin and he was fairly certain that it was now safe to rest his tongue against his teeth without fear of losing it. He hadn’t slept a wink since waking near-dead hours before.
By mid-morning, the wind had subsided to nothing more than a whisper and the rain fell straight down from the heavy, low-hanging clouds. The sullen forest stooped wearily under the unrelenting burden, much beleaguered and still attempting to recover from the trauma of the previous night’s abuse.
It was all he could do to find sufficient strength to crawl the ten feet to his horse and pull himself upright. Sickly sweat drenched his already soaked and shivering body as he struggled to undo the loose knot binding Lucifer to the top-rail of their feeble shelter. When he eventually succeeded in doing so, he let the short rope fall to the ground and slowly folded back to his hands and knees. When he could next manage to move, he made his way to the saddle-bags, fished inside the one farthest from him and pulled out what remained of the small sack of oats he had picked up in what seemed to be another lifetime, opened it up and placed it on the ground. His last supper for Lucifer.
When Lucifer was sure that his master wasn’t getting back up, almost two full days later, the horse turned away and started towards the ranch he knew lay only a short distance through the trees.
* * * * *
A horsey, a horsey! the girl cried out from where she stood on the veranda. Mommy, Daddy, come see the horsey!
They heard the excited cries of their daughter from their comfortable chairs in the sitting room, both deeply immersed in whatever they had started reading during their incarceration by the recent weather. Both now intent on finishing what they had begun reading in that time, before the warm rays of a long-lost sun finished evicting what moisture it could from the land, and that brief holiday from hard work reached it’s end. Two sets of eyes hesitatingly abandoned their missions for the moment and met each other in the space between them.
You go see what it is dear, she told him. He nodded silently and began making his way out to see what the fuss was about. He glanced through a window as he passed it by and saw the concerned face of his six-year-old daughter looking through at him.
Over there Daddy! He followed her finger to the edge of the large eastern lawn. The horse didn’t appear to be in any great hurry as it walked steadily toward them. The man hesitatingly descended the stairs, almost as though undecided as to whether that was the course of action he wished to take before his body had started without him.
Man and horse met in the openness of the small field, neither immediately certain of what to make of the other. The horse was a fine beast, that was undeniable, but he looked tired and was most likely hungry, and he was clearly no stray but had strayed from somewhere. The only visible trappings of man about him were an expensive halter and the rope trailing from it. And a brand that the man didn’t recognize. After brief introductions the horse must have decided the man was of an agreeable disposition, and the man he.
When he was certain he had the man’s attention, the horse turned back toward the forest, ambled a short distance that way, then cocked his head back to make sure he was being followed. After a few stop-starts, the man determined the horse’s intentions and then they had an understanding. The horse didn’t need to stop again.
The little girl sat on the steps back at the house, exactly as she had been instructed to do, bathed in lazy sunbeams while she watched her daddy follow the big black horse from the field toward the trees from where it had emerged. The horse’s head bobbing rhythmically with each step, her father’s greying hair waving slightly each time a foot touched the ground.
Before stepping from view, the man stopped for a moment and turned to wave an arm at his daughter, letting her know that it was acceptable for her to leave her perch on the stairs. She waved back but didn’t move, so he smiled, waved again, then spun around and continued to follow Lucifer into the eerily inviting darkness of the still-dripping woods, each of his steps carrying him unwittingly closer to the body of his only son.
...This is the part where I take you by the hand and begin leading you toward a grimy-looking door set a little too securely into the wall of a derelict tenement-building. I hand you the first hit, it’s free, and assure you that everything is going to be alright. Please, don’t let the strong stench of hobo urine, the accumulated filth or the scattering of used hypodermic needles deter you from entering this hellish-looking den of iniquity. Just place your unsullied palm square in the middle of the...
This is the part where I take you by the hand and begin leading you toward a grimy-looking door set a little too securely into the wall of a derelict tenement-building. I hand you the first hit, it’s free, and assure you that everything is going to be alright. Please, don’t let the strong stench of hobo urine, the accumulated filth, or the scattering of used hypodermic needles deter you from entering this hellish-looking den of iniquity. Just place your unsullied palm square in the middle of the “Abandon hope all ye who enter here” warning sign that’s painted in blood on the door, give a hard shove and follow me. Completely at your own risk. And I can’t promise you will exit the building the same person you went in, or at all even.
What follows can hardly be called an adventure. A challenge maybe, or a trial; the best way I could describe a reader’s experience of this book is as a third-person ordeal through my many tribulations. Self-imposed tribulations for the most part, as I have had a penchant for taking golden opportunities and magically transmuting them into lead weights to hang around the neck of my gargantuan regret-monster. Maybe the thinking was to eventually add so much weight that my monster wouldn’t be able to pull it and I could finally escape from it’s shadow. A poor tactic to be sure. It didn’t work.
What such tactics did ensure though, was that I ended up with a laundry list of hard-luck stories born of many poor choices. The dependability of “Yours Truly” to consistently make the absolute worst decision in any given situation has often baffled even the most adept scholars of the human mind. Maybe not quite to that extent, yet, but that’s only because they’re still unaware of my existence. However, given my track record with the people I have crossed paths with over the years, should any so-called “experts” of human behaviour look into any of my experiences, whatever previous findings they have relied on concerning the rest of humanity will go right out the window.
From the depths of poverty did I emerge, to painstakingly scrape and scrabble up the ladder, to positions of wealth and responsibility that I had no idea even existed outside the realms of rockstar, hockey-player or some other such high-profile god-figure. But like Icarus was in regards to the sun, I was in regards to the ways of having: woefully under-educated. I panicked every time success and abundance invaded the comfort zone of familiar lack and struggle, and I expertly chased them away.
The pit of despair is a greedy beast with an intense phobia of being alone. It hangs on to it’s children with the strength of eons when they attempt escape, making freedom impossible for all but the most determined fighters.
I did manage to escape now and then, sometimes even for extended periods of time, but faithful minions of the pit eventually found me and brought me home to repent. And the higher I climbed the harder I fell, back into the wretched embrace of sweet misery; the default home of poor and ignorant weaklings.
A beautiful family, good health, mountains of money and a lifestyle that is the envy of most of the world’s population could never fill up whatever part of me that needed to be dissatisfied. My happiness must have been hiding deep somewhere in the darkness of misery, why else would I insist on returning there at all costs? My life: the fool’s errand.
I have somewhat evolved since the inception of this book and am able to clearly define many things that had previously been indefinable to me. Glimpses of many good things frequently shimmer through the thinning haze, but my journey to the other side still has a number of miles to go, and exorcising some demons through my fingertips seems to be a necessary gauntlet for me to run.
If the morbid warning on the door of my condemned mind hasn’t frightened you off, then please continue along with me through some of the most painful times of my adult life. Read on and learn some expert tactics of self-sabotage, study tried-and-true methods of terminating affluence and stifling happiness, and crawl through the mud with me through abject depression, apathy, cynicism and self-loathing.
I accept no responsibility for the health and safety of anyone who decides to join me on this mission, your well-being in is your own hands, I am just the guide, and I had to go at this a number of times on my own. Research and development was a harrowing experience but I’m still here, so I’m confident you will be fine, just keep your voice down, your head low and try not to drop your rifle or step on any deadly snakes or land-mines.
Quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
His thoughts were connecting like dots, synaptic cosmic robots, zipping through his head like shots. Little laser beams, they take off like rockets and careen through the heavens like drunken freaks on roller skates. It was fine until they...
His thoughts were connecting like dots, synaptic cosmic robots, zipping through his head like shots. Little laser beams, they take off like rockets and careen through the heavens like drunken freaks on roller skates. It was fine until they slammed headlong into a planet or two that had the gravity of mass graves, for victims of ungentle genocides. Or tides that lifted the misty massiveness of rolling seas higher than the knees of tall gods. Gods that hopped like electric frogs when their feet got wet from the moving water.
I thought about what he often said about being dead, and in my head I always responded the same way by saying nothing. On the outside I nodded, smiled and lied away the discomfort hanging in the air with some generic insincerity or another. Oh brother! When will false platitudes become more shameful than articulating unappealing truths? A gossamer thread runs through the room like a hyper child, or a wild and sly hyena with an eye for needlepoint. Or other forms of art.
A car hung in the balance, a mechanical acrobat with a battery pack and room for luggage. It dismounted from the off-ramp and ploughed through a fence, knocking down the only street-lamp in the area before tearing off into the dark. The place was a park before dogs took it over. Now it’s a place for canines to go and bark the night away. Ol’ Beef Bones has been avoiding the spot for years now. He used to take his kids there to play on the swings and slip down the slide. Not now, he and his family stay inside. The neighbourhood ain’t what it used to be by any stretch of a rubber band. Stretch out a few more hits and hold out your hand, reap the benefits of another tightly twanged tune about a tuna you met in the can. You can’t learn that stuff in a school.
Remember the day grandma took the dog out behind the barn for the last time? She just sat there in her favourite chair, stroking his hair until Uncle Reaper dropped by and she died. Rover lived on for many more years, getting scratches behind the ears from grandpa and the remaining members of the crew, even you. Not sure if you remember that far back, though by that age you had already conquered a continent with your charm. And guns. I have to admit that I didn’t really agree with your approach of detonating nuclear war-heads so far into that episode about the core values of an apple. At least a lot of innocent people hadn’t been born yet. I thought about bringing this up the last time we sat there stealing glances at the yummy ladies as they passed by on Fallout Beach. I didn’t want to ruin the mood with my attitude, so instead I went to bed with a curvy girl who had no head. I hadn’t realized she had been vaporized in the blast and that I had been trying to get frisky with a sexy memory from the past. All hands on deck, she still had a neck.
The pills were small and bluish. Something called speed I think. I took four or five and they didn’t make me go any faster. I still got caught by the police, fleeing the scene of what could have been a much better time had I not chosen to open my mouth in a yes at the first offer of an altered state. You were the patient one and decided to wait for the next round of mind-altering clarity. My mind ran angry, chaotic circles around my head until the hours talked it down and I took some water and a long nap. Things that grow in dirt and dung guided you far from such synthetic discomforts, and you smiled serenely at me through the glass and kept me company as time passed. Thanks for walking me through the consequences of my many impetuous mistakes, and then meeting me at the gates of this soul-prison when I escaped. Then you took me far away from repeated disasters of that type.
The toughest spider in the room had a tattoo of a man on it’s chest. It also smoked cigarettes and operated behind an intricate web of intrigue and deception. The pictures on the packs of smokes didn’t scare it at all. The spider had a whole parlour full of tricks and everybody in the game was welcome. Especially Mat.
Sometimes a person just has to duck out and run. Forgo the lurking spectre of impending fun and flee. Avoid the siren-song of promised pleasure, deny dreams of desire and debauchery. Turn tail. So that’s what happened, and the birthday party was somewhat of a disaster when the guest-of-honour hopped a train to some faraway place. He had done the same at his wedding earlier that year so it wasn’t a complete surprise to those who did attend. They drank and got down until the sun came up, then fell down and slept the pain away. Birthday Boy had to jump a return train to get home this time. Once a year is plenty for that kind of stunt.
Boats, floating lazily across an azure sea in the middle of a warm day. Some were long, wide of beam and had sails, others short and motorized. There were some that looked as though they rivalled any mansion on earth for luxury, and others that were obviously a little more the worse-for-wear. They bobbed contentedly on the gentle, shimmering water, regardless of their differences, going this way and that, seemingly with no real direction at all, simply glad to be out fulfilling their collective obligation as boats. And they did it well. There was a ceremony near the day’s end, about an hour before dark, to celebrate these floating marvels, and then the city went to bed. And that’s about all I have to say about that.
They gave her so many warnings over the years that it become something of a running joke among the members of the community. She had the good sense to ignore every last one of them. Instead, she charged headlong into an adventure inspired by courage and optimism, and wildly surpassed even her own craziest expectations. She doesn’t have the time or the inclination to tell them all that they were wrong, or weak, or afraid and stupid, her success in all endeavours reminds her, and all who doubted her, that the perceived foolishness of her past was anything but. And as they grow forgotten and grey behind their fears and limited vision, they still gossip about that girl, the one who didn’t have the good sense to heed their faulty sense of direction. They tiredly shuffle on, and deep inside, non-refundable mountains of regret weigh down their souls as they move ever closer to the grave. They die and are instantly forgotten in a sputtering fizzle of mediocrity.
Should have listened to the girl who was sensible enough to defy your stupidity from the beginning. Had she listened, your bad advice could have been responsible for enslaving the dreams of a child. Shameful. Here’s to you wonderful girl.
Leaves fall from trees when summer leaves. Maybe that’s why the season’s called fall. Autumn is colours and walks under an umbrella in the rain; fall is a door closing on the best part of a year. The leaves fall onto an autumn grass, grass green again after many months with little or no water. My thirst for sunshine grows stronger as winter months wash happiness away, to store it in some impenetrable fortress for safe-keeping. Spring eventually takes it from the hook, dusts it off, and drapes it over our sadness when sleeping plants and faltering psyche’s wake up for another season of smile.
His thoughts, not drawing dot-pictures now, but conclusions, wrestling with the confusion of delusions, those illusions created to convince the self of a reality we think we might rather experience. Deliriously dancing to a tuneless tune of windless words whispered weakly into an ear that only hears that which allays it’s fears. Heads buried in the sand suffocate eventually.
I suppose you could say “yo” to a yo-yo, but where will that get you? I suppose it can’t say no if you’re about to piss into the wind, would you even listen if it did? How seriously is one to take a sandy-headed wind-pisser who talks to yo-yo’s though? Depends on one’s perspective. And from where I sit, Eeee equals M.E scared.
Icy, electric tentacles reaching down from the sky, filling heads with the fire of ideas. Synapses, sonically booming in the silence of thought. As the conductors of this symphony of self, we organize chaos into expression.
Icy, electric tentacles reaching down from the sky, filling heads with the fire of ideas. Synapses, sonically booming in the silence of thought. As the conductors of this symphony of self, we organize chaos into expression. Dance to your own song, and then pass it on. If they like it, the halls will fill with those that can’t hear their own tune. Make room, because the deafness is screaming from every corner of this experiment we call human. So few, thinking for so many. And fewer still doing their best to think the right things so this lost family has some honest direction.
Stand around like a city worker. Beating a dead horse and yelling words that won’t stick to anything worthwhile. Go shopping for some vocal Velcro, return to the soapbox and try again. In any endeavour, repetition is the key to success. Don’t quit until you’ve won. Or until your horse is hoarse. Beating the dead hoarse of course, it’s the famous Mr Dead. Another sonic synapse, booming my brains away.
What will they say, when you’ve gone away? He passed this way yesterday, but what he left behind is here to stay. Paint a picture with colours, words or sounds, and if this art conveys only honesty, the picture resounds. Light, language and music, dancing across mountain-tops, twirling through valleys and skipping across the sky. Reaching magic fingers into forever. And tickling the universe like the strings of an instrument.
Dead horses and drones called man, coming back to life when the horns call from the clouds. Lifting a veil from eyes too simple to see. Too frightened and lazy to save themselves by lifting a finger to save someone else. Pay the price for apathy when there are no more excuses casting dark shadows to hide behind. The truth behind the lies stands strong through the ages. Eviscerate evil and deliver the weak and foolish to a paradise they always had. Right under their feet. They failed to deserve it day after day as it slipped away, until the mercy of mortality laid their follies to rest.
They thought, therefore they were. The thoughts they thought were mostly for nought, so who gives a damn? What were they thinking when an imagined power left them powerless? And they gave the real stuff away to thieves who stole back to steal it until it was gone. They didn’t see because they chose not to see. And now all that is left is for the few with vision to save themselves. Journey into tomorrow with no baggage. And travel far.
Hope for the hopeless lives in less hoping. The lesson for them is lost in the explanation of the translation. So they remain hopelessly lost, floundering among excuses as they throw away the power to change.
Aaaahhh, the soapbox is only soap, in the shape of the box it came in, and now it’s rainin’. Step down for now and head somewhere higher and drier. Sing this sonic brain song for an audience with ears attached to minds that think. And argue with whatever ego that needs to be right over lyrics that mean the least.
It’s been awhile since anything new erupted from the tips of these fingers. All re-writing, editing and polishing of turds that have dropped over the many previous months. Angry, pessimistic bombs from the bowels of a poisoned mind. Shine up my...
It’s been awhile since anything new erupted from the tips of these fingers. All re-writing, editing and polishing of turds that have dropped over the many previous months. Angry, pessimistic bombs from the bowels of a poisoned mind. Shine up my raging misanthropy and ship it off to people that I hope aren’t sick of that kind of shit. But now I am.
A slow evolution out of the primordial ooze I’ve escaped from on more than one occasion before, only to slide back into when the weaker parts of my personality succumb to darkness. A shady soul perched on the precipice between light and dark has a much more difficult time falling into heaven than hell. Comfort zone and all that jazz. It’s less scary to confront the misery you know than face the possibility of alien happiness. Convince yourself that all the horrible things the devil on your shoulder whispers in your ear about the world are true, and forever dwell in familiar disappointment. A convenient excuse for avoiding people’s inherent brightness.
Not everyone is terrible, only the ones that are, and if you go out your door each day expecting to consistently cross paths with cretins, don’t be surprised if it happens. In my case, even with such a shitty attitude toward my fellow humanoids, I rarely find myself in situations where I am dealing with scum, much the opposite in fact. More often than not the people I encounter on a regular basis are a treat to be with, their glaring faults aside. What does that say about me then? The worst person I have to deal with on a daily basis is me. And I’m tired of him.
Sometimes all it takes is the slightest change in perspective, some new scenery, a different environment and new energy to free the parts of a soul that have been chained in the dungeon for so long that it comes as a surprise to find there still exists life in them. Thank you tenacious optimism for not giving up on me, though I have abused you more times than I can count. May I soon find the courage to put my life in your hands and never look back. Life could be everything I ever dreamed it would when my innocence wasn’t too embarrassed to admit that my goals were so big I would have to grow into a king to achieve them. A benevolent sovereign, and not the cancerous despot of a grey and withered wasteland that my mind has so often become.
Now strength, now courage; the courage to stop choosing fodder for later excuses, to stop joining the cycle of familiarity that affirms poor opinions cultivated against the many, based on the few who offer no inspiration for changing such opinions. Recognize and admit that such things are the responsibility of whoever consents to play that game, not the unaware targets of misdirected judgement. Alter your focus and revel in the wonder of a reality that has existed right on front of you. Life is the sum of what you choose to direct your attention to, not some arbitrary punishment for those with bad luck. Quit whining and start living!
Wise sounding words from a brain that has done anything but. There have been hard-earned glimpses into a realm I think I want to exist in, it looks grand. Not too sure what it is that repeatedly scares me off. Maybe I am still too unaware of myself to put my finger on what personality tweaks might lead to that promised land. It’s a work in progress. May I find a path that leads me in that direction before the crushing weight of depression, fear and pessimism rear up out of grey, rain-soaked struggle and poverty, to fatally extinguish what’s left of my spark.
Another chance for change appears out of a place unexpected, a quick hello morphs into more than I could have imagined, contentment and care threatening to soften the hardness of my ragged heart. On all fronts, faces of strangers emitting the sentiments of friends. Where have these kind souls been all my life? Right here, in the places I took for granted as being unworthy, something my jaded assumptions had painted over with a brush nothing could shine through. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me thousands of times and the situation becomes so ludicrous even I can’t be bothered to care.
Well what now? All of the freebies in life were long ago exhausted and the pain of paying the price for poor decisions has become exhausting to the point of permanent surrender. No longer can these faithful feet propel me along a path that has proven only to produce regret. Break down and break through to something completely different. I will now trade the illusion of having control over my own sad destiny for the alternative of uncontrolled joy and success. Step out of the way of myself and let the real me lead us to a place of peace and pleasure. Be sensible enough to relinquish command until I can see the city spires of this promised land rising out of the desert dust. And then not even the dumbest part of me can bungle the few remaining miles. Please.
Through everything though, I can not say I have ever given up. The relentless drive to find better, to be more, to have everything I have ever wanted, has not died. Sputtered and faded for certain, but never completely abandoned me, not even in my very darkest moments. And now it’s my turn to reward that faith in myself by becoming all that I need t become in order to find gold at the end of the rainbow. A few more pushes up the mountain, just around a couple more bends and the road has to open up and reveal paradise. Just. Keep. Moving.