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Emptiness

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He always had something interesting to say, my neighbor. When I say interesting I mean it was something that never would have occured to me, but I found interesting nevertheless.  I don’t knew how the thread some of these conversations began and truly they were more like monologues that verged on haranguing, but I never cut him off. I would always stay on for the ride on every occasion though usually I was late leaving to get somewhere or arriving laden with groceries or worse dizzy having just made it in the door after a torturous journey to get home. And I never knew his name. We didn’t do that hey nice to meet ya neighbour thing. It could have been Ralph or it could have been William and I didn’t ask out of some overwrought sense of politesse. It seemed we’d hardly known each other for too long to begin making introductions to one another. 

My neighbour (let’s call him Mr. 102) lived below me on the ground floor. He never opened his curtains for the morning sun, nor did he open the sliding door for air and didn’t place even a lone chair on his patio. He had told me it would be an invitation to the raccoons and anyway the soil from the garden splashed up on his cement slab every time it rained. It created a mess and wasn’t all that inviting. There was no reason to acknowledge it existed much less make it homey. Still every time I arrived back home I would look to his suite in the hopes of seeing him out reading a book, or perhaps standing at the patio door looking out, as I often do at mine.

The last time I saw him i was aghast, it took my breath away. He was a mere shell of a person hardly resembling the hale man he had once been. It seemed as if he had shrunk in size perhaps because his body was stooped into itself. He took carefully minced steps with his eyes cast to the ground. On the rare occasion I passed him I found that if I tried to engage him he had nothing to say, and didn’t seem to want a conversation of any kind; no more long chats about any myriad of topic. My first reflex was an offer to help to him, so I did. I knew he seemed a proud man so I wasn’t surprised when he politely declined anything and he demurred even a mere dinner invitation. I saw him less and less until I didn’t see him at all.

Today the curtains were pulled fully back to reveal an emptiness that was once his home. Thirty-one years he lived in that small space. For some reason I first noted the awful shade of carpet. And then it hit me. I just knew but I had to confirm my suspicion. I walked down to my manager’s suite and knocked on the door. I felt it an awful imposition but I asked anyway and she answered affirming what I already knew. I won’t be seeing that neighbour ever again. He had just passed away. I’m almost sure I know when. An ambulance had quietly arrived and left the building 2 days ago. I went back to mine and cried for a man I scarcely knew.

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02.14.17 second step

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IMG_0385I recently rearranged my tiny apartment to satisfy my need for change and to make it possible to place my table by the window. Some would say that it makes the narrow lane of my designated living room seem narrower, but I ignore them. I like it. In the morning I drink my coffee and gaze out at the view my 2nd floor bach affords. I do a lot of daydreaming looking out this window. There’s not much happening on my street, but it’s busier than most. Cars scrape over the speed calming lump, ignoring the heed to slow down, and the dastardly part of me gets a smile out of that. Who knows why, perhaps because I am a person who believes in following the rules, so it doesn’t make for a lot of trailblazing. The lessons of my childhood were beaten into me so well that they are ingrained into my cafe au lait skin. My horizons have become not so wide.

Life is slow here. I buck against it, hoping one day I’ll wake up and this city will be like others I’ve lived. I like a healthy amount of hustle and bustle. It’s the energy that energy I crave. It feeds me. I need it. I live a mostly solitary life. Yes, it is mostly of my own doing and I’ve mostly receded into it.  It’s just me and my wee cat, my mostly toothless wonder. Her only loud demands are that I feed her twice a day and that she occupy my lap all day.

I suppose some of my reluctance stems from the limitations of my health. It’s anomalies and vagaries, there’s a why that sometimes my life doesn’t extend much further than the boundaries of my comfortable blue sofa or my memory foam bed.

I know the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, but I’ve become almost paralytic most of the time, with friends, families and my own life alike, so I often don’t even hazard that one step. I’ve become so accustomed to living an interior life, the life “out there” has moved further away and has become unfamiliar. I’ve moved further away. But when I am in my bathroom the messages coming at me are positive and affirming. And I sigh.

I write this while still in my pyjamas, hair standing up on my head (yes, Bijou is on my lap); waiting for the other shoe to drop. Safe. Inside. Waiting out the 2nd beast that inhabits my body. It’s how I begin most every day, save for the writing bit. Wait and see. Always wait and see….

 

Ad nauseam

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As everyone knows, my blog has always been part confessional, part rant, part general ramblings. I have wanted to focus in on one subject for some time but that seems impossible for me. And while I ponder this, in my head, always in my head, I find myself procrastinating to the point of complete excruciating idleness. I know what stops me from writing about certain subjects. There is shame and embarrassment surrounding the subject matter and that prevents me from letting go of it and pouring it into these blank white boxes as cathartically healing that may be. 

I’ve had enough of that, I think, and it’s about bloody time. Most of what I am is comprised of are those personal experiences. They have defined who I am, much as I’d like that not to be true. It’s not likely I’ll change that much at this point so I’m going to continue to gaze inward through that navel of mine but with a more studied gaze…hopefully. The when and the where aren’t important. Afterall, that’s what causes me to stop and clutch those words possessively to my chest. It’ll happen when it happens and most likely because I am releasing the hounds and giving over to some truths more will shake loose more often. 

Sure I’d still like to focus on subjects and throw down matter that folks want to read, but that’ll take some practice. I’m cracking the door open just a tad for now and see where that gets me. 

Dialing Back the Word Count: A Life Without Letters

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Pondered this a great deal. The mere act of sitting down to write and focus the mind to do it and then sending it where you want it to go.

Justine Leonhardt

13293732384_ed268c0097_kzeitfaenger.at. Broken letters. 2014. Web. Flickr.com. 28 Feb. 2016.

By the time I got to the age where I wanted to write letters – the really long, philosophical ones – the glory days of letter writing had long since passed. When the close associations of adolescence came along and all the preoccupations with preoccupation made putting pen to paper feel like a necessity, email had already obscured the utility of the letter.

From Sylvia Plath to F. Scott Fitzgerald, Vincent van Gogh to George Orwell, a sizeable collection of letters is a staple of many artists, writers and philosophers. It was in the looseness of language, where the slow development of true talent was revealed, that the every day person could be seen. While a work of art has been expertly crafted and put forth, only letters have the ability to capture what has merely been contemplated for posterity.

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Writing while swooning

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Monaco Sidestreet

(I wish I was here)

My head is swimming but there’s something I wanted to write. Yes, insignificant but words in the box. This is important right now. “Room to Write”‘s first lesson is to take a word that has two meanings. What’s the term for that again? Anyway, you are to write and keep writing for 20 minutes I think, and don’t stop even if what you’ve set down is nonsense. No stopping and going back to edit and no pondering over what the words are or if they are the right words. I suppose I could do this most any day without much difficulty but I don’t because it’s important to me that they are the right words. My mind keeps jumping back to the question of what the grammatical term for those words is. “Homonym”….? I think I might be right. Look, I’ve got one here: right and write. Brilliant. I’ve actually forgotten what the thrust of the exercise is. Once you have those two words what do you do? Babble on with the words in context? Yup, this is fascinating stuff, but this is my mind at work. If I wrote down everything that ran on my cerebral highway there’d be volumes of nonsense. Sometimes when I sit down to write, I find myself lapsing into inertia. I’ve already done a lot of writing. Texts, messenger messages, responses to emails, some tweeting and Facebook posting. I’ve even responded to messages on OK Cupid. Yes, I know, we’ll get to that another time. The Stories…!

I’ve got to go lie down. My fingers are shaking and I can hardly sit upright. My vision is mushy in front of me, but the thing is I wanted to stick to the discipline. Good thing I can type quite quickly. I’ve incorporated some pauses and short spurts of meditating into my life. It might be doing some good.

But then there’s this, this is what happens when your brains on drugs. Not those drugs, but the pharmaceutical. In the morning I swallow 3 tablets, 4 caplets and 3 capsules. In aid of what I don’t know because the problem, she definitely aint solved. OK, that’s it. My meanderings of today.

 

Feb 2 Day 1

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IMG_9814It’s that time of year again. Hopefully we’re still keeping the promises we made to ourselves. Do more of this, less of that, do that better. Doing more of this is one of mine. I know better to overload my plate with expectations, so I’m keeping it small; it’s only this. It’s February 2. I’m just a little behind the curve.

Now as far as the exercise of writing goes there’s a few things I want to write about. It’s not beautiful prose or a work of fiction that captivates. This nasty trinity tend to eclipse my everyday life, overshadowing all of it. However, I don’t want to expose myself, hang out there on a limb. I think perhaps it is important, sheds some light or maybe not. I don’t know exactly the words will flow….Be patient. Look, I’m in front of the computer on a day when I’d rather burrow under the covers and stay in bed and forget that the world exists. It doesn’t help that it is swirling around me, making it difficult to see. The inertia is profound. My inspiration like my energy is nil.

Just so you know I wanted to delete this and just go lay down where it feels safe, but I know I would beat myself up for not doing something. Maybe I should have tried a feeble haiku instead…but now I hit publish and just put it out there.

begin again again again…

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OK. Let’s try this for the thousandth billionth time. The last time I sat down to write a post I ended up doing some writing alright, but I merely acquired another post for the drafts folder. I looked at the number of posts I had and was shocked to find I didn’t have 35 but 106!  What to do with this confluence of writing? Should I just delete it all since it seems I have no intention of posting them? It would seem they won’t live up to their intended purpose and that they’ll merely languish in the drafts folder, tormenting me when I do stop in to write something.

I’ve been doing some mulling about the sort of blog I want to continue writing. I don’t want a blog that merely chronicles my experiences or serves as a forum for my occasional rant. The way I understand it, one should have a niche. I suppose you could say there is nothing more niche a subject than oneself, but in someway this just doesn’t satisfy. I’m stricken with an extreme case of “Seinfeldism” and I’m not sure how to shake it off. Questions abound. Is it necessary? To whom am I speaking anyway? I look at my life, of late, judging it through a critical lens and finding myself feel insubstantial somehow. (I’m working on this). As a commentator of sorts I do wonder about the value of this. Is it helping me or encouraging this perpetual navel gazing?

Here’s a thought: let’s worry about that less and just get ‘er done. There. Success. Tomorrow is another day, I’ll deal with this ongoing writing dilemma then.

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