Just get in the car and drive….

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Today is my first day of two days off in a row!  Sadly, I think the last time this phenomenon occurred was during the Christmas holidays when I had a horrible case of Pneumonia and couldn’t get off the couch.  Not even the sun shining through my bedroom window this morning could pull me from under the cover of my duvet.  I did rise at 7:30 to tend to my four-legged roommate but, after returning to bed, the clock read 10:39 a.m. when I finally emerged from my cocoon.

It’s amazing how quickly you can lose your grip on reality.  Work happens day in and day out and, if you let it, work can consume your life.  I awoke this morning almost struggling to come up with something fun to do since my day off usually consists of laundry, house cleaning and other mundane tasks.

I did mow the lawn and weed around my mom’s tree to feel some sense of accomplishment today but the day rapidly evolved into a day of carefree abandon which I have not been able to enjoy in a while.  My travelling companion and I hopped in the car and headed out onto the open road.  The sun was shining, the sky was a remarkable shade of blue and the roads were all but abandoned.

country road

I finally felt a true escape today that I have not felt in a while.  I didn’t think of what would happen at work tomorrow because my tomorrow work-day was extended for another 24 hour period.  I didn’t care that I hadn’t vacuumed my house because I still have tomorrow to vacuum.  It was a memorable day of reckless abandon and not having to share the open road because all the tourists are happily ensconced in their city homes.  It was just me, my dog and an endless stretch of sun-streaked pavement.

It’s amazing what you take for granted.  Those seemingly meaningless pleasures suddenly become treasured moments when you realize that you are unable to enjoy them as often as you would like.  Driving along winding country roads with not another car to be seen was my perfect moment today.  It gave me time to breathe.  It gave me time to reflect.  And it gave me time to just be myself.

When was the last time you had a perfect moment?

 

 

 

It’s about writing (comma) period (end sentence period)

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In what could have been described as a clandestine meeting, a good friend stopped by tonight to merely exchange a handful of cash for two spots in my football pool.  We hadn’t seen each other in a while and we fell easily into a comfortable conversation about our writing.  He is currently writing a novel as well and we both have been challenged with individual hurdles and brick walls in the process.

During our conversation he reminded me of a very basic rule that I had long forgotten.  Writing is not about grammar.  It is not about punctuation, capitalization or italics.  Writing is very simply about storytelling.

Deep down, we both know that being able to creatively express our ideas is the basis for the passion we both have for writing.  Being able to use words to introduce characters, describe beautiful imagery or construct interesting dialogue deserves more of our focus than moving commas, changing adjectives or repositioning quotation marks.

RED PEN

There are companies specifically formed to pick out those common mistakes that writers make in the moments they become truly lost in the story.  That is their gift, their job.  A writer needs to remember that his or her gift, his or her job, is creativity – the gift of being able to weave a tale like no other because that story comes from a magical well to which nobody else has access.

The writing is about those ideas that swirl around in our heads at 4:00 am and relentlessly linger until we write them down or record them on the closest available device.  The writing is about those characters gnawing at our consciousness until we give them a voice, until we tell their story.

We both need to realize that our gift is that story deep within us.  And the sooner we stop spending time worrying about how to properly punctuate a sentence we wrote six months ago, the sooner we can free our brains to let that story loose and see where the journey will take us.

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Maybe next time

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There is something hiding behind his eyes,

a mystery,

waiting to be revealed.

Maybe next time.

His gaze meets mine,

but his real truth hides under those spheres of blue.

Those eyes suspend me in an alternate reality,

never able to see the truth,

or never wanting to.

 No promise is ever made,

but the promise of what could have been is uttered.

An opportunity presented too late.

A ship had set sail and lost its way in the sea of realism.

 Two souls meant to meet,

were two decades too delayed.

 Maybe next time,

a new life, a new circumstance.

Maybe next time

he’ll find me first.

maybe_next_time____by_bohomaz13-d3990q5

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Walls of emotion

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It is a very rare occurrence when my emotions take me by surprise.  I am usually fairly in tune with them.  But, tonight, driving past my mother’s old house, the same house I drive by every day on my way to work and again on my way home, the emotion stored within those walls hit me like a ton of bricks.   Tonight I glanced at the house, as I do every time I follow that familiar road, and I burst into tears.

I don’t know where the tidal pool of emotion came from but suddenly I was flooded with images of moments that became important memories in my life.  Christmases, birthdays, family gatherings and quiet nights spent as a family were at the forefront of my brain.  Lingering snapshots of magical kisses witnessed by only the walls upstairs slowly transformed themselves into moving pictures to replay the scene.  That house, the building others would only see as walls and a roof, was my home.  It was the vessel that helped create and store some of the most precious moments of my life.

house

And although there were many happy times, there were also moments of great sorrow.  Those walls echoed as I told my parents, hysterically through sobs, that my best friend had passed away in 2003.  That roof sheltered both my parents as they battled their illness and those walls protected them for as long as they could.  That structure that is a seemingly unnoticeable building to passers-by will forever have a large part of my history carved into its frame.

That architecture will always be a part of me.   Each time I drive by and take the time to trace the outlines of those walls there will always be an affinity to its design and purpose.  It is said that we need to let things go to be happier but I feel the need to embrace those things to stay connected.

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Enough is enough….have some water

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I have officially reached the next echelon of my ‘personal limit’ pyramid. Having worked in the resort and restaurant business for most of my employed life, I have seen the full spectrum of mortal behavior and potentially every single human emotion at its highest velocity and its lowest hum.  I have met people from all walks of life, people from each position on the financial scale and every personality type described in psychology textbooks.

During each new experience dealing with behavior I find intolerable, my patience wears a little thinner and I don’t handle myself as gracefully and tactfully as I once was able to do.  Call it experience, call it aging or call it exasperation – in the depths of my mind there is no excuse for some of the behavior I have witnessed during my career in hostility hospitality.  Today was no exception.

Being a server in restaurants and a bartender at an upscale eatery, you learn quickly how to carefully deal with the clientele who don’t know when they’ve imbibed enough in their alcoholic beverage of choice.  I have learned how, over the years, to go from politically correct to obviously blunt and the message still never reaches the target.  I have handled my fair share of disgruntled guests throughout my journey but I have yet to master the fully intoxicated.  Sure, the few whose cocktail of choice is a mixed drink are the easiest to help.  A quarter of a shot instead of the full ounce goes unnoticed in a glass drowned with sugary syrup after the blood has already been saturated.  But those who drink beer or wine are tougher to fool.

Today, more than ever, drunkenness wreaked havoc on my composure.  What should have been a pleasant afternoon turned into a side-show at a forgotten carnival.  The generosity of one became the  over-indulgence of another and I didn’t know whether my emotion should be anger or sadness.  It was neither my battle to fight or my place to speak.  I could only sit back and hope the situation wouldn’t end badly.

water

Water, water everywhere – and nary a drop he would drink.

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Those serendipitous moments at the end of a long day

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You’ve undoubtedly had a day similar to the one I’ve just experienced.  That day where seemingly insurmountable problems are lurking around every corner and then, just when you think you’ve methodically cleared away all the issues, someone else abruptly pulls the rug out from under you.  The stars circle around your head as you calculate how to best resolve the next dilemma and move on.

Thankfully, I’ve never let any concerns weigh too heavily on my mind.  I’m a problem solver and this is a trait I graciously accepted from my father.  He and I would never dwell on a problem but immediately begin searching for a solution.  Perhaps this is why I gravitate towards this silly line from Van Wilder – “Worrying is like a rocking chair.  It gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.”

rocking chair

At the end of my work day today, the concerns were dealt with and I left for home after what seemed like an eternity.  My drive home partially meanders through a golf course.  It is a picturesque panorama of soothing greenery and winding black-top.  Halfway through  the drive I pulled up behind a minuscule gaggle of 8 Canada Geese.  Instead of becoming spooked and flying away, this merry band of winged misfits continued to saunter down the road directly in front of my car.   One by one they eventually peeled off to the left or the right, only by foot and never flying away from the powerful piece of machinery inching closer to their tail feathers.  There was nothing I could do but giggle and think that someone up above knew I needed a good laugh.

After passing through the golf course and continuing my drive, my cell phone rang and the call display showed a number I haven’t seen in a while.  An old friend was 5 minutes away and just wanted to say a quick “hello”.  Had I not been delayed at work, not only would I have missed out on the feathered chain-gang but I would have missed a quick reunion with a dear friend.  Serendipity seemed to be gracing me with its presence.

After getting home, I shared some love with my puppy dog and poured a well-deserved glass of wine.  Callaway was content with her rawhide bone and I was becoming one with the couch when I heard it.  The distinct sound of my dog farting was so loud she scared herself.  She jumped from her comfortable position on the floor to attempt to discover where the sound had come from.  My poise had been shattered.  Once again the laughter took over and several layers of tension began to dissolve.  Twice more, sounds similar to a Howitzer erupted from the back of my dog and she continued to seek out the source of the noise.

Perhaps it wasn’t the perfect ending to a day, but it was what I needed to be able to find the frivolity in life and not sweat the small stuff.  Laughter really can be medicinal.

 

 

 

Until we meet again

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heaven

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When I am overcome by sorrow and surrounded by an outpouring of emotion, the writer in me takes over and helps process the overwhelming feelings by using words.  I cannot express enough gratitude for those words at times when tears and despair are not adequate enough to describe the sadness of attending a funeral for a 30-year-old man who had been experiencing the best year of his life.

In the aftermath of a tragic event, two parents lost a son, a younger brother became an only son and my best friend lost her brother.  The news of his passing was felt in our small town like the shock waves recorded during an earthquake.  Everyone who knew Cam was rattled to their core.  The emotion was raw, the grief was all-encompassing and the anguish could have been described as physical pain.

We gathered in Toronto today to celebrate Cam’s life.  We shared tears, we shared many hugs and we all knew we had lost something special in our lives that we can never get back.  Cam was that guy that everyone loved to be around.  His smile will be forever etched in the memories of those who were fortunate enough to see it and his absence will never go unnoticed.

His funeral service today was a touching blend of spirituality and prayer, accented by a heaping dose of Cam’s sense of humor.  As the family left the service, the well-recognized Monty Python song “Always look on the bright side of life” played while we stood, waiting to join the family outside.

“Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.”  —Phillip Brooks

Cam truly was a man of character.  May you rest in peace, Cam.