Who Am I

 

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A thrum of energy resonated through me, as time seemed to pause.  A drop of water from the leaking faucet hung in the air for a moment before crashing into the metallic basin, with a thunderous crash.  Stirring me from the thought that had me frozen.  “Who am I?”

What a question.  I have spent my entire life pondering, somedays I increase my ponder level to a million though, and seemingly stop time.  Today is one of those days.  Let’s dig in shall we.

“Am I my past?”  Well, one would surmise that, yes, yes I am my past because everything in my past has made me the man sitting here at the kitchen table writing this blog right now.  However, that would mean that I am only possible of doing the things that my past has shown I am capable of doing, which is to say destroy my life with bad choices and alcohol.  Well I know for a fact I am not that person anymore, I haven’t been for almost six months now, what a miracle.

“So, I am not my past, fine.  Am I the man I want to be?”  Great question, thank you for asking.  Sure I could say, well yeah I am the man I want to be.  I am sober, I’m writing every day, I have published two books in two months.  I have accomplished a lot.  I have friends who I care about and my relationships with my family are growing better each day.  Not bad, I could be happy saying I am that guy.  But, “Is that who I am?”  NO, it’s not.

“Well geez, Matt, who are you then?   Are you the future you?”  HA, I say.  What a silly question, of course, I am not the future me, that me only exists in my imagination.  He has lived a life of a million stories, loved and laughed until he was incapable of doing either another moment more, yet still somehow found the endurance to love more and to laugh more.  No, I am not that man.

“It would seem you are confused then Matt, you have no real Idea of who you are.”  Ha, I say again to you.  For I am all these men, I am built of my past experiences but not limited by them.  I am proud of my current accomplishments but not satisfied with them.  And I am excited for the next moment that is sure to come and fill me with all the joy it could ever muster, as soon as I am done with this moment.

I am as religion teaches, and the program, a Trinity of things.  I am only truly who I am when I am mindful of the 3 in 1.

“Wow, that is very interesting.  I have never thought of it in that way.  You must be very proud of yourself.”  Haha, I am and you should be too because you are the “past me” asking the “present me” about the “future me”  and we are all here to answer the call.

Now I ask you, Who Are You?

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A Holiday Marathon

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I have been thinking a lot about the pace of things for the past couple of days. This is largely due to the fact that I am almost finished editing my first Novel, and the excitement of having it done is pulling me towards it like a tractor beam. However, I also work a 12 step program and pace is a common theme in my life. One day at a time is the most commonly used phrase in AA in my opinion and for good reason. While I was drinking I had no concept of one day at a time, I was so consumed with consuming as much as possible, as fast as humanly possible that everything else in my life slipped away. I was so enamored with getting drunk, that the idea of anyone or anything else in my life was barely a second or third thought. And when I am not careful, I can get right back to that sick mindset of, I want as much as possible as fast as possible, to Hell with everything else.
So, in the process of finishing my Novel, I have lost sight of some important things, such as pace. Less than six months ago, I was bedridden, hadn’t showered in weeks or done anything resembling taking care of myself. I had put on 40lbs in two months, from a combination of Vodka, Malt liquor, and frozen pizza. I would dare to say my pace was off then. Today, because of working a program, I have written and published a Novella, and am putting the finishing touches on a Novel. I also have a sponsor, have worked the 12 steps and do service work daily, along with going to meetings, praying and meditating, my life has improved drastically.
But leave it to me to say, “yeah but” when something exciting comes along and life becomes good again, I have a tendency to revert back to that alcoholic pace. With the thought, “oh look, there is the finish line, I will win the race.” It happens so often to so many of us in the program, and it has happened to me countless times. I will forgo the pace and the things that got me to this point because I think I see the finish line.
Here is the Truth of the matter, THERE IS NO FINISH LINE. But I will delude my self over and over again to make myself believe that there is one. Because a finish line means I can stop running, I can take a break, and most importantly I can look back at all the poor suckers I left in the dust. My thinking is sick if I am at this place. Because in reality, if my pace is correct I love walking or jogging along, meeting all kinds of friends along the way having experiences I would never have had if I were still drunkinly standing at the starting line. More accurately passed out in the bushes hundreds of feet behind the starting line. But that is the gift of the program of AA, I am able to see that my pace is off, because I have these checkpoints in my life reminding me that I am on the right path and I’m doing good. Checkpoints like, my sponsor, prayer, meditation, meetings, and working with other alcoholics. All these things are daily practices that can enlighten me to how I am doing and if my pace needs to be checked. Because when I stop doing them, I start running way faster and way harder than I can manage, at the thought of a finish line. By the time I realize it was a mirage and there is no finish line, my legs are weak and tired, I can’t breathe right and I feel like giving up, because, “Damnit, it hurts too much, and it’s just too hard.”
The holiday season has a special way of turning in to false finish lines for me as well. “If I buy them just the right gift or the right amount of gifts they will love me or finally accept me. Or if I give to all these charities I will feel better about doing the horrible things I have done.” The idea of becoming someone different for a few months out of the year can be a huge stumbling stone for me. The idea that I can persuade the people I care about the most to care about me more or change there mind about me. When in reality, I haven’t even made up my mind about my self, I haven’t loved my self. My pace is off again. Its only through the 12 steps of AA, I have found a pace that not only makes every day better, but it makes me better in the process. I focus on my steps and by doing that, I get to the place I am supposed to be however long it takes. “Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, they will always materialize themselves, if we work for them.”  I will continue trudging the road of happy destiny today, hope to see you along the way.

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What’s a picture worth.

Light cascaded in through the old kitchen window, specalling the pieces of dust dancing slowly in the air, daring one another to land.  The kitchen table had seen many days like today, full of sun and a quiet peace that resonated through out the  home.  On the darkened circular slab of well worn wood, sat a metallic dish curved and concaved to form a bowl.  The sun reflected a scarred and tired face as the dish had been used for many years, never complaining or groaning at the work it must do.  No, it sat with a shining, gold, glimmer on its lip, happy to carry the sweet delights it held.

Full, almost to overflow sat friends of the table and bowl, now leaning back, catching the radiant glow from the light filtering in.  The Banana was reclined, eyes closed bathing in the beautiful day, only one brown spot decorated its yellow belly.  Apple stood at attention to Banana’s side, squinting as the sun glistened off the apple’s tight red skin, which shown white with a happy glow.  Orange lay sleeping in its round pot marked skin, head turned to the brilliant light forcing patches of light to bounce from its back.  While Pare was fully aware of the suns delightful beam, it stood stretching itself as tall as it could go, the sun poured generously upon its discolored out stretched torso.  And last but no least all the grapes hung purple from their small brown stims, lazing about as some fell over the lips of the bowl trying to escape the canter of light beaming down slow.

It was a sight to behold all the friends as they sat, one after one falling into shadow, as the sun began to go flat.  Up over the house, the sun it climbed, leaving all the friends inside to sit in darkness, waiting till the next time the sun would shine.

When we define what something is worth, only by our own perspective we do a disservice to all the amazing things in life, that if only looked at with a different pair of eyes, might change the entire way we feel or hopefully the way we see.

 

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Writing With Purpose

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I have wanted to do this for a little while now. The past week, in fact, the idea of writing the journey of writing my first novel was one that I was interested in. Well, I have finished the first draft of the novel and am in the editing process now, so I figured what better time to start. I have heard it said, “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.” I am planting my tree, by writing this blog in a way. I have been unsure on what to do with the blog because when I first created all I wanted from it was a place to “Publish” my short stories. Holy crap did that start an Avalanche of craving the creative process and writing some shit that maybe people wanted to read. The true magnitude of which I am sure I don’t fully see.

The reason, it became such a big deal to me is because I never thought that I would want to be a writer. I mean sure, I love a good book but sitting at a computer crafting well-written stories was not my thing. In college, I had to write a dissertation or “Thesis” my senior year on whatever subject I wanted. I wrote about training high school athletes, and I hated it. Which was weird because I assumed I loved training people to get stronger and better, why was the writing so difficult. I managed to produce 40 or45 pages of something worthy enough of a B, and I was fine with that as long as I didn’t have to write anymore. It was such a miserable process that took me 2 full semesters to complete, and I was actually training athletes at the time so I should have had plenty of insight to draw from. Alas, non-fiction textbook writing was not my thing.

Fast forward 10 years and multiple trips to rehab, a failed business, 2 failed marriages and a plethora of other unmentionables crimes against the “American Dream.” I find my self in a place where I utterly crave writing every morning, it has opened up my eyes more than I could ever have imagined. I was told to “come to the blank page with, fear, anger, anxiety, excitement or any other emotion, but I was told to come.” Let me back up a bit for context.

So, I have self-published one novella an 18,000 word short (Dead Heart: An Origin Story) about a Knight named Sir Ageon. It’s actually on the Amazon Kindle for purchase now. The whole idea behind writing that story came to me because I wanted to write inspiring stories, and the idea was for me to write about a man that lost both his legs. From that little nugget of an idea came Dead Heart, which I am so proud of and, I am working on the second book now. It took me a week to write the thing and another to edit it, I was hooked, fully mesmerized and lost in a 4th dimension where time and space didn’t exist, even now I feel myself slipping into that space. Which led me to look into writing classes and other ways to get better, if I was going to put my work out for everyone to see I wanted to get better at the craft, not to mention I want to make a living doing this. I was hit with another incredible (What I think is incredible), idea during a creative writing exercise for one of the classes, three weeks later I have the first draft of, Trent Foster & The Council of 10. A 65,000+ word creative explosion from my mind. I couldn’t believe it, still can’t, and the crazy thing is I think it’s good. The shit had me laughing and crying as I wrote it like I was reading the damn thing not writing it.

Along the way in those 3 weeks, I was hit with some pretty incredible personal awakenings of my own. Without even knowing I was doing it, I was, in essence, writing a Sci-Fi/fantasy version of the last 10 years of my life. I saw it when I wrote the ending and damn did it hit me like a brick truck hauling a ton of shit.

Here is what I learned, I don’t always have to know what is going to come out of me when I sit down to write, hell that’s half the fun, I realize now. It is a gift to have any creative thought and it is even more of a gift to get a chance to share that with anyone else. So if you are scared to write, good and if you are excited to write, good. Just for God’s sake write, it is the greatest thing I have found in my life to this point. I never understood when I would hear quotes from people like Steve Jobs, saying “Your work is going to take up the majority of your life and if you want to do great work you need to do what you love if you haven’t found it yet keep looking.” Thanks, Steve, I used to think, this guy found his passion at an early age, I was lost I didn’t love doing anything. Until now, I can honestly say I love writing and whether I become the richest most famous Author in all the world or just some guy named Matt that writes weird stories and self publishes them all, I will have spent my life happy doing what I love, and that is worth something.
Now if you will excuse me, I have to get back to editing. Trent Foster & The Council of 10, will be available by January 2019.

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The Gettys-burger Address

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“Abe?”

“Abe?”

“What is it, Mary?”

“I am making lunch, do you want a sandwich?”

“Oh yes, that would be fantastic. I have been sitting here racking my brain about how to address Gettysburg and didn’t even realize how hungry I had become.”

“I have a feeling those folks at Gettysburg won’t even remember what you say after all they have been through. I hate Cemeteries they are so creepy, I hate that we have to go.”
“Mary men fought and died to live in a free state country we are going to show our support of the American cause.”
“I know, I know it just weird’s me out. Here is your sandwich. ”
“Thank you, Mary, it feels like 4 score since I had something this good to eat. Surely all sandwich are not created equal.”
“Oh, Abe you flatter me.”

“You have a God-given ability that shall not be in vain your sandwiches innervate my spirit, now I must get back to this speech.”

“Nothing better than a delicious sandwich, during the rebirth of a free country.
I wish I knew where to begin.  How about, Death Sucks, am I right? I mean how gross is that.  No Abe dammit, your not a teenager anymore. Act like a president.”
“Dearly beloved we are gathered here today… No, NO, NO…”
“Mary, when was the Declaration written?”
“Like 87 years ago or something.”

“Wow, what’s that like 4 score and 7.”

“Abe you know I have no idea why you insist on trying to change the way we talk about passages of time.”

“Mary you know how important it is to me remember I was self-taught no one was running around with those fancy numbers and years when I was a boy I had to come up with this on my own.”

“Yeah yeah, I know Abe… jeez what a baby.”

“What was that Mary?”

“Oh.  Nothing honey. Glad you enjoyed your sandwich.