About Writing

I haven't written anything lately regarding writing, especially screenwriting. I don't know what it is but I just can't seem to look at a screenplay the same way I did before. Even though I have written several short and medium length stories, screenwriting is still is my number one focus - my love. It got under my skin like a bad splinter and I haven't been able to get it out, no matter how much I chew on my nails. Instead, I have been living with the pain for some time now. (It's a good pain though.)

I have blogged earlier regarding this time of the year being the time when there are several writing competitions just waiting for my submission(s). I have a screenplay that I've done several re-writes on, as well as spending dozens of hundreds of minutes thinking about, making notes, and I think it is a type of story those grungy indie movie makers would love to do. It is about a good 10 hours away of blood, sweat, alcohol and caffeine away of nailing it down so I can move on to other writing pursuits. I just can't seem to do it. I know I will, eventually, but when, I don't know.

Maybe tonight.


A new Short Story

I guess I'm avoiding working on my novel, my fifth revision of a past screenplay, or the new script I'm writing, but I wrote another short story. Here you go.

Oh! I almost forgot. Go to my Facebook page. I posted two interviews with Joe Meno.

Recycling and Lying

I left the bookstore picking up two books off the shelves but only leaving with one. I passed on an autographed copy of the latest hard covered book from my favorite author. Not only am I a liar, I’m also cheap.

The cable car ride to my destination took longer than I expected. It was a busy day downtown, the sun was out. The car filled up with people, pushing me and the present crowd of riders to the back of the car. To my immediate right are three kids sitting in a row. Behind me, also to my right is an adult woman who keeps looking at me as if I had some sinister stuff going on in my head, the bad things I was going to do to them. I try not to look in that direction, so I look straight ahead. Seated up a seat from me, also on my right, is a black woman with broad shoulders and huge breasts.

The odor came to me in a subtle, but lethal way. New riders from the last stop made a man who stood a few feet from me, just prior, come into my personal space. He was a large man dressed in cargo pants and black boots that had ripped open along the pinky toe of his right foot. It must have been a long, hot day for him or something because the smell coming from his arm pits, as he held the railings above him on either side, wasn’t pleasant. Not sweet or musty, just wrong.

My stop was coming up soon. I wondered how I was ever going to get out with all the people in front of me and the door being so far away. I start to feel a sweat building under my skin. Lucky for me, the large black woman with large breasts was getting off at the same stop as me. I could see her squirming in her seat, taking quick looks outside, judging when the next stop will be. Like a running back following his lineman’s block, I follow behind her. People either open up a lane because they saw her getting up or because her broad shoulders or her breasts bump up against everyone in front, or besides her.

Getting off the cable car, I notice a couple, a man and a woman, walking a dog. Without any reason I can think of, my eyes end up going to the dog’s anus. Normally I would avert my eyes, look somewhere else. For some reason I couldn’t take my eyes off the dog’s ass. It was puffy like a cream puff. I don’t know if it’s owners are aware of this or not. Maybe they're on their way to the vet.

Three of four blocks later, after eventually getting the memory of the dogs anus out of my mind, I reach my destination - work. The place is called COMPACT disc. I think the original owner came up with the name, not only because it was a store that sold used and some new CD’s, but because it was a small, compact, place. It was two stories filled with bins of used CD’s and posters. A short but steep stairwell, stuffed in the corner, led up to an attic sized room that always seemed warmer than the main room. The front door was always open. The manager of the store was Mary. She was once a stripper at one of the local strip clubs. Mary wasn’t particularly good looking, nor did she have big breasts like the black woman I saw earlier. From what Mary told me, I found out that she was able to make a pretty good living off tips because she could shake her behind in a certain way that she had a pretty good following of men, usually construction types, and occasionally professional types, visit the nude dance hall to see her dance every day that she was there. She was able to make enough money to buy out the past owner who just got bored with music. I asked her one day, a couple years ago, why she didn’t change the name of the store. We both thought the name was pretty lame but she would just tell me that it was easier to keep things the same. I understood what that meant.

“You were at the book store again, weren’t you?” Mary asks. I told her that I hadn’t visited my favorite used book store for several weeks, but that I had just came from my usual burger joint for lunch. It was ten fifty in the morning, fifteen minutes before my scheduled shift. I don’t think she bought it. That was my second lie of the day.

“Why don’t you alphabetize the jazz section again,” Mary says.
I said that would be fine with me, hiding the fact that I didn’t like Jazz. I had told Mary a few months ago that I had an acute eye for seeing what CD’s were out of place in the jazz section since I knew all of the artist‘s names, therefore using the time of my eight hour shift in the most productive way possible. Once again, a lie.

Knee deep in the N’s, I notice that Mary was swamped up front with a couple twenty something dudes, buying the whole Nine Inch Nails selection. They were probably caught up in nostalgia after hearing one of the band’s songs on the radio since Nine Inch Nails hadn’t come out with a new album in over two years.

“Do you know where I can find Cris Barbur’s CD, Nobody Else But Me, do you?”
I had passed the B section about ten minutes ago, not remembering seeing any of Cris Barbur’s music. I told the plump man in a yellow tie and khaki Dockers that stretched across his waste, that I would look for him. This would keep my attention long enough that Mary could eventually take care of the line in front of the cash register. I could ring up anybody in a quick manner, but I didn’t like to do that. People buying CD’s always like to talk to me about music, or anything for that matter. My dad always told me to keep eye contact with anybody that talks to you. This always led to a longer exchange of goods for money. I didn’t like people that much so I keep my head down, looking for the plump man’s CD of his choice.

The man with the yellow tie and khaki pants, I discovered, out of my periferral vision looking for his CD, that both his pockets had frayed fabric, probably from keeping his hands in his pockets longer than most people do. I told him we didn’t have what he was looking for and that he should check out Tower Records, Barnes and Noble, or some other store that sold only new CD’s. He ended up leaving the store unhappy. Apparently he didn’t like what I was telling him. I guess he was as cheap as me.

Summer must be getting late. The sun drops under the mountains earlier than it did just a few weeks ago. Mary let me close COMPACT disc, on my own, about six months ago. I guess she let go of the notion that I would steal all the money out of the little cash register or that I found the combination to the safe in the back office, commonly referred to as the “safe room”. The truth is that I found the combination to the safe written on a small piece of yellow masking tape that was stuck on the left backside desk leg. It was the leg most inaccessible of all the legs so I assumed she thought no one would find it. I had dropped something down there, saw the numbers and gave it a twirl on the safe some Tuesday. The safe opened on the first try.

It was, shortly, after that when I found a stray CD on a shelf, that I heard a knock on the front door. I had locked it before starting my closing procedures. Upon looking up in horror, thus raising my temperature and sweat level, I was glad to see that it was just Todd. He always made three taps on the door before entering, even when the store was open. It was his trademark, or store entering knock. Todd was the stores Poster distributor. Today he wore his Nirvana Nevermind concert T-shirt. I guess his Pearl Jam shirt was in the wash.

After unlocking the front door, I gradually make my descent behind the counter, closer to the cash register. Todd had been working with Pam for a couple years before I started working here but I still felt uneasy with him in the store - just him and me, alone.

“Mary said I could stop by a little later than usual. I hope you don’t mind?” I minded, but I didn’t say anything. “I can put these in the back. I think that’s where Mary keeps ‘em. Before putting them on the walls anyways.”

Before I knew it, Todd, carrying a large cardboard box with several posters wrapped up with two rubbers bands, one on top and one on the bottom, had made it from the front door to the middle of the C section of the Pop/Rock bin. “Man, this store trips me out every time. The memories. You know…” Todd waiting for a response from me but it was late and I just wanted him to leave. “… I was the second customer to ever walk into this store. Can you believe that?”

I could see he was getting somewhat nostalgic. It must have been the beers or the whiskey that made him so. I could smell it on his breath from the moment I opened the door for him. He went on to tell me about the first time he saw Kurt Cobain, the singer of Nirvana, come out on stage in the town’s only high school’s auditorium, “before they got famous.” I could tell that what he was telling me was a very fond memory of his. I too had memories of seeing my favorite bands live in concerts but I let him go on, describe, in detail, his memory.

“Maybe you could help me out with this one - settle an argument?” Todd says, hoping I would agree to listen to his question. “My boy, Billy Two-tops, says it was Mother Love Bone, Green River, and even Sonic Youth that started grunge rock. I said, shit no. It was Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Nirvana that started it all.”

I said it couldn’t be Pearl Jam because some of the guys in that band played for both Mother Love Bone and Green River, and that Sonic Youth wasn’t really considered grunge because they were actually more glam or album rock. I must have shattered his whole argument, or made him a bit confused, because he just stood there, gently rubbing his belly covered by his concert T-shirt, just below the picture of the floating baby, the same picture on the Nirvana’s Nevermind album cover.

“Just tell Mary she owes me one fifty. Seventy five past due, seventy five this load.” Todd says as he swiftly moves past the cash register, me standing just to the right of it, and out the door. I locked the door behind him noticing that all the sun had disappeared behind the mountains.

I parked my car, a 1985 Honda Accord LX Hatchback, on a lot several blocks from my place of business. It was the cheapest in the downtown area and I needed to save as much money as possible, whenever possible. The cable car didn’t go that direction so I had to make the trek everyday after work. Six and Park, the eight hundred block, where COMPACT disc sat was on the last block where the locals would say was safe. Six hundred block and south, it got worse and worse. All of the tall buildings where the business men and woman worked were a couple to three blocks north of the COMPACT disc store, the area where locals with no jobs or loser jobs like me, spent most of their time. Coffee shops, an old Rite Aid, small restaurants with weird painted windows with outdoor seating, and even a off track racing place were within a block from where I work. In a way, it was the perfect location for a used CD store.

There are two separated occasions, every day that I work, when I am presented with an option. One is at Truman and fourth, and the other is at Stansbury and second. Two large parking lots stand between me and a block or so less walking time to get to my car. Burglaries, car jackings, and even drug deals often took place there. Even with the warning signs, the parking lots were almost always full. The last thing I needed was for some poor fella to hide behind a large van, jump out and grab me, expecting me to have money in my pocket. If I don’t get my two or more breaks during work, when it's especially busy, I usually make these time saving journeys through these parking lots. I’m not dead yet, I keep saying to myself.

Leaving the downtown city limits, I am soon reminded by an errand I continue to ignore. It’s been about a week now. The cans of pop tightly sealed in a white garbage bag with red handles tied tightly, not letting the air of old pop cans seep out of the top of the bag, rattle against each other on every corner, or turn, I make. I know I shouldn’t drink so much pop, but I do anyways. I don’t smoke, drink alcohol, or take drugs. I don’t care if drinking too much soda can cause kidney failure, osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, depleted calcium, heartburn, skin problems, or even Alzheimer’s. I like it and it keeps me alert at times when I need to be alert.

Tonight, I will finally stop and recycle these noise makers; I’m almost out of soda, anyways. I only hope I don’t have to stand in line at the recycling machines. The poor man with the large belly and the dirty T-shirt is probably there directing recyclers, telling each person when and where an open slot is available. This is the problem living in a town that is over aggressive with recycling. There used to be a time when you could take a shopping cart, throw all of you cans and bottles in it and trek in a grocery store where some acne prone kid with a bad temper was called to separate the ten cent and five cent bottles and cans, counting as he went along. It is still possible to do this, but the grimace you see from the grocery store employees’ when you enter with your cart full of recyclables, isn’t worth it anymore. I’d rather just stand in line. This is probably why I switched from bottles to cans. These stupid machines make you deposit each bottle, one by one now. This takes forever. I have the time but lack the patience. With the twelve pack of regular pop, costing me ten ninety five, plus deposit minus the ticket with the amount of recyclables I deposited in the machines, I proceed on to my destination - home.

There are pros and cons, living in an apartment complex. The good is that it doesn’t cost that much when you take into account the things you have to deal with when you own your own house. Lawn care, dealing with plumbing issues, and the over exuberant property taxes doesn’t excite me to go down to all of the banks to get a loan so I can overpay for a house. I only need one bedroom and I’d be making mortgage payments anyways. Mortgage or rent, it’s just the same. Who would give me the loan, anyways? I make just under ten bucks an hour at COMPACT disc.

I enter my apartment building hoping I don’t run into Justine, the Robinsons, or my next door neighbor, Alex. I don’t know how many times I need to tell Alex that I don’t play fantasy board games, but he just won’t stop asking. I tried playing one time, but I was quick to find a lie that got me out of his smelly apartment filled with bobble heads and Star Wars action figures. Throwing away a plastic bag filled with garbage, I’m too lazy to take out of my car on a daily basis, I run into a box, next to a dumpster, filled with cassette tapes. This reminds me that my newest DVD from Netflix could have arrived today. I’m not a big superhero or comic book geek like Alex, but the thoughts of throwing the latest Batman movie into my DVD player before I go to bed, sounded good tonight. To me, Christian Bale is the best Batman. I would get into the argument with Alex by just mentioning the word Batman as I passed by him on our way into one of our apartments, but I keep my Christian Bale, the best Batman, opinion to myself.

I was awoken, from a pretty good dream, at about two thirty in the morning. The phone I kept in the other room, was ringing. On the other line was Mary. As I listen, she seems frantic in her speech. It even sounded like she was crying or had been crying recently. She went on to tell me that COMPACT disc was broken into earlier this morning. It was probably during the dream when I saved some woman from a burning building. I flew in, my wings extended too….

“They took everything. They stole most of the CD’s, and the money from the safe.” Mary says, stopping me in my tracks.

I went on to tell her that I would be happy to come over in the morning, even before my scheduled shift, to help out. I even offered to take inventory - whatever she needed. She told me that it wasn’t necessary since the police and investigators were taken care of it. Before hanging up, Mary asked me one final question, “Did you lock the front door? And the safe?” Without any thought, I said, “of course I did”. Before she hung up, she went on to tell me that I "was a good boy" and that she was better for having me in her life. I think she is just over emotional.

Not only was I awoken from a good dream by Mary, but she also awoken my bladder. I made my way to the bathroom, where I took a piss, washed my hands, and exited, walking past my newly bought computer. Since I was up, I thought I would check to see when my favorite book store opened up in the morning. I had to pick up the autographed book of my favorite author. I had thought about it all day.

Short Story

I thought I would share a short story of mine. The first paragraph needs a little work but here it is.


The family dinner. It’s something that works into every bone of your body. The sight of your loved ones sitting around a table brings memories, it brings joy, it brings with it a fear of not saying the wrong thing, but most of all it brings hope. Hope that one day, when they’re gone, you will take with you what is intended… love.

I say that knowing my older brother won’t have this. I don’t know if he understands what happened to him. I don’t know if he feels anything right now, but I don’t really care. He’s not here anymore. He chose a life different from ours. See, my brother chose to be alone. He chose a life of solitude, a life without others. Being a paraplegic, with little speech ability, shouldn’t give him more rights than anyone else.

I can see that what I’m saying makes you think of me differently. You think I’m an asshole. What person will allow themselves to blame their own brother for something that happened to him which he has no control over? The answer is (are you listening?) I can. He had every chance to make it right. Selfishness is not mine, it’s his. He should have seen the car coming long before it hit him.

We tried to explain my brother’s poor excuse for not being with his family to our great grandfather, but I don’t think he fully understood. Great grandpa, years before, would talk to us about his early days as a young kid when he was reckless, getting into trouble. We understood this. We all have our stories of our childhood wrongdoings. What is different is that, unlike my brother, we knew what was wrong before we did it. In fact, I knew every possible ending of everything I did. I didn’t care when my brother’s friends would tell me stories upon stories of my brother acting crazy, bringing false joy to others that came into his circle of irresponsibility. In fact, I turned a blind eye to the stories of his drinking and the racists remarks he frequently made. He did this. I will not forgive him for what he has done to me.

Yes, to me. To me, he has done this. To me, he hasn’t given enough of his time before leaving this world. I tried, when I was younger, to ask for his teachings, his attitudes on life. Something out of him would have been great, a call maybe. A trip across town to my home would have been easy. He, one time, when we were younger, with clarity and description, told me everything I should, and shouldn’t do when I left for college. He even told me to wear a condom. I would ask him where his condom was when he impregnated his second to last girlfriend, but I don’t think he would respond to me. See, he is incapable of recognizing me now. He just sits there in his chair staring straight ahead.

My brother had many friends before the accident. To me, my brother was the light on top of the lighthouse, just miles from our family’s vacation home in northern Washington. Many friends would follow him. Laughter, including giggles from the cutest girls at his school, was like a constant soundtrack to his life. He would say to his friends who frequented his house, “I would only be greater if people listened to me more.”

Only be greater? English was not my brother’s passion; Fast driving was. “Most likely to succeed” is what appeared in his yearbook. The picture of him and his female counterpart sitting on a blue Mustang seemed fitting. I don’t think he thought the engine he was sitting on would bring him such solitude, away from his family or his friends, but it did. He deserved it.

Screw him. I am better than him, my brother. In fact, I’m a great person. What is it that makes me so great? Why is this all about me? That is a good question. The answer is, let me think… I know my birthday will land on a Tuesday, next month. I know that the seasons will change. I even know that I will, or won’t, eat in the next two to three hours. That is what makes me great. I don’t need others to be in the same room. I don’t need people to take care of me. I don’t need people to be kind to me. And you know what? I don’t need you. I can be by myself.

Did I tell you about my father? He was an active participant at our family dinner I talked about earlier. He hasn’t said anything about my brother in the last three dinners. I’m proud of him. He hasn’t fallen to the same politeness my mom and my sister has. Sure he talked to us in regards to the business side of his son not being able to take care of himself. He should, right? He’s the father. But, more importantly he doesn’t talk about what happened or about what will happen in the future. Like me, dad knows not to linger on what he lost. He has his youngest son just a couple seats down from him, eating from the same chicken as him. I chose the wing, he picked the breast.

“Dad?” my sisters says.

I would yell at my sister for taking my dad‘s attention away from me, but I don’t. She’s not as selfish as my older brother. She pays attention to me, in her own way. She is a gentle person. She often takes time to call, invite me to dinner, visit me, or throw me an email every once in a while. This moment, in my moment of silent disgust for my lost brother, I allow her to speak to dad about him, my stupid and inconsiderate brother, at this family dinner. Sometimes my sister and I will tell stories about how our brother would disgrace our family. With a smile on her face, she would talk about all the crazy things he did before his accident. She did it in such a cute way. I could only nod, smile, silently gritting my teeth. She loves him unconditionally. Doesn’t she see the pain my brother caused me… and her.

The dessert was presented to us shortly after dinner. Usually she offers coffee or tea. I guess mom was lazy this week, not making peach or pecan pie. Tonight she only served vanilla ice cream. If my brother was here, he would be angry. He loved peach and pecan pie, almost expecting it. He also loved our family dinners. My brother would talk and talk about his life. He was good at lying to his family about things he would say in public. In public, I mean his friends. My brother’s friends, and those he allowed in his circle, let him get away with anything that made him feel good. “Feeling good” to his friends meant a better party that night. He would often make his surrogates lie about the many “passes” he would make through the poorest African American neighborhoods where he would stop, beat up some old black man, and drive off in his Mustang. He liked that.

Great grandpa sat quietly this dinner, even through dessert. I think he’s in deep thought, probably thinking about his favorite great grandson - me. It is hard to be me, so good. I’m sure grandpa likes the solitude of being lost in his own mind. I like to be left alone, sometimes. I used to leave a note, as a kid, on my bedroom door, that read, “Please Leave me Alone.” I think it was that day when no one knocked on my door, giving me my piece and quiet, that I found the bible.

Today I sit in a room amongst my many sober friends, reading our bible and hoping others will join us. It’s Tim’s idea to gather into groups and walk the hallways of our apartment complex to bring our neighbor’s closer to Jesus. Last year I would have never thought of doing that. With my the rage I felt for my brother’s departure, I decided to join them on their crusade. Since then, I’ve found Jesus. I read the bible as much as I can, even before breakfast.

Okay. That’s the last draw, you’re thinking. How could a man with Jesus in his life and a bible on his pillow, continue to blame his brother for getting into an accident? The drunk driver crashed into his car? It’s not his fault. The answer is simple. We are rewarded for being good, not making bad choices. We are congratulated for honoring family and doing what is right. I did, and continue to do, what is right. My brother hid himself from his true feelings. He won their acceptance, but ignored his duties. Today he sits in his chair waiting for others to push him in a direction. I have found my direction.

I one sentence, I would say this…

He is evil and I am good.

I have done everything right. I love all. I accept others for their own over aggressiveness. I know others will put down our Lord Savior in common speak. Drinking and debauchery will happen, but I turn a friendly cheek. I am friendly with all, and I won’t get into an argument unless it pertains to doing the right thing toward man. I celebrate positive, natural behavior and I even throw down a red wine every once in awhile. What eldest kinship would push away their own family, not allowing his own brother to be a part of his life, especially someone like me?


My brother is evil. Taking the bible out of it, I can see you non believers turning around, flashing me and my words, a bare ass. Screw you. Once again, he left me. He chose to drive into that car. I did nothing wrong.

Didn’t he show you some love? Didn’t your brother give you advice or hold your hand across the street? The answer is a resounding, yes. But I would say that is easy. That is what any person, prior to gaining any business and/or relationship sense, would do. Once again, that is easy. The dozens of friends on his Facebook page, before he died in front of me, exhibits his ability to earn, or least, gain friendship. Accepting the history of your family members should be the starting point to being human, or at least a participating member of his immediate family. Maybe that time consuming Blackberry he held so tightly in his hands the last time I saw him, should have been put down for a night, or at least a few hours.

Back to the family dinner. It’s the time where everyone sits down at the table and forgets(or denies) that anything bad has happened to them the last time they saw each other. Family members sitting around the table should bring you joy. It should bring you a sense of togetherness and understanding. Wouldn’t that be grand? We all got here on our own free will, we chose to be here despite our failures, whatever they may be. This is all fantastic, isn’t it. Well, surprisingly, it is wonderful. I am blessed every time I sit at the same table with my family to enjoy a meal. It, in the young black families I routinely visit in poor neighborhoods, would say is, “off the hook.” They should know, they have big families. In their houses, where many brothers and sisters congregate in every room, kids are everywhere. If one grows up not having a particular close relationship with one of their brothers or sisters, it’s not that big. There are others to play with. If only I was black.

Okay, here he goes again. What man who talks about God and religion would go on with such prejudice? Did he just say, “black”? I did. In fact, I relish every moment I spend with my families, my church, regardless of their race. I love all. I will tell you… are you listening? I envy them and I won’t apologize for that. Accepting people for whom they’ve become, regardless of why they got that way, is a true sense of character. My brother will never be able to change into someone with character. He will always have the same expression on his face, so to speak.


Okay. Give me time to cry.

News to everyone out there. I have three sisters and one brother. I cannot just kick my brother aside and go on to the next male sibling at the family table. If I could, I would have done that long ago. In fact, my leanings to the priesthood might not have happened if I had another brother that paid attention to me when he wasn’t in the same room as me. I would have opened up, went for every woman that walked this great earth, and had friends growing out of my ears. Today, with my brother not able to wipe his own ass, I am left to crawl into a space where I can only turn inward… God.

Oh the despair. I know what you’re thinking. You’re starting to feel sorry for me, or you’re hating me even more and more. That is fine with me. I can go into the small closet, inside a room filled with crosses and painted glass to find my answers. There is a room of people, on most days of the week, looking for acceptance - a way inside. Outside the walls of the church is scary to some, I know. I also know that after those people exit those doors, if they have the Lord Jesus Christ in their life, they will be alright. I have accepted the Lord as my savior. He is good and he has an answer to all that seek his advice, including me. Unfortunately, you have to listen way to closely to hear his words. Sometimes it is in a very low tone, with little, or no base. We, as believers, hear his every word though, even without earphones pushed against our ears. That is what is exceptionally good about the church. He is that powerful.

What I find especially helpful in my search for full understanding of how my brother has pushed me to the church, even further than I thought possible, is the word in the book. The book and its words offers me great understanding. It helps teach me of me, why I am what I am, and why I act as I do. It also helps me in understanding why others seek pleasures outside the confines of immediate companionship. Relationships become clearer. She speaks, I listen. He speaks, I understand. We can move on to the next scene.

I said this to my would be wife (years before I lost my brother) “I am so lucky to have you with me.” We married, based on those common interests - togetherness and God. Together we looked good in the small bed that her parents gave her. I’m a little petite, she’s a little on the big side. I like big ladies. The church is big on food. Good for me, skinny girls that visit once a month, with such big and beautiful blond hair, wearing little black skirts, are welcomed. Anyways, I’m lucky to have her as my wife. She’s good at talking to others.

If it wasn’t for my new wife and the church, I would be a different person. When we get together with the many people that have the same interest, there isn’t that much to talk about, except for the words in the good book. This is the life God has given me. If only I could talk sports to someone and tell them why my favorite team sucks? If only I could talk to someone, sharing my ability to snort a milkshake through my nose. Stupid church. I want to share those experiences, and others, but I can’t. These are some things you can’t share with your wife, in the prayer room, or with your fellow church‘goers.

Only if I had a brother?

It was a car traveling sixty two miles an hour down a dirt road on an overcast night. No one is to blame, right? They were playing around, driving fast. His girlfriend gave him a blowjob just hours before, in the restaurant’s bathroom. She decided to play a game with him as he drove, diving her head in his crouch. In the other direction, the man, in his newly bought sports car, looked away at the last second not noticing my brother’s car swerve to the left across the dotted and grooved lines and… into his car.

It happens, right? It was an accident. His family will forgive him for being stupid. What was he thinking? Doing blow before, and during driving? That’s reckless. You’re right. My brother is stupid.

As I read the bible the morning before his death, I had a feeling of hatred brewing in my stomach (Please, Lord forgive me). I get those every year or so when I haven’t spoken to my only brother. But today, it was double. There is a feeling that permeates in one’s being when you know a member of your family, whom you love, is in the same vicinity of your existence but doesn’t announce it to you. It is, especially, hard when some of your immediate family drives over fifteen miles to the airport to lift their, basically, muscle less family member out of his airplane seat and onto a wheelchair, when a capable, and God loving sibling waits, reading the bible, only wanting to say hi.

We can’t control others. We cannot reach out and make others push buttons. We cannot make others think they way you want them to think. You can’t make others come to your aid. You can only make a difference on others if you take it upon yourself. I know this, I am not stupid. It’s good for me that I can find peace in the words of others.

I tell this to my brother as he sits in the hospital bed, pushed in an upright position to face me. I end up preaching to him. The nurse gave me twenty minutes of “alone” time with my brother. I plan to make up for years of negligence.

“Don’t you see me?”
He doesn’t respond.

“I read words. I see them traveling a mile a minute. We’re both racers.”
No response.

“I have just as many friends of you. The only difference is that they are not fake.”
No response.

“I’m reckless, just like you.”
No response.

“Silence is priceless to me. Is it for you?”
No response - maybe a blink.
“It should be. This is the only thing you will do forever.”
Two blinks.

The bible has taught me more about life than my brother could have shared with me in a lifetime. The tears I shed for him, outside of this hospital room, shows that I still love my brother… even in his lost ways.

Easter is coming soon.

The family dinner. It is something that works into every bone of your body. The sight of your loved ones sitting around a table brings memories, it brings joy, it brings with it a fear of not saying the wrong thing, but most of all it brings hope. Hope that one day, when they’re gone, you will take with you, what is intended… love.

It was my idea to hide the eggs in the backyard. My sister thought that we had to do the same thing we’ve always done. “The kids like it" is what she says. In the other room, Mom was busy preparing dinner.

It was a knock on the door that made Mr. Bills, the family dog, get up and run to the door.

“Bills,” Dad yell’s in the other room.

“It’s okay, I got it.”

Mom, with a grin on her face and a quick wipe of her apron, goes to open the front door.

“Oh, my God.”

The family dinner. It is something that works into every bone of your body. The sight of your loved ones sitting around a table brings memories, it brings joy, it brings with it a fear of not saying the wrong thing, but most of all it brings hope. Hope that one day, when they’re gone, you will take with you, what is intended… love.

“Son, will you say prayers tonight?”

“Yes mother. I will say a few words.”


A Few Slices of Life

The lady behind the counter of a local grocery store asks me if I wanted the soap in the same bag as my other groceries. I agreed, not expecting the soap to infect my chips and dip.

On the top left hand side of one of the dryers at the local Laundromat there were instructions. It read:

1. Check machine for children, pets, and foreign objects before loading the machine.

I went on to skip steps two through five knowing that if I got the first step right I was home free.

As the lady left the local Laundromat, she turns to me and asks, “You aren’t gonna steal my clothes are you?”

“No,” I replied. “I don’t wear woman’s clothes.”
“Alright then. I’ll come back when the load is done.”

With that the door shuts behind her.

The season had changed; It was warm now. Warm enough for a homeless man to shed his top couple layers and use them as a blanket to take a nap in the park.

I felt like I was the drummer in a band. The one with the largest instrument in front of me, setting the pace but I could never find the rhythm. The music was set by my wife. She doesn’t like music. I don’t either, apparently.

Walking down the street, on my way to lunch, a homeless man asks me to buy him “food from McDonalds.” I was on my way to Burger King with money burning through my pocket.
“Sorry.” I said.

Gay and Lesbian Parade (NAW)

(This is not the best subject to follow my last blog entitled 'Man Crush' but here we go)

(NAW = Not About Writing)

I work in downtown Portland, Oregon. Today I went out to lunch. Today happened to be the Gay and Lesbian parade. I ended up walking along the parade route, eating lunch looking out the window at the parade, and on my way back, I walked along the parade as well.

Two things I observed...

The first thing I saw was a family of three - an adult male and female, and a girl about 5 years old. The adult male, I assume was her father, said, "Whatever you see, enjoy yourself." I went on my way not really thinking about it until now. I'm still not sure what he meant by that statement. It just sounded strange.

The second thing I observed when looking at the participants of the parade was that I didn't see any women that could be described as "lipstick lesbians". I guess I either missed all of them or their weren't any to be found. Apparently feminine women who wear makeup and feminine clothing don't like parades.

But... wait a minute. I walked along the Rose Festival parade route a couple weeks ago and their were plenty of women wearing makeup and feminine clothing.

Is it because...


Man Crush

There he stood just feet in front of me. His blue plaid "rocker" shirt showing off his tattoos. I felt like he was only talking to me, telling me a story; Our eyes making contact every so often. I never thought a man reading would give me goosebumps.

He is an idol, a superstar, a silent mentor of mine. I have been inspired by this man. His name is Joe. He does not know this, still to this day, but I have bought every word of his. Trying to listen to him read from his book, I kept thinking what I should say to him after he was done. If I had one question or a comment, what would it be? Would he like me? Would I melt in his presence like a thirteen year old meeting an American Idol top 12 finalist? Would I seem dumb or anxious? Will I do that weird nervous tick, I found out I had about a month ago, when I touch my head as I speak?

I won't do anything. I wont even approach him, shake his hand. Why bother? One question or one statement of admiration would not be enough for me. I want hours of conversation, him and me, talking about writing. Anyways, he knows I like what he does because I have bought every book he has written. I wouldn't have the balls to tell him how I decided to write my first novel after reading all of his books in a two week page turning adventure. His writing bringing smiles, tears, and inspiration of story to my being. It is rare to find writers with a "voice" that touches your soul. With Joe Meno, I have found it.

There he was, my man crush, standing in front of me. I kept looking back and forth between his fingers and his head. Between those two (or three) body parts is a voice. A voice that tells me that I might have a voice as well. Maybe I can do what he does. Words have more meaning because of him. Story has become clearer, more fun.

I know he does what I do. I only want to do what he does - touch other people with story. That is what every writer wants the chance to do.