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My darkness is a blanket, but I find it hard to pull around you. It seems it would be easy enough. I could just clutch the two corners and wrap them ‘round your shoulders until they tie together.

 

Knotted, in the middle of your chest.

 

And there they’d hang, the blanket’s twisted ends, weighty over your heart.

 

It’s tempting.

 

I could pull it over your head. Cover your eyes with it. Stop you from seeing me.

 

From seeing anything.

 

Because it’s not one of those thin blankets. The kind that grant grainy particles of light. No peeking through to the other side.

 

Not with this one.

 

Once you’re in it, it’s thick. And heavy.

 

Dense.

 

You won’t see hazy silhouettes through it. No subtle motion. Once you’re under it, it’s black. Bleak.

 

Opaque.

 

No light. No movement. No hope.

 

You’ll ask me to. Even tell me you want the darkness. You’ll beg to be wrapped in it, if you think it will help me. You’ll promise to be okay behind its all-encompassing eclipse.

 

You’d lie if you thought it would ease my burden.

 

I know better. I know what it will do to you. To your spirit. To your sensitive soul.

 

But in the end, I’ll share my blanket with you anyway.

 

Because I’m human. And I need you.

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I wrote a post the other day. Yay, me! About a bird. Well, it seems it was about a bird, but to be honest, I rarely write in a literal sense. I’m just usually the last to know.

 

And people liked it. Oddly, I did too. And that’s a real rarity for me. Because sadly, though not surprisingly, I am plagued with the writer’s plight. One’s own work is never good. And even worse, it’s never enough. In fact, why am I even showing it to anyone, silly monkey! So, to feel like it passed muster is a true blessing indeed.

 

But…I need the formula. What was so likeable? Why did you like it? And the harder question – why did I?

 

It’s laced with attractive language. And a lightness that brings a certain prettiness to the page. It’s short. And sweet. Grammatically correct. And even though it might be what some would perhaps call, wandering, it still manages to be direct and to the point. When you believe I’m actually talking about a bird, that is.

 

And all those things are good. But I don’t think they’re the reasons we liked it, do you? If I had to guess, (which obviously I do because, for some reason, very few people ever actually comment on my posts) I’d say it’s because it’s mysterious. And moving. And metaphorical. Have I gone too far in patting myself on the back? Another thing about writers…most of us are delusional.

 

Anyway…

 

Mystery. Movement. Metaphors.

 

We usually like those three things the best, don’t we?

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She flitted in. Almost darting between our gazes. Head bobbing with each move. And I couldn’t stop watching her. She was a delicate little thing. Small. Angular. But still somehow, swooping. Sinuous.

 

She’s out of her comfort zone. It’s easy to see. In certain moments, a colored blur of watery reflection. In others, a precise dot on the obscure background that is this depressing place. I can tell you though. She’s livened it up just by breezing through. A welcome whisk of vivacity. A thrill for a sad and sorry bunch.

 

A wonder.

 

She continues on. Stopping now and then. Fluttering in her light-tipped way, from this stoop to that. Ignoring the attentions of everyone else. Busying herself. Bending to pluck bits of litter from the floor. Smoothing her sides back down flat.

 

I take in her slender neck. Sloping toward her rounded behind and ending in a graceful point at the tip of her thighs. I put my finger out and trace over it in the air. All the way down to the end. Following her curve with my eye.

 

A sharp noise above the din around us jars her and she ruffles from head to toe. I take a breath, waiting for her to leave me, but she stays. Gathers herself. Keeps moving. Slowly. Delicately. Toward me. My heart skips when I realize how close she’s getting. So close that I can see myself in her pupils. So close that I can feel her warmth. So close that I can smell her scent. And my once skipping heart now batters against its cage.

 

I reach out. To protect. The instinct is strong. But I can’t touch her. She’s just beyond my grasp. I want to call out, but the usual cackles begin around us and she brings her shoulders up over the sides of her head.

 

Shielding.

 

All is concealed but her starry eyes. Their long fine lashes reaching for me. Almost past the crook of her bent, slight limb. And then, they flicker. Those eyes. Right across mine. And lock. Just for a second, mind you. But it’s magic.

 

Changing.

 

Then, as quickly as she came, she’s gone. Off into her other world. And even though I knew she would eventually vanish, it breaks me. Instantly, I drain. Empty.

 

My mind.

My heart.

My soul.

 

As she drifts away into another place. Another time. I am left here.

Paused.

Until her return.

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Coming up with posts these days is hard. Yeah, it’s summer and the status quo is gone, but I don’t think that’s the sole reason it’s been tough.

 

And right about now, you probably think I’m going to tell you what I do feel is holding me back, right? I wish. Because honey, if I knew, I’d pick it up, take it outside and give it a thump.

 

It’s been a good summer. Wonderful, really. We were lucky enough to do a lot of traveling. We flew to Las Vegas and took our daughter. We traveled to Los Angeles and took our daughter. We ventured, once again, to the North of Ireland and managed to get, not only our daughter, but both our sons and one of their girlfriends to join us.

 

And, we were blessed to be able to do so. This summer in particular, needed to be busy. I needed the distraction and it was, in no uncertain terms, provided. Opportunities fell into our lap through work stints and whimsical excuses, and we pushed ourselves beyond what we really should of done.

 

And it was good.

 

Good to run get away. Away from the things that lurk in the night. The dark shadows behind closed curtains. Those monsters that breathe heavily beneath the bed.

 

And I drank it up.

 

The opportunity.

 

Yep. Swallowed it whole.

 

But as they say, what goes down, must come up. I dunno know. Maybe it’s the other way ‘round. Or perhaps I’m just upside down. Whatever the case may be, reality is back and it’s the one doing the thumping now.

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It’s Just a Name…Forever.

#writing 

#names

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Lately, anyone who can get me to finish what I’ve started has my full attention.

 

Obviously.

 

It might also be obvious—at least I hope it is—that I get joy from writing. Despite the fact that tucked inside that joy is a tag. Much like the grating kind that is often stitched into the neck of a shirt.

 

Okay. Side note – Why do they do that? I can’t be the only one who thinks it an unnecessary form of torture. No matter how painstaking my snips, I have inadvertently cut holes in 80% of my wardrobe while trying to remove every last pokey bit.

 

Unnecessary, perhaps. But clearly effective in capturing my attention.

 

And writing is that for me too. I never forget it’s there. It scratches at my skin. Claws at my neck. Breathes, I’m here and you will not be rid of me that easily. Writing is up in my face as boldly and relentlessly as that damn razor-threaded spikey tag. It won’t let me clean. Or organize. Or putter contently the way I used to.

 

It sticks to me while I attempt to be as satisfied as I once was, arranging a closet or making the beds. “You’re not thriving,” it hisses behind me. “None of this stuff will last.” Its tone is chiding, as it references my efforts to keep the house clean. The words, you are not making a difference, branding my neck red and raw. Leaving holes in what once was the solid fabric of my life.

 

So yes, writing itself is a distraction for me. It even makes reading tough. I start a book and can only think, you should be trying to write. Look at this author. They did it. Why can’t you?

 

I have a lot of ¼ (not even ½) read books on my shelves because of this. And I know this is wrong. It is the opposite of what an aspiring writer should do. If you want to be kickass, one of the most important things you should be doing, besides writing, is reading. Lots.

 

Thankfully being unable to finish them for the last year or so hasn’t squelched my enthusiasm for buying books.

 

A short while ago, I picked up Not That Kind of Girl. Purchased in a University bookstore, no less. Which now makes me feel kinda kindred with the author. Like, I “got” her before I even read the book.

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And yes. I did read it. Cover to cover.

 

It’s a compilation of essays. Journal entries. Perfected blog posts. Micro stories. (She may cringe at those last three depictions) And in them, Lena Dunham chronicles the notable times and moments in her life to date.

 

Entertaining. Painful. Hilarious. Tragic. Raw. Moments.

 

She masterfully pegs subjects to the line most of us tend to keep buried at the bottom of the pile. With a hilarity that can only be understood as, broken but mending.

 

Things like, an aggressive sexual encounter in university. One she tried to laugh off initially, but later, had to admit was pretty much a rape. You don’t usually, after all, cry regularly over an encounter that is not.

 

She talks about drugs. Prescription. Illegal. And her use of both. Her family. Growing up. Relationships. Interactions. STD’s. Sexuality. And sexual orientation.

 

Disorders. Eating. Mental. Personality. And physical. Her weight. Her fame. And her low self-esteem. Despite the fact that she has achieved massive success making use of all of these.

 

I know there are a lot of people who will wonder why anyone would ever need or want to share such delicate thoughts. To tell the world they are imperfect. That their life to date has been far from the Shangri-La it may have seemed. “Air dirty laundry,” so to speak.

 

But, even though I sprout from a tight-lipped culture, I do not find myself wondering.

 

Not one of us will get out of here alive, so why be a façade? What’s the point? Like Lena, I believe there’s a bigger picture to be disclosed. We’re not here to impress. To come across like we’re living “the dream” day after day.

 

Positivity is a gift for sure. To ourselves. And to our circle. But so is sharing what’s real.

 

When a life ends, we scramble for answers. We tend to ask, what was it all for? And if the only answer we come up with is, to create the illusion that life was seamless, well, that’s a sad injustice to those that struggled, isn’t it?

 

They were more than that. No matter what it was, good or bad, they had something to teach.

 

Lena Dunham is the itchy tag of her generation. She refuses to be cut out and forgotten. She leaves a hole. Retaliates the smokescreen.


That’s why she wrote this book.
So we don’t feel alone. So we know someone else out there feels like we do. So we can see that there’s “crazy” in us all. And that it’s okay.
And, that it’s also not all that crazy.

 

That we’ll be alright. Somehow. That mistakes are standard. That it’s fine to make them. To be where we are.

 

And to stay there until we’re ready to move on.

 

That’s why we’re living. That’s why we connect. That’s why we ask what it was all for.

 

Lena Dunham is letting us in. She’s just not waiting until she’s gone.

 

I appreciate that.

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I’m just in from a coffee shop. Alright. Yes, it was Starbucks. And, surprise, surprise. There were 4 people in there with MacBook Airs. And they looked pretty much how I would’ve looked, had I also brought mine.

 

They were scarfed and sweatered. Fenced in by open books, cords, pens, mugs and, of course, phones.

 

At first, I was envious. Thinking how I long for days of doing nothing but writing. It’s a glorious feeling, you know. To be sure of your purpose. And for it to be something you enjoy. Something you find fulfilling. Albeit scorching and torturous at times.

 

And while I waited for my order, I, for the zillionth time, imagined a world where writing is my only focus. A world, that in reality, will never be. And, that’s okay. In my heart of hearts, I really wouldn’t want that, would I. I mean, where would my family be? Where’s my home in that scenario?

 

I don’t ever want to be without those things. Those distractions as they are sometimes referred to.

 

Anyway, what started as pre-beverage envy ended in post-coffee realization. Not one of those blessed little lambs was actually using their laptops. Every single one of them was on their phone.

 

Texting. Liking. Sharing.

 

Wasting.

 

Using valuable time. Precious, hard-to-come-by freedom. To generate useless statuses and insignificant tweets.

 

But, in truth, I really have no clue what they were doing on their phones. Never mind judging whether whatever they were doing was insignificant or useless. They may have been replying to agent’s proclamations, “CONGRATULATIONS, we sold your novel!” Or throwing out a few likes in support of fellow writers. Perhaps sharing triumphant news of a book deal.

 

Who knows? Like I said, not me. I just tend to make wild assumptions when I’m coffee-deficient.

 

So, I admit to suffering from misplaced projection. Putting myself in their chairs. Surrounding my own being with beloved writing gear. Staring into productivity-stealing space. And spending too much time on a phone of my own.

 

But luckily, the coffee-sufficient me sees the advantage to having, what one might call, an overactive imagination. Next trip, the phone stays in my pocket.

 

What? You didn’t think I’d turn it off, did you!

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