So, as it seems, our life can be metaphorically extended into individual, and neatly packed, units of time.  Each new day we start over and our potentiality gets reset — we shower and cleanse ourselves for a new day and hope that, as Annie says, that the sun will come out (tomorrow).  Our optimism is abstracted into the objective future and upon this future we project the infinite capacity of our projects.   Just the same, we also divide our lives into years and we celebrate the passing of one year to the next, like we are collectively and metaphorically celebrating the passing of our own life in one year increments. It is like we are all dying on New Years Eve and we toss our inhibitions to the wind to honor the passing of our collective selves, but we all know that on New Years Day we will all be instantly reborn, and from this new birth— we start anew.   New Years resolutions to ensue.

However, the paradoxical conundrum of a New Years resolution is that it, in essence (and in actu), fails before it begins.  Like, as my wife reminds me to do some chore and I respond by reminding her that I said “I will take care of it tomorrow” and that the proposition I will take care of it tomorrow still applies— tomorrow is never today.  If I tell myself that “next year I will do____ or I will be better at _____,” — I can try to accomplish these tasks, but, as we all know, New Years resolutions generally fail.  Why is this?  Well simply, I posit, as stated earlier, they are not ideas of our self that we identify with or situate within, but they are projected and abstracted ideas of our ideal self that we project on to our future selves (this person we have not met, nor will we ever meet them).  With some odd assumption that when the clock hits midnight we will be reborn as an individual with more will power or tenacity.  But, this is never the case.  We are never actually our future selves, or, for that matter, we are never our past self— the only self that is real is the present self and that is the only self you can change.

You can allude yourself into believing that next year you will eat less carbs or learn to play the piano or something, but in that vein I might as well say fuck it and become Hindu and project my idealized self on to my reincarnated self….

I am hungry, and Jack in the Box sounds good and happens to be close– I will eat healthy starting tomorrow.

I am not happy with my body image— next year, I will start anew.

I am not happy with my job and really, when I think about it, my life altogether. 

I will pray in hopes that the afterlife is better, or that I get reincarnated and get a second chance.

These rationalizations, or defense mechanisms rather, may feel good and may help us get through the grind of the day/year/life, but they are not magical.  Saying this or that will change in the future does not become true by mere proclamation.  Rather, it is only designed to protect our ego from the existential angst of admitting: I am not happy in the present, hence it’s reasonable to assert I will not be happy in the future.

The best example of this is when you are at a New Years Party and you spend the night eating, dancing and drinking in anticipation for New Years to arrive and then, once it does, you realize that the moment actually doesn’t exist.  Like a Buddhist monk who meditates to the long decay of a gong and tries to explore and expand the abstract void of existence that situates between the ring of the gong and the silence that follows— the void between noise and non-noise.  Just the same, we mediate with Ryan Seacrest and cheap sparkling wine in hopes that we can expand the void between the current year and the future year and live in an infinite moment of existence that transcends the failures of the past and the failures of my future. This magical moment where I am absolute and perfect.  

But, even though we can’t measure the time that does not exist in both the old year and the new year, we can pretend to.  We can honor the new year with a kiss and the longer the kiss the longer the void and, hence, the longer we can situate in the void that magically exists between the old year and the new year.  In this magical void we are no longer the person from the past that we want to change in the new year, but, just the same, we are also not in the new year and we do not have to recognize and situate ourselves within the reality of our failed resolution.  A new years kiss does not exist in the 4th dimension of time.  Or, at least that’s how it feels.

But after this kiss ends, for some reason that is the moment that we become aware of reality and aware that despite my very hard partying, I am still the same.  I don’t feel reborn.  I look around the party and see the chaotic remains of my hopes from yesteryear.  My hopes and dreams were, five minutes ago, metaphorically wrapped within a balloon drop and now, after the kiss, they’re now scattered across the floor like little land-mines that may, at any moment, burst and deflate, and so goes my dreams, my future and my resolutions.  Drunk and deflated, I tread home lightly.

But maybe deep down inside we really know they are going to fail and that is why we do them.  If you accept resolutions as something you will fail at, because, that is what happens, then you have now freed yourself from experiencing the failed feeling.  If I decide to leap in the air in hopes I can fly but then fail to fly:  I would not ostracize myself for failing to achieve the impossible, but rather I would honor myself for attempting the impossible.  So, with that, if New Years resolutions always exist in the future then they are impossible to achieve, and hence, the act of trying and failing is not a failed act, but rather a successful act— you tried, kudos.  Creating a feedback loop of an idealized future self that we are perpetually wanting to be, but never become and the mere notion that we have faith in our future self (without becoming better) becomes a perceived feeling of success.

My future self could be AWESOME.

And my present self is AWESOME because it believes my future self can be AWESOME.

We open savings accounts to create a nest egg of financial wealth to protect our future selves form unexpected expenses, like, for example, when your serpentine belt breaks and destroys 8 valves and costs you $3000 in damage.  Fucking eh!  The only way you can create wealth for your future self is by having your present self conserve wealth.  You can’t will yourself rainy day funds, nor can you presume a New Years eve kiss will last forever and absolve you from being responsible for your own happiness.

So, if there is something about your life you wish to change and you think this life change would make a good New Years resolution, I say Fuck New Years Resolutions!.  Make it a LIFE RESOLUTION!  And, don’t wait, do it now–  this exact moment in time.  The only moment that has ever existed in the history of the universe is the present moment and that is the only moment you can change.  The past is merely an abstracted perspective of what was, and the future is merely an abstracted perspective of what will be…but, they will never exist as we perceive them (or even how we do not).  The only real is the now and the only self you know is the present— your subjective and determined true self.  It is true that we can be anybody we want to be if we apply ourselves, but that only works if you start now.   Otherwise life will amount to, as Pink Floyd woefully claims:

Plans that either come to naught or a half a page of scribbled lines. 

Fuck that!  Live now.

So, Happy New Now!

On My Mission

Ever since childhood I have been obsessed with attending church and as a product of that obsession I have attended the church services of nearly 20 different religious traditions.  My fascination with religion was and is deeply rooted in what is essentially a deeply rooted fascination with the idea of death.  I remember as a child going to church, while sitting among the believers, I would see what I felt was completely obvious but it was not till much later in life that I realized how oblivious others were.

The connotation of church is usually a place of solace and hope and you think people going there would be happy and enriched by the process— in short, their happy place.  But, as a child I saw nothing that resembled happiness.  Casting my gaze across the pews and looking deeply into the eyes of each and every person, the only emotion I would ever see is a deep rooted state of despair.

I attended many different churches, as I was fervently searching for a religious tradition that differed from my past experiences— I wanted to find human happiness. And, no matter where I looked— despair was the only thing I witnessed.  It was later in my adolescents that I finally realized that the drive behind all of this was, in essence, death anxiety— they were deeply afraid of death and are simply and desperately latching on to anything with semblance of hope that perhaps death is not the only option.

I always found the idea of accepting, in a pure and visceral way, the finitude of life as altogether liberating.   Being free to live and free to die without reservation, pretense and defense is, to me, the way we are supposed to be.  Accepting responsibility for our own existence and living freely and blissfully in our own experiences.  The existential dilemma that I face everyday of my life is my process of perpetually contending with trying to understand what it means to exist.  Is my existentially-driven desire to accept and thrive in my freedom the reality of things, or is my ego just rationalizing my hedonistic Id into making me feel what I believe has value.  In other words, is my rejection of religion, ideology and dogma legitimate or is it just me mimicking my own personal variation of faith.   

Nearly every single day of my life,  as I lay down in bed to fall asleep at night there is and always has been, one single preponderance of thought that is the source of my excitement, happiness, despair, fear, anxiety and confusion— the angst of human existence.    I am not sure why so many people are fixated on trying to understand what it is to die, when we haven’t seemed to grasp: what it is to live, yet.  But, it is this deep thorn that has driven me to my task, my drive and my mission.

As I see it, I should question any and every system that implicitly or explicitly infringes on human freedom.  Every system that insists that life is easier or safer while bonded in a cave.  Every system that persists on controlling the hearts and minds of beautiful and autonomous beings under illogical and disingenuous motivations.  I have no intent to wave my finger, to dictate or to control.   If I explicitly expressed a path to freedom— that act, in of itself, would be to deny ones freedom.  As my path, may not be their path or your path.  I concede and accept that ultimately I know nothing, except what I have perceived as my own experienced reality— which, I will question, contest and reject until the horizon of my existence is cleared into a void of absolute nothingness.   With nothing behind me and nothing in front of me.  With nothing in my past, nothing in my present and nothing in my future— this is the spot where my existential resolve begins:  Motivated by angst, and reasoned with philosophy— I will hold your hand and be your friend, and deep within the void of existence we will discover our humanity together. This is my mission. 

Escape and Release

Part 1, Escape

            All of this started several Sundays ago while I was minding my own business and doing my normal Sunday things. I woke up, made coffee, took the dog for a walk and then took a nice long shower. But afterward, I went back to bed, as I was feeling especially lazy and rather introspective about life. I lay in bed with the ceiling fan zipping away, on a warm summer-day in California. I am not sure if it was the heat, or the fan, or my contemplation and introspective mood, but I felt besieged by a trance-like state. I was mind altered. At some point my eyes-closed, but I don’t recall how or when. I did not fall asleep- I just floated away.

I felt this sensation of absolute nothingness, just me in essence without form or thought. It was like I found some void that existed in between wake and sleep- like a perpetual state of blink. Then, I felt a release, like whatever was pulling me into the realm of the transcendence released my soul back into my control, and from this, I opened my eyes.

I was floating over my own body, looking down- I looked very peaceful and resolved, this image was rather soothing and I hope I remember this. I felt like a balloon that had been released and I was slowly floating up; facing down and watching my body become smaller. I floated right through my ceiling and right into the sky. Kept going up and up and up. The weird part was for some reason I could see everything, even though I couldn’t see it. Like, I could still see my sleeping body lying in bed, with an occasional turn and twist. I could not actually see this, but I knew it to be true. I could see my dog starring out the back window, watching the birds scavenge for food. I can see freeways full of busy cars speeding around. I can see people, so many people, doing so many things. So much activity and I can see it all, hear it all. I am suddenly capable of viewing the entire world and everything it does, at the exact same time…I keep rising and I keep seeing more. I am thousands of feet up now, and now I see all the land and the oceans. I see all the animals of the sea, swimming and fighting for food and shelter. I see birds flying everywhere, some of them right next to me. I see clouds and rain. I see a storm in Colorado and a tropical storm in the gulf of Mexico- just a little one.

I start to notice that things are beginning to move faster, as I get higher in the atmosphere. Only seconds have past to me, but I have witnessed my dog get old and die. Seasons are coming and going constantly. The earth spins around the sun with brilliant celestial intensity, almost like it’s being flung around, like a child’s toy. Time seems to continue to speed up more and more, I have no idea what year it is now, but it seems like centuries have past. Everybody is wearing much different clothes, and everything looks odd and strange, cars are flying about and I can’t even understand the language everyone’s speaking, but I get what they’re sayin. I am now close to leaving the atmosphere altogether- I feel my body become warm, as I am about to leave earth. By this point it seems that every second to me is a thousand years on earth, and for some reason, I can still see every person and every action with absolute clarity.

In this perspective I start to see patterns: patterns of pain and death. Patterns of disease and pandemics. Patterns of war, genocide and atrocities. Climate patterns, earthquake patterns, volcanic patterns and even patterns within the patterns. There is a point when everything starts over and the entire song plays over again, each note represents a thousands years of existence and this song is on repeat. Every human life is the same as every non-human life. Birth, death, nothingness and repeat. – the cycle keeps going. I am high enough now that I can see comets and planets flying by all over- and I keep floating away.

I am now trying to understand and contemplate everything I see and try to make sense of it. I am now significantly outside of our galaxy, looking in, and I can still see earth and all she holds in full clarity. I have seen my dog die and be reborn several thousand times already. I have seen every birth and every death, over and over. Time seems to be this circle of perpetual nothingness, and there does not seem to be a point or an end, or a beginning at that. I have seen the same wars fought thousands of times over and it always ends the same. I have seen the earth warm and cool over and over. I have seen the creation and destruction of empires, and the perpetual cycles of evolution.

Time is now moving so fast that each cycle of existence seems to be equal to one rotation of my ceiling fan, which, I can still see. It spins over my sleeping body as I lay in peace, dreaming of the universe. I wonder what all this means, perhaps the meaning of the universe is, that there is no meaning. There is no heaven or hell, or souls, or anything. It’s just a big perpetual cycle of nothingness- forever and ever. As far as I am concerned, I am a universe to myself and everything that floats around me is nothing. I am nothing to myself, except myself and only myself.   Everything I have known before this dream is an illusion. Morality, nationalism, God, society, culture, language, life and death-everything- it’s all one big fucking illusion. There is only one thing I know for sure. I am me, and I am nothing.

Part 2, Release

            I have been floating for millions of years and to be honest, I have no idea how much time has really passed in my real life. I have become rather lonely out here in space and the notion of nothingness is depressing. At any moment I will wake up from my slumber and I will remember this dream, and then what. How do I proceed in life knowing all of this now? How can I find any motivation to wake up, to eat, to work, to love- to live? I suppose I can kill myself and skip to the point, but I know I will not do that, as I have already seen my life happen thousands of times and I already know how it plays out, I already know how I die. And, besides, death is no more futile then birth or life. It is all the same- null. The only thing I know with certitude is that I am growing weary of all the pain and suffering.

I begin to imagine what the world would be like if all the suffering was to stop: I close my eyes and then, out of nowhere, silence.

Long, dark – silence.

Out of confusion, I open my eyes again and everything has stopped- EVERYTHING. I have hit “pause” on time and every planet has stopped, every person- everything. The only thing that is capable of moving, is me. I have frozen time and now I float in wonder and awe, as nothingness, has become truly, nothingness. I focus all my attention back to earth and zoom in to my apartment, to my dog and I see my dog sprawled out on the living room floor, being cooled off by the ceiling fan in freeze-frame.

For the first time since this long, weird, wicked dream has began, I finally feel relaxed and at peace. My dog looks happy and content. Satisfied with the simple pleasure of a cool breeze on a warm day. He has a smile on his face, or at least the dog version of a smile. It is spectacular that in the infinite space and time, some atoms found a way to align and make my dog in, what seems like, a state of perfection. This single moment of existence does not have suffering at all. My dog is a manifestation of the entire universe- equally in complexity and simplicity. My dog represents all pain and pleasure, all gods and men, all heaven and hell, and all the light and all the dark.   Perhaps the meaning of the universe is not nothingness, as I thought before. Maybe the meaning of life is each moment and recognizing the beauty that lies in each moment. Maybe it’s futile to look at the bigger picture and project notions of a grand design or significance. All existence and the entire universe is only one thing, and one thing only: Right now.

I softly and tenderly awoke from my dream and spent the rest of the day playing with my dog.


Finding Sartre

My favorite part of the day has always been the first instant you wake up in the morning and even if you are in the same place you normally awake- it all seems new. It’s like being born over and over again. I was lying in a bed and although I was covered in layers of cheap beddings I was very cold, in a way that I felt deep in my spine.   At that moment I was struck with a thought from my childhood, I have always had an active imagination to the point that I actually narrate my own life in my own head and I am wondering if other people do as well, and more importantly, do other writers do that?   I expect if I were narrating my own story, this would be the point where I start to foreshadow my own demise.   My head felt 10 miles wide and the lump of guilt that was sleeping in the cold bed next to me was beginning to awake.   As I tried hard to pretend like I was still sleeping, I was also desperately trying to remember her name.   Oh yes, that’s right: Billie, just like Billie Holiday, how fitting.

Billie woke up and went straight to the shower, as if in a hurry to wash off the guilt of sin. Even though this was my hotel room, I took this opportunity to leave without complication or confrontation. I packed my overnight bag, ordered room service and charged it to the room and left- no goodbye, no awkwardness.   I acted like buying her breakfast rid me of the guilt, but it didn’t.   I took a cab to the airport and flew home. I sat in the overpriced first-class seat pondering my life. Since my best seller came out I have been on a non-stop book tour around the country. I have been to 17 cities in the last 17 weeks and I have met 17 very eager female fans and I have made 17 mistakes and subsequently have had 17 flights that feel like this.   Finally my double shot of Jamison arrived- time to sleep.

I woke up the next morning, which was a Saturday, in my own bed next to Susan, my wife of 20 years. Our 20th anniversary was 2 months ago and our children threw us a surprise party, it was quaint poetic justice.   This bed, on this day, was also cold. I woke up and went downstairs- I was not ready to make eye contact.   In the kitchen both of the kids were doing homework while grazing on breakfast.   I tossed a waffle in the toaster, poured a cup of coffee that the kids had made earlier, dropped a shot of whiskey in my coffee and sat down at the table. Hoping that their devout attention to their homework would keep them from trying to communicate with me, I sat there and ate a half cold waffle and my sipped coffee with whiskey. This was my life: book tours, sexual exploits and cold waffles with a family in the distance.   I was able to curb potential conversations with my kids for the time being, however, I don’t think this is something I should be bragging about.   I cleared my plate and cup, took a swig of whiskey from the bottle, which goes unnoticed by the studious children, and went upstairs to take a shower. My first shower in two days, it happen to be the only thing I looked forward to, maybe that’s why I postponed them for so long- so they feel special.

In the shower, I stood there at stared at nothingness- off-white ivory tile with hints of mold growing on the grout stared back at me.   I scrubbed and cleaned my body several times over, but I never felt clean.   I was just wiping away the loose filth, but the true filth remained in tact.   My mind was wandering and guilt was starting to push down on me to the point that I felt the need to sit down. I did. I sat in the shower, on the floor in the corner with the showerhead beating down a soft massage of water on my face, masking the tears that had been there the whole time. There was a part of me that began to tell myself that I needed to confess everything to my wife- I must come forward.   She was my wife of twenty years; if anybody was going to understand me it was going to be her. But, then I think that if I told her that I had an affair with not one, but seventeen women, she was going to be in pain- ungodly pain that I could not comprehend. If I was the one that made the mistake, why should she feel the pain, was it more considerate of me to endure the pain myself and torture myself and not bring her down with me?   The aforementioned consuming thoughts and internal debate exhausted me, but I couldn’t stop my mind from wandering and thinking. I decided to masturbate to calm my racing mind.   Since it had been months since I had been intimate with my wife, my only sexual motivation was two nights ago with Billie.   I did not feel any guilt for getting-off to the thoughts of Billie.   It took me nearly forty-five minutes to climax. I stood in the hot water for several minutes after that, embracing the pure bliss of an empty mind. I then exited, dried and went back to bed. My body was bright red from ninety minutes of high-pressure, hot water pounding my body.   As I lay in bed I came to the conclusion that my life now comprises of two activities: creating experiences for me to feel guilty about and then creating things to help me hide from the aforementioned guilt.   My favorite hiding places were in alcohol and sleep- they were very reliable.

The last time I felt like I had any control in my life was when I was writing- I wish I could write.   My publicist said I couldn’t start writing until the wave of my previous novel started to fade.   Although, even if I was allowed to start writing again, I was lacking inspiration and there is no way I could sit down and concentrate anyway.   I reached into my nightstand and grabbed my flask and took a big sip, it was half full and then became empty. I slept like a baby until about 6pm.

I woke up in, surprisingly, a good mood. Maybe the sleep is what I needed, maybe it’s because it was dark out or maybe it was the smell of dinner in the air. Either way, I walked downstairs with an added pep in my step.   My wife was in the kitchen cooking dinner and the kids were in the living room doing homework, still. When the children were younger, Susan and I had this little trick we did to motivate them to be interested in their schoolwork. We basically played stupid, so when they were first learning to read we would ask them what words are or, if we were writing something and came to a word they knew, we would pretend to struggle and ask for their help. The confidence they got from feeling the satisfaction that their education was helpful made them want to learn more. They eventually caught on to our little game, but by that time they were self-motivated. But, nonetheless, we still played that game with them.   Our oldest daughter Cindy was constructing some sort of set on a small scale- like shoebox size. “Cindy, what are you making over there?”   I asked her out of genuine sincerity.

“I am making a mock-up set for my theatre production class, what do you think?” She turned it on the coffee table to give me a better view of inside the scene.   It was a small room with some random antique looking doll furniture, a door and 3 white dolls that resembled pillow-like objects.

Acting out of true intrigue and not playing stupid, I asked, “What play is this for?”

“It’s for the short one act play No Exit by Jean Paul Sartre [she pronounced it Sart]” she says as she smiled big in excitement over her project. It was rather soothing to see how much she truly enjoyed school.

“Its pronounced Sartre [Sar-tare]I tell her, its French”, I corrected her, as if I was an authority on French, theatre or even existentialism. To be honest I do not even know if I was accurate on the pronunciation, but at that point in time I wanted to feel like I knew something or had control of some situation.   “So tell me what you have learned about Sartre”, I said in a way that implied that I am playing the playing dumb game, but in reality, I did not know anything about Sartre, nor did I actually understand what existentialism was, besides a buzzword that was thrown around in college classes.

“Alright dad”, she says and then moved from the chair to the couch where I was, as if this explanation was going to take some time and a higher level of focus and closeness. “So Sar-tairre…” pronounced with an exaggerated version of the way I said it, “…believed that every single person was the center of their own universe and every person had total control of everything that happened to them. If something bad happens to you, it’s nobody’s fault but your own, because you are the center of everything. Everybody is 100% in control of everything in the life, if they like it or not.”

“Everything?” I asked.

“Yes dad, everything.   The play No Exit is a play about 3 people who die and go to hell. But because Sartre believes everybody in their life is in total control of their life, Hell must be the opposite of this. Hell must be living life without control.   So the play depicts three people who are trapped in a room for eternity and the room has no windows and their eyelids have been removed so they can never sleep.   Each of the characters needs something from each other in order to feel validated, normal or human, but nobody is willing to give in and it’s a viscous circle of pain. So they are left to live out eternity in hell, in a room with two other people they despise, grasping to the hope to regain control and failing every time. To Sartre, that is hell and that is what the play is about”.   After she was done talking my mind started to wander of what my hell would look like. Was it burning lakes of fire and an endless amount of pain and torture or was it something much more sinister, was it psychological hell? I stopped and realized that my daughter had finished talking a while ago and was staring at me, as if waiting for a response.

“Wow Cindy, that is pretty intense.   Do you think hell is really like that?”

“No, I don’t think that is true. I honestly do not believe in Hell but I think this story is more a commentary on life and our relationships with other people, more than it is a story about faith and the afterlife, but that is just my two cents”. As she was talking I felt myself smile, in a very uninhibited natural way and that made me happy. I was so proud of my daughter, all those years of playing dumb with her actually paid off. Now I was the dumb one.

“That is a pretty smart assessment of the story, I am so proud of you!   I am going to go help your mother with dinner and let you get back to your hell-building”. I stood up and touched her shoulder gently before I walked into kitchen. She feels the touch and looks up and smiles and I smile back. That was a moment I will not forget. Having that deep conversation with Cindy, even though I didn’t contribute anything, actually made me feel better and I now felt I could bring myself to make eye contact with my wife.

I entered the kitchen and she was cooking away with dishes everywhere and several pots and pans were on the stove- with steam sizzling out of most of them. I asked her what she was making and she turns and looks over, she didn’t notice I walked in before. “Oh hey dear, its good to see you awake- it must have been an exhausting business trip. Here taste this and tell me if it needs salt”, as she almost force-fed me a wooden spoon of a thick stew, which was too hot to eat.

“Its actually perfect!, wow, that is fantastic!, what is that?”

“It’s a new dish I found online, it’s a Middle Eastern dish. It’s basically a lamb stew but it has some fancy name I cant pronounce or remember”, she swung back into her cooking rhythm and it seemed like she was too busy to talk, and she definitely did not need any help- I guess I will clean the kitchen later for her. Perhaps it’s a good time for a pre-dinner cocktail.   I grabbed myself the accoutrement for a Manhattan and made it in the dinning room, out of her way. I took my cocktail on to the front porch and sat to think.   It was pouring rain and the smell of winter was in the air- this was my favorite time of year, favorite time of day and favorite place to sit- perfect for self-reflection and bourbon.

Right in front of our house was a giant magnolia tree and it’s that tree that was the selling point for buying this house, nearly 10 years ago.   I prefer the magnolia tree in the winter months, to me, it’s prettier than the spring version.   It’s easy to love and appreciate something when it’s at it’s best, but true love is when you love something at it’s worse- when it looks dead and stagnant.   Just as I as starred at the mighty tree in admiration a squirrel came running down the tree and to the ground. He grabbed something off the ground and attempted to carry it back up the tree, but after six feet up he dropped it again and then he ran down to retrieve it. He kept trying to carry it up the tree and every single time he dropped it again.   I wondered if the squirrel thought he was at the center of his own universe and that everything revolved around him and that he was in complete control of the situation? Or maybe he was just a product of my universe and his life and existence orbited around mine.   If Sartre was right, I don’t think hell would be that bad.   In my life, with total control of my universe and actions, I have failed at achieving my own happiness. So if I was to lose the ability to control my own happiness and fate, at least I won’t feel like an utter failure, I would simply be unhappy. But I can deal with that.

The squirrel finally figured out how to carry his food home.

I starred at the nearly dead magnolia tree for another hour. If you knew nothing about trees and nature you would probably look at this tree and think it was dead. But, it will be in full blossom in a few months again and become a point of pride in the neighborhood.   I got that feeling that somebody was looking at me and I turned my shoulder and my wife was starring at me from the window with an endearing smile. I smiled back. It was nice to be loved while at my worse.

The next morning I told her everything and I took control of my hell of a life.   She came to know me for the dead and stagnant tree that I was.   The next day I quit drinking and began writing again. It took years for my marriage to fully recover from the damage I caused, but the realization that I am in control of my life and I cant rationalize my bad decisions as the product of something else. It is all me, all the time.

The magnolia tree continues to blossom every year.


Photo Credit:  Virginia Drake