Two More Shots

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Linda Merriweather began walking her dog, Brutus, at precisely the same time David Wrinkle began drinking in a bar four blocks away. She was still not used to walking alone. She fumed as she thought about her husband, or, soon-to-be ex-husband, Steve. They used to walk Brutus together, he had insisted on it. She thought it was because he worried about her, because he wanted to make sure she was safe. But, if that were true, why would he leave her for some cheap skank he met on a business trip to St. Louis?

David took another shot and asked the bartender for still another. He pulled a small notebook from his back pocket and a pen from his shirt and laid them on the bar top. He closed his eyes and took a long, deep breath before downing more whiskey. “Keep ’em coming, please.” He told the man behind the bar. Then, he began writing.

Linda passed the buildings without noticing them. She was still thinking of Steve. How could he have done this to her? After twenty-two years of marriage? How could he just throw it all away like it was nothing? But the fact was, he did just throw it away; which is exactly why Linda’s sadness turned to anger.

David wrote for several minutes without stopping. He was getting drunk and he knew it; and so did the bartender. “I think you’ve had enough, pal.” The bartender said.
“Just two more shots.”
“No sir. I’m cuttin’ you off. Pay up, and go home.”
David shrugged as he tore the page he had been writing on from the notebook and put it in his shirt pocket. He paid his bill as he stood up, noticing for the first time exactly how drunk he had become. Then, he staggered across the room and out the door.

Linda was just thinking about turning around and heading home when Brutus began barking toward a dark, back alleyway. “What is it, boy?” She wasn’t used to him behaving like this. He was normally a calm, friendly dog; and normally she wouldn’t have gone down a dark alley for any reason; but on this day, she did.

Linda found David lying face up about halfway down the paved corridor. She tried to rouse him, but it didn’t work. She could see he was breathing, which gave her some relief. Then, she noticed the paper sticking out of his shirt pocket. “Maybe this will tell me who you are.” She mumbled to herself. She opened the paper and began reading.

Dear Susan,
I don’t know how to tell you this. I feel terrible so I’m just going to come out and say it. I had an affair. I don’t know how it happened and it didn’t mean anything. The truth is I love you and I can’t live with myself for this. My intention tonight was to end it all and take my own life because I can’t face the grief that this will cause. But I’ve decided to ask forgiveness first. To see if we can work through this. If you don’t want to, I understand and you will never hear from me again.

The note stopped there. Linda looked down at David once again. That’s when she noticed the handle of a .22 caliber pistol sticking out of his front pants pocket. She looked around. It appeared the alley was deserted. She reached in her purse and pulled out a handkerchief. She slowly removed the gun from his pocket.

Brutus jumped and whimpered as the sound of the shot echoed off the buildings. “That one was for Susan.” She said, “…and this one is for Steve!”

Jumping In

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I am standing on the Cliffs of Mediocrity, staring down into the Sea of Greatness.

But I am scared to jump in. I am scared to even put my toes in. Why?

Because I have been told that I cannot do it. And somewhere, deep inside, I sort of believe it.

Because, if I do jump in, I am afraid I will not be able to swim, and I will quickly drown.

Because I see very few people swimming in there, and they appear to be much better swimmers than me. How can I possibly swim with them?

Because I am afraid there is something in there that might hurt me…or worse…hurt someone else.

“Just forget all of that and jump!” I scream to myself.

So I gather all of my courage and strength. I announce to everyone around me, “I am going to do it!” I say, “I am going to jump!” Everyone cheers and encourages me. “You can do it!” They say.

But I just stand there, looking down at the beautiful water…and I do nothing…

And I slowly, carefully back away from the edge.

My Journey: Thinking Out Loud

Ok…I’ve got my feet on the pavement and I’m off and running. Well…more like a casual walk, but you get my meaning. Now what? Well, here is my plan. As I have said, I love to write. That’s what I want to do. I am starting a journey to publish a book and I want everyone to come along. I will be posting as much as possible about my journey, even my thought process (which is what I am doing now).

I have a lot of plans; which include going back to college, creating a successful blog, and, of course, writing a book. I want to take the time to put my thoughts and actions into a written journey that everyone can follow, comment, encourage, advise, and simply enjoy. From time to time, I will make posts like this one that simply informs readers of what is going on in my journey. I’m going to call it “Thinking Out Loud” (I know, real original, huh?). I will literally be writing as I think with very little editing. Feel free to comment. In fact, I want all of the feedback I can possibly get…positive and negative. I will also still be posting short stories and essays along the way. Hopefully, one of these days, I will be a successful writer, and I hope you can say you were along for the ride.

I’m going to start by thinking about the positives and negatives in my life in relation to my writing. I’ll start with the negatives so I can end on a positive note. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Negatives:
1. Time
Do I have time to be a writer? I work at least 45 hours per week. That’s 10 hours per day, 4 days per week, plus at least 5 hours on Friday. I also have two 15 minute breaks and 30 minutes for lunch. Not much time to write there. As far as home life, I have a wife and two teenage daughters that I refuse to take anymore time away from than I already do (no apologies here!). So that doesn’t leave much time for writing either.

2. My own self doubt
Do I have what it takes to be a writer? I know I have the desire to be a writer. But do I have the ability? I mean, I look back at what I have written here and it’s …well…painfully average. I also have a hard time coming up with great ideas. Most stories I come up with in my head are just “so-so”. Nothing outstanding. So am I wasting my time? These thoughts are discouraging. I try to block them out and move on.

That is really the only two major roadblocks I see right now, time and self doubt. Pretty depressing. So lets look at the positives. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Positives:
1. Desire
I WANT to be a writer. I feel it deep inside. I want to share and be heard.

2. Ability
Even though I feel I am not the greatest writer, I can write. There is room for improvement for sure, but I can put a sentence together. ๐Ÿ˜Š

3. Support
I have a wife and two daughters who believe in me. They encourage me and help me brainstorm for ideas. I feel a tremendous amount of love and positive energy from them. They fuel my fire.

I’m going to stop right there. After all, what else is there? I have the incredible support of a great woman (who also happens to be an English teacher ๐Ÿ˜Š) and two amazing daughters. That will see me through anything! Right?

See, by thinking out loud, I have completely talked myself into continuing this journey.

Well, that’s going to be all for my first “Think Out Loud” session. Please feel free to comment. I want to hear it. Like I said, I want constructive criticism along with any encouragement you may feel I need.

Thanks for your time and I hope you enjoy the journey with me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Billy

That Was Hard

I had been thinking about it for a long time. Should I? Shouldn’t I? Will any one respond? Will anyone care? Will I be wasting valuable time? Will I be rejected? Plus many more questions rambled and darted in my mind as I wondered if I should share my writing with the world.

What’s the big deal? Why is it a difficult decision? More good questions. But it was difficult for me. And now I’ve shared my first story with the world through a blog. I’ve put myself out there. And a funny thing happened. After all the anticipation and anxiety, one thing made it worth it.

I got a response.

Now, admittedly, it wasn’t by any stretch an overwhelming response…but it was a response, and that did something to me.

I also understand that some people respond to other blogs to generate traffic to theirs; and that’s fine. But when that response came through on my screen, my brain said, “Wow! Someone took the time to pay attention to my writing!” To me that meant opportunity.

Then, another funny thing happened. Ideas! Interesting, creative ideas began to flow in my mind. “What else can I write about!” Screamed in my mind. Before, one or two good ideas would encroach a couple of times a week. Now they are pouring in. I can’t wait to get started on them. So keep checking in folks, I have an idea…

Dreaming Reality

One night a man had a dream. In his dream he was transported to a different place than what he had ever known.

The first thing he saw was his father; who had passed away a few years ago. Followed by his mother, who had also recently passed. They were young and very happy. “This is the way I always wanted to remember them”, he thought instead of the way he remembered them now. Old, frail, and bitter. He noticed several close family members were nearby. Old friends that he hadn’t seen in years smiled as they passed by, then going on about their business. Then he saw his wife. She was in her wedding dress. She was the most beautiful thing he had ever laid his eyes on. He kissed her gently on the lips. An excitement filled his soul, he had missed that feeling. Seconds later, two children poked their heads out from behind her. They were their kids. Their eyes were full of love and excitement as they ran to hug him, laughing; the sound filled the air with love. The hug felt so wonderful; the most comforting thing he could imagine. All the people he cared about were there. Everybody was in the happiest stages of their lives. It was all surreal. Everyone was happy, content, and doing the things they loved to do.

He looked around him. He was outside. The sun was shining, birds were singing, and happy people were milling around doing various activities. It appeared to be early fall, by the look of the trees and the cool air. This was his favorite time of year. He breathed in deeply and smiled. “I’ve never been in a more perfect place.” He hadn’t felt peace like this in a very long time.

He spent the next several minutes just looking around. Noticing all of the sights, sounds, and other wonders that touched his senses. Everything was perfect and new. If he wanted to eat, he simply let someone know and a delicious meal would appear. In fact, if he needed anything, it was there, always surrounded by the love and comfort of those dear to him.

Later, he felt like exploring this new world. He wondered around in euphoria. Everything seemed new and exciting. He covered a long distance in a short amount of time. He investigated how things worked in his new surroundings and made interesting discoveries. He shared his excitement with those close to him. He had an unquenchable thirst for the knowledge and understanding of everything around him. Each new endeavor brought him immeasurable joy. He discovered fascinating places and wonderful people. Some of these people he knew, some he didn’t, all became friends.

After a while of this, he wanted his family. He cherished their company. He talked to his wife and listened to her. He treasured every moment. He took her to the places he had discovered and she showed him new ones. He explained the world as he saw it and she showed him different points of view. They took long walks together and sat by each others side. He gazed into her eyes and he made love to her. He played with their children and taught them the things he knew. They showed him unconditional love and he could feel it, deep inside himself. He spent a long time in their company; loving, laughing, and enjoying every minute.

Then, when everything seemed to be at the peak of enjoyment, a thought crept into his mind. That thought changed everything for him.
“Why am I here?” He asked himself.
The thought crowded his mind and he quickly became obsessed. He couldn’t quit thinking about it. He began searching for an answer. He went to his wife. He looked her in the eyes and asked her the question. She shrugged and a worried look crossed her face.
“What does it matter?”, she asked.
He wasn’t satisfied. He went to a friend and asked, “How do you think we got here?”
The friend replied with a smile, “God put us here.”
“But why?”, he asked.
“To serve him.”
“WHY?”, his frustration grew. He went to a neighbor. “Why do YOU think we are here?”, he asked.
The neighbor smiled, “To search for answers within ourselves. To become one with everything.”
The man still was not satisfied and became increasingly more anxious and frustrated. He began to annoy his friends and family and they became worried about him. His kids looked at him like a stranger and shied away. His wife tried to talk to him, but he only obsessed about the question and scared her. She too began to stay away from him. Time went on and he began to panic. He became bitter and ill. Everyone stayed away and thought he had become insane. They went on living their lives without him and this made him angry.

One day, a very old and wise man approached him. He began to barrage the old man with question after question about the purpose of their existence. The old man lifted his hand to silence him. “Look around you.” The wise, old man said. “This is a perfect place. Everyone and everything you care about is here in front of you. They are growing more and more concerned, and you do not care. You choose to waste time chasing a question that cannot be answered. And you do not know how long you will be here.”
The man paused. He began thinking about his behavior and the behavior of those he cared about. He felt silly. He was going to apologize. He was going to love the company of his friends and family again and show them how much he loved them. He thanked the man and decided he would start now and go find his wife and talk to her and listen and do all of the things they used to do.

But before he could, the bells of the alarm clock tolled and the dream was over.

Purpose

I am a writer. I’ve known this since I was very young. Have I ever written anything that’s been published? No. The truth is, I’ve never really written anything that I’ve ever really finished. Assignments at school were just thrown together just before (sometimes minutes before) they were to be turned in. So, obviously, they were not what I would call “legitimate ย writing”. I’ve started a few stories over the years, but never finished them. Then how can I say I’m a writer? Simple…It’s in me, I know it is. A day does not go by that I don’t say to myself, “I could make that into a story.” Usually several times per day. I develop stories and characters in my head constantly.
That is why I am starting this blog. It will be a vehicle to get this stuff out if my mind and into the minds of those who deserve it. ย I want to be heard. I want to make people feel something through my writing. Strong emotions. I want to change people’s lives and help them become better people. Am I naive? Absolutely, but I believe you need to be a little naive to have the courage to try things. If I already knew how this would turn out, I probably would never start it. And that would be tragic.