Saturday, December 31, 2011

A New Year brings New Hope.

I have made a pilgrimage to the houses of democracy and dipped my toes in the ocean of ideas our fore-fathers shed their lives-blood for, only to drown in the sea of hope they inspired in the generations of Americans that followed in their footsteps. I went in search of an absentee spirit only to discover a wellspring of poetry carved in cold marble that warmed my heart and instilled within me a peace and tranquility that all but obliterated the chaos that reigns inside of me.

As I sat on the cold, unforgiving marble of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial reading the five quotes carved into the walls out loud to my daughter, I became misty eyed and hoarse. Mr. Jefferson’s words have never failed to move me but on this occasion, at a time when I have worked myself beyond exhaustion, my defenses were at an all time low.

So, where does this leave me at the dawning of a new year?

I am going to post here those quotes on my blog. The quotes that brought tears to my eyes and hope to my soul, I hope they move you as much as they have moved me.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men. We...solemnly publish and declare, that these colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states...And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honour.

Almighty God hath created the mind free...All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens...are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion...No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion. I know but one code of morality for men whether acting singly or collectively.

God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever. Commerce between master and slave is despotism. Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than these people are to be free. Establish the law for educating the common people. This it is the business of the state to effect and on a general plan.

I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

And lastly, one of my all time favorite T.J. quotes.

I have sworn on the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.

Happy New Year my dear readers. I hope the coming days and months bring you happiness, joy and prosperity.

Monday, December 26, 2011

I Still haven't found what I'm looking for.

Christmas Eve was a mad dash of work, mayhem, marathon eating, the traditional receiving and giving of gifts and running around the greater tidewater area. Once my family and I arrived safely home and commenced our own particular yearly tradition of prepping the house for our annual solstice traditions, it did not take us long to fall into our routines of secretive wrapping, skulking from room to room in an attempt to avoid contact with anyone who may be lurking around a corner in an attempt to get a glimpse at what sort of goodies may be hiding within the cavernous, self exiled cell filled with ribbons, bows and obnoxiously printed paper.

I made more than several trips to the trash can with over filled black plastic bags, specifically purchased for the sole purpose of hiding the manufacturers packaging of products that were put into said packaging by extremely frustrated, angry and underpaid employees from foreign countries. These employees sole purpose seems to be to throw fuel on the fires of frustration parents have been feeling since the beginning of the holiday season.

Paper cuts, abrasions caused by plastic and torn fingernails are wounds we go to great lengths to hide but are easily ignored by the wide eyed, adrenaline filled offspring that wakes us all up at the butt crack of dawn in an attempt to discover the treasures that lie under the lighted, adorned and tinseled faux wooden emblem of the season. Bleary eyed we stumble through our homes, our eyes feel as if the interior of our eyelids are made of eighty grit sandpaper, the harshness of our pre-brushed mouth seems to be only a minor irritant as we make our way to the well worn seat cushion on our favorite living room piece of furniture.

If you are lucky and you’ve thought ahead, your automatic coffee pot will either have already made or is in the process of making you a pot of ebony, bitter, acrid life giving plasma. If not, you have to settle for stale orange juice and three-day old almost too hard to eat bread to help kick start your morning celebration of peace and tranquility.

This is the century of the Simpsons and Griffins Christmas, not Ozzie and Harriet, the Cleavers or even the Brady’s. Our lives are so filled with demands of time, energy and pressure we seem to lose the peace and tranquility. I know I have. I stated in my last blog I was having difficulty in finding my Christmas spirit this year. And, now that Christmas has arrived like an unwanted credit card bill, I still have not completely found what I’ve been searching for. I feel a bit more in the spirit but I still have not sold out completely.

I don’t know if I will be able to.

I hope, I pray and I’ve even gone so far as to try and fleece myself into the experience what everyone else around me seems to be having. It’s tough to have a void where your good will once was. A vacuum that seems to do nothing drink in all of the happiness you used to feel. The simplest, most innocent actions leave me feeling numb or wanting more.

Am I closer than I was a week ago? Yes I am.

Will I eventually receive the one gift I’m looking for? Hopefully.

Am I going to celebrate if and when I do? Fo-Shizzle!

Here’s hoping you all had a great Christmas and I’ll talk to you all real soon.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


The lights from the Christmas tree sparkle off the tinsel casting red, green and blue shadows on the walls. Scents of pine, cinnamon and apple fill the air with mouth watering deliciousness, and promises of gastronomical fulfillment. My daughter and her friends have to be peeled from the ceiling just to be told it is time for school to start. The overflow of excitement runs out of their pours like a viscous liquid that immediately attaches itself to anyone who comes near it like coagulated molasses on a cold winter’s morning. They have been ready for the coming morning carnage for weeks and conversations which are overheard by parents everywhere are filled with what sort of LOOT they are about to tear from vigilantly wrapped packages which were hidden by the gifters in secret locations around the home and offices in places the CIA, KGB and FBI could never find. (But a 10 year old knows of these places and can snoop out a gift in 5 seconds if left alone.)

In my car, under my tree, in my wardrobe and my office hide such packages. Carefully picked out, superficially covered in vibrant recycled, ecologically friendly paper. The tags with names carefully scrawled on them by my shaking hand dangle in the breeze of fresh, canned air that streams from the heating ducts. Their dance reminds me of the hope and joy I am supposed to be feeling this season. A hope and joy I have been looking for but unable to find.

Oh, I see these lost emotions on the faces of children and adults as I pass by them on the streets. Their laughter and light hearted moods are more contagious than the latest flu epidemic. But it seems this season I have been immunized against all the cheer this season normally brings me. Maybe it has to do with the fact I have been unable to truly enjoy the normal festivities of the general populace of my fair city. Maybe it has to do with all the time I’ve spent over that past few months immersed in creating the holiday experience for others that I’ve neglected my own requirements for a festive season. Maybe… I don’t know.

You see, over the past week I have listened to a metric ton of Christmas music, watched countless hours of holiday movies and have even made an attempt at spreading joy, hope, kindness and cheer to others all in an effort t to find the peace of the season within me. I have been unsuccessful. I don’t know why these feelings are so elusive for me this year. Sure, I’ve had tough times in the past garnering the good will towards my fellow men but I was in a very different place then. A place where my only warmth was afforded to me in the form of a prickly, raw woolen gray naval blanket with no family or loved ones to comfort me. Long lonely days seated on cold, dark gray decks reading books with missing pages and eating leftover cold food and drinking warm, stale milk. But even then I managed to find a lining of silver on a bleak and weary day.

Today, not so. I have many blessings in my life; a family who loves me, not one but two jobs where I know when I am not there my presence is missed. I have friends who call me out of the blue to tell me about their day and want to spend time with me and value my opinion in matters of decisions that will affect their lives for years to come. And even with all these blessings, which I’ve counted and stored in the vaults of my memory, I still am unable to engage in the joyous festivities that seem to have taken over not just my town, state and country but also the world at large.

My search, within my own corporeal body and my not so corporeal body has been an in depth raping of all that I hold near and dear to me as well as my belief system. (Which at times goes against the knowledge of the physical world and all the science I know to be true and untrue.) Yet still, I have been unable to call forth the emotions from the memories which have always served to cheer me up in the past. The memories of receiving THE gift on Christmas morning that reaffirms in a tainted teens childhood that there just really may be a Santa Claus or that Hope is not just a platitude spouted by a preacher on a pulpit or a crazy, hairy, smelly, toothless, homeless man on a cold and dingy street corner, have all failed to bubble to the surface of my being the sense of tranquility I normally feel at this time of year.

Yes, I know I am not supposed to talk about these things. But I just can’t seem to help myself. My mind won’t allow me to NOT talk about it. I have tried to bury my blemished mood and I have been triumphant for the most part in not letting on to others what I am experiencing or in this case, not experiencing. But now it is a week before Christmas and time is running short, the light of hope that casts out the shadows of pain this time of year has yet to shine upon my psyche and warm the coldness that has wormed its way inside my body, taken root and started to send its icy branches to every part of my ID. This coldness cannot be warmed by platitudes and empty actions. The frigidity can only be thawed by an intangible, unseen and overlooked gift. I’m looking for that gift. I believe it is the one gift that will reinvigorate my childlike awe most people feel this time of year.

This is my yoke, my quest and my struggle.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I, like most people, am a creature of habit. I don’t like it when my life takes an unexpected turn or when some minor irritation becomes an everyday commonplace occurrence that seats itself inside your psyche like an unobtainable splinter. Hiding just under your skin and sliding away, deeper and more painful every time you get close to extracting the damnable irritant. This has been the case since a week before Thanksgiving, when I discovered I had lost my check book, mortgage payment book, car payment book and my 16 gigabyte back up flash drive. You wanna talk about a realization that makes your sphincter water tight, this is it. I was and have been a bit out of sorts, more than I thought I was.

To put it bluntly, I’ve been so concerned about the misplacement my fiscal accountability that I have been incapable of maintaining a respectable flow intelligent thought. Which means, I have not been writing my blogs or my fiction too much, sure, I’ve pounded out a few drafts for blogs and even outlined a new story and regurgitated about a thousand words on an existing story, but for me to be able to communicate to you properly, I truly need to not have any unnecessary worries piled on top of my daily concerns. And the worst part of it is that I didn’t even realize how much the loss of those items affected me.

I’ve been at best a bit moody and distracted in tasks that I normally could do with my eyes closed. Yes, I make mistakes; I’m not too proud or big headed to claim I’m perfect. Hell, if I go through a day and only make a dozen errors I consider it to be a good day.

So, today, as I was walking through my dining room and into my kitchen I noticed a plastic shopping bag sitting on my piano. (What? You don’t keep your piano in the dining room?) So as I passed the bag I snatched it up in my hand believing it was just another empty bag left lying around by one of my fellow housemates for the sole purpose of driving me more insane than I already am. But as I pulled it towards me in my left hand I felt the weight of something shifting inside and my curiosity told me to open the recyclable satchel and figure out what it was.

Once my eyes accepted what I was looking at I stopped dead in my tracks. The shackled grip of fear and anxiety started to un-tether itself from my soul. Relief and renewal of my spirit washed over me.

So, now I am sitting here at 0012 in the morning with the slew gates of my mind wide open. I’ve forgotten what it felt like. Also, more than a bit disturbed at how easily the roadblocks of life become the creative artery clogging cholesterol of ID stress. Man, it sucks. But, and I hope this is true; my arteries have become roto-rooted with the locating of my tethers to my financial responsibilities and creative outlets.

Have a great week everyone!